Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How to paint vinyl strap outdoor chairs without restrapping!

Summer is here, and we are spending a lot more time outside, and eating most of our meals on the deck. The weather is gorgeous, but my deck furniture certainly isn't! I had purchased this furniture at Target in 1996, and the chairs were $20 each! They have served us very faithfully, but were definitely looking their age, and in desperate need of a facelift. The chairs were vinyl strap chairs with a metal frame. I scoured the internet for ideas of how to redo the chairs, and everything I saw involved removing the old straps, painting, then installing new straps. I might as well go buy new chairs after all that time, money and effort. The replacement strapping itself would cost me what I paid for the chairs and then some!

In my excitement to get this project going, I forgot to snap before photos, but just imagine the nastiest looking chair you would probably pass by on the roadside, and that's about what they looked like.

The straps were in good shape, so I saw no reason to replace, but the paint on the metal frame REALLY needed some help. I figured I would try painting, and if it was an epic failure, I was no worse off than before. I needed a paint that would work on both metal and vinyl. I did not want to restrap, as I said before, so I had to choose a color to match the existing straps.

I used Rustoleum Painters Touch 2X ultra cover in Hunt Club Green. I used 2 cans for 4 chairs.

Step one was to powerwash the chairs and get them as clean as possible. Let dry. I flipped them and painted the bottoms first, let dry,  then flipped upright and did the tops. I only did the edges of the chairs, where the straps covered the metal frame, that is why the color match was so important.

I also made sure to get all the rust spots covered to stop any further damage to the joints of the chair.

It seems to have worked out great! Color was a perfect match, and all the chairs look TONS better, all for under $10 and one afternoon of my time. The vinyl parts are taking longer to dry than the metal, so I would give them a full day or two to fully dry before using them.

Nice freshened up chairs ready for another summer of fun!

EDIT- Apparently these type of chairs are now quite expensive, ranging anywhere from 200-400 each. These were definitely a good purchase, and Target gets kudos from me for offering a good product. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Refinish An Old Ring

My mom was a bit of a character, and a bit of a magpie. She loved shiny, sparkly things. She had a few cubic zirconia rings that she loved to wear. She wore them pretty much daily, and all at the same time. That was just who she was. She wore her real jewels right alongside her CZ. Equal love for both.

After she passed I was left with her jewelry to divide up amongst the siblings. Those rings really touched me, in all their blingy wackiness. I loved them, they were so her.

Unfortunately they were in bad shape. A long soak in cleaning solution and a vigorous scrub with an old soft toothbrush cleaned the stones so they sparkled like new again. If anyone tells you that CZ fades and clouds over time, I don't see it. These are a good 20 years old and as sparkly as new after a good cleaning.

The metal settings are another story though. Badly faded and pitted, with much of the plating worn off. I tried a silver plating kit purchased online and got decent results. They were improved but not where I wanted them. Having them replated at a jeweler would be too costly. So I put them away and waited for the lightbulb moment.

I had the AH HA moment today- steel wool. I wanted to get the rest of the plating off and just polish the copper underneath. Steel wool would do the trick. Took about 15 minutes of good rubbing with 3 o or 4 o steel wool and gorgeous shiny copper was revealed.

Worked like a charm!! The copper looks like rose gold, and most of the pitting is gone. I can work at it a bit more to get them totally smooth and polished. I am a happy camper! Now I have some fun jewelry to wear that has a lot of sentimental value to me. I can think of my mom when I wear them! If you are worried about your finger turning green from the copper, try painting the inside of the ring with clear nail polish.

DISCLAIMER- Do not try this with any real/good/valuable jewelry. Take that stuff to a good jeweler.

Now go forth and find some thrift store jewelry to renew! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wearing My Wedding Dress Challenge


When I saw the post on Not Dressed As A Lamb for the Wearing My Wedding Dress Challenge, I was so excited to participate! I dug my dress out of the back of one of my far flung closets where it has been waiting for one of my daughters to possibly use it one day. I am not too sure if either one of them likes it all that much, but I save it all the same. Blessed with good genes, I still fit into it.

