Friday, May 27, 2011

Artists in Residence

This is how we spent our pre-bedtime, daylight hours yesterday:

A private art show is being held in our driveway.  At least until it rains...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting Ahead of Myself...

So I now have 3 pieces waiting for me to complete them. 

I really enjoyed doing the last one, especially the selling it part!  We have the rocking chair, the 1940's dresser and another dresser I bought today. 

I worked up a quote for the lady I sold the last piece to, but I think she just asked for it so she could try to pick my brain about how I do this.  While I'm glad she admired my work, it seemed kinda rude to be asking for EXACTLY what I did for each and every step of the process.  I had already told her that this wasn't just a hobby and that I was trying to make some extra money for my family, but apparently she didn't care.  I didn't give her too much info and eventually just told her that if she wasn't happy with the results she got doing it on her own, that I'd be happy to redo it for her.  Oh well!

We've been moving the "workshop" from warehouse at the family business to our garage in our house.  This will make it a lot easier to finish stuff when I have spare time to work on it. That's what the major hold up has been.  I'm hoping to get at least one piece finished by the end of the weekend.

The rocking chair is sanded and ready to get working on.  The 40's dresser has the knobs removed and is ready to clean up and paint.

Today I sent Handsome off to pick up a large purchase I made on Craigslist.  I know I have 2 other projects waiting to be completed, but this seemed like a really good deal that I couldn't pass up.  He grabbed the high school senior who lived behind us to help him move it out of the second floor apartment that the lady who sold it lives in.  It's a solid mahogany dresser that I got for $40.  The handles are salvageable, and the damage is on the surface.  We paid the senior $5 for helping out, so my cost was $45. 

While the dresser is perfect for a make-over, apparently the apartment it came out of could have used the same.  Handsome said it was really smelly and there were cats everywhere.  Needless to say, I'll be wiping the whole thing down with Clorox wipes before I get started, just for my own sanity. 

While getting gas in town yesterday, I noticed an auction going on at the self storage place behind the gas station.  I was SOOOO tempted to go see how one of those works and see if there was anything I could pick up cheap. I might have to check it out in the future. 

I put a "wanted" ad on craigslist and have gotten some bites from that.  I've also been meaning to check out the flea market at the fair grounds and a store called Garage Brothers that apparently cleans out other people's spaces and sells the contents. 

Hopefully by the next post I'll have more before/after pics to post!! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011


Lots happening lately.  It's been crazy around here.  I know I always say that, but it always feels that way. 

Furniture Update:

So I sold my first piece!  I got impatient, and eventually dropped the price to $60, but it was a start!  I got an e-mail about it on Saturday and set up a pick up time for Sunday.  From Saturday until Sunday, I sat around rethinking the entire thing.  Did I "over-distress" it?  The antique wash was too uneven.  She was gonna take one look at it and change her mind.

The lady couldn't come get it herself, so she sent her husband.  He showed up on time, basically grabbed the dresser and left.  No feedback, nothing.  Kinda leaves you feeling weird. 

This morning when I got up, I had an e-mail from the lady who bought it.  She said, "My husband brought home the nightstand today and it's so beautiful I almost cried!! To say I love it is an understatement!"   She said it didn't quite match the bed she had just bought, and she wanted to know what I'd done to get the antique color. 

Thanks to Handsome and Red's good advice, I told her a small bit about what I did, but offered to refinish it for her or to refinish the bed I have that actually matches the side table.  She wants quotes for both options!!!  Hopefully I'll get some more business off this, but if not I've got lots of other projects to keep my super busy! 

Hoping to get the rocking chair going this week!!  I found the perfect fabric for it.

The seat and the back are both cushioned. and need recovering desperately.  I'm planning to paint the arms white, and distress them a little.  I think it will be really cute.  Hoping to make a little profit on it. 

I've really got to get started on bigger pieces to make some realy profit, but we're getting set up in the garage, so I'll be able to work at home.  :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adventures in Furniture Refinishing

My super cool, ultra hip friend/cousin's wife (aka Red) has been refinishing furniture in Atlanta and making a nice profit.  We've been talking about it for a while, and since the job hunt is not going well, I've decided to dabble in it myself.  Here's pics of my first project:

(Notice the nice shot of my brother-in-lawl laughing at me in the backgound)  It's a bedside table that we've had at the house for a while.  The drawers didn't open very well and the only thing being stored in it was junk Curly had decided to put in it.  It's kinda non-descript and boring, so I thought it would make a good place to start.  Plus I didn't have to buy it, so that saved us some cash!! 

