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Sometimes it is the Story not the Furniture

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I know, I know, you are all tired of seeing us turn head-boards and foot boards into benches. I am neck-deep in benches at the moment. I have a slew of them to finish right now. I will try not to bore you with my progress on the benches, but this one is special. Today’s post is not about the bench. It is about the story behind the bench.

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Right now it feels like the garage is overflowing with head-boards.

When we started making benches and I blogged about them, and sold a few.  Because of the blog, a dear friend contacted me to ask me to make a bench for her from a bed she has had since childhood.  I told her that of course we would do it for her, but I did not ask a lot of questions.

I went to pick up the bed she showed me where she would put it, the color she wanted it… everything but the bed. When I finally saw the bed, I was a little surprised.
It was one of a pair of twin beds that can be bunked. The bed was made of rock maple with spindles.  The picture below is NOT the bed, because I was silly and forgot to get a picture, but it is similar.

twin bed for bench

If I were in a thrift store looking for a bed I would have passed it up.
It was a twin bed which is pretty small for a bench and all spindles.

It was, well, unremarkable. No fancy woodwork. No interesting shape. Just an ordinary, utilitarian bed.  The part that bugged Hubby was that the foot board was the same height as the headboard.  He had to adjust the foot board height so that it did not look like a three-sided cage (according to him.)

Just like a lot of other unremarkable pieces of furniture, what made the bed special was the history. This bed was a part of her child hood memories. Here is the story of the bed, told by my friend as I started posting Facebook  updates on Saturday of the bed in progress:

 

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She shared the photo above with her granddaughter, Brooklyn when I posted it on Facebook and here was my friend’s response to the Facebook post:

Oh, I love it already, and Brooklyn does, too…esp when I told her it would be red!

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Here is the response when I posted the primed bench:

I’m so excited because not only will this be beautiful and functional, but it was my twin bed growing up. I got bunk beds in 2nd grade (a cousin was given one of them years later). This one stayed with me, became daughter Lisa’s twin bed as a teen, and even spent a little time in my other daughter, Katie’s, college apartment. Lots of history and love going into this soon-to-be reading bench for my grandchildren…so lovin’ this!

I knew she wanted it red (and apparently so did Brooklyn) and she wanted slats just like this one:

finished red headboard bench headboard bench red

 

Red benches seem to be my “thing” right now.    Behr Red, Red Wine is the color.

She also wanted stained slats like the one above.

This particular bench was a little tricky and we felt the pressure.  If we messed it up, there would be no “throw it out and start over” plan.  We took our time and worked it all out before starting.

After a few weeks, we finished it.  Working only on weekends is slow going.

Here is the finished project.  I think it turned out great, but remember the story in this sweet little bench is in the history.  Hopefully one day Brooklyn will be able to tell her grandchildren about the bench and that it used to be her own grandmother’s bed.

twin bed bench

wooden slats

twin headboard to bench

I would love to hear about a piece of furniture that is part of your history.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Blessings,

Karen

 

 

1970’s End Table Makeover

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A coworker picked up this end table on the side of the road. When she offered it to me, of course I took it but I didn’t need it for our home.

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A couple of times a year I offer up free stuff to my Facebook friends. When I posted this, Vicky,who is married into the same crazy family as I am, said she wanted it.

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Then she threw me a curve ball. She wanted it for her son’s room that is decorated in camouflage.

I took hubby shopping for paint. Because this table is made of questionable materials, I wanted to spray paint it with a paint and primer. He picked this color for the camo room.

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After deglossing with liquid sand, I sprayed it quickly with the spray paint. Hubby helped me cut reclaimed cedar planks for the top. I thought that might toughen up the look of the ornate end table.
I tried not to bug him too much this weekend but he volunteered. He also used the router to round over the edges. It makes the transition between the reclaimed wood and the table not seem so abrupt.

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I distressed it a little and glazed it a tea stain color to make it look older.
And put 6 coats of poly on the top. Poly, dry, steel wool repeat.
Here it is ready for action. I like the single knob better than the fussy pull on the faux drawer.

What do you think about it?

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The Things I Do Not Throw Away

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This weekend we cut up some double bed foot boards and turned them into arms for benches. That meant that parts of the foot boards had to be removed.

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Some people would have thrown the cut off parts away.

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Let’s face it, some people would have thrown the double beds away. Since I was able to pick up all five of these beds for a total of $77.00, they are not very valuable these days, but I digress.

Back to the stuff I don’t throw away. I keep all the solid wood pieces cut off and try to reuse them. Here is a sample of the things I had laying around the Garagemahal this weekend:

I never, ever, throw away a chair or table leg.
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I have even been known to rescue legs out of trash cans. At garage sales.

