Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lamps, stripping and cleaning ....

So here is this little guy, remember i posted about him a while ago here with my never ending lamp addiction.  Well i finally got around to giving him a new life.  Whilst I'm all for a good patina on something, this was a bad paint job on a great lamp. You will also see another 2 industrial lamps getting a face lift during this post but in true blogger style i forgot to take the before shots, trust me when i say they look a lot better in the after shots.

Here is the messy part, spraying or painting them with the chemical paint remover.  I put them in a large plastic bag so as to try and contain the spray and also protect everything else around it.  Doing it outside is best but we live in manhattan so thats not always the easiest.  If your inside make sure to but a good drop cloth then plastic down as the spray paint remover is strong stuff.  Trust me you don't want this on anything else in your apt, or your skin for that matter.  Again trust me what begins as a weird tingling turns in to a burning pretty quickly.  Wear some really glamorous gloves at all times.  Also you can be the crazy person on the street taking paint off your lamp!

The essentials.
1. Lots of paper, i always grab the free papers lying around.
2. A good wire brush
3. Scraper, you don't need a fancy one as most of this stuff gets messy
4.Sprayable paint remover or paintable remover.

Now depending on the project sort of defines how toxic you need to go.  If its light paint then you can use a more friendly citri strip which is non caustic and biodegradableThis is definitely the route to try first before getting into something stronger.  I do like the citri strip but it may take a few more coats of the stuff

Here is another lamp getting its paint removed.  Oh and the glamorous rubber gloves.  Green is my color!

Its looks disgusting and it is.  If you are doing this then really do it, i tackled three lamps at once as once you make the mess you might as well get on with a bunch of projects.  The other essential is old rags.  I always end up buying some at home depot when i am there so you can just throw them away.  It gets really messy at this stage, slimy and gross.  So wear old clothes and just be prepared to get in a mess.  Always have something around to wipe your hands on.

Here the above lamp in its raw metal state, which if you know me, i love.  Anything rusty, hence arduous rust! 

Now the magic! Thats my dremmel in the left corner with the wire brush attachment.  This does wonders.  It shines the metal up and really makes the item come to life (oh and my knee).  You will end up going through a few of these wire brushes on the dremmel so i also use a harsher and larger wire attachment for the drill.  Its noisy but does a very good job of taking the remaining finish off and also revealing the raw metal.

Here we go.  This guy after its chemical peel and then wire brushing, and a good dremmeling.  He is beautiful! So pleased with the way it came out, and the details that emerge when you remove the paint.  Im not to much of a perfectionist when it comes to these projects as its great to still see some patina, whether it be rust or old paint, so on the other lamps there is some parts that still have a little something left on them.

Me looking my best sweating and wearing rubber gloves.  The old converse on the table are essential to paint stripping, always have them on the table (!) 

Look at this one, love him! After the dremmeling you get more of a polished look but yet it keeps so  much patina as not all the rust comes off.  Have a go!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Some inspirational things.....

A couple of recent Instagram shots. The black table is a recent find at the RL home sample sale. I couldn't resist it, it's perfect. Not sure how I'm going to fit it in but still.....

This guy was also at the sale. Way too expensive but a really nice piece. Loved the tweed seat and then the mismatched old stripped fabric on the arms and then the raw linen back. Would be great to do this on a cheaper piece.....

Some recent crafted wrist you want one? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Brassy bits, Indonesia edition...

So after 16 hrs, ( having watched a medley of meryl Streep films and finally watching frozen so I don't feel so out of touch) then another 5 hrs to get to Indonesia's surabaya then a stomach clenching 3 hr Mario cart style drive, I arrived at the factory in probolinggo. I know I make it sound like a grueling journey but in reality I was lucky enough to be in business class and basically luxuriating in bed drinking tea most of the time...

I chose to shoot the atmospheric images of the the farmer and surrounding building as opposed the family of cockroaches that welcomed me at the hotel (read hostel). It was just one night and it's the closest to the factory. 

This factory is really great. Everybody has a smile on there face and seems at ease. This is partly the Indonesians themselves who always have a smile on their face. After Reviewing samples, making changes, looking at wash techniques and all that. A lot of the prototypes I'm working on here have a lot of hand work too them such has mendings and hand embroidery techniques inspired by quilting and such. They do a really authentic job even though they do think it's wierd that we take a perfectly good short, stone wash it to within an inch of its life, cut holes in it and then patch and repair it as in the photo.  That's my scribbles all over it as well. I prefer the high tech approach of masking tape and a sharpie. I loved what they achieved for a first prototype and can wait to resee this in a week! You can see it spring :-) After all this I was in need of some local market action!

