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Storage Bench Snack


This little beauty was dropped off at my house at random, and it sure needed some love.

The back corners were pretty damaged because, what dog doesn’t love a good wooden snack?

I was able to rebuild one corner with wood filler and some sanding…

Wood Filler

 

Smoooooth

The other side was SOOOO rough that I decided to just cut the whole thing off. I really like the metal accent bars, so to maintain continuity I cut the other side apart, glued on legs and screwed it back where it use to be.

All apart

I had to sand down the sides where I cut because they were a little choppy. Then I stained all the light wood and wood filler. Finally I used glossy polyurethane to make it shine shine shine.

Sandy Sand Sand

Hmmm...

Once the wood parts were finished it was time to move on to the bench. I took off the old upholstery and put down new cotton and fabric. I didn’t have any thick padding on hand so I literally pieced together pieces of batting (because I am way to cheap and lazy to go to the store.)

Batting

And the results…

 

Done

Done!

Cat

Good thing cats don’t chew on wood… do they?

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Glassless Tables


So HOPEFULLY you saw the cabinet demo video, now it’s time to show the finished product. With the weather being less than hospitable, I’m lucky I had three days to finish these before the freezing rain started…again.

Let’s check out this nonsense!

Bedside Tables

I had so much convincing to do in order for my friend to agree to these tables!

So I couldn't let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

So I couldn’t let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn't do, so I "removed" the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn’t do, so I “removed” the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don't care who you ask.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don’t care who you ask.

Then came the "glass." My friend didn't want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn't want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

Then came the “glass.” My friend didn’t want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn’t want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach...and for some reason that appealed to me.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach…and for some reason that appealed to me.

This is how my experiment turned out!

This is how my experiment turned out!

Love this little guy!

Love this little guy!

And I love this big guy!

And I love this big guy!

Dramatic sunlight view.

Dramatic sunlight view.

Trunk-ated Table


Trunk

I’ve had this gnarly trunk for years. It was about $40 at Marshall’s in 2002, and it’s been through the wringer. It held my books and boardgames when I was in high school and was used as my “floor table” when we took the unnecessary last shots of the night in college. It’s held old photos, shoes and blankets. I finally decided it was time to show it a little attention as a thank you for all of it’s years of service.

Trunk

Right from the start I knew I wanted it to become a table. I unscrewed all of the screws on the trunk and basically left everything that was tacked on.

There was a pretty thick layer of glue coating the whole thing because I decided two years ago to do a half-hearted job of covering it in fabric. I knew it was temporary because the fabric didn’t really thrill me, but I guess no one told the glue that it was only temporary because even though I removed the fabric 10 months ago, the glue was still super tacky and gathered every stray fuzz in a 40 foot radius.

Sanded a HoleI thought sanding the trunk would help remove the glue. And yes, it did clump-up the glue and swirl it around in a mass on the trunk, but it also ate a hole through the cheap vinyl covering. No worries though, “maybe removing EVERYTHING and leaving just a wooden box would be beneficial,” said the optimistic voice in my head, which I always come to hate at the end of a project.

But honestly though, optimistic schizophrenic voices aside, what was I going to do? Call off the whole project because “I done messed up?” (that was the hillbilly voice in my head, she’s a bit more realistic.)

So I soldiered on, leaving ripped pieces of vinyl, tacks and faux leather in my wake, until I was left with a simple, naked wood box. And what does Kristen Van Loon do with a plan, ordinary piece of furniture?

SimpleShe paints it, of course!!!

PaintI chose a soft celery green that I didn’t realize would be SO soft once I put the hardware back on. But you know me, I like to ride it out until I’m crazed with exhaustion and wave the white flag. I decided to keep it going and add some legs… this is where the REAL exhaustion comes in.

LegsI turned it on it’s side because I thought it’d be a pretty sweet TV stand and I could let the trunk open and close to hide the cable box and cords. It’s a stellar concept, but contains several flaws.

