Monday, April 30, 2012

Increasing Graphic Value of Antiques

I am sharing two projects for Makeover Monday today.  They are both part of the vignette at the right.  One is a small coffee grinder in the center of the mantel.  The other is a classic kitchen scale on the stove below.

When this shabby white painted kitchen scale joined my stash of vintage goodies that needed help, it was entirely missing its face, but I loved the shabby paint and the form of the foot.  Recently while perusing Graphics Fairy I came upon this round logo or add for some kind of French baby product.  I thought it might work, so I printed it off and decoupaged it in place, and voila' ... I was very happy with the outcome.

The little coffee grinder was really charming, but sort of plain.  I used my reverse Modpodge method to adhere part of another Graphics Fairy bit of French Ephemera, and basically gave our little friend a face lift.

Another thought I am still considering is adding a scale basket to the top of the scale now that it sports a baby motif.  I have even figured out how to secure it.  And we do have a lot of photographers looking for baby photo props ....

Thanks for coming along to learn how to make the most of mediocre collectibles.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hunger Games Book Club Event

  My Saturday Style
(Spoiler Alert!! If you have not read all the books, do not read the last paragraph.)   This week I had a chance to attend my daughter's book club event featuring the Hunger Games.  All of the guests were around her age, except me, so I was lucky to  be invited ... well it was at my house, so I guess that helped me score an invitation.
She set my dining room table with a buffet.  Half was 'Capitol' style, while the other half was 'District 12' style.

I really appreciated the visual impact of the difference in the life style in the two separate areas of the 'world' inhabited by Katniss, Peeta, Gale and President Snow.

The strawberries in these two pictures graphically show the difference.

As did the dishes that she chose.  The ones on the top right are my favorite antique 'Rosepoint' dishes, while the others she chose are the wooden plates I have collected over the years that we use for our Bethlehem Dinner on Christmas Eve.

She also used my fine antique Quaker Lace table cloth to represent the Capitol, while using my rough woven brown wool cloth (again from our Bethlehem Dinner props) to represent the rustic life style of those from the coal mining district.

You may recall from my trip to Idaho to see Hunger Games with my girls, that I was not enthralled with the book initially, and didn't, at the time, read the two sequels.  I did however, love the movie, and have since finished the others.
I can only say, that besides finding the books compelling, by the time I read books 2 and 3 I guess I had  ingested the  horrors of the'world' of the Hunger Games to the degree, that I could l look at that world in a cautionary manner and could see what we, in the real world, have in common with this imaginary futuristic society. 

I did end up liking the other two books, though of course,  I was still jarred by the violence necessitated by the premise of the books. And, like everyone else who has read the books that I have talked to, I see so much of the death as senseless, but then, that is really the point of the books.

When greed trumps the importance of the rights of all individuals to the pursuit of happiness, we end up in a world like the one shown in these books.  Hopefully this cautionary tale will help to keep this from becoming a reality, and may prompt individuals to root out elements in our society that may already be leading in this direction.
Last of all, I have to say that I was fairly satisfied with how the books ended.  I really liked Peeta, and in all honesty, the good guys (in romantic contexts) rarely win.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Renewing with Oven Cleaner.

Friday Favorites

Today I am going to share with you probably the biggest secret of my trade as an antique dealer and rehabilitating old stuff.  You probably won't believe me initially but that secret is oven cleaner.

I know, crazy.  I first came to believe in the wonders of oven cleaner when I found a 1950's upholstered chair at a garage sale.  It had that nylon fabric that is indestructible.  The chair was that great 50's green and it had a matching footstool.  Both had big fat bullion fringe ... but they were filthy.

I tried everything, boiling water, upholstery cleaner, scrubbing with a tooth brush, laundry soap, shampoo ... nothing touched it.  It was then that I reasoned that the greasy dirt was not coming off because I needed something that attacked grease.  I figured if they didn't come clean, they were not going to go into my house and I would have to junk them.  So I thought ... greasy dirt ...  and I brought out the oven cleaner.  It worked.  I sprayed it on, scrubbed and hosed them down.  It was a miracle.

Later my daughter was going to toss her very dirty but otherwise nice, microfiber couch,  I used the same method, and voila ... like new. (She has taken to using it herself since.)

I also use it on old furniture that is painted with oil base paint, like the great cupboard above that was used in someone's garage before it came into my life.  I took this picture after cleaning most of it, the lower right had door has not been cleaned yet.   I sprayed it with overncleaner, waited about 3 minutes and then washed it down.

You can see a closeup of the untreated area in the picture to the right, the part that still wears the exhaust of the garage.  The oven cleaner actually strips off a thin layer of paint, leaving it looking so much nicer and cleaner, but you still get to keep the old chippy paint. 
The top two pictures were taken in daylight, so the color of the cupboard is somewhat washed out.  The picture below was taken in the evening and shows the true color better.)

Now for a couple of notes of caution.  Wear rubber gloves when you use oven cleaner, its caustic.  Make sure the area is well ventilated.  I hold my breath while spraying a small area, then leave the room for a few minutes.  I then come back with a clean rinsed rag and wipe the area before repeating the process.

Also, don't leave it on too long. Here's a cautionary tale,  I was cleaning one of those old 50's appliance three tiered carts yesterday and sprayed it down, meaning to come back in a  few minutes.  I got distracted and it was two hours.  Oops.  By the time I resprayed ( it had dried) and wiped it, I lost large areas of paint going right down to the metal.

