Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mid-Century Dresser Makeover

This mid-century dresser makeover has got to be one of the favorite projects I've done. Unfortunately the photos do not do it justice. 
I snapped some quick shots when I first took the dresser out to the shop, but since it was pretty busy that day I just hurried and replaced merchandise and planned to take some more photos later.
I quite was disappointed that I didn't get the chance.  Well, kind-of disappointed. 
Oh, who am I kidding?  The very day I was going out to take some better pictures I got a phone call that the dresser had sold and I needed to bring out another piece!
It sold in three days!  And I'm sorry folks, but a sale trumps a blog post any day!!
So here's the story of the make-over of my record-breaking selling dresser--and the first dresser to sell out of my new space.
I found it at Goodwill for $60 and it was in what I thought was comparably great shape.  Some veneer was chipped, some water stains, but nothing big. 
It's a good size, heavy dresser with dovetail drawers.
The top drawer has built in dividers. And I loved the drawer pulls.
However, as they were loading it into my car for me I noticed a major flaw.  A dog had chewed a big piece off of the bottom of the dresser by the back leg.
I forget to take a photo before I started to do the repair, but you can get the idea here:

I had never dealt with a fix like like this, and wasn't sure what to do.  Because it was such a large divot, I decided to use Plastic Wood for the first time because it is stronger than wood filler and you can mold it.  Warning:  Use this in a well-ventilated area. 
I had to build up several layers, and I tried to mold it to the existing design.  As you can see, that didn't work too well the first go-round.
I ended up sanding most of it down and starting over again.  But now that I know more of what I'm doing, if I took more time, I think I could do a much better job matching up to what was there. And it did do a great job of filling in the hole, which was significant.
The veneer was missing in places on the top, but I didn't want to bother with chipping off the entire top piece. So I just filled in those areas with wood putty and glued down any loose pieces.
I then sanded everything down so the top was smooth and even and I could make sure everything was permanently adhering.
I painted the base and top of the dresser in ASCP French Linen.  I painted three coats on the top, then waxed the entire piece with  ASCP clear wax.  I took a lot of time with the waxing on this piece. The finish was so smooth and lustrous looking on the top--which is one of the reasons I wish I had better photos!
The fix on the hole at the bottom turned out okay, not great. Luckily it's not noticeable because it is at the bottom and at the back.  Most people don't squat down and take close-ups of the bottom backs of their dressers. But I priced it accordingly anyway.

On the drawers I used ASCP Paris Grey.  When I waxed the drawers, for some reason the wax gave them a bit of a washed effect, (which unfortunately you can't see in aforementioned crummy photos!) which I actually loved.  Then I distressed the entire piece, going a bit heavier on the edges of the drawers.

When the outside was finished I painted the bottom of the inside of the drawers in French Linen to give them a fresh, clean look.  The final touch was putting the cool original drawer pulls back on.

And that's my record-breaking selling dresser.  It's a great transitional piece. I really did love it, and was thinking I should keep it and put it in my son's room since the colors match the new bedding I bought for the room exactly. 
Oh well!
Sharing at:
Primitive & Proper: POW
Domestically Speaking: Power of Paint
Elizabeth & Co.: Be Inspired Tuesday
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday
Redoux: Link Party
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
No Minimalist Here: Open House Party
My 1929 Charmer: Sunday's Best Party
Elizabeth & Co: Be Inspired


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Table Setting, Lesson Learned & Yippee!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
First of all I want to say thank-you to those of you who left such nice comments on my last post about our son coming back from Afghanistan.  If you didn't get a personal reply it's because you are a "no-reply" commenter (please consider changing that!).
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Our son is healthy and happy to be home.  Unfortunately we didn't get to spend much time with him other than Thanksgiving Dinner because his girlfriend and friends monopolized all his attention.  Funny how that happens!  :-)  But he gets to come home next weekend so we'll have more time with him then.
I thought I'd show you some photos of our Thanksgiving table setting.  There were just six adults at the dining table this year.
I kept the table setting pretty simple, with just a runner and placemats ...


Flowers and pinecones for a centerpiece ...

Silverware wrapped in raffia and paper leaves as place cards.

The napkins were too floppy to put in the wine glasses, but oh well!

I brought the console table I showed you here home from Mr. P's Emporium to use as a dessert buffet table because our buffet that is usually in the dining room still isn't fixed from the movers breaking it when we had the floors refinished.  (Yes, it's been almost four months!) 

