Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fun Bookcase


So, does anyone out there have a plain brown bookcase like this?This isn't the actual bookcase, but you all recognize the basic concept.  I had a brown book case that looked kinda like this, and I made it into ...
this! I was tired of the boringness  (is that a word?..my spell checker says no..) of it, and started painting. 

I put striped legs on it, painted the sides fun, the middle black and white for a touch of contrast.. and of course doodled a lot on the sides and top!

A heart on one side, and a sun with funky flowers on the other side. 

I know..it has no legs here! This was pre-legs!  
I like how it turned out. It is another one of those projects that I thought would be great in that color, but after I had painted it all, I was kinda tired of the green so I just covered a bunch of it up with art, and I like it much better. This has already found a home in Iowa, with a lady that has a many pieces of my painted furniture. I have never seen her house, but I bet it makes you smile when you see it!


Hope you are having a great weekend, it is supposed to turn colder again tomorrow and maybe even snow here~~ but I have faith that the warm weather will prevail! Ta ta for now, and keep thinking Spring!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fun Storage Cabinet


Hi everybody, Think Spring!!! I am so ready for some warm weather and this week looks like it is going to be very promising! Supposed to be up in the 60's according to my weather source. 
I have been working on a fun project, it was originally a trash bin, that you could hide your trash can in. I just saw it as a fun storage cabinet from the very first. 
Sorry I couldn't find the "before" pictures. I always like to post them so that you can envision what things around your house could look like. And, you know, you don't have to get all fancy like I do on my pieces, just prepare them the way I tell you in some of my earlier posts,(sanding and priming them) and put a coat of paint on them. It gives them a whole new look! This is the first side of the cabinet. I actually had done the background months ago. I was trying a new look....and I didn't care for it, but it took me so long to do all the little checks and shading that I didn't have the desire to cover it up just yet... And am I glad I didn't! I painted these flowers on, thinking I would just gift it to some child, and I started loving it! The original painting worked great as a background, just not as THE focal point. 





Then I got to work on the other side. (I didn't like the other side either, but again,  it made a great back ground for my detail work!) It was close to Valentine's Day, so I went with hearts and of course a daisy, because daisies are my favorite flower. 





 It's was starting to take shape, .


 I love doing big funky hearts so I continued with one on the door, adding some whimsical curly cues ......and of course, polka dots!


I like how the hearts repeat on the side and door. I will admit, I was stumped for a while, trying to decide what to do on the door. I like the way it is turning out at this point.
A close up of the heart on the door.

The inside, as it is displayed at the gallery, with one of my desk art piece on the shelf. Originally, it had no shelf in it, but I thought it needed one if someone was going to use it for storage. Can you believe it, I even got the shelf straight!
A little trim work on the underside of the lid,  and it ties in with the door when it is open.


And there you have it. What do you think? Have you seen one of these at a garage sale and passed it by? Are you going to pass it by again??? This would look great in a kitchen, or bathroom for extra storage and as a focal point.  Take a look around your house and see if you can come up with something that a coat of paint would turn into a fun piece. Just about time to be hitting those garage sales again with spring here. Maybe I will get lucky again! Ta ta for now, take a risk and redo one of your old pieces of furniture. It's just paint, and if you make a mistake, you can always just paint it all one color and it will look good too! Remember Eleanor Roosevelt's words, "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." So dust those paint brushes off and get busy! I would love to hear what you are thinking of painting.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

December gallery display

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, and my dear you're so delightful, and tho' we've got no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Sounds like they are sure getting it in the Northeast now. We just have enough to cover the ground, so we have been lucky in that respect. I know I am late posting this, but I was in Charleston, SC visiting my daughter and her family. I had a wonderful time. They have 5 dogs..no , it's not a typo! 5 Dogs, and yes they are allowed in the house. So I made this sign for them out of old barn wood from my sister' barn, and took it to them in a huge old  brown suit case. They loved it!

