Tag Archives: painting

Point #35- Your Brother’s Old Furniture Sucks

22 Sep

There comes a point in your life where you should not be getting hand-me-downs from your YOUNGER brother. When that brother is (sorry, Alastair…not that he will ever read this) of typically dubious taste (as a young bachelor should be), the suck increases exponentially. I know I am a dumpster diver, but getting my brother’s old dresser, by way of my sister, who had it in my niece’s room, gah! It seemed just a little too “Please, sir, may I have some more…sketchily painted and sadly handed down cheap pine bedroom pieces?” for my liking. Ya know, if Oliver Twist was having trouble furnishing and decorating an en suite.

It isn’t a bad little dresser, save for one slightly wonky drawer. It just belonged to that that 90s school of thought that says absolutely everything is better with a light white wash stain, including furniture, pets, jeans, your dreams, and the economy. It’s certainly a roomy creature, having six big drawers and four small ones, with a lovely big top to hold all of one’s little knick knacks and doohickeys. And all kidding aside, I was pleased to have it.

And so it sat, with a deep, profound sitness, performing the important function of being the place I always intended my clean laundry to be put into but usually ended up wearing right out of the rumpled basket, and gathering assorted detritus on its top. One day I decided enough was enough, and resolved to paint it black. Unintentional Rolling Stones reference notwithstanding, I thought it would work well in my bedroom.

Quick explanation: I have settled on the theme of “vampire bordello” for my bedroom. I wanted a rich, cozy, low light nest with ornate details, Asian and Eastern influences, a little Victorian, definitely sexy. Like someone had lived a long life, travelled much, and surrounded him/herself with the resulting trappings of same. Lots of red and purple, black accents, texture, colour, etc.

So I got the dresser about half painted before I thought to take before pictures. Whoops.

The bottom half is the original “This would look awesome with my Friends poster!” white wash finish.

Aw, fart…it’s sideways, but you get the picture.

The black was just plain craft paint, which in addition to being a bad idea texture wise (I never sand crap, remember? It shows) was too flat to be appealing. I figured I would eventually polyurethane it and that would fix the problem. Again with the sitting for months.

Recently I decided to kind of start over and cover the black with a nice dark reddish purple glossy paint. The first coat, streaked like a glaze with the black just peeking through looked so cool, I went with it. I am lazy, so the painting process took the form of “whenever I damn well feel like it” meaning essentially a drawer or two…read my book…a drawer or two…work on another project….a drawer or two…take a nap, and so on. This went on until this past weekend, when, the dresser almost finished, I took a trip to IKEA and found some gorgeous purple napkins that I knew I could decoupage on SOMETHING. I wasn’t thinking of the dresser at the time, but when I came home and took them into the bedroom to find some inspiration, I realised the colours were perfect. And so:

I can’t really say that the flash does or doesn’t make it look lighter or darker, because while it does make the glaze “hot”, to borrow a theatre lighting term, so does natural sunlight hitting it right. The colour is immensely changeable, which would normally bug the crap out of me, but perfectly fits in with the look I am going for.

Mod Podging with napkins can be tricky, you want to have your placement pretty well set before you squish it down and smooth out the bubbles. Make sure you remove at least one ply from the napkin (I suggest, at least), although I left a second one to give it heft. Even the wrinkles work when you smooth it down…gives it a cool fabric or even leather look.

So that is my first big furniture redo. It only took the better part of year to get around to. Remember, if it’s worth doing, it is worth involving a lot of naps.

Point #33- Emo is Lame-o

15 Sep

I have done a lot of tutorial-y type entries lately and I like that I have turned in that direction overall on my blog. But I do occasionally plan to get back to my rambling bloggy roots, and lucky, lucky lucky you, this is one of those entries.

It was completely by accident that this particular entry ended up being #33, which is my adult lucky number (as opposed to 21, my number of choice through child- and young adulthood); it just turned out that way.

I have been crafting like a mad fiend lately, and it is good for me. I have some times where I get very low, and when I don’t think my life is going terribly right, and making things helps with that. I think that is true of anyone. Doing things you love makes you happy. Stop the damn presses and alert Deepak Chopra; what a flipping novel concept. But while it may be evident, it isn’t always easy.

