Monday Makeover… Chinese Camphor Chest

Painted wooden chest

I mentioned that we had been given an old Chinese camphor chest last week and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

awful paint job

As much as I would have loved to strip it back to wood and stain it a dark red or black the thoughts of getting into all those little nooks and crannies was enough to make me break out in a sweat!

Painted chinese chest
Someone else painted this!

Instead I opted for painting it with an acrylic satin black. It took 2 good coats to make sure I got all those little specks of white but it wasn’t as tricky as I expected.

I then gave the inside a coat of a lovely dark purple I mixed with a touch of red – I was inspired by the Pantone colour of 2015, Marsala – I was originally thinking red, but I’m happy with how the ‘marsala’  turned out. You can even still smell the camphor though it.

Usine marsala paint

It was a million times better than it started off, but there was still something lacking…

Then it smacked me in the face. It needed glamour. It needed panache. It needed… GOLD!

I dry brushed the tiniest amount of gold paint onto the top centre panel and it made all the difference. Now you can see the beautiful carving and it’s got a lot more of an oriental feel to it. It has gone from a painted disaster to something quite stunning!

Chinese camphor chest

I know that there are plenty of people who will be shouting at me for painting this piece and I totally agree that it was probably better before it was touched but after the white gloss it came with I had little option!

Some of you might have noticed little white flakes around the inside rim? Well apparently even when acrylic paint is touch dry it isn’t actually dry, dry! The lid had fused to the base and Mark had to force it open! I was loosing light fast, so decided to go ahead and take the shots before it was completely dark and I had to wait another few days before I was home in daylight! I will, obviously, touch it up before it goes on sale!

Hmmm. Does it need more gold?

Nikki x

Fab Freebie No 1

Last week I promised you a freebie worth waiting for so here you go!

I found this free vintage poster site while looking for old images of the Titanic (I’m very proud to have family that helped build it!). Unfortunately they didn’t have any Titanic Posters but they have hundreds, if not thousands, of really cool vintage posters.

So grab yourself a cup of your favourite brew, get comfy and check out www.freevintageposters.com.

I just can’t get enough of this great FREE site!

I hope you love it as much as I do? Know any other great sites like this? Please do share 😉


Take care ’till next time,

Nikki x

 

Five of the best… No 6

Hello my friends! I hope you’ve had a better week than me? I’ve been off my feet with a real nasty stomach bug so not a huge amount to report I’m afraid! I have saved up some goodies for you to check out though, so let’s get sharing!

This first project id from Found This Painted That and I love the finished look. I also love her idea of using a quote from Dr Seuss – imagine the dreams you could have!

Hand painted headboard
Found This Painted That

The next project that jumped out at me this week is from Saw Nail and Paint. I fell for the amazing ‘streaky’ effect she has achieved using General Finishes paint – I wish I could get my hands on some to try!

Streaky paint effect
Saw Nail and Paint

I really couldn’t choose between 2 projects from The Curators Collection – but she has so many beautiful things featured on her blog that I could spend hours drooling at it! So, instead of stressing over which to use, I’m including both!

Distressed wooden Table
The Curators collection
Black and wood
Beautiful details

And last but not least is this fantastic example of milk paint being used over at Sweet Pickins Furniture. I am desperate to try milk paint but have to wait patiently for my supplies to travel all the way to the UK.

Chippy Milk Paint
Sweet Pickins Furniture

Hopefully I’ve beaten the worst of this bug now so can get on and finish painting my corner cupboard – lets call that one an experiment as I’ve never bought something made of Formica with the intention of painting it… in fact I’ve never deliberately bought Formica (plastic laminate) in my life before this corner unit!

Take care til next time,

Nikki x

Are you a follower of fashion?

Furniture fashion I mean, or interiors. Do you read all the glossy magazines and plan your home, or projects, according to what’s hot?

Pantone color of 2015
Do the industry ‘experts’ influence you?

I have to admit I don’t. Sometimes I will pick up a magazine when I’m shopping but usually a quick flick through, while I wait for Mark to choose a book, is enough for me. I very rarely buy one… I’d rather buy a little piece of cuteness in a charity shop or a new colour of wax.

So how do you choose? Is it the amount of work it will need to make it beautiful, or a charming little detail that catches your eye. Perhaps you are buying for yourself and need it to match your home?

interior magazines
Do magazines guide your tastes?

I’m an impulse buyer. Mark often says I like a thing more the cheaper it is but that’s not strictly  true. It is true that if a piece is going for a song I’m less afraid of taking a gambol on it but if I see something that I love, and can see it’s potential, then I will sometimes break the bank to have it.

So what makes you buy, I’d love to know? Is it budget or design? Is it saleability or potential?

‘Til next time,

Nikki x

How To Make Faux/Fake Porcelain Flowers In 20 Minutes

You were probably hoping for a Monday Makeover from Mark, what with this being Monday and all, but he’s been busy working on other stuff and just hasn’t had time to do his own makeover this week!

Instead I’m going to share this great tutorial I found over at White Lace Cottage and knew straight away that these faux porcelain flowers would be absolutely perfect for the vintage table centres I was designing for a friend. I had to have a play with it at the first opportunity, which happened to be just 12 hours after reading her blog post. Not that I don’t have anything else to do, because I really do have a ton of stuff on my list, but sometimes fun and crafty can jump to the front of the queue!

My first decision was what flowers to choose, ideally something like a rose or a peony, but as I was only practicing I took what the pound shop (the UK’s Dollar store) had to offer. I think they are supposed to be rosebuds and maybe peony?

