Back to the Future – 1950′s

I attended the most amazing and fabulous 1950′s auction last week.   There were so many cool things to look at and it was so much fun!  It was like a quick little trip to the Smithsonian.


Can you believe these chairs are in such good shape for being sixty something years old?


This “hello scalloped salmon” table is so very awesome.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have a funky cool 1950′s apartment?  Yes it would!  If I was twenty something I’d do it.1950's-table-2

How about this tiered little number?


and another!


There were piles and piles of textiles and clothes.  Don’t you just love the whales and rowers in this fabric?  It’s perfect for a kids room cafe curtains and tells such a great little story.

vintage umbrellas

I didn’t grab a whole lot of fifties memorabilia because there were some serious collectors bidding.  I couldn’t resist these darling umbrellas with lucite and tortoiseshell handles and managed to take them home!

vintage umbrella

The graphics are great….Keep your Martini extra dry!



I also got these great gilt glass trays that are just perfect for a glam vanity or dresser.


What I did get was more chairs!!  I la la love the carved detail and majestic height on this chair.


It’s so very pretty the way it is.  I may add some paint but will have to think about it a little bit.  Maybe a grey?  This chair is really going to be gorgeous and such a statement piece.  With all the detailing a solid textural fabric will be the perfect compliment.

restoration chairs

  I also grabbed these two guys.  I love the wood wing backs and the caning is in perfect shape.  They look like RH chairs don’t they?  I still have to pick these babies up!


What a sweet little desk.  It’s not exactly the kind of chippy finish I like but I know it will clean up quite nicely.  Don’t you think it would be perfect as a bedside table?  Just add a book and cup of tea, Ahhh, how nice indeed.

desk-2.jpg  It’s got several secret compartments and the top slides forward for writing.  A little work and some new hardware and it will be good as new, maybe better!

oak dresser.jpg  There were many oak pieces and I scored this lovely deep dresser which I simply cannot wait to tackle.  I got a few more assorted furniture goodies to work with, including an old slant top desk with scalloped little drawer, a music cabinet, and assorted chairs.  Can’t wait to get the paint cans open!

limoges-platesMy day ended perfectly with the acquisition of these lovely Limoges plates and bowls.  I’ll be stocking the salvage yard with these wonderful finds so stay tuned for refurbishing fun!


Two Buttons and New Pieces

Two-buttons-2.pngI took a little day trip to Frenchtown, NJ this weekend.  It’s only about twenty minutes away but really feels like you’re far away from it all.  For the longest time I’ve been meaning to pay a visit to the Two Buttons store.

two-buttons-4.pngTwo Buttons is the creative brainchild of Elizabeth Gilbert and her husband Jose Nunes.

Eat-pray-love You know, The Eat, Pray, Love author.

Have you seen her video, Your Elusive Creative Genius! on Ted Talks?   It’s very inspiring!  You can read more about the couple and their exotic store “Come for the day and see the world. ”

two-buttons-3.png There are rooms and rooms of wonderful stuff!  Painted, carved, stone, textiles, jewelry.  I’ve got my eye on a Buddah or two,  just for good luck.

two buttons warehouseThere have got to be three, four, or maybe more (I lost count) large rooms to discover as you meander along.

two-buttons-9.pngThis wooden Elephant is great.  Wouldn’t this be great in a kids room over the bed!  Of course you’d have to really secure him to the wall but what a great guardian elephant.  Think of the stories you could tell at bedtime.

two-buttons-7.pngThey also carry a line of rustic furniture made from old boat wood.  The colors and rustic patina are great inspiration.

two-buttons-8.pngThere was an entire wall of throws on display but this one was my favorite.

two-buttons-10.pngStatues, statues, statues!  All great for the garden.

two-buttons-11.pngI’ve got my eye on this one.  So serene…I need serene.

buddah wall at two buttonsIf you go to the store you must have lunch at the Lovin’ Oven so you can stare out at the Two Buttons Buddah Wall.  The food and ambience is so great.  It’s cozy and feels comfortable like you can just hang out all day.

lovin ovenThe rustic furniture is from the Two Buttons store.

two-buttons-1.pngWhat a great day!  These two guys  bring the laughs and smiles?

french-desk-3.png  It’s great to get out and see things, talk to folks, and just plunk around.  I felt so inspired  I managed to come home and get a little painting done.  I’m super psyched about this french desk. I know It’s going to be lovely with it’s graceful edges.

french-desk-2.png I can’t wait to work with the layers of paint and watch it come to life.

chinoiserie-console-2I also started working on the Chinoiserie cabinet I had previously tried to restore.  Unfortunately I couldn’t save the painted designs on the piece.  I am really super excited about this piece!!! It’s going to be gorgeous!!

