Category Archives: Tutorial

Dying Fabric: How Not to Guide

I was determined to dye  turquoise the unbleached-muslin-colored cotton curtains I had made many years ago for the Cottage since I was painting the interior pale aqua.

These are all the curtains tossed together.

(They were slightly stained but would certainly do for now.)

This window needs curtains that are easy to open and close.

In addition, there were sheer cotton voile panels at the front door window .

Four panels of cotton voile for privacy and light filtering.

  I had been given 2 linen panels that could be used for the two additional windows in the main room. Why not dye them all?!!

I bought a packet of turquoise iDye for natural materials.

iDye for natural fibers in turquoise.

 I read the directions on the back which instructed to either dye in a washing machine or in a pot on the stove using 2 pounds of fabric per pack of dye.

Here are the problems I had with those instructions:

1.  I wasn’t about to use my washing machine to dye fabric.

2.  I had way too much fabric to put in a pot on the stove.

3.  How do you figure what 2 pounds of fabric is?

I decided to use the bathtub in the cottage to dye the curtains.  I ran some hot water into the tub.

I tossed the dye packet in the tub of hot water. The package directions said the covering would dissolve.

 And it did dissolve and the water started to turn blue. 

I stirred and stirred and stirred.

 But even when the water was deep blue clumps of dry dye kept coming to the surface.

I added more water because I didn't think there was enough for all the curtains at one time.

 Add non-iodized salt to the water and thoroughly dissolve.  (I had to run over to the house to get my neti pot salt.)

Here's the entire load in the dye at one time.

I had rubber gloves on so I could swish all the fabric around with my hands until everything was well-saturated. I held each clump of fabric under cool running water to rinse much of the dye from it.

Rinsing the linen.

 Then I took each panel out and wrung it lightly so I could put it in the clothes basket and carry it over to the house.

Please notice there are deep turquoise curtains and pale mint green panels.

 Once in the house I washed the fabric in the washing machine with mild detergent and cold water, then partially dryed the curtains in the dryer and ironed them.

Everthing linen - deep turquoise; everything cotton - pale mint green.

Mistakes and how to fix them:

1. The clumps of dry dye could have been avoided by putting the dye packet in a pot of boiling water and dissolving it completely before adding it to the tub.

2. Dying a huge amount of fabric at one time could have been avoided by doing each different type of fabric separately and one at a time. (What a thought! Genius!  Wished I’d have thought of it then.)

3. Running to the house for salt could have been avoided by amassing all the ingredients for the project BEFORE starting. Mise en place as my chef friend says.

4. I forgot to wet the fabric while it was in the tub before I started so I had to try and wet these huge pieces of fabric in the bathroom sink.  Wet them FIRST next time.

5.  Different colors of finished product could be managed by using all the same fabric.  I did not know this would happen and it’s not necessarily a bad thing except I don’t really care for the pale green.

Well, friends, that’s my how-not-to- tutorial.

Oh, yeah, I have a few spots that are overly saturated with dye. 

The spots are not large and might hang in the folds. Oops.

 To minimize this while in the dye bath I rubbed the fabric against itself.  I could have totally avoided it by practicing #1 in the how to fix mistakes section.

Here’s a little before and after.

Four panels of cotton voile for privacy and light filtering.
Lovely mint green. Hmm?!

Cotton voile dyed turquoise became mint green.

 I’m glad to have had this practice for the time when I’ll be using more expensive fabric and absolutely need a perfect result. What’s your tale of a learning experience?  Did it go horribly awry? What could you salvage?

I’m linked to

Window Putty, I Mean Glazing Compound

When we started scraping the trim on the cottage so it could be repainted, to our horror we discovered all the putty holding in the window panes was dry, cracked and dislodged. No problem, we’ll just reputty the windows, all 24 of them.  Yikes!

Window scraped clean of old putty

First problem, getting the putty.  We went to Home Depot and started in the “Window and Door” area.  No putty there.  Then we asked a fellow and he said, “Try paint”.  OK, so in the paint area there are all kinds of caulk, spackle, putty, etc. but no window putty.  Oh, yes there is.  In its own special area within the paint department they have (da-da-da-daah) Glazing Compound. (Don’t bother asking the paint mixing guy because he won’t know.)

A tub of Glazing Compound (Window Putty)

 Before we could actually begin to putty, Charlie had to scrape and chip away as much of the old putty as possible with his 14-in-1 tool. I’m pretty sure a 5-in-1 will work just as well.

