The unwanted chair....

I run a shelter for unwanted furniture.... injured, abused and neglected. Before a neighbor hauls off a piece of furniture, they usually call me first to see if it is something I might want. Or they just drop it in my driveway...I have come home on more than one occasion to find an abandoned piece of furniture on my door step!

My next door neighbors brought me this busted chair a few months ago.

The chair my neighbor, Paula, brought me was a little on the "formal" side...needlepoint fabric, upholstery nail heads, intricate carvings...but it had a busted leg. . Fairly easy fix for me...a little glue and clamping! 

The hardest part of redoing these chairs is removing the billions of tiny upholstery nails. I ordered those nifty staple and nail removal tools. Forget about it! In the end I used a flat head screw driver, a hammer and needle nose pliers. 

After I removed all the nails, staples and upholstery, I chalk painted, distressed, and sealed the wood frame and then reupholstered it. These little chairs really don't take a lot of fabric so I decided to use some scraps I had on hand from another project! 

The fabric may be a tad "casual" for such a regal chair, but personally I think it brings it down a notch...not so houtie-toutie!

Rather than use upholstery nails, I went with gimp trim...much simpler!

I've been pretty swamped the past few weeks. My oldest daughter graduated from college and my youngest daughter moved home for a few weeks until her condo is ready. In the meantime, we are building, stripping, upholstering and painting pieces for her new home.

One thing about little sis...she is learning that if you want something nice, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do a little work. A lesson my dad taught me! Her first major project was this oak library I think she has "the bug!"

So this past week Katie has been a busy little bee (funny since she actually raises bees!) She even attempted to make a dove tail coffee table...after all, she watched youtube videos and it didn't look too difficult. I tried to tell her those guys have been doing that kind of detailed work with VERY sharp tools their entire life. After she dang near sliced two of her fingers off with a chisel she decided to put that project on hold for a time. I ended up buying a beautiful MCM coffee table and she promptly went to work stripping the old yellow finish off! I am making her entertainment cabinet and we still have a few chairs to reupholstery! 

Busy, wonderful time. I have several "resale" projects I need to be working on but I have learned that time with and for my kids is what is really important. I can't remember 1/2 of the stuff I have repurposed and sold over the years but I remember every skill my dad taught me. 

There are things that will last a lifetime...and beyond. 

Serpentine dresser makeover...

I want desperately to share my entry makeover, only because I want desperately for it to be done. Week 5 and I am STILL waiting on materials...specifically ONE stair tread that somehow did not get ordered properly. I have one, I have all the risers, I have a new newel post, and the tile was delivered over two weeks ago. But like so many of my home DIY projects, there is one little element that isn't here and I desperately need to finish. Pooh! 

So today I will share one of the pieces I told you about a month ago!!! I picked up several wash stands and dressers at an auction and all were in desperate need of a little "DIY magic!" 

First, and most important, always make sure whatever you are getting ready to spend your time and money on is in good repair. This little serpentine dresser needed some glueing and clamping before I could get down to the business of making it pretty!

It wasn't in horrible structural condition...just needed a little glue and clamping in the back and a few of the drawers. 

I used this process to strip the top...again, I have to have my "wood fix." These tops are super easy to strip and if the color isn't just right you can always apply a coat of stain....I added a coat of walnut stain to this one! Then just oil or poly, depending on your preference. I prefer tung oil finish but for resale I often use poly since most people know how to care for poly finishes! 

I didn't fill the gaps or sand out the "imperfections" ...I wanted it to look like what it is...a solid old oak top!

The drawers and cabinet could have been stripped and refinished as well, but for resale I kind of have to "go with the flow." Paint is the "thing" right now so I gave it a few coats of plaster paint, distressed and then sealed with poly. Again, I never wax a piece and poly has just enough "yellow" to give the paint an "aged" look! 

Simple new hardware, and it is good to go for another lifetime of use! 


This is a busy and exciting week around our house! My youngest daughter finishes up her first year of college and will be moving home until her condo is ready next month. My oldest daughter...wife, mom, part-time paralegal...will be graduating (WITH HONORS!) with her associates degree on Saturday. So proud of both my precious girls!

The last time my oldest son was home, we managed to get a picture of all five! 

Yes, they are as amazing and awesome as they look! I know this past weekend was Mother's Day, but these kids make me feel loved and special EVERY day!!!

Reviving old cutting boards...

I have featured old cutting boards on several and here. They are relatively easy to find and simple to "revive!" And super cute to decorate with!

If you check out my kitchen reveal you will see I use them in several places in the a little chalkboard, as a recipe holder and for a back drop in my "baking corner!"

