a wormy chestnut shutter cabinet

4.03.2017

I'm sometimes on the sly, lightly listening for gift ideas when talking to friends and family. My MIL gave me the perfect idea as we walked into the hobby store one day after she spotted a shutter cabinet she said she'd like.

They have an old farm house and 100+ year old farmhouse shutters just waiting to be made into something beautiful. I took four and made them into a room divider screen and my FIL made the same. Both are yet waiting to be painted (it's quite a job!) but somehow I convinced him to help me make her a shutter cabinet as a Christmas surprise from all of us.

The idea in my head was something like this.

What actually came out was simpler, but it ended up being just right. He actually made it all ... and I painted the shutters. BUT, I have to say, it was my idea, so I can take the credit for that, right? He just gets the credit for all the hard work. ;-) Either way, it was an idea and labor of love. He had the original hinges sandblasted (they look brand new - amazing) and had some rare wormy chestnut boards planed, joined, and sanded to make the cabinet body. The boards were originally wide baseboards in the farmhouse!! SO cool to reuse and reclaim to make something beautiful.

And here is the final piece. The first pictures show the original color shutters (old green) and the cabinet as she saw it on Christmas morning. We wanted to surprise her but we also wanted her to pick the color - so we didn't paint them until after we gave it to her.




And after painting! She picked the prettiest color - the pictures don't do it justice. It's a greige (Rustoleum's chalk paint color - Pebble) and absolute perfection. You can see the dings and imperfections in the antique shutters - no sanding these, just a fresh coat of paint. They aren't supposed to look perfect and new. My FIL oiled the wood for a natural finish and voila!

An in-kitchen reclaimed shutter cabinet pantry.







More furniture transformations! (and the booth currently)

3.29.2017

I found this night stand at the thrift store for $10. I usually like to find the projects that are a lot of work for free so I can just chuck them if they get to be too much work. But, since I paid for this one I kept going. It. was. a. mess. There was a coat of gray underneath this gross, thick badly painted coat of gel stain. Halfway stained. The gray paint was everywhere inside. WHO PAINTS SIDES AND RAILS OF DRAWERS?! The paint was dripping, on the drawer runners, etc. So bad.

I fixed up a few chipped spots with wood filler and then tried to strip this baby. Again, I made a huge mess and SO much work for myself. I left my mineral spirits at home when I worked on this project in Arkansas, so the stripper and leftover paint/stain dried to it. I had to resand everything down after I restripped it. So gross. It took hours.

But here it is!!





My dad helped me clean up the drawers and I finally was able to stain the top and repaint the rest.
There is no way I'll get the money out of this that the time I put into it deserves, but I'll have the satisfaction knowing that I saved it, right? And it will have a new life? And hopefully I'll learn my lesson on what pieces are actually worth the time and effort!? Or maybe not... haha!



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Here's a solid wood pedestal from a friend. It didn't quite fit into my ruined-wood-that-needs-to-be-painted category, but it wasn't an antique either. I immediately envisioned it in Napoleonic Blue chalk paint and it had to be so. I think it has so much more character ... and the blue is gorgeous!




You can see some brush strokes, but that's chalk paint for you and I don't mind at all. And look at those little brass feet! So cute.

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Here's a mid century style desk with 70s finishings, BEFORE. (The Goodwill guy that loaded it into my car tried to put it in with all of the drawers still in it - which resulted in him dumping them out onto the pavement. Two were broken apart, but thankfully at the dovetail joints where I could easily glue them back together. But still, more work for me!)

I researched the best brass spray paint and purchased it. I was finally ready to give those ugly pulls a spray and at the last moment decided to use some Bar Keeper's friend cleaning powder on it. With a little elbow grease, I revealed the actual brass handles. People, I was about to paint real brass handles fake brass!! AHH! They aren't perfect but scrubbed up well and while not perfect, they look. so. good. I returned the paint (all the wiser to the best brass spray paint for next time) and returned the hardware to its rightful places. 



And here is the after!! Not too shabby for a tiny bit of semi-gloss paint and a $10 thrifted desk.



And here are photos of the booth currently. My friend, Sarah got a chance to mark some of her fun finds - most of the smalls will be hers because mine are almost all gone!








Will update when things change significantly - we have a mid century modern month coming up and both of us are getting ready for it! So excited!

A (new) antique booth and some furniture transformations!

3.21.2017

I have fun news! Since the beginning of February, I've been filling my own antique booth! Mostly with lavender and furniture transformations, but also a smattering of vintage and antiques that I dug up around my home. Mostly, I want to do furniture fix-ups, so I was hoping my friend would join me with her smalls - and after 6 weeks she has! The projects below were the first I put in the booth.

Our neighbor randomly gave me this tri-foot antique table but the base and veneer was badly cracked. Thankfully it was still very sturdy but I put a lot of time (and wood filler!) into this table. It was the perfect candidate for a chalk paint makeover. After I put Bondo on and filled and sanded the top, I painted it with a couple of coats of Annie Sloan's Napoleonic Blue and waxed it with clear and dark wax. The lion pull was on it before I got it, but isn't the original drawer pull. But it was the last perfect touch to complete it.



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The table sold on the same day as these ladderback chairs. They were a sorry sight sitting by the dumpsters, but I snagged them and planned to redo them. With a booth move-in deadline on the horizon I quickly got to work. They turned out more distressed than I wanted them (I wanted the chalk paint to be super smooth but the burnishing took off more paint than I wanted - so I'm going to stick with latex paint for my non-distressed white looks). My plan was to make farmhouse style seat covers for the ruined rattan, but I came across a cute woven seat randomly online - so I saved myself a little money and a TON of time by using jute webbing and totally replacing the seats. I did this by hand so I labeled then as "occasional" chairs. Ladderbacks aren't the most comfortable seats so I could envision them on either side of a buffet to be used only when the table was full and extra seats were needed.

