To Market, To Market, To Market we Go! ~A Market with Heart and Soul

Oh boy, it’s been a while!

 

In the mean time, I have had a slow winter personally just to regroup and store up some energy for my favourite season of all: GARAGE SALE SEASON!

I’ve had a  great couple months thrifting, picking, seeking and finding for a special sale next week. It will be my 3rd annual!

But last fall I was able to participate in the THE BEST vintage market in all of Western Canada!  I have been a fan of Prairie Attic in Steinbach, MB since they got started a couple of years ago. I have also been desperate to get to one of their sales. Lucky for me, they asked me last spring if I would be interested in joining them for their Fall Christmas market. I was THRILLED!   The date was set and I was determined that no amount of pain, fatigue or setbacks would keep me from getting there! Truthfully, a couple weeks before I almost backed out but I just couldn’t bear to miss it so I pushed through! I’m so happy I did.

Here’s why:  This is not just another vintage craft show and sale. This is a nostalgia lover’s paradise. It’s also probably the best example I know of why I love what I do. So rather than bore you with paragraphs, I’m going to put this into point form. Hopefully.

  1. The location for the sale has been(and hopefully always will be) The Neufeld Garage at Randolph, MB. Now, I have to stop here and tell you that in 2007 my mom, kids and I drove through Manitoba on our way to Ontario. We had maps, homestead records and notes that we had collected because my grandma had been born in the area in 1908. Her entire family was part of the first wave of Mennonite homesteaders who settled there between 1876 and 1884. Her dad was a Neufeld. In 2007 while driving by, I snapped a pic of this garage hoping that one day I would make a connection to our family. Turns out, these Neufeld brothers and my mom are 2nd cousins!   The garage was owned and operated by the family for years. It was a tractor dealer, auto shop, gas station, corner store. In the early days the village was called Chortitz. Of that original village, the garage and the Chortitz church are the only remaining heritage buildings. I love the stories from that community. I love the heritage. This is why I love collecting and sharing things from the past.IMG_7934
  2. Because the location is rural, there is a community feel to this particular market. The vendors are all from the area(except me!). They mostly have Mennonite roots and are very gracious with their time and talents. It has often been said that Mennonites are some of the hardest working, kindest folks you will ever meet. I cannot disagree. These ladies brought their A-game. And not with competition in mind but with friendliness and an attitude of sharing and helping each other. There was no competing for sales. There was only a heart-felt love of being there and sharing in the experience. Our fearless leader/coordinator Christina(Prairie Attic) even led us in a word of prayer as we began the day– even as hundreds were lining up outside.IMG_7888
  3. The people—-oh the people! It was crazy busy for hours. Line ups, wall to wall to wall bodies. But these people were lovely. Many hugs from those I have known from over the years, connections to family and friends…it was like a homecoming. And there were older men who would stop and look at the old gas pumps and signs and chat about the old days.  There were ladies in red hats( a few of them-they came from the city for a day out). The other vendors were so friendly and kind to me- beautiful talented women! I felt honored.IMG_7903IMG_7904
  4. The stories- a man in his 70s stopped and looked at a blanket I had for sale( I only took vintage Christmas items and some other winter/decor related items). He started to tell me how his family had to flee Russia in the 1940s under Stalin. He said ” Our choice was Paraguay or Siberia- we chose Paraguay”.  They left with one small bag per person. He was just a boy and he said his years in Paraguay were good years . And then they moved to Canada in the 50s.  He held that blanket and talked about how it reminded him of his teen years.

Another man in his 50s bought a game of Mille Bornes. He said his aunt would always have that at her cabin and when there was nothing else to do that is what they played. He said he didn’t know what he was going to do with it but he just needed to buy it.

There was a lady who came and bought a set of retro thermoses for her son and daughter-in-law who have fixed up an old Boler camper. Then she saw a red plaid wool blanket that was made in England. Her daughter-in-law’s family had immigrated to Canada when the girl was young and all they could bring was one suitcase each. She said she felt like having something vintage made in England was the perfect gift. I agree!

The stories continued all day. This is exactly why I love what I do! It is not about the money- it is all about the history and the memories these special tokens remind us of.

