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Screw this

In case you missed last weeks blog I had a project that was put on hold thanks to one stubborn screw that was giving me trouble. Thanks to some vice grips and wd40 that was sorted out and what follows is the project in its entirety. 

We got this tiny rocking chair from my grandmother after it sat in her basement for goodness knows how long. 


The upholstery was terrifying, there were dead spiders, but at least they were dead. 


The wood base was still in excellent shape so there was no need to cut a new one. I used foam from an old mattress pad doubled over along with remnant fabric I had laying around to reupholster it. 


I used the same method I did on our dining chairs which you can see here.


The chair itself was in pretty rough shape too, pegs were loose and screws were rusted. Hence the trouble we had getting the one screw out. The head rusted off leaving only the threaded portion. 


We ended up drilling out around it, spraying wd40 in the hole and pulling it out with vice grips


I later filled the hole with wood filler so the new screw would have something to grip 


After disassembling the chair it probably looked like a pile of fire wood to anyone else but the wood was still in excellent shape after a good sanding. 


However even after sanding the pieces didn’t match. Some were a very light wood, some had a red hue to them. If I were staining it a dark color it wouldn’t have mattered but I wanted to keep the piece light so I opted to do a wash of paint. 


I decided to try out target’s paint brand. I believe it’s made by valspar which is generally not my favorite but it worked well for the wash due to being a rather flat base. 


Some new screws and wood glue to secure loose pegs and the chair is back to being a wonderful sturdy piece again. It’s an excellent edition to our library tucked over by the children’s books. 

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Kid Stuff

Just a couple small projects this week. First up my childhood friend the rocking horse. I never gave it a name. Or a gender for that matter. Comment what it’s name should be, I think it’s about time it got one. 

This poor, 26ish year old horse has spent the last 14 or so years in a garage loft and it shows.

My grandfather built it for me before my legs would even reach the pegs. And my grandmother painted the beautiful designs. 

As you can see the varnish has yellowed over the years. In fact you can see where my little hands wore off the varnish so the blue paint shows its true color around the hand holds.

I wanted to get rid of as much of the yellowing as I could while still keeping the lovely paint that my grandmother did, so I just did a wet sanding with a 150 and 220 grit sanding pad 

Now it just looks a little more antiqued than before, but still beautiful. I will eventually need to replace the tail, but for now it’s found a home in our dining room for our friends children to play on. 

Next up a project from Mr. Smith’s childhood. 

It’s not quite as pretty but it’s a bit more practical. It was his childhood toy box and before it was his it was someone else’s… I’m not sure whose, but obviously it’s pretty old and it’s pretty sturdy. It’s made out of scrap, solid wood, tongue and groove. 

And as you can see here a 6 year old Mr. Smith painted it. 

We freshened up the paint a bit using the same red and chalkboard as I did on the bar. As you can see it’s also going to need a new bottom. 

It also desperately needed new casters as the bearings in these had seized up. 

New casters, new bottom reinforced with a center strut thanks to some scrap paneling and wood…
I think Mr. Smith is excited about his newly remodeled toy box…. Or at least the toys

And it has found a cozy home in the breakfast nook. 

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Greenery

I found a present from one of my cats earlier this month. I’m not going to show it to you because it happened to be a pile of puke filled with leaves. Leaves from a flower arrangement  Mr. Smith got me. 

Needless to say I will not be getting any flowers anytime soon. Nor will I have any plants in the house. Which is a tragedy since I love plants, though a boon for the plants themselves since I tend to kill them (My black thumb skills even extend to cacti ) 

  
On the plus side they make some pretty amazing fake plants these days and you can find them pretty cheap this time of year. I recently got an orchid for our library

  
And one for the living room alcove, I’m debating painting the back wall of that alcove the same dark blue the dresser come entertainment center is soon to be. What do you think? 

  
I also found some succulent pieces. This one is perfect for a centerpiece in the dining room, not to tall to obstruct conversation and not to wide to obstruct eating. And if it does need to be moved for a large dinner it’s rather cute on the window sill as well

  

One of my friends used to work at a nursery and I managed to snag this awesome bulb (as in flower bulbs) crate from her.

  
 I gave it a nice wash of milk paint ( you can see another post on milk paint here)

  
I put a little four dollar strip of fake grass in the bottom and screwed it to the wall making sure to anchor it in the studs. 

  
Add to that my stained monogram from a while back and a succulent container and my office finally has some “artwork”. The Beemer approves 

  
I even snuck in some greenery on one of my office bookshelves (“gasp” a bookshelf with no books)

  
Not to mention the cutest desk lamp. And those blades of grass are pens 

 ” Hooray!” for a bunch of plants that the cats have no interest in and that I can’t kill!  It’s a win-win-win

Oh and I’ve also managed to sneak some greens into my diet. It’s a good thing too, all this new found energy has got me on a roll. 

  

Seriously I’m addicted to this stuff. It’s like thin mints in liquid form when you mix it with soy milk, one 8oz cup a day and I legitimately feel more energized. I have never taken “supliments” or vitamins and I avoid caffeine like the plague because I’m a naturally anxious person and it just seems to make my anxiety worse.  But after I had the chance to try this for three days I could feel the difference in my energy levels despite it being caffeine free. I had improved digestion and didn’t crave sweets since this gave me a daily chocolate fix. I was sold and ran out and got a full size. Ok I’m done trying to sell you on this I’m not normally one to do that, I just really like it and thought I would share. 

I’ve got a quick paint update for later this month as well as finishing up my entertainment center and what should be a very interesting frame arrangement for our oh-so-empty hall way. I’ll catch you later. 

