Tuesday 31 January 2012

Frame re-purposing #2 (and #3)

Thanks to a stenciling craze Dave and I had when we were dating, we have a box full of spray paint.

After a stroke of inspiration a couple of nights ago I decided to dig out that box. For some silly reason I had bought a can of baby pink and a can of bright blue. (This was 5 years ago remember) 

I got out two of my Frames and gave them a few coats of spray paint (front and back) and left them to dry. I was going to leave it at that until I came across this blog here (LINK!) while researching another project. Now Shannon did a bit of distressing (artistic sand papering) on a wooden frame, which is standard Shabby Chic, but what caught my eye was that she distressed a METAL frame. Clever!

So out came the sand paper and I gave the frames a bit of roughing up. They look awesome! Now I just need to find something to go in them. If I had kids they would be ideal for their pictures (pink for a girl, blue for a boy). Maybe I feel a giveaway coming on? We shall see how attached I get to them. Anyway, here are pics...

Sanded back to the original brass layer

Less obvious on the pink but still looks cool

Sitting pretty
I liked doing this project because it took hardly any time, with a great result. 

I'll be glad when Dave mows the lawns though, there are some interesting pink and blue splotches all over the place - oops!

Sunday 29 January 2012

A Splash of Paint

This weekend Dave and I went to the Charity Barn on Brougham St, Christchurch, which is a shop which for the most part has a bunch of second hand items in WELL used condition but also has a tonne of recycled paint for $3 per litre.

Painty hands

We chose a can that was about 2/3 full and got 2 new paintbrushes for $13 altogether. The paint was self-priming so we decided that if the colour didn't quite end up how we wanted it then we would just go back and get another top coat. The colour of the paint is an off-white with a slight light brown tinge. It will look awesome once we do our 'Shabby Chic' makeover and sand everything back slightly.

Luckily, Saturday was nice and sunny so we hauled all our items to be painted out onto the grass and did the first coat.  It makes me excited to see the transformation already but man did my attention span not last long! I was over painting pretty quick but we did take on a few projects at once. 
This was my newest addition, a blanket box.

 This blanket box I purchased from Trade Me. It is in average condition, with some of the paint peeling off the top.  So off come the hinges and a coat of paint it gets.

The doors of the writing desk, from my garage sale find.
 The doors scrub up really well, and as I type, Dave is painting the underside of the desk. Exciting!

A frame and it's insides. I have some old metal keys that will be attached in the middle to make a piece of art.
My tiny 50c box.

I'm still not sure about this box, It might end up being someones birthday present, once it is finished. I need some inspiration.

And in other news, our apple tree has nearly produced large fruit. I have been waiting impatiently for the tiny buds to grow into apples and they are just about big enough to eat. I will be in the kitchen making large amounts of stewed apple soon. Mmmmmmmmmm

Friday 27 January 2012

An Unintentional Dog Whisperer

So I know this is my craft-type blog but something happened to me on the way home yesterday that deserves to be in the blogiverse.

So I was walking home from work yesterday around 4pm through one of the not-so-nice neighborhoods of Christchurch (it was still light outside so less scary). My walk is around 3km. I get to about the halfway mark and all of a sudden I see something moving in one of the overgrown, deserted lots where a house used to be (earthquake). I see that it is a dog, with a collar on, sniffing round quite happily, with no owner in sight.

Bad photo, looking at the Dog Catcher..
Now at this point I cross the road to the other side because wandering dogs tend to think I'm awesome and that I would make a good owner. This is something I don't want. I am a cat lover with no dog experience whatsoever. I looked back after crossing the road, thinking that it hadn't spotted me. Wrong.

It crossed the road too and starts walking along beside me. I get a bit scared because it might be a scary, mean dog and yell at it and tell it to 'GO HOME!' Nope nothing. Grrr. Then I come across a man and his young son and I attempt to ask him what to do. His advice? Don't be scared, just shoo it away. He shoo'd it across the street and kept following me. Dang. I kept walking thinking that in no time at all I would be on a very busy main road and this dog would get squashed trying to follow me. At this point it was back on the same side of the road as me. So I started looking for a house with a car parked outside, one that didn't look so gangsta. I settled upon a block of flats with a blue SUV outside.

With the dog following me I knocked on the door and waited. A lady came out wearing a dressing gown. Hmmm. I explained that this dog was following me and I burst into tears. I felt very worried that this dog had gotten lost and might get squashed. But it wouldn't leave me. She had a dog of her own and seemed relatively sympathetic and went and got the phone book. My plan was to call the pound. So after a few tries I was told that I wasn't reporting a 'wandering dog' I was reporting a 'held dog'. Because I was holding her. In the meantime the lady had given the dog (which she told me was a girl) some water and biscuits. She didn't seem keen on me staying and waiting for the dog catchers, which could have been up to 2 hours, so she gave me her dogs leash and I decided to take the dog to my place to wait.