Cheap silk flowers
Normally I wouldn’t give these house space!

Next it was the colour choice. The bride has a lovely scheme of grey and yellow, with touches of navy blue (like these pieces I worked on recently). Personally I liked the idea of a washed out pinks, greys and yellows so I just had a mess around with the paint I had to hand which happened to be a really pale lilac that Mark is was using recently.

cheap wedding flowers
These have so many uses

I tried using the hairdryer on one but be warned it can get kind of messy blowing paint around so make sure you aren’t doing it while sitting on your brown leather sofa. No photo as I didn’t want evidence of paint splashed everywhere, because I was doing it in the living room… while watching an old episode of House. It also changed the shape of the flower and exposed some bits that weren’t covered in paint so I gave it up as a bad job and left them to dry naturally.

porcelain roses
I love the different shapes they took

It took about 2 days for the paint to properly dry, due to the amount of thick chalk paint on them. I’m serious, it was at least 2 days before I could pick them up! Perhaps I should have watered down my paint a little, but I wanted them to look a bit ‘thick’,  like they were actually made of porcelain.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

Not to bad for a first attempt I thought and I imagine they would look better with slightly better flowers to begin with. And I really have to get around to fixing up that little brown jug some day soon!

See the full tutorial and to see how Anne puts her finished  faux porcelain flowers to a great use pop over to White Lace Cottage for a look.

Painting-Silk-Roses-with-chalk-paint-porcelain-effect-17-of-57
White Lace Cottage Original Tutorial

Now I really must get on, I’m supposed to be setting up an” etsy vs ebay” experiment and decorating my stairway today!

Speak soon,

Nikki x

 

Before | After: Demilune Sideboard

I fell onto this blog post accidently while trawling for something else, but I’m so glad I did! I always feel like a bit of a cheat just showing you someone else’s blog but I figure that if you like mine, then you might like blogs I like!

To paint or not to paint? Or The Christmas Window Display

I am having a MAJOR meltdown over this project. Mark asked me to help design the Christmas window for the shop – a great honour as he can be a little ‘precious’ about the shop as I don’t work there anymore. (Don’t get me wrong, I have input but I don’t physically stand in the shop all day)

Anyway… The town’s ‘theme’ for windows this year is ‘PEACE’, and straight away I knew what I wanted to do…

I wanted a beautiful little townscape made from paper to frame the window. It would have looked a bit like this…

Found on http://meinegruenewiese.blogspot.ch/ via Pinterest!

… but I’m told there may be a problem with condensation as it gets colder here in the run up to Christmas. Okay, I put that idea on hold and move onto the main display.

We are lucky to have a full height window in the shop, but it isn’t huge, and anything we put into a display is actually eating into shop floor space so it’s a bit of a balancing act. I close my eyes and think of ‘PEACE’… but that just conjures up images of tropical beaches and the sea lapping at my toes! So we pull out the old whiteboard and start brainstorming.

Eventually it hits me. Peace is quiet, uncluttered, tranquil, restful… no wonder it took me so long to come up with the idea – these things are all completely alien to my life right now! My vision for the window display is finally taking shape.

I want everything white. The walls, the backdrop, the floor. Then a little wine table that has been kicking around for a while, waiting to be reloved. Then a wine glass to sit on it.  Then an adorable little candelabra Then a book. And a chair…

And BOOM there’s my problem! We have the perfect chair, it’s a tiny little rocking chair. It’s quirky and cute, pretty and functional.  We’ve had it for a few months in the shop, always being passed over for another piece.

IMGP1015 (2)

Our little rocking chair is black, with pretty little flowers hand painted onto it. There’s something really strange about the finish to it – it’s sort of ‘bumpy’ and we have no idea why. I’ve often thought it would look wonderful beside a log burner on a canal boat. Or in the corner of a bedroom. Or just about anywhere!

Canal boat chair
Perfect for a canal boat?

So Marks says ‘Paint it white then’, but neither of us reach for the brush. We took it to our house an stood it in the middle of the living-room floor. And still neither of us could start the paint job. We don’t want to keep it for ourselves but we don’t want to write it off either. What we want is for someone to love it as much as we do and to take it home with them!

We need a little chair. We’ve got the perfect little chair. We need to cover it’s quirkiness with white chalk paint to finish our window display for Christmas.  Oh why is this so difficult?

IMGP1022

I think we will end up painting it and it will be a stunning display. But it feels like we’re making the perfect roast dinner out of our pet chicken. It just doesn’t sit right for some reason.

I’ll let you know how it goes later.

Nikki x

Retro Prints… chic or kitch?

Whatever your views on the rise of the retro revolution there’s no denying that if it was ‘in’ when your mum was setting up house then it’s going to be making a comeback in the trendiest of apartments now.

We found these sweet little prints in the corner of a charity shop, buried under various other prints of days gone by. There was something about them that Mark couldn’t set down so he decided to bring them home – perhaps in the hope that he’d find a space on our walls where they’d fit just right!

Retro print
Pretty little girl from the 60’s

Unfortunately (for him) they just didn’t fit with our current  décor so they are in our showroom and available to buy! At the moment they are in their original frames with no restoration or updating.

Retro print of boy
Sweet little boy from the 60’s

Both prints bare the signature of famous 1960s English artist Dallas Simpson. They measure 7″ x 13″ including the frames.

Dallas Simpson Prints
Charming!

If you are interested in buying these sweet little prints we would like £15 for the pair, plus actual postage to your address. Email  nikki@bigredbarn.co.uk . Of course you are welcome to call into our shop in Newern St, Lydney, GL15 5RA. to check tem out first.