Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Minature Easles

Some years ago my daughter gifted me with a set of minature easles and over the years I have used them as part of my table settings.

For Thanksgiving I posted quotes about being thankful.

Another time I cut  words with their definitions from the dictionary and mounted one on each easle.

But this time I wanted to use them as placecards.  One way to do that was to turn them into chalkboards.

I took laminate countertop samples and painted them with chalkboard paint.  Any color laminate chip would work but I used black matt finish because that just made it all the easier to paint.

The small hole can be covered with something decorative or left as it is.  The laminate chip was a pretty good fit in the ceramic plate but since the plate is removable they work equally well without it.

With or...


This idea could be transferred to the buffet table as well to designate hot or mild sauces,  decaf vs. regular coffee, spiked punch....and so on.

I woke up this morning thinking of other ways to use these easles.  I thought perhaps for a women's luncheon...

it would be cute to use a mirror.  Write the guest's name in lipstick and then place a tube of lipstick next to each place setting as a favor.

It would be interesting to hear how you would use these.  If you leave me some good ideas, I'll do a follow up post.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Architectural Salvage

What is it and what do you do with it?

What it is is a wide piece of interior window trim that was sometimes used across the top of a window to give the window more of a presence.  It was purely decorative and with high ceilings in the older homes it made the windows more proportionate to the height of the walls.  It also added a little drama and, heaven knows, Victorian homes were all about drama.

I have been hanging on to four of these for about 10 years.  I have contemplated what to do with them and the day finally came when I actually did more than think about it.

I have a couple unpainted ones too.  One idea was to paint some lettering onto the wide flat area but I haven't come up with anything clever or perfect for that yet.  So I went with my next idea that was to cover it in fabric.

Some simple clean up was required.  It's also a good idea to determine how this will hang on the wall if that's the intent.  I think two shallow holes on each side that will allow a screw head to catch is the easiest way to go.

Next, choose your fabric.  I have had this piece for some time.  I decided to save the middle section for another project,  so I cut off one end border for this project.

Now, the next part is a bit messy and requires you to move along.  That means no stopping for pictures.  I soaked the fabric in gel medium and then smoothed it over the wood.  Let me explain here a few things that are good to know in advance.  First:  WEAR GLOVES.  Not because this is toxic but because when it dries on your skin it does not wash off.  It eventually peels off but you will look like you have a serious dry skin condition for about a week.  Secondly: change gloves midway if the medium starts to dry on the gloves.  Dried bits will flake off of your gloves and interfere with the smoothing of the fabric.    Like upholstering, you have to maneuver the fabric on the sides as it wraps around.  This is not difficult but you will have to snip the fabric in places to get it to bend smoothly. 

I thought the pattern of this fabric added interest to this piece.  But it would also be interesting to use the same fabric used elsewhere in the room.  Say, a toile that matches the curtains.  This could be striking in a bathroom as a header over an unframed vanity mirror.
I wanted to show this piece hanging on a wall with a piece of art resting on top, but good light was an issue today and I didn't feel like putting screws in one of my walls for one picture.  So I used an easel and took this picture outdoors.
(not the perfect backdrop, I know.)

I think this might work nicely in a back hall.  I may add hooks across the bottom edge for keys, a purse strap, and an umbrella.  There is room for plenty of hooks.  It might also be used to hang necklaces and chains in a bedroom or dressing room.  The top is about 2 1/2 inches wide so it could hold perfume bottles or something decorative.

If you think of a way to use this piece or have an idea for my remaining three headers, please share your ideas with me.  I would love to hear your suggestions.

The DIY Show Off

Friday, September 16, 2011

Window advertising

You know how that thing that lands last on your heap of potential projects becomes the next thing you tackle?  Well, it happened again.  I don't have a good explanation for why it happens.  But I know it is a common phenomenon.  Here is the top of my heap as of last week.

My brother had these in the back of his truck and gave me a shot at them before they landed in the dumpster.  Without even the slightest hesitation, I grabbed them.  I don't know what I thought I would do with them but....that really never stops me.  I sometimes think friends and family don't even offer me some things because they know I won't say, no, and they feel like they should save me from myself.  But in this case, they did come and they stayed.

