Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photography is an art

Good cameras and good camera skills are sometimes worth more than the art they depict.  Without them, a piece might as well be hidden in a locked closet.  Such are my 'shooters', Angie and Bethy (and Alisa and Paddy). Here are some of the close-up pics that I promised. *Also, check back at past blogs as I have updated photos-still new at this.

The Herring bone shabby chic chair. No longer available.


The Chalkboard/Corkboard was a fun piece to create. I found a skinny closet door at my favorite shopping place, Habitat for Humanity. Added the chalkboard paint (several coats) and fitted and cut the cork.  Added hanging chains to the hinges to hang from the beam. It is done up in a Lysander Blue-Grey in a shabby chic design.  This could have benefited from a close-up and maybe this afternoon I will update with Paddy's phone camera.  The big erasure on the chalkboard says, 'Pooping'.  We didn't think it appropriate on something listed For Sale to say that. The measurements are 16"x77".

Here is a close-up of the sign at the top of the chalkboard.


The little votive, leaded glass, candle lamp on the secretary pictured above is available. As lighting for a relaxing tub bath it is absolutely perfect. Or, as a festive foyer light welcoming visitors. Weighted nicely, it stands 13" tall.


While creating reformed furniture is my major gig, I have other burners going.  One is to help collect items for my social worker friend's holiday party on December 11th.  He works for a non-profit, caring for families who have issues with schizophrenia and are bipolar.  At the party, they are able to "shop" from items collected to gift their families for Christmas.  If anyone in the local audience has items they were planning to give to Goodwill anyway, and, if you could get them to me or one of my offspring, I would be happy to pass them on to him.  I promised him 150 small loaves of banana bread wrapped for the event, so you know what I'll be doing on the 10th!


Off to my studio (dining room) to paint. When I post the Telephone Bench in a few days, I will offer insight into the pros and cons of painting in the house as opposed to a garage; and the story of the unfortunate decision not to use a drop cloth.


I hope all is well with those of you that are following along. [And others who aren't.] If you like, you can have these posts delivered to your email.  Having an ABC phone, I am not proficient at texting, but Ms. Jen says the blog shows up nicely on her phone.

As ever, La Verne

Just some updates....

Today was a busy, trying day. Stopped off at Alisa's in the afternoon to make a snowman with Ellie, Claire and friends.  Bethy came over tonight to tryout her new camera on some things I've worked on, but not finished.

Take a peak at how the Union Jack is progressing.

I repainted the Jack, now just have to distress it, poly, second coat the rest of the dresser, refinish the
top and figure out what I want to do with the hardware. 


I am really excited about a checkerboard table I've started.  I found this thing on a curb in Parma a few months back and this is what it looked like then....

There were gingerbread man stickers all over it along with nail polish, glitter, gum, and it was missing the glass top. I was sold!  Here's peak at it now, but reserve judgement until the top gets painted and the surprise element is added.


People ask what kind of finishes can go on their furniture.  Well, I have done up samples on the fronts of all my supply drawers, and that doesn't make a dent in the colors available. Here is an assortment.

It's been a really arduous day, so, turning in.  More soon.

Love, La Verne

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Patchwork bench and life

You know the old saying, "When life gives you lemons.....", well life gave me discontinued drapery fabric books, (about 40 of them), and I recover furniture with them and make gift bags.  If ever at a crossroads, turn to the 'free' section on Craigslist. There's bound to be something to use, recycle, reclaim, re-purpose, or at least laugh about. Such is today's post. Cheryl, a lady in Medina who makes draperies out of a very cool workroom on her property, has twice given me books, fabric, foam and advice, that I have spun into products.

First piece was a bare bones, stripped down, open spring, '40's wood chair curb find that blossomed into a patchwork chair that ironically, daughter Alisa snapped up. My mom and dad took some classes on re- upholstery after the couch fiasco of 1970. I was pregnant with Alisa that summer and the plumbers were on strike, so off to Maryland we went for a visit. While there, I told the folks that they needed to recover their old couch.  I explained in my no-nonsense, self-assured way that it would be cake to rip that thing apart and put it back together with new fabric. This was my first venture into a project that big, but have done some since. Sometime I will tell you about the peanut butter and jelly couch! Clueless on how to figure fabric, I said, "we need 19 yards." [On a no repeat fabric?  What are you smoking La Verne?]  Anyway, gutted the couch and started to sew when.....guess what?  The plumbers got called back to work and off to Cleveland we went. I took with me all the pieces-parts, sewed them together and mailed back a diagram of how the couch fit back together.  That was a leap of faith on their part, but that was what was so great about my parents, they trusted us to screw up-and we did.  Dad, being the whiz that he was, did a great job.

Back to the bare bones, wish I had a 'Before' picture, so you could see what magician I was, but trust me, it was a renaissance. Here is how it looks now in Alisa's living room.

