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 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 Round Blue Table



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Available in my Etsy Shop

Well I did it I finally refinished a piece of furniture without stenciling it. It was really hard, my stencils were right there. I really wanted to grab them but I didn’t. It wasn’t the project for that. I actually saw this table at a garage sale and left it there because I had no idea what to do with it, read more about that here.  I saw a very similar table on Pintrest with a fantastic paint job. With  that inspiration fresh in my mind I went back to grab that table.

I knew I wanted to do it blue. I just scored a fantastic blue for free from an  Ace hardware at a promotion for a free quart of paint. It’s by Clark and Kensington,

The $10 table. How awesome. This is how it started out

The $10 table. How awesome. This is how it started out

a great paint line, nice coverage and great colors just how I like it. I’ll have to add that to my paint recommendations. I made my

own chalk paint by adding tablespoon of unsanded grout to each 8oz of paint. Start with a little water and dissolve your grout  first that is so you don’t end up with lumps. I like lumpy mashed potatoes but not lumpy paint. I went with  chalk paint because of its reputation of sticking to everything and anything the table has a leather panel and I wanted to be sure the paint would stick to and cover it. The paint job came out beautifully  I’m  so impressed I might use chalk paint all the time.

I added some gold metallic paint to to highlight the details of the table. I used acrylic paint because I’m a painter and that’s what I had on hand. I can’t wait to try GedeO Gilding Wax or some Rub and Buff.  I’m pretty proud of myself, this table was completely out of my element. Look ma’ no stencils. Till next time.207222Melissa

What to do with this table? make that tables

Two Tables for $22. the Table in the upper right is refinished by Kathy at Life of Lake Shore Drive.

Two Tables for $22. the Table in the upper right is refinished by Kathy at Life of Lake Shore Drive.

So I went to a garage sale and I saw this beautiful round table. Beautiful yes,  it looked expensive and I a cheap girl, you know what I mean. And I had no idea what to do with it. So I didn’t buy it. Well as I am snuggled in my bed doing my new favorite thing, looking around and getting ideas on Pintrest. I see a similar table, beautifully redone by Kathy at Life on Lake Shore Drive. Wow I think I should have bought that table. It’s the last thing  I think of before I fall asleep. In the morning when I go back the computer there is Kathy’s table on the screen I fell asleep in the middle of pinning it. Maybe the table is still at the sale. So  I grab

The $10 table. How awesome

The $10 table. How awesome. Know it will come out as Beautiful as Kathy’s

my coffee throw the dog in the car and the high tail it over there.

I’m lucky, very lucky the table is the still there and I am every luckier.  When I was there the day before there was an older man there who was spinning tales of grandeur about every piece, he wanted big bucks,  you know like $20, and he had the stories to prove it. When I went back there was a younger man with no stories. I had a feeling this  guy would be much easier to deal with.  How much for the table? $15 he says. I only have $10 I say which is true. Ok. he says. Yeah  nice and easy. I see another table a very rustic table. That’s nice I thought

look at that foot beautiful detail

look at that foot beautiful detail

but what would I do with that? Here we go again.  I left it. As I am running around to Walmart and Home Depot I keep thinking about the new table.  I am not going to buy it unless I have a plan to re-finish it my space is limited. I figured it out, a little chalk paint, a little sanding, I could make this work.  I go zipping back. Maybe I

This table is Beautiful. it is the perfect farm house table

This table is Beautiful. it is the perfect farm house table

can get it for $5 its pretty rough.

I wait here for about 15 mins for the guy running the sale to return. There are 3 of us waiting. Apparently he’s off returning a rental car, I don’t ask.

As a car pulls up my dreams of a $5 table disappear. It’s the older man with the BS, I mean stories. I knew there was no way I was getting that table for $5. When I ask him for his best price he says, “I know you know what that is.” he says. Here we go. “No.” I say. “It’s antique primitive.” he say.  hmm good bluff . I don’t know what an antique primitive is.  I see an old table.

“I need $15.” he says.

$15 is not a bad starting point

“How about $10.” I say.  “No, no.” he says can do that. He stands firm. Crap I never like to pay more than $1o. I keep talking,  not happy to leave with out it. I offer $12 he accepts. Yeah! He got another $2 out of me.

Before  I bought the table it was covered with garage sale  goodies so I couldn’t see the top. As  I look at it I can see that the table is made from reclaimed wood. It has a ton character. $22 for two awesome tables is a great start. Till next time. Melissa

Plan for Blog Domination

Detail of it grouted

Plan for Blog Domination- Well I started Blogging by accident, literally. I signed up for wordpress as an efficient free web site. And I couldn’t resist sharing my thoughts regularly because they make it so darn easy so to Blog. As I … Continue reading 

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