Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big Black Bench

I drive past this house on about two acres of land just about every day. I have seen this large piece of wood that looked like it might be something good a bunch of times, but I didn't know how to go about acquiring it. It was sitting under a big trailer, weathering nicely in the sun.

I finally got up the nerve to go knock on the guys door. He was a little grumpy at first, but he warmed up when he realized I wasn't there to sell him something.

I asked him if I could buy his... well it turns out is was a big wooden bench, the kind that you make from headboards. It was missing the seat, but otherwise in great shape.

I asked Newell to grab a piece in the size I specified and then once I had it I screwed it down. Easy. I painted it black and distressed it, same ol', same ol'. Although, I will say, distressing now takes very little forethought for me now. It comes automatic, like riding a bike.

Media Cabinet from the Early 1900's

That's right. Media cabinet. Can't you just imagine them? Sitting around a warm fire, knitting, emboidering, reading from the Good Book, and this piece holding up a 70 inch flat screen plasma.

Ok, so I called it a media cabinet, but it was probably some kind of dresser, console, buffet.

It was seriously broken, probably the most broken piece I have ever worked on. The top was off, there were pieces of trim missing, but the door face was CARVED wood, like, by hand. Not glued on appliques. And I knew it would be vintage and shabby, so the little imperfections were part of it's charm.

My dad teases me for my poor photography skills. I read some of the other blogs out there, especially the one's I follow, and I can't believe how professional the pictures look. I have had some seriously talented photographers give me tips, but it seems it is hopeless.

I took these pictures with my cell phone camera, with low battery, meaning no flash, at night. Awesome.

This one sold in less than 24 hours, and the return was about four times my investment.


Apothecary, Ashmothecary

I went thrifting on Saturday last, (that sounded like Jane Austen, I know) and I have decided that thrifting for the purpose of finding furniture to make a living is not my favorite.  I could get lost in it if it's for fun, narrow dusty aisles of forgotten items, full of old spirits, buried in each other.  I could literally do it for days straight.  But if I have to find something specific, I hate it.  It's hurried and sometimes feels fruitless.  This last Saturday was no exception. 

I am going to try to stop posting prices.  I don't know why, but it makes me uncomfortable.  But I will say that the two pieces I picked up came at a steep price of a long day of thrifting, the kind I don't like.  But the dollar prices were very good. 

I was wandering aimlessly through suburbia, looking for garage sales, finding them but only seeing JUNK, and finally I remembered that Goodwill has it's 50% off everything in the store every other Saturday, and this was such a Saturday.  And since I had begun early, I made it to the door only an hour after they had opened. 

I wandered through the maze of broken junky furniture and came acrossed this strange little beauty.  I just went through my pictures and only found one, even though I am sure I took several before shots.  I swear my camera is losing pictures.  You can kind of get the idea with this picture.

 It's a reproduction apothecary cabinet, recently made, maybe even in the early 2000's. 

So it functions as a dresser, all the tiny drawers are actually a drawer face for two drawers. 

It was missing a leg so it wobbled terribly, and there were strange holes drilled into the back panel of the cubby on top.  It looked like something was missing. I knew it was nothing I couldn't fix. 

I painted almost all of it black, and wanted to keep the cool latin herbal titles that were on gold plaques.  So that meant I needed to keep the gold hardware, which I was okay with.  The six knobs on the mini drawer face facades were missing so I dug old brass knobs out of my growing collection. 

I distressed it a little and placed it on CL.  Within literally minutes I was getting calls and the first lady that called bought it when she arrived at my house 45 minutes later. 

I had no idea it would be such a hit.  I wont talk in dollars, but I will say it generated about triple my investment. 

Here is the after:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mom's Redesign

My mom asked me to decorate a console table in her kitchen with "fresh eyes." She is a great designer herself, but we all get what I call "decor blind" with our own homes. We lose that fresh perspective.

I went in her craft room,which I will someday post a picture of because its a crafters dream, and dug through her cabinets. There was a bag full of moss green gems, a few small fake green apples, lichen moss, the clumpy expensive kind, a whole slew of beautiful glass ware, and candles galore.

I first filled the apothecary jar with the moss and kind of "buried" the apples in it.

Then I poured all the gems in another glass vase and pulled an old flower arrangement apart. All the flowers were orange, which I loved. I just pushed the stems into the gems. They made a perfect filler.

Then I put one of the adorable birdhouses that were already there on a candle holder and put a candle on one of her plates and put that on top of another cute distressed candle holder. Then I surrounded the candle with more of the moss.


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Adding Loveliness to a Political Fundraiser

My parents recently hosted a fundraiser for Jeff Flake

I went to help set up. I couldn't attend, even though I wanted to, because I had other plans, but I figured I would contribute to my political party by contributing my meager skills to this one.

