Sunday, 30 November 2014

Happy Advent Sunday

Advent Sunday has come rather quickly & this year it falls in November.

Happy Advent Sunday everyone - may the countdown to Christmas be peaceful & blessed - remember that commercialism is something we have invented & something we fuel.

You can step off that competitive Xmas trend & remember Christmas as it should be - a time of reflection, celebration & family time. The excess gift stresses can be put aside if you have the courage to just say …. NO!

Be blessed today & each of the Advent Sundays.
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The vintage sewing box is updated & fabulous ….

Hi everyone

I shared the dated vintage sewing box in the previous post. It had been hand made at some point & I was told it belonged to one person since the 1950's and to my mind, it was still as it was originally made.

The rippled side boards were grubby & had to have a good wash down before I could paint. Because it was not very smooth, I took it outdoors & gave it a light sanding down. I had help - Vivaldi bunny came out to have a run around, chase our friendly robin out of the conservatory & generally just run around crazily while I sanded ….

I decided to give it a dark finish with Annie Sloan graphite paint to give it an even finish that would hide the blue undertones.

Once dry, I painted the side sections in the gorgeous Emperor's Silk red paint. I picked out the panels on the sides & the top, leaving the others dark.

I used the last of my Old White to pick out the beading on the top with a thin paint brush to highlight the detail. Emperor's silk always looks pink until it is wax ….

DONE - I left it drying overnight while I browsed some fabrics on EBAY.

I found the perfect fabric piece with a bold tartan / plaid pattern that I just knew was right. Bought it & then decided it was time to start doing some dark waxing.

Perfect - except … ooops - that side is not quite right - out with the graphite brush again  to fix up the back panel where the top piece needed to be graphite …

I have used the dark wax a few times so know not to panic when the darkness hits the paint - breathe, brush it on in circular motions then start to rub it off & give it a lovely sheen. I know - dark wax scares people but it really does give a richness to these paints that is not achieved with the soft, natural wax.

Time consuming but I love how the ripples are accentuated once they are waxed.

Fabric lining time. I have to admit at this point in time that I have not used fabric to line boxes before but I stopped in at a local craft shop & chatted to the very helpful owner about my plans & she recommended using bookbinding glue instead of normal modgepodge as it would give a better bond. I love how local tradespeople & shops know their products & are happy to advise on the right product. It reminds me why I love independent places ….

I cut the top panel fabrics to the same size as the old felt I had pulled out, applied glue liberally to the wood with a broad paint brush then smoothed the fabric down. Unfortunately, the end green felt was still visible so I looked in my sewing supplies & found some perfectly matched red bias binding that I used to finish off the edges by gluing it on.

The sliding box was lined to brighten it up, then I cut a large piece to line the base of the box. A liberal application of glue to the bottom then I carefully smoothed the fabric in place.

What a difference a small off cut of fabric made to the whole effort.

What do you think? Do you like the colour combinations?

It is almost ready to be used now as a very useful sewing storage box for behind the sofa over winter when I am sewing & watching TV …

Thanks for stopping by, always pleased to read your comments & return the visit.
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A vintage sewing box needs updating ….

Hi all

Hope my American friends are all safe & warm following your storms & snow.  Our winter has thus far, been mild but wet with several misty mornings.

I recently shared my trolley that I updated with Annie Sloan chalk paint.  As luck will have it, I also found a vintage sewing box that I thought would be useful as I am a bit of a magpie sewer …. leaving chaos in my wake when I am sewing.

Winter nights are perfect for Gentlework projects so best to be organised so I get something productive done.

The sewing box is a handmade, vintage one that the seller says was owned by the same lady since the 1950's.

As with most things - this needs some serious updating. The paintwork is long past its best, the felt is a little musty and it most definitely needs new handles on the top. Those ones just have to go!!

I am a great Annie Sloan chalk paint fan but this one needed a light sand because the paint was patchy. However, sanding is an outside activity so the dry spell today meant that the sanding could be done.

Now to paint - drat - I have still not bought extra 'old white' and my tin is empty! Don't you hate that - ready to paint & not got the paint?

So option two is to go with my other favourite of graphite & Emperor'a Silk paint  …

What would you do to update it?

The progress is documented here - do you like it? Thanks for stopping by,
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Some festive German treats in Birmingham

The bright lights of the Birmingham German market always reminds me that the festive season is on its way …

The Frankfurt German Market in Birmingham boasts around 200 stalls, lots of gluwein & bratwurst & the colourful, if a little generic, decorations.

