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The Fear of Being a One-Hit Wonder

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Okay, here is a quiz. What is Carl Douglas famous for?

How about The Knack?

Do you know what Rednex is famous for?

I will bet you know their work.

Do you remember “Everybody was Kung Foo Fighting. It was fast as lightning”?  Kung Foo Fighting was   Sung by Mr. Carl Douglas

 

How about My Sharona?  The Knack knocked that one out.

 

Rednex is famous for a song that is played at least once a night at almost every Texas bar… Cotton Eyed Joe.

After that these bands/singers either broke up, stopped singing, or just never produced another hit.  I guess it really ages me that I do remember all of them, and they were pre-music video era.

I jokingly say I am a one hit wonder, too. You see, my mudroom bench is without a doubt the single most viewed and pinned post I have ever done. All the rest of my posts combined would be about half what the other posts have been viewed. I think of the mudroom bench as my one hit wonder.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that bench.  It is the first thing I use when I walk into the house every day and my last stop on the way out the door.  But, I like other pieces I have done just as much.  They just didn’t get noticed like that one did.

I think it was the lighting in the photo I took.  We are after all visual folk.

Finished Mudroom Bench

I wonder if it would have been as popular if this was what I put out for the world to see?

The Finished Mudroom Bench

 

Here are a few of my other projects that I think get looked over.  It may have been when they were posted, how they were photographed, or maybe I really am a one hit wonder who just got lucky the one time.

western dresser

 

My Western Dresser for the lake house Bunk room.   It makes me smile when I walk in the room, still.

Finished Yellow and Grey Guestroom

 

The yellow and gray bedroom.  It all started with a table I picked up on the side of the road and a son moving out.  In case you are wondering, yes I stenciled the wall.  I still love the look.  I miss that room the most of all the rooms at the city house.

green sofa table

 

The green buffet table.  This was a thrift store dining table turned into a more narrow buffet with a reclaimed wood top.  I love this table.  Baby boy says it is his favorite piece in our house.  It is about to get an addition.  I am adding a hutch to the top for my milkglass that is about 80% complete.

farmhouse table

 

Our farmhouse table.  It has at least ten, 1-0 coats of poly on top and I am crazy about this table.  It started out life as a white tile and golden oak table and cedar siding from our lake house.  I am about to change the color of the legs so that it plays nice with the buffet and hutch.

beverage station 1

 

Finally, the second most popular post is the beverage station.  I have now made three of these with numbers four, five and six in the Garagemahal waiting for their turn.  I have made a green, bright blue and navy blue.  Soon a burnt orange, a green and a cream colored one will be done.

I love showing you all what I do and I really do value your input.  Thanks for taking time out of your busy days to see what we are up to in the country.  I hope your day is wonderful.

Blessings,

Karen

Headboard and Footboard into Bench

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This past winter we got busy turning several headboard/footboard units into benches.  They turned out great, but I think know I frustrated my husband with so many projects all at once…during prime fishing season.   This particular set was purchased three years ago and has hung out in the garage waiting for me to get busy.   We actually cut this one up at the same time we did the other benches but it was moved over to the “finish later” pile when I could tell I would need help moving this one around and Mr. Math was in no mood to drag it around.

headboard-for-storage-bench

Fast forward to the end of summer.  I mean maybe it is not so fast, but forward progress none the less.  This weekend we decided to knock it out.  I call this bench our hurricane bench because it is so sturdy that the house would blow away before this beast goes anywhere.  Hubby even used a 2X12 for the front cross beam.

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The headboard and footboard are not old, in fact I would guess it is from the 90’s.  It was in rough shape when we bought it and hanging out in the Garagemahal for three years didn’t help it any.

worn wood worn post

When I got busy on the bench the first thing I did was unscrew the wrought iron on top.  I immediately started second-guessing myself.  I wasn’t sure that the iron should go back on.  As always, I shared my angst with my Facebook friends.  They were united.  It should go back on.  More on that later.

I feel like I say this a lot, but we love our paint sprayer.  I mean LOVE it.  It makes getting paint on so fast and we have learned that we can even spray on primer.

Here are a few shots of the wood filler in the holes, the sprayer and the coming rain that kept me stressed out.

wood filler in screw holes sprayer coming rain

The paint color is sea salt thanks to my Facebook friends, again.  I was torn between red, black or white.

The seat is deep.  The slats for the seats are 23 inches long and stained with Minwax Jacobean.

