Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Simple Mismatched Spring Tablescape

Over the weekend we had the most lovely spring weather everrrrrrrr!

I almost died it was so beautiful. Almost. 

So anyhow, it was also EASTER! And we had family for lunch and since we recently put up with canvas top to the pergola, we decided it would be a fantastic idea to eat outside! We haven't found any outdoor furniture yet, so we just brought our dining set, plus some other chairs I had lying around.  

I used what I already had and created a simple spring tablescape that I thought I'd share! 

I pulled out some mismatched bottles and vases I had, stuck in some fresh flowering branches (that I broke off a neighboring tree!), and arranged them on top of a vintage lace runner. The place mats were some cream linen ones I bought at Home Goods around Christmas, and they are seriously versatile. I love them. I used plain white fabric napkins just draped across random white plates and mason jars for cups.  The colors are so perfect for ANY spring lunch/dinner! Green, purply-pink and white? Yes, please! I didn't want anything to look formal or over-thought, but I wanted it to feel special and pretty. 

Since I didn't want the table to be cluttered with serving dishes, I placed everything on an adjacent table (my favorite green farmhouse table). Let me just also say the PERFECT spring lunch MUST include this amazing chicken salad sandwich I came up with. Do you want the recipe?

I hope to be doing this again and again this year! It was so enjoyable to enjoy the warmth with a slight breeze while chatting and eating! 

Here was our group, all ready to eat our Easter feast!

Now I'm REALLY itching to get some outdoor furniture! I've been scouring Craigslist for a couple weeks now and have been having a hard time deciding...

What is your favorite, metal, wicker, or wood? 

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Makeover Monday: Gateway 180

Last week was a busy one. I missed a couple posts, but I'll share what I was up to! After months of preparation and organizing, the women in our church headed to Gateway 180, a homeless shelter, to redecorate a room and put on some Easter activities. Gateway 180 is an incredible organization whose mission is to reverse homelessness.  They provide a safe, comfortable place for women, children, and families to stay - short-term -  while they give them tools and resources to find a more permanent solutions for their housing and job needs. 

The leadership in our women's organization, got word that some of the rooms were not so pretty and didn't much feel like a home to these families in need.  Because of our limited resources and budget, we volunteered to redecorate one of the rooms (that needed the most help) and also to provide an Easter activity for the children and serve them lunch. 

Here is the ugly starting point of the room, which had all personal items already removed:

From this point we divided and conquered. We had groups prepping the room and painting...
(Erin, one of the youth in our church, has pro-painting form ;))

And others helping the kids with an Easter craft...

And the rest either preparing lunch for the families or hiding eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt in their back yard play area. Below, you can see some donated Bissinger Chocolate Easter treats, donated towels and toiletries, as well as these fun super hero capes that the youth in our church made for all the children. 

I was part of the group responsible for decorating the room, so we were in the hallway putting together racks and pulling bed sets out of packaging (I'm in a yellow shirt). 

My friend, Camille, was the brains behind all the decorating. She put together the plan and I just helped execute it. Below, I'm getting ready to install the curtain rod!

This project wasn't without some hiccups! When we were shown the room originally, it only had 3 beds, so the room layout was planned accordingly and 3 bed sets were purchased. Then when we got there, I noticed there were 4 beds! That changed out layout a bit and one of the racks to hold clothes wouldn't fit anymore, but even more stressful: the bed sets we got were from Sears and purchased in January and Camille and I were worried we wouldn't be able to find the exact bed set in a twin size at a local store! I quickly called around and found a Sears that wasn't too far that had the EXACT one in the size we needed! 

Talk about God answering prayers! I know it may seem simple and perhaps even trivial, but I think God wanted that room to look pretty and matching, just as much as we did! Heidi, our women's group leader, had her husband run get the bed set, so it was in our hands within an hour!

So here is the final reveal! Some of the pictures aren't the best because I was using a friend's camera which I didn't know how to use, compared to mine, but you get the idea! :)

When you first walk in, the first thing that catches your eye is this sign that says, "BELIEVE THERE IS GOOD IN THE WORLD" with "BE THE GOOD" in yellow. There is plenty of bad things that happen and people who make poor choices, which consequences can land a family in this very room. But don't we all need reminders of hope? Of the good that exists? That we can gain control over our circumstances and be that influence for good? 

The other side of the room! The walls were painted light gray which was essential to making this small room look larger. The bright pops of yellow are cheerful and paired with varying tones of gray make this room look more modern. 

This was my favorite little nook, right as you walk in against this wall... below this was some painted gray apple crates that serve for a spot to put shoes. 

Then as you walk in a little further, look back toward the right you see the chalkboard (with my chalkboard art), a rack to put clothes, towels, personal items, and a new, sturdier dresser that has drawers that actually work (the old dresser they were using had broken metal drawer glides)!

The room had some great quotes that I need to incorporate into my own home! "Do Something Extraordinary!" Everyone, regardless of circumstance, is capable of doing extraordinary things... of BEING extraordinary. 

