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Selling My First Custom Piece of Furniture

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Well, I did it. It sort of felt like the first time I was on a diving board at about age five and was about to dive into the deep end of the pool.

I was contacted by someone to source (find and buy) a table and chairs to paint and refinish the set. Scary. I have sold a few pieces of furniture before, but they were more of a “I did this piece does anyone want it” type sale, or “I am moving away, would you like to buy the stuff I made for myself?” kind of sale. When you do work for someone else, you are putting yourself out there. What if they don’t like it? What if I totally misinterpreted what the person wanted? This particular set was for someone who does not live in the same city so all the work was shared by message and through pictures.

We started with this golden oak, scratched set I picked up in Beaumont while visiting my folks:

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And ended up with this:
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I had a friend tell me that I took a dated piece of furniture and made it look old, but in a good way.

I sanded the top down, stained it dark walnut, Hubby painted the chairs and the base of the table sea salt with his awesome paint sprayer then I got busy distressing them and glazing.  Once I was finished distressing and glazing Hubby took over again and used his sprayer to polyurethane everything.  The top of the table took four coats of poly, but it is beautiful.

I was so thrilled with the results of this set and as we drove over to deliver it, I hoped it was what the new owner wanted.  This was all really silly because she had purchased an end table from me before, but it was one I found, I picked out the colors, and then I posted it for sale.

When we arrived, she liked the set.   Woo Hoo.  She like it enough that she sent me home with another piece to work on and several more to come.  This time I feel more confident because she and I got to talk about the color and finish.  I will be starting with the night stand of the set then the headboard and dresser.

The pictures are not great because we stayed too long at the lake Sunday mowing and cleaning so that meant we had to rush to get them delivered.  The bench fest took more time than expected.   I decided to go ahead and write about this experience even with terrible photos because this is one time that the story is not about the furniture I did, it is about taking risks.  I still feel more comfortable doing my own thing then selling what I don’t keep for myself but I will admit it felt pretty good to have someone like what I do enough to seek me out.

 

Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – e. e. cummings

 

I promise to take better photos of the table and chairs when we drop off the night stand.

The bedroom furniture is going to be a sweet mid century modern set that has been in their family since it was brand new. It is getting refinished so that it can move on to the third generation when they move out on their own.  If you are one of my Weekend Country Girl Facebook friends, you got to see the dresser and even weighed in on the color scheme.

I now have my second project, a headboard into bench, that I sourced the furniture and am doing for someone else who is paying me.  She is a dear friend, but it is still a little scary.  The good news about this one is she sent me a picture a while back and said ” I want this.”  As soon as I found the headboard and foot board I could see it in my mind already.  It is going to be beautiful.

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When I grow up selling my re-purposed furniture may be something I want to do more of.  We shall see.  For now, I love being able to do what I love.

If you are a professional in the painted furniture field, I would love to hear from you about your first sold piece.  I hope you tell me you were scared too, so I don’t feel like such a sissy.

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Building Benches from Beds is Sort of Like a Strategy Game

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We had a beautiful Saturday to work on turning headboards and footboards into benches. It was my plan to get all five of the benches made as far as possible. We were up and at em’ early so that meant it was a chilly start. We heated the garage and laid out all four beds. You would have laughed as we carefully checked each bed to come up with an attack plan. It sort of felt like we were strategizing for a big game.
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All the headboards lined up in the Garagemahal.

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I call this one the curvy bench. Each section of the headboard curves slightly. It is a very comfortable bench.

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The headboard is really plain but the footboard has a sort of ornate bottom. I am guessing this set was from the 50’s or 60’s. I snagged it for four dollars recently and decided this set would be for my front porch.

Headboard for storage bench
We have had this monster for over a year, hanging out in the Garagemahal. We found it for $25.00 online. It is big, tall, heavy and is going to make a beautiful bench.

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The footboard is just as heavy as the headboard. The posts are four inches square.

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This one is for a friend, Shahana.

It looked like the hardest of all of them was going to be the curvy vintage bed so of course that was where we started. Why? Well … we don’t do easy at our house. The bed headboard curves at the back and has a center support that does not extend to the floor and there was an ornate bottom panel on the footboard only. We knew it would be a problem piece but we dove in.
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We decided to make the seat fit around the legs. I knew I wanted the front to look something like the ornate bottom of the footboard that are now the sides of the bench. In my hoard I had a French provincial footboard that I bought for $ 2.00 at a thrift store. After cutting off the legs and cutting it down to size it got attached to the front. It does not match exactly but I think it works.
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Here it is with the plywood seat.
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The next one we attacked was one I am making for a friend, at her request. I can already see this one finished in my head. Dark red with a slatted seat that is stained. I want it distressed and glazed. I ran out of 1 X 4 slats or this one would be done. It did not fight with us.
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Everything lined up pretty easily.
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The slats are going to be evenly spaced once we get them all cut. This is an old solid maple frame. It is heavy and has beautifully turned wood posts.
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This is all we have left. boo.

