A little riddle for you.

When is a salt shaker NOT a salt shaker?

P1130185Take one little cut crystal salt shaker without the top.

P1130184Turn it upside down and glue a round clear stone to the bottom.  (these are the pretty stones they sell by the bagful at craft stores, used as vase filler)


Add one thrifted hurricane vase, turned upside down; and glue the upside down salt shaker to the bottom of the hurricane.  (I used e6000 for this and gluing the stone to the shaker)

P1130187Put it all together and you have a pretty UPcycled cloche!

P1130186If you want to you can tie a piece of ribbon around the neck of the salt shaker to better disguise it.  Then NO ONE would ever guess what it was.  I kind of like it when people figure out my ‘secret tricks’ though.


Here is another one that I made using a more ‘bell shaped’  vase.    The little crystal salt shakers are fairly easy to find at thrift stores.  Oftentimes they will even put several mis-matched ones together in a bag for a very LOW price.   Those are the ones I usually look for.  Always keep a small stash of them on hand.

Recent thrifting finds

It's nearly impossible to photograph velvet without glare!

It’s nearly impossible to photograph velvet without glare!


Can't quite figure out WHAT this is supposed to be?!?!

Can’t quite figure out WHAT this is supposed to be?!?!

And I’m actually surprised that I liked it well enough to buy it.  I’m usually pretty anal about the ‘odd number decorating rule’ ; but the fact that this piece has four ‘towers’ doesn’t seem to bother me.


Maybe my eyes are more focused on the ‘neutral space’ (THREE!) between the towers, and that is why the four points seem to ‘work’.  I’m not even sure if it’s supposed to BE ‘something’, or if it’s just an abstract wire sculpture.  I just thought it was kinda cool looking.  Any thoughts as to what I could DO with it are welcome.  Of course I can always just sell it ‘as found’.  Was thinking of maybe painting it a matte industrial grey??

P1120073VERY water stained little oak table that was obviously used as a plant stand by someone who habitually over watered their plants!  Nothing a good sanding and some paint can’t cure though.

P1120075Wood foot stool with handle hole.  Someone had carved their name into it, so it’s going to take a really GOOD sanding before I can repaint it.


Another very grubby little table.  Little tables like these are always good sellers, so I buy them whenever I find them ‘at the right price’.

P1120077Soooooooooooooooooo generic!!  And quite a bit of sanding to be done before I can repaint it since it has a shiney finish; but the price was right.  Little night stands sell even better than little tables.   New paint and replacing the wood knob with something unique will make this a whole new piece.

P1120078Vintage wire newspaper/magazine rack.  A good cleaning and some spray paint is all this will need.

PAIR of night stands made from taking apart a big desk that had drawers on both sides.

PAIR of night stands made from taking apart a big desk that had drawers on both sides.

Remember these?  Originally the two sides of a big desk, that Michael took the top off of for me.  Added new tops and new pulls to create a pair of night stands.  NOW, what to do with the desk top?!?!

Rusty old legs from an enamel top table.  The top is too messed up to fix, but the base is still very sturdy.

Rusty old legs from an enamel top table. The top is too messed up to fix, but the base is still very sturdy.

And it’s the perfect size for attaching that orphaned desk top to!!  I wanted to KEEP the legs rusty, but not too many people wall rust shedding all over their floors or carpet.  The fix?  Clean spray paint!  Wipe off any loose rust then give it a couple of good coats of a clear matte spray varnish.  The varnish will ‘darken’ the rust color a bit.  And it prevents the rust from shedding and hinders the corrosive process.  Left untreated and the corrosion will continue to progress.

P1110694Sweet vintage vanity chair will just need to be spray painted.


Little metal mesh table looks like it was part of a nesting set as it’s ‘open’ on one side of the leg structure.  Another quick spray paint project.

P1110692Rusty, shabby  . . . perfect as is!  And my ‘inspiration piece’ to kick-start a new spring collection in WHITE!

P1110696BIG old Lazy Susan!  Do people still use these things?  This one is SO big that I figure if it doesn’t sell for it’s intended purpose, that I can always use the top and add legs to make a little round table.

P1110689Ornate gold frames.

