A letter from Clark Hill Lake

I wrote this post on the first night of our vacation last week, but since we didn’t have internet access am posting it today.  Re-reading it makes me want to jump in the car and head right back to this place that I love so much.  I hope you enjoy taking a little trip with me, down a gravel “memory lane”….

As I write this, I am sitting on the back porch of a lake house my uncle built with his hands over 20 years ago, on a lake I have been coming to since, quite literally, before I was born.  My first official visit was when I was six weeks old.  My parents tent-camped then, and there are pictures of me in my portable crib, or with my then-teenage brother, taken at what used to be the area reserved for weekend tent campers.  Gradually, the folks moved to a pop-up camper, and then to the Zipper, which was actually a tiny little trailer, with a tiny little bathroom, which beat the heck out of the hole in the ground out in the woods.  : )

Clark Hill Lake photo

Put a little gravel in my travel…unwind, unravel….

Clark Hill Lake photo

When I was about five years old, Mama and Daddy purchased an actual mobile home, with a lot overlooking a cove that held the boat house, just up from the designated swimming area.  It was great.  It had an actual three piece washroom, complete with full-size tub, potty and sink.  The kitchen had all the appliances too. We even had our own bedrooms.   We thought our “vacation home” was pretty awesome, and it was.  We knew almost all the folks who had places in the club; all the kids stayed out playing into the night and nobody ever worried whether we’d come home safely or not.

 Clark Hill Lake photo

Sadly, my father passed away when I was six; but even after, my mom and I came up on weekends all the time, and stayed in our little piece of heaven.  If you’ve never been to Clark Hill Lake, you’re missing a treat.  It’s a huge lake, with hundreds of miles of shoreline; but because it has never gotten over-populated, it lives “small”.  Most all of the families who were in our lake club when I was born still have members here; and their kids are here too.  Both I, and my daughters, see people we grew up summering with in the club.  Even today it isn’t a fancy place to go.  Because it is designated by the Corps of Engineers for use as recreation, it’s still mostly a summer place.  There are no big brick and stucco houses in our club.  In fact, the board of directors (BoD) just began to allow double-wides in the last decade or two!  The lots are pretty small, so big houses where you are on top of your neighbor just wouldn’t do here.  It still has all the feel of a summer lake club; though actually, one of my favorite times to be here is in the fall, when it’s cooler and less people come up.  It’s quiet, like tonight.  You hear the tree frogs, and crickets and all those other night sounds that are the outdoors.  Because there are only a few street lights in the more public areas, like near the boat ramps, you see the moon, and the stars, and the planes going by over your head while sitting on your porch, deck or dock.  Occasionally, you even spot a shooting star, and satellites are frequent passersby.

Clark Hill Lake photo

View of the open water.

Here, in this little spot of heaven, there is rest, peace.  Back when my dad was alive, he wouldn’t put a telephone in our place.  He owned and ran a boat business, five-and-a-half days a week.  He didn’t want anyone to be able to contact him on the short weekends he had off.  Even after he passed away, we didn’t have a phone for years.  I remember countless walks up to the clubhouse (and I use that term loosely) to use the phone that was on the screened in back porch.  Most of the time, it worked.  Occasionally it shocked the heck out of you!   I don’t remember ever having a phone in that little lake “home.”  After my uncle built his place, since it was just he and my aunt who used it, Mama sold our place and we came to Uncle John’s cabin.  Uncle John was a rebel of sorts. The BoD told him he could only have a single-wide trailer up here, though he could add an “enclosed porch”.  So he went out and bought some dinky little, old run down trailer, kept one outside wall of it up and built his “enclosed living, dining, 3 bedroom, 2 bath porch” all around that one wall.  Oooohhh, let me tell you, that did not go over too well… at first.  But as it turns out, the BoD saw you could have something a little bigger than a single-wide on your lot and not be on top of each other.  It wasn’t long ‘til you saw those single-wides taking a ride out of the gate, one by one, and the doubles moving in, popping up everywhere.  Even the old single Mama and I had spent so much of our summers in made its way out for a shiny new trailer that got its own “enclosed porch.”

Clark Hill Lake photo

“Uncle John’s cabin”, of which my sister & brother-in-law, the owners since Uncle John passed away, have taken wonderful care.

