“So, what have you been doing?”  I’ve had that question a lot lately.  It’s a hard question to answer sometimes when you’re not busy with a job or activities that most people have to fill up their days.

I have been doing me.  Taking some time to assess where I am going.  Most people don’t have that luxury and I am grateful for it.  But enough of the philosophical.

I took a really nice online course for mixed media through the Graphics Fairy taught by Heather Tracy from Thicketworks.  I learned some great techniques that ended up helping me to complete a project that was sitting on the shelf for a few months nearly a year as I waited for the inspiration to complete it.

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You might remember my little friend from a previous post, but now I have finished his little time machine.  I am so in love with this, but it will be submitted in my first “Call to Artists” in a couple of weeks with the Salem Arts Association.

Go to the link here to see the video of the time machine and discover the little surprise it has inside.

 

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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!

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Here are some of my inspiration pictures.

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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!

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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.

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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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I’ve been creating a lot of art projects, and not a lot of working on the house lately.  So if you are looking for French Farmhouse posts, I do apologize, and please bear with me.  My life is multi-faceted and my home is only one part of what I do.  I will do some posts that will appeal to the French Farmhouse lovers out there.  I promise!

This project was for a dear friend of mine who just reached the BIG 5-0.  She is also going through some really trying times right now and needing to be very brave for a loved one, so I wanted to create something special for her.

Hummingbird

I started with a 9 x 12 canvas and worked from there.  I created the hummingbird from Creative Paper Clay (found at most craft stores or on Amazon) over a foil and cardboard armature, and then attached it onto the canvas which I had added layers of papers and paint and using stencils to create the effects.  I also cut the canvas to create a space to attach the hand made paper roses made from card stock loosely using directions found on Live the Dream blog.  I don’t have a punch to create the petals, so I made my own template and cut them out by hand.  A little more time consuming, but until I find a punch like this one that I can use a 50% off coupon on, that’s the way I roll!

I hope this gives someone inspiration to play and create their own personalized gifts.  A little ingenuity can provide good results!

Have a great inspirational day everyone!

(P.S. I do not get compensated for any products I mention in this article.)

#CreativePaperclay

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My latest project was making a little mouse with ball joints (my first attempt) so that it is posable.  He is made from paper maché clay #CreativePaperclay on a wire armature. Although he is not perfect, I learned so much, and I think he is pretty cute!

He’s not quite French Country related, but I hope you don’t mind my little “Francois, the Little Time Keeper”

I still have work to do on his clock home which was found on the side of the road a few years ago, and is getting a makeover.

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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.

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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.