They rested a couple of days at the front of the heap and then I started thinking that cleaning them up and painting a couple might be therapeutic.  That way I could think about my other 1/2 finished projects while I did something simple.

An orangey shade first.  A dark brown top coat followed by rubbing back to expose the base color.
Then came my attempt at lettering.  I spied this antique invoice on  The Graphics Fairy.

There was also a link to the portion I wanted that was printable in the mirror image. 

Ya gotta love the The Graphics Fairy.
So much for the easy part.

I knew going into this part of the project that the paint would not just flow off the brush creating smooth, even lettering.  Distressing and mottling, smooshing and overlapping is how I generally work with paint.  But when you have no experience there is only one way to get it.  It was an experiment that convinced me I need to gather some information on sign painting.  I need a class or two and I need lots of practice.  But, if you don't look closely, it's passable.

You can't read it, you say.  Ok, a little closer look, I suppose.

I do have plans to try again.  I saw a girl at the paint store buying One Shot so I struck up a conversation with her.  Turns out she does pin striping and lettering.  I have her card!   

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dress Art

I discovered the art of Katherine Allen-Coleman at an art fair a few years back.  She displayed canvases with actual clothing glued to them.  She painted over, around, and even on top of the clothing.  For me, nothing in the entire fair compared to her work.  I could not stop thinking about it.  I contacted her and asked her a few questions about the process and she was very gracious with her answers.

You are getting the idea.  I just had to try this.  And so I did.  I had this little dress from my childhood and, really, what was I going to do with it?  Why not have some fun with it.  I stretched it out on a canvas and....

this is how it looked glued to the canvas.  I then painted the background.

It stayed like this for a very long time.  Somewhere along the way I painted the dress white.  Then I got busy and it just sat there.  I needed time to sit with it and let it tell me what to do next. But I never seemed to have that time.  Well, now I do. So I pulled that canvas from the back burner.

It didn't get to this stage without a few tries.  It evolved over a few days and the colors changed as it evolved.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the process but I didn't and it's too late now.

This is the part I added today.  I'm thinking it is finished but maybe I will think differently tomorrow. 

There is one more dress canvas I want do that involves a grown-up dress.  I still have my wedding dress from 40 years ago.  I shortened it years ago to wear to a formal dinner/dance which means it could fit on a canvas.  Why not?

While you are waiting for that post you might want to check out my inspiration for this project.  You can see Katherine Allen-Coleman's dress paintings here.

I am linking to: www.savvysouthernstyle.blogspot.com


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Art Hill Remembers

On Sept. 10, 2011, 100 firefighters, police officers and 150 volunteers erected 2996 flags in a grid on Art Hill.  It was a memorial titled "America's Heartland Remembers Sept. 11, 2001.

These are some shots I took as my brother and I walked amongst the flags that were each labeled with the name of one of the victims of 9/11.

A $20 donation to the Injuried Marine Fund will entitle you to one of these flags.  Contact Elizabeth Short Schenk at 314-785-7633.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vintage Buttons

I recently sorted all my buttons by color....obsessively.  I have had them for years.  They were in a jumbled mess in a large drawer for all those years until that day came when I could not stop sorting until they were all in old cigar boxes sorted by color and the white ones by size. 

Now I have become obsessed with finding ways to use them.  This is my first attempt.

I have been wanting to use numerals in some way so I decided to combine these two things.

I tend to think with my hands and then I get ahead of myself.  That's what happened here.  I started laying the buttons on my printout.  I continued to tweak them until I had a layout that satisfied me.  Opps, no second printout and I had not traced my numerals on the fabric.  Easy?  It would have been if I had saved the original.  Luckily the font I used started with "A" so I didn't have to search for long.

Sewing the buttons on took awhile and some adjustments had to be made along the way.  Next time I am going to attach the backing to my mini quilt frame to see if that makes getting the needle through all those little holes easier.

My sewing skills are pretty rusty so the piping and pillow construction would not hold up to close scrutiny.  Hopefully that will improve with practice.

I am sure I will get that much needed practice because "have buttons, will obsess."

You can see I am wasting no time moving to project #2.  Looks like I may have to purchase some small brown buttons to complete this pattern.  How did using all my stored buttons turn into heading to the store to buy buttons?