Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cocoa's and Eclair's

Or maybe I should have called these American Eateries in Paris.  I had great plans to name these signs something very French sounding, but the doors were so narrow, I had to get very creative with the names.  At any rate, I purchased these television armoir doors from a fellow dealer and knew I wanted to create a pair of vintage looking signs with them.

 The doors were just modern wood doors with some nice detail in the molding.  I always look for detail when looking for sign material.  My husband painted both of these a dark chocolate brown base coat.
 I painted them with American Accents Ivory Silk.   It's a great color for making things look like "Old French."  It is a true ivory.  The only problem is it only comes in spray and I haven't gotten around to color matching the color yet.  I purchased two appliques from The Bella Cottage.  These are about 7 inches wide and tall.  The Bella Cottage has an eBay store and a website.  If you want to give something a romantic feel, these will do the trick.  Although these panels look beautiful right at this point, I like things to have an aged patina and I wanted these to be signs since they are not attached to a furniture piece any longer.
 I used lots of painter's tape to keep each line of text level and to match one door up to the other one.  I always map out my stencil lettering on scrap paper so I know how to space the lettering on the piece.
 I wanted the signs to look authentically old.  I did the letters in Pewter Gray craft paint.  Then I came back in and shadowed with Rub and Buff Gold.  This can be purchased at an art store.  It was easy to shade it with the liner brush.  No worries that it got a little crooked.  This will all be sanded and anyplace that is not
perfect will get a little extra sanding.

 I came back and did the molding with the gold Rub and Buff to add a little more interest and show off the detail of the panel.
After the painting was all done, I gave the panels a good hand sanding.  This time I did not use my Mouse Sander because I wanted a little more control.  When that was all done and they were shabbied to my satisfaction, I rubbed Minwax Jacobean stain over the front and back sides.  Now a word of caution.  If you are going to attempt to stain over these appliques, be prepared to spend a bit of time.  I went in with stain on a sponge applicator and still had to use Q-tips to get in the little nooks and crannies.  Then when it was all colored over, I used Q-tips to soak up some of the wet stain out of the flowers on the appliques.  It can get tedious, but it's worth it.  When you are finished, spray it with your favorite clear coat.  I like Deft lacquer spray in the satin finish.  Here is the finished product.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vintage Grocer Card

I love old graphics on postcards, books and calling cards.  Here is an antique business card I thought would be beautiful for the holidays.  The colors are amazing.  Does anyone know how to make this a printable image from the blog?  It is already a jpg file.  Is that enough?  I sized this as an extra large photo image.  I am very new to blogging and have so much to learn.  The answers cannot always be found in the help section.  Any input would be appreciated.  Thanks.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vintage Dresser Dressed in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I picked up this very cute dresser at a neighborhood sale.  She had no hardware and the paint job was BAD.  Never sanded and very gloppy paint.  I didn't want to let my husband tackle this project because he does everything too perfect so I decided to tackle the project and meet the job somewhere in the middle.
 I purchased wooden knobs from the local hardware store.  Very inexpensive fix.  I decided to do something funky with my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I lightly sanded the original paint and then painted anywhere I wanted a little color so it would show through.  This dresser would be great with many decors including a child's room or especially a nursery.  I selected an aqua blue I found at the salvage yard in their paint section.

 I painted the entire dresser then in Annie Sloan's Old White. 
 I hope the photo shows it on my blog, but the reason it is called chalk paint is because when you sand it, it literally turns to chalk.  I sanded in a circular motion with fine grit sandpaper because I wanted this to have an "original paint" look with the blue showing through the white.

When I distressed it to the look I wanted, I sealed it with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.  A note about the wax and the brush you see.  You need to purchase a good wax brush.  I purchased two brushes.  One is for clear wax and one is for dark wax.  I labeled each brush with permanent marker so they will never be confused.  In other words, sometimes I get help with my projects and I didn't want there to be any confusion.  I recommend you use gloves to wax.
 Only wax about a 12 by 12 inch section at a time.  On the drawers I did about a third of the drawer and then moved on.  Take a soft cloth (I like old towels cut into small pieces) and rub the wax until it feels smooth.  I don't mean rub it until your arm hurts.  A little pressure usually does the trick.  I rub it back and forth until it is smooth, then I proceed to the next section.  When it is all completed, I take the rag and kind of buff it manually in a circular motion.  This blends all the sections together if they are not already blended.  NEVER us a mechanical buffer.  I have not done this because they were very emphatic in the workshop that if we did so, it would make the wax ball up.  Not a good thing.  Don't forget to wax your knobs if you are using wooden knobs like I did.  One other word about a waxed finish.  Unless you repaint with ASCP paint, you cannot repaint with regular paint.  It will not adhere to the wax.
Here is the final product.  Kind of funky, but I think I like it.  If you enjoy my tutorials, please become a follower.  Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vintage French Buffet

I so wish I had taken before pictures of this beauty.  I bought her at a movie prop sale and she hailed from the West Wing television show.  She was in dark wood.  In the condition she was in I'm not sure if she ever appeared on television, but she must have been part of their prop collection.  Her top was badly gouged and could not be refinished without paint because of all the patching my husband had to do.  He also had to reset one of the legs to make it sturdy.  This buffet was massive measuring in at about 7 feet long.  Definitely an estate piece.  Steve gave her a good sanding and painted the top with Slate Grey.  I wanted her to have the look of a stone top.  The sides and front were painted with Heirloom White by American Accents.  The old hardware was cleaned up and put back on.  Then the top received a smooth as silk French polish.  She is just as grand as ever in her newly refined state.
 My husband fell in love with the French polished look after a visit to Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic shop.  It is incredibly smooth to the touch.  Just like the granite top I tried to imitate.
 Her hardware was magnificent.  A project of this size is not an easy one, but she was so worth it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vintage Ice Skates Get a Decorative Look