However, it has been some years since I braved the crowds to visit the market so when our local TV announced its opening on Thursday, it seemed opportune to head there early before the 5 million visitors start arriving in our second largest city.

It is also opportune that my Wondering Star daughter & Andy have moved to a beautiful flat close to the City centre. We took advantage of their location to park up, enjoy a cuppa & walk into the city.

I freely admit to loving the beautiful buildings of Birmingham - the impressive City Hall, Art Gallery & fountains really are beautiful.  I grew up in Africa & lived & worked close to the Johannesburg city centre so I love the buzz of big cities though I love going home to my quieter space but I like having the city close by ….

One of the taverns in the square …

A very imposing nutcracker surveying the scene from up high ….

Wooden huts host the wares to tempt shoppers …..

Pretzel time ….

 Antony Gormley's impressive Iron Man sculpture in Victoria Square surveys the markets

 Fabulous Sweetie pie treats in all flavours

Beautiful reflections in the fountains on the square

Reflections in the beautiful surroundings

Traditional ornaments in bright colours

Nuts ready for snacking

German cookies

Traditional wooden decorations

I always find nutcrackers rather formidable ….

Details on the wooden items

Ms M gifted me one of these from a trip to Germany & they are fabulous. The heat of the tea light turns the round figures & casts pretty light about the room ….

So much choice - our German tea light turner will be out again soon …

Bright & colourful in the sunshine

A lovely time in unexpected sunshine after a thunderstorm, and fortunately before the crowds gather too.

Will you be visiting any markets? Thanks for stopping by, I always love your comments
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Autumn leaves are falling ….

Hi all

I have been enjoying the beautiful colours of Autumn which is one of my favourite past times.

I was watching the leaves drift down in the wind & thought how beautiful the colours were - you know the kind of colours that just blend in to each other with their various tones & shades.

I went out to rake them up & decided they were too beautiful not to capture - so I arranged them in a wreath shape & photographed their beauty before they fade.

So perfectly organic & natural …..

I hope you are enjoying the changing seasons wherever you are too.

Go out & enjoy the seasons & colours - nature is so splendid.

It is also a good time to pull out my Vivaldi's 4 seasons & revisit Autumn 

Thanks for stopping by again, I always enjoy your company & comments.

Dee ~♥~

Monday, 3 November 2014

The tea trolley is transformed …..

Hello all

Do you sometimes start things then change your mind half way? The dated tea trolley I shared in the last post needed a transformation.

I have very intention of using it in our lounge as a sewing trolley over winter so I wanted it to be traditional enough to fit in but also something that was lovely as well.

I started off with the intention of Annie Sloan's Emperor's Silk paint covered with Graphite to give it a deep colour.

However,  once I painted the Emperor's Silk over the trolley, it looked bright & vibrant.

I decided against painting it all in Graphite as I loved the Emperor's Silk colour. However, I decided to so the trim around the top edge, including the flaps, in Old White to give it some definition. I was sure that the white would wax to a softer colour.

I also added some white details to the turned legs as well as the drawer details to bring it to life. I was not sure how that would look but I know enough about the paint now to know that I could paint over it if I was not happy with the results.

GO BOLDLY was my mantra for this project!

The top was first given two coats of Emperor's Silk red paint, then I used a kebab skewer to draw the lines on the top before adding some random markings of Florence which is a bold green colour.

Once all was dried, I painted a coat of Graphite over the whole top. The Emperor's silk & Florence dabs gave a deep, light catching colour under the Graphite that improved with the dark wax. It shimmers in various light & gives depth to the top.

The dark carvings on the drawer & details were improved by the use of Old White. It waxed to an old wood type colour; the dark wax emphasised the shape of the details. Old White on the turned legs gave an interesting touch, a sort of distressed look even though it had been painted over the red.

Once dark waxed, Emperor Silk takes on a deep, aged look that is very pleasing ….

I always have a moment of panic when I first put the dark wax on because it comes on very dark until it is rubbed in & buffed. This is the look that panics me ….

 The dark wax really gave depth to the top of the table ….

I love how the dark wax aged the Old white & toned it down to a weathered colour

 This is the detail with wax on ….

The completed project - ready to be put into use as a sewing table over winter & smart enough to be used for drinks or anything else that is needed.

What do you think? Would you have gone as bold as I have? Thank you for stopping by & for taking the trouble to leave a comment.

Dee ~♥~