Is Little Speckled Frog Paint Right For You?

Little Speckled Frog

Little Speckled Frog Chest

Little Speckled Frog Chest
Melanie Alexander of Lost and Found promptly supplied me with Little Speckled Frog, part of Fusion Mineral Paint’s Tones for Tots Collection. Unforeseen delays — like Hurricane Matthew — postponed completion of my Little Froggy Chest.

I’m tickled by the names in this collection: Little Whale, Little Speckled Frog, Little Lamb, Little Stork, Little Piggy,  Little Teapot, and Little Star. Anyway, Tones for Tots is made with babies and young children in mind. According to Fusion Mineral Paint —

Our Paint is lead free, phlalate free, formaldehyde free, ammonia free, virtually odourless and is Zero VOC.


Painting is a rare delight for me because the main stock in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery is Mid-Century Modern. You can see links to our Danish Industrial Lamps, Blue Bridgewater Sofa, Ficks Reed Rattan, and our Milo Baughman 1952 Dining Room Set.

A few months ago I painted this curvy, feminine French Provincial chest with Fusion’s Tones for Tots Little Piggy. It sold within 5 days.

hand painted French Provincial chest

Let’s see if lightning strikes twice. This piece seemed a perfect candidate for another Tones for Tots color. It’s small stature and strong lines will enhance any nursery or child’s room.

Burl Wood Chest

As you can see, the original burl wood was gorgeous. Sadly, we quickly realized we couldn’t save it. The veneer had too many chips and scrapes — and you know David goes to heroic lengths to save wood. Check out the original hardware, a gorgeous and complete set of Bakelite drop pulls that I replaced.

Here’s a detail of his top:

Veneer Damage


Gothic Clover Stencil

I added a modest amount of decoration. The design needed to be simple and appropriate for either a boy or girl’s bedroom. A Gothic Clover stencil won out.

I pushed the VP Antico, a synthetic plaster by Artisan Enhancements, through the stencil, which stretched across two drawers. Two thin layers. Once the final layer dried, David scored it with a razor along the drawer lines. There were a few chips, but I did some touch-up painting and the clover looks fine.

Little Speckled Frog

I painted the Gothic Clover stencil with a mixture of Annie Sloan’s Old White and Pearl Plaster by Artisan Enhancements. My Pearl Plaster jar was almost empty, so I wanted to use it up. The new knobs came from World Market.

Believe me, it’s difficult to get an exact match when presenting the paint sample and the finished product. I’ve made several adjustments to get as close as possible.

So, here’s Little Froggy — just waiting for something in our booth to sell so he can take his rightful place. I have no doubt he can stand his ground amid all that Mid-Century Modern.

Little Speckled Frog

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to leave a comment. We love those.

Ann Marie and David

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Dahls Tapet Textile Roller Lamps: Danish Industrial

Danish Industrial

Two unconventional lamps at an estate sale intrigued David. I didn’t give them a second look. While they didn’t match, he was captivated by them as pieces of sculpture. Safe to say, they came home with us.
Dahls Tapet Textile Roller Lamps

Dahls Tapet

David discovered the wooden bases were repurposed print rollers used to produce fabric and wallpaper in Denmark. The trademark on one lamp identifies the manufacturer as Dahls Tapet of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dahls Tapet
Dahls Tapet
In old French the word tapet means carpet. The Danish word tapet translates, in this case, to fabric or wallpaper.

Dahls Tapet remains a venerable Danish company with a long history.

It is more than years since the first Dahl – Andreas Frederik Dahl – made its debut in the wallpaper industry.

In 160 years, the family Dahl has been the benchmark in the wall covering by showing boldness, not least when it comes to fashion, colors and trends. We have seen the writing on the wall.

Our collections are composed so that they show a versatile, forward-looking and, above all, an exciting selection and – of course – the more traditional wallpapers.

Printing Process

Someone, perhaps a hardy Dane, sat in Copenhagen on a cold winter day, transforming wallpaper-design rollers into bases for lamps. His work Complicated matters for us, because our Danish friend wired the lamps for Europe’s electrical current.

