On The Upcycle Revival: Vintage 1934 Lane Waterfall Art Deco Hope Chest

Every once in a while that special piece of furniture falls into your lap unexpectedly and without warning.  Now that the word is out and friends and family are aware of my blog, I have had interesting items rescued and brought to me to experiment on.  That was the case with this next project which also proved to be my most challenging yet. The same friend and co-worker who brought me my “You had me at half table” project approached me about a cedar chest she had sitting in her garage.  She needed to make room and could no longer keep it, and wanted to know if I would be interested in giving it a good home, and taking it off her hands. The outside of the chest was in rough shape, but the inside was still perfect.  After all these years, it managed to maintain its trademark cedar smell.  She inherited the hope chest from a neighbor who was about to place it out on the curbside. My friend rescued it, recognizing this diamond in the rough deserved a second chance at life. Adding to the excitement was the fact that I had always wanted a hope chest of my own.  I didn’t mind having to put some work into restoring one, and I graciously accepted the offer.  I was really excited and looking forward to working on a special piece like this.   Initially I was concerned about transport, but I was relieved when it fit in the backseat of my car.  I already had a spot for it in my bedroom. It seemed like it was fate.  For a while,  it sat untouched and the veneer began to peel, and I peeled it off little by little, while I figured out a plan to bring it back to life.

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I began researching the piece online. I opened the trunk and inside I found a card outlining the moth insurance policy.  The card also encouraged it’s customers to “buy victory war bonds.”  I knew from that moment on this was a vintage piece.

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The tag also listed the maker of the piece.  The Lane Company Altavista, VA.  The name was also burned into the inside of the lid.

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Founded in 1912 by John and Ed Lane, The Lane Company of Virginia, became one of the leading makers of Hope chests in the United States during World War I and World War II.  During that time, it was tradition for young girls to have a hope chest to bring with them into a marriage.  The company launched a massive ad campaign which even included child star Shirley Temple  as a popular spokesperson for the company.

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Every piece was stamped with a unique serial number and style number. Reversing the serial numbers is what helped me determine its age. This one was manufactured on 8/18/1934.  The chest was waterfall design done in an art deco style which was also popular during this time.

The chest itself was in good shape, but the veneer was not.  It was stored in a damp place for a long time,  and much of it was peeling or bubbling up. I knew removing this would take a lot of work.  I also discovered that the original lock had been recalled. Sadly there have been cases of children suffocating inside after becoming trapped as recently as 2014. The good news is Lane still has replacement locks available on their website.  Due to safety concerns, I went online to order one here.  The lock ships in 4-6 weeks.  It is important when purchasing vintage furniture to pay attention to recalls.  I was glad to have stumbled upon this fact during my research by pure accident.

With minor cracks in veneer, it is possible to buy wood filler/puddy and “patch” and sand the areas, but in this case the veneer would have to be removed entirely in some areas. I read a few articles online, and I tried various techniques for easily removing veneer.  Let me start off by saying there is no easy way to remove veneer. I found it to be a long, risky and tedious task.  The one technique  that worked best was using a hot iron and a damp towel. I soaked the towel in warm water and placed it on the area of veneer I wanted to remove.

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I then heated up the iron and placed it on the area allowing it to sit for several minutes.  This softened the glue enough to allow me to use a scraper to remove large pieces of the veneer.  unfortunately, smaller pieces broke off and I ended up repeating this process many times.  The biggest challenge was scraping and removing the veneer without damaging the wood underneath.

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Please also note that once you use your iron for this task, it becomes designated only for this task.  The glue from the veneer burns the iron permanently and it can never be used to iron clothing again. This process was completed during the course of a few days.  I would work on a small area nightly.  The veneer removal seemed to be taking forever until it was boosted by a snow day and some unexpected free time.

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I used a belt sander to even out the larger areas and hand sanded the more delicate and smaller areas. The areas on the piece that still had veneer I carefully hand sanded.  Using a belt sander can cause damage to the veneer.  Once the sanding was completed, The piece was ready to stain and seal.

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I trudged up to Home Depot in the snowy slush and shopped for a suitable stain and polyurethane seal for the exterior.  The colors that I initially wanted they did not seem to have in stock.  This did not make the aisle look any less intimidating to me.