As I have said before, I don't use wood cutting boards in my kitchen...I prefer the marble and vinyl cutting boards for sanitary sake. But old wood cutting boards can add a real touch of warmth to any kitchen and you can often find them in a variety of woods...maple, mahogany, walnut, and oak!

This first board is a tiny little thing I found in a box of auction goodies. First I stripped the board using this process, then I chalk painted the handle and distressed it a bit and then I added a little something extra!

Adding this little transfer was super simple. I printed out the design, traced it onto the board using sewing trace paper...then I used a black sharpie to draw it on the board.

I used a design I found online, but you can find hundreds of awesome designs and transfer methods on Graphics Fairy!

After applying the transfer, I applied three coats of Watco butcher block oil on the board. Since I don't use (and don't recommend using!) the board for it's intended purpose, you could just spray the board with poly, but I like the natural and rich look of oil!

The next board is another little auction find...and old mahogany board that had been well used!

Stripping this board would not have removed all the cut marks so I took the sander to it...220 grit to get rid of the cut marks, then I finished it with 220. Super simple since mahogany is a relatively "soft" wood! I cleaned the little metal "stem" then I oiled the wood with butcher block oil (3 coats)...beautiful!

These little butcher block makeovers are simple and a great way to add a little "whimsy warmth" to any kitchen. Next time you spy one in a thrift store or at a garage sale, don't pass it up just because it looks a little warn and ratty! Take it home and spend just a few minutes bringing it back to won't be disappointed! 

Traditional china vs. Ironstone....

I currently have 7 sets of china in my attic. The "important" pieces of each set are displayed throughout my home...tea sets, serving dishes, well as one place setting of all.

I did not set out to "collect" china. My first set was a pretty pink and green floral I purchased at an auction almost 30 years ago. The set had mint EVERYTHING...salt and pepper shakers, tea pot, sugar and cream set, serving dishes and 12 place settings.I proudly displayed it all in my china hutch until one fateful move...when I didn't get the little pegs securely in the top shelf of the china hutch...and it all came crashing down. No, it did not break the pieces I had 12 of, like plates and cups. Nope...the teapot, the sugar and cream set, the salt and pepper shakers, serving dishes. THOSE took the hit. By some weird alignment of the stars or fate, an older lady we were buying a house from was having an auction and she had the exact same set....including the serving pieces I had destroyed. Wow...what are the odds. Now most are packed away in the attic.

I bought another set of china years later, again at an auction.I loved the colors...browns, oranges, blues. It has the prettiest scalloped edges on the serving pieces! We used them at Thanksgiving for several years until we (I say we...actually Brian is the dishwasher!) got tired of having to hand wash they are in the attic!

And then just a few years ago another set...a simple "white" with platinum edging, decorated with little platinum branches with birdies (if you remember, I have a thing for birdies!) Simple. I bought them for a New Year's dinner party. Much more "contemporary" than the other two sets. Naturally I used them once and then most were packed away in the attic.  

Now the "family" heirlooms are starting to roll in. The first was from my paternal grandmother. She wasn't a "china kind of person" but she had the prettiest serving pieces of the Universal Ballerina in mist from the 1950s....a beautiful greenish-bluish color with a simple platinum edge. So pretty in fact that I began purchasing the dinner plates and bowls and cups. And then I promptly packed them away in the attic with the other sets. 

Then my maternal grandmother's. Then both my maternal great grandmother's. All from Japan or Germany, where my mother's family lived during my grandfather's military career. I get tickled when people make a huge deal out of "Occupied Japan" pieces at auctions...I have an attic full because my grandparents actually lived in occupied Japan in the late 40s! 

Again, I have the serving pieces, a place setting of each and the tea sets displayed but the rest are all packed and labeled in the attic.

So where does the ironstone come in?

Well, since the discovery of blog sites like Miss Mustard Seed and The Ironstone Nest I have taken a fancy to simplistic style of the white ironstone. So much so that when I discovered ONE ironstone bowl in an apartment, I went on an obsessive hunt for more pieces. For years I have loved white dishes because it was easy to add other white dishes when needed without there being a "glaring" difference!  I ended up spending way more than I want to admit to put together 20 dinner plates, bowls and dessert plates for every day use, buying a few pieces at a time on Etsy and Ebay! 

Ironstone is not as prevalent in our area as it is in other parts of the country. I have run across a few pieces here and there but nothing like the northeast where it seems to be in every antique and thrift store...and has soared in value. I have purchased a few pitchers and tureens and dish sets over the years (usually for VERY little), but nothing like what other bloggers report. It just hasn't made a "splash" here like it has elsewhere. The pieces I have sold have often sat for some time and sell for very little.