They all got a new set of coordinating towels too! These towels were personalized by sewing a strip of matching fabric about 3 inches from the edge on one side. Super easy and cute! Extra blankets and toiletries  sit just below.

The white-balance was off on this pic, but I loved the sign above the bed, that says, "You Make Me Happy, When Skies Are Gray"! I can just imagine the little children that will be sleeping in these beds, and them reading that sign before they go to sleep or when they wake up. Regardless of how gray the day is, or how gray their life may seem, just the simple fact that they exist, is making someone happy. I hope every child remembers that.  

This is standing at the far end, looking back to the door, on the left side. We put this little gallery wall together, with those boards that have wire running between two eye-screws and mini clothes-pins to pin up pictures. 

And just so you can see some good before/afters...

The other side:

 It was such a gratifying experience knowing that we completely transformed this room on a small budget and lots of love. Nearly everything we upcycled or painted or created and it looks much more like a home than an extra room in a shelter. 

I hope that the families that live in this transformed room know that people care. 

We care. 

I care.

God cares. 

And there IS good in this world.

It is not hard to find, but we have to choose to focus on the good, in order to overcome the bad. 

If you are local and want to help this shelter, let me know... there is a big need still! Message me for more info!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Makeover Monday: Denim Desk

When we first found this desk and the matching highboy that went with it, I immediately knew how I wanted to paint it. This is rare. I usually have to live with a piece for several days before I know what direction I want to go. The faux column motif on either side of the drawers were VERY similar to the Empire dresser I finished several months ago and kept. And I LOVED the finished I achieved with that one, so I knew I wanted to do the same thing with these!

First step was to strip the top and drawer fronts. They had a layer of yellowing and crackling varnish, which was removed and then sanded smooth. We did not stain these (since the wood was already dark and beautiful), just gave them a good conditioning and a couple coats of wipe-on poly. 

For the body, I painted a thick, artistic coat of Aubusson, then a light wash of Duck Egg, then using 320 grit sanding block, sanded away, so the end result is like your favorite pair of denim. This is a very time consuming and labor intensive process, since too much sanding will remove paint where you don't want to, and too little won't expose the underneath color. Can I also just say how pleased I am with how these pictures turned out? They capture perfectly the true color of the blues and the satin finish of that warm wood!

The pulls were SUCH a process. They had hideous knobs before with huge modern backplates that hid 2 more holes (probably from original hardware). So since using a single-post knob was out of the question, we had to try to find a pull that had the same post length as the original holes. After much searching, we found one at Hobby Lobby, but it was oil-rubbed bronze. SO wrong for the look I wanted. I decided to just spray them with a couple coats of Rustoleum white gloss paint. Now, they look almost like shells from the beach, don't they?

Simple, neutral desk vignette...

 A cute lady came by on Friday of VMD, loved both this desk and the matching highboy, but wasn't sure she was ready to commit. She came back the next day, confessing that she dreamt about them and decided she couldn't live without them! Ha! :) Love it when that happens. 

 My favorite part about this finish is the layered, worn look. I would love to this this technique used with different colors, so let me know if you try it out! What is your favorite part?

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Vintage Market Days: A Recap of Our Booth

Once upon a time, about a year ago, there was this lovely lady named Chanda (pronounced like Chandelier) who was from Oklahoma. Chanda was planning the first ever St Louis Vintage Market Days coming that fall. Vintage Market Days had already been a huge success in Oklahoma, so she had faith it would work out. But she needed to find vendors who would accurately portray the "Upscale Vintage Market" motto, AND be willing to put their faith in her that it would work out. 

Well, Chanda, somehow, found Rachel with Shades of Blue Interiors, liked what she saw and sent Rachel a message with an invitation to become a part of something new & exciting, and to trust her to create something thousands of people would drive hours to see. 

It sounds like the beginning of a unrealistic fairy tale, doesn't it? 

Except it is not.

Chanda believed in me and gave me a chance to showcase my talent. I know so many people out there as equally talented as I am, who are still struggling with exposure and success. I feel SO grateful that she reached out to me, encouraged me, offered advice and tips to success, so that we could make our little furniture refinishing dreams come true. 

Last Vintage Market Days I told Chanda that our goal was to use our profits from VMD to help pay for us to buy a house. I certainly hoped it would work out, but I wasn't holding my breath because, well... I'm a realist. However, we were SO successful in just the first day, that by the end of that weekend, we had enough to pay for a down payment on a house. 

 It started with Chanda having belief in me, in my family, and continues through all the support I got from the people who loved and bought my furniture, and from the support and love I get from my online peeps: YOU! My dreams, our dreams, are becoming a reality, not just because I can make beautiful furniture, but because YOU all believe in me. 

So, thank you. From every fiber of my being. I am able to make a supplementary income, doing something I love, utilizing my God-given talents, because of you. You commented on my pictures or posts. You talked about me to your friends. You bought something from me. You sent me emails. You asked my advice. You encouraged me.

So to recap this year's Spring VMD, we have new, bigger dreams. 

We are saving and working to open a store. 

Hopefully next year? Maybe not... (<--the realist in me) But it WILL be in the near future.  

