Friday, September 27, 2013


Ben and I have been working together on these birdhouses--so much fun!  He's the builder, I'm the painter, we work out the design details together (mostly).

I've taken some down to Liberty House and priced all of them except for the log cabin. I just can't quite sell that one (after all, I've wanted a log cabin since I was practically a baby).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Some new things at Liberty House

I finished cleaning/rearranging/moving some new things into my little room at Liberty House . . .

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Seed Sack Chair in AS Graphite

I must be the patron saint of unloved furniture.  This chair was the last item up for bid at a recent auction.  Nobody wanted it, so I got it for $1.00.  Chairs are not my favorite thing to re-do, but when I pay that little for one I think of it as a good opportunity to try out a finish.

So here's what I did:

Two coats of Annie Sloan Graphite, gentle sanding on the edges, followed by AS clear wax.  You can see what a difference the wax makes in the color of the Graphite if you compare this to my previous post about the "Apothecary" chest.  I like both finishes--it's just a matter of what look you want.  Finally, the seat was recovered with a neat old Dekalb seed sack.

It's down at Liberty House waiting for a new home.

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Apothecary" Chest

Calling this an apothecary chest is a bit of a stretch.  The whole thing is one big cobbled together creation.  The top (which is a little too big) and round feet were added, but the best "re-do" involved the three original drawers.  They had been removed and boards were added that covered half of each opening.  Then 26 little drawers with wooden knobs and of slightly different sizes were made to go in it.  The whole thing had been painted a gosh awful peachy color that looked like what you get when you throw leftover paint in a bucket and stir.  So, of course, I loved it.  I brought it home, painted/sanded/played, then took it to Liberty House for the 4th of July sale.  It sold quickly, though I was sad to see it go.  I thought it would be perfect for little collections . . . rocks, seashells, feathers, fossils, bones, etc.

This was painted with Annie Sloan Graphite and heavily sanded (with 60 grit and a smooth sanding sponge.  No wax.  Wax is really pretty on Graphite, but it darkens and evens out the color and I wanted these to be chalky looking and all a little different.  The labels were printed, tea stained, and glued on.  The feather is just for fun.

Here you can see the "before" after I started playing with colors.  I originally thought I would do Duck Egg blue with red and white knobs.  Also thought about stenciling numbers on the drawers, but Graphite with the labels just seemed to work.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little Duck Egg Cupboard

Found this unremarkable little cupboard at the local thrift store.  The best thing about it was the old duck painting that was used for the back panel.

I painted it (appropriately enough) with AS Duck Egg paint, distressed it heavily with 60 grit sandpaper, and added a brass handle that came off some other piece.  I wanted the ducks and wood to show on the inside, so I applied Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane to seal it.

It has a nice look now. . . would be very pretty with some greens hanging on the front for Christmas or  could be laid flat and used to hold silverware or crafting supplies . . .

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Must start posting again!

Boy, it has been a while.  I mostly use this blog as a record for myself of furniture (and other) projects that I've done.  Not only have I not been posting, but I haven't even taken photos of a lot of pieces before they go to new homes.  (The problem is that I'd rather be painting or playing with baby--not really a problem).

But I will try to do better.  These things are sitting in the living room waiting to go to Liberty House.  I will write more about the chair and little cupboard in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Little Blue Cafe Set

Just finished this neat little set . . .

I've had these chairs for a while and debated whether I wanted to do anything with them (they were white with not-so-pretty pink floral cushions).  When I found the little table at a garage sale last Friday, I knew it would make this work.  Ben and I spray painted them a royal blue.  Then (inspired by the expensive cafe chairs from Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs) I decided to go with wooden seats.  I was on my way to the lumberyard to buy some 1 x 4's, but had to stop at the thrift store and wouldn't you know--found a bunch of boards that were part of an old quilting frame!  Perfect!  The boards add a lot of character--you can't see it in the photos, but they have little "dents" where the c-clamps held the quilting frame together.  Ben gets all the credit for this project--couldn't have done it without him!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

White "Beachy" Chest of Drawers

I bought this chest of drawers from a nice couple at a recent garage sale.  Ben did some repairs and then I painted it lightly with AS Old White.  I wanted it to have a "beachy" shabby chic look, so ended up doing a lot of sanding, especially on the top.  The original hardware was great, so that went back on and I called it done!  I was happy to see it go to some neighbors for their daughter before I even got it off the driveway--Ben was even happier.

The "Before":

Friday, April 5, 2013

Little "Otomi" Seat

I have a minute while some paint dries, so will write about this little bench.  It was "thrown in" with some other things at an auction.

