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Kicking Brass and Taking Names

2014 July 19
by Katie

Can you believe that July is almost over?  I mean, one of our local schools starts in less than three weeks.  Dude.  Summer is over.

I am in full-out-summer-panic-mode.  Four times a year we make a list of all the stuff that we want to do in that coming season.  Fall is time for leaf jumping and pumpkin carving.  Winter usually involves gingerbread houses and riding a horse drawn carriage.  Spring’s list always has fruit picking and flower planting.  And summer?  Summer is all about swimming and sparklers.  And we have limited time for getting our hair wet and sandy and lighting up the night people.  We must try harder….we must get this done.  The deadline is looming and by gosh darn it, this might mean night time swimming with sparklers.

So with all this time spent with fireworks and in bathing suits, there isn’t much time left for important DIY projects.  Enter this quick and not-so-dirty swiftie.  That’s a word now for quick-projects….swifties.  It’s a thing.  Kinda like fetch :)

Okay so you know those gold accents on those fireplaces?

They are stuck on with magnets.  I KNOW!

So freaking easy to remove that all you do is pull them off and they are instantly ready to be hauled off for a makeover.

I didn’t know if I could get these spraypainted without a little grit to the surface so to ensure proper adhesion, I scuffed them up with a little sandpaper (I used 440 grit so that the finish would not have huge scratches).

Then I used Rustoleum’s High Heat Ultra spraypaint to cover them completely.  The people at Rustoleum don’t recommend that this is used where the fire can be touching the paint (like inside the firebox) but it’s completely fine on outer accent pieces like these gold bits.

I did two coats and then popped them back on our weirdly tiled fireplace.  MUST MAKEOVER THIS SPACE.  That’s all I think in my brain when I see that tile.  But then I remember that we MUST SKINNYDIP WITH BOTTLE ROCKETS.  Oh right…totally different thing, huh?!

Clean Stains

2014 July 17
by Katie

I made the cutest little side table!  And it has stain on stain stripes…which, let me tell ya, was hard for my tired little brain to figure out…but now that I have…I’m seriously gonna stripe everything.  If you see a kid with a striped face….it’s Weston and he didn’t move fast enough.  His name will be Striped Delight and he’ll be the new member of KISS.  He doesn’t sing…but man is he good at banging on those drums :)

So the story of this little table began at the thrift store.  I saw the metal base for sale marked at $2.50.  That’s a great price in my book.  Jeremy looked at me like I was crazy.

He understood what I was going for after I showed him these stain grade round tops at Lowe’s.  This was about $11.

I decided that I would make the base more colorful and then the top would be striped.  At first, I figured I would do the same thing that I did with the striped boxes I put in our reading room.  But then I thought it might be better to do stain on stain….but I’ve never done that.  I’ve never really done any kind of staining other than just normal one-color-solid-everywhere staining.  So this was definitely going to be an experiment.

First I gathered my supplies….painters tape, a couple colors of stain, some foam brushes, poly, paper towels and a drywall knife.

Then I tried to figure out how to do the stripes without any messy lines.  I tried ten different combinations before I found the right approach.

Here’s how it works the best.  First, tape your wood up.  If you want to use a pre-conditioner, apply that to the entire piece of wood first, let dry and then apply tape.   Then you will want to rub the entire tape with your drywall knife, paying extra special attention to the edges and the rounded parts.  When I say rub….RUB and go over each area for a few seconds.

Using a paper towel, dip into the stain and rub it on the exposed areas.  Wipe the excess off immediately.  If you want it to be darker, wait about twenty minutes and then repeat.

I used the Rustoleum Kona stain color (it’s my new favorite!) and it is dark and rich and very hard to mess up.  I have an affection for these tiny little test pots of stain Rustoleum sells because I like the idea of switching stains or mixing my own custom color without spending a fortune.  I wanna try some artistry staining down the line…like watercolor painting but with stains…wouldn’t that be fun?!

Ok…so I did the flat part first on the table top and then did the edges.

After I rubbed the excess stain off, I didn’t waste any time to remove the tape.  You want to pull it at an angle so that it comes off in one big piece.  As you can see, I had super crisp lines.

At this point, you want it to dry completely.  You can get blurry lines again if you don’t practice patience (um…happened to me on a few practice attempts) so wait till it’s completely dried.  After that, you want to apply your other color stain with a paper towel making sure not to have a lot of excess and wiping extra stain off within a few seconds.  I then applied two coats of satin poly with a foam brush (sanding with 440 grit sandpaper in between coats).

We used a couple short screws to fasten the top to the newly painted base (it’s a sample pot from Lowe’s that I got for free).

Not bad for about $15!  If I had to buy all the supplies, it probably would have cost me $40 total but still – that’s not a terrible price for a custom piece.  Right now it is acting like a plant stand in my living room because apparently Weston thinks toy dump trucks need to actually move the dirt to my pantry.  I like the idea of growing my own food…but that’s taking it too far :)