Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Desk and TV Console Featured on Power of Paint

Hey friends! Today my stenciled desk and dresser-turned TV console are featured on the Power of Paint, a website created by Maryann from Domestically Speaking to feature some great paint projects that she sees around the web. If you love painted furniture, I highly recommend you check it out! Thanks so much for the feature, Maryann!

Monday, February 27, 2012

On Going for It

Source: imgfave.com via Sarah on Pinterest

There are very few things that I can do for eight hours at a time and not get bored. But for some magical reason I can spend 8 hours sanding and be disappointed that I need to stop, shower, and, you know, be social on a Saturday night. I have the hardest time dragging my butt out of bed in the morning, but the prospect of snagging a great piece of furniture at a yard sale will get me moving.

I’ve always maintained that I will not be the person who spends 40+ hours of my week in a job in which I'm not content. I know that’s a huge departure from many mindsets, and that it’s a little entitled—many people don’t have an option and do what they can to put food on the table, and I respect that.  But it just seems to me that if I can somehow do something that I love instead, I should do everything to make that happen. And I should do it while I’m young, before I have a family and my priorities change. And keeping a family in mind, I should set myself up with something that could allow me to work and do something I love even when I do have a family.

No, I’m not quitting my job. No, I’m not going back to school to pursue a dream career. I don’t even know what that would be at this point. I do know this: I am completely happy when I am acquiring, fixing, refinishing, and painting furniture. I am so, so, so content to make things. So happy that I had this conversation with the boy, who had a (very good looking, ladies) friend coming to town on Friday:

Me: Soooo…what are you guys doing tonight?
Boy: Not sure, picking up [good looking friend], getting some dinner, and then probably going out.
Me: So you guys probably want to have a guys’ night, right? Because you can totally have a guys’ night if you want to have a guys’ night. I know you haven’t seen each other in a while.
Boy: Uh, yeah maybe. Did you want to go out this weekend?
Me: Uh yeah, sure, I just, you know, wanted to give you guys some time together tonight because I figured you would want a guys’ night and then maybe I’ll see you tomorrow night after my brother’s play.
Boy: What are your plans for tonight?
Me: Well…I was kind of going to sew some curtains. 

Hi, my name is Sarah, I am almost 25 years old, and I want to rush home from work on a Friday night so that I can start a project. It’s a good thing I already have a bf, because I think my chances of picking up a new stud muffin would be pretty low if I continue along this trajectory.

My bf is sweet. When I go home after work and debate between going to the gym and painting furniture, he tell me,“do what makes you happy.” That is almost always furniture/crafting/sewing (which I reason burns some calories and has me in some very muscle-straining positions sometimes anyway). His advice makes me more aware of what I enjoy doing, and prevents me from feeling guilty about letting the floor of my room become overgrown with dirty clothes and my letting my butt get a little bit bigger.

When friends from college ask me what my plans (for life?) are, I don't generally have an answer. I saw an old friend last fall and told him that I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with my life, and that I had some ideas but didn’t know how to pursue them and blah blah and I was being mega wishy-washy about it. And he wasn't having my wishy-washiness and told me that I could do a lot, I just needed to be more confident in myself. I knew he was right.

This blog has helped me gain more confidence. The wonderfully positive comments on my projects, which have been featured on other sites, made me think, “Hey, I might actually be good at this.” I’m participating in a community of bloggers and furniture people, which makes me feel more professional too. I am by no means an expert, but when friends ask me how to refinish something, I find myself spouting off tons of information to them.

via The Old Lucketts Store
About two weeks ago I came across some information about the Lucketts Spring Market. Lucketts is a really cool “Vintage Hip” store near Leesburg that sells antique furniture from the likes of Miss Mustard Seed and other people who I unfortunately don’t know. I highly recommend a visit if you haven't been there already. Anyway, Lucketts was selling booths for their spring market for $75 apiece, first come, first served. I decided on a whim to fill out the application and mail in my check, thinking that they were probably full of vendors already, but who knows? Friday night, while I was sewing my curtains, my roommate said, “Oh yeah, there’s this big envelope for you that came in the mail.” It was from Lucketts; I’m in! Mark your calendars to come see me at Lucketts on May 19th and 20th!

I have a little under three months to do enough furniture to fill a 10x10 booth and--oh yes--prep for all the businessy stuff that comes along with it. It feels amazing. Finally, for the first time since I was in college, I am working towards a concrete goal. I'm also taking a risk on myself, which I haven’t really done in a while either.