I primed the whole thing first to make sure the red and yellow was covered and the paint would hold when I pulled off the designs.   I painted the seat and back with AS Old White.  The Otomi designs are from Lena Corwin's book (Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils, and Silk Screens).  I cut them out of contact paper and arranged them on the seat and back.  Then the whole thing was painted with a couple coats of AS Provence.  I very carefully peeled off the contact paper (the best part!) and then waxed it with the Annie Sloan clear wax.

Cute, eh?  By the way, if you use this contact paper method be sure to use paint with a flat finish.  Anything with latex in it will tend to pull off more than you want it to and that's not good.

Oh, here's the "Before":

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More little stools

I brought home three stools from an auction last weekend--stools are one of my favorite finds.  Being little they finish up quickly and are just plain fun to do.  It's a good chance to try out new paint combinations, too.  Here's how these two look now:

The little "tuffet" got new foam, batting, and an old seed sack covering.

The "Befores":
(And yes, I paint in the dining room . . .)

The third one is almost done.  It's totally different than any I've done before.  
I'll try to finish it and get pictures up tomorrow!

Monday, April 1, 2013

French Wine Crate End Table

I painted this end table a while back (with Annie Sloan Old White), but felt like it needed something more.  A few weeks ago I remembered that I had an old French wine box in the basement.  My end table had its top!  It went off to Liberty House and sold already (still a thrill for me!).

I'm working on a couple more little stools--will try to get photos of them up tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Little Stool

This little stool is one of those things I hesitated to bring home, but actually turned out to be a really fun  project.  It had been spray painted an icky copper color and the top was maple.  I painted the base with AS Old White.  I had intended to  upholster the top, but nothing I tried seemed quite right.  A trip to the potting shed turned up this old shipping crate lid from Hughes Brothers (I like those shipping numbers on the underside).  Ben trimmed it to fit and put it all together.  I added a little stenciling on the top side with some neat old brass stencils.

The "Before":

Friday, March 22, 2013

Knapp Joint Dresser

I finished this piece last summer right before Baby's arrival.  It sat in the dining room for a few months waiting to go to Liberty House.  I finally decided I liked it too much to let it go, so it was recently moved into the living room.

Before I go on . . .  a little furniture history.  I was able to identify the age of this piece because of the interesting joints used on the drawers.  From what I've read on line (and it must be true, right?), these are Knapp Joints (or Half Moons).  They were invented by Charles Knapp  and used on furniture made between 1880 - 1900.  Before then, dovetail joints were hand-cut (very labor intensive).  Later, machines were developed that allowed mechanized dovetail joints and the Knapp Joint machine was a thing of the past.  

Its new home in the living room.  By the way, this lamp took on a whole new life when I painted the lamp shade one night--very easy (and spontaneous of me)--black acrylic craft paint, about 3 minutes.
I love paint.

Here's what I did to the dresser:

After a good cleaning, I stripped the old finish off the top, used a little stain to even things out, and then rubbed in tung oil.  The rest got one light coat of Annie Sloan Old White.  The great original hardware went back on and it was done!

Can you see the half moon joints?  Can you see the green leaves behind the garage?  (sigh)

The "Before":

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Old Desk turned File Cabinet

Sweet babe is 7 1/2 months old now and we are all enjoying her thoroughly!  She is very well loved!

I have started working on furniture again--still learning with each piece, but more confident with paint and tools--and more selective about what I want to put time into.  I'm also more comfortable sticking with the looks that I love rather than what I think will sell (i.e., more muted neutral colors, turquoise less often).  So the break has been good.

I've debated about starting to post again . . . the days seem so full and each post seemed to take longer than it should, but it is a good record for me of what I've done.  So I'll give it a go . . .

Here's my latest piece . . .

I bought this at Liberty House last Saturday.  It is one side of an old desk.  I'm kicking myself for not taking a "Before" photo--it had been wrapped on three sides in vinyl and when I pulled out the many tacks holding the vinyl, I discovered old batting glued to the wood.  There was a little groaning and buyer's remorse at this point, but my trusty 60 grit sandpaper eventually took it off.  I like the looks of raw wood, so I kept sanding to take the old finish partly off as well.  The sides got a light coat of Annie Sloan Old White.  The top is plywood, but looks great now with a coat of Annie Sloan Graphite and then waxed/buffed.  I plan to keep this to hold art/painting/sewing supplies, so decided to clean up the insides of the drawers with some Annie Sloan Versailles (can you tell what brand of paint I love?).

So that's that!  Now to clean out my studio enough to fit this in!

By the way, I just took a loaf of coconut bread out of the oven (lunch?).  The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen.  I am loving her new cookbook . . . another distraction from furniture painting!