P1110682HUGE roll top bread box!  Might try turning it into a mini roll top DESK!!

Sooooooooooooo, this should keep me busy for a while!

Waste Not ~ Want Not! Using up wood scraps

Michael gets the reclaimed wood that I use for making my signs and cuts it to certain basic sizes and keeps several shelves full of it in our workshop.  I ‘pre-piant’ my sign boards assembly line style.  Line up as many as will fit on the work table and basecoat them all in black.  Once dry, I paint the color top coat; then distress.  NOW they are ready for the designs to be painted on them. 

I keep a stash of these pre-painted boards stocked up in my craft room.  When I am ready to letter the signs, I select the sizes/colors that I want and usually do several of each design at a time.  Since we don’t individually cut each board to size to exactly fit each stencil; I end up doing that final cut at the END of the process.  Then I just touch up the black paint on the end that I cut.  This leaves me with a LOT of little painted scraps of wood.


And THIS is what I do with all those little scraps!


I have foam alphabet stamps and stamp a single letter on each scrap of wood when I get enough of them built up.


These little ‘monograms’ are for sale in my booth at Stars; priced from $3.00 – $5.00.

Use them to spell out a word, or just your initials.

Old lamps; new (?) shades

I HATE my living room lamps!  They have those deeply pleated shades.  You know, the kind that have LOTS of deep crevices for collecting DUST.  UG!! Have been wanting to replace them for EONS.  But I just haven’t found anything that I really LIKE. 

P1080486Then I found a shade that I really liked at Ross.   Have been seeing these ‘vintage document print’ fabrics on shades for a while, but they were always out of my budget.  Gotta love the prices and Ross AND senior discount Tuesdays!

P1080488It’s even pretty when the lamp is ON!

P1080489Dare I HOPE to ever find a similar or matching one for the other big lamp in the living room?!? 

P1080484 Not more than a WEEK after I found the other shade at Ross, I found this one at Goodwill!  I was originally looking at it as one to turn into a ‘skeleton’ shade, with all the fabric removed.  

P1080485But it was SO perfectly CLEAN and in such good shape, I decided to see how it looked on the floor lamp.  Not bad, eh?!? I’ve actually toyed with the idea of trying to stencil some old style lettering onto this one.  But then if I RUIN it, I’ll be worse off than I was before, with NO shade for it!

But if I ever do find a better shade for this lamp I will for sure try to stencil this old one.  And if I ruin the fabric I’ll just do what I was originally going to do with it and ‘skeletonize’ it!  


This is what the other living room lamps look like.  

Both of these are ‘thrifted’ lamps and shades too.  The bases are the same, but the shades are slightly different.  I really like the new trend of not having everything ‘matchey’matchey’!  

The other two rusty leg tables and a little step stool

10.7.13 stars etsy projects 071You’ll remember this was the first of the three that I did over, using a new French script stencil design on the top.  I have a total of three of the same type table, and just finished making over the other two.

10.13.13 botj malls projects 103I used the same stencil on the other two tables, just applied it at an angle; as shown above.

10.13.13 botj malls projects 104What do you think?  Does it look better at an angle or straight, like I did the first one?

10.13.13 botj malls projects 102I also did the top of this little foot stool.  Straight this time due to it being more rectangular than square like the tables.

10.13.13 botj malls projects 101These are all available for sale in my booth at Stars.  The other table that I did first is at Curiosities.

More upcycled cloches

P1070412Assorted thrifted glass vessels, inverted; with assorted thrifted bird figurines glued on (using e6000) as handles.

P1070416Most of the glass vessels that I find and use for cloches are vases and/or hurricane candle holders.

P1070418This ‘bell shape’ in my favorite kind; and usually plentiful and easy to find.

P1070419Tall skinny cylinder vases will do also; preferably with a flared edge.  Just be sure they are actually side enough that you could display something under them.

P1070421I thought I could ‘leave well enough alone’ when I finished these.  Nope!  HAD to add crowns!  *(which, of course!  I always have a little ‘ready made stash of!’)

P1070516These three cloches have gone to my booth at Curiosities in Beaverton; using them to display some vintage ballet and tap shoes.