So I thanked her and promised to take back the leash and off I headed on my first official Dog Walk. Luckily the dog was well trained and I could control her easily enough. When I walked her past people I made the leash shorter and a few of them admired her. Then we waited for ages at the traffic lights and I made her sit and she did. Then it was just a few minutes and we were home.

I called Dave and he told me there was some rope in the garage so I tied up the dog and got her some of my kitty's food (which just happens to be dog roll) and some water. She seemed quite happy but barked really loud when I went inside. She then went for a little sniff around the garden, did some business in the bark garden (phew, not on the grass) and promptly threw up. Twice. Ew. I didn't have time to do anything about it because the Dog Catcher showed up. He scanned her for a microchip but sadly she didn't have one. This means it would be very hard to find her owners. She had a collar but no tags or markings. So off she went with the Dog Catcher and that was it. It was all over so fast. I didn't even have time to say goodbye to the wee girl. So I hope she gets a good new home.

Today I told Dave (who is a dog lover) that I would take another way home. He said if another dog followed me that I should bring it home and we should keep it. Silly.

Such a cute, friendly dog

I managed to get a couple of photos of her before she got taken away. She was mostly white with black patches over her eyes and ears. The Dog Catcher said she was just a young dog so maybe just under a year old? She has some Staffy in her but maybe crossed with a Labrador because she had long legs and a lean body, not barrel chested like a pure Staffy. It's Dave's favourite dog mix. Luckily he was still at work when all this happened or we may still have a dog, against our landlords wishes. And my cats wishes too. She was not impressed.

So it was an emotional and semi-traumatic end to a busy work day. It all seems surreal now but I have photos as proof.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Project Shabby Chic

Last Saturday at a Garage Sale, Dave and I purchased this desk for $10

We have big plans to re-paint this lovely treasure and get it looking all Shabby Chic, painted white and sanded back to give the 'distressed' look. Here is my inspiration board:

Click to see the bigger picture
And here is our work so far:

Doors off and drawer out.

One new hiding place for Killer

Stripping the paint off the doors.

All sanded. The paint stained the grain of the wood slightly but that won't matter once its painted.

The drawer all sanded

Delicate work stripping the paint from the moulding. I was useless at that.

Dave sanding super hard.

Real smooth. Both Dave and the top of the desk.
So we are halfway there, all sanded and smooth and ready for painting. We just need to get paint. We don't want to spend loads so we will either get spray paint or go to one of those recycled paint shops if we can find one.

Fun! It is exciting to have a project to do with Dave, this one is way more suited to him, I am not too good at sanding and don't have the patience. But it is still fun to collaborate! I even learned how to use an orbital sander. And how to strip paint. *winning*
Hopefully it won't be long until I have a beautiful piece of furniture to show you.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Garage Sale Treasures

Saturday is Garage Sale day in New Zealand. Dave and I had a nice wee sleep in then decided to head out to check out some local garage sales.

The first thing we did was get the Saturday newspaper. In the classified section there is always a list of a good few sales. The way we do it is look through the ads, circle ones we like the sound of eg they have a whole house-lot, a combined street/family one, or have antiques and furniture.

Then we filter by area, Christchurch is relatively big and you want to get to see as many sales as possible in a couple of hours. We pick a general area eg north + west Chch and head off to the closest ones. Because it costs to put an ad in the paper, some people just put out signs on the street. If we see one en-route we usually pop in to check it out. Most sales start at 8am and run until around midday but there are always exceptions.

The trick is to get in early to get the good stuff but who wants to get up that early on a Saturday? Also, the later you go, the more willing people are to haggling. The whole point of a garage sale is to get rid of stuff and after 5 hours they just want it gone. So make your best offer! You never know!

Anyway, those are my secret tips, I highly recommend going, make sure you have a large-ish car for those bulky items and set a budget.

Our budget this week was $50

Here are our sweet scores:

A gas torch for Dave
A table saw for Dave
A standard lamp and shade
A tripod
This is what the tripod will turn into. A slightly more modern shade though.

All together these items cost $50. The table saw was priced at $50 but this was the last sale we went to around 10.30am. The guy said to make an offer and we had already seen the other 3 things we wanted. So we said thanks and looked around a bit more, then told him we had an offer for him. '$50 for the table saw, the gas torch, this wee tripod and that wooden lamp over there.' The deal was done. Dave was over the moon.

