Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flower Chair Makeover

Ok, back to improving the curb appeal of our old house.
I thought with the age of my house, 
I might be able to pull off quaint and cottagey. 

I had an old chair and decided to make a chair planter.
I also wanted to reinforce my turquoise and lime green color scheme.
 Here's the ladder back chair that had seen better days.
Time to send that seat completely on it's way.

We got the chair from a bare wood place and stained it ourselves -- at least 26 years or so ago.  That's our oldest son, Lars sitting on it in the first picture and he looks like he's about 2?  Maybe?  On the right is Lars currently and he's going to be 28 in a couple of weeks.  Where did that time go?  Anyway, that's how old the chair is.  And no, he didn't know he was flipping the bird in the toddler picture.  Totally an accident.  By the way, are any of you Elton John fans?  If so, you might recognize what's behind toddler Lars... but I'll come back to that later.

Here's what I did:  since I wanted a rustic look,
I didn't even sand the chair to start with - just slapped
on some craft paint (color mixed to my preference.)

Made sure not to get it into every crevice.
I rubbed the "wear" points until the paint came off
to give the chair a weathered look.

Then I wanted to have words on the ladder back.  I came up with something Emerson wrote that seemed apropos, printed it out on the computer (in outline to save ink) and taped it on the chair, cutting between the letters at intervals to go with the curve of the slats.

Then I inserted graphite paper under the words.  Graphite paper is like a pencil version of carbon paper which may be an old school reference now that I think about it.  Graphite paper is a tissue that has a pencil coating on one side and when written on, leaves graphite on the surface pressed.  And it's pencil so it erases if need be.  Graphite paper is available at most craft stores, drafting supply places and artist supplies.

Then I just painted in the words with a small brush.  You may not see it in this picture, but I also added a shadow on the left side of the letters because they needed to pop a little.  When all the painting was done, I took the chair outside and sprayed several coats of marine varnish on it in hopes of helping it withstand the Wisconsin summer rains.  Ha ha -  this year we are in the middle of a drought and everything is dying or dead.  Our grass is crunchy and yellow.  We need those summer rains pretty badly right now.

It was my goal to keep the chair planter from looking like a potty chair.  Sorry, but that's what I think of when I see some of these... especially if the flower buckets are deep... and show.  I purchased a shallow yet wide wire hanging plant bowl and spray painted it turquoise.  Then I used the chain (with hooks on each end conveniently) from the hanger and connected it across the seat forming a slack chain triangle and rested the bowl on it.  It worked perfectly.  The chair looks like flowers are spilling from the seat not growing from a potty chair bowl.  Yay!  Another thing... I could not find a hanging plant that I liked - colorwise.  Good thing, because all those have those deep bucket bowls.  Anyway, I ended up planting my own because I wanted LOTS of different colors.  As it is, you cannot see the blue lobelia and the orange marigolds.  I wanted tons of color and some ivies to twine up the back - which are headed that way.  

Anyway, I hope you like my chair planter.

And the thing behind little Lars?
It's a giant (at least six foot square) replica of an Elton John
album cover that we got from the front of
a local Peaches record store back in the 80s.
(Hubby has been a huge EJ fan since high school.)

UPDATE:  Here's how the chair looked about a month later.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Purdy Pert Pirt

Ok, so I know we once had a discussion about the sizzler, but have you ever heard of a "pirt?" No? Neither had I until the other day when I bought this Butterick pattern at an estate sale. 

 When I read the back of the pattern, I saw the word.
We can only assume it is a combination of
"pants" and "skirt" --- PIRT!  Why, of course.

Were there other pirt patterns out there I wondered?  By the way, I wouldn't suggest googling the word "pirt."  You will only find a bunch of nude and semi nude people in saunas.  I don't even want to know why.  However, if you google "pirt pattern" you may actually find a few pirts of the clothing variety.
It looks like something that Laura Petrie would wear
while planning the latest variety show fundraiser.

