Friday, January 27, 2012

Before and After: My Son's Dresser (and the story behind it)

Today we're going to rewind almost THREE YEARS to when this beat up old dresser came to my house. Do any of you remember the post where I said I was working on it and gave you these two teaser photos?

The poor thing was in terrible condition with a horribly scratched and chipped black paint job, and lots of damage to the veneer. For some reason, I got it into my head that instead of painting it, I was going to bring this dresser back to its former wooden glory and dove in by stripping all that paint off.
I ordered a couple of rolls of new mahogany veneer on ebay and set to work removing the veneer and underlayment entirely from the top. After searching the internet and watching some Youtube videos, I then began the tedious job of patching the missing pieces of veneer on one of the sides and the 3 large drawers.

I gave the whole thing some stain and polyurethane, and up to this point, everything had gone fairly well. Then it came time to reapply the veneer to the top. This did NOT go well. It bubbled and warped terribly and looked just awful. I was devastated. I had no idea how I was going to get it off, either.

So it sat, and sat, and sat. Then we moved and it sat some more. I know my husband was exasperated with this almost done dresser hanging out in the garage, but I couldn't just get rid of it after all the work I'd already done on it. However, I still hadn't come up with a solution for the horribly-warped-veneer-on-top problem I faced.

There's a saying about necessity being the mother of invention (or something like that), and that was how this dresser finally got some more attention from me. My kids are growing, you see, which means so are their clothes. My two sons share a room and for quite a while were sharing a dresser. But when their clothes began to overflow the dresser and just stayed in laundry baskets on the floor in their room, I realized I either needed to find them a bigger dresser, or give them each their own.

Knowing I had a perfectly good (if not perfectly beautiful) dresser in the garage made me feel a little guilty about buying something else. I searched online and discovered a method of removing glued-on veneer using a damp towel, a hot iron and a scraper and decided to give that a try. It took some effort, but it actually worked much better than I'd expected and I was able to scrape all of that bubbled veneer off and sand it smooth.

So, after that long-winded saga of a back story, here's how that banged up old dresser looks where it sits today.

The top is rough-looking, but I care a lot less than I thought I would. We reeeeally needed to use it NOW!

The wood on the top drawer is gorgeous, with some sort of tiger-striped wood in the insets and a burled wood medallion in the middle. You can also see in the photo below where I patched the veneer on the corners of the lower drawers. I suppose that unless you're working with veneer that's identical to the original, there will be some noticeable difference between the two. The stain on the new veneer went on darker, and the grain isn't quite as tight as the original stuff. But guess what- I don't mind! It's really not that noticeable in regular indoor light.

And what do you think of the knobs I chose? They're rope! I was so excited to find a bunch of these at Hobby Lobby and I think they're perfect for this dresser while it's in my little boys' room.

So there you have it. It's been 3 years in the making, but I finally have a Before and After for this cool old dresser.
Whether or not I ever get some veneer laid on the top is another story...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A little more Valentine's Day decor

In my last pillows post, I promised to share one last Valentine's Day-themed pillow cover that I was working on. I actually finished it up last week but just now got around to snapping some photos of it.

Again, I used some dollar store napkins for the cover itself, then sewed up a few red and white polka dot yo yos to adorn the front. (You can tell that's a heart, right?) I didn't even sew them down, just stuck them on there with some good fabric glue. The open side is simply tied shut with a few twill ribbons.

While this design wasn't my original plan, it was much simpler and less complicated than what I'd previously come up with. And when is simpler and less complicated ever a bad thing?

One last little item that I put together one night is this simple wooden "love" sign. When my "North Pole" sign came down it left the space above my vintage window looking bare.

With some scrap wood and paint, I now have a sweet little sign that can fill in that space. I may even leave it there after Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Before and After: Chevron Desk/Vanity and Vintage High Chair

What would you call this? A desk or a vanity? I don't know. One day while I was thrifting it caught my eye. However, the price tag turned me off so I walked away without it. I kept thinking about it and because I knew the store regularly puts its furniture on sale (one random day a week), I swung by daily until it was on sale for 40% off- THEN it came home with me! Luckily nobody else grabbed it in the meantime.

The veneer on top had some cracked and bubbling areas, so before I did anything else I cut those sections out with an exacto knife, filled them in with wood filler then sanded it smooth.

It's been kinda cold here lately so I haven't been spray painting but have had to hand paint in my garage. Lucky for me I've stumbled across a lot of good mistints of Behr's Paint-and-Primer In One at Home Depot, which cuts down a lot on the time it takes to hand paint a piece of furniture.

