Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Would Penny Wenny Do? An Old Piano

One of my darling readers Kylee inspired a new series I want to do here, called "What Would Penny Wenny Do?"  She emailed me with questions about how to refinish an old piano that she got for FREE.  Yes, F.R.E.E.  After getting over my intense jealousy, I decided that rather than just email her back with my suggestions, it would be fun to post her project here and share my tips/ advice/ suggestions for how I would tackle the project if it were my own.  I would also love to hear from you smarty pants about any great suggestions you might have for her!

If you have any projects of your own that you would like advice on, please shoot me an email and I would love to feature you as our next WWPWD post.

Without further adieu, I present to you Kylee's FREE (just in case you missed that the first time) piano.

You can see that this piano has probably seen better days and definitely needs some TLC.  BUT, her bones are lovely!  I am in love with the bench also.  With some elbow grease and paint, this baby can be looking good as new very soon.

So my dear Kylee, here's what I would do.

  •  Fill in the gaps
It's hard to tell for sure from the picture, but it looks like the piece of wood below the keys is where the most damage has been done.  It looks like the wood has been gouged pretty well, and just needs to be filled back in.  I would take some Kwik Wood and fill back in the holes to try and re-create the shape that the piece once had.  Twice Lovely shared an awesome tutorial on how she used this product that you can check out HERE.  This product can be found at your local hardware store for around $5.

If there are other areas on the piano where chunks of wood are missing, fill those in as well with this product.  The scratches and dings throughout the wood can be buffed out in the next step.

  • Sand her down
Use an orbital sander and buff down all of the flat surfaces on the piano. I would suggest starting with a medium sand paper, and work your way down to a fine sand paper.  The medium paper (80-120 grit) will strip some of the stain/ varnish but most importantly help to buff out the scratches and dings.  If you intend to re-stain the entire piano, then you will need to do a very thorough job of sanding beginning with a coarse paper (60-80 grit), and should plan on spending quite some time to do thatIf it were my project, there's no way I would be willing to strip and re-stain the entire piano.  This is where paint is your BFF.  Don't stress when you sand about getting everything completely off.  You just want to create a smoother surface to begin with.  After you finish with the medium paper, you should repeat the process with a fine grit sandpaper (150-180 grit) to smooth out the surface.  You can read more about the process of sanding from one of my previous posts HERE.

For the hand carved or curvy places on the piano, I suggest sanding by hand with a medium and then fine sanding block.  You want to focus on smoothing out the scratches, and creating a less glossy surface for your paint to adhere to.

  • Clean her up
This might seem like a silly step to mention, but it is often neglected by furniture fixer uppers, and shows on the finished product.  There is nothing worse than a ruined paint job because of the dust specks that were neglected.  Take some time once you are finished sanding to really clean up all of the dust.  I would use a vacuum and go all around the piano and in all the nooks and crannies with the hose attachment.  Lastly, I would use a rag and some cleaner or some Clorox or Lysol wipes and clean everything off really well. 
  • Get your Paint on
So, here's where the fun begins.  There are sooooo many different options for paints to use, and really I think you will be fine with whatever you choose.  As a thrifty gal myself, I would recommend hitting up your local Home Depot and Lowes every day to look for oops paint.  For those of you who aren't familiar with this, hardware stores will discount paint that has already been mixed for a customer who didn't want it, or color was wrong and sell it to us fine folks for CHEAP.... like $5 a gallon on a normally priced $34 gallon of paint.  My favorite product is Behr's Ultra Paint and Primer in One in a satin finish.  It saves extra steps and money when you don't have to buy the primer separately.  I have found this particular type in the Oops several times at Home Depot.  Look for a color similar to the one that you want (or exact) and if you want it darker, ask the sales person to work on the color for you.  If you intend to sell the piano when you are finished, I would suggest going with a fairly neutral color (like cream) that is more versatile to buyers.  If it's going to stay in your family, don't be afraid to take a walk on the wild side and go for a fun bold color.  If you can't stand the waiting game and want a specific color, you will likely need to pay full price for the gallon.  I believe HD has a $5 off each gallon of Behr sale running right now as a 4th of July sale.

I would use a small brush (Purdy) to cut in all the corners and intricate hand carved places and to go around the hardware, and roll with a small foam roller on all of the main flat surfaces.

