Archive for April, 2012
I spray painted chairs. Upholstered chairs. Dude, I’m the first to admit it’s weird. And it’s definitely not the answer if you’re sane. But when you’re a desperate woman with nothing to lose, well… stuff happens.
Remember these Craigslist chairs we found last March? They were originally from an old hotel (with faded and stained eighties fabric to prove it) but we got them for $25 a pop.
Then I tried to paint them a soft apple green color like a tutorial I’d seen, but didn’t have as much luck (read more on that hot-mess here).
We were set on green for a while (not this neon of course) until we realized it’s a ton of chairs in a room, so you don’t want them all screaming for attention and stealing thunder from things like our patterned curtains and the boldly painted built-ins. That’s when I got $20 off-white slipcovers for them from World Market (which clashed with the white trim and accessories everywhere – but were cheaper than buying fabric and making my own), so I dyed them brown.
But the slipcovers were a little schlumpy. After they came out of the dryer they were nice and tight, but over time they got droopy and sad. They just looked a little loosey goosey and messy. Sure, I could wash them again to get them looking nice for another week, but that’s a whole lotta work for something that should be low maintenance. Here in this pic from our House Tour page you can see the slipcovers looking a little baggy on the sides – and that’s from far away.
So I decided since I already painted one chair (and it works just as well as the others with the slipcover on it – it’s literally impossible to tell which one is painted when it’s covered) I figured I had nothing to lose by painting the rest of them (I could just cover them up again if they were blotchy and gross). And instead of using craft paint and textile medium (read more on why that didn’t work out for me here) I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to spray paint them with this old friend:
Who does that? $herdog does that. Beware of a woman with nothing to lose (and eight slipcovers to hide any potential disasters).
First I donned my trusty spray painting socks. Can your brain even comprehend this hotness?
I must really love you guys to share such glamorous shots of my life, huh? I just hate potentially getting my shoes or my flip flops all sticky/painted, so my painting socks do the trick (with the bottoms of my sweatpants tucked into them, so I don’t get stickiness on the bottom of my pants).
I started off slow. Really light light coats on just one chair. Nothing thick or drippy. Here’s a shot of things when I was just getting started. I was biting. my. nails.
I expected a total disaster, but after a few more light coats applied pretty much one after the other (maybe four total?) my first chair was looking pretty good. I was kind of shocked, actually because I expected to just do one and hate it and toss the cover back on. You still see the pattern in the fabric since that’s a texture thing that paint can’t change (the actual fabric itself has those patterns sort of embossed into it), but instead of being a riot of crazy stained/faded/eighties swirls…
… it’s all one color. A pretty gunmetal charcoal color. Almost the exact same color as Karl the Sectional actually. Which is funny because we have an avocado green kitchen between two rooms with soft gray walls (the living room and the dining room) both of which now have charcoal upholstery. Hooray for a little accidental house-wide balance. The funniest thing about the whole charcoal color result is that ORB is usually a dark brown color, but on upholstered chairs I guess things can get crazy. Imagine that. Ha. So I was expecting a dark brown look but I got a nice Karl-ish color instead. Which was a nice surprise. It’s like hoping to find a half-eaten box of raisins in the bottom of your purse when you’re starving and finding a granola bar instead. Cha-ching.
As for the spraying specifics (you know, for any other nuts out there with nothing to lose and thrill seeking spray painting tendencies), here’s a post with my general spray painting tips (like buy the good stuff, mist things to avoid drips, keep your hand moving, etc). There’s a slight metallic sheen when the light hits the fabric just right thanks to the type of spray paint we used (Rustoleum Universal Metallic in Oil-Rubbed Bronze), but they don’t look like Liberace chairs. It’s more of a subtle thing at the right angle, but most of the time they just look like charcoal gray fabric. Also, from certain angles in certain lighting you can hardly see the pattern in the fabric and other times it’s more obvious, but it’s much less offensive now that it’s all one color. The pattern is actually more noticeable in some of these pics than in real life (must be how light bounces off of them into the camera or something? No idea).
I spray painted the slightly-banged-up-formerly-more-reddish legs as well, which turned out a lot more like the typical ORB color (dark chocolate with a bit of metallic sheen). They’re our favorite part, because whether we decide to add the slipcovers back on or even reupholster these babies down the line, those sexy ORB legs will always be around.
