19 October 2009

DIY for novices

I’m not particularly artistically inclined. But once in a while I am inspired to draw upon my artistic genetics. My mother is the talented one, so my theory is that some of those genetics must have been passed to me. Besides the fact that she was an accomplished artist earlier in her career, she is able to take a handful of acorns, some leftover ribbon, a couple of pine boughs and an artificial flower or two and create a beautiful door swag arrangement. Never ceases to amaze me.

Last year, just about this time, I found the inspiration to attempt a little project of my own. I decided to create some simple fall arrangements for the Thanksgiving table. I purchased some pretty supplies and invested many hours tending to this creative project. The outcome was underwhelming. But I laughed about it and put it behind me. Until now.

I am undertaking several DIY household decorating projects. My source of inspiration is not the house and garden network on cable, but the design*sponge blog. This blog regularly highlights the gorgeously successful outcomes of other people’s DIY home decorating projects. The photos make it look easy enough. I’m equipped with above-average intelligence, so how hard can it be, right?

First on the list is a chandelier refinishing project. Our house was built about 10 years ago and strangely, none of the earlier owners decided to alter the original décor. The builder-grade lighting fixtures installed in the 1990s that probably looked economical, but pretty enough then, now look down-right inexpensive and dated. Cristy and I had a vague vision for our dining room and I selected a new chandelier fixture for that room to replace the old one. The new one is gorgeous and it will look splendid. But we do not have the budget to purchase an equally splendid chandelier for the adjacent parlor. DIY to the rescue!

The old dining room chandelier is substantial, and nicely proportioned; its bright brass finish is dated and not exactly suited to our taste. So refinishing it for use in the parlor would be just the thing! On Saturday, I walked confidently into Lowes (for the 9th time that week) and described my “project” to one of the employees so she could direct me to all of the supplies I would need. Target look: antique porcelain finish. Way better than shiny brass.

Let’s see. I needed a 10-foot ladder, some spray-paint primer, 2 colors of latex paint, some crackle faux finish product, paint glazing product and a clear spray-gloss. Plus a drop-cloth, foam brushes and tape. Not exactly a low-cost project. But hey, we really needed the 10-foot ladder to change light bulbs and air filters anyway. Back at the house, I removed the chandelier, hung it in the garage, spread out the drop-cloth, taped up the light-bulb holders, cleaned the surface and applied primer to the metal. Step one complete.

Step two was Sunday’s task. Applied the latex paint base color coat. So far it looks ok, but this is going to take a while. I still need to apply the crackle product, glaze and spray gloss. Then I need to do something about the chain that suspends the chandelier from the ceiling. I guess this will be part-2 of the same project. Hopefully it will be finished by Friday when our lighting installer shows up.

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