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Friday, July 29, 2011

Garage Sale Lamp Makeover

I've been searching high and low for a pair of lamps to go in our master bedroom.  I wanted lamps that were tall enough to be effective reading lamps...so many are just too short!  And let's face it, I'm cheap, and I was not liking the prices on lamps that I wasn't even lukewarm about.  Thrift stores were giving me nothing, and so every night I'd be reading in poor light.
And then.  I picked up a pair of these at a recent garage sale for $2.50 each.
Nice classic shape, but ugly as sin.  It's all about vision though!  Not long after, the July Create With Me over at U Create was announced: Lamp Makeovers!  Perfect!
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the bases.  Copper with that lovely greenish patina to them.  Something kinda shabby chic, rustic, almost a little beachy.  I wasn't sure what to do yet with the lampshades, so I just removed them and got to work.  I used Sophisticated Finishes products for this job.  First, the primer.
Then onto the copper.
One thing I wish I'd thought to do is this: give the lamps a couple coats of Krylon Metallic spray paint in Copper.  Then do the primer, and continue with the copper.  If I had done that, then my lamps wouldn't have looked like this after one coat:
It took seven coats of this kinda pricey product to get it to look like this:
(Ignore my messy garage.) Beautiful, though, right?  So onto the patina.
This was kinda tricky.  I tried applying it with both a foam brush and a regular paint brush.  I think it worked better with the foam (the paint brush left distinct brushstrokes of patina), but I think best of all would have been plain ole cotton balls.  Really.
I fell in love (along with most of the blogging world) with the burlap ruffle shade from Mama Says Sew, and so I replicated that.  It was exactly what I was looking for, only difference is my lampshade curve out, so I filled in the wider parts with some smaller pieces of burlap.  Oh, and let me just tell you, I burned my fingers with hot glue repeatedly doing this! (In fact, I kept yelling every time it happened, and my husband got sick of it after awhile...)
And now, the finished product:

I'm still kinda on the fence about the patina.  I haven't sealed it yet since I'm undecided (and it will apparently go more green once sealed), so I can still clean off the oxidation if I want.  What do you think?
And, as always, a recap:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plain Wisdom book review

Plain Wisdom, by Cindy Woodsmall & Miriam Flaud
From the back cover: "Best-selling novelist Cindy Woodsmall might seem to have little in common with Miriam Flaud, a woman immersed in the culture of Old Order Amish. But with nine children and almost 60 years of marriage between them, Cindy and Miriam both have found the secrets to facing life with strength and grace. Whether enduring financial setbacks, celebrating new babies and times of prosperity, grieving the crushing losses in the deaths of family and friends, or facing disappointments with their respective communities—through it all they find guidance for each day by looking to God.  

With poignant recollections, unexpected insights, and humorous tales, the two women welcome you into their unique friendship.  You’ll also gain a rare glimpse into the traditions and ways of the Amish as Miriam recalls special occasions and shares family recipes throughout the book.

Plain Wisdom is a heartwarming celebration of God, womanhood, and the search for beauty that unites us all. So grab your cup and your quilt and settle in for a soul-comforting read with Plain Wisdom."

To tell the truth, I had a really hard time getting through this book.  And I think I know why. It's because this isn't the type of book you just sit and read.   (But I had to, since this is a book I got for free in exchange for a review through my Blogging for Books program.)  This is the type of book you open up when you are exhausted, discouraged or just need a pick-me-up.  It's a lovely book...just not a book you sit and read cover to cover.  It's not a story, it's a series of vignettes from the lives of two women.  Towards the end of the book, one of the authors says that they wanted this book to feel like a quiet sharing of thoughts and experiences between friends.  And I think they were largely successful.
It was heart warming, to use a cliched term, to read about the struggles and triumphs of others, and their search for faith in the midst of it all, whether that be in a modern lifestyle or one trying to live the Plain ways.
Just a reminder that we're not so very different after all, where ever we come from, who ever we are.
The only issue I have (and maybe it's silly) is the title.  Calling your own words "Wisdom" just seems a little...self-important perhaps.  And I know that was certainly not their intent.  I'm just sayin' is all.
Overall, it's a nice read.  Just one that should be meandered through at a leisurely pace.
Four out of five stars.

And as mentioned, I did receive this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just got home from a family trip to the library...