Next is an interesting sort of vanity bench that had no seat.  While daughter, Bethany, went to J-Fab to get tack-stretchers, I cut a new seat and rounded the edges with a mini-skillsaw.  I had one blade for my scroll saw and broke it on my first pass. No matter, this woman has determination.

The colors of this bench are more vivid than displayed here, and for the future, I'm not really a "white furniture sort of a person".  I may just paint it black and distress it to make that fabric pop.  Yes, I think I'll do that.  Next week, you will see a transformation on this piece, unless someone claims it in the meantime.
This will be a short post today, as I have tons of painting to do, and hemming 20 pairs of pants while watching Season 5 of Doc Martin (BBC series) that I've waited 3 months to get from the library.
Tonight, is my Girl Scout meeting.  Friends, Pat and Ann, who I've known for decades through all facets of scouting, have a Girl Scout Troop at the Northeast Care Center,  It's a residential home for mentally and physically challenged adults.  Twice a month for the past 25 years they have turned these folks into scouts, teaching songs, crafts, saying the Pledge of Allegiance (when was the last time you said it that wasn't at a swearing-in ceremony?), serving snacks and singing taps.  That is true dedication.  When I had my troop years ago, there was always that instant gratification of "Thanks, Mrs. Dietz!"  Here, it may be an eye twinkle, or a hug, or a just-keep-showing-up. Me, I'm just along for the extra hand.  They are the planners, doers and persevere-rs.  Hand clapping.  Love you ladies!
Have a thankful, awesome, glad I get another day to say the Pledge of Allegiance!

As ever,
La Verne

PS  At the beginning of this post, I bragged about the great and funny things you can find on C'list, well, here is one I had to share.  This guy was selling a 7 foot Sasquatch stuffed creature that his girlfriend wanted him to get out of their living room.  Believe me, if I had a truck and two good knees, that thing would have been in MY living room.  Fortunately, I have no boyfriend to tell me it would have been a bad idea!

Monday, November 26, 2012

What's good about Mondays?

One of the reasons I love Mondays is-in my part of North Royalton, it's Garbage and Recycling Day! Out with the old, clean out the waste baskets, get rid of the milk jugs, those wonky spring tension rods that are so sprung, they pop in the middle of the night and you grab your table lamp for protection.  Yes, Monday is a great day.

Today, its the day I finally paint over my Union Jack dresser that I proudly painted months ago. IT LOOKED AWESOME! Only thing is...I painted it with the drawers OUT!  Who knew that there was a certain order that the drawers had to be the dresser.  It turned out to be the "American Red Cross Union Drinking-Jack-Daniels-Dresser".  I'll give you a peek at what it looks like for the next 15 minutes.

Another thing I'm up to is [let me insert here that one can't have too many projects in the queue-as in the old "you can't put too much water in a nuclear reactor" well does that mean you can or you can't?] (return to original thought) making SOAP.  I started watching soap videos on youtube a few months ago when I was laid-up and thought what the world could use is "another" soap maker. Ordered my supplies from all over the globe, then found that a big supplier is 5 miles from my house.  In a few weeks, I am putting on my first 'teaching people how to make soap' night, that my friend Lynn, inspired. She is a very rational person (and an artist) and thinks I need to deplete the soap supplies to make way for the gallons and gallons of paint, strippers, acetone, polys, and power tools that would like to hug that space.  The dilemma is...that I have to quick learn how to 'make' soap, in order to 'teach' making soap. Some afternoon this week, when it's pouring, snowing, or too cold to go out; or my eyes are too itchy from sanding, I'm going to pretend to create wonderful, sale-able soaps.  It's something that needs a time-frame beyond my 15 minute interest zone. Every time I hobble past my supply cabinet, wafts of French lavender buds, cranberry seeds and calendula petals, suck me in. There are bottles of essential oils, colorings, molds, goat's milk, glycerin, molds, olive oil, distilled water, an alcohol spritzer and lye, just waiting for my nimble fingers to get busy.

I have to add here that I did dabble in soap making when I initially got the supplies.  Daughter-in-law, Jen's mom, Sandi, is a cancer survivor and I experimented making and packaging pink ribbon soaps to give away at her Relay for Life booth.  Need is a great motivator.


Two projects I just completed came from two of my supply guys.  The first is from David (Howard's old plumbing partner).  David has a barn where just about anything can be found.  This item was a pretty cool little sort of a pirate's chest, sans hardware and jewels. With much regret, I stripped off its original layers of paint, dirt, and who knows if maybe the remnants of some former creature's home.  I can't take a chance that an item be passed on with lead paint or ancient microbes that might create a health crisis.  Anyhow, here is the gold chest before (2) and after.

No longer available.


