Sunday, April 28, 2013

Turn A Chair With a Missing Arm into a Gossip Chair

So my sister who is a garage sale fanatic often picks me up treasures to do my thing with.  This is how she brought me this beauty she found for me.  

In perfect condition except one tiny little thing.  It was missing an arm.  The gal she got it from had planned to fix it but then lost the arm.  

At first I thought I could just leave it with one arm and cut the front piece off but the back needed the support of an arm.  So then I decided I wanted to add some sort of table where the arm had been.  Even though I had a plan it still took me almost a year to do it.  I could never decide on a shape to make the table.  I figured I'd wait until I found something that spoke to me. 

I finally found it.  I picked up this piece with some other cool random wood from a friend of my Mother in Laws.  She said it used to be part of an old organ.  I love the shape and the carved detail.  I used my jig saw to round the front corner to mirror the other arm.  To find the back angle I used the old eyeball it and cut 800 times method.   

Then I drilled a hole into the arm post for a dowel to fit into. 

I set the table in position and traced the post onto the bottom so that I could drill a hole into the underside of it.  To attach to the back I made a pocket hole and screwed it in.

For the additional support I used a spindle that I had.  It was one of those used for a stair railing.  I screwed it into the side of the chair seat and glued and nailed it to the top.  

To get the angles I used my builders square.

Then I laid the square on the spindle and drew lines so I could line up my chop saw.   It turned out very sturdy. 

I stained the new parts to match because I planned to paint and distress it. 

I painted with ASCP in Old White.  

I used clear then dark wax to really make the carving detail pop.  Love it. 

When I removed the bottom fabric I decided I liked the look with just the webbing. 

I am digging how it turned out.  It's a fun one of a kind piece.  

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What to do with an Antique Mirror that has Issues

I love antique mirrors with all there imperfections but what do you do when it's a little too imperfect?  I recently picked up this dresser and mirror to makeover.  They were in great shape but the mirror needed a little love. 

There were two chunks missing from the back that made little chip looking holes and the bottom corner was missing a rectangle section of mirror. 

I could have lost the mirror and either replaced it with a chalk board or chicken wire but I decided to work with it.  

I didn't take a before but the part missing on the bottom left corner was a perfect rectangle with very sharp edges it was really weird.  I wanted to make it blend better so to soften it I glopped on some Citrastrip paint stripper around the edges of the missing rectangle and also behind the chips.  The bottom right corner was fine but I decided to glop some stripper on there too.  I let it sit for about an hour to do its thing.  The stripper took off the mirror backing in a very natural looking way.  It worked great.  I cleaned it with paint thinner and sanded it a little to get the look I wanted. 

I thought I would just paint the back black but it looked too harsh to me especially behind the chips.  Then it occurred to me maybe book pages would look good or french script.  I googled french script images and printed one off.   I just taped it to the back of the mirror so it can easily be changed. I liked it.    

I was having a hard time photographing so I held up a vintage grain sack pillow so you could see it better.

It was a pretty easy way to save that old mirror.  What do you think? 

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

DIY Dutch Door

Check another thing off the to do list I started last year.  I have wanted to add a Dutch Door to the opening above my stairs since I built them last May.  To see the post on how I built the stairs(Ship's Ladder) click here.  

Just in case you are new here let me give you the run down on our quirky home.  It started out as a log cabin that was added onto a few times. The original log cabin is still in tact. Log walls and all.  The stairs lead to the cabin part which is the office/craft room.  This doorway used to be the main door to the cabin.  The reason I wanted to put a door here is that the floor is at eye level to the downstairs dining room where we hang out when we have company.  It is impossible to keep a floor clean enough to be looking at it at eye level.  You can see every little thing.  Lets face it we all know I'm not the neatest person anyways.  So a fun quirky dutch door it is.  I can close off the mess when we have company and still keep that room feeling open to the rest of the house.  

It hasn't been easy to find an old door to modify that is 28" wide.  I could have built one but I really wasn't in a hurry and I knew I would find one eventually.  Last week I stumbled upon this door at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  It was perfect because the bottom panel was smaller than the top one, just right for a Dutch Door.  I decided 32" was the height I wanted so I cut it with a skill saw.  

Next I removed the existing hinges and replaced them where I thought they should be for the door.  Normally doors are routered where the hinges are so that the hinges are flush and you don't have a gap between the frame and the door.  I decided not to router mine because my opening was actually 28 1/4" and also this is a decorative door it doesn't need to be perfect. 

I added a piece of trim so that when the door is closed you won't see the gap. 

I found a rusty latch in my stash.  To allow the door to stay closed I drilled a hole into the trim for the latch to slide into.  To make a ledge for the top of the door I used a 1 x 4 and cut the corners off at a 45 degree angle so it wouldn't keep it from opening.  I attached it with nails.

Most days the door will be slightly open so that the cat can get to his food.  He uses these stairs daily and his food is just to the right of the door.  We can easily reach it to feed him and the dog doesn't get into the cat's food because she hasn't figured it out yet.

I painted the door a vintage green but I'm not sure about the color.  I am going to live with it awhile. It's a great color but I'm thinking I want something brighter and more of a yellow green. 

