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, 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:
                                                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.


  1. The red shading at the top is beautiful! Great idea for the seat cover!

  2. Stopping by to say hi and thank you for visiting my blog! Your work is delightful! Soo much fun! I was meant to stop by on this day and read this post! Your closing words were exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you!!! ~Angela~

    1. Thank You Angela, I enjoyed your blog as well, very detailed explanations! The poem at the end of my blog is one of my favorites. Glad you enjoyed it.~Carolyn

  3. Carolyn!! OMG!!! I am so happy that you stopped by my blog to leave such a sweet comment! It gave me a chance to stop by your blog and I am in LOVE! I just found a chair very similar to this at a flea market. Although my chair has no seat, I loved the character it has with its carvings and wanted to do something really fun with it to put in my art studio. Your chair is AMAZING!!! I love the colors, all of the detail and your seat with those adorable cats is ... well .... it's "purrrrfect"! I am going to have fun studying how you did this chair and I will also have to check out some of your other "funky" furniture. <3 Candy

    1. Candy, You made my day! Your comment was the first I saw on the internet today. :) Let me know how your chair comes out, and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me, I love giving advice (of course it is free and you know what they say about free advice! Ha) I will continue to check out your blog for additional inspiration as well. Loved the look of your journal pages! I studied and studied them because they were so vibrant and just plain cool!! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. What a beautiful color scheme! I absolutely adore the red in the crevices and the little polkadot details. Inspiring!

    1. Thank you so much Michelle! I love polka dots too, you can kind of tell if you poke( a dot) around my blog at all :)It was a lot of fun to do, and although it didn't turn out as I had originally envisioned it, I was happy with it. I stopped by your blog and the book marks are cool!

  5. I was on a mission for "whimsy" on Pinterest and came across your work. I love your colorful, joyful pieces. Now, I was looking for inspiration for an old dresser for a craft studio and now I want to try painting everything in the house Funky. MAny blessing s for the New Year!

    1. Mardi, Thanks so much for the feedback! I love funky too, as you can tell. It is hard not to paint anything standing still-keeps the hubby hopping! I would be so interested in what you come up with for your old dresser in your craft studio. Sent me a picture!