Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ding Dong Doorbell's Done!!!

The new doorbell housing is DONE!!!

Yes, we could have just replaced the doorbell all together...but I really liked the sound it made (little hammers hitting real chimes!) and nothing new was that impressive.

But this plastic haunted house HAD TO GO!  It was scaring me!

I wanted to build something sort of "Old World" feel---to match the doors we have been refinishing and distressing.  

I had seen this old chest for sale on Ebay and that was my inspiration for the project.

 Because I am always an optimist and think new things are fun to try, I ordered up the cheapest set of carving tools I could find on Amazon.  I knew they wouldn't be great---but reviews said they at least were sharp to begin with!

I printed off a pattern for a "Tudor Rose" from a website named, "How to carve a Tudor rose."  We like to think our house has a Tudor feel to it.  And this seemed like a good first carving project.

I transferred the design onto my piece of wood.  I chose pine because I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to carve oak as my first project.  And Home Depot didn't have any other options for wood.

A video I watched on carving said to go around the outside of your design first with a small V tool.  I didn't have a small V, but I had a small U-shaped tool.  It seemed to work.

Next, I used a flat tool to "define the edge" of the design and then began removing wood slanting in towards the line I had made.

Starting at the outside and moving inward, I carved away at my little project for several days.  It was so much fun to feel the wood curling up under my tool.  It was almost addictive.  But it was also painful!  My elbows hurt terribly after a carving session.  And I developed blisters on my thumbs.  But as soon as I felt better, back I would go.  At night, I closed my eyes and saw curling wood in front of me.

Pretty soon, I was done!  It really looked like a flower!  Maybe not perfect---but pretty amazing to me!

I built a box, using the dimensions of the old plastic haunted house.  I even re-used a piece of metal that sits down into the doorbell mechanism at the back and holds everything on the wall.  It was a perfect fit!  And the chimes still could ring!

A little stain and a little distressing the wood and I was done!

It isn't perfect---and looks very much like the pine it is made out of---but I am happy with it!


Ding Dong!  Come Right In!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever!

A Thing of Beauty has come to live at our house!

We found this antique rocking chair at Goodwill last weekend.  It was marked $50--which was a GREAT buy!  But it turned out that the whole store was about to close and move to a new location and so everything in the store was 50% off!  And since we had donated some stuff out of our garage earlier, they had given us a coupon for an additional 25% off!  We walked away with an antique oak rocker in fantastic condition for only $20!!!

It is made of beautiful quarter-sawn oak!

The lovely arms are smooth with wear.

The tips of the arms roll over gently into a carved scroll.

The seat has hand-tied springs that make for such a soft sitting!

The only thing missing is a little chunk of wood that has come unglued and fallen out at some point.

It should look like the other side.  A little triangular piece of wood that was glued on and then cut to the curved shape so the arm didn't have to be made out of quite such a large piece of wood.  I think I can carve a piece to replace it.

But in the meantime, this beautiful old rocker needs a nice reupholster!

I started by using my handy dandy tack puller---bought over 25 years ago when I reupholstered our first couch.  It has proved a useful tool on numerous occasions for numerous reasons!

The outer decorative tacks just hold on the trim.  Underneath are the tiny tacks that hold the cloth on the chair.

I was sure to put each and every tack into a bowl as I took them off.  They hide in the carpet and are NO FUN to step on.  This is the voice of experience.  

Looking a little naked---but not for long, you Regal Old Lady!

I broke out my blue velvet.  Bought at the Henredon furniture outlet store in North Carolina and still wrapped in the plastic from the movers---hauled with me each time we've moved!  Because it is just too beautiful!

The same blue velvet that I covered pillows with 10 years ago.

Using the old material as a pattern, I traced around it with some chalk.  

Then I cut roughly around my pattern---going quite a bit wider, so that I would have enough material to hold on to when I stretched and staple gunned it into place.

I laid the velvet over the seat and cut in diagonally on the corners to where my chalk corner lines were.

