Friday, April 27, 2012

New Finds & What Should I Do??

Hello Everyone!

Can you believe it's Friday already?  Where has this week gone?  I've been busy working, but not the fun kind of working like painting furniture or digging in the garden!

I do have a couple of things to show you though.  Usually I wait to show you my "befores" with my "afters" but since the "afters" aren't done yet, and I'm pretty excited about these thrifty finds, I decided to give you a sneak peek!

I found this console on Craigslist.  I have the hardware for the other door. 

I love the detailing and know I can do something beauteous with it.  It has two drawers inside and is very heavy.  I love these smaller consoles because they are so versatile. 

This lovely table was in a thrift shop I decided to stop by.  Not one of my usual haunts. It would make a great foyer or sofa table.  Look at those legs! (The spot you see is a hole I've filled in with wood filler.)

The detailing on this one makes me swoon (really--I'm swooning as I type).  The cantilevered tabletop edges, the curves, the swirly legs. It's probably going to be a bear to paint, but I think the end result will be worth it.

Now normally this is where I would tell you how much I paid for these pieces, because I get all excited about my bargains (and I'm not going to lie--I like to brag!).  But recently a friend of mine told me I shouldn't be saying how much I paid for something, since I plan to sell it for a lot more. I can see her point.

But here's the thing: 

First of all, even though it may be my favorite part of the process, hunting for the pieces I buy takes a lot of time.  And as you other furniture refresher's know, there's also some talent involved in having the ability to see the potential is something that most people would figure was destined for the landfill. I've seen some amazing things in blogland that were originally pieces of, pardon my French, le crap.  These pieces obviously don't fall in that category, but my lavender bedside table certainly did. 

Then there is the time and materials to fix and handpaint the piece. Since each painted piece is unique--how do you price creativity?  And even though it may be priced a lot higher than I paid for it, it is still going to be better made and less expensive than something comparable at stores like Wisteria or Ballard Design, for example.  I would think that if someone wants to buy it, they would understand all the time and work that went into it and be willing to pay for that.  Or they could do something similar on their own if they want to spend the time and go to the effort.

Which brings me to my second point.  The  message of this blog is how you can have beautiful things you love in your home, without always having to pay retail for them.  Renew, refresh, think green--that type of thing. The price is a crucial little tidbit in that story.  I just happen to love the hunt and the refreshing process so much I've run out of space in my house--so now I sell the stuff!

But, as I said ... my friend has a point. So I'd like to ask you more experienced furniture selling pros out there your thoughts.  And I'd also like to hear from those of you who may not be into the diy furniture thing, but who love to buy vintage.

What should I do?  In the meantime all I'll say is I got both pieces under--let's say $50 each.  Okay, under $30 each. (I just can't help myself!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

In My Garden

Happy Friday!  I hope you all had a good week--and have a fun weekend ahead of you!

I can't say this week was particularly easy around here. We had water mitigation going on from the flood--five large, very loud fans and a huge dehumidifier were running in the house 24/7. You could barely hear yourself think--let alone hold a conversation!  Falling asleep was no easy task either.

It was also my first week on my new job, and I was on deadline to get a project done (I work from my home office). Plus our youngest son is home for the last time before his deployment:  He'll be going to Afghanistan in a couple of weeks and we won't get to see him again until early December.  (He's in the Marines--it's his second deployment there.)

So as you can imagine, I've been stressed, frazzled, and a bit down all week.  But today was a beautiful day, and my front garden is exploding with color from the Azaleas. 

So I took some photos to share it with you!

Azaleas are one of the few plants that actually thrive in our garden's conditions.  We are surrounded by trees, so all of our beds get only partial sunlight.

I'm also not all that great at amending the soil, fertilizing, and doing all the things you are supposed to do.  But year after year, the Azaleas kick off spring in a very dramatic manner!

Whoever did the original landscaping for the house knew what they were doing--they planted a variety of Azaleas to bloom sequentially. 

It's usually the white bushes first, then the pinks, followed closely the coral, and the burgundy last.  However this year the weather has been so warm (and may I say--so weird), there was very little time between the blooms. 

They pretty much came out all  at once, with the exception of the burgundy bushes.  We're still waiting for them.

Most of the bushes are at the front of the house, but we also have some at the edge of the woods in the back, and along our driveway.

I love them--and the bumble bees do too!

So what are your plans for the weekend?  I hope to get these plants in some containers, maybe get the table and dresser I'm working on for Lucketts done, and definitely spending as much time with our son as he'll let us! I have a feeling though we're going to lose out to his friends who are coming home to see him this weekend. But I can't complain because we've had him to ourselves all week. We couldn't have a nice chat at home until they took those stupid fans out, but at least we've been able to see him and have him with us!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oo La La Coco!

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!  We're still working to determine the extent of the flood damage.  I've been trying to work, paint some furniture, and be around for the two-hour windows the plumber and contractor give you for when they'll arrive (hate that!).  

Anyway, on to my little "Coco" table: Around here you'll often find government-issued furniture on Craigslist or in thrift stores.  These pieces are well made, but they usually have laminate tops.  I guess the thought is since they are going to be on military bases getting who knows what kind of treatment, they want the tops to be durable.  I always stayed away from them because latex paint doesn't adhere to the laminate (even with an oil-based primer, at least in my experience), and I never wanted to even attempt to pull off the laminate.  But that was before I discovered chalk paint, which is supposed to adhere to anything.

So when I found this table on Craigslist at a very reasonable price, I decided it would be the perfect trial piece to see how chalk paint did on laminate.  It's been in my stash for awhile now, but I decided to paint it while I was doing my Lucketts pieces.

