Friday, January 17, 2014

how to line a drawer with paper

One of my favorite things to do is line the drawers of my pieces with paper. I like leaving that little surprise and knowing that the inside is pretty, too. After all, storage should be beautiful as well as functional, right? 

With a few dollars and some simple steps it's cheap and easy to add this detail. These are the steps I follow with lining a drawer with paper...
The supplies: craft glue, water, brush, and a jar with a lid for making/storing your glue mixture...
...a drawer...
...and the paper of your choice. I used the pages from a 1930's Farmer's Wife Magazine which I got at a garage sale for $1. I like the mellow tan of the paper. It coordinated nicely with the paint I was planning to use for the dresser. I also liked the combination of the print, the type/font, the graphics, and the black and white photos. And I loved the content of the magazine how it focused on farm life and women on the farm. To be a farm wife in the 1930's you needed grit and determination.
Step 1: Mixing the glue mixture. I find straight craft glue too thick for spreading and sealing with a brush so I thin it with water. Glob a whole bunch into your mixing container and add water by small amounts until it's thin enough to spread with a brush. Vague, I know. It's better to start a little thicker and add water if you find it's just not spreading smoothly. I used the handle of an old brush to stir. You could use a pre-made decoupage medium like Mod Podge, but I find that thinned-out craft glue works just as well for paper and it's cheaper. I save the Mod Podge to use when I'm working with fabric (more on that later).
Step 2: Dry fit the paper. I take the time to make a dry fit of the paper inside the drawer itself. You could just start gluing, but I want to be sure I have enough paper to finish the job so I like to plan it out a bit.
With each piece of paper I place it in the location I think it will fit, then crease it along the edges that I need to trim and tear it. No scissors here, baby. Just tear and go. I use small pieces and large. They end up vertical and horizontal and I don't mind tearing in the middle of a column or graphic.
This is what the entire drawer looks like dry fit. Notice there is a little spot that isn't covered. That's ok. I'll get that as I'm gluing. 
Step 3: Move the paper out and to the side to expose the base of the drawer. This doesn't need to be an exact representation of the dry fit, but enough to give you an idea of where things go.
Step 4: Coat the base of your drawer with the glue mixture. This is where you'll discover if the mixture is too thick or thin. Add additional glue or water to suit your taste. I do small sections at a time--maybe a quarter of the drawer.
Step 5: begin laying the paper. I like to start in a corner. You'll notice I got glue up on the sides of the drawer. This won't matter because I planned to cover the sides too. If you'll only be covering the base, you might be mindful of this. The glue could darken the sides after it dries and look messy.
Step 6: Smooth the paper. I use the brush to smooth my paper and make sure it is flat and has full contact with the entire base. When you do this you ensure that the overlapping edges of the next piece will be glued down. You are also adding a top coat.
Step 7: Choose your next piece of paper, place it and smooth it down with the brush. Repeat until the entire drawer is covered. For any little spots that may have been left uncovered, just tear a bit of paper and glue it in its spot. I don't generally have problems with bubbles or wrinkles when working with smaller pieces like I do. Large sheets can be trickier. If you get a bubble or wrinkle you can gently lift the piece and re-position it.
Final Step: brush a final coat of glue over everything. Be sure nothing was missed. If you desire, you can let it all dry and add a final coat. The final product, when completely dry, should be smooth and not tacky. You'll be able to give it a light wiping down with a damp cloth, if needed.
I don't always cover the sides of the drawer. It just depends on the drawer and if I like the look of it when I open it. This one needed the insides and outsides and back. 
Follow these instructions when lining with paper. I use a slightly different method when using fabric which I'll share another time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

coco dresser & gluing loose laminate

Because my sister loves me, she and her husband rescued this discarded dresser for me.

Yes, people who love me give me the trash they find on the side of the road.

And if you really love me (or are just under coercion by your mother like my pour kiddos in the car), you'll help me hoist and wedge a too-big piece into the back of my mini-van and sit too close to it on the way home while you wonder what could be living inside--cause you're kinda concerned about how long it's been sitting there on the side of the road.
This dresser was solid but needed some work and an investment of time. When I got it home I found the top drawers and most of the knobs missing, the laminate chipping and terribly loose in some spots, the drawers bottomed out when you put too much weight in them.

Still, I used it this way for a time until I could give it my full attention. The drawers just needed gluing to set them straight and keep them in line. Gluing takes a great deal of time. Lining things up, getting the glue in the tight little groves and nitches, setting the clamps, cleaning off the excess glue, waiting for it to dry. Then, doing it all over again on the next spot.

