Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blogging Return - Spring Inspired Pink and Green Primitve chest

I’ve been gone for awhile….Not only from blogging, but from my home, business, family and friends, here on the Cape.

It’s been a long journey through the ravages of the tongue cancer experience with my fiancĂ©’s mother, Marge. What this brave soul has been through, you can’t even imagine. The condensed version: Marge went through radiation and suffered through all the painful side affects. Then, just as we thought she was on the road to healing, the cancer in her tongue started to cause unbearable pain. A biopsy was done and the heartbreaking news of the cancer’s return was delivered. Doctor after doctor and opinion after opinion, led us out of New York and into Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston. We thought she would be getting up to two thirds of her tongue removed. However, because of this cancer’s quick growth, she ended up loosing her tongue, voice box, and having a chest muscle pulled up through her throat to create a flap. She has a stoma in her neck and all her breathing is done through that. She will also be fed through a feeding tube for the rest of her life.

We've been from Mass. Eye and Ear, to Hebrew Rehab (outside Boston) and now, she is in a rehab on the Cape…Finally! This 87 year old is brave and strong. I salute her! And as for Wayne and I, we can care-take and work, right on our own turf!

So, as you might be able to imagine, getting back to everything let go for so long, is overwhelming! My shop had such a mish-mosh of the seasons in it, I didn’t know where to begin. But, we did have a few days of warmth and managed to get some spring cleaning done, both inside and out. It’s actually beginning to look like a fresh breath of spring in there!

Below are pictures of my newest piece, a pink and green primitive. I love the enhancements of time gone by, and the warm color and finish that the glazing (mocha by Valspar) adds to the piece:

Here's the piece, all sanded and ready to go!

And, these are the tools I use to prime my pieces.

What I do, is dip my roller directly into the primer/paint and then blot it on a piece of card board. Then, I apply a smooth finish.

When I am finished, or have to take a break, I slide my roller off into an air tight plastic bag.

The great thing about the Zinzer Bin primer I use, is that it is a wonderful stain blocker. It's lacquer based and therefore, broken down by household ammonia. When I am ready to clean out my roller, I fill the bag with ammonia, let it soak, and then clean and rinse the roller out with water. (If you don't use the ammonia and skip right to water, your roller will turn to muck!)

These are the original handles for my primitive piece. I've sanded them, and punched them thru card board (using their hardware).

I've sprayed them black and let them dry. Later, I will be shabbying them off.

My piece has been base coated in Ben Moore's, "Dried Parsley", with the drawers painted a pink I mixed up myself. I've ruffed up and shabbied off the appropriate places, enhancing the piece's years of wear. I've glazed the piece with Valspar's "Mocha", using Windex to help move the glaze around. (Sometimes, places dry when I am trying to remove the glaze and the Windex helps me to keep things moving.)

Here, I am applying glaze to the drawer.

Here are some close-ups of the distressed places and the glazing.

More, distressing.

I'm finished with the piece and the drawers are drying. My piece will be sealed with a matt finish by Behr.

Finished and displayed in my shop....All ready to find a new home!

Happy Spring!
Pieces of Dreams

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tea Cups and Saucers ~ Where Will They Show Up Next?

Don't you think everything presents a little better when displayed upon a pedistal?

I make these sand candles and sell them in my shop. However, especially on a humid day, I found the need for something to display them on. I also thought it would be nice to offer a type of candle holder to complete "that perfect gift" idea, for my customers. I have been saving odd tea cups and saucers for a while, just waiting for the perfect thing to do with them. Pictured below are some of what I came up with:

The sand candle holder was made from a tea cup saucer atop an old Sandwich Glass candle holder. The votive candle holder was made from a demitasse saucer and an old milk glass salt shaker.

Basically, this is what I did. My dear friend, Estelle, brought me this milk glass salt shaker, missing its peppery mate. I have chosen to use this particular glass glue, that dries hard, permanent, and with a slight amount of flexibility....Done!

The hardest part is making sure the chosen pedistal is centered. Make sure you let them dry thoroughly and on a level surface. You laugh, but I didn't know that my mother-in-law (to be) had an uneven table and my pedistal kept moving!

I like the fact that these little beauties have many uses...

...Nice soap dish, don't you think? Also, can you see this on your dresser holding jewelry? Or, how about setting a lovely table with one of these little cup cake holders at each setting? Cute!

I just think they are so pretty. And next, is a project I have been meaning to get to for a while...

Tea cup and saucer lamps! About a year ago I ordered little candle lamp parts from the CWI outlet I get my glass knobs from.

I had this idea after watching Wayne repair old lamps. I thought I would cut off the plug and temporarily remove the switch. Then I get a ceramic drill bit to drill a hole in the cup and feed the cord through.

Wayne helped me drill the hole in the cup. Here's a tip...Keep dipping the ceramic drill bit in like a charm! Then we fed the cord through the hole, replaced the in-line switch, attached a new plug and glued everything together.

I am so happy with the out come of this project. I think they will go just perfectly in my shop!

Speaking of my shop, I am not there right now. Both Wayne and I are in Long Island caring for Wayne's Mom. She has just completed 8 weeks of radiation and a form of kemo. Since we are treating tongue cancer, her mouth is in terrible condition complete with painful thrush. Although the burned skin on the side of her face and neck is better now, it was quite distressing a week or so back. She has a feeding tube and we are doing our very best to pump lots of protein and freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, while keeping a nagging fever down. Please keep our dear Marge in your prayers.

