Gone Fishing…

Where have I been, you ask? Long time no hear, you say. Whelp, no excuses! I’ve been trying to relax and have some fun this summer, but basically that means I’ve been incredible busy with furniture sanding and staining and painting and stenciling and lifting and hauling and hammering and oh, yeah, selling it all at the Barn at Todd Farm! The only fishing I have actually done is for some cute whale patterns for my hand-crafted Tin Whale Signs. So much for a summer of R & R…which for me means Re-Cycle & Re-Love.

Today’s DIY post features some super cute whales I’ve created from tin, copper, wood and some paints. Typically, this is what happens: Coach says “I have these boards, can you do something with them?” He paints or stains them a background color while I search for some inspiration- nothing a pile of tin can’t provide! Where this stuff comes from, I do not know or care to ask- it just magically appears in the workshop…or on the porch…or in the yard…or under the work tent. But, somehow it all comes together and we go from this:

Tin Whale Outdoor Panelsto this: Tin Whales Country Design HomeHere’s the how-I-did-it:

Get a piece of wood (we have tons in the barn if you need some…) Have Coach paint or stain the wood with whatever back ground color you’d like to showcase your designs. Get some old tin sheets (good luck with that one) I needed enough tin to create a whale pattern the length of the wood-it did not have to be one large piece because I was planning on slicing it anyway.

Tin Whale SheetsLay down your whale pattern (hey, if you don’t like whales, you can pretty much take your pick of fish or animals or anything else. Then again, who doesn’t like whales?? Trace the pattern onto the tin panels.

Tin Whale Tracing PatternCut the pattern out with scissors. Now, I am not sure where to actually find aged tin this thin-once my stash is gone, I am not sure what I will do! But I am sure Coach will figure it out. Evenly slice the pieces into as many as you would like to create your design.

Tin Whale Pattern StencilI chose two different paint colors to create the stripes. So many colors, so many choices…

Tin Whale Paint ColorsI painted it on…

Tin Whale Painted Tail Before…then sanded it off to expose the tin texture.

Tin Whale Sanded PaintSometimes I don’t paint it at all- just leaving the aged tin…which has the appearance of an old whale (well, at least from what I can see in old photographs…)

Tin Whale Natural SurfaceOnce all the pieces were painted, I laid them back down, evenly spacing them with a ruler. (I used to just eyeball stuff, but I guess these old eyes don’t quite measure like they used to…)

Tin Whale SpacingI glued the pieces to the wood…I’ve tried all sorts of glues, but this one works really well and its clear and doesn’t smell too bad. Painted it on the back of the pieces, then laid it down on the wood panel-once I had them positioned correctly- thenI weighted them down with paint cans until they dried.

Tin Whale Tacky GlueNow, here’s the fun part. Well, I guess you could call it fun if you enjoy individually punching dozens of teeny, tiny copper tacks into tin and wood using jewelry pliers and a small hammer…

Tin Whale Copper Tacks with PliersThese tiny copper tacks are from a company in Ohio- they are specifically made for shaker boxes…but I think they are perfect for my whales!

Tin Whale Copper TacksEach whale is unique in both the finishes and the finishing decorations. Depending on the color choices, sometimes I will use black carpet tacks instead of the copper tacks…those are available at your local hardware store.

Tin Whales 2 by 2As for the whales, well, sometimes I paint them, sometimes I leave them natural (after all, whales are not typically blue striped) Sometimes I use vintage hooks, sometimes I glue jute rope around the edges to finish them off…whatever strikes my artistic fancy while I am in my create mode. So, here are the whales hanging on the wall at the barn, along with many other pieces that I have created.

