Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Pre-fab look...well...Not Pre-fab

What is pre-fab you ask? In a nutshell...virtually anything from Ikea. It's inexpensive furniture that is made by connecting board "A" to board "B." It often times comes in a box and is put together by the consumer, or can be purchased already assembled. Some pre-fab furniture may have solid wood components, but is rarely made entirely from solid wood. It might have a wood veneer but beneath that is press board. 

As a rule, I try and stay away from anything pre-fab. That being said, if I come across a piece cheap enough and think that there might be some potential, I'll pick it up and work a little paint brush magic. 

This is the top piece to a pre-fab hutch that I picked up. It's a bit "country" for my taste, but the base had some great potential (plus, it was highly affordable). 

The top of this was complete junk. Basically, a really nice looking piece of cardboard covered the top and back of it. And, the knobs were so nasty looking they gave me chills. 

I scrapped the top piece and just kept the bottom and turned it into this...

I used Duck Egg and Old White.

I left the original "wood" top and put the square knobs in my $1 hardware bin. 

The numbers and red hardware add some visual interest to an otherwise plain piece. 

Plus, some great storage.

All in all, a nice fix for pre-fab piece of furniture that looks anything but pre-fab. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wow Us Weekend Week 5

It's week Five of our Wow Us Weekend Link Party!

If you have been following for any length of time, you know how much I love cane chairs. They look great in their natural wood, and even better painted! My favorite pick this week was this refurbished cane chair by de tout, de rien! Not only did she give new life to the chair with fresh paint, it was re-caned by hand. That is the ultimate Do-it-Yourselfer! Be sure to check out all of her pictures of the re-caning process on her blog. It is no easy task!

Link away with your favorite furniture refinishing projects and home decor!

Lucketts Green

For the moment, Lucketts Green seems to be the most popular color from Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint line. Though, it's too early to tell, we sold out of Lucketts the second day. Of all the colors, this was the one I was most looking forward to painting with. I'm not a green person, so a shade of green that I can fall in love with is a rare thing.

Lucketts is an awesome Antique Store in Leesburg, Virginia stocked full of great antiques, home furnishings and lots of homemade goodies. I got to visit Lucketts last winter when I was visiting friends back east.

Lucketts Green looks great with so many other shades...Tricycle Red, Typewriter Black, any shades of Blue and of course, Ironstone.

I chose a simple cane sided bookshelf for my first go with Lucketts Green.

Very hum drum.
The frame and shelves are painted in the Lucketts Green and parts of the cane side.

I slapped on (literally) white to the sides so you can see some of the wood and some of the green.

The frame took a light second coat of paint, but there is a lot of variation in the colors with the layering of coats and wood finish.

I'm not gonna lie...I did a pretty sloppy paint job. But, not that tacky looking, lazy sloppy paint job with drips down the sides. Just the kind that allows for lot of wood tones to peek through the paint.

I love this color. I'm definitely going to have to find a piece in my house to do in this color!

Tonight is our 5th Weekly Wow Us Weekend link party. Come link up with us so we can share ideas and showcase your talents!

Picking Hardware

Yesterday, I got about 150 new pieces of hardware in stock along with new hooks, metal wall hangings and other metal furniture embellishments. When they got to my house, my girlfriend was there and I was completely giddy about some of the new pieces. I started tearing into the bags to show her some of the fun ones I picked out. She says to me, "you have such a fun job!"
She's completely right. It is so much fun to shop for hardware knowing that, at some point I will have the perfect piece of furniture to put it on...that is, if it doesn't sell in the store before I get that piece.
The key to hardware is to know when to use new vs. keeping the old. Here is my general rule of thumb as to how I decide whether to keep it or toss it.

I always keep original hardware when...

1. It is all there and intact!

A lot of older piece have delicate knobs or handles that have teeny tiny nails attaching them to the wood in addition to the actual screw. While, you can remove them, the process often damages the hardware itself. In that case, if they are all there, I paint over the knobs and add touches of distressing around it so the original metal shows through the paint.

2. It is classic!

The scrolly legged, French furniture is just not right without the classic French pulls.

And, these classic handles are reminiscent of early early American furniture. I remember walking through Mt. Vernon and noticing how many of the original pieces owned by George Washington had these very handles on them. If these handles are on a traditional, early American pieces, I will almost always leave them in their original state!

