Would you have taken this troll home?

I admit I was caught up in the moment. An estate sale in my very own town, in a mid-century home whose inhabitants had lived here for at least 50 years. The house was packed with great stuff and the basement was dank, dingy and dirty. In other words, perfect. After a cursory tour, I sniffed out a beautiful old mirror that I was able to negotiate for a tenth of its value. I paid quickly and was headed out the garage door with the mirror under my arm. And then I saw this table. Filthy and long-unappreciated, I casually asked what they wanted for it.

They had to have thought I was crazy. The thing was filthy with car grease and smoke and God knows what else over the years. Both the top and the lower shelf had been covered with a speckled yellow linoleum, secured around the edges with chrome trim, but the bottom shelf had lost most of its trim, so the linoleum piece was barely hanging on. I knew it was old, and I knew no one had monkeyed with it in so long that it would be a good candidate for a makeover.

I handed over the $5 and away I went.

The project took months, and mostly because I was lazy.

My first task was to get rid of the linoleum and chrome and finally discover what was hiding underneath. The top surface was just as I’d hoped: protected for 50 years. Rough and begging for an upgrade. And anything would have been an upgrade.

I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned it. I really didn’t think the dirt would come off. When the paint turned out to be a cream color, I couldn’t believe it. I honestly thought the stuff was cooked on, it just looked so roached and black.

After cleaning, I scraped paint off. The bottom shelf was a really pretty dark stained wood, which suggested the idea of highlighting the natural wood on the shelves.

Then I sanded. And sanded some more. I was lucky enough to have found the perfectly beautiful and breezy day to do it on; it was no chore at all.

I grabbed whatever stain we happened to have in our workshop and I got down to staining the shelves. The color for the legs and such was also an easy decision; it’s elephant gray, a color we have a ton of. After staining and painting, I put two coats of poly on it and almost called it done.

Somewhere along the way, my husband suggested I make the drawer knob white. He thought it would give it a little “umph” and I think he was right. I didn’t actually paint the drawer pull; it is just how I found it, only scrubbed clean.

I think it turned out gorgeous! And now I use it as my printer stand/ an extension of my desk.

Of note: The table is identified on the underside of the drawer as “Davidson’s Furn. Co., Kansas City, MO.” Davidson’s was a high-end furniture store that opened in Kansas City in around 1918. At one time, they had a 20,000 square foot show room. And, of particular interest to me, in the late 1950s they acquired the remaining furniture stock of the local Abernathy Furniture Company, which had closed up shop in the 1950s.

 

Brenda’s High School Project gets an A+!

Many Saturdays ago, I found myself meandering through the rural parts of Clay County, looking for garage sales. There were a few out there, but not many. But they were in the right places, so I found something really cool at almost every stop. Which brings me to this guy.

It’s no secret that I’m somewhat obsessed with anything between Tiffany blue and seafoam green. This stein fit the bill perfectly, although it had obviously been in a barn for many years. As a matter of fact, the woman who sold it to me, Brenda, said that she and her husband moved it for 30 years and just never really used it. She had made it in an art class in high school.

I brought it home and cleaned it up. I think Brenda did a pretty good job! I love the color and I love the relief  and that it’s still all perfectly in tact. It’s a great piece for someone who wants a splash of breezy blue in their design. Isn’t that floppy-eared dog so cute, resting his head on his master’s leg? I just love it.

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Pretty, Purple Princess Chandelier

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a chandelier with potential so I could redo it for a pretty, pretty princess. Enter Goldie here. I picked her up at a garage sale over the weekend and immediately started cleaning her up.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier – Before

She wasn’t in horrible shape, she really just needed a warm, soapy water wipe-down. I loved her shape and I loved all of the bling. The crystals (plastic, by the way) all came off and got cleaned, and so did the light cup/fake candle combo. The glass dome got hand washed and set aside while the frame got detailed and painted.Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 04 before collage.jpg

The fun part, of course, is the painting, so I got busy on this beautiful day, and painted all day, starting with the underside. In the sunlight, it almost looks white, but it’s actually a flat lavender color from Valspar.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 02 during and after collage.jpg

The end result is a little big magical. I can only imagine the fabulous room this beauty will end up in. I’m a little bit jealous already. On to the next one!

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 03 after.jpg

Roached-out Silver Still Holds Its Appeal

I started with one. One that my belonged to my great-grandmother. Then I saw one at a yard sale for next-to-nothing. Then some time went by and I saw another one, all seemingly cheaper than the last.

