Gnome Repair

About seven years ago, I purchased some adorable garden gnomes. These little gnomes have lived in all sorts of flower pots and various places in my yard. Sadly, the sunshine had taken its toll and faded them. Because these gnomes have been with me for so long I was determined to rescue them and return them to the garden, good as new!

faded gnomes
The gnomes in their sun faded condition.

To begin, I gave them all a quick power wash with the hose and a gentle scrubbing to clean off any dirt. I staked them in the grass to dry in the sun, which didn’t take long at all. Next, I gathered them up and punched holes into a cardboard box so they had a place to stand while I worked on them. I used acrylic craft paints and brushes that I already had around the house. Other supplies included a plastic lid for mixing colors and a jar of water with paper towels to clean the brushes.

Paint and brushes
Gnome Repair Supplies

With everything ready it was time to begin painting. If you’re like me then you will spend hours being very precise with tiny brushes. I don’t mind spending a long time, with some t.v. in the background or an audiobook on, I find the time goes really fast! It might seem silly to spend hours repainting something that costs about $10, but I just can’t throw out things that can be fixed.

painted gnomes
Gnomes with a fresh coat of paint

Once the brightly colored gnomes were painted it was time to go bed. I let them dry completely overnight and then took them outside to spray with a clear protective coating. I grabbed my go-to spray, Krylon Triple-Thick Crystal Clear, and gave them a few coats. I was at the end of the can and ended up using another brand to add the final coats, but it worked out well enough.

clearcoat application
The gnomes getting a finishing touch

Now the gnomes are shiny and ready for more rain and sunshine! Knowing me, I’ll probably repaint them in a few years when they start to look sad again, but for now I will enjoy putting them back in their garden home.

gnomes in garden
The bright and happy looking gnomes are back in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

If it’s broke, buy it!

I recently made a trip to Goodwill where I found a really great piece of wall decor. I recognized the packaging as being a Target brand, this particular Goodwill gets a lot of Target home decor for some reason. So, a piece that originally cost $54.99 at Target set me back $25.00 at Goodwill.

 

Still being sold in stores and online.
Still being sold in stores and online.

 

This particular item was damaged. One of the wooden points had received a blow and been sheered off to reveal a much lighter wood base under the carving. I bought it anyway knowing I could fix it somehow. I thought about it on the drive home and decided to try making a replacement piece out of clay and then painting it to match. Since the wood was obviously painted with a few shades of brown, and hand carved allows for some differences, I wasn’t too nervous about creating a perfect match. I used Crayola Air-Dry Clay for the first time ever to attempt this repair. I was hoping that since the clay would remain in place to dry, it would hold the shape better than if I tried to bake a piece of polymer clay and hope it didn’t shrink too much. So, I shaped a rough wedge of clay and pressed it into the missing gap. Then I resized it and shaped it with my bone folder to have the same angled look on the top. I also used the bone folder to simulate the carves lines. Then I left it alone for about three days to dry out.

 

The clay during drying time.
The clay during drying time.

 

Once it was dry I found that it was firmly adhered to the wood and I didn’t need to glue it down or anything. I chose to sand the edges to get the shape to match the other points better. The top needed a little sanding to make the height match the rest of the carving as well. Many of the cut-out spaces had rough texture where it had been cut out and so I sanded all of the edges because I wanted a smoother look. I mixed up a bunch of brown, black, and tan paint until I got a close enough match and then I touched up the cut-outs and painted the clay repair. I used a few different shades and rubbed paint around with my finger and tiny brushes until I was happy with how it looked.

 

The circled point is the clay repair.
The circled point is the clay repair.

 

So, as you can see, it’s not bad. Especially from a distance of just a few feet, then you can’t even tell it was once broken. The best part is that I got a really neat piece of wall decor for less than half the price and it didn’t take long to fix! So don’t be afraid to buy something with a chip, scratch, missing part, or any other blemish. Chances are you can fix it and no one will ever know the difference!

 

Fully repaired and hanging on the wall.
Fully repaired and hanging on the wall.

 

Cleaning a Chandelier

When we got our new house over a year ago, I was super excited about the chandelier in the dining room. It was dusty and had a ton of extra crystals hanging on the chain and a few missing here and there, along with a crystal at the bottom that I wanted to swap out. Since I was busy with school and we spent all of our free time painting and fixing things, the chandelier just gathered more dust. This picture of the chandelier is from when we first moved in.

The way it was when we first moved in.
The way it was when we first moved in.

 

I forgot to take one of the whole chandelier before I started cleaning it. Luckily, I at least got this shot of one of the candles so you can see how dusty it was! Shortly after moving in we swapped out the bulbs for much dimmer ones, you’ll probably be able to tell in the other pictures.

Such a thick coating of dust!
Such a thick coating of dust!

 

I had read about various cleaning products and methods but decided to go with plain water and a more hands on approach. I read how it was helpful to have several clean white socks or cotton gloves to really get the surfaces free of dirt. I chose to work from the top down and in small sections. This way I could wash a small set of crystals and put them back in place as I went. So, I removed the crystals from the very top section and starting with a damp sock on my hand I carefully wiped at the metal.  I used a clean sock to gently dry the metal.

Before and after crystals.
Before and after crystals.

 

The red circle shows the crystals that had not been cleaned yet. You can really see a difference! When covered in dust they almost look like opaque plastic instead of the sparkling clear glass that they are. I removed a set of crystals and placed one at time in a small plastic bucket of water. Using my fingers I gently rubbed away at the dirt and then used a sock to wipe around the metal findings  make sure they were clean. Then, I dunked the crystal into a separate container of water to kind of rinse it off. I laid each crystal on a towel to dry while I climbed up to remove the next section of crystals and clean the metal. Now the crystals I had washed were dry. I hung them back up and used a clean sock to wipe them in case they had gotten a fingerprint. I repeated this process for six hours before the entire chandelier was finished!

A close up of the now brilliant chandelier!
A close up of the now brilliant chandelier!

 

I added the five missing crystals to the bottom of the arms using the spares from the swag. I also swapped out the almond-shaped crystal that had been tied to the center for the big sphere crystal instead. This chandelier didn’t have a hole to hang the center crystal but I really wanted it on there so I used brown thread and tied it securely to the base. Thread was the best choice after several test runs, it was the least visible. I really like how the focus is on the chandelier itself now that the excess crystals are removed from the swag. I packed those away in an egg carton in case I ever need a replacement.

No longer storage for extra crystals.
No longer storage for extra crystals.

 

I read that you should give your chandelier a good thorough cleaning once a year. In between washes, use a feather duster to gently sweep away the dust on a regular basis. Here is a final picture of the finished chandelier which I also lowered a bit to allow it to be part of the room and not crammed against the ceiling. I find myself looking at it every time I walk by because I can’t believe how sparkly it is!

after