I think this passing fad might have hit
a decade too early for me to have worn.

Besides, so many layers...
but definitely a way to look more ladylike in shorts.
If that's what you're looking for.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Polka Dot Flower Pots

Ok, here's the truth.  I live in an old house.  

It's mostly a cottagey Dutch Colonial with some Craftsman influences.  Our street used to be named 4th Street because we are (you guessed it) four blocks from Main Street which runs through the middle of our historic downtown here in Menomonee Falls.  I'm told our house was the first home on our street and was surrounded by fields and up the hill from a lumber yard.  There was a chicken coop out back and at some point, it was dismantled and the weathered, silvery wood siding was used to panel our family room... but I digress.  I got a kick when I saw our plat map and realized that our old neighborhood was once a subdivision with a name!!!  Eckhardt's Gardens.  Ha ha!  

This old house turns 85 in 2012 and lately I've been pondering our "curb appeal" or lack thereof.  I began to think about front door colors and the debate was between turquoise or lime green.  This was after I decided against pink.  Since our house is gray, theoretically, most any color could work, but just painting the door a color might look out of place unless there were some other supporting accents close by... well, one thing led to another and another and another... so before the new front door entry "reveal" let me share some of those supporting players.  First up, the polka dot flower pots.

 I definitely saw this cute idea on Pinterest
by Positively Splendid and fell in love.

I bought five terra cotta pots and saucers from our local garden center and started by priming them with a brush on Kilz or Zinsser type primer inside and out.  I chose to prime and later, seal inside and out because terra cotta sucks water and I didn't want to allow water to get into the clay and bump the paint off the other side.

Next, I brushed on my turquoise or lime green.  I planned to alternate colors going down the steps on my front porch.  I had to brush on because you know I can never be satisfied with the typical spray paint colors.  I had to mix these two colors until they were juuuuust right... and then did three coats of paint.

Next, I struggled with the decision about how to place the dots.  Should I try to evenly space them by some mathematical calculation?  The narrowing of the pot to the base presented a challenge to any of my mathematical thinking!  My husband finally convinced me to stop trying so hard and just start random stamping the dots.  However, I felt the top rim had to have evenly placed dots just to start things off right, so I cut some strips of paper and taped them end to end...

 ...until the strip was long enough to circle the pot.

Then I took that strip and folded it in half and half and half until it looked something like this.  And honestly, the half method didn't give me the right distance between folds so I refolded and went to thirds.  Should I be telling you these things?  I think so, because these pictures don't begin to tell the story of how long this project took and the mess I had in my dining room for days and days.  This stuff is always more time consuming and more difficult than these little DiY pictorials make them look.  Let's be honest.

Next I marked the pot where the folds of my strip were.
These would be the markers for my dots.

To stamp the dots,
I bought two sponge roller refills for $2 or was it $1?

And they worked splendidly!
Once the dots were dry,
I sprayed on three coats of polyurethane satin finish.

And here are the pots on my steps.
This picture was taken today in the almost 100 degree heat!
So, what's your guess on the front door color?
Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Speaking of Heat 'n Bond... a few cards

So if Heat 'n Bond can work on band-aids (previous post),
surely it can work on paper, right?
Yep, it does.

Well I got to thinking... why not make all those thank you cards I have to write for all those nice things people did for my school board farewell...?  Yeah, why not.  Too many ideas for my own good!  (This is why I am so slow at everything...)

 This design that I saw online here started everything off.
So cute.

 Then, I just kept thinking of new ideas...
like birdies,

 ... and flowers of all kinds...

 even rainbow flowers,

 and retro flowers.

 I also saw this cool tree design here.

 More retro looks.  Gotta have retro.

 My favorite of those that I designed.
There are many more, but I won't bore you!

Oh yeah.  I will never use up all Aunt Eunice's scraps.  
Got to give her credit with a sticker on the back of each card!

So many scraps
so little time!

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