Who Among Us Doesn’t Like A Good Trash-To-Treasure Story?

I wish I could convey to you the mesmerizing sparkle of Rustoleum’s Metallic Vintage Copper Spray paint. You can get a hint of it in this photo but in person, its hypnotic. I think so anyway. Although my opinion might be influenced by the fumes.

This was a great Craigslist find. It’s got the retro design elements that I love, matches two steel mesh tables I already have (one painted the same; one still dull black and awaiting its turn to be sparkled) and it’s the right size for this corner. It does kind of spoil the quasi-mid century vibe I had going on out there but I am what I am and what I am is not a purist. You can see how rusty it was but you cant really tell that the back is not entirely straight and the top two shelves lean slightly forward. But for my purposes, it’s fine. And my purposes are to load it up with plants and tasteful accessories and a minimal amount of utilitarian objects.

When Sami saw the finished product , he thought the coloring was too dull and didn’t have enough contrast compared to the wall color. I had to remind him that my decorating strategy is to have a decor foundation as bland as possible so that when I inevitably go overboard with the doodads,  the base will fade way and the oddities will be showcased. And then I begged him to stop me from putting things on the shelves for at least a week so the many layers of primer and top coat can properly cure.


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This is only what I couldn’t help accumulating in only 2 days. I have two more Talavera planters to add and some nice little battery operated tealights and 3″ tall mason jars to put them into. It was all I could do to hold back from buying a few mini-gnomes but I did manage to resist that impulse. Somewhere along the line, I have to fit in a wire basket of suntan lotion and bug sprays, plus a waterproof container for the outdoor ceiling fan remote control. Maybe I can hide those behind a chicken.


It’s A Tough Job To Find Enough Things To Spray Paint Around Here

I had a little black table steel mesh table that was  a feature in my short-lived Mexican Happy Hour Stoopscape.  Black steel mesh is a classic that I cannot resist, but the time had come to freshen it up and as long as I was going to be spray painting it, why not jazz it up a little?

I was really happy with the way the Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint turned out on the desk lamp, so I went looking for more metallic finishes and came across Rustoleum Metallic Vintage Copper. It looks so good next to the eucalyptus wood rockers that – and please act surprised here – now I feel like I have to be on the alert for more things to use this paint on.

I Want To Share This With You

hwIt’s more  of a confession rather than a sharing. In a complete reversal of everything I have ever believed in, I have to tell you that I am now a fan of painted furniture.

It all started because if you approach my front door, you can look through the side light and see all the way up the hallway and through a little ante room to gawk at a slice of my bedroom – the slice where I keep the chest of drawers that holds my underwear. I would get out of the shower and make my way over to that dresser to pick out something to put on and realized with shock that the unexpected arrival of the FedEx guy or even a dog walker with good vision could see something that could never be unseen again. So I got the idea that I could minimize the risk of being seen au naturale by putting a small dresser to put into the big closet.

FullSizeRender (40)So I took to the local Craigslist and found the perfect dresser on the first shot. It was the right size and color and looked very much like the simple, unadorned cabinetry in the adjacent bathroom. It was made of solid wood and the seller was only asking $75. So I sent a text and sadly found out that the item was in a second floor bedroom. That killed the deal for me b/c I can barely navigate a set of steps myself, let alone wrangling a solid wood dresser. Later that same day, the seller texted me to say that if I was still interested she would have the dresser brought downstairs for me. So arrangements were made for pick up the next day at 12:30.

In the end, it didn’t work out. As I pulled up to the address, the small front yard was filled with dishes, furniture, lamps etc for sale and she was slouched in a chair with her feet up on the porch railing. I will spare you the scathing description that I treated my husband and brother-in-law to but it will suffice to tell you that the seller was a dolt  who was having a half-hearted house sale to avoid eviction. The dresser was not downstairs, she didn’t know anyone who could help bring it down, was unaware of a local gathering spot to hire day laborers and so on. FYI  I drove 40 miles to get there and she knew what time I would arrive so I wouldn’t think it would be too much to expect a text or call to say don’t come today. To put it kindly, my judgement was that she was not familiar with or capable of this type of expected behavior.

As we walked out of the townhouse and back into the outdoor yard sale, there was a large bowl that had fallen to the sidewalk and smashed.  I noticed it when I came in and now , the woman apologized for the mess and pushed some of the pieces to the side with her foot. Then she went back to slouching in the porch chair.  As I drove away, my last sight of her was as she was raising her feet to put back up on the porch railing. The next day my BIL arranged for a guy with a truck to fetch the dresser and deliver it to me but she never returned his texts or phone calls. I tried reaching her again via text but she never responded. Five days later the dresser disappeared from Craigslist.

Not that I’m bitter.