After watching HGTV Saturday morning I totally knew what I wanted this beauty to be. It is going to be a storage bench seat painted my sea salt paint with dark gray glaze and a pretty heavy distressing. We got the headboard cut down 6 inches in height and the footboard cut into arms. I need to get plywood, make a raised panel, and piano hinge.
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The final bench we got underway is for Shahana. It is going to be turquoise. I will bet it ends up with a red seat and leopard pillows because that is how she rolls.
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We got this far on Shahana’s bench. Next weekend we will get the plywood on the top.

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The twin bed you saw in the first photo did not get started. Hubby and I could not figure out how to fix the problems it had so we are thinking on this one.

One bench ready for sanding, wood filler, primer and paint. Two benches ready for seats then sanding, wood filler, primer and paint. One bench will take construction of a box with a hinged top then sanding, wood filler, primer and paint.

All in all it was not a bad weekend’s work.
Have a wonderful week.
Karen

A Benchy Weekend Ahead

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Well now that my third antibiotic seems to be killing the super nasty bacteria that moved in and won’t leave, I am ITCHING, dying, ready to get some work done this weekend. We have 4, count em’ f-o-u-r, headboard/footboards to turn into benches (one of them may become a swing) this weekend. I figure “In for a penny, in for a pound.” No way we will get to painting, but I am hopeful we will get the benches constructed.  I am busy looking for inspiration for my benches.  Here are a few of my favorite sites with awesome tutorials.

For the swin I found the Rustic Pig.  I am loving this one.  It only uses a headboard and not a footboard so I have to see if I have one that will work for this.
http://www.therusticpig.com/2013/06/16/summer-back-porch-headboard-swing/

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Gail at My Repurposed Life is a master at repurposing beds into benches.  I got the idea to turn the dresser into a bench from her.  I love that she took the time to write me when I mentioned her inspiration.    Her site has a number of different headboard benches so there is a lot of inspiration.

http://www.myrepurposedlife.com/2009/09/headboard-bench-tutorial.html

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Brittany at Pretty Handy Girl has a great site with simple instructions.  I love her blog header : empowering you to complete your own DIY project.  Thanks, Brittany for the great drawings and pictures.

http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/2010/07/turning-craigs-list-bed-frame-into.html

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As I said, we have four headboards.  I just counted and we have FIVE.  Shhhh.  I am going to see if Hubby reads this to see that I have more than I thought.  I bought one set  over a year ago for $25.00 but can’t find a photo, I got the three below stacked all together for $12.00.  One of them is my favorite.  It is a curvy vintage double bed that will make a cool and very comfortable bench.

 

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Hard to believe there are three future benches in this pile of wood huh? The curvy one is mine. I just love it. It is going to be either rustic red or black. Feel free to chime in on the color. The twin is going to my friend, Trenda. Final one may become the swing. I think it will work for what we want.

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This bed is going to be a bench for my buddy Norma. I bought this one at Canton. I liked the look and the solid back. It is going to be a beautiful rustic red when done and have stained slatted seat I am very excited this one.
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This one is going to my buddy Shahana. We found this one at the HAAR (Humble Area Assistance Resources)  thrift store for $10.00. I will show you the awesome chicken she painted for me on my Facebook page this week. Be watching for it FB friends.
I think I just counted and we may have six future benches.  We will see if my husband actually reads this post.  If so, I think I could be in trouble.

The City of Tamarindo

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I have been down for the count. I mean seriously ill. I really don’t blame Costa Rica, I promise, but it has been a rough haul getting over my stomach infection. Well…getting toward getting better. Enough of that, I just wanted to let you know where I have been and why I did not finish showing you Tamarindo.

This picture is from James Kaiser. http://www.jameskaiser.com
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It gives you a good idea what the city is like as it curves around the beach.

We stayed here:

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This was our one trip out to a bar. The water was great there. The singer is an expat from Austin, Texas who sings a bluesy style of music. He was great.

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Playa (beach) Tamarindo is beautiful, and the little city is located right up next to the sand. The city is a crazy quilt of little shops, restaurants and bars. The main street that runs parallel to the coast is paved and it is a very walkable little community. The sidewalks are sketchy, but drivers are conscientious.

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It is surprisingly small. There are only 500 permanent residents with there being about 5000 in the city at the height of the season. The city is all about the beach during the day. Surfing, excursions and sun rule the daylight. At night, the restaurants and bars get hoppin’.

