Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prison Dresser

A few months back I saw a dresser in a magazine that changed my world. 

It was black and white striped. 
And the drawers met the stripes perfectly.
And the top was left with rich wood stain. 
And for the first time in my life I considered the felonies I would commit to get a piece of furniture.

But decided to try my own version with this dresser I picked up at an auction instead. I was invested as soon as I saw the hardware.

I meticulously taped off the lines for the stripes.

And painted the stripes in Annie Sloan Graphite and Old White.

And painted the corresponding drawers to match.

I distressed the top and mid wood sections and treated them with wood oil.

The striped segments were distressed as well and finished with wax. Dark wax for the Graphite and clear with a dab of dark for the Old White.

I hope that no one punches me for it at the JITT Vintage Market on the 9th.
Wait, a small part of me hope someone tries.
Because I'll understand.
It's the stripes. And what some of us do for a good black and white.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Treadle Table

Last month during an online auction with a glass of iced choco-vino, I snagged a broken treadle sewing machine. Treadles, those old school needlers controlled with foot power and bursting with iron beauty. The top was cracked, drawers were missing, but the foot pedal still pumped to and fro like a champ.

This is the journey to treadle table.

The metal work got a thorough cleaning and a coat of gloss poly to highlight the features and preserve the wear.

The table sides were painted Annie Sloan Old White, distressed and given clear wax. I roughed them up pretty good, but not to the point where they would take attention away from the treadle.

The table top was constructed out of salvaged barn wood that I got for a steal at Porter Barn Wood.
Go there.
It is amazing.

I wanted to protect and seal the top but not in a way that would destroy the gray worn look that the boards had worked years to achieve.

I sanded with fine grit paper.
Brushed the wood out with a dry scrub brush.
And sanded again.

Then blew off all the bits with the air compressor.

To seal the wood, I used several coats of Valspar Flat Sealer because it was the only option I found that would keep the integrity of that gray aged color.

The treadle is the showpiece.
And still pumps like a champ.
And has a new lease on life.

Oh, and it will also be at the JITT Vintage Market.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It Ain't Easy Being Green

It ain't easy being green.

But the console I just finished painting is working it like a stack of those new $100 bills.

It came from an auction. And had stains and scratches and a yellow glow that radiated in person.

Not everything needs paint. This did.

I painted Annie Sloan Antibes Green. Even on the hardware.

And vigorously distressed.

And used a 50/50 mix of clear and dark wax.

And buffed like my life depended on it.

And had Kermit's song stuck in my head the whole way through.

This console is definitely friendly-like.

But you should decide for yourself and come check it out at Junk in the Trunk in November.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Picking Lesson 1

Very little home improvement has been going on at our house lately.

I've been busy picking. Not the glamorous road trip down I-10 with the truck and cute wellies farm-yard picking, but the rooting around town in my Cube and having to borrow my father-in-law's truck for the 3rd time this week picking.

Prepping my space at Rusty Saturday, I was bursting with joy. Loving it. So when the opportunity to apply as a vendor for the Junk in the Trunk (JITT) market in November came about, I quickly signed up.

Got accepted.
Looked at the dimensions of my event space.
Freaked out.

The space is 15 feet huge by 15 feet ginormous.  And when I mapped it out to scale in Photoshop, it was virtually empty with the few items I had on hand.

But its getting there.
Almost there.
And mission pick is shifting into mission transform.
And I look forward to sharing those transformations with you soon. As soon as I share some of my lessons.

Online auctions - Read the descriptions.

I've participated in a couple of online auctions. They post pictures and descriptions and then as the clock winds down you bid against whomever else is online. Fun. And dangerous. And they have your address and credit card info, so if you don't pick up your purchases on time they ship it to you at your expense.

A few weeks ago, I was into an auction for a couple of ladder back chairs that were posted. While I was waiting, a white bird cage came up with the next set of lots getting ready to close out.

Bird Cage.
Current bid at $2.50.
I was in. After some black spray paint it was going to make a cute home for a horrified doll trapped in there as a Halloween centerpiece.

I got bid up a bit, but won the cage at a cool $3.75.

The next day I showed up at the auction facility to make my pick up.

"So what kind of a bird do you have?" the woman asked as she charged me for the items purchased.

"I don't. I got the cage for Halloween decor."

She called up one of the guys from the warehouse to bring my stuff up and help me load. He looked over my order and the numbers and told me that I should pull around back to the loading dock.

"What kind of car do you have?" he asked. I assumed that while I was inside there had been a rush of traffic besides the one car that was there when I pulled up and he was going to need to direct me back through the herd.

"Nissan Cube."

"Um, oh. OK. See you around back."

There was a different warehouse worker waiting on the dock when I pulled up.

"What kind of birds do you have?"

Why does everyone assume I have a bird when I buy a cute little bird cage? Why aren't they commenting on the chairs or the old wood water skis I nabbed? I was expecting 'Great buy on the chairs. They should clean up nice.'

