Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Before and After: Serpentine Dresser

This is one of those projects that I knew almost from the start what I wanted to do with it. It was a $40 Craigslist find and came with this weird, ill-fitting mirror-turned-message-board thing on the top. Still not sure what I'm going to do with that. But the dresser had me excited.

I take that back. What got me excited was a lovely quart of my custom Robin's Egg Blue that fell out of the heavens onto my paintbrush a few months ago. The first victims I used that color on were just warming me up for this project.

Oh boy, do I love this dresser now.

I did a little bit of sanding and zero priming, then just went to town painting.

I love when I get to really distress something. My goal is always to make it look naturally worn, not sanded. I think this time it worked! Of course the brown glaze adds to the aged look.

There's an extra little surprise in the drawers. I couldn't resist an unexpected pop of color on the inside, too.

But really, it was necessary. The drawers were horrible looking. Someone had used this awful black caulk to seal the seams in every single one.

The bottom of one of the drawers was split and broken, so I had to rebuild that anyway and figured I might as well make over all of them. I imagined that lining the drawers with red and pink would look awesome with my blue, so I began searching for some drawer liner. Then I came upon this roll of wall paper at a thrift store for $3. And guess what- I didn't buy it! I don't know what I was thinking since it was exactly what I had in mind! Actually, I do know what I was thinking. I chickened out and bought a roll of safe white with a safe subtle paisley print instead. I almost immediately regretted it and went back the next morning for the fun paper.

Just like the twin nightstand, I LOVE this dresser. I want to keep it sooo bad. But I have nowhere to put it and I don't want to get rid of any of my existing furniture so that I will have a reason to keep it.

I guess I just need to buy a bigger house, that's all. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

A couple of wreaths

I know it's been a while since I last posted, but I promise I've been busy with projects! I have lots to show you in the coming days, so let's get started with a couple of simple crafts I did last week.

This one was a must after I saw The Nester's post about a wreath inspired by Martha that she made. My process was a little different, but I used the very same materials. (Wreath and raffia rope came from Hobby Lobby. The raffia rope is back in crafts. In my store it was near where the doll-making stuff is.)

This rafia rope comes in about half a dozen colors, so you could do something more bright and cheerful if you don't dig the natural color. It really was an easy process, just time consuming.

I wanted to use that fold-and-layer method again for something else, so I pulled out an old music book that I'd found at a thrift store and cut out several pages.

I cut the pages into strips that were roughly 1 - 1.25" wide then cut those so they were 4" long. Fold in half, glue in layers around a cardboard ring and attach a ribbon.

I liked it like this, but that hole in the middle didn't look quite right to me. It seemd unfinished. So I decided to fill it.

The Graphics Fairy came to my rescue (once again) with this lovely image. And look what she's holding- music!

I cropped it into a circle that was the right size, printed and cut it out.

Then I attached it to the back of my "wreath" using double-sided tape and adhered another piece of cardboard over that to protect the paper.

Isn't she pretty? But it still felt unfinished.

So I pulled out some mother-of-pearl buttons in varying sizes and hot-glued them around the edge.

I wanted to put something black around that opening but couldn't come up with anything. But I like the buttons. They seem appropriate for the vintage feel I was aiming at.
Now picture this: A music page wreath just like this, but the folded edge of each piece of paper is tipped with silver glitter. In the center is an image of a vintage Santa Claus, surrounded by red buttons and the whole thing is hung with a red velvet ribbon. Oooh, I can't WAIT! Is it too early for Christmas crafts?

I'm linking up to Wendy's Frugal Friday party over at The Shabby Nest!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Curtain turned blanket

Sometimes it's fun to just walk through Target and see what kinds of deals I can find. Recently I came across this curtain by Dwell Studios that had been marked down from $19.99 to $5.06. It had been opened and taped shut again, but otherwise there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I love, love, love that big, fun polka dot print and even considered buying this very same crib set for my baby way back when. But since I ended up making his bedding and don't need a polka dot curtain panel in any of my kids' rooms right now, I decided to turn it into a blanket instead.

The edges were already finished and it had a liner for the backing, so that cut out several steps for me.

I laid the curtain out on the floor, then placed a roll of cotton batting on top of that.

