Thursday, 29 May 2014

Horse Chestnut Series - May

 For the entire month of May the Horse Chestnut tree has been laden with candle-like fragrant flower spikes.
From far away the appear creamy white in colour.
Yet, up close these showy panicles display flushes of pink and yellow in candy tones.
Not only are they attractive to look at but they are also a rich source of nectar and so are important for bees and other nectar-loving insects.
These visits help with pollination. Amazingly, after pollination has occurred, the yellow blotches turn to pink to signal to bees that their job has been done!
The interesting result of this pollination will appear in the weeks to come!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Annie Sloan Chalk Painted Table!

Well I'm never one to miss a good bandwagon although in this case I watched it go round the block a few times before I got aboard. I know ASCP has been around for quite some time but I had my first foray this Spring.
I purchased my first can of Country Grey in March and many, many items have been painted, aged, distressed and waxed ever since. I love it; it's so easy to use, no prepping, so easy to distress, the possibilities are endless! Nothing is safe!!
My first project was a little stool I purchased in Ikea, making it another Ikea hack I guess. Since we 'acquired' Aunt Rose's chair here I've wanted a small round table to go beside it to rest a cup of tea on.  I've been keeping an eye out at markets, etc. ever since but to no avail.
Introducing the Svenerik adjustable stool! It was the perfect height and shape to use as a small side table.

After two coats of chalk paint and a little distressing to reveal some of the black along the edges, it looked like this... the colour but a little uninteresting still!? I thought a stencil would do the trick.
However, failing to find a suitable stencil,  I gave up and went to plan B - stamps!

Found these at Art & Hobby, cute right? They were the least kiddie type I could find! Don't adults use stencils and stamps in this country??
I found a tester of antique cream (emulsion!) paint in my arsenal (remember I only possess one tin of ASCP at this point!) and randomly stamped the table top.
Once the butterflies dried, I sanded them back a little, assembled and gave the whole thing a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax and voilà...
Still the best spot in the house for a cup of tea and some bird watching!!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

My First Ikea Hack!!

At least I think it's an Ikea hack!?
Does decorating it and using it for its intended purpose constitute a hack?

 Anyway I think I made it look nice and match the kitchen-dining-sitting room decor.  
At 5ft 2ins I NEED a step in the house for when my 6 ft 4ins husband is not around. I have long since wanted a good looking one.

Taking this baby out in company to retrieve something from a kitchen cupboard is a little embarrassing! So this was the original step stool purchased from Ikea for €12.

I had a tester pot of dining room paint in, you guessed it Eau de Nil by Laura Ashley, which I used to paint the legs.

I know you're thinking.. emulsion on wood? ..but don't freak out, I Googled it first and nobody said anything terrible happened. Anyway, I haven't finished yet.

 It gave the legs two coats.

Then I stained the steps in Bondex Matt Mahogany to match the kitchen counters and the sitting room furniture.

The Bondex I already had as we have always intended to stain our stairs, at some point!

I thought the stain would take better to the bare wood than it did. It got three coats, four probably would have looked better but it took like 12 hours to dry and it was mineral based and I got fed up.

So I put all the pieces together, got some back to front, took it apart, read the instructions and put it together again!

Then I gave it two coats of Annie Sloan Soft Wax in clear to protect the emulsion. I also waxed the stained parts and then gave in to the fourth stain coat (because of the annoying little spots of resistance you might have noticed) and wouldn't you know, the stain took like a dream and dried in double quick time. Thanks Annie!

 So there you have it, my super handy handsome step stool which cost just €12 as everything else I had squirrelled away!!

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