Okay, these may not be vintage, but they are definitely pre-owned and perfect for Christmas decorating.  I run a ribbon or string to join these and sling them over a vintage sled that I keep on the front porch at Christmas time.  Even though it has only snowed twice in our 30 years of living in Northridge, California, it definitely feels like winter when you approach the front steps of our home.
 I picked up some used skates at a neighborhood sale, cleaned and polished them, took out the laces and replaced them with holiday ribbon.  I used a water slide transfer decal with Santa's face that I purchased from Ebay and placed a little Tacky Glue behind it when it was wet to ensure it would adhere to the leather.  I let that dry and went over Santa with a thin layer of Tacky Glue and sprinkled his face with white iridescent glitter.  Then I went to the craft store and purchased some faux white fur trim a little wider than what I needed.  I folded the trim and hot glued it into the top of the skate and folded it over like a cuff.  To add a little more pizazz I got a couple of holiday picks of pine cones and berries and stuck it into the top of the skate.  I also set these on the front porch just like I came in from the ice.  I like to pretend we have seasons here. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vintage Wool Sweater Christmas Stockings

I have a new fellow dealer at Aubergine Emporium sharing a space with me.  She made these incredible wool Christmas stockings.  I immediately could tell they were made from vintage sweaters and I have never seen anything like them.  She explained they were vintage wool sweaters and she "felted the wool."  I had never heard of this, but I will explain how to do it.  I can't do a blow by blow picture tutorial the way I like to because it is done in the washing machine.  These are nothing like the felt stockings you make from felt from the craft store.  These are real wool and would certainly be stockings used year after year by the lucky recipient.  My girls still have the stockings their grandmother made for them as small children and will probably have them their whole lives.
 Debbie explained the process to me and I did a little research on the internet.  You could make winter pillows and other projects using this very same technique.  To "felt the wool" you will need a washing machine, Woolite, a vintage wool sweater and a clean towel.  You could probably do this with boiling water, but please be careful.  I don't want anyone to get burned.
 To turn a wool sweater into felt, it must be 100 percent wool.  No polyester blends here, only pure wool.  Anything not pure wool will not felt.  Also take out the stitching so you just have the wool garment itself.  The thread usually isn't wool and therefore won't felt either.  This can lead to mishaps and tearing.  The wool will shrink to approximately half the size so remember this when buying your sweaters.

Now that you have done the preliminary work, place your wool in the washing machine.  For me, I think I would put my wool pieces in a lingerie bag and zip it up.  That way they are not flinging all over the washer.  Set your washer setting to hot wash/cold rinse.  Add detergent and your wool and start the cycle.   You might want to practice a couple of times till you know how much the wool pieces shrink.  You can always do a different type of project with the pieces.  How about wool mitten Christmas ornaments or wool stocking Christmas ornaments to put on the tree?  Or I think they would make great stocking caps especially if you add some trims like Debbie did.  Just let your imagination run wild.

When the wash and rinse cycle is finished, remove felt from washer.  Place them on a flat clean towel to air dry.  Do not put them in the dryer as they will shrink more.  The purpose of the cold rinse is to stop the wool from shrinking more.  To clean your item after it is completely made, wash in cold water and cold rinse in Woolite on gentle cycle and air dry afterwards.

This procedure can work on knitted and crocheted items if they are made with 100 percent  yarn.  However if you use these, use larger gauge needles for your project to compensate for shrinkage.
Once your felt pieces are dry, cut according to your pattern and enjoy.  Debbie used the hem of the sweater for the top of the stocking.  Sew a loop on it for hanging.  No need to even line it.  How easy is that? 

Well, time to end this blog.  I need to run down to my local thrift shops to find some wool sweaters so I can get down to my own wool projects.  Happy crafting!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Little Stepper Step Stool

If you have small children or grandchildren, you know they always want to be a foot taller so they can help with the baking or reach things that are too tall for them.  I never pass these up when I find them.  Even adults like to keep them handy.  This cute little step stool was spotted at a neighborhood sale. 
 I could see immediately past the outdated crackle finish of yellow paint over a purple base.  Don't get me wrong, I love things with porcelain cracks the make things look genuinely old, but this wasn't it.
 I painted the whole stool in Colonial Red American Accents by Rustoleum.  This is my red.  It looks great under a glazed stain or just wonderful simply sanded back like I did on this project.

As always, when I stencil something, I map it out on paper first.  Although this takes a few extra minutes, it's worth it to see how the letters will fall and makes centering your words easier.
 For this piece, because I was doing it with children in mind, I did the printing a little more whimsical, not in a straight line.  I like a light ivory craft paint for lettering because I want my things to look old, and stark white is just too new looking.  If I am going over red or black base paint, I do the lettering with the stencils, let it dry and then go back with the stencil and go over my original image.  That way I get a good solid letter.  If you are in a hurry, a blow dryer works great to dry the stenciling.
 Now that the basic lettering is done,  I go back and fill in the gaps from the stencil to make it look "less stenciled."  On this piece I stuck with the primary colors to do the shading.  I actually took a small paint brush and just painted down the left side of the letter and the bottom.  That lifts the letter up a little bit to give it dimension.  On something like this, you probably could outline the whole letter.  It's just a matter of preference.
 When all the wording was completed, I took my mouse sander and sanded with medium grit paper.  This let the original yellow come through and since it was so heavily crackled to begin with, the crackled appearance came through but now it's giving the piece a great aged patina.  The project is done and now I have a cute Little Stepper that looks very vintage and worn.  I sealed it with a coat of Deft lacquer spray.  It's ready for lots of fun uses.

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