But look what they become:  Building a bench from table legs.

building a bench from table legs

I don’t throw away solid wood boards. I keep it and it always seems to find a purpose. These old fence boards became my reclaimed wood wall. This was cedar wood taken down and headed for the landfill.

reclaimed fencing washed

It turned into this: Reclaimed wood wall
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I don’t throw away drawers or even drawer fronts if the drawer is shot because I have used them for a lot of projects. Here is my sweet daughter in law’s Christmas gift to her buddies last year:

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I do not throw away hardware. Hinges, knobs, handles, and even screws get saved. It may not work on the current project, but it has been my experience that I will need something as soon as I get rid of it. I even buy odd hardware at garage sales and thrift stores.
art deco hardware

I also don’t throw away cut off sections of anything that was solid wood. This section of a door we cut off to make a headboard became a coat rack in my office.
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I am not sure what I will be doing with the sections of headboard I saved… Do you have any suggestions?
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I also save wood. Because we save every usable scrap, even scrap from building sites and out at heavy trash pick up, we don’t have to buy as much new wood. I love reclaimed wood and will keep every scrap until it is too small to save.

Paint gets used down to the last drop. I love buying oops paint when I can, but I am pretty picky about my paint (Behr paint with primer), so I do buy a lot full price and it is expensive. It gets treated like it is, too. I make sure the lids are sealed and try not to waste. When I am trying out a color, I always buy the sample first to make sure I love it.

I am not alone in the saving. When I visited Jeff at Facelift Furniture, he had this whole storage unit full of bits and parts. I have a feeling that most furniture repurposes are savers of spare parts.
Facelift work space

I guess I am a hoarder. My husband accused me of being one this weekend when I was digging the spindles we removed from the trash can. I prefer to think I am doing my part to save the environment. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

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.

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.

Headboard for bench
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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making a bench frame

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.
norma bench

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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.
Headboard for storage bench

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.

Team Dean End Table

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I bought this homely 1950’s end table at my favorite resale shop because it was wood, and $5.00. I did not need this table, but I knew it would find a home. I did say it was $5.00 right?

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The very evening I brought this beauty home I read a request for green colored items to auction for the medical expenses of a friend’s brother in law. Dean has nonalcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and is in dire need of a liver transplant. He has come close a couple of times but right now he is fighting an infection and has been in a coma 23 days. The medical costs are astronomical. You can read more about Team Dean Here.

A year ago I repainted an old end table dropped off at my house “Happy Camper” green by Behr.  It went to live with my friend Robin and has been very popular on Pinterest.  I liked it so much that I painted myself a green buffet table when we moved into our new home.   I knew the homely end table would be “Happy Camper” with  walnut stained tops.  Happy Camper is a color that reminds me of spring, and new life, something Dean needs right now.

I have learned a thing or two about tables in the last year. I am not afraid to take them apart to sand, stain, or paint. If it is screwed together, it can be unscrewed for easier refinishing.  This one fought me, but Hubby stepped in and got the last two screws out for me.  I was ready to get out the hack saw!
top of end table
Here is the top removed and sanded.

The top of both parts got sanded and repaired. There were a few cracks, dings and scratches.  I love this wood filler.  It is sort of a putty that fills in all the cracks and can be stained one it is dry.
wood filler

table without top
After everything was sanded. It got stained with Minwax Dark Walnut. It took two coats of stain to get it dark enough for my taste.
The legs and sides got two coats of green, then a brown glaze, then three coats of polyurethane, and new (re-purposed)  drawer knobs.(Check a local ReStore for hardware. It can be painted. These knobs were shiny brass before they were sprayed oil rubbed bronze.)
messy paint job

I used liquid sand on the legs and sides of the table then I slapped on a coat of the paint. It has primer in it and because it is a darker color that is going to have brown glaze over the top I did not prime the wood first. After my messy coat of paint went on, a quick sanding smoothed off any ridges.

 

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I really like how this ugly duckling transformed. I hope it makes some money for Team Dean. If you are interested in buying it now, send me a message and I will donate the money then make a second one for the event.
Happy Camper green end table

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It was not all fun and games at Star Hill this weekend. It was our first trip back to the lake with our rescue we named Lumi. (Snow in Finnish). It rained A LOT. We had one bored ten month old high energy puppy.
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Sunday morning I found one of my paintbrushes had been destroyed. it is what I get for leaving it where it could be reached.
Lumi
Who wouldn’t forgive a face like this?

Weekend Finds and the Plans I Have for Them

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This past weekend I visited my favorite faith-based resale shop up near our lake house. It had been a few weeks since my last visit and stuff had been dropped off. I love this little place. It is totally run by volunteers and the proceeds go toward their youth ministry. It is hit or miss with me finding stuff but this week was a hit.

