A good problem to have

It’s been a challenging week here in our TX household.  Last week, my hubby left the country for a trip that would take him to a remote place on other side of the world for 12 days.  Our ability to communicate would be spotty, and totally dependent upon when he could access free wireless and we could text or FaceTime on our iphones (thank you Steve Jobs).  When he’s gone I really do lose my other half.  He is who I bounce all of my creative ideas off of, and who gets the brunt of my “steam” when I blow it off.  I sure do miss him, and so do my boys.  For 3 little boys, Mommy just isn’t as much fun as Daddy.

Right before he left, we did take some special family time and visited a local pumpkin patch together.

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Little kid and pumpkin pictures are always so darn cute . . .

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Yes, it’s Texas, so we’re still wearing short sleeve shirts around here!

Another thing we did in preparation for my husband’s trip was loading up my booth space.  I knew I wouldn’t have time to work on it much while he was gone, so we packed it up with lots of new stock.  Now for the good problem part . . . within three to four days after taking my new merchandise up to my space, it virtually all sold.

My new gray dining table sold . . .

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My awesome antique sugar mold that I found at a garage sale for $2 sold . . .

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And my antique goat pull-cart that was looking so cute loaded up with vintage goodies sold . . .

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So, my space sat for a full weekend with a giant hole.  I searched long and hard for some more “lost” goodies over the weekend, but had no luck.  For some reason, everyone I tried to contact on Craigslist must not actually want to sell their items because they never returned my calls or emails.  Does this happen to anyone else?

Well, I am thankful for quick sales and a faithful customer base.  It is a good problem to have, but still a problem.  It is challenging running a business while also being mom, school tutor, soccer coach, cook, maid, chauffer . . . I miss my other half, and will be so glad when he gets home so we can partner again in this venture of life.  It really is impossible to pull this off on my own, and its just so much more fun with his help.

Dining Table #2 Reveal

A month ago, I accidentally bought an antique dining table and 4 chair set.  I say accidentally because I made someone on a Facebook garage sale site a really low offer, never thinking they would accept it, and they did!  Whoops. I broke the news in a car ride to the store with my husband . . . “Um, honey, I know I just got a dining room table out of our garage, but I kinda accidentally bought another one today, and I’m going to need you to go pick it up, pretty pretty please?”  He chuckled, and as always, gladly offered his help.  What a great man.  Also, I think he remembers how early on in our marriage he accidentally bought a laptop off Ebay . . . so my low budget dining room table seems like chump change compared to that.  Even though it was a somewhat unintentional purchase, I am glad it came my way.

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It had some great potential, and after having such a great time working on the French Provincial dining table, I was anxious to try another one.  It was sturdy, although very dingy and covered with a super glossy shellac.

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The seat covers were some kind of thick paper, almost like wallpaper . . . strange.

I decided to go the same route as my last table, so I set about to sanding down the top.  With my new orbital sander, this was a much quicker process, although it still took me several days of working on it on and off.

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I really don’t like sanding, its much too dusty for my liking.  But I’m always glad I did when I get to this point.  Look at that beautiful wood!

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This is just the pre-stain conditioner, and it’s stunning . . . by the way, do you all know to always use a pre-stain conditioner? It makes the final stain come out much more even, rather than splotchy. I use  a Minwax product that is quite inexpensive.

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After staining the top with a Mixwax Dark Walnut, I decided to go with a light grey for the base and chairs.  I had some ASCP French Linen on hand, and lightened it up with a little Pure White.  It hit a very light sanding on the high points, and some actual fabric for the seats.

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Instead of spotty shellac, the top is now buttery smooth and a great contrast to the light grey.

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I highlighted the flower detail on the chair backs with some white.  They have some great texture now.

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Updated, modern, yet still petite and a little whimsical.  I’m happy with it.

Next up is this great Basset sideboard I found recently at an estate sale.  I was lacking in inspiration for a bit, but I think I know now what direction I’m taking with it now.

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It’s gonna be great, stay tuned . . .

Linking up to :

Domestically Speaking Power of Paint

Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Feature Friday

Finishing and Trade Days Round-up

I finished my race!  This past Sunday, October 13th was the Tyler Rose Marathon and I was one of the 179 runners to finish the race.  Man, it was . . . tough.  Tougher than I had expected.  The weather was warm and muggy, and those East Texas hills did me in.  I didn’t meet my goal time, but I did finish, which is still a major accomplishment.  Here I am in the final steps to the finish line.

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Yep, I beat that man behind me!

I had a good running friend tell me that after a major race your immune system is really down, so promptly 48 hours after the race I picked up my youngest’s cold.  Ughh. I’m coughing as I type.  But as those of you with little ones know, things don’t really stop when mom gets sick! So I am plowing through with the help of green tea, lots of kleenex, and extra coffee.

