Saturday, December 6, 2014

Upcycled SIlverware Jewelry

I'm eyeballing my silverware drawer with a critical eye...

For years I've picked up old silverplate flatware at all my junking spots, some I used every day an other pieces I threw in my "stash" room where all my goodies are kept.

I finally got around to doing something with it all this week, and I must say this is my new favorite thing to do.

I've used more powertools this week than I have in my life; and don't think I just provided the idea and sat by and watched my strong man do it for me; no siree bob. I did it all myself; using a grinder, a torch, a vice, various hammers and such...

I decided to stamp sassy Southern sayings on some of the spoons; here's a few I selected: 

Buy here

Buy here

Buy here

Buy here

 Buy here

So then there was all the leftover spoon handles, which are just as lovely as they can be.  SO I had to do something with those, too.

Available next week

Available next week

I've also done some rings. I'm juts loving beating on this stuff with mallets and hammers.

I have a bunch more designs than what I've shown here, to be uploaded in my Etsy shop next week, or at least, what is left of them after I get through our Christmas Open House at the brick and mortar shop tomorrow. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cats In and On Vintage Furniture: BUSTED

Man, it has been a while since I posted.

I guess I kind of got blog burnout and lost my enchantment with it altogether.

I gotta tell you, I've been thinking of quitting this blog and starting something else on another platform... still trying to figure all that out.


If anyone has cats you know how they love to get into stuff, and mine are no exception.... they love to get into all my furniture projects and inspect every new piece that comes in the house. Chances are, if you've purchased furniture from me, it was cat-approved at least once before getting to the shop - or your house.

 I like to display my cats in cabinets....

Ok, so this isn't vintage furniture but I just love it. :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sideboard Rescue

On Memorial Day I took a load of recycling to my local recycling center, which is always an adventure.
In the "green box", I found a load of very dirty, moldy, water damaged, broken furniture. This small sideboard was in the best shape and I brought it home with me.

The top was covered in a plastic vinyl contact shelf paper. The bottom was gone; the back was gone; the veneer was shot, there were no doors.

So, my crafty guy made a new back and floor, and new doors; using several parts from some other broken pieces of furniture. I gave it a coat of chalk paint, and she looks like a whole different piece.

 (sorry for the rubbishy photo)

Don't send things to the landfill! There is always hope.  :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hardly Aqua Awesomeness.

I decided to needed to try some fresh new colors for this season.

This china cabinet whispered to me when I got it: ".........ppppssst. I wanna be aqua. But I wanna be hardly aqua. Just a teeny tiny little bit aqua."

I complied.

I painted the inside white, as well as the neat little details on the top and bottom. Also - though you can't see it here because my pathetic camera didn't pick it up in the photos - I stenciled a vine pattern on either side of the glass door. I also added Deco style knobs from Hobby Lobby in white, distressed metal.

And, I had leftover paint, so I painted my old waterfall vanity. And, I didn't get a  before pic, but it's easy enough to picture a drab brown waterfall piece, so..........

I also added white accents on this piece.

The aqua is so barely aqua, they almost pass for white. I love it.  If I had my own paint company,  I'd call this color "hardly aqua" or "aqua whisper".

Both pieces are for sale in our shop in North Carolina.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Painted Upholstery - Louis XVI Chair

I read about 200 tutorials on how to do this before I actually got up the nerve to do it. Yep, I'm a very cautious person.

I knew this chair needed something fresh and new, but was dreading - absolutely dreading - upholstering it. I don't know why... I just was.
I got it as part of a partial trade I did with a client on some custom work I did for her, back in October. It is really good quality, but the weird, fake crackle finish disturbed me, and the odd black bird cage print was just a tad faded, but not ripped or anything.

I do not recommend getting the upholstery wet with a spray bottle and then adding the 80% chalk paint 20% water mixture. I recommend just straight up painting it. Otherwise, the  fabric is so wet, the paint just soaks right in and the whole thing is a sopping mess.

