How To Hire A Painter

I have had my business of Decorative Artwork since 1992. Over the course of those years I have worked with many painters from different areas. The majority of the time things went well for the client. And for myself as well. But, I have run across some disasters too. Here are some tips for hiring the right painter for your project.

#1…..Get References! Don’t expect a quote over the phone. And for big projects, hopefully you could actually see some of their work. Here’s an example of what could go wrong. –
I had a client a few years back that needed their 2 story family room painted. It needed some patching and in some areas on the ceiling there needed to be drywall tape replaced. My client got the name of a painter from someone she didn’t know but she told me the guy was excited about the job and didn’t mind working on scaffolding. I finished my decorative painting before the painter and his buddy were done. But I had to go back the next day to be paid. When I went back my client was almost in tears. The painters had “finished” and they had been paid. Well, she brings me in to show me what they had done to her family room ceiling. They had used blue painters tape instead of drywall tape to fix the areas that needed it! And the tape was starting to peel off. She had called the painter to discuss it with him only to find out he had left town.
That is the worst I have seen. Most painters are reputable and trustworthy. But…..
Get References!

#2…..When you do find a painter you can trust, if they say they need a deposit, give it to them. After the economic downturn I’ve known contractors that just don’t want to run a tab at the paint store anymore. Probably holds true for many trades.

#3…..I think this may be as important as #1. Let them do their job. Don’t be underfoot and try to keep children busy with other things.

#4…..Pay promptly. Times are different now.

As I said I have worked with many different painters over the years. And now I only recommend one painter. If it doesn’t work for the client then they are on their own finding one. The painter I recommend is
Rick Wehrman….I have known him for maybe 20 years. I not only recommend him because he is a great painter, ( his son right along with him, and sometimes his daughter as well), but they are great with customers. They go in and do their job and do it well. For me, it is important to have a good rapport with the painter on the job. It makes my life a lot easier.

I finished up a portion of a large project with Rick and crew. Here is an example of how he makes my life easier.
The client wanted their foyer tray ceiling done. If I did it it would mean bringing in scaffolding, hiring someone to put it up and then take it down again. Rick has done bits of faux finishing for me before so I asked him if he would take it on and he said he would. The faux that was to be done in the tray in the foyer was the same one that I had done in the dining room tray ceiling.

Besides having good work done, the foyer tray ceiling was less costly because Rick uses an extension ladder to do them. Saves a great deal of time as well. The photos in this post show the tray ceiling in progress and then finished. Doesn’t it look great?!

I hope you consider this the next time you are looking for a painter. It could save you heartache and money.

Have a great week!
Doris

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“The Chair” Reveal

Remember this chair? This is my Goodwill find. I paid $7.00 for it. Here is what is printed under the seat –

I mentioned in an earlier post about how I was put off by the “gazillion” staples in the blue velvet chair I had come across. I finally caved and decided to tackle it. I loved the process. I love the chair. Of course, there are things I wish I knew before I started. One thing I recommend …….do not try to rush it.

My original plan was to recover it and paint the wood. But seeing as it was going to involve more work anyway, I decided to strip the wood and do a finish on it that I have been wanting to try.The finish is done in layers. This is something I have always found with paint – the wonderful effects you get when you layer paint and glaze and top coats. The first detail photo is one of the wood details. I added a little Warm Silver metallic paint to accent the design.

The arms of the chair have detail too. The design works well with the type of finish I applied.

And……finally…….”the chair” completed –

What do you think? The fabric choice surprised me. I don’t ordinarily lean in this direction, design and color wise. But when I saw this one it just seemed to belong to the chair.

Would I do it again? Right now I say no. But with time passing and if I came across the right piece, who knows? It definitely gave me a new respect for upholsterers.

On another note, I went to the Kane County Flea Market yesterday. Best around in my book. This year I am looking for 2 old screen doors to turn into displays. I will be checking at the Morris Markets as well which run from May to October.

Have a good day everyone!
Doris

A Cute Mother’s Day Craft

I saw this somewhere and I think it would be such a great craft for kids to give their mom for Mother’s Day. I think I originally saw it on Pinterest but have seen it twice more since then.

The supplies you need are few. The sticks you can get at Walmart or a craft store. Also the paint brushes. For the paint I used one color that is actually a wall color, but very fashionable. Or, as shown, the craft paints.

You will also need a couple of drinking glasses or cups.

While you are preparing your work space bring a pan of water to a boil. The pan should be big enough for the sticks to lay in with a little room to spare.

Once the water is boiling put your sticks in it and boil for 15 minutes. Put in a few extra sticks in case some break, although I did’t have a problem.