First task was arranging the beautiful roses my mom bought at Costco. She is all about frugality. She loves loveliness, just like her daughters, but she has never been one to hire a team to do work she can do herself.

She chose orange as a theme color. I agreed with this choice. Orange is becoming a fashinable color and represents energy, positivity, power. Perfect.

So we began with three dozen perfect orange roses and a simple, square vase. Mom wanted a designer look, the tight, square, low profile type arrangement. This is how I did it.

Start by filling the vase or bowl to about halfway with warm water, and pouring the powdered plant food into it.

Then begin cutting your rose stems. With a tight arrangement, you want to remove all or most of the leaves. Cut stems on a diagnal. There is some debate over this technique, but my arrangements always last a long time, ao if it ain't broke...

Cut about 1-2 inches longer than the depth of the vase. Start placing the roses in. It won't begin taking shape until the very end, when the rose buds begin to hold each other up. Just turn the piece continually, making sure you are filling holes.

When you have filled the vase to the point that there is no room for more, start checking it from every angle. Feel free to carefull tug one rose up and push another down to achieve a uniformity.

If the sight of the stems bothers you, take some extra leaves and push them down each of the four sides while holding that row of rose buds back with your other hand. I had my friend Kristin help me with this part.

Then place and enjoy!

There were a few extra buds, so my mom broke out her fabulous little bud vases. They are pure crystal, and will set you back about $25 a piece, but they are available in acrylic as well for much cheaper. I simply placed a single bud in each and we placed them randomly around the room.

Roses from Costco are very affordable, I believe these bunches were $19 a piece, and there are 18 in each bunch.

Go make some fresh flower loveliness somewhere in your home!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hobby Lobby Gets A Clue...

So I believe there is a new style movement sweeping the nation. It can be described in many words: primitive, vintage, antique, shabby, distressed, country, farmhouse, chippy...

Well guess what is popping up in a Hobby Lobby near you?

This!! I swear I want to meet the buyer for this store and shake her hand. She is definitely a she. How she keeps her finger on the pulse of what is in style and what is coming, I don't know. But she is, in fact, a genius.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Promised Hutch...

This hutch popped up on CL for an incredible price. It was a little dated, but ONLY in the color. The lines, or bones, or shapes, are very cute, country, very farmhouse.

I was amazed that it was that old (we are talking mid 70's probably) and all the glass was there, all the doors were in good shape, drawers slid easily.

So I hauled it home. If you are wondering why ALL my pieces lately have been cream or white, it's because I have a gallon of mistinted paint from walmart that is a great color, somewhere between white and off white, and it is almost gone. I have a weird impulse to finish off paint that is almost gone. Maybe so it won't needlessly clutter my small workspace.

I cannot find the before pictures, I have searched and searched. It was a dark brown, with a bunch of black specks all over it. I don't know why furniture makers used to do this... I actually still see it occasionally.

But here is the after. It sold before I could post it here.

A Peek At My World...

This is my "work space." I think of Jan on The Office every time I say that. But it's the best word for it. It's not a work shop, because I think that implies at least three walls. I guess I could call it a work area... but I don't.

I used to work from the garage, but I started to get paint on the concrete, which made my husband very nervous. He also hated me using up the garage space, when, in his mind, a two car garage is for cars. I have to agree. I like parking my Honda Odyssey in there, especially in the summer.

All my best ideas come in between sleeping and waking. It's the strangest thing, you would think I would be delirious and once I woke up I would laugh at my silly dream ideas. But they are all good! I think there is a little idea elf who lives under my bed and whispers to me about paint samples and cheap fabric and how to attach drawer pulls. I need to name the little guy. He will be mentioned often. Any ideas for my idea elf's name will be seriously considered.

One of these said idea's came along when I was worried about the garage. I have a decent sized back patio, roofed in, and I though, PERFECT!

There was already some abandoned shelves back there, so I loaded all my stuff onto them. I have been happy ever since. And so has Newell.

Truly Old and All That Comes With It...

This dresser popped up on CL and I couldn't believe my eyes. This woman was selling a solid wood, antique, oversized dresser for $25. She had no idea what she had, and I later told her as much.

I was on my way to a movie with my teenage boys when it appeared, and I called and begged her to hold it for me until we were out of the movie. I knew my boys would not be happy about a detour from the movies. Besides that, it was way in the opposite direction.

She said she was sorry, but she could not hold it. She was being bombarded with calls, which of course made me even more ravenous. I hung up the phone and started to strategize. Who could I call? Was there anyone I could pay to go get it? I didn't want to go too high in the price, so I thought, who could I give $10 or $15 bucks to go get it for me?