BTW once you start thinking about greasy dirt, you will be amazed at how great oven cleaner is.  I use it on the cake plates on top of my kitchen cabinets, it makes short work of that accumulated kitchen grease/dust.  I use it on my cookware.  I have used it on my carpet when greasy foot prints happen. I have even sprayed it on grease stained clothing before tossing it in the washer.  I have not had it effect the color of anything, but you will probably want to do a test patch.

Thanks for coming along and learning about the joys of oven cleaner, ya'll come back now, hear!?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday and a Nifty Marriage!

Thrifty Thursday
 Today's project is fun, functional and cheap.  I had this old suitcase at the antique mall and  just knew it was not going to sell.  I had seen suitcase tables on Pinterest, and thought I had the perfect dressing stool at home to fit it.

The suitcase was already black, so once the top of the dressing bench was removed and the wood was painted we were ready to go.  Two strips of wood on the bottom inside of the suitcase gave the screws  coming through from the bench something to attach to.

Then I thought it would be fun to add some travel stickers.  I searched Graphics Fairy for some old French labels that have the look of Travel stickers, then cut them out and applied them with decoupage.  I was pretty happy with how it turned out.  It has a crisp and adventurous look and would be handy beside a chair filled with mending or crafty sewing.

I also thought it would be useful for storing children's picture books of small toys for babies, or even a paper doll collection for your favorite little girl. 

It would make a great lamp table with magazines stowed inside.  If you are like me, you are always looking for more storage space.  Thanks for coming along for this unusual furniture marriage.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ZINNIA an Overtly Amazing Crafter Store in Pasadena!

Wednesday Wanderings - Zinnia

Zinnia is a supurb store ... and it is a junk artist's haven.  Jenn took us into the old downtown in Pasadena for lunch at some quaint mom and pop cafe, and next door was Zinnia's. It can only be fate that lead us here.

  You may recall that I mentioned Zinnia in my blog post about our flea marketing adventures in California.

 All three of us love junk and are crafters to one degree or another and when we walked into Zinnia we thought we had died and gone to crafter Heaven!  But no, you don't HAVE to die to go there, its right there on Earth in downtown Pasadena, who knew?

There were lots and lots of artist created projects and we were all drooling. It was so hard to choose what to take home and what to leave behind.

Each artist outdid the one before ... they used materials in ways we had not imagined.

 It was like walking into the pages of Somerset Home ... we were charmed from head to toe.   ... and just when we thought we had taken in all we could possible absorb ...

We turned and there it was .... a whole island filled with charming tiny elements for crafting, jewelry, art, journaling ....

What can I say, we were awe struck.

We all gathered goodies like so many squirrels, with plans floating in our heads like sugarplums ... only sweeter.

We laughed and tried not to spend ALL of the money we had been squirreling away for our trip to the big city flea market ...  but our heads and hearts were spinning.  The shop owner told us about classes where new techniques are taught.  For a minute there I wondered if this might not be a great city to retire to.  (OK, the flower district, clothing district, Broadway plays and flea markets might have had something to do with that thought.)

The store was amazing and we have been talking about it ever since ... "You remember that ____ we saw at Zinnia?"  and "We could display that like they did at Zinnia." 

Thanks for coming along on this Wednesday wandering.  If you enjoyed this store a 10th as much as I did, you were well paid for spending your time here.  Be sure to take a peek at Zinnia the next time you head to the pacific shore, you won't be sorry, I promise.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Painting Old Pine While Keeping the 'Old' Patina!

Tutorial Tuesday
Today I am going to share a trick I learned by accident.  I have painted many an antique item, for all kinds of reasons. If you know me well you know I often paint to unite a couple of pieces in marriage, for though their lines may match making them suitable to be together forever, their finishes rare do.

This old pine nail box was never painted, but I love its dings and imperfections.  One might hesitate to paint old wood for fear of getting a new look, however ...

I have learned that old, unpainted pine is very dry, so that if you use spray paint it will absorb a LOT of the paint.  Look at the ends of the wood to the right.  The ends are the worst at sucking up paint.  You would not believe how much spray paint that bit of wood sucked in.

But look at the dinged, scratched appearance of the wood after painting it with three and four coats.  I usually just keep spraying until it has the amount of paint I want.

In the picture about you can compare my 'new' paint to some old white paint that has aged forever on the small chest made from old fruit boxes below it.  Note that the ends of the wood here have virtually no paint either.

Now for the reason I wanted the white paint.  I wanted to add a cool vintage graphic that I grabbed off of Graphics Fairy.  I thought the bee in the wreath was perfect for a box to be used as either a garden caddy or a planter filled with clay pots.

 I have had several requests to show you my reverse Modpodge method, with all its imperfections.  Here you see the closely trimmed graphics painted on the face with Modpodge. Painting it on a plate allows you to paint off the edges getting complete coverage.
Next they are turned over onto the surface and pressed firmly in place.  I allow mine  to dry for one to three hours, though other have told me they don't allow much if any drying time.

Next I moisten my finger and start to rub away the paper.  As I have said before its an imperfect process, and if you look at the finished product and compare it to the closely trimmed graphic above, you will see how much I lost.  I sometimes, if I loose too much, will reapply just a portion of the graphic to fill in.

And here it is.  Doesn't it look like its been painted and has had this graphic on it for a few million years?  I love the aged chippiness.  Its sort of funny because it actually is an old box, now it looks like a sweet and charming old heirloom.

I was pretty happy with how it turned out.  Here it is showing off its stuff on my front porch! I can imagine that it would be even more charming with four potted plants in it for display.  It is just one more item that I have prepared for my flea.o.logy sale May 5th. Come if you can!