Back To My First Love: Furniture Refinishing!

For the past few weeks, I have devoted all of my time to getting the outside of our house back in shape after our addition/renovation last year. It took a lot of hard work, but it is done!

During this time, I did not work on any furniture. However, I did purchase some really great pieces and put them in our storage unit. With the outside done, I am ready to start refinishing furniture again.

I went to the storage unit and pulled out a buffet as the first piece I will work on. I also took pictures of other furniture to show you what might be next.

Having a storage unit lets me purchase well-priced items knowing I have a place to store it until I can get to it.

I was able to get this secretary desk for a song. The people selling it were moving and wanted it gone. It needs some minor repairs but will be beautiful when it is done!

This piece was also a really great deal! It is such a solid piece and has some beautiful trim.

I want to use a dry painting technique on this piece to bring out the detailing.

This cabinet looked very different in pictures than it did in person. I think the scroll work is too busy. Because of the price, I purchased it anyway. It will probably give me a headache and I will most likely wish I never purchased it, but I do like a challenge.

Lastly the buffet. My husband sanded the top for me. Whenever possible I like to keep the wood on the top of a serving piece. It makes it more conducive to put food on.

I ordered this stencil months ago knowing I wanted to try it.

Using the stencil and a paste that dries hard, I will be attempting to create a design like the one above on a piece of furniture.

I am looking forward to starting the pieces and being able to share them with you in the next few weeks!

The Front Garden Is Finally Finished!

While it has taken several weeks to complete, I kept pushing myself beyond even my expectations. I would get up around 4:30 in the morning and work for a couple hours before going to work. Then, when I came home, I would do more, eat dinner and drag myself to bed. Just to repeat it the next day. During these past couple of months, I put my back out several times, pulled muscles in my foot, and every part of my body was sore for weeks!

Why push so hard? There are actually two reasons. One is my mother-in-law Audrey is turning 90 and we are having a party for her here. The other is I am having surgery and will be out of commission for several weeks and want everything done beforehand.

The latter was a must for me. Not having things done and me not being able to do them would have driven me up the wall!

Now I don’t have to worry about it, and I will be able to concentrate on healing faster!

I am going to start by showing you what I began with and finally revealing the results.

Our addition/renovation was great for the inside of the house, but not so much for the outside.

My garden suffered from the addition/renovation as well. With all the machinery and work being done, I was not able to tend to them and they were severely overgrown.

Even the forsythia bush was out of control!

I started with the forsythia bush making it easier to get to the actual garden.

After weeks of pulling out weeds and taming back the out-of-control groundcover, I asked myself was it worth it?

The answer is emphatically. Yes!! I love the way it looks now, and I don’t cringe anymore when I pull into the driveway.

My sister-in-law gave me a beautiful wooden piece of wall art with iron work detailing a few years ago. I absolutely adored it but was never able to find the perfect place. As the garden was taking shape, I knew I would need something to deal with the large utility box. I tried a few things but liked the wall art the best. It needed some more height, so I attached a sign I purchased last year from Michaels. Voila, a one-of-a-kind garden ornament!

Since I had to dig up a lot of plants to remove the intertwined ground cover, I got brave! I pulled out the large spirea bush and transplanted it on the other side of the garden.

As you can see in this picture it is thriving!

A friend of mine gave me this crate a while ago. Even though it had a broken side I thought it was cool in the hopes I would find a place for it. That day is here! I needed something behind the sign and immediately an image of the box with flowers in it came to mind. Perfect!

After removing the groundcover, I found plants I didn’t even know I had. If you look closely at the lower half of the wrought iron tower there is a climbing vine with purple flowers. I planted that a couple years ago and it is finally showing!

If you recognize this perennial, can you leave the name in the comments? I would appreciate it!

And here is my finished cottage garden. I can’t wait until it starts to fill in!

If you want to see the making of the cottage garden, check out: Creating A Cottage Garden blog posts: Part One/Part 1.5/and Part Two

Making Flower Arrangement With Store Bought Flowers!

I wanted a flower bouquet to help bring spring indoors, but my peonies have already bloomed and none of the other flower are ready to be cut. To make the bouquet I went to my local Wegman’s grocery store to see what I could find. My criteria included flowers that looked like they came from a meadow and needed to be twenty dollars or under.

Take a look at what I found for nineteen dollars!