And about that chippy veneer on the top edges? Annie Sloan Chalk Paint makes everything OK.
This was my first time gluing loose veneer. There's a spot in the center of the bottom drawer that I didn't get glue to and a bit of a wave in the veneer remains.
But this is aged furniture with a past life and I adore that you can see it was used and loved by someone else. I'm totally pleased with how it turned out. 
Why do I love the discarded, trash-picked pieces the most? Maybe because that's how Jesus loves us... But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He loves us first when we are the most unlovable--unattractive, chippy, cracked, missing pieces, discarded on the side of the road.
He takes my blemishes and turns them into an opportunity to bring Him glory and praise, to show His strength in my weakness. Like the dresser, with bottoms glued into place, those missing drawers become an opportunity for display, baskets of storage, or a landing place for TV components. What was previously an unusable and void is now useful and full.
I enjoy adding the surprise of opening a drawer to see it beautifully lined. For this piece I choose the pages of a 1930's Farmer's Wife magazine. I try to give all my pieces this extra attention. It can be time consuming and sometimes I wonder why I do it. But in the end I'm always pleased. It makes a piece unique and gives it a bit of a custom, hand-made touch that sets it apart from department store furniture. I know it's beautiful on the inside too.

I didn't intend for this post about a dresser to become an analogy for God's saving grace, imperfect as it may be. But I have found myself here and see that this too reminds me of what Christ does for me... changes all of me, my heart, the very insides of me, which makes all the difference.

lessons learned . . . 
  1. Next time I glue laminate I will start with the center and clamp an extra board onto the top in order to apply even, flat pressure to get the wave out of the middle. Then proceed to the edges.
  2. Large over-sized book binder clips make great clamps for the drawer edges!

linked up with: 
TUESDAY knick of timeElizabeth & Co
THURSDAY Embracing Change, faith, grace, crafts, The Brambleberry Cottage
FRIDAY Miss Mustard Seed, Redoux, Common Ground, My {Re}purposed Life, French Country Cottage, Nancherrow

Monday, January 13, 2014

buffing paper and clean brushes

When we moved out to the sticks, little did I know that we'd be moving closer to an ASCP stockest and I'd no longer need to order paint. 
What I didn't fully appreciate is having someone experienced with ASCP so close at hand. They readily share tips and information while chatting and help with troubleshooting when needed. (I'll share about the spot I was in with a set of commissioned chairs and how they helped me fix it later.)

It makes a difference to be able to see the colors in person and touch and feel the pieces someone else has finished and learn from their experience. That's how I fell head-over-heals for Coco, but that's another story.
One thing I noticed about their pieces is the super smooth, sliky finish the table tops had. It's a buffing grade, super fine 600 grit sandpaper that does it! Now I love giving my pieces that extra fine finishing touch!
They also share my love for lining the drawers of our pieces. I usually use paper (old books, scrap book paper, magazines, etc.), but with this piece I used fabric. 
What I learned this time around was: use a super clean brush when applying the top coats of sealer. I didn't notice that my brush had bits of dried black paint left in it and when I brushed on the sealer I also left a trail of paint flakes.

lessons learned . . . 
  1. Use a buffing paper or 600 grit sandpaper for the tops and flat areas of a piece before waxing. The resulting finish feels like silk.
  2. When decoupaging, be sure your brush is thoroughly clean with no crusty paint remaining on the bristles before you add the top coat of sealer. 
  3. Keep a top-secret, designated brush for decoupaging only so as to avoid this problem. (Note to self: hide said brush from hubby and kids with the fabric scissors!)
  4. Small flakes, lint, dog hair or little hairs shedding from the decoupage brush can be sanded out when sanding between coats of sealer.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

lessons learned

I have been crafting and working with textiles, wood, beads, yarn, paint and paper all my life. I dabble in anything and everything that looks interesting. Paper folding, book binding, watercolors, quilting, jewelry making, beading, crocheting, metal stamping, tatting, etc. etc. etc. I work at a new skill until I feel some sense of accomplishment, gain a basic level of proficiency, complete the item I set out to make--or becoming totally frustrated or bored. Then I'm ready to move on to the next project. 

Sometimes I wonder if this "jack of all trades" mentality means I'm not really good at any one thing, just mediocre at many things. 

For now, lets just say I'm still learning and I've found every project has a lesson to learn.


I did a few things differently with these cute harp-back chairs to achieve a slightly different result than my typical waxed finish. 