I used to be so meticulous about taking everything apart on furniture and painting each individual piece one at a time, then screwing all of the doors/ hinges back on, etc. but I have since found it to be so unnecessary and such a waste of time.  If you have a steady hand, just cut in carefully around all of the hardware and hinges.  I would suggest however, taking off the base plate (or whatever it's called) around the foot pedals of the piano (can you tell I don't play???) and clean that off really well.  If you want a more contemporary/ modern look you can spray paint that piece a hammered bronze or pewter, but I think it would add to the vintage charm if you keep it the original color. 

  • Distress away
This step is optional, but since this is a post for What Would Penny Wenny Do, I'm telling you what I would do.  I would lightly distress the edges, corners, and high points of the piano with a sanding block, allowing the wood to show through.  Then I would glaze, wax, or stain in those same areas.  There are so many techniques and options to do this.  My personal preference (as of lately) is to use Minwax stain in a deep color like Dark Walnut or Jacobean, and very lightly apply it with a rag to the piece of furniture to the areas that you just distressed.  You can read in more detail about how to accomplish that from a previous post of mine HERE.

  •  Protect her well
Last but certainly not least, I would apply a finishing protective coat.  I would suggest using a clear wax that is soft enough to apply with a brush particularly in the nooks and crannies, like Annie Sloan clear wax, or Fiddes and Sons.  Note- I do love Minwax paste finishing wax (particularly for convenience of purchasing at HD and cost), but it is very thick so it clumps up in nooks and crannies, and only really works well on flat surfaces.  If cost is an issue, a polyurethane coat will work great!  I would suggest using Minwax Polyurethane in the satin finish, and apply it the same way that you did the paint (foam roller and brush), but apply several coats with a very light sanding of extra fine sandpaper between each coat to eliminate any of the bubbles it creates.

  • Add some pizazz
Because I am Penny Wenny, you know that I just wouldn't be able to finish this project without some sort of fabric or pattern action happening.  I think you should totally upholster the piano bench!!!  If you haven't upholstered anything before, this is actually one of the simplest upholstery projects to start with.  Find a fun fabric on sale at Home Fabrics, or online at Fabric.com, get some foam from your local DI for $1, borrow a friend's pneumatic staple gun, and have some fun!  You can refer to my tutorial HERE on how to upholster a simple rectangular shape where there wasn't anything there before.

So, easy as 1, 2, 3, right?  Please know that my suggestions are not the only way that you can refinish this.  Brooke from All Things Thrifty recently finished an amazing piano of her own using spray paint, that looks phenomenal and can be viewed HERE.  I hate all of the taping required to spray paint, so I would opt for the brush and roller but you need to do whatever works best for you.

Alright friends- now it's your part.  Pipe in please in the comments section (kindness only, please) if you have any other great suggestions or tips for Kylee when she finishes this beauty. 

Once Kylee is finished with this fabulous project she just committed to (especially  now since we shared it here) I will post her end results here.  GOOD LUCK KYLEE!

Please remember to send me any projects you have questions on.  And for those of you dedicated readers who stuck it out to the end of this lengthy post, check back soon for an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax giveaway.... yes you read that right.  See you soon friends!



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Progress on dining room set and Trade, anyone?

I had the best day yesterday.  My sweets took Trav to a local truck show, and left me in peace to work on my projects.

Cotton candy, anyone?
I was amazed at how much I was able to accomplish in those 4 hours alone with a little Diet Coke and Pandora playing on my phone in the background.  I sewed my third pillow for the outdoor bench I mentioned HERE,

I stitched on ties to the back of my Euro sham to give it a more snug fit,

and best of all painted 4 of my dining room chairs on the set I shared with you all way back HERE.

The table is almost completely finished and is absolutely gorgeous.  I actually can't believe myself how beautifully it turned out.  Is it normal to drool over furniture?  I know I do.

Last night, I started working on the first slipcover for one of the chairs, and hope to finish it today.  Here's  a little sneak peak...

I can't wait for this project to be finished!  I love it when I'm on a roll...

