Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Tis the Season....

....for decorating, entertaining and holiday link parties!  I will be linking up the following tablescape to Centsational Girl's party for a chance to win a $100 Home Goods gift card in addition to a few others.

Here is my gold and silver palette inspired by nature.  Maybe it's a sign of the times, but I am in the spirit to use what I have and truly embrace the old adage, "waste not, want not."  I am proud that everything on my table, with the exception of a couple tree ornaments and the food, was already in my home.

Did anyone catch the 60 Minutes program on Sunday about the homeless families in America? It really hit home with me, and put things into perspective.  This year has been challenging for so many families, and our family is no exclusion.  At the end of the day, I am so thankful my little family is happy and healthy.  As long as we have each other, I couldn't ask for more.

That being said, here are the goods....

I mixed gold and silver for a timeless look.  The beaded China was from my wedding registry via Crate & Barrel, and I mixed it with some silver pieces inherited from my grandma's collection for a vintage look.  I added some brass candle holders purchased from Goodwill...

I LOVE decorating with food...

I stole a few IKEA candles from my fireplace for some ambiance, paired with some leftover green moss and curly willow from my floral supplies.  The silver tray was a wedding gift from Peru.

some curly willow....

....some silver and gold BLING.  The tree ornaments were from my collection, and the icicles were C&B circa 2010.

...and more BLING

I went without a table cloth to showcase our new table, courtesy of Kanto Home....

I swapped out my host chairs for the Ikat Farmhouse Chairs from my previous post.  The miniature trees were from Big Lots for $4, the mercury ball was from my bookshelf.  The votives are C&B from last year.

Have you caught the decorating bug?  I am just getting started, so bring on the holidays!

Linking to the following holiday link parties: 



Liebster Blog Award

I received an e-mail last night that really made my evening.  My new friend, Samaa, at Honey Sweet Home  awarded me the Liebster Blog Award.   The award is designed to promote new bloggers with less than 200 followers.  I am so grateful to receive the award, and happy to promote other new bloggers like myself.

I would like to dedicate this award to a fellow blogger - my father.   At 68 years young, recovering from a stroke that nearly took his life, my dad traveled all the way from Michigan to Alaska on his Harley Davidson with little more than a tent, a mess kit and two-weeks worth of clothes.  His journey was such an inspiration to me.  If you know my father or not, you will find his blog to be funny and inspiring.  Here is to you, Dad, in hopes that you will end your hiatus and get back to what you love - traveling and blogging.  You truly have a gift!

It has been so incredibly gratifying to receive comments from new people who have been inspired by  my work.  I truly love blogging, and the sense of community that comes with it.  Thanks again, Samaa, for keeping me in mind.  I hope to keep posting beautiful creations and ideas for everyone to enjoy.

The rules of the award are as follows:
1. Post about the award in your blog, linking back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Award 5 new bloggers, and leave a comment telling them so.

Here are five new blogs to check out:

Please stop by these blogs and show 'em so love! You just might make someone's week.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ikat Farmhouse Chairs

After several months of sanding... more sanding, and playing around with different finishes.  I FINALLY finished these lovelies.

They were a bargain deal on Craiglist.  The listing read, "I crawled on these chairs as a toddler.  I am now 60 years old. My mother crawled on these chairs as a little girl.  She is now 80."

Man, I am such a sucker for a good anecdote.

I just couldn't pass up this set of four farmhouse chairs, only to be discarded at the nearest curb.  Apparently, I was the only person who saw the potential.  If there is one thing I am really good at, it's spotting a diamond in the rough.

They were in rough shape, but I bit the bullet because the chairs were solid oak with dovetail joints, and the springs were in surprisingly good condition.  They stood level with no creaks.  There were a couple deep cracks, and the finish was in major need of some TLC.

The upholstery had probably been replaced a couple times, most recently with the oh-so-stylish chocolate vinyl.  The chairs were in desperate need of a good sanding, but I loved that remnants of the original olive paint were still visible.

I sent the photo and dimensions to a local antique dealer who verified the chairs were probably English or American farmhouse chairs, at least 60 years old.

I had never refinished anything before.  Since my intention was to resell, I contacted a couple of professional refinishers for a quote to restore the chairs, and the bids range from $165-$250 per chair. Yikes! I also struggled because the quotes were to make the chairs "like new." I realized that I didn't want them to look new - the whole reason I fell in love with them was because they looked old.

I started sanding the chairs a couple hours - here and there - over a period of weeks. This was what they looked liked mid-way through.  You can see the grain of the oak starting to show through, but some of the paint is still left behind.

Warning: Make sure if you are working with old furniture (1978 or prior) that you take precaution and wear a protective mask, for risk of exposure to lead-based paint.

The finish was a three step process:

First I sanded them smooth, which took many hours. I didn't attempt an electric sander - one, because I don't own one (hint hint, relatives and/or spouse) ; and two, because I wanted control over the finish.

I didn't keep track, but I would estimate at least 20 hours of sanding for all four chairs over several weeks.  I used a 80 grit sandpaper to get rid of the crud and initial roughness.  Once the initial layer of dirt and crud was removed, I moved to a 120-150 sanding wedge to maintain as much of the original paint as possible.

Once the chairs were completely smooth.  I stained them with Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut.

Finally, I diluted a 1 part Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in Country Gray with 1 part water to create a wash of color, allowing the grain of the wood to peak through.

I can't express how amazing this paint is to work with.  It is so easy to use, and is virtually impossible to screw up.  I used a 200 grit, very fine sanding wedge to gently sand the paint down enough to remove the obvious brush strokes.

Here is the finished product.

I gently sanded the paint into the grain, and buffed it to a subtle sheen. The dark area you see below is the original paint peeking through.   

I had them professionally upholstered with 7 yards of Robert Allen's, Sweet Nothings, Ikat in twine; 40 feet of upholstery tacks; and new foam for each seat.  

I am truly proud of the way they turned out.  If you see them in person, you will notice that each one is unique. The chairs look as if they would be rough, but when you run your hands along the arms, the finish is smooth as can be.

I was going for a updated vintage farmhouse look.  Do you think I was successful?

The chairs are now available for purchase in my Etsy store.

Linking up to the following parties: 


Have a wonderful weekend!