And I learned a few things along the way.
I wanted these chairs to retain a more authentic distressed finish in that they wouldn't have much of a sheen or shine to them, they needed to look a little flatter. Like the paint has been worn and buffed down over years of use. 
I also used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Thus I knew I needed to do something after painting/distressing them. I didn't want them to feel too chalky. So after sanding the edges I wiped the entire chair down with a damp wash cloth to remove the dust and the powdery look ASCP leaves after sanding. This brings the true, rich color back after the sanding. Then, right after wiping them down, I used a dry paper towel to "buff" the chairs. (Notice the little chess pieces on my heavily-loved coffee table. This table has been through four kiddos--might be time for a make-over?)

I wouldn't use this finishing method with a table top or shelves where I know there will be heavy use. But for the backs and legs of a chair it makes a nice alternative to waxing. I know that they'll naturally continue to distress as they are used and love.
The medallion fabric came from my sister's quilt store. It was hard to settle on a fabric, but honestly, covering the seats is so easy you could change the fabric by season if desired.

lessons learned . . . 

  1. Label the seats and chairs as you separate them so when it comes time to put them together there is no confusion as to which seat goes with which chair. I did not do this and I found that the holes for the screws were not all drilled in the same location and they were difficult to match up.
  2. When stapling the fabric to the underneath side of the chair, keep the holes for the screws clear of fabric. I was excited to see my fabric on the seats and didn't do this either. I had to go back and rework the areas where the holes were because I couldn't just screw through the fabric.
  3. I used a standard industrial staple gun. Nothing fancy. Initially the staples were not going all the way in. Then I learned that the tension on my staple gun could be adjusted. So look for that if you have a similar problem.
  4. For a faster, flatter, rustic finish, wipe the piece down with a damp wash cloth and then "buff" the surface with a dry paper towel.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

cellar cleaning, Christmas decor, & getting some projects done

When you've been quiet on a blog for awhile, it's kinda hard to break the silence. Truth is, I find hundreds of little things to record here but often struggle with how to start or finding the time to sit and write. Like I need to be witty or terribly profound or have some ground-breaking, better-than-sliced bread new idea, instead of just being me.

I've just come up from the cellar, cleaning a spot to turn into my furniture re-hab base of operations. The porch gets mighty cold in the winter and painting 7 chairs or a large dresser in our study can not be the long-term solution. The cleaning isn't fun. It involved a dead bat, a half-dead lizard with a partial tail, and some really big spiders. Really big. Think 150 year old house, stone foundation, and consider that the last 20 years no one's cleaned much down there. I'd dare say, ain't nobody cleaned nothin' for quite some time!

I need to find a happy place, so here I am.

These last few weeks have been a blessing. The last two years have had a lot of change and some big ups and downs for us. I'm trying to purposefully plan our time and not over schedule things. I'm trying to pour more into my family instead of giving them the leftovers. We're blessed now with a home of our own after renting for almost 4 years. Life is feeling "normal" again and I enjoy the nesting and putting down roots. I've returned to a fly-lady routine and feel some serious de-cluttering and organizing episodes coming on!  Maybe some rooms will get painted this winter.
We've taken the time to decorate the house--not over the top, but simple farmhouse charm that makes the everyday a little bit special--tackle some projects, dream big dreams and just rest in each other's presence. 
From that de-cluttering urge that is bubbling up inside me, I surprised myself with a spur of the moment good cleaning, purging, and re-setting of my bedroom. It still had that "wherever the guys dropped it, just moved in" look. I'm trying to work out what to do with that window behind the bed. There just isn't any other place to put this barge of a sleigh bed so I need to think of a creative way to make that window work there. And of course, there will be the wallpaper to address and the trim to paint and the floors to refinish. Still, it's feeling a lot more like home and a lot less like I'm visiting someone. 

I'm falling in love with this house.

I've been more purposeful to make some things this Christmas instead of always putting it off. And inviting others over to make things with us. I've had my introduction to German glass glitter and hope to put out a tutorial on the particulars next week. And I'm finally going to try stamping some silver that I talked about here! Can't wait to see the results!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

missing fork and giving thanks

We gather the plates,
press the cloths,
add an extra table,
pull up more chairs,
wash the water goblets,
sweep the floors,
count out the silverware
and find...

we're short one dessert fork.

Now, I don't know what kids do to the silverware when a mom's not looking. I've found forks and knives and spoons in any manner of odd places. I even found a dirty bowl and fork that had been packed in a box from one of my daughter's rooms. 

So over the years, considering all the places my silverware has been, I'm thankful for 25 forks.

I'm thankful for four kiddos that carry off my wedding silverware to unknown places.

I'm thankful for the twelve that will sit with me at the table and the one who will be missing a dessert fork.

I'm thankful for the additional family that will come later in the day to visit and play cards and eat warmed-up turkey.

I'm thankful I'll have to wash more silverware to feed them all.

I'm thankful!

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