Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Take it Outside!

Don't know about you but the weather in Texas lately has been amazing {as soon as I post this though the weather WILL change}.  But for now, I have done lots of yard work lately and the nice weather has got me thinking about entertaining outdoors.  Wouldn't you love to have a cocktail party on the patio, dine alfresco or just enjoy a glass of wine with a few friends enjoying the fresh air?

Here are a few ideas to make that special get together easy and stylish!!

Use outdoor pottery as a wine chiller.

Love the look of this large basket to contain your bar items. 

LOVE this melamine collection from Pottery Barn - it looks like real Italian pottery in the picture.  The rope detail adds an unusual sophistication to outdoor dinnerware!

Love this entertaining stand from Pottery Barn.  Great piece because it allows your table display to go vertical.  The top could be used for a candle to create ambiance, and the other two layers for stacking plates and napkins.  Or use the top for a dip and have baskets of dippers like crackers and veggies on the other two layers.

Check out these Super Chill servers from Frontgate.  Made to keep your "cool" items chilled for up to eight hours without need for ice and with no condensation.  And they're stylish too!

What about hosting an outdoor screening of your favorite movie under the stars?
Here's an outdoor movie screen - too cool!  This is quite an investment because you have to buy the projector and stand - but I also researched and you can rent the whole shabang from local rental companies for about $299 to accommodate 10 guests in your backyard.

Cute paper containers for fruit salad serve with skewers instead of silverware. 

Ok, ok....I know this is totally out of the budget for most of us.  But we can dream can't we?  Wouldn't this be awesome for making wood-fired pizzas?

Now get out there and enjoy the weather...or as we say in Texas "at least while it lasts"!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Creating a new Metallic Finish on Accessories

Found a new product I love!!!  I discovered it as a great solution to re-do some home owner's things for a recent make-over that required silvered finished accessories.  They had several gold finished and wrought iron pieces in the room.   I wanted to re-use the pieces but the finishes didn't match the new decor, so I needed a way to transform them.  This is where Rub'n Buff came in. 

The product is a wax rub on gel.  You can use it on frames, antiques, crafts and home decor.  Works best on porous surfaces.  It's a blend of wax, metallic powders and pigments that creates a metallic finish.  You only need a tiny bit and it has amazing results!  It comes in three finishes - Silver Leaf (the one I used), a Gold finish and one called Patina.   I bought the gel at Michael's, it was about $4.

The biggest item I re-did was the mirror to go over the desk area.  Here's the mirror before, the inset was a dark red and the outside trim was a high sheen gold.

Up close the look of the mirror before.

I put down a plastic tarp and then used blue painter's tape to tape off the inside of the mirror itself to not get any gel on the actual mirror.

I gently sanded the frame with a light sandpaper block to rough up the finish a little to create a porous base.  Yikes!! is all I can say - as I did this it made the inner part with the dark red become a bright red!  In the end, it didn't matter as the gel covered it all - WHEW!

Use the gel in a well ventilated area - it does have a bit of a smell.  Use gloves when applying the finish.  I put a teeny dab on my finger tip.  It's better to start off light and then have to apply additional coats if you need to.  I gently rubbed it across the top of the relief.  I didn't want it to be totally covered, but rather wanted the metallic finish only on the raised part of the frame.

Here's how it looked after I just did the center part.  I thought the gold had too high of a sheen so I decided to do it as well.

Here's how it looked with the whole frame done.  I went over all of it with a soft cloth just to wipe off any excess.

Here's the finished mirror.

Here's the finished mirror in the room.  It looks perfect and only cost a few dollars!

I also used the gel on a clock that used to be bronze.

And on an armoire that I re-finished.  I didn't want to replace the hinges as it might have damaged the wood, so the gel was a perfect solution.

I'll be using the product again on some things around my own house and future clients projects.  By the way after these projects and a few others, I still only used about 1/4 of the tube!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ballards Inspired Antiqued Mirror Topper

I was looking for something different to make a plain 30" table glass topper unique for a current make-over. These side tables are an inexpensive way to bring in vertical table space.  They are usually made out of MDF and can be found at stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Walmart, etc.  They require a 90" table skirt - which you can have made or can buy.  My client already had the table, she just needed a new table skirt and I thought a mirrored topper would be great to add some reflective surface to her room.   I was inspired for this project by this topper from Ballards for $99 - its the 30" Antiqued Mirror Topper. 

I have also loved all the pics on Pinterest of people making glass pieces into Mercury glass through a simple spray paint you can buy called Looking Glass by Krylon.  Sooooo - I combined the two and made an antiqued mirror topper for my client's 30" decorative table (I made a new table skirt too - that's for a later post!).  My glass was free (something I already had) and only cost a few dollars for the materials.

