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Tag Archives: refurbishing
The new year is almost upon us so it’s that time when everyone has a mini-midlife crisis. What have I done this past year? Have I been a good mom? Did I cross anything off the bucket list?
I am not absolved from this phenomenon. I couldn’t tell you what I wanted 2012 to look like at the end of 2011; I believe I said (in regards to Space-Lift) “I am going to take it up a notch. TEN notches even!” or something along those lines. In true New Year’s Resolution form, I did an amazing job in January, a so-so job in February and went right back to being Kristen in March.
But I am not here to focus on what I DIDN’T do. That kind of sounds like the worst thing ever, “Let’s see, how did I let myself (and you) down?” So I am going to focus on what did happen. I left my “resolution” open-ended enough–I just wanted to kick it up a notch, and I did. I worked harder, thought more, cared more and ultimately, I created more and had an amazing time.
I didn’t just make awesome stuff along the way and leave sunshine in my wake, I really learned some great lessons too. Not just technical lessons (even though I can now apply lacquer in subarctic temperatures and keep it looking smooth), technique takes a close second.
All of my Top Fives (excluding my bedroom which I HAD to add because it is the calmest place in my house and I am madly in love with it) were not only created for others, but they were big projects that made me think hard and work harder. In fact, I think I declared war on every single thing on this list (that includes my bedroom) because they were bulky, irritating and didn’t work well with others. None of the pieces were what I expected them to be when I first saw them and none of them wanted to transform into my vision with any kind of ease. I cussed each of them out on more than one occasion and I believe I may have given myself an aneurism and an ulcer. But now, I love them. I’m proud of them and I want to make more of them. (Seriously, I am getting teary. This is dumb, I’m like an old lady watching a kitten video.) I think this is what they call passion. In every instance, my work was never good enough for my liking, I wanted to spend more time on everything and yet I wanted to burn all of them down at one point.
The frustration makes it really easy to quit, but the outcome, the lessons (this time I do mean technique and knowledge building) and the insight into this thing that I lamely refer to as “my hobby,” makes doing anything else feel so empty.
I hope your 2012 was something good, in whatever way you define it.
I finally finished one of the most frustrating pieces I have done in a very long time. See all the drink inducing details here!
I’ve had this gnarly trunk for years. It was about $40 at Marshall’s in 2002, and it’s been through the wringer. It held my books and boardgames when I was in high school and was used as my “floor table” when we took the unnecessary last shots of the night in college. It’s held old photos, shoes and blankets. I finally decided it was time to show it a little attention as a thank you for all of it’s years of service.
Right from the start I knew I wanted it to become a table. I unscrewed all of the screws on the trunk and basically left everything that was tacked on.
There was a pretty thick layer of glue coating the whole thing because I decided two years ago to do a half-hearted job of covering it in fabric. I knew it was temporary because the fabric didn’t really thrill me, but I guess no one told the glue that it was only temporary because even though I removed the fabric 10 months ago, the glue was still super tacky and gathered every stray fuzz in a 40 foot radius.
I thought sanding the trunk would help remove the glue. And yes, it did clump-up the glue and swirl it around in a mass on the trunk, but it also ate a hole through the cheap vinyl covering. No worries though, “maybe removing EVERYTHING and leaving just a wooden box would be beneficial,” said the optimistic voice in my head, which I always come to hate at the end of a project.
But honestly though, optimistic schizophrenic voices aside, what was I going to do? Call off the whole project because “I done messed up?” (that was the hillbilly voice in my head, she’s a bit more realistic.)
So I soldiered on, leaving ripped pieces of vinyl, tacks and faux leather in my wake, until I was left with a simple, naked wood box. And what does Kristen Van Loon do with a plan, ordinary piece of furniture?
She paints it, of course!!!
I chose a soft celery green that I didn’t realize would be SO soft once I put the hardware back on. But you know me, I like to ride it out until I’m crazed with exhaustion and wave the white flag. I decided to keep it going and add some legs… this is where the REAL exhaustion comes in.
I turned it on it’s side because I thought it’d be a pretty sweet TV stand and I could let the trunk open and close to hide the cable box and cords. It’s a stellar concept, but contains several flaws.
1) The legs are too short for the broadness of the front. It’s uneven and stout; it looks like something Humpty Dumpty would use for travel.
