"" Rendition Road: French Poem Coffee Table

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

French Poem Coffee Table

I dream in script. If I had it my way, I would have beautiful, scrawling script on everything in my home. There's just something so elegant & graceful about it.
 I've also been looking for more of a statement piece for my living room, something along the lines of a coffee table. I had been keeping an eye for for just the right piece for months when I stumbled across it by accident.
 I spotted this little gem last December. Okay, so 'little' is completely inappropriate as this beast is solid, chunky & heavy.

 Heavy as in, I actually needed the check out guy to carry it to the car for me. Not a big deal you say? Ummmm ya, kind of.
I'm the crazy woman you've seen huffing & puffing some enormous piece of something or other to my vehicle refusing numerous offers of assistance.
I have this fear that goes something like this: I've just bought some amazingly epic piece of something or other & paid for it. Helpful salesperson or good citizen extends an offer to lug it to my car for me & I accept. On the way to my car, they trip or maybe they drop my beautiful piece from their sweaty hands or maybe, just maybe, they didn't realize how heavy said item was & collapse halfway to the vehicle. There goes my already-paid-for-was-gonna-be-a-masterpiece-gem. I will say a few bad words, then I will cry, they will feel bad & offer an apology. An apology I won't hear over my wailing sobs. I will crumple to the ground in an inconsolable heap as they walk away to call the men in the white coats. The men in the white coats will come & find me in said heap next to my broken piece of what was going to be an-awesome-yummy-piece-of-epic-furniture-goodness, mumbling incomprehensible words while I rock back & forth holding the shards of whats left. They'll whisk me away never to be heard from again. 
So you see, this is why I carry my own pieces to my vehicle. This is why it was a big deal to have this carried to my car for me. But the young man looked steady as I eyed him up & down and walked immediately next to him the entire way.
He might have wondered about my inability to understand the 'personal space bubble' as we made our way to the car, but he never said a word.
Here is what she looked like when I brought her home.
LOVE the plank-looking top & the cute curved legs.

Lovely little design on all 4 sides
I got a little excited & dug in before I remembered to grab the camera; but I did remember.
This table is solid and beautiful. 
I might be a little in love with those beautiful little cuts on each side and the out turned legs. 
The planked top isn't too hard on the eyes either.
I mixed up some white chalk paint for this table & gave it two coats. 
This homemade chalk paint dries so quickly that I was able to apply the second coat in less than 30 minutes.
I sanded it down until it was smooth & gave it a good wipe down.
I had already decided on a french poem I fell in love with called 'Sensation' by Arthur Rimbaud.
It's an absolutely beautiful poem about summer. The translation is below.

Of the blue summer eves, I'll walk along the paths
Slashed by the wheat blades, trampling upon the fine grass,
Dreaming, I will smell the freshness at my feet
And I will let the wind bathe my uncovered head.
I'll say nothing at all, nor will I think at all,
Yet this infinite love will rise to fill my soul.
Then I'll go so far away, like a bohemian
Amidst nature, happy as if with a woman.

I love, love, love french typography on just about anything.
There's something a little romantic & mysterious about not knowing exactly what that slanted scrawling script is saying.
It allows you to wonder and fill in the blanks to fit your mood.
I did the usual sizing, printing, cutting, & taping to get it ready for transferring.
 Once it was all taped, I colored over the entire back with a pencil.
 Why aren't you an observant reader today?!
Yes, that is a different font in the first picture. I got it all printed, cut & taped when I realized I didn't think that font would look right for what I was going for.
Ummm, yea, I guess I could have figured that out in the beginning, but what would be the fun in that? *Giggle*
 I always use painters tape to secure any paper transfer to a painted furniture piece.

You don't need any excessive pressure when doing this. Especially with lighter colors, the pencil lead will transfer to the wood nicely.
This is a horrible, late at night picture, but you get the idea.
 Then I traced until my fingers fell off. Not really, but it felt like they would. I ended up having to spread it over 2 days because I just couldn't hold a pencil any longer.
 Once everything was transferred to the table I filled it in with a black sharpie.
I am here to tell you: it is absolutely okay to use a sharpie marker on your projects.
Here's when I choose to use them instead of paint & a brush:
~ When the detailing/lettering is intricate & will take more time than I have. 
I have used the small artists brushes on delicate designs, it rather relaxes me to sit & do it, but there are times when I just don't have the time to spare.
~ When I'm going to distress anyway.
Distressing a piece always changes the composition of the top layer of paint, why go to the trouble of perfecting all the details when you're just going to attack it with sandpaper?
~ When I've had too much caffeine.*wink*
Funny, but so true. There are days when I just don't have the stability to wield a super tiny brush.
Usually all or at least 2 of the above need to be true for me to grab the nearest sharpie, but don't stress over it. If it works for you then work the marker!!
Now that's some pretty lettering.
I was going for the distressed look, you're shocked aren't you, so I sanded it back a bit.
I just used my handy palm sander and some 100 grit paper to rough it up. I smoothed it back with 150, 220, and finally 300.
Yep, it was still cold outside.

