Monday, August 10, 2020

My First "Snowball" Quilt...

A friend recently told me that this is called a "Snowball" pattern. I've told you before, and it's the truth, I'm a sewer not a quilter. My quilts are so easy compared to some I see on the internet, but I like them that way because I love to showcase the prints on the fabric, not the design of the quilt, or that's what I tell myself. I don't think I have the patience for intricately patterned quilts, so I prefer simple patterns...

 
I saw this pattern on Facebook and sized it to what I needed to use a 10" fabric layer cake with an airplane theme that I'd bought a few years ago. Then, I took some different cream colored fabrics that I had on hand for the 4" square corners. Two inch sashing made up the rest of the quilt. 
 

 
My longarm quilter used a puffy "cloud" pattern for the quilting on this one. I love the aeronautical theme. My hubs is a private pilot, so it's a nod to him. 

  Wishing you a wonderful week with blue skies and sunshine!

Scrappy Woodland Quilt...

Last Christmas we had a houseful of children and grandkids and one thing I noticed was that each one wanted a quilt to wrap up in when they were watching TV or relaxing. These particular family members lived in Florida and California, and they were not used to a northeastern winter. So, I decided to make a few more quilts for our house, so there would be more to pass around when we have company. This is one of the quilts I made to augment my supply. 

I adore this pattern of simple half-square triangles arranged in a chevron-ish pattern. I also love the woodland fabric in this quilt. I've made a number of quilts with woodland themes these last few years, and I had just enough to make this quilt from scraps I had left over from all of those quilts.

You all probably know by now that my favorite color combination is blue and coral, so this quilt with the orange and blue border makes my heart sing.

I chose a woodland paw print for the quilting on this blanket... so cute with bear, racoon, and other prints clearly visibly in the quilting.

And, I had plenty of fabric left over for the strip on the back of the quilt. All said and done, this little quilt is one of my favorite themes with some of my favorite fabrics!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Master Bath Curtain...

Today I made a very simple curtain for my master bathroom. I couldn't find any ready-made curtains that I liked, so I turned to my sewing machine once again. What would I do without her? Our bathroom window has privacy glass, so I didn't need a heavy curtain. I wanted something that would add a little more privacy, but still let the light come shining through!


I couldn't find a curtain in the right size, so I decided to make one and as usual I went to Target/World Market rather than a fabric store. You might remember that I like to make curtains from nontraditional sources, like dishtowels from World Market...


This time I found a really cute shower curtain at Target...


I love the embroidered border and the tassels at the bottom of this shower curtain. I cut it the size I needed, added a curtain rod and attached some curtain clip rings and was finished. It took about a half an hour from start to finish.


I love that these curtains let the light shine through, but add another layer of privacy...


Plus, those tassels make my heart sing...


Have a nice week!


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 5}


This is the final blog post about our Oak Pedestal Game Table refinish. This has been such a great project. If you'd like to read the previous posts, just click on:
&


We finished the table last week by anchoring the top to the bottom (screws), placing the new area rug, and by assembling the chairs. I'd found these chairs on Target.com a while back and loved them, but when I visited my daughter's home a couple of months ago, she had the the bar stool version of the chairs and seeing them in person sealed the deal. I also made a centerpiece to add a little color when we're not using it...


I love how the chairs play off the table -- both with caramel/chocolate tops and black bases. Plus I like mixing the traditional style table with the mid-century style chairs. It makes for a fun combination...

I chose an 8'x10' Amazon rug for the space. I have this same rug in a smaller size in the TV area of the loft (see top in photo). I tried another rug first, but it competed with the one I already had too much, so I settled on this one.


Once again I love the top of this table. The quarter sawn wood is absolutely beautiful. The striations are so unusual. It's what makes this table unique.


From the top of the table to the bottom -- the casters -- it's beautiful! And... need I remind you, we bought it for $50. I probably spent at least $50 on supplies to refinish it, but now that I have those supplies I can use them on multiple projects.



When we first moved into our house we wondered what we could do with this space. It's a large loft with railings on either side {no "walls"}, so it's kind of unique. We thought about a grand piano, except we don't play the piano. {That idea was short lived.} Then I thought of a game table. We loved the idea of having a designated space for games -- rather than a dining table. I scoured all the furniture stores nearby to no avail. Most of the tables were expensive and poorly made. That's when I went to Facebook Marketplace and found this beauty after about 5 days of searching! I fell in love immediately.


We initiated the table last Saturday night with a few games of Kings in the Corner. It was a big success!