2) It’s literally top-heavy. With so little room, the legs must be placed so close together that it barely balances with the trunk when it’s closed, let alone open. Angled top plates would hold the legs at an angle and distribute the weight evenly, but I only had straight ones.
3) The TV that I wanted to put on here has too wide of a base to fit. I figured that could be the case, but if everything else worked out OK then I’d use it for something else… but nothing else went as planned.
On top of those three very logical reasons for scrapping this design, there is one glaringly obvious reason to reconsider the idea– I HATED the huge contrast between the green and the hardware.
So dismantle and reconsider was the name of the next game. I took off the legs and all of the hardware and took a cue from the Kristen of two years ago; I covered it in fabric.
I used the same permanently dangerous glue, but this time around I didn’t have fake leather trim to maneuver around, this was a totally blank box.
This photo to the right is what I like to call “measuring.” I don’t need a fancy measuring tape, I just need to eyeball the basic size and start cutting. I overestimate all the time, but I’d rather waste extra fabric than get too caught up in details that will only slow me down… probably not fantastic advice to follow.
I wrapped the box like a present and cut the corners to avoid the “gift box corner” that you get when ACTUALLY wrapping a present. When the glue wasn’t enough, I used tacks of various sizes to secure the material on the inside.
I broke down and bought new top plates because I decided that an angled leg is much more sturdy for a heavy piece like this AND I thought it gave it a friendlier appearance…. why is it friendlier? I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t look as stiff and rigid. Less Victorian, more Mid-Century.
I screwed on all of the hardware, the top plates and the legs. I made another new decision; I chose to put the trunk upright because it isn’t as shocking as when it’s on it’s side. Plus I wasn’t going to be able to use it for the reason I initially intended so there was no sense in keeping it sideways.
The sunny fabric REALLY lightened up the whole piece, and the whole room for that matter.
I was so happy with the outcome that I completely replaced my second-hand side table. You can tell by my “flattering” description of the old table, that I wasn’t exactly heartbroken when I moved it out to the garage.
This is an absolute upgrade!.. Now to replace that couch…
One of the pieces my aunt gave me was an adorable French Sofa Table reproduction.
I say it’s a reproduction because I don’t believe it’s an antique. It was originally finished wood, but my aunt painted it black (and I don’t think she’d do that to an antique, but then again she might.)
I removed the bottom tier of the table and primed it white. I wasn’t sure what color to go with so it sat around for a few days. By the time I had enough energy to tackle the labor and second round of brainstormning… well… I actually DIDN’T have enough energy for the brainstorming part. I wasted all my energy on the labor part and painted this little guy yellow. Ugh, I really don’t know what I was thinking. And not just normal yellow, Macaroni yellow–the yellow of your nightmares.
After that minor debacle I decided to chill out on my nonsense and go to the paint isle of my friendly hardware store. Why? BECAUSE A WILD PAINT BENDER ALWAYS SOLVES EVERYTHING!!!! I woke up 3 days later…
Seriously though, I bought about $35 worth of paint, and in spray paint dollars that like $200. So, me and my 40 cans of spray paint sat around staring at each other until I just decided that I needed to be logical. A) I didn’t want anything light because I needed to maintain some weight in the room, so adios pastels. B) I wanted it to shine, so satin finishes were out. C) I love Krylon’s colors but I hate their paint consistency and watered down application with a bloody passion, so I stuck to off-brands to avoid Krylon’s mess-in-a-can and 1980′s chemistry that they are still making products with today. Finally, I arrived at good ol’ Navy Blue Gloss, F yeah!
I then painted the bottom tier pastel purple because a girl has gotta have a little pastel in her life, even if it’s not Easter. Plus, I knew the dark blue would calm it down so it wouldn’t look like a My Little Ponies party on the lower half.
After the paint dried I covered it with Minwax WipeOn Poly Gloss. I have decided that I really can’t apply it with anything but a brush, and since it runs my bristle brushes through the wringer, I just use the cheap black sponge brushes that you can buy 6 for $1. All the rags that I try to apply the poly with always stick too much, and no matter how lint or fuzz free it seems, I always have fuzzies sticking to my piece, which leaves a gnarly mess to try to clean up. So I use my cheap-0 sponge brush and throw it away when I’m done because I am apparently wasteful and lazy, but the E.P.A. isn’t at my door so life is good.
