Tag Archives: Wood

Feeling the Patriotic Love

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I’m sure you have figured out by now that I have a “thing” for decorating for the holidays and seasons. Recently I became bored with my decorations and began thinking of something different and new.  Dan made the observation I had very few patriotic decorations.  This isn’t due to being unamerican or anti-patriotic.  There just aren’t as many decorations out there to support the love of these holidays. So when I found a picture of a wooden stair spindle turned Uncle Sam on the great wide world of the internet I couldn’t resist. I immediately went shopping in the huge wooden spindle section at work and found the best one for Uncle Sam’s body.  I then trimmed it down to be level on both ends (which also made him shorter). I used the extra wood that was cut off for his hat. I also used 1×4 and 1×6 scrap material for the base and the base of his hat.  With a little bit of painting and a lot of fun playing with star buttons, I created my new favorite decoration.

What a great face!

What a great face!

Supplies:

1 wooden stair spindle

2″ square for hat

Sand paper

Scrap wood for the base and hat base

Blue, Red, White, and Flesh paint

Primer

Patriotic Star Buttons

3 Large wooden hearts

Permanent Marker

Painter’s Tape

Glue

 

Directions:

1) Sand the spindle so the paint will stick.

2) Prime the entire spindle; this makes it easier to paint and you will use less paint in the long run.

3) Paint the mid section of the spindle blue; apply several coats as needed.  This is his body so don’t paint the solid square parts as they are his legs and face.

4) Once the blue paint has dried, paint the lower square section of the spindle white.  Also paint the wood (hat) square white.  Apply several coats as needed.

5) Once the white paint is COMPLETELY dry, tape off stripes in the spindle base and hat.

6) Once the stripes have been taped off, paint over it with white paint; this will “seal” the tape and you will have less bleeding under the tape.

7) When the white paint has dried, paint over it with red paint.  This gives his pants and hat stripes. Remove painters tape once paint has dried.

8) Paint the hat base and wood base solid red.

9) Paint his face flesh colored.

10) Hot glue the base to the spindle, hat base to the top of the spindle, and the square onto the hat base.

11) Use the large wooden hearts to build a mustache. Cut 2 of the hearts in half with a knife (Think of a “ying” shape). Glue the 2 yings to the 3rd heart. They will be the “handle bars” on his beard/mustache.

12) Paint the beard white.

13) Glue the beard on the face of Uncle Sam.

14) Using a small paint brush and white paint make 2 small white lines on face as eye brows.  Then with a permanent marker make 2 round black dots for eyes.

15) Enjoy!

 

 

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Wreath Mania

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I like to make wreaths for my door. Remember when I talked about being sad I didnt have a wreath after christmas so I made a valentines wreath? Well this year was worse becuase I had a wreath on my door from October until the end of Febuary. So I made a St Patricks day wreath with green tulle and ribbons.  After that I couldn’t handle Apirl coming and my door being naked! So I made a spring wreath.

St. Patty's Day wreath

St. Patty’s Day wreath

The spring wreath

The spring wreath

THAT’S when it all went downhill! After my spring wreath had been up for a week or two my neighbor catches me one morning on my way out the door  and she starts telling me how she loves my wreaths, they make her so happy, and she can’t wait for the NEXT one. Crap!! I needed a next one for her (or and maybe for me, but I couldn’t let my fans down!!) So I went to Pintrest and found tons and tons of wreath ideas and a bunch for 4th of July/paricotic wreaths.  I found the PERFECT one! A wreath made out of old wooden clothes pins painted like the flag. Easy enough! I got my mom and  sister involved over Memorial day weekend to help me make my wreath.  It was instant love and I couldn’t wait to show it off!!

Showing off the finished goods with my mom and sister

Showing off the finished goods with my mom and sister

It was super easy (a little time consuming) and very festive! Here are the steps to make yours!

Supplies:

54 Wooden Clothes Pins (The Pinching Kind)

Craft Paint in Blue, Red, and White

3 Foam Paint Brushes

Wooden stars (I used foam sparkle star stickers)

A 12″ Wire Wreath Form

 

Directions:

1) Divide the wooden clothes pins into 3 stacks of 18.

2) With the first stack of wooden clothes pins paint all sides blue.  Don’t forget to paint the inside as well since you will be able to see it.