I really like the door it works with the casual cabin vibe around here.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Milk Painted Dresser with Hand Planed Wood Top

Hi there!  Hope you had a good weekend.  Things were pretty low key around here.  My hubby has been sick and I am really hoping I don't get it.  It was mostly rainy (shocking in WA state) with a few sun breaks.  My tulips are just about to bloom.  I love spring.  You can see in the photos I have some weed killing to do in the driveway.

Here's a dresser I've been working on.  I went with Milk Paint because this piece had the perfect finish for it.  It had an old worn varnish that wasn't super shiny.  After applying two coats of milk paint(no bonding agent) it chipped just a little here and there and adhered well everywhere else.  Perfect.  My plan was to paint it Miss Mustard Seed's Shutter Gray then maybe do a stencil or hand painted design in Ironstone on the front drawers.  But then, 

Do you see the line around the drawers?  There was a dark detail line painted on the original dresser and the Milk Paint chipped all along the line.  It's hard to see in the photos but it looks really cool in person.  It was just enough.  No need for a stencil, I loved what the Paint did itself. 

I was excited because Milk Paint can be a bit unpredictable and then I noticed an issue with the top.  All the experts say don't buy furniture with veneer problems to refurbish because it will take too much time.  (and frustrate the heck out of you which will also effect your productivity)  I don't normally buy things with veneer issues but I really liked this piece.  Also it was one of those times when I needed something to paint.  It was solid, clean inside, dove tailed drawers, nice existing hardware, annnnd had great feet.  

All very good things.  Only a tiny little veneer issue on the top.  Or so I thought.  Sometimes you can just fill little veneer problems with wood filler and after painting and distressing they look fine.  Not this time.  This piece had veneer, then another thin layer of wood, then the top it has now.  The moisture from the paint made the thin layer under the veneer were I put wood filler bubble up.  I didn't bubble until I painted it.  I thought I was done.    

So what to do?  I was a little irritated so I started scraping off the veneer and the thin layer underneath the veneer with a putty knife.  I should have stopped and used either a heat gun or wet towels or something but I didn't and there were some gouges when I was done.  No problem I will just bring on the wood filler again.   

The new plan for top was after the wood filler drys, stain the whole top then apply a coat of hemp oil, then milk paint.  Did you know that hemp oil can be used as a resist technique for milk paint?  It works great.  You can layer milk paint colors that way too.   Just apply hemp oil to surface (bare wood, stained wood, existing paint) let it dry then apply milk paint.  I've used it several times and it has always chipped for me.  

But then surprise after I stained it I loved how the stained gouged top looked.  Except it needed more gouges so I used my little hand wood planer to make more scrapie gouges.  Yes I did.  

Here's what my little planer looks like.  Just a cheap one nothing fancy.  I ran the planer along the top here and there until I got the look I wanted.  I started with the blade barely out then pushed it out farther to get a little more gouging. 

Then a little more filler.

Then re-stained. 

Then used hemp oil to seal it.  Done. ;) 

It's a process, painting furniture. Just gotta roll with it.  It really sounds like it took forever but I did each step in between other projects (and yes it did kind of take forever.)  I think it looks cool.   

Hopefully someone else will love the look as much as I do if not I can just paint over the hemp oil finish with some more milk paint and it will chip and look fabulous.  Or I have a new dresser.  Either way.  

So would you buy furniture with veneer issues?  To be honest I probably will again but not for awhile.  I am happy to say I found three pieces this weekend all of which have no veneer issues. 

One time I bought a beautiful empire style dresser for cheap because it had a really bad veneer top. I noticed that the top unscrewed so I just flipped it over.  Perfect new top ;)  So look for screws before you pass it up. 

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Upholster an Ottoman with Fabric Swatches

Before I start I have one question for you.  Do squirrels attack people?  The reason I ask is I walked out of my workshop earlier today and ran smack dab into a squirrel about a foot from my face.  We were eye to eye and for a split second I thought, is he gonna kill me? but no he ran away.  He's actually been around for quite awhile I have just never gotten quite that close to him.  

So anyways, the ottoman redo.  (you are thinking it's a stool aren't you)  It's actually a really short stool but I plan to use it as an ottoman.  I found it at the local thrift store for $1.99.  I just couldn't pass it up.  It's just so cute.  I am in need of a small ottoman so I am keeping it for myself. 

I have a couple projects going right now and while I waited for wood filler to dry on one and paint on the other I decided to give this thing a new look.  First I removed the orange vinyl and replaced the foam with a small piece out of my stash.  Then I covered that with batting.    

I painted it with two coats Old White ASCP.  Once dry I distressed it with a wet rag then sealed with clear wax.  

While looking through my fabric stash I found a book of fabric swatches that I picked up about a year ago for a few bucks.  It's a discontinued sample book.   All the fabrics were so pretty I figured I'd do something with them eventually.  

I chose four that I liked the best and sewed them together to form a square like you would a little quilt.  

Then I just wrapped the square around the top and stapled it to the bottom.  Isn't that funny it says not for sale.  I swear it had a price tag on it.  You can see it in the before picture.  

I thought about adding a button to the middle but decided I like it just as it is.  I'm using it in my living room but it's so dreary out today the dining room was the only place with enough light to take a photo. 

So adorable.  It just makes me happy.  

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