Overall, I am very pleased with the result, and would totally do this again!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Away, But Never Gone

In memory of Dorothy Rose Kelly-Bird, 1920 - 2010

March, 2014

I often with I could time travel back into my childhood - not to change anything, but to be able to fully appreciate people and events, with my mature, "grown up" frame of mind. If I had known then how desperately I'd wish to relive those memories; and how I'd miss those people now, years and years later - I would have savored the time more.

But that's the thing about being a kid.... life is so carefree. You don't think about savoring. You think about living. And learning. And being loved and cared for ( hopefully).

And maybe that's what makes the memories sweeter, once childhood is passed and turbulent youth is done: you want to go back and savor it; relish it - truly appreciate it- but all you can do is treasure the memory.

When I embark on a journey down "memory lane" into my childhood, it's more like an interstate than a lane; and chief among the throngs of memories I encounter there are the ones involving my Grandma. 

My Grandma lived a block from us, and going to her house was like a trip through the looking glass; or stumbling through the doors of an enchanted wardrobe. Grandma's house held exotic wonders and peculiarities that made home look dull.

She was, herself, exotic in many ways. She was an artist, a feminist, a liberal, and an environmentalist; she was creative, simple, down to earth - and regal, elegant,  poised, and lovely.  She was truly ahead of her time. She did all kinds of things that I thought were just odd, but today are considered current, and "mainstream". She had money, but hardly ever spent it; instead living very frugally and re purposing and reusing everything.

She rarely wore skirts, and made all her own clothing just the way she wanted it, in fabrics that were vibrant with color and texture. She always smelled lovely (some kind of old fashioned perfume, I'm sure), and she loved to wear goofy hats.

She was all for being silly and enjoying life... whether it was driving us through her yard in the open front of her canary yellow Volkswagen Bug, buying a family of life sized plastic ducks for our sand box, cranking up Harry Belafonte's "Day-O" record and dancing around the house singing along, or buying a giant, human-sized bubble wand and having a bubble party on summer afternoons with ice cream and fruit punch on her picnic table.

She took me to my dentist appointment, and immediately afterword, bought me a large mint chocolate chip milkshake.
She made her own paper, and gave us cards with brightly colored swirly patterns like tie dye.
She returned from wintering in Florida every spring with her VW Bug packed with treasure:  trinkets from The Epcot center at Disney; shells and driftwood from her daily walks on Cocoa Beach; oranges and grapefruit from my great Uncle Pat's citrus grove on the Indian River, and quirky, odd things found at flea markets and thrift stores.

I wouldn't really have called my Grandma a devoutly religious woman; but when I spent the night at her house on occasion, she'd tuck me in bed, and we'd always recite the Lord's Prayer and the 23d Psalm. Of course I knew the Lord's prayer  and the 23d Psalm by heart already; but hearing her say it was a totally different experience. Her voice was low and soothing; and took on a different tone from her regular speaking voice. She spoke each word emphatically, like they were an ancient, sacred chant:

"....Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me".

And I really believed that - as much as a child can deeply believe anything, I believed that if I did find myself in the valley of the shadow of death (wherever that was) I would fear no evil, because the Bible said so - and because Grandma believed it too, and said it with such confidence and assurance.

When I was about 11, Grandma had to move to back to Florida full time to take care of my Great-grandmother, who was ageing and ailing. I got sadder and sadder as Grandma packed her things in the weeks before her move. She gave me a small china figurine of a Chinese woman; something I treasure to this day. Lots of other things were donated to charities.

The morning she left was sunny and warm; her yellow VW Bug packed to the roof with her exotic treasures, art supplies,  homemade clothing, and silly hats. She hugged us all and cried a little, but not too much, so  no one got hysterical.

And away she drove, taking away the exciting possibilities for each day with her.
I ran away to the neighbor's pasture and buried my face in her horse's mane and cried my broken heart out.

