Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Drop Leaf Drama

This wretched drop leaf table showed up in my driveway one day. It was dirty. It was damaged. It was outright ugly.

Even the bottom of it looked gnarly. But, I've had a lot of success with drop leafs. Since I opened last July, I've sold at least six drop leafs, so I figured I'd give this one a shot.

I was hoping to sand through the clumpy varnish and stain so that I could re stain the top...but no go. The wood was just too damaged and discolored. I was going to have to paint the whole thing.

I let both my girls help with this one. After all, it couldn't get much worse. We painted this table in its entirety with a light grey color...a homemade chalk paint blend.

I added a pretty heavy distressing.

Even with all of the distressing, the table is quite smooth on top. And, when the leaves are down, it is quite slim. It would work well in a small kitchen or entry way, or even as a console table.

This week I am trying to get back into the swing of things after a restful Thanksgiving vacation! I have a few custom projects to wrap up and some things at home to take care of. Wait until I tell you about my Christmas decorating turned family room renovation. Things kind of snowball when I have a vision.

And, I'm really excited about some new business opportunities that have dropped my way in the last week! I can't share yet, but they will involve some new projects that I get to write about and give my expert opinion!

In the meantime, it's back to work on this cute little side table that I am doing custom for a lovely lady from my church, which will be finished by the end of today!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Music Motif

Clearly, I can't get enough of the sheet music. Blame it on my upbringing. I've been playing an instrument since I was five and I'm married to a musician. So, music runs deep in the family. It almost seems sac religious that I disgrace the music by tearing it into pieces for the sake of "art."

Like that large wreath made entirely out of Chopin's Piano Classics.

I've been dying to replicate a dresser that I did about four months ago. It was a dark grey with a black antique finish, sheet music knobs and music lined drawers.

I hadn't come across the right piece...until recently.

The simplicity of this dresser and the large knobs were perfect to add music!

Patti stripped the top and the middle lip so it could be stained a dark walnut (Seriously, who wears an outfit like that to work in? Here I am in a hoodie, jeans covered in paint and stain and a nasty hat and she's decked out in cute skinny jeans with flats and a scarf! I think I need to work on my "image." I'll work on that later).

One of the drawers needed to be repaired, but it was a simple fix with wood glue and a clamp.

The paint color was a rich cream with a dark walnut antique glaze. Sheet music adorns the knobs and of course, lines the drawers!

Like it? LOVE IT!

The different shades make it look so different than my original version!
This one is still available and is on the for sale page!

On a side note, I have a new piece to bring out next week (that is if something substantial sells). I had it ready for the stroll but didn't have any room to bring it out.

This is the before picture...I'm warning's nasty!

Check back for the reveal!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Piano Project Completed

I love the annual Glendora Holiday Stroll. As a life long Glendoran, it is hands down my favorite hometown event of the year!

The tree lit streets, horse drawn carriages, visit from Santa and of course, the smells, tastes and sounds of the hustle and bustle in and amongst the stores kicks of the Christmas season with a surge of energy and excitement. This year was my first as a retail participant and not just an attender/shopper. I had big plans! Amongst them, live piano music thanks to a great family friend offering their time and talents.

Problem: I didn't have a piano! But I managed to find one and you can read all about my piano exploits here!

Just a refresher, this is the piano I bought.

I spent a week prepping this for the big event.

And, this is what she looks like with a splash of "Michele" style!

I love the outcome, and even have a few finishing touches that I want to make to give it more pizazz!

I have to give a shout out to some companies who made this endeavor possible!

DJ Piano and Organ Moving donated their moving services and they are the best in-town piano movers! They've moved my personal piano about three or four times! Call them up for a quote (626) 334-1053!

This piano sounded wretched! It had never been tuned in its life. So, Precision Piano Tuning run by Joe Morten donated multiple piano tuning services to get this sucker sounding respectable for the stroll. He's already tuned it twice and plans on coming back to tune some more until the strings settle! Joe does a great job and can be booked for your job. Call him at (626) 419-8025!

Then, there's the fabulously talented Dave McCorkell who not only played Christmas music for four hours during the stroll, but he is the man responsible for the decorating. The ornaments, paper decorations and pennants are his design, so come by the store and pick some up!

That's Dave with his decor adorning the top of the piano!
Anyway, back to the completed piano. Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Explosion

We are completely transformed and bursting with Christmas joy. Can you believe that we decorated this store with nothing more than $10 worth of yard sale Christmas decorations, piles of old books and music, a tree that was curbside way back in July and left over scrapbook paper...oh, and a lot of time!

I have to give huge props to the guy who decorated my windows and made all of the paper ornaments and pennant banners, Dave McCorkell! In fact, he is available for hire so if you are interested, call us and we will put you in touch with him.

I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves! I couldn't snap everything (I had to work around boxes and ladders) so you will have to stop by at the Holiday Stroll tonight to see it all.

Twenty-four pieces of new furniture, three Christmas trees, two four foot lighted wreaths,  fourteen pennants, toys, and MORE!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beautiful Oops

One problem after another! That's what I experienced while I was working on this hutch...which was my final big piece to set the store for the annual Glendora Holiday Stroll.

The before:

A great French style hutch with curvy legs and fabulous detailing. Not wild about the gold on the glass but we'll live with it.

My first problem was that I ran out of paint. My objective was to match this hutch to a chippy dining set that I had already painted and I used a light grey as the base color and then mixed a bit of teal to give a subtle hint of blue. I mixed my own chalk paint, but the grey I had left was leftovers of a homemade batch which doesn't keep well. So, the batch for this piece was super chalky and didn't go on as smoothly. it didn't go on smoothly at all.