Hardware2The hardware on this piece is crazy good!

I put a resist on the gold relief design and will circle back to sand away the paint.

chinoiserie-console-1I base coated with white and plan to do several layers with sanding in between to reveal the white underneath.  A wash may be called for as well.

velvet and linen via pinterest

via Pinterest (Velvet & Linen)

These are my inspiration pieces.

via pinterest K and Co

via pinterest mrs blandings

(via pinterest and Mrs. Blandings)

via pinterest I’m liking the idea of the brass hardware with a chalky rustic layered blue and gray!

frenchtown-nj-4Life is good…  Inspiration is everywhere…

frenchtown-nj-8 and it’s priceless!

Vive la Difference

sideboard-chalk-paint-5I’m 99.9% done with the great sideboard project!  I’m so happy with the way the top turned out.  The dark walnut stain and wipe on poly gave it a nice clean finish, perfect for a sideboard.

Sideboard top

Wouldn’t this look great in a restaurant or cafe setting?  How about adding some cup hooks and ironstone teacups.

sideboard-chalk-paint-4I had to make a white backdrop for the lion shelf and still need to distress and wax it a little bit.  I’ll also touch up the minor nicks on the lion pediment.   My husband thought I was crazy pairing these two pieces from different periods and styles.  One classic and clean, the other dark and victorian.


Sorry dear, I beg to differ yet again.  So unruly, tsk tsk…..I happen to think they go together quite nicely!  Can’t you see it with The Benedict Cumberbatch chair I just scored.  These pieces are so much fun together.  They’re not run of the mill, they’re interesting and different.  I’d throw in a piece of abstract art to top it all off.

DSCN4848I love mixing things up a bit don’t you?  Who wants run of the mill, not me.

benedict as sherlock

I happen to have a serious Sherlock Holmes addiction and the BBC version is my new favorite.  I thought of Sherlock and his blue scarf the minute I found the wonderfully blue tufted chair.

benedict as sherlock 3Must be his dashing good looks and eccentric appeal…hmmm kind of like the sideboard and the chair.

chair side viewDifferent styles, a little old, a little glam, a little eccentric….Perfect!

DSCN5494Vive la Difference!



Linking Up!

Miss Mustard Seed’s Fabulous Furniture Feature Friday


Vintage School Chair

vintage-school-chair-1 Isn’t this just the cutest little thing ever!

I love this song and couldn’t stop humming it while I was working.  It’s such a happy little tune and really goes with this sturdy little seat.

The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs by The Be Good Tanyas

birds 12

The legs are adorably curvy but were oh so rusty.

 I sanded all the rust off and now they’re nice and shiny.


There were several iterations on this one.    I had to patch it up with wood filler on the seat.

 You can see here I had painted it white and then scraped it off.  I had also decoupaged some butterflies but ended up scraping them off too.  In the end I just wanted it simple yet pretty.

birds 11I think it’s just perfect now.  Rustic and sweet, ready for flyaway dreams.


I really love it with these vintage Japanese water colors. The colors are just delightful.  Wouldn’t these be great in a little girls room with two twin beds and lots of bright colors.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset


I love the little bird in this one.


I may have to keep these girls.  They really make me smile.

birds 3

NYC roots and all!    1968, Wow, I wonder where this chair has been.

birds 14

Hope you have a song’filled week!


The littlest birds really do sing the prettiest songs…

Be your Best Failure


I’m really good at failing.  I’m starting to feel like I cultivate failure.  The thing about failure is one day you’re sure to strike gold, right?  I mean it’s in the odds.

thomas edison

I started painting this table on a whim a few weeks ago around the same time I started working on the sideboard.  You know how it is, the music was playing, the paintbrush was in my hand.

