Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Anonymous

This comment was left on a previous post regarding one of my little side tables that I'm going to redo.

"What color is the "buttery yellow" you were thinking of painting the table? I was thinking of redoing my dining room table and chairs with a darker stain on top and a creamy/yellowy color for the legs and chairs. I thought it would brighten up the space. Any ideas?? "

So here's the table in question.

What's really weird is that I've been considering doing the exact same thing to this table that the anonymous commenter is thinking of doing to her dining set!

I've mentioned Miss Mustard Seed's blog before, and I just have to put a plug in for her again here. She's my new role model. She paints and refinishes antique furniture and her work is so inspiring. She has an impeccable eye for color and her hand painted detail makes me drool. Here's a link to her photo gallery.

The reason I wanted to bring her up again is because her work is what got me thinking of painting only the base of this table and restaining the top. She does that with a lot of her pieces and it just adds a little... something to them.

While at The Home Depot the other day I grabbed a can of Rust-Oleum's "warm yellow" paint with this project in mind.
It may not end up being quite the color I want, but I bought it anyway. I like the idea of a medium-dark stained wood top with a soft yellow base. This looks like it might be a little too bright. I may just have to visit the H.D. again and see if another yellow is closer to what I'm looking for. Or not. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Goodbye, sweet bench.

The project I've been focusing on lately has been this sweet bench. Remember her? The one my friend taunted me with- I mean, brought to me the other day to redo for her?

I couldn't wait to get started, so the first thing I did was rip out the broken cane seats (easier said than done) and fill the grooves they left behind with some wood filler (again, easier said than done). The idea was to build some little upholstered seats to fill the gaping holes, but I didn't want those big empty grooves to stay. I also replaced the missing screw covers and I reglued a couple of the joints that had come apart, hence the green straps below.

See how nice and smooth I finally got that wood filler to be? Sanded down to a satin finish.

And then this happened. Grrrr. The container even says that it resists cracking and shrinking!

A coat of primer doesn't make it look much better.

Luckily, I had an epiphany. It took me a while, but I finally remembered that the whole seat section wasn't attached to the rest of the bench, so when I took it out and flipped it over, I had a lovely, smooth, ungrooved seat to paint! Yes, I wasted a lot of time with the wood filler and waiting for it to dry and then sanding it down, but that's okay. Live and learn.

Anyway, the next step was to attach some cleats for the new seats to rest on. I just cut down a 1x2 and screwed two pieces to opposite sides of each opening.

Then on to the fun part- painting! Here's the seat section with a coat of primer. You can see the cleats underneath that will give the seats something to rest on.

Next I painted the entire bench and seat, then got to work on the seat boards. I just cut two pieces of pressboard slightly smaller than the dimensions of the openings to allow some room for the fabric that would be going on them.

Once my friend had chosen and delivered her choice of fabric to me, I lost no time in finishing the bench. The last steps were to distress the paint job a tad, then upholster the pressboard with some cotton batting, Dacron and her lovely fabric.

Now, without further ado...

That striped fabric is great. It's got a slight sheen to it, which makes it look very elegant.

If I had black furniture in my house I'd have a much harder time giving this bench back to its owner. I'm loving how it turned out. Here's hoping she does, too!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Yep, that exclamation mark in the title is intentional.

I'm excited!

I just got home with some pretty new drawer knobs that I wanted to show you, but that's not the best part. I'll tell you the best part in a minute.

First, let me reacquaint you with the buffet in my dining room. It's going to be my model today.

Here are the buffet's existing knobs.
Just a hammered rubbed bronze finish that kind of blends into the wood.

And here it is with some of my pretty new knobs from Hobby Lobby. Cute, huh?

I got these lovelies when I was in Salt Lake a few weeks ago and my sister-in-law took me to Anthropologie. I'd never been before- can you believe that?! I can. That place is expensive! So I picked up these two little knobs intending to either buy more when I got home or find some other ones that would go well with them.

I really do love them, but I DO NOT LOVE their price. Eeeshck! I knew I'd need 6 for the project I'm going to do, so two was all I could splurge on. Thank goodness I waited!

Because here's the Hobby Lobby price tag. And here's the best part I mentioned- all of their pulls and knobs are 50% off right now!

When the gal rung me up and my handful of knobs came to less than $10, I almost ran back for more. In fact, I think I will be going back. The sale is good through Saturday, and I'm loving the look of my buffet with different pulls on it, so I think I may need to go find it some permanent new ones.

But until then, it's going to hold onto these for me. Now I have to show you their final destination.