This is always a challenge to explan that I would like to go to a local market as opposed to some tourist thing, luckily where we were there isn't anything for a tourist to do. Picture me saying old things and stone bowls and get a quizzical look in return. Basically I need the term Home Depot in all languages. 

got told of for touching the flowers....

The food at the market was great but I wasn't sure how much I needed a bunch of dead fish or unusual fruit. So instead here I am feeling smug after finding some great stone bowls, whilst internally talking myself out of buying all of them and generally feeling frantic about trying to find an amazing object ! 

Loved this stool, so simple just angle iron cut into legs but so cute. I should have just brought it back with me but I have more places to go and im not that dedicated to traving around with a stool strapped to me...I know not dedicated. Also I need another stool in my apt like I need another set of antlers....

I would however have ripped this cabinet off the wall if i got the chance....

...whilst riding away on this rusty bike....

....whilst taking this cute little girl along too.... 

...and a pretty song bird for good measure....but that would just be insane.....

This is now back in surabaya where we flew into 2 days earlier. We needed to stay an extra night as I needed to resee some prototypes before going into china. So with the power of google I found the antique market and thus the following artsy shots follow.....

The local tailor, I wish mine looked like this. 

My personal heaven, rusty things, big heavy furnature and stuff everywhere ! 

Loved the wooden table in the back and I was dying for this black scale but it was too big.  So much great stuff, and pretty reasonable if you get over the fact your not going to be buying things for a dollar. There was a lot of brassy things which have currently been my obsession but I remained focused on something unusual and not too expensive. So the light below on the left was my obvious choice....

....I'm joking, it was the light on the right ....

...I'm such a kidder it was neither but I was taken with these chunky brass candlesticks.....

Love me a rusty bike shot...

I ended up with this scale. Such a great scale, small and foldable, black iron with brass foot and weight. Needs a little work but so perfect. Then we see the stone bowls for all the grains I like to grind in manhattan (?). And a wierd little dish whic I just loved the little feet on, so was obviously essential to have. After a little haggling I got it

This city of surabaya is really beautiful. Lots of rundown buildings with sun faded colors with plant life vying to take over at any moment. Repair ontop of repair on so many things make for layers interst and ingenuity. What's the saying, necessity is the mother of invention. I love to see a door patched and re patched with layers of paint falling off. You know what gets me going .....Then juxtaposed with a modern (ish) structure of the downtown financial area, a few high rises and some wierd apartment buildings. It almost reminds me of a dirty unorginized Tokyo with the traffic situation of Vietnam.  So happy I got to explore it a little but wishing I bought more at the market ! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Get ready to be jealous.....BODIE and FOU★ Le Blog | Effortless chic | French Interiors | Inspiring Design

Get ready to be jealous. Take a look at this beautiful home in the link below. Now if only I had more than 415 sq ft (the 15ft is really important :-). Enjoy or just be jealous and annoyed .....

BODIE and FOU★ Le Blog | Effortless chic | French Interiors | Inspiring Design: A soothing, modern country style home

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Say hello to this little guy and a little more about his creator Sir Terence Conran....

Sir Terance Conran was born in Kingston Upon Thames, (american readers google this).  He studied in London at what has since been incoporated into Central St martins, where he focused on Textiles and other materials.

Conran's first professional work came when he worked in the Festival of Britain on the main South Bank site. He left college to take up a job with Dennis Lennon's architectural company, which had been commissioned to make a 1/4 scale interior of a Princess Flying Boat.
Conran started his own design practice in 1956 with the Summa furniture range and designing a shop for Mary Quant. In 1964, he opened the first Habitat shop in Chelsea with his third wife (he wasn’t just busy designing apparently) Caroline Herbert, which grew into a large chain selling household goods and furniture in contemporary designs. In the mid-1980s, Conran expanded Habitat into the Storehouse plc group of companies that included but in 1990 he lost control of the company. His later retail companies include the Conran Shop and FSC-certified wood furniture maker Benchmark Furniture, which he co-founded with Sean Sutcliffe in 1983.

The Conran store used to have a presence here in New York both a stand alone store and then in the basement of ABC kitchen and home. That was a great closing down sale im telling you!  However it is sad that it is no longer represented here in NY (apart from JCP which is somewhat of a weird coupling but im not complaining when you get to have amazing british design at amazing prices)

Another example of Conran's work at JCP.  Go check it out.  There is some amazing pieces.....

