Monday, February 28, 2011

Learn From My Mistakes: Part 1 of 277987082349

Hmmmm...this could be the beginning of a VERY long series!!

Since most of you are interested in the same things as me, and you probably have at least one piece of furniture you would like to re-finish in the near future, I thought I would share with you what I have learned. By "learned", I really mean "found out the hard way". And by "found out the hard way", I really mean, "most painfully"!!

Remember my new Love, this bowed front chest...

Notice it's reddish/pink tint??? It's just BEE-UTIFUL isn't it...

***insert horrifying scream***

My beautiful dresser has acne!!! This is the result of the cherry stain bleeding through not one, but three coats of primer.

P.S. That reddish/pink tint is no longer BEE-UTIFUL to me!! At least not right now it isn't!! :(

So, what is the lesson to be learned here you ask???

There are a few actually.

Lesson 1: If you have a piece with a dark stain (wood or veneer), especially a dark red stain, use OIL BASED PRIMER!!!

I knew this! Did I listen? No.

I was being cheap. You see, I didn't have oil based primer, I had water based, so I used what I had.

It wouldn't be a big deal if you could take an oil based product and just put it on top of any water based product...but you can't. You would have to strip all the water based products off of the entire piece before you can put on any oil based products.

In my attempts to stop this pink from bleeding through, I not only did one coat of water based primer, I did two. Then I did three coats of the actual paint. Imagine stripping all of that off!! Grrr.

Then I attempted another coat of one of thee BEST water based primers out there! That pink still came right through!!

Can you sense my frustration??

Lesson 2: When you are sanding the piece in the very beginning (roughing it up so that the primer has a good surface to adhere to) DON'T sand so much that you get yourself down to the stain. You want to stay on top of the clear coat. The clear coat is what will help stop that stain from bleeding through.

Let me tell you what I did.

I sanded like there was no tomorrow! I put some major elbow grease into that piece! About an hour of my time too. I was quite proud of myself!

Lesson 3: If you notice the stain is bleeding through the first coat of primer...STOP! Don't keep going like something is suddenly going to change. Stop. Go to the hardware/paint store and show the expert behind the counter what is happening and ask them what to do before you proceed. It will save you time and money!

Lesson 4: Purchase a few shares of your favorite paint company, such as KILZ or Zinsser. After all, you alone will be increasing the value of said shares :)

Soooo, that is what I have learned from this fabulous $30 dresser that has now cost about $60. A set back for now, but a few valuable lessons learned for the future.

My resolution to this issue, after speaking to the expert at Lowes, is to sand AGAIN, and try a Shellac based primer or BIN. We'll see how that goes. Wish me luck!!!

I hope your weekend was way more productive than mine!!! I also hope that these lessons will be of value to you in the future :)


P.S. "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

Albert Einstein knows how I feel.

Read more:

Friday, February 25, 2011


Hooray that it's Friday!!

Double Hooray that I won an AWESOME give away!!!

Last week I entered Krystal's give away over at Village, and I totally didn't expect to win. I enter give aways ALL THE TIME and this is my first win!!! It only took a year :)

I received an email from Krystal letting me know that I had won these....

....completely fabulous earrings, and it totally made my day!! No wait. It totally made my week!! Thank you Krystal!!

Let me tell you, I had a HORRIBLE week!!! As you may have noticed, I was MIA, thanks to the stomach flu! YUCK!!! I still don't feel 100%, but I'm getting there.

Anywhoooo, enough about me and my disgusting week, I have to tell you more about these earrings. They are from the fabulous designer Sarah over at Noble Town Vintage, a super cool Etsy shop with jewelry made from vintage brass findings and raw gem stones. Make sure you go check it out!

I would also love to snatch these babies up:

These pieces can be dressy or casual. They have a cool rawness to them and you know how I just swoon over vintage findings!!! What more can a girl ask for?!? Well, besides the ability to eat solids.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and make sure to check out Krystal's fabulous blog and stop on by Noble Town Vintage.

Thanks again Krystal!!! I can't wait to strut these puppies out and about somewhere!


Noble Town Vintage

Monday, February 21, 2011

Living with What you Love Part 4

Happy Monday everyone!

I guess this is another part to my series about living with what you love. I hadn't even realized that I had started a series that would continue like it has!

I thought I would give you all a sort of sneak peek into my front living and dining room project by sharing one of my significant items of meaning.

The butterfly.