3. The quality of the furniture does not warrant investing in new hardware

This was a small chest of drawers, most likely purchased in a box and put together at home. It was made from pre-fab materials. New handles would have cost around $20 and wasn't worth it for a piece that would only sell for $50. So, I kept the original handles and spray painted them for a fresh look.

4. The original hardware can be changed and altered to look completely different.

These large wood knobs were original to the dresser they went on, but with the added touch of paint, modge podge and vintage sewing patterns, they take on an entirely new look and add character to an otherwise plain piece of furniture!

I always replace hardware when...

1. I'm forced to because there are broken pieces or handles missing.

2. The original hardware is so ghastly that the only way to make the piece look good is with new stuff.

3. When I can mix some original with some new.

The handles were original to the piece with a fresh coat of spray paint and the knobs on the drawer were new pieces to contemporize the dresser.

4. It just needs some bling.

There's nothing like an antique dresser with a gorgeous glass knob. Simple as that!

Happy Hardware Hunting!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in French Enamel

I just got back from a blissful week long vacation! sigh
It's always hard to get back in the swing of things! But, such is life...and I have a back room full of furniture awaiting a paint brush!
Before I left, I had a chance to finish an antique dresser that has been sitting in my backyard for the duration of the summer! It was a heavily damaged but beautifully detailed piece and the only piece of unfinished furniture that I had "lying around" the house. When I got my shipment of Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint at home, I tried desperately not to get distracted by a painting project when I had other things to do. But, getting twelve new glorious colors that were highly anticipated was like giving a toddler a piece of candy and saying "you can't eat it." My resolve to not paint lasted all of two hours and then I couldn't stand it any longer.
I started tearing into boxes in the back of the car on the hunt for one very specific color.

I was seeking out French Enamel Blue.

The inspiration behind Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint is traditional blue French Enamel tin ware. I love French enamel pieces, no matter their color!

I chose French Enamel Blue for this traditional antique dresser and mirror.

White Ironstone is painted in the wood detailing to set off the great design.
There was a bit of chipping, but not as much as I'd hoped for.
The hardest thing about using milk paint (for me) is the waiting period. I'm a start it and finish kind of girl. I like the instant results and being able to complete a piece within a 4-hour time frame. With milk paint, I have had the best results when a piece is painted and dries over a 24 hour time frame. It always distresses better the next day and is more likely to give me the chippy results I'm looking for. It's hard to wait to finish it...but worth the wait in the end.
This particular dresser had a lot of veneer damage on the top and sides. I really played up the damage by adding more heavy distressing around the damaged areas.
The icing on the cake...all original hardware!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wow Us Weekends Week 4

Happy 4th Wow Us Weekend Link Party.

Our favorite of the week was the gossip chair makeover with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Tricycle Red by Jeane of Perfect Imperfections!

What wonderful antique-style chipping -- the dark bottom layers peeking through the brick red really make for a fantastic texture! Love your work, Jeane!

Remember, please keep your posts limited to furniture refinishing projects and home decor. Happy Linking!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No-Stress Fall Entertaining

Just because the Southern California weather in October can't make up its mind whether it wants to be a sweltering summer scorcher or a cloud-blanketed drizzly chill, doesn't mean that you can't indulge in some autumn festivities. Hot or cold, these are some of our favorite ways to celebrate harvest time.

If only we had fall foliage like this in Glendora, right?

The great thing about shabby chic party planning is that it only takes a few details to make a simple get together with friends feel like a cozy fall celebration. Serving platters of snacks or desserts on rustic crates or vintage kitchenwares makes tasty morsels look as appetizing as if they were made from scratch in a homestyle farmhouse bakery (even if they came from a box).

Rustic autumn dessert display

For mealtime, don't worry about spending hours in the kitchen whipping up elaborate dishes. Think comfort food: simple, filling, and always a crowd-pleaser. Grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of tomato soup or hearty stew with a side of warm cornbread will do the trick. Of course, if you can't resist adding a dish that will "wow" your guests, these adorable Jack-O-Lantern Sweet Potato Fries take less than 30 minutes to make.

If you want to host a dinner party without spending a fortune on centerpieces, your own kitchen can offer some refreshingly homey options. A small ceramic pot filled with wooden kitchen utensils creates a folksy bouquet. Add mason jars filled with dried flowers or tea light candles resting on beds of dried corn kernels and you have dining room table decor that will last for the whole season--and you won't even have to water it once!

