Monday, September 30, 2013

A Useful Tray to Put Things In

This project actually began with a trip to the paint store, where I bought paint for my yet-unfinished bedside table. I found the Best Green Ever, Benjamin Moore's Celtic Green, and ordered it in the fancy Advance series, satin finish, recommended for furniture. And before I even got started on my original project, a quick stop at AC Moore with one of those reward coupons burning a hole in my pocket got me looking at these unfinished wooden trays.

I could see one of these in that bold green, with some kind of fancy paper lining the bottom, so I got the stuff together and got working on this quick-ish project.

I got my tray primed and recruited my mom, with her stained glass-cutting expertise, to help me cut some old picture frame glass down to size. 

Thanks, Mom! Third time's the charm!

Two coats of Celtic Green later, and here we are! 

Other projects finished this weekend include a color adjustment in the wall pigmentation (from kapow! Patriot Blue to something else, a little more like what I was originally going for), and a redo on the above lamp. I can't believe I forgot a picture on this one--just envision a big, peachy, heirloom-ish tomato with green streaks running vertically in a quasi-pearlescent glaze, topped with a burlap shade at least two sizes too large. Got the picture? Got it?

Only a new shade and half a can of Krylon later, you get this shiny, bulbous blossom of illumination. Squee! I love a good lamp. 

Still on the to-do list for this week: my table, my table, my time-consuming, sort of haunting, full-of-lovely-potential-table!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Drawing on pots

I am working on some pottery projects, mainly drawing on bowls and mugs. Here are a few that are ready for clear glaze!

This is the larger of two bowls, pretty much a cereal bowl. 

This bowl is hard to photograph-makes more sense in person.

Here are some mugs with the same kind of drawing on them...

I like drawing these house-fragments. 

This is the opposite side of the same mug.

This one feels like a sketchbook page to me. I am trying some close-up compositions...this one is a vine around a railing that wraps around to the other side-

...shown here. A baluster and a handle are both good for hanging on to. These mugs are ready for clear glaze and a final firing. Here's hoping they don't shrink too much!

I am also working on some textured slab mugs. I will find out this week if they make the cut after glaze firing. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Progress on a table makeover

At the beginning of the summer, my friend Louise gave me a table she had had for a long time.  It is a pretty neat table, with a nice shape, and a tiny drawer under the bottom shelf.  She had given the table a few updates over the years, most recently a textured finish.  I decided to update the table once again by stripping the table down and reprinting it to fit my style, and gave it a sanding to see if that could help smooth the texture down at all.  It just didn't do the trick, so I started stripping it with citrus-based paint remover.  UGH! What a process! 

I started this process two months ago in the driveway, and left gooey globs everywhere that won't come up, and had the table sitting in our porch for the rest of the summer, looking all sad and busted up.  

Before make-over

Mid-makeover, I think I'm about halfway there, wouldn't ya say?

I wish I took a few progress shots, but I was so frustrated and paint-goo-covered that I couldn't even begin to think about documenting it. Just picture me trying to scrape yellow goo away, and then realize  that there were several more layers to scrape away.  First yellow, then I think it was a periwinkle blue, and under that I actually found a very detailed miniature painting of a frontier town that Louise had painted, signed and dated 1992.  I wish I had gotten a shot of that, too-it felt very archeological-dig to me! 

Yesterday I put on a final coat of the citrus stripper, and let it sit a few hours.  I scrubbed it with a metal brush and a rag, then this morning I took mineral spirits and a toothbrush to it, trying to clean up the rest of the goo. I hope I was doing the right thing, I don't even know! The metal scraper and brush I used gouged up the surface pretty badly; I made a lot more work for myself that I need to go over and clean up with the detail sander.  UGH! 

So that's where I am at on this project.  Time to get the sander...and some wood glue.....and some putty....

Monday, September 2, 2013

Herringbone Style Coffee Table

Earlier this summer I decided I wanted to give a pretty beat-up coffee table of mine a new top.  It had been a tag-sale find that my parents picked up when I was a kid.  When they got it, the piece was really wobbly, so my dad had reinforced it and attached wooden feet beneath the iron base.  I think the metal part of the table was from one of those old sewing tables, and the top was a bread board with a hole at one end for a hook.  

This thing had one corner that was chewed off by a puppy long ago, and tons of scratches, so it was time for a total overhaul!

I am really liking the herringbone style of laying down wood, so I did some research, a little bit of math, and bought a box of 100 paint stirring sticks on Amazon.  I figured out that if I cut my pieces to 8", I would have enough with my cut remnants to do the table and have a few extras.  It was good to have some extra, too, since not all the birch paint sticks are flat enough for this project.   

Next, I got the table ready for this project by gluing and screwing down a thick sheet of birch plywood so my pieces would have a smooth, flat surface to adhere to. 

On this piece, I found center and drew a line that the peak of the herringbone would follow.  I used a square to help keep my pattern on track as I glued each stick down, piece by piece with thinned out carpenter's glue. 

The edges proved to be annoying, but luckily I was working on this project at my parents' house, and my dad was able to trim the edges with a circular saw. I bought an extra fine saw blade for this project so the thin wood wouldn't split. All that was left on the top in this picture was the corners and a few tiny pieces.  The table stayed like this for over a month while I went away on vacation' came back, and did some other projects.

Finally, this weekend, I almost-finished this project.  I glued and clamped down these tiny pieces, cut some trim/edging to cover up the sides of the tabletop, and stained everything. The top is stained Golden Oak, and for the sides I used English Chestnut stain that was leftover in the basement.  Tomorrow I hope to give the thing a coat of polyurethane and call it done!  

Sticky Foam Starfish Mosaics

These are just some shots I thought I'd share of the last project I had my students do this summer.  I was scanning through my album and remembered I had wanted to post this project.  Better late than never!

I introduced this project by showing images of mosaics to the class, especially ones that went with our "oceans" theme. I have tried other mosaic projects with students, and they quickly tire of cutting and gluing, so I figured we'd try sticky foam on construction paper--and it was a hit! I had a wide age range in my group, all ages between five and ten years old in one group!  The last project on the last day has to be a kind of "make and take" with no drying time, so this really worked out! 

The kids had a great time! The project took about two hours, and I had a station set up with extra Model Magic from an earlier project for them to use when they were done (if they stayed quiet and in one spot!--floor, chair, whatever!), although many took the entire time.  We discussed radial symmetry, and mosaic process, although this could also work for a pattern or color-choice lesson.