Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Favorite Autumn Display and The Tobler Grounds and Garden Tour

For over 6 years now, my boys and I have been making a 45 minute commute each way to their school (I know, crazy).  And each year, we know fall has arrived and Halloween is coming when we drive pass this display of autumn perfection.

Standing amongst bails of hay, an assortment of colorful gourds, crows and chickens, is the scarecrow. A perfectly weathered and weary figure with a touch of creepy. Every morning with my sleepy kids in tow, he would great us and the boys would perk up. 



Then just before Halloween would arrive, we would drive by to find the scarecrow surrounded by glowing sculls and boney hands reaching up from the ground. I always marveled at what a perfect way the scarecrow transitioned into halloween. 



Now the other week, after all these years, I decide to ask the home owner if I could take some pictures of the scarecrow for my blog.  At least, I wanted to let the home owner know how much we have enjoyed him all these years and how much we appreciated the effort that must be put into erecting him year after year.

So, I left a note in the mailbox and was thrilled when I received a call from the home owner, Lynell Tobler. Lynell not only invited me to come take some pictures of the scarecrow, but also to visit and show me around her historic farmhouse.

When I met Lynell, she was beautiful, vibrant and guess what else? I found out she too writes a blog! It was one of those things that actually came as no surprise. Not only was Lynell's home fascinating, but she was as well. She shared with me some of her own journey which included her transformation into fitness buff, her love of fashion and her devotion to animals to name a few. In addition, she had just returned from her sister's side after seeing her through brain surgery. Lynell shares these stories and more in her blog.

After spending time with Lynell and learning some of her home's history, I set off to take some pictures. In this post, I wanted to give you a tour of the outside and the grounds of the home. It was magical. The home retains so much of its original character and the rustic feel of the grounds suites its history.  And let me tell you, the inside of the home was just as charming as the outside...and I'll share that with you in another post.

Enjoy the tour
and please drop by Lynell's blog at and say hi!

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Hand Painted Dresser: How to Add a Hand Painted Element to Your Next Furniture Make Over

Often, I will have an idea of a paint technique or design I want to try on a piece of furniture, before I even have a piece of furniture to paint. That is how it started with this last project. I had purchased a dresser that I thought would fit perfectly an idea I had been carrying around in my head. However, when I got it home and looked at it closer, I really didn't like how the moldings on the drawers were going to break up the very graphic image I wanted to put on it. I walked around for days, taking quick peeks at the piece and trying to quickly give myself a mental snapshot of the image on it. Does that make sense to anyone? Well, I just wasn't liking my imaginary snapshot in my head so, ugh, I decided to bag that idea for later.

Now, I knew I wanted to do a hand painted element on this piece, because I was just in the mood for some decorative painting. My design background is in murals and I really find hand painting enjoyable. So, I had to think of something else. So where does a girl go to find painted furniture design inspiration...The Graphics Fairy!

The Graphics Fairy is my go to place for inspiration and let me warn you, like visiting Pinterest, you will get off task. You may head there to look for designs for a furniture piece, but before you know it you will find yourself perusing tutorials on how to transfer beautiful french images onto tea cloths!

Although I am "groupie" for french typography, I wanted to find some sort of flourish pattern to pick up the curves on the legs and bottom of this dresser. I decided to do a spencerian flourish with a bird. I also decided to do the piece all in cream and white shades. 

Here's how it all went down.

Below is the dresser basecoated in American Paint Company's Chalk Paint in the color Rushmore, a beautiful earthy stone off white.

After selecting my graphic from the Graphic Fairy, I decided to transfer my image to my dresser using an overhead projector. If you do not have an overhead projector, another great technique I use for transferring large images is using to enlarge pictures. You can find a tutorial on that at the at the Graphics Fairy here.

tip..I didn't have transparency paper on hand and office depot is over 20 miles from my house, so in a pinch, I print out on a clear sheet protector we had laying around from my kids. Of course it will smear when you touch, but since you only have to use it one, be careful and don't touch it!

To trace my images, I used a watercolor pencil. Find them in the artist section of Michael's or your favorite craft store. Choose a color closest to the color you will be painting with, so I used a white pencil. After painting and when dry, you can just wipe away stray marks with a damp cloth. 

After you sketch the image up. Gather your painting supplies for the detail work:

acrylic paint (you could use latex or whatever else you are comfortable with but for detail work I usually choose acrylics), 

water to dampen brush and clean, 
paper towel to dab brush,
paper plate for paint, 
wet cloth to fix any mistakes, 
and brushes

Here is how I usually set up my plate to paint. I poured out some white which was my main color, some Vandyke Brown tint I had on hand to add with white for lowlights (or you could use a raw uber or darker brown acrylic) and my brushes.