Here’s a slightly inaccurate long shot of them in the room. Haha. They look darker and more patterned in this photo than in real life. We can’t wait to add a giant chandelier over that 70″ table and bring in a nice large rug to break up all the wood (wood floor, wood legs, wood table). And of course it looks less like a black hole with a colorful runner and some dishes on the table. We’ll eventually refinish the floors to be the same color as the one in the kitchen, so the future rug (perhaps something big and jute?) will be lighter and should help the darker legs/table and floor pop while keeping them all from blending together in one big mocha-wood-fest. Someday…
The big question is probably “what do they feel like?” I went into it thinking that a few coats of spray paint might make them feel rough like burlap or thick like leather, but they feel pretty much exactly like the original durable-hotel-upholstery fabric felt beforehand (which was always firm and not too soft, but not crunchy or anything). It’s kind of hilarious that they didn’t really change. The only way I can explain this phenomenon is that I’ve noticed when I get spray paint on a pair of painting pants, for example, they still feel the same (just as soft in that spot, but they’re a different color). Maybe it just goes on thinner than paint applied with a brush or roller so it’s less obvious on some types of fabric?
Update: A reader (thanks Krystie!) cracked the code by reminding me that the reason it worked so well on these chairs might have been because the hotel fabric is a Crypton (which means it’s coated in a protection to keep anything from penetrating – so the spray is sitting on top and not soaking in and getting crunchy/blotchy).
But let’s be clear. I never (inamillllllionyears) would have had the confidence to give this a try if we didn’t already:
- paint one chair green and know that it worked just as well as the other unpainted ones once the slipcover was on it
- already have slipcovers to hide my little paint job if it went bad (not much to lose there since they can be covered)
Remember, I was a woman with nothing to lose and a deep love of spray paint. I have no idea how other fabric would do, but these chairs were made out of thick upholstery grade fabric, so it wasn’t as soft as cashmere to begin with. But if you’re dealing with something like velvet or silk, the spray paint could very well make it crunchy and hard. I’m 100% certain that different fabric or even more thickly applied spray paint (or a different brand/type) could yield different results. Maybe you can find similar fabric to the item of furniture you’re thinking about spraying and just apply a few light and even coats of spray paint on your test fabric to see how it works out first?
Another question might be “if someone sits in them, can they rub off on their clothes?” After allowing them to dry a while (we left them outside for four days after making sure there was no rain in the forecast) they’re all cured up and don’t smell like spray paint. And just like dried spray paint that gets on painting clothes, they shouldn’t rub off (I wash mine and they remain ORBed and don’t bleed on other clothes – even when they’re wet in the washer). If someone spilled water on the chair it shouldn’t rub off since it’s oil-based paint. I even rubbed a wet white rag on them to make sure nothing transferred.
As for how we feel, we’re still sort of on the fence. They’re definitely better (muuch better) than the green painted chair debacle. And in person we think they’re marginally better than the baggy slipcovers. But we’ll probably recover or replace them someday down the line – so I think the verdict is “fine for now.” We still have the brown slipcovers so we can always throw those back on or somehow tailor them someday? No idea. It would be cool to learn how to reupholster them or sew better slipcovers but with eight chairs it’s too big of a job for right now, so we’re happy to live with what we have. Who’s on Team Gray? Any Team Brown folks? Anyone care to join us on the fence? I don’t think there are any Team Greens out there, are there?
There’s probably a lesson in here somewhere about how $25 craigslist chairs might not always be the answer if they have a crazy pattern and don’t fit typical store-bought slipcovers. Ah well, live and learn. At least they’ve served us well for the past year and will seat our sweet family whenever they come over until we figure out what we want down the road. Has anyone else reached the end of their rope and spray painted something in an act of defiance and desperation? Can you believe I’ve painted, slipcovered, dyed, and re-painted these guys? One thing’s for sure, I’m a stubborn gal and I just can’t leave things well enough alone.
Ok, so I naively thought this day would never come, but I have been busted. I mistakenly believed that I could get through my adult life without The Most Embarrassing Thing Ever being brought up 13 years later, but people are smart and the internet is wide. So after more than a few “Who me? I don’t know what you’re talking about, haha” comment denials, I’m coming clean. My name is
Sherry $herdog, and I was on MTV when I was 17. And it was easily the most embarrassing compilation of moments that could ever be edited together.
