Thursday, March 31, 2011

Amazing B4&After


Remember these?  Yep! How could anyone forget these!  Well, the initial story is here if you would like to take a peak!

Then I thought I had an awesome idea about a tutorial on removing veneer with a heat gun...and then my lap top died!  All my hard work, time, editing!  GONE!  You can read all about that here!

These two pieces are like the little engine that could!  No matter what was thrown at me, they just kept popping into my they were calling my name lol~

Well so much has happened with these two pieces, you are simply not going to believe what I have to share with you today!

After many sleepless nights trying to decide what to do with these two, I have finally finished them. YES! From start to finish!  And all in just the nick of time with me moving into the new shop!  So with out further a due, I am so proud as peas to introduce you to my latest B4&After.
Can you believe these are the same pieces?  With all that water damage, and peeling veneer?  And I even found a little sewing bench that fits perfectly with the vanity/desk. 
I'm sure once upon a time there was a beautiful mirror that went with this set.  Unfortunately, I never got to see it.  In place of the mirror I used a 1x2 trimmed down to match the existing piece on the chest of drawers.  I simply can't get over how nice these turned out. And I can't wait to get them in the shop tomorrow so they can find a new home to love them!


*Visit Debbiedoos Newbie Party & enjoy the creativity at work!*

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

B4&Happily Ever After

Ok, so we all have been to a garage sale, estate sale, barn sale (my fav!), or auction and the auctioneer holds up a sad broken piece of ___________ (fill in the blank).  It's kinda like a car accident... you can't help but look at the item...scratch your head and wonder... and oh the things you will wonder!  That is what my latest B4&Happily Ever After is all about today!

A very good friend of mine, Pam, and I went garage sale-ing a couple weeks ago.  We were on our last stop when I came across this sad little table.  It was screaming my name!  CHRISTIE! CHRISTIE!  PICK ME UP! I'M WORTH YOUR TIME! PLEASE CHRISTIE! DON'T PASS ME BY!...  You get the picture :)  So I picked up the car accident and carried it home...Pam just rolled her eyes. :)

Surprisingly, this little table was very sturdy but the top veneer had seen better days long ago. After a few hours work, the table turned from car accident to this!

Yes, this top is vintage sheet music.  Yes, I stole the idea from Miss Mustard Seed.  Yes, you can do this too!
Another find that day are the super cool retro folding sport glasses & of course my silver plated coffee pot and vintage Irish crystal.

I used Valspar Lincoln Top Hat satin paint with BIN primer as a base coat.  After painting, I distressed the finish and aged it with walnut Minwax gel stain.  Once dried, I used Minwax Wax and a Poly acrylic top coat on the sheet music.  I just love how it turned out & can't wait to show you what's next!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I know in many of my posts I have mentioned "the shop" and have never mentioned the name, other than Carter's Cottage Interiors.  Well, that's because the shop has consisted of my basement, living room, office, studio, and garage!  But now, "the shop" has a whole new meaning!


Friday I will be moving into one of the cutest shops in Batavia, Illinois!  Eclectibles!!  I am so excited to have found a new home, and in the most perfect location right on the river!  The owner, Judy, is  such a character!  She had me laughing and smiling from the time I walked and for days after I left!  I just couldn't wait to go back!  Her charm and wit just pours form ever corner of her shop!  I am so excited to be her latest addition to the Eclectibles Family!  If you are in the area, stop by next week and take a peak, shop, and enjoy some great conversation with Judy.  We will be having an open house in a few weeks once we are moved in and settled!  I'll keep you posted!

Oh, I know I haven't really posted much on the way of B4&Afters.  I'm saving them for the great reveal on move in day!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Just posted my Shield Arm chair on Debbie's Newbie party!  Check out all the great ideas here!
TONS of great ideas from very talented Newbies!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today's Finds!

The last time I went out blindly searching for treasure, my sister quipped I didn't have much.  That pushed me to have an entry titled "Things to Come!".  I had and still have so much, but tis the season for treasure huntin!
Today, I thought instead of a snippet of what I found, I would give you the whole shebang!  (Gloria, this one's for you Girl!)

