Monday, April 7, 2014

The Emerald Dresser

Okay, so this isn't a basement update like I had planned.  I'll get to those.  I know you're holding your breath.

We bought our entry dresser back when we lived in Washington.  We needed storage and that house didn't have much.  I used it then for linens and other dining things.  It was stained a dark walnut color, and while it was in pretty good condition, it was very dull and needed some shine.  I have no pictures of it from that time.  It was pre-blog, back when I took pictures of people instead of my furniture. :)

When we moved to Wisconsin, the dresser was my first project.  I sanded it down and painted it.  Now, if I had that dresser in it's original state in front of me right now, I might think twice about painting it.  I didn't know how easy staining and poly-ing is way back then.  So it became teal. 

Very teal. 

Against an orange wall.  The only picture I have of it that color is actually a video of Ella from when she was four.  You don't have to watch the video {it's not academy award winning} - you can just look at the grainy picture.

I loved the teal being so bold.  It was gutsy and a little scary and it helped me to jump off the cliff of decorating in my own style. 

Eventually, we brought the dresser into the dining room to use as a buffet.  The teal was CRAZY in there, so I decided to get on the distressing band wagon and paint it gray and then sand it down so that the teal showed through in some spots.  Brilliant idea, no?

No.  It didn't exactly work as planned.  I didn't wait long enough for the gray to dry, so it gummed up in the sander and made for a dresser that was less distressed and more haunted house.
The only things I loved about it were my new knobs, which you can see a couple of pictures up.  Two things to note:  1.  I know the map is too big for the dresser {it was already in place when we brought the dresser in}.  I had planned on changing it out for a picture gallery in that space, but we moved before I got to it.  2.  It is not fair that the little ball of cuteness peeking out at you in the picture below is now four.  Not fair at all.

Well, that sad dresser sat there like that until we moved here.  When it fit perfectly in the entry, it really needed a paint job.  Nothing like welcoming your guests into your doom and gloom.

I debated between red {to go with the chandelier over the piano}, yellow {which of course, we later used on our front door}, and green, but obviously ended up going green.  Normally I lean toward the yellow hued greens, but this time I wanted something richer.  I went with an emerald green, which I LOVE.  It's very bold without being overly loud.

I was a little concerned that it would be on the Hunter Green side circa 1994, but it came out pretty much how I was hoping it would.

Ending thoughts.
-I am not sure that this dresser is actually finished.  I am thinking of sealing it with a clear wax to even out a few places in the finish {in the right light, you can see the spray paint lines}, but I don't know if that would make it really hard to repaint it when I get tired of the green.  I mean,I love the green now, but I think we can all agree that a dresser has had four looks in four years is likely to change again. 

-I chose to spray paint this time because that is what I used last time, so I knew it would stick well to the previous layers.  I have begun to lean away from spray paint in wood furniture applications because of the lack of color options and the uneven finish that can develop{and it's actually more expensive}.  It is easy and quick, though!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Yardstick of Life

When I was growing up, my parents would periodically measure us by marking our height on the doorjamb of their closet and then measuring that with a tape measure.  I remember loving to look back on how much I had grown.

We did something similar with our kids in our previous houses, but have had to leave them when we moved.  Apparently, you can't take a doorjamb with you.  Who knew?  I know we wrote down the numbers somewhere, but we may never find it and that makes me so sad!

I have wanted to make a growth chart for the kids forever, and have had the idea of making it look like a ruler for nearly forever, but only recently actually did it.  There are many tutorials on this, I'm sure, and many methods, but this is what I did.

1x6, cut to whatever length you wish.  Ours is six feet long.
stain or paint
rags and dropcloths
tape measure
painter's tape
carpenter's quick square {I just googled the name - I would have called it a triangle}
craft paint and brush
paint pen
number stencils or print outs from the computer

First, I protected my work area so the stain didn't get everywhere.  It was too cold to do this outside or in the workshop on sawhorses.  That would have definitely been optimal.

I used a wood conditioner to prepare the wood for stain {Minwax Jacobean, left over from another project}.  I like the end result a lot, but was really concerned that I had made a mistake early on.

Here's the board stained.  It was a little blotchy, even with the conditioner {which is supposed to keep that from happening}.  Make sure the get the sides!

It was a bit better after the second coat but not amazing.  I don't know why.  I decided to go ahead with it because I was going for a weathered old look anyway.  After it dried, I marked my lines with the triangle {or, according to google, the carpenter's quick square}.

Here's a better shot of that.  The lines over the dark stain are a little hard to see.  I marked the feet all the way across and made little tics at each inch.  I should say here that because I was planning to hang the board six inches off the ground, my first foot marking was actually at six inches from the bottom.  Get it?  Six inches plus inches make one foot.  You're welcome.

Then I taped either side of the pencil line, just eyeballing equal distance.

I used craft paint to paint my foot markers.

A paint pen made better inch marks.  I just taped the board so the marks would end at the same place.

I must have forgotten to take a picture of painting the numbers, but it was pretty easy.  I just printed off the numbers in a font and size I liked.  I think you could trace the numbers with a pencil and paint inside the lines, but I used the cut out paper as a stencil and painted inside with a foam brush.  They aren't perfect, but I think they're kind of charming.

 Finally, I bolted it to the wall.  I wanted an industrial look, so Handsome Hero picked up these galvanized washers and hex bolts.  I really dig the look.

We decided to put it right in the kid zone, next to Ella's bedroom door.  To get this picture, I'm sitting on the stairs coming down, so it's the first thing you see when you came into the basement.

And already christened with their measurements.