Saturday, March 26, 2011

Numbered Gate Leg Table

     This started as a poly-ed plywood, broken gate leg table.  The wings are very versatile when you need extra seating for the kids table or buffet style dining, however, we find that most people like the look but these tables usually end up being used primarily as an end table.  'Just in case' is always nice because you do never know.  This handy end table is especially unique in that there are drawers on both sides! 
    My partner had to replace one of the gates and used his new pocket hole maker we picked up at a garage sale last year.  Score!  The surface was good but felt it needed a paint job.  I had picked up this great copper color (do I dare say it?) at a garage sale last summer.  It's a great earthy tone that sold well last year, so I'm hoping...  The color in itself was too much and I was really stumped as what to do about it.  I had thought originally a two-tone job but I, honestly, wasn't comfortable with my options.  What about a maizy yellow and scuff job?  Cool, but I didn't have a maize color and, if you haven't noticed by now, I probably won't buy it unless it comes at a severe discount.
     Then I remembered something I've been dying to do since I saw it.
I've always wanted to do a numbered stencil job but nothing seemed right until this project.  It has six drawers, what better way to point it out?  Perfect!
     Beth can now be found at where she has pictured a mason jar chandelier and a sweet little stool both with numbered stencil jobs.  Sky's the limit!
     I do everything by hand so I drew it out and painted them in black.  (Tip to self: Don't drink a lot of coffee before painting).  I did the usual scuffing and a paste wax finish.
     I may add more black but haven't decided where.  Maybe the table's edging or the underside of its leaves.
     I did do all six numbers.  I have them arranged to show an odd and even side in one picture and a more typical arrangement in the other.  You decide.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's a Different One, I Swear!

     We sold the Beaut from before today, so I ended up putting this new buffet in the same position.  This is the first one that came with casters, not that they worked but it was different.  I really love adding the old casters to these chunks to make them a little more versatile but I am running out of matching sizes.  I must have twenty that are off by just a smidgen.  Oh well, great birdhouse material!
     This one was an easy transformation.  That is so nice every once in awhile, I get thrown a bone!  My latest little buffet had very few issues.  The veneer was intact although very scratched and the top coat was flaking terribly.  There was some fillets missing on the front of one of the doors so I easily popped those off for another project.  Otherwise , I just needed to find some fitting knobs for the doors from my vast collection and we were good to go.
     Sanding took care of the flaking bits which was a necessary step anyway.  Four coats later from my favorite Rust-Oleum paint, Heirloom White, covered most of it while some spots needed a little more encouragement from a fifth coat.  Lightly sanding a few edges and finishing those raw edges with a paste wax completed the new look for this buffet.

Can You Find the Treasure in the Trash?

Old wooden barn full of junk and rusting tractor      In an earlier post titled Bring Your Thick Skin, I wrote about newbies at auction, more specifically, myself.  Like all new-comers to auctions, I didn't have a clue as to what to expect.  I thought there were two kinds of auctions - high-end like Sothebys and the rest.  Both, I thought, would prove equally challenging and aggressive.  Little did I know.
      I really thought I would have to fight for literally every scrap.  I figured the business was all trash-to-treasure seekers and all dealers had a creative vein and a dedication to spending time on each piece.  Truth is, most dealers buy ready to put on the sales floor with little to no handling so they tend towards the 'creme'.  Only very few buy the truly crappy primitive pieces with the intent on putting any work into them.
      So, there I was, at the end of one of my first auctions, coveting what lay before me on the ground.  I was salivating.  It was an entire row of hardware from this farmer's workshop.  I know your picturing crystal handles, ornate face plates, marble finials, brass pulls, porcelain casters, elaborate wood fillets, boxes of hinges and door knobs but it was better that!  OK, there was some of that scattered underneath it all but what I saw was infinite possibilities.  I had before me washers, nuts, bolts and screws of every variety, nails of all sorts, drill bits, piles of sandpaper, corner braces, upholstery tacks, various hooks and catches and all I could think was that I couldn't wait to get all 243 pounds back to my indoor junk yard and start sorting (I exaggerate the weight only slightly).
      When the auctioneer finally ambled over to my line I had to remind myself to breath and keep it together.  Don't jump at the first number.
      At first he started with choice.  The bid was high.  $10.  Too rich for my blood.  I couldn't fathome giving up one box but there must have been 20.  Maybe I could pick up the leftovers for cheap.  Slowly, the numbers dropped.  Finally, $1.  No one was bidding.  Was there something wrong with everyone?  Were they hearing this and if so, what was the catch?  Was I in a time warp and the auctioneer was only talking to me?
     "OK, all together one money."
      I couldn't believe my luck!  Or did that mean someone else was holding out like me and wanted the whole lot, too?  Looking around, I couldn't tell which of those duffers was playing coy.  There were at least a dozen I had to assess without giving up my position.
      The auctioneer started at $10 again.  It was excruciating.  It was all I could do to keep from dancing a jig.  It was still anyone's game, though.
      Finally, $1.  My hand shot up so fast my shoulder separated a little.  OK, this is where the opposition would show him or herself.  My eyes were defiantly screaming, "Bring it!"
      "Going once."
      This was the moment of truth.
      "Going twice."
      Which one of you was going to crush my dreams?
      I was the proud owner of my very own hardware store.
      I realized later no one was interested.  In fact, there was snickering from the peanut gallery as I was loading it all up - one box at a time.  Something about 'new' and 'hardware store down the road.'
      So, I say bring your thick skin and let them laugh.  The last laugh will be yours!  They will never see the cool second life this neglected pile of junk received.
© Photographer: Grahamtaylor | Agency:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bring Your Thick Skin!

