Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Totally Revitalized!

Thanks to the holiday weekend, I had loads of time to spend on some outdated furniture pieces that I picked up on Saturday! I completed what has become my favorite furniture retrofit project (at least up to date). 

An old and very dilapidated vanity, complete with no hardware! Snagged at a yard sale for $10. 

The top of the vanity had a veneer finish that was chipped all over the place. I've attempted to re-glue veneer finishes in the past and it never works well. No matter how much it is filled and sanded, the surface is always uneven. But, this time I decided to let the uneven and "chippiness" work to my benefit so I re-glued and filled in the veneer with some all purpose putty and sanded down to a semi-smooth finish.

My Inspiration for this piece: This somewhat similar vanity I found on Miss Mustard Seed (my new favorite blog), simply because I already had paint that color and it was a vanity shaped similarly to mine. Ironically, my finished product looks NOTHING like this.

And, my other piece of inspiration: New errr...I mean old hardware from a yard sale. Scalloped sea shell edging with a starfish in the middle.

My bright teal blue oops paint from Home Depot for a whopping $5 mixed with some high gloss white softens the color so that it looks oceany.

I primed the entire piece with white paint and used the teal to paint the edges in hopes that when I distressed it the blue would come through the layers of color. 

I added the new, softer teal color over the prime, but just one coat. I was hoping that the brush strokes would let some of the white come through. Fortunately, it worked...the time anyway. Then, on to the distressing. Normally, I use a 100 or 220 grade sand paper to distress my furniture pieces so that it blends with the paint. But, for this one, I wanted it to look as though the paint had been chipped off all over the place...as though it had been tossed around by the ocean and washed up on the beach. So, I used a 60 grade (super coarse) sand paper to chip away at the paint and this was the effect. 

 Every good vanity must have a coordinating bench...and this one just won't work.

Spray painted the base antique white.

Added some of the dark teal blue color with my fingers all over the legs and frame then lightly distressed it so that the the blue and white blended better. Finally, reupholstered the seat cushion with a seaside/tropical material, added the hardware, and...

Looks nothing like the inspiration piece I found online.

It is barely noticeable, but if you look really closely, you can see the dark blue come through around the edge.

I love the white color and wood blending that comes through on the top of the vanity. Where you see the wood in this picture is where the veneer finish is uneven. My hope was that it adds to the character of this vanity! I'll let you know when it sells!

Speaking of selling things, I semi-successfully delivered my pitch for opening a store downtown at last Tuesday's night council meeting. I say semi-successful because city council under the STRONG advisement of city administration voted to extend the moratorium on second hand businesses for an additional 10 1/2 months! Not all is lost, though! I think I won the favor of some council members and the mayor (who by the way met me at Blue Chair prior to the council meeting to look at some of my furniture pieces and wrap his head around my business idea...he then gave me a ride to the council meeting!). If the planning commission chooses not to give me a business license, I can appeal their decision which goes directly to city council. Based on Tuesday's meeting, I feel confident that they would choose to give me a business license. So, we shall see. I will know for sure my next steps on June 7th!
In the meantime, I am stock-piling furniture and refinishing pieces like crazy in anticipation of opening a store. Then, comes the arduous task of selecting a store name! Any ideas?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I was going to keep it a secret, but...

...I am being forced to spread the word that I am opening a store...hopefully, that is! My plan was to keep the store opening a secret until I knew for sure where and when it was going to happen, but political issues are forcing me to drum up support and statements to present to the Glendora City Council, who has recently put a moratorium in place on the opening of new businesses that deal with the re-sale of second hand goods (i.e. pawnships, thrift stores, antique dealers, etc.). In a nutshell, this is the issue:
  • The City of Glendora does not want pawnshops to open storefronts in Glendora due to the potential in crime (re-sale of stolen goods), the clientele that frequents pawn shops as well as the aesthetic appearance of pawnshops.
  • In order to prohibit such type of stores, a broad moratorium was established for all re-sale businesses...i.e. what I do!
At the Glendora City Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 24th at 7:00 pm, I will be attending the public hearing in an effort to persuade the City Council to repeal all or part of the moratorium so that I will be extended the opportunity to open a store in Downtown Glendora. (I already have a store front picked out, have signed a letter of intent to lease with the landlord and have improvement plans pending with a contractor!) I am asking that all of my fans and supporters please comment to my blog or on facebook with their opinions on this matter so that I can take it to the council meeting as evidence of opinions for or against this measure. My argument to the City Council will include:

  1. In an effort to prohibit thrift-like/pawnstores in Glendora (which I am not against, believe me...I mean, how many Goodwill Stores does this city need?), far more businesses that do not fit into that category but sell second-hand goods will be excluded from conducting business in Glendora thus taking tax dollars, consumers and unique products into other cities. 
  2. Let's face it-"Going Green" is the thing to do! Politically and economically. The City just held it's annual earth day festival in April to celebrate its green efforts-reduce, reuse, recycle! Uhhh....but we don't support that in business, just theory. I mean, really...we want you to recycle but won't support businesses who's primary objective is to re-purpose and revitalize used (pre-owned) products and make them like new. Nope---residents, trash your old garbage, fill our landfills, go buy brand new products straight off the production lines...or, go buy your used goods in a different city!
  3. Does anyone know we are in a recession? My success with craigslist, I firmly believe is due in part to the fact that people just don't have the disposable income that they did five years ago to go buy new! The alternative: used-like new...or just used. Better products at far more affordable prices. The perfect retail solution at a time when most retail stores are suffering and being forced to shut their doors.
  4. The snowball effect! If the City prohibits the start of new businesses that deal with second-hand products, it is impacting far more than just small business owners. Vacant store fronts will likely be vacant for longer because of a much more narrowly focused vision thus decreasing tax revenues to the City. Landlords who own those properties will suffer financially from the vacancies (as in the case with the store that I want to lease. It has been vacant for nearly six weeks as I jump through hoops and run circles around the red tape). Contractors and other vendors placed to prep stores will lose opportunities for additional work. Consumers have more limited shopping opportunities and will not visit the downtown district if stores are not open. And so on and so forth.
That about sums it up! Comment on your opinion...please, to me or directly to members of the Glendora City Council! Or, email me with questions or feedback at mitchyliz@yahoo.com or even call me (626) 733-6817. I can help clarify the issue if you have any questions. Thanks for your support and all of your reading!

For some VISUAL Interest-check out what I sold this week!

By now, you know that's not what it looked like when I sold it. I forgot the "before" picture until I already started repairing this great, antique record cabinet. I had to re-build some major chunks out of the wood and sand it down before I could prime and paint it. This was my last big ticket item to sell from my yard sale extravaganza weekend in Morro Bay back in early April. 

The Final Product...
Sold for $165
To a Mom who was redoing her daughters room with fun and unique shabby chic furniture pieces. This was being re-purposed as a dresser with a TV on top. The cabinet that opened from the front as well as the top was the perfect compartment for her DVD player, movies and sound system. The PERFECT alternative to a NEW entertainment center. 
On a side note, I sold my GIGANTIC couch this weekend trying to raise money to open a store...ha ha (let's hope I didn't sell it in vain)! But, I was left with a challenge to re-furnish my 600 square foot family room without buying anything new and expensive. The result: Six new (but used) furniture pieces for under $75! Wait til you see the before and after pics! It was quite a transformation.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Crazy with Color

I have renewed my interest in spray paint over the past few weeks. And, despite the exorbitant cost (about $4.00 per 12 oz. can), I'm finding that I can quickly and efficiently finish projects in far less time with much more creativity. After a year of painting furniture white and black, I'm craving some color in my life! Home Depot is loving me right now because I'm in the store weekly perusing the awesome pallet of colorful spray paint and thinking, "what can I paint lime green?" 

The answer to that question...

...that desk top organizer or...
this totally cool and retro (metal) chair!

Sadly, my cell phone was stolen last week (at Home Depot...go figure) so I lost a fair number of my weekly sale pics. So, a few sales of the week and one awesome project to feature.

Mommy Pickers Transactions and New Biz!!!

Perfect Dresser! 
Sold for $65 for my next door neighbor.
This was just one of three items that I sold for her in less than a month which also included a mahogany day bed and pool table! The goal was to get it all sold before her scheduled garage sale last week! SUCCESS and nearly $300 profit!

Walnut Antique Curio Cabinet
Sold for $75
A screamin' deal for the buyer, except for the fact that the glass on the right door was cracked and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, the cost for replacement glass will be over $200 because it is curved! But, this cabinet would likely retail for well over $400 in an antique store. 

Games, Toys and Stuffed Animals...Oh MY!

And lots of them! If you need a new game, toy or stuffed animal for a present, hit me up for a deal on some new merchandise well below retail value. Included are webkins and webkins clothes ($4 each), brand new board games ($10-$15) and family games and some other odd assortment of gifts.