We live within walking distance of the library.  By walking distance, I mean less than a quarter mile.  Our library is smack dab between the elementary school and our HOA park/pool.  Right in the middle of a residential area.  I love it.  So we take walks there in the evenings often.  Today, I picked up some books on the Romanovs (my latest fascination), my son got some books about the human body and a DVD of Duck Tales episodes (anyone else remember those from childhood?), my husband got a couple religious books, and my daughter got to be content with all the board books she has at home (since she likes to put books in her mouth so much).
I follow this delightful blog, and she posted this recently:
She's so right.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anti-Sanding Chair Refinish

I hate sanding.  My sander and I are still not on cordial terms after that Great Kitchen Redo of '11.  So after I painted my laminate bookshelves with the wonder primer designed to stick to anything....the light bulb went on.
I could totally use this primer on my awesomely awesome thrift store chairs and not have to sand them.  Genius.  Well, perhaps the folks at Zinsser are more deserving of that label.  Anyway.  So let's get to it, shall we?
Here is my glorious chair, one of my favorite thrift store finds:
A long string of events I won't bore you with led me to check underneath the chairs (I bough two) for a name.  Which I then Googled.  Which led me to discover that these $5 thrift store chairs of mine...originally retailed starting at $767 each.  I KNEW they were quality!  Just a little worse for wear....

So here's what I used for a sanding-free refinishing:

Wood filler
Zinsser Cover Stain Primer @ $16.97 a gallon

Valspar Clear Protector top coat @ $20.97 a gallon

Smooth rollers
Foam brushes
Paintbrush and rags for glaze

1)  Take a damp rag, and wipe those babies down from head to toe top to bottom.  Make sure to get all the dust and grime out of the nooks and crannies; you need a clean surface to start with.
2) For any knicks or gouges, fill them in with wood filler.
Let it dry only slightly, then take your damp rag and lightly wipe off the overfill excess, being careful not to wipe it out of the knicks/gouges.  If you find the rag is removing too much, just wet your fingertip and use that instead.
3) Let dry thoroughly.

1) Take your foam brush and get that primer into all the nooks and crannies you think a roller won't get to.
Then come back with the roller, and roll on a coat.
2) Then repeat!  I recommend two coats, and you may need to go back with the foam brushes for a third coat in those hard to reach corners.
3) Depending on the color of paint you choose (i.e., if you choose a dark color), you may want to follow up with a coat of Glidden Gripper Grey primer.  I chose red paint, and didn't even think to do this.  Yeah, regretted it after a million six coats of paint!

1) Ditto.  Take that foam brush and get the paint into all the nooks and crannies you think a roller won't get to.  Then come back with the roller, and roll on a coat.
2) Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat. And repeat.  Actually, for your sake, I really hope it doesn't take that many coats!  Learn from me, as I said above, if you are using a dark color of paint, throw on a coat of Gripper Grey before you start painting!

1) There are many different methods for glazing.  This time around, I used a foam brush to brush it all over, especially into the corners, then used a dry rag (I don't recommend knit, since the glaze is sticky, the fuzz from the knit will stick to it) to wipe it off.  Since I was applying the glaze over such a dark color of paint, this worked really well.  If you're using a lighter color, you may want to use a slightly damp rag to wipe it off.  It's all about personal preferences, how dark you want the glaze to be.
1) This stuff is awesome.  And really straight forward and easy to use.  Just paint it on.  Dries clear with just the slightest sheen.  I use two coats generally....except for the bookshelves that went in my family room to hold my kids' books and toys.  They got four coats!

Okay, now if you're doing some basic reupholstering as I did with these chairs, this is what you'll need:

Home decor fabric (in other words, something sturdy enough for upholstery)
Foam (if replacement is needed)
Cover fabric
Staple gun

