Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Bench to Go!

This week, the unthinkable happened ----- I ran out of storage room!

When you paint furniture, things tend to pile up.  There are finished projects waiting for a new home, pieces ready to be delivered to clients, and rescued pieces patiently waiting their turn to be refreshed.
This painted bench took up valuable floor space. 
IF only I could find a new place for it. 
But wait!  This weekend we will visit my parents. It seemed a perfect time to bring them a gift!  Yes, near their back door was a spot that begged for a place to sit.  They didn't know it yet, but they needed a bench!
We made this bench from a cast-off twin bed.  I like its clean and classic lines, but what really delights me is the fact that this was an old piece of furniture with a new purpose. 

Now that I knew where the bench would be going, I could choose fabric for a cushion and pillows.  A quick trip to the fabric store where I found a pretty black and white toile print for the cushion and some coordinating fabric for pillows. 

 Miss Mustard Seed, inspired me by using a painter's drop cloths as home decor fabric. 

Now, I use drop cloths every day, and never once thought about using them for anything else but catching splatters of paint.  But I was intrigued, and decided to use some of this material for the pillows.

The slightly nubby fabric was a perfect companion to the geometric print on the front of the pillow.  The drop cloth pressed beautifully and didn't fray with handing -- unlike the more costly fabric!


Because the gals in our family all lo-o-o-ove RED, I had to add some red trim to the pillow.  I found a packet of soutache braid in the bottom of my sewing basket as well as some red buttons from a long-ago winter coat.

A few frantic hours of sewing and the project was ready for its trip.  But would it fit into the back of our vehicle?  Along with my portable paint sprayer because Mother would like her kitchen table and chairs of course! 

I'll let you know how it goes.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

1--2--3 Mahogany

Miss G, a friend, purchased these corbels 
at one of those big discount decor stores. 
She couldn't resist them because they were on sale for $20. 
 But the corbels were made of lightweight composite - not wood, and so she asked if I could make them look like mahogany. 

I needed to create a "passable" mahogany 
 that would blend with her existing cabinets. 

 THREE STEPS will work for any project
 where a quick wood effect is needed.

If you wanted to do this on a larger surface
 - a door for example, the process would be the same,
but you'd apply the glazes in the grain of the wood,
 just as if you were building a door,
 board by board...rail, stile, header and panels.

Here we go!

STEP ONE - background color. 
  Benjamin Moore Brick Red (# 2084-10) 
 is my go-to color for mahogany.

And let the paint dry

STEP TWO - Mix a purplish-black, eggplant colored glaze.
Think of a glaze like a stain.
A glaze makes paint transparent -
perfect for graining or marbling.
Ask for glazing medium at your local paint store,
 or if you prefer, both Golden and Liquitex
make excellent glazing mediums
and they can be purchased at an art/craft store.

For small projects, using acrylic craft paint
 is an economical way to mix a glaze.
 Acrylic paints are available at stores like Michaels.

Squirt some opaque red onto a paper plate,
 add some blue to it, followed by a speck of black.
You may have to adjust the colors slightly.
 Once satisfied,
 mix in some glazing medium -
two or three parts glazing medium to 1 part paint.

Brush and dab the glaze onto the corbel. 
Use a clean rag to wipe away the excess. 
See how its taking shape?

Let this dry competely. 
 Make yourself a cup if tea...check e-mail
...throw in a load of wash...go for a run. 
But wait until this is completely dry before proceeding.

STEP THREE -  Mix the next glaze, a toning glaze,
 by using a few squirts of acrylic craft paint:
 burnt umber and black. 
Stir in the glazing medium to make a dark brown stain. 
 Again, 2 parts glazing medium and 1 part paint,
 should get you there.

I use a scruffy brush to apply the glazes. 
The best ones for the job are inexpensive
chip brushes from Home Depot. ($1.49)

Wipe away any surface excess
but leave a good bit of the dark brown glaze in the crevasses.