Then the warehouse worker from inside brought out the birdcage.
That was twice as wide as he was.
With a height past his waist.
On a rolling dolly.
And the other guy was there to help him lift it. The birdcage. Made of iron.

It took the entire space of my Cube. The chairs were on hold. I was going to have to drive back to get them before the end of the week, when I'd be charged for shipping. But the skis fit. They managed to shove them in along the top so that when I drove home, they would keep banging against the iron cage like a metallic little laugh at my expense for not reading the description before I bid. It was my 'Nevermore' moment.

Read the descriptions. And the measurements. Do it.

The cage won't be at JITT. I toyed with the idea of still painting it black and then having the neighborhood kids pose in it for pictures on Halloween, but it has already found a new home. I put it on craigslist to see if anyone would bite and the Monday after an exotic bird show found a man who could use it for its intended purpose.

After I delivered it to him.
Because it didn't fit in his car.
Because he didn't read the measurements either.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Burlap & Glass Showgirls

While in Las Vegas last month, I took a Sunday afternoon trek to an estate sale.

8 minutes off the strip.
Gated community.
Ranch style dwelling.
Green grassy lawns fuller than small town Minnesota.

Most of the 'finds' I was hoping for were still overpriced with an hour left of the sale on the last day, but I did nab some glass lamps. I could relate to the chunky bases.

But they needed new lids. Better shades. The picture doesn't show it well, but there were rips and stains that drew the eyes up in a bad way.

I searched for cheap shade transformations and found this burlap lamp shade tutorial. It is gorgeous. You should definitely click through if you haven't already. And I followed their steps.

With black.
And the slanted shades I had.

Let me be clear about something. Know this if you are going to make them yourself.

1. The photos don't convey how much black burlap fuzz was all over the house. 

At the ironing board. 
On the table. 
Somehow in my tank top. 
I can only imagine that my boobs itched more than that time Anthony and I went to Hawaii before we were married and I convinced him to shave his chest and then it got razor burned and sun burned on top of that.

Maybe my itch wasn't quite that bad. Irritating nonetheless.

2. There is serious risk for hot glue burns. Its called hot glue. Melts out of a gun. I knew it was hot. And continually stuck my finger in it without letting it cool a bit first. 

Don't be a Heidi...with a glue gun or on Waikiki Beach. They are both reckless and ruthless.

But the results were worth the temporary pain.

And I'm just talking about the lamp shades.

The shaved chest was a bad idea all around.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Map Desk: With Love for the British

If you follow me on facebook you saw that last week I officially joined the Rusty Saturday family.

And you should know that any amount of panache and balance visible in the vignette photo above meant an equal amount of disaster and chaos at home.  It was a cluster of products and receipts and price tags and spreadsheets and I'm glad that Anthony is so laid back. And I'm enjoying the whole process.

Part of the display is my map desk transformation. Inspired by the Ikea version at finding Home.

Made from a worn find with brass toecaps.

I used a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Pure White chalk paint for the main desk.

And Greek Blue for the drawers.

And Great Britain for the map detailing.

And while I decoupaged the sheets onto the drawers and pull out, I thought about my adventure with Anthony on the British roads between London and Cambridge last January in our rented purple Peugeot. I relived the discomfort and anxiety that came with driving a manual from a different side of the car on a different side of the road and being the first person in the turn lane at a stoplight at a busy intersection. It took every ounce of concentration to turn into the correct lane. And all remaining concentration not to clip the parked cars on our left, because my depth perception while driving from the right side of the car was flawed.

Heidi, you're getting awfully close to these cars on the left.
Baby, I'm serious. You need to move to the right a little.
I swear to God, we are a millimeter away from clipping off all their mirrors!

It was a nice little reminder of my distress. Speaking of, I distressed the desk edges and decoupaged maps once they were dry. I also did a watered down white wash of the maps to make them more subdued.

The final accoutrement was brass hardware.

I hope that he finds a new home soon and brings someone joy.

Not a bile tasting reminder about how they almost ran 100 Londoners off the road earlier this year.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Antistrip

I'm in Las Vegas, but instead of my go-to companions of a cheering craps table and a gelato cone from the Bellagio, I chose to spend this rainy desert day with a stale coffee and the quiet inspiration of the Las Vegas Design Center.

And by quiet, I mean that during my hours in the dozen or so spacious showrooms, I encountered 4 other patrons. It was the antistrip. Just me and the warm staff workers answering my questions that never once made me feel like I shouldn't be spending time amongst all the products and fabrics and chandeliers that are out of my price range.

They just let me dream.

About painting a wall black.

And having a $7,000 office chair.

And about how my heart would palpitate while I swung from a chandelier. 

A chance to fantasize about my own gallery wall with a lion head knocker.

And napping in Morocco. 

And being a rock star with bling tufted chairs that make me feel petite and dainty.

I highly recommend a visit. Especially if you are in the market for new decor. Some of the items were surprisingly reasonable and are purchased through the LVDC designers who get them shipped new right to your home.

But even if you're just gawking like me, it is worth the short trip to experience your ass in a $7000 desk chair.