Thursday, 31 January 2013

Edwardian dressing table in milk paint...update...

Wow! Sorry about the delay there folks. Life has well and truly gotten in the way! I have been otherwise engaged with teaching Year 2 to sew, being a single parent while the husband works abroad, surviving a week with THREE seven year olds birthday parties and creating a plumbing crisis.

I thought it would be a nice surprise for the husband if I could change the bathroom taps and we might actually be able to use the hot tap. How hard can it be to change a tap? Answer: very hard if your pipes are not modern sizes. Anyway he was a little bit cross at the thought of coming home to a house with no water so I put it all back together and miraculously the old tap is now fixed (?) but leaks because I don't have the correct tighteny uppy thing. And that'll have to wait...

And I have a COLD! I don't ever get colds, I thought myself virtually superhuman, but after about 4 years cold-free I have succumbed to the lurgy. I'm very disappointed to be a mere mortal. Pah!

And there you all were, probably thinking the dressing table had all gone horribly wrong and I didn't want to show you. Well, that's a matter of opinion!  I like it. But I can see that it's not going to be to everyones taste! It's furniture marmite!

You might not believe this but I don't actually paint EVERYTHING white or cream. I do love the 'pale and interesting' look, it's true but in the past I have flirted with colour. The huge bookcase in the living room is green. See? I can be wild!

Okay, you're unlikely to see me painting furniture in strong colours often. But I love green, grey, blue and beige in interior decor. 

This Edwardian dressing table made me want to do a stronger colour. I wanted to go a little bit masculine with it. So I chose taupe. I only have two colours of milk paint, cream and taupe! Playing it safe!

The taupe turned out to be not very taupey at all and for a while there it just looked cream. I had some problems with it too. I did about 3 coats with very poor coverage and no hint of cracking whatsoever. It dawned on me that the paint was too watery. (Milk paint comes in powder form.) So I mixed it up a bit thicker and we hey!

Perhaps a bit too much?

Sometimes you've just got to hope it'll look alright in the end... don't be scared! (Okay you can be a bit scared!) If this was my first time with milk paint I would have wept!

The big reveal is not quite ready yet. Sorry. I thought I'd have it done by now. But here's a sneaky peak at the bits I have finished, to whet your appetites. Or not.

It's very grungey. 
I need a little more painting time, a lot of waxing and a dry day so we can drag it outside for it's photo shoot.
And I need a lot of hot ribena. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Furniture from friends and the Friday flea market...

I've had a lovely week. I brought a new piece of furniture in from the garage to work on. A friend gave me this. It's an Edwardian dressing table. Don't I have nice friends?


It fits quite nicely between the pile of flooring and the pushed back dining table. This isn't really a 'before' shot as I've already removed the mirror section and refinished the top. I had to replace the drawer bases as they were badly warped making the drawers impossible to pull out. I also decided to lose the two wing mirrors as they are very clunky and make the whole thing absurdly wide. 

This shot shows the difference between the old wood finish at the top and the refinished part looking glossy and rich. The rest of the wood is being painted in milk paint and it's not going to plan so far, but I'm hoping to finish it all next week. 

Freddy is casting a critical eye over my work...he likes the smell of the milk paint! I'll come back and show you when it's done...

Dee  from Dee Dee's vintage retro delights and I share a love of these vintage big eyed animal ornaments and I said I would post a picture of mine which I inflict upon my daughter although she'd rather have Disney tat on her shelves. Dee has an entire mouse orchestra of these that I'm envious of!

I love these guys! They've all been collected from boot sales and charity shops.Against my daughters will. Aw come on! How can you not like them?

I squeezed in a trip to the flea market this morning and found this:

Isn't that lovely? (It's wet because I washed it)

And the other side?

It's a crate lid! My crate fetish refuses to go away! Sadly the rest of the crate was missing but I got this for £1 and I'll turn it into a rustic sign. I think I like the top view best and the sides will be like a little frame...

I think we're in for a further dumping of snow tonight and then a downpour to wash it all away. Not a moment too soon. The snow has turned to ice on all the footpaths here and I've been risking life and limb on the school run. Hooray for rain! x

Monday, 21 January 2013

Gesso mirror and snow...

We've had quite a dumping of snow here in Hertfordshire and my daughter had the day off school today as a result. Blogland is full of stunning snow pictures. Until now.

Sorry. It didn't stop snowing at all yesterday which made for very grey pictures. And I took two pictures and then the camera battery died.

Husband and daughter taking the car boot sale vintage sledge for a spin. It gives a very smooth ride and is infinitely better than our red plastic version. Vintage is best! But we knew that already didn't we?

Our snowman with weird orange eyes. Usually I get all competitive with our snowmen and have to do the biggest and best in the street. (Which isn't hard as we live in an area populated by the elderly!) But I just wasn't feeling it yesterday and building him was a chore. Look he's not even got a scarf! Shoddy.

So, onto indoor pursuits which are much more me!
The brass mirror? I always meant to paint it. I probably would have used spray paint at some point but I decided to try the gesso treatment.


I used a lot less gesso this time...

After. Yes the glass is still broken! Er, and could do with a clean!

I'm liking it. It looks more expensive I think. I used dark wax over the gesso again as the chalky white finish does nothing for me.
I realise I have broken my new years resolution. Poor photography and styling in this post. I should have fixed the glass but I didn't fancy the half hour walk to the glass place in the snow.

Snow just ruins everything.

Let me just show you what I found in a charity shop this week...

Crazy high heeled wellies! Just need this treacherous snow to be replaced by some rain so I can take them for a test drive without breaking my neck.