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I decided on a color called “Cognac” and a clear semi-gloss polyurethane sealer.  I already had a small can of Minwax Jacobean at home that I was planning on using for some of the trim.

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I began applying the stain and it was a little darker than I expected, but it closely matched our bedroom furniture like I had hoped.

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I then painted the entire piece.  I was happy with the Varathane brand stains as it dried quickly and had less odor compared to other stains I have used in the past.

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I  used the Jacobean colored stain to paint the trim and highlight the grooves and detail in the lighter wood trim.  To me adding the darker color helped bring out some of the unique design qualities of the piece.  It took about two coats of stain to cover all the areas.  Once the stain was dry (It took about 24 hrs) I applied two coats of the clear semi gloss polyurethane to seal the chest.

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Although I could not restore the chest to its original state, I am pleased with how elegant the piece looks now.  It fits in beautifully in our bedroom and I look forward to storing special items inside it and treasuring it for years to come.

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Before and After

1934 Lane Hope Chest Before and After

Materials used:

Old Iron

Old Towel

Paint Scraper

Paint Brush Large and Small (for detail)

Wood Stain (color of choice) and Polyurethane Sealer

Sand Paper

Belt Sander (Optional)

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A Pre-Christmas Miracle: Altered Upcycling’s Holiday Giveaway!

I couldn’t wait to share the news with all of you! The very talented Mahe Zehra Husain (MZ) from Altered Upcycling fame is at it again!  This year she is organizing the biggest holiday giveaway EVER! From the 15th of November to the 25th of December.  Altered Upcycling is giving away different e-books and products weekly.  All you have to do is visit: http://www.alteredupcycling.com/christmas-giveaway join Altered Upcycling’s Facebook Page and sign up on the right to have the links sent to your inbox.  It’s that simple!

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The Green Craft Lifestyle Christmas Addition available November 15th through the 21st of November features an “On The Upcycle” Project Pickled Lamp: “On The Upcycle” Christmas Craft

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Other Freebies include:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND DIGITAL DIORAMA KIT
THE MIXED MEDIA COOKBOOK
PAPER DOLL BONANZA
PLANNERS

Be sure and check it out!  I can’t think of a better way to treat yourself for the holidays!

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Decoupage College Football Chair

This Saturday, two impressive college football teams will square off in what proves to be an epic battle.  # 2 Florida State is favored over the 6-0 5th ranked Notre Dame.  The Fighting Irish are clear underdogs in this matchup, and the history behind these two teams and prior matchups, seem to support this fact.  Looking for the upset, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will surly be put to the test.  They will need to play their best football yet. They will need to…..

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My husband grew up watching Notre Dame and rooting for the Irish along with his father.  Like many teams Notre Dame has had its share of ups and downs through the years, but despite this my father in law’s love for his Irish never waned. Every game win or lose.. it didn’t matter, It was a celebration. It was Notre Dame Saturday!  If you root for and follow a team you know that it becomes a part of your life and present during many important memories.  My husband and I often think of our father fondly, and though he passed many years ago, Watching the games and following his favorite team brings us closer to him.  I wanted to make my husband a special gift, and it never seemed like a better time than for one of their biggest games. I picked up a lovely solid maple ladder back chair at Goodwill that had seen better days.  It was priced under five dollars, and I was drawn to its design immediately.  The chair has a stamp from a furniture company under the seat: Louis Albert and Company, Philadelphia PA.

Thrift Store Ladder Back Maple Chair

It seemed the perfect project chair, and with that the Fighting Irish Notre Dame chair, was born.  If you have followed my blog, you know I have a special place in my crafty heart for chairs.  I am drawn to functional pieces of art and to me a chair embodies both these elements nicely.  I printed out the college decal of choice on my printer. I then cleaned and prepped the chair with a white spray on primer.

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I applied Mod Podge to the seat with a foam craft brush.  I then added the print, gently smoothing out any air bubbles with my hands.

