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Monthly Archives: August 2011

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?

Make it Pretty She Said

Thrift Store Magazine Rack MakeoverHow cool is it when someone takes your idea and runs with it?  Well, Christine from Christine and Co  did just that.  Twice!

You may (or may not – no pressure) recall my Mod Podge Rocks tutorial on making a recipe card holder.  Mine looked like this:

Shortly after it was posted I got a terrific email from Christine sharing her version of my project.  In a brilliant move she both simplified construction and made it even more useful with her addition of a big clip.

And now she’s gone ahead and made another one with a Halloween Theme and it is equally terrific.

You can get her full tutorial by clicking on the picture.

To be honest, if these things weren’t recorded on the web and traceable I think I’d just say “look what I did” and post the pictures.

Christine’s blog is full of great projects all of which were inspired by me! and fun writing

I’m on a bit of decoupage kick of late.

My friend Kelly presented me with a challenge.  She found this magazine rack at a yard sale and brought it to me:

Her instructions?  “Do your thing and make it pretty.”

I decided that just painting it probably wasn’t going to satisfy her request so I started thinking and looking around for ideas.   I may have been a bit too literal (or redundant) but I thought “why not decorate a magazine rack with magazines?”  After some web hunting I came up with a lot of really great,  vintage, women’s magazine covers.  I realized I didn’t want to attach each one individually so I put them all together into a collage.

After sanding and priming the rack I took some really poor pictures of it!  So “Yeah me!”  My camera skills are really NOT improving the way I need them to.  Perhaps if I read the manual……

After a couple coats of  American Accents Heirloom White (btw, if any of use American Accents-  Home Depot just lowered their price and now HD is the cheapest source) it was ready for the decoupage stage.

And here is where it got just a little tricky.  I couldn’t print out paper large enough to cover the whole rack so I had to figure out a work-around.  You see those kind of irregular edges on each collage?  After I cut those out I attached each collage sheet leaving the irregular gap between them and then just patched it over with some additional images (sorry, no pics of me in action – I have yet to figure out how to photograph myself without risking modpodging my camera at the same time).

I applied a sealer coat to the whole thing and, after it dried, cut out around the edges and the handle.

And here we are: Before

and After:

Lets hope Kelly likes it.

In the meanwhile – lets do some linking!

DIY Luminary

I was looking for a way to make an easy, customizable, centerpiece for a party and came up with what I think is a cool solution.  It’s a DIY luminary using inexpensive pieces from the hardware store.

It’s my latest project for the amazing (and very patient) Amy over at Mod Podge Rocks.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

The (not) Power of Positive Thinking

So despite what has been called my somewhat Eeyor-ish nature I try to keep things positive

And I know it’s wrong to hate.


Have you ever grown to hate a piece of furniture?

I think I hate a chair.

It was given to me by a client as a “thanks” so it was free and I can’t complain too much about free.  It was in horrible condition having been left outside forever but I like the shape and hopped to work (hopped so fast, in fact, that there is no “before” picture).

I did my usual backward approach to design.  You know how you’re supposed to find a fabric or something and then match the paint to it because that’s logical?  I’m too impatient for that.  I keep painting things and then looking for fabric to match.  Genius.

Anyway, I painted it a flashy red, and, wonder of wonders, actually found a fabric that would work (and we know how I feel about fabric stores)!  I had  had to rebuild the backing on the backrest because it was destroyed and even that came out looking professional.

And it looks like this:

So “yeah me!” right?



Yes, I realize it looks “together” in this shot but here is what it actually looks like after you move it, sit in it or, basically, look at it cross-eyed.

OK, well, the seat doesn’t disappear but you get the  idea.

That back is held on with some really dumb system (really dumb!  Like if I find out who designed it I will hunt them down and… I don’t know, I’m not a violent person so I’ll……. make fun of their shoes or something else really mean) that just will not stay in place.

I’ve tried everything I can think of.  I’m tempted to just dump it on the curb but I’ve already invested so much time and I have trouble admitting defeat……

I don’t want to end this post on a negative note though so I’m gonna go all schizophrenic (it’s how I roll) and switch to something very non-furniture related.

I drove over to meet my best friend Karla for lunch yesterday and parked near her office.

Except this isn’t an actual street.  It’s the “New York Street” backlot set at the CBS Studio.

I’ve been acting all my life and I’ve been on many sets but I still just totally geek out when I’m on an actual studio lot! I just love them.

You’ve seen this”street” a million times – Will and Grace, How I Met Your Mother, CSI New York and on and on and on.  They do the most amazing things with these backlots!  They will re-dress them a million different ways and you’ll never know it’s the same set.  All those buildings are two stories high but only about 10 feet deep.  The inside of the “shop” is just a big photograph of the inside of a shop.

This next shot show what it looks like if you back up a little bit:

See those wires coming off the top of the buildings?  Using those, they can pull sheets of fabric across the entire street so that they can shoot nighttime shots during the day.

And now that we’re on the subject of backlots and television…..I have potentially good news about an acting role but I’m too superstitious to divulge the whole story just yet.

I will keep you posted!


My Blue Period

The Rose Bowl Round Up.

If I had to chose one word to describe the Rose Bowl yesterday that word would be: HOT!

But, unfortunately not “hot” as in “crazy hot sales!” but rather “hot” as in “Good lord it’s hot!  Lets not buy anything.”