Have you ever been so excited about a treasure that you just had to call one of your besties to share in the excitement? Well that was me today!  I tried all my friends, family, and even a neighbor, but no one answered.  I was so bummed and with the excitement building I was about to burst!  Then I thought " if only I could get to my blog, I'm sure someone out there in blog land  would share in my excitement over this!"  And this is what it was!
Well, honestly, I'm not quite sure what I have here! lol~  But I would sure love to know! If you happen to know what treasure I've found, please share with me!  It appears to be silver plate maybe?  I'm just not sure.  There are 4 different stamps on the bottom.  One stamp is "BSCEP". Another is "5525".  The third is an image of a dragon, a flower and a crown while the 4th I can't make out.  It doesn't really matter to me that I can't make it out or don't know what I've found.  I think it's pretty cool even if it's only worth the $ I paid to get it!  It's not overly heavy, and it's not metal as my bitty girl took her magnets and tested it. The initials are FMC...which is kinda interesting as Mr. Cottage's initials are MC...two outta 3 isn't bad :)

So that was find #1.  And here is find #2!

Glass wine bottles with the bottoms cut off!  The largest one stands about 24" tall, and the other two are 20" & 18".  I just LOVE them!  They are a spin off the cloche's that are all the rage now. And I did buy more than just these 3...but not as many as I would have liked!  These are going to be PERFECT in the shop!!!  I think I'm going to have to refine "Glass wine bottles with the bottoms cut off"...doesn't sound too appealing huh~

Now please understand I would never, under normal excitable circumstances ever share with you something that isn't cleaned & staged...but my excitement got the best of me...these cloche's are dirty, the silver tea pot has a ton of polish in all the crevasses, and the...Oh!  My other two finds!!!  I forgot to take a pic of those!  I guess I will have to save something for tomorrow to share with you!  (I digress....)  What I meant to say was, I enjoy creating beautiful vignettes and in the excitement of the day, with no one to share it with, I decided to share even my dirty little finds with you, my friends!

I hope you enjoy Today's Finds!
Until next time~

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello Gorgeous!

And Hello to Blog Land!

Can I just say how excited I am about this next treasure I found!  Oh! She is stunning! I'm sure you will agree!
Not that it's hard to find, but it is getting harder to find antiques in such exceptional condition as this! No chipps in the finish, no water marks, very few scuffs...simply gorgeous!

When I walked into the room of the estate sale, my jaw dropped (THUD!)!  My good friend who was with me at the time, was startled and rushed over to make sure I was truly alright! I just stood there with stars in my eyes!  It was as if no one else in the world existed except for myself and this gorgeous lill table.

Then, as quickly as my jaw dropped, I sprang into action! I nearly jumped an 8 foot table piled high with crystal and antique glass wear to swoop down and grab this beauty!  As I turned around cradling my new found treasure, I could hear the guy behind me curse under his breath...I politely smiled and cooed to myself over my find!

Isn't treasure hunting AWESOME!  Oh how I love the thrill of the hunt!  Is this what hunters feel when they are freezing in their deer stands?  Hum...don't think I'll be hunting anytime soon..for deer that is!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

To Prime, or Not to Prime? That is the Question!

Ok, so I admit. That was a little dramatic...ok, a lot dramatic!  If you have ever painted a piece of furniture, I'm sure you have asked yourself this very same question.  I would love to know your answer!  I'm kinda a not to prime kinda gal.  However, with all the pieces I currently am working on, I think I'm turning into a prime kinda gal!

And all of this brings on a whole new question...What  kinda of primer do you prefer? There are many to choose from....and from experience, I am not a Zinzer gal. In fact, I really haven't found one I do like. I'm thinking of trying the Benjamine Moore Super Primer.  Have any of you tried this primer?

Enlighten me! PLEASE! 
Let me know your thoughts!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good Bye Mr. Underwood No. 5!

