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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

a little project: framework




desk in the master bedroom


Years ago Dan found this vintage "wheat" lamp at a California flea market.  The lamp didn't have a finial, and I have no idea where I came up with the idea-   this was before the Internet, before HGTV, before Martha Stewart had her own show, and I wasn't particularly "crafty" - but, out of necessity I knew that the lamp needed a very special finial and I decided to  "make" the wheat spikelet/ear to use as a finial.   I went to a craft store and bought clay to make the wheat.  I used a metal cuticle tool to "sculpt" the new wheat to look like the metal wheat original to the lamp.  I used a small wire to make holes in the bottom of the wheat for attachment, baked the clay to harden,  then gold leafed them  (using real gold leaf) to match the wheat on the lamp, and attached the wheat to a finial holder.  To this day, all these years later,  this remains one of my most favorite projects!  It's the little things, yes?!
 






This antique oil painting (signed and dated 1879) resides in the South guest room. 
(What???  I haven't shown you that room yet?  Well, shame on me!  Actually... I'm grateful to still have a couple of rooms to show you as I envision you all making a mad dash to the door after I show you the whole house :)
Dan and I loved the painting for the "what's around the corner?" feeling that it evokes, but I always hated the color of the frame.  It had been spray painted gold (ughhh) and had a chunk of the detailed gesso border missing (you can see the missing piece on the vertical left side,  just under the round dot.) 
One day while out antique shopping I saw a charming antique painting that had an antique black frame- it really highlighted the frame and the painting both, and I thought that would be the perfect answer for this frame.   I love to antique in hopes of finding some fabulous treasure, but I also often shop just for ideas for inspiration.
Remembering my finial on the wheat lamp I decided to use the same type of craft clay to repair the frame prior to painting it.



This is the good side of the frame that I needed to match with the clay repair- the piece just to the right of the "ball" in the center.
(the frame is on an old beach towel to protect the marble island which is one of my "favorite things"!)



A close-up of my clay fix "in progress" (I purchased black clay, but the color choices are endless).  I also made a small piece for a needed repair on the liner.



The finished pieces baked, and glued into place.



I decided to leave the small liner closest to the painting "gold" to offset the black.  I taped off the liner before I sprayed the frame using Krylon in a Black Semi-Flat finish, which most closely replicated the original antique black frame finish that was my inspiration.



So, once again... before.



After!

71 comments:

  1. So much better in the black. I always prefer black/brown frames as I think it shows off the painting/photo/print so much better.

    What did we do before the internet/HGTV/Martha?

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  2. Great fix... love the black. I am always so torn with painting a gold frame... the "regret" factor might set in.

    I don't know what I'm so worried about??, lol

    Did you use an oil based paint or does your paint have gloss? Also, do you prime?

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  3. AntiqueChase- I would NEVER have painted a 'real' gilt frame, but since this one had already been spray painted I was okay with painting it. I didn't use a primer, and I used the Krylon I mentioned above, which I think "is" an oil based paint?

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  4. love it! i personally could not survive w/o spray paint. i consider it my signature scent.
    xo
    j

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  5. That's a gorgeous lamp! The finial you made is just perfect. A plain one wouldn't have been nearly as nice.

    Great fix on the frame. The transformation of the whole look of the painting by the black and gold frame is amazing. You rock! :-)

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  6. Being a Kansas girl, I love that wheat lamp. Great work on the finial. And I have a library table almost identical to yours. Fun seeing it somewhere else.

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  7. I love the finial you created for your lamp - it's lovely, and complements the rest of the lamp beautifully.

    Nice job on refinishing the frame!

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  8. Hi Joan,
    You are soooo crafty! The painting is beautiful. Sooo, when will the South guest room be featured :) Trust me, you don't have to worry about me making a mad dash for the door. Love all your posts (even the ones without a room reveal).

    Amy

    PS - Nice job Dan on purchasing the lamp. It's gorgeous.

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  9. Janet's very funny today.

    SO much better in black. Great fix!

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  10. I had to laugh at your statement, "I envision you all making a mad dash to the door after I show you the whole house." There's always photos of your gorgeous scenery! ;) I love the feeling the painting evokes too. The black on the frame is a huge improvement. You have a great eye for detail!! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  11. You're amazing! Great projects. I get all giddy at the little things too.

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  12. Fantastic fixes! I like the black!

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  13. I love it when people find ingenious ways to make things work. This is such a great idea and the new black color really does make that gorgeous painting stand out!

    Kat :)

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  14. You are so crafty! What a lovely fix for the lamp and your work of art!!

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  15. Gorgeous! What a great treasure! It reminds me of a Bierstadt.
    xoxoTrina

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  16. Love the black frame..its so rich and elegant! And your wheat finial is brilliant.....fantastic!

