Friday, September 28, 2012

The Yellow Piano

In April, I received a Facebook message from a young man named Lance. He asked if I would consider painting a piano as a wedding gift for his bride, a gifted pianist. His thought was yellow and chippy, my thought was, yep, a yellow piano!! Count me in!

In the real world, one of the greatest blessings in my life has been the restaurant we own. It is obviously the main source of income for our family, but, it is so much more than that. The relationships that have been formed there have been life changing to me. We are so fortunate to meet many teenagers at a time in their lives when they are still figuring out who they are. Most of them have no idea how amazing they are yet. I know, but they don't. I love watching them grow through high school and college and beyond to marriage and babies. It is truly a thrill.

Lance was one of those kids. In high school, he drove 45 minutes each way to work with us, this was a purposeful young man. He met his (now) wife in high school and was just as intentional with her. They dated in high school and then long distance through college. She has his heart.

When Lance brought the piano to my house, his father explained that this was Lance's grandmother's piano. He said that she would be honored and proud to be a part of this gift. 

The theme of the wedding was vintage and the colors were yellow and brown. Thus, the yellow piano. The fabric on the seat is the fabric from Lance's wedding tie. Seriously, my boys need to take lessons from Lance!

I painted it using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Arles and chipped it with a putty knife for a truly vintage look. I LOVE, LOVE it! 

The sparkly crystal knobs came from Hobby Lobby...

And her gift to him? She played...beautifully... on the chippy, yellow piano that used to be his Grandmother's.

Linking to these amazing parties;

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

If I Could Marry Furniture....

I just love it when a plan comes together!

It doesn't happen all of the time, sometimes its a good surprise and others, ummm, not so much. This buffet turned out almost exactly like I had imagined it in my head and, I think I want to marry it.

I found this buffet and a matching china cabinet on Craigslist. The seller had recently moved and the movers broke the matching table and chairs, she was "over it" she said. I am fine with over it! I love over it! I am actually trying to devise a way to weasel my way into cahoots with a moving break some, I buy the rest...hmmm. Working on it. I'll let you know...

I would like to start out by giving credit where credit is due. This is good furniture. I could have painted it a putrid green with orange accents and it would still be good furniture. I did not choose putrid green, I hope that's ok. 

I started by stripping the top with Citristrip. It is the only stripper that I use. I have never been disappointed with the results and it smells good. It has also never burned the skin off of my arms like some other products I have tried. I actually look forward to stripping :-) Seriously, it's the simple things that make me happy!

I then restained the top with Minwax Dark Walnut stain and coated it with 3 coats of varnish. I am a little new to the varnish game, but, its quick! It goes on easily without streaking and dries super fast. I kind of love it! Thank you Benjamin Moore guy for the recommendation! You rock!

I painted the base with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite.It is not one of the colors I use often, but for this piece, it was all I could imagine. After distressing, I went straight to dark wax, skipping clear altogether.

 I. Love. It. As in, puffy heart love it.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big News and Furniture Exchange!

We have some exciting news in our house! Relax Mom, it's not another baby! We are moving! Not moving away, but moving closer to everything that we do. 

Our business and the boy's school are 5 minutes from each other, unfortunately, our house is 35-40 minutes from both of them. Strangely, with fighting children in the car, I do not enjoy this drive very much. Sometimes, I drive this loop three times a day. Over three hours a day in the car! So, we are moving. I am excited! So much shopping to do....

My husband has been less than enthusiastic about my shopping plans. The style I love has changed in the past year or so, my furniture has not. So I have come up with a brilliant solution! BRILLIANT!! Are you ready?

I call it the "Furniture Exchange Program". It costs zero dollars. At least in my head.  I explained it to my husband like this. We will sell the the things that either don't fit right or work well with the new house and exchange them for money, which we will then exchange for new things. Probably not actually "new" things, but new to us. See? no "new" money. Free... right? Exactly. 

The only restriction is that upholstered furniture has to be new. I have a healthy fear of bugs, which I am pretty sure live in all pre-loved, upholstered furniture. Anything else, bring on the old and broken!

I thought I might show a few pictures of our current house, there won't be any room makeovers here, but you  will be able to see style changes in our next house. I may, in the next few days show some of my favorite projects in this house. There are bunches of them, pre-blog of course :-) 

I am not sure why this makes me nervous but here goes...

I will miss this closet! I built the cabinets from scratch!

The bathroom is one of the projects on my list of faves! I framed the mirrors, they were just the plain, builders mirrors.

 This is one of the boy's rooms. I built the furniture using modified plans from Ana White's website.

