Saturday, 17 August 2013

Cottage Signs and Memories

Anyone who has ever owned or been too a cottage knows those trees you find all along the long winding cottage roads. You know the ones that have all the cottage owners last names painted or burned or scrolled into them?

I have memories of going to a close family friends cottage all the time as kids. In fact, I just talked to one of them the other week and we were remembering the time our family arrived and we gave them a sign for their cottage. There is actually a photo of all us on the driveway from that day. It was before digital cameras or else I would post it. I remember my Dad routing "The Kirks of Sandlake" into a piece of pine. I also remember the smell. I love the smell of woodworking. So many great memories of that cottage and the wonderful time spent their.

Well, we were invited to cottage recently this summer. A cottage that we know our friends have been working away at for over a year and bit now. We have been so excited to finally make the venture there and see all their hard work. So, my thought was that they probably needed a sign. My second thought was that between the two of them, they might be some of the most handy and creative people we know, so they probably already have one.

What could I do for them???? Well they have a nice big black truck that their kids so cleverly gave a name too. What Dad could say "No" when his beloved daughter suggests Princess Unicorn for a name of his rugged work truck? Hahaha. And the idea was born. I just hoped no one had thought to give them a Princess Unicorn Parking Only sign before me!! It's the perfect cottage-warming gift.

I found a nice piece of pine and dusted off my old wood burning kit and got to work (it smelled so good). I think it turned out pretty cool. A bunch of clear coats and it was all ready to go.

In the end, they loved the sign. We had a perfect weekend at their cottage and it's a place we hope to visit again soon. After all, I want Charlie to have the same memories of summer that I do. Swimming, laughing, fishing, running barefoot down the rocks to the water and of course, great company.

Cheers to memories!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Oak Desk and Chair

Here is my latest refinishing project. A friend of mine called me back in February and said, there is a really cool Oak desk and chair set at his favourite second hand shop. I was so excited about it because after those night stands, I kinda caught a bug to keep refinishing stuff. So, Grant and I set out right away to the store to check it out and bought it.

I was a bit overwhelmed at first, not really sure what I was going to do with this now that I bought it. It's oak, and the colour of the wood was so nice I would have been heartbroken to paint over it. However, there were a few good stains on the top that I wouldn't be able to cover if I didn't paint it. It was missing a piece of decorative wood at the back and one other piece was broken. Let's just say, it sat for a good couple of weeks before I was inspired.

Then it hit me. And I love when that happens – probably my family doesn't though, because once I've got what I want to do in my head, I zone out and pretty much ignore them until I'm done. Anyway, it was Dave who called to tell me about this set, so I decided to model this piece after him. He LOVES fishing. I immediately knew I would paint a fish on the top surface and from there, the idea to stain/paint some sections out green came. It was a great bargain fabric at the fabric store for recovering the chair that happened to be in the same colour. So it all kinda fell into place.

All in all, it was a bigger project than I thought it would be, replacing some parts, stripping all the corners and putting everything back together. The stains on the top are still showing, although I stained the top a few extra times, and sanded it back really well. They will just have to be chalked up to "character". After all, this is a solid oak antique. 

The finishing touch was the painting of the Bass on the top. I think it adds a ton of character and a little bit of uniqueness. This is a piece that would go perfectly in a cabin or cottage somewhere.

So, thanks Dave for the heads up on this find and for the inspiration of the finished product.

I am selling this piece so if you are interested, please leave me a message.

Monday, 18 March 2013

English Phone Booth Closet Door

Another project down! As I'v mentioned before, we moved into a house that was in need of updating and renovating. And as we move through the house, slowly but surely, each room gets some TLC.

One of the most obvious changes we had done was switching out the old flat dark-stained wood doors, with new panelled doors painted white. They really brighten things up. However, this closet door in our hallway never got done. First of all because we can't decide whether or not to keep the closet, second, it's a skinny door and we can't the same style door to match (I don't believe it, but that's what I'm told). This door also stuck so forget getting new towels out of the closet while Charlie was sleeping! SQUEEEK! THUD! WOBBLE! Ugh. It's time to fix this.

I've found some really great ideas over the past year on Pinterest and this is one of them. Painting the door to look like an old English phone booth, or for any who watches Dr. Who, there was a lot of blue Police Booths too. Usually it was found painted on a children's closet door, but I applied it to my hallway and think it turned out really well actually. It is like having a big piece of art at the end of the hallway. Plus, Grant fixed it so it opens properly, so no more tug of war with it.