Tin Whales Barn Vignette Country Design Home.jpgDon’t they look totally at home there?? If I ever have coastal cottage (working on it!) they will be making waves there : ) Have a whale of a Monday, everyone! xoxo Susan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve Moved! (but not far…)

This past couple of months, Coach and I have been working really hard to create a new fresh look for our space in the Barn at Todd Farm. Well, actually, its my new space…but I didn’t move far- just across the aisle! Our friends and barn co-inhabitants from The Laughing Cottage moved down to the front entrance of the barn, leaving their space available. So, Coach and I decided that because of its size and orientation (it is wide rather than deep) it made sense for me to make the move to give us a lot more wall space to hang our artwork and decorative stuff. We moved into a blank slate, basically plywood walls and floors, and set out to create a warm and welcoming space with a slightly nautical theme. We painted the back chipwood wall, first with an undercoat of white,

Barn Booth painted wall

and then I dry-brushed over it in shades of grays and blues. (woops, I forgot to take the after picture, but if you look real close behind the whales, you can see the finished wall).

Barn Booth Back Wall Styled

The bookcase wall, which had been covered with rustic shutters, took on a mid-century modern look once I painted random squares with pops of color and stained the rest.

Barn Booth Painted Shelving

Then, we filled it with all sorts of curated items, hung a ladder and some fish net and patio lights for ambiance. So cute!

Barn Booth Bookcase Wall Lights

Then, the floor! Well, what was once a dusty, plain brown plywood

Barn Booth Plywood Plank Flooring

is now a striped and stenciled masterpiece that continually draws customers’ attention and comments-who just love it!

Barn Booth Old Trunk

The painted floor stripes were simple to do-measured, then taped off, followed by painting alternating stripes of General Finishes Milk Paint in Coastal and Federal Blue. You can see in the photo below that I did create more of a paint-washed look rather than a solid color. I wanted it to look old and worn, not shiny and new, so I used a brush rather than a roller- an arduous task, but worthwhile in the end.

Barn Booth Painted Stripe Flooring

By the time I was finished with the stripes, they were already dry and ready for the stencils! I created a large pattern on my handy-dandy Cricut machine and cut it-so large, that I had to piece it together with tape!

Barn Booth Cut Stencil

Stenciling was done with a large sponge and some random acrylic paint I mixed together in a pale chartreuse.

Barn Booth Spacing Stencils

Spacing was a bit tricky- I started in the middle in front of the beam (which I thought was centered, but not quite) and worked to the left and right. Along the way, I gave up the measuring tape and just eyeballed it to make sure I could fit it all in. As is sometimes the case (but not always), the stenciled design fit perfectly! So now my space is filled with pieces that I have refurbished and lots of cool junk that Coach has picked along the way. Actually, quite a few of these pieces sold on our flea market opening day this past Sunday- but there are plenty more where those came from!

Barn Booth Styled

If you haven’t been up in awhile, or have never been to The Barn at Todd Farm, come on up and visit us in our sweet new space.

Barn Booth Bookcase Wall

(and Coach is now in my old space with the rusty bedspring light)- with a new name- American Vintage GoodsRusty Bedspring Marquee Light In Shop PM

So stop on by and say Hi!! And have a wonderful (albeit WET) Wednesday! Susan xoxo

Hail to the Whale!

Coach and I, well, we just love whales. I am not certain how it all began, but I can say that one of our very first “all day” dates took place in lovely Mystic Connecticut. In Mystic Seaport, it is all things nautical, and I suspect perhaps that day spent touring the Charles W. Morgan (the last wooden whale ship in the world!)

Charles W. Morgan

the Seaport Museum and the Mystic Aquarium, all the while basking in the glow of young love, might have sparked the beginning of a life-long passion for those majestic denizens of the deep. So, I paint a lot of whales…on trunks and planks and tables, pretty much any flat surface.

Whale Porch Table

After all, who can resist a gentle, giant creature with a hint of a smile-especially when decorated with the American flag? Recently, Coach came upon a stack of old cabinet doors (well, it might not have been recently, it’s just what has surfaced in the barn most recently.)