3) Repeat step 2 using red and white paint.

4) Once the clothes pins are dry, start with the blue pins and clip them one to the wreath form.  The first pin clips onto the 3 wire while the second clips onto the 2nd wire. Alternate the clothes pins until all 18 blue pins are on the form.

5) Then starting with the white, fasten 3 white pins in the same fashion as the blue. Then add 3 red pins. Repeat the process until all the remaining clothes pins are attached to the wreath

6) Now attach the stars to the wreath.  If you went with wooden stars, paint them a fun sparkly color and glue onto the blue pins.

7) Hang and enjoy!

 

 

Hanging on my door waiting for my neighbor to walk by.

Hanging on my door waiting for my neighbor to walk by.

Mid Century Glory

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Around the apartment there are items we date with the letters BD (Before Dan).  I started doing this because I honestly can’t remember when I got an item/project . I can remember when I got it based on my relationship with Dan.  Right around the the time I met Dan, I acquired an amazing mid century teal chair. It was perfect! This sexy little chair had its original teal vinyl upholstery, dark stained legs, and brass feet. The moment I saw it I knew I had to have it! I had no room in the apartment for it, and my Mom who was with me when I fell in love, only encouraged me in to needing it. So the chair came home with me.

As it would be pointed out by Mr. Practical Dan I was wearing rose tinted glasses (seeing a pattern with me?). The chair wasn’t perfect. The upholstery had two giant tears in it, the legs were in desperate need of refinishing and the brass fee…to the untrained eye would have thought them to be rusty steel. But it was “perfect” and found its way into my living room where a blanket would cover the tears. Fast forward 2 plus years to December of 2014 when I discovered a new passion…Reupholstering.

My "dead" chair moments after class began

My “dead” chair moments after class began

This is something I have wanted to do for a while but never got around to.  So as a Birthday/Christmas present to myself I paid for an upholstery class.  I walked into class that first Monday of December with my coffee and chair and was ready to get down to business.

We started by removing all the staples, tacks, and nails in the original upholstery.  For my chair it went quickly (others were not so lucky) and within an hour I was on to the next step, buying fabric!!

I was panicked! I had no idea what fabric I wanted. I was worried the fabric would only look good on a small scale but over a whole chair, it would be tooo much. I was stressing and finally narrowed it down to two fabrics. Good old inny-minny decided the chair’s fate and I began cutting out the pieces needed to put my chair together. I left the first day of class in LOVE!! I was enjoying it soo much that I couldn’t wait for the next class.

The first of the two fabrics I considered for the chair

The first of the two fabrics I considered for the chair

The second and BEST option of fabric

The second and BEST option of fabric

Weeks two and three flew by in a blurr of stapling, laying out fabric, cotton stuffing, and sewing chair welting.

My chair without its teal

My chair without its teal

Here's the chair in the process of being reborn. I mean rebuilt

Here’s the chair in the process of being reborn. I mean rebuilt

My chair was coming together nicely until it came time to repair the chair itself.  Over the years, one of the wood joints had popped out of its socket and needed to be pushed back together. Sounds simple enough..WRONG!!! I bought a bar clamp to squeeze it together and used Dan’s muscles to tighten the clamp to apply even pressure to pop it back into place. Within moments, the bar clamp was bowing and creaking while the chair wasn’t moving at all.  Then, the clamp handle snaps off because we were cranking it too hard. Quickly, we grabbed a wrench added it to what was left of the handle and tightened the clamp and chair together. Add some wood glue and let it sit for several days (neither of us wanted to pull the clamp off) and it was ready to be finished.

 

Almost finished

Almost finished

 

Check out those legs

Check out those legs

As I walked into class for week four I was both sad and excited.  I didn’t want my class to end, yet I couldn’t wait to see my chair finished. Within 3 hours it was complete! It even has a dust cover on the bottom! You know the piece isn’t from Ikea when you have a dust cover! I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself and my chair! And I can’t wait for spring when I can take another upholstery class!!

oooh lala

oooh lala

Cat tested! and Approved

Cat tested! and Approved

The Age Old Question…

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When refinishing my chair, I not only had to pad and reupholster it but I had to do something with the wood itself. The chair and wood weren’t too terrible just really worn and dull. Which, if I was a 70 year old chair I would probably be dull too. Since I had everything off the chair and it was just a wood base/legs I figured now would be the time to do something about it.  So I spent two nights hand sanding the frame down to the bare wood.  It is important to note, IF one is staining wood a darker color than what it currently is, it does NOT need to be sanded perfectly down to the wood; just the top coat needs to be sanded off. Since I was unsure of the end wood color, I did a complete sand.

