Friday, September 30, 2011

Sneak Peak

This is SO FAR from being done but, just to get your interest peaked!  Hopefully I finish it this weekend.  Wish me luck!  Also remember about the great Kidlark giveaway, here.  Don't miss out on this awesome prize!   

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Muse for Shelves

A muse for someone that refinishes furniture can come from all sorts of places.  I love looking at antiques and trying to bring old furniture back to its original glory, but sometimes the pocket book doesn't allow for it!  Working with what you have can make the best refinishing projects, and the best muses.

My client Kim that got the Antique Refinish to her dinning room table, has this beautiful Andover Cabinet from Pottery Barn.It has that old rustic look with all the modern conveniences.  For example...those drawers, not drawers at all (except for the top row), it's a cabinet.  Those tricky Pottery Barn people!  This was a great piece of furniture she had in her living room, and it made for a fabulous muse.

Above the table on the wall were these two long shelves. 

Everything else in her living room was a beautiful dark mahogany wood, so the orange on the shelves was standing out, and not in a good way.  In stepped the muse and away I went.

I first painted them a Navajo White color.  When that was dry, but still a little tacky I took my sander and with a 220 sand paper lightly took some of the paint off to give it the rustic look.  The reason I choose to not wait for it to be completely dry was because I wanted a Venetian plaster effect.   I waxed it, gave it some scrapes and bruises with my putty knife and finished it off with a brown glaze and polyurethane.  They turned out great, and look fantastic on her wall.

What things in life become your MUSE? 

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Kidlark Custom Card Giveaway

I am excited to announce the third giveaway The Rustic Alley has given in three weeks!  And we aren't even half over with all the giveaways!

Did you know that Christmas is only 3 months away?  CRAZY!  Where does the time go?  One thing that I love most about the holiday season is all the greeting cards we get.  Isn't it so much fun to see all your childhood friends and their adorable families?  However; one thing that I don't like is seeing the same greeting cards over and over.  (I am so guilty of this!  I am a slacker and wait to long to do anything cute and unique, so, Costco it is.)  But not this year!  Not with the help from Ashly at Kidlark

Kidlark is giving away a custom designed invitation or greeting card digital file.  You can either pick from one of her already created templates (some are available on her blog), or work with Ashly to design your own.  Your card will be the best looking one! 

Image of flaggedImage of
(a few examples)

(Must be a follower of this blog to enter)
To enter the giveaway leave a comment for each...

1.  Leave a comment telling me why you need Kidlark to step in and help you?
2.  Become a follower of Kidlark blog
4.  Blog, Tweet, and/or Facebook about this giveaway linking back to The Rustic Alley

Giveaway will end on Sunday, October 2nd.  Winner will be announced Monday, October 1st. 

Good Luck!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Pinterest Piano

I love Pinterest!  It is an addictive past time of mine.  Why can't I be one of these smart people that come up with these novel ideas like Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest?!? 

Recently I have noticed a lot of "re-pinning" of the piano I refinished.  What I love about Pinterest is that you can see the ripple affect pinning something has.  All these "repins" are from people I have no idea who they are!  The thought that my work is now out there in the Pinterest world for all to see is extremely exciting for me.  That means this adventure is for real, and people like my work! 

This piano has been in my family for over 30 years.  It is the piano I grew up playing, albeit short lived!  I wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons, but was never in love with the style of it, at all! 

(I never took a before shot when I started refinishing it, probably because I was so excited to just change it!  So this is one I cropped from a different picture so you could see.)

I opted not stripping the piano because I wanted to have some of the dark wood show through when I gave it my "Rustic" touch.  Rather, I used an 80 grit sand paper and took the high gloss varnish off as much as I could without scratching the wood.  I painted it with a cottage white latex paint.

Then I took my sander and had fun. 

The bench got a new look as well.  I love mis-match furniture, so making the bench a different color was the plan.  I first painted it with an aqua latex then when that dried I painted over it with the grey.

I lightly distressed it enough so that you could see the two-tone paint effect, as well as the original dark mahogany wood coming through.

Every piece of furniture has a story to tell.  Don't be scared to take risks and don't be scared of could end up with something beautiful!

Happy Pinning!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Who won the $50 Gift Card?

Thank you everyone who entered the $50 Visa gift card giveaway.  It was fun reading your comments on what you would refinish with the money.  I wish I had more to give since it seems like there is a lot of projects that need to get done!  However; one comment stood out above the rest.  The story was very heartfelt.  It read,

"I would refinish our kitchen table - this table is so special to us because it's been with my husband since childhood! It survived a house fire, UCSB and a houseful of guys, post college shenanigans, our first apartment and now our first home, and is standing strong to all of the antics of our three year old and one year old! It just needs a new look to be as beautiful as all of our memories!"

Any piece of wood furniture that survived a complete house fire, where the home was destroyed is a fighter and deserves to get a makeover! 

Congratulations Erika! 

I can't wait to see you make your table "as beautiful as all of your memories".

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Weekend Project

I am excited for the weekend to be here, how about you?  However; I am not excited to live in Arizona this weekend where the temperatures are suppose to be around 105-107 degrees!  Seriously!  Doesn't Mother Nature know it is the first day of Fall?  That means I am not suppose to be sweating while sitting completely still!  I bet you live some place beautiful with seasons, don't you?!?  Maybe one day I will join you.  What is better blistering heat or frigged snow? 

Regardless of my complaining I have work to do!  This beautiful table of a client of mine is getting a new look.  It has been in her family for 3 generations.  I LOVE furniture that has a story to tell! 

The top will get a new coat of stain  

The knobs will be replaced with something that makes more of a statement, and the beautiful band detailing will be given new life.

The bottom will be painted a soft linen white, and of course when we are done it will say, "Thank you for making me beautiful again".

