Half-Assed Refinishing

Table Refinish

I found this table in the garage.  Like a bunch of other stuff in there, it’s a little run down and has been lying around for years.  And I’m kind of in need of a table in the kitchen by the window.  I’ve been using my step stool instead, but more often than not I need it as a step stool rather than a table.

Because the table isn’t mine, and doesn’t likely have any real value, I’m not concerned with doing a super good restoration job.  It won’t be anything like Danger K’s coffee table project, but it’ll do for now.

Of course I decide to do these sorts of things in the worst possible weather.  November in St. John’s is wicked windy, and I’m about to use spray paint.  I know.  I’m so smart.  Also, do you like how my porch is rotting away beneath me?  Yeah, I thought you would.

Table Refinish

First I need to scrape away all the flaking paint that I can.  I’m not that concerned with getting it all.  I just need a cleanish surface that I can wreck.  So I used a putty knife to pry up the loose paint.

Table Refinish

And a barbecue brush to scrape away all the other bits that I could.  I’m not going to bother sanding it.

Table Refinish

Ready to paint.  Not that you’d notice, but I didn’t want to get too much paint on the porch, so with some tricky tricks I managed to get some newspaper underneath in all the wind.

Table Refinish

I used the same spray paint that I used to re-paint the fire grate in our living room.  I gave it two coats and was pretty satisfied with the result.

Table Refinish

I actually kinda dig how the white paint shows through in places.

Table Refinish

So there it is, installed and ready to be used.

Table Refinish

All set for my next project!

Table Refinish

Wool Patchwork Quilt

This was one of the more time-consuming DIY Christmas projects the Pie and I had on our list, and one I couldn’t manage all by myself, so I waited for him to come home before we tackled this in earnest.

This patchwork quilt is an adaptation of a project from Martha Stewart.  Instead of using old sport coats, I had actual bolts of fine wool that I cut up, and my quilt is probably twice the size of the Martha version.

I am not very good at cutting in straight lines, so if a fabric will tear for me, I’m all for it.  I started by tearing 5″ strips from three different coloured pieces of wool fabric.

I then cut those strips into approximate 5″ squares (when am I ever exact?).Now to lay out your quilt in the pattern of your preference.  We did repeating colours, in a 12 x 18 square layout.  Pile up the squares for each of the 12 18-square rows in order, just to get them out of the way.Sew your squares together with about a half-inch seam allowance.

Then have your lovely husband press all those seams flat open.Then, making sure your top ends all line up with each other (because really, nothing else will), sew all the strips together with the same seam allowance.  Make sure that the other seams are sewn flat.Then you can prevail again upon that sunshine of your life to do some more ironing and flatten out the long seams as well.Now you have the top part of your quilt.So now you need a lining and a backing.  We used an old flannel sheet for the lining and a plain cotton broadcloth for the back.  Cut the sheet and broadcloth to size and lay everything out.  The flannel sheet should be on the bottom, with the broadcloth in the middle, right-side-up, and then the quilt top on the top, right-side-down, like so:

Make sure everything is as lined up as possible and pin it all together.  If you are me, one of the edges of your quilt will be a ragged mass of unevenness, where all the square strips end at different spots.  Don’t fret about this — we will do some fixing later.

Sew three edges of the pinned-together fabric up, leaving the fourth edge open (I made the open edge the same as my uneven fabric edge).

Stick your hand into the giant sewn pocket you have created, between the broadcloth backing and the woolen front and turn the whole thing inside out.

Now simply trim the uneven edge until it’s straight and fold it into the pocket before sewing it closed.  I then went around all the edges and sewed them in a similar manner so they all matched.And there you have it folks: a cozy quilt for two.

Roll it up and tie it with ribbon for a quaint and quilted gift!

Teacup Candles

This is a cute waste-not idea from Martha Stewart, but it’s been done by many others as well.  Teacups are ideal for this particular trick as they are already designed to withstand high temperatures, but you can use canning jars and other heat-safe containers as well.For my DIY Christmas I spent a lot of time scrounging second-hand stores for things I could use, and one day my mother happened upon a large quantity of beeswax sheets just there for the picking.

And yes, I picked.  I also picked up some old teacups and had some that were missing their saucers donated by my parents.

I had to buy some wicking from Michaels, and I found these handy wicks that were pre-waxed and already had the sustainer attached to the bottom.All I had to do was stand them upright in the cup and I was set.  Easy-peasy.

So you take your old candles, or your beeswax, or whatever, and you chuck it in a double boiler.  I used the equivalent of two sheets of beeswax for each cup.  Just tear ’em up and let them melt!Be patient.  It takes a little while.Make sure it’s completely melted before removing from heat.Now, very carefully, pour the hot wax into the cup. Leave that to sit a while. See that little blip of wax on the side of the cup?  Fuhgeddabowdit.  You can just chip it off once it’s set.If you return your waxy bowl to the still-hot pot you can wipe out the excess wax with a paper towel.This will mean you can experiment with other colours of wax as well.Once your candles are set and cooled you can trim the wicks to an appropriate length and give ’em all away!

Autumn Leaves Butterflies

On a sunny afternoon back in October my mother and I wandered down to the neighbourhood park to collect some leaves and twigs for some of my various projects.  She was looking for seed pods to draw or whatever it is that artists do.

I found a ladybug.

My mother had a go on the swingset.I got a pretty good haul.  I only picked up leaves from the ground and only twigs that were from broken branches, so no plants were harmed in the making of this DIY.We’ll talk about the twigs in a later post, but today we’re going to focus on the leaves.

I sorted them into piles of similar shapes.And put them between the pages of some of my mother’s art books for pressing.And left them there for a couple of weeks.And then when they were flat I glued them onto pieces of mat board to make butterflies!

You can mat them and frame them or do whatever you like with them!Enjoy your pretty insects!