They told me it was done and delivered it last week, but upon  unwrapping it was obvious no one had done a thing to it.  I didn't say a word--the delivery guys just looked at it, wrapped it up again and said "we'll take care of it."  Hopefully that's a promise! (If you live in the DC area I will give you the name of a renovation company not to use!)

Anyway I decided I like the "Paris" console table in the room, and wanted to keep it, but my plans were thwarted. More on that in a minute.
On to lessons learned.
Now I will be the first to admit I am not the world's best housekeeper.  And between not feeling great with one thing and another for a few weeks, and making holiday ornaments, etc. for Mr. P's, the house was in bad shape and needed a lot of work to get ready for Thanksgiving and guests. 

Phone photo from Mr. P's, but I needed something to illustrate!

It was dusty. Doggy hair bunnies were floating around.  Glitter and bits of paper abounded in the dining room where I was making the ornaments.  And the kitchen had stacks of bins filled with merchandise for Mr. P's because I was washing, pricing, and packing it in there.

And another one.

On top of all that, my son had left his room a pit.  Dirty clothes were strewn around the floor along with dishes, etc.  Now I know I've had 8-months to clean his room.  But at first my attitude was he could dang well clean his own room since he's the one who left it in that condition.
But then I was thinking:  How could I let that room be his homecoming after he's spent 8-months in Afghanistan -- for the second time?  I couldn't.
So between the loads and loads of laundry and the rambunctious doggy hair bunnies, something had to give house-cleaning-wise. I was under the wire and we had to leave to drive down to North Carolina to pick him up. 
So that something was the master bedroom.  I was planning on shutting the dogs in there and there was no reason for anyone to go up there anyway.

(Otherwise during dinner Angel the golden retriever would be under the table putting her head on people's feet in the hopes that they would pass her some turkey and I wouldn't notice; Pepper the chihuahua mix would be dancing around the table on his back legs hoping that he would be so entertaining I wouldn't send him away, and that the guests would yell "Bravo" and throw him some dressing; and Mosby the lab mix would be dropping his slobbery ball in people's laps hoping someone would throw it for him.)

On Thanksgiving Day I was rushing.  I didn't even make our bed.  And the room wasn't just messy.  It was MESSY.
Obviously not my bedroom, but I'd like it to be!
I was planning on shampooing the carpet in there, so the carpet steamer was waiting for me.  Cardboard boxes from when I got my new computer were also waiting for me to put them in the recycling bins.  Stacks of paper were waiting to be filed in my office, which is off of the bedroom.  The vanity in the master bath was covered in pill and product bottles, along with the cleaning products I'd brought up but were waiting for me to use them.  And maybe most embarrassing, my snuggly "sleeping socks" (hey--my feet get cold!) were on the bedside table along with a stack of Twilight books.
You get the picture.  But  nobody was going to see it anyway, right?
In my dreams.  Come on --I have a messy husband, three dogs and three cats!
As I was tossing the salad and doing the last minute prep for dinner, I realized that only my husband and one other person was downstairs.  "Where is everyone?"  I asked my husband.  "Oh Sophie," (the 3-year-old) "wanted to see the dogs so everyone went up to the bedroom."
So my lesson for today boys and girls:  If you're having company over and there's one place in your house that you'd be embarrassed for them to see -- count on the fact that everyone will congregate there!
And the console table?  That's my "yippee!" moment.  The day after Thanksgiving I got a call from the antique mall telling me I needed to bring out another piece of furniture because one of my dressers had sold.  The "Paris" table is now back at Mr. P's, and I'm doing a post on a "before-and-after" of the sold dresser this week.
My first sold dresser from the new space!  Yippee!!

Have a great week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Tidings

We have much to be grateful about this Thanksgiving.

And although I'm having a mini pre-Thanksgiving breakdown I'm remembering that!
Tomorrow we will be driving down to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC to meet our son who is coming back to the U.S. from his last deployment in Afghanistan.

We'll also be meeting his girlfriend for the first time "in person."  (We've met her via Skype and I've got to know her a bit through email.) 
She'll be flying in from California where she goes to college for his arrival, then we're all driving back home on Wednesday.

It's  seven-hour drive from here to Camp Lejeune, and he arrives at 7AM on Wednesday, so we have to leave tomorrow, spend the night in Jacksonville, and drive back home on Wednesday.

We have guests coming for Thanksgiving dinner.  And although I've been cleaning for the last two days, I'm not quite done, and I still have to go grocery shopping.

