Monthly Archives: May 2012

a round green coffee table


This is a vintage Paul Frankl cocktail table that is selling for $5,800 at Downtown.  It is absolutely PERFECT for my room, but there is NO WAY I can afford nearly six thousand dollars for a coffee table.  Thus began my search to find a suitable replacement.

I knew it would probably be hard to find a green table, so I attempted to find a round table that could be painted.  I wanted something between 36″ – 42″ in diameter, preferably nearer the larger dimensions.  I also did not want something too low (we are tall in our household, and I am not a fan of low slung furniture).  I was willing to spend up to $500 if I could find the perfect piece, but I was hoping to spend about half that.  No luck at any price (except, of course, in the $1000++ bracket).

Next I turned to craigslist, where I actually found a French Provincial round table done in a shabby chic white with a broken foot for only $30.  The dimensions were perfect!  I figured it wouldn’t be hard to sand and repaint to suit my purposes.  I snapped it up.

Unfortunately, the seller did not disclose that the top of the table was very badly warped and bubbled from being outdoors or in the rain or something.  The warping did not show up on the pictures.  I hesistated about finalizing the purchase, but the shape and scale of the piece were perfect and for only $30 I thought that I could do something….

Sanding did not made a dent in the swollen areas, although it did help break down some of the crackle finish of the paint.  The part that was broken on the foot was minor and hardly noticeable if you faced that side to the fireplace (which I did, of course, and I never did fix it).  I figured the only thing to do was to raise the rest of the table top to level with the swollen places.  However, with the scalloped and bi-level detail fo the top, it seemed difficult at best to pour some resin or other product on top and to achieve a nice edge and finish.  Plus I wasn’t sure that was the look I wanted.  In the end I decided to try papier mache.

I ended up doing three layers of papier mache, letting it fully dry and sanding between each application. It worked pretty well and cost me just pennies (I used a flour and water paste with a little salt added to make sure it dried more thoroughly and to give me a harder finished surface).  It was still a bit rough, even with the sanding, so I used some wall patching mixture (thinned down) to smooth out the rough edges, and then sanded again.  It never got completely smooth, but I was happy enough with results to move on to painting.

(I might also note that somewhere in the middle of this process I brought the table inside to show it off.  When I carried it back outside to keep working on it, I dropped it on my bare feet and smashed up my big toe horrendously.  You should thank me for not posting a picture of it.  This is the pain and suffering we endure for a bargain!)

With two $3.50 cans of spray paint, I ended up spending less than $40 and I am quite pleased with the result.  I even had enough paint left over to spray paint a mirror in the front entry.  I am pretty happy with my version of the high end design, even though I had to work through several challenges (and a sore foot) to get there.  The color is great in my room too.  I knew I wanted green!


star wars pillows


I was on a throw pillow kick a month or so ago (I’ll have to do another post to show you the pillows I got done then), and I had this vision of an R2D2 inspired throw pillow.  My hubbie is a bit of a Star Wars fanatic, so I thought it would be perfect for the couch in his office.  As it turned out, though, I had a wedding to go to for another Star Wars fan, and I decided to experiment on the pillow as a gift for his reception.

I started making some sketches of the blue designs on R2.  I didn’t want to be exactly literal in my design–I wanted something simple enough, but obvious too.  I really liked how it turned out.  I’m still looking for my sewing machine power cord (grrr–it’s one of the main things to have gone missing during our whole house remodel), so I ended up sewing on the felt pieces by hand.

I knew I wanted a second pillow, but I couldn’t come up with a C3PO design that I liked (nor a Darth Vader or Yoda).  I looked around online and found this great Wookie pillow! It looked simple enough and graphic enough to both complement my R2 pillow and easy enough to finish in my limited time frame.  As there are no fabric stores close to my house, I went to Walmart hoping to find some brown fur or other soft fabric to work with.  Nothing.  Then I thought of a blanket or a towel.  Bingo!  The brown bath towel was only $3, and I will have enough to make a second pillow for my hubbie!  It may not be as furry as a Wookie, but I think it worked excellently in a pinch!

I am super proud of how these pillows turned out.  My hubby loved them and is ready for his set of pillows (haven’t gotten to those yet), and my youngest son is begging for his own R2 pillow (although he has already pointed out some modifications in the design for his version).  The couple who received them as a gift have given me positive reviews as well.  I posted a picture on facebook and got lots of friends ready to order their own pillows as well.  Too bad I have no desire to go into business….

It was a fun and pretty easy project.

a cool yellow lamp


I saw this yellow lamp shade at Target a week or two ago and knew that it was something I wanted for my living room.  However, I also knew that I wanted a yellow lamp base to go with it, and Target didn’t have what I was looking for.  I shopped around at plenty of other stores as well as the internet, but still was unable to find the kind of yellow lamp I wanted.  I decided to paint an old brass lamp that was collecting dust in my garage instead.

 I actually had TWO of these brass lamp bases (doesn’t everyone have one in their garage?) to choose from (here I show you the one I did NOT choose, mainly because it was the shorter of the two).  I roughed up the surface with sandpaper, then sprayed a coat of primer.  Then I sprayed several light coats of the yellow paint I picked out.  It was harder to find yellow spray paint than I anticipated: I checked Home Depot, Walmart and Michaels before finally finding an appropriate shade at Lowes.  I used Valspar Satin: Golden Maize.  It matches the shade perfectly (which was lucky since I didn’t have the shade with me when I picked out the color–I just kind of knew what I wanted in my head).

I think it turned out great, and it looks stunning against my purple walls!  It was just the pop of color and pattern that I was hoping for.  Now all I need is a side/accent table to put it on.  The one it is sitting on right now is a little table I just bought for a steal, thinking I could fix it up and paint it, but I realize that it is just not going to work, so I will take it back to the store this week.  The search goes on.

my piano room


view from living room into adjacent piano room

My dream has come true!  When we remodeled the house last year, we bumped out the front of the house for a piano room.  The architect kept trying to make it into an office or some other purpose, but he finally caught my vision.  At that point we only owned our lovely Mason & Hamlin upright, but I knew I wanted a nice grand to share the space (we made sure to budget a little extra in our remodeling funds).  I have been shopping for 9 months for that grand piano, and I finally decided on this Yamaha GC2.  It is 5’10” and fits the space perfectly!

The movers were delightful and moved the piano for me several times until we decided on the perfect location and angle.  It was a giddy day.  I have enjoyed playing the new piano for many hours in the several days since it was delivered.  It needs a bit of breaking in, and I am anxious for it to be voiced and tuned because I am not completely satisfied with how it sounds right now.  Nevertheless, I need to wait for the piano to acclimate for at least one month until I can have a technician work on it.

All the planning for this space has been worth it, and I am simply thrilled with how it all looks.