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little watermelon Saturday 12 November 2005


painted watermelon magnets

papier mache watermelon dish

painted vase & mug (& before glazed & fired in kiln)
Last winter I painted a vase and a large mug at Color Me Mine, for my sister Marie & brother-in-law Preston.
I thought the vase and mug turned out very well, and Marie & Preston seemed well pleased with them.

Leslie and I have been going to the Color Me Mine studio in south Jersey about once a year for some years now. I have a vase of my own, and 2 mugs, one which I still drink from, and another I've been using as a pencil cup.

partially painted magnets
I found out that there's another studio like this (though not a Color Me Mine), where you can paint pottery, in Clarks Summit, but I've not yet gone there.

In May I started painting wooden watermelons, and making them into refrigerator magnets.

And then I came into some old furniture that had seen better days.

painted coffee table
There was a coffee table and one end table that wasn't in the most pristine condition, by any stretch of the imagination. And 2 small sets of drawers, that were varnished dark, but were light wood underneath.

I had originally wanted to strip & stain them all a yellowish blonde wood colour, because most of my other furniture and all the wood in my apartment is blonde.

But the coffee table & end table seemed to be

painted end table
impossible. I even tried staining over stain. And even the yellowish colour stain I got refused to change the mousy gray-brown wood into something that could have possibly fit in with even my hodge podge decor.

Alison encouraged me to try painting them. So I painted them antique white with metallic inca gold trim. And they turned out rather pleasing, I think.
I'm pretty happy with it because up until this year, I've never before had a proper end table. And I've never in my

drawers as they were
life had a coffee table.

The sets of drawers were both better & worse to deal with.
I stripped one and stained it with a yellowish stain. It took several hours just to strip the old varnish off the darn thing. I had never before stripped or stained furniture, so I had no idea just how much hard work is involved in the endeavour. Particularly when the furniture had been covered in what

re-stained set of drawers
must've been several layers of thick varnish.

I was pretty happy with the yellowish colour stain finish, even though I, by no means, did a perfect job of it. But it looks well in the nook, so I'm happy with it.

However, by the time I was finished with one of them, I was rather sick of it, so I decided to put off stripping and staining the other for awhile, and just put the other one in the part of the living room with some other dark brown furniture items I have.

partially painted
magnets & papier mache
I then I decided to try my hand at papier mache.
I had done a papier mache mouse in junior high school art class many years ago, and I remembered it was pretty fun.

I had that papier mache mouse for awhile, but I seem to remember having to trash the poor thing because it had gotten torn nearly totally apart, by, oddly enough, a cat. Though I can't remember what cat got its claws into the poor thing. It either happened when I lived with my mothers' cats Romeo & Julius, or it happened later, after I got my cat, Nikita.

I had all kinds of ideas for papier mache, but I started by making 2 bowls, since I've always been meaning to get more candy dishes. (As is well known, there's always a lot of candy in my home.)

painted papier mache bowl
I got the idea from some web site someone sent me when I had told them I was thinking about doing papier mache. It was a papier mache bowl painted to look like a watermelon.
Papier Mache - Visitors' Gallery - Glawen - watermelon
My attempt at papier mache has not been anywhere near as neat and tidy, I must say. And that's because papier mache is harder to work with than you'd probably think it would be. I have a lot of respect for some of the papier mache works I've seen photos of on-line, because obviously a lot of patience has gone into them.

However, back in the summer, I never actually finished painting my paper mache bowls, because by July it had gotten way too hot outside to be doing anything enjoyable on my porch. (The summer in Pennsylvania this year was consistently unusually hot... over 90° almost every day!)

But I finally finished painting the bowls, indoors after all, in October.

By this time I had gotten Amoreena, my new kitten, so you can imagine how much fun it was trying to keep her nose and paws off the painting projects while I was working on them.
Amoreena seemed absolutely fascinated by the papier mache in particular for some reason.

Amoreena with the partially painted gold papier mache bowl
I'm thinking it might be because the papier mache glue is made from flour, which, of course, is more or less food, when it comes right down to it. I had an incident back in the summer where I had left the bag of flour I was using, on the porch, overnight, and some member of our backyard wildlife here got into it. One would think that having mixed the flour with newspaper, moreover newspaper ink would've tainted the scent of the flour though. And I'm hoping now that the bowls are painted and covered in a sealant, that they won't end up the way the poor junior high school papier mache mouse wound up.

watermelons in the nook
And hopefully the cats won't think destroying watermelons a fun sport, because now my place is filled with watermelon type items, in addition to the ones given to me by others.
(My birthday was in October, and so Jeanie gave me a large watermelon bowl, Shelly gave me more watermelon jelly candies, and Alison gave me watermelon candles.)

posted by Chloe | Saturday 12 November 2005 1:33 AM



Wow! I love your watermelon bowl! I recently became interested in paper mache when I saw some work in a local gallery. It looks like fun!
Posted by
Monica | Saturday 12 November 2005 10:08AM


But don't be fooled... Papier mache might sound like simple fun... but it's a lot more difficult to work with than one might think. It's very messy, difficult to control, and not at all easy to get anything like a smooth surface. But it is also a lot stronger than one might expect it to be.

Posted by Chloe | Sunday 13 November 2005 2:58AM


very clever! the bowl is great!
Posted by cessna | Tuesday 15 November 2005 8:01AM


Wow that watermelon bowl is stunning. As the saying goes: You got some mad skillz!
Posted by Alison | Saturday 26 November 2005 12:45PM


Wow very nice decor there Chloe!
Posted by Tim Pintsch | Sunday 04 December 2005 4:32PM


I know you have a huge Walmart aversion, but I saw something there that screamed you, a Melon gift back at 28ish dollars, it was a giant basked of nothing but watermelon related items. anyways. happy festivus
Posted by Tim Pintsch | Saturday 17 December 2005 1:25PM


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