Friday, August 31, 2012

Total Makeover: The Lions Cabinet

close up of detail on door and inside
of Lions Cabinet (when done)
I have nearly completed a new project !  I have begun experimenting and learning to use Chalk Paint and Clay Paints to make over furniture pieces.  Or maybe I mean little ugly duckling or plain & ordinary pieces.  And finish them off with a bit of distressing, and then sealing with wax finishes.  Not long ago I made over a sweet shabby little timber table in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  This was a second project, and this time I used Volvox Clay Paint.  These have very similar properties as ASCP does.  However, without the ASCP waxes, and with the paint not yet available in Australia, I have been looking for other paints with similar features and attributes.  The Volvox Clay Paint is no VOC, all natural, and very lovely, adhering and covering quite like Chalk Paint.

So below, here are a few snaps of my latest Makeover Project:  The Lions Cabinet.

Lions Cabinet:  Before State
First, I found a fabulous petite wall cabinet that had a plexi glazing (plastic) in its door and the timber finish stained in dark wood, a mahogany-like colour.   With  a great looking carved crest at the top, featuring two lions, and nice turned and raised relief patterns on the door.  (found at Bowsers of the Barossa, a terrific source of vintage items of all sorts).  The timber finish, especially inside the cabinet, was a bit rough cast and not of a fine finish, which made me think it would take well to some textured paint, a bit of distressing, and dark wax to bring out the carved relief details.  So, a piece with potential and I was sure would makeover nicely, even though I am still learning to work with these paints and also wax finishes.

First I decided to paint the inside of the cabinet a vivid blue.  I made a custom colour mix of two of the five I had on hand of the Volvox Clay paint.  I love the colour,  like the deepest cornflower blue.  A soft sapphire.

Gorgeous deep cornflower blue
Then I mixed two more of the colours, a mocha grey with good depth and a light creamy white.  These made a fabulous french grey colour.  That went on the rest of the cabinet, back, sides, top, etc.  I know this looks oh so neat, and the photos do show it that way.  I was working at Salon Rouge that day and took this cabinet painting with me, including all my supplies in and out, to be tidy !  Hence the need to be  bit tidier, in some one else's space !

Custom mixed french grey paint
for the outer cabinet surfaces.
I always intended to paint the lions and some of the detailing on the little cabinet door in a creamy white, to light the look and detail of the piece.  When I got this done, it was very exciting to see how great it was coming along.

Lions get a coat of rich
creamy white.

And to this point it was all about the paint.  Then time to put on wax.  I have used a lovely emulsified beeswax, with a soft buttery consistency.  And that smells really good.  I worked it into the painted finish.  And gently distressed a bit of the edges of it lightly with sandpaper.  A bit more clear soft beeswax.  Before putting on some Fiddes & Sons wax in Rugger Brown.


dark wax antiques finish
on side of cabinet.

The dark wax is amazing and really gives a rich look to the piece, though initially it looks a bit scary, like you are going to ruin the paintwork !  But I have read so many other blogs and accounts of using this, I was prepared for the same to happen.  Still, it takes a bit of practice to get the hang one  what is enough and what works to get it just right !  I used brush and rags to push the dark wax into the relief and edges, rubbing it back a bit with clear wax to better blend into the paintwork.  I waxed the inside of the cabinet too, which made the deep cornflower colour absolutely glow.

Lions Cabinet:  After State.
Painted and finished in clear and dark waxes.
So here is my finished painted and waxed cabinet.  It still needs glazing work to put glass in to the door.   A job to complete on my return from business travel.  But I am pretty chuffed with he job on this lovely piece excited to see it on display.  What do you think ?

close up detail of lions and cabinet door,
carved relief detail highlighted with dark wax

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vintage Sewing Machines, and more

Singer Model 319K, made in Scotland late 1950s era.  Solid all metal gears.
Retro two tone green enamel finish.  Shown taken out of its
original timber cabinet and under restoration by Engineering Dept.

Been working on things to do at end of winter that can be done indoors.  Some of this is planning or research for a home wares and interior design services business we will launch, hopefully in autumn (for you in Northern Hemisphere, that means March to May 2013 !!).   It's all in preliminary planning stages now.  Names, registrations, Internet hosting, branding, business plans, inventory, and more !  Stay tuned for more on that as we develop it.

One of the things we decided to acquire for the business is some old sewing machines.  Not to sell, but to use for workshops in the shop.  Vintage sewing machines.  We started looking around online for old used ones for sale and now have a five, and plan to add another 1-5 to that.  Each one is carefully picked for its era, we are focusing on solid made machines with good reputations as mechanical electric sewers, mostly from the 1950s to mid 1960s era.

