Black furniture binge

Recent batch of stuff that I painted all black.  Most of these have already sold at Stars.  Still playing ‘catch up’ on posts from time lost from that recent bee sting.  (how long can I milk THAT excuse?!?!?)  but seriously . . .

This big old pedestal came from a rummage sale in the summer.  It was originally medium brown.  Sanded it a bit, spray painted it black and sanded the edges to distress a bit.  Michael scrounged the round that I used for the top.

Now to find a top!  Michael ‘scrounges’ for a lot of the plywood we use to make stuff; and the place he gets the plywood frequently has big ’rounds’ of plywood.  Perfect for making a table.  Just add legs!  These tops however, are UNfinished.  So I have to be sure I can match the finish I creat on the top to the finish on the legs. 

Since this top was unfinished (AND had a big HOLE in the middle; which we filled with a dowel and some wood putty) I painted it with the flat black spray paint first.  Then sanded so that some of the raw wood showed through.  Then wiped on some dark wood stain, which only shows on ‘the sanded through the black paint’ parts.  Let the stain dry overnight and apply a couple coats of matte varnish.

This lighting (took pic at Stars) is better for seeing how closely I was able to match the top finish to that of the base. 

A cute little wood side table stained a medium brown(I think this is the ONLY before picture I have of the stuff I painted black!)  Sand first to prep the wood.  Quick couple of coats of flat black spray paint, (the CHEAP $.99/can stuff at Home Depot!)  sand, varnish, DONE!  Did the same with the little milking stool in the pic below.

It’s actually become a ‘tradition of sorts’ for me to paint a big batch of black furniture this time of year.  I’ll save up lots of dark stained items here and there throughout the spring/summer garage/rummage sale season; specifically to paint black in the fall.  For some reason, this is the only time of year that I LIKE to paint things black.  And because the weather is so iffy this time of year; being able to quickly spray paint a whole bunch of stuff all at once is a real necessity.

This oversized wall sconce/shelf had a black wrought iron bracket and stained wood shelf.  Again, just sanded and quickly spray painted the wood shelf part; sanded again to distress and slapped on a quick coat of matte varnish.  DONE!

This one is a variation on the theme.  It was originally GREEN (a very YUCKY green at that!) and the top was too damaged to sand smoothly.  (which is probably why it was priced so CHEAP!!)  So, no sanding to distress on this one.  Don’t want to show off that ugly green undercoat!  But I did still use the flat black spray paint, and then I used torn up pieces of old book pages to cover the top.    Dip your paper in liquid laundry starch* and place on the table.  Let dry overnight.  Add a coat of matte varnish. 

* If you can’t find liquid starch, you can use watered down Elmer’s glue or decoupage medium.

These little ‘half tables’ always sell really well for me.

This table is one we picked up on our daycation to the coast.  Pretty bad top, but the legs were in good shape.  Tops are EASY to sand and/or cover up; so there is seldom a damaged TOP that will deter me from buying something.  The LEGS however, would take a LOT of work to fix up if they were damaged.  Damaged legs are usually not worth bothering with. 

A BIG part of how profitable your business is depends on how much TIME you have to spend refinishing your items.  It’s only a GOOD bargain IF you can fix it up in a reasonable amount of time!  ‘Good legs’ is something I always look for.

This table was made using an old bar stool for the base, (dark green) and an unfinished birch plywood round for the top.  I spray painted the base and top; distressed the top just a tad, around the edges.  Then used some tan craft paint to sponge stamp the design on with.  I always start in the MIDDLE when doing such a design.  Less likely to go crooked when you are only going half way across.  I can usually get 3 – 4 imprints from each ‘loading’ on the stamp, so the darkness of the color varies.  (which I like to an extent!)  then to even out the color a bit, I sand over the whole top before adding a coat of varnish.

Most of this black furniture has already sold.  I’ll be taking in some new white furniture and Christmas stuff tomorrow.

Forgive me if posts are few and far between for the next few weeks.  It’s ”CRUNCH TIME” for the upcoming fall show and my to do list is dauntingly long! 

Don’t forget to enter to win a free year of Country Living magazine in the previous post!

Updating and adding some ‘oomph’!

This post is about the little green thrifted pinecone finial on the left.  A classic design.  Probably never really go out of style.  Just needs a little oomph and an update.    Perhaps something as simple as just a new paint color.

First we’ll address the oomph, and add some bulk and visual weight to the base by adding a couple more layers of beveled edge wood pieces.  The black piece is a little craft store 4″x4″ plaque.  The unfinished piece is an actual fence post topper that Michael scrounged.  I always have spare parts and pieces like this stashed away.  Another option is to use old chunky pillar candle bases.

Glue all the parts together with e6000 adhesive and let cure overnight before painting.

You can’t go wrong with basic black on such a universally appealing decor item.   Since I’m usually painting stuff that will be sold to other people (as opposed to something to decorate my own home with) I lean towards neutrals a lot on stuff like this.

This finished finial has gone to my space at Stars, for sale. 

Repaired and updated curio shelf

I come across old curio shelves like this quite often.  This one is missing the ‘decorative top piece’ (you can see where it’s supposed to be); which most likely had one of those wonderful country heart cut outs in the center.

Michael cut a new top piece and attached it for me.  If this one HAD still had the heart cut out top piece still in place, we would have just attached this plain one right over the top of it to hide the heart.

While the PLAIN top piece was just fine, and could have been left as it was; I decided to add a pretty wood applique.  I’ve also added decorative stamp designs on that top piece in the past.  Now it’s ready to paint!

My signature ‘beachy blue’ paint was my choice for this piece.

Close up of the wood applique.  Won’t this shelf look great filled with a collection of little white cream pitchers?!?