You see that dresser? That poor, pretty white one underneath a pile of tables and being crowded on all sides by chairs and other pieces of furniture. That dresser?

It's going to get a HUGE makeover soon.
Here's the plan:
I'm going to paint it THE BLUE, then heavily distress it so that a lot of the existing cream paint and bare wood shows through, then it'll get a good glazing with some dark brown and then all those eclectic knobs will finish her off.

What do you think? Like it? Love it? Hate it? Don't care? I want it in my dining room, probably where the buffet is now so that it'll be a focal point.

One more exciting purchase for today. I bought this in hopes of avoiding death by Rustoleum.

I should have picked up one of these a long time ago.

So do you have a nightstand or dresser or credenza or armoire or entertainment center or buffet or console table or any other piece of furniture that has some tired old knobs or pulls on it? Do you have a Hobby Lobby nearby? GO! For literally just a few bucks you can update your furniture very, VERY quickly and easily.

You can thank me later. :)

Great blogs

I had a couple of requests for a list of the blogs I follow, but rather than link to all of them I thought I'd add some of my favorites to my sidebar. To the right you'll see links to the blogs I find most inspiring, most creative and most irresistable. These blogs are written by ladies who are so talented and offer wonderful ideas about home decor, revamping thrifty finds and basically making their homes more personal and inviting using creativity and a minimal budget.


Monday, April 26, 2010

More items to be refinished

My yard saleing luck this weekend was kind of sporadic. I drove around for 3 1/2 hours and covered lots of ground on Saturday and came home with 4 items. Seems like that ratio isn't quite right. But what I did get, I'm excited about. I'm already envisioning what these pieces will look like completed.

This oak octagonal table is kind of funky. It's really short (see the spray can in the picture for scale?), but I love the unique shape of the top and the turned base. I've been itching to paint something a buttery yellow, and I think this might just be it.

The brand underneath is a mystery. Is Monterey where it was made, or the name of the company or the guy who built it? Or maybe it's the name of this style of table?

I'm loving how chunky this table is. Look at those legs and those over sized screw covers. I'm also looking forward to finding just the right pull for the faux drawer. (Bummer that the drawer isn't real. That would've been so useful!)

A table like this always attracts my attention. It's obviously old and has a lot of detail to it.

It came with a mirror to place on the top, but I can't decide if it should stay or not. What do you think? Do you like the look of the mirrored top, or would it be best to leave it off?

This may be just the piece I've been waiting for to try some glazing. How nice would this look painted some light, airy color then glazed with a dark brown that will settle into all those lovely carvings and grooves?

On my way home I stumbled upon one more yard sale sign that I couldn't just drive past. The lady was selling her old wooden sewing caddy which is in really good condition considering it's been around since the 80's! (I didn't remember to take a picture of this until after I'd taken off the hinged lids, so it's laying on its side so the lid won't slide off- it's not attached.)

I particularly love this original knob. I'm sure the crackling happened naturally, so it's definitely staying. A friend of mine has already claimed this piece to be refinished, so I'm excited to get to work on it for her.

Finally, I want to share a little secret with my local friends. (Or maybe it's no secret and I'm just slow to find these things out.) Anyway, down in Nampa there is an Idaho Youth Ranch Bargain Center located near the intersection of Karcher and Middleton Road (2619 Sundance Blvd.). It's an interesting place. It seems to be where all the Youth Ranch thrift stores either send what doesn't sell, or where they keep things that get donated that aren't nice enough to sell in the stores. Everything is kind of thrown together in these big bins, but if you don't mind digging you can find some pretty good stuff. Here's what came home with me today.

This pair of Tommy Hilfiger tennies just needs a spin in the washing machine to be nice and white again.

I love this cute glass jar with a chunky wooden lid. The lid will get painted and I might even try some etching on the glass. It's hard to tell from the photo, but this is actually a pretty good sized jar. It would be great for storing cookies!

I also got this worn old children's book. I'm always a sucker for vintage children's literature...

... especially when it has cute illustrations like this.

I had to chuckle at some of the language in this one. It uses phrases like "by and by" and refers to cotton candy as "colored candy". Funny.
Some things have specific prices, like clothes, shoes, records and books. But everything else is- get this- sold by the pound! Crazy! So if you're down in Nampa and get a chance to stop in, you should check it out. The items above cost me a whole $3. You probably wouldn't want to make a special trip, but if you're in the area and feel like rummaging you might just find a few treasures!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why I do what I do

It's 10:37 pm. I was just surfing a few blogs that I follow and started to notice a trend with them. A lot (but not all) of them are decorating blogs, all of which are thrifty decorating blogs. They inspire me greatly. I like knowing that I'm not the only one who makes off with other people's trash, or hauls home something truly nasty intending to revive it. It's not everyone's idea of a good time, but it sure is for me.

