Friday, May 6, 2016

Drawing Challenge via: The House that Lars Built

Last year I did a 12 Days of Creativity which talked about embracing your creativity and even some barriers to being creative and how to break them down! One of the items I talked about was possibly doing a 30-day challenge to increase that creativity. The point is not to master a skill, or to be the best there is, but to get the juices flowing and ENJOY IT!

Day Two: How to Draw a Lilac - The House that Lars Built

 As I was trolling my usual creative blogs I ran across this 31 day drawing challenge on The House that Lars Built blog. First of all, she's teaching you how to draw FLOWERS. Super beautiful and useful for a crafter!! Second of all, they are simple enough that anyone can do it, which not only builds your skill set but also makes you feel happy and accomplished!!!

Head on over there and get those creative juices flowin'!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Antique Lincoln Rocker - Trashed to Treasured

I was recently driving through Birmingham with a friend and came across a big pile of "trash". In the nicer Birmingham neighborhood, Highland, there was a house being emptied and all sorts of amazing furniture and household items were set out on the street to be trashed. It had been raining recently and some items were beyond repair, but lo and behold, I scavenged some pretty amazing items!! My friend, whose car we were in, was absolutely against putting any of the dirty stuff in her car, but I was bound and determined to take them home and I knew once they were cleaned up they'd be great!!

I found this old wooden frame,

another wooden frame, a toy block pull cart, this vintage, gold angel boy, glasses from the 60s, and underneath some other ruined books these cool old books were untouched by the rain! (Sorry it's not a close-up!)

 Last but not least, I found this beautiful rocking chair:

 Ok, ok, it appears as if I have lost my mind. There was really not much about this rocker that was beautiful other than it's bones, and even those were touch and go!!

After I loaded it up in my car and took it home I began my research on the type of rocker this was. This is one of my favorite parts of picking - researching and learning the history of a piece, and in turn the history of its owner, the region, and so many other things. So bear with me - this is what I found out: 
  Lincoln Rockers are a reproduction of the rocking chair that President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in at the time of his assassination. Morbid, I know, but the design of these rockers is beautiful - known for their ornate, curved arms. This particular one has special details like the wooden spindles at the top and the metal rods along the sides. 
  This rocking chair was probably made in the early decades of the 1900s. It made its way to a farm in Berry, Alabama. I know that because along with the chair and other belongings I found, like the books, there was this slipped inside one of the daily planners:

 It was reupholstered probably in the 1950s-1960s. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program, folks!

 This antique Lincoln Rocker had been thrown out in the pile and had been rained on for days. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to salvage the wood.

 The wood across the top looked like it was starting to splinter from all the water damage.

The wood along the side had split in half and was being held together by an amazing Frankenstein-like clamp.


The fabric was extremely dirty, but the jute was actually in good condition.

So, now started the fun part! Time to take this thing apart and see what I was really working with!

This was definitely an at-home re-upholstery job! As I started removing the old, gross fabric I made some interested discoveries! This is a quilt that was used as cotton batting/stuffing for the seat back. It was very soiled from the rain. Yuck!

Then this amazing find on the seat cushion! Instead of using a piece of plain fabric to hold the cotton batting in place they used a piece of a fertilizer sack. This says "F.S. Royster Guano Co. Norfolk, VA". I love projects like this for this exact reason! What a cool find! Upon doing some research, this fertilizer company originated in Norfolk, VA in the 1800s and later opened a plant in Montgomery, AL where they produced fertilizer that was used on farms. This confirmed my thoughts that this chair had found its way to a farm in the Berry, Alabama area and this was an at-home re-upholstery job using whatever materials were convenient!

Once completely stripped of all the fabric I was able to clean up the chair and do some treatment to the wood. One of the best things for dried out wood is actually to put some olive oil on it! So I dripped olive oil on my finger and spread it on the little cracks in the wood. I then used Restor-A-Finish over the rest of the wood to help bring it back to life a bit. Looks nice, huh?


 While the jute roping looks a little rough, it is actually in good condition. It's still very sturdy so I made the executive decision to not remove it and redo it at all.