I was never a butterfly person....and then my daughter came along. She has a way of changing the way I see things :)

I love how the butterfly is symbolic of transfiguration. It starts as the caterpillar, with it's incessant crawling and chewing, similar to our own normal earthly lives, where we are often wholly preoccupied with our physical needs.

Then the chrysalis or cocoon, which to me, resembles the transfiguration of Jesus from His earthly being, to His heavenly being. The empty cocoon, thereby resembling the empty shroud left behind by Jesus in the tomb. It represents a resurrection into a new life that is free of earthly concerns.

The butterflies frailty also resembles human frailty, both moral and physical.

In the Canadian Pacific Northwest, the Haida, depict the Butterfly as the companion to Raven the creator-trickster, which acknowledges the unpredictable and unreliable nature of "flights of fancy" and dreaming. I can totally relate to that!!

When decorating my daughter's nursery I came across four hand embroidered butterflies that my great grandmother, Mamie, had made. I put them up on my daughter's inspiration board in her room. These four butterflies are the only things that I have that she hand made. As Bailey got older she asked to touch them and play with them. I reluctantly took one down and let her play with it, and thankfully it has remained in good condition.

There are many references to butterflies in Greek mythology. In ancient Greek the word for butterfly is "psyche", which translates to mean "soul". The ancient Greeks considered butterflies to be the souls of those who had passed away. Is it a coincidence that the only objects I have that were made by my great grandmother are butterflies??? I think not.

At least two will have to remain in her room and I have yet to decide what I will do with the other two.

My daughter's favorite book is a Fancy Nancy book titled, Bonjour Butterfly! We read it nearly every day and we always make sure to say "Bonjour!!" when we see butterflies!! I will always associate butterflies with my daughter and the time we spend together reading. With that in mind, how can decorating with butterflies ever go stale??

Vintage butterfly prints that I picked up at a flea market for $5.

Not that I'm going butterfly crazy...but they will be making an appearance :)

I hope to stop by all of your fabulous blogs this week for my weekly dose of inspiration!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Almost There!!!

The chair is almost there!

The owner of the upholstery shop, Jerry, and his wife, Lee, are incredibly sweet people...they helped me with my chair for over 3 hours yesterday!!! I seriously owe them!

I am really starting to understand this process and just how tedious it can be. I wish I had more photos to show you more of the transformation process, but I forgot my camera!!!

It's really hard to explain what to do. I'm hoping I can explain more with the Victorian bench project that is coming up. I will be on my own for that one so I can really take my time.

Certain areas of this chair were very tricky. Mainly because I am choosing to keep the back open. With the back open, you have to keep all of your seams nice and clean:

This is the back side of the chair where the back meets the seat. The fabric had to be pushed through from the front and wrapped around the edges ever so neatly.

NOT easy! and OUCH!! You'll soon realize if you missed the chair with some of the staples when you stick your fingers in between the seat and the back!!!

Blood + white chair = not a good mix!!

There is still much work to be done. I'll be putting the final layer of fabric on by myself!!! I'm nervous! Especially since I will be attaching it with nail head trim and my seams will have to be perfect. If I were putting a fabric backing on the chair, it would cover any imperfections. Wish me luck!

This is the front corners of the seat. Where a nice pleat has to be formed. This wasn't all that difficult, but still NOT easy!

I am also thinking that I will need to do some sort of skirt....Lord! What have I gotten myself into?!??

This is gonna take some time, so hold tight my lovelies :)

I'm hoping to have this chair done by spring! How many weeks is that???

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Hellllloooo....

aren't you a fine little dresser just waiting to come home with me??

That's right. I talk to furniture.

Sometimes it takes a little sweet talk to get a purty little dresser out of the junk pile.

In case you hadn't guessed, I went pickin again last weekend!

The flea market that I hit up once a month was a bit of a bust, but I had some luck at the Community Thrift!

I found this bow front chest buried under a pile of clothes in the back of the store! She cost me a whopping $30!!!

As you can probably tell, she needs lots of love!! She's a beautiful piece from 1952, and has taken some abuse over the years.

But...she came with a drawer filled with candy wrappers, opened suckers, and granola bars! I think it was her way of saying "Happy Valentines Day!!"

Notice her hardware that has a beautiful patina? Patina = Smitten :)

Here are my inspirational images:

From an Ebay Ad

Since her veneer is pretty much shot, she will be a beautifully painted piece by the time I'm done with her.

via Apartment Therapy

I'm guessing she will live in my bedroom when she's all done. I'm excited to have found her because I have been wanting something for our room.

I estimate her total cost to be somewhere around $70 by the time I'm finished with her. Not bad, eh?