Hail to the Whale Before Cupboard Door

They were simply painted creamy white, or so we thought. Until he started to sand the edges and behold! This amazing teal blue emerged.

Hail to the Whale Black Background

Sometimes you have in your mind what color scheme to use on a piece, sometimes the piece dictates the palette. In this case, there was cream and teal and a country red color…perfect for an American Flag Whale! I went with a black background for greater impact and contrast to the flag whale itself. For the flag colors, I mixed paints until I came up with the exact shades of teals and reds that matched the existing colors on the frame. I have, in my workshop, perhaps 50 or so of those little Behr sample paint pots

Behr Sample Pots

that you get at Home Depot for a couple of bucks…in a multitude of colors. These are my go-to samples when I am mixing paints-economical and plentiful…and if I mix a color I really love, I just use the color match app to have them mix whatever amount I need! Once I painted the background, it was a pretty simple process-I used a whale stencil

 

Whale Stencil

for the overall pattern in cream, then taped off the stripes, and added the red.

Hail to the Whale Taped Stripes

Now, I know there aren’t 13 stripes- he was just too narrow and it looked too tight, so I went with a more interpretive look.

Hail to the Whale Star Field

After that, I added the star field using a stencil I cut out with my Cricut Air machine.

Cricut Gold

Do you have one of these?? If not, you need to hustle over to your favorite craft store and buy one, like now! If you do crafts, or scrapbooking, or make signs or stencils or just about anything where you need to apply graphics, this is your go-to machine. See this little square of stars?

Star Stencil

By hand, that would have taken me hours to cut…and then a few more in the ER getting stitched up from the X-acto knife thumb slice… With the Cricut, it took maybe ten minutes to design and cut the stencil. Simply incredible!

Once the whale had dried, I added the matching stars in the four corners. Upon close inspection, you can see where I allowed the faint outline of the original hardware to remain.

Hail to the Whale Hinge Detail

I think it gives the piece character to leave the blemishes there for everyone to see. After that, it was simply a matter of a topcoat…and I went with my go-to favorite: Flat Out Flat by General Finishes. **As a side-note, when you paint on this topcoat, it initially appears milky white,

Hail to the Whale FOF Wet Finish

which kind of freaked me out the first time I tried it. But, once it dried to a clear, softly glowing finish, I was sold. So, the whale is now finished and ready for his new home.

Hail to the Whale Finished Logo

This is the wall grouping that greets visitors at my back door, but alas, he’s not staying put.

Hail to the Whale Wall Grouping Logo 1

He’s migrating north to the Barn at Todd Farm where he’ll have a whale of a time with some other pieces I have recently completed. Have a “whale-y”great Wednesday, everyone! Susan xoxo

 

Faux Gold Leaf…It’s A Sign

Vintage Grocery Sign Completed Gold LogoThe other morning I woke up dreaming about how to make my own gold leaf for little to no $$$. What, that’s not a thing? Doesn’t everyone wake up dreaming about DIY projects? I had been working on a vintage GROCERY sign and had decided it needed more pizzazz than what a plain cream background could provide. So, I thought that since gold leafing

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top clear coatwas simply some hammered paper-thin gold sheets that you glued on the surface,

Applying Gold Leaf to Paris Tablewhy not use glued, thin textured paper that you painted gold? I know it’s not 24K…I mean, after all, I’m not going to be wearing the darned thing, so I am pretty sure that its OK for a wood sign, am I right? For those of you not familiar with “gold-leafing”, suffice to say that it has been used for gilding and decorating for centuries…click here for a little Wikipedia history lesson.

So I grabbed this antique oak dresser panel

Vintage Grocery Sign Dresser Side Panel(yes, this is the side panel from a vintage oak dresser that was beyond repair…I broke it down and am using the wood and salvaged pieces) and began the sign-making process. Here is the How-I-Did-It:

I cleaned the panel, then rubbed it down with some steel wool just to remove any surface stickies and smooth it out.