Good Evening!

As many of you already know, I'm new to all this!  And everyday I check in, I have something exciting to share!  Today I had my very first Etsy sale! It went something like this.

After milling around the house, I thought I should check my email.  Truly, I've been checking it more often as I just can't wait to see if anyone has left me a note or shared a funny with me!  So, I get on my email and it never ceases to amaze me how much junk email I get!  I was tossing out Areo, Justice, and Gap junk when I saw this little email from my paypal account.  I paused for a moment thinking to my self, "What did Mr. Cottage buy?" better yet, "What did Mr. Cottage sell??"  Then...there it a star twinkling in the night....My lill heart went pitter patter!  Then when I actually read what it was for, I nearly fell out of my chair!  I was so excited!  Now I could go shop at this estate sale I've been drooling over for the past week!  YEA!  More treasures to find and share! 

You know, I never realized how excited I could possibly get over one of my treasures finding a new home.  Now that I have a few sales under my belt, I am so excited and hope that my lill treasures bring as much joy to the new owners as it has me!  So Good Bye Mr. Underwood No. 5!  I hope you enjoy sunny California!  You have spent nearly all your life in cold northern Illinois, you deserve to retire some place as nice as Cali!
Best Wishes!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things to come!

Hello Everyone!

First, let me say a huge THANK YOU to all the helpful hints that were passed to me about my crashed laptop and lost Picasa pictures!  I found almost all my pictures! YEA!  I still don't know what happened to the others, but hey, they aren't all lost!  As for my laptop, the hard drive is toast!  I'm hoping I will get a huge surprise and get an upgraded graphics card when I get my trusty ol laptop back!  That would be SWEET!

Secondly, another huge THANK YOU to all my Followers!  I know, I know... You're thinking I'm a little out there to be thanking my followers.  Well, I wasn't sure if this little blog and new adventure of mine would actually take off.  And when I got my first few followers, who weren't family or neighbors, I felt like a celebrity!  (You could say I'm easily amused, and you would be right!)  Your kind comments, encouragement, and helpful hints help me grow professionally, and personally.  I hope my Followers grow and grow so I can continue to learn and share my expertise too!

As for my little adventure, well, in less than one months time, I have sold 4 pieces of furniture!  I am SHOCKED and elated!  Vintage furniture has been a passion of mine since I was 9 and has only grown since then!
It all started when I would take our elderly neighbor, Ms. Fitchen her mail every day and visit with her.  As a treat once in a while she would make SPAM with brown sugar for dinner.  Boy was that a treat!  I thought I was in heaven as we never had SPAM at our house.  There were many things at Ms. Fitchens house that we never had.  Like an indoor cat, fine china and crystal at every dinner, and the most beautiful furniture I have ever seen.

Ms. Fitchen seemed to be older than anyone else I knew.  Age was just a number as her stories would transport us back to a time when she was a flapper dancing & drinking the night away.  I loved sitting listening to her stories.  When Ms. Fitchen passed, she left me my first real piece of furniture, a solid birds eye maple dresser, and my first crystal wine glass.

The glass was broken in one of the many moves I have made since I married, and the dresser...well I passed that down to my daughter when she turned 7.  Yes, it shows it's age, but it is the first piece that created  who I am.

And finally, I thought I would give you a sneak peak of things to come from Carter's Cottage.  A few days ago, my sister posted that I didn't really have much....  Well, she hasn't seen my garage, basement, or studio!  All the pics in this post are of pieces I am working on or hope to be working on soon!  I really need to get some pieces done for the shop!  April will be here before you know it and my shop will be sitting empty!

Oh, and yes, these are just snippets of the furniture...I want to keep you in suspense so you will visit often to see what's new!

Until then,

Monday, March 14, 2011

My 1st Tutorial...or so I thought...

Good Morning!

I wish I could say that with great enthusiasm, but truth be told I can't!  I woke up this morning to a  blown up laptop!  Yep!  This is the second time this has happened, so I'm hoping there is a "warranty"  since it only lasted 4 months :(  Perhaps my darling bitty girl is correct in saying, "Just by a new one Mom!  That one's JUNK!"