So like I said ... I'm a bit panicking a bit.
But it's worth it to be there when he arrives!

I hope you get to spend Thanksgiving with all of your loved ones.

Have a wonderful holiday!

- Deborah

(P.S. These are all scans of actual vintage Thanksgiving cards I've found.  Some are blank -- but I love reading the ones with messages from back in the day.  I'm such a snoop!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Crafts (And Hives & Steven Tyler ...)

Last week, I was stuck home with hives from an allergic reaction.  I was stuck at home because, a) the antihistamines made me too drowsy to feel like I was safe on the road, and b) the itching made it unacceptable for me to be out in polite society anyway: Someone might catch me scratching a totally embarrassing body part because I just couldn't stand it any more, or my twitching and crazed look from not scratching would make mothers clutch their small children to them and back slowly away from me before running for their lives.

Since I was stuck at home, I decided it was the perfect time to make some holiday crafts.  So there I was, making Christmas ornaments and--because I like to listen to books on CD when I'm doing projects--listening to Steven Tyler of Aerosmith's autobiography Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?  (Speaking of twitching and crazed looks.) 

Now crafts and Steven Tyler may seem incongruous, but actually not.  Steven's a creative guy.  I'm sure he's done a craft or two in his day.  Probably during one of his stints in rehab.

Anyway, as I'm making the ornaments and listening to the book it dawned on me that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I've never made any Thanksgiving crafts.  So right then and there I decided to throw some into the mix. 

That's just the kind of impetuous and wild gal I am!

First I made a couple of hangers using scans of some vintage postcards I was planning to sell at Mr. P's Emporium. 

These can go on doors or hooks or wherever your little heart desires.

Then I made them into Thanksgiving cards.

Once I was able to be out in public again I took them out to Mr. P's where I created a little Thanksgiving display.

A "Thanks" banner and the vintage postcards on an old frame.

A turkey basket with the cards and a little sign.

A glass turkey platter.

A "Give Thanks" pillow.

And some prime vintage turkey planters or bowls or candy dishes or vases or whatever you can come up with to use these guys for.  (They were originally made for flowers and plants.)

Now Mr. P's is ready for Thanksgiving.  I'm totally recovered.  And I know more about Steven Tyler than I ever knew I needed to know.

Life is good.

Sharing at:

No Minimalist Here: Open House Party
From My Front Porch to Yours: Treasure Hunt Thursday
The Brambleberry Cottage: Time Travel Thursday

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Auction this Saturday

Well, I've got to say it's been an eventful week so far.

It started out with another trip to the emergency room.  This makes two trips in two months -- I hope it isn't going to become a habit! 

This time it was for an allergic reaction, and other than being freaked out at first by being covered in hives, it turned out to be nothing too serious.  I've been a little drowsy from the antihistamines I've been having to take, so that's given me the perfect excuse to stay at home and work on some Thanksgiving  and Christmas craft items for Mr. P's.  (I'll show you the Thanksgiving items I've been working on soon.)

Then of course there was the presidential election -- but the big news of the week is I finally made my first furniture sale at the shop!  :-)

So, next on the agenda is the auction this weekend.

The Leesburg Court of Shoppes, Mr. P's Emporium's current home, is having their first auction this Saturday in the barn behind the antique mall.  The staff has been working for weeks cleaning and renovating the barn to get it ready. 

I'm just putting in a few items this time since I haven't been open very long and I've never participated in an auction.

I'll have this cute little coastal chic demilune table.

This end table that I recently did in ASCP French Linen.

And this project chair (sturdy, at no reserve) that's been sitting in my garage for way too long waiting for me to get around to giving it the TLC in deserves.  It may look a bit sad now, but there's a beautiful chair in there just waiting for someone to give it a second chance!

I need some love!

I may only have a couple of things in the auction, but there are tons of items from the other vendors in the mall, plus $1,000 in gift certificates to the Leesburg Court of Shoppes will be given away during the event!!   You can see more photos and get more details here.

The preview starts at 8 a.m., and the auction starts at 10 a.m.  The Leesburg Court of Shoppes is located at 19487 James Monroe Hwy in Leesburg.  It's just 1.5 miles north of Oatlands Plantation and 4 miles south of downtown Leesburg on Rt. 15 South.

So if you're in the Northern Virginia area, I hope you'll stop by and say hi!  I'll be there -- hopefully hive-free!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

You Meet the Most Interesting People ...

