Monday, October 31, 2011

A burst of colour...

Okay, so I've been carrying around this old maple secretary desk intermittently for thirty years or so. It was my daughter's as she was growing up. (She's now a married Mum to four boys...when did THAT happen!?) So, as with other pieces of furniture in my past, this one has been recycled through children and friends over the years, and it came back to me (in it's "still-functional-but-"dated"-condition") when my adult son relocated to Ontario.

I don't have a before pic, but it looked almost identical to this one. Nice little piece, but it wasn't fitting in with my brighter, cleaner, upcycling-in-progress life, right? (ha ha)

After a lovely coat of primer (Zinnser Bin Cover FAVOURITE) I used my go-to colour...Martha Stewart Heavy Cream, morphed into knock-off chalk paint with calcium carbonate, and painted the inside with ASCP Arles...such a lovely soft gold. Painting the fronts of those cubbies with white was a major PAIN, but I liked the extra bit of definition that gave the inside.

Okay, done, but SOOOO boring, especially when it was closed.

So I switched out the hardware for cup drawer pulls, painted them with Rustoleum Rubbed Bronze...looking better...more up-to-date..."and THEN!!

AHA!! GOT IT!! I went back into my bookmarks and found this post over at Tracy's place...PERFECT little bit of OOMPH for this piece, I thought.

Tracy very kindly sent me a copy if the image she used for her lovely piece (THANKS Tracy!), but after another AHA moment, I decided to scan in one of my (many) peacock feathers, and used that as the image transfer base on the drop down front piece, then on one of the drawers...painted over the transfer for more definition, chipped, sanded, applied three coats of Polycrylic, and this is the result. Acetone image transfer in progress...spritzed warm water over, gently rubbed off the paper...

...painted over the image with several colours of acrylic paint...


...and here she sits, in my livingroom, with my yummy lichen green wall as a backdrop...

Ooohhh my, my daughter Erin will either love it or hate it (she thinks my "taste"has moved towards the "trashy"as I move toward my dotage (ha ha). If she LOVES it, I'll let her have it back! Hey hey HEY...edited to say...she liked it...she REALLY LIKED it! (ha ha)

Please oh brilliant ones, tell me what YOU think. Just be gentle 'eh?

Partying here and with these fine bloggers, and thanking them for all their dedicated linky party work.

Here are the scanned peacock feathers I used, if you'd like to play!

THANK YOU so much for visiting today...I'll visit YOU too if you leave a link.

"May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light.

May good luck pursue you each morning and night."

An Irish Blessing

THANK YOU to Amy and Emily and Courtney and Kelli and Dr Jaime for so generously featuring my desk at their linky parties...DO pop over to visit these blogs for some fabulous inspiration!


Sunday, October 23, 2011


I found TWO of these lovely buffets on Kijiji here in Nova Scotia...for a whopping fifty dollars LUCKY am I!? These came from a retired lady's twenty-eight room house...("how the other half lives...?") to my little six room condo.

Here's a "before..." I snapped this one after I'd removed the on top and wooden on bottom...and the little drawer in the middle.

I scrubbed it well with TSP, then scrubbed it again with a mild dish soap solution, let it dry, then primed with Zinsser Bin Cover-a-Stain (the absolute BEST, imho). I used knock-off chalk paint...Martha Stewart Heavy Cream mixed in a blender with Calcium Carbonate...worked like a DREAM! It distresses beautifully, and although I LOVE Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I need less expensive a retired old gal. Have a look right here at Sherry's No Minimalist Here for recipes 'n' such.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Louis Blue as accents, and to paint the inside of the buffet,then distressed it in various places, and protected it with ASCP Clear Wax and a wee smidgeon of ASCP Dark Wax.

Here are some "after" pics:

The white china on the bottom shelf...Wedgewood Oceanside...a gift from my Mum...long since departed this life...the tiny blue and white dessert plates at the top...bought in Paris many years ago...the pottery wine glasses in the middle...handmade here in Nova Scotia...

Isn't this lovely? I dry brushed a little ASCP Louis Blue over the white too...

I added these wooden accent pieces...good old Gorilla Glue to the rescue!

I updated the shiny brass existing hardware with Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze paint...

End result...I LOVE it!! Once more...before...


Okay upcyclers, now I need your opinion!

What if you gave a party and nobody came???