My aunt had supplied me with the two cut glass pieces for the top of the table, but the bottom tier had nothing to fit inside. And instead of running ALL THE WAY to Harmon Glass which is like a million (less than two, actually) miles up the road, I decided to just wing it. Winging it led me to cheap rope. I super love when a cheap idea gets even cheaper!
I decided to weave the second tier instead of putting glass in it, sweet! However, my first attempt was less than fantastic.
The main problem with this is that it looks like an A.D.D. ape on acid did this. Ok Ok, that’s a bit harsh, but I will admit that the first time around I was trying to keep the rope in one piece. And I shouldn’t say “trying” because I did keep the rope in one piece. I was like seriously OCD about just bending it around staples and screws until finally I didn’t have enough rope to do straight lines and I had to zig-zag the bottom just to finish it. Classy.
I just wanted to add a real quick note (commenting on the below photo) whoever decided to package rope and yarn in that figure 8 pattern with the rope/yard belt in the middle is an inconsiderate S.O.B. I have wasted so much of my life untangling new packages of rope/yarn that I probably could have gotten a graduate degree in the collective hours I have spent. …but anyway…
So because I thought my first attempt at a bottom tier net looked like it was done by a blind spider on steroids, I took it apart and did it again. THIS TIME though, this time I took a tip from my screens and weaved cut pieces of rope through each other. The only thing I had to be cognizant of was to make sure that I left a good amount of slack in the long ropes because the more ropes you add to the weave, obviously the tighter it becomes…and it really sneaks up on you as it’s popping out of the staple when you’re only two weaves away from being finished. (That happened on my zig-zag attempt, not my second screen-grid attempt, but it still applies.)
I trimmed the long edges and flipped this guy back over because as much as I loved it, I had grown to hate it. But then I saw it, and as much as I’d grown to hate it, I loved it again.
I’ll admit that the spacing isn’t perfect and it’s a little on the wavy side, but it is so much freakin’ better than my zig-zags that it makes me feel like Picasso.
If I’m going to be realistic, I’ll tell you that I know I will have useless stuff like birthday cards and princess books sitting on here. I know Kyle will put his autographed baseballs on here by somehow insisting that the blue on top means “Detroit Tigers.” Yes, it will have dirty plates, cup rings and fingerprints on the glass…
But for right now, it’s perfect.
There is very, VERY little to say about this, so I will let my photos do most of the talking.
These were a couple of face plates before I got my silver spray paint on them. They were very heavy with an obvious brass color. The yellowy metal was just way too heavy for how light I’d like my living room to eventually feel. So I spray painted them. No primer, no finisher. I went rogue, baby!
I just unscrewed, sprayed and re-screwed. I painted about eight switches. You’d think I’d finally empty this dang can of silver paint, but it is totally pulling an Energizer Bunny move.
My daughter just turned three on June 22, so I am currently in Florida, woohoo! Tropical Depression Debby isn’t going to put a damper on my fun! It will, however, put a damper on long blog posts. For the rest of the week (after THIS post) all my posts will be short and sweet, in a series called “An End to my Odds,” which basically is the random small stuff around the house that I have Space-Lifted but never posted.
So without further ado, here is my vanity update in images. Enjoy!
Then I painted it a really ugly “Navajo White” and accented it by painting the stool light blue and (under the advisement of a friend) covered it with orange fabric.
Maybe I didn’t get her a pool toy or a sweet game for her birthday, but this gift was made with so much more love than anything I could ever buy!
Apparently I’ve been focused on lighting recently; from my tension lamp to my table lamp, I’ve done some pretty simple updates. This most recent one is a bit more complicated as I took my cue from Pinterest. I HATE saying that I got ideas from Pinterest because (as much as I like the site) I feel like it’s so cheap to copy ideas outright, especially when you know 500 other people are doing the exact same thing. Regardless, I always put my Space-Lift twist on things, but Project 1 and Project 2 are what inspired me.
I started with a piece of mirrored art that I bought at Family Dollar two years ago for $10; pretty reasonable for what it is.
It was alright, but definitely lacking in the *Oomf* department.
First I opened up the back and popped out the mirror, which was fit to the back like a picture frame, and did a quick and dirty silver spray job.
Next I gathered some leaves, stuck them into place with double-sided tape, and sprayed it down with a calm blue.