WorthPoint sold these five bases by Dahls Tapet in 2006 and dated them between 1960 – 1965. I assume ours are from the same period.
Dahls Tapet Textile Rollers
The rollers are constructed from heavy strips of wood, teak or oak, and they’re hollow. Brass inserts form the backbone of the pattern. Within each brass outline is heavy felt or cork. This felt or cork held ink that marked the fabric or wallpaper as it passed by the roller.
Dahls Tapet Lamp Brass and Felt
Each lamp contains a hidden steel camber (ring) on top of the cylinder. The cambers allowed the roller to operate smoothly on a spindle. The process of creating wallpaper or fabric required several rollers, bearing different parts of the pattern, to be transferred. This resulted in a printed sheet of wallpaper or fabric, the tapet.
Dahls Tapet Lamp Cylinder

Our neighbor, Anne, an interior designer and professional wallpaper installer extraordinaire, immediately recognized their original purpose. The brass directional arrows delineated the correct direction to hang the paper. You may recall that David and I painted Anne’s antique piano with Annie Sloan Chalk paint.

Making Wallpaper and Fabrics

This 1968 British film demonstrates the printing process. Probably Dahls Tapet used a similar technique. The use of rollers appears at the 2:42 mark on the film.

David Explains Electricity

I left the original European style connector with its two round prongs plug on one of the lamps and added a U.S. standard adapter for electrical outlet compatibility.

European Two Round Prong Plug Source

Electrical Adapter Source

I inserted LED bulbs made for our standard 110v power source. Why LED? I’m happy you asked.

Those of you who travel know that U.S. electrical appliances, such as hair driers, will not work correctly in other countries. The electrical service standard varies from country to country. Their appliances and even light bulbs are made differently and some have different sized bases. For instance, a standard U.S. lightbulb base is classified as E26 (26 mm). An E27 (27mm) is standard for most of Europe.

I mention this because we had difficulty finding an off-the-shelf Energy Saving bulb to work in the lamp. The CFL bulbs didn’t work.

I took apart the lamp fixture on both lamps to make sure the electrical cord was supplying electricity. Next, I used a multimeter set to measure AC voltage and touched its attached positive/negative tips to the bottom button in the base of the lamp and the side wall of the lamp.

Light Socket Source

One point for the good guys. It registered 110v.

I recommend steady hands. If you haven’t worked with electricity before, I assume  someone else will handle your electrical wiring. I have a healthy respect for electricity. Like snakes. Let it flow — but not through me. Unfortunately, I haven’t been completely successful in maintaining that maxim.

I tested several working CFL bulbs but none of them lit, so inserted an LED bulb and switched on the lamp. Just as Mr. Edison and Mr. Tesla envisioned, light beat back the darkness, literally and figuratively.

I imagine a Danish electrician wired these lamps using the E27 standard lamp base, but the pitch and depth of thread on U.S. E26 LED lamps allowed the bulb’s bottom to seat on the base contact as well as the metal sides of the fixture. The electrical cords connected to two terminals inside the fixture, one on the bottom and one on the metal shell.

Lightbulb Positive Negative Connection

Danish Design History

David gets all the credit for his attraction to the artful design of these lamps. Let’s face it: they’re a part Danish design history. I love that design and industry intersected with Iris Abbey. We base our business model on finding and restoring the best examples of vintage and Mid-Century Modern furniture.

The formerly functional rollers — industrial components of decorative design — transform into highly decorative lamps for a contemporary, vibrant home. As with all of our furniture, we hope to give items a second, third, or fourth chance to infuse the living spaces of new generations.

One last look: this time seeing the lamps are in our crowded booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery.
Dahls Tapet Textile Roller Lamps

Thanks for stopping by. We love to read your comments.

Ann Marie and David

Pause and Revitalize #23: Celebrate Creativity

I want to celebrate creativity today. I’ve started a couple of projects lately but — because everything takes longer than expected — nothing has reached completion. Alas, my paint projects languish.

Instead, most of my time focuses on bookkeeping, boxing items for shipment, taking photos, writing blurbs, visiting estate sales. I will argue that art can envelope any of our endeavors but, let’s face it, some tasks are less exciting than others. The good news is that we are selling things on our Etsy shop.

David and I will transport a gorgeous Mid-Century Modern dining table set from our warehouse today to the booth. It will be fun to arrange things, but I’m itching to get back to those painting projects and finish them.

So today, let’s celebrate creativity in all forms with these inspirational quotes.