And so it began. I didn’t set out to collect old silverplated pitchers, but I do. Some are art deco, some are frilly and some are so old, they don’t even shine anymore. Hahaha!

When I was in Miami, I saw these OFTEN. The things people sold down there always killed me. Folks in Southern Florida have little appreciation for everyday antiques, so I was in heaven. But I digress.

I snatch these up anytime they’re marked at my magic number or less. Today I actually paid a little more for one, but I don’t usually go above that “number”. So that brings my number to nine silver pitchers. I met up with some old-timer antiques dealers a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t all that surprised to see that they had a collection of them too. They were asking more than three times my magic number, so I know I’m on to something good here.

My favorite use for them is as a vase. They kind of elevate the presentation of the flowers in a charming way.

Silverplated pitcher with roses

Antique silverplated pitcher as vase.

I decided not long ago to start using some of these things in my everyday life. So I use one of my small silver trays for a catch-all on top of my dryer. It holds things like buttons and change and lots of lint I’m sure. I don’t know, it still makes doing laundry seem more… civilized.

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Pretty, Pretty Princess Cabinet Started As Anything But

I snatched this little beauty up in a rural flea market on the drive from Mulberry, Florida to Miami. I loved the legs and thought it surely had more to offer than roached out wood and dust. It had a beautiful shape and the original glass and door pulls, so I knew I could do something with it.

At the time, we were living in a hotel a stone’s throw from Coral Gables. With space at a premium, I cleaned it up and used it immediately. Once we were settled in our Coral Gables apartment, I got to work on it, thanks to a mis-tinted can of paint from Home Depot ($5, thank-you-very-much).

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out. The color was close enough to Tiffany Blue that it really elevated it. I gave it a little class by painting the window jams white. Painting the inside white was a no-brainer, because it served to lighten up the entire piece, making it look clean, intentional, stylish.

I hated to see it go at one of our garage sales once we moved to Missouri, but it just didn’t fit with our current decor. So when someone expressed interest in it, I waved a long good-bye to this pretty little thing and carried on.

Flea Market Flip 01

Small cabinet found in rural Florida shows true beauty

*Note: When I took the after picture, I noticed some areas that needed touch-ups. Those areas were fixed. 🙂

Coolest Thing I Saw Today! And it Hides a Secret!

I go to estate sales all over Kansas City these days. It’s a good day when one is happening in my very own town. Today was such a day.

I was one of 30 people in line when the doors to this shoemaker’s estate sale opened up at 9:00 this morning and I’m so glad I was. I had my eye on something in particular – this 1920’s cast bookend, which I was lucky enough to grab up.

1920's cast bookend - boat captain and wheel

And I also put my hands on this beautiful walking stick, and didn’t let go (estate sale-goers are crazy!). All I knew about it was that it was old and gorgeous.

late 19th century walking stick with hidden blade

It wasn’t until I got home and was playing with it that I realized that it had a secret hidden inside: it is also a knife.

late 19th century walking stick with hidden blade

A little research and I was able to determine that the item is probably from the late 19th century and made in India. It features carved bone and hand carvings in the wood, which has been ebonized. And I love it.

As much as I think I would love to be a little old lady who walks with a cane that has a hidden 22″ blade in it in a few years, I have decided that I am not ready for a cane just yet. So on eBay it goes. Isn’t it fantastic?!

UPDATE: eBay doesn’t allow hidden blade items. If you have an interest in this item. Let me know. I’ll be enjoying it in the meantime. 🙂

Photo History Right Here, Folks!

PICTURE-TAINER photo protectors are a thing of the past.

Picture-Tainer photo 04

I found these at a thrift store some time ago – no particular use in mind, but knew they still had some life in them somehow. So I did my usual thing: I checked out their story online and here’s what I know:

Picture-Tainer photo 01

Trademarkia had this to say: “Picturetainer: photographic packaging; namely, plastic box-like containers for holding photographic pictures and accompanying negatives”

Picture-Tainer photo 01

I found this cute little ad from a 1967 The Bulletin ad that says:

“That’s right! With every order you’ll receive a FREE Picture Tainer, obtainable only from KING SIZE PHOTO. The Picture Tainer, made of plastic polypropylene, is a KING SIZE patented, exclusive packaging for your precious photos-the perfect way to protect them from bending, tearing, folding or soiling. Best of all-it costs you nothing!”

According to the Spokane Chronicle, King Size Photo stores (in Spokane) were operating under that name until 1983 when they were sold.