I removed the Frankenstein/Forrest Gump metal brace from the side of the chair and used Wood Glue and a clamp to fix it. It still had a considerable crack in it so I had to use wood filler on it.

Once dried and sanded down, I stained it to match the wood. You can barely tell the difference!!
There was also a tiny crack in the leg that I glued and clamped as well just to ensure no issues would creep up over time.

  I then filled the little remaining area with wood filler. I stained this to match as well.

Now that I was finished with bones of the chair, I was ready to work on the upholstery! Debbie sent me this great grain sack fabric that she got at an antique store in Northern Virginia. It was exactly what I was looking for. It works with the farm feel of the chair and it's a great cream color with a pop of the red. Here I am trying to figure out which direction to place it. I'll be honest. The main reason I considered the bottom option was to not have to deal with the pain of lining up the stripes..... I decided against my laziness and went with the top option!

  So, in the past I have done all my upholstery with additional hands. No, I did not have additional hands myself at the time, although it is a deformation I think at this point I would gladly take! I had always had the help from someone else, which is really an enormous help when you are stretching the fabric, holding it down to staple, keeping it even, and ESPECIALLY, when you are working with trying to keep stripes straight......! Needless to say, it was difficult with only my measly two hands, but I made it work!
  Here is the reupholstered chair once I got everything stapled into place.


 At this point I am almost finished but I have to add some finishing touches. I hammered in some upholstery tacks to cover the staples and to further secure the fabric. There are a couple tacktics.. get it?? joke.. Anyway... There are a couple of ways in which you can hammer in the upholstery tacks to make it a little easier on yourself. I hold them with pliers and hammer them to keep them straight and to protect my fingers.
  There were a couple spots where there were slight damages to the internal wood frame and the tack wouldn't hold tight enough. Because the fabric was secured well enough by the other tacks, I wasn't as worried with the 5 or so missing areas.  So I just glued tack heads in the open spaces for appearance reasons.

 I sewed cording from the same grain sack fabric and attached it on the back to cover the staples.

I loved the way the cording, or welting, turned out on the back! So I'm finished with my beautiful Lincoln Rocker! Here's a before and after to really appreciate the transformation!!

Yikes to yes!!


What do you think about this transformation??


Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Blogspiration - that's Blog Inspiration for those who didn't catch that ;) not Blog Perspiration, although I'm not doubting the level of work that went into this blogger's work.

Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow is one heckuva inspiration. Every day I get into work I log on to her site to check out her new projects, photos, ideas, and posts. I am also an avid follower of her Instagram page @justinablakeney , which also includes her amazing work.

She's also the mother of the Face the Foliage project, which you've probably seen now all over Instagram and includes awesome pictures of "faces" made from flower petals, sticks, leaves, etc.


You will never look at nature the same after this - everything turns into a facial feature now :)

She recently had a book published that will be released on April 14th called The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes. You can purchase the book from Amazon and can clink on that link (^^^) I've included to directly purchase it.

This is the kind of book you will always refer back to for ideas and inspiration. Totally worth the purchase!

Seriously if by this point you aren't heading over to her site or following her on Instagram you need to. While you're there take a tour of her home, which she calls the Jungalow. I think I'm going to start squatting there and living with her... Maybe she won't notice me for a bit :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Martini with a Wire Twist

My friend and co-worker moved into a new apartment with a bar in her kitchen. Because she is renting she can't paint the walls and feels like she's living in an insane asylum with all that white! She wanted a little decoration over the bar area and said something about a wire martini glass. I told her that was something I could probably put together for her. She said she knew exactly how she wanted it to look but just didn't know how to do it. We talked about it and I drew up a little sketch to see what she was imagining.

Not but a couple days later my boss brought me some extra galvanized steel fencing wire that she used in her yard. I got home same night, threw on a pair of gloves, and I got right to it!

Here's the final product!!!


