Thrift Store Make Over: Cork Trivet

loveI love shopping at Goodwill.  I always find something that I can use or re-purpose.  My family is trained – if we pass a Goodwill, I’m going in REAL quick.

I found this wooden tray and it sat in my studio for a LONG time.  Way too long.  In my way long.  So, today, I finally fixed it up.


My studio is in my basement and there is a sliding glass door with steps that lead to the backyard.  This is the best spot for natural light, so my pictures are often taken here.  This guy is on the floor basking in the light.


$1.96 not to bad a price for this tray.  My intent was to make it into a cork trivet for my kitchen table.  The table is wood and I am forever screaming, “don’t put hot things on the table you’re gonna wreck it.”  Eloquent, aren’t I?


Corks from my cork stash.  I wish I could say I drank that wine.  Wine drinking seems so adult and cool.  Wine is a collector’s dream….all those types, labels, colors and bottles.  Spreadsheets could even be made cataloging your collection and I can’t stand the stuff.  Tastes like jet fuel.  Oh and I keep trying it too.  Hoping my “tastes” will change.  47 years later no luck.  So my cork saving team sends me their corks and I use them in all sorts of ways.


Pattern works.  Ready to hot glue.


All glued.

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Ready for some hot stuff.  Looks like I could use some new candles.

Vintage Organizer

paintI was searching around etsy and came across a vintage organizer exactly like one I have.  It is a plastic, carved, wood toned paper organizer that RetroMama65 is selling for 25 smackers.


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Huh?  I said.  I really like mine and I was planning on painting it.

Mine was sitting in the garage, waiting its turn.  See it there on the side next to the boat shelf.  I wish I could remember to take before photos.  Seems like the one I have is a bit darker than retromama65’s.


 I finally remembered to paint it with Typewriter MMSMP when I was painting the shelf for the gym.


I’m pretty happy with the way it came out.


 Of course, I had to stuff some yarn in it.  I have it sitting on my project table and if you think it doesn’t have all sorts of things jammed in it already – you are wrong!  I wish I could keep things neat and organized for more than 10 minutes.

Merry Christmas 2014 all!



Furniture Rescue: Bow Topped Shelf

paintI’m lucky enough to have a room on the lower level of my home that we designated as a fitness area –

we call it “the gym”.

It’s the one room in the house that I avoid like the plague.   The gym has a wonderful elliptical machine in it that taunts me each time I walk by.

As I pass by on my way up the stairs, I hear it calling, “Oh, too busy for me, huh?  Word on the street is you would rather be knitting, painting furniture in the garage or digging holes in the garden than spending some time with me.”

“You betcha”, I mutter.

But when I get to the top of the steps, all huffing and puffing, I remember that exercise is the key to fitness, resiliency and stress relief.  If only exercising was the same, as say, watching TV with my slippers on, then maybe I just might start doing it.  Maybe, I just needed to provide a bit of coziness to the activity to make it more appealing.  More slipper friendly.

So, when my FFF had this piece – a hutch top without it’s bottom – I thought this just might be a solution to my problem.

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In my life when I need to cozy something up – I add a shelf.

I added some wheels.  To give the piece some height and mobile flexibility.

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I re-stained the vertical supports and painted the shelf in Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter, which always comes out gray for me.

Typewriter always comes out gray for me.

I sealed it with wax and brought it downstairs to sit next to the elliptical monster – I mean machine.

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It’s a little shorter than I hoped it would be, but it will work great to house all the creature comforts.  The remotes, the heart rate monitor band, the elliptical manual and the slippers that I can use while exercising on this machine.

So, I have zero excuses left to not use this monster.  I’ll start tomorrow :).

Furniture Rescue: Vanity Chair

paintI was on the hunt for the elusive perfect vanity chair.  Either the chair was too short, the seat was too small or it was just plain ugly.  My FFF posted this little gem and I just had to give it a try.  It had a low back and a wide seat.

It just might work.

Might see if I can distress enough for the back pattern to show through

I loved the scale of this little chair and the low back.

I mixed up a batch of chalk paint using the same color as the walls in the Master Bathroom and started painting.

Waiting for the paint to dry out in the garage

While the paint was drying, I tackled the seat cushion.  This was a well used little vanity chair.  There were no less than four covers stapled over each other on this guy.

Four layers.  I felt like I was peeling back time.

I used the last one as a template for my new fabric.

Cutting out the new fabric

Stapling it on to the seat was pretty easy.  I distressed the paint and this guy was done.

The perfect place to drink coffee and get ready for work.

The chair fits just right in the vanity space.

I think if I can find a set, I’ll add some casters to make the chair a bit taller, but for now I just added some felt pads to the bottoms of the legs, so they don’t scrape the tile floor.

And in case you were wondering, it is sorta weird to see your bathroom on the internet.

Furniture Rescue: Buffet

paintIn the blogland circles I roam [DIY, furniture painting, thrift store make-overs] [Yes, there are more people out there just like me.  Frightening as Lee would say.] [I found my people.  People who get me.] this style of buffet or sideboard is quite popular.

When my FFF [Favorite Furniture Finder – if you’re new to my blog] listed one of these on Craigslist – I was smitten.  Of course, when you buy furniture as an accessory, not a life long commitment, it can get expensive and this piece was out of my budget.  I put in my best offer and kissed this piece goodbye.  I just knew someone would outbid me.  As luck would have it, my FFF called and said she wanted it out of her unit and I could have it.


Now, I wasn’t a fan of the original wood finish.  Something about all those different wood tones, it made me a little nervous.  I needed calm. [Note:  That’s the chandelier in the corner of the pic!]

