I am a big “challenge” person. I love to challenge myself, and I love to join challenges. That is how this project started.
Last month I joined a furniture transfer contest on a Facebook group, and my piece won. I never expected to win, at all, but I had a lot of fun in the process.
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When this month’s subject was announced, it was “maps”. That was it. The only requirement was that it be a piece of furniture, including a map, and have a staged photo turned in by August 29.
I thought about it for about 30 seconds, coming off of my high of the win and subsequent interviews and shares and likes of the day before, and jumped right back into the ring, so to speak.
I knew that I wanted my piece to be out of the proverbial box, so to speak, but had no idea what I was going to do.
I had this table that I had just purchased from a couple, who had purchased it from another military couple, who had brought it here from Austria. It was low and squatty and had some funky-looking legs, and it had some kind of gold plate on it that said Sit. The table and Austria became my initial inspiration.
I wanted to do some kind of Boho theme, too. I envisioned old caravans of Gypsies sitting down to relax and gather after a long day of traveling. I thought of rags and varied fabrics and tents and canopies.
I started researching maps and Boho and Austria. I looked up India. I found an article that discussed Bohemia is a region to the West of the Czech Republic in ancient historical records. I searched Bohemia, I felt like I had struck gold in the theme department. I found what I feel to be the coolest map to ever be drawn!
The map was based on a female figure holding a sword, and possibly the world. I am not 100% sure what it is really supposed to be, but that’s what it looked like to me.
I sent the map to Walgreens and had it printed in 24” x 36” poster size, and was excited to pick it up the next day. Here you can see it after I cut the girl out, and with the first fabric that I ordered to create the canopy. I ordered it in wine, but it did not match. I reordered in bronze but decided to use both pieces of fabric in the end. (10 yards each.)
I decoupaged the map to the tabletop, then painted in the rest of the map, replicating it from the poster, but stretching it to fit the surface of the table.
I used DIY Paint in layered chocolate, vintage linen, sandy blonde, and prairie gray on the map itself, then mixed DIY layered chocolate, marquee, orange crush, and a golden ticket for the bronze color for the border. I finished it with dark and clear DIY wax. I have an affiliate link if you want to check out the paint. https://diypaint.co/?aff=115
I visualized floor cushions and a canopy hanging in a tree-lined outdoor location with decorative lanterns and candles, so I went to work locating the pieces of my vision. Easier said than done, of course! I found some lanterns marked down at Tractor Supply. They were plastic and painted to look like aged tin. I also found some embroidered floor cushion covers. I bought the lanterns and ordered the cushion covers and some inserts.
I painted the lanterns with DIY Golden Ticket and decorated them with ribbons and colorful rhinestones. The cushion covers were very bright, so I tea and coffee stained them to mute the colors a little. They faded a little and muted a little too much, so I washed them and laid them out to dry. I loved them afterward. The lanterns were pretty cute, too, if I do say so myself!
Usually, when things begin to pile up on the table, I am in full-blown obsession mode and find that to be the perfect time to ask my husband, Arick, to pitch in with some kind of woodworking project.
I have so many ideas and brainstorms on any given day that most of what I say goes in one ear and out the other, I’m sure. However, when he sees that I am elbow deep into making it happen, he always jumps in to help. He came through for me again. We went to our local hardware store, Imperial Hardware (I think it has been downtown about 100 years!), and found a chain and some s-hooks to hang the canopy from the tree, and he cut a 22” circle from some scrap 1/2” plywood.
I also ordered some Edison bulb hanging lights to hang from the center, and luckily they came in the same day. (Amazon) I was very disappointed that it did not come with the bulbs, but we luckily had some leftover from another project. I stapled them at the desired lengths to the plywood circle, and it started coming to life.
I cut the fabric into six 10 foot pieces and tied them to the chains above the round plywood. I covered the mechanics with scrap fabric. I decorated the rim of the canopy with metal ribbon from Hobby Lobby, some old chandelier crystals that I picked up at a local market (Ruby D’s), and some pearls from my stash. I added an old cross that I have no idea where it originally came from. I really loved how it turned out. I worked on it in Arick’s man cave, then felt a little guilty about using up his “man space” and moved it to our living room. Here you can see it hanging from our ceiling fan.
Once everything was done, (yay) I asked Jordan Blanchard of Studio 1787 Photography to come to help me with the staged photos. Jordan has an amazing, magical eye for beautiful, theatrical photography. She was happy to jump on board to help.
I usually just snap photos with my phone, so this was exciting for me. Arick and I set the scene in our front yard, under a magnolia tree. Jordan came by early on Saturday morning and had the shots done in just a few minutes. She edited the photos and had them back to me the next day. Her photos looked as magical as I had imagined. She really brought the scene to life.
I loved the photos, but we did not have a clear shot of the tabletop itself, so I used one of my iPhone shots,(Amy, a staff member at our store stood on a ladder and got the shot for me, thanks, Amy!) making sure to meet the contest rules. My son-in-law, Alex made a quick collage for me to submit. The deadline was noon the next day.
I had that rush that you get when you finish a project, just in the nick of time. I am so thankful for everyone who came together to bring my vision into reality. We had a lot of fun.
My piece was disqualified for the contest, as the administrator decided that collages of photos would no longer be accepted, and Amy’s overhead shot did not give enough detail of the piece. That’s OK, though, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I love working with my friends and family, and it is always fun to work on a project that is a little “out there”. I am proud of our work, and my team, all winners to me!
I made a few short videos of the process, which I will upload to YouTube, and you can always find me giving tutorials on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/artbyterristovall