I started with a clean glass topper.  I leaned it on a bucket outside so I could get a good angle for the spray.  

I then used this...Looking Glass Spray Paint by Krylon which I found at Walmart. 

You will spray on the opposite side of the object that you want to show.  This didn't matter for this project, but if you are spraying a glass container you will want to spray the inside so that the mirrored effect will show on the outside of your container.  I chose to spray it on in bursts across the mirror rather than a sweeping motion as advised.  I wanted the mirrored effect to be random.  Spray lightly I found out.  You don't want the spray to run.  I did several coats of the spray to get my desired result.  You wait a few minutes between applications for the spray to evaporate.  Pretty cool stuff...I can see using this on several projects!!
At this point, if you just wanted a mirror finish you could stop and do the final step of sealing the mirrored finish (see below towards end of post).  But for me, I wanted the antiqued look. So I used a fine sandpaper block and "etched" away a few areas where I wanted to put some antiquing glaze.  I checked every so often at the front to see how it was going to look on the finished side.

I used this *my all-time favorite glazing* from Valspar which I got at Lowe's.  I poured a little into this very special artist bowl. 

I added a teency-weency bit of water to the glaze and used the cotton ball to dab on small amounts to the areas where I had etched some of the mirror effect away.  I kept checking the front to see how it was going to look on the visible side.  You don't want a solid blot of the glaze, just "whispers" of the glaze where you have etched the mirrored paint.  This was a process - just go lightly at first - you can always add more later.

This is how it looked on the painted side with the mirrored finish and antiquing.   I did a few more coats of the Looking Glass spray to fill in areas that may still show clear.
Lastly, I used a sealer since the painted surface was going to be laying on top of the new fabric table cloth.  I used a clear acrylic matte finish spray.  I gave the topper several coats of this - letting it dry in between.  This helps to seal the paint.

And here's the end result installed in the home.  I loved how it turned out and was a perfect solution to the bedside table as the homeowner could put a glass of water there and not worry about damaging the fabric cloth. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Relaxing, Elegant, Light-filled Master Make-over

A beautiful bedroom in a custom home was in need of a fresh and light-filled make-over.  The home owner's wanted to lighten up the room (less of the wood tones and dark fabrics) and to create a calming environment with soft colors and luxurious textures.  The key was bringing in soft textiles, minimal accessories, lots of reflective surfaces and cool colors.  We needed to keep many of the current items in the room - wall color, window treatments, chaise, desk, jewelry chest, armoire and side pieces.  We were also able to use some of the home owner's pieces that were in other parts of the house or the attic.  Here is how my latest project turned out - it was such a fun make-over!


Ready for the Install:


We added a bold, silver mirror above the bed to add to the vertical of a long wall.  New bedding and custom pillows.  A new custom arched, upholstered and tufted headboard is on the way.  The homeowners wanted a softer, plush look with the new bedding and the new headboard will definitely add to that look.  But in the meantime, the homeowners current headboard looks great too!

Rearranged the seating area, by using homeowners beautifully upholstered cheetah print chaise, jewelry chest, floor lamp and side table.  Added a custom pillow with accent colors on the chaise to match the bedding.  Moved the jewelry chest against the wall of windows and added artwork to match the new color scheme.  Created a corner vignette and relaxing lounging area - perfect spot for reading or Words with Friends!

Newly re*invented armoire with fresh paint, antiquing glaze and refinished hardware.  Looks like a totally new piece and helps to lighten up the room.  We placed the armoire along the other long wall creating balance across from the bed.

Home owner's pedestal found in the attic served as the perfect place for a new rattan vase filled with the home owner's willow branches to help soften the corner of the armoire as you enter the room.  New frames to showcase home owner's family photos add extra interest to a previously empty wall.

Lightened up the home owner's bedside chest with white-washed candlesticks, new frame and small silver bowl.  Refinished home owner's clock from an oxidized bronze to a silver finish.  She loves clocks and wanted one on her side of the bed - rather than buying a new one we were able to re-use this one with a new look.  Replaced current knobs on wooden dresser with glass beveled knobs to match the knobs in master bathroom.

Other bedside table is for the man of the house.  I made a new table skirt, antiqued the glass top for a more rustic look.  Added frame, orchid and some of the home owner's unique collectibles. 

Desk area was moved against the short wall.  I refinished the mirror which was previously a dark red and gold to a silver finish.  Brought in a Parsons chair which I made a slipcover for.  Added a mirrored tray to the home owner's perfume bottle collection to make the bottles sparkle.  Added a few other accessories and a new lamp.

There were several projects completed in this make-over: sewing, painting, re*inventing and refinishing.  More details about each of those projects coming soon!