Monday, August 22, 2011

My First Padded Headboard

Okay, it's not technically my headboard -- it belongs to my friends Terri and Brian -- but I helped make it, and it was my first attempt at this kind of project, so I'm claiming it! Terri wanted to reproduce the headboard from Julianne Moore's character's bedroom in the film A Single Man. She did a great job of finding identical Ikat fabric and nailhead trim, and her sister came up with a template that almost perfectly replicates the shape.

Here's the headboard from the film:

And here's our finished headboard:

It took less than four hours from start to finish, which I think was pretty quick considering all the detail. For those who are interested, here was our process:

1. Trace the shape onto a piece of 1" MDF (medium density fiberboard).
2. Use a jigsaw to cut out the pattern.
3. Trace the same shape onto 2" foam.
4. Use an electric knife (the kind used to carve your Thanksgiving turkey) to cut through the foam.
5. Use Spray Mount or Tacky Glue to secure the foam to the board.
6. Since we were using nailhead trim at the edges, we needed to bevel the foam so it wasn't so thick there. The electric knife was great for this.
7. Lay out batting over the foam, allowing it to extend several inches past the edge of the headboard, and trim.
8. Lay out fabric on top of the batting, allowing the same extra several inches.
9. Use a staple gun to secure the middle top, bottom and sides first, pulling the fabric and batting taut and stapling into the back.
10. Once that's secure and you make sure it's all even and smooth, continue around the rest of the edges until all the fabric is secure. If you have curves or unusual angles, cut notches in the fabric so it will wrap more smoothly.
11. Add trim if you want (we stapled underneath where the nailhead trip would go to make sure the foam was sufficiently flattened then the trim covered the staples).
12. Mount it to the wall and you're done!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Open for Business!

After years of thinking about it and months of hoarding gathering items for it, I finally took the plunge this week and opened my own booth at a local antique mall. For those who are wondering, here's how it works: You usually pay a monthly rental fee for the space (smaller spaces are cheaper, obviously) and then they take a percentage of your total sales, too (6-10 percent seems to be a reasonable range). Some locations also ask you to sign a lease, committing to a space for a set amount of time. I've also heard that some malls let you work the front desk in exchange for rent, but that's not the norm at most of the bigger places anymore.

My first antique booth experience had a relatively inauspicious start. It mostly consisted of me sweating profusely as I lugged a carload of stuff to Tennessee Antique Mall near the Nashville Fairgrounds, where I immediately started organizing and pricing. My friend Dani Edmondson allowed herself to be roped into stopping by to help (check out her fun blog at She was a trooper, letting me boss her around and make her stand on stuff to reach the highest corners of my new booth. It was a good start, but I took another carload over on Friday to really fill out the space a bit better.

Here are the results:

This my little homemade sign. I decided to stick with the same name I use for my freelance writing/editing business and my jewelry making:

I repainted this coffee table that I found at the flea market and those recovered stools were in my living room for the past few years:

This little shelf, and the stuff on it, came from a variety of different places:

This shot includes some of my metal letters, a child's chalkboard and one of my first embroidery projects in ages, a retro camper:

Last but not least, here's the toy area:

The booth will be a constant work in progress, so I'll keep you updated here. Oh, and as if this weren't enough for me to take on, I'll be launching a small countertop booth at Gas Lamp Antiques near Nashville's 100 Oaks Mall the first of September. It will let me highlight small, special items and see how I do with their customer base. It also puts me first in line for a bigger space when one opens up there. Since it's a local favorite and consistently named "Best of Nashville."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spray Paint Is Our Friend!

I know, I know! Spray paint can be messy and drippy and the color choices aren't as great as regular paint, but nothing else allows you to transform a pile of thrift store junk like this:

Into something like this:

I took a cheese plate, a candelabra, a goblet, a brass candleholder, a tin tiered tray and two frames and gave them new life in a matter of minutes. The goblet and brass candleholder were glued (using the wonderful E-3600 - look for it at a craft store near you!) to cream plates that I bought for .50 cents each. Now they're cake stands. The candelabra is my favorite, though.

I think it was sterling plated and I picked it up for $4.98 at Music City Thrift here in Nashville. I plan to put it in my new antique booth and sell it for $15. We'll see if I get any takers. If not, I'm happy to keep it for myself.

Oh, and those wood candleholders behind it in the picture? I bought one at Pier One, thinking I'd go back for more once they went on sale. Then I realized there was a much cheaper way to get the "multiple candleholder" look I wanted. I found the other two at thrift stores for $2 each and painted them myself. I like that they're all slightly different styles and heights, but the paint unifies them.

Next time I'll highlight my new booth at the Tennessee Antique Mall, so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Best Place to Start Is At the Beginning...

I know, I know. I'm soooo behind the times. It seems like EVERYONE else is blogging -- sharing their hobbies, their parenting philosophies, their innermost thoughts. I'll be honest. For me, writing is my "day" job, which means doing it for free in my downtime didn't have much appeal. So why am I finally giving in to the pressure? Because in recent months I've been in major creative mode, redoing my office, refinishing furniture, scouring thrift stores and undertaking a variety of other projects. And while the pups are appreciative of my efforts, their ability to offer praise or even feedback is severely limited.

So yes, I'm here seeking approval -- or at least a little attention. I've been inspired lately by so many other blogs, and I've been eagerly soaking up all their amazing DIY ideas. It made me want to share a few of my own, like the birch bark lamp I made.

I also need the accountability to stay productive and creative. I'll admit that I'm just competitive enough to find motivation in the accomplishments of my blogger friends. I'm also getting ready to take on space at two local antique malls and this blog will be a great place to share my favorite finds and highlight the items I'm selling. So stay tuned. This is just the beginning...

Wendy Lee