Refinishing a Vintage Treasure

Refinishing a Vintage Treasure

Last summer I found this little coffee table at a flea market and not knowing exactly what I would do with it, I bought it just because I loved the ball and claw feet.  The woodworking on this little gem of a table is just not something you see much of any more, if at all!  The table was totally not my style, was finished in a very shiny, dark red lacquer and had this huge water stain on it.  What compelled me to buy it was beyond me, at the time.  I guess it had a certain something, but by mid September it led me to a wood refinishing class.  I think it was an ambitious project to start with but not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I brought it in to class.  My instructor saw the detail and kinda had this dubious look on his face when I said I wanted to refinish the whole thing (as opposed to just the table top)!

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Well it took practically the entire 12 weeks of the course to get this done and there I went every Wednesday afternoon to pour my blood, sweat and tears into this labour of love.  I had no idea how much work this would be!  Stripping off three thick layers of gross lacquer, getting all the grit out of the grooves, sanding down the wood to reveal its perfect natural grain.  I was shocked when I was able to sand away the water stain (or whatever it was).  I actually quite loved the wood in its naked, natural finish.  The lacquer covered up the beautiful grain of the wood which my teacher later taught me was called ‘flame and feather’.  It was quite an expensive piece in its day!

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The last two weeks of the course were down to the wire but I was driven to finish the project.  By the end of it I was getting super tired of preparing the wood for its new finish.  I wanted to expose and enhance the beautiful wood grain and detail so my instructor recommended a fruit oil. Here the fun truly started as I slathered it on like sun bathing oil (the table that is!) and at long last the results were starting to show.

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The table dried in about a day and is now sitting in my living room.  I still have to get a glass made for the table top and then it will be a fully functional, beautiful, decorative piece.  Besides learning how to refinish a wood table I learned that vintage treasures are the best ones you can have, fully equipped with sentimental value:  with memories from the day you find it to the day it becomes a unique piece, one of a kind and unlike any other.

In the end my instructor was quite impressed with my work considering it was my very first wood refinishing project.  Nothing is ever too ambitious when it becomes a labour of love :)

**I will soon post some photos of the finished table in its new environment.  ‘Til then…….happy weekend!

-Lori

Wild in the City

Wild in the City

Hello again!  It’s Victoria Day weekend and the official start of planting season so my post today will feature urban gardens.  Even though the weather is still pretty cold here for gardening, as we have pretty much just gotten through the worst winter ever, I can confidently say that people are out and about planning their gardens this year.  Living in the city normally doesn’t lend to large yards but there are such great ways to enjoy them by incorporating patios, flowers, vegetables, plants, trees, stones, boxes, fountains, walkways, furniture, lights and/or feeders.  My favourite is the wild urban garden – no grass please!

Here are some great examples of modern gardens for city yards:

 

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Wild gardens bring a little bit of nature in a big, concrete city; not to mention peace and serenity.  It’s the type of garden I dream to have one day – wild in the city :)

Happy Victoria Day weekend everyone!

-Lori

DIY Tack Board

DIY Tack Board

Hi there!  In an ode to office organization I wanted to post one of my last projects which was a DIY tack board.  Couldn’t find anything interesting or pretty in the tack board department so I decided to craft one myself.  Off to Michaels I went and there I found an inexpensive, medium-sized tack board with a wooden edge; just what I was looking for!  Then, in the accessories department, I found a package of fabric flowers that I liked and from there began planning the design of my board. My office is full of papers and I don’t have a lot of space on my desk so the tack board idea would help save a lot of time by keeping things in view and organized.

My first feat was choosing a colour for the frame.  I pulled it from the flower colours and then mixed the paint up to get my light purple colour below.  I used acrylic and then topped it off with glaze to protect the finish.  Of course you can choose any paint that is already pre-mixed.  I’m kind of in the process of learning how to colour mix so I used this as a little practice.  It’s also really fun!  :)

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Once the glaze dried I glued the flowers and it was complete!  On the wall of my little office it went and now sits in waiting for all the little snippets of information, cards and memoirs that give it a life all its own.

‘Til next time,

Lori :)

A Little Re-direction

A Little Re-direction

Hello!  It’s been some time since I have posted and I am happy to be sitting down and writing a little bit tonight.  A lot of reflection has been happening in the last couple of weeks on this past year and where I want to go in 2014 with my blog.  If I had to give one word to 2013 it would be ‘Chaos’  (times a thousand – haha).   I spread my energies way too thin last year and as a result had no time do work on the thing that I love the most, art.  So as a result I have decided to focus more of my efforts on my creative pursuits which could be anything from drawing,  painting, poetry, writing and of course interior decorating.  My blog is my baby and the only way I can keep up with my posts and sharing my stuff with you is by mixing it up with what I want to do on a more regular basis.  So to start, I will post one of my favourite decorating projects from school, 2011.  It consists of three renderings of a concept for a restaurant.  Try to guess what the concept is:  think of an upcoming festival.

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I look forward to sharing more with you!

Have a good one.

-Lori

Spanish Colonial Architecture

Spanish Colonial Architecture

Hi there!  I am settled back into Toronto and still basking in the great experiences I had in Colombia.  In today’s post I will share the beauty of Spanish colonial architecture found in the Colombian cities of Salento and the old port, Cartagena.

Founded in 1533, Cartagena boasts some of the best Spanish colonial architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is characterized by thick stucco-clad walls, small open windows sealed by wrought iron gates, wooden support beams and often and inner courtyard.

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Salento was one of my favourite towns in Colombia.  It is nestled in the Cocora Valley and as it was officially founded in 1842, the architecture there is a modern take on the influences found in the older city of Cartagena.

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The colours, art and design of Colombia was a feast for the eyes for sure!  The people were wonderful, the food was delicious and the landscapes were breathtaking.  Travelling certainly lends to great inspiration for your own interior or exterior design projects.