Chinese, please!

This is the table I mentioned in an earlier post. I apologize for the poor photo, I never seem to have my camera when I need it, thus the phone shot. An estate sale purchase, I found it wedged between two tattered dressers in a third floor bedroom of a large old home at 43rd and Warwick, near the Kansas City Art Institute.

I'd been to the sale already and hadn't bought anything when I took boyfriend back because I wanted him to see the house. (He's great about coming with. He might not always be excited about the contents, but he's always up for checking out the house!) Poking around what I'm sure were originally servants quarters, the table caught my eye. Scratched and stained, it was surprisingly un-wobbly, so I grabbed it.

The pale green color I painted it wasn't awful, but it didn't seem especially right either. The next day I took steel wool in hand and really got after it, only to discover that it looked pretty good with most of the paint removed. A rubdown with stain colored the areas of raw wood I'd exposed, and toned down the new green nicely. I finished it tonight with a sprayed coat of clear poly that should keep it in good shape.

I love a flawed surface, and I love a little bit of asian style. I'm very interested to see how long this takes to sell.

Magic Lamp

The best part of having a little antiques business on the side is that occasionally you get to keep something for yourself. For example, this white ceramic swan-handled urn lamp. I wish I could get a detail shot but I seem to have a problem shooting anything white with my camera.

Surprise, it's another auction find I picked up for next to nothing. It originally wore a white silk pagoda shade and a white ball finial that fairly screamed "grandma's house." Now sporting a hard black barrel shade (that cost five times what the lamp did) and a silver urn-shaped finial, I think it whispers "Hollywood Regency" quietly, yet confidently.

This will live in our den once I finish painting, caulking the new crown moulding, and find a sideboard for it to set on.

Confidential to Boyfriend

Let's move. Westover Road between Ward Parkway and Wornall. Obscenely expensive, totally worth it. I'll even mow the (expansive) lawn.


More on taking something old and making it work:

This is an original Caldwell from 1959. I don't know who Caldwell was, but their abstract ink-over-watercolor ended up an an auction months ago. It was in a non-descript brown wood frame with a filthy linen liner. I got it for less than 10 bucks.

The framing was hideous, but there was something about it image I found compelling. When I took it apart I found the painting had been masking taped to the back of a print of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. I have to love someone who would flip over a bad print and display their own painting.

There are some dark aquas and some cochineal-type reds, and the shapes always make me think "medieval" for some reason. It's now safely mounted on acid-free board, with a simple ivory mat and black frame. Originally it had a standard 2 inch mat all around. I've matted it at 4 inches on the top and sides and a bit more on the bottom. It's beautiful, and one of those things I know I'll keep for a long time.

The Real McCoys

I left a comment over at Decorno the other day where I mentioned that I use old McCoy pots to help with the stuff that always ends up on my dresser. I was just in the closet changing out of my work clothes and their shape and color always makes me smile. I have another in the green that sits on my desk at my workshop for pens and pencils.

The blue one was picked up at a second hand shop for six bucks because it was covered with multiple colors of paint. A long hot bath and a gentle massage with a Scotch Brite pad revealed it's original beauty. Man I love a score.

I should also note the locker baskets. At an auction one evening I picked up an arm load of metal baskets of different sizes and shapes, thinking they'd be good to resell. And they have been, enough so that these two got to stay here. One organizes belts and gloves, the other holds boxes and manuals for my camera and iPhone, the little camera tripod, and who knows what else I've tossed in there. What does it say about me that I enjoy the fact that they're in sequential order, number 1354 and 1355.

Anyway, even though I hate the word "repurposing," I do love taking old things that move me and finding a way to make them work in the here and now.


Hi Internet, sorry I've been away. I'm exhausted. The last couple of months it seems like there's something to do every minute of every day. I know I've had evenings of laying around or chatting online, but they seem pretty few and far between.

In my opening post I mentioned "my tiny business." I call it tiny because it's not even big enough to be a small business. I'm a dealer. Antiques, decorative stuff, nothing serious, and even though Mrs. Blandings hates it, painted furniture. (It's ok Mrs. B., I'm not fond of a lot of things I see at our mall either!)

So I've been making a push. I got moved into my workshop space and I've been trying to get things started, finished, tagged and over to the mall. I had a sale in July which got rid of a lot of things I was already tired of, and the first couple weeks of this month sales have been pretty good. Lesson learned: if you decide that blue Blenko carafe has been there too long and you'd like to bring it home to use yourself, go immediately and take it out of stock. I didn't do that (it was there for months) and boom, showed up on my sold list.

I made a number of paint discoveries, both good and bad. The clearance priced Pratt & Lambert in Designer White looks bad on a piece of furniture, but mixed half with water makes a great wash. Conversely, the flat grey Benjamin Moore from the mis-tint shelf looks pretty dull on it's own, but great sanded down to a black undercoat, with that white wash over the top of it. Ace hardware is now a Benjamin Moore dealer, if you can find anyone to mix a color for you.

The shaker dropleaf that got the coat of the bad white paint is currently in use as my workbench. I dont know what it's previous owner put on it, but I suspect it's marine varnish. Normally sanding solves the old finish problem, but this bad boy is going to take a chemical stripper, and probably lots of it.

A chinese chippendale side table got painted a sage green, and I decided it wasnt quite right. I tried to steel wool off all the paint, and found that level of distress was pretty darn good looking. So I'll get the rest of it scrubbed down this week, follow up with a wash of stain to tone down the areas of raw wood, and call it done. Perfect with a pair of small asian seated figures I picked up at a sale last week. My luck selling asian things has been hit and miss, but I like it so much, so I expect there will always be a bit of that in my space.

And now, off to bed, it's going to be a busy week.