Monday, October 8, 2012

Sneak Peek! A Magic Box, A Painted Chair, Martha Stewart and Me

Confession time!

Confession #1 I used to be scared of Martha.  Although uniformly wonderful, her projects intimidated me.  Back in the day, they seemed a tad...intense.  I am a fundamentally lazy character, and tend to eschew anything with more than a handful of steps.  I know I'm not alone in this.

Confession #2  I love Martha.  LOVE her.  I believe she is brilliant and I don't care who knows it, so there.  More importantly, I'm no longer scared.  (Although I know she could still take me in a cage fight.)

So what happened between Confession #1 and Confession #2?  Partly, I matured.  Example: I now have an attention span of twenty-three whole minutes!  Another thing that happened: a line of wicked cool Martha Stewart crafting products - easy enough for intimidated crafters like yours truly.

The other day, callooh, callay, Plaid offered to send me some.  (Gee, they really had to twist my arm.)  I have a very fun jewelry tutorial coming up in a few days - a spookified necklace project I know you will love.  Want a sneak peek?

You know you do.  Okay...


But for today, in the spirit of Martha and my new maturity, I thought I would show you how I decided to face my fear and tackle something...intense.  Do you like my calavera chair?  It's my first ever painted furniture attempt.

Read on for the whole story behind this skully seat...

See, I found this drab old rocking chair left out on the curb.  Broken into several pieces, unwanted, unloved.  My husband magicked it back together, primed, then did a coat of peacock-colored spray paint.

I googled some references for calavera skulls.  Straining my drawing "skills" to breaking point, I did a pencil sketch, then laid down the black-and-white basics.

I was juuuust about to start adding colorful details, using some no-name craft paints from a jumbled box of crap I keep under the kitchen counter:

And then the enchanted box arrived from Plaid.   Wanna see what they sent?

Whoa.  I tossed aside the no-name crap and broke out the fab new-formula Martha craft paints, which I had been itching to try.

began to add colors...loverly, Martha-approved colors...with tasty names like Granny Smith and Carrot.

So that is a glimpse of me conquering fear, and how my peacock-colored chair got its colorful plumage.

It's still a chair in progress.  In measured, twenty-three-minute bursts, I'm working on a bed of roses around the skull...

Eventually each rose will be painted red like the two in the bottom right corner.  In the end the chair will get a clear coat of sealer, and I will feel very accomplished and grown up.  (Update: to see a pic of the finished red roses, check this post.)

Hope you guys will come by next time, when I post my spookified necklace tutorial...

Nothing to be scared of, I promise!  It only has a couple of steps.  See you then!

Disclosure: paints were provided as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts and Blueprint Social. All opinions, projects and shortcomings are entirely my own.


  1. The chair is stunning! If you don't like him anymore, he would always find a home with me! ^^

  2. Hello dear Mich..
    sorry i am visiting you after many weeks..well I am so busy these days..may be I will be revealing soon on my page about whats happening around me..haha..
    well its awesome to see your all other posts..I was missing your creative I really enjoy.
    and the wonderful post of today is just interesting!! I have seen so many things designed with this beautiful skull & now this chair is one of my favorite among all those :)
    Thanks for this interesting post my dear!
    p.s getting jealous after seeing all these great supplies from Martha...ooohhh,, I must have all these :) haha..

  3. Great job! Your husband did great work too!! Yeah for him.

  4. What an excellent find! There is a rocking chair on the verandah of an abandoned house in my area that has been there for years! literally! I think I may go and pinch it today and see if I can get inspired. Maybe I'll just whip myself up a balaclava first! Ah, procrastination and short attention spans, where would be be without you?