When I pulled up the leaves, I thought the silver was too stark of a contrast from the blue, so I laid down a couple more leaves and sprayed around them with green. Once I was satisfied with the amount of green I added, I did a quick, light coat of the blue over the whole thing so it muted the green and silver a bit.
As you can see, the silver has a bit of a purple tint to it because of the last blue coat. Once all of the paint was dry I took it inside and hot glued purple and cream fabric to the back of the wood. Then I took some Christmas lights (LED lights would work best because they won’t get hot, but I used regular ones because I knew I wouldn’t have it on for long periods) and stapled them to the back. MAKE SURE NOT TO NICK THE WIRES WITH THE STAPLES!
Finally it was time to display my lights! I was initially going to hang it on the wall, but I got lazy. THAT’S RIGHT! I can admit it. I got super duper lazy and decided not to (technically) finish.
The lights on the back were too bulky to allow for the lights to sit flush against the wall. I anticipated this and was prepared to build out the back with some scrap pieces of wood so it would be a box full of lights, more than a piece of wood with lights behind it. Also I knew I would have a cord hanging from it and that isn’t sexy in the least. So I scrapped the whole “wall idea” and just set it out on the entryway piece by my door.
I know my new artwork doesn’t compensate for the ugly wallpaper that I haven’t gotten around to removing yet,
but you’ve got to start somewhere.
My latest piece was made primarily because I am a jerk. You see, I finished my bedside table and just HAPPENED to put it on Kyle’s side of the bed. He was so excited to have a table, but it was suppose to be mine… the only thing I could do to get it back without making Kyle feel like a second-class citizen was to tell him that I had an even BIGGER, better and More Spectacular bedside table in the works. What (in the eyes of a man, namely Kyle) would be So fantastic? Well, a Detroit Tigers table of course.
The table started something like this….
Which is only semi-accurate. I forgot to take before pictures until after I started sanding. So It had legs and long, decorative hinges running along the top.
I had about 4 false starts on this puppy so I didn’t take any pictures. If I had taken them, you would see this same item in about 4 different colors, so I will skip you that nightmare and cut to the REAL chase.
I sanded, primed and spray painted dark blue. I painted the inside bright orange (in true Tigers fashion) and did a little fancy stencil work.
Just like the back of a baseball shirt, I stenciled Kyle’s last name in a semi-circle (hey, who doesn’t want to be a famous, pretend ball player?) and Kyle’s favorite number…(yes, he has a favorite number….)
Once everything dried I decided not to put the same hinges back on because they looked a little too cottage. Now I know my bedroom is trying to give a nod to cottage style, but I didn’t want to forget this table was made for a sports loving dude; not the type of guy who would appreciate quaint charm. So, I decided to use shiny smaller hinges that were hiding in my basement.
And this is what happened….
As you can see, the Tigers orange is hidden safely inside, so everyone is happy. Kyle has a Tigers table and nothing clashes in my bedroom; everything is once again right with the world.
Plus he has a handy new place to store his socks. Yep…that was my suggestion too.
The best part? He has no idea that I only made this so I could get my table back.
I hope this isn’t the day he decides to start reading my blog.
There are two ways (in my myopic opinion) to view your work/computer area, 1) your place of utter torment, or 2) your happy “me time” space. Regardless of your personal situation, we all need a pleasant set-up.
Exhibit A: Yuck.
It looks much worse than it actually is, I swear. At work I use a dual screen computer that uses a mouse. And not just any mouse, an “older-than-time-itself” type of mouse, which has a black bottom. And I’m not going to lie, my grubby hands have plopped on this countless times a day, so it is slightly overdue for a makeover.
A nice little secret is that if you have a fabric covered mouse pad you can typically peel the layer of fabric right off the top. It takes some yanking, but it will reveal a clean synthetic-y (new word) material. If your mouse pad has no fabric and is just covered with a thick skin that you can’t remove, just make sure you choose a thick fabric to layer over top.
and sprayed the surface of my mouse pad. Next I stuck the large piece of new fabric down on top of the glue and smoothed out the wrinkles.
After it dried I took a pair of regular scissors (you COULD use sewing shears, but why get all fancy?) and cut around the sides. I did have to make sure the tiny strings that always hang on to the sides of cut fabric were extremely short so they would lay flat on the adhesive.
Exhibit B: Lookin’ Sexy.