Even though I've been doing upcycled furniture blogging for only a few months, I'm thoroughly enjoying it...and so I'm thinking of creating a linky upcycled furniture AND papercrafting party...what do you think? Paper crafting is another love of mine, and I have a blog right here about that. I know there are SO MANY linky parties in blogland you think there might be room for another? Would you come?

I Would be TICKLED PINK to hear your opinions.

The new party would launch with a giveaway for paper crafters AND upcyclers. Soooo...what do you think?

You know, I'm always SO THRILLED when you leave a's like a little present whenever I read something from you... HAVE been leaving comments...and I am so very grateful for each and every one...truly.
Ending with an Irish Blessing...for all of us...

"May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you're going, and the insight to know when you're going too far."

Closing with a pic of fall in Nova Scotia, just down the road from where I live. Aaahhhh, life is so very good!

Wishing you a WONDERFUL week, doing the THINGS you love to do, with the PEOPLE you love as well.

Thanks so much to young Kelli and Kristi over at Lolly Jane for featuring my buffet as one of their most clicked links on their crafty party last week.

...and to Ms Cheri...

...and to Ms Tammy...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to a dear friend...

...she and I served together in the Canadian military, she as a nurse in the Navy, while I was first a medic, then a social worker in the Air Force. She retired twelve years ago; I retired six years ago. We have been friends for many, many years. We watched one another's children grow up, celebrated their triumphs...and ours, grieved their failures...and ours. My friend LOVES tea. I refinished this little demi-lune table as a birthday gift for her, and here's a link to her birthday card. Here's a "before:"

I stripped and sanded it. There was a little damage on the front edge, but I rebuilt it with plastic wood.

Then I painted it with knock-off chalk paint (Martha Stewart Heavy Cream mixed (successfully!) with calcium carbonate...lots of different recipes available all over the internet...). Then I added an image from Graphics Fairy...did the image transfer with acetone. I know there are oodles and oodles of tutorials on the 'web about this technique. Here's how I do it. I've encountered some challenges doing them on painted surfaces. After much experimenting, I've discovered two things: knock-off chalk paint gives a little more "bite" to the surface. I just mix a tablespoon of powdered calcium carbonate to about 2 cups of latex paint, and mix it well in a cheap blender I use just for this. You can certainly use it without blender-ing it, but it seems a little "lumpy." I find that it actually rolls on smoothly though, so the blender is optional. After painting, I like to leave it for 24 hours so it's bone dry, then I lightly sand the receiving area with very fine sandpaper. After placing the toner based image face down, I soak cotton balls with the acetone and dab all areas of the image. I dab with some pressure, not just a light touch.I've found that "rubbing" messes up the image though. Once it's done, I filled in some areas with a dark grey fine point sharpie.

Then I chipped and sanded and waxed with Briwax Light Brown, and applied a layer of Minwax Polycrylic on the top and bottom shelves.

I gave it to her today...she liked it. I'm so happy.

Thanks so MUCH for stopping by again. Your comments on my little odds 'n' ends just MAKE my KNOW that, right!? I'll be visiting YOU too, through your comments. Partying here and here and here and with these fine bloggers this week.

Wishing you a week filled with the joy of doing what you love with the people you love...and...

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

(an Irish Blessing)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I found this set of little nesting tables on Kijiji (thanks Sophia!). She sold them to me for a hefty twenty dollars! (thanks AGAIN Sophia!) Here's a "before."

It's funny, I'd been looking for nesting tables, and when I want something specific, I rarely find it. These little tables were perfect for my needs...which include a "hen party" tonight and a buffet for a dozen of my favourite women. So they had to be READY...and they are! I re-glued and stabilized and did all the things we "trash to treasure junkies DO..." stripping, sanding, know the drill! I thought initially that I'd paint the whole table, including the top...

So I scrubbed them with TSP, then primed them with Rustoleum Spray Primer (lazy 'eh? lol) THEN I decided to strip and sand the top of ONE of the tables, just to see whether the woodgrain was "pretty enough."

Oh my sure WAS!! Do you ever DO that? Go into a project with a particular finish in mind, then change midway through?

So here's that beautiful grain all prettied up...I used Minwax Wood Conditioner before I stained...makes a FABULOUS even stain; then I used Minwax Jacobean stain to bring out that gorgeous grain:

Some other views...tables "nested..."painted with Martha Stewart Heavy Cream...made into knock-off chalk paint with Calcium Carbonate...GREAT for chipping and sanding...