After 15 minutes take them out one at a time, immediately starting to bend them easily into a “C” shape. Fit them in to the sides of a glass. They cool quickly, so once you take one out of the pan using tongs, you’ll be able to start shaping it right away.

The sticks need to dry overnight. Once dry, they can be painted and personalized.

Voila!
Have a great week!
Doris

Update: the chair is coming along nicely. I have the fabric and this week will be finding the right trim. I heard about a huge fabric and trim warehouse in Chicago that will hopefully have what I need because I haven’t found the right one out here. Field Trip! I may even take pictures and post on it if it’s as good as I was told.

#1 Choice of 3 Wood Strippers

Refinishing furniture is messy and odorous, no two ways about it. But the rewards can be many. The look of wood coming into a new life, maybe taking on a totally different look even.

The chair I had mentioned previously is one that in some ways has gone very smoothly and in others has been challenging. The biggest challenge has been dealing with all the staples in it. It is an Ethan Allen chair I came across at Goodwill for $7.00, therefor the quality is high.

The products used are shown here along with other items you will be using. I also picked up some cheap toothbrushes which really come in handy for crevices. The container you use to pour the product into should be nonporous, a tin can works well.

Two of the products I tried, whereas they worked okay, they were slower at the actual removing of the finish (which I believe to be 2-3 coats of varnish). Only one of them, the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover, actually made the finish bubble up, which in the past was the sign of a great wood stripper. The other one, the 2 Minute Remover, worked about the same without the bubbling. They both had strong odors.

Here is a peak at how the wood looked once stripped. I hope to have the chair completed this week and Reveal it in next week’s post.

Maybe here would be a good place to insert the setup of such a project. Number one is have plenty of ventilation. Make sure the flooring of wherever you are working is covered well with some very protective tarps or papers.
Ideally you will have your own space set up for this task. Unfortunately with my physical condition being what it is I wasn’t able to carry the chair to my workroom.

My #1 product choice is ……….Klean Strip Klean Kutter Refinisher!
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It surprised me really. It is more runny whereas the others were more gel like. The others you brush on, let sit a few minutes, then remove. My choice to remove the finish is steel wool and then old tshirts.

The Klean Strip, however, you apply with the steel wool and start rubbing. It didn’t need a lot of pressure either. I dipped the end of a steel wool pad in the solution being careful of the dripping, I wiped the wood once with the grain, and when I went to wipe again the finish came right off. I was thrilled! So the one I thought I would like the least, actually turned out to be my favorite.

With this project I got a reminder of how much I always enjoyed stripping furniture. Not because of the process by any means, but because of the results. Makes me think of 2 pieces that have been sitting around maybe needing to be refreshed.

It looks to be another good week here in Illinois. Maybe some rain but more badly needed sunshine as well.

Enjoy the day!
Doris

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Fresh Ideas


For about the past nine months I have had a lot of time to think about projects, new ventures and the like. I have had this time due to the fact that I have been laid up for a good part of it recuperating from 2 surgeries. The first one was from a torn muscle in my knee. That began on Memorial Day of last year culminating in surgery to repair it in August. I was able to work sporadically during this time. After 6 weeks of recuperation I went back to work full time only to develop an even larger tear (tears) in a muscle in my hip. Surgery was 2 weeks later and I am finishing up a 3-6 month recuperation from that. Hopefully I will be back to full time in a few weeks.

The knee was a relatively easy fix but the hip has been quite an ordeal. It has given me time to re-evaluate some things.

I have missed coming here and sharing thoughts, ideas, projects and recipes. So I am adding that back into my life. I will continue my painting business, allowing it to naturally slow down. Thinking over the past 2 years with design elements changing course the main thrust of the business has been painted furniture and doing faux metallic ceilings. The ceilings, by the way, fit in quite well with the current design trend. There is always a call for murals now and again seeing as they are customized to the needs of a client. I say this knowing that I am in the beginning stages of a large project where creating a Tuscan look in a kitchen is one part of it. Hoping to post on that as the project progresses.

A couple of years ago I picked up knitting in order to keep my hands busy while quitting smoking. It helped tremendously! It will be 4 years this summer. It can be done! The thing with knitting is that for the most part you need to stay focused and there is a lot of counting involved so your mind isn’t dwelling on things.

I have come a long way with the knitting and feel like I am on a journey with it. I started off with the basics….hats, gloves, scarves. I also had some disasters trying projects that I just wasn’t ready for. But like I said, it is a journey. I now sell knitted items in my etsy shop (dcartwork.etsy.com). Also, something that I am a little proud of, I started creating my own patterns and have them for sale as well. They are also on ravelry.com and craftsy.com. The patterns are geared toward beginners for now but I look forward to when I am able to create some more elaborate pieces.