Farmhouse kitchen centerpiece
corn kernels in candle holders

For an extra touch of Halloween magic, instead of regular mason jars try some of Knot too shabby's colorful jack-o-lantern jars (only $3-4 each)!

That's it! Now all you have to do is invite a few friends over, press play on your favorite tunes, put your feet up while enjoying a pumpkin spice latte from Knot too shabby's neighbor Classic Coffee and enjoy the fun of the fall season!

Do you love autumn too? What are some of your most memorable fall traditions?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Re-Purposed Art

Having my own little hobby store is so much fun! I get to "play" virtually every single day, doing something that I love, shopping for things I can't live without and inspiring people to let their creativity flow with nothing more than a paint brush and an idea! 

About nine months ago, one of those creative-minded people stopped in the shop. She stood in front of me and said, "we are going to be best friends!" I kind-of half smiled and was like, "ummm...ok." 

She asked me if I would sell some her hand made art.

At the time, I was still offering limited consignment opportunities, so I agreed to give it a go. 

But, they weren't really moving. 

Then, through brainstorming, a little bit of Internet based research and experimentation, she refined her art into this...

While I was a bit un-moved by the canvas art, the photo emulsion on wood took my breath away! 

Michelle Black is just another mom in town with an itch to make something of her hobby and turn it into an inspiring piece of home decor! 

And, guess what? We are pretty good friends now with weekly (sometimes daily) conversations that begin with, "I've got an idea..." Dangerous words! 

Michelle's art is the hottest new stuff in the store! 

She has found her creative niche...taken her love of photography and figured out how to turn it into a beautiful piece re-purposed art. 

And, each piece comes with its own story...the tale of where the picture was taken and the unique quality of each piece of wood. 

To top it off, she has agreed to teach you how to do this! 

Together, we are offering our first Image Transfer Workshop, so that you can learn how to take your own precious photos and create a one of kind portrait. 

Our first workshop is scheduled for Saturday, December 1st from 4:00-6:00 pm. We only have ten spots available and I know this is going to book up fast! Cost is $60 and you don't have to bring anything with you! You will learn about the process and create your own work of art to take home! 

Call to sign-up over the phone or stop by the store to add your name to the list! 

As much as my own style has matured throughout the past year, it's been a blast to watch Michelle refine her talent and grow to an amazing and unique artist! 

Michelle has her own exciting things happening in the near future (like a magazine publication) so check out her blog, The not so Cooke Cutter Life to keep up with all her new projects. 

In the meantime, you just might see us huddled together in the store with a piece of paper and pen making a list of our next great scheme!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

WOW us Weekend Week 3

Welcome to our third weekly Wow Us Weekend Link party! We are finally stocked with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint and look forward to seeing an even greater variety of projects! 

This past week, my favorite piece was this fabulous chair refinished by Maureen at Nest and Feathers!

I love the natural fabric and the ruffle skirt around the seat! Such a classically simple finish. Looks great Maureen! 

Remember to keep your posts about furniture refinishing projects and home decor! 

Next week I will be out of town, but the knot too shabby girls get to sit down and pick their personal favorites. So, happy linking! 

Extreme Color

This is the dresser and here is the story. 

Late this past summer, one of my dearest friends from back east  (who I write about all the time because we are kindred spirits in the picking world) came out to California for family vacation. She was on her way down to the river...or maybe a lake...and she saw this dresser on the side of the road. 

That's Sally!
I can just hear her husband when she tells him to pull over so they can load it and bring it to my house. "Are you kidding me. We are not picking that up!" He probably sounded just like my husband when I see stuff on the side of the road and want to pull over. 

Well...there it is. Picked by my Virginia girlfriend, on the way to family vacation in So. Cal and "dumped" (I mean that in the most lovingly way) in my driveway. 

And in my driveway it sat...and sat...and sat. I got it while we were transitioning from the store across the street into our new space and was trying to resolve how things would fit in the storage unit and the back workroom. Finally, I brought it to the shop and decided to slap some paint on it. 

I must've been feeling feisty because I went extreme! Antibes Green Extreme!

I painted Antibes on the framework of the entire piece and when it was almost dry, I dry brushed watered down Florence.

Then, the drawers got a coat of Florence.

Just a light distressing and a little bit of dark wax to richen the color. 

Sunglasses anyone?

I like how it came out. Even though it's a far cry from my usual style. 

Hopefully someone likes it! 

Don't forget to link up to our Wow us Weekend Link Party! Every Thursday night to Sunday at midnight!

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