Blue mood

I don't know what's going on over at the mall, but my stuff has been selling left and right. Remember the green chinese chippendale table I posted about? I loved that piece and was sure it would go quick. It sat around way longer than I thought it would, but someone bought it last week. And then some ironstone, a floral pitcher that frankly I can't remember, and the little fat industrial table that I named the dirtiest piece of furniture I've ever bought. I wasn't surprised the table sold within a week. Heavy and chunky with my paint job on the legs and some old paint traces on top, it was very cool, and one of the rare pieces that I wonder how it will be used.

So with space to fill I got going on the chest of drawers above. It's a heavy old maple chest I picked up at an estate sale for five bucks. I've moved it twice but never got excited enough to do anything to it. I love how old maple sands down easily, so with that done I mixed up a pale green latex for the base coat. Painting the case and drawer fronts went quickly, so I went ahead and painted the drawer interiors as well. Sometimes old drawers kind of creep me out enough to not want to put anything in them, and some fresh paint solves that.

I've been doing a lot of lighter colors lately, tans and greens and grays, so for a change I went with General Finishes milkpaint in Federal Blue for the topcoat. A little sanding to rough it up seemed to make the color even more cobalty, so when it was all done I glazed it with some brown and it toned down nicely. Clearcoat on top, some antiqued iron knobs, and it's good to go.

The old plate pitchers came from a five dollar box lot at the auction. They're all pretty beat up but they polished up alright and I like the look. The white Haeger panther had been sitting around the workshop so I took him over as well.

Unloading this afternoon another dealer saw the chest and said "we had a customer in the other day who was looking for a blue chest." I hope they stop back in soon.


Joe posted this the other day, and tonight I finally had a moment to take a look. Completely charming. Looking around his website and blog, I get the feeling that Matt is as well. I like a man who will write Logo to thank them for playing his video, and take the same opportunity to let them know the advertising on their site sends the wrong message to young gay men. And he's from Wichita.

One Perfect Thing

American Apparel's 50/50 Poly Cotton tee. Cut trim, comfortable, doesn't stretch out of shape, and comes in a ton of colors. Their Medium fits me better than any other tee I've ever owned. Perfect alone with shorts in warm weather, or under a henley when it's cool. I have it in navy, black, brown, and my favorite, heather black, shown above.

Sunday Dinner: Frittata

I like dinner on Sunday nights. Sometimes it's a full meal, and sometimes it's something easy in one dish. Tonight is a one dish night, and I made a frittata.

Really good when you need to clean out the fridge, it's basically an assortment of leftovers baked in eggs. I always throw in some garlic and thyme but everything else depends on what I find. Tonight there is smoked turkey and canadian bacon, whole wheat pasta, shredded cheddar, diced cauliflower and carrots, capers, and some sun dried tomato/basil cheese spread. Scramble the eggs, chop up everything else and stir in, and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I make a sauce, tonight we're eating it plain.

Michael Smith

I was saying to someone that I like the way the new First Lady dresses because she surprises me. Yesterday's Isabel Toledo? Didn't see that color coming. Last night's Jason Wu did the same thing. I never expected white, but I like the gown more every time I see it. (I'm also wondering how many pairs of long, slender earrings were bought nationwide today.)

The same principle applies for the Obama's choice of interior designer, Michael Smith. The photo above from House Beautiful shows a kitchen he designed for a home in Malibu. Comfortable, pretty even, with some unexpected touches. I never would have thought of the antique chinese lanterns with the paneling and those beams, but it totally works. In fact, I think it's what keeps the whole thing from feeling too "country." The trim work on the island (his own design) relates to the lanterns, and its dark color provides some color contrast. The stone top keeps it from feeling too formal for the room. Love it.

And for one moment on that chilly morning...

...the entire country smiled. Then opened photoshop...

Bid now!

I've not sold anything on eBay in ages, and I had these candlesticks at the workshop so I thought I'd get going with that again. I went over them with Howard's Finish Restorer, followed by a coat of Howard's Feed-N-Wax and a buff and they look great.

They look like something Dansk would have made, but they're actually by Tell City Chair Co. I have no idea of their age, but I'm guessing late 60's or early 70's. Of course to maximize my hits from searches I rounded down and referred to them as mid century.

I always give Jason at KC Auction Company a hard time about his pictures, and the often hard-to-gauge scale of his smalls. I went once prepared to bid high on a victorian silver cachepot that from the picture appeared to be about eight inches in diameter. Imagine my surprise when I got there and it was more of a punchbowl than a cachepot, and measured almost two feet in diameter. (Yeah, it was pretty fabulous, and ended up selling for more than two grand)

Jason thinks the soda can, a perennial favorite for giving an idea of size, is too pedestrian. For eBay it works perfectly. I listed these at about 630 tonight, and sure enough I had a bid and two watchers within the hour.