Søren-Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author. 1813 – 1855
Celebrate Creativity
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” Søren-Kierkegaard

Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. 1928 – 2014
Celebrate Creativity
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

Joseph Chilton Pearce, American author of books on human development and child development. 1926 – 2016
Celebrate Creativity
“To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

I try to post Pause and Revitalize posts on my blog every Wednesdays. Here are a few previous ones:

pause and revitalize
Pause & Revitalize #6
Eric Schmidt quote
Pause and Revitalize #9
Henri Matisse quote
Pause and Revitalize #13
Motivational quote
Pause and Revitalize #16

















More quotes can be found on the Iris Abbey Pinterest page.

I wish you a very creative day, if not today, then someday soon.

Ann Marie

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Blue Bridgewater Sofa and Hurricane Matthew

Blue Bridgewater Sofa and Hurricane Mattheww

We survived Hurricane Matthew and appreciate all the inquiries about our safety. Matthew’s wind and rain swept in immediately after a Nor’easter had saturated the region. Our home  stayed watertight thanks to David and our son Michael’s preparations. Candles, flashlights, canned goods, peanut butter, jelly, bottled water, and juices got us through the first couple days.

Hurricane Matthew

The rest of the city quickly normalized but our neighborhood, with numerous downed oaks, pine trees, and electrical lines, languished 5 days without electricity. Computer connection took longer.

Let me go back to when life was saner, before Hurricane Matthew, and tell you about the Blue Bridgewater Sofa.

Craigslist Find

Michael discovered it on Craigslist and set up a viewing. He and David liked what they saw and bought it.

Blue Bridgewater Sofa

Of course, there was a problem. There’s always a problem. The owner hadn’t liked the sofa’s skirt. He handled that by taking a scissors and snipping the skirt off the sofa’s front and sides. He left the back skirt since no one would see it. I didn’t snap any Before photos.

Use The Warehouse Units!

Our goal for the last few months has been to restore our home to a living space. Toward that end, no furniture intended for sale comes into the house. That’s why we rent 2 warehouse units, and the plan’s been working.

But this sofa didn’t need much work. We’d have to pull out six million staples from the double welting, remove the remnants of the skirt, and staple down the same welting. Surely that job could be done in the house without much fuss or delay.

I forgot about Hofstadter’s Law, attributed to cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter, the author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (1979).

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

I don’t remember why the Blue Bridgewater Sofa sat in our living room overlong — that’s lost in  pre-hurricane history — but David finally took the initiative. I recommend having a strong magnet handy when pulling out those six million staples. Off came the welting, threads, and material scraps from the snipping.

Blue Bridgewater Sofa Upholstery Tools

We removed the back skirt — it’s a lovely fabric —

Blue Bridgewater Sofa skirt

and re-stapled the double welting:

Blue Bridgewater Sofa

Hurricane Coming

We knew the hurricane would hit on a Friday. That gave us Wednesday and Thursday to stock up at grocery and hardware stores. David, bizarrely, insisted the sofa be placed in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery that Wednesday morning. We needed the living room freed up, he explained. He loaded up the sofa and headed to Avonlea. There, he saw the workers frantically preparing for the hurricane — which we needed to be doing.

Preparing for Matthew

David and I headed to the grocery store and searched for a parking space, and then for a shopping cart. Customers mobbed Publix but we tried to share a jovial spirit. I’m grateful to the dedicated employees who revved at a much higher intensity than normal.

Our street, a cul-de-sac, slopes down to the creek. A severe storm sends water rushing downhill from higher ground. Although we’re one house away from the creek, our neighbor’s house fronts on it. We anticipated water coming from various directions:

  • rushing downhill toward the creek
  • pouring down from the heavens
  • rising from the creek.

All of that occurred, but the creek water didn’t reach any homes. High Tide occurred earlier in the day or things could have been dicier.

Thursday Michael joined our preparations. He used a mattock to dig a trench to catch the water flowing downhill and force it toward the storm drain. Similarly, he and David attached a gutter with downspout to shift the rainwater away from the low side of the house. Our side door has a propensity to leak during severe storms.

They caulked around the door frame and bottom of the door, just to be sure. Not wanting to take any risks, David ran a bead of caulking along the bottom edge of the garage door as well. It all worked brilliantly. No water in our furniture-laden garage, which serves as our “on deck” for wooden pieces awaiting immediate attention.

Blue Bridgewater Sofa

Meanwhile, the blue sofa sat in our booth, looking sensational.

Blue Bridgewater Sofa

I researched sofa styles and discovered she is Bridgewater design:

Casual and comfortable define a bridgewater sofa design.  The arms are slightly rolled to the side and are lower than the sofa back.

