Mar 242014

Okay.  I love this table.  It is in my living room. I have had it listed FOREVER! on Furnishly, Kijiji and Craigslist.  But no takers!  It is listed for $65 .  It is the most solidest table ever.  Did I say I love it?  BUT it has NOT SOLD!!! 

Paris step table

Paris step table

Tres Belle table!

Tres Belle table!

Paris step table

Distressing on top shelf


So I ask myself:

  1. Is Toronto not interested in “Shabby Chic”  ” Midcentury” or what???
  2. Is the price not good?  PPPPLLLLEEEEEASE!  No Chinese made table even comes close to this baby!
  3. Is it my workmanship???  I truly hope not!
  4. Is it just meant to stay with me!  Adorn my living room with it’s loveliness and it’s tribute to my love of Paris?
  5. Ohhhhh… Maybe Toronto buyers HATE Paris?  It could be!  We often have an issue with anything French! LOL

Talk to me!  I need to know.  Was my refinish choice POOR?  No feelings will be hurt. 

OR was the timing wrong or my design sense out to lunch??

I really thought it was

Nicer Than New


Feb 262014

A few months back I posted about my addiction to on-line Estate Sales.  Recently I vowed to myself I would NOT BID on anything until I clear out much of what I  have.  But OMG, I don’t seem to be able to control it!  Is this an indication of some sort of disorder?  I fear it may be!  Regardless, I bid and acquired 8 side / occasional tables for $160.  Hmmm…. $20 per table may not be profitable in the end but, ah they were so sweet! 

When I look in the garage and my workshop, I think I should change my name to “Side Table Joanie”!!  I have far too many side table / bed side tables to work on!!  I fear I am a hoarder of sorts but according to the MAYO Clinic, I am not!  Apparently, I am more of a collector

It’s important to note that hoarding is different from collecting. People who have collections, such as stamps or model cars, deliberately search out specific items for their collections. Collectors often categorize their items and carefully display them. Hoarders, on the other hand, will save random items they encounter in their daily life and store them haphazardly in their homes or surrounding areas.
Mayo Clinic website

Well that’s good news!  Back to my latest stash….


Most of what I acquired this past weekend is very much the Bombay Company style and some pieces are from there.  The previous owners obviously liked the look.  Everything needs attention of some sort.  Maybe not the best bargain but they all have great  potential!

set of 4-1

Four tables: 2 matching pie crust, one drum and one shelved.

The two pie crust tables and the shelved table are from Bombay Company.  Their furniture seems to hold some of its value due to their practical size and classic style.  Still, don’t people get bored of mahogany?  I do.  So maybe a mix of wood and paint.  We’ll see.


half moon

Half Moon Console table.  I love these tables.

This is another piece from the Bombay Company.  These demi-lune tables are so classic and practical.  Lots of potential to add some real interest to an entrance or hall.  It could even be a small desk … a laptop station.


set of 3

Three Tables:  Marble topped pedestal,
tiny with a tray pull out
and a vintage open shelf with drawer.

The marble topped table has some faint stains.  I am currently trying a technique to remove them.  I will post my success or failure at a later date.  It is a very study table and I think cleaning up the marble and painting the base will make it very special.  The square table is teeny tiny!  It is very Bombay Company-ish.  It has a little tray that pulls our for drinks or in these days, a smartphone LOL.   The side table is quite interesting too, with the open part at the top and the drawer at the bottom.  I love the fret work at the back of the top.


Do you think this was a good haul for $160? 

Was I compulsive or smart to snatch them up? 
I would love to hear what you think? 

Regardless, they all have great possibilities and this is a HOBBY / business so …

Can I make them

Nicer Than New?

I think so!


Jan 152014

I am true believer in the saying “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.   So a few months ago when I spotted a beat up little table, apparently ready to be discarded on a friend’s porch, I just had to ask about the little table’s future.   The reply:  “That stuff is all garbage.  Take whatever you want.”  After a mental happy dance, I stashed it in my car!

cute before 1

Weathered but oh so cute!

Definitely in need of some TLC

Definitely in need of some TLC

Yes, it was beat up and weathered but the shape and the detail was exquisite! And it was all wood, no veneer!

Sanding the top and the shelf revealed a beautiful walnut grain.  I decided I would give this cutey a wood and paint finish.  I stained the top and shelf in my favourite go-to walnut stain.  Using some left over paint, I mixed up some home made chalk paint and painted the rest.  After lightly distressing the piece, I topped it off with a few coats of non-yellowing varathane.  So easy and so cute!