1) The legs are too short for the broadness of the front. It’s uneven and stout; it looks like something Humpty Dumpty would use for travel.

2) It’s literally top-heavy. With so little room, the legs must be placed so close together that it barely balances with the trunk when it’s closed, let alone open. Angled top plates would hold the legs at an angle and distribute the weight evenly, but I only had straight ones.

3) The TV that I wanted to put on here has too wide of a base to fit. I figured that could be the case, but if everything else worked out OK then I’d use it for something else… but nothing else went as planned.

On top of those three very logical reasons for scrapping this design, there is one glaringly obvious reason to reconsider the idea– I HATED the huge contrast between the green and the hardware.

So dismantle and reconsider was the name of the next game. I took off the legs and all of the hardware and took a cue from the Kristen of two years ago; I covered it in fabric.

Spray GlueI used the same permanently dangerous glue, but this time around I didn’t have fake leather trim to maneuver around, this was a totally blank box.

MeasuringThis photo to the right is what I like to call “measuring.” I don’t need a fancy measuring tape, I just need to eyeball the basic size and start cutting. I overestimate all the time, but I’d rather waste extra fabric than get too caught up in details that will only slow me down… probably not fantastic advice to follow.

TacksI wrapped the box like a present and cut the corners to avoid the “gift box corner” that you get when ACTUALLY wrapping a present. When the glue wasn’t enough, I used tacks of various sizes to secure the material on the inside.

I broke down and bought new top plates because I decided that an angled leg is much more sturdy for a heavy piece like this AND I thought it gave it a friendlier appearance…. why is it friendlier? I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t look as stiff and rigid. Less Victorian, more Mid-Century.

I screwed on all of the hardware, the top plates and the legs. I made another new decision; I chose to put the trunk upright because it isn’t as shocking as when it’s on it’s side. Plus I wasn’t going to be able to use it for the reason I initially intended so there was no sense in keeping it sideways.

AfterThe sunny fabric REALLY lightened up the whole piece, and the whole room for that matter.

Back endI was so happy with the outcome that I completely replaced my second-hand side table. You can tell by my “flattering” description of the old table, that I wasn’t exactly heartbroken when I moved it out to the garage.

This is an absolute upgrade!.. Now to replace that couch…

Re-Post Lamppost


So I’ve gone and done it again! Something was just irking me about my new tension rod lamp (or as I like to call it, my lamppost.)

Ohh My

I had updated it and put it in my bedroom. Everything felt right initially, but then it all started to feel wrong. We never used it because it was in the corner, it started to feel too garish for my decor, and eventually I felt it was a bulky eyesore.

YES! I changed my mind in an epic way! But I felt it was such a shame to attempt to salvage a piece and then never use it; that was exactly what was happening. PLUS it wasn’t as stable as it should have been. I had to rig it because my bedroom ceiling is shorter than the lamp can handle; I’d taken pieces out and put them back in backward and upside down to try to force a fit. It just all could have been better.

So, once again, I hauled that poor piece of metal and glass outside for a coat of SILVER PAINT!

Quite honestly….that’s all I did. I just reassembled the lamp correctly, painted it, coated with a clear, spray finish and then put it in the constantly-annoying dark corner in my living room. The silver paint is so bright that it brightens up the space even when it’s turned off, see?

Silver

But really, it’s most fantastic once it’s turned on.

Even with only one light on, the reflective pole and bevelled glass globes multiplies the light and spreads it further than you can imagine.

Lamp On

For the most part, I’m the only one with an outspoken opinion about my projects. So when I turned the lamp to show Kyle and he said “Oooh Cool.” (Yes, that is his excited voice.) I knew that I had really fixed the dark corner and created something that didn’t make him scratch his head.

I just love when function and form finally connect.

Table of Glass!


I’ve finally finished another piece! I know it seems like it has taken forever, but the issue lies more with me starting 3 pieces and then making gradual progress on them all (I don’t recommend this in the least, but I blame it on my self-diagnosed A.D.D.)

