Repurposed Antique Sewing Machine

This antique Singer sewing machine was passed down from my great grandmother. It’s gorgeous except for the front drawer that has always been missing. We decided to combat the missing piece while giving it an updated look by removing the wood top and replacing it with stained concrete. The concrete table top was made using our usual mold from melamine, but this time we added a decorative edge using a polyurethane edge form mold. The color was achieved from a mix of deep brown and buff grout stain that was left over from the bathroom countertop project. Removing the old top allowed more of the pretty iron work to show through, plus the actual sewing machine that was inside and never seen will look great in the craft room! The following pictures are the process start to finish…
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Welcoming Wreaths

I am great at recreating. The initial creation…not so much. This post serves the pure purpose of inspiration for those (like me) who just need a little nudge in where to go once you’ve purchased a wreath, 12 feet of burlap ribbon, $50 worth of fake flowers and now haven’t the slightest clue of how to put it all together. My friend, Christi, described the experience after a trip to Hobby Lobby best in that unloading your car is like last call at the bar; the lights are flipped on and nothing is quite as magical as it seemed. I cannot offer much insight or helpful tips in creating these wreaths other than to gather bits of colors and textures that you are drawn to, stick it all in a grapevine wreath piece by piece, and add a gigantic bow. I prefer to start from a bow on the side and work my way out. Attach your big pieces first then add in the filler. I would say that there is no wrong way to do it, but we all know that’s a lie. I find that with a grapevine wreath it’s easiest to just stick the stems in, no glue needed. So if all else fails and it looks like the sale aisle of Michaels just threw up, rip it all out and start from scratch. Lord knows I’ve done that more than once…

Garden Chandelier

We found this ugly old chandelier at a flea market, complete with inset candles and the greenery going around it.image
We saw the potential in it, snatched it up, and took the rest of the electrical out. Cheap solar lights were refitted where the bulbs would have gone. We just removed the plastic posts used to put the solar lights in the ground and hot glued the bulbs into the chandelier. By “We” I mean my mom. I found the chandelier at the flea market, but that’s where my creative input on this project ends. Some left over dangling crystals finish it off and it’s hung on our garden arbor as a whimsical addition to our backyard.


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Doors to be Opened

Door #1: Laura’s Door
After I had seen a repurposed door on Pinterest, I became fairly obsessed in creating my own version of an entryway piece made from an old door. I found what I thought would make a suitable start at our local Country Pickins antique store. The door was solid, had nice hardware, a good $50 price tag, and had a lovely mirror. Hannah and I put our heads together and began thinking of pieces around the house and at our home decor stores to become shelves, baskets, and hooks. We used corbels from Hobby Lobby in a large size to form the base or stand for the door. The smaller corbels worked perfect as a support for what once was our magazine holder on our coffee table. Instant shelf! We found the wrought iron piece to add as an additional storage bin and the crown shelf to hold vases, pictures, concrete objects, and candles. The combination of wood, metal, and concrete seems to be forever appealing to us! The door was lightly sanded, cleaned, and painted a dark grey. We distressed the edges by simply wiping off excess paint. The hooks, crown, and wrought iron piece were purchased at our local beloved Sandstone Gardens. They were all attached with wood screws and metal staples. It can be decorated for every season and holiday. So far, just halloween, but looking forward to doing it up big for Christmas!
Laura

Door #2: Hannah’s Door
I also purchased a vintage door to repurpose into a leaning mirror for my bedroom. Mine was only $20, but it also didn’t have a mirror and was painted baby blue. I painted it a cream shade and even allowed some of the blue to show through then applied and quickly wiped off a little bit of umber glaze to give it a distressed feel. I had a mirror cut to size (about $10) then cut wood trim at 45 degree angles with our handy miter saw to form a frame for the mirror making it look as though that’s the way it’s always been. A beautiful stained glass angel made by my aunt and a hook for scarves and whatnot make this mirrored door perfectly gorgeous and functional. Just don’t look on the backside because that’s still baby blue.
Hannah