Wishing you a wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 4}


Part 4 of our table refinish demonstrates how I refinished the base of our pedestal table. You will remember that when we bought the table it looked like this...


It definitely had a yellow tinge to it. It was not very attractive, but it had a ton of potential and the price {$50} was just right.

In earlier posts I demonstrated the stripping process (Part 1), the staining process (Part 2), and the finishing process of the table top (Part 3).  In this post I will show how I refinished the base or pedestal of the table.

I decided early on that I wanted to paint the bottom of the table. I love the look of two-toned furniture items, so this seemed like a given. Plus, stripping a flat surface is relatively easy, but stripping a curved surface {the rounded pedestal} is harder. I like easy. I chose the color black for the base, but I considered white, off-white, or gray. Any of those would have been lovely.

It's much easier painting an item rather than stripping an item and re-staining it. One doesn't have to go through the stripping process if you are going to use paint. I lightly sanded the bottom of the table with an orbital sander and by hand and that was it. The object of the sanding is to rough up the surface a smidge so the paint will adhere nicely. I didn't use wood filler in any of the scratch marks or imperfections because I love those. It shows the table had a life before us and was well-loved. I bought a black satin spray paint with a primer built-in. Make sure you use a paint with a primer. A primer will seal the original material so the paint doesn't soak into it, requiring extra coats. Another tip -- buy a Spray Can Grip Accessory. It is so much easier to get a nice, even spray with one of these.  Your furniture will look much more like it was professionally painted!


Also, if you want a nice drip free project, spray on several light coats, rather than heavy coats, thus avoiding running or dripping paint. Do you see the image below? The arrow points to a spot that was not fully covered by the first coat of paint. That's a good thing. Several light coats will give you a much better result than one heavy one.


Here is the base of the table after three coats of black primer and paint. This was right after I painted it so it looks a little glossy.


I used a coat of Varathane Clear Satin Oil-Based Spar Urethane Spray to finish it. This particular urethane is self leveling and gave the base a gorgeous satin finish. Plus, it's hard as nails.

When that was completed all we did was screw on the casters. My heart did a pitter-patter when we added these. So beautiful...



We haven't actually screwed the top of the table to the base yet, and the rug that will be placed beneath it hasn't arrived, but here's a sneak peak at the finished project. Oh... I also have to assemble the chairs, so there will be be a Part 5 to this adventure in the near future, until then...




Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 3}


When I last posted I had added the first of three coats of satin Spar Urethane {I use oil based} on the top of the oak pedestal game table I am refinishing.


I let that first coat dry for 24 hours, then lightly sanded the top by hand with 220 sanding paper, wiped off the table with a wet wipe, let it dry thoroughly, and added another coat of urethane. I use a brush when I apply urethane. A roller will leave little bubbles. Urethane is self-leveling so brush strokes will flatten as it dries. I went through that process one more time of adding urethane -- for a total of three coats -- before I decided the top coat was about as good as it could get. Then I used some grade 0000 steel wool and lightly "sanded" it. This will take off dust particles and leave your table top looking and feeling smooth to the touch...



Finally, I added one more step that I've never done before. I cut out a round piece of  terry cloth from an old towel and placed it under my orbital sander. Then I buffed up the table to a beautiful shine. I use a satin finish in the urethane which leaves you with a soft sheen. So pretty!



I also prepared the base of the table over the weekend by lightly sanding it. I'm going to spray paint the pedestal with a black satin primer and paint in one. You just need to rough up the surface of the item enough that the paint will adhere easily. I like using spray paint on furniture. It gets into nooks and crannies and doesn't leave brush strokes. Plus, it's so much faster! The only thing you need to worry about is putting on several light coats, rather than heavy coats, so the spray paint doesn't run.

I'd found early on that one of the casters the table rests on kept coming out. When I turned the table over to examine the casters, this is what I found...


In the first place those are so grungy they make me shiver, but, aside from that, not one of these casters matched! No wonder the table was a little wobbly. I bought four of these new "antique" casters. Hopefully, these will give us a level table...

I plan on painting the base pedestal in the next couple of days. I'm so excited to get this table finished and placed in our loft, so I can start beating my husband at Uno. {Rarely, if ever, happens.}

Wishing you a sun-filled week...