Yeah, that’s probably the first and last time anyone has called a mouse pad sexy and I’m not ashamed of it…but I digress.
It’s a small update that can bring a necessary lift to your space and help turn your place of torture into your….well…prettier place of torture.
If you’ve paid any attention to the ticker to the right, you may have noticed that I have a whopping 2 days until the vendor sale. Which is convenient because I have a whopping 2 pieces finished, and no, that isn’t an understatement. I signed up for the sale with the intention that I will be selling services more than actual items, but I didn’t plan to go THIS empty handed. You see, I planned to finish one chair and one other bigger piece today, so I would at least have four pieces to bring to exemplify my work. Well, the bees had other plans for me.
There was a freakin’ barrage of bees milling about my garage like they pay the mortgage. I didn’t sign-up to defeat the bee militia and I sure wasn’t going to allow Olivia to roam through what has now become their promised land, so I settled to run in and out of the house spray painting and waiting all day. No, seriously. I wish I was kidding.
Either way, this is what THE ONLY ITEM that I got finished looked like when I started this adventure.
Originally it started black with white microfiber seats, but you KNOW I couldn’t ever settle for a simple black and white. So I painted the black pine green (honestly, I only chose it because my mom had some leftover and I didn’t want to buy more). This was before I learned that investing a BIT of money in your furniture will save you from a) hating it and b) refinishing it every few months, which gets tiresome. Then I reupholstered it in stripes that went with the decor that the landlords found necessary to paint my rented kitchen. I knew it was temporary so it was really a half-hearted attempt to doll it up. I didn’t even remove the original fabric, see?
So obviously the white did make a brief cameo in my old kitchen, but it doesn’t take long for white to get painted and spilled upon. Whether it was from mistreatment or the sheer boredom, I found it necessary to cover the white with stripes, and now the stripes are replaced with a really neat dark blue and white pattern. Plus I added vinyl (4 gages thinner than I used in Danielle’s Chairs, and I had it right the first time with hers. My gage 4 is too thin because it’s so easy to stretch out of shape like a plastic shopping bag.) Even with thin vinyl, it is still way better than no vinyl at all!
This time is quite different than the last time I made my chair a bit more “me;” I picked my own paint color (I like to call it “Blush.”) and even tore the old fabric off of the seat! This is how you know college is over: Not everything you own/use is someone else’s hand-me-downs and you actually care about how your harebrained schemes turn out.
And this is how mine turned out!
My mom has always had antiques of some kind in our house growing up. She never seemed to have any strong attachment to them so she never had any qualms about using them as though they were everyday items. Antique tables and chairs were used as though they were just as sturdy and new as the ones made within the last 10 years. Maybe that’s why I don’t hesitate to semi-destroy them in order to put them back together. I’m not afraid I’m going to ruin something sacred, I always know it’s only a piece of furniture.
Like this 1920′s, wrought iron, ice cream parlor chair. As you can see, I usually get my cart before the horse, so the demolition began on the seat before I remembered to take the before picture. Regardless, you get the overall idea; the seat was made of thin wood and painted the same green as the rest of it. By design it can never really be boring, but I like to shake things up.
I started by taking it apart by twisting the nuts and removing the screws. This wasn’t super hard, but it was pretty violent. I didn’t realize the iron was so rigid that as soon as I undid the screws the iron swung back and happened to hit Kyle in the leg (Jeeze, why was he standing there anyway?) It didn’t do much damage to him, but it was right at Olivia’s face level so if it was her standing there then she probably would’ve lost some teeth..but I’m getting off track here.
Once it was apart I decided that I didn’t want to put a chair back together, I wanted to create a stool. It’s too high for a step stool, but just right for a foot stool or even a bonus chair when more seating is needed. So working with just the bottom parts, I soaked the old nuts, bolts and brackets in apple cider vinegar to remove rust and spray painted the wrought iron yellow.
Then the issues began. You see, I have limited tools and I really, really needed a band saw to create a seat. I couldn’t find a wooden 14″ circle at any store that would work for it. I had even already picked the fabric and made a gosh darn cushion! But at the end of the day, you got to face the reality of a situation and change your plans accordingly. As Plato said “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And I needed to make this work.