P1070517These wire cloches and pedestal stands were a fun project too!


Upcycled black tray

P1070241Inexpensive and scratched up black tray from thrift store.  FLAT black paint is a nice bonus!!  Easier to paint over.

P1070243I added some little wood ‘feet’ to raise it up a bit.  (glued on with e6000)

P1070242Let the e6000 cure overnight before painting.

P1070252Two coats of paint, then some quality time with the orbital sander.

P1070251Selected a stencil that fit the inside area of the tray.


P1070312Available for purchase in my booth at Stars Antique Mall in Portland.

Reusing old display pieces

Remember when I brainstormed this idea for display pieces in my booth at Stars?  I had Michael cut three tables in half for me; a dining table, a coffee table and an end table.  Painted them all a neutral grey and mounted them and stacked them into some permanent displays.

I LOVED it ‘at the time’, but after about a year I began to feel a tad stifled due to the lack of flexibility with so much of the space not rearrangeable.  (I’m sure that’s not a real word, but you know what I mean!)

Soooooooooooooooooooooo . . .  when the time came for my recent move to a slightly larger space; the FIRST thing I told Michael was that ‘those tables have got to GO!’.  (as in NOT to the new space, that is!)  But of course I couldn’t just throw them away.  And due to lack of time to try to sell them ‘as is’, they were taken to storage to await my next brainstorm.

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 052 Since the table were cut in half, the each only had 2 legs; and we had stabilized them with brackets mounted to the wall.  Now I needed four legs again to make use of them.  Michael cut and attached some simple 2×2′s for the back legs.

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 053

And while the front and back legs do not match each other; it is not uncommon in vintage furniture to have ornate front legs and very plain back legs.

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 054And once painted I thought they looked perfectly fine.  This particular side of the end table had a drawer pull on it, which I left in place.  I had just removed it to repaint it.

7.5.13 curiosities only 026And this is what I did with them!  I had Michael build me a couple of tall skinny shelves out of reclaimed wood, painted them to match the table halves and put them on top of the tables!  To make it easier to haul and move them, we decided it was best to NOT attach the shelf to the base.

7.5.13 curiosities only 029Originally they were supposed to ‘match’.  Our ‘system’ for making shelves like this is that Michael cuts all the pieces and I paint them BEFORE he assembles the shelves.  It’s MUCH easier and faster that way!  Painting those pesky ‘inside corners’ on shelves takes SO much time.  Left unassembled I can use a paint roller and painting is a breeze!

7.5.13 curiosities only 024Anyhow, Michael put ‘one too many’ shelves in the first one he put together, which left the second shelf missing TWO shelves.  I didn’t really want the shelf spaces THAT short, but I wasn’t going to make him take a shelf apart either.  So we left the one with four openings and made the other with three, as originally planned.

7.5.13 curiosities only 030I left these two totally ‘plain’, and they are not for sale right now.  I have ideas for making more pieces ‘along these lines’ that will be for sale.  For now these are flanking the entrance to my booth at curiosities.

7.5.13 curiosities only 027And displaying lots of pretty white cottage style wares.

NOW I just have to figure out how to re-use the two dining table and coffee table pieces?!?!?

My “New blue” and an updated dresser

As you probably already know, I mix my own ‘beachy blue’ paint color.  I started with a standard Ralph Lauren turquoise back when we first switched our shop over to Sophie’s Cottage.

It was a pretty BRIGHT shade.  About half way through that can of paint I decided to tone it down a bit and added some white.  Then a while later I wanted it to be more AQUA than turquoise, so I added some green.  And the color just sort of evolved into a variety of shades.

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 034Most recently, my color had become a very bright aqua; which I LOVED for a while.  But I was ready for a change.  Usually I have a little bit of my current color to start with and add to that.  This time I completely ran out of the aqua and had to mix from scratch.  I’ve been wanting to go with a more muted shade for quite some time.  In the sample above, the old is on the right and the new on the left.  

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 055Here are some frames painted with the two different colors.

6..25.13 projects big chair 049

I decided that this dresser would be my first project with the new color.