I went a little lighter on the distressing than I do on a lot of other pieces, but I still loved the end result.
Once I got it all distressed, I brought it back in the house, wiped it down & glazed away.
I just wiped it on with a brush & wiped it off almost immediately with a damp rag.
i finished it off with some Johnsons Paste Wax & buffed it to a nice sheen.
Again, I apologize for the poor picture quality. A new camera is a little ways off yet & I've been too busy to do the pretty staging thing. But would you look at that shine! Love my Johnsons Wax.
Such pretty legs

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I love the shabby feel of this table & it has become quite the conversation piece in our home. I tried at one point to talk myself out of keeping it. It was highly unsuccessful, but that could have been due to the fact that it was a less than half-hearted attempt. I am on the look out for some cute square baskets for the lower shelf to hold remotes, magazines & all the other crap that accumulates on coffee tables. Yes, I said crap, because that's what accumulates on tables in my home......with teenage boys.....and a husband....and said teenage boys' friends.....and dogs. Yes, somehow dog toys end up on my coffee table. Don't ask, I don't know either.
All right, I'm off to finish up a few pieces so I can share them later this week.
Oh, and I'm embarking on a new upcycle project. I was about to say recycle, but a friend informed me it would be more correct to use the word upcycle. He may be right, it does sound more....trend forward, or something. Either way, I'm pumped & now that I have all my supplies I'm ready to rock it.
If all goes well I should have it ready to share by weeks end.
 Until next time!

I have entered this project into CWTS over on EC2!
Go check out all the A-MAZ-ING submissions & see what all the chatter is about!


  1. Hi Stacy. I just found your blog and love it. Your coffee table came out gorgeous!!! You do the best job I've seen with distressing. I'm going to have to follow you and learn more. I'm not kidding I've seen a lot of it and think yours is incredible.

    Hugs…Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute

    1. Tracy, thank you so much for your kind words. You've truly made my day. I have always had a love/hate relationship with distressing because of my perfectionist tenancies. I've had to re-do many a project because I went a little too crazy on it trying to get it all "even." But the more I do it, the more I've realized if I just don't think about it, I can usually get it pretty good. I've visited your blog & I fell in love with your cupcake candelabra. You'll be seeing much more of me :) Take care & thank you!

  2. Hi StaceyAnne, thanks for visiting me- love your blog and this is awesome- you have way more patience than me!

    1. Thanks Deanne! I LOVE sitting & zoning out while I paint detail work. My mind goes on auto-pilot & it's one of the rare times during the day when I'm not going 1000 miles an hour. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. You MUST keep that table. With all that hard work, it's a keeper!

    1. I have kept her! She sits proudly in front of my sofa & has proven to be as sturdy & useful as she is beautiful. I LOVE her!

  4. A complete and total WOW!! You amaze me with your patience. I have always wanted to do a script piece but I do not want to pay the $100 for a stencil and I don't have the patience to do what you did but I just may need to find some!;)

    1. Awwwwe thanks Pamela! This was one of those pieces that just called to me. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it the minute I found it. I just worked at it a little at a time until it was complete. Stencils are truly wonderful, but I love getting lost in the painting when the house is quiet. It lets my mind relax & wander. If anyone could do this by hand....it HAS to be you! Your work is stunning & always right above perfection. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  5. Beautiful table and congrats on such an awesome blog. Tons of great inspiration! Do you mind sharing your recipe for the diy chalk paint?

    I have tried the plaster-of-paris mixed with paint and had mixed results. I would love to know which formula you prefer (but I understand if it's a trade secret!)


    1. Thank you for your kind words, it is always such a big heart warmer when people take the time to leave sweet comments. Most every blogger creates out of pure passion & would do it even without a blog or comments, but when you get them, it just makes your day :) No, my chalk paint recipe no secret. I've mixed & played & mixed some more. I've gotten several great recipes online from other fellow bloggers & I just kept tweaking until I found a recipe I liked. I will do a post on it tomorrow since I've had others ask as well. I couldn't find an e-mail address on your profile so I hope you check back. Thanks again for stopping by & saying hi.

    2. Yep, I checked back! I will look forward to a post on chalk paint whenever you have spare time. :)

      Your enthusiasm for your work and creativity is so apparent in your blogging, plus you are sweet and gracious. What a winning combo.

  6. O girl...you and I could do a shop together....but alas Iowa and Texas are a long ways apart....I have a coffee table that I did,for the idea of a cabin or lake house...Not bothering to pic for my blog...but I have another that I was going to do in a shappy creamy white...wiht a script effect...inspirations ....and thanks for kind words on my blog...I need to add a reply function on my blog...always something to do

  7. This is great, it turned out so nice! Awesome job!


  8. I have a weakness for script as well. This table is absolutely beautiful. Looks like a ton of work but definitely worth it. It turned out amazing!


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