Some of you have asked for tutorials on how I re-finish furniture, so I will try to capture the process and share it with you.

Have you found any treasures lately?


Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Couldn't Resist!!

I realized I had the letters to spell out L-O-V-E and couldn't resist popping them into the panes of the door we just hung up! I'm normally not a Valentine decorator, but for the sake of my daughter and for a lovely pop of pink, I just had to do it :)

I had to do something for my littlest valentine before she ran away to a warmer climate!!

I think she is trying to tell us might be vacation time!!! Well, not really, but we are planning a mini vacation to Lake Geneva. We'll take what we can get!

P.S. Don't miss the supervisor in the background! He's always keeping an eye on the little Miss ;)

Hope you have a fabulous Valentines Day! I know all of you beautiful followers make each day a little sweeter for me!


Monday, February 7, 2011

For My Love of Windows!

I am starting from scratch in our front living/dining room. I really needed a blank canvas for this room, so I emptied it out and re-painted. The paint color is even called "canvas white"! How appropriate!

It's an elegant white that has a slight hint of yellow and feels a bit warmer than a typical white.

I have almost finished Layer One of this re-do and thought I would share with you what my hubby and I worked on this weekend.

I decided it was time for my collection of antique windows to come out of the basement! I have always loved old windows and I have always wanted a house that had windows with so much character. Turns out we don't have that house with those special windows, so I gave them to myself in another way. I'm quite happy with them! I also love how they reflect the lights of the chandeliers and throw a bit more sparkle back into the room.

My ridiculously sweet hubby, spent his entire Sunday hanging this window composition for me, and then tackled the project of hanging the last of our special "honeymoon doors" on the adjacent wall.

In case you are wondering what a "honeymoon door" is, it's one of our special doors that we purchased on our honeymoon in Saugatuck Michigan. I had no clue what I do with these doors at the time. I just knew I had to have them! You can read the previous post about what I did with the other "honeymoon" door here.

How did my husband work AND watch the Super Bowl you ask??
Well, there were no Super Bowl festivities at our house on Sunday...(GASP!)...we just aren't "sports" people. This is especially sinful seeing as how we live in Wisconsin!!! Sorry Packer fans. We are glad they won though :)

I hope this has provided some inspiration for my fellow antique window and door lovers!! If you would like details on how we hung these just let me know via an email or with a comment. I'd be glad to help :)

I will share more ideas as the room receives it's final layers. Can't wait!

Hope you're all having a fabulous week!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Lady and The Scamp

I have ALWAYS been addicted to magazines... any kind of magazine...since I can remember. Back in the 90's when I was in high-school, my friend Jess and I would hang out in my room looking at magazines for hours. I would cut "cool" images out of these magazines and plaster them all over my notebooks. Typical. I know.

I still have some notebooks from this fabulous time in my life and on the back of one of these notebooks was an article titled The Lady and The Scamp. I have no idea who wrote it, as I failed to write that part down. I guess it wasn't all that important to me at the time. I copied it down in pencil on the back of this one notebook and after all the ware and tear over the years, I can just barely read it.

It is quite fabulous:

They lurk there within the soul of every woman. The lady and the scamp. Their duality is absolutely essential. It doesn't take money or a title to be a lady. Rather, the lady is a woman who possess refined taste and manners ~ not to mention an exceedingly good wardrobe. Think Alfre Woodard, Jackie Kennedy, and Audrey Hepburn. The scamp on the other hand, is a woman with an independent manner and a taste for mischief ~ not to mention a closet packed with trendier wear. Think Wynona Ryder, Tina Turner, or Pamela Anderson. The scamp runs the risk of being considered something that starts with a "T" and rhymes with "scamp". Let the two out to play and you'll keep everyone guessing for years to come.

I still love the article and now I can relate it to decor. If our clothing tells a story about us, then our bedrooms really do too.

Can you tell if a "lady" is inhabiting these bedrooms or a "lady" who has harnessed her inner "scamp"?? Nothing wrong with either, after all, both the lady and the scamp live within us all.

What's your guess?

A stylish "lady" ??

via decorpad

~ or ~ a woman who has harnessed her inner "scamp":

This should be interesting ;)

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Update:The Fabulous Ten Dollar Find

Remember all of my posts about this fabulous chair that I found at the GoodWill for $10? You can read them HERE.

My upholstery lessons have started....thanks to my new friend Jerry, the owner of Luckason Upholstery, who has been kind enough to take time out of his day to show me a thing or two about upholstery.

