Friday, June 03, 2011

On Books

Since I am not yet done with my whole furniture painting adventure, I figured I would write about something else.


How I love books.  I love the feel of the paper between my fingers, the words, the smell and getting lost in a story.

When I was a child, about once a week, my older sister would take me after school to the Public Library and we would browse for hours and hours among the book lined shelves finally choosing a book or two to take home.

That is where I discovered adventure, romance and history.  I discovered great authors such as Alcott and Dickson, Mark Twain, and Poe.

From the time I was 3, it didn't matter what kind of book, I would get lost in them.

As I got older, I collected old books, cloth bound Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and the Bobsey Twins, and yes, I still have them.

I found many of them at flea markets and yard sales for a dollar or two.

But with the advent of technology, as wondrous as they are, I fear actual books will become obsolete.

I believe new generations will not know the wondrous feeling of holding a book in their hands, feeling the paper, the sound of the page as it turns, and hiding under the bed covers at night with a flashlight so they can find out what happens next.

People will read ebooks on Kindle instead.

I am not saying new technology doesn't have value and convenience, how easy it is to shop for books online and download them, not to mention you can carry umpteen books a lot more conveniently on a Kindle.

But for me, I prefer an actual book, it's easier on my eyes for one, I am not so young as I used to be, and there is absolutely nothing like curling up on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea and a purring cat on a rainy day.

Somehow a Kindle just doesn't fit the picture.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Silk Flower recycling

My best friend had a huge flower arrangement from when her brother unexpectedly passed away recently.  She didn't want to throw them away, and knowing that one of the many things I do is flower arranging, she asked me if I could do something with them for her.

This is what I came up:

She loves them, I got to create something beautiful, and she now has something nice that was born from tragedy.

Decorating continued...

Wanting to fancy up the dresser I made a trip to Lowe's hardware and went hunting for wood elements to add to it.  I found this:

I am going to attach it to the top of the dresser where the riser is, but first I had to find a way to attach it.

Breaking out the jigsaw, I cut a small block of wood from a left over 2 x 4, and glued it to the back.  I then used a C-clamp to hold it together and let it dry for a good 24 hours or so.

Then it was time to start painting it.

First coat applied, I moved on to the furniture itself.

This is the top coat paint, paint I had mixed for my walls, and as you can see I have a whole gallon left over.

I applied a coat to the end table.

It needs one more coat, then I can distress it.

And while the paint dries I have lots of other things to do.  I bought some pretties to dress up my lamp shade, but when I went to start on it I realized I was out of Tacky Glue.   I picked some up after work yesterday so now I am ready to go.

And I promised my best friend that I would come over to her house today dragging all my flower arrangement supplies and help/teach her how to make swags and arrangements.

It's gonna be a busy day.

Maybe I will manage to get a coat of paint on the dresser.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Decorating on a Dime...part two.

I don't watch a lot of TV, I find most of the contents range from the ridiculous to the mundane, so when I do turn the TV on it's usually to watch HGTV.

The only complaint I have about that station is I really wish they would show how middle American's live.

Don't get me wrong, I do like the sneak peaks into beautiful homes that I can only dream of affording, but the majority of us can't afford a villa in Belize.

So this post is dedicated to all those who can't afford to hire an Interior decorator or expensive furniture.

I live paycheck to paycheck, and over the years I have learned to stretch a dollar till it screams.

Yesterday I hit pay dirt.

And for under the cost of one month's previous furniture payment, I have acquired every thing I need to furnish and decorate my room.

I had one more shop to visit, so after work, my daughter and I took off down the road.

I found these:

I took these home for $75.00 for BOTH.

I cleaned up the wooden one and put it in my room with the intentions of using it until I got the white one finished, then switching them out and painting it.

But the more I look at the finish on it, the more I think it would be a shame to paint it.  I love the different tones of wood grain, the hardware is in excellent shape and I think it's a beautiful piece of furniture.

The white one is in the basement, the hardware is off, it's been sanded and the first coat of paint applied.

It needs new hardware, the wooden knobs had so much paint on them they were hard to get off.  They also didn't match, someone had apparently replaced a couple of them.  It has one unusual element, it has wooden caster wheels on it, and they are in good shape.

I am very excited about these pieces, after haunting every junk shop and a couple yard sales, I finally found what I was looking for.

My point is, with a little work, a little paint, resourcefulness and creativity, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on decorating.

For example, this is my 'make do' headboard.  Scarf: $12.00 at Kmart.  Two hooks which you can't really see, $7.99 at Walmart.  The wrought iron decoration... $12.95 at Burke's Outlet.  The pictures and candle holders were all under $10.00 a piece at various dollar stores.

I didn't buy it all at once, a few dollars here and there doesn't break the budget.

One step at a time it's finally all coming together.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Next project!