So now that the holidays are over and we're reclaiming our homes from the ornaments and boughs, maybe some vintage wood accessories are what you need. The auction ends next Sunday at 630 central. Bid high and often!

For those of you scoring at home

I bought a new cord and attempted again to rewire the lamp last night. Success! I think the first was speaker wire or something. The second one, the one that worked, was just slightly fatter. Lesson learned: Do not let the dude from plumbing cut cord for you.

Modern Fabrics

Need to recover a chair? A few dining room chair seats maybe. Or how about just a punchy pillow on that tastefully reserved sofa? Here's the hookup:

You may have already known about this, but I was just given the link by a friend today. Reclaimed from furniture makers, yardage varies, as do piece sizes. You can shop by maker, quantity, or style, all at a serious price reduction. Design houses include Knoll, Designtex, Kravet, Donghia, Maharam and others.

There is the issue of buying fabric online with only the color settings on your monitor as your guide. But hey, if you find something you think you might love, but you need to be sure, why not pay your local upholsterer a visit. You can check out the samples and colorways there to make a more informed decision. Or you can be like me and just go for it. If it's wrong you can save it for a later project or put it on ebay.

Now I'm off to find something for the seats on a pair of neoclassical dining chairs.

As requested

Here's the instructions I followed. Let me know how it goes for you.

Odds & Ends

Some random stuff before I head to bed:

I rarely watch anything on Animal Planet. Just one episode of Emergency Vet long ago had me bawling, and any episode where they have to go get the mistreated dogs makes me simultaneously sick and enraged, so I pass. But Dogs 101, LOVE IT. All the info you need on 5 breeds in each hour-long episode. Also don't forget, if you're not into football or commercials AP runs the Puppy Bowl during the Super Bowl.

My friend Linda showed me how to rewire a lamp Saturday. I hit the hardware store and got everything I needed and sat down tonight to fix the Haeger lamp. It doesn't work. It seems so easy, I have no clue what I've done wrong. The man at Strasser's who cut my six feet of lamp cord worked in plumbing, so I'm suspicious that he's given me some other thing that just looks like lamp cord. I could have got the kit, but they only sell them with black, brown or white cord, and I find clear the least obtrusive.

I'm sitting near a naked Christmas tree, lit on the bottom half only. This is why I balk at decorating for the holidays, un-decorating sucks.

House shopping

Our place isn't on the market (yet) and we know better, but we did it anyway, we looked at open houses today. Realtors, here are my notes:

House 1: Don't just say hi and then go back to whatever you were doing at the dining room table. When you're holding open a house with that oddball layout you're going to have to dig down and find some sales skills. Not for us of course, we wouldn't touch it. But someone will if you'll make an effort.

House 2: Don't you watch HGTV? Your owners need to depersonalize. The baby and wedding pictures should be packed away, especially if as you said, the owners have already moved. It's distracting. And that mural in the baby's room? Mom and dad loved it I'm sure, but the rest of us are thinking 'office.' A house for sale is not a home, we need a little paint please.

House 3: WHY are you sitting there in the dining room with the owner? I didn't hang around my place while people toured, it makes them uncomfortable. I was excited about your listing too, I came hoping to see potential. Instead I saw a shoddy flip. Shoddy. That's why we were speaking so quietly in other rooms, we had nearly nothing nice to say. Such a disappointment.

House 4: No notes for you really, because I couldnt stop the remodeling in my head. You were around and available for questions, and that's all I really needed. And that was sweet of you to offer to email me when they're ready to sell their mother's mid-century furniture. I totally need the pair of side tables in the living room.

House 5: Sweet little place, this is exactly how a flip should be done. It's a little pricey for it's size, but it's cute and I'm sure you'll sell it quick. We're not looking for turnkey, but if we were we'd totally go for this one.

So yes, our place isn't even for sale yet, and I've found the house I want. I was hoping I'd like house 3 because it's significantly less, but house 4 wins hands-down. It needs everything, but by doing everything the price probably doubles at resale. Maybe even more if we stay a while. Ah redoing houses. We hate to admit it, but we like the process.

***UPDATE*** Brett makes no real estate decisions without consulting our realtor, and they've spoken. She's not crazy about the house now, but has total faith in our ability to impart lovliness. She also thinks it's very good from an investment standpoint. And best of all, she thinks its overpriced. Under for the location, but way over for the condition. (its the worst house on a great street) The market looks like it's picking up, so we'll probably be too late to the party, but you never know. Time to get this condo ready to show!

Smoking kills...your furnishings.

Let me start here with a couple of qualifiers. First, I know this isn't a great picture. It's dark and not close up enough to let you see the glaze on the lamp, but I swiped it from the auction house website and you'll have to trust that it does give you an idea of what I'm looking at. Second, I smoke. I've quit before and I know that I need to make it stick. More to the point however is the fact that I do not smoke inside. Ever. Ok, on with the post.