Hope you are warm and cosy wherever you are!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Painting with gesso...

I first used gesso around 15 years ago to try and restore an old frame. It was something I had to mix from rabbit skin glue and chalk if I remember rightly. The frame turned out quite rubbish anyhow and I never went down that road again!

More recently I have stumbled accross the wonderful work of Rosemary at Villabarnes and been intrigued to see that she paints with gesso, which is now thankfully readymade and acrylic. (Perhaps it was back then but I was shopping in the wrong place!)

Rosemarys work

Rosemarys work

It seems to work well on heavily textured or carved items. She doesn't just use it on frames though. She used it on this bedside table...

Rosemarys work

And even on fabric flowers!

Rosemarys work
Isn't that beautiful?
I was so taken with this look that I had to have a go.
On my wall I had this old picture...

  I pulled it all apart and painted the frame with grey emulsion...

Then I painted it in white acrylic gesso (it also comes in grey and black.)

£3.99 from the art shop

I was painting it on and wiping it off so it settles in the dips but wipes off the high bits. I did 3 coats. This was too much! It just looked very white when it dried. I took a sanding sponge to it and it wasn't easy to sand back but I got a bit of the original colour and the gold showing through. I thought I'd ruined it to be honest so I didn't get a picture of this stage. The whiteness was annoying me! I missed the original finish so I thought I'd stipple on dark wax to bring back some depth.

The whole thing came back to life and I love it!

What do you think? I know mine turned out nothing like Rosemarys! I like it, but I liked it before too. I'm going to play around some more with gesso! Next time I'll have to paint it on something I'm not so keen on.

If you pop over to Villabarnes there are lots of tutorials with gesso and you can see Rosemarys lovely work.

Next up for the gesso treatment?

This vintage brass mirror my husband dropped. Good job we're not superstitious! His only bad luck is that he has to replace the glass for me! 

Big thank you to Rosemary for allowing me to use her photos! 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Sorry, crates AGAIN and a winner...

Sometimes when I've given something a makeover, it's still not entirely done. My painted crate being one of those things! It was looking very dark in the pale living room...

I've given both crates (well, crate and drawer) a wash of emulsion, very watered down and wiped off and I like them much better now. They look a bit more muted and driftwoody and suit the living room better.

I had to re-do the lettering on the Hitchin Lavender one as it got lost under the wash of pale paint.

 For the drawer I decided upon the logo from Bettys, Yorks finest tea rooms.

York is where I was born and grew up and Bettys is a must visit tea room in the City centre. They queue up outside to get in, it's that good!

Here's the famous Fat Rascal

I've never had one as I'm not a cakey sort of person but I had the most delicious Eggs Benedict of my life in here!

This is not a sponsored post! I'm just saying if you're in York, you've got to go! 

So here's the crate, er, drawer...

Just need two matching plants now...

I took a sanding sponge to the lettering of the Hitchin one and I think it looks better. I'll do it to the new one when it's dry. 

I'll try not to do any more crate posts for a bit ok? Obsessive? Moi?

Without further ado, the winner of the giveaway is... (drumroll...)

... MARILYN! Woo hoo!
Marilyn please could you email me your full name, address and postcode and I will pop them in the post to you!

Linking with Me and my shadow; Magpie Monday

and Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

and PJH designs


and Knick of Time Tuesday


Friday, 11 January 2013

Recent finds...

With plummeting temperatures and the threat of snow I fear I may not make it to my car boot sale on Sun. I know! Heartbreaking!

I've done quite well recently though, so let me show you my finds.
Remember this?

Well, I found a new home for it on the mantelpiece. It looked lovely but lacked a bit of symmetry.
At the car boot sale in York last week, look what I found...

I thought it was another crate so I bought  it for £2. When I got home and looked properly I realised it's not a crate at all, but a drawer!

 The top edge is much thicker as this is the drawer front.

The knob has been cut off leaving the screw embedded. The front is a painted finish and you can see where a label once sat.

The shape of the missing label makes me wonder if it's a drawer from an old apothecary chest...

But don't they make a sweet pair? The newer one is looking dark as I treated it for woodworm and it will be a while before it dries out as the woodworm treatment is oily.

I'm a little tempted to lighten both of them up with a wash of paint. And I've worked out what I'm going to paint on the front but I'll save that for another time. I thought they'd look more authentic if they had different logos on them, rather than doing the lavender one again.

This weeks flea market was a goodie! I bought this fabulous metal crate!
(I say fabulous, but I got some funny looks walking round town with it! Possibly because it was COVERED in congealed cobwebs and vegetation! I pulled off the big lumps before I dared take it into work with me at the charity shop, then washed it with the shower head in the bath which blocked the plughole THREE times it was so grim!)

I'm thinking bathroom shelving? We have the skankiest, most dysfunctional bathroom  I've ever seen but we are hoping to rectify the situation this year.

My husband never even batted an eyelid at it's appearance in our home. I thought I might have to try and convince him of how great it is. He likes the painted crate so maybe this isn't too far for his imagination to stretch!

And speaking of eyelids... Bad Bobby is in the doghouse having woken me at FIVE a.m. by pressing his cold wet nose into my sleeping eyelid to say, ''Isn't it breakfast mummy?'' Then purring at top volume right by my ear so I can't go back to sleep. He really is a naughty boy. If I tell him off and push him away he will go straight into my six year olds room and wake her up. He knows damn well that if she's up, we're all up!
Bad Bobby is the more conventional looking cat below...

I don't know what to say about Fat Freddy. He's angelic but a bit weird...

My handsome boy.

So it's an early night for me tonight!

Linking with Funky junk Interiors SNS