Salvaged Beauty

I picked up the homeliest little table on the curb one day.

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I contemplated leaving it right there in the rain but finally decided to bring it home.

All it needed was a little bit of love.

Love in this case meant gluing, clamping, removing random staples on the top’s underside and sanding.

My intention was to paint the whole thing after sanding but once I got the top layers off, this table showed me her true beauty.

I ditched my original plan and stained the top in walnut.

And I’m so glad that I did.

 

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Table top after staining in walnut

Look at how that grain pops!

I wanted this table to be a really cool, funky and original accent table so I chose nocturne, a lovely shade of blue.

And it goes brilliantly with the walnut top. Together they bring out the decorative brass detailing that blended in too well before this transformation.

I finished it off with a dark finishing wax to bring out the grain even more.

As is the case in so many pieces I’ve worked on, I wish I had the room for it in my house. She’s a real beauty.

Before & After

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“Don’t judge a book by its cover” – George Eliot

This piece is currently for sale.

 

 

The Green Bin’s Market Debut!

I’m incredibly pleased to announce that The Green Bin is making its debut as a vendor at the Metcalfe Spring Market!

Come and join us on April 16th from 9am-2 pm just 20 minutes south of Ottawa at the Greely Legion, 8021 Mitch Owens Road.

I’ve been working on some really cool items for the home, including vintage jewelry boxes, rustic growth charts and a collection of white shabby chic pieces that I’ve fallen in love with.

Come on out and support local producers, artists and growers!

Hope to see you there,

Jill

http://metcalfefm.com/

Mossy Obsession

Moss green is my latest colour obsession.

I’m not sure if I’m already anticipating spring, which is not a good sign because it’s mid-January in Canada, or simply just in love with this colour.

Either way, I just want to paint everything in various shades of this lovely green.

So I am.

I was attracted to this vintage dresser because of its waterfall front, detailed wood carving and lovely handles.


 I knew it would be amazing in moss. I wasn’t wrong.

To keep interest in the piece and add depth to the colour, I distressed it with sand paper then I very, very, very lightly painted what I purposely over-sanded.

But I did run into a problem: I have no room for it in my house!

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Jewelry Box Makeover

I found this very dated jewelry box at a second hand store in the summer and bought it with the intention of giving it a makeover and gifting it to my three year old for Christmas.


Naturally, I didn’t hide if very well and she found it (more than once). Every time she played with it, she told me how much she liked it. It was destined to be a hit.

I thought about reconstructing it to really make it unique but reason won. She’s three and a half and her little sister’s current nickname is “The Destroyer”.

I’ll be happy if the jewelry box makes it through to the end of January.

They will eventually each get an heirloom box but that can wait until they can appreciate, and not tear apart, pretty things.

For those reasons, I kept this makeover simple.

Luckily the itty bitty handle pulls are quite lovely and complement the colour I chose, “sovereign”, quite well.

I used four different but equally pretty pretty crafting paper I had kicking around. I applied Modge Podge to both glue and seal the paper to the glass.



On Christmas morning, it was a hit.

She loved the box and the bracelets I hid inside.

We bonded on a busy Christmas morning when I explained that was a special gift just for me to her. She understood.

Every time someone comes over, she brings them to show them her “special” jewelry box.

Awwww.

This was such a fun project to work on that I can’t wait to work on more custom jewelry boxes.

 

Toile-d

I picked up this chest of drawers at a mid-summer garage sale.

Finally in the fall, I painted it antique white.


And it sat for another few weeks.

All the while, I attempted to remove the green dragon – a thick green velvety material stuck to the inside of the drawer with an industrial strength adhesive.

I had to get it off. I used scrappers, scissors, adhesive removers, pliers, box cutters and straight razors. They all helped chip away at the green dragon but nothing was very effective.

I took out my orbital sander and sanded some of it off. Green bits went flying everywhere. It was joyous.

Yet, the green dragon still remained.

It was a shell of its former self, but it was still torturing that drawer.

And I just couldn’t get it off.

This dragon had to be slayed and the white paint needed a lift.

Where was inspiration when I needed her?

Well, wouldn’t you know, she was hiding in my fabric stash.

Luckily I’m a bit of a fabric hoarder and I happen to have two yards of a lovely blue and white toile de Jouy, the classic French textile.


It inspired me to refinish this piece in two tones. I kept the drawers antique white but repainted the rest of the body in intellectual gray.

Antique and intellectual. They complement each other nicely.

What I love about this piece is it’s history. It’s got bumps and bruises that make me wonder where it’s been and how it found its way to me. I did some minor repairs but left the character building flaws intact.

I applied some distressing techniques to give it an aged French provincial mood.

As for the dragon, well, I had no fight left so I decide to take the high road: I painted it.

Then I cut my beautiful toile and modge podged it the drawer. (I made sure to use something that is easy to remove.)


Before & After

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Bye bye green dragon, hello French beauty.

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Look at those curves! She’s stunning indeed.

Where would you put her if she lived at your house?

 

Ceramic and Iron Inspiration

I was in a barn full of treasures when I spotted the ornate iron and ceramic handle pulls of this dresser.

There was so much potential that I just had to breathe new life into this gorgeous piece.

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I couldn’t wait to get started. Once I got it home, I did the airing-out/removing-of-cobwebs/getting-to-know-the-piece process almost immediately.

I wanted a custom shade of gray or blue so I started playing around with mixing paint. There’s something zen about taking a bit of this and a touch of that to make a colour stand on its head.

And that’s what happened here.