Honestly, I wasn’t too surprised.  It’s August in Southern California and everyone is in a non-shaded parking lot.  It just saps your will to live desire to rummage through things.  I didn’t even buy anything and I ALWAYS buy something.

To be honest, I did OK.  The wooden letters I make were popular and this little table you may recall from Friday sold right off the bat!

As did the chairs pictured above my candle blocks, magnets and  magnetic chalk boards.

So I really can’t complain.

I did manage to get away from the booth for a bit and I remembered to bring my point and shoot camera along so I could show you around.

However, I did not remember to read the manual closely enough to find the section marked “When you slip the camera into you pocket you will somehow initiate the Blue Filter of Death (nor why anyone would want their camera to tint every picture blue.  Seriously, what occasion would that be right for?  Drowning?  Tidy Bowl promotional opportunities?).

So below is a representation of what I’m calling “My Blue Period” at the Rose Bowl.  I’ve done my best Photoshop playing but they are still all “off” colorwise- my apologies.

The Rose Bowl is vast.  You really can find anything you want there (and I want pretty much all of it).

Check out these cool vintage pinball games hung flat as wall art:

And I think my sister would possibly kill for this spool cabinet

I spoke recently about my booth always looking a bit like the color wheel threw up and I so admire Nicki Huard and her Nicki Huard Creations.  Her set up and her way with color and combining elements is just perfect.  Of course, you can’t get any true idea of that because everything looks, well, blue but trust me her area never fails to look beautiful and totally inviting (she doesn’t have a website unfortunately but if you go to the Rose Bowl seek her out!).

And, finally, I visited my new friends Mak and Jill who are, luckily for everyone in this neck of the woods, Annie Sloan Paint representatives, along with being really nice women and very talented furniture restorers.

Due to my stupid camera it’s hard to get a good sense of this bed but what she did with it was awesome.  It used to have that very 1980s wrought iron inset in the head and footboard.  She got it out (how?) and replaced it with this beadboard that she painted multiple, beautiful ASCP colors.  It looks OK here but it was a total knock-out in real life and a genius idea.

And here (from their website) is what their stuff actually looks like:

When I confessed that I had not yet actually used ASCP (I’ve made a vow not to buy any more paint until I use up the 30 or so partial cans of other paint stored in the Blair Witch Room)  Mak was shocked SHOCKED!  And insisted I take a sample home with me.  It was incredibly nice of her and I can’t wait to try it out.  But later I thought “is this like a gateway drug?”

“Hey kid, wanna try some aweome paint?  You’ll love it.  You’ll never want to do anything else but use it.  This first one is free but after that…….”

And this is what happens to nice boys, going through a blue period wandering the Rose Bowl.

End Table Makeover and Rose Bowl Ready!

OK, the car is packed for the Rose Bowl and I’m ready to go!


I’m never really ready to go.  Even when I’m there I realize that I wasn’t really ready to go and I’ve forgotten, oh you know,  the price tags, the signs, the Windex, the cash etc etc….

But, nevertheless, it’s up at 4AM tomorrow to hit the road!


And then I get to stand around in a parking lot all day!


Honestly, though, the customers are fun and the folks who run the booths on either side of me are just the best.  David, who sell cufflinks has been doing this for, I kid you not, 30 years.  He’s been at the Rose Bowl for 30 years!  He knows everyone and everyone knows him.

The couple on the other side are professors and do this as a fun hobby.  They too have been doing it for decades.  They raised their charming daughter at the Rose Bowl and now she sells things there.  Amazing.  Couldn’t ask for better people to spend an afternoon in a parking lot with.

But I promised before and afters this time around so here we go with the first one.

So, after my big “I’m so eclectic, I can’t decide what to do” fest in my last post the horror is that I painted this first piece white.  I’d actually planned to do something totally different but it didn’t work and time was running out so, with my eye on the bottom line, an antique white became the way to go.

As you may recall this little table was in bad shape and missing chunks of its edge detail.

A little Bondo, a little (a lot) of sanding, some patching and priming

A little addition of some paper and

I like the way the bold paper contrasts with the faded white and sanded edges (and I don’t know why it looks to be two different colors in the the two pictures.  Argh!).

And, for the buyer, the beauty is you can swap it out with anything that suits your room or your mood or the season.

OK, off to bed.

Linking Up!

Preparations Continue

Mad Rose Bowl Prep continues! (with a brief pause for a double feature – I needed to get out of the garage)

I’ve made lots of candle blocks:

Some more of my letters

Coasters of course

And slowly, End Table Nirvana is fulfilling its potential.

Bondo played its role– since this one was missing big hunks of its edge.

Some Priming (I paint things upside down first to make sure I don’t miss any nooks or crannies).






And after I primed this one (upside down) the wood top looked so good with the white legs that I was tempted to keep it.  Until I realized that the Bondo’d edges would then be pink so that plan bit the dust.


And then, as always, I hit the color decision wall.

I think I have design ADD.  I keep vowing to pick a color palette and stick with it – but I just can’t do it. Even just sticking with a style would help.  When I look at other peoples shops or booths they are so unified: “we do French provincial furniture painted pale blue and grey” or something.  But my booths always look like, well, someone with design ADD is loose.


A rustic bureau

Sits next to a kind of deco-ish children’s chalkboard table.

I’m sure it must be a little confusing to the customer.  Heck, it’s confusing to me.  But each piece I get seems to need a different treatment.

Never the less I’m tryng to keep things a little more contained this time…..I’ll post my final pics on Saturday.

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