Now, on to business matters.  I am quite aware that my blog's front page is far from exciting or eye appealing.  I am also more than willing to admit that I am not very good at the "techy" aspects of blogging.  Can't I just be creative with my hands and some paint or great food ingredients?  That being said, I realize the value of an eye catching website (or blog as the case may be) and easy accessibility to tutorials and other important information.  So, fabulous readers, I am looking for a web designer/ graphic designer to help me spice up my blog.  I would like someone who can help me design a header and logo, a few buttons, and different tabs from the main page.  Since Penny Wenny is not made of moolah however, I would love to work with someone who is interested in a trade.  I can offer furniture refinishing/ updating, reupholstery, or anything along those lines. 

If you are interested or can refer me to anyone who might be, please send me an email to Littlemisspennywenny@gmail.com

Last but not least, I wanted to share a fabulous deal going on through Groupon today to my local Utah readers.  Kwal Paint is offering $30 worth of paint supplies for $15.  This is a fabulous deal!  I stocked up on two, and plan on buying some new Purdy brushes with the coupon.  Go and grab yours today before the deal is up.  And hey, if you use my personal referral link, you'll be adding some $ to my Groupon bank. :)

Thanks friends!  I hope that you all enjoy this beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I will be stitching away to my hearts content.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Sweet Little Vintage Rocker

I. am. alive.  For real.  I am sorry about my absence.  Without spending an hour recapping the last three weeks of my life for you; in a nutshell I finished choreography and cleaning for our end of year recital at my dance studio where I (frightfully) also performed a solo, I spent two weeks teaching our summer dance intensives program for 7 hours each day, I babysat my brother's 4 young boys (ages 2-8) along with my own Trav, sans my sweets for 4 days, and have been working relentlessly to prepare our back yard for sod that is being delivered to us in a week.  PHEW!  Okay, now that I write it all out it doesn't really sound that impressive but I promise I've been swamped!  Will you forgive me for not writing?

What have you been up to lately?  Are you enjoying your summer?  We finally have sun in my state!  Hallelujah!!! Go figure the first day I spent in it, I got fried.  Literally cooked like a lobster.  That teaches me (a redhead with fair skin) to spend a day at the waterpark with spf 4.  Idiot.

Now that I am finished teaching for a month, I am thrilled to get my hands busy on some projects of my own desire, in addition to the dreaded ongoing yard landscaping.  I did a simple reupholstery job for an old neighbor of mine on her mother's rocking chair.  When she first showed it to me, I was so excited to work on this and secretly wished she would give it to me in the end.  Of course that won't be the case as it is a family heirloom and has very special meaning to her since it reminds her of watching her sweet momma playing the piano in that rocker day after day as she grew up.  The modernized shabby chic vision I had for this cutie pie was not her vision at all however, and she wanted to keep the rocker looking as similar to its original form as possible, but wanted it to be cleaned up.  The gimp (trim) had started to come off and had been amateurly stapled back on by a family member, the fabric was quite old and worn, and unbeknownst to her, the interior foam was disintegrating and very little of it remained. 

I failed to take a picture before I ripped the gimp off, but I held it up for you folks here

So after my friend selected a pattern that she loved and paint color for the chair, I got busy cleaning her up.
I removed all the gimp, fabric and most of the staples, and old batting and foam that had worn down to virtually nothing and was disintegrating. 

I lightly sanded the entire frame, primed it with Rustoleum, and spray painted it with Rustoleum's Espresso in satin finish, followed by several light coats of gloss polyurethane spray.
I replaced the old foam with much plumper pieces (from my D.I. stock pile- if you missed my secret on finding inexpensive foam, check it out here) and used spray adhesive to set the pieces in place, just like I explained HERE with my Chevron Chair.

Image from Chevron Chair post
I stapled new batting and the fabric over the foam, snipped as closely as possible around the edges, and covered all of the exposed staples and edges up with my double welting cord. For more details on how to accomplish all of the above mentioned steps, you can find a detailed tutorial from my reupholstery series HERE and HERE. 

Here's how sweet little grandma's rocker looks now.

I hope my friend is pleased and that the chair is still similar enough that she can remember her mom.  I can't imagine the day that I have to remember my mom from memories, instead of seeing her whenever I want to in the flesh.

On a new note, one of the very most exciting things I did this week was drive 60 miles to pick up.... you guessed it, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!  My local Utah retailer held on to my two color requests and the dark wax for me as soon as they came in, and is sweet enough that she is going to mail me a can of the clear wax that she didn't have in stock as soon as it arrives.  I couldn't drive home fast enough to start working with it. 

