Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simple And Lovely Eucalyptus Wreath Project For You To Try

I made a quick pair of wreaths today for my front door (doors actually, we have 2) and just thought I'd share very quickly with you. Still house primping here....lots of exciting things in the works and I'm honored and flattered, will share later on:-).


I love eucalyptus...with it's woodsy aroma I find it perfect to use around ma maison for the Fall season. 
This simple wreath was made with just a few "ingredients", all of which you can pick up at the craft store. You'll need a bunch of eucalyptus, 12 gauge aluminum floral wire (I used black), 24 gauge floral wire (use green) and some wire cutters....
Bend the wire into shape....I chose hearts. The aluminum floral wire is easy to bend so that you won't need any tools. Twist the ends together to hold...
Snip off some pieces of eucalyptus and your 24 gauge wire and start wrapping. I wanted a very simple look and only used one layer of leaves...but you could do more or make this larger.....
If you plan on hanging it on a hook, add some wire to the backside....
Lovely and simple....easy fixins!
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ghosting Up....Easy Way To Age Mirrors

I've been meaning to write a post on how I age mirrors....or "ghost" them for some time. It seems apropos that I post it at this time....with Halloween coming up and all. Did you get the little play on words? You know...."ghost" (bad...I know). 

With some previous photos of my full length frameless mirror that's been on the blog for a few months, some of you have asked me what my technique is. 
Certainly I'm not the first to make new mirrors look old, but I have been doing it for many years....and what might appeal to some of you...I do it in a "green" way. Being somewhat chemically sensitive and of course concerned about the environment my little secret is paint stripper. Nope....no muriatic acid (which I have on hand for our pool, but it's pretty toxic), no chlorine bleach...just this stuff....
I've used it for years....it's still available, although the packaging has changed since my last stocking up. This is not a paid endorsement, I just love this for stripping mirrors....furniture too! It's called Ready Strip by Back To Nature and you can find it at Home Depot and on the Back To Nature website.

This project was for a vintage Italian Tole shelf with 3 mirror shelves that I've had stored away and just found again. I love shopping my own store...haha! The shelves were most likely replaced at some time because they usually have plain glass, but I purchased it used from an estate years back and am not sure. 
The stripper is the easiest thing ever to use. Take a throwaway brush and load on one VERY THICK coat of the stripper on the reverse side. It's important to make the coat as thick as you can get it on, and be sure to wear gloves since it's not toxic but you wouldn't want it on your hands. 
Leave it alone for at least 24 hrs, I prefer to leave on for 48 hrs or 2 whole days. If you are impatient, then this is not the stuff for you to use. It changes color a little when dry enough to remove paint, but you should test an inconspicuous area with a plastic paint scraper (do not use metal, it will scratch). Hint....work outside if possible and line the surface with plastic or a drop cloth, it's messy!
Be sure to look at the mirror from the front and see if the black coating is coming off as well as the silvering that is under the black paint. You will want all of the black paint off, or most of it...but not all of the silvering....or it will just look like a piece of glass. Scrape carefully and then use your fingers to smear the silvering before it's all dry. You may wish to practice on a piece that you don't care about first until you are comfortable with the technique.
Then wash any remaining stripper off with some water and paper toweling. I don't use the stripper rinse spray that you can purchase...just water will do. If your mirror will be in a bathroom or high humidity area then spray the back with a clear fixative.

Not yet sure where I am going to put this piece, but here is my finishing shelving....

It's very easy.....I'd love to hear from you if you try this technique. Now I must get off the computer and continue working around here to prepare for Fifi's arrival and the photo shoot next week!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Organizing, Paring Down And Helping Others....

I've been going thru oodles of stuff and it feels good to at least take a stab at organizing. Just a few quick shots of some of my piles that I just shot......








Just some of the stack of old windows that I have. A friend is going to take some to her shop to sell.... 



Working on updating a vintage china cabinet. Chicken wire or wire grating??
Waxing furniture....smells like Briwax in here!
One great thing about organizing is that it gives one a chance to share with others and pare down. We had a huge amount of goods picked up by the Salvation Army on Saturday, and gave some other things to a couple of people that we know in town who are facing hard times. 