Vintage Grocery Sign Cleaning Old Frame with Steel WoolThere were two little dowels that were protruding from one end-they had attached the panel to the top of the dresser in its original form. I was in the kitchen so I didn’t want to drag out the power saw- enter the Ginsu Knife!

Vintage Grocery Sign Ginsu Knife CuttingThe ad says “cuts through a log, and then slices pineapple perfectly”. Well, I didn’t slice any fruit with it after I sliced off the dowels, but it worked great!

Refreshed the entire oak frame areas with some General Finishes Antique Oak Stain.

Vintage Grocery Sign General Finishes Antique Oak StainPainted the inside of the frame with a coat of chalk paint to lighten it up and create a bonding surface for the glue.

DecoArts Americana Chalky Paint PrimitiveCut out two pieces of wrapping tissue- this was in a gift box I saved from Christmas-so it was free!! But you can buy a whole package of it at the dollar store for well, $1. The thinner and cheaper, the better.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tissue Paper Cut To SizeSpread “Wunda Size”, a water-based glue which I use for all of my paper-adhesion projects…

Vintage Grocery Sign Wunda Size Glue…all over the surface-my original intent was to do 1/2 at a time, but the bottle spilled out a little more than I needed.

Vintage Grocery Sign Spilled GlueSo I scooped up what I could save (this stuff is like liquid gold…every drop counts!) and spread the rest out across the entire surface. Waited about 10 minutes until the surface was tacky and sticky (NOT dried!) Remember, wherever you put the glue, that is where the paper is going to stick! You can use any type of glue-even watered-down school glue- for this, but I would not use a “Modge-Podge” type product, as I think it would be too thick.

Laid the tissue down onto the tacky surface, beginning at the corners and then working along, smoothing it with my fingertips as I moved down the length of the board.

Vintage Grocery Sign Smoothing TissueIt is OK to have the creases and wrinkles, that’s what gives it the gold leaf appearance. (this stuff is really sticky-thankfully it washes off with water!)

Vintage Grocery Sign Sticky FingersI used two pieces, so there was a seam down the middle, but I just tore off the edge of the overlap piece and then smoothed it down.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tearing Tissue along edgeNow, tissue paper is not quite as fragile as real gold leafing, so I had a few seconds to reposition and move the paper until it was properly placed. However, once it touches the glue, you cannot slide it or it will tear-just lift it and move it along. But if it does tear, just smooth it back down with your fingertips and keep going. That is part of the look you are trying to achieve anyway. Once I was finished smoothing, I allowed it to dry completely-about an hour.

Vintage Grocery Sign Drying Tissue Paper with GluePainted with two coats of this gold paint

intage Grocery Sign Gold Metallic Paintyou could use any gold paint you have on hand-as long as it is metallic. I found this one in a mark down bin at AC Moore for like, 50 cents. As the paint went on, it enhanced the wrinkly surface, creating the veining effect of real gold leaf.

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold PaintFinally, using a stencil,

Vintage Grocery Sign StencilsI spelled out GROCERY,

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold Leaf Closeupthen painted it free-hand with some black chalkboard paint. See how pretty the black lettering looks against the glowing gold?

Vintage Grocery Sign Stenciled and PaintedFinished with a coat of spray matte acrylic sealer.

Krylon Matte FinishAdded two vintage hooks for hanging. Done. But this one’s not staying in my kitchen…

Vintage Grocery Sign in Window…it is just one of the many projects I’m bringing up to the Barn at Todd Farm this weekend! The total cost for this project? Zero. Zip. Nada. (well, except for my very valuable time and expertise : ) Everything I used I had on hand. If I had to purchase a large package of gold leafing, enough to cover this project, it would have cost a pretty penny (hmmm, now that I have this leafing thing down, I could definitely try coppering something, or even faux leathering…) So there you have it…gold leafing on the cheap. And speaking of gold, its Oscar weekend! Hope your favorite movie wins! Susan

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