  5. You have got to be kidding me.
    Where do I start?
    Oh, I know. Uber- handsome dude with mad tool skills. That's your chap? Erm... next time you leave town, let me know. I'll be ready to console and comfort him, chicken soup and all. Do you realize that we, your faithful, devoted readers, now have more of an idea of your beloveds' looks than yours? NOT FAIR! I wanna know what I'm up against, I mean... I mean... I want to know the face behind the projects! *cough*
    Which leads me smoothly to that chair and the treatment it received.
    First of all- hats off, MrLinLA, jolly good job giving that poor little thing a new lease of life! I love old rocking chairs. But next time, let the Missus do the spray painting, she'll be ... spraying mad like the rest of us in NO time!!
    And now, Mich, let me ask you something.
    How come you're not a painter? Even attempting as much as a sugar skull scares me more than poor old Martha could EVER scare you. I do owls (very silly owls) and that's it. Gorgeous flowery mandala- like skulls? No Ma'am, can't be done. And you draw one just like that, references be darned.
    Please tell me the roses are stencils. That's the least you can do.
    Writing this comment took less than 23 minutes, anything else I should mention before the universally approved span runs out?
    Nice weather... I think my kitten might have spotted a spider... nothing on TV again... running out of milk and bin liners... must water cress seeds...
    Joking aside, I can't wait for the spooky necklaces.
    I love me some spooky stuff, and I could just about see the scaredy- cat silhouette in the first acid- trip picture. Woot!

  6. Holy Smokes! THat is one fabulous chair! I can't believe it's your first furniture painting! I thought that was a decal! You did a fabulous job and I love it!

  7. Very cool have so many talents you haven't even shown us yet after all these wonderful upcycles. I love that even though you have a "jumbled box of crap" it's at least in one box and labeled. I have paint bottles, markers and brushes scattered in the house only organized by where I used them last! I'm looking forward to your scary necklaces. Dominoes and scrabble tiles maybe?

  8. Supercalifabtasticlicious! You've truly been Martha-ized. Look out world.

  9. Your chair looks great! Looking forward to seeing your spookified necklace.

  10. Chair is great ! Perfect sugar skull for dia de los muertos. Would fit perfectly in our shop where we sell the skulls and other Day of the Dead items. It's a pretty big day here in our area of Texas. Looking forward to the necklace unveiling !!

  11. Replies
    1. Hee hee! Yes, I did! The Martha Koolaid is made from heirloom huckleberries and wild blueberries from the backwoods of Maine, blanched in a cast iron cauldron, poached for seven hours over a hickory wood fire, then reduced with a soupcon of truffle oil. Sun dried for three weeks on Saltillo tiles, then painstakingly ground into a fine powder with mortar and pestle. For a nice way to display your Martha Koolaid, decant into vintage preserve jars embellished with raffia and hand-dyed silk ribbons.

  12. Love, love, love the chair! I have a question about the Martha paints. How is their coverage? You know how with the Walmart paints, you have to do three or four coats before they stop looking streaky and look like solid color? Basically I'm asking is it worth the extra money for the Martha paints.

    1. Hi, Mostly a Person! Love your name. I am wondering if it means you are 5% vampire? That would be cool! Well, my take on the cost of the paints: they seem to be about 50% thicker than most craft paints Ive used. I only needed one coat on these small embellishments (although you might need more than one coat on a larger area). For me, the value is in versatility. Since the paints stick to fabric as well as other craft materials, I would definitely spend the extra money, because I can avoid spending $$ on a separate collection of fabric paints.

  13. What an amazing transformation. I like that word...magicked! Lucky you to have a shipment of awesome supplies arrive just before painting day. Love this look my friend.
    I'm not afraid of Martha either. Don't know why, but I gained a whole new respect after she "did her time."

  14. Such a cool chair Michelle! I'm impressed at both your husband putting it back together and your fabulous artistic skills! - and what a cool haul of free stuff to play with!!

  15. Wow! That chair is too cool! But sitting on a chair with a skull on your butt....will it bite during the Halloween? Ouch! I guess I got the answer!

  16. Absolutely in love with this chair. You and your husband make a pretty awesome team.