It took THREE COATS to cover this silly desk in white. I had lots of fun painting the drawers with some cool stripes and chevron pattern.

You can see in this photo that I also painted the side panels with stripes.

I roughed up the whole thing a little with some sandpaper and kept the hardware as-is. The insides of the drawers also got a facelift with some pretty contact paper on the bottoms (they were gross). I'm still on the hunt for a cute little chair that I can pair with this, but we'll see if maybe it sells without one first.

I couldn't resist this simple wooden high chair. It reminded me of the one I bought for my son a couple of years ago. It was in pretty good shape, but needed a little love.

One of the mistints I picked up recently was this perfect shade of red. It's not too bright and it's not too dark. I LOVE it.

Now THAT'S a cute high chair! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

pillows, pillows, pillows

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time decorating for Valentine's Day. I just don't go in for all the sparkly hearts and pink and fluff. Yes, I'll use red and hearts here and there, but sparingly and in an understated way.

However, in an attempt to make my house somewhat festive for the upcoming holiday (and because I couldn't keep my Christmas pillows around until spring), I decided to sew up some new pillow covers for my couch.

This lumbar pillow cover was made using a red and cream ticking stripe and a piece of drop cloth that I had. I bought the wood buttons on Etsy like 3 years ago or so, but waited to use them for just the right project.

I'm sure you've seen doily pillows popping up everywhere, so how could I resist making my own? I found half a dozen of these nice big doilies at my local thrift store and used dollar store cotton napkins for the cover. These are pretty easy to make. Just dot the back of the doily with some fabric glue to adhere it to the fabric, then once that's dry stitch around the edge and a couple of places in the middle to keep it secure. I think they look kind of romantic in a way.

This afternoon while my littlest one napped I whipped up this last cover from scraps in my stash. Once again the red ticking appears, along with some more taupe napkin fabric.

I really like how this one turned out, and it's definitely got more of a Valentine's Day vibe than the others.

The letters are just appliqued on with a small zig-zag stitch on the top layer and a straight stitch for the bottom layer. That taupe fabric is going to fray some over time, which is what I want.
Although... now that I'm looking at it from a distance, I wish I'd tipped the "o" the other direction. Dangit!

I've got one more chair needing a new pillow cover, which is in the works. But I'm afraid it's going to take a little while to finish. Hopefully before Valentine's Day actually arrives! I'll be sure and share as soon as it's done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Valentine's Day Button Art

Do you ever get the urge to just make something, but you're not sure what? That happens to me every once in a while. Sometimes when I'm bored I just want to sit down and make something. Something easy, fast and satisfying. This happened to me the other day and, as luck would have it, I was able to gather up what I needed around my house to make a little Valentine's Day craft.

It took less than an hour and turned out pretty cute, if I do say so. All it took was an old frame (painted and distressed), fabric, hot glue to attach the fabric to the frame's backing, white glue, buttons and brads.
This little button art project was inspired by the monograms on canvas that my kids made for their teachers as Christmas gifts (tutorial found here).

I loved the first one so much that I ended up making another one. This one may go to my space for sale pretty soon.

Have you done any cute and easy Valentine's Day projects lately? I hope to have a few more to share soon!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Before and After: Ladderback Chair and Twin Bed

Sorry things have been so quiet around here lately. I'm counting down to Delivery Day with baby #4, and these last few weeks seem to be going really slowly. As my belly gets bigger working on furniture becomes more and more difficult, and with the holidays in there I had plenty of other things to keep me busy.

But enough of the excuses. I'm determined to work on furniture for as long as I possibly can, and I've managed to get a couple of little things done lately that I wanted to share with you.

I love a cute ladderback chair, don't you? This one had a rush seat that was in good shape but kind of worn, so I left it alone and just painted the wood.

I primed it, then painted it with a nice flat blue mistint paint that distressed really well.

I think the roughed up paint and the worn woven seat now somehow work together to make this chair pretty sweet.

This vintage twin bed was a total steal at a yard sale this summer. I hated to paint over that pretty birdseye maple, but it wasn't in great shape and I didn't have it in me to refinish it.

Besides, the real eye catcher of this piece is that heavily carved headboard, which paint could only enhance.

All it needed was a fresh coat of ivory paint-and-primer (also a mistint that I picked up) and some brown glaze to bring out the details.

This project was perfect for glazing. Just look at how that carving stands out now!
I just brought both pieces to my space at Unique Boutiques (which admittedly has been looking rather bare since I've slowed my pace) and hope to have another couple of things to bring in this week as well.

If you're local be sure and go check it out! We're at 180 Leveland in Modesto, at the corner of Floyd & McHenry behind the Chase Bank.