Saturday, October 6, 2012

Painted Piano

First let me preface this post with, never paint a piano with out a professional helping you.

I was asked by a friend, (whom is a piano tuner and technician) to paint a piano he had acquired and was tuning and working on. An upright grand piano that was a blonde color and just well... not so pretty.

I was excited because I knew this wouldn't just be a perfectly tuned piano (due to his skill) but also be a stunning addition to their home.

So here it is: 


Second step to distressing and doing this technique is to paint the whole thing a dark brown and have the PROFESSIONAL remove all the keys and take care of the insides and delicate pieces.

So proud of the final outcome.. it is stunning. Our friends love it and it was really a super fun project.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Story of Big Bertha

I have alluded to Big Bertha.. but now is the time for the real story.

I was with the family one day and we saw a 'garage sale" sign. (This is how most of my Spotted Hen stories begin.)

It's my job, find old things, paint them, re-purpose them, and make them PRETTY. It is just that, sometimes the furniture starts out, REALLY ugly.

I walked into an old detached garage look around and didn't see anything that I could work with. Joey and the kids were in the van waving for me to hurry. As I headed back to them I noticed Bertha. Bertha was the built-in cabinet in their garage. It was spray painted, broken and filthy. It had been attached to the wall and housing old rusty tools and paint cans. I walked over to the owner and said, "how much for this" pointing towards the monstrosity. The owner was an older lady who thought I MUST have meant the tools. I corrected her and said, "NO, the WHOLE thing, the shelves, all of it?"  She gave me a fair price, so I called Joey over to look at it.

"You are crazy." That is all Joey could muster. 

I purchased Bertha for the potential of what she COULD be, and left to get our trailer and a strong neighbor to help haul her out.

For several weeks it was set up outside on my porch and I would sit in a lawn chair staring at it, often with a Corona in my hand, hoping for wisdom. It was one of these days that I was staring at it (as if it were going to talk to me) that a friend of mine came to pick up a different piece of furniture I had redone for her. She gasped when she laid eyes on Bertha and she bought it on the spot. Even in the shape it was in, she saw what I saw.

This is what it looked like:

Yep, she loved it.

Just like I did.

Now, I couldn't really take a photo of the ODOR, but believe me. It was terrible. My partner in crime (my husband) decided the only way we could really take care of that was to pressure wash it. There was no amount of Clorox wipes that could take care of the grime, oil and mess on this.. we needed the big guns.

I never have sanded, stripped and worked so hard on a surface before. Eventually the top was removed, each board taken apart and run through a planer. We removed the top doors, added glass so she could display her china, and refinished the original harware. 

This project wasn't without it's folly. Before we were done with Bertha, she sent both myself and my neighbor (who did some carpentry work on it) to the doctor, (he went to the ER), and we both needed tetanus shots. Good times. Nothing like having to paint with the arm that wasn't sore from the tetanus shot. note to self: wear thicker soled shoes when dealing with rusty nails.

In the end, Bertha was that project that proved to me that I am really doing something I love.. I love to make ugly things pretty.

And this is how she turned out:

It was worth it in the end. My friend and I had SO much fun just knowing we saw something, no one else did and I made it come to life. It has been the hardest yet most rewarding, refinishing job I have ever done.

Stay tuned more posts coming!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Mirror mirror

Such a pretty Mirror. I wanted to do refinish it in a deep gold with a very heavy distressed look, then place it on my wall for all the days to come. However, every speck of wall is covered and there is just no room for this beauty.

I went with a classic white distressed look on this chippendale style mirror. It makes it easier to sell because it can fit in almost every home. You don't have to have every piece of wood in your home be the same matching color. Throw in a piece of furniture that is different, that has some extra character.

Or you could be like myself and have everything be unmatched, pretend it was planned, and call it 'my eclectic style.' 

This mirror is for sale. Please send an email for price and measurements.

Also if you are interested in 'following' this page you can scroll to the bottom and join in on the fun. I have multiple items I am working on so there should be a lot of traffic and a lot of great hints and tips as well. :)

Happy Painting!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wild Thing

Quick project:

A friend of mine has recently re-done her daughter's room. There is now white cottage style furniture, purple accents, and the fabulously girly: ZEBRA print. Not having daughters of my own, I was excited to do a more whimsical piece to add the girls room.

A sturdy antique chair. (that still had horse hair as the seats cushion) was a perfect addition to the little girl's vanity. Of course the chair has never seen such wild days, as I upholstered it with the Zebra fabric.

Little projects like these always feel so fun and fulfilling. So easy to do. If you have a chair in your house that doesn't really match, but adds extra seating.. paint it! It is a great way to add a fun color and jazz up a room.
Now that this little project is completed I have to set aside all my distractions. I am now working on a French Provencal style bedroom set. This set includes a dresser, full size bed, book shelf, and a night stand.  I am still trying hard to decide.. shall I go black with a brown distressed? Think french farm house. Or the more classic white?

Stay tuned and you will find out soon enough. :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

No Magic Mike.. This is the way SHD strips:

Stripping: Not like you think. (this isn't THAT kind of blog)

I had a lovely woman contact me (a fellow blog reader!) about a piece of furniture that she only wanted stripped. Specifically the top of the table. She really wanted the black painted table top to match a beautiful hutch she already had, as well as a buffet she had just purchased. Admittedly, I am not an expert at stripping furniture, staining, and doing a true refinish, but after this table top I feel like I have earned my merit badge.