Then it hit me... give the $10 to the seller. I called and said that I would offer her $35 to hold it until 6:00. She agreed. I was elated.

And when I saw it in person, I was elated again. It's very tall, elegant, and very very old. She looked frazzled, and said she had recieved dozens of calls in the two hours since I reserved it. Score.

I hauled it home and painted it up. The whole time I was painting it I felt guilty. I know I have something against natural wood grain. I don't know what it is. I don't like it ... most of the time. I think it just looks better painted. This piece was pretty gorgeous in it's natural state, and over the moon now that it's painted.

I am looking for a skeleton key for all the little locks. They seem to work and are ... a little mysterious. I don't know what it is, but this piece looks like something you would see in a haunted house. I love the "Jane Eyre" quality to it. There's even a drawer face with a burnt edge. If you have ever read the book, you would know why that's intriguing.

I am not selling this one for now. My two daughters needed a dresser in their room and I am keeping it. An indulgence, I know. But one I think I might deserve. *** UPDATE*** jennie came in last night and said she doesn't like that dresser in her room. It's too big for her little space. So I am selling it now... just posted it on CL for $190. Anyone here who is interested, please let me know!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Thanks to all of you who have begun to follow me.

One big hutch and my new favorite dresser that I couldn't part with just yet, coming up soon.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Birdie finds a home...

This is my table scape, with the new birdie. When Molly saw it and I told her the story about how my husband surprised me with it, she smiled and said, "So your husband gave you the bird?" Ha ha...

See all the blue?

New Computer

Don't get too excited. It was the cheapest one I could find anywhere. $298 at Walmart. We have a nice big monitor and it came with all the little accessories other than that. We were using an old Dell Dimension that we have had forever. When my pretty Toshiba Laptop crashed, I sold it and we pulled that old dimension out, fired it up and soon were feeling the nostalgia of 1999 technology. Scary slow internet, Windows XP, service pack 2, and all the antiquated things that come with it.

SO, happy to say, a few days ago we scraped our quarters together and splurged on the cute little Emachine desktop that I am now blogging from. I can't believe how this bottom of the line, base grade unit performs compared to that Dell, which, in it's time, was a pretty rockin' CPU. I guess that's how technology rolls.

So I now can blog from my PC, instead of always from my phone. I will still use my phone sometimes, but the Evo, although it's an awesome phone in almost every way, is lacking in the photography department. I can now use my decent Canon, another Walmart special, and post better pictures.

It feels like I was on a long road trip and hadn't been able to use the toilet for 10 hours. And now I am home, and I am relieved. Ahhh...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sweet Surprise

I am a little obsessed with blue right now. I even like to mix different colors of blue together. Robins egg, turquoise, periwinkle, baby...

I am going to have to stop soon because I started with a vision of creams and whites and silvers with accents of blue and a few very small touches of red. But the blue is taking over.

My husband and I were wandering through Ross with his oldest son, Bradley tonight and I spotted this sweet birdie. It's a lovely turquoise blue color, with a happy little face and fat round body. It was love at first sight. I held it momentarily, cooed a little, then put it back. Budgetary restrictions, you know.

Then when we were walking out I noticed Bradley was acting funny. Then Newell handed me a bag and my sweet birdie was inside.

I love it. I will post pictures of it staged soon. These pictures were taken in my van at night. Not great.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

two more end tables

These were similar in size and shape, so I thought they would make sweet twins.**SOLD**
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Monday, March 14, 2011

two desks... its all about the cash, or is it?

So I have such a high volume of furniture going through my house, that I began to notice it was all becoming sort of one note.

I rely on efficiency to make money, so I can't get too intricate or I won't make much of a profit. It's all about the Benjamins baby. Not really, but a little.

I also have four awesome kids, and the quicker I can finish, the more time I have to take care of them.

But I am also a creative person. So after awhile of same and more of the same, burnout starts rearing its' ugly head.

So I tried to think outside the box a little.

I got both of these sweet little desks at the Store More facility by my house, where they were holding their semi-annual rummage sale.

One interesting note is that one of the desks, the one that now has the word "know" painted on the top, was sold to us by a sweet woman who wept as we carried it off. She said it was one of the few things she had that belonged to her mother, who had passed away. But she didn't have room for it, and she had prayed before the sale that someone would take it home so that she didn't have to take it to the dump or goodwill. It was a sweet moment, one that reminded me of one of the reasons that we do this. Re-purposing old furniture is a way of honoring our ancestors, remembering their contribution and keeping the fruits of their labors in use. Some things I work on are decades old, some even from the Depression. I can almost feel the bygone years as I work. My husband says I am a little psychic, I think I am just a sentimental old fool. **SOLD**
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