Terrible photo, but my favorite photog is off at school and not available. I am lacking the proper undergarments and a good visit with an iron, but you get the idea.  I still love this dress as much as the day I first saw it.

We were married in 1992, here is me on our wedding day.

I chose this dress mostly as a reaction to all the huge, overblown, over done dresses of the 80's with all the thick crusts of pearls, sequins and crystals, huge puffs of sleeves, and large headpieces. I couldn't run in the opposite direction fast enough. For my February wedding , my dream dress had simple lines but would be made of lush silk velvet, and I would carry a fur muff instead of flowers. Unfortunately my girlish dreams and my budget did not match at all. So I walked into the local Laura Ashley store, and found a beautiful, simple dress that fit perfectly and bought it on the spot. A simple halo of white roses on my head, and small veil.

Our wedding was not large, or fancy, or "Pinterest-worthy", but it was full of family, friends and tons of love. 23 years later it is still one of the best days of my life.

I put on my Senior Prom dress for my youngest daughters prom, I guess I was feeling a bit nostalgic because it was my last prom with my girls. That dress was a hoot! I wonder what ever possessed me to choose it??  This picture is good for a laugh anyway! My daughter looks gorgeous as always.

Thanks for the Challenge! Tons of fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thrift Store Boot Refashion

I had purchased these boots a while back at a thrift store, they were leather and good quality and a very good price, but I wasn't all that crazy about the style. I have since found a pair of tall black boots that I like much better and wanted to experiment a little with these to see if I could make something different with them.
I paid just under $4 for them, so not much to lose if all went horribly wrong!!  Professional shoe repair is  expensive, but very worth it if you have shoes that need serious work. I just didn't want to invest that much money in these boots, and I wanted to test my refashioning skills.
I used a sharp pair of scissors to cut off the top of the boot shaft. Easy enough.
Unfortunately I was left with the lining flapping around inside the boot. I decided to sew it to the boot so I could get the boot on and off without having to worry about it. I think glue might work also, and I even thought about cutting out the lining entirely for those not sewing machine savvy.
I popped a leather needle in the machine, and some sturdy thread. This part involved some wrestling with the machine and the boot. I won!  I just ran a stitch around the top close to the edge, catching the lining. You can fold down the edge for a cleaner edge if you want. I kind of like it rough, looks more casual.
Last step was a good hit with some shoe polish and a buff. As good as new!
Sorry for the bad cell phone pics, I was so excited to get this done, I didn't want to stop and haul out the big camera! Total time for this project was less than an hour, including taking pics, total cost, $4! Now I have a cool pair of booties for this Fall! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Refinish veneer tabletop

Once upon a time we had a fish tank. It leaked. It left severe water damage on this tabletop. Instead of throwing the table out, I decided to save it. It is a good size and offered good storage, and my sister had given it to me years ago. It is a high quality table, they don't make them like they used to!  Instead of painting, which is very popular these days, I wanted to see if I could revive the wood. Worst case would be I screwed up and had to paint it anyway, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

 First photo shows the table midway through sanding. I forgot to take a photo at the start. Sorry! I used 120 grit sandpaper on my mouse powersander. I watched carefully to make sure I was only sanding through the finish layer and not all the way through the veneer. I just wanted to take off the damaged finish, and a tiny bit of the wood veneer layer. Slow and careful is the game plan.
 Next photo is an area of bubbling veneer. Squirt some glue underneath and clamp.

This is post sanding. Not all of the water stains came out and there is one small spot of chipped veneer, but that is ok with me. I like my furniture to have a history and tell a story. A pass with 220 grit at this point smooths everything out.

This is after 4 coats of tung oil finish applied with an old t-shirt rag.  Very lightly scuff up with 320 sandpaper between.  I can reapply the tung oil whenever I feel like it needs a pick me up.  The table suits the room and our lifestyle, and I am happy that I am not wasting anything needlessly. All in all, I am pretty happy with myself.
 So the moral of the story is, it is possible to "refinish" a veneer top, it just needs to be done carefully, with the understanding that it most likely won't be totally perfect. But hey, perfection is overrated, right? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Mom

My mom passed away November 25, 2013. She had been suffering from Alzheimers for years, so in a way, it was a release for her, and for me. It has taken me longer to put my thoughts down here than it did for my Dad, because there is a more mixed history with my mom. She divorced my Dad after 30 years of marriage. I was 18. She tried to explain, but I never really understood, it's just one of those things I learned to accept and live with. That was a difficult time for me and my family. Lots of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and acting out.

