Thursday, May 26, 2011

Before and After: Two Chairs and a Mirror

It's no secret that I'm a chair girl. I really, really like chairs. So if you're sick of seeing chair makeovers, this post might not be very entertaining for you. But personally, I can't get enough of ugly duckling chairs and transforming them into swans.

This first one was a thrift store find and was in really sad condition. But it was sturdy and only cost a couple of bucks, so it was a perfect candidate for a re-do.

I wanted to pair this chair with a desk that's in my space at the shop, so it got sprayed with some Heirloom White and the seat was given new batting and a pretty, neutral fabric.

A little distressing brings out the little details on the legs and back.

This looks like a swan now, doesn't it?

I was so excited to find this chair because I knew instantly what I was going to do to it.

Turquoise paint + brown glaze + most awesome floral fabric = Very cool new chair!!

Those legs make me drool.

It's been a while, but I once showed you an image of this fabric in a post about another nasty chair that I had hoped to transform the way I did this chair. I stumbled upon a yard of this lovely print at my local Joann when we moved to California and I've been waiting for just the right chair to come along to use it on.

This was definitely the perfect chair.

Finally, I found this gawdy ornate mirror at Goodwill in all its golden glory. It was in perfect condition, though, so all it needed was a little paint and glaze.

I used the same turquoise paint as I did on the chair...

...and the same brown glaze to tone down the blue and bring out the detail.

Way better, right?
Tomorrow we're off to spend the long weekend with my parents and siblings in Southern Utah. We really need a break so I'm truly looking forward to our trip. Enjoy your holiday weekend! I'll be back with some more transformations soon!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Before and After: Wicker Loveseat + More Stenciled Projects

Last weekend my husband and sons went on an overnight campout, which left my daughter and I some time together- just me and her. It was lovely. We had a "camp-in" on the living room floor and in the morning we bounded off to treasure hunt at yard sales.

We didn't have tons of luck at the sales, but we did have a really good time. My big score for the day was this wicker loveseat that I spotted two blocks away.

I was sure that it would either be overpriced or already sold (this seems to be my luck lately), so when I discovered that it hadn't been spoken for and was very reasonably priced I snatched it. The couple who sold it to me even offered to deliver it to my house! How sweet is that??

Upon close inspection this cute little loveseat was definitely showing some wear.

The wicker was still in pretty good shape, though, and the piece itself was very sturdy. After a little pondering I decided that I didn't want to paint it but would rather keep it natural. I grabbed my can of Minwax Polyshades that I used on my sofa re-do and got to work painting it on.

Here's an in progress shot. You can see in the left half of the photo the portion that's been stained and the right half that has not.

The stain didn't completely conceal the weathering that the seat had, but I didn't mind. I just wanted to darken the whole thing and make it a little more uniform.

After staining I had to get to work making a cushion. I priced them online and decided that I could make my own for way cheaper than buying a new one. I measured the seat and used a piece of paper to trace the curve at the back.
The tricky part was the foam. Have you ever had to buy foam? It is EXPENSIVE. Even with a 40% off coupon, I would've ended up paying over $30 at Joann for the amount that I needed for this project. Instead I searched for a used crib mattress at second hand stores and on Craigslist. It took about a week, but I ended up finding one for $15. Since it had springs inside I swapped it with the one my son has been using (which didn't have springs) and used that one for my cushion. Here it is stripped of the plastic cover.

Next I measured and marked the cushion with Sharpie and traced the curves using my paper template.

Cutting this stuff turned out to be tougher than I expected. I always use my electric carving knife when I cut foam, and on your regular spongy foam it works like a dream. But this mattress wasn't made of regular spongy foam, but was more like a really dense, thick batting. Eventually I got through it, though I almost burned out the motor in my knife in the process.
I'm afraid I didn't take any photos of the next few steps, but after cutting the cushion I deconstructed the plastic cover and re-made it to fit the new shape. Knowing this would live outside made me really want to do what I could to protect it from getting wet and gross.

What I'd planned to do was purchase some inexpensive fabric from This is the one I really wanted.

But by the time I was ready I realized that I didn't have any money to spare. So I thought and thought and finally decided to just make my own fabric.

There was still quite a bit of drop cloth left over from my sofa project, so I traced the shape of the cushion onto that with a washable pen. Then I made a stencil of the chevron pattern I wanted to use and mixed some acrylic paint with textile medium, very much like I did with my rug project.

I stenciled away, then cut out the pieces and sewed them together to make my cushion slipcover.

Really long upholstery zippers can be pricey, and I didn't have any Velcro so I used a row of buttons along the back as the closure.

