Using What You Got


I’m so excited to have this next piece of art completed!  My first work using paper maché as the primary medium!  The project was inspired by the swan decoys I kept seeing in examples of French Country home decor photos on Pinterest.  I wanted one but didn’t want to pay the high prices.

Then I got to thinking about the pair of nesting swans in the conservation area that is behind my house.  This area, Salem Woods, is such a gift for this city.  It is a slice of wilderness in the middle of an urban area and I get to enjoy it’s benefits every day.  I hike in these woods and go to the pond to watch the ducks, geese and swans.  The pond is a haven for so many types of wildlife.

Because of this, I wanted to pay tribute and make more people aware of this hidden gem through my art. So, I got to work and this is what I accomplished.

I also wanted to create some mixed media surprises in this sculpture so the wings open to expose a little world.

The little accordion books fit into the little spaces inside the wings.

Each book page has some of my favorite things about the woods created with various mixed media techniques.  90% of the entire piece is recycled materials-newspaper, cereal boxes, and even candy wrappers.

This artwork will be entered into the upcoming Salem Art Association show.  I’ll be happy to keep it if it comes back home!

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My latest project was a makeover for a sad little box that I got at the thrift store so long ago and sat in the basement forever.  I think I paid less than $5 for it and it is a good thing because the supplies cost a little more than I would have liked.

But, boy, do I love the results!

ugly-duck-box

Here are some of my inspiration pictures.

picmonkey-image

Here is the before.  Sad little duckies…..

img_0943I took the whole thing apart, removing the hardware and peeling off all the lose paper.

img_2717What a mess!  But in that mess was pure French gold!

I applied plain brown kraft paper to the inside of the chip board pieces using a watered down wood glue.

img_2718And added a French script fabric to the outsides and trimmed with a faux leather fabric.  Both of these fabrics were on the clearance rack at the fabric store.

I reused some of the hardware, which I repainted with a faux rusty effect using black and copper spray paint.

Added black upholstery tacks  found at the hardware store to the faux leather strips and Voila!  Ugly duck to French swan!

ugly-duck-collage

 

 

Doesn’t every kitchen need more storage?  I have this alley way of a galley kitchen that is sorely lacking in the storage department.  So what to do?

I ‘inherited’ this extremely ugly but utilitarian storage cabinet.  Oh, no! There was no place in my renovation plans for something like this!  Here is a cabinet that is exactly the same as the one I had.  No, just no.

old-pantry

So, in shopping for a replacement, this was on  my pin board:

And this one:

No, can’t justify paying those prices for a pantry cupboard, not while we are still in renovation mode.  And we scrounged the thrift/antique places with no luck in finding a suitable replacement, at the right price, without having to do some work on it.  If I had to paint it, might as well paint the one I have.

So, after some chalk paint, some graphics magic from the Graphics Fairy, and some added molding,  voila!  Old store sign fancy pantry!

Old Store Sign Pantry

Old Store Sign Pantry

 

Before and After

Before and After

Still have to add some handles, but so happy with it!

#GraphicsFairy

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My daughter didn’t think I’d want it back.  In her defense, it was a mess. One of the drawer fronts was fallen off, the back was in pieces, it was dark, dirty and scratched up.

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It just had not fared well with a house of kids and cats.

So it took the four hour ride home with me and sat in the dining room for a couple of months before I got to it. And naturally, I didn’t take ‘before’ photos.  Just cuz.

But here are some in progress shots.  After I removed about a hundred nails. And filled in the scratches on the top with wood filler. And sanded the h+++ out of the whole thing.  And replaced two of the drawer bottoms.  And put the whole thing back together with new glue and nails.

IMG_2600We had a whole pile of old maps from National Geographic Magazines.  I glued (mixture of wood glue and water) some inside the drawers to add some character. I guess I have been in a traveling state of mind lately.

IMG_2601I also had removed the brass hardware off the drawers and gave them a cleaning.  I used an internet tip about using mayonnaise to clean the brass.  It sounds weird, but it really worked.  Put it on, let it set for a bit and scrub off.  I left a little of the patina on because I didn’t want it too brassy, shiny.

IMG_2602.JPGPainted the sides of the drawers to match the top using my home made chalk paint recipe with a sample jar of Behr color called Harbor, although I didn’t want a nautical look, I liked that the color matched the maps. (click the link to find my recipe on that post)

IMG_2605I used a compass image from the net and enlarged it using Block Posters, a free site that allows you to enlarge a photo. The image must be in a format that they accept.

I used carbon/transfer paper to trace the design onto the dresser top and then painted in the design.  After the paint was dry, I sanded it lightly to give it a faded look and then added stain because the paint was a little too bright for the look I was going for.  I just put a little stain on a paper towel, rubbed a little on and buffed it in until I got the effect I was looking for.

IMG_2606.JPGLeaving the wood natural, I added a couple of coats of Minwax Polycrylic to the whole thing, and a couple extra coats to the top.

So with the compass, I decided to use the popular saying from Lord of the Rings, but when I looked up the poem for the proper wording, I found the actual first line, and thought it appropriate for the piece. “All that is gold does not glitter.”  It seemed to fit.

IMG_2694I guess my advice is don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into something that looks like it might be worth the effort.