Once it was sanded, I stopped by Home Depot to pick out a stain.  Since it is a mid century chair, and mid century is known for dark, rich woods (especially mahogany) I decided to go with Varathane “Red Mahogany” stain.  I got home and was all ready to stain.

The Stain

The Stain

Do I stain my chair with a brush or with a rag? You ask anybody who has worked with stain and they will both tell you it depends on your comfort and the size of the project. I did my research and found that since my chair was round and had smaller work areas, I went with a rag. I dipped my rag in the stain and started slowly working in a downward motion (so I would always been wiping up drips and the drips wouldn’t ruin my work). I did the first coat alone.

My "excited to start" look

My “excited to start” look

Dan was worried that the color in the jar was too dark but after the first coat, he was shocked and impressed.  I ended with three coats of stain, to make it look like mahogany.  I then added a clear coat for protection and to give it that nice finished look.

Working hard

Working hard

 

Getting all the little spaces

Getting all the little spaces

 

I would quickly realize its better to move than to reach over wet stain

I would quickly realize its better to move than to reach over wet stain

I then added the clean brass feet, and took it to class to finish the upholstery.  Everybody kept oooohing and ahhing over it. Now Dan wants to refinish all the wood in the house mahogany……

My love for Nativity Scenes

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When I was a little girl I loved to help set up my family’s nativity scene. The Nativity Scene was a gift from my Dad to my Mom and every year he would give her a new piece to add to the scene, which in turn gave me another piece to play with…I mean set up.  I was so into “setting up the Nativity scene”that it changed daily and mom had to rubber band baby Jesus into the manger so he wouldn’t get lost….

Fast forward a few years its safe to say I still love the nativity scene and I still secretly love playing with it. I now have several, a hand made one from Mexico, a recycled paper one from Africa, and one that every year my Grandparents add to.

My growing set from my grandparents

My growing set from my grandparents

Each year I get just as excited as I did when I was a little girl about setting up my Nativity Scenes.  I arrange them all several times until they are perfect! And every time I see a cool set in a store, magazine, or at somebody’s house I have to stop and admire the beauty (and secretly wish I had a spot for another set).

This set was a birthday present and it was made in Africa

This set was a birthday present and it was made in Africa

The other night while I was laying in bed cruising Pintrest I came across a board with tons of pins for nativity scenes.  I instantly became wide awake as I drooled over each and every one plotting my next move! And then I found it, the cutest handmade, wood nativity people ever! So what did I do? I went to work the next day dug through the lumber rack, found me some materials and made me one (and a barn because I can’t have baby Jesus getting wet and sick).

 

The newest Nativity

The newest Nativity

Partially Complete, Totally Happy

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When it comes to projects, I like to only brag about the finished ones. This is because if I bragged about EVERY partially finished project, I would spend my years bragging and not finishing. There is nothing like the rush I get when that project is complete and I get to cross it off my list. But every now and then a project is so massive, that, well bragging rights are deserved at the mid point.

The point I realized it was the cabinet or my sanity

The point I realized it was the cabinet or my sanity

The Craftsman Cabinet  has been a massive undertaking. I have stripped and stripped and stripped some more! I removed literally a 1/2 inch of paint from some places! It was fun to see all the colors my 100 year old cabinet had been. I then needed new hinges because I may have broken the not so original ones.

This WAS what it looked like for several months

This WAS what it looked like for several months

This was an epic adventure all of its own because I couldn’t replace the hinges with matching ones because I could not find them! So Dan had the great idea of doing different hinges. The ones I fell in love with were high end reproductions and were perfect…but not for $125. So I went to my work, grabbed a handful of the same style hinges and stripped the paint off, only to discover I had half brass and have steel hinges. I swapped out the brass and repeated the process. Because the hinges were different than the original Dan had to make the hinge grooves larger. I reattached the hardware (and added a few extra knobs).

