What I learned from my year in business: Don’t give up, Ever!

I decided to start at the top and work my way up.

Sometimes things don’t work that way. Let me explain: I decided to make beautiful

furniture that I spent a lot of time on and wanted good money for.  I didn’t get the prices I wanted for my pieces. But try try try again. This is what I have learned from my year in being in business for myself. Don’t be afraid to take risks, learn from your mistakes and on’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up, ever!

I love my Etsy business at my online shop Caribbean Style Decor, my obsession with all things blue, white and shiny; that business is wonderful but erratic $200 one day no money the next day.  I am starting to save for a house I need a steadier source of revenue. I went back to the drawing board and looked the items that brought me the most money, my furniture. I stopped working on my furniture because I didn’t get the prices I wanted for the time and energy I put into refinishing and re-painting.  It is important to pay attention to what the market will bear. I looked over my techniques, I am a perfectionist, my techniques take a lot of time and are

exacting, one table took over 40 hours. I call that one “The Table”.

I sold my furniture in two places a local retailer and on Craig’s List.  I rethought everything and came up with a plan to make My Craig’s list prices profitable. I knew this retailer wasn’t the place to get the best prices for my pieces but they were easy to get into and to work with. I sold all the pieces I had consigned to them and working with that store helped me to figure out where my prices needed to be to sell.

I made up a new set of rules for myself. There were a lot of things I could do to save time and

still achieve the look I wanted. I would spend no more than 8 hours on any one piece. These adjustments would get my prices into the Craig’s list zone.

That’s fantastic news because I LOVE doing the furniture. I love taking furniture ugly ducklings and turning them into gorgeous one of kind pieces.

I have two chairs at home waiting to be worked on. Stay tuned. I’m back at it. …Melissa

The Black Telephone Redo

So I was driving down the road when I spotted a telephone table on the side of the road, I seem to do that a lot. As I recall I already had a piece of furniture in the car, my 7 year old and I was on my way to my storage to drop of the piece I had in my car. So I drove by that table,

The Telephone Table redone in Elegant Black

The Telephone Table redone in Elegant Black with a Fab Damask Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils

saying to myself enough is enough. I had enough furniture to work on. But a block away, seem to do that a lot too, I couldn’t leave it and I circled back to the loud groans of my son who was now sharing the back seat with the telephone table.

The table reminded me our rotary phone that sat on our telephone table, the sound it made when you dialed it, the distinctive ring. I couldn’t leave it. It was a capsule of memories.

That said it sat around for about 6 months while I got other projects out of the way. Finally ready to tackle it. I decided to go with black. Despite the fact that it was partially covered with kids stickers and had a few moldy oreos stuck to it (I kid you not). I saw Elegance in the piece with its shape and turned legs and I wanted to stay classic.
So I painted it black and decided to stencil in in metallic copper-gold from Cutting Edge Stencils. Now some of you are saying is that really classic? It is to me.
At first it wasn’t loving the black color I got, a was a little more like a dark grey but with a few layers it was rich sophisticated black.

The Telephone Table Before, stickers and all plus a bonus photo bomb by my neighbor's cat

The Telephone Table Before, stickers and all plus a bonus photo bomb by my neighbor’s cat

 I love this big stencil for furniture it gets done in no time.
I was a little in a rush with to get it done to drop it off at a retailer I partner with. I knew I wanted to do some metallic accents on the rest of the piece as well along the turned legs and etc. Getting that detail on the top gave me fits. This was my first time doing this kind of accent on a curves edge and I couldn’t get a straight line. i painted over my original effort and did it again more carefully.
Usually I just drag the edge of a flat brush along the edge that that gives me a very nice line. Guess what it doesn’t work on a rounded edge. If I had had time I would have taped it off, but I didn’t.
So ever so carefully I dragged the brush around the edge. I waxed it up thew it in the car and took it to the store. I almost didn’t have a an after picture. I snapped a few in  the store with my camera.
I was sorry to see it go I loved that table and a shape like that would be perfect in my house. So I’ll have to find another one. Till next time. -Melissa

