Thursday, February 28, 2013

Irvine Antique Market

About four months ago, one of my customers came to the shop and told me I had to sell down at the Irvine Antique Market. I hadn't been to that flea market. I thought I had heard of all the Southern California swap meets so my interest was piqued since I had never heard of nor had been to Irvine.

I broached the subject with my friend Michelle who sells the Image Transfer art and my other friend Mike who does antiques in OC  and asked if they'd be interested in going down with me as vendors. We set out in January to scope out the event to see if it would be worth our time.

The view alone was worth our time!

I fell in love with Irvine. It is relaxed. It is small...but not too small. Not so overwhelming as the Rose Bowl and not nearly as much competition or crowds. I liked the vendors. Friendly and down to earth.

There are enough vendors and people to make it worth our time, but not so many to overwhelm me in this venture. And the big's free...yep....FREE. Free parking, free admittance. The first time we went I was looking for a ticket booth and was spooked out by just "crossing" the imaginary line from the parking lot to the shopping area.

Prepping for this event is an event in and of itself. My initial plan was to liquidate old inventory. What better way to refresh the store than get rid of the old stuff. So, I mentally tagged everything that I would be taking from the shop so that I could plan for its replacement. Except, all but one piece sold last week. So, going into the weekend I entered scramble mode.

Fortunately, I didn't have a shortage of furniture since I just brought an entire truck load from my recent picking adventure on the Central Coast.

On Sunday afternoon, I pulled out one piece at a time and just started painting...

...and stripping and staining...

...and lots and lots of mixing milk paint and combining colors.

By Wednesday afternoon, I had a mini workshop set up on the bed of the truck and seven pieces of antique furniture lining my driveway, painted, chipped and waxed (my neighbors are very understanding)!

Almost all of the furniture I'm taking is painted in a variety of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint colors or combination of colors and I'm taking a box full of Milk Paint to sell down there, too. Who knows...maybe I will create some milk paint enthusiasts over the weekend!

I spent the whole day today making smaller things to take with me.

About half a dozen window pane chalkboards painted in various shades of blues, reds and browns!

I also worked on re-purposing some dresser drawers and love the look.

Tomorrow I am organizing some new stock of hardware and hooks to take with me and replenish the store supply.

And yet, I still don't feel ready for Sunday. Perhaps, it's the thought of waking up at 3:30 am...who is ever ready to do that!?

Thinking about paying us a visit on Sunday?

Here's the info:

Irvine Antique Market at Irvine Great Park in Irvine, California
7:00am to 2:00 pm

Take the 5 Freeway (south from Glendora)
Exit Sand Canyon and turn left.
Turn right at the first street under the freeway (Market St. I think) and follow the signs.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Wood Ladder and Strings Music

This morning, I was taking a walk downtown to drop some packages off at Ellsworth Stationers to be mailed. I hate going to the post office. It's an irrational kind of hate. I rank it up there with emptying the dishwasher.

Well, this morning I had a few important packages to ship, so it had to be done!

On my way down I saw Gayle from Strings Music fiddling with an old wooden ladder in his window. I had to stop to see what he was doing only to discover that he is liquidating everything in his shop so he can retire.  I was a bit sad to find out that Gayle is retiring. He has been one of my biggest supporters here in the village and lent a lot of time and effort to help sway the decision for me to have a store in the Village.

Anyway, while Strings specialty has been high end guitars and other instruments, Gayle has managed to keep an eclectic array of inventory in his shop. It is a like a treasure trove of randomness if you look beyond the obvious. For instance, I found an antique baby buggy in there today, a vintage accordian in an awesome leather suitcase and this...

Yep. It's a wooden step ladder with wheels (Pardon the drool)! 

Gayle told me that it is original to his store from way back in the 1940's. It was used in an old shoe store in town.

Gayle told me he was selling everything and I had to have this!

I'm sure I looked silly rolling this step ladder down the street.

So, want to know my plans?

I love it so much I'm going to take it home and use it for my girls room. Some old fence board will be screwed on the steps to create shelves and their shoes can be lined up along each shelf! So CUTE!

One problem with my plan...I brought it in the shop to take photos, then left it against the wall and two hours later it sold. I'm devastated!

Such is the business.

On a more positive note, for the past two years, Gayle has had this beautiful mahagony sideboard that he uses for his window display. Every time I see him I ask, "are you ready to sell your dresser yet?" Well, today he gave me dibs and when the shop is closed down, I get to adopt his dresser!!! I also bought an awesome oak wood farm table from him today. I just need to pick that one up.

If you have a chance, stop by Strings. Even if you aren't in the market for some musical instruments, you just might find a treasure amidst his inventory. Plus, he has some beautiful antique furniture that he is selling!

I, for one will miss Gayle and my girls will miss his teeny tiny dog Chelsea who can be seen wandering the Avenue at any given time of day!