5. Money- I needed to do well enough to pay for my trip. That was really all I cared about. I didn’t even think I had enough there but as I was putting it all out it somehow multiplied on me. Many items I let go for less than I purchased them. In a situation like that you have to think of the end result. Some items I bought for $5 I could easily sell for $20.   Some items I bought for $3, I sold for $5.  Some things I had bought for $15 or more and sold for $10 or less.  But I wanted stuff gone. In the end……I more than doubled what I hoped to walk away with for profit! There’s a lesson there. And this is it:  Buy low, sell low. This has always been my motto. I cannot justify buying a dresser for $200 and then trying to get $400 for it when I know it is barely worth $250. I have to say, all of the other vendor’s prices were spot on. They were so reasonable and no one was gauging. They could have, believe me. The ones who had a ton of big stuff sold out in the first 2 hours~ they could have charged more, but they didn’t need to. This is one big difference I see here in Saskatchewan. I would love to do a sale here but I find the prices that most sellers charge here are SO SO high.  One lady came and told me that she was so thankful for reasonable prices. She said her sister has an antique store and also believes in being fair. “If she wouldn’t pay that herself, she won’t charge it to someone else.”  Totally.

It was also so nice when a couple of the other vendors came and told me they felt my prices were SO reasonable and fair. I appreciated that. I don’t want to be undercutting anyone.

This was my ram-shackle display! After travelling 7 hours and not knowing what the sale would look like or how I would set up, it was sort of a hodge-podge! I would totally do a better display next time!

6.  I learned a lot. I was so inspired. The ambiance was amazing. Bing Crosby’s Christmas was playing, coffee was on, everyone was in a great festive mood and there was a true sense of comradery  and love. It was worth the trip, worth the sleepless nights, worth every minute of planning. If you can go next fall, you need to. You wouldn’t be disappointed for a second.

Other photos from the day and the area…this place has my heart.

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Incidentally, Christina and all of the other wonderful vendors are having their spring market tomorrow! April 23. Please go if you’re within 3 hours! It’s so worth it. I would be there if it weren’t for my own sale prep for next week.

Someday, I will find a nice old building with a story and history and invite all my upcycling, vintage loving friends to join me. I hope that day is soon. For now, I will bask in the memories of this wonderful Prairie Attic Market.

Master Bedroom Makeover- Tiki Hut to Vintage Cottage Modern

We have lived in this ranch style 1950s bungalow for 3 years now. Every single room and hall was covered in wallpaper when we moved in. Every bedroom and the living room had carpet covering the beautiful hardwood floors. We have been dismantling the tacky, old decor room by room and of course, the master bedroom was last.

This winter my husband was away and I decided to start stripping the wallpaper and do a “quick makeover”.  Ha!  That was 5 months ago! It has been painstaking every step of the way.

But it has been worth it. Here’s the process in pics.

I will say this:  wallpaper on wallpaper sucks. Wallpaper on wallpaper over a really crappy poor quality paint is horrible.

As for design? It was all in my head and I didn’t actually know what I would be left with- it kind of all happened accidentally on purpose.

This was our bedroom the day we moved in. See that rattan wallpaper? It was on every wall. Even the tiny ensuite. Eww.

This was our bedroom the day we moved in. See that rattan wallpaper? It was on every wall. Even the tiny ensuite. Eww.

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The window had custom made woven blinds. Because of the size of this window it was huge and heavy. And that room always felt dark.

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This was our bedroom the day I started tearing it apart. Still ugly. Awfully messy. Nothing inspiring about this space at all.

This was our bedroom the day I started tearing it apart. Still ugly. Awfully messy. Nothing inspiring about this space at all.

I knew there was wallpaper under the first layer. I didn't know it was floor to ceiling on every wall.  I found a signature of someone who installed the first layer in 1973.  Can you imagine sleeping in a room like that?

I knew there was wallpaper under the first layer. I didn't know it was floor to ceiling on every wall. I found a signature of someone who installed the first layer in 1973. Can you imagine sleeping in a room like that?

I knew there was wallpaper under the first layer. I didn’t know it was floor to ceiling on every wall. I found a signature of someone who installed the first layer in 1973. Can you imagine sleeping in a room like that?

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This was grueling.