1) First things first, gotta remove the old.  I seriously considered just reupholstering over them, but that ugly maroon fabric was just so dusty and grimy...
so onto removing the staples.  I used my screwdriver to wedge underneath each staple and wiggled them up, then pulled them out with a pair of needle nose pliers.
26 staples holding down the cover layer, and once I pulled that off, I discovered.....
a million more staples holding the upholstery on.  Horrors!  (to quote Sheldon.)
By the time I finished pulling all those out, my back ached, my legs were permanently cramped in a weird position, and I thought it was time for a break.  Like a tall Diet Coke and very large piece of cheesecake kind of break.  Unfortunately, since I had neither of those, instead I took a good look at the foam padding that was under the old ugly upholstery.
Ack!  It's dingy!  It's dirty!  It's disgusting!  It's.....time for an emergency run to JoAnn to buy new foam!
2) Okay, next I took that yucky piece of upholstery and laid it down (dirty side UP!) onto my lovely new fabric (courtesy of our local Calico Corners).
Pinned it into place, then cut it on out!
3) And then repeated the same idea with the foam.  Take the old, lay it on the new, and draw around it with a magic marker (except I used a blue highlighter since I couldn't find my magic marker, which knowing my 3 year old, is a very bad thing).
Pull off the old, then cut it out.
4) Now comes the fun part: the staple gun!  Layer it like a sandwich: fabric, foam and then the form you're stapling to.
This next part requires two people, no getting around it. One person pulls the fabric taut, and the other staples.
I started out stapling with my husband pulling, but quickly switched.  It takes a bit more skill to pull fabric and foam taut and just so that it does to wield a staple gun.
When you get to the corners, fold the corner into the center first,
then fold the sides over on top of it.
Also, be careful not to pull unevenly or too tight, or you might have gaps when you put the seat back on (happened to me, had to take out all the staples and do it over again).
5) Then staple on the cover fabric, and don't pull too hard on that or it will tear. (Oh, and don't try to iron out the wrinkles either, or you'll end up with a big hole in your fabric and a lovely mess to clean off your iron. Trust me.)
6) And reassemble!  Screw the seat back on, and enjoy your new chair!!!

Just a recap:
Ah, some pizzazz and life!  That's better!  :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How Scrapbooking can make you happy!

Today, I came across an interesting article on one of the digiscrapping blogs I read, and just wanted to share it with you.  Yet another reason scrapbooking is so great!  I'm really looking forward to taking the month of August off from all other projects to focus on digital scrapping...plus I'm just getting sick of home projects! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Box Pleated Headband Tutorial

I've been on a headband kick lately.  I can tell you exactly why, in fact.  It's because I whacked off all my hair.  Now, the last time I chopped off all my hair, I was 12.
Look at that face.
Unfortunately, because of the beanpole-completely-flat figure that went along with that face (and I imagine the navy blue Taz t-shirt I was wearing didn't help), I was mistaken for a boy once.
It scarred me for life.
Which leads me to the headbands!  Now that my hair is short again, while I'm not afraid of being mistaken for a boy anymore, I AM afraid of not looking feminine.  So I've been fully decked out with headbands and earrings (and even make-up too!) every day since the great chopping.

So onto the tutorial!  I've been seeing a lot of ruffled and pleated headbands around, and I like them!  I thought I'd try something just a little different though, and use box pleats.  Kinda fun, right?
Okay, to make a box pleated headband, you will need:

A rigid headband (mine was metal)
Ribbon of your choice
Sewing machine
Hot glue gun
Beads or something like unto them for embellishment
Iron and ironing board (maybe)

1) Measure your headband.  (Mine was about 15 inches.)
Multiple that measurement by three.  Now cut that length in ribbon.  (Therefore, I cut 45 inches.)
2) Singe one edge of your ribbon
(sorry for the blur, that's what you get when you try to take a photo of something you're doing with the self-timer!).
3) Take the edge that you singed and fold it over about an inch, then fold that in half (so the top layer is about half an inch wide) forming an S of sorts.
Pin in place.
4) Measure in one inch from the end, and fold over, forming another pleat.
Pin into place.
5) Turn it over, and measure in a half inch from the end of the last pleat,
and fold over, forming another pleat.
Pin into place from the front.
6) Measure a half inch from the end of the closest pleat, and fold over to form the next pleat (as in step 4).
Pin into place.
7) Turn it over and repeat step 5.
8) Repeat step 6, and so on until you've reached the end of your ribbon.
Check to make sure the length is correct, and singe the other end of the ribbon.
9) Sew straight down the middle, removing the pins as you go.
Now is when you'd want to iron your pleats.  I forgot decided I didn't want them looking too starched and crisp, so I didn't.
10) Time for embellishment!  If you're going to sew one beads like I did,
then do it now.  If you're going to take a short cut and glue them on (whoever invented the hot glue gun is a genius), then do it after the next step.  It will be easier.
I added my beads right where the stitching and the box pleats intersect.
11) Glue it onto your headband.  Check again for fit before you start to glue, then only put about an inch of glue on at a time, otherwise it will harden before you can get your pleated ribbon properly situated on the headband.
And you're done!
See?  I don't look like a boy!

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