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Friday, August 18, 2017

Pulling out the Stash !!

While waiting to get a renovation job done that’s been on the list for too many years, I’m pulling things out of my stash that have been waiting patiently to be used for this project.

A few years ago a neighbour gave me an old cedar chest that was headed for the dump. Far be it for me, to let that happen. It was in pretty good shape, especially the inside, and just a few minor bumps here and there on the outside. The finish was quite worn but that’s not a problem if it was going to be re-purposed anyway. I didn’t want to sand and stain it as the new sunroom will be bright and the dark wood would be out of place, so it’s been painted instead.  I took pictures of the original markings, most of them are retained as they are inside, but a couple are now painted over.

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On the underside the balsa wood base was for the most part, missing. Broken off over time. I broke a bit more of it back to where it wasn’t lifting and got started with painting. The first pictures, show the base unfinished, along with a foreman to watch over the progress (aka… the neighbours cat, Max) and then a basecoat of some left over interior water base paint.

Oh my goodness. You would have laughed in a “I’m so sorry kind of way”, if you had seen what I did to one of Mother Natures creatures. It was pathetic really, I felt so bad. Before I got the paint out, I took a soft brush and cleaned the chest all over to eliminate all the dust and spider webs that were living there. I did that really well, I thought. You know where I’m going with this don’t you?

I got the paint and started adding to the corners with a pretty good dose of paint because of all the little nooks and crannies that I had to cover. Oh dear, on reloading my brush, I looked down and out from the corner staggered a little spider, a mint green spider at that. He looked like he’d been at a party all night and was just coming home.I did my “I’m so sorry buddy” laugh, let him crawl up onto the brush and gently tossed him outside with a wish for a better life. I’m quite sure he didn’t survive, and there was nothing I could do for him. Poor guy.

So, back to the chest. The wooden knob in the center has to do with the Aroma adjustment for the inside. Can’t find info online even from the original maker, but will play around with it and see what happens. These chests are not really an antique, I did find out that much. Apparently new chest are somewhere in the range of $400 US, but I really like the look of well loved pieces. They just need a refresh and as long as you aren’t destroying a vintage valuable piece, it’s all good.

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I applied two coats of the main colour for better coverage, also the paint will soak into the wood and strengthen the grain. There are some minor spots that needed a bit more coverage. You can see it’s in pretty good shape, a bit scraped up on the outside, but all in all, really good solid piece of furniture. I removed the locking mechanism so it could be opened easily. There is that button on the front that had to be pushed in to release the catch, but it was pretty hard to do and probably more stiff than it was originally. I’ve added handles that you’ll see at the end, much easier.

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The main paint I used is called “Fusion”. Click here for more info. It’s an all in one paint, so you don’t need to varnish when finished. You can if you want to of course. I bought the paint at this local store, they have the best vintage pieces for sale, accessories, and they do classes in how to repurpose furniture and make it new again, as well as other classes. Click here for more info. I love going there, it seems every week there are new and wonderful finds, and I could easily leave there with lots of goodies each time if I didn’t restrain myself.

Once it was painted, it just seem to burst into new life. It’s so bright and cheerful and will be such a focal point in the rebuilt sunroom. The colour is slightly softer than what the picture shows, and has a slight grey tone to it. Same said neighbour came over and blessed me with a couple of tablecloths. ;o) One is lace, so that might be what lays on top of the chest later on.

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At the same store where I bought the paint, I also got these handles and this really fun paper to line the bottom of the chest. I wish there had been more, but I got the last sheet. The actual colour is like brown packing paper, but it didn’t want to photograph that way for me. ;o( 

For whatever reason, I’ve picked out accessories I’ll show another time, that have a Paris – Shabby Chic theme to them.

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The final part was to pull out some yarn from my stash that eventually would have become a sweater, in which life time I’m not sure. I bought a jumbo ball of the variegated yarn just to add some brightness to the green and blue, and crocheted a cozy afghan. It’s wool which will be nice and warm for early morning coffee or just nighttime chats while star gazing. Sounds like a good relaxing thing to do.

I have some other projects to work on, so more posts will follow. I also finished all the fairies (50 of them) and am now working on the display piece for the show/sale that starts September 30th. Pictures to come for that also, so stay tuned.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

I’m building fairies again !!!

It’s that time again for Christmas ornaments. I know I know, it’s hard to hear that in the throws of summer, but for those who create it’s a busy time of year. We get our relief at Christmas while everyone else is tearing around getting their shopping done and planning the family functions. ;o)

So here’s what’s on my worktable now. It’s a good thing the Tour de France is on, I got all the fiddly bits out of the way. Here is what it involves to make 50 of my Shabby Rose Fairies, all their bits and pieces. Looks ominous, but the hard part is done and now the fun begins and all their cuteness comes together.

We start with body parts, all 250 of them, she says so calmly…..

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Every body needs a head, and there are 50 of those. ;o) So cute when they stack up like this….. This year I gave them all heart smiles, who can resist.

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Every head needs hair, not sure hairless fairies exist, do they??? Five different colours, wonder who will get which one….

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This year too, I made these little very faux perfume bottles for them to hold. So many sparkly bits….

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Once they are put together and have their little bottles in hand, they also need more bling and trims, as fairies are want to do….

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I can’t forget the main player in the Shabby Rose theme, the shabby roses… and there are a rainbow of colours for them as well, many more than what you see here. What will they choose with so many choices….oh my!!

