Tag Archives: Vintage

Fairytale Toy Box

I don’t remember much about turning 2 years old, in fact I don’t think I can remember anything from that age. But what I do know is that toys are the most important possessions you own and they provide endless hours of entertainment! However, for the parents it’s quite another story…a sore foot from the up-turned Lego block, a hidden piece of Play Doh in your bag in place of your pen, you get the idea.

With that in mind I was desperately trying to think of the best present to buy one my best friend’s little boy who turned 2 years old today. I had a wish list of Toys to choose from, but I really wanted to try and give him something that he could keep for a long time to come and that wouldn’t end up being another hurdle for my friends to jump over in the daily rush.

What better than somewhere to store the toys….how about a Toy Box?? After finding quite a basic varnished chest of a suitable size in my local charity shop, I trundled home with great ideas of how I was going to decorate it. But first I had the fun task of stripping the varnish off of the chest itself. Using Nitro Mors and quite a bit (actually a lot) of scrubbing and sanding (glad the weight sessions at the gym are coming to good use), I managed to get the wood to a suitable standard for painting.

There could only be one choice for the paint and that was our trusty chalk paint (used in many of our previous projects). After painting a fine coat of white over the whole chest, I waited until dry and roughly sanded all over. This then provided a blank canvas for me to decorate until my hearts content. I love stars and pretty much use them in a lot of the cushions, paintings, doodles I do, so that was my main pattern of choice. After making some various size star stencils out of card, I used these and four different colour paints to make a star pattern on the front and sides of the chest.

Inspired by the lettering on the rides of Brighton Pier I decided to create my own typography and paint the word ‘TOYS’ on the lid of the chest. I stenciled the letters onto the lid and then hand painted them in. It took some time, but then again I was a bit distracted by ‘Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’ on TV…yikes there are some interesting folks out there!

After all the stars and letters were painted, I lightly sanded them again to give it a bit more of a distressed look. Finally using one of my trusty kitchen sponges I rubbed a very light coat of paint over the stars and letters to enhance the vintage feel.

I finally fluttered my eyelashes at the hubby to attach the hinges for me and hey presto I finally had a toy box birthday present to be proud of!

And I am very pleased to report that the Toy box was very well received by both 2 year old and parents alike! Yey!

Vintage Mirror

It’s amazing what yarn someone will spin to try and sell something for a higher price. There we were at a local car boot sale, being slowly convinced that the picture frame we were looking at was actually a door. A door you say, but it has a big hole in the middle? Yep it’s a door for a bedroom and you can have it for £60….more like a hobbit’s door I thought. Finally we got him down to £20 and off we went to convert it into a rustic mirror.

At first glance we could see the condition of the frame wasn’t at it’s best. They had beveled one of edges and installed hinges so it could swing like a door. Unfortunately by beveling one of the edges they’d revealed the lighter colour of the wood. Our best option was to bevel the whole frame with a small hand plain and go for a rustic painted finish.

I was a little worried about the frame falling apart once we fitted a big heavy mirror in the middle of it and seeing as it had been used as a door, I had no idea how many times it had been slammed in a hobbit huff. So I used some corner brackets to make it a little more stable and solid. Finally the old hinges were removed, holes filled in with wood filler and all the prep work was done in less than an hour. Time for a cup of tea.

Painting proved to be the more tricky and time consuming part of the process. With so many nooks and crannies to paint on the carved frame it took ages – dab, dab, dab I went with the paint brush for what seemed like an eternity. We had some leftover chalk pain from the Toybox project, so I used that and went with two coats to ensure a clean finish. Once dried I took some wire wool and gently rubbed down the edges and across the details to give it that worn look. Be careful if you’re doing this yourself as the paint can rub away fairly quickly. To finish I used a simple wax to seal the paint.

The final part of the process was getting the mirror into the frame. I went to get the mirror from the glazier which was a nerve wracking experience. I’m a little clumsy, some might say very clumsy, so being in a warehouse filled with nothing but mirror and glass makes me slightly uncomfortable. Here I met Mike who I imagined to be the unluckiest person in the world – surely he’s broken the odd mirror? Nope not one. Amazing.

 

To finish I tacked the mirror into place with some pins and we were done. It was a little on the heavy side with the mirror in place so we used a fairly robust set of screw plugs to get it onto the wall. It looks great and cost less than £50 to make. So if you ever spot a frame, pretending to be a door, at your local carboot sale buy it and make a mirror.

Sitting Comfortably

I think it would be fair to say that I have fallen in love with re-furbishing vintage and antique chairs and whilst it has been a complete learning curve for me, I have to admit that I have enjoyed all of the challenges that each of our Chair Projects have thrown at us. Believe me, these two were no exception.

We discovered these two ornate chairs in a gorgeous Flea Market in Hove called Department. Once we started to strip them back, we could see that they had already been re-upholstered once before. Lets just say that I think whoever did them before had got a little staple happy from looking at the Mount Everest size mountain of staples we had to remove from the two chairs.