The Black Telephone Table redo

The Black Telephone Table redo

The Bar Table Redo

So I am driving down the road on the way to a goodbye party and my cute little dress and sweater on the side of the road I spy a large

table. I drive by considering it looks heavy, I’m in my party best and there is a guy was in the front yard. Grabbing curbside goodies

The redone bar in its new home

The redone bar in its new home

anonymously when driving down the road is one thing, but when the dude is in his front yard is another thing. As I drove by I knew that table was too good to leave so I circled back, hopped out the car in my dressed up finest and asked the guy if I could take the table.

No problem there. He picked it up and put in my car for me. I had this awesome table and I was SURE I knew exactly what I wanted to

do with it. The plan was to paint it white and an do an amazing mosaic on the top. Well sometimes things change. The table hung around my house for months being the perfect height to put my things on when I was working on other pieces of furniture. I still knew what I was going to do, mosaic! I just didn’t get around to it.

Then my friend told me she needed a table for her entryway my rescued bar was the perfect size and shape. I hesitated for a moment the table was such a great fit for so many reasons. I was hard to give up. But an actual project is better than an unrealized thought in my head. So bit by bit I repainted it using my tried and true homemade chalk paint recipe:  tablespoon of unsanded grout dissolved in  a bit warm water mixed with latex paint, in this case black.

Bar Table Before

Bar Table Before

I had a little trouble with the stencil detail.  Of course I had the perfect idea or at least it was perfect in my head. I stenciled a detail from a large Damask Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.   Check out the full Damask Stencil in all its glory on another furniture project. I did  the design in a warm white on a dark brown background, sounded great. It wasn’t strong enough again the deep back of the table. I ended up painting it black and redoing the design in metallic copper/ gold. It’s hard to see but the table has some round metal, rusty details that I left unpainted. The color of this detail retailed back to the gold/ copper color. I think it turned out great, Wow, I forgot how rough it started out. What do you think? Till next time. -Melissa

The Bar Table  Redo

The Bar Table getting ready to loaded up for delivery

How to make a beat up coffee table into a Beauty

How to turn a beat up table into an Elegant Beauty

How to turn a beat up table into an Elegant Beauty

How to make a beat up coffee table into an Elegant Beauty. My neighbors were moving and this coffee table was one of the last things left in their house. They were generous enough to offer me several things they weren’t  taking. I walked right by this table thinking it looked too rough. They threw it into the trash and when I saw it there I thought well I should try to do something with it.

So I gave it a fresh coat of paint and pulled out my Cutting Edge  Stencils Damask Stencil.  A Damask Stencil is not just for walls. I won this stencil so sign up fot their blog and when you see they are having a contest enter, enter.I used a metallic gold-ish/ copper paint. I also used the paint to line the edges and details on the table. I think that is an elegant touch. It didn’t take that long and I think it came out great. What do you think? -Melissa

Check out my other stencil projects:

The Finished Table

The Finished Table

Little Table A Modern Antique Beauty

Little Table A Modern Antique Beauty

The Yellow Mirror

Yellow Stenciled Mirror

Yellow Stenciled Mirror

Ok, I was bad, yet again I forgot to take before pictures of the piece I was working on. My friend gave me this beautiful mirror, it started off life being white. In this case I didn’t rescue some ugly thing , the mirror was beautiful to begin with I just made it amazing. I knew I wanted to the mirror in a bright yellow and I came across the perfect color in the unwanted paint section at home Depot for $2, Behr’s Preium Plus Ultra in a

Stenciling

Stenciling

delicious yellow-orange. Home Depot makes great paint I have tried three different brands and they were all  Stellar. That’s why I drive  a mile out of my way to get my paint. A mile isn’t that far right? They also have $2 quarts and $.50 samples in the paint reject pile, the best deal in town.  I wrote a whole post about my favorite paints read it here.