Without further ado, here is the BEFORE (well, partial during):


And, the AFTER!! Look at those seats - so cute!



Here's how my booth looked in February. The lavender was so popular - it sold out in that first month!











I've been contemplating opening a booth for several years so while it was overly stressful to be up and running in 3 weeks, I'm so pleased with how it came together and am excited for the months to come! It's month to month so if things don't go well, I may not continue, but it was worth the risk just to try. I love selling my creative work!

Plastic Free July {observation}

10.26.2016

I want to participate in Plastic Free July and make it a wholly plastic free month sometime. They encourage disuse of single use plastics - most of which I avoid anyway (shopping bags, straws, plastic water bottles, coffee cups/lids) - for the month. But I'd like to go all the way.

Eventually.

But as of right now my plastic usage, mostly in the form of food packaging, would be too overwhelming to try to just stop cold turkey. My tired mama brain might implode.

Maybe next year. But, for now, it's one bite at a time. So, when Slow Your Home (awesome podcast!) suggested participating in it, I took one week in July to observe the plastic use in my life and then the next week I kept track of every plastic thing I threw away - trying to keep it as authentic as possible. In doing this, I hoped to find a few things I could cut out while I worked on a longer term solution for the more overwhelming things ... like all the food packaging!

Zero waste is a highly respected lifestyle in my book, but there have to be small steps to get there. (Besides plastic, the next biggest thing we throw in the garbage is food scraps - which kills me, especially since I've researched composting! I just need to find the right system for our small place and pull the trigger. More on that to come.)

My week of observation found that we trashed:

16 plastic food wrappers
12 plastic container lids (not recyclable in our area)
1 styrofoam meat tray and plastic wrap
7 dental flossers
9 disposable diapers
8 misc items (mailer plastic, gift wrappers, etc.)

Yes, I kept track. Yes, I know I'm a nerd. :-)

It may not seem like a ton (even with the diapers, it probably would only fill a small bag) but it's a lot considering that it is possible to find and purchase meat and produce without plastic. It just takes some doing.

The one single use thing I'd like to do away with is the dental flossers. I hate using the regular stuff that you wrap around your fingers and end up in a spitty, gross mess - the flossers are way more motivating. BUT is there something I could use that doesn't require throwing out plastic? (Plastic that, btw, that once made will never disappear from the earth.) Bea Johnson from Zero Waste Home suggests using a gum stimulator. Ever seen the rubber thing on the end of a toothbrush? I never really knew what they were for, but I'm considering getting one, watching a YouTube tutorial, and seeing if by my next dental appointment it helps or hurts my teeth! Whatcha think?

Also, I'll be rid of the disposable diapers (nighttime use) once my son decides that sleeping through the night is a desirable thing to do, but until then I'm allowing myself that convenience for nighttime sanity. You win some, you lose some.

What do you think? Is reducing plastic consumption even something you think about? Would you ever experiment with a plastic free July?

(Next year! Next year!)

Shunky Monkey 1st Birthday Party!

8.01.2016

Our little guy turned one last Saturday and we had a small family birthday party for him - "monkey" style.

It included paper decorations - paper monstera leaves, kraft paper vines, handmade party hats - thrifted monkeys (washed, of course) and banana desserts. A couple of cards/gifts, some songs and laughter, and our boy was ready for his afternoon nap. :-)














Birthday hat template, monkey face, monstera leaf silhouette, monkeys: thrifted, vine inspiration: this pin

Preemie Update: Look who's a year!

7.29.2016

He's quintupled (I know, right?) his birth weight at 3lbs, 8oz.

He's grown an entire foot.

He's almost done with his hardcore reflux med.







He is fat and happy.

He loves to talk and make noise and squeal and cries very well, thankyouverymuch. (Preemies don't cry - it takes too much energy).

He has 8 teeth.

He crawls, pulls up, cruises and climbs stairs.

He gets into and tries to eat everything he shouldn't - cords, electronics, phones, paper, etc.

He also eats almost everything he should! He loves sweet potatoes, bananas, broccoli, chicken, greek yogurt, blueberry pancakes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and almost anything else he can get his hands on.


Our sweet boy has come so far - we are so thankful! (If you need to catch up on our NICU story, start here.)

Side table Makeover!

7.28.2016

A little table was sitting by the dumpster one day. It looks incredibly similar to the nightstand in our daughter's room that I found for $5 at the thrift store. (Dad, you still get the credit for painting it!) Small, but sturdy. And solid wood.

This one had a really sad, weird, spray on finish that was obviously a DIY fail.



Ew. So I thought the best (read: easiest and fastest) thing to do was take a little stripper to the drip spots, call it good and paint over everything.

Well, I used the stripper outside, and I quickly found that wasn't the best idea. For some reason the stripping solution immediately dried in the sun and was then worthless. What was supposed to be a quick fix turned into several hours of applying more stripper (this time in the basement), realizing it wasn't taking all of the finish off and proceeding to strip AND sand the entire rotten piece down.

It got pretty ugly.


But after a couple of painful moments, she was ready to paint! It took several weeks for me to find the time and energy to paint, burnish and wax (my son is quite the handful these days) but I finally finished it last week.

And here is the after!








It's lightly distressed although I was attempting to not distress at all. In the burnishing (sanding) process, more of the paint came off than I wanted to because of all the edges to sand, so I just went with it because I was planning to sell the piece anyway. I used a furniture wax to seal it, painted the stained drawer bottom, and drilled a hole for the pretty new knob. Voila!

It sold tonight and now I have money to buy more paint to move on to my next furniture project: my handmade hope chest.