Friday, April 29, 2011

I Can't Believe I Built That!

In my ongoing mission to "go for it", I decided to build our headboard instead of continuing my fruitless Craigslist search.  Many in the blog world know or have heard of Ana White.  She is one talented lady and generously posts plans on her site for free.  That's right, no moula needed for instructions.  Just a little gumption and you can build your own furniture...well, tools help.

After looking at  a bunch of different beds, I decided that the Reclaimed Wood Look Headboard was doable for a complete novice with only basic tools and math skills.  Armed with my zeal and her shopping list I descended upon Orange-and wondered around aimlessly looking for 1 by lumber.  It wasn't even in the area of all the other wood.  An employee finally noticed that I had been up and down those aisles multiple times and showed me where all the OTHER wood was.  He was trapped, I was also able to wrangle him and another to do the cutting on most of my boards.  I followed Ana's advice and left the trim pieces for later.

So there I was with nails and screws and glue and wood and my pages of directions, watching my toddler and trying to piece this thing together.  Thankfully, there were lots of pictures and arrows so it wasn't really that difficult.  Turned out you only need nails OR screws.  I couldn't find my drill bits to pre-drill so I used the nails.  I glued and nailed for a few hours over two days (it was hot and could only take so much).  I couldn't believe it when I was done.  It actually looked good!  I took all manner of tools to that thing for a distressed look.  My hand-held belt sander really came in handy on this project.  Took those corners down quick.  Then I just picked up random tools and banged away until it looked properly beat up.  My favorite was the saw.  Love the rakes it left in the planks!

I wanted a gray wash on it, but hubby preferred a stain so I was back at the computer to try and figure out how to make it look like a piece of old, pine furniture from the 1800s.  Turns out, making new wood look convincingly aged is not easy.  But I came across the recommendation to use a product called Zar in honey oak.  That gave me the yellow glow I wanted along with the dark distressed marks.  Loved this stuff because I didn't have to condition the pine.  I used a foam brush to apply it, getting into all of the dings, and then wiped it off with a rag.  Two coats of that plus a coat of clear wax for some luster and I was done. 

I used bolts to attach it to a basic frame and we were ready for bed.

I love it and what a sense of accomplishment!  I'm hooked.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Custom Chandelier

Spray painting fixtures is not a new idea.  You'll find tons of inspiration from print to internet but there is still a sense of pride when you finally do it yourself. 
I had purchased a builder's grade brass fixture from Habitat ReStore so long ago I don't even remember when I got it.  I found it in the attic a while back and got excited about the possibilities all over again!  I was doubly excited to see that I had only paid $5 for it.  I had been looking online for a reasonably priced chandelier for my daughter's room without success.  Nothing really fit her or the direction we were going.   Now, all I had to do was not mess it up!

I started by using a gray spray primer on the fixture, making sure that the electrical was well covered.  After the first coat had dried I followed up with some matte black spray paint that I had on hand.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough so I had to spring for another 99 cent can.  I also bought some additional candle covers since my chandelier was missing several, a can of ivory satin spray paint and some cheapo paint brushes for the custom part of the project.

The candles got a little embellishment to make them match and look less cheap.  I applied some hot glue in a dripping wax look then sprayed them with the ivory paint.  Little tip, place the candles on a stick for spraying.  Those little guys are so light weight they were falling over from the force of the paint spray.  I laid the stick across a couple of lawn chairs while the candles dried.

Finally, we come to the artistic part.  The part I was sure wouldn't turn out the way I imagined.  I used some acrylics that I had in my art box...hahaha, makes me sound like a real crafter.  I painted some blue birds perched on a simple branch with a few leaves.  It was a lot harder than I was anticipating.  Good thing the acrylic paint wiped off easily because it took me a few tries to get something that looked like a bird.  I was right, I'm not an artist, but the primitive paint job doesn't look too bad.  My bird-crazy daughter thought it was wonderful, which is what really mattered.  Helps that she's seven!

                                    The uninspiring "Before"

                                       Much better "After"

Monday, April 25, 2011

My First Day

Well, I did it.  Jumped on the blog bandwagon despite knowing next to nothing about how to do it.  That's my new outlook, by the way.  Who cares if I don't know how?  What's stopping me from trying something new...failure?  That's a silly excuse, so I'm going for it.  As a result of my leaping head long into this venture, I did not take the time to put together a thoughtful post for my first time out.  Ah well, I'll fix that tomorrow!

In the coming days I'll be sharing my design sense, projects, and inspirations.  The less money spent, the better!   I'm excited to get creative and if I'm the only one who ever reads this, that's OK. 

Although, it will be a lot more fun if you all end up joining me!