Thrift Store Makeovers

It was a happy accident, really.

We innocently bought a $10 gold framed oval mirror at Top Drawer, my favorite thrift store in Austin, about a month ago. I had every intention to repaint it gray/silver and put it in our bedroom, because we seriously needed a mirror in there. Weeks went by and it sat in the entry of our apartment untouched.

Mirror Before

Then I had an idea, paint it white since all the frames throughout our apartment are white – that way it would be easy to place in any room. Off we went to Treehouse, our favorite hardware store in Austin, to buy some paint. Once we got there, I was instantly drawn to the bold, bright colors rather than the 25 shades of white. That’s when I decided to buy yellow paint which appeared to be an exact match to the pillows on our bed. Our walls needed a pop of color, plus it’s only paint – if we hate it we can repaint it, right?

After I grabbed the paint sample I wanted, I was then drawn to a chartreuse color I adored. I insisted that we get a small batch of it, maybe I good do some detailing with it around the mirror. Off we went to checkout and get our paint mixed. As our paint was getting mixed, I thumbed through the mistints that you could purchase for $10/gallon. I squealed when I saw the “Eggshell” shade and insisted we buy it, even though we live in an apartment with no walls to paint. I’d eventually have a need for it right?

After we checked out, I convinced Adam to make a stop at Top Drawer just to see what they had – besides their world famous Trannequins. We walked in and it didn’t appear like that had any new pieces since our last visit, then I got closer to the register and saw a sewing chair, with perfect bones, for $12! SOLD!

chair before

I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it, which would include the eggshell mistint paint. We loaded the chair into our car and headed to JoAnn to buy fabric. Originally, I wanted to use a chevron print for the chair, but they didn’t have any. I was cluelessly roaming the aisles when I came upon a coral orange print and had to have it. Plus it was deeply discounted. SCORE!

We got home and laid paper on our back deck and got ready to give these finds makeovers. We took the cushions off the chair and removed the glass from the mirror before Adam insisted we sand them, twice, before we began painting. So while he was sanding, I started working on the cushions. Taking off 2 layers of fabric to get to the original:

Original Fabric

and then finding that we have something in common. We’re both from Arkansas!

cushion

It took a good hour of pulling nails and staples to get the fabric off before I could begin covering with the new fabric. I used the old pieces of fabric as a pattern to cut out the new fabric. Then I lined the fabric on the chair and made sure I liked the placement of the pattern before stapling. I started by putting a staple in the center on the bottom and then a staple on either side of the center staple. Then I put a staple in the center of the top, pulling the fabric taught as I went, before doing a staple on either side. I repeated this process until all sides were completed. My staples were a little longer than I needed, so I had to hammer then to make them smooth. After this, it was time to work on the corners. It took creative folding, stapling, and fabric tension, to get smooth corners like I want. Plus a hammered fingernail. Which, by the way, HOLY OUCH!

Finally, the fabric was stretched over the old cushions and the furniture as sanded and ready to be primed. We took our time priming 2 light layers on the chair and mirror then let it get good and dry for a few hours before applying our first coats of color. The mirror took much more paint than the chair, but after a day and a half of painting, drying, painting and drying, it was finally done.

The chair took a bit more time. Remember that chartreuse paint I bought? Adam suggested that we use it to make the insets on the chair “pop”. This involved taking painters tape and applying it around the narrow insets to protect the main paint, then liberally applying the chartreuse to a brush and slathering it into the insets – being careful not to get any on the main color. As an added precaution, after liberally applying an inset with the paint, I took a dry paper towel and wiped away any excess paint to prevent pooling under the tape. After a hour or so of this process the insets were completed and we just had a few touchup spots of the main color that needed to be painted. Once it was completely dry (which was the longest period of time in my life) we attached the cushions!

Gah!! I loved how it turned out. Here’s a closeup of the inset detailing:

 Here’s another before and after picture:

And here’s how they looked once we put them in our bedroom.

I love how everything turned out and how cheery it made the room feel!

Happy Holidays!

I sort of have a reputation when it comes to the Christmas/Holiday cards I send out every year.

Or so I’m told.

You see, I’m a huge fan of paper pretties. I’m one of those people who can stand in the card aisle for hours looking for the perfect birthday card for a friend. So it should come as no surprise that, every year, I scour the Internet for unique cards.

Starting in October, I make it a point to find a card with a little something extra – an added sparkle here or a spinning ornament there. But this year I decided to try my hand at designing my own and I’m so happy I did!

I had bought several yards of canvas to make these lovely calendars as gifts, but grad school got in the way. I was sad and stuck with yards of canvas that I didn’t know if I’d ever use.

Then it hit me: Christmas Cards! Yep, I printed my cards on canvas this year. But not just that, I took it one step further and made the envelopes, too.

As one friend said after she received it in the mail: the card “did its job of making me feel inferior.” I guess operation make-my-own-cards was a success? 🙂

PS: Can you still call them cards if they aren’t printed on paper?