Monday, September 16, 2013

Vintage Keys

This weekend I finished a new design for my Society6 shop.  The design was inspired by my small collection of vintage keys (pictured below) that I've picked up at various flea markets and antique shops.  I love the look of old keys, I think they hold much more of a sense of adventure and mystery than our modern keys.  Plus, the shapes are certainly much more fun than modern keys.  

This design is now available in my Society6 shop.  There have been a few updates throughout my shop - throw pillows now come in an outdoor fabric option and there are also new phone cases for new models of smart phones.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sketchbook - Red Rocks

Earlier this year, in May, I went to Boulder, Colorado for my brother's wedding.  He and his wife were married at a lovely location up in the Flatiron Mountains.  My husband and I had a wonderful time visiting Boulder and exploring the city.  I hope to visit Boulder again some day.  I'd love to spend more time out there drawing, painting, and exploring.  

While we were out in Boulder, we also drove to Red Rocks to have a look around.  Jeff and I couldn't get in to the amphitheatre area because there was a concert going on that night - Vampire Weekend with Monsters and Men opening for them.  We were able to get as far the gift shop area, so we went in to their little parking lot and picnic area and sat and drew the rocks for a while.  There was also the awesome bonus that we could hear the entire Monsters and Men soundcheck from where we were sitting - it was like a free concert! Whoo!  I drew the above sketch while we were sitting at Red Rocks.  I also snapped a few photos, which you can see below.

All of the pictures in the news of the recent flooding in Boulder and the surrounding area makes me so sad for the people of the city.  If you're looking to help the citizens of Boulder who are suffering from the floodwaters, this page from the CBS Denver News has information about the various ways you can help.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sketchbook - Leaves

Here is a sketchbook page from earlier this summer. I always find drawing leaves, trees, and other plants to be a nice way to relax.  This was drawn while I was visiting my parents on Martha's Vineyard, from some of the plants in my mom's garden.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Drawing at the Montreal Biodome

Last weekend, my husband and I took a trip to Montreal.  On Sunday morning, we went to the Montreal Biodome that's located in the 1976 Olympic Park.  We had a lot of fun watching lynx cubs, otters, puffins, penguins, and other animals.  We also both brought our sketchbooks with us so that we could draw the animals while we were there.  It was fairly busy, but we were able to find some seats in the Gulf of St. Lawrence exhibit to draw the fish in the aquarium.  Or in my case, fish and duck bottoms.   

The sketch above shows an Atlantic Sturgeon, a Pollock, and two Black Guillemot Birds.  The sketch below shows a puffin.  I've also included a few photos that I took while we were there.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Free Shipping!

My Society6 shop is currently offering free shipping on orders totaling $50 or more (excluding framed prints and stretched canvases)!  

Also, the ever popular throw pillows are now available in an outdoor fabric option as well! When looking at a particular pillow in the shop, there is now a drop down menu on the page that lets you pick either indoor or outdoor fabric.  If you've been looking to add some color to your patio or porch furniture, now is the perfect time to grab a few from the shop.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A New Mailbox

For several years I have painted mailboxes for my parents' home.  The last one I painted for them was five years ago and it was starting to show its age, so this summer I decided that they were due for a new one.  The past few mailboxes have been more illustrative, so this time I decided to go with a more graphic design inspired look for a change.

The mailbox I started with was originally a bronze color, but I primed it with a pearly white finish for the base of the design.  Once the base coat was dry, I used painters tape in varying widths to mask out the herringbone inspired pattern.  I didn't do any measuring for the pattern, just eyeballed everything for the stripes.  I wanted the color blocks to be similar in size but with enough variety to add more visual interest.

Then it was simply a matter of going through with three different shades of blue and aqua house paint (acrylic paint would work fine, too, but I had these colors on hand from a previous project) and a sponge brush to dab in the color.  I used a sponge brush instead of a normal brush so that I would have a flatter finish with the color.  I tested how a normal brush looked, but I wasn't happy with being able to see the brushstroke lines.  I did use a normal paintbrush for painting in the lettering.