I might add that if you would like a sign like this, I am taking orders. They are made out of old barn wood, approximately 15" X 24", can be made in the colors you want. Each sign is hand made so there will be little variances in the wood (and you can customize them if the size isn't perfect for your spot- or you have cats, or you have one dog..you get the picture!) $69. Just email me at csoconnor1@gmail.com







Now back to my post I started in December but didn't get finished.

I have several projects I still would like to complete, but of course I always think I can get a weeks worth of work done each day, when I plan my time out in my mind..I have been doing this for years and you would think I would be able to gauge it better!
I was at the gallery and this is part of my display for the month. I snagged such a great spot, and had fun things to display.


I finished some clocks for the Christamas display, and you can see a couple of them in the back ground. 


                                     

These  clocks are such fun to work on. I find them at the used furniture store, thrift store and sometimes at garage sales. They are always stained brown when I get them, with some domestic picture in the bottom picture frame, like a spinning wheel, or maybe a fireplace with a teddy bear. So, of course...



                                         
I take the picture out and make a pendulum out of wire and beads. It is not a working pendulum, but just a pretty bright fun thing to look at.




Here are some more shots of the gallery display.


                                                   

                                                   

                                                     


These are some little desk art wooden blocks that I paint a saying onto, and then embellish it with color. They seem to go over real well and they are at a good price point too.

                                                   


And, one final shot of my display. Hope you had a great end of the year, I am off to gallery tomorrow to change my display.


I hope you have a wonderful, artful  New Year this coming year, If you have any questions about painting on wood, give me a holler, I am always glad to help. My email is csoconnor1@gmail.com  Catch you later, Carolyn.




Saturday, October 26, 2013

Playful Kitten Chair

Happy  Fall!  The trees are turning and dropping their leaves, and there is a crispness in the air that makes me miss going to my son's high school football games.  I still have some outdoor work to get done before old man winter dumps snow on us. I try to get a lot of my sanding of furniture done before it gets too cold, because I do that in the garage and it is not heated. Are you trying to get some of your projects done before the first cold snap?  

What do you think of this little beauty? I had this in my garage for way too long, because I didn't quite know how I was going to get it sanded down enough to make the paint stick. There were so many details on it, and the finish was all cracked and flaking.



Ever wonder what something looked like when I first started it? Here it is in all it's shining glory. This was for a client of mine, and had belonged to her husband's uncle, so it had sentimental value. It was all flaking and powdery when I got it. I used a wire brush to get most of the flakes out of all the crevices.




You can see there were a LOT of crevices!  Still it had beautiful lines, and I knew it could be something special. The seat was really bad.  Judy said " just paint over it, because I don't know what else you can do to it when the wood is so cracked and raised like it is". Of course my mind was already turning on possibilities to cover up seat. 


The legs just chipped off when I tried to sand them, so I got most of the loose finish off with my wire brush and started sanding by hand. Man, it was looking pretty sad, and I actually put it away for a long time before tackling it again. (yes, chicken is a word that comes to mind) I am always afraid I will do it wrong when it is a commission piece! When I do pieces and then just sell them, I don't have to worry about the process I go through to get to the finished product.  I might change my mind mid project and come out with a completely different piece than I first had in mind, because I don't have to please every one...just the one person that can't live without it... .but on a commission piece, you have only one person to please to start with, and that is the only chance you get to please someone. Does that make sense?I have yet to have a dissatisfied customer that I know of, but it always makes me nervous. (Yes I know...I always tell you it is  JUST PAINT, and you can do it over if you don't like it! LOL)







I started with the base coat, and I used chalk paint because I thought I would distress it  some. (I didn't in the end but I still like the soft look . ) Chalk paint seems to come in earthy soft colors that blend with just about everything. The Chalk paint is designed for painting furniture and distressing it. It also sticks without primer and I wanted something that would bond good and be a little thicker paint for this piece. 

First I did a green base.




Next I did the light turquoise accents



  Then did a very light brushing of the red in the crevices. After I do the shading in the crevices (like the red in this picture) I usually have to go back over the piece several time with the other colors until I get just the right contrast that I want. ...For instance, I put more green back into the detail so that so much red didn't show, or  have a distinct line where the red ended. Same goes for the turquoise. 