Concrete Planters

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As I mentioned in my “Window Shelves” post, we decided to scrap the idea of hanging the concrete planters as window boxes and instead set them on the front porch. In keeping with the colonial/Tuscan/French country/shabby chic theme of our home, (Didn’t know those all went together? We think they do) we decided to add a personalized touch in the form of a family crest. My Grandfather’s family comes from a small town in Italy called Arienzo. I figured that we must have a large coat of arms that could be proudly displayed in our Missouri home…Nope. imageTurns out our family cleaned the chamber pots of those families with crests. So I was left to my own devices to develop one. Very simply, I used puff paint on a cardboard cut out. It was then glued to the inside of the planter mold. It has to mirror the image of what you want it to look like; a lesson learned the hard way. The images in the crest stand for the mountains of Arienzo, the year my grandparents were married (1943), a crescent moon representative of my grandmother’s hometown of Crescent, OK, and a tree with branches corresponding to all the daughters and grandchildren.

It all sounds great in theory, but in reality we wish it would have come out better. The concrete we used was too rocky and therefor couldn’t take the shape of the small indention. You win some, you lose some. However, it takes on a bit of an ancient castle ruin look and we prefer to just pretend like we planned that all along.

Bottom line, we’re pleased with the outcome. Read on for more in depth instructions. Happy Wednesday!

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The basic construction of the molds in which to pour the concrete was the same as we’ve used in our concrete counter projects. See https://leavingourtrail.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/how-to-pour-and-install-concrete-countertops-in-your-kitchen/ for the steps to building the mold. The differences in the planter versus the counter are as follows:

1. It’s poured into the mold right side up. It cures as it will look when the sides are taken off.

2. Two boxes are made per planter. The larger outer box forms the outside walls of the planter while the inside box acts as a barrier, filling the rectangular void in the center where the soil and flowers will eventually sit. We built both boxes out of melamine, but looking back it would be a much easier task to use foam rectangles (easily cut with a jigsaw) to create the inner void. Each rectangle could be hot glued on top of each other to the height of the outer box. The bottom and sides could be taped with packaging tape to prevent sticking. The 2 inch thick foam is readily available at home improvement stores and would be easier to remove at the and of the project too.The 2 boxes should be level to each other on top to allow for easy screeding of the excess concrete.

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3. Make drainage holes in the bottom. When pouring the concrete, prior to setting the inside box into the outer mold, you will pour the concrete into the bottom of the outer box to your desired thickness. We made ours the same thickness as our sides. To form the drainage holes and give the inside box something to rest on as it cures, we cut small rectangles of melamine to the desired bottom thickness by about 2inches and siliconed (new verb?) them to the very bottom of the planter. Fill the bottom with concrete to their exact height then set in your inside box on top. The concrete will then form around these leaving small slots for water drainage.image

4. Pack the sides. You’ve inserted your inner box on top of the bottom layer of cement, now time to begin filling what will be the walls of your planter with concrete. imageCareful not to let the inner box shift to the side as you fill it causing one side to become thinner than the others. I recommend making the concrete mix a slightly thinner consistency so that it is able to fill in all gaps easily. I’d say pudding would be a good consistency comparison, as opposed to the countertops peanut butter thickness. One mistake we made was using regular bags of Quickrete concrete instead of the Quickrete 5000 or the countertop mix. The regular mix had more rocks than some of the nicer counterparts and the aggregate didn’t allow for easy filling and caused more air bubbles in the finished product than we would have liked. Air bubbles = cracks down the road. Don’t forget to used the handheld sander or even taps with a mallet on the outside of your molds after pouring to bring air bubbles to the surface. As with the counters, we used a deep brown grout stain mixed into the concrete.

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Don’t be afraid to use your pry bar (within reason) when it’s time to remove the molds. They won’t come off without some strength and manhandling. We struggled to get the bottom piece of melamine from the inner box to come out so, rather than risk damage to our precious planters, we decided to just leave it and let it deteriorate over time. Hence, our newly recommended idea of using foam. Do as I say, not as I do.

We can’t say they’re perfect by any means, but they get the job done and look pretty in the process. What more can you ask for? Except maybe a family crest…