In a way, Uncle John was a pioneer of sorts.  I loved that man more than even I probably knew at the time, and he loved me…and my husband (mostly because he stood up to my stodgy uncle, and Uncle John respected that.)  Mostly, he loved our two daughters.  Oh, how he loved them.  He would take them out for boat rides and let them drive.  Or go down on the dock and fish with them.  For years, our youngest called Clark Hill, Uncle John’s Lake.  I think she still thinks of it that way.

Clark Hill Lake photo

Calm & quiet

So tonight, on this warm and muggy evening (it was 100 degrees today), I sit out on the deck, alone… in the dark…my laptop monitor the only light on my level.  I watch the moon rise in the sky, I listen to the crickets and tree frogs; I think of what I am going to cook tomorrow to take to the club dinner and to a cookout lunch with friends.  I relish in this slower pace that we have so little of at home.  But mostly, I think about this place, and the people I have loved who made Clark Hill so special for me; men like my daddy and Uncle John, who are gone now, but will never be forgotten. Men, whose influence on my life will live on, even in my children.  And I think about my mama who is here with me.  She is 87 now.  Might this be her last visit here or will there be more?  I hope there are more; but if not, I know that I will remember her here; remember the woman who was brave enough to bring a young daughter weekending in a trailer at the lake.  Strong enough to keep coming here, even though this is where Daddy had a heart attack and died two weeks later.  Fun enough to bring other teenagers with me, when I got too old to think it was “cool” to just be with my mom for a whole weekend.  I’ll remember all the nights we stayed up ‘til the wee hours playing canasta at our little kitchen table and the long days she stayed down at the swimming area with me so I could swim and play.  I’ll see her in that little trailer kitchen making all sorts of amazing things to eat, like her delicious potato salad, or fried chicken, or breakfast-for-dinner.  Yes, Mama will remain with me here any time I come, just as Daddy and Uncle John do.  And I will love this place all the more for it.

Clark Hill Lake photo

Big sky, open water, seeing in the sunset the hand of God, the artistry of the Creator.

Do you have a favorite place that speaks to your heart like no other?  I’d love for you to share it with us.  Feel free to tell us in a comment below; and go there soon to enjoy it all over again.

Be inspired.  Be inspiring.

Tori

Clark Hill Lake photo

One last look…

[Clicking on the pictures will give you a more complete view of them. For some reason, some are not showing in their entirety.]

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Poof! It’s a pouf!

Hey everybody!  I just had to share the cutest thing that came together on the sewing machine yesterday.  I’m sure you have all seen poufs… The cute little seats that are all the craze right now.  Well, after probably fifteen years away from a sewing machine; I sat down yesterday and put together this adorable pouf, that I just had to share with you!

pouf pic

This colorful pouf cheers a corner of our great room where two different woods converge, along with the wood floor. Love this pop of color!

Since I hadn’t sewn in ages; doing a tutorial on this was out of the question.  It actually was much “figuring it out as I went along,” as I didn’t have a pattern, just an idea in my head.  This idea actually formed back in the spring, when I saw a really colorful striped hammock at a yard sale.  I loved the color combination and the patterns and thought, “Hey, that would look cute hanging on our party porch!” (Um, no) “What a cute pouf this fabric would make!”  (Yep, that’s how my mind works.)  You see hammock; I see pouf! 😀

pouf pic

A close-up of the fabric. The loops were cut from each end of the hammock, with about 4″ of fabric attached to them, then sewed onto the pouf to make a fringe.

The hammock was brand new, so hadn’t been out in the elements to fade or get dirty.  It was really like getting a great new piece of fabric that could become anything (you know, like a pouf).  To make the pouf, I basically just measured out the actual size of the material to determine what size pieces I could cut; which determined the actual size of my pouf (It’s about 2’x2’x2′). I cut off the macrame strings, which hold a hammock to a tree, stand, etc; though I left the loops which were woven into the fabric to use a a giant fringe.  After cutting the hammock into six large pieces and four, 4″ pieces with the fringe attached, I sewed the “fringe” onto the side pieces; sewed the sides together; and added the top and then bottom pieces, leaving about a 10″ opening in the bottom to add the fill which I purchased at KMart.  It is actually sold in their homegoods section, by the bean bag covers.  It is a huge bag – or so I thought – my pouf took almost two bags full!  But at around $13/bag, it wasn’t too expensive.

pouf pic

Bag of bean filler purchased at KMart. Here I’ve attached my juice bottle funnel. So high-tech!