I diligently sanded and primed and painted the mirror. I love the color. Now for the stenciling. I decided to just do a floral motif to go with the curving lines of the mirror. I discovered that even my thinnest stencil was too wide of the thin curved lines of the mirror. I stenciled anyway. I love the abstract nature of the partial stenciling. Almost done, just some touching up to do as usual. I think I’ll add some white to the base. I am going to use it in a photo shoot for an advertisement I have coming up. Love It! Till next time.

Detail of Yellow Mirror

I love the abstract patterns created when just some of the stencil is showing

Melissa

Stenciling Picture Frames

frames-college1

How do you dress up Unfinished Framed? Stencils of course! So I came across these awesome picture frames in Michaels and I knew immediately I wanted to stencil them. I bought a big pile . I tore myself away from Stenciling my table I wanted a … Continue reading 

Sweet little Antique Birds

An Antique Beauty

An Antique Beauty

Well It was really had to tear myself away from my Indian Inlay stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils but I couldn’t wait to try my free  bird stencil. When I ordered my initial Stencil they made a note I would be receiving a free stencil. I didn’t get it, but… they send it right out too me. I opened my package and I  had the cutest bird stencil. When I went to throw out the envelope I saw there were actually 4 bird stencils. Yeah four birds!  I later found out that instead of the one $4.95 stencil which is the normal gift with purchase. They sent me the complete bird $14.95 bird set. Thank You!

I wanted to try using glue instead of paint to stencil. I glued together some leftover boards I had around and got to the stencil. I used very little water.

I love the result. It’s subtle and makes the piece look like its been around forever. I think I makes some signs using this technique. I should have taken more pictures but sometimes you want to get right to it.

Sweet Birds

Sweet Birds

Making of the Little Stencil Table: My Ikea Hack

Little Table A Modern Antique Beauty

Volia! Little Table A Modern Antique Beauty

After my epic first stencil project, The Table I was ready for a more manageable project. I was at the Thrift store and saw a table that was the perfect size $5.99.  It was made out of some mystery material but at $5.99 you can’t beat it. I bought it.

Ikea lack-table

Ikea lack-table

The Rosette, stenciled then stained over. I'm in love

The Rosette, stenciled then stained over. I’m in love

Now what to do with it? The Table was very familiar to me. It looked like one of those Ikea table they are always advertising for $9.99, and sure enough it was. I looked at it this way and that way what would I do with it ? Then I remembered an  an idea online to cover the top of an existing table with wood strips to create a new table top. perfect! That will completely change the personality of the piece.

 

Then I could do my stain over stencil technique. In my first table I had stenciled a rosette on the raw wood and then stained over it. I loved the soft effect and wanted to do it on a whole piece. Perfect!

 

With my game plan  I head over to Lowes to get wood, 3 1 x 2 x 8 pieces in cedar. Then I cut them to a uniform size and glue them on to the surface (I love to glue). I plan out my stencil, again my fabulous Stencil from

The wood from Lowes

The wood from Lowes

Cutting Edge Stencils.  Then I start to stencil. I thought it would be fun to

glue the wood

glue the wood

have the vines intertwined. I can’t wait to stain, but I paint the base first . I made my own chalk paint to make sure it would stick (that is another story, we will see how that does). Now I get to stain. Yeah my favorite part! My rich beautiful Mahogany stain. It’s looking good.

I think it is a Fabulous outcome. It’s hard to believe that such a soft beautiful piece came from such a sleek modern design. What do you think? I have a similar table for sale in my Etsy shop.

Plan the Stencil

Plan the Stencil

Stencil

Stencil

Finished Table Top

Finished Table Top

The Table the Table the Table

The Ultimate Stenciled Table

The Table The Table The Table. Well it all started with a picture that I saw in Oprah magazine of an accent table,  it was incredible beautiful. I thought I can do that.  So without knowing anything about it, typical for me. … Continue reading