So, the story begins
There are many tutorials out there about painting, stripping... finishes (had to word that one carefully lol~), slip covers, and tons of others that are awesome and very insightful, but very few address removing veneer.  You know, that thin layer of expensive wood that over time has been destroyed on top of the bones of the sturdy little piece?  I know from experience I have avoided those pieces like the plague as I was just too afraid to tackle them.
Then, I came across this sad set from a guy down on his luck and donated some cash to him in trade for the plagued pieces.  My next thought was "I CAN DO THIS!?".  Another thought that quickly followed was "If I can do this, I should make this my 1st tutorial!"  Off I went!

You may remember this piece:
As you can see I had already started lifting the veneer, and then life happened and the project was put on hold.
With the warmer weather yesterday, I decided to dive back in and in the process, and document a tutorial. 
This piece has a sister dresser in equally as poor shape which is the one I started on was at the front of the garage while this desk was at the very back piled under :)

I worked on it, photographed it, edited the photos, and then saved everything on my lap top to resume the tutorial today...and then BOOM!  It happened!  AGAIN!  My laptop blew up!  So, all my work is buried in a laptop that is completely froze!  And of course I did not save to our external hard drive!  And of course I deleted all my pics off my camera!  And of course...well I can't think of anything more terrible than that, but for sake of making this post as drama filled as possible, I had to say it just one more time :)

I love my little laptop!  It was the first thing I put AutoCAD on.  My first design boards, floor plans, client information, dates, projects, rejected jobs...yes I keep those too as they are a stepping stone that built my design business!  So I'm not having a "good morning".  But, it's not that bad and I can make the tutorial even better, maybe a movie!

My little family is so blessed!  We have a roof over our heads, warm cozy beds, and food on the table.  And right now there is an entire country without that. 

Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:7 (NIV)

So Good Morning Everyone! (even my blown up laptop!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

1st B4&After

Can I just start by saying how excited I am to have my very first B4&After finished???!!!  This has been a long time in the making...well a long time for me anyway!

Here is this cute little shield arm chair!  It was so sad and broken when I first found it!  Joints had come loose over time, the cushion had seen better days....a few decades ago!  But I saw the potential this lill beauty had!   And after a little wood glue and clamps, new cushioning and upholstery, a little paint and stain, it blossomed into this!

Can I just say, WOW!  I so love this!  And I'm having a hard time putting it in the shop!  But, I have other projects, and chairs, and can't wait to get to those. 
It's always good to hear from others out there in blog land!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Time for a change!

Here in Northern Illinois, the winter can be long, bitter cold, and seem to last forever!  And I'm not one of those people who is ready for the snow to melt the second it hits the ground.  My family and I enjoy the snow and all the fun it brings.  But after this weekend of catching the flu, I have decided it's time for ol Man Winter to pack his snow and head home!  I'm yearning for tulips, daffodils, open windows, and the smell green grass!  I'm sure it hasn't helped that I got my new paint gun too! 

A little more about Me...............
Though I have been in design for over 15 years, I have never taken it to the next level.  Most likely because I'm not quite sure what the next level is.  I'm hoping that this blog will help me do that.  In my past design careers, the designs were all glass and chrome, new, & contemporary.  In addition, most of the spaces were for commercial use.  So the aesthetics were geared toward the masses and built to be indestructible.  Not that there is anything wrong with that!  It's just I wouldn't say it's my style. I'm more in the realm of warm and inviting classic relaxed home style...make any sense? lol~   I hope to blend seamlessly treasures from yesterday with the convinces of today.

Many of the projects I have accumulated over the last month...are just that....PROJECTS!  And I love that!  I love a great project!  And love it even more when the project is finished!  With this long NI winter, my projects are starting to pile up!  I hope to get out today and make some headway so I can post some fantastic after shots of the goodies I've come across.
Until then,
I will try to thaw, and continue to scout for more treasures!