Because this was more detailed work I used an assortment of smaller sized straight brushes, round and liner brushes and a filbert brush.

I painted the whole mural in white first. To make my brush flow smoothly for long flourishes, I dip my brush in water first and then mix with the paint to make a creamier mix. Sometimes I even wipe the surface with a damp rag so my brush won't drag while moving it, but in this case, I did not want to wipe off my water color pencil!

To create a little dimension, I added the darker accent color sort of as a shadow. Adding it to the inside of swirls and underneath selected brush strokes. Again, mix water with this color to get good flow.

After the mural was painted and had dried. I went over the whole piece with a 220 sanding block to distress. Paying closest attention to decorative details, corners and edges which is where a piece would naturally age first.

I finished the piece with a top coat of American Paint Company's clear wax followed by Miss Mustard Seed's White Wax to give it an overall white wash. (I will be posting a separate tutorial for waxing this piece soon).

Find beauty in your day!

Linking to These Fabulous Blogs:

Miss Mustard Seed
The Graphics Fairy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

7 Tips For Selling Furniture and Home Goods at a Vendor Fair

Some of my goods for sale at the fair and on Etsy.
 My man has the Miami Dolphins hat on... but he's not for sale:)

For anyone out there who is ready to turn a passion for "upstyling" furniture into a business, one of the first things to consider is where to sell your goods. There really are a lot of different ways to choose to market your goods. You can sell online, by word of mouth, in your own brick and mortar store, you can rent space in a shop, or you can try doing craft and home fairs.

I have chosen to have an online store at (I'll post about selling on Etsy soon).
But, recently I thought I would try fairs, at least occasionally, to develop a more local following. 
So this past Saturday, I did my first vendor fair with Tamara, my roommate from college, read more about that here. And now since I am an expert... well, an expert on the FIRST time selling at a fair, I put together some tips (below) on how to sell furniture and home goods at a vendor fair for your first time. The fair I participated in was the Fall Festival at my sons' school and it is the biggest event that they have.  However, it was really not very big and it was certainly no Country Living Fair,
 but it was successful and I it got my feet wet!

With my new found expertise from my one day selling, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I learned at the fair, but first...

Here's a little of our day in pictures:

With the trucks loaded, our first stop? Dunkin Donuts for coffee!

See this, this is why you bring help. I'm taking the pictures and Tamara is doing the work..haha!

Almost ready to start.

Merchandising for Halloween.

And now, what I learned...

1. Be Prepared the Night Before
Layout all your supplies and make a reminder list for the am for “Must Not Forget Items” such as your credit card reader and business cards.
Price your items and use pretty tags. I have a business card that doubles as a price tage. I simply hole punch them and attach with ribbon. When an item is sold, I mark sold across the front.
Load at least some of your items to save time in the morning.

      2. Bring Enough Sellable Goods
      I brought enough goods to fit in at least two trucks or SUV’s and that worked well.  I included three small to medium size dressers and some smaller goods like benches, tables, mirrors and signs. 
      This was the perfect amount of furniture to create a nice storefront.
*For my next fair, I would also include some smaller accessories, like towels, candles, glasses, etc. But, that was just too much for me to worry about this first time!

3. Be Prepared With These Must Have Supplies
Business cards, scissors, tape, safety pins, water, snacks, first aid kit, handy wipes, sanding block and soft rag (in case you have to remove marks or make a small repair), pens, sharpie, trash bags and a tape measure in case people need to know sizes of items.

     4. Create a Pretty Store Front That Reflects Your Image
I used a drop cloth as a table cloth with a burlap runner…. inexpensive, yet pretty. I also pinched the cloth with yellow flowers, which are in my logo. I also brought along extra props to merchandise smaller items. Link here to visit one of my boards in Pinterest to see more craft booth ideas.

5. Market Your Goods
Along with your business sign, add some extra signage. I placed small chalk boards around and I used them to tell customers extras like, this piece has “vintage pulls and casters”, “ we can help you load your purchase”, etc.

6.  Have a Payment System That  Accepts Debit/Cedit Cards and Test it Out the Night Before
I used Pay Pal Here with the card reader to accept credit card payments. I tested it the night before and sometimes the app on my phone shut down in mid payment!! So, I also had my friend load the app on her phone. This saved the day, because my phone was still having issues the next day!

7. Connect with Your Customers
Welcome them with a smile and a hello! Also, I like to lure people in with strategically placed bowls of hershey kisses. They will come!

Some More Facts:
  • I rented two spaces to fit all my goods and I asked for an end space. The second space cost less after the first.
  • For two spots, I paid $120, I paid Tamara $100 to help and I had the cost of the goods and materials. I was able to cover all my costs and make a profit.
  • Next time I would bring: more smaller goods, more signage, a tarp in case it rains and offer 10% off for those the Facebook friend me at the time of purchase.