It was a solid black table top, manufactured and painted in some factory. I have now learned that manufactured spray painting is similar to a million coats of car paint. Not exactly easy to get off the wood. I also learned that 'safety' gear and apparel actually DO matter when using harsh chemicals.

note: paint stripper..... also reads: skin stripper  OUCH!

The main obstacle that I was having with the table had little to do with the table, but rather the Tropical Storm Debby Downer that hung over our house for 4 days. The rain preceding the tropical storm caused for such high humidity that I knew the polyurethane would never dry, and slow drying polyurethane is like a bug trap for ever gnat, and fuzz ball.

 So, inside the table went.

I say all of this to warn you, the photos aren't good, the glare in the house and the legos in background don't really showcase how beautifully it turned out. Nothing to 're-pin' here.

The table had already been stripped and sanded the week before, now it was time for the stain and finish. Note the 'official work space'. The usage of the Sponge Bob washcloth to stain the furniture added that extra 'mom' flare.

Sanded down, this striped hen thought she'd get a closer look

One of the more difficult aspects of the piece was the sides. Rounded edges and awkward sides.

Just incase you didn't catch the thing about being rainy outside, here is what the weather was doing. The red? Yes that is tornados and intense thunderstorms in my neighborhood. Good times!

Letting the first coat of stain dry, I used high tech equipment.

After sanding with 004 grade steelwool, this table ended up stunning. I applied several layers of polyeurithane to water proof it for spills and food. I am really pleased and very much wish I had a better photo to show you of the end result.

When stripping and staining there really needs to be attention to detail. (unlike my painting technique). I loved the challenge and now am ready to fix the old table that belonged to my grandmother. I am not sure why wood working, painting, and changing the face of furniture is so fun for me, but it is. I love it and am looking forward to my next project. A French Provencal dresser. eeks! Makes my heart pitter patter!   More blogs to come!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

I know.. I know.. it has been ages since I posted.

We went on a wish trip with our son, who has suffered with life threatening disease who whole life and then Christmas came, and then .. viola, I became one of 'those" bloggers that just fade away.

So since I am new at the whole blogging thing, and since my blogging revolves around physical labor and umm artistic impression, I am sure I get a pass.

Currently, I am working on an enormous piece of furniture. I found it in the back of some nasty garage, of an old bungalo down the street. It was full of tools, vice clamped to the top with grease pooling on the wood. It was covered with at least 5 layers of paint. The molding was missing on one side... but man, I couldn't resist.

I set that puppy up (read.. my husband and another very strong male neighbor set it up) outside my back porch. I grabbed a lawn chair , a beverage, and just sat and stared it for inspiration.

What was I thinking? It is a beast. A monster of a hutch/ cabinetry.

And, I am in loooove.

If, it didn't stink like years of sweaty stinky garage, I would almost just keep it the way it was. (excluding the big black pen mark on one of the doors that read: "NAILS, SCREWS, and STUFF").

It is THAT charming.

A friend of mine had stopped by, saw my contemplation and... bought it on the spot. OK. Problem 1, it was all about cleaning it, stripping, scraping, planing, and building molding.  SINCE, I am not furniture builder, I had to call a friend.

And so this is the story of.. the never ending job of "Big Bertha".

Yep it has a name, (and apparently a sex). Big Bertha has been the discussion of many texts and pm's from it's new owner. We have poured over color swatches, and finally found its newest coat.

Bertha isn't completed but will be shortly. When it is completed I will post the mother of all before and after pictures. And gladly send this monster off to it's new home.

Meanwhile, I have been asked to do several projects. One was a bed, and dresser for a good friend, and another was a door to be used as a prop for a local photographer. I have been working on stuff for my own home as well, but that will be another post. 

the door below came to me pepto bismal pink.. this is improved, if you ask me.

 I hope you enjoyed my newest update, and thank you to my new followers, how fun! Spread the word and I promise to not take such a hiatus again. 

Although, that Wish Trip was worth setting me back on my little business.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I am about to do a series on "How to..." This is my part 1 to that series. Helpful Tools

Of course I have my Handy Dandy Sander.

I use this on flat solid surfaces. Before I paint, I always go over each surface with my sander. It helps get a 'grip' to the paint. You don't want to be lazy and just slap paint on wood. The oils, finish, whatever coats the item can cause your new paint to bubble or crack. (hey and that isn't always a bad thing - just sayin')

I never sand with my Black n Decker when doing detail work. I ONLY use my handy dandy- sponge sanding block.

BIG TIME helpful hint: have you been to the Dollar Tree recently? Well.. helloooo painting supplies! They have some great scrapers, sanders, and other tools there. Nothing like saving money on items that really don't need to be high quality.

2nd favorite repurposing/refinishing 'tool' is this:

Scent oils. Antiques often have an ummm stank odor to them. You know the blend between musty, moth balls, and that 'old' smell. I ALWAYS, even on newer cleaner pieces, put this scented oil drops in each drawer. I choose vanilla. Why? because I have it. You can do any scent in your furniture. They sell items like this at Bath and Body Works, Bed Bath and Beyond, and other similar stores.

More helpful hints coming over the weeks, so be sure to 'follow' my page. Hey and if you feel so inclined, share it as well. (my follow button is hidden at the bottom of the page or some other obscure location).

Happy painting, sanding, and refinishing!