Abandoned plum desk

I cannot take credit for the paint job on this sweet little desk; I purchased it already painted.  I often find pieces that someone has started an “up-do” and sadly, given up on.  Everything was nicely done, however the paint color rubbed off easily on my hands which is perhaps why it was abandoned.  Since I loved the color, and the chippy, aged texture underneath, I thought I’d see if I could resuscitate her.  Low and behold a thin layer of Clear Satin Polycrylic by @Minwax did the trick!  Since all of the hard work was already done, I simply jazzed up the drawer, changed out the knob and this lovely is now spending her new life with her new owner.

Thrifty Rehab Plum Desk   Thrifty Rehab Plum Desk

Dear Savers, I Miss You!

I’m super bummed that @Savers_Thrift stores in Colorado closed down.  I could always find a little something, something here.  ARC and Goodwill are typically hit or miss for me, mostly miss.  It’s somewhat discouraging walking out of a Thrift Store empty handed, but I often do.

AND is it just me, or are the Thrift Stores charging retail now?  Sometimes more!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the price of an item, it will have the original retail sticker and then the Thrift Store does a markup!  Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL ABOUT helping the handicapped and less fortunate, but this new business model kills the excitement of finding a great deal.

So now Thrifting for me has become “Strategizing.”  Luckily, technology is a HUGE help.  Now I use an iPhone app called @EstateSalesNet, which is quite slick.  You can get email updates to see what sales are coming up in your neighborhood, including images of all the items!  The app has a built-in maps and Siri gives you all the coordinates!  You can “like” items that you might be interested in, and when you arrive at the location, your list is literally in your hand.  Gotta love technology!

At first I wasn’t a fan of estate sales because most of the time, someone has died.  Rummaging through the recently departed’s belongings seems disrespectful, not to mention sad!  Luckily the people hosting estate sales typically have amazing attitudes and happily share information and interesting facts about the former occupants.  For instance, one sale I went to the gentleman was a magnificent iron, metal and brass artisan.  His pieces were unique and gorgeous!  Because his story is so amazing I feel as though I’m fortunate to have something made by him and I too will continue his story and legacy.  Nonetheless, I’m still sad about Savers.

 

 

 

 

Chalk paint vs traditional paint

Truth be known, I hate painting.  I know that sounds strange coming from someone who paints nearly every day.  Currently, I have 2 bathrooms torn apart waiting for a new coat of paint and I can’t stop dragging my feet.  However when it comes to small furniture I’m not deterred.  The reason?  Two words: Chalk Paint.

Since I am doing everything I can to avoid painting my walls, typing-up this table of reasoning seemed fitting.

Chalk Paint   Traditional Paint
Forgiving.  Most drips can easily be removed with soap & water. Unforgiving.  Drips do not come out easily and typically require a stripper that will strip off the paint below.
Low Prep.  Chalk paint adheres to most surfaces so sanding and taping are typically not required or minimal. High Prep.  Trim needs to be neatly taped off with caulk for good lines.  One small bleed and it will be the first spot you see every time you enter that room.
Low Drips.  Chalk paint is, well, chalky.  Its texture is thicker than traditional paint so drips are rare.  And if you do catch a drip too late, just sand it down. Drips.  You have to get your tool and paint amount just right, otherwise, you’ll have runs.  Rollers help but not for me, I can still get drips.
Messy doesn’t matter. I get paint EVERYWHERE! It’s on my clothes, my hands, in my hair… that’s just how it is.  But again, it washes off easily. Messy matters.  The only way I have found to get dried acrylic paint out of my hair, is to cut it out.  And sadly, shag haircuts went out in the 70s.
Distressing hides imperfections.  Going back over the edges with sandpaper is a life saver for messy people like me.  Drips can be banished now too. I’ve not distressed anything with traditional paint so I can’t comment here.
Sealer – Yes, it’s an extra step but since its wax, it’s easily rubbed on & off.  Lastly I seal furniture with polyurethane so that glass marks aren’t left behind. No sealer required.

If you have never used Chalk Paint I urge you to give it a try.  All you need is the paint and a fat brush and wax or a sealer of some kind.  I don’t spend a lot of money on the actual paint and supplies and always utilize sales and online coupons when possible. I know everyone raves about Annie Sloan paint, and yes it’s good, however it is too expensive for me.  Bottom-line, you don’t have to be a good painter or spend a lot of money to enjoy Chalk Painting!

PS for those of you who have found the secret formula for making your own chalk paint, God bless you.  I have tried and failed many times, so it’s not in the cards for me. If you have a foolproof recipe to share, please post below!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Update

Well hello…it’s been a while!  We have some exciting updates!  First,  our Etsy website is now up and running.  If you haven’t already, please be sure to check us out (white frame included).  Additionally, you’ll find adorable vintage knick knacks for all occasions, including our new vintage jewelry snowflakes!  If you’re ever looking for unique gifts that make your friends smile, this is your shop 🙂

Secondly, we have sold nearly all of our up-cycled furnishings!!!  Facebook Marketplace and Let-Go have been super helpful for sales, Instagram is the best for marketing and quick picture updates!  LOVE LOVE LOVE technology!

Stay tuned for a couple of upcoming big projects including an antique barrel chair with a spindle back as well as a timely makeover for 2 large display cases… can’t wait to share!

