Monday, March 28, 2011

More Craigslist Finds! Entire Living Room!

Well, I must say I am excited for several reasons about this post!  Not only did I get great deals on this furniture, but I have enough to finish the entire living room!
The room is not set up yet but I wanted to share my finds.  Use your imagination to see these items nestled in their new home!
Floral loveseat...modern and vintage all at the same time!

Mirror to go behind loveseat!  Look at the vivid colors!  Your guests should know what types of things interest you.  Great conversation starter!

Another loveseat to sit opposite the floral one...see how the orange velour brings out the brown tones in the floral sofa?

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore armoires in a room!  This room is no exception!

What living room would be complete without a television set?  This set says "vintage" to me!

Spare seating is a MUST!  Wheels are a convenient addition.  One can move the chair effortlessly! (Even with someone in  the chair! Grandma can participate in more family gatherings, just wheel her about!) 

Artwork always lends a personal touch!  Don't you agree?

Of course, nothing warms up a room faster and brings it all together like a good area rug!

I hope you are as excited as I am!

Tee Hee!  April Fool!
Honestly?  A bear skin rug?  In my house?!
I had to do it early so you wouldn't suspect anything!
I had so much fun writing this!  I giggled the entire time!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Is Afoot!

Please ignore the empty, muddy lot next door!  Gracie and I made our butterfly wreath from scrap paper, ribbon, glitter and a wire hanger!

I cannot wait for the trees and flowers to grow!

Enjoy some random photos of the sunroom, although it is not yet completed!

Closeup of bowl, handmade by a friend...

Shoe Storage...

Time for Frosty's hat to go to the armoire until next year!

Ivy is the only plant I can successfully grow indoors...

Sunroom table gets a new pair of shoes!

I have more plans for this table involving antique iron fence finials...about 50 of them!  Also, a new white marble top and black paint!  Stay tuned...

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rags To Riches

After finding a plethora (I got to use "plethora" in a sentence!  High Five!) of ormolu in the garage I decided to attempt to use it.  I found a table on Craigslist that was in sad, sad shape.  The table is rather large, at 52" wide, 20" deep and 32" tall. It had dents and dings all over it.
This was the Craigslist ad.

I went to Home Depot last night to buy paint but they were closed.  I suppose that is due to the poor economy, they close earlier on Sundays. Not to be deterred, I went to Walmart, which is open 24 hours...but not the paint department.  Gah!
I went over to the craft section and found some grey paint I liked. Really, really liked, actually. Plaid Granite Gray.  I also purchased a bottle of  Plaid FolkArt Metallic Antique Gold.
This morning I sanded the table in the driveway as Gracie created fairies and flowers on the pavement with her new chalk. I hoola-hooped and made chalk butterflies with Gracie in between coats! It was such a beautiful day here in the Chicago suburbs!  I applied several coats of paint then painstakingly painted the trim with Antique Gold.  There must be an easier way?!
When the paint dried I rubbed the entire piece with aluminum foil to give it an aged look.  I love that stuff!
The hardest part was choosing which ormolu to apply.  Finally I chose two angels from an ugly 1970's lamp I disassembled. I drilled two holes on each corner of the table and screwed the angels in.  I then applied a bronze French ormolu from my collection to the front.
I need to age the angels but other than that, I am finished!
I must say...I LOVE IT!

This antique Corpus was salvaged from a church in Wisconsin...Craigslist!  Under the table is a replica of the Arch De Triumph.

I carefully bent the bronze ormolu over my knee to match the curve of the table...

I'll be dagnabbed if this cat toy isn't in every photogaraph and I didn't even notice it!  See the little leopard print catnip mouse by the back leg?  And, yes, that is a cat hair dust bunny right next to it!  This is technically the living room but I use it as a staging area.

Many people have inquired about the use of aluminum foil so I decided to add this.  Following are quasi-step-by-step instructions as to how I painted and patinaed the table.  Remember, as with all "art",  each person will have similar, yet not identical, results.
The table was mahogany and very dirty.  I sanded it then wiped it down to remove the dust and simply painted.  There are two coats of paint on it.  I recommend using the best quality brush you can afford.  It makes all the difference in the world! (I learned this as a makeup artist.  You can use cheap makeup if you have really good brushes.  I even sent my clients to the craft store for good quality brushes that are way less expensive than department store prices...but I digress!)

I applied the Antique Gold after the grey dried.  A good trim brush helps.  I found that painting sideways, in small (tiny) strokes, rather than up and down, makes for a straighter line.  You can clean up mistakes with the grey paint after the gold dries.
I wanted the table to look as if it had stood in a room that had no electricity for decades and decades, so soot  from candles and a fireplace would have stained it a bit...

When all the paint is dry you can then proceed to the aluminum foil step...

