Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vintage inspired French shabby chic valet & a treasure chest toy box!

What a fun week this has been! I have just had creative juices a-flowin'!

I wrote a while ago about this wood trunk I bought on Craigslist several months ago. I had intended to paint it for my daughter's room. But it just wasn't playing out that way... I never could figure out what I wanted to do with it.

Then, a good friend had a baby, and mentioned that she was looking for a toy box. Serendipity! So, my Dad set to work doing some minor repairs, adding a missing piece of trim (that turned out to match the other pieces perfectly), and installing new safety hinges to prevent smashed baby fingers.

Then, I got to work. My friend did her baby's room in sea creatures and thought a treasure chest would be cute. The minute she said that, I knew this would be a fantastic project!

I used my craft paints and added some black trim to the edges, and around the hardware.
Then, I added "sand" along the bottom, starfish, seahorses, seaweed, a "Nemo," and coral around the sides. I painted some "jewels" hanging out of the top. :-)

I even found some black thumbtack-type things that I pounded into the black trim on the sides to give it that old Pirate-y look.   Fun!

Then, for the top of the chest, I painted an old-fashioned looking compass, a padlock and skeleton key, and a scroll warning all treasure hunters that, "treasure is property of Capt. Alex"

I loved this project. So budget-friendly, and a quick job, yet so personal and really a gift from my heart for a longtime friend. I hope the chest brings her little man much happiness in the years to come!!

Then, I turned my sights to a valet that we've had for years, that I bought my husband once upon a time, but now, two houses later, no longer fits in our master bathroom or bedroom. Sigh.

I had painted it a glossy white a while ago, but couldn't figure out what to do with it. Then, the inspiration struck, and I decided to turn to the Graphics Fairy site for some vintage French graphics and lettering. I distressed the piece and drew on the French flair, and it was like a whole new piece!

 I practiced my drawing on paper first.

 The Graphics Fairy also had this awesome graphic of a vintage dress form and added it.

I used calligraphy markers to do this, but I'm sure you could print out the image and mod podge it on. At any rate, if you haven't been to the Graphics Fairy, you should!

I've been loving the feeling of cranking out project after project. I wake up in the morning and can't wait to go paint!

Anyone else?


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Go Big Blue

Yes, I live in Kentucky, but no, this post is not about basketball.
I just delivered (rather, my incredibly awesome parents delivered for me) the biggest piece I've done, to date.

This piece found me.  She yelled right at me from the parking lot at my favorite local non-profit thrift store.

No one else was even looking at her.

But I knew the minute I laid eyes on her, that she was coming home with me (saggy cardboard, spiders and all...)

She's no lightweight.

She boasted great storage, and with those detailed cabinet fronts, was just screaming (as Nicole, the heroine of HGTV's Rehab Addict puts it), "Make me pretty!"

My Dad helped me haul her into the house and reinforce her structure a little.

Dad, you rock, as usual.

Then she was all mine.

I put her on Facebook, and immediately got snatched up by a friend with bold taste, who was willing to take a risk and have me do this for her long distance.  She never saw it in person until it was delivered to her front door.  Is that a leap of faith, or what?!

This piece got two coats of primer, about 3 coats of paint (some places needed more touch-up, as getting paint in ALL those little curves, nooks, and crannies, took some time and patience) and Polycrylic to keep her looking great for years to come.

Here's what I love most about this piece:

I never would have chosen the colors the owner chose.  Just would not have happened.  The color - bold, bright, beautiful - made this dumpy relic into a Grande Dame.

She looks regal in her blue-purple*.  The owner also wanted paper lining the inside, and she chose sheets of peacock feathers.  Amazing.

There was a lesson for me at the end of the process.  I couldn't have been more pleased with how the piece turned out.  And it is what it is now, because the owner did something out of the ordinary.  She took a chance - and made me take a chance.  A major step out of my comfort zone.  And it resulted in a broader horizon for me.  So, thank you, Liz!  I envision many wonderful cocktail parties, and dinners with friends going on with this piece in the room.  And I hope it makes you smile each time you look at it.  I know I did.

Here's the materials I used:

Primer - Zinsser Bulls Eye Water-Base Primer & Sealer

*Paint - Crushed Velvet in flat finish by Olympic at Lowe's (this color is reading as way more purple in these pics. It is more blue in person.)

Top coat - Polycrylic Satin finish by Minwax

Hardware - sprayed with flat black then finished with Valspar silver spray paint, also at Lowe's (also coated with Polycrylic for durability)

Paper - Recollections scrapbook paper, called Peacock Feathers, sold by the sheet at Michael's

So the next time you're out thrifting or yard saling, and a big old honkin' piece yells at you, LISTEN!  And try something bold and different.

Thanks for reading!


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