Should I give it back to them?


Look how great it looks with my living room rug!



You may find me linking at these great parties.

Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!


Heavens Garden
DIY Show Off
  Three Mango Seeds party
Monday Funday at TWCS
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home Metamorphis Monday  
The DIY'ers
The Gunny Sack
cozy little house button
A Stroll Thru Life
House on the Way A Bowl Full of Lemons
Photobucket SoMe2
The DIY Dreamer
frog tiny
Photobucket  photo 1001954_10101065966207063_96074138_n_zpsa41e371a.jpg
Ivy and Elephants Before and After Wednesday Image.jpg vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300  
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Creativity Unleashed Link Party
birdsonawirebutton The Thrifty Groove DIY Vintage Chic Craft Dictator The Shabby Nest
  Tickled Pink at 504 Main Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Furniture Feature Fridays
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Too Much Time On My Hands DIY It's Overflowing RRbutton125 TDC Before and After  

Jan 062014

I know.  It’s a pretty corny title but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Last year, I acquired a vintage Queen Anne style coffee table which I then converted into a tufted bench for the end of our bed.  It was my first attempt at tufting something and I was very pleased at how it turned out.  Since it was pre-blogging so I only have a few pictures. 

Before:  a basic long, narrow table

Before: a basic long, narrow table

Spray adhesive glued the 4" foam in place

Spray adhesive glued the 4″ foam in place

We love it.  So handy too.

We love it. So handy too.

 We love it!  It looks great to most people but as the DIY-er, I can spot things I should have done differently.  And I am also still considering painting the base.

For the past year, I have been helping a dear friend update and brighten her cozy downtown Toronto apartment on a budget.  (I hope to post about this in the near future.) She liked my bench so much, she asked me to make one for her narrow entrance.  With my estate sale addiction, I was able to find the perfect table through MaxSold .  Not only did I get the rectangular table, it came with TWO 2-tiered step tables for $10.00!!  Now that’s what I call a BARGAIN!


The “soon to be bench” table


Two of these cuties plus the coffee table…
all for $10!!

1.  Replace the top with Plywood

With my first bench the table top had straight sides with rounded corners so I used the original top.  However, with this table, you can see the table edges are not straight and not suitable.  No worries!  I had some left over 1/2 inch plywood in the garage which I cut to size.  NOTE:  I cut the plywood to the exact size of the base, with no overhang.


Note the plywood is cut to the size of the base with no overhang.

2.  Purchase Foam

Once I had the dimensions for the top, I purchased 4 inch thick foam that was 1 inch wider and 1 inch longer than the top.  This additional foam is important so when you are doing the final upholstering and pulling the fabric over the sides, the foam will cover the edge of the top, making it padded as well.  I have been fortunate to have found a foam wholesaler near my home who will sell to people off the street.  They cut it while you wait to the thickness and size you want.  There prices are very reasonable too.  The foam can be the most expensive part of the project.

3. Plan your tufts

You can add as many tufts as you like but remember the more tufts you have the more fabric you will need because each tuft uses a fair amount of fabric.  Like my first bench, I used 11 tufts.  Even with what I thought was good planning, I nearly did not have enough fabric!


On the foam, mark where each tuft will go.
I drew a grid and then added a mark at each half way point.

4. Make Holes in the Foam

To make room for the fabric to be pulled down to create a tuft, it is best to create a small hole in the foam.  I learned the hard way that you CANNOT USE A DRILL!!  Using a drill, twists and gouges out the foam and could ruin your project.  Looking through drawers, I found an apple corer which did the trick!  I didn’t take any pictures but basically I inserted the corer twice to make a circular hole and pulled out the cigar shaped pieces of foam.  Brilliant!

5. Creating the Tufts with a Drill and Wood Screws


The yellow fabric I used for this bench was thick so I did not add any batting on the top of the foam.  I did however for the first bench. Because of the thick fabric, I was unable to use buttons you cover with fabric as I did with my original  bench. For original bench, I made holes in the foam AND I drilled matching holes in the table top.   I used covered buttons and a long needle with a sturdy cord to pull the button down and through the top  to make the tuft.

Because I could not use covered buttons, I decided to use a tufting technique posted by Elisha from Pneumatic Addict Furniture.