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  17. Amazing! I also love love love pictures leaning and not hung!

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  18. With the black frame, I feel like a can focus on the "around the corner feeling" in the painting so much better. The overall effect is so much more dramatic!

    Cheers,
    John

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  19. Beautiful! I love how you make what you want or can't find, and alter things to suit your design taste and sensibilities.

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  20. Oh yes to the black frame....much better at showing off that painting. The wheat finial is gorgeous.....yes, it's amazing we old folks got along without HGTV isn't it? Although it IS quite nice to have!
    Lorraine

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  21. Once again, I find myself taking inspiration from you. I was in an antique market in Warsaw this past Sunday and tried to look at things through your creative eye. I also thought you would have loved all the boxes of finials, crystal decanter tops, lamp parts, frames without paintings, paintings without frames etc. I ended up purchasing a lovely brass tray with chrome plating (could not find silver) made in the late 1800s by a Jewish silversmith. All because of your pictures of trays. It is a special piece and I thank you for inspiring me - I never would have given it a second look in the past.

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  22. Joan, Dan, and Ella: You are such a great team! Dan..great lamp; Joan, great finial! What a difference the change in frame color makes; I feel that the picture really pops. Cindy

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  23. you are so talented. the picture and the lamp are beautiful. you could blog about every single item in your home. it would break my heart if you stopped. best regards, Wenda S. maggieandme52@yahoo.com

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  24. Joan,
    You and Dan never cease to amaze me with your creative talent. I love the details of how to buy crafting clay and work with it. The lamp is amazing as well as the finished frame. Don't worry, I (and all of your other loyal readers) will continue to visit to catch up on the topics you wow me with!
    Karen

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  25. I am in love with the lamp, and your frame looks amazing! Headed out to get a black shade.
    Happy Tuesday.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  26. much older sister SusanMarch 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Don't I recognize that beach towel? It was yours as a little girl.

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  27. Susan- I did get one as a high school graduation gift, but this one (and one more like it that is my "upstairs" drop cloth;) Dan and I bought together early on!

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  28. Your "new" frame looks perfect as always! Love the lamp.

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  29. That is a masterpiece now! Frame and painting stand out now. Perfect! I too look for inspiration wherever I go! Great job, and I love the lamp finial! God is in the details!!!

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  30. The frame looks GREAT, and I love your lamp and vignette. I can see why it was a favorite project!
    Stacy

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  31. Joan,
    You are so creative! Your redone frame and fabricated finial are amazing. Are you sure your middle name isn't Martha?

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  32. A girl after my own heart! Love your creative fixes! Well done and so fun to see!

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  33. How resourceful you are! I love the jaunty little tilt of the wheat finial. Perfect!

    I love the painting too, but I probably would not have had the nerve to paint the frame. It does look much better. Now the focus is on what's in the painting. I love the table you have the lamp sitting on. It reminds me of an old library table we had when I was growing up.

    You've got us hooked. Don't worry about the mass exodus. I can't wait to see spring pictures or anything you've found at an auction/flea market.

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  34. Why am I not surprised that you created that wheat finial!! That was a great addition to the lamp! I never thought of making a piece to fit into a frame that has chunks missing like that. I am impressed at how much better it stands out now with the black frame. It seemed washed out before. That's a great way to describe the picture with it's "what's around the corner" feeling! You have such a creative imagination!

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  35. GLORIOUSLY SUBLIME!!! You are such an artist!

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  36. Wow, the black frame really popped the painting...deepened the mood and intensified the message. Good for you. Absolutely LOVE the lamp...have similar, less decorative antique sconces. Also, have thing about the right finial to suit the lamp, you did a great job on that one.

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  37. I think you are just amazing; you are so talented. I, like everyone else, get inspired by your love of your home, and all things in and near it. I LOVE your blog and agree with Maggieandme52, would be so heartbroken if you stopped. The room reveals are just a big bonus.

    Dee

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  38. Joan you are one very very clever lady, Love it!! I think the black frame is so much better with the painting. I prefer it over the gold one. You always make just the right choices,
    Kathysue

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  39. Mel@georgica PondMarch 6, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Very beautiful painting and you did a wonderful job restoring the frame. How can you say you're not crafty when you made that delightful wheat finial for the lamp? It's perfect.

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  40. Yep...that did it. So in your spare time you can go into business repairing antique frames and giving them a second/third.... life!!

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  41. Gold and black are perfect together in both examples. I am so impressed with your ingenuity. Martha needs to run story on this.
    Camille

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  42. Love your solutions for the lamp finial and your antique frame! Both projects turned out beautifully! You are without doubt one design savvy gal!

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  43. Well done! Necessity truly is that (good old) Mother of Invention!