But it left me with a hole in my consumer’s heart where a dresser should be. I kept my eye on CL and other online market places and second-hand shops looking for something similar. I gave up the matching bathroom cabinet idea but stuck to the specs of a certain size, 5 drawers and solid wood. And one day last week, I came across this:


Painted furniture! I know, right? I always railed against the ruination of good vintage furniture by the army of talentless amateur chalk painters never in a million years thought I’d own painted furniture myself but everything about this was right, even my favorite shade of green. It was love at first sight. And to complete my humiliation, as I was waiting for the shop owner to find somebody to get this into my car, I spotted this desk:


I had already been looking around for a desk for the guest bedroom and here was the perfect one right in front of me. Remember when I said it was love at first sight for the green dresser? I laugh now  that I know what real love is.  I bought this on the spot and came back for it the next day. They threw in that crystal lamp, too.

In my defense, I have to tell you that these items are not chalk painted.  They are painted with Farmhouse Paints, a resin-based acrylic paint that is more durable than chalk paint. The floor clerk, the register person and the shop owner all used that same phrase  and practically sniffed in disdain when forced to utter the distasteful words “chalk paint”. This greatly appeals to the serious snob in me (a snob who haunts Craigslist, junk stores and the Dollar Tree). So now, anyone who comes into my house will have to suffer immediate correction of any attempt to say the words “chalk paint” and the same casual but prideful reference to Farmhouse Paint. Come visit me and hear it for yourself!

ns smAnd further more, yesterday I bought a solid but messed up nightstand for $15, also for the guest room. Here’s the thing: coincidentally the shop that sold the Farmhouse painted furniture also sells Farmhouse Paint. And the person who did the work on the desk told me that she paints things people already have. So now look where we are: I’m on the brink of turning into a painter of wood furniture myself. Although really, if I can slip it by Sami without too much of what we old marrieds call “discussion”, I might just take this over to her and ask her to give it the works in Creamy Linen with Aqua Provence accents.

I know what you’re thinking. I can’t even believe it myself.





It’s Saturday. Guess What We Are Going To Talk About?

I pulled the vintage typewriter stand out from under its load of boxes and took it out onto the deck today to get a good look at it. And I love everything about it. It might not look like much at first glance, but you will have to trust me when I tell you that it is entrancing.

Mr. Nosy checking out something different on the deck.

The wood top has what one might call character.The top is scratched, stained, and gouged. Its got pieces of tape that are almost part of the wood now they’ve been on so long. But I already know what this is going to look like after I give it a couple of good applications of Old English Scratch Cover and so I think I’ll just do that. Sami has offered to sand the top down and shellac it and I know he’ll do a good job and it will be beautiful and like new but I think I prefer to keep the evidence of a former life and leave the marks alone.

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Verging on just a little bit too much character.
Dudes, it’s a genuine Hi-Lo Typewriter Stand by METALSTAND. The hipsters love these things and there are dozens for sale at any given moment on eBay and etsy , in vintage furniture shops and on craigslist. Most people (young know-nothings) describe this as being made in Philadelphia but the blurry print below the “Hi” that you can’t quite make out here says





so I think that means the patent was registered at the U.S. Patent and Trade mark office in Philadelphia. I don’t know how old this is – all google searches produce links to these for sale not to anything about the item itself, but I think that the fact that this went into production before the foot pedal mechanism to adjust the height was patented is a clue that it was made before America became law suit happy. When was that? A bigger clue though is the excruciatingly correct punctuation. When was the last time it was considered proper to put a period after a state abbreviation? Before zip codes were introduced, I think. And the exquisite PHILA., – a period after the abbreviation plus a comma. So exact. This table was made back when there were rules and everybody stuck to them.

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A period after every abbreviation: PAT. PENDING REG. PHILA., PA.
It’s got full length brass piano hinges joining the  top pieces and a charming 1 2 identifying the top? or the size of the flap?. That sentence was a fine example of how sloppy punctuation can be in modern America and no one would bat an eye let alone criticize or refer to a “rule”.

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How it got scratched and paint-blobbed on the underside I don’t know.
The spacing and alignment of the stamping on each side is different so I think these marks must have been made by banging on two separate number-shaped chisel things. I love the idea that somebody’s job was stamping numbers onto table top parts.

1 2 plus some fairly vigorous scratching.
And so now that I am face-to-face with the beautiful reality of it,  I am abandoning my turquoise spray paint and woodgrain contact paper plan of last week. The largest majority of vintage typewriter stands on the internet are offered for sale as found (yard salers/garbage pickers), the next largest amount are refinished pieces in the $300-$500 range (hipster furniture refinishers) but there is also a disturbing amount of “upscaled” ones that the chalk paint and decoupage crowd over at Pinterest has gotten their paws on.