I came upon the aluminum foil trick quite by coincidence. It was born of a need for something abrasive as a substitute for sandpaper on another project. I scrunched it up and it did an excellent job of abrading the piece and it also left the best grey-black patina! Be careful, though! The reason aluminum is so exceptional for cooking is that it conducts heat extraordinarily well! When you are burnishing a piece of furniture wear gloves! The friction generates a geat deal of heat!

 I scrunch it up so it acts as sand paper on the edges. You can scrub the base of the feet. If it were an actual antique,  years of mopping, moving and accidental contact with shoes would have taken its toll.  Be careful on the top and sides, though, it can be too abrasive.  Wait until it is worn a bit then use it on the flat surfaces. When you have finished take a damp paper towel and gently buff the striations left by the foil, after that take a flat piece of foil and burnish the piece.  Don't clean it for several days because you could actually wash the patina off! I use pure shea butter over the top to seal it.
I also suggest using foil as soon as the piece dries.  If you wait too long it doesn't have the same effect.

The cheaper the foil, the better. It is thinner and less abrasive when scrunched up.  I save aluminum foil from leftovers and such to use for my projects.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask!  I have what can be called a passion for antique patinas.  I can spend hours at the museum just studying the way furniture ages.  That's normal, right?

I am participating in Wow Us Wednesdays over at Savvy Southern Style!
I am also participating in Feathered Nest Fridays at French Country Cottage, the DIY Showoff Project Parade, Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday and Between Naps On the Porch, Metamorphosis Monday!

How was your day?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Duck, Duck...Swan?!

The Craigslist ad said "Duck Head Chairs For Sale".  I was bored  intrigued. "What the heck is a duck head chair?" I wondered?  I clicked on the link and here is what I found...

You cannot tell from the photo but they have brass lion paw feet!
Two for $100!  I looked at the clock...8:00 pm.  I called the number in the listing.  They were still available.
"May I come in the morning?" I asked.  She lived an hour away and I didn't want to come too late.
"Sure!" She replied and gave me her address.
I hung up the phone then picked it up again, "Is it too late to come tonight?" I asked.
"No, come on over."
I jumped in the car in my jammies and Gracie and I headed to Chicago.  An hour and fifteen minutes later we were safely on our way home with our new "duck head" chairs!  I say "safely" because the woman didn't live in the best neighborhood.  The hallways in the building reeked of human urine. I remember thinking "we are going to die" as she closed the iron gate on the elevator!
We made it out.  She was a very nice lady who was down on her luck.  I still pray for her.  I paid $150 for the chairs because I felt bad for her and her situation.
Which reminds me, if you are going to buy something on Craigslist make sure someone knows where you are going.  It really isn't wise to go into an apartment building with someone you don't know.  I always make an odd, awkward segue onto the topic of my husband being a police officer. You just never know!  LOL!

Why was I in such a hurry to buy these you may ask?  Google.  That's why!  I googled the description of the chairs and here is what I found...

"French iron Goose neck folding Empire chairs c1900. This pair of French Empire Goose neck chairs are a decorators delight. They are not only strong but they are comfortable as well. Excellent original condition with bronze claw feet,arm rings and goose head and neck backs. Each chair measures 36 inches to the top of their back,15 and one half inches wide,18 and one half inches to the top of the seats and 14 and one half inches deep Both of these chairs can fold up for easy storage."

The cost?  $1,800!  There are also two sets on 1st Dibs, one has a table and the prices are even higher!  I would call the style Directoire, rather than Empire, though.  What do you think?

I want to change the fabric but I am looking for ideas.  Napoleonic stars perhaps?
*Edit*  I found these Belgian tapestries in Ye Olde Garage.  I was going to make pillows from them but I think they look like they belong on these chairs!  What do you think?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Help Us Help Them, Please

You may have already seen this video.  Even against the Armageddon-like landscape, the loyalty of a true friend knows no bounds.  Please donate to ARK,  Animal Rescue Kansai.  Funds are desperately needed to help displaced and injured animals suffering in the wake of the Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  Any little bit helps.  They need us.  When you go to ARK's site, there is a convenient Paypal link which allows you to donate as much or as little as you can afford.
Will you help us help them?  Please?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Help Animals Displaced By Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Rescuers are attempting to gain access to some of the hardest hit areas, and ARK, Animal Rescue Kansai,  is currently preparing makeshift shelters to accommodate what is expected to be a massive influx of traumatized, injured, hungry and thirsty dogs and cats. (After the 1995 Kobe earthquake, ARK took in 600 animals.)Animal welfare is virtually non-existent in Japan, so the efforts of individual rescue groups and shelters make all the difference for animals in times of national catastrophes. I encourage you to check out the ARK website and help if you can.  They accept paypal, which is simple to use.
Elizabeth Oliver, Chairman of the Board of Animal Rescue Kansai:"ARK will accept as many animals as possible, those made homeless from the TOHOKU-PACIFIC earthquake and tsunami which occurred on 11th March.
The tragedy keeps on unfolding. Thousands of people are dead or missing and we can assume that most animals in the path of the tsunami, perished. Being a rural area, most dogs would have been chained, unable to escape. Foreigners are being recalled to their countries by their companies for their safety. Already we have a cat called Maggie. We had to pick her up from Kansai airport, as her owner left for Germany.
We are especially concerned about the number of pets left unattended in homes by people forced  into the evacuation centres near the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, It is not clear how many would have been allowed in these centres with their owners. Others in evacuation centres have lost everything and if they have pets, will probably have to give them up.
Our office in Tokyo as well as foster homes will be able to take in some animals, others may be brought by air, once airports are open, to Osaka. We are preparing spaces to take them in here in our Nose shelter. We are also thinking of building a temporary shelter on the land in Sasayama (about 40 minutes from ARK by car). At present the land there is being prepared for building but no construction yet.