Find beauty in your day!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Getting Ready to Sell my Goods at a Fair

My halloween sign display for the fair

Tomorrow, I am doing my first vendor fair. Meaning, I will be lugging several furniture pieces, as well as, some smaller signs, mirrors etc. across town to sell. I have never sold my goods at a fair booth so I am excited and curious to see how it goes. And, a bit nervous. Will my items sell? Will I be able to use my PayPal credit card reader for the first time? Will my booth look pretty?

At this particular fair, vendors usually are selling smaller and more crafty items, but the market is good. So we shall see!! Good news is, I am dragging along a helper, Tamara, my best friend from college, and a large bag of hershey kisses so, at the very least I will have fun.

Here is a picture I snapped of one of my Halloween signs displayed on my shelves.

This is a small table I will have for sale. Isn't the pedestal base beautiful?

And here is a sneak peak at a three drawer dresser I am finishing up to take along. I will be doing a tutorial for this piece coming up.

I will let you all know how it goes and I will also share with everyone anything I learn. Anyone else sell at a fair before? Let me know if you have any good tips.

Find beauty in your day!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Must Have Supplies for Prepping Furniture for Painting

(Just some things...being "tweaked & styled" for upcoming fair.)

This week I was back to work finishing up two furniture pieces for a booth I have at my sons' school fair. I am taking these pieces, as well as, an assortment of mirrors, signs and smaller items. I will let you know how this event goes. I have never had a booth at a fair before! 

Because this week and last week has been filled with prepping and painting furniture. 
I thought I would give a quick run down of
 the items everyone should have on hand to get old furniture ready for painting.

Nothing earth shattering here,
 but if you prep your furniture correctly, things will be off to a good start.
  1. Lay down Rosin Paper - Now everyone needs to have a roll of this! It is available at all home improvement stores and painting stores. I cut a large piece to lay under the furniture I am working on. It lays flat and doesn't bunch like a drop cloth. When I am finished, usually the paper is not  ruined with paint, so I just fold it, take it outside, shake any dust off and save it to reuse. It is easy to store unlike dirty and bulky drop cloths. I also use it to wrap signs I ship for my business and I use it to wrap gifts. Best bargain anywhere.
  2. Put on gloves - I always keep a box of latex or latex free gloves on hand to protect my hands from paint and chemicals.
  3. Lightly clean furniture up with TSP. Keep a box of this on hand too. It helps remove any residues on furniture so paint will better adhere.
  4. Now, fill any nicks, or knob holes if you are changing the knob placement, with wood filler. This Elmers product gives a strong repair.
  5. Once the wood fill is dry, sand it down, as well as, give the whole piece a light sanding, following the grain of the wood. This will give the piece a little extra tooth for the paint to grab. I also follow sanding with another wipe down with the TSP cleaner to remove sanding particles.
  6. When any wetness from the cleaner is dry, give your piece a final wipe down with a tack cloth to remove any small lint or dust remaining. Again, this stuff is the best, so always keep some on hand. I always use this product before top coating furniture with waxes or polyurethane too.
Find beauty in your day!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tarnished Silver Stemmed Pumpkin Vignette

Yesterday was rainy and grey. 
There was the steady music of rain drops on the roof.
 At its own discretion, a soft wind would blow,
 sweeping colorful leaves from their boughs, 
leaving them strewn,
wet and heavy, 
on the grass. 

I love days like that. 

It was the perfect day to do some Halloween decorating. 

While I love decorating for holidays, I think I enjoy Halloween the most.
 Something about the tease of all things cold and dark, against the warmth and safety of home.

I decided to focus on a table in my living room. I had purchased some wooden spools the other week at Sweet Clover with my pumpkin display in mind. My plan usually involves keeping things simple as possible and using as many natural elements and items from the home.

So, I gathered,

the wooden spools,
some tarnished silver...a tea set and various knives and forks (the more ornate the better),
branches from outside, spray painted black,
some cornhusks pulled from the husks flanking my front door,
3 pumpkins painted with Annie Sloan White Chalk Paint,
oh, and a couple sticky glitter black spiders from Michaels, 
because I always need to throw in a little "creepy" for my boys. 

The only "to do"...

Remove your pumpkin stems either by breaking off or carefully cutting away with a knife. Then,
 cut off a piece or two of the end of the corn husk and twist about in half to form two leaves. If you cut up about 10 inches from the tip of a husk, one end will be pointy like a leave, the other you can trim to a point to make a second leaf.
Place on top and then
 pierce your pumpkins with the knife or fork, going through the husk.

Now, elegant silver stems.

Find beauty in your day:)

Linking to these fabulous blogs:

Made in a Day
Primitive & Proper

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