Antiques Booth · DIY

A Little Bathroom Bauble for the Mermaid Enthusiast

I bought these little wooden signs at The craft supply when they were on clearance, at the time, I didn’t know what I would do with them but they were too good of a deal to walk past.

I decided to paint a little sign for the bathroom to go in my booth simply because I had a set of nautical themed robe hooks and I wanted something to hang on it.

I began by lightly sanding the surface and then wiping it down with alcohol.

Once dry I applied a coat of primer

and then lay down a base coat of a semi translucent aqua and immediately applied a sandy beige glaze to go over it by mixing paint with glazing liquid.

After that I hand painted the lettering on it and it had to dry overnight afterwards.

To finish it off I applied a burnt umber and rust colored glaze in the corners to age and distress it just a bit. I used rope from ace hardware to tie a sailor’s knot and hung it. Easy Peasy!!

A quick project for a weekend! Let me know what you think? Any mermaids in your life? My oldest daughter would happily switch places with Ariel if she could.

Antiques Booth · DIY · Uncategorized

A Minty Little Table

I picked this little table up and loved it right away. You know how when you meet someone new and you can just tell that they have seen some stuff? Well, this table was just like that, it had seen a few things. It was coated with this awful cherry-ish stain that had almost been thrown onto it Jackson Pollock style, and someone had painted over the lovely antique brass casters. I knew I could give it some love and make it special again. And I can honestly say that by the time I was finished, I didn't want to put it in my booth. It matches my daughter's nursery perfectly and I ended up loving it. If it hasn't sold the next time I check out my booth, I may be bringing it back home again!

NOW, all that having been said, I was so excited to get started on this piece that I committed the cardinal sin of blogging and COMPLETELY forgot to take a before picture of this lil guy so I'm going to have to ask you to use your extraordinary imaginations. Close your eyes and imagine it! Do it! Okay that's enough imagining.

I began, as usual, by de-cobweb-ifying (trademark pestle and wick 2017) and wiping the entire piece top to bottom, inside and out, with denatured alcohol. I then lightly sanded the entire piece to give it a little "tooth", wiped it down again with D.A. and, after it dried completely, lay down one coat of primer. The following day I painted it with two coats of this lovely light minty color, which I am in love with right now. The little table cured for 2 days and then I lay down a thin coat of poly and voilà! Once I put the little glass top back in, it was perfect! The only other thing I did was lightly deglaze the sweet little brass casters with acetone and a cotton swab to get rid of the old stain/paint that someone had carelessly slathered them with.

Antiques Booth · DIY

Matching Solid Wood Tables Get a Second Go

     Friends, it’s been a while since my last post and I can only blame my children’s insatiable need to eat, be bathed, and either be tucked in or woken up (selfish babies ;P) and this insane, humid, soggy, and ungodly hot weather. Which, I am sure sounds like an empty excuse, but truly, I painted several pieces of furniture this week and the first coats of primer and paint were fine, but the jump in temperature and humidity left the last coat of paint tacky to the touch for 4 full days!!! In any case, I’m back on track and have a few posts in the cache and I’m ready to share what I’ve been working on.

    I picked up these two matching end tables and, trust me y’all, they needed some LOVE. These tables were solid wood, but that wood had taken a royal beating in every possible way, additionally, they were antiques, but were cheap reproductions of higher quality pieces. What does that mean to me? That I’m going to invest some elbow grease, but it’s not worth a ton of time spinning my wheels on pieces that are not worth a sizable return once refinished. Like every other piece of furniture I touch, I began by scrubbing the layers of old wax, varnish, and pure filth off with a little denatured alcohol and a lot of the aforementioned elbow grease. I then sanded them heavily, using heavy grit sand paper, and proceeded to use finer and finer grit until rounding it out with an ultrfine grit by hand on every square inch of every surface of both tables. At this point, on other pieces, I can usually see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can usually run my hands over a freshly sanded piece of furniture and just SEE how it’s going to look when it’s done. This time around, there were tons of old drip marks, large gash marks, and dents from days-gone-by. Normally I would spend an hour filling dents and scratches, sanding, cleaning, sanding, cleaning…you get the idea, but as I mentioned earlier, since these are not going to be a huge return on my small investment, I wanted to just give them a little love and spruce them up. Some pieces are worth the investment and time it takes to either fully restore or refurbish them, and some are more…”fluff and paint” kind of furniture and these two tables were DEFINITELY the latter. This is what they looked like after their final sanding.