Meet Lacey!

laceyI named this table Lacey because I used spray painted over lace to create the eye-catching top of this little, vintage cutie. Supposedly you can reuse the same lace over and over on other projects; I’ll let you know if that’s true when I do!  I honestly wrestled with this table for a while, it was one of my first projects. I originally spray painted this table gray and yellow and well, it looked foolish.  I wasn’t sure I could fix it, so I nearly gave it back to the thrift store. I’m glad I didn’t because it turned out adorable!  I didn’t have to strip it either, with chalk paint, you can simply paint over just about anything! @DecoArt Relic (gray) and Honor (blue)

Stereo cabinet turned storage

insidestereocabinetbeforestereocabinetcompleteafterACK! I can’t find any pictures of this stereo cabinet as it appeared originally… but trust me, it needed help!  Someone had tried refinishing it and, well, it didn’t work.  The interior was painted a strange Pepto Bismol pink color (which looks white in this picture) and the exterior was stained — over VARNISH — a red-er color stain.  I’m sure the owner had good intentions, but please don’t try to stain over varnish people! You will never match the original varnish color!! I pulled out the strips of wood on the bottom, originally meant for record storage, and repainted the inside blue.

Had some extra fabric left over from a previous project, so used this to cover the inside shelf all the way around. Modge Podge is my best friend for covering wood with fabric.   While the doors were off, painted them with a super fun Rose Metallic paint that I hadn’t tried, Buttercream by @JoAnn_Stores.  I’m sad because I really like but have heard that JoAnn’s is discontinuing the Buttercream line 🙁  Then finished this lovely off with knobs from @HobbyLobby; now I’m officially a #knobsnob!!!  I named this project Two/Too Fly Blue because two flies managed to get stuck in the paint on the doors! Oh how I miss the warm weather… even the pesky flies.

stereocabinetdoorsafterstereocabinetshelfafter

 

Fun blue mirror

origmirrorblack

mirrorhangingPicked up this mirror @Savers for $8.  It was cute but someone had obviously painted it black, the paint was chipping and also was on the mirror.  I like to see when others have tried to change or update furniture, but I don’t understand why sometimes people don’t take the extra steps and take the item apart before painting.  I think this person ended up giving this mirror away because it didn’t turn out well.  Believe me, I am the queen of trying shortcuts and let me tell you, they NEVER work out.  If you invest a little extra time, you’ll be happier with your results.

mirrorpaintedblueSlapped some @decoart Vintage chalky finish and voila, a new bright fun mirror!  Finished with Deco Art clear wax, a little distressing and have a brand new vintage looking mirror!  Fun, easy and inexpensive!

 

Quick, easy and cheap deco update!

Candlebluewallmounts and candle holders are an easy way to change the look and feel of indoor and outdoor spaces.  When these metal sconces were originally purchased they were black, which was nice, but we knew that they could be spiced up.  The image of the two candle sconces was painted in our favorite spray paint and color… Surf Matte by @Krylon.  In our area we have difficulty finding this color and count on purchasing @JoAnn_Stores and @HobbyLobby. The sconces were then distressed with 100 grit sandpaper.

2in1candleholderThe single sconce was painted with Catalina Mist, Satin @Krylon and also distressed with sandpaper.  Hanging these gems on our dingy fence was certainly eye-catching–you should see them lit up at night!

 

A $2 antique replica?!

I’m insanely fortunate to own some priceless beauties, such as this hand painted Saint by my late great Uncle Cliff Westermeier.  Uncle Cliff is a celebrated artist and author of Man, Beast, Dust.   This painting is thought to be from his Santos collection.  He was married to my Grandpa Jack Stout’s mother’s sister.

This painting greets me every morning and I always think I would like more similar beauties, but I haven’t the time nor skill to oil paint.  Here is my quick workaround.  The first photo below is a frame I bought from Goodwill in Denver for $1.  It is obviously a fine laser-cut piece of wood in need of a minor repair, which was easily remedied with wood glue.  I then stained the piece with Minwax Dark Walnut stain.  Next, I covered the entire frame in a coat of  chalk paint #DecoArtProjects blue or Colonial.  Another thifty acquisition I made recently were books with prints from famous artists… 5 books @ $1 each… SCORE!  I trimmed a photo from the book then broke out my Modge Podge and glued this lovely Madonna and child image to the $1 frame.  I then aged and distressed with low and high grit sandpaper as well as dark wax.  The finished product is no where as special as the hand-painted original Saint, but it was sure fun trying to recreate something similar so quickly and inexpensively!
Read more

The Real McCoy?

I thought I’d share my first “is it real or is it a reproduction” story.  I honestly didn’t know a thing about figuring this stuff out, so I reached out to a pottery expert; thank you Jean Bushnell for your insights!

I sent the first set of images below to Jean and asked if this McCoy Windmill Cookie jar is worth $30?  Jean replied back — is there damage? Chips? Crazing? It was produced in the 1960s, so there should be some wear.  If it’s real, it could be worth double.

Yay!  But wait… no crazing whatsoever.  No chips.  No damage.  In fact, despite the fact that the paint had come off this one looks pretty darn clean. Perhaps it’s just in mint condition? Nicely packed away all of these years?  Unlikely.

Next, Jean asked for the measurements as it should be 10.5 inches tall with the lid which mine was. Things seemed to line up okay here. Decisions, decisions.

30mccoy      

I decided to search for a REAL McCoy Windmill Cookie jar online and have included some side-by-side photos for comparison.

realmccoy    sidebysidemm

Upon doing more research, including eBay sales – which ended up being not much more than the purchase price, I ended up walking away.  Do you think I made the right decision?  Please tell us your real vs. reproduction stories below! Happy thrifting!