Folding the corners back on themselves, I carefully pulled the velvet around each corner leg of the chair.

Smoothed out the material, making a few adjustments and tiny clips in the corners until it set just right around each wooden corner leg.

I got out my handy dandy staple gun and went to work!

Pull and staple.  Pull and staple.  All the way around all 4 sides.

Trimmed off the excess cloth.

Added some trim back!

And Voila!  A beautiful chair in a perfect corner.

Just in time for this Little Man!

Who is bringing his parents and coming to live with us for a while!

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's SO DISTRESSING....but I've never been SO HAPPY!!!

Remember this little detail of the Money Pit?!?

Every single door that led in and out of anywhere in this house was scratched profusely by the dog that used to live here.

I imagine the dog looked something like this:

But instead of being a Harry Potter 3-headed dog---I imagine the dog having 3 times as many front paws and claws to scratch the doors to shreds!

The insides were scratched.  

The outsides were scratched.  

The bedroom doors were scratched.  The bathroom doors were scratched.  The laundry room and even the office door were scratched.  Inside.  Outside.  Down low.  Up high.

And to make matters worse---someone had tried to fix the scratches.  Not with scratch cover.  Not with stain.  It looks like they tried to fix the scratches with red fingernail polish.  What?!  Huh?!

With winter upon us--we set up shop in the basement again.  Lucky we haven't fixed it all up down there yet!  Two water barrels served as saw horses.

And we got busy with the task of redeeming these old scratched doors!

We took turns sanding.  Then got smart and went and bought a second sander!

These are solid hardwood doors.  They are heavy and well-made and worth the effort of redemption!

But besides all the dog scratching, they had dings and cracks and all manner of abuse.  This one looks like it's been hammered on numerous times.  Even after a lot of sanding.

We knew we wouldn't be able to sand them perfectly smooth again.  So I read up on the internet on how to DISTRESS wood!  And I really like the look of distressed wood.  It makes the wood look old and ancient and really rather inviting!

So instead of trying to remove all the dings and hammer marks---we decided to ADD SOME MORE!

With various tools we dinged and banged and scratched and messed up the doors all over!

I read about how to simulate worm holes---like the wood was SO OLD that worms had been crawling in and out of it!  I pounded little organic-shaped groupings of holes in the corners of the various panels on the door.

Here a few worm holes.  There a few worm holes.

We didn't sand all of the old stain and varnish off.  We thought leaving some would make the doors look even more old and beat up.  And it was also too hard to sand in all those little corners!

We found a stain that was almost a perfect match for the old stain.  Rubbed it on---making sure to get in all the little dings and nooks and crannies.  It brought out the grain of the wood beautifully!  This picture doesn't do justice to how warm and wonderful the wood looked when it first came back to life with the new stain!

The stain settled into the little holes and dings and gave the door an all over feel of being abused for several centuries!  Just what we wanted! (Color is off in this photo.)

At first, we tried spraying some polyurethane on, but that proved silly and wasteful.  It was just too light of a coverage for such a big door.  So we ended up painting on some "soap and water washable" polyurethane from a one quart can.  It dried in 2 hours and took only 2 coats to get the look we wanted.

But how would it look once we hung it up?  Next to the original oak trim?  We carried it upstairs to see....

It was one beautifully distressed bedroom door!  It matched with the trim perfectly!  And when we re-installed the original antiqued brass doorknob it seemed like a match made in heaven!  Antiqued brass doorknobs OUGHT to have distressed heavy wooden doors to open and shut!

You can still see the hammer marks left by the previous owners---but your attention isn't drawn to that spot because there are dings and hammer marks all over!  It is just an old weathered and beaten door!  That is somehow also very new and alive and wonderful!

A few worm holes.  A few hammer marks.  Rich deep stain.  Nice clean satin polyurethane coating.

It looks so nice!

And compared to the neighboring bedroom door that is still covered with scratches---it's positively wonderful!

So here you have it, again!



It's makes me SO HAPPY!!!

(Now only 10 more doors to go!)