I went with Handsome to our local home improvement store.  He's ALWAYS handy to take along for a couple of reasons.  #1  He gets a 10% discount because he's a veteran.  #2  He's really good at getting a great deal.  Reason #2 came in especially handy this time, since I was having to purchase all my initial supplies that can be used again (i.e. paint brushes, sand paper, scrapers, etc.).  After a nice chat with the sales dude, we found a great 3/4 full, used can of white paint that we were able to get for $5 (usually $25) and some brown that was 2/3 full that we were able to get for $1!!  Our total costs were about $30!

My sweet mom kept my kids for me so I could work on the project at Handsome's office with no interruptions.  It took me all day, but I'm sure as I figure the process out, I'll get faster.  Had a few hiccups figuring out how to get it done correctly, but overall went fairly smoothly.  Thankfully my hubby is a painting expert, so I was able to get some great tips from him.  The distressing part was particularly tricky.  It had been pretty humid around here lately, so the paint was dry but not "dry."  I had a few problems with paint coming off in much bigger chunks than I really wanted, but overall it turned out ok. 

I went on an intensive search for affordable, pretty knobs or handles to put on the piece.  Handles were non-existent, but knobs were plentiful if I wanted to pay $6 to $10 each!!  Fortunately, I found some at World Market for $5 each and I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $30, so I got all six of them for $20.  That brought our entire investment into the piece to $50. 

Here's the finished product:

I listed it on craigslist on Sunday for $100.  After some thought, I dropped the price to $80.  I'm still making a few amendments to the listing, so hopefully it will sell soon.  Thankfully Red has been giving me some great tips on how to list it effectively. 

This weekend I went on the hunt for more furniture to work on.  Apparently no one sells stuff at garage sales anymore.  I drove around for over an hour and didn't stop at even one because the didn't seem to have any furniture at all!  I stopped at a resale store owned by a friend of my dad's but they were WAY out of my price range.  Good will had a pretty dressing table for $50 but it had A LOT of damage.  I almost bought a dresser at a thrift store, but $50 still seemed a little high for my next project.  Gotta sell something first!!

On Monday, I drove down to Angier to a little place called Rusty's Furniture.  It was a little thrift store run by a family who owns a small moving company.  Apparently they end up with a lot of furniture.  I had a great conversation with the lady there.  Their prices were reasonable.  She gave me some tips on where to find some other pieces that I plan to follow up on soon.

I bought a child's rocking chair for $7.  The seat is upholstered and needs recovering, but it's in really good shape.  I think it will be really cute.  Pics to come.

I'm picking up a vintage 1940's/1950's dressing/vanity table today that I found on craigslist for FREE!!!  So exicted about the possibilities for this one.  Here's the pic the lady put on craigslist:

I can't wait to see how this one turns out!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pretty much everybody knows I'm looking for a job.   Due to a series of unexpected events, I must go back to work.  Not my first choice, being away from my babies, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?  Anyway, we've worked out just about all the details with child care, communting, new budget, etc.  Just one small problem:


I started my search back at the very beginning of February.  It's now almost mid May, and I still don't have gainful employment.  It makes a girl question her abilities!  It's been almost 5 years since I've held a traditional job.  Since I was about 6 months pregnant with Curly, I've been lucky enough to be at home, taking care of my family.  Before this job search, I thought I was pretty hirable (in the small niche that I'm qualified to work in)!  I have a good education, strong experience and excellent recommendations.  Apparently, these days, that's not enough. 

My search started out pretty good.  After sending out a ba-zillion resumes, I finally got a call back in March for a couple of interviews.  The first one was with a very large, well know organization for a pretty important local position.  It was a phone interview, and I knew during the conversation that it didn't go very well.  It took them over nine weeks and two email "nudges" for them to tell me they weren't intersted.  Fine.  I can handle that. 

My next interview was with a local chapter of another large organization.  It is a position that I've done before with a similar group, so I'd think I was an easy hire.  I've had 2 interviews with them, the 1st on March 21st and the second about 3 weeks later.  Well, it's May 12th.  Still no word from them.  It's a job that requires A LOT of travel and the salary is low, so I'm not anxious to hear from them too much, but you'd think by now, they'd give me some sort of news. 