Here's to retirement!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Custom Milk Paint Color

What a week we've had. In fewer than six days we have:

Participated in the Glendora Village Wine Walk,
Set-up (and tore down) an awesome Valentine's Themed Photo Booth,
Hosted an Annie Sloan Paint and Play Workshop,
Re-arranged the entire store,
Unpacked and displayed over 200 cans of paint and wax,
Finished three large pieces of furniture and several smalls,
Completed a private paint lesson,
Got over 1,000 likes on facebook...
...and somewhere in between all of that cut and pasted 40 class Valentines, forgot to take lunch to school one day, finished 14 pages of homework (for Kindergarten) and on and on.  
My reward for a busy and productive week is a weekend in the beautiful Central Coast to celebrate my Grandpa's 94th birthday and pause to take a breath! sigh
The fruits of my labor:

I'm almost 100% positive I will be keeping this piece, what with the awesome feet and all...
...and the new knobs with some bling.
I used a custom mix of Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint that was about 4 parts White Ironstone to 1 part Kitchen Scale. The details have White Ironstone and the outside is finished with Hemp Oil.
Also finished was an awesome Drop Leaf Table.
I love, love the curvy legs and detail work. This table is so feminine and dainty.
I painted it with Miss Mustard Seed's Linen and it has an old worn, chippy look.
The cane back chairs are awesome too and completed by two of the participants in our last Paint and Play Workshop. Nice work, huh?!
Finally, a beautiful low boy in Graphite with sheet music decopauged on the sides.
We kept the original hardware.

I like its classic simplicity.

I'm off to do laundry, pack, clean house...basically all the things I didn't get around to earlier in the week! It might be a late night.

Happy President's Weekend!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Wine Walk Valentine Photo Booth

With a little luck, and a lot of love, we were able to host a romantic vintage photo booth at Knot Too Shabby during the 4th Annual Glendora Wine Walk. How did we do it? Read on to find out how the KTS team made this fun Valentine's photo op happen.

 All of the furniture used for the photo booth came from our store inventory, and you probably won't be surprised to know that the chairs and the chalkboard sign were all painted using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®...even the white upholstery is painted!

The incredible wooden heart hanging on the wall was made by local artist Michelle E. Black out of re-purposed wooden roof shingles. Yes, that's the very same artist that creates the breathtaking works of art seen at Knot Too Shabby by applying her own photographs to reclaimed wood. If you hurry, you can still sign up for a spot in her next Image Transfer Workshop on February 23rd from 4:00-6:00.

Glendora Florist provided the playfully rustic watering can bouquet and it's not too late to order your own for Valentine's Day.

Killer Cupcake Event Photography provided the actual photography for the evening and these are some of the fantastic pictures that were taken. Click below to see all of the photos.

A special thanks to everyone who contributed for our fun night!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Making Milk Paint Chip

I'm starting to close in on two years with a retail spot. In the beginning, my husband challenged me..."what are you going to do when trends change?" My response was to change with the trends or quit doing it when home decorating trends are no longer "my style." After all, we all change our style over time! Just look at your high school yearbooks to discover that. 

While the niche market that I appeal to in home decorating and furnishings hasn't changed as of yet, the nature of my business is definitely shifting. It's exciting and nerve racking all at the same time. Over the past twelve months, I am seeing a tremendous rise in the sale of paint and DIY accessories! So much so, that in January I sold over 200 cans of paint and wax and ran out of all but four boxes of milk paint. That's somewhere around 1,500 pieces of furniture given new!!!!

That's amazing! And, as a result of this growing "do-it-yourself" trend, I am finding that, as a store I need to grow with it. So, I decided I needed to abandon my measly 50 square feet of "paint space" and create a more prominent DIY Center in the shop. 

First, I needed a more permanent and prominent display piece for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint. I found this antique, turn of the century cabinet right here in Glendora on craigslist. I went to check it out on a Sunday night and was practically begging the guy to drop the price just a little. He was asking $600 and I was really hoping to get it for around $450/$500. But, he wouldn't budge an inch on the price. I went home and slept on it. Showed pictures of it to a few people. Talked about it with my go-to business associates and finally decided I couldn't live without it despite the price. I had to invest another $100 in a delivery service because at nine and a half feet long and over seven feet tall, this was way out of my lifting and carrying capabilities. 

Once it was in the store, we didn't waste any time. That's Maddie! She's our Thursday intern and we love her creativity (plus, she is awesome at staging the shop)! 

I wanted the end result of this piece to look primitive...appear as though it was forgotten in an old house or barn for decades and painted over and again during its life. During one of our workshops about six weeks ago, I was playing with the hemp oil and paint on molding strips to see if the oil would prevent the paint from bonding to the finish so that it would chip. And, it did!  I decided to use this piece to experiment with the oil and milk paint on a larger scale.