While the bridgewater design fits in most room designs, it’s seldom going to be the stand-out feature of the room.

If you want traditional and reasonably comfortable in a sofa, consider the bridgewater style. It’s still a staple sofa style today… but it’s not nearly as popular as it once was.

Avonlea Antiques closed for 2 days and reopened to sunshine. Our Blue Bridgewater Sofa sold a week-and-a-half after David placed her in the booth.

Stay tuned for our next sofa project!

Ann Marie and David

We’re also on Facebook and Pinterest.


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Pause and Revitalize #22: Watching Hurricane Matthew

It’s raining Tuesday evening as I check the weather reports on Hurricane Matthew. Tomorrow we’ll gas up the SUV and shop for bottled water, canned goods and batteries. Preparation plans advise stocking up on supplies for 3 to 7 days in case we lose electricity and water.

I just read that canned cat food is better than dry during these storms because it helps cats stay hydrated and they’ll drink less water, a precious commodity.

I imagine thousands of people along the southeast coast bordering on the Atlantic Ocean will be asked to evacuate. Because we’re about 12 miles from the beach, we’re advised to shelter in place. We’ll get plenty of rain and wind — and our creek may flood. Hurricane Matthew will visit us on Friday. Watchful waiting.

Let’s shift over to comforting and encouraging thoughts for all mental health. Remember, whatever you need to do, not only can you do it, but you can do it well. Two of today’s quotes deal with courage — we always have it, thought sometimes we must dig deep. The final quote asks us to imagine we’re angels.

John Wayne, American actor, director, and producer. 1907-1979
inspirational quotes

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. John Wayne
Sir Winston Churchill, British Statesman and Prime Minister. 1874 – 1966
inspirational quotes
Success is not final. Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. Sir Winston Churchill
Luciano de Crescenzo, Italian writer, film actor, director, engineer. (1928 – )
inspirational quotes
We are all angels with only one wing. Only when we come together can we fly. Luciano de Crescenzo

See you next week,

Ann Marie

Here are a few previous Pause and Revitalize posts, if you want to immerse yourself in encouraging words as I prepare for Hurricane Matthew.

inspirational quote
Pause and Revitalize #1
Pause and Revitalize quote
Pause and Revitalize #3
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread . . .
Pause and Revitalize #4
Thomas Merton quote
Pause and Revitalize #14


Take Better Etsy Photos with an XPRO Light Tent

Take Better Etsy Photos XPRO Light Tent

We started our Etsy shop in July and immediately realized we needed to step up our photography game. In our quest for better Etsy photos, we ordered an XPRO light tent last week. The 36″ x 36″ model cost $69.99, with free shipping through Amazon Prime.
XPRO light tent 36" x 36"

With the light tent’s arrival, we began converting one of our rooms into a photography studio/office. The game plan is to free up one wall for styling furniture photos and use the window wall to take photos of smaller items in our new XPRO light tent.

Today, we tested out the light tent by setting it on a table underneath the window. David and our son, Michael, placed clip-on lights on either side. By placing the box against the window, we took advantage of natural backlighting.

They plan to attach a light above the tent on another day. Today’s efforts with a PVC pipe didn’t work out. It needs to be higher.
XPRO Photography Light Tent

Michael works at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery. One of his assignments is photographing smaller items for ebay. That’s about to expand because Michael and Georgie had their office enlarged over the summer. It now contains a DIY photo studio for Avonlea’s online store. I say this to identify him as the professional photographer of the family.

Our 36″ x 36″ tent is large. We can easily fit items like this pair of mortar and pestle lamps:
XPRO light tent

Small items look dwarfed by the space.
XPRO light tent

The XPRO light tent comes with 5 backdrops: white, black, blue, red, and green — which need to be ironed before use. That was my contribution.
XPRO light tent

Here are examples of Michael’s work for our Etsy shop:
Shaker Style Wooden Box
Mortar and Pestle Lamps
Carved Trojan Horse Heads
The Pyrex Bowl Butterfly Gold, 1.5 pints, with blue background . . .
Etsy Photos

. . . and black background:
Etsy Photos

The XPRO light tent really does kick our photography up a notch.

I want to mention that Melanie Alexander of Lost and Found Decor recently posted How to Take Better Blog Photos Without Breaking the Bank. She offers excellent recommendations. Our next investments will be Adobe Creative Cloud for photo editing, and photographer Aniko Levai’s Master Package. It includes her ebook, The Ultimate Photography Book for Bloggers, videos, and lightroom presets.