He has also been involved in architecture and interior design, including establishing the architecture and planning consultancy Conran Roche with Fred Roche in 1980. Projects include Michelin House (which he turned into the restaurant Bibendum) and the Bluebird Garage both in Chelsea (London not new york, a lot less gay and prettier :-). This used to be one of my favorite places in London to eat and shop (when you felt flush, kind of like a whole foods with a fancy restaurant and cafĂ© attached)

Conran currently has a design company covering brand and interior designers and architects, working on projects all over the world. Terence currently designs furniture for Marks & Spencer, JCPenney, Content by Conran, Benchmark and The Conran Shop.Terence has written over 50 books that broadly reflect his design philosophy, selling over 25 million copies worldwide. The majority of these books were published by Conran Octopus,  a division of Octopus Publishing Group, a cross-platform illustrated book publisher founded by Sir Terence and Paul Hamlyn
Check out for more information and too see more of his great work and here is a look at his M&S range.  Another great British institution that i adore!

Conran Lighting and Accessories, Spring 2014 from Conran on Vimeo.

Isn't this thing I put on top of it cool?  Its a magnifying glass set up that is usually used for making fly's for fly fishing.  You know the intricate colored thing that they put on the end of the line when fishing to attract the fish.  Its currently magnifying a beautiful feather.  Love it! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Its almost spring....get in the garden

Hi ! So i get an email from my wonderful neighbor saying that google is getting rid of a bunch of boxwoods this sunday morning.  Madeleine like me is thrifty (cheap) so we went over and managed to gather as many as we could and bring them home.  Fate would have it that a very friendly cabbie let us load up his boot and he didn't seem too worried about the dirt, which is a rarity!

Here they are, a little bedraggled but who isn't after the winter.  The main thing is to get them in the ground and cozy until true spring. Its going to drop again monday so don't want them to get frost damage.

A good deep hole for now and then a good covering of dirt to keep them cozy.  Box wood don't actually like to be too deep as they have shallow roots so maybe next weekend i will uncover a little bit, if the weather does change.  Then they will get a good feed and a prune before they start spring growth.  Should really have been pruned at the end of summer/beginning of winter but they are pretty hardy and slow growing so can put up with a good deal.  Nice boot shot i thought as well...

Recommended Monitoring for Boxwood

Late Winter
Remove leaves from center of plants where they tend to collect.
Prune out winter damaged branches. Thin crowns as necessary. Sample for
Phytophthora root disease and soil nutrient levels and pH if decline symptoms are evident. Apply horticultural oil to suppress psyllids and mites.

Early Spring
Fertilize and amend pH based on soil test reports. Apply fungicide soil drench if Phytophthora root rot is present. Monitor for psyllids, mites and leafminers. Treat as needed. Excavate mulch from root collars and add finely ground pine bark mulch to root zone as needed.

Mid Spring
Monitor for psyllids, mites and leafminers. Treat as needed. Monitor irrigation and soil moisture levels to prevent water stress and suppress root disease.

Early Summer
Monitor for spider mites and treat as needed. Monitor irrigation and soil moisture levels to prevent water stress and suppress root disease. Sample for nematodes if this pest is suspected.

Mid Summer
Re-apply fungicide drench if Phytophthora root rot is present. Monitor for spider mites and treat as needed. Monitor irrigation and soil moisture levels to prevent water stress and suppress root disease.

Late Summer 
Monitor for spider mites and treat as needed. Monitor irrigation and soil moisture levels to prevent water stress and suppress root disease.

Apply finely ground pine bark mulch to root system as needed. Fertilize and adjust pH as specified in soil test report. Erect burlap barriers to protect against desiccation on exposed sites. Apply irrigation as necessary to ensure adequate soil moisture before soil freezes in order to minimize winter injury. Apply systemic insecticide if desired to reduce the level of sucking insects and leafminers next year. 

Heres a handy PDF of this info if you so need it..

Yes an action shot.  Photo credit my amazing downstairs neighbor Madeleine.  I take any opportunity to wear plaid and get muddy.

In they go.  Heres a little more basic info on boxwood .  Not the bad edging on the little path to the right of the photo.

So they look a little brown and old but finger crossed i can get them back to life. I finished up the brick edging as well on the little path to nowhere, and also got to see all the great bulbs coming up, well the ones i didn't chop in half.  Im not the most cautious digger!  I think once they are cleaned up a little more and come to life we should be good. The 2 little guys on the left of the photo were planted last spring (i think) and are doing really well so hope fully this will look great.  Stay tuned....

Sunday, February 2, 2014

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