Tag Archives: Antoinette

Time to Play Dress-up

Here’s the second step in my plan to liven up a corner in my living room. You can see the first part in If At First You Don’t Succeed.

I’m not a fashionista but sometimes a new dress with matching shoes makes me feel good about myself. It’s the same with furniture. This old chair I inherited needed a pick-me-up. The slipcover, like an old bathrobe, had to go.

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The best thing about an old chair with a slipcover is what you might find underneath. Say for instance, perfectly preserved ivory silk upholstery. Instant new dress!

Matching shoes would come in the form of a coordinating footstool. I found the one in the size and shape I wanted  but the owner was stubborn about selling the pair.

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I relented but in the end I was happy. It gave me a chance to try on two different outfits. The process of changing the look for each footrest was the same: replace the fabric and paint the legs.

Replacing the fabric:

  • Flip it over, remove the screws (keep them handy), and pop off the top.
  • Remove the nails or staples holding the old fabric in place with pliers and/or a flat-head screwdriver.
  • Reuse or replace the batting, depending on its condition.
  • Position the batting and backboard over a strategic area of your fabric
  • Cut the fabric wide around board, leaving plenty for the wrapping process.
  • Pull the fabric tight across the backboard and use a staple gun all around to secure it. Play with the corners to get the look you want.
  • Paint the legs
  • Re-screw the bottom to the top.

In this case, the footrest is painted with Antoinette over a coat of Paris Grey with the pink sanded down to reveal the grey. Then a coat of clear wax.

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Leftover fabric became matching pillows. I cut two identical rectangles, about 2 inches all around larger than the dimensions of the ottoman. I glued the pieces together, good sides facing each other, with a uniform line about a half inch inside the cut. I used Unique Stitch fabric glue, (but if you can sew, go for it. Don’t forget to leave an opening unsewn or unglued to leave room to add the filling. Turn it inside out, stuff it, and close up the opening.

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Chair legs can be painted to match the legs of the footrest. (A little Photoshop magic on the legs here.)

Now for the main ensemble, suitable for an elegant evening. First, on the legs of the chair and the footrest : two coats of Graphite and one coat of Black Wax.

A new dress (upholstery), accessories (a blue velvet pillow), sleek hose (painted legs), and matching shoes (a footrest), will help make this chair a stunner in the corner of an eclectic/contemporary living room.

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Like the clothes we pick for a mood or occasion, the basic elements of shape, color and accessories define the “look.”

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What I learned:

  • Furniture style boils down to shape, color and accessories.
  • For seating, accessorizing can be as simple as a new pillow.
  • To bring an ensemble together, coordinate the colors.
  • Two new outfits are better than one!

karenraelevine.com

Highchair Highway and Memory Lane

I snagged a scratched and wobbly toy high chair for five dollars. Solid wood and all I needed to do was tighten the screws. I forgot to take a before picture but this is what a new one looks like.

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Annie Sloan Antoinette is a very pretty pink and while I was looking for a sample at Suite Pieces, someone introduced me to a new color, Old Violet. I had to go home with a sample of that too.

I was assured by Google and knowledgeable shopkeepers that Annie Sloan paint and wax were nontoxic. Not that I expected the next owner to take a bite, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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Soft cotton light weight gloves (usually for archivists and coin collectors) worked very well to buff the wax in those little hard-to-get areas. You can find them on Amazon for about eight dollars a dozen.

I loved the two-toned version. I used clear wax on most of it but remembering how messy the dolls of my childhood could be, I used a nontoxic rub-on varnish for the tray.

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On my journey down memory lane, I shuffled through a box of vintage hankies I inherited from Grandma Sylvia and found two that were perfect for a reversible seat cushion.

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I sewed them together. I am not a sewer, but I held my own. As I stitched, I was reminded of Grandma Charlotte, who made magic with needle and thread. I’m sure both of my grandmothers were looking down and smiling as I sewed.

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I also have to give a little credit to my seventh grade Home Economics class, where, even though I wished I could take Shop with the boys, I learned some sewing basics. That was back in the day. Girls couldn’t take Shop until I was in the ninth grade. It was also the time when all sewing baskets contained a tomato pin cushion and a metal Band-Aid box for buttons. When I dug it out, mine still did.

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So there I had it: the perfect gift for my friend’s granddaughter. I hope it will give her as many happy “grandma memories” as I had when I refurbished it.

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What I learned:

  • Annie Sloan paint and wax are nontoxic
  • Using light cotton gloves is a great way to wax small or round areas.
  • I can still thread a needle.

http://karenraelevine.com/

Flower Sifter

While cleaning out my kitchen cabinets I found an old sifter. I use flour from time to time but “sifter” is no longer part of my baking vocabulary. It was about to go in the donation bag when a word from my high school French popped into my head. Fleur. The sifter was saved.

It looked like this.

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With my new “repurpose it” eyes, I saw it as a flower pot with built-in drainage. I painted the sifter with two coats of leftover Antoinette  from my high chair project. The color matched one of two lonely saucers I owned.

If your sifter is new, remove the label. You can soak it in sudsy water and scrub it off. Goo Gone works well on stubborn glue. I didn’t paint the inside of the sifter all the way down because I knew it wouldn’t show.

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I cut a two circles of coco liner in the bottom. Coco liner is the stuff you see on hanging flower baskets. The circles don’t have to be exact.

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Squish in the coco liner in the bottom. It absorbs the water, keeps the soil moist, and prevents overflow when watering. Fill with soil and a plant — preferably a flowering plant to keep the pun intact. If you’re thumb is as brown as mine, you can create an artificial flower arrangement instead.

I’m sure you’re dying to know how I decorated the pink sifter. I love to play with words. The French word, “fleur” is close to the English word, “flour.” And what is my sifter for? Flowers, which in French is “fleur”  Flour. Fleur. Flower. Get it? I crack myself up.

A single flower is “la fleur” and a bunch of them is “les fleurs.” You can download the lettering I used here.les-fleurs-cropped

I  used the tried and true method of rubbing pencil on the back, flipping it over and using the point of the pencil to transfer the lettering. The rectangle outline helped me position the the transfer. I knew I would cover the transfer with a dark paint pen so using a pencil transfer was not a problem.

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No need to wax or varnish. Voila!

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This is an artificial flower arrangement but I’m inspired to replace it with soil and a real growing plant.

What I Learned:

  • Look at odd items with an eye to repurpose.
  • Play with words. It’s fun.