You do have to be careful with the filler.  Once you open the plastic bag it comes in, if you squeeze it at all it “poofs” out of the bag and goes flying (not that I would know firsthand, or anything.)  ;)  I actually cut off the top and bottom of a large plastic juice jar and put one end down inside of the filler bag, taping it securely to the bag; then I put the other end into the opening I left to funnel the “beans” into my pouf.  I stuffed it pretty full, though left some room for it to adjust when you sit on it so it wouldn’t be tight like sitting on an exercise ball or something.  Filling the pouf was really a two-person job.  My daughter held the bag of beans while I held the “funnel” into the opening in the fabric, securely holding the fabric around the juice bottle.

pouf pic

Tape the “funnel” to the bag very securely to avoid “beans” going everywhere.

Here is another look at the finished product.

pouf pic

Don’t you just want to plop down on this comfy pouf and have a chat? It’s just so cute!

My husband just loves it and thought it made the perfect foot stool (with something to cover it, of course), as he propped his tired puppies up after a very long day at work.  He also thought it sits well, as do I and my daughter; which tells me I did put in the right amount of filler – just enough to be comfy and supportive.

I had planned to take it to the shop to sell, once I got it made; but now I’m not so sure.  Guess I’ll have to think about it for a day or two. It adds a happy spot of color in the spot where I sat it in our great room; and I love happy colors in a room.

pouf pic

I love how the colors pick up on the picture turquoise picture frame and the orange vintage book in a nearby display.

I hope this has inspired you to see things, not always as they are (a hammock), but as they can be (a pouf)!  This is really the essence of what Recycled Life Interiors is all about… Taking something that was meant for another purpose, or that has seen its better days, and transforming it into something new and wonderful.  I can’t think of anything more fun than repurposing an item into something totally new.  Have you done something similar?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Please share your story with us in the comment section below.

Be inspired.  Be inspiring.

Tori

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All Things Nautical

Opening my email this morning, I found the usual daily offerings I receive from some of the on-line sellers I enjoy.  One Kings Lane’s intrigued my coastal-girl-at-heart; and when I clicked over to their site, I was not disappointed.  Here are just a few of the fun nautical and coastal accessories that I fell for…hard.  : )

These would be so festive attached to a serving table!  See the link below for an example of this look.

https://www.onekingslane.com/live-love-home/2012/06/flag-banner-table/

These patriotic flag colors would be a great table accent, as well having several hung together as a banner.

Not only would these little flags look great on a table, but also on this fabulous bar cart!

How cute is this?! Imagine your drinks served from a tub on the bottom shelf and appetizers on the top. This is a very functional piece.

Now, on to the table…

How cute are these Crabs-in-a-Net placemats and napkins? They have other linens to match as well, including a tablecloth, apron, dish towels, etc.  There is also an adorable lobster set in this same nautical – and patriotic – red, white and blue colorway.  Too cute!

This next accessory, I just love!  These knots would make terrific place card holders, napkin rings, table cloth weights and just all-around adorable table decorations.  I love rope accessories and this is one of my favorite.

Another great rope idea is to just place some into a glass container and let it speak for itself.  What could be easier than this?  Throw in a shell or two, and maybe a large starfish into the grouping and you have instant coastal appeal.

Such great style for so little effort!

For another table-top decorating idea, check out these rustic and weathered frames:

This is a great look!  You could also achieve a similar look, by taping off a frame you already own, and painting the different colored stripes. Then just distress with a little sand paper and voila, you have a nautical striped frame!

To light up your outdoor entertaining activities, you just can’t beat a great lantern.  I love these two designs, though they are totally different.

This would go great in a natural outdoor setting, or indoors to complement a neutral decor…                so calm and relaxing.

And how cute are these colorful little lights?

These are the perfect complement to a coastal decor with their blue, white and green colors. So fresh.

And what about having a couple of fun summertime activities…

I just love these Boats in a Box! A fun little project to work on and then display. These would make great place cards for a table setting. Just paint the person’s name on the side and let them take it home as a party favor. They would also be great under a glass dome with a base, perhaps “beached” on a little sand in the bottom. So cute!

And for game time… How about a little backgammon in a bag?  Easy to take to the patio – or the beach or lake – for a little game-time fun!

My last offering is another rope piece which I just love. It’s a rope & hook wall plaque.  I have already emailed it to my husband at work to let him know we will be making one of these!  Such a useful, yet statement piece.