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 2}


See Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 1}

This post is for the novice furniture refinisher and it's about putting perfectionism aside when working with wood. When I sew I am careful to precisely line up seams and sew with precision in order to make a project look more “professional," however, I have to remind myself when I’m working with wood that it is a “living” product and to appreciate its not-so-perfect nature. Because wood is a porous, fibrous, organic material, it is filled with imperfections and unique characteristics. It's those unique characteristics that make wood beautiful. Sometimes I have to remember this when refinishing a piece of furniture. In all of the furniture I've refinished no two pieces have reacted the same way to the refinishing process. You can look at it as frustrating or a challenge depending on your outlook. Here's an example of the table I'm currently working on...


 Do you see in the photo above those little arrows pointing to the lighter wood grain lines going across the tabletop? Also...


...in the photo above the tabletop took the stain darker in the area where the arrows are pointing.  These differences could be because you applied the stain unevenly, but I'm very careful about the process of applying stain these days because I had a disastrous fail once when I wasn't so careful. (Go here for that post.) When the urethane is applied the differences are made even more obvious. Sometimes when I see things like this -- especially the difference in stain -- it irks the perfectionist in me, but I've learned to let it go. You'll never notice it once the furniture is situated in your home. 

This tabletop is so different than any other wood I've worked with. It might be the quarter sawn wood. In any case this is the craziness that was revealed in the wood when I put the first coat of urethane on it...








I might add that the wood looks a little rough, but I had sanded it down to smooth perfection before applying the gel stain! It's just a crazy wood with tons of character. I'm using a satin spar urethane to finish the tabletop. In the picture it's still wet, which is why it is so glossy. 

Anyway, the moral of this post is to embrace the imperfections in the furniture you acquire to refinish. And while you're at it, you might want to embrace your own imperfections and the imperfections in others. Your life will be happier for it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Refinishing an Oak Pedestal Game Table... {Part 1}

Last year around this time I was on a quest to find a pedestal table to use as a game table in our loft.  I wanted a round table about 45 inches wide. I looked at new tables, but I was more interested in an antique solid oak table. I love these tables. In my mind they are so much prettier and made so much better than many of the tables they make these days. I was in the habit of looking on Facebook Marketplace every day to see if one would come on the market. Here's the table I finally ended up buying...

(Picture source: Seller)

This table was everything I wanted. Solid oak. Beautiful craftsmanship. Forty-two inches wide and in as good a condition as an old table could be. The best part is this table cost only $50. Fifty! I had been looking at tables that were anywhere from $1000 (veneer) on up (solid wood), so this was a find of monumental proportions. So happy! I don't have any idea how old this table is, but the base of the table is very different than many pedestal tables. Usually the pedestals are curved. This one has very straight lines and looks a little art deco (1925 to 1940) to me. Any ideas about how old this table might be?

Well, yesterday I finally got around to starting the refinishing of this beautiful piece. The tabletop was in very good condition, but it had a light honey oak finish. I wanted something darker. I used Zep All-Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser to clean the surface of the table before painting on the Citristrip to strip off the stain and varnish. The surface of this table didn't strip off as easily as other tables I've refinished. It took two applications of Citristrip and a lot of sanding to get it down to the natural wood. After stripping the wood I used Klean Strip Paint Stripper After Wash to clean off all traces of the stripper. All of these products can be found at Home Depot or Lowe's. Here's a photo of the table with the first Citristrip application...


The Paint Stripper After Wash leaves the piece a little wet, so I let it dry overnight and put it outside in the sun this morning to make sure it was totally dry before I started sanding...


Later, I used a little elbow grease and sanded the surface with my orbital sander. I used 120 and 220 grit sanding paper. Once it was sanded and cleaned again, its beautiful character started to shine through! I noticed, of course, the different striations on the wood. I did a little research and found this wood was quarter sawn. 


I'm used to seeing plain sawn wood which creates a "cathedral" pattern in the grain. (The grain starts and travels up to a peak and down again.) Quarter sawn gets its name from the fact the log is cut into quarters. "This cut features annual growth rings at a 60 to 90 degree angle. This creates a visually appealing, somewhat tight vertical grain pattern, often with dramatic flecking." It was fun to learn something new...


 (Source: Schenck and Company)

This afternoon I applied some Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory to the piece. It's beautiful! Here is half with the gel stain and the other half unfinished. I love how the darker stain makes the grain of the wood more obvious...



I absolutely love this dark brown hickory color on oak. I used this same color for my dining room table when I refinished it, and we've loved it. Tomorrow I will finish the top of the table by applying a couple/few coats of Spar Urethane. I plan on painting the bottom of the table, so you'll have to come back to see that process.

Wishing you a wonderful day!