Chairs Before

Close Up Stripping Of Chair

We wanted to try something a bit different on these chairs, something a bit more rustic and so after some hardy negotiating at our favourite Brighton Street Market, we came away with some Hemp upholstery fabric and decorative nail strips (which we had previously used, and loved, in one our New Throne post). I had a visual in mind of what I wanted the chairs to look like, so I turned to my trusty friend Annie Sloane to provide the paint distressed wood furniture finish that would complete our rustic worn-down vintage look.

Now, I know that you may have probably read through our chair blogs before and whilst obviously riveted by our tales of upholstery trials and tribulations, I wanted to focus more on the distressed paint effect achieved on this particular project. I read recently that Annie Sloane’s paints are a bit like a bug, “once bitten, your home won’t ever look the same again” and I realised how true that was. I counted back over our many projects and realised that we had equally fallen in love with this fantastic paint, along with the rest of the furniture restoration fanatics out there. So I thought I would share with you, how we achieved the look we wanted on these chairs.

Chalk Paint Close Up

The beauty with using Chalk Paint is that most wood surfaces do not need any preparation prior to applying the paint itself. However a good friend of ours said it was always best to give any varnished surface a good sanding to help the paint hold even better. We found this to be true.

Sanded Chair

Ensure that you use a good quality paintbrush and apply the paint quite thickly. Don’t be afraid to move the brush in different directions, garaunteeing that the paint gets worked into every nook and cranny. Depending on the finish you want to acheive, you may want to add another coat, however one coat is sometimes enough, as it’s very thick paint.

Close Up of painted chair

Once the paint (whether one coats or two) is dry then pick your sandpaper of choice. Again, depending on the look you want to achieve you may want to go for either a fine grain sandpaper or more of a coarser grain. For our chair we used a coarse grain sandpaper as we wanted the wood underneath to be quite noticeable. Be sure to think about where you are rubbing the paint away. Think about where the paint could naturally be worn away over time and concentrate your efforts on those areas more.

sanding chair

One alternative to sand paper is wire wool. This can sometimes be a bit more aggressive, but is easier to control around more rounded surfaces.

Wire wool chair

To seal the the painted surface, use a soft cloth to rub in a coat of clear wax. As we were using white chalk paint we only used the clear wax, but there is a darker wax you can buy that gives a more distressed and worn look. We had used this on our TV stand project earlier in the summer.

Annie Sloane Wax

 

Waxing the chair

After the paint was applied and finished with the wax, we set about stapling the fabric to the main body of the chairs. Again we had used the previous fabric as a template to cut out the hemp upholstery fabric.

Fabric templates

Close up of fabric

We decided to add back in the upholstery buttons which had previously been blocked up and covered when the chairs were re-upholstered before. Knowing that finish would look the better for it, we covered the twenty buttons needed. To see how to do this in more detail, you can read our blog entry ‘Push The Button‘.

Buttons front

 

buttons back

After stapling like crazy and applying the finishing touches of the decorative nail strip’s, the twin chairs were finished and ready. Actually I’m sitting in one as I type this now.

two chairs option 3

Thrift Shop Shirt Makeover

Quite frankly I can’t keep up with the weather. I have lost count the amount of times I have had to switch between a jumper to a dress, from boots to espadrilles, from cut off denim shorts to a coat (you get the picture). Don’t get me wrong I never say no to a glorious bit of sunshine, it’s just I find it a little exhausting planning the daily wardrobe when you have to factor in such a changeable climate.

With that said, I found myself with a slight clothing quandary on Saturday morning when I was woken by the searing sunshine piercing the blinds in our bedroom. Filled with the joys of summer, I rummaged through my wardrobe looking for the perfect summer outfit. I was off out for lunch with friends and wanted to make an effort. However, and as I can imagine all the ladies out there can relate to, I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to wear. Through all the clothes I had, nothing quite matched what I was thinking.

That was until I found a mens shirt that I had bought at a local charity shop, which I had planned to make into a sleeveless tie front top. Perfect I thought, this is exactly what I need.

So, here is how I made a lovely summer top out of an old mens shirt.

1. I had to firstly cut the sleeves off the shirt. I measured out exactly where I wanted the new sleeve seam to sit by trying the shirt on and marking out with quilting tape on one sleeve. After taking the shirt off I matched the exact same measurments on the other sleeve. I then used my fabric scissors to cut a clean curve and sew a new seam on both armholes.

2. I then repeated this with the hem. I measured out with quilting tape where I wanted the back hem to sit and followed this line through to the front of the shirt. I then used the tape to create a slight ‘S’ shape that curved towards the bottom of the button placket to create the ties. Again, I cut away the excess fabric and used the sewing machine to sew a new hem.

3. I then decided to ‘pretty up’ the shirt by cutting the existing buttons from the shirt and replacing them with new ones.

4. A quick press with iron, some denim cut-off shorts, a necklace and some red lipstick and I was ready for lunch with my friends.

So there we go, get your hands on your husband’s, boyfriend’s, dad’s or brother’s shirt (or you can also search your local charity shops) and get cutting. They really do make gorgeous summer top’s that keep you cool in the sun.