Friday, July 30, 2010

Confessions of a furniture junkie

I can’t help it. When I see an old, beat up piece of furniture I bring it home with me. (Exhibit A, B, C, D…) Then I walk through my house rearranging furniture so I can make room for it to stay. The problem is, usually when I get something new, my philosophy is to get rid of something. But with my furniture, its gotten to the point where each piece has a story, or hours of elbow grease put into it, and so my house is filling up. Pretty soon I’m going to have to get rid of some of Justin’s furniture. I’m kidding. I’ve already done that.

Last weekend I got this old dresser from a friend:

I couldn’t say no. He was out in her shed, all by himself. He wanted to live in my house, in my bedroom. So he came home with me, and immediately I started working on him. The veneer on the first drawer was warped and split, so I removed the drawer handles, scraped it off, and sanded the surface to remove any glue. I was thinking I would paint the dresser white or ivory in a shabby chic style, or maybe a fun blue. So I sanded all of the drawers, dresser top (getting rid of the water rings), sides, and in-betweens to get it ready for primer. But when I looked at my room, I realized that most of my furniture is antique wood stain, and that white or blue would bring out the busy-ness in the already busy carpet.

So I sanded a little more thoroughly, trying to lighten the dresser top a bit more, and the bottom two drawers to match the lighter top one. And then I called it a day. As you can see in the picture the top drawer is still a bit lighter than the other two, but was less noticeable once I moved it into my room.

If I move him to another room in the house I’ll probably add a couple embossed wood appliqu├ęs to the first drawer to replace the ones that were broken off, then paint him from head to toe, but for the time being I think he looks handsome and he’s perfectly at home in my room. Thanks for the project, Judye!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This Old House

When I was younger and got invited over for slumber parties, I was always excited to see my friends’ bedrooms for the first time. For one, I always shared a bedroom so the idea that someone might have their OWN room was nearly incomprehensible, and two, how they decorated and whether they had a window seat (bay window) was of utmost interest. And if they had a day bed, well oh my gosh, your life is amazing!

Side story: I distinctly remember asking for a day bed for my birthday one year. My fabulous dad took me around to many furniture stores until we found the perfect one. Which was perfect indeed. Until he bought my older sister (who shared the room with me) the exact same bed. Smart move by dad for decorating and room space (think trundle beds), but tragic for little ol’ me who had finally found something cool to lord over my sister. But I digress…

Fast forward to 2010. Not only do my friends have their own rooms, but their own houses! Yes, I’m still equally, if not more, enthralled. From vintage furniture, to Kitchen Aid pasta or ice cream attachments, to vegetable gardens, I love to see how my friends do it. Last month when Kelly had to get rid of all mostly all her stuff for her move to Paris, it got me thinking about the things I would want to take with me, and items that have traveled with me from move to move over the years. These things have taken on identities of their own, like old friends, and become my sense of home. I know I'm talking about objects, things, material possessions, temporary items in the grand scheme of the world, and sure, I would be fine without them, but I do enjoy them.

I thought I would share some of my favorites with you, so you can take a peek into my little old house. But I warn you, by looking at these pictures, I fully expect you to share a list of your own dear possessions.

1. Coffee table.

When I moved into my current place I owned nearly no furniture, had no plates, silverware, etc. Driving home from work during the first month at the new place, I saw this coffee table on the side of the road with a sign that said FREE. Also on the table was a big basket that contained a set of enamelware plates, bowls, and cups, some glass food storage jars, and a set of nesting serving/storage bowls. Thank you, God! I loaded my car with the goods and smiled all the way home. Not only do I find this table super cozy, but it reminds me of that moment of feeling really blessed- my needs we're met in an unexpected way. I also love that its already old and broken in, so it exudes "kick your feet up and relax." I could probably fix it up a bit, but I like it how it is. Sometimes I'd rather have things I don't have to worry about ruining.

2. School map.

Okay, this is a new addition to my home, but I will remind you that I have been on the hunt for a vintage school map for years. Back in March I found a woman on Craigslist who had several for sale. I spent an hour at her house just looking at all of the old maps and trying to choose. This one shows the territories during the War of 1812. I'll admit I'm not a huge history buff, but I think it's beautiful. I used an old leather belt to mount it to my wall.

3. Trunk.

My dad bought this for me at a swap meet years ago. I might have been in junior high at the time. I remember getting out his electric sander and sanding off the rough spots to make the paint smooth. I love the way this trunk smells when I open it up. Old and musty. Its distinct, and when I open it I think of when I opened it the first time in my parents' garage. I now store my Christmas decorations in it, so opening it also has that sense of excitement for the Christmas season.

4. Suitcase collection.

I bought my first one (in the middle) for $10 at the Fremont Sunday Market, back when the market was held on the other side of Fremont Avenue. This was the beginning of my suitcase obsession. Admittedly, I own way too many (possibly more than 15, but who's counting). They're a fun way to store my hats, and scarves, and pj's, and other things that don't fit in our limited closet/dresser space. They're not usually sitting on the chaise, but live in various places throughout the house (next to dressers, couches, book shelves...)

So that's mine. What are your favorite things?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

(Not) a tutorial: Fabric message board

When I was down in California recently, my sister lovingly suggested that I make her a fabric message board for Avery’s room, “so you can put it on your blog!” Thanks, Leslie! Such a fabulous, selfless idea! (I kid…)

I had never made a fabric message board but assumed (correctly) that they can’t be that hard to make. Luckily I already had all the supplies necessary (read: borderline hoarder. "I might need that for something...").

I have an unframed message board in my art room which looks fine, but I wanted hers to have a more finished look, so I started with a plastic 16x20 frame (sans glass). I cut some leftover cork board to fit the frame. Next I cut fabric to wrap around the cork board, ironed the fabric, and used a staple gun to secure it to the board. Then I strung the ribbon, and used the staple gun again. I love staple guns. Where the fabric intersected I added a fabric covered button with a thumb tack hot-glued to the back of the button.

I went outside and spray-painted the frame with heirloom white paint. Then I remembered that I should have sanded the frame a bit to get the paint to stick better. Oops. I let it dry for a while, then added a second coat. The paint was much stronger on the second coat. Once the frame dried really well, I put the covered board into the frame, and then a 16X20 piece of cardboard over the back, and taped that into place. Project complete. Next!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fabric envy

If you haven't been to Lindsey's shop lately, check out her recent products. Sooo darling.

Friday, July 16, 2010

and I'm back! for now...

We just got back from another road trip to California.

Some words to summarize: driving, road construction, camping, dog park, driving, In-N-Out, driving, old friends, washoes, sunshine, swimming, lounging, slack lining, frostys, eating, camping, cooking, dishes, mosquitoes, sunshine, boating, floating, Jasper’s nonstop swimming, campfire, s’mores, bat-in-the-tent-trailer, brother with broom, blueberry pancakes, Avery’s pink polka dot swimsuit, napping, ice cream, chocolate covered pretzels, Yosemite, waterfalls, 60th birthdays, El Cid, Texas sheet cake, slack lining, hacky sack, Amy’s 34-week belly, Avery’s kisses, driving, In-N-Out, fireworks in Yreka, driving, driving, home sweet home.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words:

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls a-flowin'

The world's cutest camper

The world's cutest tiny slackliner (and gramps)

The fam

Yosemite Valley. My other home.