Apply Mod Podge

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I added a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top of the print to seal it.  Once dry, I began the lengthy process of painting the chair.  I used the team colors, gold, blue and green for the color scheme.  It took several coats to obtain proper coverage.  I carefully painted the area around the image, and although time-consuming, it made the image appear to flow with the seat. Because of the small areas, I decided to paint rather than to cut the image out.  Adding Mod Podge before painting the paper prevented damage and curling.  Two coats of Mod Podge over the painted area, properly sealed it. I decided to give the feet of the chair some character by adding the gold dipped legs. Once the paint was dry over the span of about two nights, I covered the entire chair in Mod Podge to seal the acrylic paint.

Decoupage Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Sports Chair

Notre Dame College Football Chair

Now my husband has a special chair to sit upon and watch the game this weekend.  Another Notre Dame Saturday of family memories with our own daughter, and a Fighting Irish college football chair to enjoy for many years and games to come!

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Before and After:

before after

Not a fan of the Irish?  Make your own college football chair:

Materials:

Decal or Team Print Of Choice

Old Wooden Chair

White Spray On Primer

Mod Podge

Acrylic Paint (Team Colors of Choice)

Craft Brush, Paint Brushes

Scissors

Decoupage I Must: Star Wars Inspired Laptop Made With Mod Podge

With the new Star Wars Episode VII set to be released in 2015, the franchise is more popular than ever. I am sure not even George Lucas himself, could have imagined just how big Star Wars would become. The wise Yoda said it best, “Impossible to see, the future is.”

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The husband and I are children of the 70’s and 80’s and remember a time before CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and digital effects came of age. For it’s time the original Star Wars was innovative and visually impressive compared to other science fiction movies.  It touched many aspects of pop culture, and was heavily marketed toward children with action figures and tons of merchandise.  It is the third most popular movie franchise in history according to The Numbers.com.  Is it any wonder that when I came across Star Wars Fabric at Jo-ann Fabric, I couldn’t resist buying it?  The fabric was colorful, fun and had a bit of childhood nostalgia thrown in. This fabric inspired such projects as Creative Blast Off: Star Wars Kids Chair, and the Dollar Store Craft, Star Wars Candles.  My husband has an beat up laptop that he uses to surf You Tube.  It is old and scratched and could use a makeover.  I thought the left over Star Wars fabric would be a perfect decoupage material.  I had also wanted to try using decoupage on a laptop for quite sometime as I already decoupaged cell phones, and computer tablets previously.

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What you will need to decoupage your Lap Top:

Fabric (Can Also Use Paper, Scrapbook paper)

Mod Podge

Scissors

Paint Brush

Box Cutter Knife

Carefully apply Mod Podge to the top of the computer with a paint brush. Be mindful of the Mod Podge it is important that it not drip into the computer crevices and openings.

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Apply the fabric, smoothing it out with your hands.  Trim away any excess fabric with the scissors. Once it is dry apply more Mod Podge over the fabric to seal it.  I applied three coats total, allowing time to dry between each coat.

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Once dry, I carefully trimmed any excess fabric with the box cutter knife, and then sealed the edges of the fabric with more Mod Podge.

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A laptop that a Jedi would approve of and, the hubby seems to like it too. Here’s to the kid in all of us!

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”

Watching The Paint Dry: 50 Questions With “On The Upcycle”

It has been hectic to say the least behind the scenes.  I have several projects to share, but this week, I have been working on a family table re-finish.  It has been extremely humid in my area, and it is taking forever and a day for the oil based paint to dry.  Not to mention, I added a little too much stain, which made the table a nice dark color, but only added to the length of time it took for the piece to dry!  In the meantime, I have been catching up in between projects,  and an increasingly busy schedule on my WordPress reading.   

Last year, I was invited by Elise at  Cheeky Geeks  to take part in her blog’s annual Geek month.

In the spirit of Throw Back Thursday, and for those who missed the original post you may want to check it out (especially if you are an “1980’s geek” like I am.)  I upcycled an old kid’s chair using an old Strawberry Shortcake record.

Upcycled Strawberry Shortcake Kids Record Chair

Be sure and stop by Elise’s blog for this year’s geek month.  If you are anything like me and have a “Geeky” side you will enjoy following Elise on her Geek Month journey.