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Uncovering layers of wallpaper revealed at least part of the reason for its existence- shifting walls and cracked plaster. So thankfully, I have an expert handy-husband and he went to work on the repairs.

Uncovering layers of wallpaper revealed at least part of the reason for its existence- shifting walls and cracked plaster. So thankfully, I have an expert handy-husband and he went to work on the repairs.

Decided to fully re-do the bathroom too. I always called this the RV bathroom due to its lack of floor space and the nasty accordion door.

Decided to fully re-do the bathroom too. I always called this the RV bathroom due to its lack of floor space and the nasty accordion door.

So this is what we decided in the bathroom:

  • We had a piece of linoleum from a previous house that would fit.
  • The brown toilet HAD to go.  I found one at the Re-Store for $60 with a new seat- never used. Yay.
  • The vanity would stay but I would paint it.
  • We had found a white sink at a garage sale a year ago for free. White toilet , white sink. Yes.
  • The removal of wallpaper revealed a green wall and a hidden medicine cabinet cavity. Suddenly, the original bathroom was obvious: It had been a wall mounted sink with a tiny medicine cabinet/mirror. Back then there would have been at least a little more floor space.
Ahhh....so much better!! Feels clean and bright. AND CLEAN!

Ahhh….so much better!! Feels clean and bright. AND CLEAN!

Now for some design and decor elements….here’s how it all came to be:

While out thrifting one day, I came across this door. I made the guy a deal and took it home. The colour and the natural crackling were so awesome I just cleaned it up, sealed it and decided it would be our new headboard. I added some iron brackets from Lowe’s and a stained fence board for a shelf. Boom. Done.

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I wanted a dark colour on our headboard wall. But not black and not brown. I found this colour at Lowe’s . It’s called Turkish Coffee and it’s the perfect dark-nearly black-not black- kind of muddy colour.

I also scored two of these pendant lights at Target’s closing out sale. (Boohoo Target- I miss you so much!)

I paid $9 for BOTH lights. BOTH.  NINE DOLLARS!

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Next I scored this lovely creamy bedspread set at Target. It’s the same colour I chose for my other walls. Kind of grey/cream.  The bed skirt was a $14 from HomeSense. It has the blue in it that the door has and it also has some red. I love red in every room so ….WIN WIN!

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Time to start making things homey…

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One thing I did before I even started to strip the wallpaper was refinish this antique balloon back chair with milk paint. I wanted a chippy old world look.  Our bedroom has a farmhouse feel but I wanted just a touch of French Country farmhouse. This was the perfect fit. I love how it turned out.

One thing I did before I even started to strip the wallpaper was refinish this antique balloon back chair with milk paint. I wanted a chippy old world look. Our bedroom has a farmhouse feel but I wanted just a touch of French Country farmhouse. This was the perfect fit. I love how it turned out.

My hard working husband trying to get the painting done. And then those floors...so much work to get the carpet and underlay off. Plus all the tack boards and trim....monster job.

My hard working husband trying to get the painting done. And then those floors…so much work to get the carpet and underlay off. Plus all the tack boards and trim….monster job.

Now the fun part….pulling it all together…..first though, experimentation.

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By evening light....

By evening light….

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I found these room-darkening drapes at HomeSense. I wasn’t sure on the colour but it works. It’s a muted duck egg blue/grey. And that throw on the bed, I found last minute at Value Village for $3. I painted my high school hope chest white because I don’t plan on keeping it in here long term but wanted something light and beachy. The Beaver Canoe pillows were also Target Canada clearance finds. I love them. They remind me of the northern lake country I came from. Everything has a story and a meaning. That’s the part about decorating I love.

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The little dresser got a black coat of milk paint after no one wanted it when it was white. I spray painted thrift store pulls copper. I love that contrast. The license plates are from our year of birth and are on my husband’s side of the bed. The pendant lamps are also painted copper and hang off of $2 hooks I found at Lowe’s.

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The architectural piece is actually a rubber door mat I also purchased at Target. I spray painted it white and sanded it. It was $14. The little lavender pot was on clearance at HomeSense. Little touches of French country. 🙂

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A thrifted picture frame with a mini-boxwood wreath- also from Target! I’m so glad I shopped their clearance sales in March!