This book was 10c
This book looks hilarious. 10c. Bargain.

Small wooden box. Has some scribbles on lid.
 This box was 50c. It is slightly vandalized by small children but it has potential. Maybe covered in fabric, or decoupage, or painted.

The two identical tulip prints were $5 together.

The light in our lounge does nothing for these pictures. They are quite big, nice pinks and greens and add a splash of colour to our lounge. When we have our own place they will probably grace the wall of a hallway or guest room.

The find of the day.
Beautiful molding
Cool legs too!

So this was the find of the day. An old writing desk that someone had tried (and failed) to paint green and distress. I missed it because of the colour but Dave singled it out to me and I was sold. This is what we have been looking for for ages. Cool old furniture to do up. Except the second hand shops get picked clean. So this was amazing! We are going to strip it back, paint it white and add some nice brass handles on the draw and cupboards, line the insides and paint the molding some cool contrast. What colour? We were thinking baby blue/pastel blue.

How much did this cost you ask?

Ten dollars. Ten dollars!


So all up we went slightly over budget but we got what we were looking for and lets face it. We would pay that much just for the table saw.

Table saw, tripod, gas torch, and lamp - $50
Writing desk - $10
Tulip prints - $5
Small wooden box - $0.50
Book - $0.10
Total: $65.60

Happy Garage Saleing everyone!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Frame re-purposing #1

So you may remember THIS post, asking for ideas on how to re-purpose my frame collection. I got a few, and after finishing my upholstering project, I used a spare piece of fabric to create this pin cushion!

I have a very sad lack of pins but you get the picture. Cool huh!

The frame had a thin plywood backing that glued the picture in. I removed it, cut some foam to shape and wrapped over the fabric. I pushed the ply back into place and the extra fabric held it in place nicely. I trimmed off the excess fabric, pushed in my pins and there you have it.

Sadly it is back to work for me this week, but I am still hanging out to do some crafty things. Dave and I have big ideas for our next upholstering challenge. We are on the lookout for a couple of matching 2 and/or 3 seater couches. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday 16 January 2012

A Run Down of my First Upholstering Experience

Alright I have some spare time, lets see how well I can describe my chair covering process.

The first thing I have to admit is that I didn't take a Before photo :(

This is the best I could get...
It is there!

As for the process, here goes.

The first thing to do is remove ALL the staples. This is where my flattie hit a metaphorical brick wall. I'm not sure why you need to put 1000 staples to hold one piece of fabric but oh well.
I used my trusty multi-tool and some needle-nosed pliers.
Tools of the trade
The back piece came off first, it covered the back of the chair and the arms. Once that was off I un-screwed the arms of the chair (remembering to keep the screws!).

I then methodically removed the staples from the top half of the chair, the seat part of the chair, the base and the arms.

The 'Jacket'

I kept the fabric pieces and un-picked them to use as a pattern template for the new fabric. I also labeled them and marked which way they went as well as which piece they were joined to.

Sweet un-picking skills

Once everything was un-stapled and un-picked I laid the pieces onto the new fabric, making sure the pattern was running the right way. I then pinned, then cut them. I labeled these too with fabric chalk.

All laid out

The next step was sewing each bit back together, with piping on each seam.

Check out my old sewing machine!
 I came to a bit of a stumbling block when I discovered that the rubber foam on the seat had partially disintegrated. Gross! But considering the chair is from the 60's...

So I crumbled (I can't think of a better word) the rotten foam off as much as I could.

All crumbled off. The holes were there originally by the way, for extra squishyness

I then hunted round the house and found some foam that could sit on top of the old stuff. It was a mattress topper flipped upside down. I cut it into four squares, tucked and stapled it on, then glued the pieces together.

The next thing I did was check that the fabric pieces fitted snugly and made a few alterations.

I stapled on the top piece as you can see in the above photo and also stapled on the arm covers.

Then came the seat piece, firmly stapled into place, then the bottom piece that I like to call the 'skirt'.

Next was screwing the legs back on, making sure the holes matched up

The new style?
The last piece to staple on was the back cover, these staples show so I tried to be discreet.
Then FINALLY - the last staple!
My poor hands have blisters!
 Then ahhhhh admiring the finished product.

Killer approves

The coolest thing about this project, apart from seeing my flatmates face when she saw the chair, was finding this....
It says -'Recovered 26-2-69 CPR (or EPR)

That is a LONG time ago!
So I added my own touch...

I added 'Re-recovered 14-1-2012'
And that's it. Finished!

Sorry that was a bit of a mish mash how-to, next time I WILL take better photos!
And there will be a next time, I have got the upholstering bug!
I shall leave you with one last picture...