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$10 Table 1 Hour Makeover

$10 Table 1 Hour Makeover

As I think I mentioned I’m cleaning out the garage (again!).Garage disaster

My workshop is a post -Christmas disaster and I need to be honest about what my business is now and how I should use my space.  I have grand plans!  Let’s see if I can do it.

My vow was to truly get rid of things.  I was going to be brutal!

It had actually been a bit of a struggle.  I have joked about “horders” before but, honestly, I feel like I kind of understand it the syndrome.

Each scrap of wood or random bit of ephemera I’ve gathered could be used for something……someday.  And I can never escape the fear that  pretty much the minute I pitch or donate it “someday” will come and I will wish I had it.

But I had to do it.  I’ve given away furniture that I’m just never going to work on to my friend Nicki who I know will do some amazing transformations.  I weeded out scrap wood and bits of other stuff.

My rule was that if I don’t know exactly what I want it for/want to do with it then it has to go.

I did keep a few, small, pieces of furniture because even though I really don’t have an outlet for selling it I love working on furniture (it’s how this whole journey began) and I just can’t give it up.

This little end table was a perfect example.Deco End Table Makeover Before

I picked it up for $10 at a garage sale.  The finish was toast but he lines and details were really nice.

I had a simple vision for it – just a nice, clean makeover to give it a second life.

But time is tight (those coasters aren’t going to make themselves!) so I gave myself a time limit.

One hour.

I didn’t know if that was going to be really possible but it was worth a shot.

My orbital sander made quick work of the majorly decayed finish.  And a sanding sponge worked great for getting into the nooks of those fluted edges.Use a Sanding Sponge for Detail SandingSo, 15 minutes later I had a nicely sanded piece ready for priming.Deco Side Table Sanded and ready for PaintSpray paint was the way to go on this.  It’s fast to dry and perfect for small pieces (I use Rustoleum’s American Accents mostly).

After years of missing spots when I paint I’ve gotten into the habit of flipping the furniture upside down for the initial coat of paint that way I know I’ve hit everywhere.Primed for paintingAfter the primer had dried for about 20 minutes I gave a very (VERY) light sanding.  And then top-coated with Heirloom White.  Two quick coats applied in close succession did the job nicely.

After another 20 minutes of drying I attached a black knob and I was done!DIY Deco End Table MakeoverTruth in Advertising:  While the sanding, priming, painting took an hour I still had to let the paint cure overnight before I put things down on it for these final photos.Deco End Table by Cheltenham Road

And I didn’t apply a top coat of polycrylic or wax as I’ve found the spray paint is plenty durable on it’s own.Thrift Store End Table Makeover by Cheltenham RoadBut, of course, now that it’s done and photographed I have had a brainstorm about something else I want to do with that knob area.

I think it will take a lot less than an hour……….



Things as Beautiful as My Sisters (FKA – Get Inspired)

Things as Beautiful as My Sisters (FKA – Get Inspired)

It’s time for another installment of the series formerly known as Get Inspired and now known as Things As Beautiful As My Sisters. Read the rest of this entry

Get Inspired

As you know from reading this blog my family is creative, fun and totally supportive.

When I was home recently I talked to them a little bit about both how great it is to have this business and to write this blog .  But I also confessed that sometimes project  ideas were few and blog post inspirations were occasionally hard to come by.

My sisters, Paula (charming, vibrant and extremely youthful*)  and Phebe (smart, clever, creative and equally young and vibrant) came up with a great idea.  They would scour the net looking for fun and interesting ideas and put them on a shared Pinterest board.  Then, once a week, I could do a post called…..

…..well, we weren’t sure what to call it.

I tossed out “Sister Sunday!” but we decided that might make people think it was a nun convention.

I also contemplated “Stuff My Sisters Found Online When They Probably Should Have Been Working” but, strangely enough, that too got voted down.

Finally I settled on Get Inspired!

