Tuesday, 18 April 2017

You Inspire Me

You all do.

In different ways each blog I read inspire me in some way.  Very often the posts I read will either prompt me to re-post something from the past (Joe's post today reminded me of a post I wrote called 'Tall Poppies' many years ago and I may well re-post that one in the next few days) or will remind me of something that I want to post about.

Val talks about many things that aren't in my world and then she tells about things that are so relevant to me, mostly the similarities between Hick and SD that make me smile.

Sarn and Di who reached out when I had a perplexing situation with blogger and who have since become firm bloggy friends with crafting skills well beyond my own.

K, who I don't visit half as often as I mean to since she disappeared from my blog roll somehow so now I have to go looking (I may not be there as often as I should be but I'm still here lovely).

Polly, who just makes me feel good every time I pop over to visit.

Mike who writes beautifully illustrated posts about his trips around Britain sometimes stopping by at my favourite places (Mike, I forgive you for not loving Swanage as much as I do!).

And others, too many to mention and, even if I haven't mentioned you by name you still inspire me so thank you!

Today's post is inspired by Emma Kate.  A lady who doesn't know the meaning of 'can't'.  Emma takes the ordinary and turns it into something very special.  Her skills and bravery far outstrip mine but because she is so down to earth in the way she blogs she makes me feel I can do it to.

Without Emma Kate I may not have been brave enough to take a can of gloss paint and turn my very ordinary bamboo clothes basket from this:

Into this:

And I'm fairly sure that when SD and I stopped by at an antiques/junk shop on the way to the beach a couple of weeks ago and spotted a marble topped washstand in fairly bad repair that I wouldn't have thought, 'I can fix that!'

We had been looking for something to sit in an alcove in the dining room for some time. It housed a rather scruffy computer desk which was only really used as a dumping ground for paperwork etc and the idea was to find something nicer, a cupboard perhaps so the paperwork could be put away and then SD planned on putting in some shelves above it.

I wanted something to compliment the pine cupboard that I finally finished that sits in the alcove on the other side of the fireplace (a post on that at some point too!).

This really WASN'T what I was looking for but as soon as I saw it I knew it was exactly what I wanted!

I don't have a photo of it in it's entirety unfortunately as we had to split it into two parts before we could move it.

Marble is HEAVY!!

So, here it is in pieces:

This is the top part that stands on top of the cupboard - I've had to flip the photo as for some reason I took it upside down, probably trying to avoid getting my shadow into it! 

The marble top that sits on the cupboard was very dirty and has some scratches, some of which I have polished out and some that are too deep so they will stay but overall I don't think they detract too much from it.

The worst bits were where the piece on top had been sitting and dirt had got underneath it and it had been painted in situ leaving a rim of paint on the marble.  Very carefully I used a razor blade to scrape off the paint and dirt before polishing it.

Then we put the marble back on top of the cupboard (I forgot to take a photo before I painted the cupboard but it was a dull yellowy cream, very chipped and dirty) and SD replaced the door latch which he had taken off  and polished.

I did wonder if I was doing the right thing trying to make it look perfect but in my experience you really need to know what you are doing if you want to distress or shabby chic a piece and frankly, I don't so I will let time do the job for me.

I also wondered if I should have taken the doors off and removed the hinges before painting but, like Emma Kate, I don't like hinges!  I decided in the end to not worry about getting paint on them and as the doors are opened and closed it has rubbed off some of the paint and I quite like the look.

Finally we had to put it in place.  To do that we put the base in first and then lifted the marble and the top piece which SD had fitted back together and sat it on top.

I don't know yet what I will put on it, I'm just grateful that all my  crap important paperwork is out of sight but I've dressed it a little with things I already have for the final photo:

And here it is!

Yes, I know it still has crap important paperwork stacked underneath it but that's not staying there!

The things on it are things we have picked up in our endless quest to visit every charity and antiques shop in every town that we visit.

The small carpet/rug beater with a green bakelite handle came from a second hand shop in Budleigh Salterton and the little metal butterflies from a gift shop in Topsham when I visited with my sister late last summer.

The grey shoes were picked up in a Charity Shop - far too small for me even if they were wearable but I fell in love with them because they are SO unwearable.

The metal tin was a find when I was helping a neighbour clear out his garage.  He was going to throw it away!!!

And the topiary trees in the first picture I bought at a Christmas fair in town many, many years ago.

Overall I'm really pleased with the way this turned out.  We probably paid about half of what it was worth and, after a bit of TLC, (SD had to mend one of the legs that was split too) - some elbow grease and a few coats of paint it's really transformed that corner of the room and blends in perfectly with the grey walls and the (soon to be blogged about) cupboard in the opposite alcove.


joeh said...

The clothes hamper is very cool, of course I liked it before, and the finished would look stupid in my bathroom, perfect for your eclectic taste. I would take off the hinges before painting, but your way does give it a "distressed" feel..either way, it is a very nice piece.

SARN said...

Wow . . . I'm seriously impressed with your skills (& SD's of course). I can never see past the problems to how it COULD look . . . And even if I could do that, I'd never have the patience to do all the work required to transform it. Yep . . . Basically I'm lazy!!!! Xxx

Sarah said...

The trouble with hinges Joe is that they never go back on properly after you take them off and I couldn't face hours of trying to get them right again. I don't think it's going to matter too much and, if it really bothers me I could probably clean them in situ.

Thanks Sarn, SD helped a little ;-) ok, a LOT! I try and see past things through necessity, had this been restored already I could never have afforded it so it was worth a go. SD does the technical stuff like mending the split leg, I think it had been pulled about and the weight of the marble was too much for the legs to take. Now it's in place I don't intend to move it and, if we do need to, we will take the top off first. I just do the cleaning and the pretty stuff like painting so together we make a good team. I'm fairly lazy too but luckily we had some lovely sunny days and did most of this in the garden so I got to start off my tan too! xxx

Di said...

Wow Sarah - what a result with your darling cupboard/display unit! I can almost feel the weight of that slab of marble - years ago I inherited a marble pastry board, which I then used for tempering chocolate, and it weighed a ton!

It's a great feeling of achievement when you end up with something rescued and upcycled - well done!I wonder what it was originally used for? A washstand in a lady's boudoir perhaps? I bet it could tell a story or two :)


Di xx

Val said...

That is amazing! I don't have a vision for transforming things. I DO like that carpet beater, though I would have thought it was some kind of giant industrial whisk.

Sarah said...

God Di, now you've inspired me AGAIN!! I can use it for tempering chocolate AND making pastry on! I also picked up a marble rolling pin during the holidays for a couple of pounds in exactly the same colour marble - I've wanted one of those for ages. I think it was a wash stand and it's possible that it was made from more than one piece of furniture. I'm not sure but there is something about it that doesn't feel quite authentic enough for it to be an original piece not that it matters to me, I love it! xx

I love the carpet beater too Val, now that I think IS pretty old. If it WAS a whisk you'd have to be making a lot of pancakes ;-)

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Oh wow, I'm blushing profusely as I read your post! Bless you. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your little cupboard! How stunning is that? It's styled beautifully with your antiquey bits.

And hinges? So long as you don't leave them glued together with paint, leave them on. Life is too short for all that nonsense unless you're painting to sell.

Well done you! xxx

Sarah said...

Thank you lovely, and it true! Seeing you take on projects has mad me feel like I can do it too. I was careful not to get too much paint on the hinges, in fact, I was far more careful with the whole thing than I often am and gave it 3 light coats of paint rather than piling it on to try and get the very best finish I could. It was worth the extra time. I love it too xxx