Despite feeling yuck, I did manage to make it up to the McKinney Trade Days market this morning.  I’ll share a few quick photos of my finds.

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This pile of porch trim was a great find.  I’m not sure yet if I’ll sell it in individual pieces, or use it to add some architectural flair to my booth space.

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I loved these mid-century painted metal wall hangings.  It’s hard to tell in the photo, but they are large, almost 2 feet tall.  They would make a fantastic statement on someone’s bathroom wall, or on a garden porch.

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I grabbed a few “smalls” too, as they are called in this business.  I always love vintage tins, an the roses on this one were so bright and happy.  The three plates have great fall colors in them and will work well in my Thanksgiving display at the shop.  But my favorite by far is the small enamel pitcher.

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It is so cute and dainty, but that pop of red trim adds a little flair.

By far though, my best find of the morning was this antique pull cart.

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It was hiding under a table, and when I asked the dealer she told me it was a goat cart.  She quoted me a fantastic price and I jumped on it immediately.  I had to leave it in her spot while I finished shopping, and several more people asked about it while I was gone.  The early bird gets the worm!

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It has amazing patina, and I can see it stuffed full of pumpkins and mums on someone’s front porch . . . maybe  mine!

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The original green paint still shows in parts, which is like extra brownie points! I really am tempted to keep it myself, but I know it would be a super-quick seller up at the shop too.  I may think on it a few days . . .

Well, off to rest for a few more minutes before school pick-up time.  I would love to see what great treasures anyone else has found recently!

Insider Decorating Tip #1

I have never been officially educated in the art of decorating.  I am not a trained professional interior designer.  But, like I mention in my bio, I learned alot about putting together a home from my mother.  She really does have an eye for decorative design and she passed down some of that design instinct to me.  As my husband and I have moved from house to house over the 10 years of our marriage, I have had lots of time to practice also.  Along the way, I have learned some “Insider” tips that the real professionals use and know, and I would like to share some of them with you.

My first insider tip is : Never, ever, ever buy furnishings in a set.  It may seem like the easiest thing is to go to “Big Box Furniture Store” and buy their couch/loveseat/coffee table/side table combo, but what you make up for in ease  you majorly lose in interest.

Think about it–when you see those pictures of bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms on TV commercials that are priced by the whole set, do those pictures ever look really enticing?  Those rooms are dull, dull, dull.  Variety, contrast, and complementation is what makes a room look interesting.

Take a look at these two professionally decorated rooms, and notice how nothing in the room officially matches.

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photo courtesy CusatoCottages.com

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Photo courtesy of bhg.com

The chairs differ from the couch, and sometimes from one another, the side tables differ from the coffee tables, the lamps are different, pillows are different, etc.  But don’t these rooms look stunning?  If you want to furnish your home like a professional decorator, never buy the set!

In my own home, the room that is most “finished” is my living room.  It is a hodge podge of colors, textures, and wood grains, but they all come together to complement one another.

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Now I know my living room doesn’t look quite as nice as those two pictures above, but it’s not too bad!  And, it was done for very little money, all things considered.  My two biggest expenses in the room are the Pottery Barn rug (which was purchased with a gift card off Ebay), and my sofa (purchased almost 10 years ago for less than $600). Everything else came from Craigslist, flea markets, antique stores, or were hand-me-downs.

My two leather chairs were Craigslist finds.  I purchased them from an older gentlemen and they were like new.  I paid $200 for both of them. When we moved into this house, I needed a side table to set between them, so I pulled one of my favorite pieces from my bedroom, the super shabby white cabinet.

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Totally doesn’t “match”, but it works.  The wood underneath the distressed white complements the leather well.

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You also need to feel free to experiment with various wood tones within a room.  Not everything has to be a dark stained mahogany.  Different wood colors add visual interest, and unless you go from super light to super dark, they almost always compliment one another.

My entertainment center was a hand-me-down gift from some former ministry supporters. It is a really nice Hooker piece, so it will stay with us for awhile.

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The darker honey stain though isn’t exactly the same as the console table I inherited from my grandmother.

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And neither of them perfectly match my floors.  But together, their tones play together well.

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I also have used some non-traditional things as furniture in this space, like two old suitcases.  Stacked on top of one another, they are a small side table and hold my books and  magazines.

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It has taken me years to collect and put together these things, and my room will continue to evolve as I find more unique furnishings.  So, decorating without the set requires some patience . . . but it will pay off!  Your space will look much more professional and much more interesting.  Look for things you like, and for things that complement one another, but don’t match.   Your room will develop over time, and each piece will have its own story and own value to the room.

So, if you have a bedroom set, dining room set, or living room set, I want you to go pick your least favorite piece and list it on Craigslist TODAY!  Then enjoy the hunt for something unique to replace it.  Have fun!

Linking up to Furniture Feature Friday

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