March 20, 2013

Spring Wreath Made with Watercolor Paper Rosettes

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."  ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Perfect description of this freezing first day of spring! I have had this wreath up on my door for a few weeks now, beckoning warmer days and blooming flowers to come already! It is made from burlap and different types of paper rosettes, including some watercolor paper I painted that turned out so pretty. 

If you've been on Pinterest, you've probably seen lots of ways to make burlap wreaths. The accordion style below is my favorite and easiest to make, in my opinion. For the tutorial I used, click here. It is basically weaving a piece of wire through the folds of a wide strip of burlap and securing the back with wire. 

A helpful tip I figured out while shaping your wreath is to use clothespins all around the circle-it holds the wreath together while you secure each section with wire. I also used burlap on a roll instead of cutting strips for less mess and to save time. 

Pin It

For the paper rosettes, I used thick handmade paper and also painted some circles of watercolor paper and cut them out after they were dried. Paper rosettes take a little practice to get right but are fun once you get the hang of it. There are a few tutorials out there that show the same basic technique: 

First you start by cutting out a circle a few inches wide. They don't have to be perfect. It helps to use thicker paper, like watercolor. 

Then you draw a swirl from the outside in, trying to space them evenly. 

Begin cutting out the swirl all the way to the center along the line. 

After your swirl is cut out, begin rolling the paper from the outside in. I used dots of tacky glue to hold them in place as I formed my rose, but you can also use hot glue. 

Pin It

After making a few different sizes, shapes and colors of rosettes, I hot glued them to my burlap to finish the wreath. I love how it turned out-the rustic burlap contrasting with delicate pastel flowers. Since it was going on my front door, I sprayed on a coat of spar polyurethane to protect it from sun and humidity damage.

 This wreath is really fun to make-I recently got to teach a group of women at a nonprofit art center how to make them and love how different each one turned out. There's so much you can do with the burlap base-I consider it the "year round wreath", this is the third one I've made, just changing out the embellishments to fit the season. I'm pretty sure this one will be up until the fall-maybe then I'll make one with bright yellow leaves or white pumpkins? 

I link up to these parties. 

March 15, 2013

Pressback Chair Revamp

Pin It

These pressback chairs were in need of some updating, said a friend of mine, who asked me if I could work some magic on her set. She gave me a gallon of antique white enamel paint and a bunch of creative freedom. Here I will show you the process as well as some helpful tips and shortcuts I figured out along the way:

-antique white enamel acrylic paint (I used self-priming Behr paint). 
-black wood stain (I used Minwax in Onyx) 
-sanding sponge
-paint brushes in different sizes
-soft cloths
-cotton balls or cotton pads
-protective gloves

First, I prepped the chairs for painting by lightly sanding each chair with a sanding sponge (much easier on the hands than regular sandpaper)

Then, I wiped off the dust with a soft cloth.

I gave the chairs two coats of paint, allowing each layer to dry a few hours. The first two chairs I painted only with a brush. Then, I figured out a shortcut that cut the painting time in half: Use a small paint roller to apply the paint in one section, then immediately brush over it with the paint brush, to leave nice brush lines.

 After painting the chairs and some Pinterest research, I decided to antique the chairs using black wood stain. 

 For the antiquing, I rubbed the black wood stain over the grooves in the wood in small sections and immediately rubbed the chair down, leaving the stain in the grooves only. For the first chair, I tried using a soft cloth-which resulted in a drippy mess. I tried using a cosmetic cotton round and which worked so much better. It also helped to wrap plastic over the parts of the chair I wasn't staining. 

Pin It

Here are the finished chairs in my friend's dining room with the matching table painted and stained in the same colors. I think they look so elegant and bring lots of fresh style to her home-dare I say Pottery Barn style?

I link up here.