Then replaced the top with premium old growth lumber from work. I sanded the whole thing several times and its partially complete!! In my mind, its no longer the eye sore of the corner (because I can close the doors and it’s clean again), paint will come eventually (I have the colors picked out in my mind). But for once, I’m trying to be happy with partially complete.

A rare view of the cabinet without the cat on it

A rare view of the cabinet without the cat on it

Where projects WENT to die

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It’s the running joke that without my car’s trunk I would be lost.  Before I moved into my current apartment, the trunk served as a closet and shoe storage (my apartment didn’t have a closet).  Now it is not so fondly referred to as the place projects go to die.  One day, I was planning on using the tools at work to complete a project (which did not happen). Next thing you know my trunk is FULL of projects that I needed to do something with. This past week I got mad because everybody started teasing me. I cleaned out my car and evaluated ALL projects that I had completely lost interest in! Then I picked the easiest project!

Check out my oversize stair spindle candle holders!!

The end result

The end result! Minus where they will be in my house

It started as 3 angled stair spindles (forgot to take a picture of them at this point). I then used the chop saw to even the tops and cut the spindles into different lengths. I cut square bases from them to sit on (mostly to help balance them).

At work playing with ideas.

At work playing with ideas.

I sanded the spindles to get a smooth, paintable surface.  Then I spray painted!! have to tell everybody, I SUCK at spray painting so I bribed a coworker to do it for me!

If only I could spray paint this nice!! This is 2 coats in

If only I could spray paint this nice!! This is 2 coats in

Once everything was dry (2 spray cans and a clear gloss coat later) I nailed the bases on, used 2 part epoxy to glue the glass candle trays onto the tops and TADA!

Then I played with different candle rings. They don’t have a permanent home YET; a girl needs to have her options 😉

While I did NOT end up with this style is was still kind of pretty ;)

While I did NOT end up with this style is was still kind of pretty 😉

Can't have raffia because my cats will eat it

Can’t have raffia because my cats will eat it

Pardon the projects…

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I was doing soooooooo good at not taking on another project until I’d completed one. Ok, lets be honest, I was doing soooooo good at not taking on another project until one was close to being finished OR I could find a place to hide one from Dan. Dan wants to send me to PA (projects anonymous), he thinks I need help. But I can prove to him otherwise! And I recently did.

After a giant melt down earlier this week about the state of the apartment and the fact the projects are (once again) taking over, I was positive I would NOT have another project until ONE WAS FINISHED!! But it must be said the Universe hates when I say that! Because not more than two days later I’m sneaking a project into the apartment. I have always wanted a coffee table/foot rest.  But I always go back and forth on if I have room for one. I have have several different ones in the space but nothing worked.

A secret bench with turned legs FINALLY came out of storage.  I have been eyeing this bench for almost 2 years and as soon as it came down it was in my car! The color was perfect! The distressed wood I love, in colors I love, and it was small and the perfect size for my house. I bring it in, set it down in the space and before I have a chance to say anything, Dan’s feet were up on the table and he goes on with his life.

The bench moments after entering the apartment

The bench moments after entering the apartment

Perfect! It’s a keeper!! And it was a simple fix! It only needed a new plywood bottom, 3″ foam, batting, and fabric for the cover (I wanted a POP of color and bold patters, Dan did not, so we compromised). The cats and Dan are happy and I can rub it in about how I DO finish projects!! Well, sometimes…

The fabric compromise

The fabric compromise

Must be a keeper

Wait I didn’t make a cat bench…

My finished product (though it will probably be a cat bench more often)

My finished product (though it will probably be a cat bench more often)

Let’s face it I like to strip…

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Let’s face it I like to strip…Paint that is! Nothing brings me more satisfaction than to strip pain from a salvaged item.  I get sick pleasure for several reasons.  One, I like to see the history of the piece and its different lives with different owners.  Nothing says well loved like several layers of paint! The second is that I LOVE to pick and peal and scrub. Its an instant gratification, if I scrape or pick hard enough or long enough you can SEE what I’ve accomplished. There are several methods to my madness and since I’m hiding from my next project, I thought I would share my stripping methods.