We started with Lucketts Green which was a nice complimentary color to the yellow. Once the paint was dry and chipped, we layered a coat of Miss Mustard Seed's Hemp Oil over the whole thing. The hemp oil would cause the next coat of paint to resist bonding and chip (I hoped).

The next coat was Linen. And, it chipped as hoped and planned. Another coat of  hemp oil.

Third coat, French Enamel.

More chipping. Not as much white peeking as I had hoped, but that Lucketts Green is coming through beautifully. More hemp oil.

Fourth coat, Shutter Gray to match the inside shelving. 

More chipping. My three year old wanted to help. My thought was, "what the heck. There's not much you can do to mess it up so go for it!"

More hemp oil. Much more liberally before the final coat because I wanted the final coat of paint to chip more than the other colors.

Final coat, Flow Blue.

This is how it turned out.

In Annie Sloan's new Workbook, she writes "try to avoid using more than three colors together on a piece. Unless you are very experienced the effect can end up looking too much like a circus or harlequin." I know what she means. I like how this piece came out, but it's verging on too much. Too much color within all of the erratic chipping. Because off all the color, it is a little overwhelming. But, it was a good experiment and it provides for a great sample of what the milk paint is capable of doing in addition to how the different colors compliment each other.

I love the original hardware.

Awesome shelving on the bottom for the burlap "project" bags we sell.

The chalkboard on the front door was there when I bought it and is on a tin backing. 

The mess of chipping paint after five coats! I'm going to be seeing blue chips for months!

When I first inquired about this piece, the owner told me that it was from the Green St. Hotel in Pasadena and was from the early 1900's. There is a small peep hole cut out of the middle and the back has an inscription that says "no chips given without the cash." Most likely, this display was a faux wall to an illegal gambling hall. 


A little piece of California history. 

This is the first piece of furniture I have ever purchased with the intention of keeping. Hence the higher price tag and labor involved. But, everything has a price, right? The price tag says "this beauty is not for sale...unless you want to pay an obscene amount of money so I can take my family on a Disney which case, I would sell it." 

So, your take home tip from me to you:

If you want to manipulate the chipping of the milk paint, hemp oil provides a perfect barrier between coats or on the original finish. The more liberally applied, the more the paint will chip. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Big Projects

They are always there staring me in the face. Big Projects!

In the midst of big projects, I think "as soon as I finish (fill in the blank), I can relax."

But, as soon as I'm finished there is another Big Project staring me in the face.

And so on and so forth. Such is my nature.

I've taken a blogging break for the past week plus, mainly because I haven't finished anything worth blogging about. Rather than waiting until I'm done, I thought I would show a little peek about the big projects I've been working on.

My Workshop, for starters. A few weeks ago I blogged about how much I loved my workshop space and when I went back looking for something on the website, I ran across that post and screamed to myself, "WHAT WAS I THINKING POSTING PICTURES OF THE WORKSHOP! IT LOOKS TERRIBLE!"

So, for the past few weeks, I've engaged in some brainstorming with my evil sidekick, Michelle Black who always makes me rethink my hum drum plans to do something (what we call) "pinterest worthy."

Every good redo starts with paint. I decided to paint out Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Versailles on the north wall and carry Paris Grey into the workshop so that the store flows right through to the back work area. I used leftover paint from the store ceiling on the workshop ceiling (painting out the last little bits of mural that were leftover from the bookstore) and added a pop of color on the back wall to tie in the Florence that is in the front of the store.

This wall will have a full size work sink against it with some great exposed shelving so that cleaning all of the paint and wax brushes will be easier.

I'm crossing my fingers that this industrial cart will work as the base for my new sink because I just bought this in Irvine for exactly that purpose.

Then, there was the mess of the floor.

Half of the floor was wood, the other half is lineoleum tiles with patches of some other stuff all over the place. We painted all of the floor white and taped it off for a painted diamond pattern.

I used Country Grey and Graphite as the diamond colors and started it all wrong. But, I'll save that for another post.

Painted diamonds before sanding and lacquer applied

I spent my Super Bowl Sunday on my hands and knees finishing the painting, then yesterday I sanded it all down with my rotary sander and added a coat of Annie Sloan Lacquer to seal it. I just have to do the other side of the workshop floor this week.

The other big project has been this huge display piece I picked up on craigslist.

I'm refinishing this piece with layer after layer of milk paint and working for a primitive, authentic chippy look. I've been sharing process pictures on facebook so you can see what we've been doing each day. What, with five coats of paint on the exterior, a coat of hemp oil in between each coat of paint and a day of drying time from one coat to the next...well, it's taking a bit of time. But, I'm really excited about how it's turning out and can't wait to do my first milk paint tutorial using this piece as my sample!

Throw in a few custom furniture projects in the mix, my regular day-to-day mom/wife tasks and all of that stuff...hence, my two week blogging break.

Now that the end is in sight of these projects, I have a couple other Big Projects to start.

And, here we go again...

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