I’m good at editing but I’d like to hone my photographic skills.

One last thing, while we immersed ourselves in today’s session of Etsy photos, we sold an item on Etsy.

Ann Marie and David

Join us on Facebook and Pinterest.

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Ficks Reed Furniture: Mid-Century’s Exotic Rattan

Ficks Reed Furniture

Interior decorator John B. Wisner designed these fabulous mid-century rattan pieces for the Ficks Reed Company. I believe they are part of the Far Horizons Collection, introduced in 1954. During this period, exotic decor from Asia intrigued the American market.

Ficks Reed Far Horizons

A center seat or perhaps a table existed at one time, but was long gone when David and Michael purchased the set. Today the two chairs form a love seat that is accompanied by a pair of matching end tables.

While researching, I discovered that they’re made from rattan, not bamboo. If you’re like me, you may be hazy on what separates the two. In 1954 the Schenectady Gazette clarified the difference:

A tropical vine, sometimes stretching as long as 600 feet over the jungle floor, has become one of the most desirable materials for summer furniture. Rattan, found in the Philippines and East Indies, when fashioned by a firm like Ficks Reed Co. of Cincinnati into high-styled furniture, bears little similarity to the thorny bark-covered vine gathered by natvies in the interior or the jungle.

Distinct from bamboo which is a hollow grass or tree straight and brittle — rattan, solid throughout, is extremely pliable and can be wrought with skill into innumerable articles for the home. Source

Let’s take a closer look at the construction of our pieces: The graceful, upward sweep of the arm tipped with brass caused this particular feature to be named an “elephant tusk.”
Ficks Reed Chair Frame
Ficks Reed logo
Ficks Reed rattan side table

In 1885 Louis Ficks formed the National Carriage and Reed Company in NYC. Five years later, he relocated his company to Cincinnati, soon added a partner, and changed the company’s name to Ficks Reed.

The company initially produced woven reed and wicker baby carriages, but built its reputation on its luxury wicker and rattan furniture over the course of its 125-year existence. Every piece, whether residential or commercial, was hand worked to the highest quality. Today Ficks Reed means exceptional quality and increasingly rare pieces.

In additional to John B. Wisner, Ficks Reed worked with designers such as Dorothy Draper, Paul T. Frankl, and Paul László. Luxury hotels promoted their Ficks Reed decor. Here are some examples:

The Greenbrier, West Virginia – Interiors Designed by Dorothy Draper
Ficks Reed at The Greenbrier
Ficks Reed The Greenbrier
Ficks Reed The Greenbrier

The Colony, Delray Beach, Florida

Ficks Reed The Colony Delray Beach FLFicks Reed The Colony

End of an Era

By January 2011, Ficks Reed was out of business, yet its legacy lives on. SWI Vintage acquired dozens of its pieces and transformed them, through lacquer and textiles, into furniture celebrating the vibrancy of Palm Beach. They sold quickly via One Kings Lane:Ficks Reed Dorothy Draper Bench
Ficks Reed Green Schumacher Loungers
Ficks Reed White Schumacher Chairs
Our Ficks Reed love seat and side tables are beautiful, but I suppose there’s always the possibility I could lacquer our pieces. Choices are pink, green, white, navy or natural. Any recommendations?

Ann Marie and David

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DIY Wood Repair: Water Marks, Burns, Scratches, Finishing

An unexpected acquisition exploded into weeks of DIY wood repair for David. How did he overcome white water marks, dark water marks, burns, scratches, finish stripping, and create a new finish color? Read on to find out.

Backstory . . .
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Bedroom Set

We bought a lot of furniture and decor at a hectic estate sale last March. Unlike our usual sales, this house was wall-to-wall Mid-Century Modern (MCM), every room overflowing with stunning pieces. Collectors and dealers came out in droves. My son Michael and I were among the first into the house and it was a bonanza.

We came across a beautiful Broyhill Premier Sculptra bedroom set, made in 1964. Unfortunately, the high prices wouldn’t allow us to make any money on resale. Michael suggested we leave a bid but, with the eager mob surrounding us, I didn’t think we had much of a chance.

Surprise! A phone call informed us we were the proud new owners of the Broyhill set. Broyhill Premier manufactured their Sculptra collection between 1957 and 1965. With our purchase we acquired one of the first king-sized headboards ever made.