They’ve actually provided me with a lot of choices but I just want to show three of them this week.

This tin ceiling tile end table from One Shabby Old House looks terrific and gives me some great ideas for two little end table I have:Ceiling Tin End TableAnd check out  this amazing Ikea makeover from Better After.  I have a dresser quite similar to this in my bedroom and it may get this treatment soon.Anaglypta DresserAnd finally, in the “that’s insanely clever” category this magazine holder used as a shelf from Design Sponge!magazine file shelf

 OK, I’m ready to attack the week with new ideas and inspirations.  Thank you Phebe and Paula!

*As are my other sister, Sally, my parents and numerous cousins.


For the Love of Books!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

It was gloriously rainy and cold in Los Angeles so I was forced to be inside getting my act together.

I failed.  My act is very, very not-together.  Ah well

But, it was still a nice weekend!

And I woke up this morning to see that Courtney over at A Diamond in the Stuff had chosen to feature my Shakespeare Table – which was a great way to start off a week.

Actually, I’ve been on quite a text-on-furniture kick of late and wanted to share another table I made recently.

You may recall I picked up this little guy about a week ago.  I’m not quite sure what the original owner’s plan was there with the blue top and the one blue leg nor was I quite sure what I wanted to do with it. But the little shelf there on the bottom got me to thinking about my family’s deep and sincere love of books.

My grandfather’s basement had a book collection so large that there was actually a card catalog!  My Uncle Chuck is a terrific author of everything from mysteries to a wonderful book on the History of Advertising.

And, throughout my childhood the Sunday routine was to go to church, go to brunch and then go to a bookstore wherein each member of the family would go off in different directions and bury themselves in books.  The Hardy Boys were my literature of choice for quite a while and there was nothing better than a new adventure.

I still love books and spend huge hunks of time happily wandering the ever-scarcer book stores in the area.  So when The Muse gave me the following quote I knew it was destined for my little table:

How perfect is that!? (I didn’t put my Hardy Boys on there but I do have some vintage Tom Swift books that make me smile every time I see them).

I’m pleased with how it came out but I think the real star of the show is the detailed edges of the table – beautiful!

OK, I’m off to make more stuff!

A Rose By Any Other……


I just have time for a quick post as I’m scrambling to get everything together and ready for tomorrow’s Rose Bowl.

I seem to be on a text kick.  Subway Art, letters etc etc.

I either know exactly what I want to do with a piece of furniture or I have no clue what to do and it has to sit in my garage for a while before inspiration strikes.

When I saw this woebegone piece in the thrift store I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.It was in bad shape.  Wobbly legs, and ton’s of splits along the rim but I really liked the shape of the top and the curve of the legs.

So, after some serious patching and priming I got to work with my blender pen method and one of my favorite Shakespeare Sonnets and headed for the romantic side of furniture.

OK, off to sand things, staple things and general finish all the things that really should have been finished two days ago.  Wish me luck! (and, of course, if you’re local please come on by the Rose Bowl tomorrow.  It should be a beautiful day!)

Rose Bowl Ramp Up!

It’s the big Rose Bowl run up.  One piece of furniture down……several to go……..

When I first saw this little dresser I thought (and you may remember) that I’d put chalkboard paint on the front and make it for a kids room.

However, my sister Phebe wisely weighed in on that idea.

You see Phebe marches to a different drummer than I do.

Phebe’s  drummer is way cool and waaaay together.  Her drummer leads her to have alphabetized spices and to never be late.  My drummer…..probably got fired from the band for missing rehearsal.

Anyway, Phebe pointed out that as a mom of three she wouldn’t have been thrilled to find chalk dust all over her children’s clean clothes.

I really couldn’t argue with her reasoning and so a new idea was born.

Or rather a recent idea was expanded.

I seem to have a thing lately for old postcards.  So after some mad downloading from the Graphics Fairy and a few other sources I came up with this.

