Sunday, September 30, 2012

All About Ethel!!

Where do I even begin?  Hmm....ok, ok, I know
I "found" a table and chairs set during my daily stalking of Craigslist a few weeks ago.  It had great details and shape and once I saw it, I kept going back to the post trying to see if there was something I missed the other 100 times I'd drooled over it.  I wanted it real, real bad, but wasn't sure it was something I wanted to tackle.  I stressed myself out about it for a day or two, even asking anyone with any furniture know how in my path if they thought I should get it and redo it for the shop.  Before even deciding to buy it, I needed to test the waters and see if the seller would lower the price at all. Because I am now a master negotiator thanks to the skills I've learned from the lovely Rachel at Holy Craft(she has a post all about the art of getting a good deal).  It took a few days before I got a response, but the seller was willing to lower the price to what I deemed affordable.  I almost started jumping up and down, but first I needed to recruit my husband to help me pick it up, and convince him that it really was a "bargain".
Who doesn't love a great table top??  And AMAZING legs.  I'll be honest, the top could've been beyond saving, but I couldn't walk away from these legs...
Or the details on these chairs.  Once I got this home I even told my friend Mandi that I was in project heaven.  I know, I had NO idea how much work would be involved, but I was basking in the giddy glow of such awesome pieces.  While opening and closing the table and looking at it's underside I saw it's Manufacturer's label, and it was locally made, a LONG time ago, but still local. 
This set was made by Gregory Furniture Mfg Co, in Tacoma, WA.  The most info I could find courtesy of Google was that this specific label meant it was made between 1916 and 1940.  After 1940 Gregory Furniture became Gregory and Butler.  But at her youngest that made the table and chairs 72 years old.  How cool is that???  If you've read any of my other posts you know that I like to assign gender to the stuff I work on :)  Of course this set is ALL female, with rosettes and curvy legs, how could she not be.  Well after researching I decided something that was made so well to last so long, deserved a name too.  Not sure how I decided on Ethel, but that is her name.  If by chance you follow me on facebook, you know all my recent posts have been all about Ethel.  My kids have asked me daily for the last 2 weeks...."How's Ethel coming mom?"  And all my friends know EXACTLY what I'm talking about when I say her name :)  But I digress...
From the moment I saw her I had a clear vision of what she'd look like once I gave her a makeover.  I knew I would sand and re stain the top, and paint the table base and chairs white.  Of course from vision in my head to reality doesn't always translate as what if it took 4 coats of stain and daily stressing before I could declare the top finished.

And so what if painting a table with 6 legs, and 4 chairs is crazy hard work...not to mention recovering 4 seats with fabric.  But that actually seemed like the easy part compared to ALL the painting I did.  I made sure that every coat of stain had a full 24 hours to dry, which of course gave me time to paint all those amazing details.  I ended up doing 2 coats of Minwax Ebony stain, and 2 coats of Minwax Dark Walnut.  And everything else was painted with my Sherwin Williams Reliable White, turned chalk paint.  The chairs, table legs, and base were all sealed with a paste wax, and the table top with 3 coats of poly made specifically for oil based stain.  Of course I didn't have said poly, but the amazing Mandi at Persnickety's did.  So I loaded Ethel up and drove her down to the shop.
As we like to call it, a fun round of car jenga was in order :)  This may have been the hardest I've ever worked on a project, but I'm really proud of myself for getting through it, not quitting when I got stressed or frustrated, and creating something that I think turned out pretty amazing!!  I know, you're thinking enough info, just show us the table....So here you go, some eye candy of Ethel in all her glory.  She's at the shop now and available for purchase. 
Hope you come along to see what I conjure up next!!
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Don't Jinx It!!

In the business of furniture "redoing" we rely on garage sales, estate sales, antique stores, the kindness of friends and family to give us their old unused stuff, and of course Craigslist.  With the weather turning here in Washington, garage sales are pretty much gone, if not nonexistent now, so I've been relying on my friend Craig. 
That being said I like to joke about the jinx.  Like my husband and I will say "oh the boys are playing so well together", and in an instant a fight breaks out.  So we'll say "the you know who's, are being you know what" and joke about not wanting to jinx it.  I've even said to Mandi, shop owner at Persnickety's, and my very good friend that I'm the shop jinx.  In times past when I've worked at the shop it's been slow....but the last time I worked, it was so busy I could barely catch my breath, jinx lifted right?  Right!!
So back to Craig....I feel like just putting words down means I'm jinxing it, but I gotta share.  Lately I have had amazing craigslist karma.  Either scoring things for free, or at ridiculously low prices.  This is kind of a big deal because when you chose to redo furniture you feel like whatever it is you're looking for, EVERYONE else in the business is looking for too.  So if you stumble upon a "free" post, even if you relentlessly check Craig first thing in the morning before you do anything, and then again another million times a day, chances are, you're 10 seconds too late, and someone else has snagged that coveted item.  Same thing goes with items to want that dresser?  Well so did the person who responded at 3 am while you were sleeping, slacker! 
But look at the stuff that I've found, and I feel like my hard work has paid off...and by hard work I mean, NEVER leaving my laptop for longer than 10 minutes :)
This guy is still in his before state, I plan on working on him next week, but it's a vintage Heywood Wakefield, and such great shape!!
Snagged these once super bright brass lamps, painted them and took them straight to the shop.
This super cute yellow and cream dresser that I blogged about here.  And is currently in stock at Persnickety's.
This AMAZING chippy giant window also in stock at Persnickety's.
And last but not least.....Ethel
Ethel is a 70 plus year old table and chairs set that I've been working on for almost 2 weeks.  This is just a teaser cause I plan on doing a whole big before and after reveal on her.  But she's gorgeous, I promise :)
So let's see, did I just ruin my chances of ever finding something on Craigslist again?  I sure hope not!!  What do you joke about jinxing?  What's your favorite place to stalk to find stuff to give new life too?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Really cool chicks!

Finally back in the swing of things.  Boys are back in school, regular schedule is slowly feeling like the norm, and I am feeling super inspired to get back to projects.  But instead of a before and after, how about just some inspiration :)
I am lucky because the shop that I get to sell my treasures at is owned by my best friend.  Some people might say friends make for bad business, but like I said I'm lucky.  Before there was a shop, and I was just doing projects for myself, Mandi was crazy supportive.  And now we get to kind of work together.  Granted she does all the really hard work, like paperwork, and contracts, and bill paying...she's also creative herself, so she's doing all that admin stuff, and putting awesome things in Persnickety's, like this....



and this....

And just this last week, Mandi gave her first painting class. "Drab to Fab".  Granted I don't work in the shop on a regular basis, I help when I can and was so excited to be there while she was teaching her class.  I was technically manning the shop while teacher and students were in the workshop, but I would occasionally find a minute to sneak back and take a peak and a listen.  What really amazed me was that EVERY single lady in the class was AWESOME!  They were all so interested in the process, and admiring each other's work, and honestly, just inspiring.  I haven't been working on alot of things myself lately due to summer, and hanging with my kids, but in retrospect I think my creative juices needed to be recharged.  After being around that group of ladies, I am ready to go!!  Look at how fantastic all of their projects turned out!!
So now my creative batteries are charged, I've got my eye on several projects :)  What inspires you??  Stay tuned to see what else I come up with!!