Maggie's Vintage Sewing Machine.  Late 1950s Husqvarna model with
amazing metallic green paint finish.  Currently being serviced.
I am still not sure I understand Maggie's interest, but her affinity for this
particular machine is very clear (she is protective of it and shoos away
the other cats if they get too close to it !)

Ian is spending evenings and weekends restoring the machines to perfect operations.  Some of this is less than simple.  Some of the machines have come to us with "issues."  Missing parts.  Retrofitted with the wrong parts, or with adjustments that have caused damage or poor function.  two take a special and hard to source needle and using the wrong ones causes problems.  We have had to research the machines and work out where to source the missing piece, and then Ian works on rebuilding it.  Sometimes he machines a missing part we can't get.  He has had to rewire two of the machines.  Thank goodness he has good skills for all of this.  In all, we have spent not a lot of money (average per machine between 35 and 80 dollars, some of these include cabinets or their old vintage cases and accessories).  And have found some gorgeous old models that now or soon will operate very nicely.  One (see photo above) fitted into a timber cabinet that I will paint to complement the two tone green finish.  They will be a great feature in our business and workshops.

ASCP colours on timber trim, from back
French Linen, Coco + Old White, and
Duck Egg over Scandanavian Pink 
Another thing I am doing is market research with specialist paints, that will be a feature and part of our business.  Here are a few samples of colours I have begun working with, from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) range.  You can learn more about this very popular paint (overseas)at the  Annie Sloan Paint website.  Still not available here in Australia yet, but I brought some back with me from last travels through UK and USA.  Though, unsuccessful at getting the wax to use with it.  So I have been experimenting with Organoil's emulsified beeswax product and find its texture works well and it is a lovely wax to use, with citrus oil in it that makes it smell wonderful.  It seals off the chalk paint very nicely.

Tools !  paint and wax brushes
I am also working with a new paint, Volvox Clay Paint.  Has similar properties to the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and is available in Australia from Colours by Nature based in Bega, NSW.  I am using the same Organoil wax with this paint, and it seals it up beautifully.  But I just got shipments of  Fiddes & Sons Supreme Wax in Light and Rugger brown  I had to buy these overseas too, and got some from UK and also another source in USA, to experiment with sourcing and shipping methods.  I will begin experimenting with this wax this week to compare its use to the Organoil wax.

Wine O'Clock.  A break from
colour swatch and sample painting
When in UK and USA in June, I  bought gorgeous Annie Sloan and other paint and wax brushes.   I got one called Waxine from Stylish Patina-wax brushes, a shop in Falls Church Virginia (outside Washington DC)  I am enjoying these tools with the sample paints I brought back.  Next travel I will be buying a few more brushes for the dark waxes.

And, we are now working on building in back of our property.  Laundry, storeroom, and a big lofty roofed studio space with outlook to the garden.   Check out latest post on our back extension renovations, on sister blog Time and Place Design  The photos are not yet glamorous to look at, but they show early stages.  And I know some readers enjoy seeing those early before and construction pics !

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Little Cyclops

Wanted to come with me, wants a clean
I still love old wheeled toys.   I still have several, some real favourites.  A vintage early 60s era blue & white Tonka farm truck.  A plush white rabbit on a wheeled platform.  I have a framed poster of a flying tricycle (sprouting feathers, as it flies up into the sky).  The child in me delights in them;  the sight of them always brings a smile.  And I continue to be drawn to old style tricycles, vintage bicycles, and red wagons.  Favorite and familiar icons and emblems to me, I guess.

So I there was no restraint to my imagination possible when I saw a red wagon outside of Bowsers of the Barossa vintage goods and consignment shop a little over a week ago (Check out their Facebook page here).  Alas, I could not stop that day, needed to be somewhere by some particular time, something like that.  But several days later I did pass that way again and called in to inquire whether it was already sold, because it wasn't outside that day.  Lucky for me, it was just inside the front door, sheltering from possible rain showers !

awesome old metal wheels,
bright yellow paintwork (albeit rusty).
Coaster lettering faintly seen (yellow).
It is a seriously cute Cyclops Coaster red wagon, with the sort of handle that apparently was clipped onto for towing by a Cyclops pedal car.  Probably vintage from late 50s or early-mid 60s era.  It has a lot of chipped paint and wear on it, but still has great old yellow metal wheels, with lots of spokes.  A blue undercarriage/chassis.  And you can still tell it used to be all red !  The side has a light outline of where the lettering Coaster used to be, and you can still see a bit of Cyclops on the side.

Cleaned and given a protective finish
of beeswax.  Too Cute !!

The wagon came with me.  I was covering hours at Salon Rouge gallery right after I picked it up.  It was my afternoon project.  I cleaned the dust and surface dirt off it and then carefully rubbed in a light as can be coat of beeswax to protect the finish and the patina.  Too cute !  Don't ask what I will do with this just yet, but I have wanted a vintage red wagon for awhile !!