14 in 1 Tool

Then (after a few failed attempts and reading “How to Replace a Window Pane” on “This Old House” website) we learned to make a long snake of the glazing compound and push it securely around the glass pane.

Apply a rough rope of putty and press it into the wood.

Dip the end of your impeccably clean narrow putty knife in mineral spirits and cut a 45 degree angle between the window frame and the glass. Scrape away excess putty and return to tub because it can be reused.

Remove excess by scraping along wood.

 Clean your putty knife after each pass.

Draw the putty knife at a 45 degree angle and press hard to make a clean beveled finish.

Go over it again if you need to. Remember to dip the putty knife in the mineral spirits.

Pressing hard on the blade makes a nice, neat cut.

According to “This Old House” don’t clean up the windows for a couple of weeks until the glazing compound dries and sets a bit.

Puttied window. One down 23 to go.

A BIG job. Now that we know how AND have all the tools, maybe we would tackle it again (but I doubt it). This is the kind of project that makes a house a better place to live but it’s time consuming and has minimal aesthetic value.

Newly puttied and painted - Glade Cottage

Do you have an unlovely but necessary job hanging over your head? We encourage you to git ‘er done!

I’m linked to

Bamboozling: How to Build a Bamboo Trellis

We showed you our garden support system made wholly of bamboo trellises that we fashion from bamboo and jute twine.

Garden after the rain with trellises in place

 Perhaps a tutorial is in  order.  When I first started making these trellises I got the idea from a story many years ago in Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Who else but Martha would have something like this?

Bamboo Factory

 First we get out bamboo from a neighbor who is happy to have the dead wood from his bamboo forest thinned each year. 

Cut the poles to length with a saw or secatur

 Then we cut six (or eight) poles per trellis to approximately the same length (somewhere betwen 8 and 12 feet depending on the poles we have). Accurate measuring is not necessary.

Supplies in front - Must have a ladder!

 Tie pairs or triads together by winding twine around them. 

Tying the joint with twine

 We used to be much more precise but have realized over the past few years that lots of twine and fancy lashing just aren’t necessary.  

Tying top crossbar onto frame

 Stick the untied ends of the bamboo in the dirt and lash crossbars across the top and bottoms.

Tie crossbars at the base for stability

 It’s not necessary for the bamboo poles to be uniform in diameter or even totally straight.

All these poles were utilised, even the crooked one.

 After the basic shape is erect, string the entire form with 6-8 verticle twine climbers.  Tie at the bottom and go over the top bar and tie on the oppposite side.

Stringing the trellis for maximum vine climbing

 This basic A-shape trellis is great for cucumbers, pole beans or any vining vegetable (or flower, if you’re into that sort of thing. I am, but Charlie is certainly not going to waste time or energy on trellising flowers.)

Do you think our garden is high strung?

 Hmmm .  .  .

Who are you calling high strung?

 What’s your totally frugal but extravagant secret?  C’mon, let us in on it, we won’t tell.

I’m linked to


Bistro Love – Before and After

I introduced you to a charming bistro set here. And it was pretty cute then.

Chippy but cute

 The problem beyond the chipping paint is that it had begun to rust.  Our favorite method of stripping paint from metal is a wire wheel on a drill and just a few days ago I purchased a whole set of wire wheels to help refinish this bell. 

Black and Decker Wire Wheels

 Get it? A whole set of wire wheels to refinish A BELL! Really I was getting someone (Hi, Charlie) prepared to strip the entire bistro set so I could repaint it.

Last night Charlie got started with his new wheel set. (He loves a new tool and a whole set is even better.)

Electric drill with wire brush attachment

 There are a lot of little curlicue places on the chairbacks so Charlie also used our Dremel tool with a little coarse wire brush to get into the tight spaces.  That worked well but is very time consuming as in “Don’t try to Dremel the entire chair or you’ll be here six months from now”.

Dremeling the curlicues

 Here’s one of the chairs after being wired.

Bistro Chair stripped of loose paint

 Once the metal is stripped fairly clean (it need not be totally devoid of paint, but everything chipping or flaking must be removed) I sprayed dark grey primer onto the chairs and table.  I started with the underside. (I stuck circles of painters’ tape on the bottom of the feet so the plastic slides would not have paint on them.)

Self-etching primer used on the undersides

 Then I flipped everything over and gave it a couple of good coats on the top. I could have stopped here because I really like the color of the primer, a medium dark grey with a slight greenish cast.

Primed Bistro Chair

  After letting the primer dry for 24 hours, I pulled out my new favorite color of spray paint:  Metallic Charcoal by Rustoleum.  It has just a hint of sparkle and more depth than traditional black. I coated everything with 3-5 light layers of the  finish color.