I love my job! 

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Free Photo Editing Software

Are you like me and want great looking pictures but don't want to pay for Photoshop?  I use an awesome and FREE software that is exactly like Photo Shop!  Did I mention it's FREE?!?  It is called GIMP if you haven't heard of it.  GIMP is made by Google, so you know it has to be great.  I am still learning about it and I am sure it will take some time, but so far I love it!

(exert from the gimp website)
"GIMP provides easy-to-use, professional design tools that are comparable to Photoshop—minus the hefty price tag. GIMP is free image editing software that perfects photos and creates animated images. One of the most powerful general-purpose image editors around, GIMP can be used as a simple paint program, an expert-quality photo retouching program, image format converter and more. "

Before Editing:

After Editing:
Who doesn't like something free, right?!?  Installing is easy and you will love the way your pictures come to life!  Enjoy.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Antique Refinish

While in California, I met with a client who was in need of a table face lift!  She hated her dinning room table, but didn't want to get rid of it until she tried seeing what it would look like refinished.  I went to Kim's house and met with her to decide what look she should go for.  She and her husband live less than a mile from the beach, must be difficult!  They have the most adorable beach cottage, but something was missing.  There wasn't enough blues used in her home.  What says beach more than the color blue, right?!?  The only room that had blue was in the living room and it looked great.  So that was it, we were going with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg. 

Before the table and chairs were screaming "make me pretty again"! They looked like this(my before picture of the table didn't turn out, but this gives you an idea)...

After the "Face Lift"...

I painted the entire chairs with ASCP, then put a clear wax all over.  After the wax dried I distressed corners with 220 grit sand paper block. Touching it up with dark wax to give it that aged antique look. 

The top of the table was stripped and sanded with 220 grit sand paper.  I left some patches of the old stain to give it character when I re-stained it with Annie Sloan Dark Wax.  Using the wax to stain is a lot faster and still gives a great look.

Next came the fun part.  Taking my hammer and beating it up!  This is great to get your aggression out.  I also added divots into the wood with a sharp blade.  I used ASCP Paris Grey and detailed around the edge of the table, and in the new, but old inspired divots on the top of the table.

She loves the way it looks, and I couldn't be more pleased!  What do you think?

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What would you do?

Your Mission:

To win the $50 giveaway!  Leave me a comment telling me what you would Refinish, Remodel, Re-purpose or Re-decorate in your home with your prize money.  (pictures are always welcome. Email to

To Earn an Extra Entry(s):

Each person you know that becomes a "follower", "likes" my facebook page and "comments" telling me that you sent them to the Rustic Alley.

You have 4 days to complete this mission.  It will self destruct on
September 23, 2011 at Midnight. 

Good Luck!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Jameson Monroe Winner!

The Winner Is...

Jameson Monroe Headband Winner

Congratulations Deidra!  I know your daughter will love these headbands!  Who knows, you may just need to get them in all the colors of the rainbow.  Thank you for "liking", "following" and "facebooking" about The Rustic Alley!

Are you all ready for the next exciting giveaway?  This one will be a nice addition to any wallet(hint, hint)!  Come back often, you never know when I will post this giveaway.
While in California I have been busy.  If coordinating a wedding wasn't enough, I thought I would be ambitious and refinish a beautiful dinning room table.  Seriously, what goes through my mind sometimes!?!  Can't wait to show you pictures tomorrow. 

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Wedding Weekend

Sorry this post is so late in the day.  I am having a "no love, just hate" relationship with my Internet.  ARGGG! 

This weekend I am off to Dana Point, California.  I will be putting on my Wedding Coordinator hat.  In a past life I worked at a Country Club as an event planner, and for a short time had my own planning company as well. 

I love weddings!  They are such a magical time in a person's life.  You get to see a couple be so in love with each other (even if only for a few hours).   

Jennifer and Cody will be getting married Sunday.  They and their guests have flown in from around the globe to have their dream "destination wedding".  What is exciting for me is that their wedding is at the same location my husband and I had our beautiful ring ceremony and reception.       

My Wedding

The memories will come flooding back for me of my own wedding!  I loved planning it!

My Wedding
 I hope Jennifer and Cody are nicer to one another when they cut the cake than my husband and I were. 

My Wedding

But in the end we were (and still are) madly in love with each other, that we wanted to spend eternity together.

My Wedding

I can't think of a better way to spend my weekend.  Have a great one, and take a little time to reflect on all the LOVE in your life.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rustic Book Shelf

I am in love with all things old and Rustic, (is it obvious with the title of my blog and business?).  When I see something that has a story to tell, my imagination goes wild!  I want to have a conversation with it.   "What stories could you share?  Where have you lived?  What places have you seen?" 

New is not always better! 

We have this awkward alcove high in the wall in our dinning area.  It has been many things since we moved here.  A place to display home decor, a catch all for keys and random stuff, you name it, it has been it!  It was awful!  Such an eye sore.  I wanted to turn this space into a usable storage area that is not only functional but architecturally appealing.  The idea of making it a book shelf was the plan.  Our family loves books but had no place to store them. 

My brain started ticking...what's free and old looking?  Wood pallets. 

It took me awhile to round some up to take apart.  After they were disassembled and all the nails were removed I started cutting and screwing them into the wall.

They don't need to be perfect!  That is the joy of wanting the old and rustic look.

I went to Rod Works and found these beautiful iron brackets.  You want to make sure they are drilled into the stud so it will hold the weight of the book shelf.

Accessories are just as important to bring the entire look together.  Every book case needs a wise old owl to stand guard! 

I LOVE milk glass!  My favorite is this Hobnail Milk Glass by Fenton.  Oh the stories this piece could share!  Beautiful. 

Love the way it turned out.  Hope I helped inspire you.

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