Wednesday, 20 June 2012

In which I paint too much furniture and get a bit high

The quest for second hand furniture has reached new, dizzy (literally) heights. I have had several pieces furniture sitting around waiting to be transformed from sad brown creatures into gleaming, shiny multi-coloured wonders for some time now. The last few weeks have seen our little flat turned into somewhat of a furniture restoration yard and me into a hunchbacked purveyor of Satinwood.
Some particularly desperate pieces have been salvaged from, in my opinion, the worst of all furniture crimes, bad shabby chic-ing. Now I understand that to some there is a great allure in slopping on paint and then bashing a piece of furniture with chains but not for me. I have just restored a nest of tables sanding off a union jack theme (Yes. Really. Think ‘The Apprentice’) and turned them gleaming, classic cream. Beautiful.
In my quest for second hand heaven I have come across an absolutely brilliant resource that, if you are in Oxford, you absolutely must go to. No excuses. It’s amazing. The place in question is Orinoco, basically a big storage space at the back of a community centre in a suburb west of Oxford that takes in leftovers from DIY jobs and anything else that people are chucking really and re sells them to crafty types.
Think boxes full of old jars, scraps of fabric, rows and rows of half empty paint tins in every colour of the rainbow, plugs, books, paper – EVERYTHING! By redistributing what people would otherwise throw away tons of rubbish is saved from landfill every year. The price is deliberately kept low to keep scrap from landfill so I left with two litres of paint, some tile grout and sandpaper for three pound!
 You have to be willing to climb over boxes and get a bit dirty but that really is part of the fun eh? Ideally coerce someone to come with you and hold your basket by promising them a lunch at Jacob and Fields deli after which is just up the road in Headington. My technique of saying to my husband ‘I have a plan that ends at Jacobs and Field but you have to agree to all of it to get the food,’ worked a treat and is highly recommended!
Tile grout was on my list so that I could try this brilliant idea by Lulastic -  homemade chalkboard paint. The result is a row of little jars with brightly coloured chalk board labels for all my stationary. So brilliant! These will sit proudly on my mini shelves saved from a charity shop  and painted very middle-class but very lovely duck egg blue, lush!
One will never need search for pins again
I have also created this with an old frame my parent were chucking, some blue satinwood and some scrabble tiles left over from my handicraft sale. The idea is that it contains words that sum up God for me. I’m going to hang it over my desk and when I’m staring at another essay or feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead of me I can look at it and remember why I signed up for this crazy lifestyle in the first place.

I love craft!

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