That's alotta wow.

So, I decided on a safe black finish.  Why?  Because Martha Stewart has a room in one of her many, many homes that I want to use as inspiration for my dining room.

Martha Stewart's Living Room in one of her many homes.

I stopped in my tracks when I saw this room.  Pink ceiling and all.  This is exactly the inspriation I needed to make my crazy idea work. Martha’s room has pale yellow walls and a pink tinged chandelier.  I have pale yellow walls and a pink crystal chandelier I bought from my FFF.  Sometimes I buy something and then say, “WTF did I just do”. But, usually there is a reason when my gut tells me to seize the opportunity.

Notice Martha has a black painted piece in her room, probably to anchor all the pastels.  Now I have a piece that will be the anchor.  Black it is.

Once you know what the plan is for a piece, the rest is easy.

Sanding is the sucky part.

I sanded to roughen the surface.  Stripped and sanded the top, because I’m going to stain it instead of paint it.

Painting is the easy part

Started painting.  With latex this time.  Not milk paint.

Waiting for the paint to dry is the boring part

Waited for the paint to dry.

Freshly stained dark walnut top.  I can stare at that forever.

Stained the top and put the piece in my living room until I can start the redecorating of the dining room.


I re-used the original hardware on this piece for now.  I think it blends in well, but maybe something better will work later.

Distressed edges.  Oh yeah.

I just love the way it turned out.

My favorite part of the piece is this decorative trim.

I may line the tray with felt.

I lined the drawers with a music patterned wrapping paper.

Hello drawers

Happy Thanksgiving!

Already put the top to use to display the Thanksgiving Carolers.

Another one done.

Now I just need to find someone to hang that crystal chandelier and paint the ceiling light pink and not call me crazy at the same time.

Wish me luck.

Furniture Rescue: Drop Leaf Secretary Desk

paintTransforming a piece of furniture is like therapy for me.  I think I try to sand all the grief and regrets from my mind and paint over all the things I’d like to do over.  When I’m done with a piece of furniture, I feel like I’ve been put through an emotional wringer.  And I do this to relax!

It is sort of stressful to stare down a piece of furniture that’s had a tough life.   Like this girl for instance.

Original Finish on the Secretary

Someone tried to love her.  They really did, but she could be so much better.  She deserves better.

Dino agrees.  He LOVES furniture restoration days and doesn’t miss a chance to be out in the garage with me with Pandora on the radio.  Sanding dust floating around.  He watches the birds fly by and breathes in the outside air.

I wish he could help me make the decisions about how to fix her up though.

Original Finish on the Interior of the Secretary

She’s got potential.  I don’t even mind the turquoise color – it’s too bad the finish wasn’t executed very well.  There are lots of drip marks.  The hardware needs to be fixed and cleaned as well.

I decided to sand the surface a bit to remove the top coat drips and have a smooth surface for the paint to adhere.  I used MissMustardSeed’s Milk Paint.  Grain Sack for the exterior and Artissimo for the interior.  I was hoping this would be a good palette for allowing the original color to peek through the distressing.

I didn’t take any progress photos, because I was in a zone and before I knew it – I was done.

Chippy paint and distressed edges.  Just my style.

My favorite picture

Dark Blue Interior with the Turquoise Under Layer

Other side.  Paint didn't chip as much.

Hardware was fixed and cleaned

She's ready for her close-up

The milk paint chipped just like it’s supposed to and I distressed the edges with a sanding block to expose the original finish.  The grainsack color is outside my comfort zone.  I usually go for darker colors, but I am so happy with how this piece came out.  I love that the turquoise is coming through the navy blue on the inside.  I added some glass knobs I picked up at Home Depot.  To me they look like sparkly jewelry and dresses up the distressed finish.  Like jeans and a tee-shirt paired with diamonds.

Chevron patterned paper lines the drawers

 I lined the drawers with a gray and white chevron wrapping paper.

I love her and I’m glad she was there for me when I needed to zone out and try to work through all the things rattling around in my head.

Furniture Rescue: Big Ass End Tables

paintMy FFF [Favorite Furniture Finder] sells quite a few sets of end tables.  I had my eye on a set listed on Craigslist and when I called, I learned I just missed them.  The  new owner was driving off with them as we spoke.

 As luck would have it, my FFF had another set that I might be interested in, so I swung by the mini storage and snapped these up.

You're gonna look great painted!

End tables with great possibility

They are big.  26″ square and had details that I knew would look great when painted.  As with all projects on my very long list, they sat in the garage all summer.  But, once I decided to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Shutter Gray, I couldn’t wait to get started.

When using milk paint, there isn’t much prep work to do.  I cleaned the tables with a damp cloth, mixed the paint and slathered it on.

Painted and sanded

Nothing like a Dino photo bomb.

Dino is always underfoot.  Loves to work in the garage with me.

When the paint was dry, I sanded to a smooth finish and lightly distressed the edges and then waxed the entire piece, which creates a strong, bonded finish that feels like butter when you run your hand over it.

It is the smoothest surface I have ever felt.

Watching the wax dry

I cleaned the original hardware and reinstalled it.  Buffed the dried wax surface and lined the drawers with a wallpaper I found at the Goodwill.

Wallpaper drawer liner

I placed them in the family room [for now].

The hardware cleaned up real well.  We see you Dino.

Finished end table placed in the family room

The best part about these end tables is the back is completely finished so they can sit in the middle of the room and the back side of the end tables are just as pretty as the fronts.

Back side of the end tables