One of the things I love about Craigslist and thrift shops is the people you meet -- literally and figuratively. This painting led me down a road to "meet" a true character.

Those aren't marks or stains in the painting background  --
I apologize that I haven't learned how to take a photo of artwork without a reflection!

I found it at a Goodwill for $7.96.  It's a watercolor, and I think ink, of a street scene in front of old towers in Prague.  I picked it up because it was mid-century in it's original frame and original bark cloth matting ...

and it had the original label from the artist's shop on the back.

It says "Hand Painted," but there is also a number.  I don't know if that means it's a print, or if that's an inventory number.

I loved the red accents and the detailing like the man with the ascot and the mother leaning over to talk to the child.

I had never heard of Fred Roner at the time.

Then last week I saw this painting on One Kings Lane.

I don't know if you know about One Kings Lane, but they sell designer's picks, home accessories, and vintage goods. 

As an aside and FYI, their prices on their vintage goods are typically high.  For example, I just sold this hammered aluminum ice bucket made in Italy.


I sold it for $29, which I had researched was about the typical price for the piece. I was feeling pretty good about it since I had picked it up at Goodwill for $3.96.  A few days ago the same bucket was on One Kings Lane with an original price of $140 or something, and a sale price of $59 -- and it sold! 

I was feeling really stupid, thinking maybe I had missed something, so I double-checked everything.  Sure enough it was by the same manufacturer, in the same condition, and selling on Ebay and Etsy for around the same price as I sold it for.
($3.96 people!!!! This is why I advocate for thrift shopping!! It's so exciting to find these deals!)

But if their dealers can get those prices, I say more power to them! I do find them a good resource for learning what things are and what is selling; they have beautiful things, and their prices on their new items can be pretty good.

So anyway, I digress.  (I just get so carried away when it comes to finding bargains!) 

Back to my story.  Like I said, they're a good resource.  This was an oil painting by Fred Roner.  It had an original price of $3,250, and a One Kings Lane sale price of $1,649.

As you can imagine, that got my attention! I thought it might be the same guy who painted the piece I had found -- checked, and sure enough it was 'ole Fred! 

So I decided to do some research. And I'm telling you, Fred lived an interesting life!

He started painting as a school boy in Vienna, and he eventually became what he called a "Four P Artist:" Painting pictures -- and picking pockets!

He was in business manufacturing shirts in Vienna when he started doing magic shows as a sideline.  Just a guess, but I'd think shirt manufacturing would be pretty dull, especially for a creative guy like Fred.

The competition among professional magicians was tough, so he decided to learn a cool trick where he made a card disappear and reappear in the wallet of a innocent bystander.  But to do it, he had to learn how to pick the pocket of the bystander.

So where do you learn how to pickpocket?  At pickpocket school, of course! 

Off he went to a school of professional pick pockets in Warsaw Poland.  The school was run by former criminals who now taught "the fine art of filching."

He learned the trade, but once back in Vienna in 1938 he saw the city police wearing arm bands with the Nazi swastika. Fred figured it was time to get out of the country. 

He and his wife fled to the Yugoslavian border, then made their way to Belgium with Maurice Chevalier by pretending they had an engagement in the country.  They eventually made it to the U.S. via Paris and London.

Sadly, although Fred was able to get some close family members to the United States once he was here, 17 relatives vanished during the war.

Fred took his magic act to Vaudeville and made quite a name for himself.  Soon he was playing all the top night club and stage venues in New York and across the country -- billed as "The World's Greatest Pickpocket."

Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle, 1947

And Fred not only entertained audiences with his skill, he also helped police across the country solve pickpocket crimes.

All along, Fred continued painting, and eventually opened his store in Greenwich Village in New York City.  Soon he was garnering fame as a painter, as well as a magician. 

Reading, PA Reading Eagle, 1957

So now I have a Fred Roner watercolor or numbered print. 


Despite my research, I still don't know its worth.  But it doesn't matter because I'm thinking I may just keep it.


Even though it doesn't really go with my decor, it's a small connection to an amazing man.

A Four P Artist.

Sharing at:
My Romantic Home: Show & Tell Fridays
The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday
No Minimalist Here: Open House Party

If you live in Northern VA, check out Mr. P's Emporium's Facebook page for a deal I have going this weekend.  And as always, if you haven't liked Mr. P's  Facebook page, I'd not only like it -- I'd love it if you did!

Update: fixed Facebook link!