And last week, in one last burst of summer energy, I dragged ye olde prayer kneeler into the kitchen (from the garage, where it had been serving a useful purpose as a broom and mop holder), and started work on it once again. Thanks to my friend Jennie for suggesting a crafty outing--because of our trip to Woodley Cottage at Bracken Village, I finally invested in some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (color: Provence), which proved to be the salvation of this very frustrating project! On one hand, I wish I'd just shelled out the big bucks for the Annie Sloan a year ago, since you can use it WITHOUT stripping or priming!! But in the end, I'm glad I did all that work, removing the layers of horrible paint; after all that effort, I at least knew exactly what I had to work with, and I was able to take time to fill all the gaps and cracks with wood filler, and do my best to make the kneeler a solid finished piece.
The kneeler came with cushions for both the top and the kneeling part on the bottom; it had been my plan to cover them with a neutral linen fabric, but when I tried it I wasn't happy at all--the upholstered cushions didn't add anything to the piece. Instead I plan to have wood pieces made, with gentle beveled edges, and stain them the same color as the central cross... then I'll keep an eye out for a handmade/antique kneeling pad for the bottom.
Here's a little "retrospective" of how far this piece has come! Still a little ways to go, but at least now it is too pretty to leave sitting in the garage!!
(Yellow velvet pads removed; ready to strip! Cross was metallic gold.)
(Cross stripped down to a distressed cream layer; plan was to stain the body of the kneeler and leave the cross white, but the scuffs and nicks in the wood did not respond well to staining.)
(After staining attempt--yikes. Stripped the remaining paint off of the cross. New plan: paint kneeler body white, leave cross natural.)
(After painting attempt, which covered nicks in the wood, but highlighted the gaps and cracks between the pieces. Before I took this photo, I'd filled all those gaps with Elmer's brand wood filler, and then had lightly sanded off some paint goofs--at this point it actually looked better than I'd expected!)
(Impulse decision while looking at paint swatches at Woodley Cottage, the Annie Sloan stockist; the whites didn't do anything for me... but the Provence blue grabbed me and wouldn't let go. This photo shows the initial painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the Provence colorway. Yeah--it was bright, but following the ASCP instruction and going over with both Clear Soft Wax and Dark Soft Wax did the trick!)
(Cross stained with Minwax Provincial, then a rubbing with ASCP Dark Soft Wax.)
(Closeup of paint + wax color.)
I'm hopeful that it won't be another (mumblemumble) months before the piece is completely finished, with a wooden base and top! Fingers crossed, and when it's done I'll have "final" photos to share!
New to this saga? Here are some background posts from Oct. 2011: