Monday, July 3, 2017

Restoring Iron Beds

   Iron beds complement almost any bedroom's decor, whether a main suite or a guest room. Beds can be found at antique stores, flea markets, or vintage shows, but be selective when choosing a bed. Make sure the bed has side rails that fit properly, and that the overall structure of the bed is sturdy. Check for excessive rust, and measure to be sure that the bed will fit with a common single or double mattress.  Three quarter sized beds will require a special ordered mattress that may be more expensive.

If you are looking for a distressed or shabby chic look, merely remove any peeling paint and give the bed a thorough overall cleaning with a mild soap and water mixture.  Use water sparingly and dry the metal as you go...rinse and dry each section immediately after washing.

Sometimes restoring an antique detracts from its value, but if the bed has heavy rust or significant dents, you may need to make repairs to the bed.  A professional restorer can help with sandblasting or restructuring the bed.  Some beds can also be converted to hold a queen mattress.

If you wish to paint the bed a pretty, fresh color, make sure there are no loose chips on the bed, then paint it with chalk paint or a spray paint made for metal.  To protect the surface of your iron bed, whether painted or chippy, carefully apply a small amount of beeswax polish, buffing with a clean cotton rag as you go.  You can remove excess wax with a dry rag.

Add soft, pretty sheets and a fluffy duvet, then pile on the pillows.  Your bed is now ready for sweet dreams!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Gnome for the Garden


     As spring approaches, gardeners are dusting off their yard ornaments and tucking pretty pieces in among their plants.  The cheerful garden gnome has been a popular collectible for home landscapes for decades.  Made of a variety of materials including plastic, terra-cotta, porcelain, resin, concrete, plaster, or cast iron, the industrious little figures almost always wear a peaked cap and tend to have happy expressions.  They have always been considered a harbinger of good luck in the garden.

     History says that garden gnomes originated in Switzerland in the 1840s, but Germany is the country that made them popular.  Two potters named Philipp Grievel and August Heissner lived in a little town named Grafenroda in the state of Thuringia.  They competed with each other producing Gartenzwerge, or garden dwarfs, during the 1870s.  Over 300 styles of the wee creatures were created, and other countries soon caught gnome fever.  In 1847 Sir Charles Isham purchased 21 gnomes in Germany and brought them home to his home, Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom. British gardeners loved them, and soon gnome-making spread throughout the world.

     Collectors who would like to chat with other gnome-minded folks can contact the Inernational Gnome Club.  More information is available at  Gnomes can be purchased for a variety of price points depending on age and rarity.  If one merely wants to add a smiling little face to one's garden, the American company Kimmel Gnomes is a good source for outdoor-safe, glazed gnomes that stand up well to the weather.  Their website is  Garden work always seems lighter when shared by an industrious little gnome pushing a wheelbarrow, digging in the soil, or merely supervising while smoking his pipe.