A fun look at paint history

A fun look at paint history

Heat Gun: I want to love this method of paint stripping; I really do! But sadly its not my favorite.  A Heat Gun is an over sized hair dryer that with heat, patience, and scrapping tools literally peals the paint off in strips. You must be careful not to burn your wood under the paint.   Dan is much better at this method than I am, which i find ironic since I use a blow dryer daily and he, well, has no hair. But none the less using the heat gun= lots of patience which sadly I lack.

Chemicals (Methylene-chloride): works GREAT…if you have a well ventilated area and thick gloves to protect your skin from the harsh chemicals.  Chemicals like paint removers or strippers work wonders but I prefer to not kill brain cells or my cats since I am doing everything in my apartment. Its important to always wipe the chemicals off the clean product with either a paint stripper or mineral spirits.  This helps to remove all the chemicals you can’t see.

Safe Strippers (all natural strippers): This is my preferred method.  “The Orange Crap” as Dan so lovingly calls CitruStrip and Natures Strip are my favorite. It’s expensive but works great and doesn’t kill my brain cells while working in the apartment.  Apply fairly thick layer of stripper on your project and just wait.  Depending on the thickness of the old paint it will quickly start to resemble crackle paint and within hours, using a scraper, your paint comes off in giant globs. I have also found if you put the item in a plastic bag or put wax paper on your project after you apply the stripper, the moisture stays in and works faster and better. AMAZING!

High Phosphate Detergent (ie SUPER cheap laundry soap): This is a trick I learned from Earthwise. Mix the cheap Dollar Store Laundry soap with very hot water . Place your metals and glass hardware in it and wait until you can comfortably place your hands in the water. The paint comes right off. This works great for cleaning my hinges, pulls, knobs, screws, and even  art deco floor grates.

Sanding: Let’s first start by saying I HATE sanding.  This is Dan’s job, well when I convince him to help, it’s his job.  I love using the orbital hand sander and I love the instant smoothness but I hate the mess it causes. So when it comes to sanding as a form of stripping paint, this would be my least favorite.  BUT if you have patience, and lots of sand paper it works  well, just a tad slow going.

Overly Optimistic

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As January came to an end so did the month of finishing.  I had (and still do) great plans for the month of blah.  I technically only finished one project, my little orange sewing table.  BUT I was very busy this past month!

Let’s start with the big one: I jump started wedding planning!! I now have a dress, photographer, caterer, venue, and have several small wedding crafts completed. Of course my wedding would have crafts. Poor Dan is probably tired of wedding talk; but Honey, we still have several months to go!

Don't let that face fool you he is SUPER excited!

Don’t let that face fool you he is SUPER excited!

Typically January is my slow month both in the salvage and design worlds.  Not this year! In salvage we have been CRAZY BUSY! Not only have I been selling everything that comes in, its been that time of the month that ALL of the displays needed to be changed. Three of my four were done and during Super Bowl game I finished my fourth! In the design world I have been doing floor plan after floor plan after floor plan! Its crazy but amazing!

Just SOME of the stuff I'm doing at work

Just SOME of the stuff I’m doing at work

The projects: After finishing the sewing table, I moved onto Dan’s 1920’s wood locker dresser (look for the finished post SOON). It was  half finished since I had been working on it prior to January. I’ve got it completely stripped, paint colors picked out, supplies bought. But it started to rain so I couldn’t do the sanding or painting.  I then, trying not to loose momentum, went back to stripping the BIG craftsman cabinet.  Before I could get too far into it I needed to clean out the corner of clutter that it sat in.  I borrowed the work truck for a Goodwill run and spent the rest of the night moving furniture around to make room the big closet.  Now that corner looks great! Well it does in my mind 😉

Pardon the mess but EVERYBODY is working hard ;)

Pardon the mess but EVERYBODY is working hard 😉

Throw in a few heart placemats for Dan and I, a new valentine wreath for my door, salvaged wood heart wreaths, and writing blogs that haven’t been posted BUT only need photos and I would say the month of finishing, which didn’t go as planned, still ended great! Plus it gives me something to do in February…

My funky new set up including a lamp base vase and a skeleton key valentine

My funky new wall set-up including a lamp base vase, a skeleton key valentine, and my salvaged floor grate

Instant Happiness

Instant Happiness