Friday, March 29, 2013

Grain Sack Stripes and Being Flexible

Ever had one of those projects you just feel like was doomed from the start? I try to start every project with a positive attitude. I think of only the good things that will come from it, that's how I keep going on and moving to the next project.
So, when I got a message from a family friend asking if I could redo her table and chairs I leapt at the chance. I love farmhouse tables and this one had great potential right from the start.

What I started with:

 The goal: Dark stained top and creamy distressed legs
So I got to stripping. This was a factory finished table and that made me nervous. Factory finishes are notorious for being hard to strip and re-stain. Sometimes they strip off great but won't accept the new stain. Or they will accept the new stain, but it will be uneven and patchy.

Good news! It stripped great!

Bad news, it is patchy and basically looks like I don't know how to do my job. I heard the praises of gel stain everywhere so I watched about 20 tutorials and listened carefully, tested it out on a scrap board, all sorts of things...It didn't work either. It actually looked worse than the patchy standard oil based stain. So, I stripped the table yet again and went back to my creative drawing board, all the while cursing maple wood.

I found this inspiration picture on google search and it lead to this blog. I spoke with my client and she loved the idea so I ran with it.

You know that lovely moment when you finish a coat of paint and look up to see yet ANOTHER dirt storm blowing up? Yeah, this is the 3rd time this has happened to me now. It involves me running around yelling at my children to get their bicycles in the garage so I can get the door down before the storm hits.

Luckily, it just took a light sanding to save the newly painted surface. Whew!!!
Then come the stripes.

Looking good and I am very pleased at this point and then - disaster strikes!
The leaf of the table had given me the most grief when I stripped the original finish off...and all the other finishes I had applied as well. As I pulled the tape off, the part that gave me so much trouble decided to keep on doing just that! I believe I angry hopped in my garage for a minute after I pulled the tape off. Repair time...

All is well. You see, the thing with disastrous projects is, when they are complete you feel this absolutely fantastic relief and amazing sense of accomplishment. It's more rewarding than the projects that go smoothly, because you finally have what you want.

I will show off the full table when I finish the entire project. For now though, don't let those little snafu's get you down.
 I always hear Tom Hanks in my head saying, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I haven't been posting very much this week. Oh, it isn't lack of things to do or that business is slower. No, neither of those reasons apply. Something I have noticed as I read through other blogs is that a lot of times people don't post when things go wrong. Some will post about a little trial or when they've made a mistake that ends up being a funny anecdote, but on the whole DIY blogs tend to focus on the "Bright side of life"

I have funny anecdotes myself, and enough successes to maintain brisk business, but there are times of trial. Those times are what I consider good opportunities to learn. I do try to learn from mistakes and either fix a problem when it arises or become flexible and find an alternate solution. 

In the last two weeks I have had significant opportunities to learn things. I honestly feel like I'm being either tested or told to slow down...haven't figured out which yet.

Sometimes it is a paint that is out of stock that you have to wait for, so a project sits to the side for days

Sometimes it is lugging a bunch of kids to the hardware store to get one

(she's a pro though, it was the others that gave me fits...)

Sometimes all you needed to do was remove a reluctant screw and instead you dropped the entire door and shattered an antiqued, beveled edge mirror that would cost hundreds of dollars to replace

Sometimes it is stripping a table and staining it only to find out that it won't accept the stain and you just have to strip it again and go back to the drawing board and hope that your client will be satisfied 

Sometimes it is sand storms that come up out of no where and threaten your just finished staining job

And sometimes it is just your own personal emotional state due to recent events that can derail you.

Sometimes you need to sit, hold your children close, snuggle with your husband longer and thank God that you have them and that you are so blessed.

Sometimes that is all it takes to renew and be able to jump back in and deal with everything that has been thrown your way.

There will always be more to come. It will be an experience whether good or challenging. It will be my life and I am so thankful for it all!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rock-a-bye My Trey

Do you see this little cutie?

I get to snuggle him every week day. Though technically he's not mine, I claim him! He squeezes on me and calls me "Lala"

He falls asleep in the strangest places, and shoots nerf ammo at me while I'm trying to upholster.

I just love him. 
His sweet mother bought him a little rocking chair. It came to me raw oak and I had to sand it quite a bit as well, it was pretty rough really. Naturally I forgot to take a picture of it before. I honestly thought I already had one but oh well...
We went red. This is before glazing and distressing.

This is after

It's a pretty cute little chair! Oh, and I think he loves it ;)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Scarlett's Dresser...and a Little Extra

I'm almost sad to write this post. I've had a blast doing this furniture, it's some of the prettiest furniture I have ever had the pleasure of working on.
It has been a whirlwind around here lately. I have so many things going it is sometimes hard to keep track of everything. It almost seems unreal that it was only 11 days ago when I posted about the vanity for this furniture suite and even more unreal that it has only been 4 days since I finished the armoire.

This is the dresser before. I'm a bad blogger and again forgot to take my own before pictures.

I cannot stress enough how much I adore these pieces. Girlie, French, yumminess!!!!

I also made a chalkboard for Miss Scarlett.

I have loved doing this entire suite of furniture. I still have the dresser mirror left, but am having to wait on some paint to finish it out. Hopefully soon I can show you the whole set in its home.

Quick Changes in Busy Times

I'm feeling very blessed right now. Business is going well and furniture is flying out the door constantly! But, I still have a few things I'm needing to do around my own house as well. I'm in complete Spring Cleaning mode...this generally terrifies my pack rat husband, but I think he's actually turning over a new leaf. He seems to be excited about me cleaning out the kids rooms and hall closets. I do hate waste though, so what can be given away, donated, or reused a different way is being given that opportunity now.
In one such cleaning out session in my super messy daughters room, I decided her tiny space was too cluttered. When we added the new desk I just could bare to part with the old one and could not seem to come up with another place to use it. I moved it to be used as a bedside table in her room, but it really was crowded.

This is the table in action in Jade's room. Cute for sure, but the closet door opened up into it and that's just never good.

This is what the table looked like before I made it into a desk for Jade.

You can see the building of the new top here. This is the after as a desk in Jade's room

So that is what it looked like before. Then I had this epiphany the other day and thought (finally) of how to use the table in my living room. It called for some rearranging and tweaking of other items in the room but I new it would look great. Then I stripped the top, stained, and sealed it and this is what I have now.

Almost every wood top I have is red oak, but this is poplar. It takes stain differently but looks aged I think. I am enjoying the look a lot - the grayed sections especially make me happy!

Just a little quick change in the middle of a very very busy time. More fun things are happening all the time around here! I hope you all have a beautiful week!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

Every once in a while I get a piece of furniture that makes my heart pound extra hard. This is one of those pieces. I've never before wanted to name a furniture piece, but this one...this one needed a name. While I was working on it, one phrase kept repeating itself in my head over and over again:
"Let Them Eat Cake"
While the phrase may be ridiculously mean in the historical sense, the colors and sheer beauty of this piece made me think of France. Gilded opulence, sparkle, and excess - but oh so lovely!

Here is the before photograph

The detail makes me swoon! But, for precious Miss Scarlett it needed to look a tad more 'little girl'. A VERY LUCKY little girl. The vanity was glorious and even created envy in my 7 year old!

So I got to work and ended up with this:

Oh yes! It's pink inside!

That handsome boy peeking out was a great helper. It is West Texas after all and the wind wouldn't let that door stay open for the picture.

Now for the next piece for the darling little Scarlett. This has been so much fun!