As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I roam the second hand shops and thrift stores when looking for new decorative pieces for my home. I had two home projects that I had in mind to complete and with all the snow days that we have experienced, sewing and painting fit the bill.
My first project was to make some new toss pillows for my couches in the great room. People have asked for back support and all we had were two small pillows that were worn and lumpy at best. Project number two was to paint the two "married" side tables in our entry way, as well as a shelf for our nearly completed downstairs Lavatory. This was something that would help fill the hours as the snow blew from the Northeast every third day and continued to pile into waist high drifts around the house.
My sister and I hit a couple of our favorite spots in between storms. She was in the market for new winter gear and I was on the hunt for "new" pillows, an Arts and Crafts style waste basket for my office and square or round glass coasters for my pillar candles. Nothing fit the bill for the waste basket, but I found a nice pressed glass coaster for my candles, I was a happy shopper! As I made my second sweep around the shop, I came upon a basket of toss pillows! Most of them were well worn out and tired, but I spied a pair of "matching" pillows with simple home-sewn cases on them. Perfect! The cases could come off, the pillow inserts were in good shape and the best thing about them was that they were only $2.00 for the pair! I went home ready to strip the cases off, toss them in the dumpster, bleach and wash the pillows, and start my sewing project when the next storm hit. (Which was the next day!)
As I stripped the cases to prepare them for the washing machine, I discovered that one of the pair was actually two breakfast pillows stuffed into the case! Great! Now I would have three pillows! I made sure that my red ticking fabric was big enough to make two cases...It was! Phew!( I am the type to buy things I like and not necessarily know what use they will eventually end up as.) I had purchased some fabric back in July, just because..and that was now what I would be using for the pillows. I am also the type that doesn't use patterns, I make my own. This can work most of the time, but sometimes.....In this case everything went smoothly! I had no zippers and wouldn't say that I am the best seamstress..So, I decided that I would make them into an envelope style, with buttons that would make it easy to remove the covers and clean them if the need arose. I placed the pillows on the fabric, drew the shape around them, cut and sewed them up! I was thrilled with the results, the buttons added a really nice design element to them. Project number one complete! It took approximately one full day to clean the pillows, cut the fabric, sew it together, hand sew the button holes(no button holer attachment), apply the buttons and place on the couch and use!
On to project number two! When I was co-owner of my home and garden shop, painting furniture was a weekly, if not daily event for me. My house looked like a hoarder's home! Furniture was stored in almost every room and my "in and out room" was my painting studio. It has almost been two years since the paint brush, sandpaper and dust rag were in my hands, but like riding a bike, it all came back to me! I washed the furniture with water, ammonia and dish washing liquid to remove the wax and any other nasty little somethings that were there that would hinder paint adherence. Once it was dry, I sanded it lightly to rough the surface to help the paint stick, and dusted it to remove any bumps and lumps that may show up. Then I thinned the latex paint (it was exterior house paint and very thick) so it would flow nicely and not leave large paint bristle ridges when it dried. I applied three thin coats of paint. If I wanted to get persnickety, I would have sanded in between coats. But this was for me and the paint came out nice and smooth( having done a nice prep job).
I let the paint dry for 24 hours and then waxed the surface with butcher's wax to help add a layer of protection against liquids and other dirty items that may harm the paint surface.( A given in my home!) A new knob for the little one drawer stand, and voila! a 'new' piece of furniture! The next item to paint was a" Whale Shelf" that my husband had made for me many years ago. It gets it's name from the shape of the side boards, they resemble a cut out whale figure. Now freshly painted in the same Navajo White, this beautiful, colonial style shelf, will reside in the new Arts and Crafts inspired lavatory and will hold our towels. (that's a whole 'nother blog!)
I still have the small hall table to paint that holds our keys and mail. This will happen this week and our entryway will almost be done! As you can see in the photo, a 5 gallon bucket serves as a waste can for the office (looking for that Arts and Crafts inspired piece) and a curtain acts as a closet 'door' for the coat closet. My husband, brother-in-law and myself gutted out an old Arts and Crafts Bungalow that has given us the lavatory door, wall sconces, and the soon to be entry way coat closet door. We also obtained some beautiful chestnut paneling from the old house that will grace our office as repurposed built-in cabinets, desks and shelving. Reuse, recycle is our motto!
As long as the snow lays deep in the yard, and the wind has a bite to it, preventing me from enjoying long hours outside; I will persevere and finish up my 'winter home projects'. For as soon as I can feel the solid ground under my feet and wear only two layers of clothing, the house will be forgotten, the dust will settle and things inside will have to wait another year...