Make this yourself and custom-color it to your home’s decor.

[All images and merchandise is from One Kings Lane and can be found here:https://www.onekingslane.com/all-sales%5D

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Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coastal and nautical offerings!  I know I have.  Take the ideas you love and either do a little shopping or get creative and make them for yourself!  It’s not hard! Use great ideas to inspire you to put your own talents to work.

Be inspired!  Be inspiring.

Tori

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Technique tutorial: Wax finishing

Looking back over my previous entries, in the Cinderella blog I told you all that I would show you some of the techniques I used to transform that headboard.  I promised this to you a week ago, but life got in the way (has that ever happened to you?). I apologize for the delay.  In today’s post, I’ll be covering the painting techniques I used in the beautiful transformation of “Cinde”, the thrift-store-find. [See previous blog post: Cinderella is Ready for the Ball, where you’ll see the before and after pics of where she started and where she ended up.]     So, without further ado…

An in auspicious beginning… very dated & looking rough!

To begin the transformation process, I started out painting the headboard with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  ASCP is a fabulous paint that adheres to all surfaces. This paint originated in London and has only become available in the U.S. in the last couple of years.  It is fairly expensive (per quart price vs. latex – even quality brands such as Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, etc); however, it goes a long way and you can get multiple projects done with one quart of paint.  It also doesn’t require a primer, which is a cost savings over traditional paint.  I can’t say enough how much I LOVE THIS PAINT!  It is so easy to work with, adheres to anything, is self-leveling, sands down or off with great ease, is very durable and comes in a beautiful, although somewhat limited, color range.  However, you can significantly increase the range of shades when you combine colors into new combinations. (Ex. Emperor’s Silk combined with a smaller ratio of Old White makes a lovely hot pink color. See the Birds on a Wire lamp for an example.)

On “Cinde” I used Provence, which is a gorgeous teal/turquoise, and Old Ochre, which is a lovely crème color, to finish out some of the trim.  The photo below shows the paint colors as they were initially coated, before any wax finish was applied.  (Click on any of the photos to enlarge them to see the detail better.)

Initial base coat – ASCP Provence; before trim color was applied. Pretty, but a little boring.

Trim coat of Old Ochre added – no wax applied. The trim color really defined the shape of the piece and made the blue pop.

Next, I laid on Provence very thickly into the center sections of the back panels.  I dried it quickly with the blow dryer so that it would crack in some places and dry thickly in others, before it had a chance to self-level.  I knew I wanted this texture on these sections, so that once the dark wax was applied, the texture would really show up and give the piece some depth and dimension.

Look closely to see the texture in the center section. This will become much more apparent when the wax is applied.

After allowing the paint coats to thoroughly dry, giving it ample curing time of 24 hours, I went over the sections with clear wax, then dark wax immediately over that.  The clear wax application is necessary to do before adding the dark wax, so that the dark wax will be “workable” and not adhere directly to the paint, altering the actual paint color.  The awesome thing about this process is that the clear wax not only serves as a topcoat on its own, and, as in this case, a base for the dark wax, but can also serve as an “eraser” for the dark wax if you put it on too heavy in one place.  Just add a little clear wax on top of the too-dark place, working it in with a brush; and then just wipe it off to reveal a lighter look.  This wax is very user friendly and completely changes the look of a piece as you’ll see in the following photos.

A base coat of clear wax is applied using one of Annie’s amazing round bristle brushes. The brush lays on a nice coat of wax and really gets down into the cracks & crevices of the paint.

Application of dark wax – again, brushed on.

Wax on – wax off. : )

The wax was immediately rubbed off with clean dry cloths – changing to a new piece of cloth as the one I was using became saturated with wax. Once the fabric is full of wax, it will stop taking it off the painted surface.

On the left, you can see where the extra wax has been rubbed off; compared to the right side which is still very dark.

This side-by-side comparison shows the difference the wax application makes to the piece. It truly brings out the depth of the textured center pieces and softens the strong contrast between the blue and creme. While the section on the right is pretty, it lacks the depth and dimension of the section on the right.

The play of light and shadow, especially in the textured inset, make for a really interesting and unique piece.

As a final step in this technique – in addition to the waxes mentioned above – I also used a small brush to add a hint of gold metallic wax to the crème colored trim, and around a few small trim pieces painted in Provence.  The product I used is called Rub-n-Buff and comes in a variety of finishes including several shades of gold, bronze and silver.  The are other gilding products out there; but many are considerably more expensive and I have used this brand many times with great success .

