Friday, November 4, 2011

Huyler's Cocoa and Chocolates Candy Crate

I love to paint advertising signs and crates based on old products that are no longer around.  I find old tins or ad prints and use them for my inspiration.  Believe me when I tell you I am no artist, but a few tricks I learned from my daughter who was an art major in college have taken me a long way.  I found this old crate at a sale.  I try to pick these pieces up for a reasonable price as all the value ends up being from my labor.  This crate is approximately 5 feet long.  It has a hinged lid like a coffin box and it had some hasps already on the front to keep it closed.
Finished Product
 I had my husband paint the crate with Rustoleum American Accents Heirloom White.  I didn't want the box to be too white as I wanted it to have an aged appearance when finished just like an old advertising crate would look.
Crate Box Painted White
 Then I chose my fonts and mapped them out on paper so that I would know exactly how to space my lettering and words.  With the lettering on this box, I wanted a whimsical feel so I staggered the letting in "Cocoa" and "Chocolates."  After all, chocolate is a very fun subject.  At least it is for me.
Getting the Lettering Started
 When it was all mapped out, I went to work and applied the stenciling.  I usually stencil, stand back and look and then go over it again to get a more solid foundation and to add depth to the coloring.

Adding the Printing
 I try to make my pieces look authentic so I do the top and sides.  If it's a box that could be placed down the center of a table, I will do both sides and the lid so the box has printing from all views.  Sometimes I will even put "net weight" on the ends of the box.  Depending how much space I need to fill to make it look real.
Printing on More than One Side to Make it Interesting
 When all the lettering is done, I go back to each letter and do a little shading to give the lettering dimension.
In the End

 Then I sand the whole thing down to age it and then I go over it with a dark stain and put a glaze over it.  If it's too dark, wipe your stain back with mineral spirits.  After the stain or glaze sets up for 24 hours, I then spray it with a lacquer spray.  This box is long enough it could be used as a mantle shelf or mounted on a wall to make a high planter.  I will display this box up on my wall and put plant life in it, maybe a little trailing ivy.
shabby creek cottage

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Slipcovered French Chair

Chair After Slipcover
 I purchased a pair of French chairs at a sale about six months ago that for the time being are in two different rooms in the house.  I don't want to completely recover them in separate fabric because I am determined to do some re-decorating and eventually they will be reunited.  A student in an upholstery class came into the shop one day when I was there and asked if we had any projects she could use for her class.  I let her make a slipcover for this chair so it would match the room it is currently in.  It looks so much better and her prices were very reasonable.  I was glad I took a chance and started her with a small project.  She slip covered the base of the chair.  Recovered the cushion and the only permanent thing she did to the chair that will have to be undone are the little arm patches.  I am quite happy and so are my guests as the original chair was in the guest room.  As you can see from the second photo, not too pretty.  So if you have a small project that needs doing and you don't want to spend a lot of money, search out some adult education classes in your area and see if they have any students looking for projects.  I think I will have her do the other chair now.  It is in the living room and I would sure love to have it done by the holidays.
Chair Before Slipcover
Yucky rust plaid.  A throwback from the 80's.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shop Small Stores

As I rushed out this morning to water my patio plants before the strong Santa Ana winds pummeled them, I noticed a beautiful cement duck that I purchased years ago at a beautiful little store in La Canada.  After the earthquake here in Northridge, I discovered this charming small store and purchased many things for our garden after we did all of our repairs.  I still have everything I purchased from that beautiful store, and every time I spot one of those special small garden accents, it makes me smile. 

After the garden was finished and I got busy with life (and became a dealer myself in retail stores) I quit frequenting that little shop.  When my daughter decided to get married in our back yard about a year and a half ago, I wanted to go by the shop and see if I could find some new treasures.  To my shock and dismay the store was closed.  That's right.  Closed!  I am a relentless individual and when I set my mind to do something, it usually gets accomplished.  After hours of internet searching I found a link that linked me back to the owner.  The name of the shop was Botanicals.  Thankfully the owner of the store was still in business, but was doing monthly boutiques in her own garden and no longer had a store front.  Finally she reopened in smaller quarters, but her store is just as beautiful as ever.  I learned a valuable lesson.  If we don't support the small stores, then all that will be left are the cookie cutter department stores and home decorating stores that have absolutely no individuality.  Imagine that in a culture so set on everyone being so unique and special.  Nothing will be unique and individual any longer.