The lettering was put on the mailbox out by first printing out the address using my computer (the font used was Futura).  I then flipped the printouts over, and on the back of the paper I covered where the lettering was with pencil.  If you're trying this at home, you can just hold the paper up to a light to make sure that the back is sufficiently covered with pencil to cover the letters.  Once that was done, I taped the sheet to the mailbox, with the pencil covered back against the metal and the printed lettering on top.  I then simply traced over the printed letters, and the pencil on the back of the paper transfers your tracing on to the surface of the mailbox.  It's the same concept as carbon paper.

After all of the painting was completed and all of the tape removed, I sealed everything with Rust-Oleum's Crystal Clear Enamel spray to make the paint last longer against weather elements.  Then it was just a matter of installing the hardware and the mailbox was done.  Ta-da!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vintage Cabinet Upcycle - Part 2

My vintage cabinet is finally finished!  It's been living in my kitchen for a few weeks and it is already proving itself to be quite useful.  The first post about the beginning of the job can be found here.  The remainder of this post will explain how I finished painting and fixing up the cabinet.

Once I finished sanding enough of the old paint off of the cabinet, it was time to take apart the wheels and clean them.  There was an awful lot of old gunk built up around the wheels, so it definitely needed a thorough cleaning before I could use it in my kitchen.  It took some work with pliers to loosen the bolts, but they finally came off.  You can see a cabinet leg minus the wheel below.  I also used the Mouse sander to take a good bit of rust off that part of the wheel, though I forgot to take an "after" picture before I reassembled everything.

I brought the wheel bits and the drawer pulls inside to clean them off.  I soaked everything in a mixture of warm water and CLR to help clean a lot of the older gunk off.  All of the pieces were then individually scrubbed with a toothbrush before I rinsed and dried them.  The handles shined up nicely while still retaining some of their weathered patina, which was perfect.  I wanted them to look clean, but not like they had just come off the manufacturing line.  The wheels looked much better, and the cleaned bolts also allowed the wheels to turn much more freely once I reassembled everything.

I put the wheels back on the legs before painting the primer coat on the cabinet so that I could move it around easily when needed.  I didn't want paint to get on the newly cleaned wheels, so I covered them with aluminum foil.  The foil was much easier to mash around the wheels for proper coverage instead of trying to tape them off.  

I used a Rust-Oleum spray primer to cover all inside and outside areas of the cabinet.  The surface of the cabinet looked patchy, but was smooth and level for the primer paint.  I ended up using almost two and a half cans of primer (the one half can was left over from a previous project).  Below is a picture of the primed cabinet and the drawer.

At this point, I had to delay painting for several days to weather - I live in a second floor apartment, so I try to do projects like this either out in the garage or the driveway.  However, I wound up becoming impatient with waiting, so one day I moved the cabinet inside for painting.  I made sure to open windows and set up lots of fans so that the apartment wouldn't smell like paint.  I also covered the floors so I wouldn't drip any paint.  

For the colors, I purchased two small cans (30 fl. oz.) of Behr's Low Odor Zero VOC paint.  The darker color is Teal Zeal and the lighter color that I used for the door, drawer, and cabinet interior is Jamaica Bay.  I used a small foam roller like this one to apply the paint, which allowed me to get a nice even coat.  Two coats of paint was plenty for getting the color even.  I have a decent amount of paint leftover, but that was the plan because I want to use these colors for a few other projects as well.

I let the paint thoroughly dry for a few days (the weather was still very humid and I wanted to be very sure that the surface was dry) and then moved everything back outside so that I could apply a spray coat finish to seal everything.  The paint probably didn't need a sealant, but since I planned to use this in the kitchen I wanted to apply a sealant so that the surface could be properly cleaned when needed without damaging the color.  I used Rust-Oleum's Crystal Clear Enamel spray to coat the surface.

When the clear coat was dry, all that was left was to re-attach the hardware and the cabinet countertop.   Ta-da!  I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

The cabinet is now in my kitchen and is being put to good use.  I use it to hold recipes on the countertop while I'm cooking, and I'm working on how to best utilize it for storage.  It's currently holding my teakettle and immersion blender.

I also bought three plastic placemats for $1.99 each from Target and trimmed them to fit the drawer and the interior shelves.  I had thought about lining the drawers with contact paper, but then decided on plastic placemats because I can easily remove them for cleaning in the future when needed.