Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Egg hunt @ Fenton House

Today was day #2 in London.  We recovered somewhat from the jetlag (our daughter slept on my lap through Easter Mass @ Westminster).  After Mass we made our way to a local Easter Trail sponsored by Cadbury's.  The Trail was held at the historic Fenton House, a 17th century merchant's home with a spectacular walled garden that contained about a 16 apple trees and assorted gardens.

Side view of Fenton House exterior.
Small apple orchard

The Easter trail was a matching matching game for kids where they had to find and match chicks to their hen mothers.  When Riley found all the chicks, and matched them to their mothers, she received a HUGE chocolate egg from Cadbury.

Riley and her dog Boo, matching the chick with its mother hen.

If you can't tell by the heavy coats and gray skies, it is FREEZING here right now.  Unseasonably cold, and with the wind chill, was about 30ยบ F.

The grounds were starting to pop some flowers and veggies, but there wasn't much in bloom.

I really loved these wintering pots for their Rhubarb.  I'd love to bring a few dozen of these home with me to resell!

There was also this really cool tin and concrete water basin.  It was frozen over until some kid, not ours, stuck his hands inside.

Cool small door in the walled garden that led to the caretaker's home.

The grounds were full of espalier fruit trees, I'd love to see the gounds in full bloom with fruit growing! 

There was also a very cool antique lawn roller, they may even still use this thing to even out the lawn.

Another shot of the water basin

They had some rhubarb left, the rest had been harvested a few days ago.

This family was VERY wealthy, they even had a running water fountain in the garden.  Very posh for the time!

Overview of the garden and caretaker's home.

There also were a ton of spent garden snail shells.  In France, this bad boy would have been turned into some delicious Escargot!

I really liked these wintering or frost jars. If only shipping some home wasn't an arm and a leg!

They even had a face painter on duty for all the kids that were interested.  Now, our daughter cannot pass up a face painting like I cannot pass up a peanut butter sandwich.  She pretty much jumped in the chair and told the painter that she wanted to look like a bunny princess.  She's great at staying still for something she wants, but try getting her to stay still for anything else, IMPOSSIBLE!

The finished product!  Complete with Bunny ears. The painter loved it so much, she took a picture for her portfolio!  Riley was such a darling, the painter gave her bunny ears to keep!

More to come in the next week!  We hit the Newark Antiques Fair in a few days!

Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Busy Busy Busy

Why are there never enough hours in a day? Days in a week?  Weeks in a month? Months in the year?  

I always seem to be on the go go go! 

I've been slowly getting geared up for the Lucketts Spring Market this May.  My friends Megan & Tom over at Bmore Nestled are frantically working on the furniture for their space.  I need to get MOVING!! 

This will be the first "Big" market where I will be a vendor and I'm a bit apprehensive that I will not buy & sell enough to make it worthwhile.  Additionally, this is the same weekend as the May Barn Sale and I need to stock my space before the Lucketts sale.  I have some great items, and I'm on the look out for some more.  Here's a small sample!

I painted this piece a while ago, and I haven't had the heart to sell it.  But, it's going to the Spring Market!

Love these mid century GoodForm Aluminum Chairs!

At around 7' tall, this is one of the largest items I have!

Love old medical cabinets.  Needs a bit of a cleaning.

Another old Medical cabinet in need of a cleaning.

A great stack of old barn shutters with original hardware.

I have this beauty in the Barn right now for sale!!

LOVE THIS old carpenters chest.  Great handles and patina!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

Recently I was asked to participate in a charity contest to benefit the Northern Virginia Habitat for Humanity Restore.  The basic premise of the contest was to shop either of their Chantilly or Alexandria VA ReStores using a $100 credit and find an item to Upcycle into a useable piece of furniture or decor.  Unfortunately, the notification email was somehow pushed into my Spam file (thanks Gmail) and I found out about the deadline about 3 days before.  Keep in mind, that Baltimore is a good hour from Northern Virginia, without traffic.  With that in mind, I headed down to the Alexandria ReStore to pick my item and hopefully find something awesome!

