Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inspired by Porcelain

How many times have you bought something simply because you love it - without having any idea how you would use it? All the time, if you're like me. This week, I had the delightful experience of finding a use for such an item, and it validated my purchases of things that I love....not that I was planning on stopping!

I recently treated myself to some luxury hand-made soaps:

Then I realized that I don't have a single soap dish...all my soaps are liquid. I was planning to buy a decorative soapdish, when I thought..."wait a minute...I've been collecting pretty dishes for months now. I MUST have something!" A quick search uncovered this pretty little thing in my cupboard:

Isn't it adorable?? I was so happy to have put this beauty to use, that I vowed to look for more porcelain, and to get the pieces that I fall in love with. That decision lead to this purchase at an estate sale over the weekend:

And this:

And this:

And these:

That soap dish makes me happy every time I see it.

What "finds" bring a smile to your face?

Mona Kay

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How to Refinish a Sofa Table

In the quest to continue brightening my decor, I finally took on the sofa table I purchased for $10 at a garage sale. It didn't look bad as it was...

but I am in love with bright whites these days. That table's days in its original state were numbered.

Recently, I woke up to temperatures which didn't feel like the surface of the sun.

I knew it wouldn't last, and I also knew that this piece was going to take some time, so I got to it.

The table had a pretty heavy varnish which was going to take some heavy-duty sanding - too much for hand-sanding.

Because I want to be respectful of my lungs, I bought a particle-filtering face mask when I started refinishing furniture. It's unbelievable how much dust flies!

All this dust must be wiped off of the piece once it's sanded. That's a bigger job than the actual sanding - but it must be done! I used a dry cloth, then a damp cloth. Some people use an air compressor to blow off the dust - an excellent idea, but I don't have one yet.

I purchased a paint-sprayer, but I'm embarrassed to say, the think has kicked my behind so far...I'm still playing with it. I ended up hand-painting this piece. It needed three coats of bright white paint, but it was worth every brush stroke!

Another step in the journey of changing up my decor! Next step...the vintage bureau.

What were some of your early or memorable decor changes? I love to get inspired by talented people!

Mona Kay

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to reupholster a footstool - please critique my method!

I bought this cute little footstool at a garage sale - it's an inexpensive catalog-store type item, and it originally had a brocade upholstery. Cute, but not my style. When I saw this black and white paisley material, I couldn't wait to pair it with the dark wood of the footstool...but to my surprise, I got tired of it quickly. It could have to do with the "re-do" of the nook described in my earlier post, which called for a lighter look. Here's how I achieved the look I wanted:

I removed the screws from the top (or lid) so that I could work with it separately.

Using a pair of needle-nose plyers, I removed all the staples from my previous upholstering.

To re-cover the lid with new fabric, I cut a piece using the old piece as a template. If you decide not to remove the old fabric, you can use the item you are reupholstering as a template, adding 1.5 -2 inches of excess fabric around the entire perimeter so you have enough to staple to the back. Pull taut, but not so tight that fabric will rip or wrinkle, and staple. The corners can be tricky - try wrapping them as you would a present with wrapping paper - check the front for folds or creases before you staple.

One of the legs was a little wobbly, and the wood around the screw was stripped, so I added some wood glue to stabilize it. In hindsight, next time I will also add some wood filler, as the glue wasn't enough by itself.

I sprayed the base a bright white (two coats, about 1/2 hour between coats)

re-attached the lid, and voila!!

How'd I do?? For other newbies like me, I hope this was helpful. For those of you talented folks out there (and I've seen a lot of you!!)...PLEASE CRITIQUE!! I'd really love to get your feedback!

Thanks, and until next time...have a great week!
Mona Kay

Monday, July 5, 2010 "After"!

I love my "nook" where I sit with my morning coffee, watching both the birds at the bird feeder and my puppy playing with her toys. It's a great little area that I created by moving some things around and freeing up some space, changing chairs around several times, etc., but I was never truly satisfied...

I LOVE the rocking chair (a garage sale score...what else?). In my head, however, it became the "mocking chair" as it sat unpainted, day after day, with the thought of taking on this project in the heat of the summer overwhelming me. I also wanted to add a little table, and a mental inventory of my stock told me that I didn't have anything I could use.

Finally one morning at 7:30 am, half-way through my second cup of coffee, I couldn't stand the nook another second. A quick trip into my garage uncovered a damaged, but darling little telephone table which would probably never become "shop-worthy", With a few coats of white paint, however, it would be perfect for my purposes. Before it go too hot, I took on the two projects, chair and table. The little footstool was a re-design of a previous project, and took about 20 minutes - a "how to" will follow in a future post.

I've been dying to display both the lamp and the gorgeous Spode tea cup and saucer, and I'm thrilled to have a place for them!

A rummage through my vintage linen collection lightened the dark little side table, and added a little color to the white chair - no longer does it mock me! Now my morning coffee is a pleasure!

Friday, July 2, 2010

If it ever cools down...

Oh, the line of projects!! I'm happy to have so many wonderful things waiting for me, but as I've posted before...July in NJ is no time to be outside sanding and painting! Although, it's 7:30 now, and quite cool...will I really take my coffee outside and paint that chair which has been staring at me for about a month?? Stay tuned...

Here's my list of projects...all the "befores" I can't wait to get my hands on:

Okay, that one's half-before, half-after!

Stay tuned!! I can't wait to show you the afters...if it ever cools down!

Happy July 4th!