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(I do not have affiliates.  I provide links so you can see what products I used)

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

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We have shells. Lots of shells. I collect shells, Jeff collected shells on his world travels and we were given his aunt’s collection when she passed away.

I wanted to display some of the sea fans we had received.  I created some shadow boxes with scrap pieces and some weathered pieces of sand fence from Cape Cod.

With ephemera I’ve been collecting (yes, sadly, I have a lot of ‘stuff’ collected)  I created several shadow boxes to hang.  Items I used include Scrabble tiles, vintage stamps, shells and sea glass i collected, and various decorative papers, along with the sea fans.

sand-sea-salt

Jeff stitched them together in photoshop so they look like they are all one, but are actually three separate 6 x 12 inch pictures.

I love the way they turned out.

It doesn’t take a lot of fancy, expensive paints to make over an outdated chandelier.  Don’t let them fool you!  You can get great results from simple, cheaper options.

Chandy Finished makeoverSo, if you’ve been looking into doing this, you have probably found other blogs who have used various name brand chalk and metallic paints. Here are a couple I loved, Diane’s at In My Own Style, and Amy’s at Maison Decor, and a zinc look makeover from Leslie at Colorways, whose chandelier’s style is much like mine was.

Sometimes you have to leave your chandeliers attached to the ceiling while you paint, but we were moving our light (along with the dining table) across the room so it was coming down, making the make over so much easier.

I also love to take apart my electricals and play with them!  I get so excited to start my projects, I always forget the before pics, but you’ve seen enough of these outdated shiny brass chandeliers, haven’t you?

My chandelier being taken apart.

My chandelier being taken apart

But take pictures of any funky ways things are assembled, like the way this wire goes around this part, so you can reference them when you put it all back together.

Take pictures for reference to assist in assembly later

Take pictures for reference to assist in assembly later

 

I took the whole chandelier apart and taped up the sockets to keep the paint out.  Then, started it off with a shot of Rustoleum antique bronze spray paint…. not much of this shows at the end, but I like having that dark base.

Then, I started layering my home-made chalk paint.  Here is my recipe:

Chalk Paint

For the painting process, I have some pictures from a lamp I painted the same way.

Shiny brass lamp to make over

Shiny brass lamp ready for make over

The paint I used on this project was made with a sample of Behr Chenille Spread, which is an off-white.  I used a chip brush and instead of stroking it on, I stippled it, which is a fancy way of saying I dabbed it on.

Antique Bronze spray paint and coat of white chalk paint stippled on

Antique Bronze spray paint and coat of white chalk paint stippled on

Next came a bit of blue chalk paint, this is called Provence Blue.  I used this sparingly.  I wanted to simulate a patina on old metal.

If you do too much, don’t worry.  Just put more white on top.  I would also use a paper towel and dab off if I put too much on.  I liked how that gave it more texture.

The next layer is a bit of brown spray paint.  I kept the can about 18 inches away and let it sputter so it spattered on the pieces.

Brown spray paint spattered on the white and blue chalk paint

Brown spray paint spattered on the white and blue chalk paint

Again, with the white, and if I wasn’t quite happy with it, I just kept adding layers until I was.  There is no right or wrong with this, just do what makes you happy.♥

To add a little shine, the last layer was a Ceramcoat Gleam acrylic craft paint in silver that I had on hand.  I used a foam brush to put it on and then used the paper towel again to rub it in.

Even acrylics can be used to add layers

Even acrylics can be used to add layers

Silver acrylic paint rubbed on as final layer

Silver acrylic paint applied on as final layer

Now to assemble the chandelier parts back together.  I wasn’t entirely happy with the original composition of the pieces.  I played with how they went together.  The top pieces were put back the way they had been, except I turned them upside down.

On the bottom half, I wanted to eliminate the big round piece.  I just didn’t like it.  It is easy to change things up this way.  I had some threaded rods from other lighting projects, but you can buy some different length rods at the hardware store in the lighting parts department.  Lighting nipples

So I just played with the pieces and the rods until I got something I liked.

The chandelier is now going to be a plug in instead of hard wired. (The outlet was wired to a wall switch, so we can flip the switch to turn it on)  I added the chain and attached the new wire to the existing wiring in the chandelier. Wire and chain can be purchased by the foot at the hardware store.  Adding the new wire is pretty easy to do.  All the wires to the various arms of the chandelier all come together in the center.  They were held together with pigtails (those little plastic caps).  Unscrew the caps, remove the old wire that went up to the ceiling and attach the new wire, re-attach the caps.  Done!  Thread the wire through the chain.  There are plugs that you can add to the other end of the wire to plug into the wall.  Ask a person at the hardware store to help you find these.

I also added some bling with glass beads from Fire Mountain Gems.  I used a small drill bit and drilled holes in to candle holders so I could attach the bead drops I created.

Look at the bling!

Glass beads attached to the candle holders

Glass beads attached to the candle  holders

Completed chandelier makeover

Chandelier make over

 

 

 

Found this on the web. I wanted to share this great way Jessica at How About Orange created to inject a little personal style without committing permanently. Great for renters who aren’t allowed to paint or change anything.

How to "wallpaper" using fabric | How About Orange.

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