Metallic Charcoal Bistro Chair in the morning light

 Again I started on the underside.  Then flipped everything over making sure every nook and cranny was painted. (This took about a can and a half of paint.)

Drying

 In a couple places the paint started to drip a little bit so, while it was still wet, I touched is lightly with a rag which removed the excess paint.  Then I sprayed it lightly in those spots to restore the sheen. The photos show the lovely, restrained sheen of this paint: akin to gun-metal.

 Everything dried for at least 24 12 hours before we replaced the glass on the table and the pale green cushions. (Not sure we’re going to stick with the pale green but for now that’s what we have.) Of course, it also rained all night on the newly painted set!

Bistro Set - Before

 Ta -dah! Voila!

Bistro Set - After

 From another angle

Bistro Set - Finished

 Detail of chair .  .  .

Bistro Chair - Metallic Charcoal

 When the house renovation is complete, this set will move to the east side of the house onto a second-story porch where it will get the dappled morning sun. 

In place until the renovation

 Now it’s time to enjoy!

Morning Coffee at the Bistro

 Have you finished a satisfying project recently? Or has it been way too long?

I’m linked to

 


Furniture Feature Fridays

Bellissima

When we changed the cottage door Kathy noticed that we had taken down the bell.  All the trim at the cottage needed to be painted so I really forgot all about hanging the bell back up.

Black bell by old door

 Then I got to thinking that everything else had just been newly painted and the bell looked kind of shoddy.

Bell Before

 I asked for some help deciding on the color it should be.

Bell - After

Then I painted the bench and fell in love with Rustoleum’s Metallic Charcoal Grey.

Charcoal Metallic Spray Paint

 In order to renew the bell, Charlie hit it with the wire wheel on the drill.

Wire Wheel on a drill

 I bought a package of 4 different wire drill brushes because we have quite a few future projects for which they will be useful.

Black and Decker Wire Wheels

 After we smoothed out the surface with the wire wheel, I hung the bell on a branch and sprayed it with dark grey self-etching primer.

Primed Bell

 Another angle.

Bell with self-etching primer

 Finally I sprayed it with the Charcoal Metallic which gives it a heavier, more solid character. 

Metallic Charcoal Bell at Dusk

 And here’s the bell back in place at Glade Cottage just in case anyone comes calling.

Ring when you come by

 It’s these small projects that add to the personality of a place. 

In the morning light

 Have you put off a tiny project that would be great to get to now that the weather has turned nice?  Just asking.

I’m linked to
Domestically Speaking

Photobucket

Benched: In with the New

I showed you this old bench and how I began its revival here.

Bench - Front View - Before

 The bench was primed.

Ready for the next step

 The remaining steps were:

  • buy supplies
  • paint topcoat

    Charcoal Metallic Spray Paint

  • attach wood slats
  • find a place for the bench.

I bought the paint (above) and stainless steel nuts and bolts (maybe these won’t rust) at Lowes for $18.13.

Stainless steel nuts and bolts

 Lowes didn’t have wood the same width (2.25 inches) as the original slats so I didn’t buy anything, but when I returned home I realized that a traditional 1 x 3 (which is actually only 2.5 inches wide) would fit in the allotted spaces. So I went to Home Depot to get seven 4′ long 1 x 3s. They didn’t have what I wanted either so I went back to Lowes and bought four 8′ furring strips ($5.30).

New lumber with one old slat on top

 I spray painted 3 to 5 light coats of Rustoleum’s Metallic Charcoal on all sides of the metal frame.

2 or 3 light coats of paint to start

 One can was barely enough but I wasn’t about to buy a second can for a couple of sprays since this is fairly expensive spray paint ($6.78 per can).

After final coat of Metallic Charcoal

 Then Charlie cut the slats to size.

Sawing bench slats using the wheelbarrow as a workbench

 On my way home from Lowes after buying the furring strips I had the brilliant notion that these furring strips should not just be left to weather naturally. Not wanting to spend anymore money on this project, I remembered I have 2 colors of blue wood stain left over from the kitchen cabinets. I took the Minwax stain I had on hand:

  1. Deep Ocean (a true blue)
  2. Island Water (a deep teal)
  3. English Chestnut (dark brown)

and tested each of them on a board.  I also tried layering #1 over #3 and vice versa. Here’s the tester board. While I was testing, Charlie gave each board a light sanding, then wiped them down with a dry rag.

From top to bottom 1, 2, 3.