It was cost effective as we didn't need to buy a new door either. I just primed the entire thing and put two coats of white trim paint on the back and edges. On the front I drew out my design in pencil, referring to a picture of phone booth I found online. I painted the glass in first then did all the red accents. The final part was the words. Once I was finished, I sprayed it down with a matte varnish to protect it from some basic wear and tear. We just used the door knob that was already on there. It doesn't look right, but I have knob on a bathroom door that will be used here once we reno the bathroom. For those of you who have been here, you know the knob I'm talking about, the Gold Nugget knob. It's a work of art all on it's own!

Anyway, I like it. Hope you do too!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Turquoise Bedside Tables

In our last house, our bedside tables were built into (on to) the wall and we didn't get to bring them with us in the move. So for 3.5 years now, Grant has had a filing cabinet on his side and I've had a mix of a TV table and most recently a massive corner TV unit, on our respective sides of the bed. Although they work as a tables, it drives me crazy. I've been on the hunt for a pair of some cool and unique, reasonably priced bed side tables ever since.
Last summer, at our garage sale, my parents showed up to sell a bunch of their old stuff along side us and while they managed to get rid of most of their stuff, they didn't make as much as they had hoped too. Mostly because I snagged their two thirds of their old bedroom suite for us! I got the bedside tables and the dresser. Leaving them to somehow get rid of a mirror (which I didn't want) and a headboard. And well I maybe felt slightly bad that they didn't make any money, I was more focused on the fact that I scored BIG! 3 pieces of solid wood furniture in great condition. Always wanting to try to refinish furniture I set to work.

Set of tables. How they looked when I got them.
 First step: Stripping and sanding. I did this outside because A) it was summer and who wants to be inside. B) there was ALOT of varnish on these pieces. I had to use a power sander. I didn't want all that sitting in the basement.

Stripped and sanded.
I didn't get a picture of the next step, but I primed them with white primer. I still wasn't exactly sure what I was doing and I'm not sure if I would do this step again.
When I finally decided to paint them turquoise, it was winter and things are now moved to the basement.
Painted with semi-gloss.
The next step I had found online was to rub down with a furniture wax to achieve a sort of distressed look and protective coating at the same time. This didn't work for me. Probably because I used semi-gloss and there was nothing for it to stick too. I wanted a distressed look, so I started sanding. That's when I regretted having primed them as the white showed through.
So, to cover up the white, I put a dark gel stain over everything. It looked amazing! I was so excited! Here is a pic of the draws at each step along the way.
Right to Left: Painted with semi-gloss, sanded down to create aged look, stained with dark gel stain.
At the end of this it probably could have been done, but I did coat the entire piece with a furniture wax to help protect it. It also gives it a really nice feel when you smooth your hand over it. I change the hardware from the wood knobs to oiled bronzed ones.
All and all, I love them. They are going to look so cool in our room. Now I have to actually finish the room. And, I still have a dresser to work with. Oh, and an old oak desk that I just bought from a second hand store...
This is slowly becoming an obsession.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Bedroom Murals

I have a 3 and half year old boy. I love him to pieces. It's great playing Hot Wheels and pirates and knights. We read about dinosaurs and bugs and monster trucks. When you've got kids you kinda sink yourself into their world. It's been so cool to learn all about Lego and Wall Tracks, all toys that I didn't play as a little girl, especially with a sister too. And if you remember, the last mural I did was sharks!
So when I had a opportunity to paint some stuff in two little girls rooms, I was pretty excited. The only information that I was given was that Abbey, who is about 5, loves pink. She also loves flowers. And Chloe, who is about 2, likes purple and butterflies. Because of location and timing, I knew I would only have a day to paint in both girls' rooms and with that, set about figuring out what to do.
We made the drive to their house last weekend and I showed the girls my ideas. They seemed pretty excited which took some of the pressure off! I got started right away tracing the first room out. I found a really cool graphic online of a garden and knew immediately it was what I wanted to do. Only instead of black and white, it would be dark pink on light pink. After all, pink is her colour! I changed some of the flowers around in the image and included as rose as that is her middle name. Once I got it transferred to the wall, I began painting. I ended up with a little bit of an audience for most of the day. It was pretty cute as the girls and Charlie, would stand at the bedroom door whispering about it. Here is the first one. My favourite part of doing this painting was when Abbey said to me, " It looks like the flowers are dancing."
Once the flowers were done, I added in her name in a darker pink and highlighted the rose in the same colour. I love it!