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 099

It took a considerable amount of sanding to get most of the old blue paint off.  Then I primed it with KILZ; then 2 coats of my ‘new blue’; and sanded it to distress.   It really doesn’t look all THAT different from the old color now!  (but we’ll see when I have something painted with the old blue to set beside it!)

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 100

 I used some really BIG finials for the two knobs on the top two small drawers.

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 104

Michael thinks the big knobs are a bit gaudy; but I LOVE the sparkle!

7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 102


7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 101


7.4.13 CUR + projects dresser 105

This dresser is on storage for now; until room for it opens up at one of my mall spaces.

Small painting projects

6..22.13 Both + projects 035This BIG white spoon was upcycled from one of those ‘tiki style carved spoons’ .  I covered the carvings with spackle then sanded after it dried.  I think the NEXT time I do one I’ll try some FIMO clay to cover the carvings, as the spackle was difficult to work with on this particular surface.  Hand to gradually build it up, layer by layer.

6..18.13 projects Curiosities 020


Thrifted little foot stool.  Gave the top a good sanding and sanded what I could of the legs with my orbital sander.

6..25.13 projects big chair 027Painted ‘my blue’ and stenciled on “Paris”.

6..25.13 projects big chair 028Then varnished the top.  

6..18.13 projects Curiosities 022


Thrifted wood bread box; again prepped by sanding as much area as possible with my orbital sander before painting.

6..25.13 projects big chair 032

A couple of coats of paint, then the same Paris stencil on top.

6..25.13 projects big chair 033A quick coat of varnish on the top only.

6..25.13 projects big chair 035I painted the inside of the LID, but left the rest of the inside (the same dark blue as the original outside) as was because it was in such good shape.

6..18.13 projects Curiosities 030


Thrifted wood tray.

6..25.13 projects big chair 031Same process!  I tend to ‘save up’ my small projects and do several of them at once.  Saves a lot of time in the long run.

6..18.13 projects Curiosities 037


Vintage wood bowl that I added other wood components to in order to create a pedestal bowl.  I used a small wood ‘candle cup’ as the stem and a wood plaque from the craft store as the base.

6..25.13 projects big chair 026

Simply painted and varnished this one.  No ‘decorative elements’  really needed because what the bowl gets FILLED with will give it enough ‘oomph’.

6..25.13 projects big chair 023No before picture of this one.  Bought a bunch of these vintage repro clothing racks ‘back when’ we had our shop.  The wire hangers come separate, so  it was easy to just sand off the old finish and repaint.  Then I used three different stencils, and put the racks on.

I have several MORE of these to re-do.  Should I work on a DIFFERENT something for the wording???  I’m not too keen on the three different fonts; but it’s all I could come up with at the time!

5.27.13 CURIOSITY  baskets 018


Little wood box with hinged lid.  This picture was taken AFTER I had sanded off most of the painted on design.    You don’t really need to sand off ALL of the existing design before repainting.  Just enough so that the RAISED part of it won’t show.6..25.13 projects big chair 025


On this one, I base-coated it, inside and out, with black first.  (just in case I wanted to distress it; didn’t want RED showing through).  Left the inside black, and added a pretty piece of paper in the bottom of the box.

6..25.13 projects big chair 024And FINALLY broke out a different PARIS stencil!  (actually the other one didn’t FIT this lid!)

5.27.13 CURIOSITY  baskets 015Another box; this one with a NOT hinged lid.  The stars were glued on tin; which I pried off with a paint scraper.

5.27.13 CURIOSITY  baskets 017LOTS of sanding required on this one.  ( I usually don’t buy stuff made of press board.  But this was SUPER cheap!)

DOH!!!  I guess I forgot the ‘after’ picture of this one.  I don’t even REMEMBER what I did to it!!!  sigh

Well it’s SUPPOSED to be cooler today!  Hallelujah!  I was about ready to MELT in the heat these past few days.  And poor Michael has to WORK out in that heat all day!!  I would literally DIE if I had to work outside in that heat!  Hoping to get out and work on some furniture today.  Need to ‘empty out’ my furniture storage shed to make room for NEW stuff.  Big rummage sale out in Buxton this weekend!

These items will be divided amongst Stars and Curiosities next week.




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