Sunday, June 29, 2014

My First Chalk Painted Table

Yesterday, hot and muggy as it was, I chalk painted the table found last month at an estate sale.  I'd never chalk painted anything before, but armed with a brainful of YouTube and blog tutorials, tips, and other supplies, I took the first step.

Step 1:  Enlist a buddy.  Anti-procrastination insurance!

Marie, who is an awesome friend, had never chalk painted anything before either, but she had a small table passed down from her mother-in-law that she was willing to try it on.  We went with a home-made chalk paint recipe I found online that uses satin latex paint (1 cup) with plaster of paris (~3 T.) mixed with a little water (~2 T.) added in.

I chose Glidden's Tropical Coral for my piece (not the color I'd gone to the store with the intention to buy, but that's another story).

Marie went with a Dutch Boy color called Crushed Seed.

Here are a couple of before pictures of my clover-shaped, very old table.  I'd given it a quick sanding.  Ha, ha, ha, quick!  Who am I kidding, it took as long as one would expect to hand sand a table with a lot of little knobby bits on the legs.

You're not supposed to have to sand something you chalk paint, but you have to use your discretion when it comes to that.  My table had obviously been sitting for a long time in a place inhabited by spiders and other creatures who did their business.  I think I sanded off equal parts dried poo and wood.

Marie didn't sand her table at all, just made sure it was clean.

Then we commenced to painting.  After one coat, I was loving Marie's table.  Mine, not so much.

When her first coat dried, we both decided we liked her table just as it was.  Some of the underlying finish showed through the paint, giving it just the right look.  A couple coats of wax, and she was done, lucky girl!

Since she had some of her chalk paint mixture left over, and mine was not the color I was looking for, we mixed the rest of my paint into hers, which yielded a sort of coral-y salmon color that looked just about right to me.  She helped me put the second coat on my table.  Much better!

In the evening, after it had dried a few hours, I lightly distressed the paint with some medium grit sandpaper.  It nicely revealed the underlying color, and some original wood, if I worked a little harder.  I didn't want it too distressed, though.

Then it was time to wax.  It was very warm yesterday, so my Johnson's paste wax was quite soft and could be brushed on with a large natural bristle paint brush.  Working in small sections at a time, I followed the clear wax immediately with another smaller paint brush loaded with dark wax, otherwise known as Kiwi shoe polish in black.  I then followed this a couple minutes later by swabbing over the waxed parts with a piece of cheesecloth containing more clear wax.  This works the dark wax in where you want it while removing the excess and smoothing it all out at the same time.  

Then I let the waxed table dry overnight.

I cleaned my brushes, took a shower, changed clothes, watched a movie and went to bed—and still had the smell of Johnson Wax in my head!  Not a bad thing, but definitely a little weird.  I asked Norm if he could smell it.  He said no, but said every time he waxes the car, he smells wax for the rest of the day. 

Today the wax was dry (and the phantom smell in my head was gone).  I buffed the table with an old t-shirt and a horsehair shoe brush, which worked wonders on those knobby legs!

Et voila!

The paint color was definitely deepened by the dark wax.  In the end, it's more of a rosy salmon.  I do like it.  Were I to do it again, though, I might have omitted the dark wax and just went with clear.  Overall, I'm very pleased with how it turned out, especially for a first attempt with this particular medium and technique.
 I think it will look nice in the corner of the bedroom with aqua/blue colored walls, below my paint-by-number collection!

Linking to: Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pie, Paint, and Predators

Friends, I have an update on the duck nest.  Do you want the good news first or the bad news?

I was hanging laundry on the line a few minutes ago and noted in the very damp air the distinct odor of cat pee.  We do not have a cat.

Obviously, one had been roaming the vicinity of our backyard.  My next thought was the nest of duck eggs.

Sure enough, on approaching the row of hosta where the nest is hidden, I noted this.

And this.

There were a total of three opened eggshells in the grass in front of the nest.

I have been careful not to disturb Mama Duck by peeking in on her, but my curiosity won out given the apparent calamity, and I gently parted the leaves.  She was there sitting on the nest.  She looked at me a little sleepy-eyed, but she didn't move.  That was the good news.  

I tried to take a photo after I let go of the leaves, but it didn't really work.  She's in there, though, right through the center where you (may or may not) see a little mottled brown.

I hope all is well with what may remain of the eggs.  But now I expect the cat may be back nightly prowling for more eggs.  We have a live trap.  I'm wondering if we should set it out for the cat?  I sure wouldn't want Mama Duck to be the one to venture into it for a nip of fish.  On second thought, maybe we just have to let nature take its course.

Elsewhere, with this damp weather, we have a plethora of mushrooms sprouting.

The petunias look a little waterlogged this morning.

The lilies are loving the moisture, though.  They're ready to pop.  I don't think they've bloomed, like, ever.  We had a drought a couple summers ago and I didn't water, and the rabbits ate them into oblivion last year.

The coral bells are sending up spires.

I made a pie this weekend with some of Dad's rhubarb and a pint of blueberries that were about to go soft in the fridge.  I used this recipe but substituted blueberries in lieu of the strawberries. 

Oh, my goodness.  Deliciousness!  The rhubarb looks a little dry in the photo because I didn't put a top crust on it.  They shrivel a bit in the oven but still tasted soft and tangy.