Haley loves it and can't wait to put it up above her bar! It would look great even with some Starry String Lights woven through it for a little light-up option!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Off My Rocker ;)

Despite my cheeky post title, I am not crazy, or off my rocker :) I did, however spend this past weekend reupholstering a rocking chair that I got for my new studio apartment and I am pleased to share the amazing outcome!! Maybe to some spending my weekend reupholstering is a little nuts, but I'm alright with that!

So here's the rocking chair how I bought it - $25 on sale at a local antique market. I wasn't sure why it was $25 and was nervous that there was something really wrong with it. The man said he sat in it everyday while working there and there's nothing wrong, the seller just wanted to move her product and clear out her booth so she put it on a great sale. And I reaped all the benefits!! :) I made sure to check it out well in the store before buying it though, making sure there weren't any obvious issues with the frame. As long as a piece has good bones you can do so much with it!

It has great curves, and it was really in great condition.

I knew that I wanted to stain the wood, because I am more a dark wood fan than a lighter wood. Plus for the fabric I had in mind, I knew a darker stain would look best. So I began lightly sanding down the wood and re-staining it this darker Minwax "Kona" shade. Here's the comparison of colors!
As tempting as it was to keep the beautiful, orange crushed velvet fabric on ;) I decided to change it. So I started yanking it off, which entailed the removal of many an upholstery tack! The seat of the chair has real cotton batting (not the cotton/polyester blends of today), and a plain cotton fabric holding the batting in place.
The back of the chair revealed the fabric used before the orange crushed velvet....

Removing one more layer revealed yet another layer of the original fabric, stained by years of use! Both of these fabrics were very heavy duty and quite beautiful for the time.

Removing the cotton batting revealed the burlap webbing creating the chair's structure and, what's that you ask?! An old bath mat to bolster the sides of the seat?? Oh yes. An old bath mat.... The orange velvet reupholstery job was clearly a "home job", not like MY home jobs, done with care and attention, but a creepy home job that included filling spaces with the closest things one could find - their pink bath mat... I hoped there was at least a wad of cash in there stowed away in granny's rocker, but alas, nothing. Just a gross old bath mat. Needless to say, I kept that... Juuuust kidding.. I trashed that thing quick, fast and in a hurry!!  
Here's all the original cotton batting (plus a free advertisement for Home Goods in the background ;) ). It may look kind of gross, and I actually removed some of the stained areas, but it is actually great batting and is all real cotton. You can see pieces of the cotton plant in it and it's still in great condition in terms of comfort.

Now it's time for tack removal. This chair was loaded with three upholstery jobs of tacks, which needed to be removed before reupholstering. So a good set of pliers assisted in this job.  

Proof that I did not keep those beautiful bath mats but instead used new cotton batting from Hobby Lobby, (which is great with their 40% off coupon!) to bolster the side of the seat. Also a close up of that beautiful, newly stained wood! :)
I fitted new batting over the old batting to give even more cushion to the chair, because as nice as the old batting was still, it begins to lose its cushion after a while.

Now it was time for cutting the fabric to size. Here's me... mis-measuring and almost messing up the project! AHH!! Just further proof to measure, check, measure check, and do it again, before cutting one's nice, special, limited fabric!! Thank god, I was able to salvage the fabric I had cut and was good to go!
Laying the fabric over the chair for a final fitting. Make sure to have at least 2 inches extra on either side (looks like more here because somebody mis-measured!) for some give while stapling/tacking to the base. The most important thing about this step is to make sure the lines are even and the pattern is matched up.
The seat fabric and the seat back fabric pulled through to the other side and got stapled onto the wood in the back.
Then the back was completed and stapled over those pieces and all the way on to the bottom board.

My newly upholstered rocking chair!!!!! BEAUTIFUL!!!!! All I have to finish now are the upholstery tacks, which just pull the whole look together. I have to do those a little bit at a time so as to not piss off my neighbors too badly with my incessant hammering :)

Rocking chair in its new home next to my other reupholstered chair! I love the blue and creams together!

Looks like such a great, worldly rocking chair! I was going for the pueblo abuela's rocking chair look, and I think I accomplished that!!


 Let me know what you think!!!