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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!

Make a Cocktail Table

Well, Rose Bowl Madness has once again descended upon me.

You would think that, since almost nothing sold last time I’d be laying back and resting but apparently that’s not how I roll.  I’m running around restocking supplies and finishing up projects in hopes that this time will be better.

And while my blog is a bit young to be waxing nostalgic I thought it would be nice to revisit my very first Mod Podge Rocks project which was a tutorial for making this little cocktail table with a vintage Baseball theme.

I used to get frustrated with those people who were always doing projects made with “this old piece of wallpaper/wood/farbric/etc I had lying around.”

I never had an old piece of anything lying around but now I have become one of those people – Some would call it a late developing Hording Syndrome I prefer to think of it as being committed recycler.

Anyway, my buddy wanted some baseball themed tables for his man-cave and I thought this would be a fun, affordable project to do and share.

It’s made from bits I had sort of lurking in the corners of my garage (with the spiders – seriously, it’s like a science fiction movie in there) but I assure you can do it with some very affordable parts from any big box hardware store.

You will need:

 1) One table leg – mine was from the Habitat for Humanity ReSale Store (a great resource) but they come in all shapes and sizes at big box retailers.

2) Four (4) 7 inch wooden shelf brackets

3) A shadow box frame – you could also use a wooden tray or anything else that appealed

4) Five feet of shoe molding

5) 1 piece of ¼ inch wood cut square and just a little smaller than your picture frame

6) 1 piece of ½ or ¾ inch wood cut square and 2-3 inches smaller than your picture frame

7) Glue (I used Gorilla Glue)

8) Brad Nails (optional)

9) 1 wood screw

10) Sand paper

11) Spray paint

12) Mod Podge

13) Envirotex or any good Epoxy coating


Drill, saw (hand saw, miter saw, whatever you’ve got), hammer, foam brush

First off I cut the Table Leg to the height I needed

(they will do this for you at the hardware store if you ask nicely.  It probably helps if you are prettier than I am.  I cut mine at home.  Alone.)

Next I cut the shoe molding into eight (8) seven-inch strips and took the flimsy back out of the picture frame.

Now I was ready to attach the shoe molding to the Table Leg.

I centered a Shelf Bracket on base of the Table Leg and drew a line on either side.

Then I attached shoe molding on either side of the line creating a groove.  I repeated that on all four sides.

(I nailed my shoe molding in place after gluing but if you just wanted to glue them simply wrap rubber bands around the top and bottom to hold them in place while they dry.)

Next I just glued the shelf brackets into the slots I’d created and wiped away and glue that squeezed out and set the whole thing aside to dry.

After it dried I painted everything (leg, the edge and one side of both pieces of wood and the picture frame).  A quick coat of spray primer followed by the top coat made quick work of it and then it was time to get Mod Podging.

I placed the frame on the ¼ inch board and traced the inside edge so I’d know how much of the board to cover with my images and got busy.

Once the decoupage dried I attached my Mod-Podged board to the picture frame with some glue and nails.  My ¼ inch board had warped a little so I rested a heavy can on it to counter the warp and set it aside for a while. Now I wanted to assemble the table.  To find the exact center of my ½ inch board I drew lines from corner to corner.  After that all I had to do was drill a pilot hole and attach my the board to the leg assembly.    Make sure the wood screw is flat with the surface of the board or countesunk  just a little below it.

Attaching the leg to the picture frame was easy.  I just flipped everything upside down and glued the top of the ½ board to the bottom of the picture frame (I brought back my handy paint can to hold it in place and seal the deal)

After that I flipped everything back over and applied the Envirotex as per the instructions on the box.  It’s easy to use as long as you follow the instructions to the letter – but keep in mind it takes several days to fully cure.  It’s well worth the wait though – you get a  strong,  solid glass-like surface that’s  heat resistant and water proof.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Shall we link?

Create a Versatile Tray End Table

I hope everyone had a great Halloween!

My house is in a neighborhood that lacks street lights and sidewalks so, quite understandably, it just doesn’t draw the kids.

But every year hope springs eternal and I load up on candy!

OK thats a total lie.

Every year I know that there won’t be many kids but I stock up on candy so that when, as anticipated, the kids don’t show up I can totally justify saying “well, rats!  I guess I have to eat all of this myself.”

My only concern this year is that I have new insurance and I’m not sure it covers “sugar coma.”

Ah well.  Between scarfing handfuls of  mini Hershey bars I did manage to knock out another tutorial for Mod Podge Rocks.

I’m always trying to figure out ways to make versatile furniture – you know either things that serve multiple functions or things that can be easily stored when not in use.  And, to that end, I’ve come up with an easy way to make a little end table with a removable tray for a top.

So, if you’d like to see how to take this fairly random collection of objects.

And turn it into this little table with a removable tray top- head on over to MPR and check out the full tutorial.

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!

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!

Good Friends and End Table Makeovers

LA has a bad reputation.  Pretty scenery – vapid, self involved people.

So I moved here from New York with somewhat low expectations.

But, honestly, I am surrounded by an incredible group of friends here.

Tom C and his beautiful wife Brooke (really beautiful – I don’t want to be sexist here so I’ll say Tom is quite attractive himself but Brooke… there is some serious pretty going on there) are perfect examples- great friends – generous, fun and always there for you.

And I mean THERE for you.

They were 100% supportive of my new business but I didn’t really expect this phone call from an out-of-breath Tom:

“David, our upstairs neighbors threw out, like, an entire apartments worth of furniture.  I fought off all the other people that were trying to take it and dragged it all to my parking space!”

That may sound overly dramatic to you but, in LA, the second you put something on the curb some kind of Bat Signal goes out and people descend like furniture piranha.  And Tom somehow managed to haul not just one piece but eight out of that melee.  It can’t have been easy.

And because my Honda Civic wasn’t going to cut it he hauled them all to my house in his truck.  And my house isn’t anywhere near his house.

These are the kinds of people I know here in self-involved Los Angeles.

I’m very lucky.

First up was this set of end tables.  They were painted a truly ugly, pale yellow  flecked with specs of gold – basically they looked like King Midas had peed on them. (seriously people what the hell was going on in the 70s?  Did everyone just, collectively lose their minds for 10 years?)   

Even better, they had that faux leather top.

I hate those leather tops.  Have you encountered them?

They are always beyond repair; you can’t patch them or paint them so you have to remove them and that makes a huge mess.

So after ripping, and sanding, and cursing, and ripping and sanding and more cursing I ended up with…..a really, really ugly top.  BUT there was a nice inset so I had piece of glass cut and found some attractive paper at Paper House and here is the result:

I went with a nice, crisp white and chose not to distress it.  I love all the detail lines and carvings and some easy spray-painting took care of the handles.

Thank you Tom!

Linking over to:

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