Saturday, February 21, 2015

You were wild once, don't let them tame you.





Last summer I got to know a family that lives diagonally across the street from me at a neighborhood party.  They have 3 beautiful little girls, now ages 10, 8 and 6.  I began tutoring two of them last summer, "L" and "E" (helloooooo internet paranoia!) and was immediately impressed with not only their individual personalities and interests, but how both of them seemed "wise beyond their years."

E would frequently relate vocabulary/phonics words we were studying back to her knowledge of the Titanic or other historic events.  L (who had just finished 1st grade), showed me her Picasso-esque artwork that she loved to produce.  L has a form of dyslexia and I feel like jumping into her brain for a day would be extraordinary.

Anyway, one day E saw an old picture frame that I had experimented with some chalk painting techniques on and she casually said, "Oh, is that distressed?  My mom said people distress furniture to make them look like antiques."

Wow!

Every week, I looked forward to working with L and E, and keeping my teaching skills sharp over the summer break.  Even more than that, I enjoyed the conversations I had with these two soulful girls.

Flash forward to a cold, winter morning last month when I was hurrying my toddler into the car, late for daycare drop off and school as usual.  E & L's mom walked by and we stopped for a chat.  She told me that E had recently decided to re-vamp her bedroom and she was letting her have full reign in the design process.  She also said that E had a nightstand and a dresser that she'd love for me to chalk paint to my heart's desire.  I told her I'd absolutely love to, but life was running 400 m.p.h. recently and I wasn't sure when I'd have time.

Then came January 29th.  Loooooong story short....my toddler broke his leg doing a little jig to the Thomas the Tank Engine song and ended up in a practically full body cast...."spica cast" as they call it.  Well.....with a family medical leave suddenly upon me, turns out I had some spare time for a project while my baby napped !

I stopped over to see E's new comforter, which would turn out to be the color palate for her re-design.  She chose this beautiful "dip dyed" comforter from Pottery Barn Teen seen here:

So cool!  Seeing the colors and hearing her thoughts, I immediately thought of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colors Provence and Henrietta......
She had a large, 5 drawer dresser and a small night stand for me to work on.  We sat together with iPad in hand, browsing Pinterest for inspiration and found this picture that made her go, "Ooohhhh!"...

Oooooh! Now, this color shown is Emile, which is a darker purple than the pinkish-purple Henrietta, but we both agreed this would look awesome in her room.

Then, Miss Amazing Vocabulary said, "Can you distress the drawers??"  Uhh....yeah!! So, I suggested doing the turquoise-y Provence underneath Henrietta so that I could distress it and let the pretty turquoise peak out underneath.

Done.

But, this being my first pre-teen piece of furniture, I couldn't stop there!

"How about an initial or a monogram on the side?"   "YES!"
"How about a quote about dance somewhere?" "YES!"  "In gold!"  "YESSS!!!"


WEEEEEE!!!!!  Seriously......there is nothing like a creative project to pull me out of the Winter funk....especially having to stay indoors while my wee little one's leg was healing.  The next day, I hopped up to my favorite Annie Sloan retailer, Pippi & Peanuts Eclectic Boutique in Quakertown, PA and my husband helped E's dad haul her furniture over to our house and into my workshop (a.k.a.....my basement)

Bad news for me, but I took absolutely NO "before" pictures and NO "step-by-step" pictures.  I hit this project with reckless abandon and finished in a week and a half.  A new record.

All I can say is.....use your imagination for the "before."  It was green.  Just.....green.  Okay, light green?

And now.....the afters!
*Note:  This is the very very very very last time that I am apologizing for the low/horrible quality of my pictures.  I can no longer take pictures on my LG Something-Something phone and try to show off pictures that actually do my work justice.  Next purchase....a real camera!!!!!! Oh....SORRY!!!*


Finished piece:  body of dresser- three coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, finished with clear wax
                          drawers- two coats of ASCP in Provence, one coat of Henrietta, distress lightly with medium grain sanding block., faux distressing of Provence and Henrietta along edges and clear wax finish

I did the "E" initial before I applied the wax.  Instead of buying a large letter stencil, I simply went on MS Word, found a font I liked, typed a giant E (about.....400 pt.?  Took up whole page) and printed it on dense cardstock.  Then, I cut out the printed portion of the E verrrrry carefully, taped it back together carefully and used it as a stencil!

Close-up of drawers......again....sorry for quality.  Wahh.
"Faux distressing" is what I call it when I dip a small paintbrush in the color I want to peak through and lightly brush it again on edges.  This helps when I've distressed too hard and the wood or previous color is showing through.  After I brush the "peaking" color (here, Provence), I brush over it again with the top color (here, Henrietta) until I achieve the look I want.

In this picture, the distressing on the flat part of the drawer front is "true" distressing with a sand block, and what you see on the edges is "faux." 




 Lastly, I added a couple of details in gold paint pen, like this Isadora Duncan quote on the side of the nightstand....."You were wild once, don't let them tame you."   If ya don't know, Isadora Duncan is known as the creator of modern dance.  She wowed audiences in both Europe and the U.S. with her new-fangled free-form dance style.  Teddy Roosevelt was a big fan.  Don't ask me how she was killed.  I'm not saying not to Google it.....but I'm not gonna tell you what happened!!!! Eeeks!!!!

 The dresser, I put a quote from Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." 

"There was a star danced, and under that I was born."

Can you tell she has a passion for dance?


And a little scrawl of "dream" on the nightstand's side that is closest to E's bed.  And, my signature gold heart. 

 E and her sweet sisters trudged through the snow to come see her furniture yesterday and her reaction was exactly what I was hoping for.  Jaw dropped and exclaimed, "This is so cool! No one else will have anything like this!!"

Just a small piece in the world of a unique girl!




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