Cheeky Geeks : Geek Month Celebration

Elise also had a challenge for me if I was willing to accept:  Answer 50 questions about myself.   It would seem that she is interested to know a bit more about the women behind the Upcycle.  Seemed like a great time to accept this challenge, while I quite literally wait for the paint to dry….

  1. What are you wearing?-Yoga pants and a rock tee. I am all about comfort!
  2. Ever been in love? Yes, and I love, love!
  3. Ever had a terrible breakup? I went through a divorce, what do you think?
  4. How tall are you? 5 feet 4 inches
  5. How much do you weigh? It’s never polite to ask a lady her weight!
  6. Any tattoos? Two black animal paw prints on the top of my foot
  7. Any piercings? 3 piercings in one ear, two on the other
  8. OTP (one true pair, favorite fictional couple)? Kristoff and Anna from Frozen.  My daughter is into Disney at the moment!
  9. Favorite show? Game of Thrones
  10. Favorite bands? Too many to list, but Rock N Roll is my first love
  11. Something you miss?- My Grandfather Vincent
  12. Favorite song? Right now? “I Got A Name” Jim Croce
  13. How old are you? 39 and holding on for dear life!
  14. Zodiac sign? Aries
  15. Quality you look for in a partner? No question sense of humor!
  16. Favorite Quote? “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” John Lennon
  17. Favorite actor? Peter Dinklage I love, love him!
  18. Favorite color? Purple
  19. Loud music or soft? Loud
  20. Where do you go when you’re sad? Unfortunately, inside my head.
  21. How long does it take you to shower? 10 minutes I have to be quick I have a toddler!
  22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 30 minutes
  23. Ever been in a physical fight? yes, but I was forced
  24. Turn on? Kindness
  25. Turn off? Elitism
  26. The reason I started blogging? I wanted to share my thriftiness with others, and I love to write!
  27. Fears? Not being able to see my daughter grow up
  28. Last thing that made you cry? My daughter
  29. Last time you said you loved someone? Today
  30. Meaning behind the name of your blog?It popped in my head one day. I kept thinking of the song “Little Suzi’s on the Up” by the band PhD.
  31. Last book you read? OMG embarrassing, All my reading is on the computer!
  32. The book you’re currently reading? Ummm refer to # 31
  33. Last show you watched? Big Bang Theory
  34. Last person you talked to?-My husband
  35. The relationship between you and the person you last texted? My sister
  36. Favorite food? Eggplant parm and Spaghetti
  37. Place you want to visit? Ireland
  38. Last place you were? At Work
  39. Do you have a crush? Do girl crushes count? Check out this awesome blog: AussaLorens.com
  40. Last time you kissed someone? Today
  41. Last time you were insulted? LOL probably every day, but most likely I don’t know about it!
  42. Favorite flavor of sweet? Sour Patch Kids
  43. What instruments do you play? I tried guitar, but could never catch on, I played the clarinet in elementary school
  44. Favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring
  45. Last song you sang? Heart “Magic Man”
  46. Favorite chat up line? I don’t have one! It’s whatever pops into my head at any given time.
  47. Have you ever used it? N/A
  48. Last time you hung out with anyone? Last weekend.
  49. Who should answer these questions next? I wanna know more about Daniela Joe If she’s willing to give it a go!
  50. LOL 50 Questions?  I think I am missing something here…

Made in the Shade-Lamp Shade Fabric Restyle

Many years ago, my mom gifted me a stylish lamp that she no longer had a use for.  I am a big  fan of decorative lighting, so I was happy to have it.  The lamp attached directly to the wall, so it was also a wonderful space saver.  The decor of the lamp was fairly neutral, so it fit most of my living room design changes through the years.  The lamp shade was a cream color with hanging beads along the shade rim.

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For a long time, I had wanted to try a lamp shade decoupage, and I felt this would be the perfect lamp for my first attempt.  I had some smaller pieces of black and white damask fabric left over from several previous projects.  These projects were:  The Broken Chair ChallengeYou Had Me At Half Table, and Vintage Sewing Box (Just to name a few)

Upcycled chair with half moon table

Keep in mind, if you plan on restyling a lamp shade it is important that the shade is light in color, and there are no dark designs on it.   Otherwise, when the shade is illuminated the previous pattern will show through the new fabric.