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Ooops…..crooked frames! Oh well. They were all thrifted. I left them gold. I’m okay with them for now this way. The word art was from KristenSchmucker.com. The beautiful peony photo is from a friend who lives near High Prairie Alberta- Julianna Collett Photography. The desk was a $40 thrifted find and all I did was sand and stain the top. The rest is original. I like the contrast with the fancy chair.

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In the daytime…..

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And in case you wondered…ya, we have laundry on the floor and no we’re not done…..the closets and trim must be painted and the floor will be next after that. For now…..we are happy and finally relaxing in our Cottage country Vintage escape.

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Just a reminder of the before…

This was our bedroom the day we moved in. See that rattan wallpaper? It was on every wall. Even the tiny ensuite. Eww.

And now….

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Thank-you to Target, Lowes and HomeSense……and some creative thrifting. And a lot of elbow grease by my dearly beloved husband.

*** A few notes:

Our bed is a king size. The two end tables are antique dressers. I didn’t spend much time making them over…just a bit of black milk paint and copper handles.  Everything was bought on clearance, on sale or thrifted. I did this makeover complete with paint, bedding, curtains and accessories for under $500 over the course of several months.  You should love your space and the things in it.  This room is filled with things I love: sayings, flowers, colours, reminders of things I love.  It’s not magazine worthy, it’s worthy of living in and loving.

Before and After- Furniture Makeovers

I haven’t posted for quite a long time. I figured it was time to put together a few of the makeovers I have completed in the past few months. Sometimes I forget about some of the things I have done and this is a good reminder that I am actually finishing something!

Let me clarify by saying that yes, I paint WOOD furniture. No, I am not ashamed. Most of what I buy is headed for the dump. I buy the stuff no one wants. I buy dressers with veneer that is peeling, chipping, missing, broken, cracked and messed up. I buy stuff with missing drawers or broken drawers. Some of what I buy was water damaged and is covered in old mold which must be removed, cleaned and sometimes thrown out. When possible I LOVE saving the tops of dressers and other furniture and staining them in an updated shade. I like contrast. I also love simple classic colours.  I enjoy seeing something that was passed over brought back to life.

This might not be everyone’s taste but so far, I have made many new friends and saved many pieces of furniture from the landfill. It’s all good.

I bought this 1980s style “country” cabinet at a garage sale and it sat in my shed for a year! It was a fun makeover and I had women lined up to buy it. The new owner has it in the perfect spot on her main floor.

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This might make some of you cringe but I found these ceramic molds at a thrift store for a couple of bucks. I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Ultimately, I decided a subtle, shaded look would update them. I could go either way with these- but it was a fun little project to experiment with. ceramic ladies

This glorious Victorian balloon back chair came to me via a friend. It was a little bit hard to swallow my fear of ripping off the needlepoint seat cover but in the end it was infested with decades of dust and other unmentionables. I wanted a soft look to go with my industrial French farmhouse bedroom makeover. I am THRILLED with the results borne out of milk paint. It’s one of my favourite pieces of furniture ever.chair

Dressers are the funnest, easiest and most amazing pieces to transform. They take on a life of their own and in the end they make everyone swoon. Definitely my favourite projects to take on. dresser collages

These two dressers were almost beyond repair with too many issues. But lots of gluing, clamping, waiting, patching and sanding gave me just enough structure to pretty them up. I used a vintage 1970 sheet on the top of the pink one for contrast and because the top was so beat up. I kinda think it turned out funky and fresh. dressers

Stools are another easy, fun makeover. Always such a dramatic transformation. And only for a few bucks!IMG_0166

Oh this desk almost made me cry when it left my house. Thankfully, a dear friend has it and loves it as much as I do. The mahogany top almost wasn’t going to be stained but I pushed through all the grease stains and it turned out so gorgeous. The rest was painted with Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Typewriter black. And I LOVE the copper contrast. black desk

Another thrift store find that turned out better than I could have hoped for. This one now resides in a friend’s nursery for her newborn twins.

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Another vanity that was almost too rough but those legs made me determined to fix her up! I had to remove the broken drawers and all of the veneer had to be stripped but wow, she’s a beauty!vanity dresser

Stay tuned….I will have more transformations coming soon.  I always tell my customers:  look past what you see to what it could be.  It’s ALWAYS worth the work to restore one of these beautiful, well made treasures.