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The hand that feeds

Boy do I feel like a slacker. I took a planned week off, then last weekend I was attacked by a house cat. No joke, I’ve got the scars to prove it. And this weekend was spent in Raleigh NC with our best friends. 

I did post some painting progress on my Facebook so be sure to head over there and like my page for updates between posts. I’m hoping to get more painting done in the next month or so. 

Mr. Smith will be on a month long business trip so that leaves me with lots of spare time and an empty garage. 

Something I won’t be painting are these frames I scored at the state flea market in Raleigh. 

  
They are wonderfully finished so I don’t have to lift a finger. I’m going to do like I did in my post way back here and just hang them empty. I’ll probably even add some of the old ones from that arrangement to these after some paint. 

  
We also picked up a “new” light fixture for our back porch which desperately needed one and which is going to get a makeover in the spring. 

  
Sorry for the absence I promise with Mr. Smith gone I’ll be driven crazy with boredom, so look for lots of postings. 

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Hasty 

I literally just finished doing this. I’m still covered in paint and am finally out of a cross legged position only to find myself pinned down by The Little.

  
 Might as well make the most of it and do a post while I’m unoccupied. Thank goodness for mobile blogging. I was going to do a post about the ugliest cheese cake known to man. 

  
My husband got me a kitchen aid stand mixer. It’s marvelous but there is a reason I don’t do food blogs. I love to cook and it usually tastes great but that doesn’t mean it’s pretty. Thus was the story with my improvised salted caramel cheesecake. Essentially a basic cheesecake with brown sugar and a smidge of salt in the crust and a gooey caramel topping with salt sprinkled on it. 

It was hideous and only lasted two days 

On to much prettier things. 

  
Our bar is a giant white monolith and our kitchen doesn’t have much character what with being all black and white. I’ve introduced little pops of red inspired by our China which was  handed down from my husband’s great grandmother. It’s wonderful paired with my mom’s Avon glass collection she passed on to me.

  
And we have somehow managed to have a chalkboard theme in the kitchen… It’s on mugs & glasses, picked out by Mr. Smith but I ran with it and got canisters and even have the theme  in the pantry. 

  
So now that I’ve got the breakfast nook furnished and stools for the bar we’ve decided to expand the red and chalkboard theme 

  
(Ok, admittedly the nook still needs some curtains. It’s one of the only rooms that will get them.) 

After prepping the area with tape the brackets to the bar got the red treatment. 

   

  
I thought it looked better even after one coat 

  
About four coats later 

Here is a tip, if you happen to get paint on any hard surface (laminate, hardwood, tile, stone, cured paint)  you don’t want it on, magic erasers will take it right off even if it has dried.

  
After a little clean up our bar is looking pretty great. 

  
I’m going to wait a couple weeks for the paint to cure before we start doodling on it 

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Experimentation

After the little paintings I did a few weeks ago I thought I might experiment some more with painting on canvas. I should preface this with the fact that it was an all around bad idea

  
The problem is I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to painting canvas. I can paint on faces,  you will get to see more of that next week but paint and canvas baffles me. 

  
I’m not sure what brushes blend well, as was the case with this first experiment. I’m pretty sure the brush I used was too stiff, so I got some strange brush strokes going on. 

  
I’m not really sure what order to put colors down in, this was  also a problem with this painting.   Hint; don’t try to put the blue of your sky over the yellow of your sunset or you end up with a strange green sky.

So the whole thing has been a process of learning through experimentation. 

But you guys are allowed to see my failures as well as my successes. 

  
I also experimented a bit with watered down acrylics the technique was cool even though I really had no control over anything

  It’s not terrible, I just don’t really like how the little cartoony mermaid subject looks… I should have known I’m just not good at figures. I’ve still got four canvases to play with so if anyone has any tips or blogs they recommend they would be greatly appreciated. 

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Something New

I have been rummaging through my craft closet, trying to clean it out and trying to find some new things to try. 

  
When it comes to crafts I tend to impulse buy. This is whether I know what I’m going to do with something or not. So when I came across the mini canvases I got a while ago I figured it was about time I got out of my comfort zone and give it a whirl. 

I really had no idea what I was going to paint on them, or for that matter how to do it. I’ve only ever painted on canvas once before and that was in an instructed class. 

  
This is the fruits of that labor, it now happily hangs in my fancy new bathroom which you can see here.

But you know how people say “my three year old could do that” of any abstract painting they don’t really understand. I figure what’s the worst that could happen

  
I just started by blending some colors I liked together, then I got this notion that it might be easy to give it some texture with a brick pattern. 

  
I found a little ampersand image and decided I could paint something like that… So I did… Or at least I tried. 

  
Then I realized I don’t have any kind of sealer or glazing medium, I don’t even know if I need such a thing. But I thought I would try this stuff instead. If nothing else it would give it more texture 

    
Or not… it just gave it a gloss. 

  

Two more mini canvases to go. This was the project of “suck it up, get it done, quit worrying about failing” it was rather cathartic in the end. 

I saw a saying about a house built with love

  
I decided I better build my house tentatively, so I sketched it out first. 

  
So I had love and an ampersand, what goes with love?

  
In this house that’s the only appropriate answer

  
After I did pretty good with the “house of love” (bow chika bow wow) I was kinda disappointed in my shenanigans (needs more malarkey) maybe I’ll redo it when I get more comfortable with this paint stuff. 

Really it turns out the painting part isn’t that hard it’s the inspiration part that bites, I don’t know what to paint or if I do I automatically think I’m completely incapable, so right now it’s baby steps. Oh and any inspiration would be greatly appreciated.