The food is good. There is a small food court with Tico Tacos we really liked,
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Longboard’s serves fried plantains, fried yucca, and fried sweet potatoes instead of French fries. The BBQ sandwiches were really good.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g309253-d1847240-Reviews-LongBoards_BBQ-Tamarindo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

My favorite was Patagonia. Argentinian food. Yummy. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g309253-d3781345-Reviews-Patagonia_Argentinian_Grill_Restaurant-Tamarindo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

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The cost at the restaurants is comparable to the US and all the restaurants we visited took US dollars. Here is the Trip Advisor’s list of best restaurants.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g309253-Tamarindo_Province_of_Guanacaste.html

My advice is go to the packed restaurants unless you have a tougher stomach than me. I am almost certain I got sick at a restaurant that did not have many customers. Crowded restaurants sell a lot of food and don’t have stuff sitting around. The expatriate community will tell you where to go. We found out the next day from some expats they did not recommend the restaurant because it had a new owner and was not dong well. Too little, too late.

The hotels and condos are all walking distance from the city center. We only rented a cab one day to take us out to Playa Grande. Cabs are not cheap and you are lucky if you find one with cold air conditioner. The ride from the airport to Tamarindo is about $25.00 each. You have to reserve your ride from the airport to the beach in advance or it is crazy expensive. If you have a large group (4+), check into getting a car it is about $85.00.

We loved our visit and can understand why Hubby’s brother and Sister in Law fell in love with the place and bought a home there.

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Pura Vida.
Karen

Tamarindo Costa Rica Excursions

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Here are photos from our excursions. My tummy trouble stopped me from visiting the volcano, but my Hubby took pictures for me.

First Into the Estuary.
We took a trip up the river that flows through the area and into the sea by boat. Our guide, Pony, did not speak English. I got to practice my Spanish. It made me laugh to follow Pony through the mangroves to see the Howler monkeys. He was barefoot though the rocky soil but had a pink High School Musical backpack.
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We saw birds, monkeys, and fish. Our guide was shocked we did not see any crocodiles. I guess they needed beauty sleep. We were first on the river that morning. The other boats came up the river as we were going back.

http://www.seabirdsailingexcursions.com/
We went snorkeling, ate great food cooked on board, and toasted the sunset on this beautiful boat. It is a great deal for those who want to see the beautiful rocky seashore, get out on the ocean and snorkel. I will be honest and tell you the snorkeling was hard work. I was spoiled in Hawaii but it was fun to see the fish. They have promised to post pictures from our trip but not up yet.

http://www.villascostarica.com/tamarindo-turtle-nesting-tours.html

 

No photos of the turtles.  It was dark. I love the ecoturism in the area.  They take good care of their turtles because they know that people come to Tamarindo just to see them.

Finally,

Here are Hubby’s photos of the volcano trip.  I will admit to being a little jealous.

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My students would be proud. #noediting

Vacation Home Nursery Solution

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My friend Kandy and her husband have a home in Gruene, Texas. That is another city I love in Texas. Floating down the river, eating at the Grist Mill, and enjoying music at Gruene Hall. One day soon we need to visit that wonderful town.
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http://www.gruenetexas.com

When you are at that age when your babies are getting married and having children vacation homes are tricky. Heck, home-homes are tricky. Babies come with stuff these days. Lots of stuff. They also need a quiet place to rest while the house is full of guests and rooms are all being used. With the monitors out now the family can be in a separate part of the house keeping tabs on the little man while he sleeps.

Kandy, who was a great teacher, has always had an amazing sense of style and skill in art and design. She can paint, sew, and has the ability to take a bunch of mismatched items at the last minute and make a vignette or arrangement look like it was planned for weeks.

When a grandson came into her life recently she knew she needed to find a space in her Gruene home for him. Her solution; a 5.5 ft by 4.5 ft closet got turned into a “Man Cave” for her little man, Bodie.

One of the things I like best about Kandy’s design aesthetic is her color choice. She is fearless when it comes to choosing to put colors together. She is not afraid to use dark colors in her rooms. Her vacation home bedrooms are painted intellectual gray, which is a medium warm gray. I like that she painted the closets the same color as the bedrooms.

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So, here is Bodie’s Man Cave. Kandy used a chalkboard paint pen to write on the wall. Brilliant. Mr. Bodie may have to give up his digs one day to a little brother, sister, or cousin. It will wash off when and if the room changes names…or becomes a closet again.

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I love the indirect light of the star, the sweet sign Kandy made, and the family photos.
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Kandy also kept the closet shelves and rod in place by using fabric to cover the round clothes rod. Creative.
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Can you tell that Kandy was a reading teacher? I am thrilled to see books already in his little space waiting to be read.

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What great friends Kandy has. She got that sweet blanket and one of those frames from them.

Seeing this “room” made me think about how I use the space at my little lake house.

I am going to show you another project Kandy thought up this week, too.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

Blessings,

Karen

Tamarindo Beaches

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I promise not to bore you to death with our trip to Costa Rica.  I plan on showing you the beaches, the city and the excursions we took.  Three posts will be my limit and not all at once.  I promise.

First, the beaches are unbelievable.  The sky is the most amazing color, the water is clear, I like low tide the best, because you can see the shells that watch up.  Boats are always anchored just off shore.  We took one of the small boats out to a catamaran to go on a sunset tour and snorkeling trip.  Enjoy.

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