After sitting in traffic for 2 hours (I left my home at 2:00pm) I made it to the ReStore about an hour before closing.  I took my time, and circled the store several times.  They have a wide selection of furniture, appliances, building materials, kitchen cabinets, flooring, paint, lighting...I could go on.  The thing was, I didn't find anything that particularly caught my eye.  Don't get me wrong, there were some dressers that could have been painted and turned into buffets, some solid wood kitchen cabinets that I was contemplating turning into a TV cabinet (using some vintage hairpin legs I had picked up at an auction), a cool old maple farm table, and other easily Upcycled items.  But, nothing that really caught my eye.  

I approached the ReStore manager and laid out what I was doing and that I was having a hard time finding something that I really liked and I was contemplating just driving home empty handed and not participating.  He suggested that I check out their back room for some items that have yet to make it to the sales floor.  That's when I saw this beauty!

This was an old TV cabinet at one time.  Many electronics manufacturers (back in the day) would install their electronics (tv's, stereos...) into well made wood cabinets that you could easily close up and they would appear as just another piece of furniture.

This was my piece.  It appears to have been used to hold aquarium components, for either reptiles of fish.  There was quite extensive water damage inside and the previous owner added a plywood shelf and a power strip to the back (but it was missing the actual back)

I started by dismantling the cabinet, taking out the added shelf and worked on repairing the damaged wood using DAP's Plastic Wood.  This stuff is great, but you have to work fast.  Once it was dry, I sanded it smooth and with some paint, you couldn't even see the damage!

I then cut replacement panels for the bottom and top using 3/4" MDF and a back using beadboard paneling.  I decided to keep the original shelf with the original air vents to remind the bidder that this was once had a different use.  The TV would have sat on top of this shelf and the vents allowed air to circulate without the tubes getting overheated and destroying the world!

Now, since I was under the gun with a deadline fast approaching, I forgot to take a pic while I was painting the cabinet and adding the glass and wine racks.  I had to work at my monthly Barn Sale that Sunday (the piece was due on Monday by 5pm) and so I missed an entire day of Upcycling.

I had a gallon of oops paint I picked up from Lowe's a few months back.  I loved the color and at $5 a gallon, couldn't be more perfect.  It was the Glidden Paint and Primer in one in a great blue that was listed as "Kitchen Window".

I painted the inside 3 coats for durability and installed my racks and LED lighting.  The outside I painted with Old Fashioned Milk Paint in their Snow White color.  

I set up a quick staging vignette (this was only coat #1 of the white and you can see it was a bit thin and I hadn't begun to age the piece either)  We had some champagne, glasses, wine bottles, decanters and a drink mixer.  You can see here that I forgot to re-attach the doors!

After I got the doors on, the insides of which I painted in the blue Kitchen Window color, I added some Vodka and Absinthe and a mirror and snapped off the final pic.

Here is an interior detail showing how the LED's filter the hanging wine glasses.

Here is another interior shot of the wine rack on the bottom (I picked this one up from Ikea in their "As Is" dept for $4.)

Finally, I tossed the Wine Bar into the back of my Jeep and drove out to the Washington Convention Center to drop off and set up my item.  There were some great pieces upcycled, and the competition is pretty stiff.  I'm proud of the Bar (just wished they had some electric so I could plug it in).  I ended up scraping off the chipped Milk Paint and applying some BriWax clear wax for durability.  Here I staged it with a vintage silverplate pitcher and tray, glasses, wine, vintage factory tray and a couple of decanters.

Here's the link for the Ultimate Upcycle Challenge.  All in all, I think I did a bang up job over the 2 days I had time to work on this piece.  Sorry for all the crappy Cell Phone pics!!!

Click Here to Vote for my Wine Bar in the Upcycle Challenge!