The next interview was with a large, internationally known canine membership organization for a position in their foundation.  The interviewer told me at my second visit to their offices that I was their top candidate.  Somehow, I didn't get the job.  My guess is that my salary requirements were too high.  Apparently I'm expected to work for peanuts and warm, fuzzy feelings.  Unfortunately I don't have that luxury anymore. 

The NEXT interview was with a large electric coop for a position doing outreach and public relations.  I've totally done this exact job before and the salary range was perfect.  I REALLY wanted this one, but I have yet to hear back from them.  It's been 2 weeks since the interview, and the lady told me they were going to hire someone quickly.  I'm guessing that one isn't in the cards for me. 

Today I had another phone interview with an non-profit focused on farming.  It seemed to go well, but now I'm thinking my "it went well" gage is broken.  The lady said that she was certain she'd be calling me in the next few days to set up an in-person interview.  We'll see.

So I'm still in the running (as far as I know) for 3 different positions.  And I'm still sending out resume's hopefully someone will want me.

In the mean time, to try and earn some extra $$, I've just started refinishing furniture to a "shabby chic" look to try and resell on FB.  My WONDERFUL friend, who I'll call Red, has been holding my hand through the entire process.  She does this regularly and has been making a tidy little profit on her work.  My first piece should be done tomorrow.  I'll post pics later.  I invested about $50 in materials (many of which can be used on the next project) and I'm hoping to sell it for $100 to $125.  It's a small bed-side table with two drawers.  It had been sitting, broken with a boring finish on it in Curly's room for almost a year now.  I painted it white, and will be distressing the edges and putting an "aging wash" on it.  I also bought new knobs to replace the non-descript handles.  Hopefully someone will buy it and I can get started on another, bigger project and get better at it.  :)  We'll see!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Weekend Full of Opposites

This weekend was a bit crazy.  Buddy woke up at 5:55 on Friday morning.  He and I watched the Royal Wedding together.  He was more interested in his sippy cup of juice and his graham cracker than the wedding, but it was nice not to view it by myself.  I thought it was lovely.  Such a happy occasion, with two people that seem to genuinely care about one another, despite all the craziness surrounding the wedding.  The bride was gorgeous.  The ceremony lovely (although a little stuffy).  The hats were hysterical. The images from the wedding made me smile throughout the weekend. 

On Friday night, the mom's group from my church met up for a "Mom's Night In" where we planned to watch (or re-watch) the royal wedding.  We got started at 8, but somehow managed not to even start the DVR until midnight.  We had SUCH a great time together, laughing, sharing our struggles, praying for each other, realizing we're not alone in this crazy journey of motherhood.  I didn't get home until almost 2 am.  SOOOO worth it!

The rest of the weekend proceeded pretty normally for us.  We ran errands, did some projects around the house and spent time with some friends.   Sunday we went to church in the morning and choir practice at in the evening. 

I woke up this morning, turned on the news to see the headline that Osama Bin Laden had been killed last night by US Special Forces.  While I couldn't help but feel a small sense of relief at the announcement, it just seemed so opposite to the happiness that was embodied by the royal wedding.  It was like a shock back into reality. 

I've seen so many scenes today of people celebrating over this death.  There were literally parties in the streets of NYC.  I can understand the sense of justice being served, but my first instinct upon hearing the news wasn't to celebrate, it was to pray.  While I understand the necessity of what our forces did, I still can't help but feel a little scared, knowing that retaliation will be imminent, and our troops are definitely in more danger today than they were yesterday. 

The other thing that struck me is a little bit of sadness that another soul is spending an eternity in hell.  Many say "he deserves it for what he did."  But isn't all sin equal?  Doesn't the bible tell us that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God?  In God's eyes, my own wretched deeds are just as bad as those of Bid Laden.  

I've heard this verse in several places today:

"Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
   when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the LORD will see and disapprove
   and turn his wrath away from them."
-Proverbs 24:17-18

I'm really reminded today of how undeserving each and every one of us are of the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf.  I'm so blessed to have a personal relationship with the one and only God, who loves me more than I can ever imagine.  He loves each one of us.  Jesus died for Osama Bin Laden too.  God loved Bin Laden just as much as he loves me.  Too bad he never realized it.