(This probably seems high, because secretly I want to keep it!  When I went with my family to see CATS at the Cassidy-Greenbriar and Memories was sung, I thought it was the most electric moment I ever had in a theatre. Ever. And I am a theatre FREAK.  Give me Les Miz, Phantom, A Little Night Music....)

This little blue box was formerly sort of a little tool box with a clothesline wire handle I got from Ken, my Craigslist-social worker-supplier guy.  I felt it should keep its workhorse persona and added a garage door handle and refinished in blue shades.  Inside, is mounted a Made in the USA, music box movement that plays "Memories" from CATS.

This is all for now.  Remember I promised to work on UJ!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 2 and writer's block

My excuses always were, "I don't have a website to post my pictures. There's no room to work. It's too cold. If I use my saw, I'll wake him up. My camera is not working. My drill battery is dead." Now that son, Peter, designed this awesome website, and daughter-in-law, Angie, took all these great photos, I have to ante up-today is all good!

Here is one of my latest projects.
No longer available.

I shabby chic'd it up with some taupe chalk paint (home made-but someday I'll try Annie Sloan's).  One of my favorite tools is my sander. In my next life, I think I'll try ice carving.


Herring bone shabby chic chair is no longer available.

The ladder back in the middle is the chair.  A friend I met on Craigslist (who calls himself "My Supplier")
gave it to me.  It previously had a broken caned seat.  Seeing as how I'm only learning one new trick at a time, I passed on learning how to re-cane.  JoAnn Fabrics came through with some nice trim braid on sale and re-stocked their brass upholstery tacks.  For a previous job, I had to settle for nickle tacks to finish an already brass started chair.  I got a piece of styrofoam and pinned them each to it. Then spray painted them all black and mottled them with a rag while still wet.  I grabbed a chip brush and dabbed brass metallic acrylic paint on and dabbed again.  Voila! Matching tacks.  Son, Andrew is pretty sharp and he couldn't tell the difference. The chair has a new hardwood seat and 1" foam.  The colors (I have to get a close-up for you) started with a nice, taupe-y gray, that g'daughter Ellie begged to paint.  She's painted basement steps for me before and done a fine job.  Anyway, the herring bone upholstery was going to be too monotone, so I started going at it with a beautiful turquoise color I had used on a bookcase. Getting there...then added some
burnt umber in the corners and on the slats. It was coming to life

The Windsor chairs on either side are kind of a sage color and one has a maize underlay and the other, a lavender. Each are $30.00.


I wouldn't mind bartering if you see something you like and would like to trade services.  Think SNOW shoveling.

Have to turn in.  Just got off dog-sitting duty for the weekend and want to settle in for a nice long sleep.

Angels on your pillow.

La Verne

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hobby Horse under the tree

Gentle rock

27" tall at peak

14" high at seat
Before the days of electronic Christmases, there was a time that plain dolls, books, sleds and wooden toys were the reason for happy faces on Christmas Day. This sturdy, pine horse could delight your little one this year. [Circa 1948].

Red chair

30" red swivel shabby-chic chair. $45.00.

Sage-Chic Child's Secretary Chair and Desk

This is a shabby-chic sage colored Child's Secretary Desk and matching chair.

It also has a drawer. The price is $125.00.

Windsor Aqua Chairs

This Windsor back sage-aqua chair has maize undertones. Its mate has lavender undertones. These chairs were found by my sister, Therese, while driving down the street on the way to church. On MY street. I didn't even see them. Well, I was the driver and should have been paying attention to the road, not the curb. We went up the long drive and asked permission to take them, as our town has a law that curb 'prizes' belong to the garbage guys, not all of humanity that wish to save them from landfills. There were 4 chairs, but one was unsaveable. They were in a partially stripped, chippy condition in old white. Possibly a lead paint. I mostly stripped them and custom mixed this aqua color with pastel color underlays.

Sometimes they look blue and other times definitely green.

They are sturdy with lo leg issues.

As ever,
La Verne
hope& salvage

Dresser with Subway-Style Symbols

This dresser adds personality to a bed room when you create custom Subway Art-Style symbols to it. The dresser was originally found on a curb by my friend Ken, and missing a drawer. It has been restored inside and out with the panache it deserves.

I restored this for my son, Paddy, and it represents places that are important to him.

Just about any piece of furniture can become a billboard for Subway Art. Always take into consideration the colors that will stand out the most when laying out your scheme. On my next foray into a Subway Art piece, I would draw a rendering of what the finished piece would look like before I started. At every turn, this was a surprise.

Here is the Before picture. 

I bought a $1. ReStore drawer and glued and screwed a new face to it as similar to the originals as I could find.  

 I cut new shelves for the chifferobe side as he would not be using it for hanging anything.

I was very satisfied with how this turned out. Pretty ambitious for a first blog posting.

As ever,
La Verne