Sending out all our best, to all of you!

Pieces of Dreams

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quick Fix ~ Quick Post ~ Twig 'N Vine Window Treatment "How To"!

Here on Cape Cod, we are bracing for an uninvited guest...His name is Earl (Wayne calls him "The Duke of Earl"). This means potential victims of this force of nature, will have to go around to all their properties, picking up and storing anything that could become a potential projectile....Tediously annoying!!!!

However in doing just that, I found some great twigs graciously dropped from my favorite tree, just perfect for creating my shop's, back bedroom window treatment. Now that I have sold the pink and green dresser (slotted for pick-up after the storm), my vision for this bedroom will have to be adjusted slightly. But, there is good news! This window dressing will go with all my ideas!
Here's a quick "How To"!

Gather and wire twigs together that measure slightly beyond the window on either side.

This is a close-up of the wiring. Notice that I wired an additional branch on the right side for balance.

Next, I added this floral garland that I had from the other shop.

Before I added the lights, I hung these curtains. Actually, if I had been that good a planner, I would have hung the curtains before putting everything else up. When I stood back, I thought the window needed something to mask the fact that I didn't want to paint the window at this time. So, I opted to hang four panels so that I would have the option of changing how I tied them back. Then, I wove the lights in and out of the twigs and vines. I am very careful to intertwine the lights so that the wires are nicely hidden. Why don't I put the lights on first, you ask? Well, trust me when I say that you will regret not doing it this way, if and when your lights burn out!

As you can see here, I have made tie backs from sections of garland.

And here you have it! All tied back and lit up. Notice from the picture that all the lights are within the vines and not straggling down the side.

Here's the trick. Get a short extension cord and using cup hooks, lead the cord up to the top. This way your lights are where they are supposed to be.

So, we have softened a harsh look and since there isn't any overhead lighting in this room, we have solved a lighting problem (especially since, all too soon, it will be dark at 4:00 pm) and added ambiance to the room!

It's just started to rain (sigh)! Time to go to the shop, work on some furniture, and hope for some customers. If people aren't fleeing the Cape, I am sure they will be buying up supplies at Stop and Shop. I'm probably the last stop on the list, but one can hope!

To answer some of my commenting bloggers...Yes, I will be posting some furniture painting tips in the near future. So! I'm off to work, with camera in hand, sending out wishes for safety and happiness to all!

Pieces of Dreams

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Week In "The Cottage Life" ~ Part Two

Well, what do they say about the best laid plans? I really did intend to post earlier, but the week I had last week was extremely busy and complicated. For some reason, business really picked up this month...kind of like an explosion. And, although it is something we all pray for in this business, the mad scramble to keep up with inventory can really prove exhausting. Lucky for me that Wayne and I do this together. We share the work, treasure hunting and the total experience, making us very in tune with one another.

We have also had family visiting while we work. All I can say is, they have been very patient and understanding. The pictures below somewhat capture the changes in my shop during this past week:

I was just starting to get the back room set up and the pink striped vanity and chair sold. Luckily, Wayne found and painted this lovely wicker one, from the 1940's.

He also found, rebuilt the bottom of the seat, and painted this lovely settee...Already sold!

Another new lovely addition is this wicker chair is from the 1940's...This chair has six legs!

Wayne also found and painted this lovely old Victorian wicker table...Already sold!

We had this solid iron bench (Victorian) for two days. Every time we get something special like this, it really brings people into the shop...We like that!

Wayne also painted this black chest. It hasn't sold yet, but it's sparking a lot of interest...

...And, here's why. It has this little writing desk inside the top drawer.

We got this Victorian bird cage at the same yard sale we got the Victorian bench. That surely was a sale worth stopping at!

We were able to get our hands on two Jerry Howes paintings. His artwork is incredible. You can just about pick those cherries off the table!

This is the second Jerry Howes painting. Wayne and I just love his work.

Remember this table from the previous post? Here it is all dressed up with the hydrangeas.

This is a close up of the top of this piece.

I love folding the artwork over the side of my pieces.

And, this is a close up of the hydrangea I painted on the bottom shelf.

Yet another view of this piece. I try to make the artwork make sense and look attractive from every angle.

Remember this piece from the previous post? Before starting the artwork, I dry-brush striped and created a dry-brushed doily on the top of the piece and drawer. Here is a picture of the piece in process.

Here it is with all the detail work added to the flowers and vines.

Side view.

Close up of the left top and front.

Here's a close up of the top on the right side.

Hydrangeas, ribbons and vines tumbling down the other side of the piece.

This a view of the top of this piece. I put this piece outside while I tried to figure out where to display it. I never got the chance because it sold immediately.

So, now we are back to needing new inventory. Pictured here, are some of the "wanna-be's" that are next. My focus for this week is the table turned upside down on the vanity, my custom ordered bookcase, and the vanity.

We are having much needed rain on the Cape this week. Since we are not having "beach days", I will be entertaining my customers, while I try to squeeze in some work. Our customers are great! They completely understand my being covered in sanding dust and paint.

Wishing all of you a happy, creative and productive week!

Pieces of Dreams