(I know there's a typo in the watermark--saw it as I was loading the photo--but I'm too tired and time-crunched to go back into Photoshop to fix it. Sorry!)

What made the table stand out for me was the detailing--the curved bottom shelf and the corbels at each corner.

First I painted it in two coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in "Coco."  This was my first time using the color, and I really like it--it's a gray/brown (none of my photos really get the color right).  It covered the laminate just fine, but the table was just a little too plain for me.  So I pulled out some white milk paint and a stencil.

I also painted a trim line on the corbels and the sides of the bottom shelf with the white. 

As you can see, I didn't worry about being precise with the trim painting.  I knew I was going to sand over it.

I wanted the stencil to look worn, like both it and the table had been around for awhile.  So I went over it and the rest of the top with a medium coarse sanding pad.  I followed that with a coat of clear wax, followed by a light touch of dark wax.  Then I went over the top again with a fine sanding pad because I liked the washed-out, worn look I had before waxing.

I did the same wax and sanding treatment on the bottom shelf, followed by a light distressing of the legs, corbels, and sides of the top and shelf. 

After letting everything set, I tried scratching the top with my fingernail, then by sliding a plate over it.  Nothing.  That paint isn't going anywhere! 

The chalk paint passed the laminate top test, and I love how the table turned out.

Oo la la!

Sharing at:

Primitive & Proper: POWW
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
My Repurposed Life: Catch as Catch Can
At the Picket Fence: Inspiration Friday
My Romantic Home: Show and Tell Friday
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday
It's Overflowing: Overflowing with Creativity
You're Talking Too Much: Meet Me Mondays
Le Chateau Des Fleurs: Monday French Obsession Party
Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
House of Grace: Twice Owned Tuesday
Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday
Type A Decorating: Anything Goes
Elizabeth & Co: Be Inspired
DIY by Design: Swing Into Spring Party
Savvy Southern Style: Wow us Wednesdays

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

I got this post up much later than I was planning, but I hope you are all enjoying the weekend, and having a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hero Kitty

I can't say today is a particularly good day.  But it would have been a much, MUCH worse day if it weren't for Mari the cat.

We call her "the fiend" because she is our certifiably psycho kitty (in her early years a vet suggested we put her on kitty Prozac!).  She jumped on my husband and woke us up around 3:30 am. Then she just sat and stared out the bedroom door. When he went downstairs to investigate, he found water coming through the ceiling in the foyer.  Turns out the upstairs bathroom was flooded--the toilet was leaking! 

He turned the water off and went to get a bucket; I grabbed towels to sop up the water on the bathroom floor, and then every pot, pan and mixing bowl we had to catch the drips.  Luckily, she woke us before the downstairs ceiling caved in! Since I had been up until around 1 am. working, we knew it hadn't been leaking for more than a couple of hours.

So today has been spent calling the insurance company, setting up appointments with the plumber and contractor, washing towels, etc. (Plus a short nap!)  Not exactly productive, but then again, it could have been a nightmare.

Mari gets some tuna tonight as a special treat.  And the wonder dogs?  The ones with the acute hearing, keen sense of smell, and instinctual protectiveness?  They pretty much slept through the whole thing. Oh, they got up to see what all the fuss was about. But once they saw it didn't involve treats or a walk, they all yawned and went back to bed. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Springing Up All Over!!

I waffle between spring and fall as my favorite season, but right about now it's spring!  The air is fresh.  The sky is cerulean blue, and spring's green shoots are sprouting up everywhere.

Around here you'll find spring both outside and--because you know I can't miss a seasonal decorating opportunity--inside!

Outside, our cherry tree is in blossom ...

The azalea buds are about to burst ...

The rhododendron buds are just starting ...

The wild dogwood are blooming in the woods ...

And the bleeding heart bush is already huge!

Inside, in addition to the spring mantel and foyer vignette I've already shown you, I've done some spring sprucing in the dining room:

On the side table I added egg cup candle holders and my put some hosta leaves in my milk glass bud vases.

I kept the dining table centerpiece simple with an egg candle wreath and a couple of daffodils in purple bottle vases.

On the other side of the room I just put another daffodil in a purple vase and a faux orchid plant (since there's not enough light there to keep my real one happy!) on the cabinet with my weather vane horse.

More flowers in the foyer -- a combo of cherry "sticks" as my husband calls them from Trader Joes (they don't look like they are ever going to actually bloom), and some clippings from our tree.

They are in one of the white art pottery vases from the '30s & '40s that I collect. 

Mostly simple touches in the living room.  Just some flowers on the coffee table, and I changed out the brown throw pillows for some green ones.

But in the corner of the living room I have my annual "Easter Tree."  I used to do a much more basic version when the boys were younger, but now I go a bit more elegant with spray painted white branches (left over from Christmas), a couple of eggs that could actually break (wouldn't chance that when they were horsing around!) and a silver urn.

This year I also added some lighted eggs inside the urn for a bit of glow.

There's a reason I'm not showing the family room or kitchen area -- there are painted pieces that are waiting for Lucketts shoved in the family room--and I'm not going to lie--the kitchen isn't exactly "spring fresh" looking at the moment!

Other than changing out the fresh flowers and taking down anything that says "Easter" after the holiday (not the bunnies though--they stay 'til the summer decor change!), this will probably be it for my spring decor.  I'd much rather be working outside than putzing around inside!

Sharing at:
French Country Cottage: Spring Link Party Blog Hop
My Romantic Home: Show & Tell Friday
You're Talking Too Much: Meet Me Monday
My Repurposed Life: Catch as Catch Can