Outside in the weather was this 1940’s waterfall style Art Deco dresser.
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I was surprised that Hubby didn’t totally turn up his nose at this piece, but he liked it too. I mean she was rough. The veneer was peeling off on every curved surface. The varnish on the sides looked like reptile skin and was so loose it literally blew off when Hubby blew out the inside with a leaf blower. I offered the lady at the shop $20.00 for the piece but she said no. She told me she couldn’t sleep at night if she took that much for the vanity. She took $10.00 for the dresser.

Feeling guilty for getting the dresser so cheap, I walked inside and saw this beauty. I mean this side table defines 1970’s fabulous. Can you just imagine the room this beauty was in? Orange shag carpet…that needed raking, paneling, over the top lamps and a flowered couch. That is my story and I am sticking to it. For $5.00 this guy was mine.

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I know you think I am crazy right now. Hang on.

Hubby spied this beat up maple night stand hidden by the door. An additional $5.00 and it was also loaded up.

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She threw in an “ugly frame” when I asked the price. It is going to be a great project in the near future. No photos yet.

Soooo… Here are my plans for the three pieces:
The Vanity is going to be painted using this piece as inspiration. I would link the source but it is a dead end on the internet.

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I am sad there is no mirror, but I will be looking for an awesome shaped mirror that I can personalize to go above the vanity. I thought I might be selling this piece but it is going in my bathroom. I need an awesome vanity to make me feel pretty. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

This is the color I am going with.  Sea Salt.

French Provincial ornate

Here are my plans for the piece.

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The 1970’s Fab night stand will be sold. I love ornate side tables. In the right space they add that wow factor. Here are three of my favorite ornate end tables. All of them make me smile, but live in other homes now.
marble topped side table

spray painted ornate side table

Painting the Night Stands Yellow

My plan for this one is to add a stained wood top. The top on this piece is shot so I am going to skin it with super thin plywood stained dark. The base. Well I need help here. What do you think? Blue, green, aged white, or red?  Something different?  Help me… please. I plan on lightly distressing the edges and glazing once painted. Click the photos to take you to the source.

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I know for sure what I will be doing with the maple table.
I am painting it like I did the Junk Fairy end table and donating it to be sold by Team Dean. I know and love this sweet family. When they asked for art donations in green I knew what I could give.

Junk Fairy End Table

So, what do you think about my $20.00 finds from the weekend now that you can see past the ugly?

Choosing “The Right” Navy Blue is Hard

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The Southern Belle and Big Cat are getting a few pieces of furniture that I have collected just for them. A sewing cabinet turned into a beverage station for their awesome screened in porch. The next time we venture up to North Carolina I am going to take pictures of their back yard space. It is amazing.

Big Cat is a die hard Georgia Southern fan so navy for the cabinet was an easy decision. Navy blue. Not the bright sailboat blue the original beverage station is. I also decided to make a bar cabinet for them. They have a small dining space but entertain a lot so any space that they could use to hold glasses, bottles and things that don’t fit in their limited cabinet space. The interior of their home is also navy along with creams browns, and tons of natural fibers. Want to see it? I took pictures last fall Click Here. The cabinet is going to be navy too.

Hubby went to Coldspring without me. We went together to pick our paint, so there is no blame here. We are just learning that navy blue is a tricky color. The first color was WAAAAY too vibrant. Hubby sent the picture to me and TSB. I will bet she almost had a stroke.

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The cabinet door confirmed my suspicion that we needed a color change.

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Hubby went back to town ( 30 minutes one way) to get a darker color.
Here are the results:

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Here is the cabinet in a darker shade:

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I am not sure I love it, but I am withholding judgement until we go back to the Garagemahal. I am guessing that a coat of black glaze will tone it down. Hope, hope. I love the 1970’s vibe of the cabinet.
I will let you know about the paint. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

When Pinterest Finds My Old Stuff

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This week two of my posts were “found” on Pinterest this week. It was fun to see so many people find something that I loved doing and saving it to pages like this:
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Craft Party Ideas

Or; Tryna Do It, or My House

I love the names people give their boards. I am so very boring!

Chair Painting Party

It was such a fun day. I hope that one day you can hold your own party.

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Sewing Cabinet Into Drink Station

This one has been pinned over 200 times this month. Wow. Thank you to those of you who are going to attempt our version of a beverage station! I am humbled that anyone wants to do something that I have done. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE send pictures when you actually do this.

Feel free to look at or follow my Pinterest Page.

I use my name on Pinterst: Karen Smithson.

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

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