I purchased one bunch of miniature carnations for seven dollars, tulips for six and filler (do not know the name of it) also for six.

I chose this vase to create interest by using the juxtaposition of the formal vase with the informal bouquet.

The vase came with insert to hold water. Cool!

I think carnations get a bad rap. They are so pretty and smell wonderful!

I would add some flowers step back and make an adjustment or add something more.

I repeated this process until I was satisfied with the results.

The finished bouquet!

Not bad for nineteen dollars!

Below are a few more examples I created from store bought flowers.

Creating A Cottage Garden: Part Two!

It started with Creating A Cottage Garden: Part One, Then 1.5 and finally Creating A Cottage Garden: Part Two!

Thanks for taking the ride with me! Let’s get to the results!

After our addition/renovation this little corner area was formed. It was in rough shape, but I took one look and thought this would be the perfect spot for my cottage garden!

A recap of Cottage Garden: Part One, after rototilling, I added a focal point (birdbath) and some pavers.

Next steps, I bought perennials and created a design plan for placement.

This is where I ended Creating A Cottage Garden: Part One!

After planting everything I took an assessment of what I thought it still needed. I wanted to enclose it somehow without losing the cottage feel.

I was watching Garden Answer on You Tube where they made a really cute fence out of pallets. I loved the look and wanted to make one for my garden.

I located some pallets and gave it a try.

Getting the boards off was no easy task.

I managed to get four boards off then the trouble started. The boards kept breaking because they were so hard to remove. I looked into buying a reciprocating saw but it cost more than I wanted to spend. So, the fence idea was put on hold.

Instead of a fence, I decided to use boxwood shrubs as an enclosure.

I really like this look. Of course, it will take a while for my bushes to get this mature.

Even though they are small, the bushes will definitely give the illusion of a separate space.

I used a tape measure to keep them straight and the same width apart.

On my wish list for my garden is a water fountain. I may not be able to swing a full water fountain for now, but I found a solar powered bird bath fountain.

I almost didn’t get this picture. It had been raining all day and the fountain will not work without sun. There was a break in the rain and the sun came out. I was able to get the shot! It’s really cool!

My first cottage garden!

I will post updates on the garden’s growth and the changes I may make along the way.

Creating A Cottage Garden Part 1.5?

A couple weeks ago I started my cottage garden by prepping the area, placing statuary and buying plants. I then put the newly purchased perennials in the ground and was ready to split and add additional plants from my front garden. But when I saw my front garden, I realized how overgrown it had become. It had been neglected for almost two years because of our renovation, landscape delays, and just trying to get everything back together. The gardening was just last on my list. Before I could think about going any further with my new cottage garden, I had to deal with this first. Thus, the reason for the title of the blog.

You can see how overgrown it is.

One of the reasons for the overgrowth is this invasive groundcover. It has been my nemesis for years! If any of you know what the name of this groundcover is, could you let me know? Better yet, if you know how to get rid of it! I would appreciate it!

My garden weapons! I mean tools…

Drat you groundcover! Usually, I can keep it under control as long as I am vigilant about it, but this is something else altogether.

This was me for most of the weekend. Kneeling and pulling, kneeling and pulling, on and on and on!

Then pushing and dumping and more pushing and dumping! You better believe I was sore the next day!

I was making headway, but at this point I needed to get off the ground.

I switched gears and tackled my forsythia bush.

I like my bushes to have more of a tree form for two reasons. It allows you to plant underneath it and it also gives it interesting architectural detail.

This was just the beginning. There was another whole pile added to this. I may have cut half the bush off!

I thought I would add a picture of what it looks like in the spring. It is really beautiful against the backdrop of arborvitae.

After spending most of the weekend working outside, I managed to get half of the front garden and the forsythia bush trimmed. I will finish it this week and start moving some plants to the cottage garden!

This is what the cottage garden looked like after planting the perennials last week.

Next week I will have the full reveal!

Creating A Cottage Garden: Part One!

A few years ago, when a neighbor was dividing her garden and offered me some plants, I was a little hesitant to accept. My record on keeping house plants alive was pretty dismal at best. So much so that the only greenery I had in my house were preserved boxwoods.

But the plants were free, and I had always wanted to try gardening, so I accepted the offer. My first try was not perfect, but I learned a lot from the experience and have since started two more small gardens around my house.