Jerry has been doing this since 1978, so I am certainly learning from a master of the trade. You should see how fast he can go with his staple gun! Now I see why it's entirely likely that at some point in this process you sill staple right through your fingers!

I will attempt to give you all a tutorial, as it's a hard process to explain. Especially since I am a person who learns by doing...

1. It all begins when you start ripping your project apart. It takes serious muscle to do this part!! I need to start lifting weights!!

This step can take the most time. Would you believe it practically takes more time to tear apart your project than it does to put it back together?

This is what the fabulous chair looks like all torn apart. Would you have suspected that her bones look like that? Sort of strange isn't it?

Notice ALL those staples?? There was probably 900!

ALL of those have to come out! Normally, they could probably stay, as long as they aren't poking out, because they will be covered back up, but I can't leave most of those because of my plans for the chair. So pick them out I did!!

2. So...step 2 involves some time picking out staples. You wanna get your project all cleaned up and ready for it's new life.

This is what I learned.....when you get that quote from your upholstery guy and you get the cold sweats and want to throw up a little...consider the fact that he/she will probably spend hours tearing apart your project and then probably injure himself/herself while removing all the staples. It's rough work people!

3. Now it's time to evaluate the structure since you can see it and feel it out a little better. The structure is usually composed of a few layers. Each situation is different, so I will use the fabulous chair as my example. The fabulous chair is a little "old school" if you know what I'm saying.

The layers go:
1. wood structure
2. burlap straps
3. a layer of burlap to cover the straps
4. cotton batting that covers the entire surface and provides your cushion. You could also use foam cut to the same shape.
5. a layer of lining over the batting (not always necessary but good for long term wear)
6. The final layer of fabric

In this instance, the fabulous chair had loose burlap straps, so I had to detach one end of each strap in order to tighten them back up. Once they were all tightened up it was time to put a new burlap cover over the straps. This is just a layer of burlap that goes on top of the straps. It keeps the cotton batting from falling through the straps.

The seat was also lacking in cushion, so Jerry helped me put on a new layer of thin foam.

4. Once you have the structure nice and sturdy and you have all the cushion you want, you can staple it all into place.

When you staple the batting, a dimple will form. You don't want to see that dimple once you put your fabric on, so the trick here is to rub the batting and rough it up a little, so it fluffs up over the dimple mark. The fluff will fill in that dimple. This is one of those PRICELESS tips! I wouldn't have known to do this step. I would have put my fabric on top and gotten frustrated when I realized the dimple was showing.

5. Next is measuring your lining and fabric and getting it ready to be put on. I'll cover that in the next post. I hope to have more pictures then too. This is a good start for now ;)

Here is the design by Dan Marty that has inspired me to do this chair.

Notice the open backs.

To most people this would be strange. Most people wouldn't want a chair that looks like this.

I'm guessing that like me, Dan has an appreciation for the structure underneath it all, and he appreciates the art of upholstery. Once you tear apart a chair and you see it's bones, you appreciate what is underneath, and you can see that in it's own way, it is beautiful.

I don't want to cover it all back up. There is something intriguing about the wood frame and burlap straps to me.

The contrast of the crisp, beautiful fabric, against the raw, rustic, and industrial look of the burlap straps, is strikingly beautiful to me!

I can't wait to learn more and to share with you the upholstery process!

While it's much easier said than done, if you are intrigued by this process, I say tear something apart and just give it a shot! Just don't stab yourself with the staple remover!!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Update: Fabulous Kent Coffey Piece

Remember my fabulous $30 find for my client, Little Miss Emely?

She's practically finished!! All that is left is touching up the gold paint a bit and adding a piece of the original hardware behind the knobs. These round flower-y pieces to be exact...

I need longer screws in order to make that happen. I would jump right in the car and go get those, but there is a blizzard happening right about now. By Thursday we could have 20" of snow!!! Too bad Menards doesn't deliver!

Here is your sneak peak:

Total cost: $109.08 including 3 hours of my labor.

We stuck within our budget of $110 for the nightstand and in the end we have a fabulous, one of a kind, quality piece.

The entire piece is solid wood, the drawers have dovetail joints, and each drawer cavity is actually separate from the others. This is an added step that most manufacturers leave out to save on costs. While it's not a crucial detail, it's a nice feature, as it keeps items from falling behind the drawers and getting stuck behind the other drawers. The quality is in the details ;)

What more could a fabulous girl ask for?? Well, besides having it completely finished of course! As soon as this blizzard buzzes off.

Are you getting snowed in??

Have a fabulous day!