I have recently realised that there are some folks in my life, along with me, that find it hard to be happy at times, no matter what is happening in their lives. I call it “waiting for life to begin” syndrome. I am guilty as hell of it (wow, just remembered my wedding song is going to be “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” by Colin Hay…meta much?) Heed the words of John Lennon: life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

So I am immersing myself in craft. It’s awesome. What a lame phrase to encompass such a strong feeling. But it is true. It is awesome, in the most literal and original sense of the word…awe inspiring, huge, majestic, and just. It makes sense that what we create should inspire feelings of awe. Part of my whole “Points for Creativity” philosophy is the concept of expressing spirituality through creation; most religions have a creation story-even several. Even humanists and many atheists believe in the power of human intelligence to manifest something greater than itself.

I was not planning for this to be serious. I was expecting that I would do more of a “tooting a clown horn every thirty seconds” type post like I have in the past, but it ended up taking a more introspective turn. I’ll leave you with this, and then tomorrow I will toot a clown horn and post something pretty again, I promise. These are five things that have made me ridiculously happy in the past few weeks that I realised are the type of thing that is the whole point of living. Not suggestions for you to do, necessarily, but goofy things that *I* did that made me realise “I need no other plans, this IS my life, there is no need to make it begin.”

1. Bought a cheap VCR (yes, I said VCR, for seven dollars, why not?) and stacks of cheap, sometimes out of print, fluffy, did I mention cheap Disney movies. I had a ton and don’t feel like necessarily rebuying them all on DVD or BluRay and have since picked up a buttload more at thrift stores.

2. Have made it a habit to wander the toy aisles at any store I go to. There is something about playing with action figures, bouncy balls, and foam swords that makes it impossible to be unhappy. You may not be incredibly popular with the WalMart staff but hell, where else can you do this:

3. Paint something. Anything. A picture, a piece of furniture, a wall. Whether painting is your craft of choice or if you even do crafts at all, paint stuff. It’s soothing. It’s fun. And you can almost paint it over if you mess up.

4. Make art of toilet paper rolls. More on that soon, but trust me, it’s fun.

5. Hanging out with my niece. There is something amazing about spending time with a little version of you (she has my nose) that you can boss around, listen to, be farted on by, mildly torture in public, and ultimately give back. Being an aunt is wonderful.

That’s all. I will return with more wacky hijinks soon, but for now, here’s tooting in an introverted and emo-y way at you. Imagine My Chemical Romance playing if you’d like.

Point #22-Walm-Art is okay.

4 Aug

I have invented a word. Following in the august footsteps of such lofty wordsmiths like Shakespeare and Sarah Palin, I have felt the need to create a term to describe some of the “art” I do. I have stated many times that I do not consider myself an artist. (Sidenote: there is one exception to this. If I am at a party, and I don’t want to sound like a useless, space sucking slacker, I will not respond to the query of “So what do you do?” with “As little as possible as I wait for the bleak and barren landscape of the economy to bloom with fertile majesty and bear fruit in the form of a low stress, high paying job for my exclusive pleasure, but in the meantime I mostly eat Hot Pockets and troll Facebook.” No. I say, “I am an artist.” Craftswoman, artisan, etc I believe indicate more industry and practical application of the concept of work than I am usually capable of rousing. Artists naturally slack.) Sometimes, though, I feel the need to have something on the walls that I have actually made. Some crafty type items, like decoupaged mirrors, or painted doodads count as decorative items, but because scrapbook pages or comical crocheted hats or whatever else my craft de jour look odd tacked haphazardly to walls, I make “art”. And I have dubbed it Walm-Art.

It’s simple really. You go to Walmart or similar discount emporium, you can find some surprisingly decent pieces for a normal, non-art buying person to hang above the flat screen. Sometimes the flat screen IS the thing on the wall, but your bathroom could use a picture of some flowers in a rustic jug sitting on the edge of a well in springtime. (raise your hand if you have seen the picture in your home, your parents’ home, or the homes of your friends. I knew it) It’s inoffensive, sedate, non-meaningful eye pap that can be bought for a song and cover up that spot the pizza hit the night you were so drunk you thought it was a Frisbee. I have made a few pieces of Walm-Art, in various media on canvas, and I think they do much toward making the walls of your cheap and beer soaked rental less, and I mean this from the bottom of my artistic soul, “gross”.

This are three Big Lots canvases, cheap as butt, painted by me to be vaguely evocative of a dogwood or something.


and this:

were just made with Dollar Tree canvases printed with birds and flowers and shit that I painted over black and decoupaged paper pieced designs to.