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And the last little change this year, is that they will hang on the trees instead of hanging from cords. These are the pretty gold scrolling hangers, more shine to add to all the bling and colour. I’ll post pictures when they are all together and ready for their viewing. ;o))  Back soon…

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Art on the Rocks- Book 4 Review

My favourite of the four, why?? Because it’s photographed so beautifully, is so well laid out and so full of, 35 in total, sweet projects to paint. Years ago when I was into decorative painting, thee were a couple of books about rock painting that were wildly popular. I’m glad to see it’s not an art that has died.

I really did go a bit crazy with pictures, but it does show how much I like this books. Pictures can often display far better what the message is, than when I try to find words.

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The pages of instructions are nicely laid out, and again the photography is perfect. Why I think that’s important is because there are a number of different things these artists used in creating this rock art and properly photographed tools makes life so much easier to know what to shop for. Two of the artists are in the US, the other is currently living in Italy.

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I really liked this page that shows the different rocks you can use and how to prep them for working on.

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By beautiful photography, this is what I mean. Look at this picture, I think this the prettiest page of the whole book. Aren’t these owls amazing, I can picture painting a bunch of them and the flower rocks below and displaying them in trees and other places around the yard. It just makes my brain fill with inspiration.

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And not only owls and flowers, but how about some fish and our feathered friends. A favourite anywhere are hummingbirds.

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And not to be left out, animals. You’re limited only in your imagination.

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Do you need paperweights.?? Wouldn’t these be great if you’re outside and working on something to do with paper and can display these as your paperweights. Your options know no limits.

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I love this project as well, I can visualize a bunch of these tucked into little spaces around the garden and a few of them in a bowl for decoration. On a table outside, you can use them for holding down a table cloth or napkins.

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So clearly this book has struck a nerve with me and has my muse working to contain my overflow of inspiration.

Going from front to back, there are pages of tools and materials, selecting and prepping rocks, techniques methods and tips. It explains in easy to understand terms from start to finish, how to create your rock art.

After the instructional pages, the book moves into the different categories of projects you can do. Step X Step details are well laid out and each step easy to understand. I don’t think there is much more I can tell you. Your own version of rock art will be whatever you want it to be, from easy and simple to lots of wonderful details.

This books guides you through those degrees of detail and you’ll probably get hooked. The artists who did the artwork for this book are:

F. Sehnaz Bac     Her Etsy store here.

Marisa Redondo  Her site here.

Margaret Vance  Her Etsy store here.

I hope you enjoy looking at these books and that something inspired you. Have a great weekend. ;o)

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Origami Garden- book review 3

This is my second favourite book of the four I received. This is what I look for in a good art book. The cover has to be artful and makes me want to explore further. Isn’t this a great cover. I’ve included a number of pictures, it was hard to choose because the photo’s are so good.

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There are so many wonderful projects in this book, 30 in all. The  origami pieces you’ll learn to make are in these categories, Seeds and Plants, Flowers, Fruit and Vegetables and Garden Life.

The directions and diagrams are well laid out and accompanied by very good photo’s. Also, a bonus… you also get a package of over 30 origami papers to work along with the instructions.

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Waterlillies

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The book starts with a little introduction, where Origami began, then moves to a Getting Started Section explaining the folds, origami symbols and diagrams. After that it goes right into how to create the different pieces. At the end there is a page of resources and acknowledgements.

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Pears. Not sure if it’s the colours and layout of this page, but it’s probably my favourite one. ;o)

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An example of how the instructions are laid out. Some projects are one page of instructions, others are two or more pages depending on the many parts. 

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I made a couple of samples from the book just to see if I could follow along and come away with success. I think the only time I ever did any Origami was in school and maybe one small thing since then, so no expert here. But this is how my projects worked out. I’ll be reviewing the last book in the next few days.  Enjoy ;o)

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cut & Create Paper Mosaics

This next book is about creating mosaic art with paper. I always try to be positive about books because a lot of work goes into research, writing and creating them. I was looking forward to this one because the cover is colourful and made me interested to see what more it offers.

As someone who reviews books occasionally, I have to be honest and give you my view of the book, and it is only my view. This is the first time I wasn’t that excited about a book once I received it and opened it up, but I will always try to find good and bad in each one to be objective.

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I am not a paper artist by any stretch, having only done a few small projects, but I’m always open to learning new things. When I open a book it has to grab me from the start or I just can’t go forward with it because I know I will struggle to get through it.

This book is more of a kit than a book. When you open it, there are two sides.

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One side contains the table of contents, one page of very short instructions, a page of tools and tips and then nine projects ranging from beginner to advanced, each project is over two pages. 

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This picture shows the number of pieces to cut from the papers, the pictures are on the left.

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The other side is a pocket that holds the templates, and papers to create the nine projects. The paper is good quality, the templates are clear, but I’m still confused. Look at that template. It would take me an entire weekend just to cut out the pieces and then hope I got it right. But now what.

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I really want to like this book but for me it’s a kit and for people who understand paper work, in this case mosaics. Even though there are three projects for beginners, it’s lacking in instructions that a beginner can easily follow along with. Anyone with more advanced skills in this type of art would probably have no problem creating these art pieces.

I think it would have been better if the author had taken one small project and shown step x step how to construct it. After that, the nine projects contained in here, would be much easier to do.

So my pro’s and con’s.

The pro’s - I like the way the kit is put together, the projects are nice, the paper is good quality and the templates are clear and printed well.

The con’s – there isn’t enough instruction for me personally to venture into trying to make these projects. Sadly it will be put on a shelf and wait until I find someone that works with paper and knows what to do with this.

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