 Shockingly, we both liked #1 Deep Ocean best.  (We hardly ever agree on color!)

I brushed on and wiped off with a rag 2 coats of stain on each side of each board

 After marking the hole sites using an old board as a template, 

Marking holes

 I drilled holes for the bolts to go through making sure each slat would line up with the bench frame.

Drilling the bolt holes

 The finish wasn’t quite right so I brushed on 2 coats of polyurethane which I had on hand.

Before Polyurethane

 Here’s our park bench painted, polyurethaned and assembled.

Park Bench in the morning light

 Here’s the before.

Bench - Front View - Before

And here is the final bench which I plan to put in the hydrangea garden when Charlie gets it cleared out on the east side of the house.

Finished!

 Final Cost          $23.43 

I hope it lasts a good long time, another 20 years would be really nice.

I’m linked to the following parties:

Boogieboard Cottage

Transformation Thursday

Domestically Speaking

Lettered Headboard Tutorial

I love the look of lettering on walls and furniture (see my kitchen wallpaper below) but I just don’t have the moolah to spend on such things, so I try to come up with my own quaint techniques.

Sample of Kitchen Wallpaer

While I was changing the color of the little bedroom (formerly yellow, now pink) I was ready to update the headboard of this old bed. 

Bed Before

The twin to this one is out in the cottage. I have a matched set because my sister and I shared a room when we were very young and had matching beds.

Over the years the finish has worn off in places and the structural members have changed but I still have the matching headboards and footboards.  (Why, oh why, can’t I get rid of anything?)

Headboard and footboard

  Alas, I don’t have a room where both will fit together so I decided to do them over one at a time and each differently.  Here is my initial effort for the pink bedroom.

First I sanded the finish just to rough it up and wiped it down with mineral spirits to remove the dust and any grime I missed.

Sanding the finish

 Then I primed the bed with Kilz (because the can was open from priming the door to the cottage).

Headboard and footboard primed

 The next part was little tricky because I had recived a free pint of Benjamin Moore paint from the seminar I attended here. I wanted “Mourning Dove” by Martha Stewart but the Benjamin Moore dealer would only mix their own color so I picked “Meditation” which was close but not eaxactly what I wanted. I went to work adding some leftover-from-other-projects greens, some white and some dark blue to “Meditation” and came up with a near  match to “Mourning Dove”.

Paint tester on Mourning Dove swatch

 The real trick to mixing is to make sure you mix enough for the entire project. Then I gave the bed a couple coats of Jo’s “Mourning Dove” (which looks tan in the photo but is more grey with a very slight green cast) applied mostly with a foam roller.

Bed with primer and “Mourning Dove”

Finished with “Mourning Dove”.

Footboard in "Mourning Dove"

 Then I began to cut the stencil from an old office folder for the wording to be applied to the headboard.

Stencil

 I knew I wanted the lettering in silver and I had two options: satin nickel or silver.

Silver on the left, Satin Nickel on the right

 I did a test swatch using each paint with the stencil onto a swatch of “Mourning Dove.” (Note: If you test the stencil before it is fully cut out, use it upside down [meaning wrong side taking the paint] so you don’t obliterate the markings for the rest of the cuts. Guess how I found this out?) Here are the results.

Silver on top, Satin Nickel on bottom

 It turned out that in certain light you couldn’t even see the satin nickel because the color tone was so close to the base color (Mourning Dove). I did use Satin Nickel to add a little zing to the knobs.

Satin Nickel with Mourning Dove

 Finally I had the entire stencil cut (which was a bear).

Fully cut stencil

 I taped it to the head of the bed and masked off everthing else with blue painters tape. The tiny pieces inside the letters d, a, o and f were held down with a tiny piece of double-stick tape.

Stencil ready for spray paint

  I sprayed silver on the stencil twice and a light dusting of satin nickel.

Stencil with spray paint

Here’s the result. 

Stenciled headboard

 A quick look at the bed in place in the pink bedroom. Remember the satin nickel on the knobs? Full reveal after a few more projects are complete.

Stenciled Bed

 and maybe one more shot .  .  .

Full effect . . . Subtle

 Sidebar:  I’ll show you the stencil preparation procedure in a future post.

This is a tiny room but very handy when the house is filled with guests. And don’t get attached to the picture on the wall because I forgot I have wall sconce lamps for this room. Decorating, for me, is never a “done deal”.  I think I inherited that from my mother.  What have you moved around and tweaked lately? Is change good or just constant?

I’m linked to the paint party at
Furniture Feature Fridays

Domestically Speaking

and