If at first you don't succeed....Try, try again!

I think everyone has heard this before, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."  I looked the quote up and turns out it's from a teachers manual from the 1800's.  Seems appropriate!  It's a phrase that goes through my mind quite often!  Maybe because I make a lot of mistakes, but I like to think it's because I'm a crazy perfectionist.  I'm not happy with a piece of furniture or the way something is 'styled' in my home until (in my eyes) it's perfect.  That's probably why I'm constantly changing and moving things in or out.  This quote really came into play for me four months when I refurbished a boring, white dresser I bought on Craigslist.   I stripped the top and decided to paint my first chevron pattern on the front.  The funny thing is this Chevron Dresser was one of my favorites.....until about a week after I redid it.

This was the first time this has happened to me in refurbishing journey.  It was bound to happen, but I wish it would've been something that I hadn't worked so hard on.  A chevron pattern isn't easy to figure out, well at least not for me!  I knew I was in trouble when I was finished and my Hubby said, "I think you need to add some more chevron stripes."  Hmmmm where were you when WE were taping off these stripes??  I decided to ignore him (and my gut feelings) and just go with it.  I blogged about the dresser and got lots of positive feedback and then it sat in my garage for 4 months.  I was going to take it to the store I recently started selling in an give it a go there....That was until I spilled stain on the white paint.  Another couple weeks of letting it sit then I decided what I wanted to do and went for it.

Here's a picture of the dresser before I did my chevron treatment to it.

This dresser was a complete mess.  It was a smelly, ugly mess.  I really didn't like the hardware or the painted and distressed finish.  

This is how the dresser looked after I stripped and refinished the top and painted the body of the dresser in Pure White ASCP.  Then added on some chevron stripes.  The Hubby always said it looked like a Charlie Brown dresser....OH NO HE DIDN'T!  Oh yes, yes he did!  Looking back at it now, I kind of agree, but something about this little chevron dresser still makes my heart go pitter patter.  I now realize however, that I should have taken the stripes down farther.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?  Lots of old school phrases in this post!

 I went to an estate sale a couple of weeks ago and bought the most amazing vintage map print I'd ever seen.  The colors were gorgeous and it was unique.  I decided to attach the map to the drawer fronts on the chevron dresser.  I measured my map and it was the perfect size.  I got out my straight edge and then cut each piece carefully by hand.  I sanded down the drawers a bit and grabbed my Mod Podge and brush.  I attached the map to the first drawer and it was a disaster!!  Everything was bubbling and not sticking properly.  I used a brayer I had and tried to get the air bubbles out, but nothing worked.  I walked away and let it sit for a day.  I was gutted thinking this beautiful map was going to be wasted and all the time I spent preparing.   The next day I went out and sure enough the drawer was a mess.  I ripped it off (cursing under my breath) and then decided I had to come up with another plan.  I went to Michael's and a nice employee there explained that it was probably too cold to be doing this outside and my Mod Podge was maybe too old.  I purchased some new map paper, a new brayer and scraper thingy (no idea what it's called!) and new Mod Podge.  It definitely pays to have the right tools.

I also decided to buy a paper cutter.  I was tired of trying to cut a straight line on my own with scissors. I've never been the best at cutting, but I love my paper cutter! It makes cutting a breeze!!

This is before my second attempt at using Mod Podge on the drawer.   I sanded the drawer down a bit more and put a bit more paint on to help the Mod Podge adhere.  

I was thrilled when I got my first page on!!  It was sticking and the brayer and scraper thingy (I need to learn the name for that!) took all the air bubbles out perfectly!  Now I was getting excited!!

What I forgot to mention is it took me about 3 hours to attach these maps to the drawers.  It was a fun, but challenging process.  When I was done with attaching the maps to the drawers, I painted the body of the dresser as well as sanded down the top and re-stained it.   I put clear wax on the body of the dresser, then finished it with dark wax.  I also put a few coats of dark wax on the top as well as the drawers.  I wanted the drawers to have an aged look.  I popped on some new drawer hardware and stepped back to admire the 'new' dresser.

The best part of this whole process was Hunter telling me he wanted to keep the dresser and put it in his room.  Tonight we moved the map dresser into his room.  I didn't get any pictures of that, but he did say "Thank you Mommy for redoing my room."  My heart melted.  Love that kid!!

Here it is all done (hopefully for the last time).   I didn't get any pictures of the dresser in Hunter's room though.  I will have to save that for another day.

Please excuse these pictures.  I love taking my pictures outside, but this piece was heavy and already inside so I had no choice.  There was no way I could lift this out to my favorite spot in the yard.  Even with spotlights (yep I used spotlights) these pictures aren't bright enough.  This house is very dark even on a sunny day!

The pictures don't show how nice it is in person!  I'm very happy with how it turned out.  I love globes and maps so this is definitely right up my alley!

I like how aged and old the paper looks now with the Mod Podge and wax!