So I have begun to "hoard" what few pieces I stumble across.

Just last week I bought two pitchers (each thrown in a flat of odds and ends) at an auction.

I also picked up this pretty sugar and creamer set that came with an entire set of ironstone dinnerware. My daughter will get the dishes for her apartment this summer (that should tell you how little I paid for the entire set)...the sugar and creamer set are mine! 

I found this little chipped creamer in a box of odds and ends several years ago and kept it because it was chipped and it is the perfect size for little knock-out roses.

I think I picked up this little set at another auction some time back. Pretty....

And this little pitcher...I like it with the little Gerber daisies in my laundry room!


Martha Stewart is credited for bringing ironstone to the fore-front of today's collectors. Her website gives the simplest, most comprehensive, history of ironstone. Well worth the read!

I really love the simplistic styling of the white ironstone. As much as I love and cherish all the pretty china I have purchased and inherited over the years, sometimes I feel like all the "traditional china" kind of gives my home that "old lady vibe." But most are heirloom pieces and are just a few of the Things I Love!

Reupholstering the new living room chair...

I have said it before and I'll say it again...if you ever complain about the cost of reupholstering a piece of furniture, give it a shot! 

Trust me, you will never complain again...and there is a good chance you will just buy new! 

I spent over $200 just for the fabric for this chair!

It's not really "my style" but I wanted to use it to replace the big hulking brown leather chair in the living room and this one was a "freebie"...for obvious reasons. It had to be big enough for Cleo because that is "her chair." 

Perfect fit.

And honestly, with a down cushion and deep seat, it is super comfy! Not that I would have sat in it before it was completely stripped and covered with new batting...but it LOOKED comfy!

There are THOUSANDS of tutorials on line for reupholstering just about any style of chair so I am not going to do a blow by blow tutorial on how I reupholstered this one. Your best bet is to find a tutorial for a chair similar to the one you are going to do. Besides, it took me a day to strip it and removed 2,453,692 staples, a day to sew the cushion cover and all the piping, and another day to upholster the main hands were in no shape to hold a camera!

My a new chair! HOWEVER, if you insist on reupholstering a chair, find a good tutorial and settle in for some serious work!

I do love how this one turned out. I really want to infuse some "lighter-brighter" furniture so I went with the teal/cream print. I like the texture of the fabric and I think it will be very durable which is important since Cleo immediately reclaimed her spot! 

Naturally the new chair means I will have to buy a new rug, but since Katie wants to take the existing rug to her new condo this summer, I have a valid excuse to buy a new one! 

My next upholster project is this little MCM chair in my den....

Seriously, if I hadn't already purchased the fabric, I might have just said to heck with it and wait for the mauve and pale blue to come back in style. Or just buy a new one! But I adore this chair so when my hands regain their feeling, I'll move on to this project!

The weather has been pretty amazing so I have managed to finish up quite a few little projects, in spite of the fact I can barely grip a paintbrush, so I'll share a few in the coming weeks! 

Drop door cabinet makeover....

Enough about my entry makeover FOR NOW! I'll get there eventually but I'm at the "wait" and "hum" stage...waiting on tile and stair treads and not quite sure what I want to do about trim and lighting...hum....

So in the meantime I thought I would share one of the wash stands I rehabbed. I went to an awesome auction several weeks ago and brought home 5 potentially beautiful dressers and wash stands. One just needed to be cleaned and oiled but the others needed some serious work.

On these older pieces I just can't bring myself to slather them entirely in paint. I always have to restore a little bit of the original wood. I know in today's world of home decor, paint is all the rage, but I need a good balance of paint and the "warmth" of wood. So no matter the condition of the top, if it is solid wood, I am going to strip it and refinish it. 

This little cabinet was originally a "wash stand." It wan't in terrible shape but it had seen better days!

It had a little mirror on the back, which when removed left a  "gap" along the back edge.

If I was going to paint the top, I could have filled it in with a strip of poplar and been done with it. But I knew I wanted to refinish the top so I added a piece of oak...

...just routed the edge, then attached it with glue and trim nails. I stripped the top with this process, applied a little walnut stain and sealed with poly!

I chalk painted and distressed the base and sealed with poly. The little drop front REALLY distressed, but sometimes I just let furniture do what it wants to do! A little update on the hardware and it is good to go!

The drawers on most antique pieces have some issues....remember GLUE AND CLAMP when repairing drawers! Not nails and screws! And since the drawers were pretty ratty and stained, I gave them a little KSTP treatment! (sorry, no pictures!) They look and smell much better if you will take the time to paint the inside of the drawers of these older pieces!