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  44. It almost seems silly for me to leave a comment!!
    Everyone has been so complimentary..
    The painting even looks brighter with the black frame..
    You surely have an eye for lovely things..

    Cheers!! Linda :o)

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  45. Soooo much better...that really highlights the lovely painting. AND, I, for one, will not be leaving after you show the whole house...I love you season photos and just hearing more about life in your new area.

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  46. I am so in love with that lamp! If you ever tire of it, I know where it will be very loved :) And what a great finial, and I agree, sometimes it's our smallest works that give the most satisfaction. I like the mirror better black, too. Thanks for the remodeling tips!

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  47. It's perfect. Makes the image stand out even more. Great idea to use the clay to fix the missing piece. I'm sure no one will ever know that it was a repair.

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  48. Love the repurposed frame & that painting in it is fabulous! :) chris

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  49. Gorgeous! So resourceful.

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  50. Love the black frame. Black is almost always my color of choice for new frames but I love the antique frame painted black. I have a very large, wide, antique mirror in my powder room that is gold but now I'm thinking it might look great painted black... I'll have to think on that one!Marcie

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  51. Holy moly! That is amazingly awesome! You are so darn talented! You feel free to show us that room whenever you want. I adore your house and would look at it any time!!! Don't hold back!

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  52. Perfectly lovely additions and fixes/restorations! (Beautiful horse next to your wheat lamp too.) Thank you for sharing your projects and for the encouragement they give to all who don't feel they're particularly "crafty"! :) PS We got snow today...just in time for a ski race. :)

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  53. MTSC belle- too funny, I thought "Horse?, What horse??" Then I went back and looked and I could see from that angle what you were referring to as a horse in that first photo! I found the contemporary painting on a trash pile in Dallas! Head on it looks nothing like a horse, but funny how it does in that angle shot!

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  54. I love how the black works with the painting. I have an antique painting and the frame needs some help. I think I will try this.

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  55. wow... what a dramatic and elegant difference! your eye has been so beautifully trained and such a joy and gift for all of us!
    enjoy your day!
    -xok.

    {thank you for your visit...always love seeing you at my place!}

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  56. You have a great eye for detail. Both little projects look great... I love the black frame with the gold trim.... perfect!

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  57. This is such a timely post. I have two old frames and there are missing pieces are you describe. I have been at a loss about what to do and now I know!
    Thanks, this is the perfect solution.
    Brick by Brick

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  58. It looked great before, but is really great after the frame change. You really think things through and I love that. Enjoy your lovely home.

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  59. Hi Joan
    The simplest projects seem to be the best Beautiful as always I have been reading all your posts but I've been lurking and not commenting the words don't want to come. The snow looks amazing. I'm not going anywhere when I've seen all of your house. You'll still have plenty to show us.
    Kind Regards
    Karen
    PS: love the other pictures in the photo too.

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  60. You are SO a crafty gal. Don'tbelieve you weren't for a second!

    Tha black brings out the richness of the painting...beautifully! Love that you left a whisper of gold lining!

    Crafty gal, you!

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  61. Love your house! Love your blog! Your modeling clay idea is pure GENIUS, and one that I will tuck away for future use. I just know there's SOMETHING around here I can use it for...just haven't found it yet.
    As for your winter essentials...believe me, there are plenty of lifelong New Englanders who have NOT figured out all of those things. I love it that you are so excited to be here! I have no additions except for Wigwam rag socks.
    Oh, and my Christmas wreath is still up...no idea why except that it's alive (sort of) and provides a bit of color until spring arrives.

    Cheers! Jean

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  62. It's really not fair - you have infinite patience for finding exactly the right things, a wonderful eye to put it all together - and now you're crafty, too? Some people have all the luck! It looks great; thanks for sharing - and the inspiration. Beth

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  63. Wonderful transformation on the picture frame and particularly admire the finished product of the finial. -Brenda-
    P.S: In event you may be interested Joan; I have found that the use of Florist Clay also works well to create a mould for a duplicate Plaster of Paris application.

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  64. mrsben- that is really good to know as the mould kits are rather pricey. Thank you!

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  65. Wow, really nice work. I love what you did - the painting looks so much more striking in the black. The foreground stands out so much more. I love it.
    Happy weekend,
    xo isa

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  66. Hi there,

    Great blog, I love it! I have found you from a printing related blog, of all things. I love interiors and antiques, so your blog is perfect for me...

    Have a great day, until next time, Tammy

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  67. Love your wheat lamp and how you made the finial. It's the perfect touch. It is a gorgeous lamp.
    Still reading backwards through your posts. Takes a while, but I love every minute of it. When I need inspiration, I just sit down and read a post or two. Thanks.
    Cindy

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