The second half of the day was spent in Chloe's room. I knew I was going to do a butterfly, but the pattern was going to be made up on the fly. So away I went and got it drawn on and base coat of light purple down with a mix of Chloe-approved pink and blue, before dinner. After dinner I went back in with a dark purple to create some pattern and give it some character. It turned out amazing and I knew I had it right because Chloe just stood in the door with the biggest, cutest smile on her face.

All said and done, I finished by about 7pm and we were on our way home. It was a long day, but it was well worth it. I hope they enjoy their new paintings in their rooms! I had so much fun. Thanks for having me! Enjoy.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Peter Rabbit the Turtle

It's been a long time since Charlie has had a cold. Which is especially strange this year as there has been some nasty stuff going around. But, yesterday he woke up with puffy eyes, a runny nose and a dry cough. Poor thing. :( It's so sad when a little one is sick.
I remember one of the first times he got sick and wishing there was something more I could do than Children's Advil and cuddles. We went to Toys R' Us and bought him a dinosaur. Now we don't make a habit of this and he was too young for it to become an expectation, but I just felt so helpless, I had to do something.
So as we sat curled up in bed drinking tea and apple juice yesterday morning, I started to think, this is the perfect day to use my new sewing machine and we will make something out scraps to make him feel better. As I suggested this to Charlie, he got so excited and wanted to make a lizard. A tad ambitious if you asked me. As I was going through things we could make that are "easy"(my sewing skills are limited to mostly straight lines), I thought of a turtle. Perfect. Charlie was on board.
He picked out the material he wanted for the shell and I picked something for the bottom that I knew we had enough of, then away we went. Charlie picked some buttons for eyes which turned out really cute.
All said, it went a lot smoother than I thought. We made some adjustments along the way (like now it is a sea turtle, not a regular turtle for fear of not being able to establish what was leg and what was a head).
Anyway, it's done. Not a bad project for the day with a sick kid and cold weather outside! I actually kinda like it and may make a few more to sell.
The finishing touch for any stuffed animal, of course, is a name. This is all up to Charlie. So I asked, "what are you going to name him?" Charlie asked, "What's the name of that rabbit?"
I was confused, so I asked, "You mean like Peter Rabbit?"
"Yeah. Peter Rabbit. That's his name."

So, there you have it, Peter Rabbit the Turtle. I may not be able to make a killer Chicken Noodle Soup to make him feel better, but hopefully this will work just as well.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year, New Ideas

Happy New Year everyone! It's 2013. Most people take this opportunity to make resolutions, a couple of years ago though, I decided to take a different approach to the new year. I like to pick something that I've considered difficult, unknown, scary or new to tackle each year. I know it seems sort of silly to need an entire year to complete what may be a simple task, but hey, this is my challenge so I invent the rules.
2010 started it as that is the year I turned 30 and I had always wanted a tattoo. Done. 2011, make a quilt. If you read this blog, you know that is Done (although quilt #2 is still in the works). 2012, really take the time and dedication to learn yoga. Done and still going. I knew this one would I would really like so I waited for the right time to start. I do believe this is something that will be with me forever.

Which brings us to today. January 1, 2013. What to do this year?

I bought a bunch of books the other day and have two more on the way. I read "Steal Like an Artist" in about an hour. All I can say is, I'm inspired. Talks about journaling. So that is on my to do list this year. Started "The Book of Awesome" all about really great things in life that make you smile. Read a great article in "Outside" called "Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call me in the Morning". Basically, it says GO OUTSIDE. Which is funny because that is what "Steal Like an Artist" kinda talks about too.
Skimming through two Yoga magazines and started reading "An Object of Beauty" which is really off to a great start (especially when I can hear Steve Martin narrating it in my head).

So what does all this mean? I feel like there is a common thread of Nature, Positivity and Creativity here but can't seam to connect the dots into a solid 2013 goal. I've already that decided that this will be a year of journalling and keeping track of ideas and inspiration. I may need a huge wall in my house somewhere, or the nice huge scrapbook Dad bought me for Christmas. For now I'll keep on this path, hopefully the positivity and nature will lead me to some great paintings. In the mean time, I'll keep my eyes and ears open for my 2013 goal (and keep reading).