This, and the rest of the ‘beachy blue’ stuff I’ve been working on lately will be going to Stars by the end of this week.  If you’ve been thinking about buying some of the WHITE stuff, get it NOW; because I’ll be pulling it to make room for the blue stuff.

Vintage maple gate leg table; from Colonial to Cottage style

Such a darling little gate leg table, but VERY Colonial style.

And, as is the case quite often with vintage tables, the legs are in pretty good shape, but the top is quite damaged.  And when you are re-doing furniture to hopefully sell at a profit, ‘time is money’ so you don’t want to spend DAYS fixing up on small item.  Sanding off an old finish and repainting a table top is a pretty quick and easy job.  The LEGS, if they need refinishing are the budget buster, taking a LOT of time.  Hence, when shopping for project tables, look for GOOD LEGS.  Just about ANY top can be a quick fix.

On this table, when I sanded off the finish on the top, the stain came off too, and the wood was very pale.  Applied two coats of white paint, then sanded to distress.  Usually that is ALL I need to do.  but this time the top was just too pale to coordinate with the dark maple finish on the legs.  So I applied a quick coat (brushed on and IMMEDIATELY wiped off!) of maple stain to the painted white and sanded top.

And while I had the stain out anyhow, I touched up a few tiny knicks and scratches on the legs.

A couple of coats of matte varnish to the table top and this Colonial to Cottage transformation is complete!

 It blends perfectly with the other cottage white decor I’m currently featuring in my space at Stars.

Priced at $58.00.

And just to the right of it is the end table I posted about a short while ago; the one Michael dragged home.

Restocked at Stars

Spent nearly three hours at Stars, tidying up, pulling stale inventory and adding lots of new ‘little things’.    Here’s pictures of some of the new stuff:

Brought in lots of small cloches; and displayed them all together, instead of spread out all over the booth.  Not sure which actually helps them SELL better; but it’s always a good thing to ‘switch things up a bit’.

BIG cake cover size cloche.  I put a little potted nest and a shabby bird underneath.

Lots of apothecary jars.

Big industrial size cones of yarn.


Awesome big and chunky candles in beachy blue, cream and pale yellow.

Little black lamp with music pages covered shade.

And it’s ‘not quite identical’ twin lamp.  Same shades, almost the same size, just slightly different ‘turnings’ on the wood part of the base.

Vintage crystal ‘snack set’.  Dishes are in PERFECT condition.  The box is a bit tattered.

And the recently painted little suitcase.

Matchbook notepads and pen sets.  I LOVE these little to carry around in my purse to jot down notes on.  And some blank seashell notecards.

More cloches with glass pedestals; crochet thread and more yarn cones.

Little tan shelf.

3 yard lengths of wire edged ribbon.  Lots of shades of aqua/turquoise/blue.

Assorted altered brown bottles.

BRIGHT cobalt blue vintage bottles, also altered.

The lids were in pretty bad shape, so I covered them with GLITTER!


Little bird collage box.


Old chess pieces

These are BIG soft plastic chess pieces that I got some time ago at the thrift store.  Used a few of the pawns as ‘bases’ for some make do’s.  Got tired of them sitting around so I decided to do something with the rest of them.

Spray painted them gold and then sanded and distressed them.  In the picture below you can see how they look before and after distressing.  I put these in our ‘shabby Paris Apartment’ booth at the antique mall .



Michael’s time saver

Michael made me this great BIG rolling table to use at the store during the do-over.

The leg structure had been tossed in a dumpster, he just added the wood top for me.  It has come in SOOOOOOOOOOOo handy!  Several of the big cupboards in the store that were full of stuff needed to be moved.  I unloaded the contents to the rolling table, moved the piece, then rolled the table to where I wanted to put the product!

Extreme Makeover: Store Edition

Folk Art Originals by AJ has officially closed it’s doors for good.  Time for the makeover to begin!!!  I decided to give the store makeover it’s own category in the blog, so it will be easier to refernece i the future.  But posts will also be cross-categorized.   Once the new store opens, (in about five weeks; early August) I’ll go back to putting posts in the assorted categories. 

Here are pics of the store the day the “Store Closing 50% off everything” sale began:

And here is what it looked like on the last day:

Today I’ll go in and pack up the primitive stuff that doesn’t fit in with the ‘new shabby cottage look’, and it will go to the shows we do in the fall.  Then I start redecorating!  I’ve got one trailer load (6×10) full of stuff for the new store stored at home already.  Hope to get that to the store and the old stuff out by the end of this week.  Then I’ll know how much time I need to spend over the next month ‘treausure hunting’ for more vintage goods for the new store. 

I’ve also ordered in some great stuff, which has already started arriving!  Here’s a peek at a few of the new things I ordered; and some of the items I painted last week:

Got so excited when we actually had a dry day and I could get some painting done outside that I forgot to take ‘before’ pictures of a lot of this stuff.  (WHY is it so hard for me to remember to take the before pcitures?!?!?!)  This was a light oak pressback chair; fairly well worn, but enough shiney varnish on it still that it needed to be primered or sanded before I could re-paint it.  I opted for the spray on KILZ.  Then spray flat black paint.  Then a good sanding!

This was a dark oak chair that I was able to paint directly over the existing stain.  This in one of those Ralph Lauren paints I got a while back.  A creamy soft ‘chamois’ yellow.  I also have a dark desk and dresser that will be painted to match this chair.

A small wall shelf painted the same color.  It was so bright outside when I took these piecutes that it’s kind of ‘washed out’ a lot of the distressing detail.  These all look much more distressed in person.

Oval wood frame and fence post topper that Michael brought home were both painted my new favorite color of blue:

And here are a few of the new things I’ve ordered for the store: