Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Wonders of Paint and Stencil

Yesterday, I spent a fun day with Kim Metheny and Sue Weir of Metheny Weir Painted Finishes. They were the first stockists in Cleveland of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and the resulting business had them expanding to a bigger space in the Shaker Heights section of Cleveland. Their business specializes in beautiful custom painted finishes for furniture, cabinet's and walls. They have several workshops that teach several paint techniques.
  I signed up for their stencil class because I really wanted to learn more of what I could do with my new found love of furniture painting.  There were four other ladies in the class with me and it made for a fun and lighthearted atmosphere. 
Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and several products from Royal Design Studio we created four beautiful finishes and even tried our hand at painting and stenciling fabric! 
For Kim and Sue it was the first time offering their new stencil class and Kim was quick to tell us we were their "guinea pig" class as they hadn't quite worked out how long creating a total of five different finishes would take. What was supposed to be a three hour class, stretched into four hours before we were ready to call it a day. Lucky for us!  We got more bang for our buck and walked away with new found knowledge, beautiful sample boards and an ache in our sides from all the laughing!
 After donning our aprons, we got right to work painting! Sue explained we would be creating four different looks: Modern, Contemporary, Traditional and Old World. 
For the Modern finish, we painted a coat of Old White to half of our sample board. Next, we used the Small Step Up Triangles stencil and painted Paris Grey through the stencil. A coat of clear wax and we were done. A really simple and fast technique that looks anything but!
 We then moved on to the Contemporary look and  painted Old Ochre on the other
 half of our board. Once dry, we applied  Pearl Oyster Stencil Creme through the Floral Lattice Stencil  which created a soft and shimmery look. 
The next two were my favorites; The Old World Finish and Traditional Finish.
 For the Old World Finish one half  of our board was painted using Modern Master's Metallic Paint in Brass.
Over the Brass we used The Ornamental Flower Wall Stencil, applying  both Louie Blue and Aubusson Blue chalk paint in a random manner on the board. Once dry, we applied Craqueleur step 1 and 2 allowing sufficient drying time between coats. Once the Craqueleur had fully dried and cracks had formed, we went over it with dark wax to highlight all the fine crackle areas producing a beautiful old world look. 
The Traditional finish was an easy and unexpected look using Wunda Size to create a tacky surface applied over Graphite Chalk Paint.  Once it had become tacky to the touch, about 20 minutes, we lay a piece of  Silver Metallic Foil over the surface and used a scrub brush to rub the foil all over to release the metallic onto the tacky surface. Once the plastic film was peeled away, a great black and metallic silver finish was left on the board. Over that we stenciled with Cocoa and finished with a coat of clear and dark wax.
For the final project, we painted a 50/50 mixture of Duck Egg Blue and water onto a 16" square piece of white fabric with a foam roller. After sufficient drying time, we used masking tape to mark off three narrow lines and painted them in Graphite. We then used the Sweet Tweets Lace Bird Set and stenciled the birds using Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint and highlighting the lace portion in Old White. Once dry, it received a coat of clear wax. When finished, the cute little birds looked to be sitting on a telephone line.   This fun project could easily be made into a pillow or framed and used as a wall hanging. 
You can now see why an extra hour was needed...or maybe it was all the talking we did! 
 I thoroughly enjoyed my day with all these great ladies learning and laughing! 
I can't wait to try some of these techniques on a rescued piece of furniture or anything really! Imagine the Ornamental Flower stencil in a powder room. It sure beats removing wallpaper when you want to change the look! 
In addition to the workshop where the classes are held, Metheny Weir also has a cute shop showcasing many unique and vintage items. I could've stayed an additional 5 hours just browsing! 
If you're ever in the Cleveland area, a visit to Metheny Weir is a must!
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Update A Lamp (and a room) With A New Shade

It's amazing how one small thing can update a whole room! That's what I found when I recently got around to buying new lamp shades for the lamps in my family room.

Sometimes it's often the overlooked items in a room that also make a statement.  We tend to forget about one of the most used items in a room. Our lamps! A simple update to a lamp can make such a difference!

I've had these shades for over twenty years. I had replaced the original shades with these on a trip home to New York. At the time, I lived two hours away, so I was able to bring a lamp with me in the car. My mother suggested we visit a lamp shade shop downtown so that they could appropriately fit the shade to the lamp. It doesn't cost anything extra and it is well worth it. Most shops that specialize in lamp shades offer this service and even suggest it. It's so much better than choosing from a limited supply at the big box stores and guessing if the measurements offered will fit your lamp.What's even better is specialty shops usually have an enormous and varied supply on hand.

I knew the time had come to buy new shades when I noticed the inside lining of my lamp shades had started to rip. Over time the material had become brittle and so dried out, that even the slightest touch would start a whole new rip in the shade.

Once I found a shop in my area that specialized in lamps and lamp shades, I was off with my lamp in tow to find a new shade!

The kind sales clerk who helped me, got right to work plugging in my lamp and inserting a new bulb. She quietly scanned the walls of shades and pulled a few, based on the size my lamp would need and the color. She also inquired what room these would be in, giving her a clue as to what style shade would suit best. Was it formal or casual and what else was in the room? Another factor to consider is the size of the room.

My family room is quite large and is two stories with very high ceilings. The lamps need to give off a good amount of light, so that also determines the color of shade. Although, a black shade would look nice, it really isn't practical for my space. (Although that didn't stop us from trying one for fun!)

After trying many shapes, styles, colors and fabrics, I settled on an updated drum shade in a beige linen fabric. We also bumped up the size of the harp from 9" to 10" so that the shade would fit perfectly on the lamp. You don't want to see anything other than the neck of the lamp under the shade. In other words, if you can see the bulb socket than your shade is too short. In my case, the shade was too low. I did have spacers at one time to raise it a little, but when we moved, they got lost and it wasn't at the top of my list to replace.

Anyway, you can see here the shade is just a little to low.

There's a delicate balance between the shade size, harp size and lamp size. Most lamp stores find that balance by using spacers on the screw on top to raise the height of the shade if needed. I bet you didn't know buying a shade could be so technical, huh? Another reason why it is so important to have someone who knows what they're doing! It takes all the guess work out of it. At least for me!

But why stop there? Remember, it's all in the details! I also updated the finial from the old brass to a smooth black marble that coordinates with the black marble base of the lamp.

It was suggested that the wider the top of the shade, the bigger the finial could be. It does make a difference and it adds a little personality!

Bye-bye 90's lamp shade! You served me well, but it's time to move on...

Remember when I said the shade should sit just above the neck? Below, is the perfect example of how a lampshade should fit.

The neck and just a little of the brass fitting is showing, but the bulb socket is not visible.


So there you have it! Adding new shades to your existing lamps can brighten up not only the lamp, but a whole room!

Have you had any bright ideas lately?

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Friday, February 21, 2014

A Computer Crash and An Awesome Auction Win!

Hello out there!

Things around here may have seemed quiet, but that is because of me waking up one morning only to find that my computer wouldn't turn on. Apparently it decided to quit! No warning ...well, alright... maybe a small one. But how was I to know that the extremely loud, on and off racket the fan was making was a warning sign? 
After some frustration of not being able to get any sign of life from it, reality set in and my stomach turned. ALL!...EVERYTHING!..files, email, software, PICTURES...GONE!  
I know there is a way to recover those things and I am on the search to discover who and  where I can go to and trust. 

After a few days of thinking things over, I rescued a long forgotten older computer in my oldest son's closet. It seems to be doing the trick, albeit, a bit slower, but then again, so am I! It works and that's all that matters right now. 

I DID however distract myself by painting a piece I had bought sometime in early December. It had a little veneer damage that I shied away from which is why it sat for awhile. I finally got up the courage to tackle the veneer after searching and reading up on ways to "fix peeling veneer." 

Here is the cute little dresser I won at a Goodwill auction. 

and here is the damaged veneer

 Wood glue and clamps greatly improved the appearance and with the addition of wood filler and sanding. one would have to inspect very closely to see any hints of imperfection! I was very pleased since this was my first time doing an actual repair.

Also missing were a few drawer stops that I was able to find, thanks to a quick google search. Once purchased,  the drawer stops were shipped quickly and in my hands in a few days. All it took was a few taps of the hammer to insert the new stops and we were in business! The dresser was shaping up nicely!

I decided on a two tone look using a 50/50 mix of French Linen and Old White for the body and a 50/50 mix of Old White and Pure White for the drawers. 

This is after only one coat. It looks very bright here because it is sitting by the sidelights of my front door.  Yes, I painted it in my foyer! 
You can also see the metal drawer stops. Two on each drawer frame.

The original hardware was beautiful and since this was such an old piece, I wanted to stay true to its integrity and keep it on the dresser. However, I did enhance it a little.

I gave it a wash of Old White and dabbed off the excess before leaving it to dry.

The wash of Old White highlighted these pulls beautifully!

The final step of clear wax left them with just enough patina.

The final result of all that mixing and measuring!

Lightly distressed followed by clear and dark wax before the final buffing!

I saved the best part for last...

The surprise inside...

...painted in Emile!

I enjoyed this piece so much
As I painted,  I imagined who might have built this beautiful dresser and the years of use it had before getting a well deserved makeover.
I am honored to be a part of the process.

 I hope this piece can live on for many more years!

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