Thursday, May 23, 2013

Penny Coffee Table

 Last summer I was into all kinds of crafts, mostly quilting, but I did many others as well. I found a furniture one online that looked like fun and even looked like I could do it on my own. I'd been wanting a new coffee table any way. My coffee table was cast iron and glass. My neighbor's two year old little boy was here and promptly got  up on the table and started bouncing. We got him down before he hurt himself, but I thought maybe a glass table isn't the best table to have. I'd seen several different online instructions for penny and epoxy finishing for tables, counters, and even floors. I decided to try for a coffee table. The best instructions I found are linked here.

At the local thrift store I bought a wooden table with a lip on the edge. (So I wouldn't have to worry about messy epoxy drips.) I didn't like it's red color against the pennies so I primed and then painted it with oil rubbed bronze spray paint. I got my pennies from around the house and from the bank. Pennies oxidize easily and really none of them were very shiny. I separated the darkest colors from the brighter colors, then shined the brighter ones with Tarn-X.

I arranged the pennies checker board style, alternating the shiny and the dull. If you stand back from the table you can only see the shiny pennies, which is kind of cool. The instructions I followed had the pennies nesting and in a non-pattern pattern. I find that kind of non-pattern exhausting since my eyes are always looking to connect patterns. I made my pattern a very obvious one and I lined up the pennies straight so I wouldn't have to trim any of them to fit in a rectangle.

Penny table with flash.
Penny table without flash.
 After I lined up the pennies along the side and the bottom of the rectangle I started gluing them down as I went. I used Gorilla glue and when I changed my mind on a part of the design, the glue wasn't dry yet so the pennies weren't too hard to remove. When the pennies were all in place I mixed the epoxy and poured it over the top.  The epoxy was the most expensive part of this craft, but I price checked and bought it online for the cheapest I could find. Mixed epoxy does get a lot of bubbles in it and you need carbon dioxide to get them to the surface before they set. I don't own a heat gun so I poked the bigger bubbles with a toothpick and breathed hard on the smaller bubbles. I know some breathing technique from singing so I could get a good long steady blast of air going at the epoxy bubbles. This took a long time though, and I breathed hard for so long that I nearly threw up. I gave up at that point and there are still a few tiny bubbles left in my table.

The epoxy hardens with a glass-like finish and keeps the pennies from oxidizing further. I love my coffee table, though it does weigh three times as much as it did pre-penny finish.

Next time: vine painted end tables.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jacob's Window Quilt

The Bountiful temple was dedicated when I was a teenager. I helped with the open house and I remember thinking how beautiful and peaceful it was. I especially loved the stained glass windows. My tour guide described the design as influenced by native American designs and inspired by Jacob's vision of an angelic ladder in Genesis. (I'm not sure the inspiration by Jacob's Ladder part is true, as I've never heard anyone else refer to the window design that way.) I promised myself I would be back. I kept that promise and have been back many times. Several times I would find myself just staring at the windows. I loved the design and it occurred to me I could use a piece of the design and make a quilt. I first came up with a great queen sized design. Then I remembered, Oh yeah I still slept on a twin sized bed, and as nice as it would be to make another quilt for the unforeseeable future, I wanted a quilt I could use right away.

I was renting a room in a house with some awesome girls. I was in the mood for change and I decided to redecorate my bedroom as it was all I had to myself. I chose to use the colors found in this sweet little tissue paper sun I bought at an art fair.

 I color coordinated the whole room, I even  made new artwork for the walls and used these colors. I think I must have been feeling down, so I surrounded myself with bright warm colors. I made the quilt very light weight so I could use it year round. I bought lavender sheets so they would match. All the strips in the quilt are the same width, two inches not including the seam allowance. I used two reds, two yellows, one orange and one purple fabric. The colors in the temple windows change from top to bottom and from one window to another, but I couldn't afford that much time or fabric so I stuck with one set of colors. I may make another someday and have the colors change from one corner to the other.

The finished picture is a little blurry, but the quilt is a bit big for photographing indoors. 
The quilt is 88 x 61.5 inches.

I wanted to call the design Jacob's Ladder after the supposed inspiration for the window design, but that name is already claimed for a different quilt pattern. I decided to call it Jacob's Window. I entered it in the Bountiful Handcart Days Arts and Crafts Competition and won third place. The Bountiful temple is still very important to me. Alan and I were married there in 2011.