Just a peek...accents of ASCP Arles, Duck Egg Blue and Louis Blue (all won in a wonderful "paint-a-chair" contest with Anne right here...

...separated, chipped...stained tops have three coats of Minwax Polycrylic ( can you tell I LOVE Minwax!?) for sturdiness, and everything else was waxed with light brown BriWax and buffed...

One more before...

...aren't they just the PRETTIEST wee things!? They'll have their inaugural presentation this evening, as I host a "hen party," replete with great food (every single recipe having come from blog parties!!), good wine and WONDERFUL women! Aaahhh, life is so very VERY...good! Once I have time after clean-up, I'll post links to the blog recipes I used, and will let y'all know their success.

Thanks so MUCH for stopping by again. I'll be visiting YOU too, through your comments. Partying here and here and here and with these fine bloggers this week.

Wishing you a week filled with the joy of doing what you love with the people you love...
"Do what you love, love what you do."

Edited to add a hearty THANK YOU to Tammy over at Type A and to Mary at Very Merry Vintage Style and to Beverly at Flamingo Toes for featuring my little tables!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blood, sweat and tears...long post...


It's DONE, despite the blood, sweat and tears (literally!)...ummmm...and MUCH colourful language. Now that it's completed, I have to say that I am utterly DELIGHTED with the end result. It's the most ambitious thing I've done so far, and despite much frustration, I learned so MUCH. I'm a happy old gal today, enjoying frequent "appreciation moments" in my livingroom. (does anyone else do that?)

This is a three piece "wall unit/bookshelf" set. It was the very FIRST "nice" furniture I'd ever bought...about thirty-six years ago! Hmmm, well, I THOUGHT it was nice at the time. I also THOUGHT it was solid wood. Nope to both. ACK! Back then, it was that dark knotty pine we all loved. (lol) Since then, it's been through several different families, and when it came back to me, it was just SO VERY SAD.

I wasn't sure I could rehabilitate it, but my boy-kid issued a challenge...the gauntlet was thrown...and I accepted it (ha ha Michael!). I have spent...easily...fifty hours and REAL BLOOD on this thing.

Let's see, what have I learned? I used a brad nailer for the first little brother David lent me his brad nailer...LOVE...I bought myself a new electric drill (lime green! ha ha!) and a new electric screw driver. I used a spade bit and a carbon steel hole saw bit...for the first time. Hey...sounds like I'm getting SERIOUS about this new hobby (addiction) of mine.

I also have to say that I've learned MUCH from my blogging friends, who so readily and generously share their skills and inspiration. The most important lessons come from Ms Katy over at "A Single Mom and her Drill," whose determination SO inspires me, Ms. Gail over at My Repurposed life, whose MANY projects are on my bucket list and have a special place in a hard-copy binder built just for her (lol...but seriously!), and the newly minted young Dental-Doctor JaimeLyn over at Crafty Happy Scrappy, who (despite the fact that she's younger than my daughter!) teaches me about the importance of the personal connection to our projects. If you haven't visited these blogs...DO IT!! The inspiration you'll find is utterly AMAZING.

Okay then, so these poor things were a MESS. The re-do was NOT worth least not in the "monetarily valued" sense...but the family history sense of it is simply incomparable. I have photos of my son (when he was four years old) in front of this thing, belting out "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" from his all time favourite movie "Top Gun," using an old coke bottle as a microphone (he's now 25) and my daughter's first day of school (SHE'S now 35 and Mum to four wonderful boy-children!) My son was BORN with an affliction to airplanes (lol), and now is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer...big surprise.

But...oh was so VERY ugly when it came back to me, having spent a few years in a single fella's apartment...ummm...whatever you can THINK about this there...would be accurate. It was scratched. It was gouged. It was water damaged. It had "critter-bugs" making a home in it. It was a MESS, pure and simple. So, here are some pics...

There are two of these, with two cupboards at the bottom of each one.

Okay, so in my long ago "believe-anything" youth, I bought these shelves. This was the very FIRST "nice furniture" I'd ever owned, and I was SO proud of my purchase! They were in my various homes for the best part of thirty years, then in various other people's homes...including my son's. When I bought them, I was TOLD these were solid dark pine. Ummm...NOPE!

Not sure how this happened, but there was water damage on the base of every unit (ummm..Michael???). The veneer peeled and cracked. That horrible fake wood stuff underneath the veneer was ROTTED. ACK!! Here's the evidence, from the base of all three of the pieces:

Okay, at THIS point I was ready to quit. Didn't have a CLUE how to even START. What a mess 'eh?