I think this would make an awesome bedside table or entry piece! Or even a tv cabinet!

I tried to "stage" this little piece with some of my auction finds.... old cheese box, some awesome scales and a wood duck decoy. But again, I am not the best photographer and I am definitely more about doing and less "froo-frooing." 

I have several dressers and another wash stand to share, so stay tuned!

Just another week in paradise....

Me: I lost my truck key but I have the VIN number and need a new one cut.

Dealer Dude: Okay, the key is $177.

Me: I expected it to be pretty pricey.

Dealer Dude: After we cut the key you will have to bring the truck in so we can program it.

Me: Will the key start the truck?

Dealer Dude: No

Me: Then how do I get the truck here to program the key?

Dealer Dude: You will have to have it towed in.

Me: So I have pay to have it TOWED? 

Dealer Dude: Yes, and there will be a $60 charge to program it.

Me: So I have to pay $177 for the key, the cost to tow the truck AND $60 to program it.

Dealer Dude: Yes

Me: (Not something I want to admit saying on my blog.)

Suffice it to say, I had no transportation Wednesday and sat around waiting on Waste Management to call me back to see if MAYBE I inadvertently dropped my keys in the recycle bin that was picked up first thing in the morning. I finally conceded and called a guy to come to my home and cut a new key. Fortunately, I decided to take one more walk around the yard. And there they were...on the brick ledge right where I had laid them. A day of frustration !

I would also like to add that while I have always prided myself in keeping a clean house, I pray no one ever looks under the furniture. N.A.S.T.Y!

My life.

On the upside, I made good progress on my entry. And just for the sake of healing time, I am grateful the travertine tile and new stair treads will not be in until next week! 

Sheetrock repair is done and all the paint is done. The switches may have to wait until Thanksgiving when my SIL comes...makes my brain hurt just looking at all those wires!

I am still debating whether I will just put down new trim or if I want to go all out and add wainscoting or board and batten. I can't decided and since it is the last thing to be done, I think I will wait until the new flooring is down and the stairway is reconstructed before I decide on trim and lighting.

I have finished several pieces lately, and even managed to remember to take a few before AND after I will share those in the next few weeks. Until then, I am going to enjoy a weekend with ALL my babies....Sarah is coming in for her birthday and Mitchell is headed home for a short visit! 


First, I blame it all on my realtor, John. He was the one who pointed out that my little entry was a bit "tight." Seriously, up until then I never really noticed it, but once it was pointed out I have done nothing but obsess about it for over a year.

Then there is Chip Gaines...yes, Chip from "Fixer Upper." He always seems so pumped about demo day! And if he can demo an entire house in one day, how hard could it be to demo one little ole' closet?

Both of them should come give me a massage and hold the ice pack on my injured leg...and bruised arm...and wrenched back. When a 52 year old woman falls off a ladder onto the stairs and a 2x4 with 12 penny nails sticking out of it, there is going to be some pain! 

Not that I don't demo all the time...I am forever having to rip up subfloors at the older apartments. People let water rot bathroom floors and then there are the animals tenants are trying to hide, so they never take them outside. One guess as to where they do their "business." Trust me, there is NOTHING that will get months of animal urine out of wood subfloors! 

The difference is, this is my home. And I live here and I don't want all the saw dust and sheet rock dust and mess all over the house. 

Want in one hand, poo in the other...see which gets full faster. (Again, dad's words of wisdom!) 

So my plan was to remove the entry coat closet. Seriously, NO ONE in this family hangs their coats in that was filled with stuff that had not seen the light of day for YEARS!

After obsessing over this for over a year, I was pretty sure I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. But as with all projects, there are always the unexpected. Like that pesky electrical wiring that feeds the light switches and the living room fan. Matt and I discussed wrapping it in Washi tape and starting a new "trend" by leaving them hanging.

But I am not a trend setter so I moved the wiring. A few other small issues....I can't get the outlet wire down the outside wall because of the insulation and the wires for the switches are too short so I will have to create a "junction box" in the attic and run new, longer wiring.

I also discovered that the "header" for the opening actually sat on the outside corner of the closet. This means I have to crawl up in the attic and scab in a new header. Curses. Is it a "must do?" Kinda...since the roof rafters and wall framing all sit on that header and it now is just suspended in mid-air with no support...yeah, I kinda have to do something with it. 

OH. MY. GOODNESS! I think home remodeling is like giving forget what a nightmare it can be. If we REALLY remembered the pain and hassle we would only have one kid and NEVER do any remodeling to our homes! 