This is what I may miss the most! It's soooo peaceful!

I have a thousand plans for the new house and of course, absolutely no pictures! Soon though. Let the packing begin!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Dear Craigslist Seller, Please Wear Pants

There should be a rule on Craigslist. An assurance. A box to check. A guarantee. SOMETHING!! That all Craigslist sellers will wear PANTS!!

This dresser had such a great shape and such a great price that I decided to ignore the "weirdo warning" alarm going off in my head when I talked to the seller on the phone. He just sounded weird. Not, I-will-just-be-wearing-underwear-when-you-arrive weird, but, weird. Everyday weird. 

I always take someone with me when Craigslist shopping. Always. You should too. This time, the guy sounded strange enough on the phone that I insisted that my oldest son come with me. He's 6'1" and pretty strong, I've seen him fight with his brothers. I felt like we would be ok. We each put a knife in our pocket. Did you read that? I put a KNIFE in my pocket, for FURNITURE. Are you kidding me??!!

Truth be told, when we arrived, the dresser was in his open garage and he lived in a townhouse community with several people outside. Otherwise, when he met me at the door in his underwear, I would have simply averted my eyes, bolted to my truck and left. But I could see the dresser and the peeling paint and I had a KNIFE in my pocket. A knife. My mother would be so horrified.

After what may have been the quickest Craigslist buy ever, I didn't open a single drawer, we were out of there! Creeper! 

Sometimes a piece of furniture just tells you what it wants to be and this was one of those. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Country Grey and Old White with some rubbed back places revealing a bit of Provence. It had such fantastic chippy paint, there is no good way that I know of to recreate that, so I left it. I sanded it down a bit to remove the loose pieces but most of it was still in place, yaaaay!  I love the way this turned out!

After removing the orange rope handles that were obviously original to the piece :-) I filled the holes, drilled new ones and added sparkly crystal knobs. Perfection! 

After a stern warning to my son to "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" I guess it might be necessary to add another question to my Craigslist seller list;

1)Is the piece in reasonable structural condition?
2)Is it in a location that can be easily accessed?
3)Will you be wearing pants?

Linking to...

Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Feature Friday

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Miss Mustard Seed's Tricycle Red

I found this dresser during an weekend trip away with my two oldest boys. We drove to St Louis to do a little sightseeing and just hang out. I said no computers, they said no thrift or antique stores. Whatever. 

I did pretty well in St Louis, even though my van automatically turns in to every Goodwill it sees, I was restrained. On the way home, however, I could no longer control my van and we stopped at an antique shop where I found this dresser. I loved the boxy, almost masculine shape. I knew as soon as I saw it that I would paint it with my sample of Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Tricycle Red. SOLD! Now to explain to the grumpy teenage boys waiting outside that they would need to help me rearrange the van and load a dresser...

As soon as we got home, one ran off to shoot hoops and the other to the computer,  I went to the garage to sweat. Kansas City has had a crazy hot summer and this day was no exception. 

I mixed the paint according to the directions and stirred and stirred and stirred, waiting for all of the lumps to mix in, or, for the paint to thicken, or, for a choir of angels to appear and tell me that I was doing this right. Or really, for a choir of angels to appear and tell me anything. If angels show up, you had better put your paint down and listen! Sorry, for a minute I was actually imagining angels in my kitchen! 

The lumps never fully disappeared and I was tired of waiting, and I thought I had heard something about this being ok, so I started painting. What is the worst that could happen? It was a piece of furniture, not brain surgery, I would really be a lot more careful if it were brain surgery. I promise.

I am used to the thickness and coverage of Chalk Paint. The milk paint was pretty watery and the first coat didn't give great coverage. Not really knowing what to expect,  I thought the first coat might do it's milk paint thing and start chipping, but it seemed to dry so quickly that I was able to give it a second coat almost immediately. And then I waited for the magic chipping, I grabbed a Diet Coke and sat there and watched. And nothing happened. I finally left, that garage was HOT! After a few hours, I came back and there were a few chippy spots, but I was hoping for lots and lots of chipping. My chemist brain (seriously, I studied science in college) decided that maybe I had not waited long enough between coats of paint and that the reaction was minimized by this. So I got out my spray bottle and wet it down and waited. And the paint started to form cracky, peeling places right in front of my eyes!! Amazing! 

As I sanded it down, large flakes of paint came off in some places and smaller chunks in others. There was definitely no controlling this and I loved it! As a Type A personality, this was very freeing! I just  sat back and watched the personality of this piece take shape. Ridiculousness.

