Friday, August 19, 2016

Thrifted Treasures

Man, I have had so much fun this summer, haunting thrift stores from here to Tacoma, looking for AWESOME FINDS!
We all know the story of the octopus chest (here ).

He was not a thrift store find, but some of his companions are. The antique fan on the left was a thrift store find from several years ago, and the painting propped up there on his back is a recent find from one of the thrift stores in downtown Shelton.

This painting has really grown on me, to the point where I really love it. 
The artist, identified in a red signature only as 'Moreno,' probably painted it back in the 50's or 60's, when oil painting was a popular hobby. 

And this got me thinking about people today. 

How many folks these days say to themselves;
       "Boy, I need a hobby to fill up some of my free time!" 
       "I sure would like to learn a skill or an art to enhance my quality of life!"

Darn few, I would guess. Most of us have the means to fill up countless hours literally right at our fingertips (she says as she types away on her computer.) 
Would I be willing to invest the time and effort it would take to learn how to paint as well as  Mr. or Ms. 'Moreno' did? 
What will future generations do with their free time?
My husband and I tried to find Mr./Ms. Moreno on the internet (how would we ever find anything now without it?!) And though we could not find a definite match, I did find this on Ebay (click on the link, then click on the tiny little purple phrase "see original listing" just to the right of the 'L' in "Beautiful.") Scroll down to see the original listing - there are pictures of the painting (also a seascape) which has a similar signature, also in red paint, and also in the lower left corner. Though it is not a famous artist, the $650 price tag is still well above the $7.99 I paid for mine.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Octopus Chest

Remember this?

It was several years ago when I first posted a picture of this sad chest of drawers. I got it and another (painted to "match") from a mom I used to be acquainted with when my (now 15 year old) son was in second grade. Back then he was attending a privately run school that held an anual auction to help pay for playground equipment. The idea was to do a cool, creative decorative treatment - really make a "statement piece," you know? Never mind that the dresser is cheaply made, poorly painted and, well, more than a little homely to begin with. Then the school folded, we transferred back to public school, the mom did not have anywhere to store the dressers and did not want them back, so I was left with this guy (and his equally homely sister) which we stored in the well-pump house at our former home. When we moved to our current home, we brought the two dressers  - and stored them. Again.  *sigh*

I'm pretty sure I posted back in August of 2014 that I was inspired by the octopus chest that  Stefanie, blogger at Brooklyn Limestone, shared way back in 2012. It took me a long time to commit to a design, and an even longer time to figure out colors, but here is what I finally came up with:


Getting the chest to this point was quite a process! First I started stripping the gunky, poorly applied brown paint off, only to find laminated, faux wood printed paper (the original "finish"). Some of this was in fair enough shape that I could leave it alone, since I was painting the whole piece anyway, but much of it was damaged (probably why the brown paint?) and had to be scraped off, down to the bare (actual) wood underneath.

There were lots of things that needed to be filled, sanded, filled again, sanded again, and then primed before transferring the octopus design, a drawing I free-handed from a coloring book page. Then; 

much agonizing over the colors. 

I finally decided to just use paint I already owned (hey, I bought it because I like the colors, so...) I used Devine Colors paint from Target in Twig (the octopus) and Compass (the background). I found the composite brass and shell knobs (no longer available) on sale from the Anthropologie web site. They have some very cool hardware, it's worth a look-see!

This is only my second attempt at re-finishing a piece of furniture, and my first at painting. I have learned things during and since that will make the next project (a buffet for our dining room nook) go a little smoother, I hope. This project ranged over five years - from inception to completion. It's not flawless, but overall, I'm happy with the results, and that I can move this piece out of storage and put it to use in the house!