Sooooo, after two days of back breaking work, all I have to show for it are a few missing walls and a bunch of short wires hanging out of the wall. And of course dust and insulation ALL over my house!!!

One thing I have always wanted is an entry space that would allow me to "stage" a little table. It just so happens I recently acquired a small walnut table that was once my grandparent's. While it is not really "my style" it is my first love on two heirloom piece and walnut. It will fit perfectly in this space if I ever get it finished!

I am mulling over installing board and batten on the walls, but I know without a doubt I want travertine tile on the floors. Hardwood is NOT something you want next to an exterior door!

Once this project is finished, but before the new flooring, I want to make some modifications to my stairway. 

This is my "inspiration" from Remodelaholics!

I am not going to rebuild the post or change the stain...just expand the bottom 2 steps and move the post up. Simple project...remove the post, replace the bottom two treads with wider boards, cut down the bannister and remove a few newel posts, reinstall the post, stain it all to match. No biggy. HA!!!! 

Eventually I want to paint the living room walls and restain the treads, risers and railings....but that's a whole nuther project!!

But it is progress. This kind of mess and disorder would have driven me nuts years ago, but I am coming to terms with the fact that I can't move as fast as I use to

Hopefully next week I will have a finished project to share...but no promises!

A special birthday celebration!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know my dog has become my "fifth child." Yep...that is what happens when you become an "empty nester." You take and post waaaay too many pictures of your animals and, of course, you celebrate their birthdays!

Wednesday we celebrated Cleo's 2nd birthday! If you go by "dog years," I officially have another teenager!

Our grandpuppy, Zoey, came to celebrate with us!

They LOVED the pup treats...the hats, not so much! Zoey wouldn't even wear one for a pooper!

And of course I have a TON of projects in the pipeline....three chairs to reupholster, five little dressers to repair and rehab and who knows how many other little projects piled in the back of the garage!

I did get a few pieces finished and ready to take to 410 Vintage...this shelf/desk is only one of many...but as usual I either forget to take before OR after this case, the before.

Imagine honey oak...eeeck! A little KSTP treatment, and again, another lifetime of awesomeness!

I know I harp on it, but it bears repeating. The ugliest piece of furniture can be dolled up with a little paint! 

I have four dressers lined up in the driveway ready to strip and paint IF the weather will cooperate. I think that is one of the biggest problems this time of the year. One day it is 70, the next we have a freeze warning. So I shuffle stuff around and work on what I can depending on the weather. Some days it is too cold or windy to paint, so I use those days to do repairs or work inside on upholstery projects. Then when it warms up a bit, I paint, but if it is too windy I can't spray paint. Curses!

Not going to complain because in few short months I will be gripping about the heat! And honestly, this is what I love about Arkansas...four seasons! I just wish it would make up it's mind from one day to the next!

Spring is in the air!

When the Bradford's bloom and the hostas start to peak their little heads out of the ground, I know it is time to get busy!!

Last week my daughter and grandson, Ashton, came to visit. I offered Ashton $25 to empty out my decorative pond...even tried to bribe him with the potential sighting of a frog or two that always take up residence in all the muck. No deal man....that kid is no fool!

Putrid...but no frogs this year!

Rather than clean it out Monday or Tuesday when the temperatures where in the 70s, I decided to make a chore of it today. Not that it's not warm today, but we're sliding back into the 50s for the rest of the week. Typical Arkansas spring....Tuesday I wore shorts on our evening the weekend I'll be back in my sweats! 

Temperatures can't be a factor when there are things to be done to get ready for spring planting. It is way too early to plant flowers but the perfect time to clean out the beds and pond, put down mulch and empty out the pots!

I love my little water feature. But it should be a warning to all you 30 and 40 somethings who want ponds and floor beds and massive decks. You WILL get old and those things WILL need maintenance...about the time you hit your 50s....and 2 hours of dredging rotten leaves and fermented worms will put you on the couch for 2 or 3 days! least I can hear the wonderful water fountain while I am laid up in bed!

I usually keep the pond cleaned and treated from spring to fall. The first time it freezes over I unplug the pump and it pretty much turns in to a rancid smelling mess of leaves, pine needles and earth worms. 

I decided early on I didn't want fish...too much hassle! To keep it clear during the warm months I dump a handful of chlorine shock in it and skim it every week or so to get out the leaves and dead worms! 

And this little pump is a life saver!!!

Still a major chore, but it's a lot easier to pump the water out rather than use a 5 gallon bucket!

One chore down, so many more to go. Mulch going down today. Still have to empty pots and add fresh soil. A few doggy dig holes to fill. 

This time next month, everything will be ready for new plantings!!!