Table olive

 One thing led to another and before I knew it I had this olive looking color on my table!  Ugh, not the look I was going for.   Don’t get me wrong it’s not bad, it’s just not what I had in mind.


 So I let it sit and did other things.  I watched the movie “About Time” with Domhnall Gleeson (Hello, what a great name that is), and Rachel McAdams.    I loved this little movie and the house.    The mouldings are terrific! …and the location was sublime.


Don’t you love this house?

I love the staircase with full railings on both sides.   That must be rough to paint.  I wonder if it’s a movie set.  I love the description Dohmnall Gleeson’s character gives of his mother right in the opening lines.


Lindsay Duncan  as the “mum”

I got to thinking….Small success, maybe that’s what the goal should be.  Most of my happiest moments have been on the rise up, In the standing up from failure.  At times the trip up can be glorious.


via (go see a little clip and review here)

When you think about exuberance, it really comes in smallish increments doesn’t it?  That’s what makes them so golden.  Whether it’s climbing Mount Kilamanjaro or riding the African Queen.  It’s those little moments of survival that make us keep going.  The little victories!  Kind of like painting a table over and over.


This movie was such a feel good, whimsical, cozy up in front of the fire movie.  I loved Bill Nighy as the Dad.    I especially loved the part about reading the books (watch the movie).


Lydia Wilson as “Kit Kat”

Some of my very best memories are of little adventures.  When I was a kid they just opened the door and let you run out, not much dissimilar from letting the dog out (which they also did in those days).  If you weren’t back for food at dinnertime they might start to worry.   My, has the world changed.   I grew up in Elizabeth NJ.  I know, Shriek!  It was actually kind of great.  We had great adventures!


We had rivers in Elizabeth (really), and interesting close-knit neighborhoods.  We took the public bus when we were ten years old, and knew all the shortcuts through back alleys and parking lots.  We’d walk miles every day just discovering things in hidden corners.   I was the kind of kid who could cut through a parking lot and emerge with stray dogs and cats trailing behind me.  I was the pied piper of strays, always bringing something home.

Rachel-McAdams-Dohmnall-Gleeson There was a big downtown with old-fashioned department stores much like the one in the movie the Christmas Story.    I also remember slogging through a nearby river coming home filthy with muddy feet and a crusty nose.  That’s a day well spent I think.   I’m really dating myself and may sound like I’m a hundred years old.  You know what they say, fifty is the new forty.

okl finish 4


This is the kind of finish I really want on my table.  Back to the drawing board!


Sometimes people will say to me ….“How do you know how to do that”?

  Use a saw, paint a table, build a bookcase, pour a footing?    Here’s the big secret. …I just crack open the can.

Table finish 2

I just bumble along and crack open the can.  Sure I read about things a bit.   Then I just try it out, play around, really make a mess.  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  Most of the time, I wind up with something pretty darn good. 


That’s the fun of it all really.  That’s the best part, the part you don’t want to miss.      You know one of the reasons I love fixing up old furniture is that you discover these wonderful old diamonds in the rough with interesting stories to reveal.  Sometimes it’s a sticker in a drawer or an old Cross pen.  I won’t lie to you because sometimes it is in fact smelly, just like life.   You just have to clean it up and keep going.  Dust things off a bit is all.


At the end of the day I feel I’ve become a bit like these old pieces of furniture.  I like to think that although I may have a few bumps and bruises, I also have a bit of charm, and a fair amount of character.  Did I say I finished the sideboard?  Well I did and it’s Fabulous!  but no sooner did I finish when this wonderful little guy came my way.


Isn’t it the best?

Lion-PedimentThere’s a shelf, there’s a lion.  The perfect match!

I have a few more coats on the table and then I’ll document the steps with the matching end table.  I hope you’ll check back to see the finished piece.

If  you’re looking for an interesting piece for your humble home, perhaps a little diamond in the rough, please let me know.  I’m really good at failure and I’m really good at finding strays, they just follow me home.

Oh, and don’t forget to get out there and fail, fail, fail.

I’m certain you’ll discover something along the way.