A Look Back at 2014 and What I Want for 2015

It’s been a busy year for Prairie Vintage Revival!

I started out 2014 with a full slate of custom orders, some overly persistent customers, a lot of hiccups and a nasty flu. Glad that’s all behind me now!

I will say this: 2014 was a year of learning for me.

Learning what works on painted furniture and what doesn’t.

Learning when it’s okay to say “no” and when I need to get my butt in gear!

Learning how to be better at what I do and learning that sometimes “good enough” is good enough.

I also learned that 40 women in my basement is TOO MANY for a sale! So this year: bigger venue, more vendors, more stuff!

I always said when this stops being fun, I will be done with it and not be sad to do so. Having said that, I have always been a thrifter and a repurposer and I don’t think that will ever change. But re-evaluating my methods and the madness is definitely in order.

It may come as a shock to some of you, but I’m not making any money at this gig. Mostly because I can’t push enough stuff out my door to make it a money making venture. Time, my health, my family, my doddling….it all contributes. Also, I have purposely kept my prices low for two reasons: 1. I don’t want to charge what I wouldn’t pay. So I try to find/buy stuff as cheap as possible so I can pass that along to my customers.  2. Because I feel like I’m still learning, I don’t think it’s fair to charge excessive professional fees for a service that s really just a hobby for me.

Over the past 3-4 months I have been thinking a lot about how I want to proceed. I have come to a conclusion that might be sad for some, but trust me, this is right for all of us.

I’m not enjoying custom orders. At all. And please, if you have commissioned me to paint for you, do not take this personally. Because not one of my customers have made this a bad experience. It’s all on me. You see, I have fibromyalgia and one of the annoying, persistent , chronic problems is that stress and busy-ness actually cause me more pain. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it, but just the thought of what I have to do for someone is enough to send me to bed for 2-3 days. Annoying!  And I LOVE doing things for people. But this is what I’ve learned: I have to do it on my own time, in my own way, when the inspiration strikes.

So this is what happens: I get furniture delivered, to be done in a set amount of time and it stacks up. And I know it’s there and it must be done. But sometimes I’m not inspired. Some weeks I’d rather be thrift shopping or doodling. Or doing some fabric or paper crafting.

I’m an artist. It’s taken me a LONG time to admit that to myself. And as an artist, I live and breathe by my internal inspiration clock. When inspiration strikes, I want to paint everything. I want to decorate and redecorate. I want to create!  But if I am backed into a time corner or a  colour that I’m not feeling…it literally zaps ALL of my creative energy and then NOTHING gets done. Bummer. Seriously, it’s awful. So that is why orders don’t move out in a timely fashion. And it’s not right. It is not fair to my customers or my family.

The other part of it is this: I have stuff stacked up that I have bought. It inspired me and I bought it, but because of custom orders I can’t justify spending the time on *my* stuff. And then it sits there collecting dust, stacking up and it makes me sad. I have SO MANY COOL THINGS! You guys- I have two ORIGINAL chairs from the Hotel Saskatchewan. ORIGINAL. They will be spectacular when done! But I haven’t had the time to do them!

I have some cabinets that are unique and glorious! I just want to spend time on them.

So, I need to step away from custom orders. I will finish up the two I have now plus I have one promised for February and then I’m done. It’s not you, it’s me. And I enjoy this so much more when I can take my time, feel out a piece, pick the right colour for the right time and make it unique.

However, do not be dismayed! I have a plan that includes offering classes on how to teach you to paint your own furniture! I’m thinking of doing the first one the first week of February. Be thinking of that now.

I also want to blog and FB more about thrifting and finding treasures, creating collections, setting up rooms that work and that are pretty.  I love helping people decorate and stage their homes so that is something else I’m thinking of doing. Lots to look forward to! And still lots of painting and creating to be done! Thanks for all of your support. You guys are the best.

And now….here’s a few of my favourites from 2014!

One of my all time favourite pieces ever. I drove an hour on the coldest night of the winter to buy this beautiful piece and I'm so glad my friend is loving it as much as I do!