Drill, washers, wood screws and a skewer to help find the holes.

Once I located the holes, I used the drill to screw wood screw with washer, through the fabric, the hole in the foam and into the wood.  The washer is necessary so the screw will not go through the fabric.  The screws in this picture were too short.  I ended up using 2 1/2 inch screws.  When I was finished and I turned the top over, I found some screws went through the wood.  So all tufts would be the same, I adjusted all the screws so they would not come through the wood.


Wood screw with a washer.


2 1/2 inch screws worked best for 4″ foam

6. Finish the upholstering and add Buttons

I don’t have any photos of this step.  I was alone so I couldn’t hold, staple and photograph all the the same time.  I use an pneumatic (air) staple gun and a small compressor.  (I borrowed the compressor from my neighbour who rarely uses it.  He told me to keep it at my house … “off site storage” LOL.) I found regular buttons that matched and used a glue gun to attach them in the tufts.

7. Paint the Base and Attach the Top

Here  is where my indecision came in…  It took me FOUR versions to get something we both really liked and was special!

Version 1:  my "go-to" ivory homemade chalk paint

Version 1: my “go-to” ivory homemade chalk paint

Version 2:  a beachy look by dry brushing blue and gold over the ivory

Version 2: a beachy look by dry brushing blue and gold over the ivory

Version 3:  A nice "Oops" grey

Version 3: A nice “Oops” grey

I liked all of the first three versions but none really “wowed” me.  After all, the reason we have been updating her apartment was to add colour and pizzazz to a the previously dark, monochromatic space. 

Finally, she asked

“Could you paint it red“?


 All I needed was a sample jar from Home Depot and 15 minutes and VOILA!

I love the red!

I love the red!


bench with shaped label

 We both love how it turned out.  Interestingly, in the post that inspired me to use wood screws, Elisha also painted her bench base red! 

I hope you find my tutorial clear and useful.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me. 

In the meantime, I would love some suggestions as to what to do with the original curvy edged table top ???


Dec 072013

original I came into possession of a solid oak Mission / Arts & Crafts style table a few months ago.  It has a nice simple look to it and it is very heavy and solid.  For me, the problem with it was it’s dimensions.  It is 28 inches in diameter and 29 inches tall.  At that height, it is a bit too high to be an end or side table because it is really the height of a dining table.  There is no lower shelf, making me wonder if it is meant to be sat at.  So I left it, waiting to be inspired. 

A few weeks ago, we had a mild day and I took the opportunity to take a few pieces outside to either strip or sand or in the case of this table both.  I could see the oak grain was very nice and thought about staining the top and painting the bottom for that good ole Pottery Barn look.  But what can it be used for?

Then I had an idea! After a quick look around Pinterest and the internet, I decided it would make a great chess or checkers table.

Butler-Loft-Maxwell-Game-Table copy Butler-Loft-Maxwell-Game-Table2 copy

 I began by applying my favourite walnut stain to the center area of the top, where the checkered pattern would be. 

Instead of using masking tape, I took my chances with dollar store Con-Tact paper I already had.  I proceeded to cut out 32 two inch squares with my Fiskars paper cutter,

Using my  carpenter square, I began to stick the squares in place over the stained area.   Then I painted the open squares with my favourite black, Black Suede by Behr.  (It could be a favourite because I already have it LOL)




I was very pleased with the cheapo Co-Tact paper.  It worked very well!  I masked off the square and used homemade chalk paint made with the Black Suede and painted the rest of the table.  I only needed one coat because I didn’t care if any wood showed through.  I lightly distressed it and applied a bit of stain to the exposed areas.

To make the “board” stand out I masked the perimeter and painted a  gold border, using basic craft paint I had on hand. 

Next came the THREE coats of varathane to protect the surfaces.

Once again, I was able to pull this together with paints and stuff I already had!  The table came in an Estate Sale lot with a few other tables so I would estimate I paid about $15 for this beauty!



chess_17    chess_16


WOW!  I love it! 

Wouldn’t this make a great Christmas gift!


it’s so much

Nicer Than New

Nov 232013

On-line estate sales can be addictive, fun and lucrative if you are into vintage stuff! Because of them, my garage and workshop filled up to the point where I needed an intervention! This intervention came in the form of Autumn and the approach of Winter. And my promise to Mr. Nice that he would be able to park in the garage before snow came. BTW, I’ve already cleared his half of the garage. I am still checking the estate sales …. but with caution and control.