Apply the metallic wax with a minimally loaded brush. You might even dab the brush on a cloth prior to applying to the piece; this avoids an opaque stripe of (in this case) gold vs. a highlight or hint of gold.

Note the highlights on the creme trim, the edging of the inset pieces and some of the post trim moulding.

I actually applied most of the gold highlights prior to the application of the dark wax.  This helped it blend into the finish on both the creme and turquoise, and not appear too shiny.   I love how it turned out.  Hope you do too!  If you have any questions on the process I described – or about any of your projects that you’d like to apply a wax finish – leave them in a comment here and I’ll be sure to reply.

Be inspired!  Be inspiring….

Tori

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“Murder” – An unlikely inspiration? :D

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  I have to confess that I spent a large part of my weekend working on banners in front of the TV, watching the Murder She Wrote marathon on the Hallmark Channel.  My husband has been working 12-14 hour days lately, due to being shorthanded on staff; so he requested a relaxing, laid-back weekend to just “chill.”  I was happy to comply!  So, while he napped – a lot – Jessica Fletcher and I spent the weekend together.  : )

I always wanted to go to Cabot Cove!

Oh, how I hope I age a beautifully as Angela Lansbury!  She is such an inspiration to me.  Did you know she STARTED this series when she was FIFTY-NINE years old?  It ran twelve years (1984-1996) and she continued to make the MSW movies until 2003, when she was 78 years old!  Wow!  I will turn 50 next year (though I have a hard time believing it!) and am just in the beginning of fulfilling a long-held dream of having a painted furniture/home decor business, including space in a terrific antique store near Athens, GA.  I have to say, it’s pretty exciting!  Mrs. Lansbury took the idea of the MSW show, and ran with it; making it a successful venture for 19 years.  I hope I am able to do the same thing with RLI.

She is so beautiful here. Those eyes….

Part of what will make Recycled Life Interiors a successful venture, is growing readership of this blog, as well as growing our customer base for fabulous furniture and home accessory pieces.  In other words, I hope to obtain a great “cast” of readers & customers, some of them real “characters”, to share this experience with!  In addition, success will also come with happy readers who are learning how to stretch their own creative processes.  In that vein, coming tomorrow is a painting tutorial to guide you in a fun and creative process.  I hope to teach you how to take your own pieces in need of revival, or fabulous thrifty finds that could use updating to the current decade, and make them into just the piece you need to transform a room into your absolute favorite place to be.

What would Jessica have been without Dr. Seth Hazlett, Sheriff Mort Metzger (and former sheriff Amos Tupper), Eve Simmons the realtor, and a whole cast of characters (both literally and figuratively) providing the inspiration for     her stories?!

I’ll be covering the painting techniques I used in the beautiful transformation of “Cinde”, the thrift-store-find, king sized headboard. Since this was by far the most-read entry here on the blog, I figured it was a good place to start!  [See previous blog post: Cinderella is Ready for the Ball, where you’ll see the before and after pics of where she started and where she ended up.]  The painting tutorial coming tomorrow will fill in the blanks in between, and show you just how she got there.  So come back for some detailed instruction and pics on the transformation process.  Hopefully, like Jessica Fletcher, I’ll unravel the mystery of Cinde’s update for you and provide you all the clues on how it was accomplished.  ; )

Until then, I wonder how Jessica is going to solve this next mystery…

Be inspired.  Be inspiring,

Tori

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Pier One Giveaway!!!

Terrific blogger Traci, from http://www.beneathmyheart.net, is offering up a great giveaway – $100 gift certificate to Pier One!  Who wouldn’t love to go grab some summer goodies for indoors or out, from the colorful selection at Pier One.  To enter, go to her blog and read today’s entry on sprucing up her back patio with beautiful pillows and accessories from her local Pier One. You’ll love her great ideas!  Then, just follow her instructions for how to enter at the end of her post.

I have been the happy recipient of one of Traci’s wonderful giveaways – more about that coming soon – so I can promise you she is totally legitimate and nice-as-anything, to boot!  : )   Hope you win!

http://www.beneathmyheart.net/2012/05/my-pier-1-backyard-makeover-and-a-100-pier-1-gift-card-giveaway/#comment-76978

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Fail Road…Where does it lead? That’s up to me/you.

