Friday, February 17, 2012

Completely Stumped

Based on a True Story
Scene 1:  House Party
This scene is set outdoors in a backyard with a patio area, people milling around, playing games, enjoying beverages.
Jasper*:  Hey! I haven't seen you in ages? How are you?!
Partygoer:  Good, I've been...
Jasper: OMG! Are those stumps stacked back there? OMG, I have to go check these out.
Jasper scampers off to the unlit recesses of the backyard.
Partygoer raises eyebrows.
*name has been changed because I'm that person would be so embarrassed.

I cannot tell you how excited I was that I was able to have my pick of some substantial stumps left from a tree that met a sad uprooted end in my friends' backyard during one of the worst storms of the year. Really, giddy.

I posted way back when about how I liked the look of wooden stools and wanted some others in the house. These stumps fit the bill and the price was right (hooray, freebies!)

I felt better about my social faux pax when I saw this listed on One Kings Lane some time later (for lots and lots of dollars but I can't remember how much):

Well, I just got around to staining and sealing one of the stumps (I have plans for it to be a coffee table base!)--here are some photos of the process:

This is basically the fresh stump (I got so excited about the project that I've already stained the top in this photo, though). I sanded the sides and paid special attention to sanding the the edges of the base since I didn't want any rough edges catching on the kilim rug that it will be sitting on. It's flipped upside down in this photo.

I used stain that I had on-hand from this project and wanted the stump to have a little more color variance, so I used a rag to wipe (basically scrub, actually) the stain to be lighter in certain areas.

Another view of staining in process--you can see the original stump color on the lower left corner.

I've titled the picture below "Impatience"...I really wanted the stain to dry so I could add my first coat of polyurethane!

Gross photo of the snotty looking sealant. I would advocate that you should use thin multiple coats to seal a piece of furniture, but with all the crevices in the stump, I brushed this on pretty thick so it would sink in a bit.

Here's another photo of some sinking-in-sealant.

And here's a photo after 2 coats of sealant in the daylight. The stump is flipped around so it's right side up in this photo (I didn't stain the top of the stump that will be covered by the tabletop). It's interesting how different the color looks in natural and artificial light!

At the end of this previous post I said one of the things I would have changed is that I would have gotten a water-based sealant. Since this project was accomplished entirely with things I had on hand, I used the non-water-based polyurethane again and I'd just like to reiterate that water-based stuff is so much more convenient!

Now I have this stump sitting in the middle of the loft waiting for it's table top (which is getting spruced out a bit from its previous life as a marble patio table top--as told to me by the craigslist seller). Hopefully I'll get that back soon and have photos of the completed project in the next week or so...

Have you been up to any zero-dollar (that's $0!) projects recently?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Friday

Maybe you'll enjoy starting your weekend off with this terribly shot video I recorded in the ASU Art Museum. I really enjoyed the "desert whimsy" of this piece.


"The Last Dance" by Dennis Oppenheim

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cozy Little Things

I received a slew of kitchen-related bday presents from the bf which included some generously sized mugs (this and this). Perfect for a big latte or a large tea or--as captured above--a hefty mug of cocoa with whipped cream. mmm.

I whipped up the cocoa with this little guy from IKEA (a thoughtful gift from this familiar blogger) and wondered what I did before I had this simple tool.

Also, unrelated-but-related:  I love short, freshly manicured nails. I take big risks stick to what works and make the tough decision between OPI's Privacy Please (it made it on my vacation list here) and OPI's Matched Luggage (just one coat so it's not opaque) every time I go to the great no-frills little nail salon near my place.

Any little things making you happy recently?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Knobby Need

I'll post later about some credenza overhaul ideas--I've been wanting to tweak the credenza even since I acquired it off craigslist--but here's the purchase that spurred me into action brainstorming.

These buddies:

Ok, the pink isn't my style, so I rectified that. And I didn't feel like I was covering up something sacred because I purchased 3 of these pulls from Urban Outfitters for a whopping $2.99 plus tax--total--that's right, they were on sale for $1.99 and sale items were 50% off!

I liked the fun shape and the thick metal outline and backing for the drawer pull and with the price I couldn't complain about having to modify it a little.

Stick with me on this, the look improves...
I started by painting the seams between the pink inlays a light gray. I didn't worry about the brushstroke being wider than the seam since I was going to cover up that portion, anyway.

I started adding silver paint over the pink inlay portion, leaving a tiny stripe of light gray in between the stones. Just so you know, this method for adding the silver did not work:

So, I painted freehand instead, which worked really well. Very therapeutic. (Reminded me of painting those little plaster animals in my youth--the kind you can still get at craft stores, you know? Did anyone else do that?)

After I painted all the silver portions (making sure not to make all the portions perfectly symmetrical so it would still have a little more character like the original spacing of the inlaid pieces) I added a little gold paid to the center portion of the pull, too. Then I used a clear gloss sealant (like I did for this project) to get a nice glossy look and make them more durable.

And here's a montage of the finished (more or less, since they're still drying in these photos) product:

Speaking of inexpensive pulls that look like a million bucks (ok, that's an exaggeration, but I think mine turned out nicely), Anthopologie has some good-looking options on sale now...

Do you ever know that you want to get to a project but don't really start working until something (impending visitors, a move, purchasing something--like me!, or some other ultimatum) gets your DIYing machine in gear?