What we each choose to remember about a person after they are gone depends largely on our own attitude. Are we a glass half empty person, or half full person? I thought about all the good things she did, and the good lessons she taught me. Death and grief are funny things, great clarity comes from great sadness. This is how I want to remember her.

My mom was 29 years old in 1963 when she had a stroke. She beat the odds to survive at all. The long term survival odds in 1963 were somewhere around 50%. She beat those too. The stroke left her with facial muscle paralysis and a severe speech impediment. She never considered herself disabled, and never let us consider her disabled either. When I think about the challenges she faced, with simple communication being so difficult for her, it amazes me that she did as much as she did. She was a very strong, determined person. She had 4 kids at the time, and they needed her, and she went on to add 2 more.

She raised 6 kids. Yeah, when there are 6 there is a certain amount of older taking care of younger going on, but in the middle of it all, amidst all the chaos, probably without her even knowing what she was doing, she raised 6 really incredible people. All the right parental lessons somehow made it through our skulls. There was no time or resources for indulgence in our house, and we were often left to our own imaginations for entertainment, so I owe my deep independent streak to her.

She was a very creative person, teaching me to crochet, and sew. I would watch her make cute little calico dresses for us, with no pattern, just from her imagination. She also loved to write short stories, paint, go antiquing, and play the organ. I remember her playing “lara’s theme” from “dr. Zhivago” over and over, among many other of her favorites. I remember her guiding me on my first furniture refinishing project- an old beat up desk- she showed me how to sand and paint it, and do the “antiquing” glaze that was all the rage at the time. I was all of 13 or 14 years old.

She had a wonderful sense of humor, and loved to laugh. She was precocious and sassy, often regaling us with funny stories from her childhood. Never one to sugarcoat things, or mince words, she usually told it like she saw it. She was only human, and far from perfect, but she was my mom and I love her dearly.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thrift Store Art Makeovers

I love looking through the artwork at thrift stores. It is a treasure trove of good frames, mats, and artwork. I have bought some valuable paintings at thrift stores. I am the one you see standing in the aisle googling artists names to see if a picture is worth the price tag. Sometimes I am the one you see with the tape measure checking frame sizes for repurposing later.

I like buying original artwork if at all possible. I like that it is unique, and no one else will have the same thing on their wall. I have many watercolors, several oils, and a couple of etchings- all originals- purchased from thrift stores. I studied art history in college, so over the years I have developed an eye for what is decent, and what is not.  If something is a print, it must be a signed, numbered, limited edition for me to even bother with it.

My daughter and I found 2 cute little pictures the other day, and I thought I would share how I fixed them up and gave them a new lease on life.
This little work spoke to me, it has charm, but was looking very bedraggled in its current state.

   As you can see I paid a fortune for this! Haha. The backing was rotting away, and acid was eating up the mat.

I took everything apart, and cleaned the dirty glass, cut a new mat with a scrap I had hanging around. FYI- a mat cutter is one of the best investments you can make. I used a 50% off coupon at Michaels.

Now it is looking good again. I need to get some rub and buff to touch up the frame and call it done.

Next up is a cute little owl print my daughter liked. 

The print was nice, but I did not like the mat or the 70's gold  frame, and those wonky ribbons had to go. I was hoping that all I needed to do was to remove the ribbons, and paint the frame but when I took them off the mat was so faded that it could not be used as is. 

 I took it all apart, cleaned the glass, removed said ribbons, hit the mat and frame with spray paint, and stood back to admire. Light coats are the key with the spray paint, and let it dry completely before reassembly. 

Much better. And for minimal investment, it can go right back to Goodwill when I get tired of it. 

So look at those pictures in the thrift store with a fresh eye, and a little imagination, and you can have beautiful artwork for little money!