Why would I write about failure, you might ask? (Isn’t she trying to start a “successful” business?) Well, mainly because it’s a part of life.  We try, try, try, and sometimes, we just fail.  That’s the bottom-line truth; so I thought I would share my recent experience at failing… and moving on.

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For the past three weeks – in one particular thing I have been working on – this is the road I have travelled.  FAIL ROAD… or so I thought.  I was recently hired to do the job of painting a dresser for a customer, who thankfully is also a gracious friend.  The dresser was her husband’s from his childhood and it had sat in her teenage son’s room in its original maple finish, while all the other pieces in the room were black.  She had thought about just replacing it; but it was a great Ethan Allen piece that I could paint up for her much more reasonably than purchasing a new dresser, so home with me it came….and stayed…and stayed…  What should have been a simple two-day project became a consuming nightmare that lasted over three weeks.  I’m not kidding. (And yes, I am mortified to admit it.)  However, there were many lessons learned, so I thought I would share them with you in the hope that you might not only learn from my mistakes; but also that you would be encouraged to not let yours define who you are.

I started off lightly sanding down the piece to prepare it to take the paint.  This step went fine.  Then (for reasons unknown even to me, other than the big box store was more convenient) I tried a brand of paint I had never used, though one would think – as did I – that there wouldn’t be much difference from one latex to another.  Oh my friends let me tell you, there is.  I figured it would take 2-3 coats to get good full coverage with such a deep color.  The plan was to paint it with a flat latex and then a finish top coat to give it durability, so when previously mentioned teenage boy threw his truck keys, change, etc, on top, it wouldn’t scratch the paint. This was a process I had done numerous times with success.  Here is where things began to go wrong… FIRST, the paint was MATTE, not flat.  There is a huge difference in the finish of these two, even though the store employee assured me there wasn’t.  Then, after getting the coats on, I used another newly recommended (by said store employee) product called spar varnish as my supposedly durable top coat.  In one coat, I knew it was a disaster.  On the large flat areas of the dresser, the varnish streaked, and globbed where there was any, even slight, overlap. It was a mess.  I had to let it dry thoroughly before sanding it back off, so it didn’t just smear and glop in the sand paper.

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(See the streaky, and shiny spots? Ugh.)

Speaking of sanding… here was the SECOND nightmare awaiting me.  Even though it had dried for 48 hours or so, the varnish and then the paint, clogged in sticky globs into the sand paper and I ended up using I don’t know how many sheets because of it.  Not to mention, aforementioned newly tried brand paint practically turned to plastic on the dresser.  Using an electric sander and 50, 80, 120 & 320 grit sand paper, over the course of THREE HOURS, would not remove most of the paint from the surface. (Lesson THREE? I probably could have stopped and used a liquid stripper to take it back down to the wood; but because I have never had a piece do something like this, it didn’t even occur to me.)  After getting the varnish off, I did try a hand-waxed finish over the paint; but the results were almost as bad so had to sand it down too, before even getting to the nearly “unsandable” paint.

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(Every chunk on the sand paper made a mark into the finish I was trying to remove.)

Realizing I was NOT going to work with these new products another second, I went to get my tried and true Benjamin Moore paint at a retailer here in Athens, as I had used it countless times with complete success.  So, quart # three of product was purchased, with the assurances from the manager that it would cover over this dreadful mess beautifully and erase any and all memory of it.  Um….NO. (I need to mention here that “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, was playing on the radio while he mixed my paint.  I took it as a BAD sign.)  Four coats later (sanding between each one – though this time, with easy hand-sanding), the finish still would not even out.  Not to mention, though I had taken the first paint to the B.M. store to match, the composites of the paint materials were so vastly different between the two brands, the new paint wasn’t at all the same color as the old; but a lighter, more bluish black – not what would match the furniture already in the room.  Of course I didn’t notice this until we brought the previously painted mirror into the room beside the dresser; not that it mattered. The thing was going to have to be redone again.

Sooooo….. Back to the Benjamin Moore store – AGAIN.  This time, the store manager suggested we use a tinted primer under the paint, as primer apparently is, “the great eraser.”  Then why didn’t he suggest that at the beginning of the week and four coats ago???   I said okay – it couldn’t get any worse – and purchase the tinted primer, and a new satin top coat the right color black (quarts 4 & 5).  Home I went, with high hopes that THE GREAT ERASER would do its job and give me a clean slate to begin again.  Um….NO.  It was better – definitely better; but the large flat areas still would still not even out or be lineless.  I need to mention here that, over the course of all the coating of this dresser, I had tried a foam roller, short nap roller, foam brush and high end bristle brush– all with less than desirable results.  But, diligently I pressed on.  After all, this was for my friend.  I don’t want to EVER give ANY customer less than beautiful results, much less someone I am going to be friends with and see all the time!