This piece actually has a long history in my family.  It's been sitting in my basement for some time, and at one time I had two, but I believe my ex threw the other one away.

This belonged to my mother, before that it was part of a vanity, you can still see where it was attached to the central piece.  Sometime before my mom received the pair, it was taken apart and made into night stands.

Mom had painted them way back in the '70's.  She had 'antiqued' them.

When she passed away in the 80's, I somehow ended up with them.

This was an era when wood was 'in'.  So I had begun stripping and refinishing every piece of wood furniture I had, including an old oak dresser that was my sister's, then mine and had about 8 coats of paint on it.  I still have that dresser.

But anyhoo, as you can see, I refinished it at that time.

But years later, it does need a redo.

So I am painting it.

In my limited experience painting furniture, I learned to be patient.  The last piece I painted, I was in too much of a hurry to get it done, and the paint stayed 'tacky' forever.

First, I sanded it lightly with fine sandpaper, so the wood will hold the paint better.  (I've been researching.)

I also had to remove the drawer pull.

Unfortunately, it was stuck so fast that WD-40 and a butter knife (since my flathead screw driver is missing) wouldn't get it off.

Time to take out the BIG GUNS!

Gotta love power tools!  WALA!!

The prep work done, I was ready for my first coat.

Big difference all ready.

The hard part was the details.  

This will look real pretty distressed.  

But I am going to wait a couple days before I put another coat on.  

One tip, don't bend over and get your hair in the paint can.

Two don't want hair in your paint, and you don't want paint in your hair.

I am going to go wash the paint out of my hair now.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trash to treasure!

I was a woman on a mission today, the problem with small town living is that options are limited.

On my lunch, I went to the Habitat Restore, they did have a beautiful old dresser in the style I am looking for, except it was a little too much for my budget.  I just thought $150 was a bit steep for a dresser that needed refinishing.

I don't mind doing the work, I love doing stuff like that, I just thought considering the work that would be involved it wasn't worth it.

But yeah I am tempted.

Next I went to Goodwill, but they had barely anything in the way of furniture, and what they had was junk.

I had to go back to work, so I had to postpone my search by a few more hours.

After work, I picked up a couple groceries, came home, changed and I was off and running.

Next up, the used furniture store.

They had a beautiful black wrought iron gate, perfect for a headboard...SOLD of course, just my luck.

And although they had a lot of furniture, they didn't have anything that caught my eye.

I next stopped at a little junk shop, the operative word JUNK.

I walked out after a couple minutes.

Next I went to a new shop down the road, and although they had a lot of beautiful things, and I am thinking of going back tomorrow for a little green wooden chair I saw for $15.00, most of the stuff they had was priced way out of my budget.

The lady there tried to sell me a dresser that was sitting outside for $20.00, I said to her, 'The whole front is peeling off.'

'Oh, that's because it got wet.'

Lady, I thought, I wouldn't give you five bucks for that junk.  I want a dresser, not a rot box.

Next I stopped at the Salvation Army, I figured what the heck.

And that's where I found this:

If you click on it, you can see the crackled style paint, and the detail of the roses.

A deal at only $5.99!

I love it, it's so pretty!  So shabby chic!

And it even has a rose topper!

I want to put seed beads around the bottom edge of the lampshade, I will have to dig through my bins of craft supplies and see what I have.

Well, at least my shopping trip wasn't a total waste.

I may drive up to Virginia tomorrow and hit some of the shops up there.

Design on a Dime

Whew I accomplished quite a bit today.

And one step at a time I am getting my room back in order, starting with a bed.  

I was very excited when the UPS man came to my door today to deliver my bed frame.

Total cost, $61.38 with the shipping.

I don't have a headboard but that's ok, without a headboard I can switch it around.  

I ordered another print which I am going to put next to that one.  

Many years ago, I bought this cute little wicker and wire stand at a dollar store, I think it was around 7 dollars.

After years of being used and abused and time spent on the porch, it was looking bad.

I decided to take it apart and paint the wicker.

Unfortunately, the screws were rusted.

So I whipped out the WD-40!  After a few sprays and letting it sit for a few, they came right off.

Ready to go.

I cleaned them with a dry paint brush to remove any dust and debris.

I have green paint left over from the trim in my room, and creme from the walls, so in order to keep the theme and waste not, want not, I opted to use it.

I used this for my base coat.  I put two coats on, letting it dry thoroughly in between.

Once dried, I used to creme to give it that distressed look, using a small roller and wiping some off with an old rag.

Once dried, I trimmed some of the stray pieces off, then sprayed it with acrylic clear coat.

Wala, the finished project, a recycled wicker stand ala shabby chic!

I'm not happy with the lamp, but I will find something I like.

One step at a time.

I don't plan on using this as an end table permanently, but it does for now.