A $20 Hutch and 2-Hour Make-over

Come Wednesday and Thursday every week, I start looking at what is left of my pile of projects and anxiously work to get them completed before I off-load another weeks worth of work. This week, I saved the best for last! An antique hutch that I got for $20 after negotiating the price down from $80! 

In its original state, the varnish was flaking off of the entire piece and the two shelves inside were missing. Thanks to my awesome Handy Husband (not my husband but my contractor neighbor who has all kinds of construction scraps and equipment...oh yeah...the name of his business is The Handy Husband), I was able to get two shelves made out of some scrap wood lying around.

It took me about 45 minutes to completely sand it down to the raw wood and I spray painted two primer coats saving me about 1-2 hours of time that brush painting would have taken. I also spray painted the shelves and inside rather than brush painting so that the hard to reach corners would cover better and quicker. Finally, when the paint dried I brushed a single coat of paint over the entire piece, sanded the edges for the shabby chic look and....

...for $20, the cost of paint and an evening of labor I have my replacement kitchen piece for the wall of revolving furniture! This will more than likely take 3-4 months to sell at the posted price, but I'm in no hurry to move it out. 

In total, I refinished about a dozen items this week both small and large. Far too many to blog about. But, for daily pics of some of the before and after projects, "like" Mommy Pickers on facebook.

And, keep an eye for even more blog postings as fellow mommy picker, miss Sarah Quintero writes about some of her stellar sales and awesome finds!

Until next week...:)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2 Trucks, 4 Truckloads and a Busted Wedding Ring

During the 2nd truck load, I smashed a table against my finger loading. Ouch...I barely managed to get my ring off of my finger and only forced it off after it started turning unusual colors...my finger that is, not the ring. 
What can you get for $200? A year worth of Disneyland trips for one person (minus 30+ blockout days), one night in a really nice hotel, a new wardrobe from Ross or one outfit from Nordstrom, a months worth of gas (well...maybe not at today's gas prices), OR...

  • 5-piece kitchen table set
  • 4 dressers
  • Queen Size Headboard
  • Antique Hutch
  • 10 chairs
  • Little Tikes Outdoor Playhouse
  • 3 side tables
  • Antique Desk
  • Swing Set
  • Wrought Iron Plant Stand
  • New Toys for the Kids
And...a lot of PROJECTS and (eventually) some amazing turnarounds.

Hot Sales of the Week and Some Profitable Projects

Full Size Headboard
Sold $40
The only thing that made this a hot sale was the fact that two days later I was planning on throwing it in my neighbors yard sale to try and clear out some space in my garage. Originally, this was a matching piece to a vanity that had sold months earlier, but I had been trying to sell the headboard for several months now and was ready to get rid of it...despite the fact that I sanded and painted it to make it good as new.

HOT DAMN DEAL!  (Excuse my language)
Snagged up for $20 as someone was putting it on their grass with a for sale sign. A picture doesn't do this set justice! It WAS DEEEEE-SGUSTING! There was nailpolish and paint all over the kitchen table, someone had etched their name into the wood with a paperclip, the chairs were caked in dirt and grime and the upholstery on the cushions were not only mis-matched, but totally gross! This was going to be a major project, but it was a steal deal with the added fact that it came with two additional leaves. I tried to sell it in "as is" condition for a quick turn around at $95...But...not a single inquiry! So, I made it a project of the week and two days of hard work...


Brand new upholstery, french country style from a yard sale up north! Exactly enough to cover the six chairs. Fresh white paint on the chairs (after a heft cleaning with some TSP), sanded out the paint and scratches in the table, added some stain and varnish and got a completely new look! Re-listed and sold it two days later
Final sale price: $275

My "I'm sick of painting everything white" project...

Antique Oak Telephone Table
Sold for $65 in 3-days
I could hardly believe this sold so fast because I was expecting it to sit around for weeks because of the "off" color. But, I really liked the end result of this project because the blue color was not only striking, but the perfect shade to give it a distressed and antique country feel. This is reminiscent of pieces that I see at the Pasadena Flea Market and fall in love with! Oh yeah...here's the before image (which was posted for 2 weeks on craigslist for $15 with no interest whatsoever)

EWWWWW....Oak! :)

Some Hot Buys for our Mommy Picker Clients

Solid Un-finished Pine Wood Corner Shelf
Sold $50

Cash Register                                                                   Sold for $40 (A killer deal for the guy who bought it but a quick turnaround)

 Want to see some of our other before and after shots of the weekly projects? "Like" Mommy Pickers on Facebook to see some of our great furniture renovations! 

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