Category Archives: Garage Estate Yard Sale Goodness

Curb Collected Vintage Patio Bistro Set

Oh I love me some curb collecting…. and they leave out the best stuff in my hood. They know the curb fairies soon will come by and magically remove it from the curb. It’s a little embarrassing…. oh hell, no, it’s not. I’ve curb collected some really great stuff. This adorable vintage patio bistro set for example! And no, it didn’t look like this to begin with…. (Sorry, no before picture). Its paint was chipped and worn, and the table top was missing the glass.
I’ve always wanted a little vintage set like this and it’s the perfect size for my little yard. I had it sandblasted and powder coated a new clean white. The seats were recovered with a trendy black and white outdoor fabric in a coral print.
Here are the steps involved- pretty standard chair covering techniques.

Step 1
Remove the old fabric – always an adventure, you never know what you’ll find. This time the boards were a little musty and had to be replaced. I got some outdoor resistant plywood and traced the old boards onto them. Then I cut them out and sanded them down. You’ll thank me later when you place the boards back on the chair and mark where the screw holes go. I used a small bit and I pre-drilled the holes to make mounting the screws easier. It’s a good idea to mark where the back or the front goes.

Step 2
Use the new boards to trace the pattern on new foam for the seat cushions. This is where investing (and by investing I mean dig through the kitchen stuff at your favorite thrift store) in an electric knife is going to make this job a cinch. (Your mom might have one in her drawer that she doesn’t use anymore….) Cut out the foam with your handy dandy new electric knife (this is fun).

Step 3
Layer the board, the foam, a thin sheet of quilting batting and lastly your fabric. Staple the fabric to the board in standard upholstery method. Pick one side, staple, then immediately staple across at the other side, pulling the fabric taunt. (Think North, then South) Be sure to keep the holes that you pre-drilled clear or you’ll be cussing later. Next staple East then West, again pulling the fabric taunt. Start filling in between, again stapling across from one another. Fold gathers into the fabric to make it look neat.
Step 4
Trim away the fabric from your staple job. You can add a circle of fabric to cover up your staple job (glue it on if you must) but I live under the assumptions that people aren’t picking up my chairs and looking underneath them. That being said, the chair backs were viewable from the back, so I traced the chair back board directly onto a piece of the same fabric. Then I trimmed it about 1/2 smaller and glued it on the back to cover the board.

Step 5
Screw the pieces back onto your chair frames, brew yourself a fabulous latte and enjoy al fresco Dining at its best!

It followed me home… I had to keep it.

I love a good estate sale. A REAL estate sale – the kind where someone lived in that house for 40+ years and has moved on to better places.  I recently stumbled upon a doozy.  It was the estate of costume designer Grady Hunt.  His house was filled with grand furniture and  silver and artwork and SEWING SUPPLIES!  I hit the mother load!  Zippers, beads, sequins, fabric – oh my.  I walked out of there with a giant box of fabulous for $20 bucks.

Well, I tried to walk out of there…. But there was this charming little desk… (did I say charming – I meant CHARMING)  It was darling!  I already have a fabulous vintage desk in my living room.  I REALLY didn’t need, have room for, or desire another vintage desk.   But I thought with it’s wonderful condition and the feminine shape I could sell it on Craigslist?  “I could double my money!” I rationalized.

“Let’s just offer less than what they’re asking and see what they say.  If they won’t take $25 less then we’ll walk away.  It wasn’t meant to be.”  And since they were already asking a rock bottom price… what were the odds….


They were very nice when they helped me load it into my car.

Mr. Malibu grudgingly helped me move it into my entryway to await it’s fate.   But it couldn’t stay there for long.  My dad was coming to stay, and the likelihood of Thing 1 running into was high.  So somehow, magically, it found it’s way into my bedroom… damn it.

And it looks really cute there.

I was going to sell it, really….

but I think it likes me.

Peacock Feather Earrings Tutorial

Peacock Feathers are a popular trend right now in fashion and design.  When Craig Olsen decorated my swanky new living room and dining room they added fabulous accessories embellished with peacock feathers… and seeded my love for these pretty little feathers.  I found a peacock feather mask at a garage sale – and for only one dollar – it’s a great value on future craft supplies.  Flash forward a few weeks later when I was introduced to guitar goddess Ariel.  While admiring her gorgeous feather earrings,  I immediately knew what my next craft project would be!   Peacock Feather Earrings!  The perfect fashion forward accessory for the girl who loves a little funk in her fashion.