What I didn't realize - at least, not right then - was that she hadn't taken all the exciting possibility for each day far away to Florida in her VW Bug.  Life went on. I grew older. And I  discovered that even though she wasn't a block away anymore, I could still create my own exciting possibility for each day. She had shown me this; and I already had the tools: a creative mind, confidence that being a little odd was really okay, and love and zest for making life fun - and perhaps a little zany - but above all, special.  

I wrote her letters almost weekly and she wrote back, on her home made paper cards, or on recycled junk mail stationary she made. I gave her all our family and neighborhood news and she filled me in on all the things she was doing or making.

Grandma did eventually move back to North Carolina when I was in my teens, but those childhood play dates and arts and crafts explorations at her house never really resumed; though we still spent lots of time with her.

All too suddenly, the day came to say the final goodbye to Grandma. It's something you know has to happen eventually, but you're in denial; and when it's staring you in the face and you're forced to deal with it, it just feels so sudden - and too soon.

Standing by her bedside, looking so weak and frail - a whole different person from the Grandma of my childhood, it seemed. How could this be? How could this be happening? I was called to my parent's house on that rainy May morning, stunned by the news that it looked like she was not not long for this world. Just a few days earlier she seemed to be recovering from her recent illness. Now, it looked like she was giving up.

She seemed unconscious, but the hospice nurse said that though she was unresponsive, she probably was aware that we were there: my sisters, one of my brothers, and my Mom; all of us crying and talking to her though she could not respond.
I laid my hand on her chest in the last few moments, and felt the last weak flutters of her heart under my hand as she passed from this life. And her voice echoed in my heart:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;  for thou art with me".

And in my sorrow, I found peace.

I am almost daily reminded of my Grandma - even the tiniest things can bring on a flood of memories and smiles and yes - sometimes, tears: using her teacup. Anything to do with birds. Butter pecan ice cream. Pottery mugs.



Silly hats. Her homemade blouse in my closet - and putting it on.

And especially canary yellow Volkswagen Bugs.

"Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever".  

 My Grandma and me, in 1981.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bed Frame Bench

I've seen this done on different blogs, and of course all over Pinterest.... and I decided I needed to jump on the re purposed bed frame band wagon.

I saw this bed at Goodwill for $10, with no rails. I bought it and threw it in the truck and told Kevin he was going to make a bench out of it. He just gave me a sideways, doubtful look.

I showed him a couple pins on Pinterest, and the light dawned on him. Two and a half  hours later, I had this adorable bench. :)

I sanded, painted, distressed, and waxed it. So I helped. :)

Available in our shop in North Carolina for $250.00.

We also decided to offer a custom built bed frame bench  service: you bring us your bed frame and we'll turn it into a bench for $150 (and up, depending on extras).

If you're interested in this, or a custom piece, please email me. You can find my contact info under the "contact" tab above.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hairy Claw Foot Buffet Restoration

The story of how I got this buffet - and the matching dining table and chairs and server - is an unbelieveable sequence of events. I don't know if it was just an incredible stroke of luck or the hand of God, but one way or the other, I got the dining suite and Goodwill did not.

The suite dates to the 1890s, and is "Empire" style. 

However, it was not without it's issues. The chairs were in a really awful state, as I posted about here.

The table, server and buffet were all scratched up; apparently the movers who removed the pieces from the previous owner's beach house just stuffed everything into moving vans with no padding, and things rubbed and bumped and gouged each other and then were crammed into a storage unit, where we dug them out.

The top of the buffet was in this state:

Some of the scratches were deep, so I lightly sanded the whole thing down, without taking all the stain off, because matching it would be difficult.
I used steel wool and very fine grit sandpaper.

After I sanded it, I tried Minwax wood conditioner on it, and was glad to see that the stain seemed to respond to moisture and have a uniform tone to it.

I chose these Howard products to finish it up:

The Restor-a-finish did exactly what it claimed, and restored the lovely tone of the wood. I absolutely love the Feed-n-wax polish, I used it on this buffet and several other pieces, and loved the results. I highly recommend it!

 It's hard to fully appreciate it in photos; in person it's absolutely stunning.

See, proof that I don't always paint everything I can get my hands on. :)