I took a trip to the hardware store and looked for something to make this work. And wouldn’t you know, everything was either 8″, 10″ or 12″. Not surprisingly, those are standard size for pipes and ducts. But then I went to JoAnn Fabric and scoured the shelves for something, ANYTHING! And I happened to stumble upon a mirror that I almost passed up. I had played with the idea of a mirror, but I wanted a stool damn it! I didn’t want to be “That girl over there selling all the tables.” But I’d rather be that than “The girl over there with nothing to sell.” So I bought the mirror and committed.
But what about my pretty fabric? Never you fear, I worked it in. I simply Mod-Podged the fabric to the outside of the screws and tucked back the excess fabric. I also sealed the chair with Mod-Podge, because it’s water proof and basically the best pseudo-liquid ever invented. Now the screws resemble fabric covered buttons.
Lastly, I put the little guy together. If you recall the wrought iron was super rigid, so it was hard to put it together as it was standing upright like a table. I had to flip it over and set the table legs onto the table top instead of vice-versa. I had to muscle the crap out of it, but I finally got the iron in place and screwed together. And this is what happened…
This little table would be adorable inside as a colorful plant stand or even a bold bedside table. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Because it is made of wrought iron and waterproofed with Mod-Podge (even the fabric on the button/bolts got a good coating) it would also work as a cute poolside or porch table. I dare you to tell me this wouldn’t brighten up your lanai! Plus, with it being outside, the bright colors may not be as alarming as some may perceive them indoors.
I am basically over the moon for this item. I have always felt that my unique quirks (like button bolts or an 80′s table top mixed with a 20′s design) is what drives my style. And maybe it isn’t always my brain child that causes these fun idiosyncrasies, but for me..
Necessity is the Mother of Design.
I finished my third piece for my vendor sale (that takes place in 6 days) and to follow suit with the second piece that I finished I decided not to sell it. I know, I know, what the heck am I going to sell?! Well that’s a good question. I love this new item, but I feel like it is too taste specific (my taste) and I don’t want to lug the big beluga in and out of the truck (possibly damaging it), just to have to load it back into it again. So this will just be a before and after photo at my booth, along with other before and after photos.
AND SPEAKING OF BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS….
This is what the “before” looked like.
It was in pretty decent shape; sturdy, solid and generally well made. Aside from the decorative moulding that once lined the top (indicated by the LACK of yellow paint) that fell off on it’s own, I really thought this whole item was salvageable. I had even diluted myself into thinking that I didn’t need to sand it. How nice would life be if I just painted over it and I could pat myself on the back? It would be super nice, but it’s also a super freakin’ daydream because the paint was crackling in a not so pretty way, even though the yellow was not crackle paint.
So I busted off (quite literally) the back of the unit and sanded the shelves and outside. I didn’t sand it down to bare wood, but enough to give me enough warm fuzzies and high hopes that my paint wouldn’t crackle too.
Then came the process that, oddly enough, took the longest; I had to choose the paint colors. I initially had the idea to do an ombre technique, but as I stared at the 12 paint cans in various shades and sizes I realized that none of my colors would allow for it. I had yellows and blues that could pass for a gradual shade progression, but I wasn’t in love with any of them. So I sat in my entryway with my paint surrounding me and mixed, matched, stared, contrasted, pored and thought. Finally I came up with a desirable palette.
Then I decided that the piece on it’s own was pretty boring, so I had to spice it up a bit. I bought some long thin planks that were made to use on a lathe and decided to cut them to fit the width and used wood glue to adhere them to the board that I had pulled off the back. The unfinished wood (which gives a fun, casual, beach vibe) not only creates visual interest, but it also helps camouflage how badly I had beaten the backing when I was trying to remove it.
Once the glue dried, I painted the wood plank backing a very pale green, the outside of the piece grey, and the inside shelving an ambiguous light blue/slight green/vaguely grey color. Then I smoothed on 2 coats of rubbing polyurethane.
I put the hinged door back on the bottom, screwed in a new knob and added two white hooks to the side for coats, purses, scarves…you get the idea.
And this is the after!
I really love these calm but vibrant colors because they look so different depending on the angle and intensity of the light. However, there are a couple of things that are really taking away from the overall beauty of this piece in the pictures. One is that these were taken while the polyurethane was still wet so it looks a little streaky in photos, but now that it is dry it has all evened out. And the other issues are that my wallpaper is a pattern Laura Ingalls Wilder would love, my light switch face plates are practically medieval and my dingy linoleum looks like it has been through a stampede. Aside from all of that, my piece is the perfect start to what I hope will become a cottage chic entryway.