Here's how I started. I had to dry these out, then try to stop the water based rot from seeping up any further. I used this wonderful product called "PC Petrifier Wood Hardener." I turned the book cases upside down, poured this stuff into this clamped area...and waited.

See those bits of wood? They're paint stirring sticks! (lol) They were heavily used in this project...stuck in many places with Gorilla Glue and clamps and nails...they're FREE!

Another view of my amateur attempts to fix the damage. Upside down again. In the "paint stick channels," I built up plastic wood in several layers, letting each layer dry before adding the next.

Here's an interim shot, where I'd filled the channels with plastic wood. Once this dried, I sanded it off with a "rasp" (yet another tool I'd never used before), then with coarse sandpaper. This would be the base of the units, so it had to be level. This goop dries WONDERFULLY HARD.

Now on to the cupboard doors. So dated. So ugly (lol) First step, take the dark wooden knobs off.

Second step, fill those "decorative" ovals with plastic wood...start priming...

Finish priming...overfill with "Spackle..."

My hands looked like this...a LOT...and one of these fingers received three stitches as a memento of my hard work (lol) if I could EVER forget!

I tried getting those strips of wood off the doors too, but they wouldn't budge, so it looked like I was stuck with them. Start to prime the backs of the cupboard doors...VOILA!! GREAT idea! Turn the FRONTS of the doors to the INSIDE, use the nice clean finish insides for the FRONTS!

Started priming...used Zinsser Cover-a-Stain throughout...LOVE the stuff, filled the holes left from the knobs.

Here, you can see a hint of the blue I used on the interiors. It's Martha Stewart French Court blue. On one of the units, there was damage on the wooden strip that has to hold the hinges.

I chiselled the wood strip off, then filled it with spackle...

...then replaced the wooden strip with (yep, you guessed it!) paint stir sticks!

So...priming done, three coats of paint on (I used Martha Stewart Heavy Cream with the blue)...starting to look like I just MIGHT be able to live with it.

Decided to cover up the wavy top and update the piece a little with crown molding. My SIL Susan suggested this...otherwise, never wouldathunkit (so THANKS Sus!).To make that work, I had to even out the top edge so the molding would sit flat. See all my paint sticks again? Also, I cut and nailed bead board onto each end.

I will never NEVER again do crown molding! It was sheer torture! Those who know me are aware of my spatial perceptual disability, and trying to figure all this out was an absolute horror! However, with a you tube video for help, and my trusty little Stanley mitre box, I managed...sort of...

Siigh...once the crown was on, across all three units, I realized the units were actually NOT the same height...just by half an inch or so. This resulted in my "girlie fix..." remove the molding, then use some narrow molding underneath the crown to hide the problem. See the plastic wood at my mitred corner? Oh my...the good, the bad, and the ugly. I liked the narrow strips, and added another one beneath the first.

Here's a close-up of the cupboard doors, replete with new bead board and updated handles.
All that discolouration was from my grubby hands...everything is now all clean and pretty! I sanded very lightly, didn't want dark stain or wax...was looking for a more "cottage-y" look.

So, here's my finished product, with three coats of Minwax Polycrylic applied to all the shelves, and one coat everywhere else. You KNOW...this thing might well last ANOTHER forty which time I'll be a memory my dear children can cope with moving it/trashing it (lol).

See that small painting on the right bottom unit? That was gifted to me twenty years ago by a wonderful friend, long since departed this life. She was once-upon-a-time-long-long-ago my "boss," and we later became dear friends. It depicts "Lawrencetown Beach" here in Nova Scotia, where she and I would go for picnics. What a beautiful memory...thank you "Missus Mac."

One last look at the "befores..."

...and one last look at the "afters..."

Thank you SO much for visiting today, and for taking the time to read my jumbled ramblings. I'll come to your space too, as long as there's a link for me. I wish you a week filled with the passion of your own hobbies, and time well spent with people you love. Partying with these fine bloggers this week!

Edited to add...generously featured

(THANK YOU Ms Gail!)


(THANK YOU Ms Jackie!)

(THANK YOU Good Time Charlie!)


(THANK YOU Amy and Emily!)


(And THANKS Kammy, for letting me know that this project had the most hits at your linky party!

Trash to Treasure Tuesdays at Kammys Korner

PLEASE do click and visit these blogs above for LOADS of inspiration!