Thursday, August 30, 2012

Painting a Weathered Wood Finish: A Dining Chair Makeover

I think my dining room is a good representation of my decorating technique.  Slowly, but surely, it has evolved from being an empty room, to a room with only a Craigslist table, to a room with a table and a thrifted, made-over buffet.  Then finally came some actual ordered-from-a-catalog chairs to go along with a couple coordinating chairs from a discount store.  And now I have added yet another couple of layers with some re-finished yard sale chairs and hand-sewn pillows.

And God bless those of you who have stuck with me to witness this process in painfully-slow real time.  

But, I honestly love it this way.  And I've learned that I actually prefer to have a room that slowly takes on its personality from each of the unique pieces that gradually come together from different places as they get discovered, each lending its own imperfect contribution, rather than a room that is perfectly ready-made from the factory.  

And so here is the story of the most recent yard sale chairs...

I found these last fall at a yard sale for $5 each and wasn't sure what to do with them at the time, so I stuck them in my basement storage room and there they sat for several months until I came across them again and thought, "These are exactly what I've been looking for for extra seating in the dining room!"

And the makeover began.  Since my regular dining chairs have basically the same wood finish (they are the Madeleine Chair from Restoration Hardware in Burnt Oak), I decided to try to get that similar look with paint.

So, I roughed up the finish a little bit, although they were already pretty dulled from natural aging.   I skipped the priming because I wasn't concerned with having great paint coverage on these chairs, and wanted the wood stain to show through slightly.  

I used my favorite Sherwin Williams sample quarts, like I do on many of my small projects. This is a great gray/green/putty color called Anonymous.

I gave each chair one good coat, making sure not to get over-generous with the paint, but letting the wood grain show through in a few areas.  

I was also very careful to apply the paint in the direction of the wood grain, as pictured:

See how much better it looks than when it's applied in different directions?

Once the gray was dry, I took a stiff-bristled brush and added a few touches of Shoji White.

I just wanted to barely highlight the wood grain, so I didn't use much paint at all.  Barely dipping the brush into the paint, I then brushed most of it off onto some newspaper before lightly brushing over the gray, letting it catch on the raised textures of the wood.

It was that simple.  And I'm thrilled with how they turned out.  They're not an exact match to the RH chairs, but they're close cousins and that works for me.

It just so happens that no two of the RH chairs are an exact match either.  Hmmm...

So I have 3 styles of chairs in the same finish family, and they're getting along just fine.

If you missed the how-to for the pillows, you can find that here.

And I'm sharing these chairs with a few of these friends.  Check them out!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monogrammed Laurel Wreath Pillow

As I mentioned yesterday, I've got a growing list of projects I'd like to do with ticking stripe, but the first are a couple of pillow designs.  Remember this one I did for the guest room last month?  Well,  I couldn't resist doing some more for a couple new chairs in my dining room.

I used a similar technique with the ticking pillow and a canvas "sleeve", once again using my favorite freezer paper stenciling method.  And then I added the laurel wreath for just a little more interest.  

Here's how I did it...

I covered a couple of down pillows with the blue and white ticking stripe...

Then, I cut 4 pieces of canvas drop cloth to the same length as the pillow measurement from top to bottom, adding 1/2 inch for seam allowance.  I cut the width to around half the width of the pillow.  Then, I painted on the "R"s using the freezer paper.

Then, I drew a partial circle with a light pencil mark to make a guideline for the wreath.

Using a basic sheet of gray felt from Hobby Lobby, I cut out the leaves for the wreath, just like I did for this pillow last year.

Then, I placed the leaves how I wanted them, and glued them in place with my hot glue gun.

Once the leaves were in place, I sewed the sleeve together at the top and bottom, then tried it on the pillow to see if it was a good fit.

Then, I just had to fold under the raw edges and sew.  

The sleeve fits snugly over the middle of the pillow, leaving just the right amount of the ticking showing through on each side.

They're just right on my two new chairs I just made over for the dining room.  Stay tuned and I'll show you how those turned out in a couple days!

Meanwhile, I'm sharing this how-to with a few of these friends.  Go by and say "hi!"


Monday, August 27, 2012

My New Crush on an Old Classic

As you may know, I've had a huge crush on canvas drop cloths for quite some time now and can't seem to get enough of them.  But, I've recently been reacquainted with an old classic that has my attention as well.  This particular fabric coordinates beautifully with my beloved canvas.  And it's none other than ticking stripe.

I'm slightly ga-ga at the moment, and I keep thinking of the many possibilities that could be done with such a versatile and deliciously-romantic classic.  

I've been working on a project with ticking that I think you're going to like, but for now, see if these pics don't inspire a little crush for you, too.

I'm feeling the love.  How about you?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let Them Eat Tuna Cakes

I know, the minute some of you read "tuna", you decided this recipe is not for you.  But, at the risk of sounding like your mother, let me just say, "You never know unless you give it a try."

My kids actually say they don't like tuna, but I recently dug up this old recipe I used to make years ago, and they ended up loving it.

So-- if you're looking to try something quick and easy for a weeknight dinner, you should give this a try.

Here's all you'll need:

  • 3- 2.6 oz pouches* of chunk light tuna (cans are fine as well)
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • a few tablespoons butter for pan

Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl.  (No, this won't look pretty at the moment, but it'll look great when it's nice and crispy later.)

Heat a couple tablespoons of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat until melted, then scoop the tuna mixture into the pan with a muffin scoop or large spoon.  Use the back of a spatula to flatten the tuna into a cake.

Let them cook for around 2 minutes, until they start to brown on the bottom, then flip them and brown the other side.

Continue to heat until they are cooked through, and they're done!  This recipe will make around 10 cakes.  

I like to sprinkle a little lemon juice over them & serve with vegetables for a great dinner. Or, eat them on toasted wheat bread with lettuce for a healthy lunch!

Give this recipe a try and tell me you don't like it.  Ok--don't tell me if you really don't like it.  But, just give it a try.  I think you will.

*Edited from original post.  Should be 2.6 oz, not 6.4 oz.  Oops!