The main company I follow is It originated out of Kingston, Ontario but operates all over Ontario and the north east United States.

Back in October, I checked out an auction taking place in Toronto. A few items caught my eye. But knowing I already had numerous pieces to work on, I just put in low bids and waited to see what happened. Well, NOTHING happened. As in, no one bid or if they did, my measly bid won!


Wait until you see what I got for $35.

$13.50 got me these 2 vintage side tables.
They weighed a ton and I had to solicit the aid of a nice gentlemen in return for helping him with his haul!

I think these two have potential!
AND I’m open to suggestions!




For the grand total of $10, I also scored the matching coffee table.



Nice wood. Beveled glass. Perhaps a dark stain and painted pillars?


I think this may have a spot in my living room!
Right now everything in my loving room is so square and rectangular… a circular table could be nice!


The next item, I had been looking for.
A friend of mine wants me to make her a Tufted Bench for her front entrance.
Not only did I score the perfect table / bench,
I got TWO step side tables
Drum roll please!




TWO of these little lovelies.



Now there are bargains and there are near freebies!

I got the following THREE items for


MaxSold often combines items and oft times you just don’t want the other items.
OR in my case end up with NO ROOM!

I loved this mid-century side table! It had seen better days but for 50  cents, could I go wrong?


Look at her! she is gorgeous!


Tongue and groove construction


Okay not perfect!

She was grouped with these two side tables


I liked this solid wood night stand.


But did not want this one.

When you win an auction, you MUST remove ALL the items at the allotted time or you are charged for disposal.

Sadly, my surprisingly spacious Rav4 just did not have any room left!

Sadly, my surprisingly spacious Rav4 just did not have any room left!

However, John, the nice man who helped me had a trailer and he took the last two items.
John owns a wonderful thrift / antique shop in a lovely historical town of Shelburne, a ninety minute drive north of Toronto.
I plan to visit to Yesterday’s Home Furnishings soon. Based on his website he has some great finds!

How’s that for $35 and a Sunday morning drive across the city?

Share your great finds and stay tuned to see how the bench and the 2 drawer side table turn out!


Nov 132013

I love finding vintage one of a kind pieces for next to nothing.  When I saw this chair at a garage sale last summer, I loved the scroll detail on the legs.  Only $5 for this cute, solid oak chair!  Got to love that!



Love the scroll!

After sitting in my garage for a few months, I decided the chair would look great with a black, distressed Pottery Barn like finish because the oak finish underneath would be a nice rich colour. I mixed up some homemade chalk paint using  Behr Black Suede and calcium carbonate, both of which I already had.   (BTW:  I LOVE this shade of black!  It is aptly named because it seems to have a depth or softness about it and it works perfectly for the Pottery Barn treatment.)  After two coats, I did a bit of distressing and added 2 coats of  Varathane.


I love how it turned out!

Now on to the seat!  Stripping off old chair coverings can be like opening an old trunk in an attic.
Overall, the seat cover looked okay but when looking at the underside, I could tell it had been recovered and needed some fixing.
The original seat cover was leather!


There were a gazillion nails to remove!



Using my handy dandy Dremel saw and some wood I  had in the garage, I cut a new support for the bottom.

IMG_0818 copy

I love this tool!

When I removed the gazillion tiny tacks, I found the seat had been stuffed with horse hair!  A discovery which is somewhat exciting and disgusting all the the same time!  The horse hair stuffing does not necessarily provide an age for the chair but it does indicate the chair is vintage if not antique.


Cool and Yucky!

Originally, I was planning on covering the seat with either burlap or a painter’s drop cloth, with perhaps a graphic on it.  However, once the chair was painted, I didn’t like the look.

Then on a trip to my local FabricLand, I spotted a cool black and grey remnant in the discount bin.  I was really drawn to it but I kept thinking I already had some of it at home.  It just looked so familiar.  Regardless I decided it would look great on the Pottery Barn like chair and it was only going to cost me $3.

After I got it home, I realized why it was so familiar!
It looks just like my little Coach bag!
And the weight and texture of the fabrics are very similar!


They are so similar!

 All I needed to buy was the fabric because I had the foam, paint and varathane.

Pretty nice chair for around $10!

Pottery Barn meets Coach

Pottery Barn meets Coach!


It would appear,

Should Coach start making furniture?  Tell me what you think?

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