One of my all time favourite pieces ever. I drove an hour on the coldest night of the winter to buy this beautiful piece and I’m so glad my friend is loving it as much as I do!

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An old radio cabinet that I bought for $15!! And I just love how it turned out. I should have kept this one. I really should have kept it!

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To date my most challenging custom order- I learned a lot about staining and Polyshades! It took me forever to get this set done and I don’t know that I’d do it again, but it was pretty amazing.

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Another table and chairs I wish I would have kept. Those cane back chairs were the find of the decade. And paired with that table, it was just the perfect breakfast set.

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Everyone wants turquoise and it’s no wonder! It’s such an energizing colour. This reject from the thrift store cost me $10 and was so ugly before it got made over.

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I think this may go down as the BEST find ever. The carvings of pioneer people, the structure, the size. This cabinet is my favourite thing I ever found. It’s spectacular!

Befores and Afters- because, why not?

Sometimes you just need to see how ugly something was before it got painted.

And sometimes I need to be reminded of all the things I’ve done this year!

So, here’s just a few.

Thrift store furniture given new life with paint!

Thrift store furniture given new life with paint!

My mom's $36 china cabinet from Salvation Army.

My mom’s $36 china cabinet from Salvation Army.

Custom order of end tables and coffee tables.

Custom order of end tables and coffee tables.

An old cedar lined storage trunk that someone threw away.

An old cedar lined storage trunk that someone threw away.

A little colour goes a long way.

A little colour goes a long way.

Value Village stools and thrifted fabric. I love these!

Value Village stools and thrifted fabric. I love these!

An old garden bench gets a makeover.

An old garden bench gets a makeover.

One of my all time favourite pieces ever. I drove an hour on the coldest night of the winter to buy this beautiful piece and I'm so glad my friend is loving it as much as I do!

One of my all time favourite pieces ever. I drove an hour on the coldest night of the winter to buy this beautiful piece and I’m so glad my friend is loving it as much as I do!

Old Made New Again- In an Old Kind of Way

I’m here! A real live blog post for the first time in 4 months!  So sorry to those of you who wait for blogs and then get nothing- it’s been SO busy and putting together a blog post often takes time and patience that I just don’t have a lot of these days.

But I’ve just finished up a dining set for a customer and I wanted to show you all the details and why some things don’t always go as planned.

First of all, the whole idea of painting wood often comes up and let me assure you, the wood is still there! Yep! Wood furniture remains wood, even when you paint it! Funny concept that some people don’t get….but it’s true. 

This set “looks” old. But it’s actually a 1990s oak set made in Taiwan.  These were popular as they were a throw back to the press back chairs of 100 years ago. A lot of people actually mistake them for antiques but there are a few key tell-tale signs about age.

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First, chipboard. Yes, this table top is pressboard covered with veneer. You can tell initially because there is no grain that looks like THAT.  Veneer is wood or a wood composite. But it’s cut in such a way and rolled over the chipboard to make that funky design. Chipboard/pressboard will also swell when it gets wet if the veneer fails or if it gets chipped. That’s a real bummer because it’s not easy to repair and it will never be like new again.

The other tell tale sign is the nails, screws and other hardware used to hold chairs and tables together. In the absence of notched table legs and dove tailed chairs, we find Phillips and Robertson screws as well as a lot of glue. These were simply not used on antiques unless they were repaired at a later date. 

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So, in my discovery of the trials and tribulations of restoring and staining this table top I discovered that the veneer, due to years of use and a deteriorating surface finish, had a lot of water and heat damage. It’s not something you will see until you strip the top layer of varnish/stain and reveal the bare wood. There were also areas where the veneer was chipping at the edges and I simply couldn’t sand any more off or there would be no veneer meaning no fancy grain pattern. 

I did get it to a fairly clean surface but the first coat of stain revealed all the years of damage. Stain won’t go on evenly where there has been damage. Even after conditioning the wood(which I highly recommend) , there were still streaks and blotches.  Also, as you can see the two leaves have a closer together grain than the rest of the table. The grain is where your stain will darken and therefore closer grain makes for a darker finish. 

