Friday, April 9, 2010

trash to treasure

I have a confession. I stopped at Goodwill this evening on my way home from work. I wasn't going to, honest. Then... well... traffic was backed up and at an utter stand-still (tourist season commences again) and, um, my alternate route took me right past Goodwill. THEN... I remembered saying to myself last weekend when unpacking dishes in my new house, "I could use a few more serving dishes." Of course, this remembrance necessitated my stopping, just in case. Whaddayaknow. The cutest vintage green-glass serving bowl. Too perfect. Oh! A California carafe to match the one I got last time... only this one has a lid! I always feel like a gold prospector when I'm in a thrift store. If you look hard enough, or see the potential in the less-than-pretty, who KNOWS what you might find!

Of course, half the fun is transforming the less-than-pretty. Here are a few of my recent projects:

Spray paint and I are fast friends. The chronic paint stains on my hands and nails are my witness. After I finished up a few other pieces one evening, I was still in spray-paint mode... and felt compelled to find out whether or not a glass soda bottle would be cuter if opaque.

I think so.

This guy is one of those metal silverware servers... way awesome for entertaining. I couldn't believe my good fortune at finding one for $1. Yes, there were strings attached. Not strings exactly... rust. A coat of Rust-oleum primer and several coats of spray paint later, he looks as good as new. I prefer off-white to shiny (almost) stainless steel, anyway.

Next up... the chalk board! I picked this painting up for free at a yard sale last summer.

Initially, I thought I'd refinish the canvas and paint another picture. After I got it home, I saw that the canvas was a strange, flocked fabric. The fuzz was jumping ship in several places. The frame was rough and splintery.

Trust me, it put on its best face for the camera. 

A few weeks ago, I got contracted a deep need for a chalkboard. How French is a chalkboard in a kitchen? Price-comparing soothed the need considerably... until I saw my ugly-duckling frame still sitting forlornly in a corner. How hard would it be to turn it into a chalkboard? 

I sanded... and sanded... and sanded the frame. A few coats of paint, then more sanding and a little distressing for the edges... and an acrylic spray sealer. Done. I bought a board from Lowe's and primed it with Rust-oleum magnetic primer. Two coats of Rust-oleum chalkboard paint and...

A magnetic chalkboard. 

As I worked on the frame, I wondered how I could have thought it ugly.

The notches add some pretty cool detail. 

Oh, yes. The biggest frustration came when I excitedly assembled it... but it wouldn't assemble. The board was an eighth inch too long for reasons unknown to me. I did measure before telling the Lowe's guy what I wanted, I promise. Sooo... I finally found the time a few days ago to ask my friend David to take 1/4 inch off with his trim saw. Because the chalkboard surface is so hard, I was afraid cutting the board would cause the surface to crack. It didn't... and the chalkboard was put into the frame, and they lived happily ever after.

This sad little veneer nightstand became mine after I gave the Goodwill lady $4-something. The top was bubbled and the backing needed re-attached with finishing nails rather than masking tape, but it was sturdy.

Kirsten and I tackled the beginnings of a make-over head-on. I consider myself honored... she forfeited her bed-time story to watch me lightly sand the veneer and help put on the first coat of paint. ("But why are they called 'coats', Becca?") 

I must include this:

Like sister, like brother. :) 

Lots of paint, a new knob, and...

...she has a whole new outlook on life.

I just realized all the projects in this post turned out ivory. That's ok. I like ivory. It's more comfortable than white, but just as fresh. I promise, I have been using other colors, too.

For the front of the drawer, I watered down brown paint and glazed the ivory for some interest. 

All I have left to do is seal it with 
Krylon Top Coats-Sealers

my secret weapon, and she'll be ready to join the load of furniture going to Meadville this weekend. I use matte-finish acrylic sealer on everything from finished art pieces (to prevent smudging) to... nightstands. 

My apologies to those of you who visit my blog expecting poetry and thoughtful things. This week was full of both, but the poetry belongs to Langston Hughes and the thoughtful things were told only to the stars... and the God who made them. I'm happy it's warm again... I'll miss my city rooftop when I move...


Anonymous said...

I love your post. Your words about my kids were so perfect. Good job on your projects. The more I look at your little night stand sitting here in my living room, the more perfect it appears.

Rosanne said...

Wow, Becca! I cannot wait to see your house. :)(mostly to see you again!) I am so happy you're moving to Meadville. Love you

Becca said...

Thanks for putting up with my projects in your basement and temporarily finding a landing spot in your living room, Anna! You're the greatest. :)

Rosanne, I absolutely cannot wait to have you over to my house! :) Love you, too!

Carla said...

That nightstand is beautiful! So exciting to read about your plants growing too.

Lydia said...

I've just discovered your blog and have enjoyed perusing it. Interesting stuff. I love your projects in this post. Makes me wish I was more creative!

I'm sure you have no idea who I am...your aunt Chris is my sister-in-law.