Monday, October 15, 2012

Benches For The Birds

I was so excited to be invited as guest host last week at The Inspiration Cafe.  I have been following them for a while and love their Monday features. Here is the post featured there last week.  I hope you will enjoy it.  And if you have read it already, please excuse the rerun!

I am Distressed Donna Down Home.  I am a retired middle school English teacher.  I haul and refinish rusty, crusty stuff to resell in my booth at a local antiques mall.  I started blogging back in April and have written at the speed of light ever since.

My posts are as scattered with ideas and projects as my brain is. 

 I love photos, but am chronically bad at taking them.

Hang onto your coffee cups or iced sweet tea.  It's going to be a bumpy ride!

For this post I chose three unsuspecting little benches.  I love to stack these in vignettes.  I have chosen a bird theme for these and some painting and some distressing and some stenciling and some stamping and some torn cotton and some tags.

Well, you'll see - I just go too far sometimes.
I bought some sample pots of Valspar in (from the left) Summer Sky, Rain, and Prairie.

Very close in shades of blue-gray.  They turned out beautifully and most would stop here.

Not me!
 I hopped over to The Graphics Fairy and chose a nest for the round bench, a dove for the small bench, and two black and white images - a bird and a nest - for the large bench.

On the two colored images, I used the regular Mod Podge method.  Thin coat on the back of the image and placed carefully on the surface and let dry.

 On the large blue bench I decided on the placement of the bird and the nest.  I carefully cut the images out so that there was just a small border of the white paper.  When you are placing the image, remember you will be reversing it so it will actually be on the opposite side.
I put a coat of Mod Podge on the top of the bench and placed the images face down.  After gently smoothing them out, I let them dry overnight.

The next morning I wet the back of the image with water. When the paper soaks up the water, you gently rub the paper backing to release it from the ink.

This takes practice!!!
 Here the bird image is revealed with the nest yet to go.

The results are really worth the effort.  If you mess up, you can:
A.  Leave it and say it was on purpose.
B.  Sand it off and start again.
Finished - finally.  After rubbing the image off, let it dry and then sand with a cheap rough paper towel or a knee-high stocking or if you are fancy, super-fine sand paper.

If you would like, you may go commit a crime - you have probably rub your fingerprint off!

 Yes, I know, most would be happy and stop here.

Not me!

I took the benches outside and gave them a distressing using a heavy grit sanding block followed by a fine grit one.

The round bench got a heavy distressing.

The small one got a medium distressing.
 And the large bench got a light distressing around the edges.

Most would stop here.

Not me!
This next part is the Danni's favorite thing to do!


I decided the round bench with the nest need a bird on either side of the legs.

First stencil in Folk Art Barnwood.

Move the stencil about an eighth of an inch to the upper right.

Stencil the bird in Sea Mist and the leaves in Clover.

Using a fine liner brush and Linen paint lightly create highlights where natural light would hit the object.

I also gave some details to the bird and the leaves to make them pop.

The small bench did not need much extra - the distressing really brought out all the different coats of paint it had endured during its life.

The name of this print is "A Dove At Sea" so guess what?  I pulled out my stamps and put the title on it!
I thought of something special for the big bench - a skirt!

I love tearing up cotton calico.  I purchased this fabric because it went with all three benches.  My sewing machine is hiding somewhere in the house so after ripping and fraying one edge, I ironed down an inch.  Using Peel 'n Stick tape, I taped that down.  Simply slip a piece of elastic through there  and you have a skirt for your bench that can be removed when necessary.

 Here it is a skirt for a bench!

 Most would be happy and stop now.

Not me!

I made a small copy of the black and white nest, colored with with pencils, Mod Podged it to a distressed blue shipping tag, made a torn cotton tassel, and attached them to the skirt.


All three benches received three coats of satin varnish - I forgot that step somewhere along the way.

Most people would be happy and stop here.

And I am definitely happy!


 Baby bench in blue with a dove.

 The round bench in summer sky paint with stenciled birds.

What's that I see?

I know I said I was happy, but I could not resist adding a nest of eggs underneath.

The shy bench with a skirt covering her legs.

If she gets frisky, she can just strip that skirt off!
All three sit outside to pose for a picture.  I must admit to being slightly attached to these three.  I hope you don't regret coming for a visit.  I am sure the ladies at Inspiration Cafe wondered if I would ever shut up, but I am Southern - when we have something to say, we just talk and talk and talk and . . .

Natalie - NorthShore Days

Danni - Silo Hill Farm

Heather - The Beating Hearth

See y'all!

October OverhaulingRemember I am taking part in the October Overhaul in an attempt to clean up the craft clutter invading my house.  I will post later in the week about my progress.

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  1. So pretty! You're right, I probably would've stopped about halfway through the process but I'll have to remember to "Do it like Donna!" and add one more layer the next time I refinish something~

  2. They are lovely! They'll be great for Easter...I can't believe you've only been blogging since April. I guess you've been painting for decades longer!

  3. Good job; I missed somehow that you were a guest poster!

  4. They are absolutely lovely. You do such beautiful work! :)

  5. You know I love these! Thanks for the shout out !

  6. These are sooo cute! You were absolutely right to not stop when the rest of us would have :). You have the eye...I could not begin to know where "the light would naturally fall"--that's not a gift I was given. I'm going to be your newest follower; I hope you'll visit me as well, and follow along if you see things you like there. :) ~Zuni

  7. The benches all look great! You did a fantastic job with them.

  8. I love all your benches they are so pretty and my favorite thing! Birds! I love to try all the different transfer methods also. Thanks so much for sharing. Won't you come by and share at my party Totally Transformed Tuesday? I'd love to have you. Hugs, Peggy

  9. Super cute benches, and you can never have too many!

  10. Love your benches! The bird theme is great, Jean

  11. Hey, congrats on guest hosting! Your little benches are charming. Thanks for reminding me that I have a little one somewhere in my garage...maybe I'll find it this week when I finally have my GARAGE SALE!!! Thanks for your example of cleaning stuff out again.

  12. Beautifully done! I love how all three benches turned out -- they're perfect little works of functional art!

  13. Lovely benches, Donna! Your extra touches made them especially sweet!

  14. Very nice makeovers. Thanks for sharing.

  15. What a great post! Love all three benches! You have such neat ideas! Thanks for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  16. These are so charming! Nice work. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  17. CONGRATS!!!! You have been featured at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality! Come on over and grab your featured button, you deserve it!

  18. Such lovely and creative benches! Love how you just keep going with more details! Question: For the picture transfers with mod podge -- do you use an inkjet printer or laser copy? Thanks! Projects are swirling in my head!


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