I promised myself I wasn’t going to blog again until 2012. I need to get the site in order before I start adding even more of my nonsense to it. But here I am, 9 days later, bursting at the seams to talk about my latest tool…my Sander! I can’t express in words the excitement I feel when I think of all the doors that are now open to me because of this little monster.
I’ve recently started dabbling in furniture refurbishing (by “dabbling” I mean every room in my house is littered with half-sanded desks and ornate dressers from various decades) and this sander is the key that will finally get the ball rolling.
It came with 2.5 extensions so I am able to sand multiple surfaces at different angles. The only problem with my particular model is the position of the power switch. You see, when I go to change the attachments my palm is so close to tapping the power button as my fingers are in the line of fire. The easiest solution to this is (of course) to unplug the sander while changing the extensions– but it will be very hard for me to put safety ahead of time management.
Aside from the possibility of wearing my fingers down to nubs with a simple slip of the palm, this is an amazing piece of machinery, and an absolute necessity if you’re going to delve into any refurbishing project.
There is this headboard that has been irking me to no end! It’s for my daughter and usually the projects for her are a little complicated. On one end I would like things to be fun. On the other I would like it to be durable. Also add in chic and fit for a toddler and I just end up with a bunch of question marks. This project has just been one miss-step after another. At this point I am satisfied, but once I see it in her new room I will know for sure if I’ve really pulled it off!
This is how it started. A gnarly, country headboard that I bought for $50, along with a footboard, bed frame, dresser and mirror. As you can tell, it was a bargain. It wasn’t bad quality, it was just very taste specific- meaning
you had to have NO taste to truly appreciate it. I was in college, so it worked for the time being.
I decided to paint the whole thing white. Then I was stuck. What parts do I paint and what do I leave white? What colors should I use? I finally decided to wing it…as you can see that didn’t work well for me.
I was just mixing paints without a plan. And to make things worse I was missing a few colors that I wanted so I just grabbed a couple of my daughters paints and added in a couple squirts to tint up my colors. This wouldn’t have been a problem if her paints weren’t WASHABLE. Grrr! Damn, I thought I was smarter than that. SO when I decided to paint over this crap with white and start fresh, all of the colors ran and smudged because of the liquid in the white loosening up the washable paint that was in the layer that was being covered. I actually sprayed the whole thing down with water and scraped it off. Finally, I started over with a white headboard again.
I decided to go a different direction and try to create the same green color that was in her curtains. When all else
fails just go back to Design 101- when being creative doesn’t work, be smart. Pull other colors from the room for a cohesive look. I must have been sick that day in class. But I eventually came to this point and hot-glued some little, blue gemstone rocks that typically fill vases onto the front. I feel like it took away some of the country feel.
I started to warm-up to the headboard finally, but it needed a pop of color. Luckily I had some hot pink, sheer curtains laying around (I mean, who doesn’t?) I knew that they would really pop with the white, but how to apply them? Well I had several plans.
So I did what any self-respecting girl would do. I grabbed a hammer and started swinging away at that sonofabitch. It caused me a lot of anguish and I was just done! OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic. I ACTUALLY decided that the embellished bars were the problem. They made the whole thing look a little too country and made it next to impossible to add the fabric in an orderly manner.
Then I assessed the damage.
Apparently it made all of the difference in the world. I repainted some of the white that was chipped and the raw wood that showed from where the bars broke. And then I took my Staple Gun (for the 3rd? Maybe 4th, time) and uniformly folded the curtain and stapled it around the back rectangular windows.
And this is what came out.
My mom bought this from Goodwill for about $15. I had one when I was little and rode that thing until the springs fell off. When my mom brought it over to my house my daughter was less than impressed. Why? It was straight-up ugly.
The springs aren’t squeaky and the metal isn’t rusted, it’s just the amateur spray-paint job with the 70′s colors kills the fun. So me, with my big ideas, thought I could just do a quick coat of spray-paint and a little freehanded detail to turn this cowboy stallion into a princess mare.