I’m an over-sharer, so some folks might wonder why I’d try to hide from this video. And to you I’d say: it’s one thing to invite people into your home and share a video that accidentally features your bra laying out on a bedroom chair or an interview where you flail around jerkily and generally look crazy or admit that you walk around covered in dog fur and cream cheese smears, but it’s a whole different ballgame to say “Let’s take a time machine back to my most awkward moments as a seventeen year old girl being surprised while life-guarding and told she’ll get to interview Eminem for a show called FANatic on MTV – oh look, I have the whole thing on video for you, let’s all sit down and watch it together.” Now excuse me while I giggle uncontrollably for ten minutes. I do that when I’m nervous.
Allow me to spill a few secrets: shows like this are a smidge set up. It’s not to say that I wasn’t completely Marshall Mathers obsessed (I was) but there are certain things you’re highly encouraged to mention so that you come across as the most deserving fan. Things like “I aspire to be a rapper someday.” I’ll pause while you snort whatever you’re drinking out of your nose. It’s true that I did what I like to call “ironic rapping” with my best friend Mariam at high school talent shows (we once donned orange puffy vests and belly shirts and parodied the Eminem/Dre duet Forgot About Dre) but it’s a Jersey thing. You had to be there to understand that it was not meant to be taken seriously. It was our version of Weird Al-ing someone. So no, I didn’t actually hope I’d be touring the country as a famous female rapper when I grew up.
Of course the show sets up situations too, like us going to the old burger joint where Eminem used to work before the interview…
… but it was pretty cool as a teenager to see some random restaurant and think “he really worked here just a few years ago flipping burgers?” Fun fact: the people I’m serving at that table in the restaurant are the limo driver and one of the production people who carted us around.
A few other things about the show were “orchestrated.” For example, I hardly knew the girl who surprised me at the pool and came with me on the entire adventure. See, MTV required that the “friend” of the person being featured was 18 or a parent would have to accompany the fan and the friend (which I’m guessing cramped the crew’s style). So when I was going through the whole “you might be a finalist” phase of the process, they asked me about my friends and I gave a list of all my best 17 year old buddies and they sort of heavily suggested that I list someone over the age of 18. So the girl who worked at the front desk at the Marriott (where I was a lifeguard for years, represent) got listed – and she was the friend they picked to surprise me. And yes, it’s still really cool to be in a limo when you’re 17. Especially if you flash the peace sign with your sleeves rolled up.
Here’s where it gets extra embarrassing. At some point in the interview the word “phat” inexplicably slips out of my mouth. I never said that word before and have never said it since. I can only blame temporary insanity at the thought of sitting next to a hip-hop star and somehow thinking $herdog could pull off a term like that. And I couldn’t. It rung in my ears for the rest of the interview while I continued to grin like a crazy person and giggle nervously. Although a lot of this experience is what I like to call “retroactively embarrassing” (since at the time it was really cool and I felt really lucky to be chosen), the moment I realized I said “phat” on national television was the moment that I wanted to punch myself in the face.
Then they asked me to rap. Repeatedly. It’s bad. Very very bad. Oh and about the pigtails, I wanted to wear a ponytail and an arm band (yes, an arm band) but the crew gently suggested the pigtails and no arm band. I’m thankful they nixed the arm band but still a little weirded out by the pigtails. So without further ado…
As for how I even got on the show, my friends dared me to send in a tape since I really was a hardcore fan and they thought I had a shot at being chosen. Meanwhile I believed I had zero chance, hence me doing all sorts of ridiculous things that I thought would never be on TV/YouTube (like sitting in a tub full of M&M’s) because I truly believed with every fiber of my being that I would never make the cut.
MTV does a really cruel thing to make you think you weren’t chosen (at least it felt cruel at the time) in order to get that completely surprised ‘surprise shot’ when they sneak up on you. They’re in pretty constant contact with you for a while to collect things like “what you would ask if you were chosen” and “who you would bring as a friend if you were chosen” and then they say you’re a semi-finalist but it’s not a done deal, and then they cut off communication for a few weeks. Total radio silence. So you go from being hopeful that you might get picked to completely and utterly bummed out that you didn’t make the cut after thinking “dude, I might actually get flown to Detroit to meet Eminem.” Which is a pretty cool concept as a 17 year old.