Great collection. We put it in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery and enjoyed lots of interest.

A client and friend contacted us and asked if we’d be interested in buying a matching nightstand. She had paid already paid a mover to deliver her own merchandise and they would throw in the nightstand at no shipping cost to us. Good deal.

Big Problem: Wood Repair Needed

On a muggy, rain drenched night, the nightstand arrived. It matched the collection’s design but troublingly sported a cherry stain, not our golden walnut.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstand Cherry

David pulled out the CitriStrip and began the process of wood repair. He’s the expert at our house.

Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstand CitriStrip
First side loaded up with stripper — 4 more to go
Stripping Broyhill Premier Sculptra
Residue CitriStrip and old finish

But this baby had issues beyond its color. Once the cherry finish came off David tackled the stains and scratches.

White Water Mark

The white water mark was easy. Denatured alcohol helped get rid of it and a 180-grit sanding left it matching the rest of the top.

Broyhill Premier Sculptra nightstand damage

Dark Water Marks

Dark water marks are always the hardest to remove. With the finish completely removed, David used a paste of oxalic acid, marketed as Wood Bleach (Trade name). This is neither a quick nor easy solution. It sometimes takes several coats to minimize the black ring, which is caused by water soaking into and reacting with the tannins in the wood.

After three applications, most of the dark ring disappeared. He sanded down the area with 180-grit sandpaper and was fortunate that it didn’t ghost back through when the he applied the new stain medium.

Burn Marks

Finally one goes our way. The burn wasn’t deep and was easily sanded out with 180-grit.


The scratch was a bit deep. David knew if he sanded the veneer to remove the stain, he’d run the risk of going through the veneer. Then the area the wouldn’t take stain properly. He tossed out this option. Instead he used a steam iron and a wet cloth to pull the scratched area back to the surface. When heat is applied to wet wood, it raises the grain. As you can see in the picture, the scratch is now flush with its surrounding face. There is a dark line or bruising now visible, but no deep scratch. Once he had it flush, David sanded the dark area down then matched the tone of the wood around it.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra wood damage

Matching the Stain

With the blemishes in the wood ameliorated, David took up the task of staining the piece to match the walnut tones of our other pieces. Minwax Special Walnut looked like a good match when he put it on an inconspicuous area for testing color. He plunged in and stained the entire piece.

Wrong. It looked way too red to belong to our Sculptra collection. Next up, a car trip to a local furniture refinishing business and a plea for knowledge. I imagine David pressed the finisher about miracles. Could this piece be saved? Especially with the time and effort already invested. The pessimistic answer he received held a ray of hope and, frankly, he felt it was too late to turn back. Like Ahab, David and his nemesis nightstand found themselves locked in a mortal struggle. The poor finisher skeptically advised Provincial, a stain close in tone to Special Walnut but mostly based on green. The only way to kill the red was to mix it with green.

Still Mixing the Stain . . .

Provincial toned down the reddish color but didn’t come close to matching the existing finish. Frustration. A week and a half of work needed to be removed from the piece. Out came the CitriStrip for two more full strippings. Several hours and many dark words later and there! The nightstand was back to neutral with no red tone bleeding out of the wood.

He surmised that the original finish had been a layer of dye and shot with cherry toner before the finished top coat got sprayed on.

The extra strip was an attempt at removing any residual red tone from the wood. After a few trial-and-error color matches, he went with a mixture of Watco Light Walnut and Golden Oak. The Light Walnut still had some red in the light walnut stain. The Golden Oak toned that down and added a lighter golden hue to some of the wood graining.


David came very close to matching the two pieces. The lighter undertones of the original collection mimicked what an aging process would have done to the finish and the wood underneath. I was quite pleased with the final results; David bordered on ecstatic.

David DIY Wood Repair
My Hero

An added bonus: after three weeks we no longer had to explain why the second nightstand was offsite. More importantly David stopped muttering to himself about stains and tones and being generally disagreeable when things didn’t work right. But that’s pretty common, right?

Lesson learned: matching tones of wood finishes is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it’s best to let the pro do the job. But David loved the learning experience and he lucked out on the top of the curve. Pretty amazing. He gives himself 25% to skill and 75% to luck — and not knowing when to quit.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstands

Here they are, together at last. The collection sold within a week. Don’t they look beautiful together? And heroic David brought about this transformative wood repair.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstands

Thanks for visiting. We love reading your comments.

