Tag Archives: junking

Another Finished Project!



Stool Pigeon Bar Stool

Stool Pigeon Bar Stool

A couple of months ago, before our trip to Russia, the gallery I belong to decided to have a  fundraiser  benefiting young artists.  Of course,  I volunteered to participate, and in doing so was committed to creating three chairs.

My first thought was…..that’s a huge commitment, how on earth am I going to do this, more importantly why did you do this?  Knowing we were leaving on vacation, the word crazy even crossed my mind.

My second thought was… I needed to  frequenting the yard sales on Saturday, and Sunday.  My husband, and I spent all day looking for just the right chairs to use for this project.  He asked me exactly what I was looking for?  Isn’t that a silly question coming from the husband of an artist?

How the hell should I know what I’m looking for, I’ll know it when I see it!

So off we went, neighborhood by neighborhood scanning each garage sale, checking for chairs…any chairs.  Boy did we find  interesting chairs.  One man had the most beautiful hand crafted, wood chair I have ever seen. It clearly was out of my price range, but more importantly I would never alter it in any way.  Another sale featured rattan fan back chairs which I have always loved, but I knew if I bought it, it would never see the inside of any gallery in my lifetime.

Childs beach chair

Childs beach chair

We kept looking, and my husband was so patient with me.  A friend of mind who lives around the corner, was selling two oak bar stools, they caught my eye.  Not exactly chairs, but if they held a butt, that was good enough for me!  She only wanted $5. for each of them.  I bought only one, and now I’m sorry I didn’t get the other one.  Needless to say, since I was altering the stool, I picked the worst, most worn stool.  I must be a glutton for punishment!

Rattan Doll Chair

Rattan Doll Chair

Onward to the next house…..

After combing many neighborhoods, I spotted a childs Sponge Bob Square Pants beach chair.  This adventure had been going on  for quite some time,  so I had my husband stop.   The lady wanted $3. for it, and how could I complain about that?  That made my second chair.

Keep going…..

Finally late in the day, as we were trying not to get discouraged, I spotted a small rattan chair.  Not big enough for a child, I realized it must be a doll chair.   After talking to the lady, I purchased the little Rattan doll chair for $2.  that did it,  we were finished!

That was quite a day, and after all said and done, a successful day at that.  Once we got the chairs into the back yard, I put a big drop cloth on an outside table, and began to spray all three chairs with white primer.  Sponge Bob was the most resilient, he just didn’t want to leave, but the rest were easily covered.  One thing let to another, and I had my project about a third of the way through by the end of the day.  Not a bad day if I do say so myself!

The legs of the stool have been crackled for a different effect,  I decorated the rungs with stenciled tissue paper, and my husband thought it would be fun to put a pigeon to the stool, and call it a Stool Pigeon.  So I sketched a pigeon, zetangled it, used acrylic medium to adhere it onto the top of the stool, and it blended into the background just as I planned.

Bar Stool recreated

Bar Stool recreated

Our vacation came and went, and the deadline for the chairs was extended another month.  That was a relief, since I returned home from vacation with bronchitis, and didn’t really have the energy to work on my projects.

Last Tuesday with all three of my chairs finished, I drove them down to the gallery for the fundraiser.  It felt so good to get them finished and I thought you might want to see them.


Thank you for taking time to visit, and read my blog.  Questions, and comments are always welcome, and appreciated.  Karen

So….Mom Wasn’t Perfect After All!


In our house the words, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are common place.  Don’t get me wrong,  we both love to spend money, and buy new things, who doesn’t?  Actually,  I think I’m the best at spending.  My husband thinks he’s the best at it!  Ok,  both of us have to keep check on each other!

When I was small, mother and myself would go out junking, or antiquing, depending on the store.  If it was called an antique store, everything in it would be higher in price.  If it was called a junk store, prices would reflect that.  Today even junky Junk stores are pricy, and antique stores are out of the ballpark!  When it comes to reusing something, I’m the one in our household who loves taking something old, and repurposing it.

Many years ago, when I first got married, we didn’t have a lot of money, so Mom and I would look everywhere for furniture that we could both fix up for my new home.  Mom could sniff out the best bargains of anyone I have ever met, and she really knew how to negotiate the best price for those bargains  too!  I remember finding an oblong pine drop leaf table that was in great condition.  Just the table, not the chairs.  I really needed that table, so after bargaining with the shop owner,  the price was dropped to a doable amount, and home we went with our new purchase.

The thing is, I never really liked that table!

It was maple, and looked too Early American for me, but since I needed one, and the price was right, I bought it!  Mom loved Early American, and she secretly wanted me to love it also, but my style was more country.  I liked that worn look of history!

Several months later I found a different table at the same shop, and this time it was the table of my dreams!  This  table was an old, oak, oval, kitchen table with two drop leafs, and a square pedestal.    It had really been beaten up, and you could tell it had lived a colorful life just by sliding your hand over the top.  Character, and personality, oozed out  the grain of the wood, and  it had a charm that the other table would never have!  As I proceeded to negotiate with the shop owner, I could feel my stomach churning with excitement.  It wasn’t long before he agreed to take the other table in exchange for my beautiful new farm table.  Even in those days, these tables were rare, and to this day, I’ve never seen one exactly like it.  Even reproductions aren’t close!

That same afternoon, Mother, and myself loaded the maple table into the back of her wagon, and off we went to return it to the shop, and exchange it for my new farm table.  We worked quickly before the owner of the store changed his mind.  He most likely could get more money from the first table, it certainly was in better condition, but I only wanted to make sure the oak table didn’t find itself in another home by mistake!  As everyone knows, one man’s junk, is another man’s treasure!

The real fun began when Mom and I delivered  the oak table to my apartment, and spent the rest of the afternoon deciding how to clean it up without damaging it even more! I think we used Murphy’s Oil Soap on it, followed by a robust application of steel wool to smooth out the surface.  Today, I use  Murphy’s for cleaning my make up brushes, and my art brushes…it is the best, most gentle thing you could ever use on brushes!  When we were finished cleaning up the table it had a beautiful patina, and the grain of the wood was fabulous!    Let me tell you that table gave us many years of wonderful service, it always looked so beautiful when it was dressed up with fancy skirts, fine  china, and my best  silver.   I can still see it, and long for a table just like it, maybe a place to put it while I’m sitting here longing would be nice also!

A couple of years later I received a call from my Mother one afternoon, late in the day.  She told be she had found four bent wood chairs, and she asked if I would I like to have them?  Of course, “ I’d love to have them!”  I’d been dreaming of having bent wood chairs, and had never found anything close to a chair like that  on my  junking days, so yes!  Pretty soon, I was pulling the ugly chairs I’d been using out of my dinning room , and replacing them with four cleaned up, and polished bent wood chairs.  That really made my day!

I found out later that Mother had lifted (literally lifted),  the chairs from the back of a Thrift Store where someone had donated them.  I guess Mom wasn’t perfect after all!

Mom, and I went on like this for years until Dad decided to retire, and sell their home to live aboard a  boat in Long Beach Harbor.  That turned out to be fun too, but the antiquing days as we knew them, would now be only a memory, and  we never kicked around like that again.  Occasionally, while one of us would visit the other, we  would  do a little garage sailing, and thrift store shopping, but it never was the same.

Those days were so much fun, we were able to do so much as mother and daughter, and those memories are  something I will always cherish!