With that, here is what our spaced looked like at opening (minus that little table on the right with a bunch of tool stuff on top)! 

And here is the king size bed I tried selling... again! It didn't sell... again! :/ Someone out there is waiting for this, I just know it! ;)

Some mid-century modern goodness:

This little Duncan Phyfe table was the first piece to sell!

I bought it at an auction last summer and after it sat in my basement for months, we finally made it pretty!

I have a thing for lights, ya'll! I made 2 rope pendant lights, 3 mason jar pendant lights, and found, cleaned up and repaired 3 different brass and crystal chandeliers (only 2 pictured here). 

A pretty little lingerie cabinet in Louis Blue...

My favorite spot in our booth: 

The table that would have sold 5 times if I had more identical sets! The table was something I worked on months ago, creating a restoration hardware finish. The top was a custom weathered, gray-brown stain, and the legs were layers of sanded away paint, dry brushing, and dark wax. 

I loved how it turned out. The chairs and bench were layers of Paris Gray and Country Gray, artfully distressed and a careful application of dark wax.

This has become what I'm known for around these parts, so I had to do another Union Jack!

My husband came up with the idea of showing a constant slideshow of my work, as a portfolio, on our TV. It worked out brilliantly, I must say, despite my skepticism. ;)

Vintage wooden knobs galore!

And this last piece is a pretty vanity for a girl, painted in Antoinette and Old White, with dark wax. We brought her in on Sunday and she didn't find a home that day. 

Speaking of things that didn't sell, I updated my Etsy store, Shades of Blue Shop, with all the remaining furniture and smaller handmade/vintage items! Check it out!

Happy Weekend! 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vintage Market Days: Vintage Eye Candy

First, to those who read my blog and are local, who came to VMD last weekend... THANK YOU! It was so lovely to meet many of you and chat a bit. That kind of support is what keeps me creating. It's my motivation! :)

I thought about combining pics of my booth/space at VMD and pics of took of the event and it turns out... TOO MANY PICTURES! :) So I'm going to share some of the amazing eye candy from other vendors tonight and on Friday I'll share a few I took of my space. 

Keep in mind, these pictures were taken SUNDAY AFTERNOON toward the end of the show! Vintage Market Days is awesome because they let their vendors re-stock throughout the event to keep people coming back for more!

 The Vintage Farmhouse had such a lovely mix of several things I love, including this wash basin full of old ironstone and cutting boards! (I bought that big round cutting board on the left!)

...and a very pretty Empire buffet in gray that was striking with the pink side chairs...

 American Home & Farm completely redid this bench and when I saw it on Friday I was SURE it would go fast. Couldn't believe it was still there! It was for sure one of my favorite pieces from the event! She told me when they removed the old upholstery, they found old children's clothing stuffed in as "batting" or cushioning! Can you imagine? haha Either way, I LOVED this piece (which is also still for sale)!

 The Red Posie had this lovely french stool alongside this bust form. Love the look created by the vintage ephemera mod podged on the bodice!

Rescued Furnishings had several striking pieces, many with bold colors. This bench made from a headboard and footboard was my favorite of theirs. 

The Painted Home had this fun chair. I love the mid-century shape of the frame against that red and white fabric that is reminiscent of french country. It is an unexpected combination and that red piping is perfect!

Of all the displays, my own included, my favorite styling was done by Tanglewood Cottage. Everything was perfection! Just look!

Who wouldn't want this mushroom shaped glass dome filled with vintage goodies? Just beyond that was a HUGE bird vintage bird cage filled with silver tarnished mugs, jars, pots, etc. It was a brilliant set up. 
I wish my room looked like this!

And then you turn to the left and beyond the most beautiful dresser I have ever laid eyes on! And it never sold! It is currently still for sale in their shop in Union. All of that ornate wood applique and detailing is ORIGINAL! I love those white busts too!

One booth that was almost easy to miss unless you were going to get food, was STC Finds. They had so many vintage items that I see all the time on Decor Steals, but these were legit!

Look at this whimsical organizer chest! How fun would that be in a craft room or children's play area? 

And here is the ironstone jackpot as collected and sold by Hoarder Hen (funny name too! :))

I could have spent hours just looking at everything. It was just so much!

Adorable little red child's chair...

Up on the hill, I snapped this shot of the 'traffic' of people milling about. The building on the left is where my booth was (just inside) and this was while things were really slow. Imagine this area twice as crowded and you will get an idea of how it was on Friday evening, Saturday until late afternoon, and Sunday morning. We had people lining up all 3 days before opening!  

My Vintage Varia had many things I was coveting, but most especially these blue water jugs. 

My neighboring booth, Pheona's Vintage Market, had this lovely set up that was so cozy and cute! I kept going over to admire it. 

 My booth was primarily furniture, so walking around enjoying the artistic vision these other vendors have, evident in the way they display vintage finds, was really inspiring!

Overall, we sold lots of furniture (about 17 pieces), almost all of my smaller, decorative items, and left us completely exhausted! (A good thing! :)) Come back on Friday for some pics of my space and what is left!

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