Thursday, October 30, 2014

Addendum to previous Post

This is where the previous post ended.  I had stripped the top of this nightstand and experimented with a new technique on the painting of the base and drawers.
I was not thrilled with the results.

I was especially disappointed in how orange the original finish looked next to the black top coat.
I sanded most of the black off the drawers.
Next I painted the top black. 
I repeated the wax rub-off technique used on the base but only on the edging around the top.
 I think this pulled it out of the "oops" pile.  So don't give up on a piece that isn't working.  You just aren't finished with it yet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Practice Piece

When it comes to painted furniture, one of my favorite blogs is I saw this dresser on a recent post and was intrigued by the technique.

First of all, it is a beautiful piece, and the finish is perfect for her setting.  She even divulged her "secret" method for achieving this look.  So, of course, I had to try it.  She recommended a practice piece to get the hang of the technique.

I had just picked up this three drawer nightstand at a thrift shop.  It is a very heavy, well made piece and, because I love drawers in a nightstand, I could not pass it up.  This became my "experiment."

I started with the drawers thinking if any thing went really wrong I would only have to redo one drawer.

I sprayed with the black satin spray paint...easy enough!

Next step was applying the wax and wiping it off.  Not too bad.  It seemed to be working the way it was supposed to work.

Getting the right amount of wax onto the larger surfaces was a little trickier. I think I will try brushing the wax on next time and then wiping it off.

  The finish on the top was peeling badly so I knew I would have to sand it.

This edge had some deep gouges that needed to be filled.

Before I painted the base, I took care of the sanding and the repairs.

I used three different colors of stain on the top.  The last color I used was ebony in an attempt to tie it closer to the base.  I am not satisfied yet and may have to play around with the top a bit more.

Next to the black, and in bright light, the original finish looks very orange.  Although it's almost Halloween, this is not what I was hoping for.

In an attempt to remedy the orange glow, I darkened my wax with black stain.  Although the first coat of wax had dried overnight, this layer of wax removed more of the paint.  Big OOPS!

You may be wondering about the hardware.  My intention was to replace it, but nothing I tried was doing anything to help this piece.  So I sprayed the original hardware black and left it....for now.

I have faith that I can still redeem myself with this piece.  It is just going to take a little more trial and a little less error.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


 Normally my hydrangea bushes are lush with blooms all summer long and into the fall.

But this year, due to a harsh winter, there was beautiful, abundant, huge foliage....

with just a smattering of blooms in late summer and early fall.

I have five bushes and together they produced 10-12 flowers.

It was interesting to me how much I appreciated that smattering of blossoms.

Not that I didn't appreciate the huge bouquets from previous years.  I loved sharing the abundance of blossoms with my friends and relatives.

And I certainly enjoyed gathering huge bouquets to enjoy inside my own home.

I also had plenty to dry for winter bouquets.

In previous years the bushes were sometimes so loaded with flowers they looked crowded and weighed down.  I had them in vases everywhere in an attempt to keep the bushes thinned out.  This year every single flower had my attention.  It was nice of nature to tip the balance and remind me that too much of a good thing is not always a good thing.

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Wall, One Room,

How long does it take to complete one simple project?  My answer to that is, "It all depends how many "life" interruptions you have, and how many people are ahead of you on your helper's schedule."

This post picks up where this post left off.

As you may remember this flue wall used to have have a gas fireplace that had been decorative (non-functioning) for the last 37 years that I know of, and probably way longer than that.  

This is the piece intended for that wall after the mantel had been removed and the firebox hole was covered over.

I am happy to report it is now in place.  ( Not a one person job for sure, and considering I was post surgery, my brother had to handle the bulk of the job by himself.)

The two windows that flank the bed are on a diagonal in the bay.  I have had venetian blinds on these windows for many years.  Somewhere along the line I broke the wands. Since then they have remained perpetually open.  (Somewhat of an inconvenience in a bedroom.)
I finally ordered new blinds.  This time in wood and without wands.

In addition to hanging the oversized art, my brother hung the blinds on either side of the bed, and one more on another wall.  (That white dot you see at the very top is a piece of foam packing that I neglected to remove prior to picture taking.)  I know you are wondering, and the answer is, yes, it is still up there.  These things take just the right moment and that moment has not arrived yet.

The chair arm protruding into the picture on the right was there on trial.  It is not staying.  I also will be on the lookout for bedding.  If you are interested in seeing other angles of this room you can check here, here, and here.  I have not found what I want over the dresser yet and I have a few other details to address, but this is progress.

I would prefer to have taken a shot with the blinds open, but the light was too strong.

The quirky part of this whole bedroom remodel is that I had the fruit/floral pillows before I started any of this.  Someone gave me the fabric years ago.  I had it made into pillows that I thought I would sell with some of my painted pieces.  Obviously that did not happen, so I decided I would use them myself.  They became my "inspiration" for all my color choices for this room.  Now that everything is almost complete, I no longer like them in this room.  Oh, the irony of it all! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Alley Bench

This was an accidental alley find that turned out to be just what I needed for my bedroom.

I must admit I tried it out in the bedroom without even wiping it down first.  And then it sat there for a really long time before I thought about it again.  I was expecting company so I decided I better wash it down and at least coat it with primer.

As you can see most of the decorative trim was missing.

So I removed what was left of it.

After a good cleaning and a coat of primer it went back to the foot of my bed....and stayed there longer than I would care to admit.

Finally I decided on a color and pulled it out again to apply the first coat.

And a second coat.

And a third coat.

Here we are eleven months later.  I am searching for this post so I can reference it in a post I'm working on about my bedroom.  I see it in the post review but when I search for the November 2013 date, it is not there.  That's because it is still in "draft" stage and was never posted.  So folks, almost one year later I am posting this so I can reference it in my current post.  Makes me wonder what else I forgot to do.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Autumn Dessert

My job for yesterday was to decide what to make for the neighborhood block party, get the ingredients and then make it.

Click here for the recipe

I selected this cake from my "Special Event Recipes" board on pinterest.  I thought some of the ingredients would be a little different from the normal fare.  They included dates and crystallized ginger.

Mine does not look quite like the picture.  I think I might have over cooked the glaze a bit.  Be forwarned, the recipe lists some ingredients in grams and the temperatures are in celsius so there is some converting to be done.  It also calls for caster sugar, so I pulsed regular sugar in the blender and browned it on a gas burner.  I think my flame was a little high.  Since I can't taste the one in the pinterest photo, I have no idea if it made a big difference in taste.

 Suffice it to say, I will make it again because it tastes pretty darn good.  Second time around I'll have a better handle on watching the burner and being a little more prepared for how I can avoid minor mistakes.

I did not add as much crystallized ginger as garnish because I though the taste might be a little overpowering.  Next time I will doll it up a bit more and allow people to decide for themselves if they want to leave a little of the garnish on the plate.

I like the denseness of this cake for a Fall dessert and the flavors lend themselves nicely to this time of year as well.

Here is how it looked outside at the block party.  The frosting looks more like chocolate than caramel.  Just another little surprise for the taste buds.