I have to mention this mirror.  I bought this at a barn sale about a month ago.  You can't see in the pictures, but it's highlighted with some almost pastel paints.  I didn't do a thing to it other than clean it.  The man that sold it to me asked me what I was going to do to it.  How could I do anything to it?  It's gorgeous the way it is.   I haven't seen a mirror like this before.  If you know what this type of mirror is called please let me know! Or what time period it's from.

I'm even so much happier with how the top looks now.   I also learned that I really, really, really don't like staining :-)

This dresser has been a journey!  I'm a very determined person and I knew this dresser could be so much better with a bit more work.  This time when the Hubby looked at it he loved it.  No more Charlie Brown dresser. 

I'm happy this one went in Hunter's bedroom!  I couldn't stand the thought of parting with it.   I poured a lot of heart into this one and it's now another reminder to never give up and try, try again!!  

Thank you for reading,


Restore Cabinet and Antique Mail Sorter

I'm really excited about this post!  If you haven't been to the Habitat For Humanity thrift store, Restore, before you're really missing out!  It's a great resource for lighting, furniture, building supplies, plumbing fixtures, tools, hardware....you name it they have it!  I went by there a few weeks ago after I sold my green dresser that was in my dining room to a friend.  I needed a place to store Hunter's craft supplies and paper.  I found just what I needed at Restore for $35!  It wasn't in the best shape and was covered in spider webs and dirt.  It wasn't exactly plumb or perfect, but that's just how I like my furniture!  I brought it home and cleaned it up.  Then brushed on a bit of ASCP in French linen just to brighten it up for a few weeks until I had time to do what I really wanted to.

Here's the before.

The details and the legs are what drew me to this piece.  It has so much character!

On top the veneer was peeling off the back, so I knew staining the top was out of the question. 

The top was a mess.

Look at those details!!!  They don't make furniture like this anymore!  

I need to apologize now because this was a long drawn out process.  I didn't get a single in progress picture.  Part of the reason was I finished this during the hurricane when we were out of power.  It was my way of dealing with the wind and my fear the house was going to collapse on us!  Some people relax with a glass of wine, I paint when I'm stressed.  It's how I stay somewhat sane :-)

I started out by painting the whole piece in Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint Typewriter.  I had received a sample of this color in my kit I bought from Patty and Karen at www.bestfurniturepaint.com.  I painted the whole piece hoping for the 'chippy' look, but it didn't happen.  I distressed the piece, waxed it and then realized it was just too dark for the space.  

Enter plan B, which was actually my original plan A!  I painted over the MMS Typewriter with ASCP in Coco.  Then rubbed the paint back with sandpaper so the darker color and the wood would show through.  MUCH BETTER!!!  The combination is stunning and exactly what this dark piece needed.  I finished the whole piece with ASCP clear wax and then just used a bit of dark wax on some of the detail areas very sparingly.  I didn't want this piece to get too dark.  I'm happy with how it turned out!!!

Here it is all done!

I think the details pop more now and it's not so dark and serious.

If you read this blog regularly you know I'm a sucker for a long carved leg on a piece of furniture.  I'm in love with the legs on this piece!!!  

After much debate and trying many different options, I decided to change the hardware.  I had  bought this hardware at a flea market in the summer and had been looking for a piece to use it on.  When I bought them they were a rusty mess, but I cleaned them up and put some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint on and they are just like new.

I love how the Typewriter color shows through so much on the top.

You can see this piece isn't exactly straight, but I love the quirkiness!


I need to add in one other piece that I added last weekend.  I fell in love with this antique mail sorter in an email I received about an estate sale.  As soon as I saw it I had to have it.  Well, in the picture it didn't look 5 feet long by about 3 feet wide!  Even as I was taking it off the wall, with help I might add, I still didn't realize how big it was!  It wasn't until this thing was in the back of my SUV that I realized I might be in trouble.  I had no idea where I was going to put this, but knew I needed it.  

When I got home the Hubby said I was certifiable and I had to agree slightly.  However after a bit of reorganizing I found the perfect spot for it!  Above my cute little cabinet from Restore in my dining room.  It's perfect here and now I have a place for all my 'little' pieces.  I love the history of the piece and it makes me smile when I walk in the room.

Now when I walk in the dining room I don't want to leave.  On the other side of the room I have my amazing card catalog cabinet and then on this side I have this incredible mail sorter and cabinet.  It's now my second favorite room in the house.

I have a new rule for myself.  If I buy something and have to keep it, then I have to sell or donate something else instead.  I don't have anymore room for anything (I say that all the time!) so this is my new mantra...out with the old in with something older :-)

Sometimes pieces of furniture or accessories just speak to me.  No I don't hear voices, I'm not that crazy, but I just get a feeling and know I need to take them home with me.  Next I will have to show you the fantastic steamer trunk I scored at the same estate sale for $5!!!!!

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Please feel free to comment or email me with any questions you might have.

Hope everyone is safe and sound after our huge storm here on the East Coast!