Before getting started, I removed the shade from the lamp and gently cleaned it with a damp cloth.  It is important to remove any dust and dirt from the shade before applying the Mod Podge.  Once this was complete and the shade was dry, I generously applied Mod Podge to the outside of the shade with a broad paint brush.

 

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I then placed a piece of the damask fabric over the lamp shade smoothing it out carefully with my hands to avoid wrinkles.  Since fabric is being applied to cloth, it is important to apply enough pressure so that the fabric adheres well to the shade.

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I placed the shade in front of the fan so that it would dry quickly.  Once this step was complete, I applied a generous amount of Mod Podge over top of the fabric.  I allowed it to dry thoroughly between coats, adding three coats of Mod Podge in total.

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Once the shade was completely dry, I carefully trimmed away the excess fabric with a pair of scissors, and added additional Mod Podge along the edges of the fabric.

Restyled Fabric Decoupage Lamp Shade

The lamp looks amazing, and now matches my current living room decor perfectly!  This entire project was a quick one too! Overall completion took about one hour!

Decorate a boring lampshade with fabric

Materials:

Light Colored Lamp Shade

Mod Podge

Paint Brush

Fabric Of Choice

Scissors

An Accident Waiting To Happen: Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp

              Decorative Decoupage Pringles Lamp

This project idea started out as a 99 cent purchase at Goodwill.  An adorable miniature ceramic lamp with a round base that would require a minor  fabric decoupage makeover to make the perfect table top night-light for our bedroom.   However; thanks to the toddler apprentice’s rather curious hands it was simply not to be.  She climbed up on the ottoman, reached out her arms, and knocked it off the shelf. It broke the ceramic base into a million pieces. More importantly, she was not hurt in the accident, just a bit startled and remorseful   Although I was initially upset,  my cross demeanor faded quickly as I thought of ways to reuse the unbroken pieces of the lamp and shade.  I searched the craft room for some recycled items I was saving for a crafting rainy day.   I searched and looked for what I thought would make great lamp bases. It then occurred to me…I had a fever for a Pringles can lamp!

Minimalist Pringles Lamp Upcycle

An Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp For The Minimalist

The Pringles can was a great choice because it didn’t require a glass cutter to feed the wire through like a glass bottle or jar would.  I used a box cutter knife to VERY carefully cut a cross through the plastic lid.  I popped the light in and it fit nicely.   Before I placed the lid back on the can I filled the bottom with a few decorative marbles I had lying around. This added some weight and stability to the lamp.  I cut a hole at the base of the can using the UPC on the can as a guide, so I could properly feed the wire through the bottom.  For those of you who are practical, and love Pringles, you may want to stop right here.  I call this the minimalist version.

How to Create An Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp That’s A Little More Decorative

Decorative Upcycled Pringles Lamp

For those who want to create a more decorative piece, You can use a little fabric decoupage to decorate the Pringles can and lamp shade.  I used some scrap Peacock inspired fabric I had lying around the craft room.  I used Mod Podge to apply the measured fabric to the can and cut out designs to place on either side of the lamp shade to add some symmetry.  Once dry, I applied more Mod Podge over the fabric to properly seal the lamp base.  I placed it in front of our fan to dry.   Now it was ready to be plugged in and illuminated.  The possibilities here are endless.  If you don’t have fabric handy you can also use scrapbook paper.  You can create seasonal cans and interchange them with the light and lid to transform the look of the lamp.

Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp

A lesson in life and living on the Upcycle, the greatest mistakes can have the greatest rewards!  That is how I feel about this project. If it wasn’t for my overly curious toddler, I would have never known the fun of this Pringles can craft.  Thank heaven for overly curious little girls!

Have you had any crafting disasters that turned into triumphs?  What was your favorite craft mishap?

Materials Used:

Broken miniature lamp

Pringles can with lid

Box Cutter Knife

Handful of marbles

Fabric or Scrapbook Paper Of Choice

Foam brush or Paint Brush

Scissors

Mod Podge