I don’t know if this is the beginning of a selling-furniture on the side thing, whether I could turn it into a full-time gig, or where my career is going. But I know that at least I’m taking a professional step into doing something that makes me incredibly happy, and that’s worth something, right?

Source: etsy.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Have any of you sold at the Lucketts Spring Market before? Any tips? Does anyone have a 10x10 tent they need to get rid of? I better stop writing. I have SO much work to do. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Herringbone Side Table

Update! My furniture restlessness continues, and this table is now for sale in my shop

Wayyyyy back when, I showed you that the nightstands I planned to use in my room were majorly small compared to my big beautiful grownup bed. I replaced the tables with bookshelves, which are still there. One of those little tables has been sitting in my dining room (also known as Sarah’s furniture storage space, sorry roomies) for a while.

I haven’t been happy with the side table (which I refinished) next to our sofa for a while, so I decided to nix it and move my ex-nightstand into our living room. Only, white painted furniture looks kind of odd in our living room because we have an ugly rental neutral on our walls, and the white looks a little dirty. And I kind of rushed to finish a paint job on this little guy (girl?) before I moved out of my parents’ house, so it needed a new paint job anyway.

Ummm this corner is really dark, so please excuse the hideous attempt at photo editing.  

Read more after the jump!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Helping My Desk Chair Grow Up a Little

Confession: When I posted pictures of my desk last month, I was kind of embarrassed about the blue and green desk chair. The patterns in the fabric and on my desk competed with each other, the blue didn’t connect with anything like I expected it would, and the whole ensemble looked childish. I knew I needed a change.

Let me refresh your memory. Here's what the chair looked like when I first showed you my desk:

And here's what it looks like no that I've helped it grow up a little:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Street Rocker

Good morning lovelies, Happy Thursday! I’m quite disappointed that I won’t be able to show you another successfully completed project today. My desk chair is still very much a work in progress. I’m hoping to finish sanding it tonight and start staining on Saturday. If I keep up the good work, I should have something to show you by this time next week. The chilly weather and my insistence on using oil-based stain may pose a problem. We shall see.

Still, my morning is off to a great start. Why, you ask? Well, for starters I made a delicious smoothie for breakfast. Yum!

But most importantly, I snagged this beautiful antique rocking chair from my neighbors' curb!

Some people get their morning kicks by getting in a run before work, some people consider the morning a success when they have time to read the paper and enjoy a cup of coffee, and some might even complete a Sudoku or crossword puzzle before they head into the office. But I...well, I consider the morning a success when I acquire a new project before 9 am and manage to blog about it.

I’m sure my roommates are 1) just finding out about this now, 2) not remotely surprised because they saw the chair on the curb when they all left the house before I did, and 3) wondering where this will fall in my getting-to-be-quite-lengthy list of furniture projects. But I just couldn’t resist. Finding furniture on a curb for me is like finding a little lost puppy. I want to find it an owner asap before it gets taken to the dumpster…or something like that. And if I can nurture it and provide it a good home myself, even better.

My neighbors actually had two very nice chairs out last night that I considered snagging, but I would’ve had to reupholster them completely, and let’s be honest, that type of a job is beyond my realm of expertise at the moment. This rocker, however, is a bit less of a commitment. It has a wood frame, a pretty basic upholstered front and seat, and it won’t involve complicated sewing and cording and such. It does have coils in the seat, but I think I’m ready for them. Baby steps.

I hope to be back tomorrow with more pictures of my works in progress. But if you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m working tirelessly on my other chair that I am determined to finish over the next week. Wish me luck! And if I don't talk to you, have a great weekend!

Friday, February 3, 2012

And that's why I never get anything done

Happy Friday everyone! Did you like my blog post yesterday? It only took me, ooohhh, six hours. Why? Because trains of thoughts like this happened (cue dreamy flashback music):

Pinterest screen shot modified by yours truly
"Now what is that name of this little eye hook thingy? I better google it to be sure.” I open an internet browser, which is already open to Pinterest. 

“Oooh Pinterest, what’s new tonight? Oh wow, Centsational Girl pinned something about using a dryer sheet to clean an iron. I really need to clean my iron because my attempt to use the cool setting on a wool sweater just melted wool fibers to my iron and made it all gunky, but I’ve been too lazy to actually clean it so I just rub it on a far away place on my ironing board to get anything loose off and then roll the dice and put it on my clothes. I really need to get that sweater dry cleaned before winter is really over and I have no chance of wearing it again and then I’ll have only worn it twice this year.”