But, light sanding between coats did the trick.

My next problem: I wanted to leave the shelf lip dark wood. But, I forgot and painted it. Oops. No biggy, I'll just sand it down and restain.

But, I liked how it looked! So, I left it.

My third problem: I added a dark walnut glaze. But, it didn't rub off...I mean, it was ON THERE! Why? I'm pretty sure because my chalk paint was extra chalky, it absorbed the stain. No biggy, I'll just paint over it. But, I already soaked my brush in bowl in water. And, remember I ran out of paint. So, instead I used the wet brush and washed out over the dark stain. Except, then it started to peel.

Ah Heck! Screw it. Peel away!

By now, I'm sooooo over this piece of furniture. So, I just kept on going with it. What else could happen?

The new hardware didn't fit. No big deal. I just need longer screws. But, they were too long. Just add washers...voila! gigantic beautiful oops job!

Once I got this into the store, filled it with Grandma's dishes and shiny silver, turned on the light, I loved it! It was completely worth all of the headaches!

How do you like it?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Peek Into My House

I alluded to my guest room makeover a few weeks ago when I posted about all of my windows. It's finally finished, thanks to the final touch of new pillows custom made by Sew Savvy by Brandy.  

I acquired the furniture for this room for less than $75! A little TLC and some creativity can take a yard sale find a long way.

The Room Theme: Subtle Beach Room. The theme of this room was selected by my four year old who wanted me to change her bedroom to an "ocean room." We compromised and did the guest bedroom and ocean room--mom's style.

The Day Bed: I've been storing this day bed for over a year. I got it for $25 at a yard sale and was planning on using it for my youngest when she was ready to move into a big girl bed. When I bought this bed, she was less than a year old. Now she is 2 1/2 and shares a room with her older sister. I painted the bed a creamy sage green color and heavily distressed it to give it a worn weathered look.

I bought the duvet cover at Home Goods. I found it stashed in a storage bin without any of its packaging. I asked the girl how much it was and while she went to look it up, I found one buried but completely packaged. It was priced at $59.99. I told her I'd take the unpackaged version for a discount and I got that sucker for $38! Woo Hoo! It never hurts to ask.

The Storage Cabinet: This beauty was a yard sale find a few months ago. I got it for $40, kept the burlap coverings in the doors and repainted it to the matching green on the bed. I also added the crystal knobs to the doors. This piece is wonderful for storage! I have sheets, blankets, toys, books and an odd assortment of randomness stashed in here.

The Dresser: This lovely piece was my Great Grandmother's. I grew up with it in my room and both of my girls had it in their nursery. When I was originally planning this room, I had another dresser in mind that I was going to paint. But, with all of the painted furniture already in there, I needed a touch of natural wood to add some warmth, depth and maturity to the space. Plus, I really like that I can keep a family heirloom in this room.

The Mermaid: We don't talk about the Mermaid. She never happened. You see, the mermaid cost more than all of the furniture...combined. It was a complete moment of weakness and a total impulse buy. I'm just gonna leave it at that and not discuss it further.

The window and shutters, on the other hand were thrift store finds.

The Accessories: I made my own lampshade with torn pieces of burlap and seashells. The vintage books were antique store finds and the luminary was a $1 yard sale find. I liked the weathered wood on it.

I added a jar of seashells and wrapped it in twine to give that subtle ocean feel. The iron lantern was an antique store find that my sister bought for the store. I decided to keep it instead, and it is my favorite accessory in this room!

Love those pillows! Brandy, my personal sewer (I hate sewing) cut up an extra duvet that I bought (on sale for $42) and made a ton of pillow cases and throw pillows for me. She added her own touch of white chenille to the mix which adds a great fluffy and vintagey texture! It was the finishing touch that this bed needed.

I switched out the closet door knobs with these chunky star fish pulls. They are just perfect to finish off this room.

I have a few more finishing details that I'm waiting to find. Like, a nautical or distressed clock for the wall. I'm not sure what I want, but when I see it I will know.

My next room reveal at home will be my living room transformation, which is almost finished!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

I know my limits when it comes to refinishing projects. I won't strip and re-stain pieces. Too much work and I wouldn't do a very good job. I won't do any upholstery that involves a sewing machine, i.e. slipcovers or chairs. I won't sew...anything! Hate it. Enough said about that.

I am, however working on perfecting some areas that aren't...shall we strongest. For example, this little settee.

It isn't a removable seat which makes it a bit more challenging of a project for me to tackle. And, one that I haven't entirely mastered.

The first attached upholstery job I attempted was this chair.

It was challenging. The outcome was pretty good. Not perfect. But, good enough. Since I kept this chair, I was willing to take some chances and live with the imperfections.
Practice makes perfect, right?

When I did that chair, I removed all the upholstery and then painted it. That was a pain because the batting and foam was in the way. This time, I painted it before I removed the upholstery.

That made identifying where the fabric should lay real easy. Removing the fabric, not so much. Not only was it attached with glue and staples, but it also had upholstery nails attaching the trim. Fortunately, Dad helped me get all of the trim off.

When I re-upholstered the chair, I cut the fabric too large. Because it lays and attaches to the chair itself, trimming it down to size was a real challenge. For the settee, I opted to cut my pattern the exact size of the existing fabric. I used it as a guide with barely any room for error.

How did I do?

It BARELY fit...and I mean barely. There are a few places I had to improvise to cover and hide some of the minor flaws. All in all, though it looks pretty good.

I will take better pictures when I have it placed in the store for the Holiday Stroll (on November 18th). I will be selling it "at-cost" since there are some minor imperfections. I'm one step closer to getting the next one right...or at least better!  
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