My goal here is to share ideas etc. I do mean share – I would love to see some of what you are up to. I have a few projects in mind to finish and showcase here. Like the velvet chair I started pulling apart in order to recover and update it. It felt daunting at the time when I pulled some fabric off only to find a gazillion (is that even a word) staples. I now have a plan in mind to deal with that.
Here is a before and after shot of dining room chairs that I painted for a client:

I also came up with new recipes to pass along as well. Well, one isn’t really new to us but I think you will love it.

I hope you all have stayed safe with the crazy weather that has been happening across the country. We have been lucky right here but there sure has been issues around us.

Have a good day!
Doris

Transferring Photos Onto Canvas

A good DIY project here. Not difficult one bit. It does require some patience, or so it seems to me.

I have done these in the past of reduced photos of my floral paintings. People seem to like them so I thought I would attempt it for Halloween.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/205046384/halloween-decor-original-handpainted?ref=shop_home_active_10

You will need:

A canvas (I would start off with a manageable size, I used 8×8 for these)
Gel medium (I recommend getting a better quality, it will be worth the extra cost)
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A paint brush to apply the gel.
A photo of what you want to transfer.
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First off, make yourself a good photocopy of the piece you want to transfer. I prefer to go to Staples and get a good quality copy from their copiers. Lay it face side down over the chosen canvas so that you can line up the picture correctly. I crease the sides a little so as to lay it on the gel easier.
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Liberally apply the gel medium to the blank canvas making sure to fill in all the little valleys. Smooth it out so that there won’t be any air pockets created. Make sure you put enough of the gel on, about 1/8 inch thick or a little more. It does make a difference.

Position the photocopy face down onto the gel, adjusting it to sit in the position that you want. You can slide it around a little with no harm done so no worries there.

Smooth it out for several minutes with your fingertips. I find that it adheres much better if I take the time to smooth it out for a few minutes. Once it is adjusted and smoothed down set it aside overnight. It needs to dry thoroughly before you move on to the next step.
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Once dry you can peel off the paper and the transfer will appear. You will need to do this step a few times. Most directions say 1-3 times. I found I had to do at least 5 times. it’s no big deal really, you just want to keep this is mind. The way to start removing the paper is to use a damp sponge and blot the moisture onto the canvas. You can tell by the picture that it will look significantly different.

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Once all of the paper is removed you can finish the canvas off. with the Halloween ones I crackled the sides with an orange and purple base and black over it. For the transfers of my paintings I gallery wrapped the image. By that I mean that I made the photocopy large enough that it wrapped around the sides.
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So what are my overall thoughts on the process?

I truly love the concept. And I will be making more of transfers of my canvases. My Halloween ones? Well, to be honest, with the amount of time that I put into thransfering the images I could have painted them on alot more quickly. A little disappointing? Yes. Will it keep me from using the process again? Not one bit. Here are pictures of my floral canvases done up as transfers. Love them.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/126583734/original-wall-decor-8×8-painting-set-of?ref=shop_home_active_15

And I do plan on using this to transfer a photo that I would like to make look old and beat up. I will post on that as soon as I get it done. Is it worth the effort and do I recommend it? Absolutely. I do if you are wanting to transfer something as a gift, or if the original is timeconsuming , such as my oil paintings, or, like I said, if you are wanting to age and distress an old photo.

So, if you are at all crafty you can handle this one. Even if you’re not a real creative type. It would make for a great handmade Christmas gift. Very unique.

Hope you are enjoying the season!
Doris

Brrrrrr…….

Brrrrr…..seems that fall has arrived with a bang!

Thought I would show you all a few of the pieces I brought home with me from the market and the 4 I acquired on Thursday for upcoming shows. (getting inspired as we speak!)

This table is one of my favorite pieces, although I have to admit I say that alot.

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The little black chair will truly be difficult to part with. Hope it finds a good home.
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The rolling table can be considered shabby chic, but I tend to just think of it as pretty!
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The cornice boards are really special. Hand cut by a carpenter friend. I have a few painted in different colors but they can be made to your specifications easily. Not everyone has these exact measurements, I know, but wanted to show you somehting unique could be done.
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And here are 4 new pieces I picked up on Thursday.
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And then yesterday I acquired 3 pieces that I haven’t even unloaded yet. Going to be a busy week!

Oh, I almost forgot, yesterday I went to the Three French Hens Market held in Morris the second Saturday of the month from April to Octocber. If you enjoy these kinds of things it is well worth the trip. Very similar to Washington Market. Next month’s looks to be quite festive and hopefully you will see me there! (Haven’t gotten final approval yet, keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Have a great day everyone!
Doris