Knitting Update

Just a quick update on where I’m at with knitting these days.

The sweater that I was working on out of the textured yarn is completed. The pattern itself was relativity easy to follow. The yarn was great to work with. Size wise it feels a little big, but I can’t honestly say I would want it any smaller. This is what it looks like on:

I am finishing up a sweater I started some time ago. It kind of makes me chuckle actually. When I picked up my knitting needles a few years ago, realizing that I could read and easily understand a pattern, I started browsing through the myriad of patterns for free and for sale online. It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to make a sweater. And that is with only having a scarf under my belt!. I started it and actually was making some progress when I ran into a rough spot. I felt a little overwhelmed by it so I set the whole thing aside. A couple of weeks ago I picked it up again and am chipping away at it. It’s not all that difficult but there is a lot to it so it takes awhile. This is where I’m at with it:

I have decided though that on June 1st I will put this project aside. (well I might pick it up now and again). I need to do this because I have items to work on in order to be ready for fall shows. I look forward to that!

Oh, yes, I have also started a pair of socks. I am doing them with what is called Magic Loop. I love the concept now if I have the patience for something on a smaller scale. I did attempt this in the beginning. I completed one only to not be able to match up the second one. I have since learned a solution to that. I’ll post on that when they are complete.

Have a good day!
Doris

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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

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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Finished Chairs!

Yay! The chairs are finished! And I love them! The color is just what I was aiming for and gotten through a little trial and error. But actually, not too much. The glaze color I got on the first mix of paint color.
chairsfinal 001

I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but the finish on them gives just the right glow. I used Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax. And I would use that again. In the past I have used paste wax,(the kind for floors) and mixed artists oils with it to get a good glaze color. But this Soft Wax can be mixed with water based paint so I mixed two colors of acrylic craft paint. And it washes up with soap and water.
chairsfinal 002

The wax gives a good hard finish when dried and buffed. It protects against any water stain that may happen.

The wax is also what I used on the painted fabric seats. It not only keeps the paint soft and pliable, it protects it against water and stains. I used the Soft Wax without paint added to it so that I would get some contrast between the fabric seats and the wooden frame.
chairsfinal 003

Remember how I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for the fabric? Well, I was at Home Depot the other day and I noticed that Behr has come out with their own chalk paint. Something to try for sure as the Annie Sloan’s is rather expensive. I also came across a recipe online for making your own chalk paint that I plan on trying. Let me know if you would like the recipe.

I went with the blue because I like the freshness of the color. The stripe could be painted in any color, of course. Or maybe you would like the seats a solid color with an antique glaze over them? That could be a great look as well.
chairsfinal 004

So, I have the chairs done, but,……what’s this? There is no blue in the tablecloth? Ah yes, as with many projects that start off small they most likely will grow as you go along. Okay, so, no blue…..I have two ideas and I think I will start with the most common sense one first. And it will give me an opportunity to try something that I have wondered about.

But I will leave that for another post! lol!

Hope you are having a great week!
Doris

Chairs, Beginning Stage

Just a quick stop by to let you see the progress on the chairs. Doesn’t look like anything special? The unique part comes a little later. Next step is starting shortly.
knee and chairs3 078

The directions called for doing the whole chair with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a very well known specialty paint. I decided, however to just use it only on the fabric seats and use a product that I know well for the wooden parts of the chairs. That would be Pittsburgh Interior Eggshell Finish Ulta. It is available at Menards. It took almost the whole quart to put 2 coats of the chalk paint on the seats and not quite a whole quart to put 3 coats on the wooden areas.

I’m really liking the way they are coming out so far!

Hope you are having a good week!
Doris

Tulip Pillows

Hello there! Besides showing you the results of being inspired by images of flowers, I have a tip for all of you sewers and crafters.
tulippillows 003

The new look of colorful and for the most part floral pillows are quite eye catching. I don’t see how a person can not notice them. The majority of what I have seen being current trend is the use of the color of the year, Radiant Orchid. In one way or another I see this repeatedly on pillows, furniture, walls, etc.

Pillows are a simple and effective way to add a splash of color to any room. And simple to make! All you need for 2 19″ pillows is a yard and a quarter of fabric, some paint, and some pillow stuffing and away you go!

I chose straight white fabric because of the final result I have in mind that also includes making slipcovers for my sofa and chair (that will be in upcoming posts). So keep in mind when choosing your fabric what the final look is that you are after. I wanted that pop of color so the paint colors I went with are a middle value blue, a dark green mixed with white, and alizaron crimson mixed with white. If you have never heard of alizaron crimson, it is an artist color that is also available in craft paint. (And looks suspiciously like Radiant Orchid). I added a little more fabric extender than originally called for because I wanted the paint to stay extra soft.

As far as the stuffing goes, this is where the tip comes in. Because of being involved in a last minute project I needed some stuffing, and quick. I realized that I had a couple of bed pillows from the dollar store laying around, and low and behold they were made of the same stuffing that I had been paying at least double for at JoAnne’s fabrics or the craft stores! Check it out, for about $2.00 you can get enough stuffing for 2 pillows!
tulippillows 001

All I did for 18″ pillows was to cut out 19″ squares of fabric. You will need four, two for the fronts and two for the backs. I choose to paint pillows before putting them together. You sew the pillows right sides together leaving about a 3″-4″ opening for turning it right side out. Stuff the pillows with enough stuffing to make them plump, and then hand sew the opening that is left. Oila! How easy is that? I have already decided to do a couple on a fabric that has script on it. I love that look. I think I will either paint birds or maybe hydranges on them. Or, I could try a stencil. I will talk you through each step in that post. Right now I want to just get you thinking about it.

So, yes, I do have alot of creative ideas going on in this brain. And yes, oh, the projects I have in mind! I just have to keep reminding myself that they don’t have to all be done this week!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184886997/original-handmade-hand-painted-floral?

I hope you are having a good week!
Doris