Monday, August 11, 2014

Playing With Wood: Christmas in July

Yes, I know Christmas is in December, but I worked on these in July.  Happens every year--I finish a holiday project or two. In July.  Go figure. 

When it's hot outside, it's nice to have some small, easy, stress-free projects to work on.  And all three of these came under the "playing with wood" category.

First I painted a teensy frame red for this cross-stitched Santa that my SIL sent as our Christmas card for 2013.  I didn't realize that Santa's bag was purple before.  Who knew?!

Then I happened to be cleaning my workroom of clutter at the same time that I was browsing my Pinterest boards.  The result was these penguins created from the three little unpainted wooden flower pots that had just been sitting around awaiting inspiration.

  Love'em.  Wouldn't they be even cuter wearing little scarves?  I'll get on that.

Next.   I bought an unpainted laser-cut tree at Joann's last October.

Inspired by Jeri Lander's scherenschnitte (of which I proudly own a framed piece), I painted a tree of Life.  Not that I'm anywhere in Jeri's league, but her art makes me happy and so does this little piece.

Am I the only one who mixes up December and July?

The comments section turned up other Christmas-minded blogging friends.  Including a party at Journey Back!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Playing With Wood: The Coffee Table

My original plan for my little square table was simple--sand the scarred top and rub on some tung oil and then bring it back inside to hold remotes and prop up our feet as we watch Netflix. That plan didn't last long--little did I know that I was embarking on one of those (cue scary music) Refinishing Projects That Go Bad. 

I should have known right from the git-go when the finish gummed up the sandpaper so quickly that I knew I was gonna be stuck using a chemical stripper. I don't like using strippers--they stink and sting and are messy. But a girl's gotta do whatever's necessary to get ahead. And actually the stripping process went very smoothly. The maple top looked soooo nice after I fine-sanded it.

I wanted to add a bit of color though and reached into my stash of stains. Early American was way too light and didn't add anything. I tried Puritan Pine stain which looks great on my bath tray  but it still wasn't right. So I reached for English Chestnut, the stain I absolutely love on my mid-century black-and-wood desk..

Big mistake. Huge.

The darker color highlighted the fact that the maple top was made of twelve different boards and each took the stain differently. You can't believe how quickly I grabbed the paint thinner hoping to remove as much stain as possible. No luck. So I stripped it again and discovered my stripper was great at taking off the finish but didn't do one single thing to remove stain color.

I figured I had two choices at that point: I could sand it down again. Or I could paint it.  Or a third choice would have been to ignore it, but I'm reserving that for The Desk.

Ordinarily, paint is not going near turned legs (let's just say I had an unfortunate experience involving removing latex paint from our dining table and chairs that I don't ever plan to repeat). And I resist painting pretty hardwoods because I dearly love the look and warmth of wood.

But the truth is that I fished this little table out of my neighbors' garbage pile when they left for North Dakota in the middle of a late November blizzard. Solid maple weighs a ton if you try carrying it on your head--even if it just three houses away--and it's too awkward to carry with your arms.  If I'd paid good money for it I would have sanded it.  But it was free.  FREE, people!

So I took the easy route and grabbed my favorite white paint.

I gotta regrets that I painted it!  I love the way the paint brings out the cute lines of this piece.  And I'm officially educated about a multi-board top vs. a single board.

This coffee table wasn't intended to be a blog post about projects gone wrong or even a roadkill rescue story.  Hence the lack of "before" shots.  It was just another way not to finish that monster of a mid-century modern office desk.  Do you ever have a project that you want to finish but you just can't make yourself dive in?

As long as I'm thinking about said desk, I guess I'll see what I can do to move it forward, even is just a bit.  Because summer vacation is just about over and the classroom is looming.

Progress is good!


Friday, August 08, 2014

Playing With Wood: The White Picket (Chicken) Fence and Gate

My chickens' have a new gate!

It not only looks much better than the predecessor which we hurriedly knocked together before a summer vacation four years ago...

But the gate is now fully functional.  As in, it opens and shuts easily without binding--something the previous gate didn't do.  Simple pleasures!

I transformed those dog-eared cedar fenceboards into white pickets using my jigsaw and leftover trim paint.  I found the classic gothic-style pickets via Pinterest.  I couldn't resist the scalloped tops so I incorporated that too. 

I spray-painted the gate handle turquoise--the jury's still out on that one.  It's not quite right.  It needs something else and I'm still waiting for inspiration to strike.

It's only five feet corraling the hens in our side yard, but our cottage now boasts a white picket fence.  I'm lovin' it!