I was frustrated that this table top was not looking good. After researching, I determined my best course of action was Minwax Polyshades.  This was my first go with this product. And it’s fussy. I will not lie- this table was covered, and then stripped back with mineral spirits about 4 times. Finally after the first coat began to dry I had a glimmer of hope. 8 hours drying time between coats is a killer. But then the second coat went on and again- mineral spirits to the rescue! Ugh! But I finally finished it. The poly coating sits on top of the grain. It doesn’t soak in so you can camoflauge flaws. It also acts as a raised barrier and therefore all of those chipping veneer spots are covered and sealed properly. This is the best option for this type of table.

The chairs were another story. I started to strip one and realized it was going to be a nightmare to get the old stain off and sand it without leaving scratches and blotching. The client wanted the stained seats so my attempt at staining first, wrapping the seats and then painting was how it all happened. And it worked. For the most part. We had a few oopses with paint on the seats and stain on the paint but it all worked out.

 

 

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The chairs and table bottom were painted with Valspar’s Whitewashed Oak paint, distressed and dark waxed. 

This set now looks like new! In an old, antiquey kind of way! 

Going For Gold ~ A Dresser fit for an Olympian!

Can you tell I’m slightly ga-ga over the Olympics? I do love watching all the competing. But what I really love are the stories behind the medals. And I do love it when Canada wins gold. Today, we captured a couple more and what better way for me to show my respect and pride than to paint something gold?!

Actually, let’s back track. It is only in recent months that I have started to embrace gold for decor. For so many years gold has been banned in my house. Brassy, cheesy gold fixtures and figurines are so ….old. Or ugly. Or old and ugly. Honestly, our parents and grandparents overused gold and brass to the point of ridiculousness. Just like they did with oak. Honey oak to be exact.

So, when I found THIS dresser in honey oak with brass hardware….well, it wasn’t pretty. But it is old enough and classic enough to have potential. The thing about this dresser is that it is almost entirely oak. That is something I haven’t seen before. And I do believe it is one of the older dressers I’ve managed to find. I’m guessing 1920s-1930s.  The hardware was added sometime in the last 30 years and it didn’t do much for the look. If only I could have shown these people that brass/gold on honey oak is just….wrong.

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But I did know what needed to happen. Classic black. And I also knew that for such a beautiful piece, milk paint was definitely the way to go. For those of you new to milk paint, it is actually a very old recipe/method. Yes, it is actually paint made with milk making it perishable. But I do so love the finish. And for older pieces it is the right choice as it naturally resists and distresses in surprising ways revealing the finish beneath.

The top was marked up with marker, crayons, water stains and scratches. I didn’t know if it would clean up well enough to stain but it was worth the try.  Thankfully, it was easier than I thought it would be and the results speak for themselves:

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Dark walnut stain accentuates and enhances the grain so beautifully.  Even my husband stopped as he walked by and said “wow’.

I painted the body and drawers and gently sanded which removed the paint in the spots where it didn’t adhere. You never really know how it will turn out but I was happy with the results.

Next, I knew the old hardware was not fit for this piece. I have been collecting vintage hardware and decided to spray paint with gold. I chose Rustoleum’s Metallic Gold which looks like chrome but in gold. The shine is perfect and against the rustic black of Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter milk paint it is absolutely stunning. Gold is now in. And it’s awesome. But in small doses and paired with the right colour combinations. I likely won’t have gold all over the place but a piece like this here and there is definitely going to happen.

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This is a feature piece. I envision it as an entry table or end of a hall.  I can see it as a small buffet in a dining room or as an end table in a living room with a lamp and books.

I’m also leaning towards this style and size as a bedside table. It is so elegant and yet so simple.

Finally, for the interior- I rarely do interiors…but I decided to keep the colour palette going and decoupage vintage sewing patterns into the drawers. Natural brown tissue with black- what a striking balance.

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This is a one of a kind piece and I am proud of how it has turned out.

Oh….and one more thing…..I’ve had this mirror forever and didn’t know what to do with it. It is solid wood but the mirror was quite faded and worn. Could it be updated? An entry chalkboard…yes, definitely. And with that gold covering the natural weathering and crackling of 70 years of paint, it just works.

 

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Don’t worry, if you don’t like it, it’s optional, but wow, is this ever a show piece!

Won’t last long!

 

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