As my knowledge of gardening grew through reading and You Tube videos, I fell in love with the romantic and wild look of cottage gardens. I thought about creating my own cottage garden, but we really did not have a spot for it, so I put it on the back burner.

Fast forward after having an addition/renovation done on our home over a year ago, we now have a perfect place for my cottage garden. The area is 13×13 and is nestled right against the house. I had to wait the entire winter to get started, but now I am ready!

The first step was to roto till the area and add garden soil with fertilizer. I don’t have any pictures of using the roto tiller, but it was a blast to use!

After a week, l couldn’t wait any longer to get started, so Sunday at 7:30 in the morning I went to work (now you have the answer to why I named my blog Impulsively Creative).

I wanted some kind of statement piece for the center of the garden. I spotted the bird bath all the way in the back of the yard.

It was too heavy to lift so I laid the base on its side and started to roll it. Then went back and did the same with the top.

As I was rolling the birdbath on my hands and knees across the lawn, I am thinking about our new next-door neighbors who I have not met yet and wondered if they were up that early and seeing me doing my thing, wondering what they may have gotten themselves into.

Also on the other side of the yard were some left over pavers. I thought they would work to create a pathway to the birdbath. For these I was able to use the wagon to transport them to the garden.

I dug out the area around the pavers to make them flush with the ground.

Next, I wanted something that would define the entrance to the garden. I had two large planters with boxwood in them on the patio. I rolled them over and added wrought iron cloches I purchased at Brimfield.

At this point, I was loving the way it was looking and wished someone would wake up so I could show them!

After three hours I was finished and definitely needed a shower.

Later that day, we went to Wayside Garden Center in Macedon NY for flowers.

I purchased Russian Sage, Black Eyed Susans, Cone Flowers, Sedum, Coral Bells, and Alyssum.

I placed three Russian Sage in the back, two Black Eyed Susans in between, then Cone Flowers, Sedum and Alyssum around the birdbath.

If you are a gardener, I would love any tips you may have for me. I am an amateur and would welcome any help you want to give!

I also plan on dividing plants from my front garden and adding to the back.

I am looking forward to sharing my progress in the coming weeks!

Artwork Created From Redesign Prima Transfer!

I purchased a beautiful transfer called Earthly Delights from redesign with Prima a few weeks ago. I was thinking about using it on a piece of furniture, but I had already used a transfer on my antique secretary desk. Wanting to continue my journey of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I decided to look elsewhere for inspiration. It arrived when I was shopping at Michael’s. They were having a buy-one- get- two- free sale on canvases which included a 36×40 inch size. I immediately thought of the transfer and how cool it would be to put it on canvas. So, I took all three canvases home and got to work!

The canvas was the perfect size for the transfer.

You have to push down and rub hard to get a transfer to adhere. Without a solid surface to press on, it was going to be a problem. I tried a few things, but books underneath the canvas worked best.

I chose Annie Sloan French Linen chalkpaint as a background color for the canvas.

I loved the movement the paint gave the canvas.

I placed the transfer on the canvas and took measurements to find the center point. The grid on the transfer makes it much easier.

I decided to remove the words. I wanted the flowers to be the focal point.

I had to work very slowly making sure the books were aligned underneath to provide the solid surface I needed.

There were a couple mishaps, but the first part went fairly well.

The whole process probably took three hours and I was pleased with the results. There were a few adjustments that left gaps, but I was able to fix them with paint.

I gathered all my supplies to fill in the gaps

Acrylic paints.

Brushes

And of course, the color wheel!

I used a piece of foam board as my palette.

It is definitely not perfect, but I loved the challenge of putting it together.

I was really excited that I was able to match the original colors! There was a lot more to do but this got me fired up!

This is what it looked like after filling the gaps. Again, not perfect but pretty darn good!

I am about to push the boundaries again!

I wanted to make the background more alive.

I started by adding Annie Sloan Athenian black and Waverly Mineral chalk paints to the background.

I added paint.

Sprayed with water.

Then used a rag in a tapping and swirling motion. Stepped back and repeated the process.

I just went for it! It was very freeing!

This is where I ended up. I love the way it came out! I still need to tweak the lower left corner, but I was too exhausted and did not want to risk messing it up.

Have you ever done a project where you just let loose? I would love to hear about it.

Ladies French Writing Desk: Before and After!