My table made a transformation that I never really anticipated. I love it, my mother isn’t a fan, and Kyle hates the fact that the resin treatment I used has ruined our carpet. But I live in Michigan, which means projects can only be done outdoors about five months of the year (at best!) and sometimes that leads to resin trickling into the carpet and sticking to it like 44-year-old chewing gum… but I digress. Either way, onto the main attraction!

Before!

Kyle’s mom gave us this table over a year ago when we needed it in our rental. Honestly, we had outgrown it’s sharp edges and garish color, but I knew I could make it something awesome. So I disassembled the two layers and chiseled off the top layer of veneer to give me more even tops to play with. The I sanded the tops and legs.

I sanded the legs smooth and filled the cracks with wood filler. Once the filler dried I sanded the legs again and painted them grey. Next, the table tops got a boat load of attention. I painted those with the same grey, filled the holes on the top with pieces of clothesline (anything could have worked, just to block the resin treatment from dripping into the holes) and taped off the sides with a mixture of bathtub caulking strip (I know it sounds a little “makeshift” at best, but I had extra laying around and it worked well), painter’s tape and electrical tape. The outcome looked like a Frankenstein monstrosity, but it was necessary prep for the resin.


I used this resin and glass paint to get the desired affect. I followed the directions on the box (I would like to say that I followed them to the letter, but I know I didn’t stir long enough.) Regardless, once I mixed it I used white glass paint and dumped it into the mixture before I dumped it on the tabletops. The resin pours like honey so I had to spread it out with a sponge brush to make sure all areas of the wood were covered. Once the white resin had settled, I shook up my design by plopping lilac glass paint on top of the wet resin and just smeared it around haphazardly. I didn’t have a real plan, but luckily this was the type of project where a plan was not 100% necessary. Once it dried I was left with what looked like two slabs of psychedelic marble.

Then it was just a matter of sanding the edges where the resin hardened into odd shapes and jagged edges. I also sanded the sides where the resin had dripped down the sides and landed on the felt. …Which is where my ruined carpet comes in. You see, I put down felt to catch the spills, but I didn’t expect the spills to be so large that it would soak through the felt and harden to the floor. Well, my dear friend, it did. And it looks something like this.

Ick, I know, this is no good for my home decor (and for about 45 minutes it was really bad for my relationship) but damnit, sometimes risks have to be taken and mistakes have to get made! (And you didn’t even need to find those words of wisdom on Pinterest.)

My last order of business was to paint the sides of the table tops, varnish them and then varnish the table legs that I had previously painted. Finally, after all of that nonsense and messing about, I was able to put the legs back on and plop the small table back onto the big table. And this is how it turned out!

I would like to call this an overall win. It’s just like that old wedding saying “I’m not losing a carpet, I’m gaining a table.” Kyle on the other hand, may not find my logic so witty. Once again, wish me luck!

Pattern of Design


Right now I am running in high gear to get pieces ready for the vendor sale on March 24th. The problem with this is that my best design ideas involve patterns, which take 90 years to translate to furniture. If you recall Rob’s bookcase, there was only a hint of pattern on the sides and that took 4 collective days to pull off. Regardless, I’m sticking to my guns! I intended to create furniture that I would want in my house and I won’t accept anything less.

Just to get the synapses fired up in my sleepy noggin, I’ve narrowed down a few pattern styles that have their pros and (of course) cons that I just have to explore in writing. And what better way to brainstorm and be completely free than to publish my meanderings for all to see? Well, NOT publishing them would make me seem less like an ambivalent babbler, but that’s no fun for anyone.

Hollywood Regency

I’m a little in love with Hollywood Regency inspired patterns. They’re made of simple geometric shapes and usually use only 2 colors. The pattern shows up in rugs and fabric, but it’s mainly built into the structure of furniture (because it uses such simple shapes) and not typically painted on. BUT I am a rule breaker, and I’ve already started painting this style on a tea cart. What?!? A 30’s style design on an item from the 60’s?! It’s pure mayhem!