I knew I wanted the bench to be heavily distressed.  It turned out exactly the way I saw it in my head, in spite of the high humidity and rain showers that kept coming and going.

Here it is all finished up.

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You may notice that it does not have the iron on top.  In spite of my FB friends telling me to leave it on, it sold before I could finish it and the new owner didn’t want the iron on it.  She lives in an area that is close to the bay and since she wants it outside on her porch she was afraid it would rust.  I did take a picture of what it would have looked like with the iron in case you are wondering how it could have turned out.

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We have three more headboard sets in the Garagemahal, so I guess there are more benches in my future.

While we were spraying polyurethane, we  poly-ed a china cabinet that will be for sale soon.  It would be really cute in a nursery.china cabinet makeover china cabinet spray painting

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I appreciate your comments and advice more than you will know.

 

Blessings,

 

Karen

A Quick and Easy Thrift Store Chest Makeover

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If you are too busy to read my wordy post today I put a quick DIY with photos at the bottom of the page.

My brother in law and sister in law built a home recently in Durango, Colorado.

Durango Home

In case you are counting, this is home number four for them. We stayed at their vacation home in Costa Rica over spring break,

boca raca

boca raca condo

they have a beautiful, huge hilltop home in Austin that is currently for sale,

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and are building a new home in one of my favorite small cities near our home in Montgomery, Texas.

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Their plan is to live in Durango half the year and in Montgomery the other half. They rent out the Costa Rica home most of the year but visit frequently. It is a tough life, but someone has to do it.

When they moved into the home in Durango three weeks ago, they literally moved up to the 2600 sq ft home with what fit in a UHaul and their car. We arrived for a visit to find that they didn’t have things like mixing bowls, or an egg turner, or spoon rest. They have been so busy getting settled in that cooking wasn’t high on the list.  They were also a little short on furniture. They had purchased or brought beds, two couches, chairs, barstools, a dining table an outdoor bench, and a bookcase. I was proud that they had been shopping at local resale and thrift shops for items and had purchased a few accessories at the shops. I think I may be wearing them down… a little bit.

What they did not have were end tables and coffee tables in their main room or the upstairs den. We set out shopping for stuff our first day there. They took us to the shops that they like. I liked the stores, too. They were unique and interesting pieces, but wowser, the tables were very expensive. Like $900 to $1200 per table expensive. I would much rather spend that money on supplies and thrift store furniture and a whole lot more.

When I saw a little $20.00 solid pine toy chest that had several of the most unfortunate paint jobs, I knew it would work as a coffee table with some love. It was painted with a really thin blotchy black color. Someone along the way had painted it white, and there was also an attempt at painting flowers on the chest with red streaks.

The steps are simple:

Strip down to smooth, but not bare wood. Wipe it all down and get clean.  I used Lysol wipes.

This had to happen so I could knock down the thick ridges from the painted flowers. I used Citristrip on the whole thing to knock off the black layer and then focused on the flowers. (As usual, I forgot a before picture.) Here it is with the first layer off:

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Spray paint the whole chest. I sprayed the chest twice, letting it dry completely between coats. The paint color was Rustoeum Seaside.

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This is a project I did on the fly with very limited supplies or space. All the spray paint work was done across the street in a vacant lot because the valley where the house is located was windy and the thought of getting turquoise paint on the car or house was scary.

Not a bad view while I worked.  I understand why they have moved to Durango.

Sand away at the paint, following the wood-grain.  You will know the paint you are sanding is dry if what you are sanding off looks like chalk dust. I hand sanded using this awesome sanding block with a handle. (You can see the sander in the box to the left of the chest.)

sanding block

 

In some places go all the way to bare wood and in others go down through paint to the colors below.

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Once I was pleased with the amount of sanding, I stopped. There is no magic formula.

Once I wiped it all down again I rubbed in glaze mixed with dark brown latex paint. The gaze to paint ratio was about three parts glaze to one part paint.

I used a dampish cotton cloth to literally rub it in. It did not take very much at all with each coat.  It took two coats for me to be happy with the look.

I rubbed it down with paste wax when I was finished to give it a luster.

minwax

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Here it is finished.  I really like the look.  All in all it cost about $20.00 in supplies which were all bought at a pretty small Walmart so they are readily available.

 

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:

 

bench

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!

bench2

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
reclaimed wood wall title

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:

drawer front christmas gifts

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.
coat rack

I am not sure what I will be doing with the sections of headboard I saved… Do you have any suggestions?
trash to treasure (3)

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.

norma bench (2)

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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