It has been a while since a piece of furniture has tried my patience like my current project. The litany of problems seemed never ending. Re-assembling the top and bottom pieces, peeling veneer, broken drawer fronts, replacing the backer board because of warping, and finally reinforcing the legs so it will not wobble (thanks to my husband). I was getting to the point of wanting to call it a day and start another project. But invariably, I would look at it and see how cute it could be and keep going. It is probably the same reasoning behind my catching spiders in my house and letting them go outside. I am giving them another chance at life!

In last week’s blog, I reglued the veneer, fixed the drawer fronts and doors.

I knew I wanted black for the desk, but when I saw this, I knew I wanted gold as an accent color.

After painting the plywood for the back with Annie Sloan Athenian Black chalk paint I decided to add some gold.

Using a stencil, I filled the spaces with Rub N Buff and created this pattern.

I attached it to the back with nails and filled in the gaps with Drydek spackle. After it dried, I sanded it smooth then painted it to match the desk.

To give it some more flair, I highlighted the raised trim on all the drawers and the hardware with Rub n Buff antique gold metallic wax.

And here it is! It has been a struggle, but I think I accomplished the goal of bringing this old, needy piece back to life.

I can’t say I will take on another project like this anytime soon but am glad I was able to save this one!

Ladies French Writing Desk Revamp: Part One!

I purchased this desk off of Facebook Marketplace a couple weeks ago. The price was originally $55 but when my husband went to pick it up, the top portion had fallen off and the owner dropped the price to $35.

I still thought it had a lot of potential and got to work trying to give it a second life.

Because of the amount of work needed, it will definitely be a two-part blog series.

This is part one:

This is the top part of the desk. I removed the old veneer then reattached it to the base.

The veneer was coming off in a lot of places and needed to be glued down. I collected every size clamp we had in our garage to tackle this job

I also got out my wood glue syringes. They are a must have when working with veneer.

They are easy to use. Simply fill the syringe with glue, put on blunt needle and then inject away.

It gets into all the hard-to-reach areas which is key for a better bond.

I wasn’t kidding about the clamps!

There are two small doors on the desk that have beautiful detailing. One was in great shape and the other not so much. I had to work really hard but, in the end, I was able to save it!

The veneer on the drawers could not be saved.

Some of it came off easily, but the rest was stuck on pretty good.

I used a wet paper towel to help loosen the glue.

The veneer started coming off a little at a time. I repeated the same process until it was all off.

The wood underneath was in good shape and sanded nicely.

When I removed the veneer, the raised molding came off. I saved it so I could put it back on.

There were some chips in the veneer that I had to fill.

I used DRYDEK spackling. After it dried, I sanded it smooth.

I used wood glue and a small paintbrush to put the molding back on the drawers.

When I paint it, this detail will really stand out.

This is as far as I got after several days of resuscitation! I am getting excited about the finished product! Watch for Ladies French Writing Desk Revamp: Part Two!

Behind The Scenes: Finishing Touches!

When I finish a piece of furniture and reveal it on my blog you see the outside of the piece and its transformation but not the inside. I usually do this part after I post my blog and am getting ready to sell it. I always try and make the inside of my furniture pieces look their best too. If the piece is in pristine condition on the inside and reflects what I did on the outside, I just give it a good cleaning. But let’s face it, the pieces I purchase are usually not in pristine condition and need a lot of work.

For instance, the dresser I did on my blog post last week. The inside was not in great shape. It took a lot of TLC to get it looking like I wanted it. I will take you through the step by step process.

The drawers were rough to the touch and needed sanding. I covered the front with plastic to protect my decoupage work.

At one time, the dresser must have gotten wet. There was a distinct musty odor coming from the drawers after I sanded.

I learned a trick to eliminate odor from furniture. Just spray shellac inside the drawers and the cavity of the base and it will seal in the odor. It has worked every time!

I started by painting the bottom of the drawers in a color similar to the outside of the dresser.

I liked that, but now the yellow orange color of the sides really stood out.

I have seen You Tube videos where people used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to stain furniture. I decided to try it using Honfleur.

I just painted it on.

Then wiped it off with a cloth. It came out great! Love the deep rich color! I repeated the process on the all the sides of the drawers inside and outside.

Really loved the combination of the pale green and the deep rich brown!

When it was dry, I sealed it with Polycrylic.

Now when someone opens the drawers, they will not be disappointed!

And now you know the complete transformation story!