“Oh wow, a pink chalkboard painted door! See, pink can be girly and playful and grownup and sophisticated all at the same time! I'm totally glad I painted that dresser for our TV pink. What is this blog? I’ve never heard of this blog. Why haven’t I heard of this blog? Why is it at a .org website? I should read the “about me” section and maybe it will make sense. Hmmm, it doesn’t say anything about .org. Oh well. There are no ads on it, but it still seems popular. Interesting. Hey, there’s a recipe for donuts on here that doesn’t require frying. Yum. I bet I could make those. Hey they have apple cider vinegar in them. Does that mean they’re like apple cider donuts? I loved those ones at Carter Mountain Orchard. I should go back there again.”

“Why is so much wedding stuff coming up on my Pinterest? If the boy saw this page he would be thoroughly freaked out. Oh dear, it looks like I inadvertently followed a website that is totally about weddings but I thought it was about all kinds of things because it doesn’t have a wedding specific name. Oh well, they have cute cocktails. Not that I ever actually make cocktails because they tend to be pricey and involve more work than I like my drinking to involve. This is making me thirsty.”

“Ooooh Photoshop actions. Those look cool. Why do I still not really know what those are? Maybe this link will show me. Nope, it doesn’t really. I think it’s like a Macro. But how does it work on everything? I should download some of these actions. No, I really shouldn’t tonight, I’ll just repin the pin.”

“Omgosh, it's after midnight already. How am I up this late again? I really need to get back to my blogging. I have to finish this post tonight. I better close this browser and write more.”

Close internet browser, open word document and read sentence I was originally attempting to complete.

“Oh yeah, I was going to look up the name for that hardware.”

Open up browser and cross my fingers that my attention span is a little bit longer this time. But it’s not, because instead, I just realized how ridiculous it is that this happens to me all the time, and I decided to write this blog post about it.

Grow up, Sarah. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our TV Console Gets an Upgrade

I’ve always been intrigued by the ways that some people modify furniture for different purposes, and I’ve always wanted to take on a project of my own.  But I also have a tough time taking a nice, solid wood piece of furniture and modifying it a ton. So when I came across this decent but not super nice dresser at the Goodwill near my house and discovered that one of the drawers wasn’t in the best of shape, I knew it was a great candidate to be repurposed.

The plan? Make it into a TV console to replace our blond Ikea (maybe, might as well be) TV stand in our living room. I would take the middle drawer out, add a shelf, and then convert the drawer front into a door that closes when we’re not watching TV. Perfect!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm Sorry, You're Gonna Have to Find Somewhere Else to Sit

Remember this pretty little chair that I pictured last week with my desk?

Well, now look at her:

Excuse the smart phone-quality photo above. 

She was pretty by herself (yes, it's a she) and might have looked better in another room, but I thought she 1) didn't connect well enough with my room in her deep turquoise state and 2) looked childish next to a borderline, could-go-both-ways desk that some people thought would look nice in a little girl's room. It would, but that's not exactly the look I'm going for at nearly 25. I'm all for feminine, but I want it to be sophisticated too. So in an effort to make this chair grow up a bit, I plan to refinish it. Not paint it, but actually sand and stain it. And that required me to strip all the paint off.

My first attempt, with the chair fully assembled, was mildly successful. Still, I had a really hard time getting in all the crevices to remove paint. After all, if I'm going to go to this much trouble to refinish a chair, I'm going to do it right. I also think there is part of me that knows my grandpa, who did an amazing job refinishing antique furniture all the time, would do a nearly perfect job, and there's some romance and nostalgia in trying to emulate his old-school, high-quality craftsmanship.

After doing quite a bit of googling, I found one website that gave instructions on how to disassemble a chair. Duh! Why didn't I think of that before? It's the same strategy I used when I refinished my coffee table last fall. So I bought a $5 rubber mallet from Home Depot and used it to knock all the pieces out of their joints.

And boy oh boy did that make my life easier. I know that this "chair" is going to be so much easier to sand in pieces too, which is important because I need to do a very thorough job. Tonight I'm going to make one more attempt at stripping some stubborn residue off the pieces, wash it down with mineral spirits, and start sanding. Oh yes, I'm also going to write a blog post so you can see our new, pretty TV stand. Fingers crossed that I don't stay up till 2 am doing it!

Update: I just linked up to Shine Your Light's "Before" edition of her February's Before and After link party. So I have to finish this by the end of the month! Although I'm hoping it will be sooner :)
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