Monday, August 27, 2012

Pair of Pears

A couple of years ago, I started dabbling in painting.  I claim to be no artist.  While I took art classes when I was in school, they were usually for drawing or ceramics.  I am a 100% self-taught painter.

I like painting abstract landscapes.  And pears.  With a palate knife.  No brushes involved.  I painted the whole thing with this:

Why are pears such a common subject?  There must be something about those curves.

I used a 12 x 12 wrapped canvas, so I could have skipped the framing, but my decorating style is pretty traditional so a frame was more appropriate.  While I was pleased how this painting turned out, I didn't want to splurge on custom framing.

So I started with basic wood frame from Michaels (plus a 40% off coupon).

It's a shallow frame so the canvas would stick out the back, so I added some bulk on the backside with some 1x2 I had on hand.  I used wood glue and small brads to attach the four pieces to the main frame.

Next, a little sanding and a bit of wood putty to fill the gaps, followed by two coats of my favorite craft paint.

I had painted the hall to the garage red last year.  I love the color, but it's a little dark.  I love the way the green pears pop against the wall now.

I'm linking up...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mini-Bar Knock-off

In my part of the country, finished basements are pretty typical.  Some are really tricked out with elaborate wet bars, and I really question how much use they get.

When I've toured Mary Carol Garrity's home, one of the things I've admired is her mini-bar which moves from room to room, depending on the season.  I've seen it set up in her foyer ready to serve guests at a holiday party or tucked aside in the living room.

While I try to keep the liquor put away, it always seems like the old stand-bys don't stay in the cabinet.  I had a spare corner in the dining room that would be perfect for a small cart or table, if I could find one.

I searched my favorite thrift stores and second-hand shops until I found this table at a local antique store.

Being a reproduction, not an actual antique, the price was right.  I didn't like the backing or the spindles, but they were easy to remove.  The shelves were wood veneer, but I figured it could strip it and restain it.

And that's where my troubles started.

First problem: The original stain was stubborn, especially on the legs.  The stripper was pretty ineffective, so I had to sand the majority of the legs.

Second problem:  I couldn't get the new stain to "take."  I wanted it to be a dark cherry color.  I applied one coat of Minwax Red Mahogany.  Then a second coat. Still too pale.  So I switched to Ebony.  (Thank goodness I had all this stain on hand already).  Closer, but not quite.  The grain was disappearing and it looked muddy.  At this point, I'm ready to ditch the stain and head for the spray paint.

Good thing I didn't give up.

How did I achieve that rich finish?  I wiped down the excess stain with mineral spirits and tried one more thing: a wash with burnt sienna acrylic craft paint with just a dab of black paint. Brushed it on a small section with a chip brush, then promptly wiped the excess.  Let it dry, then sealed with Minwax's Wipe-on Poly.


I know that distressed chalk paint is all the the point of being passé in my opinion.  Give me that subtle shading of stained wood any day.

Shhhh...the lamp came from our neighbor's trash.  Formerly shiny brass, I spray painted it ORB.  I think their daughter recognized it when I was painting it in our driveway.  Yes, that was a little embarrassing.  The lampshade was a ReStore find last week.

Cocktail, anyone?

And my most recent Nell Hill's purchases: This little fern plant and decanter.

For all the hours I spent trying to get the finish right, I'm so glad I didn't give up on it.

I'm linking up...

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I dream of being featured in a craft magazine. Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen.

I've been working on a lot of small, diverse projects, which means the studio is a complete mess.

Try as I might, I can't seem to keep the table clear.  Receipts.  Fabric scraps. Embroidery floss. Paint.  Jars of Mod Podge.  More paint.  One finished project peeking out, waiting to be hung.

Fabric for a partially completed quilt. Burlap scraps.  Packaging tape.  Bits of ribbon.

Here is Where This Woman Creates.