I found a ton of tutorials for making Peacock or feather earrings, and I combined a few techniques to settle on a method that was easy and suited my vision.

First trim your feathers.  Just pull off a few of extra feathers from the left and right sides.  You need to expose the shaft of the feather in order to get a good surface to work with.  You might have to trim the shaft of the feather depending on its thickness.   Both the feather shaft and the jeweler wire need to be able to feed through your bead together.   Trim the feather shaft on the back carefully with a pair of scissors.

Trim the length of the feather shaft so that it doesn’t protrude through the top of the bead once you feed it through. You also need to test that both the shaft and wire will fit through your bead. Once you have applied the glue, there’s no going back. Apply the glue to the trimmed feather shaft and insert it into your bead – following quickly with your beading wire. The beading wire needs to extend about a 1/2″ to allow room to wrap the wire.
Bend up the wire as shown, then tightly wrap it around the feather shaft. The wire and the glue will ensure that your feathers will withstand any headbanging you might engage in.  Now thread your crystal bead.


Using a pair of small needle nose jewelry pliers – grab the wire at the top of the bead – bend over to one side – wind the wire around the closed jewelry pliers to create a loop.  Use the jewelry pliers to grab the loop you just created and tightly wind the wire around the space between the loop and the crystal bead.  Trim the wire and use the pliers to round out any part that is sticking out.
You are now ready to add your jump ring and earring hook and wear these pretties to your next rock n roll concert!

Vintage Desk Bureau with a little girly touch

I have a “thing” for certain types of furniture pieces.  I fall in love with chairs.  I melt for little round pedestal tables.  And I think we all know I have a thing for little vintage desks.   I have two and now… now I have three.  This one is a desk bureau.  Love these!  Practical.  Charming.  Organized.  Yeah.  You got me baby.

A good friend had this at her garage sale for a mere $20 dollars.  Whenever I go to her house, I admire her vintage furniture, her white milk glass collection and here she was, selling this amazing piece for $20.  It once graced her daughter’s bedroom but the blossoming teenager had outgrown it.  The faded yellow paint was chipping, the skull and cross bone skull stickers were peeling.  How could I let a stranger take it?  Clearly, it needed to be saved.  It might have been nostalgia – I purchased a desk like this years ago for Thing 2’s room – and during the divorce/separation she took it to her dads house.  But I had always loved it and missed it.  My BFF Kat, inspired Thing 2’s piece, bought one at a thrift store too.  It turned out to be sanding project from hell but she kept at it until it was beautiful and it now graces her daughters room.

I was so excited over this project I didn’t stop to take a “before” picture.  Here it is right after I sanded it down.
This piece is in great condition and it easily sanded down.  I painted two coats of Zinsser primer (letting it dry between coats) before lightly sanding it and applying the last coat of paint.

The inside of the desk was painted a royal red.  I love the unexpected color but red isn’t my favorite.  To keep the color close to the original inspiration I chose a girly hot pink.  Flamingo pink was exactly what this desk needed to pizzazz it up.  I thought about silver leafing the inside but those fussy little cubby holes were a deterrent.  Flamingo Pink spray paint conquered those holes!

Originally, I intended to sell this piece – $20 plus paint, it would have been a quick sale and easy profit.  But somewhere during the re-finishing part of our relationship, we bonded.   It whispered how it would hide my entry way table clutter – keys and mail and stuff to put away.  It coyly mentioned that it’s drawers would give easier access to my craft supplies.  Yes, I was seduced and my good intentions forgotten.

Now that I knew we were in a long term relationship, I needed to make a deeper commitment.  I wrote a dear John letter to my old entry way table – and then set it outside with a “free to a good home” sign.   Then I took a closer look at the little glass knobs who were begging for more embellishment.  This charming stencil from the Martha Stewart line tied in the star accents I already have in my home.

Now the little desk bureau is a happy welcome to my home (thanks for hiding my keys and mail)  Yes, I’m still missing two glass knobs, but they are just an excuse to go to garage sales.  Good relationships require effort, afterall!