Next came the details, and of course this is where the I just get lost with my little polka dots and stripes. :) When you are doing a piece, try to tie the colors together so that when the eye sweeps over the whole piece you catch colors on the way down that repeat. Like the red for instance. I have it as accent on top, then the spindles are more solid, then just in accents on the bottom rungs. 






?????????????????????????
Translated: What the heck am I going to do with that seat????


Even with paint on it, the seat is very rough. The top layer would crack and probably give you a splinter eventually (OUCH!), so I had an idea.


 I have canvas that is heavier and preprimed , I use it for floor cloths so it is very durable. 
So I painted this picture on it. (I knew that they loved cats)


Cut it and a piece of batting  to the size I wanted. (Cut the batting about 1/2 inch smaller than the canvas. ) To make the painting  fit, I first did a pattern out of paper, folded in half so that it would be identical in shape on each side. I then centered the pattern over the painting, placed the batting underneath,



Tacked it down with upholstery tacks, and no splinters today!






 
Previously before I tacked the painting down, I put 4 coats of polyacrylic on the chair, I also put 3 coats of flexible artist varnish on the  painting before I cut it out. This will allow clean up with a damp cloth without damaging the painting.

 
Do you have an old chair sitting around just waiting for you to breathe new life into it? It doesn't have to be fancy, just a solid color changes the look  so much. I am going to paint some kitchen chairs for my kitchen is solid sherbet colors.  I haven't decided on the table top yet but when I do, I am sure you will see it here!
 
I hope you are having a wonderful life, and if you are not....what can you do to change it? This is it, there are no dress rehearsals, we don't get to have a "do over".  My email is csoconnor1@gmail.com, if anyone is having problems that seem too great for them, please feel free to contact me. Sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger than it is to someone you know. Not saying I can fix anything, but I have been accused of being a good listener. Until next time,  take care, Carolyn
 
I want to leave you with this:
 
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
                                                This is the beginning of a new day.
                                                God has given me this day to use as I will.
                                                 I can waste it or use it for good.
 
                                               What I do today is important,
                                               Because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
                                               When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, 
                                               leaving in it's place something that I have traded for it.
 
                                               I want it to be gain, not loss;
                                              good, not evil;
                                              success, not failure;
                                              so that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Alaska art



I'm back from my Alaskan trip, and it is bittersweet. Of course I am happy to be home but I also miss the pitterpatter of little feet from my grand children. It was such a fun time and I am lucky I was able to spend as much time with them as I did. I was gone 7 weeks. That is a long time. I missed my studio!
I did have a chance to do some art while I was there, and do some art with the kids. First I am posting one of favorite projects and one of my first projects when I started painting furniture.



This is a bench my son made and then I painted it about 8 years ago. I don't know if I even used primer on it. I used craft paints, Deco, Folkart, and Americana probably. I did put 3 coats of poly on it and I am amazed at how well it has held up. It takes a lot of abuse and still looks great.







I used a gold paint pen to outline the backgrounds....probably because I had one! Sometimes I just want to use a special pen or a color, luckily it looked OK in this case...





Below is a canvas door hanger. I just took a piece of primed canvas, you can get at an art store. Mine was on a roll that I bought to make a floorcloth with.  If it is not primed, you will need to tack it down to a board and then prime it. It will buckle up if you don't tack it down. This actually stayed nice and flat since it was already primed, and I just used craft paints, because that is all I had up in Alaska!  I use craft paints a lot on canvas here in my studio also, but I like to use my artist paints along with them (acrylics) because they are so much more brilliant and saturated with color which really brightens the picture up. You can't see it in the picture, but I have folded the top over and made a little sleeve which I slipped a dowel into.

The round dowel can be found at pretty much any home improvement store. I then tied a narrow ribbon from end to end on the dowel and that is what it hangs on.





 I will post more soon of a couple of other projects I completed while I was there. Thanks for visiting my blog and I welcome any comments or questions. If you want to receive an email alert when I post something new, sign up for the email notification on the right side of the blog. 
 Remember,  "Every day is a canvas, paint your life with bold and brilliant colors."
  Ta ta for now.Carolyn