I sanded my antique table last evening in preparation for chalk painting it soon.  I've decided to paint it coral, but picking which shade of coral has proved trickier than I anticipated.

In my mind's eye, I was thinking of a particular shade that appears often in my vintage paint-by-number paintings.  No, I'm serious.

So I took a couple of them off the wall (and left a few more on the wall), and laid my samples on them.

Well, the one that seemed to match turns out to be more tan-looking to me, especially in a darker room (like most rooms in this house).  I'm leaning toward the brighter salmon color, even though it seems a little more pink in comparison.  If I use an antiquing gel or stain, it will tone that down a bit.

Or so I'm thinking, anyway.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Chevron Baby Quilt No. 1

I delivered the chevron baby quilt this morning.

This was commissioned by my friend Kathy for her grandson Max.

Kathy really liked it.  Hope Max and his mommy do too!

I used the chevron quilt tutorial at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I was so happy to be able to include some of the Pac Man fabric (Ghost Geo by Timeless Treasures), thanks to Cindy's generosity. 

The backing is a gray and white chevron print fabric.

Stripey binding finishes it off!

Linking to:

Friday, June 13, 2014


The neighbors were the bearers of interesting news this week.  Mr. Neighbor hailed me from his front stoop as I was coming home from my walk the other night.

"I think you've got a duck nesting in your hostas."

No kidding?  This was news to me. 

The funny thing is, every year I see a pair of mallards trutzing through the yard for a couple weeks in April.  The drake follows the hen wherever she feels like going.

I took a couple photos from my kitchen window when I saw them this year, but I didn't post anything because I'd done that before (here, here, here, and here).  I'd come to believe our yard was just sort of an annual honeymoon stopover for these feathered friends.

The north side of our attached garage is lined with a variety of hosta.  I tend to ignore that side of the house, gardening-ly speaking, because it's just a strip between our house and the neighbors' and nobody can really see it, anyway.  Well, except the neighbors whose south-facing windows have a front row seat to any excitement or lack thereof happening on that side of our house.  It's mostly grass that won't grow well and the hosta doing their thing, as well as some astilbe and a smattering of lily of the valley that won't give up the ghost—a pretty uneventful view most of the time.

Mr. Neighbor padded over in his sock feet to show me where they had seen Mama Mallard scuttling between the bushes recently.  He parted the leaves in several places, but there was nothing there.  Hunh. 

"Well, keep an eye on it and let me know if you keep seeing her," I said.

Today Norm mowed the lawn and nothing stirred.  The big, loud, scary mower would come within inches of Mama Mallard if she was, in fact, sitting on a nest in there.

He decided to poke around a little more closely when he got done mowing to see if anything could be seen.  As he dug into a covering of what looked like leaf mulch, Mama scooted out!

She high-tailed it off somewhere to safety, while he came in the house with the news. I went out to see for myself, since she was gone for the moment. 

Sure enough, she has about 9 or 10 eggs in there!

We'll leave it alone until they're hatched, which may be a few weeks yet, according to this site.  The neighbors will have the best vantage point for whatever happens during that time.  I just hope I'm around to see her lead the little ducklings off to her favorite watering hole when it's time. 

It's not like we live directly on a lake or anything, so wherever she goes, it's going to be a bit of a hike. It could be to the ponds at the park (4 blocks away), the drainage swale near Walgreens (1 block) or the creek over the hill (3 blocks).  Only Mama knows for sure.

 Pretty cool, though, huh?

Now if I can just figure out what's been digging holes in every single flower pot I've planted this year.  That mystery continues, though I've got a few furry suspects in mind!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

And Now My Butt Hurts

I basted a quilt yesterday, which I am reminded of today every time I move.  I must have really worked those glutes.

No wonder, really, as I'm sure I busted some yoga moves in the process.  Now, I don't know from yoga, except that all the cool people do it and I've always wished I were cool.

But I've watched enough early morning PBS to know that at one point in the process, I had to be doing something like a modified "Downward Dog." 

Also a lot of "Cat and Cow."  For me, mostly Cow.

This often morphed into "Extended Puppy," because who wants to have to get up and down all over again to close that one far away pin?

"Frog" pose works for those hard-to-reach places too, if your knees can handle it.  Mine, not so much.

At some point, I accidentally jammed my left index finger into the sharp end of a basting pin, and all my form went out the window and I moved really, really fast!  Because of the unexpected pain, of course, but also so as not to bleed on the quilt. 

I don't know the name of that move.  Maybe "Surprised Squirrel"?

I made up a few more unconventional poses, such as the one you do with legs about shoulder width apart, knees slightly flexed, and bent way over from the waist with your arms straight down.  I call it "Woman Pulling Radishes," or "Gardener's Fanny."

Yeah, that one really feels good.  Might want to lay off the cruciferous vegetables beforehand if there's anybody likely to share your air space.  I'm just sayin'.

Of course, the bigger the quilt, the higher the likelihood of becoming fatigued.  It's important to pace yourself and know your limits.  You want to avoid the pose that involves you side-lying on the floor, having lost all feeling in your lower extremities.  That one's called "911" or, alternatively, "Strife Alert."

As far as this quilt goes, though, the best pose will hopefully be demonstrated by little Max when he finally gets it: "Happy Baby"!