Ann Marie & David

You can find us on Facebook and Pinterest.

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Pause and Revitalize #21: Hope Dies Last

I read Studs Turkel’s final book titled Hope Dies Last (2004) when it first came out. A journalist, Turkel collected oral histories from people of all walks of life. His book’s title comes from a comment made by a farm  worker — and I embrace it. On the occasions I’ve found myself in seemingly hopeless situations, I repeat this mantra. The flame of hope may flicker but it never goes out — and I want to believe, never will.

Here’s Jessie’s quote:
With us there’s a saying, “La esperanza muera ultima. Hope dies last.” You can’t lose hope. If you lose hope, you lose everything.—Jessie de la Cruz, retired farm worker

Now, on to today’s inspiration.

Alice Walker, American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. (1944 – )

Motivational Quote
“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make for yourself.” Alice Walker

Aldous Huxley, English writer, novelist, philosopher. (1894 – 1963)

Motivational Quote
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that’s your own self.” Aldous Huxley

Sir Tom Stoppard, British playwright and screenwriter. (1937 – )

Motivational Quote

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” Tom Stoppard

Thanks for stopping by today.

Ann Marie

A few previous Pause and Revitalize quotes:

inspirational quote
Pause & Revitalize #8
Ralph Waldo Emerson motivational quote
Pause & Revitalize #10
Goethe inspirational quote
Pause & Revitalize #11

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DIY Wall Art with Stencils and Templates

DIY Wall Art with Stencils and Templates

I want to present three different pieces of DIY wall art that I made with stencils and templates. A couple are already on display in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery.

Octopus Stencil on Canvas

These first two pieces are created from stencils designed and cut by Cate Tinsley, a talented  artist and illustrator whose business is called Olive Leaf Stencils. She offers an amazing  selection of wall stencils and I can’t recommend her enough. I found her on Etsy I asked if she could reduce a couple of her oceanic images. Hooray! She agreed.

My instinct tells me there’s a niche for these images since our booth stands about 15 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll see — but the final images look great.
Octopus Stencil

I used an 18″ x 24″ canvas for this mighty guy and painted the background periwinkle. The silvery octopus shimmers — and the photo doesn’t do him justice.

I’d like to paint my next octopus with more colors — blues and greens for the watery background — and add dimension and texture to the octopus with VP Antico by Artisan Enhancements.

Tube Coral Stencil on Pallet Wood

This is the other stencil from Olive Leave Stencils. Isn’t it fantastic? David cut pallet wood to  form a 31″ x 20.75″ surface. Using a belt sander, he sanded the slats as smooth as he could so the stencil would lay as flat as possible. He added a frame to the back.

I whitewashed the raw wood with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) Old White and rolled the stencil with ASCP Barcelona Orange.

Tube Coral Stencil

This guy is heavy — 10 pounds — but won’t he look terrific as the focal point in a beach cottage? He’ll go into our booth in the next couple of days.

I’m entertaining the idea of customizing the octopus and coral in colors requested by clients. What do you think? The alternative, for now, is simply to choose my own colors and surface — either canvas or wood, and sell them in the booth.

Halloween Mirror Silhouettes

DIY Wall Art

This last wall art project arrives in time for Halloween. I’ve had this 4-paned mirror for too long. I repainted it a while back, but it never garnered any attention. Something drastic needed to be done — I’m determined to sell this piece. Halloween gave me the perfect idea. I remembered seeing a photo on The Graphics Fairy site for Halloween projects. Emily Martin created the window below, and it served as the inspiration for my mirror.

Halloween Window Silhouettes

I bought my supplies at Joann’s:

  • a black glitter card with adhesive backing
  • black acrylic paint
  • cobwebbing

I gave a slipshod paint job to the frame — it’s supposed to look creepy. An old peeling window frame might work as well, but you use what you have on hand. I liked the glossy black look.

On my computer, I reduced the size of the templates and printed out the images. Next, I cut the vulture, raven, crow, and rat and traced them onto the white adhesive backing of the black glitter. Cut and adhere.

With the paint dry and the silhouettes attached, the mirror still needed something. A small bag of fake cobwebbing did the trick. I stretched webbing across the frame and added a free spider that came in the package. Voilà!

Thanks for stopping by. You can find us on Facebook and Pinterest, too.

Ann Marie and David


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