I'll bet you can guess what project I've been saving up $ for this paint to be used on...

I'm all done except for the clear wax.  I don't think they can mail it out fast enough.  I can hardly handle the excitement!  Try to be patient all you nail biters out there :)

Lastly, I want to thank all of my readers so much for your support and sweet comments.  I hit 300 followers today and feel so lucky to have this outlet and creative talent to share with others.  I really appreciate each of you more than you may know, so thank you.


Long lost Penny Wenny

Here's a hilarious video of my little Trav playing "hoops" with his nephew Luke while I was babysitting at their house.  Too cute for words.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Giveaways worth trying for!

Hey, friends.

I have been eyeing the infamous Annie Sloan Chalk Paint all over blogland lady, and am dying to get my hands on some.  I've been resilient about forking out the dough for it (around $30/ quart), but finally ready to cave in.  I simply must have it to finish the sexy legs on my dining table set I'm working on.  Since it's a piece I hope to keep for a long time, I want it to look perfect.  I think this paint really is the way to go.

I was thrilled to read the post by Kim at Savvy Southern Style featuring several current giveaways, and decided to spend the hour trying my luck with them all.  If I don't get the lucky winner card, I am breaking down and buying the paint this week at my local Utah distributor.

Southern Hospitality is hosting a fabulous $100 giveaway to Home Goods.  YES PLEASE!

Molly Susan Strong is giving away 3 quarts of chalk paint (please please please let me win!)

Blue Creek Home is also giving away chalk paint, along with clear and dark wax, a book and darling pillow.


Screaming Meme is also giving away two quarts of that heavenly paint.  I am dying to get my hands on the old white and paris gray.

So there you have it.  Run on over and enter your cute little selves for these awesome giveaways.  All that I ask is that you share with me if you win.  Or at least, show me the amazing projects you make so that I can cry over them with envy.  :)  Good luck, friends!



Sunday, June 5, 2011

Front yard transformation

Hello, friends.  I am so sorry for my cyber absence lately.  We had our year end recital at the dance studio where I teach on Friday, and you can't imagine the amount of work and time that went into making this weekend a success.  I am so pleased to say that it really was such a success.  I am so proud of all of my students, and how much they have grown as dancers and individuals this year.  I felt like a proud momma bear when I watched them each take the stage on Friday.  I feel so blessed to have found the best kept secret of the county where I live. 

On top of preparing for that recital, my sweets and I have been hard at work over the past few weeks in our yard.  The home where we live is our first, and we built it so we have been cursed so fortunate to landscape it all ourselves.  I never really grasped how much work is involved in creating and maintaining a nice yard, especially for the DIY'ers like ourselves with small pocket books and big dreams.  OY!

Last summer, we successfully installed a rock wall, did all of our trenching and sprinkler installation, laid sod, poured the rest of our driveway and RV pad, had curbing laid, planted trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. etc etc.  We made huge progress last summer, but there were lots of finishing touches that still needed to be made.  Also, several of our trees and shrubs died this winter, so we had to replace almost all of them.  I can happily now say that we transformed the front yard from this:

to this:

The finishing touches we've been working hard on lately of adding flowers, colored mulch, shrubs, and beautiful trees have really made the yard pop over the past few weeks.

 My goal as of lately has been to beautify our front porch area.  I used some chalk paint to spice up a plain Jane Terra cotta planter, and a few hits of my fave cream spray paints on a $5 planter I found at the DI to add some color with pretty flowers to the front steps. 

 I think they turned out pretty cute.  They share the steps with my gorgeous arrangement of begonias that my sweets gave me for Mothers Day (from Costco).
I am working on repairs to a free bench I picked up last summer that will adorn the front porch with some darling outdoor canvas pillows I just sewed together.  Here's a sneak peak...
Do you get as excited and overwhelmed as we do about yard work?  Does it ever get to the point where you feel like you can truly say it is "finished" and you get to just sit back and relax in your yard?  If not, please, pretty please, just lie to me.

We are currently preparing to trench, lay sprinkling and sod for the back yard of our 1/2 acre lot.  If you don't hear from me for a year, hopefully you'll know why :)


sharing this transformation here:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

The DIY Show Off

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


Domestically Speaking

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Transformation Thursday

Furniture Feature Fridays