With a little black, a touch of gray and a smudge of white, I created this light shade of blue/gray that adds a whim of feminine that I wasn’t expecting.

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The next colour I mixed was a deep, deep navy. I used it for the top and interior of the cabinet.

As it turns out, it is the strong yang to the soft yin of the blue/gray. The balance and contrast between these two shades of blue is striking.

Another feature I love are the indentations on the top of the dresser. They add so much charm.

IMG_0253It really came together after the whole piece was distressed to give it the living-in-a-barn-look.

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I came across a pretty navy and white quatrefoil paper at a craft store. It now lines the drawers and lends added touch of masculinity.

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I really love this piece. It’s feminine, masculine, bold, soft, strong and sweet.

We thought it might be perfect in our home so we brought it in for a couple of weeks. Sadly, it just doesn’t work with the shades of blue and beige in our living room. I think I’ll regret the decision to sell it but I’m sure it’ll find its forever home soon and be loved again. How could it not…look at these stunning handle pulls!

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Here are the before and after shots.

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Thanks for coming by and checking it out! Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Jill

Not your grandma’s telephone tables

My neighbour was out walking with her dog one day when she noticed a pile of furniture at the end of a driveway with a “free” sign on it.

The next thing I know, she and her son have helped me fill my garage with a 7 drawer solid wood dresser with detachable mirror, two vintage telephone tables and a magazine rack. All solid wood. All gorgeous. All filled with so much potential.
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I was compelled to work on these tables first since they were a decorating staple when I was young. I couldn’t resist thinking of every home I’d been in the late 70’s and 80’s (and maybe even into the 90’s). Everyone had these. Hello nostalgia!

It’s a shame you don’t see them much anymore because these tables are vintage cool. They just need a little bit of work to shake off the floral couch and dust skirt vibe.

The table tops were so gorgeous once I got the original finish off that I contemplated turning them into charcuterie boards for Christmas presents.

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I painted the legs, leg joiners and spindles in antique white and distressed them for the the shabby chic look.

IMG_9683There’s something unnerving about taking perfectly painted furniture pieces and distressing them with sandpaper. After a glass of red wine though, I really get into it.

Before reassembling, I sealed the pieces with finishing wax and gave them all a good buffing.

I have mad love for how these turned out.


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Although home telephone lines are out of vogue, these tables are the perfect spot for a vintage rotary phone and a pretty notepad. But please, let’s leave the floral couches in the 70’s.

Little Victorian

I picked up this little beauty at a garage sale. I love the shape and detailing but it needed a little bit more loving.

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So my helper put herself to work sanding.

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It got a couple fresh coats of antique white chalk paint before I discovered a small peeling issue on one of the drawers that quickly turned into a major peeling issue.

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Luckily the problem was only on the inside detailing of the drawers so rather than strip the drawers and start anew, I thought I’d finally get to do something fun and creative with some pretty white and silver paper I bought a while back.

The paper was way too bright to look good with the antique white paint – kind of like using white out on a piece of paper from the turn of the century. Hmm..not a match.

All the paper needed was to be aged a touch. I added hot water to the leftover coffee grains in my French press and soaked the paper for a few minutes. After drying in the hot sun for just a few minutes, the paper was dry and the bright white and silver paper was perfectly muted.

The handles I had spray painted earlier were then far too bright to match the aged paper. I rubbed in a little dark creme wax on them and got the look I wanted.

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I added a little bit of creme wax to the flowers on the bottom of the nightstand to draw out the details.

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The trickiest part was custom cutting the aged paper to fit perfectly on the drawers. A little patience and a little utility knife did the trick. I used antique glue to age the paper just a little bit more.

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This piece has a muted Victorian vibe that I love.

Before & After

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The Jana Project

Jana and I met when we taught at the same school in Seoul, South Korea. We lived the ex-pat life  — nights spent at the bar, days spent teaching ESL to kids who didn’t want to learn English, weekend trips around the country to escape the busy city life and trips to Thai beaches. There was even a trip to visit her in her native Texas between teaching gigs.

We didn’t see each other again after I finally made my way home for good in 2006 but we kept in touch over the years.

When I found out that she died two months ago at the age of 44, I was gutted. I cried for days.

There was no outlet for my grief. The memorial service was more than 2,000 kilometres away and all of our mutual friends are scattered around the world. I struggled to find even a sliver of closure.

Despite finding solace and joy in my children, taking the time to grieve is nearly impossible with two little ones in constant need of food and/or attention.

A couple of weeks after she died, I went to get something in the garage and ended up finding the solitude and space I needed to grieve. I had found my outlet in an old, nearly forgotten, cabinet in the garage.

I had been wanting to refinish it for a while but I could never quite decide what I wanted to do with it. So it sat and collected dust, waiting for inspiration to hit.

And it finally did.

I headed straight to the hardware store and bought aqua paint.

The cabinet would be a bright blue, like Jana’s striking eyes that everyone noticed and loved.

The evenings I spent sanding, painting and sealing were therapeutic beyond compare. I laughed, cried, smiled and reminisced. I listened to music we shared and songs I knew she loved.

It was one of the most cathartic experiences I’ve ever had.

Before
After

With it’s new (and oh so very blue) paint and new knobs, this little cabinet is the pop of colour my entrance needed.

It’s not the same blue as her eyes but I think of her every time I look at it.

I love how this project helped me grieve. I also love how this cabinet turned out. And I love that a new hobby, blog topic and income grew out of my grief. But more on that soon.

This one is for you, JanaBanana. The world lost laughter when you left.

Be well and take care of each other,

Jill