Glad You Stopped By

By day I am a marketing professional for small businesses. I love to find and re-purpose forgotten objects, furniture and household items, turning them into usable stuff. I find interesting items at tag sales, flea markets and sometimes even thrown away along the side of the road. If I can find a use for something, I'll pick it up if it's the right price.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baker's Rack Organizer

I bought this small folding baker's rack at a tag sale in Old Saybrook, CT a couple of years ago for $5.00. After bringing it home and painting it white, it followed my daughter to her college dorm.  With college behind her now, the rack found its way home again and I began thinking of ways to give it some new life.


With Pier I as my inspiration, I chose a glossy black metal paint and topped it off with these wicker baskets I found at the Old Hadley Flea Market last Sunday.  I must have spent 15 minutes in this one booth - the seller was Scandinavian and she had a bunch of great stainless kitchen organizers, IKEA accessories and obviously loves baskets as much as I do.  I paid $3.00 for all of them.

I probably should have taken measurements in case they didn't fit, but I figured I could always use a few extra baskets if they didn't work out.  Now the baker's rack has been transformed into a handy bathroom organizer -- perfect for my other daughter's first apartment.

Total cost of project:  $8.00 plus cost of paint.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Coffee Table Surprise

I paid a visit to The Trading Post consignment shop in Amherst, MA recently to pick up a rock maple double bed frame for $40.00.  While I was there I couldn't resist looking around.  My advice if you visit? Don't rush.  You're likely to miss something hidden beneath stacked furniture or under a pile of books and dishes.  

I found this contemporary looking coffee table that I thought might work well in my daughter's apartment. She needed something long and narrow. It was painted green, but was light weight (one of my prerequisites for apartment moves).

This was definitely a stripping job as there appeared to be two or more paint layers.  I used an old brush and a non-toxic stripping gel that works really well with little odor.

In about half and hour as the gel bubbled up, I began to notice a red layer of paint appear. I'm not sure which color I liked least! 


The first two layers of paint came off very easily, exposing yet another layer of paint, this time a dull brown shade. 


As I exposed more of the table top I began to think that the quality of the wood wasn't so great and began to rethink my strategy.  It appeared to be a pine veneer over a plywood top and had the appearance of a wood shop project. Oh well,  it's sometimes hard to know what's really in under three coats of paint and that's part of the thrill of the hunt.


The question then was whether it was worth it to continue my original plan of staining the top and more stripping and sanding, or whether I should just give up and paint it again - minus the Christmas tree look.


After removing the brown paint I found a thin coat of polyurethane over the surface. Not to be daunted, I used a #60 sandpaper and gently began sanding it until I reached the original pine veneer. 


The end result wasn't bad and I decided to forge ahead with my original plan of staining the top.


It's hard to see in the picture above, but the first coat of maple MinWax stain was very light and required two more coats to get it dark enough and really bring out a richer patina.


As a last minute change, I decided to strip the table legs too. Under all that ugly green and red paint I got a little surprise - brass end pieces!  I love it when unexpected treasures appear.

Here's the completed project. I painted the legs a glossy black which really brought out the brass leg stands.  It kind of reminds me of Danish modern.  Not bad for a $10.00 investment.

Keep On Truckin'

My husband loves to collect toys from bygone years.  This one found its way into our garden.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Beginning Of The End - Table, That Is

I love going to the Monster Tag Sale held at the Easthampton Congregational Church every spring.  I found this little end table which was painted a lovely shade of green at the time. (Picture is after sanding)

One of the prime considerations for this project was that it be light weight and easy to move as it would accompany my daughter to her first apartment.  The legs even screw off for easy transport, if necessary.

1.  I removed the paint from the top and gave it a light sanding.  2.  After wiping it down with a soft cloth, I applied a coat of maple colored MinWax  polyurethane to the top and glossy black paint to the legs.  3.  After the top dried, a light coat of polyurethane was added to keep it stain-free.  

Cost of project:  Table $2.00  plus stain, paint and polyurethane

Antique Pine Student Desk Take 2

My daughter is moving into her first apartment which gave me the excuse to hunt down some treasures, synonymous with hit the tag sale circuit. My mission? Find a light weight desk and chair in good shape.  It was almost too easy as I spotted this old pine student desk at my very first stop.  I handed over my $4.00 and continued my search.  At the last sale of the day I finally found what I was looking for -- a plain pine desk chair that was not wobbly for $3.00.

The desk was really in good shape and clean. The knobs were mismatched and there was some writing and scratch marks on the top, but other than that, it looked like a great DIY furniture project.  1.  I started by sanding the top and drawer fronts. 2. A light coating of MinWax (maple) was applied to the top and drawer fronts which I left it to dry while turning my attention to the chair.  

3.  Originally I though of sanding the seat of the chair and applying MinWax, but decided in the end to paint the entire chair a glossy black.  4.  Back to the desk, I painted the base, sides and drawer knobs black, kind of Hitchcock style.  5.  The final step was to apply a coat of polyurethane to the desktop to make it easier to keep clean.

Total cost for the project:  $7.00 plus paint, stain and brushes

Backyard Patio That Will Light Up Your Life

After removing an 18' above ground swimming pool, we were left with a rather unattractive, round sandy yet very level hole in our yard.  For a while we thought about putting in a hot tub, but never got around to it.  One day my husband came home with a carload of old 8"x 10" brick pavers that he'd found at a barn sale.  "They were free", he said, as he unloaded his latest find.  The pavers took up residence next to a pile of antique glass blocks that had been rescued while cleaning out the family homestead in Agawam. As I saw the building supplies lying next to each other, they spoke to me and the idea for a patio made perfect sense, the blocks being the inspiration I needed for our backyard patio project.

Patio project with brick pavers and glass blocks

I should mention that neither of us is very handy and we often have difficulty finding the right tools, but this project seemed pretty fool-proof.  1. I started by laying down a roll of mesh screening to hopefully retard weed growth. 2. The next step was to place the pavers in an alternate pattern of two vertical, two horizontal.

When I took a look at the glass blocks, I realized they were two different styles which you can see in the picture above.  3. I selected one of each style and laid the blocks in random patterns throughout the area.  4. The next step was to fill in the spaces between the pavers with some pool sand left over from the former pool.  We didn't have enough, however, and had to buy two more bags. 5. A good spray with the garden hose helped to settle the sand as I used a push broom to spread the material evenly over the area.

6. Once the foundation of the patio was complete, I took some of my newly divided hostas and planted them around the edges.  I also added a few annuals and some mint which really smells good.  7. We topped the project off with these great antique wicker chairs and a wide plank piece of wood which made a perfect tabletop resting on an old sewing machine wrought iron base.

The entire project took a weekend and we've been enjoying our new outdoor space immensely.  At night, the glass blocks give off a soft glow, reminding us of their previous life in the family homestead.  We hope they like their new home.