Not pretty…

I then began priming, and due to their rough shape, I knew that I wanted to give them two coats of primer. But if you look closely at the table on the right (below) you can see little drip marks tin the decorative groove on its top, both had this and it appears that someone just slapped on some varnish or poly or stain (who knows) and let it drip into the groove all willy-nilly like.

After trying, and failing, to sand the groove out by hand, I decided to get out my dremel and clean it out. Let me tell you, it worked brilliantly. 

After dremeling (/dremelING/ verb : The act of kicking a task in the teeth with a dremel.) the nasty gunk out of the groove, I used a 220 grit sponge block sander with an angled edge to get down into the groove and smooth it out. It wasn’t perfect but, again, no spinning wheels here, folks.

Then it was time to vacuum up the mess and degrease again with denatured alcohol. Once that was dry, I hit it with another coat of primer and let it dry for 24 hours. I then painted both tables with their first coat of a very light cream colored paint. Everything up until this point was just business-as-usual progress, but then there was a crazy shift in the weather and the heat, humidity, and rain set in. Coat number two took 4, that’s right, F O U R days to completely dry. On day number two, I started letting them cure in front of a fan and I’m sure it helped, but I’ve never had it take so long for paint to fully cure. 

     Here is the finished product, I think they came out great. Each table still has a few nicks and dings, but they traveled light years to get where they are and I am very pleased with them. They have loads of character and were definitely worth the work. Have you ever had to dremel the snot out of a piece of furniture? Tell me what you think! Be kind to each other, y’all.


Refinishing Project: Two Queen Anne Style End Tables

Refinishing furniture is something I have done since I was a teenager. I had painted my share of bedroom walls, applied my share of wallpaper, even helped my mom strip old wallpaper, all in the name of  freshening up our house without breaking the piggy bank. If my mom wanted to spruce up the house, she’d take down wallpaper, paint the walls a fresh new color, and pick up a thrifted quilt. I learned that buying store bought furniture, while easier, was not always better. Because of that, I also learned to look for quality solid wood pieces, ones that were a value but valuable. The very first piece of furniture that I ever refinished from top to bottom was a small end table that belonged to my then boyfriend, who would eventually become my husband. The end table was solid black and had a little shelf in it which he liked but being that he was about to move into his very first apartment, it was the only black piece of furniture and it really didn’t match, he decided that he was going to donate it! When I heard this, I told him to give it to me and that I’d salvage it. I sanded it down by hand, painted it ivory, and hand painted poppies on the side (hey, don’t judge, it was the late nineties and decor with Asian influence was very on trend at the time!!). He loved it and I felt empowered. This was before the age of YouTube and Google, if you wanted to learn how to properly do something, you had to check out a book or learn from someone you knew. I bought books, read magazines, and asked my mom hundreds of questions over those first few years, and those experiences shaped me into someone who lives by the adage “Do it right the first time” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are so many trends right now in the DIY sector, matte finish, raw wood, chalk paint, waxed or water based poly… I tend to gravitate away from chalk and lean towards latex based satin finishes for their durability and stain/damage resistance as well as the reduced likelihood of immediate yellowing or bubbles. I began this antique booth endeavor knowing that I had to remain true to my sensibilities and do it right. This pair of end tables would be no exception. When I got them they were quite scratched and painted a matte black that I didn’t HATE but wasn’t in love with. I selected a lighter gray that was more on trend and more in line with my aesthetic. Here is what they looked like before I got started.

I began by vacuuming away the surface dust, debris, and the layer of thankfully vacated spiderwebs clinging to the bottom (*shudder*). Using a screwdriver, I removed the hardware from both drawers and set them aside for later. 

Then, noticing several mystery-grease spots on the tops of both of them, I decided to degrease both pieces completely with denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol has many uses but, when it comes to furniture refinishing, its most often used to degrease in between sanding and layering paint, however, it is also really useful to dehydrate and degrease prior to sanding because often, if you inadvertently sand over grease or wax, it will sometimes effect the way sawdust accumulates on the sandpaper and the efficacy of that sandpaper. So if I spot grease or waxy buildup, I will quickly wipe it down with denatured alcohol because it’s just easier to head that off at the pass. Once I wiped it down and it dried completely, I hit it with medium grit sand paper, and then again with a higher grit medium sandpaper to give the piece tooth to accept new paint, and to smooth out a few fine scratches in the surface. Here is what it looked like afterwards. It only took around 20 minutes to degrease and sand both pieces.

I then hauled my trusty denatured alcohol back out and wiped down both pieces, including tops, sides, legs, and drawer fronts and left them to dry. Where starting a paint project by wiping them down is not entirely necessary every time, degreasing them before painting is imperative. It cleans away any remaining sawdust, paint dust, and debris and most importantly, it dehydrates the surface, insuring a really good bond for the primer so if you decide to tackle a paint project, don’t skip this step, it takes seconds and makes a massive difference. SO I the applied a coat of primer and let that dry for 24 hours. You can apply paint technically after only 6 hours but I just prefer to let it completely dry and cure overnight. If you want to paint sooner, hey, you do you! Knowing that I was going quite a bit darker in color, I knew I’d need at least two coats of paint (I ended up applying three coats), so I lightly sanded the primer coat, dehydrated it with D.A. and then applied my first coat of paint. At this point you simply repeat the steps until you achieve the desired finish: paint, lightly sand, dehydrate/degrease repeat. Once I got it finished, I applied a thin coat of satin finish poly. Now it was time to tackle the hardware, I will admit that it ended up being a bit ridiculous because I am quite type A and I want everything to look perfect and be usable. I intended to degrease then spray paint them a high gloss ivory however that didn’t go well because, as is sometimes the case, the brass hardware was coated in some sort of protective clear coat, the spray paint was repelled in some spots and therefore looked uneven. What’s a type-A girl to do???! Well, I soaked them in acetone, tackled them with fine grade steel wool, and scrubbed the paint and glaze off. They looked so pretty after that! Here’s a pic of them before I scrubbed them with the steel wool. The one on the left has been stripped of paint but not polished, the one on the right has been polished with steel wool, amazing right?

I busted out my handy dandy dremel and, using the polishing brush attachment, I buffed them back up and reattached them and it looks pretty great. Here is the finished product, both tables came out identical and look pretty great, if I do say so myself.

 Tell me what you think! Have you ever faced the hardware conundrum? Tell me your hardware woes! Thanks for checking in with me, and as always, take time to be kind to one another.

Antiques Booth · DIY · Inspirational

My Little Antiques Booth

This month, inspired to do a little more, and possibly make a little extra pocket change, I rented a little booth space at an Antique mall. It was an interesting process, which, like many things, turned out to be far easier said than done.

       I started by simply taking an initial inventory of items, both large and small, that I wanted to get rid of. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been undertaking what I have lovingly been calling “The Great Purge”. It started this winter when I read a copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and has been steadily ongoing ever since.

     Being that I had quite a few pieces that I was ready to part with, I began by staging them. I stacked books, bud vases with peonies, little figures, or dishes that I intended to sell, all staged in a way that would be indicative of my personal style. In my research, I had quickly discovered that the antiques business is pretty competitive and that most of the booth rental spaces in this area have waiting lists that are months, even a year long. Many of them had lengthy, somewhat obnoxious “online only” application requirements that involved submitting personal information along with an ample supply of photos of your goods or of your current booth somewhere else. 

     My background is in sales, I worked in retail for many years, working my way up through management of several stores, eventually into visual merchandising. Which was the happiest I had ever been in my career. I eventually worked into inside sales and corporate sales which was much more lucrative (but far less personally rewarding or fulfilling). That being the case, although I was uncertain of this new venture, I am always confident in my ability to properly stage a home and all the decor in it. 

     I began applying to this store and that… and waiting, thumbs twiddling anxiously, only to go several weeks with only one auto-generated response. I am far too impatient for THAT silliness and consider myself a “take action” sort of girl, so I decided to get busy getting involved and getting to know the owners of these stores personally. I went to the locations around my town that I was most interested in and spoke directly with the owners. Some were incredibly helpful, offering insight and advice, others were a bit…exclusionary. Eventually, after calling several times, I was able to speak to one of the owners of my favorite antique store,  “The Greenbriar”. He was incredibly friendly and polite and I told him of my desire to rent a small booth and my experiences down this path thus far. I told him of my background in Visual Merchandising and my desire to eventually stage houses in this area and in interior decorating and, just like that, he wanted to meet me. It turns out he also had a background in Visual Merchandising. 

     The next day, with toddler in tow, I went in to meet him with my iPad loaded with every pic of my carefully staged items and that was it. We just clicked, like old friends. I saw the space he had available, one he’d set aside for someone with design experience, and with butterflies in my stomach I told him I’d take it! 

     When I signed up, I was under the impression that I would have several weeks to get ready, to decorate, prep, organize, tag, and carefully design the interior of my booth. However, I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to try to get set up in time for their Mother’s Day event since it was their second busiest shopping day of the year. I decided on the spot to try, knowing that, allowing me only 8 days or so to prepare, I wouldn’t get it looking exactly as I had envisioned in time for the event, but not wanting to miss out.

     It has been very much a trial by fire so far, I hadn’t selected a name for it so I just used “Pestle & Wick” since it required zero thought, and my sweet husband and I were at the store until 10:30 with my toddler by our sides. I learned that the stickers I had selected to price my smalls (that’s antique biz lingo, ya’ll!) simply didn’t work, they were cute butcher paper hearts but they were far too easy to remove and fell off of smooth surfaces like dishes. I learned that there are some pieces that I’m irrationally attached to, like my beautiful antique blue painted farmhouse table. I ALSO learned that you never know how much your husband loves you until he willingly drives with you out into who-knows-wheres-ville and watches the kiddos so you can pick an elderly couples old, super scary abandoned motel (yes, that actually happened). 

     It isn’t exactly as I imagined it might be, at least not quite yet, but each week I make little improvements to it and it’s coming along. I intend to post updates as it evolves. Please comment below to tell me what you think. Please follow me so you can stay up to date and follow me on my journey! If you have your OWN story about antiquing, picking, thrifting, or just retail in general, please share them. I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

I can tell you that my booth ALREADY looks differently than in these photos, but that post is for another day!

                           Be the good, ya’ll!

DIY · Inspirational · Recipe

Easter Treat Bar

I love Spring. What’s not to love? Gorgeous flowers, bright foliage, the promise of a fresh new start just around the corner. I LOVE Spring, in the same way that a field mouse might love a barn cat. You see, I adore all things Spring…all things, that is, except the pollen. In the South, we get dogwoods, beautiful wisteria, cherry trees, redbuds, tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, lilies, and glorious gorgeous greenery bursting into verdant splendor everywhere you look, but for me the splendor also ushers in my arch nemesis; pollen. Pollen on every surface of every item I own. So, I enjoy Spring but typically with the assistance of a good antihistamine. (Ha! Take THAT, pollen!)IMG_0228IMG_0227IMG_0225IMG_0224The treat barIMG_0222IMG_0221IMG_0220IMG_0219IMG_0218

I usually have a casual get-together every Spring, typically around Easter, to celebrate spring, maybe dye Easter eggs with the kiddos and sit on the back porch sipping lemonade and reminiscing with the family. I put together a little sample of my typical spread, including a pink lemonade concentrate that is AMAZING poured over sparkling mineral water (recipe included).

I think including Spring flowers just makes everything feel more…peppy? Sometimes I cut flowering branches from the dogwoods, this time I just purchased potted versions of some spring blooms because I wanted to plant them in our growing front garden after they complete their blooming cycle. The large cake stand is from Home Goods and the little one is a vintage inspired pressed glass pretty that I picked up at an antique store. I ordered the colorful paper straws on Amazon here, and the little bunny card holders, believe it or not, came from Target’s dollar section! Whaaaaat? Yup. My bathroom and kitchen remodel is FINALLY complete so there will be posts to follow regarding that process and some of the design choices I made. Thanks for stopping by, and, as always, take time to be kind.

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