I finished it with two coats of furniture wax and buffed to a soft shine. It went to Restoration Emporium for the sale in August and it sold in the first 15 minutes. Someone else agreed with me that it was super cool! 

I am really excited about this paint! Tricycle Red is a fabulous color, a good red. I can't wait to see how many things can be done with milk paint by just experimenting a little. Mixing colors, spraying it with water, who knows what else? It all sounds like fun to me!

Linking up here...

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Monday, August 13, 2012

I Wish I Could Read

When I bought this table at an auction, I thought it was a great design. I love the frenchy shape and, even better, I got it for a song!

When I am excited about a piece of furniture, I usually have something in mind and can't wait to get it home and get started. This was one of those pieces. I think I was cleaning it as it was being unloaded from the truck.

I painted the legs with a coat of Chalk Paint in Old White and then layered on some Country Grey and Paris Grey with Pure White pounced on in spots. I wanted it to look like layers of paint had been applied and were chipping and peeling away.

As I came around the final corner, feeling rather proud of myself for finishing so quickly, I noticed a sticker on the underside of the table. Crap... It was a container import sticker. From France. Seriously? I had just painted an antique, imported French table. Trying not to kick myself, I looked up the name of the shop in Dallas this piece had been shipped to originally. Horrible idea, just by looking at the website I could tell that this was a place I would never be able to shop. The only pricing I could find on the website was this line from their "about us" section "We have vast selections and styles of armoires ranging in price from $3,300 to $24,880". I thought I might be sick.

The consolation? The finish on the top was not in great condition. It had been badly lacquered and was visibly chipping. After I stripped and restained the top, it is beautiful again. The grain and pattern of the wood is spectacular. 

If I knew then what I know now, I might have left the apron and legs as found and just refinished the top. As it is? I love it! I think that the carved details are yummy and I love its clunky little feet. They remind me of platform shoes. Which I do not wear. They don't really go with my paint splattered sweats.

For a little while, this table lives in my dining room. I love having it here, it makes me feel fancy. Which I am not :-)

Linking up here...

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Frenchy Upholstered Bench

I would like to begin with a disclaimer. I am not an upholsterer. I have recovered some chair seats in the past, but that is my limit.

Because of the reasons listed above, I avoid buying furniture that needs to be upholstered. I have a few pieces that have been sitting around for months and months. I think I have a chair that has been sitting, dust covered, for a year. I accidentally bid on this piece at an auction, I brushed some hair out of my face and won a bench. Oops!

Determined not to have another piece in the furniture graveyard that is my basement, I decided to give this one a whirl. I am so glad I did!

I didn't take many in process pictures, I didn't have much confidence in the result.  I removed the fabric on the seat back, this was a lot less than fun! The fabric was tacked in with approximately 4 million upholstery tacks, which hurt when you kneel on them. In case you were wondering. I had heard that it was best to use this piece as a pattern for your new fabric so I did. 

I did not do that on the back of the bench. The fabric was very intact on the back so in order to preserve my fingers and knees from puncture wounds, I just covered it with new fabric. 

Before attaching the new fabric, I painted the entire bench with ASCP in Paris Grey and used lots of dark wax. Very Frenchy. I love how the dark wax settled in the oak grain.

After the fabric was stapled and trimmed, I used a hot glue gun to attach the creme gimp trim. After burning my fingerprints off with hot glue, I considered that this would be a great time to commit a crime. I did not actually do this. Crime is bad.

This piece turned out so much better than I thought it might. I am sort of excited, I feel like I have learned a little bit of new skill. 

Now for the other dust covered pieces in my basement...
What are your best upholstery secrets?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Welcome Florence

This is Flo. She's a sassy gal. A gum-snapping, grit-kissing kind of Flo from Mel's Diner. If you are too young to know what I am talking about, please just smile and nod.

I have heard the whispers of Annie Sloan's new color, Florence for some time now. It seemed like it was months away. It was a great surprise when I heard that it was available. Right now. Yay for me!

It is quite a color. Not quite as shocking as ASCP Provence was to me the first time, but pretty bold. 

I had just purchased a few pieces at a thrift store and was dying to try this color. I couldn't quite figure out which one to start with. I didn't quite have the nerve to paint this lovely Frenchy piece, even though I tried, I quickly wiped it off.  I was skeert.

I also bought this smallish table, that somehow I have no before picture of. This one is before the stencil happened.

I wanted to add a little fun, so I stenciled a harlequin pattern in a dark gold to the top. After distressing, 
I went straight to dark wax and think its yummy!

So, what do you think? Do you love Florence?

Linking up here...

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