Monday 21 July 2014

Minty Antique Gentlemen's Dresser

It's no surprise that I love mint.  I have done a lot of mint pieces, and I particularly love it on antique dressers. 

When I found this piece I knew I had to have it because it is the matching companion of another piece I already have (currently stored away awaiting a makeover).  Mine is the ladies, and this one was the matching gentlemen's dresser

I gave the piece a good sand and repaired a few minor issues with some glue, clamps and wood filler.  But given its age, it was in good condition.

I custom mixed this colour using some greens and whites that I already had on my sagging paint shelf.  My last two mint pieces were more of a muted mint which I achieved by adding some gray and brown into the mix, but for this one, I had a vision of it in a nursery and wanted it bright and high-spirited, so I skipped the gray and brown, and just mixed up the green and white together until I got a nice bright mint I was happy with.  My camera is colour challenged, so I find the pictures don't 100% capture the colour.  Oh, the woes of blogging with less than average equipment.

Its hard to tell in the pictures, but this is a very tall dresser.  I love these old gentlemen's dresser with their great height.  It also has some nice detail on the drawers and the big chunky turned legs add lots of pizazz.
The insides of the top two drawers obviously got used a lot and were showing some wrinkles, so I botoxed them up with some mint/white floral paper that I had on hand. I love little touches like this when remaking pieces, its like adding little splashes of personality.

I used chalkpaint, three coats in total, I also primed the areas that I had touched up with wood filler first, when the paint dried, I lightly distressed the edges to mimic some natural wear, and also to tie in with some of the original damage to the finish that I left alone (mostle some chipping on the top two drawers).  Character, right?

I finished with a clear wax, and I didn't buff it that much as I wanted a really flat finish.  Im still in two minds about poly vs wax.  I do find that poly gives a much cleaner, and far less streaky finish, but on imperfect antique finishes that are supposed to look 'aged' I don't mind the unpredictability of wax as much.

I updated the knobs by adding these larger wooden knobs that are painted an off-white.  I didn't think the tear-drop style knobs would look as good with the mint colour. I also applied some pastewax to the inside of the drawers (which are not on runners), its impressive how easier a drawer will glide with a dab of wax! 

Here is the before!

Thursday 17 July 2014

My Very Own Personalized Blog Illustration!

I am so excited to reveal the new graphic for my blog title!!!  Yes, she is big, I know, and I am going to allow her to stay that way because I am so happy to have her as a new addition to this blog!

I am not IT-minded, in fact my brain cells seem to go into hibernation mode any time I try and challenge them to do something technical - I am like the opposite of R2-D2 - and because of that, my blog isn't nearly as beautiful as some other girls out there.

Until now!

Do I ever feel special that I have my own illustration show casing what I do, none of which would be possible without the talents of MONIKA MELNYCHUK.   Monika is a cousin of Mr. Chuckles, and I made a post about her (HERE) several months ago when I happily discovered that she was an extremely talented illustrator. 

She lives up in the sticks of Northern Canada, so I had only ever met her on a couple of occasions when she was in Ontario visiting. It was on one of those occasions when I Eureka'd upon what she does for a living.

What a talented lady!

I emailed her shortly after and begged her to whip up a little something for my blog.  She certainly didn't disappoint and was very receptive to the input I gave her.  She also PERFECTLY captured Miss Do-As-I-Please who is my fickle little calico cat.  Apart from the goggly-eyes, she looks just like her!   :)

A HUGE thank you to Monika.  I am so grateful.

You can visit her website  MONIKA MELNYCHUK and her ETSY shop for more example of her work. Or, just google her name!

Stopped Dead from Back Injury

Hi Everyone, its been over a month since my last post and Im not sure if I have any dedicated followers or not, but if I do, then my apologies for going off grid for a while.  Unfortunately I injured my back about six weeks ago whilst lifting a particularly heavy piece at a very odd and tight angle. 

I was aware of the pain the next day, and it got consistently worse over the following week and then really settled in like an uninvited guest.  Yes, it hunkered down on my couch, flicked the cork off a bottle of wine and even had the audacity to ask for some snacks.

I won't sugar coat this, it has been a really difficult and trying time.  Coming nose to nose with your own humanity is tough.  I completely took for granted what I do and how easily I do it -  the way a child might.  Never did it occur to me that I might succumb to an injury that could prevent me from doing one of the things I enjoy the most in my life.  I could hear my mother's voice resonating in my ears 'be careful dear, you will hurt your back and you are far too young for that.'  A wise woman my Shazza-Dazza.  I should have been more mindful of her pearls of wisdom while I still had the chance.

I have had to completely scale back everything I do over the past six weeks. Tennis, weight lifting, running, and most off all - refinishing furniture.  To sit and do very little activity has been a change that does not bode well with my 'go go go' mentality.  

Frustration saw me push my own boundaries on several occasions during these six weeks.  I started to feel a little better around the three week mark and took that as a sign that it was ok to lift weights.  One shoulder/arm/tricep workout later and my back was screaming with a new set of lungs.  The dull aching pain stuck around for another 5 days before it started to let up.   So again I scaled back all activity to the point that my bum was making permanent divots in the couch.

At around the four week mark I hit the tennis courts again because I was too impatient and a little inspired from Wimbledon to wait.  Again, the next day the ache was back with vengeance.  Forget lifting, moving, sanding and painting furniture, I could barely bend over to tie my shoes.  I won't pretend that I didn't shed a few tears of self pity.  All of you ladies who love to paint furniture and witness the transformation of something so unloved and bland into something gorgeous and sought-after can appreciate how soul-destroying it is to have it vanish with a snap.

It is now about the six week mark, Im starting to feel better slowly, and I have been for a couple of visits to my mom's osteopath who I think is helping to straighten things out again. He doesn't feel that I have any serious damage, just a strain to my lower back that will continue to heal with time.  I am cautiously beginning to work on furniture again, but I certainly am not the Duracell bunny I used to be, and I need to rely on Mr. Chuckles to do most of the lifting and maneuvering for me which slows things down and removes the usual spontaneity.

My biggest fear is that this will be an injury that will rear its head over and over when I push things too hard or lift things too heavy.  Hopefully it doesn't come to that, as its difficult to imagine to not be able to do this anymore.

So to all of you ladies who are breezily hoisting heavy dressers only to combat some mild back pain at the end of day with a glass of vino or a dose of advil, be careful and look after your back!  You don't want to be an old decrepit biddy like I currently feel and stare with welled eyes at all of those lovely pieces perched in your garage awaiting the strokes of your magical brush!

Play it safe and take care of your number one asset - YOURSELF!