Painted Hanging Basket (For The Win)

May 11, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  3 responses

File this one under “Projects that I should have done 2 years ago”. I snatched a set of matching hanging baskets from my parents basement around the time I bought my house. They’re pretty. Mom tells me they were just bought from JoAnn’s or somewhere, but they’re more well-made than most wire basket holders that I come across these days.

Painted iron/metal, they’re designed to look like flowers, and let’s face it, I’m a girl and I like flowers so I immediately liked these baskets, despite their condition.

Hanging plant basket shaped like a flower, from above.

Mom hadn’t used them in years, plus they were starting to wear down (paint was bubbling after years of being weathered outside, and rust beginning to appear at the base) so she was fine with handing them down to me. Like I mentioned, I had every intent of refinishing them a few years ago, and if nothing else, I should have bothered to hang them up to display some flowers, but they ended up being been brushed to the side and admired without purpose for awhile.

One of them became Cody’s toy basket, which didn’t work out too well because it wobbles a little bit, making a metallic sound when he goes to grab a rope or tennis ball and then gets scared off and doesn’t dare touch it again for 3 months. He’s sweet but kind of wimpy.

Flower plant holders. Cody's toy holder.

It’s easier to whip through projects on my list now that the weather is improving. For this, having decided to paint them my favorite tomato soup orange… or purple… or orange, or purp…OK, fine I’ll use my favorite orange and if I don’t like it I’ll redo them in purple. And I’ll just start with one of the two, in case I totally bomb this project. I began by sanding down one whole basket to remove any loose black paint and rust. I don’t think I need to tell you about the importance of starting off with a fresh base for the paint.

To further level out the playing field (as if decor improvement was a game), I applied an even coat of spray primer. (In the grass. Not actually on the nice deck. I love having a backyard at times like this.)

Spray painted baskets drying in the backyard.

Note: since I’m using inexpensive Sherwin Williams Color To Go samples, I’m using the same technique I applied to those picture frames I painted awhile back (all about making cheap paint awesome). I was warned when I bought the sample that it wasn’t meant to actually be used as the permanent color and when I dared to test it, it worked. Started with a little bit of spray paint, let it dry completely, and continued on by carefully applying a layer of orange with a paint brush I had on hand.

Right around this point, I started to feel like this basket was turning into something I might see at CB2. And I really liked that. A lot.

Painting the metal hanging basket. Starting to look very CB2.Once it was painted (and it took three coats with this cheap paint, just like those pesky frames), I gave it a final spray down with clear glossy spray paint. The spray top coat really helps to toughen it up and make it feel like it’s not about to chip off or wear away right in your hand. I now have the courage to do the second basket.

A finished basket.

And while I think these will eventually hang off the pergola on the deck, for the purposes of showing it in action, I hung it in the sunroom window. With an IKEA planter and an indoor geranium.

A finished hanging basket (with IKEA pot and geranium).

I immediately thought upon taking that picture that I should spray paint that black chain white; it’s only making an appearance as-is because it was the most convenient hanging mechanism I could fashion for the new basket. And it works, so I’m happy.


Sunroom Dots

May 10, 2011   //  Posted in: DIY, Sunroom   //  By: Emily   //  12 responses

The dots! They’re done!

Maybe. Things like this are sometimes an eternal work in progress.

But the originally-envisioned scalloped dots have made their way around the perimeter of the sunroom (with a custom-made stencil that only permitted me to do about 3 feet at a time while waiting for the paint and stencil to dry).

Finished dots. And a margarita.

Regardless of how long it took me to do this (3 weeks) and how close I am to being done (unknown), I’m really happy with the result to date. The stencil worked like a gem, and I gave you a little sneak peek about how I had decided to modify the straight-from-the-can paint color by mixing it with some of the original gray floor paint that coats the entire surface, which not only helps to subdue the bright sea foam green color but also should help to make the dots a little more ready for whatever wear and tear it’s about to endure between sandals, summer sun-exposure, and dog toenails.

It should also be strong enough to endure having furniture resting on it for seasons to come. That’s a wicker loveseat that I scored at a garage sale a few summers ago and power-washed/re-stained. It’s now home to some very sun-bleached Pier 1 cushions, but it’s a good place for me to sit and work while I admire my new stenciled dots. There are also a few little Bombay Co. side tables that I bought awhile ago and don’t really like anymore, hence they’ve been relegated to the sunroom for no one’s eyes to see regularly, except when I take pictures like this.

Dots under the chair legs.

The Bombay Co. table isn’t good for much hidden away in the sunroom, but it actually does make a nice resting place for my big plastic box o’ seedlings; they’re doing quite well these days, and surprise-surprise, the basil hadn’t even starting popping up yet last time I updated you; it just kind of surprised me one morning, looking like a mossy cover in that round container.

Plants flourishing in the sunroom.

But, back to that stencil. I’ll keep you updated if I make any more tweaks to the design (more likely, it’ll just be added intricacies that were painted on a whim). Maybe polka dots around each polka dot, or a detail within the stripe. I don’t know. Any ideas?

Dotty edge of the sunroom.

Mother- and Power Tool-Related

May 09, 2011   //  Posted in: Tools   //  By: Emily   //  4 responses

Mom’s easily the handiest woman I know; she and my Dad bought a 100+ year old farm house complete with barn, garage, inground pool and 4 acres for less than what I paid for my house (granted, it was 25 years ago). They’ve spent the last 25 years upgrading, adding on, gutting, and painting.

She visits me from time to time, bringing me perennials and usually lunch, because she thinks my fridge is barren (no comment). Here we are last summer:

And I’m posting this a day after the celebrated holiday because Mom’s a stud and worked until 8PM (probably got overtime pay, well planned). Since she opened her presents via phone with me at 8:45PM, I couldn’t risk posting day-of and having her (or chatty Dad, hi Dad) see the awesomeness that was about to greet her Mother’s Day evening.

Let me say this: she loves power tools, but her arsenal isn’t as loaded as it could be. She gets by using her steady hand for painting trim and manual (traditional) tools for makin’ her awesome, awesome garden grow. And try and imagine this: she’s sanded and painted the house’s cedar siding multiple times by hand. As in, with a paint scraper and piece of sand paper. It’s annoying and repetitive a process, she lets us know it, but it’s something that needs to be taken care of every 7 or so years and she’s probably going to disagree, but she seems prideful (and the rest of us are prideful) of her drive to do it solo. It’s kind of badass.

Next time it (and other sanding efforts) should go smoother. Literally. And figuratively. Because I bought her this baby for Mother’s Day.

Hi there, Skil OCTO power sander.

Yep, that’s a Skil Octo Multi-finishing sander and not only was it a reputable brand, but it received good reviews, a good price, AND came with enough attachments and sandpaper to last her, oh, who knows how long. I tend to like this shape sander better than circular or square since it fits well into tiny spaces. She also has this thing about hand-painting the wooden fence that surrounds the pool piece by piece, and I think this will help immensely to expedite the process.

It’s not a rental backhoe (which she’s been asking for for years to make her pond deeper – a pond she’s only dug by hand to date) but I’ll have to get her one just for fun sometime.

Happy Mother’s Day.