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Quel horreur! Thank you Lord for helping me to dodge the turquoise spray paint bullet on this one.
Confession: I do kind of like the addition of a tray to the bottom of that gold and wallpaper one. I might do the same to hold the watering can and fish emulsion drops that my outdoor plants are going to need to make it inside for the length of a New Jersey winter.

UPDATE: I turned my back for a short spin through Goodwill and Dollar Tree and a helpful husband pulled out his sander and “helped” me with the tabletop.


Channeling My Inner DIYer


I’m sure that you’re all on pins and needles waiting for the thrilling details of my latest business trip to Denver. I apologize if this is the case because it’s not going to happen. I was too busy while I was there to give you the blow-by-blow as it was happening and I got home too late last night to do anything but eat part of a cold Italian sub sandwich and one Jelly Krimpet then crash to sleep. When I got up in the morning my time was occupied with drinking 6 glasses of water, eating the rest of the Italian sub and going back to bed.

And now I’m upstairs hiding from some workmen that Sami hired to help with a clean out of the basement. But I’m sorry that I can’t focus on travel blogging1 or even meals on the road blogging 2 because I have this idea, see?

An old half-baked idea that I was sort of toying with was to find some kind of windowsill height shelf to put by the kitchen window so that I can winter over some potted plants I’d like to hang on to and maybe keep a pot of herbs alive in case I feel like cooking something up once or twice over the next six or seven months. I took a half-hearted spin through Goodwill and didn’t really see any inspiration there, not on the local Craigslist either.

Lots of interesting stuff is coming up out of that basement. Stuff we’ve long forgotten about and/or that I didn’t even know was down there. So much good stuff that we never really needed to save in the first place (SAMI !). I reserve the right to fret some other time about the fate of my extensive and eccentric dish collection and how much it saddens me to give that to Goodwill because they will all end up chipped or smashed before anyone else gets a chance to love them.

Anyway, one of the things that emerged from the depths was an old-fashioned typewriter stand that looks pretty much like this one …


… except with an overall coating of rust and cob webs. I saw this in the garage last week and thought it might fit the bill and so I started dreaming up how I would spray paint it. I had a general notion about a soft jade-y turquoise for the base and some undetermined lighter table surface. Maybe off white with some gray dry brushed on here and there. Or sponged on. Or slapped on and then mostly dragged off to produce a wood grain pattern3.

And so when I brought myself up here, I thought I might start searching for the right shade of spray paint for the base and then moved on to looking for something for the top. The search went like this: glossy spray paint > matte spray paint > hammered finished spray paint > stone finish spray paint > contact paper. And now OMG I CANT STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS:

D C Fix Adhesive Film in the “Rustic” pattern

Have I ever mentioned that I am a Contact Paper Master Emeritus ? And that I once covered 12 sets of metal cabinet doors with contact paper that looked like 4″ ceramic tiles in a busy white, royal blue and yellow pattern that needed a four way match and it came out perfect? It was fantastic and it overwhelmed ever single person who set foot into my apartment but gawd how I loved it.

And so I can certainly handle putting contact paper onto the surface of typewriter stand – main section plus two drop leaves. Pfft. Piece of cake4. And guess what? This company also makes the product in a pattern called Woodgrain Oak Sheffield Pearly Grey and so I could still employ the perfect light turquoise spray paint for the base.


Now bear in mind that Sami is not going to get either one of these ideas at all. #1 he is non-visual so I can explain until I’m blue in the face what I’m going to do and what its going to look like and he will not be able to imagine it. #2 If I go with the turquoise/gray idea, he will never stop me but but he will also never appreciate it when its done. He just will not be able to be at ease in a world with a turquoise typewriter stand in it. In fact, I know he’s still struggling with why anyone would want to use a typewriter stand as a plant holder at all. He is a traditionalist and it is beyond him why anyone would stray from  established/expected colors. Chances are good he will more easily accept the appearance of a brownish wood grain/brown base version, but again he will be bothered by the fact that I put contact paper onto a perfectly sound metal albeit rusty/filthy object that was just fine without plastic enhancement.

Time has passed, the workers are gone and I’m headed downstairs to mop away the foot-printy evidence. And to think that only yesterday I was living the glamorous life of a High Powered Executive Business Woman with access to an endless supply of sandwiches and protein bars.

1 painless this time

2 protein bar, ham and swiss on rye, hot wings/beer, protein bar, ham and swiss on rye, lobster tails/lots of wine, protein bar, ham and swiss on rye, reuben/beer, breakfast buffet, protein bar, cheese and fruit plate/gin.

3 From Our Department of Too Much Free Time.

 4  Only slightly worried that I keep thinking that I can still do what I did as well as I did it when I was younger. Evidence points to the contrary now. [Note to self: Ignore and forge ahead!]