That done, I got to work on some pillow covers. Using the same drop cloth fabric, I cut out a long rectangle that could wrap around the pillow I'd be using, leaving seam allowances on either side. Instead of stenciling I decided to try creating stripes using painter's tape on the first pillow cover.
I didn't try to get full coverage but kind of wanted a worn, washed look to the stripes. For the next pillow I printed off a number 5 on paper and cut it out to make a stencil. I don't know why I chose the number 5. I think I just like how it looks. :) Putting our house number on the pillow would also have been cute.

The pillow covers are a simple envelope style with no zippers or closures and came together really quickly.

Here it is all put together.

I'm so very happy to have a place to sit and relax on our porch now. There may be another pillow added soon, but for now it's cozy and cute enough for me.
I think my favorite part of this project was challenging myself to keep everything low-budget. Just for fun, here's the cost break-down of the whole thing:

loveseat: $35
cushion: $15
stain: on hand
fabric: on hand
paint: on hand
textile medium: on hand
cording: $2.40 (10 yd package purchased w/ 40% off coupon)
buttons: on hand
pillows: on hand

I still intend to waterproof everything with that spray stuff you can use on tents, but I haven't figured out where it is in the garage yet. Until then I'll just pray for sunny days and lots of opportunities to enjoy my new loveseat!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Before and After: Tall Dresser and Side Table

I'm not sure what's going on with Blogger lately, but a few days ago I wrote up this post and now suddenly it's gone. So let's try this again...

This dresser was saved from the curb (along with a few other items) a couple of weeks ago when my neighbors moved out. It had some scribbling, a random wooden heart at the bottom and no knobs, but it was solid wood and the drawers worked fine.

I had several ideas for how to transform this plain-Jane dresser, so it took me a while to decide on which one to try. In the end, though, I decided to do something a little out of the ordinary for me.
After rolling on a good primer, the dresser got a coat of a custom mixed grey paint.

The numbers were an image I found online, then used this easy pencil transfer technique to trace them onto the drawer fronts. I filled in the pencil lines with a few coats of black craft paint.

The dresser got distressed, then I used some walnut wood stain to antique it.

The whole thing got a coat of wipe-on poly for protection and some simple and rustic rope pulls to finish it off. Like I said, not my typical style, but I really like how this dresser turned out and seriously considered keeping it for my boys. Sadly, I can't keep 'em all.

This little table was a thrift store find and was a pretty good deal.

The top was in terrible shape with deep scratches, water damage and drips of wax all over it.

Paint to the rescue! With sanding, priming, painting and distressing this table now has some character.

Add to that a little hand painted detail using the same transfer technique that I used on the dresser and now it's even a little bit special.

I traced on this scrolly flourish then filled it in with one of my favorite shades of blue. Some came off with the distressing, but that's what I wanted.

A coat of polyurethane to protect the top and the table is now ready for its second life!
So, do you have an idea for a project that could use a little hand painted detail?

I'm linking up with Miss Mustard Seed this week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

More punches of color

For once, I'm making good on a promise. I've actually come up with a few more ways to strengthen the aqua and red color scheme I've got happening in our kitchen and TV room.

Some Moms got together over the weekend for some crafting and fun, so one night I went and used the time to make myself a sign. I used the method I've mentioned MANY times before, found here. I've never done the text layering-thing before, but I think it turned out pretty well.

The words come from a song that we learn at church as children, but this one particular line has been playing in my head quite a bit recently.

In case you're curious, here are the lyrics to the first verse:

I am a child of God,
and He has sent me here.
Has given me an earthly home,
with parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do,
to live with Him someday.

I've shown you these shutters that I picked up at a thrift store, and they became the source for my next project.

One of the skinny ones got cut in half, then I added a fence picket to the top to make a shelf. Some paint and distressing, and now it hangs in our family room surrounded by the artwork of my husband's brother.

The shelf needs a few more items, but for now it's fine.

This is a super easy project. If you can use a circular saw or jig saw and a drill, you can make this. I'm considering adding something else to this shutter-shelf, but we'll see. I'll be sure and let you know if I do.

This rug was found at my local Big Lots for about $15. Every time I'm in Big Lots I am impressed with what they carry, and how inexpensive it is. I seriously think they don't get nearly enough recognition. Anyway, the rug is much bigger than your normal kitchen rug (to give you an idea, those are 12" tiles), plus it's only been there a few days and I've already had to flip it over because it shows dirt so easily. So we'll see how long it stays there. But I couldn't resist the colors and that fun, bold stripe!

Do you have a moose head in your house? I do! I found this guy at my beloved Bargain Center ages ago but never got around to spiffing him up- until now.

He got a shiny coat of red paint and now resides above the TV in our family room. I have to say, my husband had a long moment of hesitation when I asked whether he'd mind if I hung this in our house. Luckily he's game for a bit of whimsy now and then.

And for the sake of keeping things real, here's a wide shot of where our TV and toys live.

Oy. I can't believe I just showed you that...