Do you have too much stuff?.....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Quick And Easy DIY Project For You

Today was spent fluffing and working on some projects for my home. No, I didn't build a table....but I did add some crystals to my favorite chandelier....and.......
Worked on a plethora of pillows with some old European Grain Sacks and Vintage Ticking that have been in my studio calling my name forever....and......
Made some of these as well....and sharing the easiest project ever with you today. It's for something that we use on a daily basis as homemakers. No particular are skills needed, just a sewing machine or if you don't own one....a needle and thread. Curious?
Most of us have vintage napkins lying about, and if you don't....they are plentiful and inexpensive for the taking at flea markets and thrift shops. I have loads....I'm a closet vintage linen hoarder, hee hee. For this little project I took a stash of vintage Irish linen napkins....you know, the kind that sometimes have monograms on them (although these do not). I needed some new dish towels and linen is fabulous for drying off dishes and glassware....used in the finest of restaurants for drying their stemware and such. I simply cut off a couple of inches of double tape white seam binding...folded to make a loop and sewed on to one corner of each of the napkins. I used my machine, but you can take a few stitches by hand instead. There you have it.....

Hang on your cabinet door and it will always be in easy reach....make a few extras for gifts. Off to cook some dinner (and do the dishes!).......enjoy your weekend~

Thursday, September 22, 2011

French Farmhouse Table...My Muse, His Muse

Hi everyone! As you know I'm busy getting ready for a visit from Fifi to photograph my home, and it's forced me/us to get to some projects around here that have been on the back burner for way too long!
Scroll down and I'll tell you a little bit about how we put all this together....


My muse (French style elegance).....Rachel Ashwell Darcy Chair
His muse (rustic French style)....Restoration Hardware Reclaimed Wood Table
One of our "will get to it some day" projects was to change out our dining room table and chairs. A serendipitous moment recently occurred when I came across the chairs that I'd been searching for for months on Craigslist. Yep....Craigslist.
Cute French scripted seats that someone did a nice recovering job on...but not the look I was going for. I made some simple Belgian linen skirted slips, but I did keep the scripted seats intact underneath so that I can change it out.....
Now on to the table.

Around 10 years ago I had purchased a table from a house sale for $20. The owner told me that it was from Pottery Barn. Even with all of the years that I've been doing this I still remember where I purchased almost everything...and the cost! We have had it up at our beach home, but it's really too small at 6 feet, as that room is large and open. We brought it down to our home where we live our every day lives, this dining room is smaller. Some time after the photo shoot we plan on building a larger Farmhouse Table for the beach house.
We removed the top from the base which was pretty easy and simply unscrewed. The top has been saved for a future project. 
We purchased six 2 x 8 foot pieces of Southern Yellow Pine from Lowes and had everything else that we needed already in our messy garage. Underneath the table we used some 2 x 4 pieces of scrap wood and built some cross bases. Assuming that you don't have a spare table base lying around you can purchase table legs at Lowes and do something similar. With a screw gun we carefully screwed the cross braces to the wood planks from the underside so that they didn't show on the top. We did not use any screws that might show on the top (no nails used, only screw gun), as we wanted a somewhat refined look. I'm sorry that I don't have any photos of all of the steps, but I just didn't have the time to take any. Then came sanding by Mr. fufu/wonderful (who dreams about that Restoration Hardware piece)....


Staining...we used what we had in the garage, I think that it was Early American.....
I am the more patient painter of the team with a lighter hand, and don't tell....but I sanded down his stain some to bring up more of the grain and lighten up a bit. I gave the table 3 coats of Briwax, which I've used for years and is my favorite....albeit a little hard to find as it's from England. In between each hand applied coat of wax I buffed by hand with old t shirts. I love the sheen....LOVE
You really can meld two people's styles and I'm loving the juxtaposition of the chic elegance with the rustic French farmhouse.....
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