Archive for May, 2008

Draft Table

May 31st, 2008

Table in SUV

Look, we all know SUVs are gas guzzlers.  But once in a while, they sure do come handy when trying to transport furniture to your house.   

I rented an SUV a week ago and kept it for a few days.   I found this amazing vintage drafting table at an antiques store and bought it on the spot.    The funny thing is that when I asked the store's owner about the table, she immediately lowered the price.   Fine, I'll buy it.

Then when I had one more question about the table, she said, "why don't you ask the seller yourself?"   The seller walked in and said, "I'll drop it another $50."     I was like… I said I'll buy it.   So, without trying, I got a really crazy low price on this table.

Drafting Table

And here it is all set up.    I rolled out some old blueprints and threw on an old book.   I love it!

Living Room

Speaking of all thing, I found this handmade wooden table in a junk store in Rosemont, NJ.    It was tucked away underneath a bunch of fabrics and I inquired about buying it.  For $10, it was mine.   It's really the perfect size for the two club chairs from JCPenney.    I love the mix and match feel of new upholstery with old, dented up wood furniture.    Perfect for a game of chess, checkers or Go Fish!

None of your Beeswax!

May 30th, 2008

Empty Containers

I've been experimenting with making candles for a while now.   So, today I decided to play around with a big block of natural beeswax.    It certainly wasn't the cheapest candle wax I could find, but it is one of the cleanest burning ones.  Plus, it comes from a renewable, natural resource… and who doesn't like the sweet scent of beeswax anyway?   

So I started with some containers—some white cups from Pearl River Mart and this vintage teacup—and inserted some lead-free wicks into them.


Here's the beeswax all broken up into chunks.  I was surprised how easy it was to smash apart with a hammer!

Double Boiler

I found this double boiler at Goodwill of all places.  It was just 97 cents and I loved the patina and look of it all.   I picked up the hot plate at K-Mart and added these new tools to my crafting supply arsenal in the new craft room.   Here's the beeswax melting away over the double boiler.

Poured Candles

Okay, I melted too much wax.   So I poured some into an old mason jar and made that into a candle, too!  Doesn't it look like honey?    I used twigs from the yard to steady the wicks.  And THANK GOD I protected the countertop with some brown kraft paper.  I spilled some wax while making these candles!

Finished Candles

Finished!   Stamped the bottom of each candle with a four letter initial only my close friends would ever understand!   

Pearl River Mart, NYC

May 29th, 2008

Leaf Plates



If you're ever in NYC, one place I recommend is Pearl River Mart down in Soho.   It's a two-story, no-frills shop full of mostly Chinese (and random Asian things here and there) items for everything you can imagine.  My favorite parts are the housewares sections on both levels.   It's always changing, always affordable and there are some very interesting things to always be found.

I picked up a few leaf inspired plates the other day.   I felt they would be perfect for the new house since I'm surrounded by nothing but trees and greenery.

Bamboo Box

I found this bamboo storage container in the clearance section in the basement.   It was $4.50, plus 40% off.  Not bad!    It's an actual bamboo pole, cut down, sanded and made into a rustic container.   No glues whatsoever!    But it is unfinished, so I thought it would be a nice idea to take some leftover stain and give it a honey color finish.

Stained Bamboo 

Here's the before and after.   I'll use these in the bathrooms to store basic essentials.  Again, just a few dollars!


And while I have you here: here's the new (er, old) antique desk I picked up in Lambertville, NJ.    It's going in one of the bedrooms and will have a slim computer on top so houseguests can check their email, etc.   This was a bit pricier than what I'm buying at flea markets, but it's an investment piece that I am sure I will love.

Saturday’s Flea Marketing

May 28th, 2008

Wood warehouse

Before I headed to Los Angeles for some work, I found myself with a day off and decided to spend it doing what I miss the most: rummaging through flea markets, antique stores and junk shops in Pennsylvania.

So, I rented an SUV (I know…but how else will I carry my stuff home?) and headed to Adamstown, PA for a few hours of sleuthing.

Above is a shot a giant warehouse full of nothing but amazing old wood piece: mantels, old bars, windows, tables, chairs…you name it!   I thought I had discovered some out-of-the-way store that no one else really knew about, but I was wrong.   Here's how I knew:
Ralph Lauren label 

Hold for Ralph Lauren!

Wood Chair 

I was really on the hunt for an old bed for the new house, so I resisted temptation to buy up pieces that I liked.    I really liked this old wooden chair with the wide unusual back.   It just needs to be reupholstered (a nice hemp fabric would be cool).

Cello Case 

At another store down the road, I found this antique cello or bass case in the back room.   How cool is this?  It had a lot of intricate stitch work and real wear and tear (which added to its charm).   I have no idea what I could use this for, but I had to take a photo.    How do you even price something like this?

Chicken Waterer

Not everything is an antique.   This Ball canning jar has been repurposed into a chicken waterer.  Fill up the jar, insert the metal dish, and invert.  It trickles out fresh water for chickens.   I thought about getting this for the birds at the house, but I think I'll make my own.

Marble Planters

And I loved these antique marble planters from France!    Small is $65 and large is a bit more.   How on Earth can you tell which is small and large?  They look the same to me!

Chalkboard “Art”

May 27th, 2008

Chalkboard Painting 

I've used chalkboard paint all over the house for at least the past 10 years.  I love how unexpected it is: you can draw right on it with chalk!   I've painted entire walls with it and drawn all over the wall.   I've repainted refrigerators and written up grocery lists right onto the doors (and had it photographed for an issue of "Country Home" years ago, too!).  I've even painted terra cotta pots and written directly onto the pots words like "Basil" or "Sage."

So, I'm continuing the chalkboard theme (er, obsession?) with this idea: customized chalkboard paint using leftover latex paint. 

I had some leftover kelly green paint and thought it would be fun to paint a giant blank artists' canvas with it.   I mixed in a few tablespoons of powdered grout (from the hardware store) into a small container full of paint.  Mix well!    Then I covered the whole canvas with two coats of the homemade chalkboard paint!  Voila!

Chalkboard process



The cool thing is you can keep changing the art up whenever you feel like it.   Just wipe it down, let it dry and re-draw, draw, draw away!