Stack of Old Windows     Our buying secret?  Farm auctions are the best places to find junque!
     I don't mean the type where there's a lot of cattle and farm equipment on the bill.  I'm talking when it's a household sale where, for whatever the reason, everything has to get sold.  You have to be able to read between the lines at what they aren't selling.  It's the crap they find unworthy of a mention that's the ticket.
     The trick after that is patience.  It's usually long hours of standing around (average 6) before they actually get to the good stuff.  But, this leaves you plenty of time to scour the area because you are going to go into the depths of the basement, if it is permitted, walk through tall grass for anything good thrown out to the elements, find the burn pile for any good patina and the rafter-high pile behind the barn.  This last one is a closely guarded secret!
     Going in with eyes wide open and a trash-to-treasure attitude allows you the edge to see the possibilities that are so easily overlooked.
     Also, remember that with patience, creativity, a tetanus shot, long jeans and work boots,  you must bring your thick skin.  Yes, your thick skin.  Be prepared to be laughed at.
     I've had farmers rolling in the grass because of my eagerness to actually spend money on stuff that had been sitting outside for over three decades.  They aren't too eager to help, either, but they will sit back and supervise your efforts because they can't believe that rusted racks, jars of screws, bicycle parts, tomato cages, scrap wood, and buckets with holes are actually worth something to someone.  What they aren't seeing is that those jars are Ball jars dating 1905, the multicolored metal camp chairs, primitive benches, wrought iron scrap fencing, chicken feeders, birdhouses, the pile of bow back chairs , a vintage cigarette sign, and the iron sewing machine stand you bought virtually free.  Score!
     Now, who has the last laugh?
© Photographer: Ursular | Agency:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wardrobe Re-do

     This wardrobe came to us from another dealer who was looking to get out of the business.  Neat ideas but I wasn't feeling the balance or maybe it was too much going on between the angle details and color contrasts. 
     The mirror was originally mounted inside on the door.  I was going to put it back and do some shabby drapery on the side panels but the piece wasn't screaming shabby chic - those angles again.  Once I took the mirror off, I realized why she had mounted it there.  There was a nice long chunk of wood an eighth of an inch deep and almost as big as the mirror missing.  I was thinking covering it but I was stumped with what.  I had a great suggestion to use a pair of shutters we had out on the sales floor (thanks, Terry!), but they were a stitch too big.  I didn't want to putty that much besides you could see that it wasn't going to solve anything - the whole band-aid-on-a-broken-arm thing.  Back to the drawing board.
     After painting it black, changing the knobs for something a little more glamorous, I felt it really did look great with the mirror on the front.  It actually broke it up nicely and kept it from looking like that looming piece in the corner. 
     In hindsight, I do wish I had used chalkboard paint.  What a great place to store games in a kids room!  There is always next time!    $120

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Shabby Chic Believer?

     Maybe it's that time of year when we start to look for the spring colors or maybe the color isn't so intimidating to me anymore, but I love white!  The shop is going through a sort of springtime lightening lately with all of my new projects.  These are a few of my recent transformations with my new favorite go-to color.
     This sweet little side table had some flaking going on.  Typically, I would have done the black on it but it wasn't speaking to me this time.  Since I just finished the buffet, I felt inspired so white it was.   $42  SOLD

 This little table is lower than a coffee table but too wide to be a foot rest, so a great little plant stand it is!
I haven't distressed it yet.  It looked too perfect the way it was but for the right customer, I would gladly take some sandpaper to it!    $36