I trimmed down the batting to be the size I wanted...

...then tucked it in between the two layers of fabric and pinned it along the edges.

I sewed the batting in place on all 4 sides, then used some safety pins in the middle to keep all 3 layers together while I hand quilted some of the circles. I really like the bunchy look you get when you pull your running stitch tight.

And here it is all done! I don't know if you could call this a quilt since it isn't made up of lots of little pieces of fabric, but I did enjoy doing the hand quilting on it. It's really relaxing and gave me something to do while I watched movies on the couch.

Here's the other side with the stitched circles.

This little girl asked me before I was even done if the blanket was for her, and since I didn't have anyone in mind to give it to I decided she could have it. Besides, I haven't made her a blanket in a long time. She deserves a new one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Before and After: Wooden Stool and Plant Stand

Sorry I've been away so long. My family and I just got home from a week-long trip to California, and unfortunately I didn't get a chance to pre-write any posts before I left. Thanks for waiting! Here are a couple of projects that I finished right before we left.

I found this little dealy at my beloved Bargain Center a couple of weeks ago and knew exactly what to do with it. As-is, it didn't seem very useful, but it was pretty simple to change that.

From a board that I had on hand I cut a piece that was slightly longer than the base was and screwed it in place. The new top got a really good sanding and all of the sharp corners smoothed down.

It got a coat of black paint, but I didn't like how it looked so I kept going.

Some of RustOleum's Colonial Red and a little distressing helped quite a bit.

I like how the wood and the black show through where it got sanded.

I'd almost forgotten that I had this thing until I saw something similar in an antique store that I was visiting with a friend. I really loved those cork-screw legs.

It got sanded, primed, painted and glazed to become this.

The white glaze helps the details stand out a little better, and gives the whole thing some more character.

This is a more subdued yellow than the one I used on this table. This color is called "strawflower" (also by RustOleum) and is just lovely.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Before and After: Tufted Ottoman

This ottoman is getting a post of its own, mainly because it turned out to be quite a challenging project. My friend spotted it when we were at Idaho's Largest Garage Sale together. Here's what what it looked like then:

That photo's kind of deceiving. It actually looks kind of nice up there. But trust me when I say that in person, it was the opposite of nice.

The fabric was dirty, dingy, stinky and covered in suspicious looking smears and stains.

The buttons, cording, fabric and stuffing came off, then I used the foam from a crib mattress that I had to replace the stuffing. I marked out the design where the new buttons would go...

... and trimmed off the corners of the foam to soften the shape. After that, a layer of quilt batting was stretched and stapled over the foam.

My friend provided her fabric of choice, so I got started by making new buttons and began tufting away.
Lesson #1: Pulling and tying knots in nylon cords is not a job for bare hands. Ouch.

After I got the buttons on, I ran into problems when I came to the corners. I just didn't like how they were looking no matter what I did, so I had to leave it alone for a few weeks until I could figure out what to do about it. Luckily I have a very patient friend, so there wasn't any added pressure of having to finish it right away.

Once I was ready to try it again, I settled on how to tackle the corners and pressed on.

After I got almost all the way done, I decided that I hadn't pulled the buttons tight enough. So I clipped them all and started again, this time keeping Lesson #1 in mind.

Lesson #2: Folded pieces of webbing DO NOT always keep knots from pulling through to the front.

Buttons WILL always keep knots from pulling through.

Lesson #3: Hand made buttons can only stand so much pressure...

... before they pop their tops.
Lesson #4: A hot glue gun can rectify this quickly and easily.

Lesson #5: Tying a slip knot 100+ times on one project does not guarantee that you'll remember how to do it on your next one. Keep a reference book handy.

Lesson #6: Working with super huge upholstery needles is way fun!

Lesson #7: A little bit of this stuff...

... is just the thing for leveling an uneven leg.

And here it is all done and in its new home.

I'm afraid it's not as cute as it once was, but it's definitely much less filthy and putrid. I hope she likes it.
Lesson #8: Sometimes you just need to walk away from a project for a while to figure out what needs to be done. Come back to it when you're less frustrated and have had a chance to mentally solve your problem. That may be all it takes to get a finished product that you're happy with.