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I let the primer dry the required time and then applied a layer of the satin top coat.  I won’t keep going on, because I am sure you get the picture here… same, imperfect result.  What in the world had happened?  I was clueless, discouraged, exhausted and embarrassed that I couldn’t get this seemingly simple process to work (especially since I do much more complicated finishes nearly every day!).  It was supposed to be delivered the next day.  “Maybe curing over night will help,” my desperate brain reasoned; probably with an added, “PLEASE, GOD,” as I headed off to bed at 2AM.  Of course it looked the same the next day and I was a wreck… a puddle… a mess of exhaustion and frustration.  My sweet husband said, “It’s okay, honey. I’ll offer to buy the dresser.”  “Thank you, I tearfully replied…. I’m sorry.”  He called our friend to tell her about her imperfect piece of furniture and offered to buy it.  “Is it done?  Is it black?” she queried. “Yes to both,” the hubs replied.  “Then it’s better than it was.  Bring it on!”  God bless her.  We were going to her daughter’s graduation party that day, and my sweet husband left early to take it with him and deliver it… they were perfectly happy with it, even in its imperfect state.  When I arrived, each family member thanked me for my work, said how much they liked how it looked, even the teenage boy.  ; )  Boy, did I want to just bawl right then and there.

(I didn’t even take a final picture.)

Have you simply failed at something lately?  Are you, like me, prone to beating yourself up over it?  Prone to expecting more than you can – at times – deliver?  On my last trip to the Benjamin Moore store I had the blessing of meeting a really nice man, a professional painter for over 25 years, who told me he had had a piece or two like this over his career in painting.  He described what I had experienced, “Sometimes, no matter what you do, the wood just doesn’t cooperate, or for whatever reason, the paint just won’t do what you know it should.”  “You just have to move on,” he advised me.  What a blessing those few little words were, when at 2AM, I was staring this uncooperative beast in the drawers.  “Whatever!”  I told it.  “I’m moving on.” (Well, I sounded tough anyway.)

So, I guess this takes me to LESSON 4, though I probably missed about ten in between… Everything is not always going to come out perfectly, no matter how hard you try.  And what do you do when that’s the case?  MOVE ON.  It might be hard, you might want yet one more try; but in the end, sometimes you just have to let go and move on.  When you do, you just might find out like I did, that things aren’t as bad as they seem… That not everyone will judge you as harshly as you judge yourself, or your work…  That maybe NEW START AVENUE is as easy as taking one turn from FAIL ROAD… and moving on.  Should you find yourself in a similar circumstance, I pray you’ll find the same grace I received from our friends, who could look at what was really important to them, (Was it finished? Was it black? Okay then!) and release me from my self-imposed perfectionism that had driven me to pour 25-30 hours of work into their piece.  I think that was LESSON 5… In the future, when someone in my life doesn’t deliver like I think they should, remember to extend them the grace that was extended to me.  It will only serve to strengthen that relationship and it will surely bless the person who is feeling like a failure.

 I can’t say I’m totally over not being able to get it right (in my eyes); but I am getting there.  All too often we let failure – or the fear of it – paralyze us from moving forward, from pursuing a dream, from learning something new, from realizing our potential, from allowing our failures to give someone else the chance to show grace.  We see failure in an effort as failure in ourselves, telling ourselves we are a failure.  Here’s what a few quite successful people had to say about failure:  “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again…this time more intelligently.”-Henry Ford.  “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” -Thomas Edison.  “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”-Winston Churchill.  “Success is never final.  Failure is never final.  It is courage that counts.” Also, W.C.  Experiencing a failure does NOT mean that you are one.  It might actually be the very thing that leads you into greatness. What failure should NEVER be is the way you define yourself… Failure in an event? In an effort? Maybe.  But NEVER let yourself believe for one minute that YOU are a failure. Move on.  Keep trying.  Success will come.

I hope it helps to know you’re not alone if you’ve failed.  Together, TODAY, let’s MOVE ON.

Be inspired! Be inspiring.

Tori

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