Once again, here is the before with it’s charming shelf liner top

And here we go.

Perhaps a little on the busy side but I’m pleased.

OK – back to work!

Fresh Start Monday

It’s Fresh Start Monday!

Well, I’ve dubbed it that after having a kind of haphazard weekend wherein I sorta got things done, kinda got organized, and almost ate well (I say that because I  managed to eat an entire pie….in one sitting…..I have a pie problem…..).

So, welcome to Fresh Start Monday!

The house is clean and my workspace is organized.  Well, lets be honest – organized-ish – meaning it looks organized but several things just got moved to another room and stuffed in a closet… which will probably lead to a blog post titled “Tragic Tuesday!” wherein  I recount my trip to the emergency room after having heavy things fall on my head when I opened a certain closet door.

Today is all about production line.  Make a 50 coasters.  Cut out three  HOME signs. Paint the ceiling.  Mail out orders.  Cut wood for chalkboard bunting.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Since photos of my assembly line arent particularly arresting I thought I’d share a before and after I did on a little dresser I happened across a while ago.

Here is the (almost) before.  I seem to have a hard time remembering to take pictures as I go along.  So I guess this would be mid-before- meaning I had taken the drawers out, sanded and primed it grey (it was handy).

Honestly, after priming it I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

I finally settled on a two-tone color scheme and added a little detail to the front and some white knobs.

OK back to the assembly line!

Hope everyone else has or had a great Monday!

Everything did not come up Rose Bowl

It happened again!

The Rose Bowl suddenly snuck up on me and I was (wait for it!) UNPREPARED!

So I ran around like a crazy person finishing up tons of projects while – never one to focus on just one aspect of my life at a time – simultaneously closing the run of the play I was in.

Planning?  I don’ t need no stinking planning!

I did some more work with my Blender Pen on some End Table Nirvana tables (man that was a good day!).  And thanks to the generosity of The Graphics Fairy I was pleased with the outcome.

Here are the “before” shots as a reminder:

Of course I didn’t really put the final touch on them until Saturday  so I was in a hurry to take photos.

I decided to make use of the natural outside light rather than trying to stage something indoors but I think all I managed to do was make it look like they had just escaped and were making a run for it.

Keeping with my Frenchy theme I had some solid oak chairs that I had purchased for a song a very long time ago.  In my homage to Miss Mustard Seed I had splurged on some French Grain Sack material and gave a shot at that vintagy, frenchy, shabby, look (apparently the chairs also made a break for it).

Throw in some magnetic chalk boards

Some vintage Halloween goodness,

And I was all set.

The Booth looked festive!

The people showed up!

There was a lot of looking and pointing and exclaiming!


Nobody bought anything!

I went from September being my best month ever to October being my worst month ever.  Ugh.

I understand markets are unpredictable (hello my 401K) but sheesh!

Ah well.  Onward!

At least Etsy sales have been robust  and now, when I suddenly realize in early November that, “oh my god the Rose Bowl is next week!”  I won’t have to do much!

(that would be the lemonade-I-made-from-lemons-half- filling-my-glass perspective)

Shall we link?

Good Life!

Some of my days can only really be described as a little schizophrenic.

This was my day.

Up and to the gym at 5.

A couple of hours of mod-podging coasters and projects and answering some emails.

Shower and dress as “an intellectual archivist” and drive over to Hollywood to audition for The Office.

After the audition it’s back home to

A)     Remove the carcass of the dead rat from the garage

B)      Continue to make coasters and HOME signs

C)      Send out Etsy orders

D)     Memorize my lines for my other audition

Then shower, change clothes to be “an incredibly dull physics professor” and back over to Hollywood to audition for Parks and Recreation.

Then back home, change clothes and out to the garage for candle block drilling.

See?  A little random!

But awesome!