Mod

Even though these patterns typically use shapes, it varies greatly from Hollywood Regency. Mod patterns typically are more complex shapes with several contrasting colors. Not only are these patterns too complex to build into furniture, but one of their most obvious characteristics is their color, which can’t exactly be built into furniture either. Typically Mod patterns are found on fabrics, wallpaper or any item that can be screen printed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damask

I love love love Damask. It consists of huge complex shapes (usually floralesque ::made that word up::) with only 2 (but occasionally 3) colors. It’s super bold and too intricate to freehand onto an item. If I were to put this pattern on a piece, my best bet would be to buy fabric with this pattern and adhere it to the item. It is of course possible to use a stencil, which is what would be necessary if I was super insistent on painting it directly on the item…and I can get pretty insistent.

Stencil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Nouveau

This usually consists of intertwined flowers and weaving vines (also called arabesque). It usually has a few colors that are fairly muted. I love this style because it’s like “classic hippie.” It’s not overtly “nature lover,” but it gives a nod in that direction. Many times you will see Nouveau style as a frame around a picture of a woman. In any case, this is a stylized version of natural elements like flowers, leaves, vines and even animals. Also, a great feature to this design is that is has no obvious pattern repeat, so if you were to try to freehand this (God help me) then any little error would go basically unnoticed because it isn’t suppose to be perfectly symmetrical.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure at this point if I have helped or hurt myself. So many ideas (that take ages to complete) and so little time.

Wish me luck!

Non-Committal Lighting


 

In case you haven’t noticed, my house has a tendency to look like a dark cave. Even though high ceilings typically make a space look open, the heaviness finally got to me. So I gathered my supplies…

$5 Lamp Shade from a home thrift store.

$15 Portable Hanging Pendant from Lowe's.

$5 Plant hook from ACE Hardware.

 

You may think it odd that I chose a plant hook to hang my light, but you would think nothing of it if you know how bulbous my shade is. I needed a hook that could come out from the wall AND have it come out far enough that it kept my shade from hitting the wall. A plant hook was my only choice, but it was a good one.

 

 

 

 

 

First I installed the plant hook and 2 wall anchors. The hook went on the darkest wall (even though it has a generous window), and one anchor went directly under it while the other went above the left corner of the window.

 

I then threaded the portable pendant (or what I like to think of as “The Light Bulb on a Cord.”) through the shade and secured it with…a rubber band. You won’t have to use a rubber band, but my shade was from a thrift store so there was a bit of modification necessary. It’s a minor detail, so I won’t drone on about it.

 

 

Next I twisted hooks into the anchors so I could wrap the cords around them. Then it was time to actually hang the light. I hung the cord on the plant hook, then weaved it back through the light, brought it down through the shade, around the anchor under the light, over to the left anchor by the corder of the window, and down the left side of the window to the wall outlet behind the couch. That sounds a lot more complicated then it actually was, so here is a picture.

 

As you can see, I didn’t think it through very well. Since I weaved the cord down through the shade I thought (for some crazy reason) that it would help disguise it, but it really just made it super obvious. So I had to rethink and even worse, rehang.

 

I pulled the cord up from the floor, past all of the anchors and up through the shade. Then I hung the cord on the outside of the shade and brought it down the wall and wrapped it around the first anchor…but there was another problem. Even though the plant hook was long, the cord was going diagonally behind the shade from the hook to the wall. Because it was diagonal it was bumping the shade forward so the front lifted forward at a 45 degree angle, giving you an amazing view of the bulb.

So I unwrapped the cord from the anchor and twisted it around and around and around the plant hook about 8 times, so now it was able to hug the wall as it went behind the shade to the anchor.

 

 

I was finally able to put the cord through the two anchors for THE LAST TIME! It was my victory for the day, maybe even (sadly) the week.

 

 

 

 

And the finished product was worth all of the wall implement issues. Anchors away!

 

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