Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wire Fencing Chandeliers

     Oh, the possibilities!  Most people think it's the obvious garden border, but it is not!  It is the makings of the base for my shabby chandeliers!
     I've got so much fencing, it is not even funny and with the season on, this is something I should have done a month or so ago.  I keep picking fencing up at garage sales by the truck load.  I do prefer the white but I'll take the green, too.
     So, today, I decided to work on my tetanus status (note to self, need shot!)
     I know you've all seen the Country Living version and that was the source of my inspiration, but with my own twist.  This is what I ended up with.............
     This one looks a lot like the CL version, except they used the old antique fencing with a heavier gauge.  I definitely recommend using the newer fencing for a first timer to get the feel of working with wire.  I use a needle nose, some kind of wire cutter and a heavier talking-to pliers.  My technical words, of course.
     I've got buckets of chain for any just-in-case moment.  Garage sales, of course.  Out here in the boonies, people will sell and apparently buy anything.  This all keeps my profits high, thankfully.
     While I should mention the obvious safety precautions, I don't practice them.  You are dealing with rusty crap that their dog has probably peed on not to mention the rust-factor altogether.  When cutting, pieces can go flying, hopefully not in the eye direction.  Also, gloves are good at keep blood blisters at bay.  Since I am more of a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do kind of gal, go nuts at your own risk.

     This version has a ton of ideas attached to it.  Any old plate can become a candle holder, watering hole or bird feeder.  It doesn't have to be a plate.  See next pic.......
     I've had this metal checker board hanging out for over a year so I used it as a colorful platform.  Try using a silver platter.  You don't have to put holes in it, just bend the wires to nestle it in.  
      I always use stuff I have and try to keep it in the same patina but sometimes I have to improvise (cheat)  and use newer links and hardware.
     This one, I got a little creative and made it a three-tiered.  I have a similar one at home that holds my chipped tea cup collection.  I've kept it out year-round and haven't lost one yet.

        So, I had some antique fencing that I wanted to try out now that I feel I've gotten the hand of the lighter gauge.  Ta-da!!

     (Please forgive the pictures.  I know it is hard to see with a busy background.)
     I'm working on a ridiculously huge one as a permanent piece for the shop.  I've got my hands on some 4' antiques fencing.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Miss Mustard Seed Inspired Dresser

     I've been dying to do a dresser like Miss Mustard Seed.  Marian does such a wonderful job turning tired dated pieces into something with real character.
     I had successfully re-did a previous dresser using one of her dressers as inspiration but I didn't duplicate the natural top like she had.  The contrast between that and the more shabby base was beautiful! 
    When I received this photo-finish dresser, I knew it was the prefect experimental piece.  
     Because I was working in the shop area when this came in, I had to get my trusty block sander out.    Fortunately, the photo-finish on the top was pretty thin and already flaky so it was relatively fast work.  Since I have very little experience working with stain on this level, I didn't really know how perfectly sanded it needed to be.  I was told that I might have to spend hours getting the top flaw-free, however, I didn't want it perfect or the scuffed paint job I was planning for it would look out of place.  So I emailed Marian quick and she said, "I am totally not a perfectionist.  It just has to look great, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.  The thing with stain is that you have to have all existing varnish and stain removed, or it won’t take evenly and that can look really bad.  It’s honestly easier to strip and stain then it is to sand."  I didn't have the luxury of using stripper because I didn't want my customers being fumigated, so I applied more muscle.  Yes, I generally tend to work harder, not smarter.
     I worked through three grades of sand paper and scuffed the sides enough to ready it for paint.
     I had found this Icicle Blue paint at a garage sale for 50 cents last year and applied two coats.
     Have you noticed how Marian scuffs her 'worn' pieces from all directions?  For some reason this goes against my more anal notions of what's right although I understand the concept that authentically worn pieces aren't going to go with the grain.  I had to close my eyes the first few strokes but I got the hang of it quickly.
     I finished the top with a walnut stain and decided to lightly stain the base over the paint as well.
     A piece Miss Mustard Seed would be proud of!

Perfectly marred top!
     I actually received two photo-finish dressers the same day so I kept one as is on the sales floor to show people what it had looked like before, hoping the sell the natural version to some brave individual.  Guess which sold first.  Not too surprising and now I have another to have fun with!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reclaimed Pressed Cardboard Project

    We have a fascinating customer who is re-doing their home with creative ideas and trying to focus on being Eco-friendly.  Fortunately for us, that meant she was dropping off some of her unused materials, including this pressed cardboard counter top.  This stuff is heavy but easy to work with so we were more than happy to add it to the project list.
     A year later, we finally uncovered it from our in-door junk yard.  My partner, the gifted wood worker and creative reclaimer, made this fabulous work space with it.  It is pretty enough to use as a kitchen island but also very functional in a work shop.  I personally tested the latter.  It was the perfect height for me with my sign projects.  Usually I'm bent over a makeshift something-or-other that is never even remotely ergonomically correct.  So, for a short period of time, I went home with straight back.
     Ever since my stop-sign-red dresser paint job, I've been dying to do another 'red' something.  The pressed cardboard has a great textural look so a red seemed the perfect compliment.
     What color would you have chosen?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Ultra-Cool Reclaimed Bench

     Have I mentioned how much I love his benches?  Well, he did it again and I'm in love - the bench, of course!

     We had this old pew given to us.  By the time we got to it, it had been painted and left to the elements for a few years.  The color was great but peeling terribly in sheets and the seat was splitting and coming apart from it's sides.  We had it for sale 'as is' in the shop for over a year with no bites.  After moving it around the shop a few times it got even more precarious so we had put a 'free' sign on it with still no bites.  Finally, we moved it to our second shop when we had opened it because there was more room and that is when it gave up the ghost.  The poor thing collapsed in our hands.
     Not one to see it as kindling, my partner lovingly stored the parts away for a rainy day.  A year later, he has given new life to some of those parts.  He used the seat and back piece for the bench and cut a door in half for the sides.  The arm rest is made with cherry pieces he found in the basement of our building from another life.  He used his nifty pocket hole maker from a garage sale score to give a clean look front and back.  We debated greatly as to how to finish it and in the end he polyurethaned just the bench.  The back was left alone with the original green color.
     This bench was so long, we actually have enough for another project.  Oh, the possibilities!