A small artist brush
 gets glaze into the little spaces
 missed with the larger brush.

What a difference that dark brown toning glaze makes! 
The original red tones become highlights
 as the piece lookes mellow. 
The corbel on the left is complete,
 the one on the right has only the first glaze on it.

One down, one to go!

Finish with a light spray of Krylon Matte Varnish
and you are done!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Detour into the Kitchen: Just Peachy!

Although I usually write about being creative with paint,
there certainly are other ways to express our creativity.  
Maybe its tending the vegetables in your garden, 
baking cookies, or even sorting out the garage. 
It seems to me that each time we put our hands to work
and strive to do it well, we are creating. 

 Art is the overflow of a heart filled with life.
Today, my creativity found its voice as I canned peaches.  
We live in an area ripe with fruit and vegetable farms. 
All around town there are roadside markets
offering freshly picked produce.  
This is the one where I usually shop. 

 And happy day, the Red Haven peaches are in! 
These peaches have a wonderful red color
rouged onto a fuzzy yellow skin.  
Because these freestone beauties ripen early in the season,
they are my favorite choice for canning.

The only thing more satisfying than biting into a ripe peach
and feeling the juice run down your chin,
is to enjoy them mid-winder
when January's snow is pounding at the door.

So each year I assemble my canning supplies
and get down to work. 
 It's a gift I give my family.

Creativity, both the cooking and painting kind, can be very messy! I'll not embarass myself with photos of peach skins in the sink or sticky pans on the stove. 
So here's the beginning.
And a few hot, steamy hours later, I am rewarded with these.

The jars looked so pretty,
 that I couldn't  bear to close
 them in the cupboard.
So until the next bushel is ready to be canned,
 I'll leave these on the counter to be admired. 
Looking at them makes me smile. 

How will you be creative today?  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Pink!

Little girls and their mothers love PINK.
This bedroom was for a pre-school sweetheart
who was making the transition into her big-girl room. 
While she wanted PINK,
Mom didn't want a room with a theme,
 but rather a room her little girl could grow with
and enjoy for many years.

The decorator had chosen some lovely fabric
 for the drapery and bed linens,
then asked if I would paint some
 false molding on the walls to echo the style of the furniture.

Starting with a blank PINK canvas,
 I laid out the design,
measured the placement of the moldings on the wall
 and decided what proportion might be pleasing to the eye. 
 Who knew painting would involve so much math!

Painter's Tape is a tool I can't do without. 
For this project I used miles of it! 

Rather than paint the design in a "trompe l'oeil" style
 - a realistic style creating the illusion
that you are looking at the real thing,
we agreed on a softer, looser,
and more painterly style
that suited the dreamy quality of the room.

And so, with a little shading and line work,
the molding gradually took shape.....

.......until the entire room was complete.

Wouldn't this be a cozy place to take an afternoon nap?


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bunny Bliss

The charming world of Beatrix Potter and her animal friends inspired this nursery.  The mother-in-waiting chose a pale aqua color for the walls.  Accents of yellow and green were used so that the room could welcome either a baby boy or girl.

Mimicking the illustrative style of Beatrix Potter, I set about creating a fantasy garden that would serve as a backdrop for this tranquil room.  Muted washes of green fading into distant blue, whimsical trees flanking the window and scattered field flowers made you feel as though you were walking into a story book when stepping into the room.

The room took shape as the furniture began to arrive.  An upholstered rocker nestled into a corner becomes a cozy spot for a late night feeding.

Mrs. Rabbit and her three 'good little bunnies', Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail are painted under the window.  Peter has hopped off and gotten into mischief in Mr. McGregor's garden!

This wonderfully painted furniture served as the inspiration for the room.  Aren't these pieces grand?  These and other luxury designs can be viewed at Posh Tots.  They were the inspiration for the room.

With everything in place, all that was needed was the guest of honor to arrive.  Will it be a little boy?  or a little girl?  Either way, this baby will enjoy a stunning nursery.

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