This is of course when you forget about the footage of yourself in a tub of M&Ms and it sounds like it could be The Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Done and not The Most Embarrassing Thing Ever a decade or so later. But I have to admit that as a teenager it was a pretty fun time. I got to fly somewhere with a camera crew and without my parents, they put us up in a cool hotel, and Marshall was actually a really nice genuine guy (now I’m going to get weird and tell you that he had the best looking hands I’ve ever seen in my life). And he did kiss my neck, which at the time made me believe we would soon be married and we’d go on to have three bouncing babies named Slim, Shady, and Stan (kidding). Dude, I took a picture of my neck after it happened. I’m that girl (can you believe I managed to bag a guy like John? I still can’t).
So I’m not ungrateful for the experience. In fact, it was kind of amazing (it made “the morning announcements” at my high school – haha). But the fact that the footage from a defunct show from over 13 years ago is now somehow on YouTube is something I never imagined. Haha. Oh well. The
cat phat is out of the bag.
Now you tell me your most embarrassing secrets so we’re even. Go.
**Psst- We know most Fridays we just post once, but every month on sponsor shout out days we double up. So we’ll be back in a few hours with a post that has Sherry ready to wet her pants. Figuratively speaking.
It’s time for our monthly showing of thanks to our sponsors (the folks who help make the other 30-plus posts a reality). As you’ll see, we took Spring as an excuse to celebrate all the colorful things that our sponsors are serving up (none of which have been gifted to us – here’s our no-swag policy). And as always, if you’re looking to save some green, don’t miss the round-up of special discounts on the bottom.
- Splashes of color in these black & white photo collages from Madcanvases.
- This garden-esque pattern from FLOR in names like Poppy, Marigold and Geranium
- These fresh looking glass listello accents from The Tile Shop (Sherry’s in love).
- These happy little Shades of Light sconces (for the wall or the ceiling).
- The “burnt orange” color and modern pattern of this Moroccan rug from Z Gallerie.
- WallQuotes’ collection of modern floral decals for a little (removable) garden inside.
- A vintage watering can from Ruby Lane to add some rustic charm to a garden.
- New gadget cases, like this colorful one for an iPad, from Jenna Lou Designs.
- This intricate lace stencil from Royal Design Studio would cheer up any wall/floor.
- Name Your Design‘s new lunchboxes. How friggin’ cute. Like seriously.
- A slew of colorful charms from Heart & Stone Jewelry (hint: Mother’s Day is coming!).
- Speaking of which… these Mother’s Day cards from Smock Paper are quite lovely.
- Scoring deals on Joss & Main (up to 70%) through events like their Earth Day collection.
- A Spring-y round-up from Dot Coms For Moms, including a ton of party balloon ideas.
- Nursery-ready artwork from Trendy Peas, like this Butterfly Bloom print.
- Following the gardening adventures on Hometalk‘s boards and Facebook page.
- Mother’s Day cards from Fabulous Stationery, each just a single dollar.
- Paint brush spatulas from House 8810. Can you say right up our alley?
- Cheery patterns to add some happy to your drawers from Chic Shelf Paper.
- This mood board from Bien Living Design, with a pillow that we’re quite fond of.
- Liberty Hardware‘s classic floating shelves (we love that wall color too).
- This six-some of colorful indoor / outdoor ceramic vases from Jilly’s Happy Home.
- Sarah + Abraham‘s cupcake toppers. Someone does have a birthday coming up…
- Saving 15% on address stampers from Three Designing Women & The Paper Cafe.
Speaking of saving, here’s all the details on all those DISCOUNTS:
- Shades of Light: 10% off using code YHL0811
- WallQuotes.com: 15% off with the code YHL15
- The Tile Shop: 10% off when you use the code YHL10
- Heart & Stone Jewelry: 10% off your with the code YHL10
- Royal Design Studio: 10% off stencils with code YHL10
- Jilly’s Happy Home: 10% off with code SPRING2012
- The Paper Cafe & Three Designing Women: 15% off with code PCYHL22