Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Favorite Part of Traveling

I love road trips. My husband and I are leaving on a monster road trip on Thursday, so we did a little snack shopping yesterday!

I actually think that the travel snacks are most of the reason that I like road trips in the first place. I have fond childhood memories of driving from Ohio to Sarasota, Florida for huge extended family vacations, with enough snacks in the minivan to feed an army. I also have fond memories of playing on the CB radios that my dad and uncles would hook up in all of the cars so that we could all travel together, caravan style, across the country in the days before anyone had cell phones. My dads CB handle, chosen by yours truly, was "The Big Stinky Cheese". At 8 years old, I thought that was hilarious. Almost 20 years later, I still do. :)

So, on Thursday we'll be heading from Nebraska to Ohio for a week with the family, and then down to the Outer Banks, North Carolina for a week on the beach with my husband's family. And as we hit the road, you can be sure that the snack bag will be well stocked!

See you in two weeks!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Chair with Potential... Part 2

I spent the last few days painting my antique cane-back chair. I chose a creamy off-white color with an antique glaze over it. Here's how I did it...

Step 1: Sand

The chair had a thick coat of old yellowed varnish on it, which I didn't fully realize until I began sanding and unleashed a cloud of fine varnish dust. Fortunately, I had taken it outside before I started. Unfortunately, I was sanding it by hand on a 90 degree day. It was a sweaty, dirty, job. But it was well worth it!


Step 2: Paint
With the nasty old varnish sanded into oblivion, I had a nice smooth wood base to start painting. I covered my coffee table with cardboard and set the chair up on the coffee table to paint it. Raising it off the floor was a huge help!

I didn't use a primer, but 2 coats of paint did a fair job of covering the leftover reddish stain that I didn't completely sand off. I ended up adding a third coat to the arms and a few spot on the back where a pinkish tint was still showing through.

The color I used is called "Buttermilk" from Olde Century Colors.

Step 3: Distress
Next, I used my 100 grit sandpaper again and sanded through just a few of the edges around the legs and arms and back, places where the finish would naturally wear. I don't like to go overboard with distressing, but I wanted a nice antique look.

Step 4: Glaze
To glaze my chair, I choose a Martha Stewart Living color called "Crevecoeur".  FYI: I looked it up - apparently "Crevecoeur" is a rare breed of chicken from France. How very Martha. :)

I picked this color because at Home Depot it was one of "Martha's Picks" which meant it was premixed in these handy little 8 oz. sample cans for only $3.00. Easy!


I mixed a little of my French Chicken paint with enough water to get a nice runny mix. The color was a little greener than I was expecting, but it actually worked really well as an antiquing glaze. So often, watered down browns end up looking too orange for my taste, and this one definitely did not.

I brushed the watery glaze onto one section of the chair...

And then wiped off the excess with a damp rag, leaving just a hint of color.

The glaze settles into all the little scratches, so the more you rough up the painted surface before you start, the darker your glaze will end up.

I decided not to replace the old caning with the hole in it. It doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would, and since I'll be using it up against the wall in the bedroom, a pillow covering the front will be good enough for me. Imperfections just add to the charm!

Now on to choosing fabric for the seat and uphostering!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Chair with Potential

On Saturday, my husband and I took a spur-of-the-moment road trip to Walnut, Iowa for a day of antiquing. What a cool little town! About 1 hour and 45 minutes away from us, we heard that this tiny town has been dubbed the antique capitol of Iowa, and they sure weren't kidding. We drove home with a car-load of treasures, both the keep and to sell, but my favorite find of the day was this cane-back arm chair, scooped up for just $10.

I spied it in one of the many antique malls in Walnut, this one an old barn that has been converted to a multi-level antique shop. What was once the hay loft, high above the ground level and accessible by the original narrow open-tread stairway "bridge" across the main room of the barn, could now be called the "chair loft". Filled with row after row of antique wood chairs, in many different styles and various stages of disrepair, this cane-back beauty caught my eye. I held my breath as my husband skillfully maneuvered it down the treacherous stairs and even more skillfully managed to fit it into the backseat of our tiny car!

I love the 3 panel wing-back style, with the beautiful high curve at the top.

The original caning has one tear in it, but is otherwise nice and sturdy. The tear is fairly close to the bottom, so I think a small pillow nestled against the back will cover the tear perfectly.

A little bigger obstacle is the missing seat. The seat was originally also caned, as you can tell from the groove around the frame and the small round pattern that has been weathered into the wood along the front edge. What I'm going to do is cut a cardboard template to fit inside the seat, and then take it along on our road-trip to Ohio at the end of the month and have my dad cut a board to fit it. Then I'll add some foam and batting and upholster the seat in a natural linen fabric.

I like the dark wood, but it's not in great condition, so I think I'm going to paint the chair with the same creamy Buttermilk paint color that I've used on the trim and doors throughout the house.

I'll share pictures of the transformation as it happens! When it's finished, it will be the perfect chair for our bedroom, tucked along the wall between an east-facing window and my bookshelf of decorating magazines. It will be the perfect place to enjoy the morning sun as I drink coffee and read my Bible in the mornings, or to snuggle up and flip through a few magazines before bed.

I can't wait to see how it turns out.
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