Since I too sell in a small store, I hope that many people will adopt a new way of thinking and go back to shopping for unique, often one-of-a-kind things, especially at this time of year when we will all be purchasing hostess gifts and just thoughtful little pick me ups to take to our friends and family.  By the way, the name of Julie's new store is Julie O'Keefe Home and Garden.  She posts fabulous photos of her shop on Facebook.  If you live anywhere near her shop, you really should drop by.  It's a very happy place.

Since I don't have pictures of the front of her shop or the front of our shop for that matter, I wanted to post a couple of pics I took last spring when I visited up north at another small shop.  For the life of me, I cannot find the card for this store, but it is in Pleasanton, California on the main shopping drag.  The owners were so nice and allowed me to take photographs.  These were two of my favorites.  I confess I am a sucker for polka dots.  I love what they did with their umbrellas.  Too cute.  The awning is to die for.  Chippy and warn and so full of charm.  I am working on a project right now to semi re-create this look for my own space at Aubergine Emporium.  If I find the card or can get the name of this shop, I will certainly post it on my blog.
Chippy Painted Awning

Oo-la-la Umbrellas

If any of you are wondering why I have a black box in my post, it is because my signature went missing and I am trying to reach my blog designer to get it fixed.  Hopefully it will be gone soon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1940's Buffet Gets a New Look

This is the final product of a very cute 1940's maple-like buffet/hutch that I re-did in red and white.  To see the evolution of this project check out the photos below.

Start of Project
As you can see, this piece was very dated although it was in pretty good shape.  I liked the bones of the piece and thought it deserved a makeover.
 My husband painted the whole thing in heirloom white.  I like to use the American Accent paints by Rustoleum.  The finish is a slight satin look and it is indoor and outdoor suitable  So I paint a lot of my signs and vintage boxes with this paint.  It is also available in brush-on or spray.  However, I think they have renamed the spray cans 3 in 1 instead of American Accent.
Then he painted the doors, drawers and sides with colonial red, also an American Accent paint.  When the paint was dry (at least 24 hours) I brushed on a coat of Minwax Jacobean stain and rubbed it back with a cloth.  This is what you see here that is smeared on the sides.  If your stain is too dark after you blend it in, you can wipe it back even more with mineral spirits.  Leave it a little darker in the corners and in the crevices so that it gives it an aged vintage look.  When you are happy with the final look, you can seal it with a clear coat.  I like Deft Lacquer in the satin finish.  It is easy to wipe clean and seals nicely.  Also Deft has a nice feel to the touch, but it is not shiny or glossy.  The finish is almost matte.
I re-installed the final hardware and this is the end result.  This is a great farm house look and could go just about anywhere.  It is now in my space at Aubergine Emporium in Simi Valley, California.
Miss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Buffet and a Bunch of Bananas

Happy Halloween from our family to yours.   Stephanie baked all day and concocted this fabulous assortment of goodies.

I love the fabulous Halloween colors.  She did a great job.

Uncle Jesse isn't sure this costume is going to attract any birds onto her balcony
  Our pets are the best of sports.  My oldest daughter's name is Shanna and we have always called her Shanna Banana so when she found these banana costumes for her kitties, aka the girls, she couldn't resist getting them into the act.  Than, of course, she had to get the matching costume for our little Cindy. 
 Here is Lulu Mae looking for the rest of the bunch.  How did she get in there?  She is the most curious of kittens I have ever seen.
Cindy just isn't sure she wants any part of this.  I'm sure she's thinking what did those darn cats get me into now?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Today I'll share another one of our favorite holiday recipes.  The original recipe came from the October/November 1997 issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion Magazine.  The original recipe is very delicious and was for a loaf of pumpkin bread, but my daughter, Stephanie, experimented and replaced the oil in the recipe with applesauce.  Her recipe is a much lighter version and the muffins are a perfect two-bite portion. 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
1 cup applesauce
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 16-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (reserve 1 T. to toss with choc. chips)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (totally optional)
paper mini cupcake holders.

Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl beat together applesauce and sugar.  Beat in pumpkin, water and eggs.  Add flour, reserving 1 T. for chocolate chips.  Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and vanilla.  Stir chips into batter.  Bake until a cake tester comes out clean.  Approximately 13 to 17 minutes.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Best made the day before.  Enjoy!