Saturday, April 19, 2014

Feeling Crafty: Updating Antique Pictures

When I was a child, a few times every summer, we used to visit the house where my mother had grown up, which stood vacant for all the years of my childhood, as Grandma, by then, had a house in Salt Lake as well.  Thus, my memories of the house are all dark: dark rooms with curtains drawn and no electricity, sheet-covered furniture, cool and musty air kept in by the thick walls.
The things I recall best from the house were the things that were not covered with sheets, such as the set of framed prints and a little shelf that hung on the wall of the living room.  Thus, years after Grandma passed away, when we finally got everything from the old house out of storage and divided it up, I asked for the prints.
However, once I got them, I was disappointed to notice that their frames were a horrible color (which my father recently referred to as "chicken poop tan"), done in a lousy paint job.  My mother explained that her older sister had "updated" the darker brown frames and shelf -- but this had been done in the 1950s, when "blonde" furniture was just coming "in."  And these didn't quite make "blonde."
Thus, the prints and the cute little shelf sat in my basement storage room for years -- until a couple of weeks ago, when I finally realized that 1) the paint was not sacred just because it was antique and 2) if repainted, the whole set would really brighten up the laundry room wall, which is one of the very few walls in the house not decorated with my father's paintings (and these little prints would never mix with his gorgeous work).
I therefore made my trip to the craft store and bravely bought the spray paint.  I spent a couple of days painting and drying the items.  I then hung the paintings, but I had to get Dad to restring the little shelf with painter's wire so I could hang it.  And just tonight, I hung the shelf.
Here, then, is the series of pics (strung together with a meme-maker, of all things) to show the progress. (Remember to click on the photo to enlarge it.) 
In the top photo, the ugly frames are visible, and the glass over the prints is covered with plastic and masking tape.  In the middle photo, the paint job is mostly dry on the second day, and I'm touching up the missed spots on the edges.  The third photo shows the prints and the little shelf (with a drawer in it) hanging in my basement laundry room (you may notice cinderblock along the right-hand wall).  You can see in the final pic that I chose a blue paint for the frames to match the blue in the old prints.
I am very pleased with the cheerful result -- and with the absence of the "chicken poop tan" color of yore.  :)

Here's a larger version of that last photo.  It's not well-lit because this is, after all, the basement laundry room, and you can clearly see my shadow on the wall.  But it gives you the idea of how everything turned out.

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