Thank you all for your concern and help. We will do our best for these animals."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Faith, Hope, Charity

Although my passion for animals is well known, I will not be posting my weekly shelter animal in need today. I feel I must put that passion on hold temporarily and ask my friends to reach out to those touched by the devastation in Japan.
The Red Cross is taking much needed donations to help these people.  Will you donate?

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. "

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prayers For the People of Japan...

 Japan hit by vast 8.9 magnitude 'superquake', 30ft tsunami

More than 137 confirmed dead, 'several hundred' missing, toll to rise

• Up to 300 more bodies found on coast

• 'State of emergency' after nuclear plant's cooling system fails

• Two ships missing with 180 on board

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aladdin's Cave!

We didn't accomplish much yesterday with regard to digging holes for the Blue Spruce trees. We have all been overcome by the flu!  No hurry, anyhow.  They are still in the ground in their original location.  I am so grateful to have found twenty-one, five foot trees on Craigslist!  At $150 that is a bit over $7 per tree!  With that kind of savings I can hire the ginormous man who helped out last year! (Found him on Craigslist!)
I don't like the plastic fences our association allows so I opt for no fence.  I will plant dense trees at the perimeter of the yard and fill in the rest as detailed in a previous post.

I decided to open more boxes that have been our garage since the move.  Before that, the boxes were in storage.  Many had never been opened.  I had marked the contents, but three years later I had only a vague recollection of the contents!
Here are some of my long forgotten discoveries...

This pair of elk chandelier sconces. Totally forgot about them!

This pair of Empire bronze torch lamps. I have utterly zero recollection of ordering them!

I don't know if I like them here...

Alternate angle.  I am in the midst of reupholstering the French stool with an antique tapestry fragment...

I had actually been looking for this pair of brass putti candle sconces.  I finally found them!  They are in the sunroom for now.

I also found this pendant.  I forgot about this too! It must be made of Dwarf Star material because it weighs a ton! It is about two feet tall and solid!
It might look nice in the breakfast room.  I like it in the sunroom too, but I think I will use the hot air balloon chandelier I bought on Craigslist. I dunno. It is very large...hmm...perhaps the stairwell?

I also found an Empire elk crystal chandelier.  I think it will go in the library.

Oh! Seven Moravian Star light fixtures for the hallways...
I did remember I had these!

Seven, three foot long custom made carousel cherubs!  Wait 'til you see what I am doing with these! They are made from an actual cast of an antique carousel!

Bags and boxes of chandelier crystals...some as big as my hand!

I finally found them!  Wood appliques for Gracie's daybed!  This is gonna be so cool!

Lots and lots of cherub corbels!

Four cast iron dolphin tub feet.  After I drill holes in the mouths and mount them on a post fitted with copper pipe they will make a lovely fountain!

Elaborate gilded frames for my paintings!   This one is about 3 ft tall! I have boxes and boxes of frames! I am so excited!

This light once illuminated a church altar in England!

Pair of gilded putti chandeliers for Gracie's bathroom!

I don't remember this one either, but it would make a nice coat rack!

There are so many more treasures to behold but I have to get the boxes out before the trash man comes!

I know you are curious as to how I could have forgotten about all I'll tell you!
When Gracie was just 9 months old I went to the store to buy teething medicine.  I rarely go anywhere without her, but she was feeling so poorly I went alone and left her with Daddy at home.
As I exited the grocery store I was struck by a car.  Subsequently I had many injuries which required surgery.  Lots of pain medication too.  The surgeries went on for several years, at which point I decided I had had enough!  The years following the accident are a blur, it's nice to know that even in my drugged state I still had excellent taste, as evidenced by the treasures you see here!  LOL
Seriously, I now practice yoga and do without pills of any kind.  I would rather endure a bit of pain and remember each moment of my child's life.
If Gracie had been with me that day she would have been gravely injured.  The side the car struck me on is where I carry her.
I count my blessings every day!
Now you know!

My beloved Faerie Princess was helping me with inventory!

I am linking with Happy to Design, Sunday Favorites!  Thank you for the opportunity!


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