As I was driving back home from audition number 2 my ipod – as it often does – played the perfect song:

Good Life (by OneRepublic):

What there is to complain about

When you’re happy like a fool
Let it take you over
Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

And it really is a very, very good life! (the rat’s feelings about the day may differ)

This is exactly what I wanted my life to be when I decided to leave the 9-5 world!

But enough about that, I promised an update on my French Label Table.  I’m very pleased with the results this time.

So, as a refresher it started out like this:

and my intention was to add this graphic from the Graphics Fairy collection

using a Blender Pen made by ChartPak  that I found out about via the terrific Villabarnes blog.

My first attempt at the label transfer was spotty at best and failed completely when I tried to seal it with wax and it washed the whole design away.  Ugh.

So, this time I vowed to do better – here are the steps I took:

1)      I repainted the top with a flat white ceiling paint and then gave it a light sanding.

2)      On the computer I reversed the label and upped the saturation so that the black lines were really, really black.

3)      I wanted the label to end up being larger than 8.5×11 (the maximum size I can print) so I broke it up into sections and blew each part up to the size I wanted and printed them out separately on my Laser Printer.  NOTE: This technique only works with laser prints – apparently- ink jet prints will run.

4)      I then laid each piece face down and taped it to the table so it  wouldn’t move.

5)      Then it’s just a matter of rubbing the blender pen over the paper.  I found out that you really need to rub aggressively to make the transfer really work. It may look like the ink is bleeding but that’s OK.

Then just immediately peel it away

6)      A couple of sections didn’t come out as dark as I wanted but it was easy to re-print that section of the label, line it up and do it over again.

I’m pleased with the results but I’m going to wait for it to dry very, very thoroughly before some further distressing and a sealer coat.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I think this technique has lots of possibilities and the Blender Pen was only about $3.00 so it’s pretty affordable (and kinkos or staples can give you laser jet copies if you don’ t have a laser printer).


So all-in-all a very good day!

Hope everyone else also had a good Tuesday!

I need fewer outlets and more creativity

I wasn’t prepared for the photography.

You see beautiful pictures in magazines or on blogs (I’m lookin’ at you Miss Mustard Seed) and they seem  so natural and easy.  Just snuggle your piece of furniture up against a wall, add some stuff and viola – awesome picture.

Not so much.

I spent my morning trying to figure out where I could photograph this blue table I finished this weekend.

So I wandered from room to room wondering, among other things, why  there is never an electrical outlet where I need one but there is ALWAYS one where I want to take a picture?!  There is always either an electrical outlet or a vent.  And to add insult to injury the vents don’t even work anymore – a vestige of an old system.

I also speculated on why I am driven to paint things colors that don’t go with any of my walls or props.  Or the flowers that grow in the yard.

That was my morning.

Long story short.  I failed.  No blue props.  No wall that looked right.  But I haven’t given up!  So we can all look forward SOMEDAY to a charming picture of a blue table and its best friends the electrical outlet and the vent.  If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em.

In the meantime I’m going to show off a desk and a couple of chairs I worked on that are black and, therefore, go with the green wall in my sunroom.  I need to remember this lesson.

This desk arrived in pieces (well, actually I bought it in pieces so I really can’t pretend to be shocked.  But, bottom line.  Pieces).  It wasn’t the most elegant of things – one of those functional,  Ikea-ish numbers but it was solid pine and the price was right ($25!).

I’d also, fairly recently bought a family of chairs that were down on their luck.

So I got to work.

I have this thing about taking the backs off of desks and making some pattern back there.  It’s not the most practical of decorations – I mean, if you use the desk how often do you see the back of it?  Seldom.  But, I don’t know – perhaps it’s a nice little surprise when you clean it and say “oh, I’d forgotten there was that pretty pattern back there.”  Kind of your cleaning reward.

So, a little sanding, a little patterning, some minor upholstery work and……..

OK, now I’m off to find blue props….and a blue wall….. and the manual for my camera.


Shall we link?


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