This is the Haeger lamp from last night's auction. Nice shape, with a greenish black glaze that fades to a medium blue up at the top. The finial, original to the lamp, is for some reason an ear of corn, in the same glaze. I came to the workshop tonight to unload my vehicle, and since I was here decided I'd clean up the stuff I bought.

The lamp was dusty, so I grabbed a paper towel and some Fantastik, sprayed, and wiped. And nearly hurled. Under the dust is a sticky brown layer of what I'm thinking has to be nicotine. So more spraying. And wiping. And then more spraying, and letting it sit. And changing the paper toweling under the lamp that is blotting up the now-brown Fantastik as it runs down the lamp. (and while that's going on, tossing that God-awful shade in the dumpster!)

The lamp is actually a marble-y emerald green, fading to a blueprint blue at the top. And the finial is even lighter. I bought mostly based on shape, and now I'm loving the color. And I haven't even got it totally clean yet. I'm picturing a hard barrel shade, wider than it is deep, lacquered in a pale blue. Maybe a couple tiny green pinstripes around the top and bottom.

But back to my PSA: Smokers, unless you can clean house with the obsessive/compulsive best of them, and plan to often, take it outside. Your stuff and I thank you.

Hello, A Little More Than A Thousand Gorgeous Words

*representation only, not actually HG or her daughter
Thinking about it, I'm not even sure how I began reading the blogs I read. I know Joe.My.God and Towleroad were first, but past that it must all have come from linking. Anyway, I found much to like, and my blogroll reflects that. What it doesn't reflect is that each of those comes with a blogroll of it's own, which I use frequently.

One of my listed faves is Hello Gorgeous, but via her blogroll I discovered her daughter at A Little More Than A Thousand Words. If you're not already a regular reader of one or both, take a look. Vastly different, there's much to like at each.

Recently, Spencer (HG's girl!) filed a guest post, and Raina was dead on when she said that the apple doesn't fall far. Wit and insight apparently are hereditary and it got me to thinking. So I'm just floating this out there: blog together.

Not everyday necessarily, and not instead of your current blogs certainly. But something else, something fun. Wouldn't it be fun? I'd love to see what you'd come up with.

Auction update

They were Overman chairs (good eye Chris!) and they were in beautiful condition. And they went to a woman who obviously was NOT going to let go. She got a great deal on them, but paid more than I was prepared to spend. It's disappointing, but only mildly so. I've gone to enough auctions and sales to know that something good absolutely will come up again.

The rest of the evening was one of those odd, wonderful nights where I picked up all sorts of odds and ends for nearly nothing. I practically stole a 50's Haeger lamp with it's original finial. When I've got it rewired and wearing a new shade I'll post a pic.

Smile upon me auction gods

The first auction of the new year is this week at my favorite auction house, and they just updated the website. Not a lot of furniture to paint, but this pair of chairs is interesting. You never really know what's good and what isn't until you get to the preview, but these are promising. I'm still hoping to get into an upholstery class, and thinking these would be beautiful in a charcoal mohair. Cross your fingers.

Come on Michelle, make me proud!

This is a couple weeks old, but I had not seen the complete set. I'm hoping she picks the de la Renta, but only for herself, the dresses for the girls are awful.

My second pick would be the Monique Lhuillier, but as MWG suggested, less flare to the skirt.

And last, I like the first Reem Acra, although I'm not sure what color it is.

If she'll wear the Chanel suit for his swearing-in I vow to forgive any and every clothing misstep she might make for the rest of her life.

Game on!

I spent the first day of 2009 at the workshop, and for some reason I'm totally pumped about furniture painting. I think the end of the holidays has cleared some space in my brain and I'm feeling really invigorated about my business.

I had some vacation days I had to use so I spent the last two Tuesdays there, mostly pricing smalls and taking them to the mall, and doing a bit of re-arranging over there. Also I started a sofa table, which I finished today, save for the clear-coating which I'll finish tomorrow. I've also been working on a small table I picked up at auction, which had to have come out of some kind of industrial shop. The legs are old 4X4s, and the top is made up of two thick planks of pine. It was literally the dirtiest piece of furniture I've ever bought. I could have cleaned it forever and you'd never know, so I just threw on my mask and took the power sander to it. The legs and under shelf got a coat of gray paint today. I'll rub the top planks down with a dark glaze and it'll be ready for clear coat as well.

A nice lady on craigslist was cleaning out her storage unit and needed to deload her china cabinet, so I'm giving that a try. It's a huge piece, but it has relatively simple lines and I've got some ideas I've never tried before so I'm excited about that as well. If anyone knows of a good source for scenic wallpaper (vintage, or vintage looking) or really large maps (five foot square or better) please let me know. Everything I found on eBay was too small or too expensive for what I have in mind.

I'm planning another day of painting tomorrow, and I've set my camera out so I hope to have some pictures to post soon.

So how about you, what are you excited about for the new year?