Furniture refinishing has become a passion for me lately. I just love it. Right now, it's what I do. And I do what I do for many reasons. Probably the biggest one is the sheer satisfaction I get from taking an ugly hunk of junk that nobody else wants and turning it into something useful, beautiful and cherished.

Another big reason I do what I do is because I hate to see furniture with potential being wasted. This little guy was in somebody's garbage can before I came along and rescued it from going to the dump. What's wrong with it, I ask you?

It's certainly not the prettiest thing in the world, but why did it get thrown away?? This actually makes me a little upset. It's just so, so wasteful. Even though it hasn't been given the paint job I promised it, it's still very useful and is doing a heck of a job holding up my computer tower and printer.

This old rocking chair is a prime example of both of the above reasons I've given for my current obsession *ahem* I mean pursuit. Obviously, it's missing a few pieces. A seat is kind of an important part of a chair, wouldn't you say?

Not only was the seat missing, but it was also broken. Bless the girl's heart who sold it to me for not just throwing it out or chopping it up for fire wood.

First, the chair needed to be fixed. Wood glue and a screw- done. Then it needed a seat. Cedar fence planks, wood glue, some screws, my circular saw & jig saw- done.

A fresh coat of paint never hurts either. It looks much better just like this.

But if you throw on a custom cushion...

... the end result is unrecognizable. I was able to send this beauty to my cousin who lives across the state by way of my husband when he drove there on business this week. After he'd delivered it she wrote me the sweetest thank you and told me how well it suits her and her apartment. And that's another reason I do what I do. I like to make people happy.

The bottom line is this- I want to impress upon anyone who reads this the importance of looking twice. Try to look past what a piece is and imagine what it could be.
Does it just need a coat of paint or some new fabric?
Would tightening the screws fix that wobbly leg or loose seat?
What if I just changed the knobs or switched out the legs for new ones?
Ask yourself these kinds of questions before you write something off as junk. Because there's probably a good chance that it can be turned into something you'll just love.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Upcoming project pieces

Yesterday I did some serious thrift store shopping, then this morning the kids and I hit some yard sales. Here are my new makeover contestants:

This youth-sized rocker is just so cute. It's too small for an adult but bigger than a child-sized chair. I've never seen one quite like it.

I think it was the spindles on the back that really grabbed my attention. I love how they're staggered on that paddle-shaped seat.

I may save this one for closer to the holidays. Maybe. With some decoupaged paper on the sides, or some hand painted detail, this would be a pretty gift.

This table will be much cuter when those rails on top come off. I think they make it look a dated, and not in a good way.

Another holiday gift item probably.

Aaaand another. I'm thinking ahead! :)

This little foot stool may turn into this piano bench's twin.

I've always wanted an old weathered ladder, and today I found one for $3. The idea of leaning this against a wall in my living room and hanging quilts and cozy blankets from the rungs really appeals to me. But we'll see. I do have young children in my home who may not be able to resist climbing it.

I'm not sure what to call this. I guess it's a side table, with a TON of storage.

It's pretty fun to find furniture that has the manufacturer's stamp on it.

And a date! Not sure if that says "1963" or "1969", though.

Isn't this nightstand darling? It's wearing an unfortunate shade of brown right now, so I think just about any color to cover that up will be an improvement.

And then there's this sad, filthy outdoor bench. It needs a really good cleaning, sanding and painting, but I have high hopes that it will end up being cute again. But even if it doesn't, I won't have lost anything because I didn't spend a penny on it!
Yep, it was free.
As I was making my way out of a neighborhood after an unsucessful stop at a yard sale, I spied some big piles of trash sitting on the curb. This heavy blue thing was sitting between a TV and a broken baby toy. I knocked on the door to the house it was closest to, asked if it was theirs and if they'd mind if I took it. She seemed happy to let me have it and even sent her husband outside to help me load it into my car. The moral of this story: Don't be timid! If it's on the sidewalk on trash day- grab it! You might be saving something worthwhile from the dump.

Last of all, this will be my project for this weekend. Unfortunately though, it's not mine. *tear*

My friend got it for a steal at a thrift store the other day and brought it by my house to see what could be done for it. The joints are loose, the seat isn't secured, the caning is broken and the finish has seen better days.

But we have a plan. Oh yes, there is a plan for this lovely bench. I'm so excited to work on this thing, and even more excited to share with you the final product!