Off to Michael’s I went. They have a killer coupon available online, so I of course HAD to go there. http://weeklyad.michaels.com/. I bought 6 acrylic paints, some self-adhesive plastic gems and about 7 cheap paint brushes for $23. I later had to go to Menards to get some plastic glaze, but there is a reason for that…
You see, I researched online the type of paint that I would need. Plastic is not porous like wood, so I knew I couldn’t buy just any ol’ paint. When I got to Michaels, I couldn’t find it. So I begrudgingly asked a sales associate-
Me: I’m looking for paint that I can use on plastic.
Her: Practically any acrylic will work.
Me: Any acrylic is fine?
As much as you want to believe what they are saying, DON’T DO IT! I mean, in some cases she may be correct. I’m sure small plastic figurines hide blotchy paint much better than a four foot horse. My only saving grace was that I spray-painted the whole body first, which acted like a primer so the acrylic paint had something to bond to, and I later put on the glossy glaze to ensure endless hours of joy (hopefully) without any flaking.
My mentality is that I must maintain the illusion of comfort. If you ever went to college, you have probably mastered this art form. You had $12.00 in your checking account but you looked like a million bucks. How did you do it? You borrowed from your roommate and bought toiletries at the dollar store. You see? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make something look stylish, you just have to know what makes something look cheap and try to avoid that like the plague.
I came up with a couple headboard ideas for the bedrooms in my house. I have a headboard and a footboard that no longer fit into the jagged, bent frame. My plan is to seperate these, keep the headboard for my room and use the footboard for my daughter’s headboard. But juuuuust in case that doesn’t work out, I have been researching some alternative ideas. I am extremely impressed with some of the homemade setups, but others make me wonder who the hell told these people that their arrangements were good.
I would like to share some of my findings with you now.
When it comes to homemade headboards, this one is really as good as it gets. Whoever made it seems pretty handy with a staple gun and jigsaw, and the material is bold but simple. The only issue I have is the mustard color that is ever present on 80% of the fabric in this room. To be fair, the headboard execution is awesome and looks high-end, the color scheme, however, may need a little tweaking. A-
Again, this is a decent idea that just turned out…messy. When making a “cheap version” of something, you still want to use more expensive materials. The curtain rod is pretty run-of-the-mill, but it could pass as something more expensive if the “curtain” hanging from it didn’t look like it was stolen off the neighbors clothes line and written on by a depressed, but soulful freshman. When I think of my perfect bedroom, I think of relaxation and turning my brain OFF. This wordy jumble is a little too overwhelming for my typical 11:30 p.m. mindset. You could definitely pull this off with better material and a curtain with texture. C+
This style of headboard is what I have in mind for my bedroom. Granted I may not be using robin’s egg blue and pea green, but the concept works because it is authentic. This headboard is a painted piece of wood that was probably bought at a flea market, and it LOOKS like a painted piece of wood bought at a flea market. The fact that it’s not trying to trick you into thinking it’s something more makes it seem as though it were intentionally shabby-chic and not just a low cost alternative. B
On the surface, this headboard option seems like a good idea. It’s simple. It’s chic. It could stab you in the eye or slice open your hand in the middle of the night. This headboard may be aesthetically appealing, but the functionality definitely falls short. Would you went to rest your back against this while reading or watching T.V.? The other problem is that an iron screen may not be all that cost effective. Because this idea isn’t practical, the fact that you would choose to put metal next to your sleeping head makes it obvious that you didn’t choose this for comfort, you chose it for price, which is never a message you want to send. Although it’s an intersting idea, you could just buy a wooden headboard from a home improvement salvage that is just as inexpensive and is still comfortable. C-
This last idea is a variation of the “jab me to death with the iron screen” idea. There are several things that make this work for me. The first being that it is part of a very muted color palette- which is tops for me when it comes to a bedroom. Also, the material is rounded and looks almost floral, which offsets the severity of a “metal headboard.” The only thing I don’t really like (again) is the actual day-to-day function of it. You could not comfortably rest against this while watching T.V. because it is still a harsh piece of metal protruding into your skin. BUT the beauty of this piece is that it is not a screen, and you have the option to hang it high enough to allow your back or head to rest on the wall without getting rounded, curly branches imprinted in your shoulder blades. Again, this concept works for me because it all works together. The colors, the comfy bedding, the juxtaposition of metal art and soft materials, but mostly the fact that a piece of art like this would cost 75% less than a new headboard AND it is styled so well that no one would ever guess you chose to use art because it was easier on the wallet. Solid A.