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Category Archives: Garage Sales

Gold Leaf Lamp (How to Gold Leaf Awesome)

Gold Leaf Lamp (How to Gold Leaf Awesome)

I have been wanting to gold leaf something for a while. It just always seemed so awesome.

I really love the idea of mixing gold leaf with matte finishes.

This old lamp was FREE because some guy was just cleaning out his garage. I thought it was a garage sale, so I made my boyfriend pull over (he LOVES it when I do that).

This is what the free lamp looked like.

This is what the free lamp looked like.

First, I sprayed it yellow. I always meant to change the lampshade, but never got around to it.

That is, until I decide to gold leaf this thing! Then, I went to Walmart and got this lamp shade for just $13.

This is the lamp after I first sprayed it yellow. Ugly lamp shade, but it was free... so yeah...

This is the lamp after I first sprayed it yellow. Ugly lamp shade, but it was free… so yeah…

I bought the gold leaf kit for around $10 on Amazon. It includes the gold leaf, the adhesive, and also the sealer.

First, I sprayed the lamp a matte white (after taping off the cord and the electrical socket). I love the look of matte finishes with metallics. The contrast is great.

Second, I taped off the stripes that I wanted. I used two different widths of painter’s tape (which is why some stripes are beige and some stripes are blue).

Use tape to mark off the parts you don't want painted.

Use tape to mark off the parts you don’t want painted.

Then, I applied the adhesive lightly with a sponge applicator. Let it dry for about 15 minutes, and start applying the gold leaf. If you miss any spots, it’s OK. You can come back and fill it in by adding more adhesive and more gold leaf.  You basically just put the gold leaf directly on the adhesive and rub it with a brush or your finger to make sure it’s stuck down well.

The lines aren't perfect, but that's OK.

The lines aren’t perfect, but that’s OK.

Finished! The light isn't great, but the lamp came out awesome.

Finished! The light in the photo isn’t great, but the lamp came out awesome.

The stripes are not perfect. Gold leaf is not really a tidy adventure, but from a far, you cannot really see the less-than-perfect parts.

The gold leaf instructions say that you should seal it, but I figure the lamp won’t get man-handled too much, so I skipped that step. If I was doing something that would get more touching, I would definitely seal it.

I love how it all turned out. It only cost me a lamp shade and a gold leaf kit (I have most of the kit left too, so I am like Midas – constantly looking for more things to turn gold).

Gold stripes and matte white finish.

Gold stripes and matte white finish.

What else can I gold leaf?

What else can I gold leaf?

What do you think? Do you guys freaking love gold as much as this girl?

Golden love,




I have a three or four assignments due next week. Big ones. Naturally, that means I need to update my blog. Because – you know- I cannot work knowing that my blog is behind. Or when there are dirty dishes. Or when there are nine recipes on Pinterest that I haven’t tried yet. Makes perfect sense, right?

Isn’t she a beaut? About 22 inches across and maybe 36 tall. It was love at first pineapple! (ignore the blue painter’s tape).

So I promise this will be a quick one. More of a promise to myself than a promise to you. You may or may not have a 20 page paper due on Thursday that you only started a day or two ago. If not, lucky you!

A few weeks ago, boyfriend was out driving around and spotted what appeared to be an awesome yard sale. He kindly called me out from my studying cavern and said we should go. (Thanks, baby! I know you think I like weird old garbage and have way too many pieces of furniture/decor with animal motifs and probably too much gold, but you told me about the sale anyway. 🙂 ) This yard sale was awesome! Some dude collected other people’s vintage junk and was selling really nice pieces for next to nothing. I basically wanted to buy pretty much everything he had, but I recently downsized from a three bedroom apartment where I lived alone, to a two bedroom apartment where I have a roommate. Basically, I already have way too much furniture.

Don’t you just want to eat that little hand-carved pineapple?

BUT – a girl can never have enough mirrors. Especially if the mirror is awesome and has darling little birds. Even more true if the mirror appears to be hand carved, made of real wood and has actual gold leaf on parts of it (not just gold paint). And you can never get enough mirrors like this when the price is only $10!!! Are you joking me?!? Of course I will give you $10 for that mirror, sir! I would have paid much more (like up to $20… I am a student after all).

So we forked over the cash (and also scored some awesome ornate picture frames for $1 each!) and headed on our merry way. The top woodwork needed a little repairing, but it was nothing that a little wood glue and a staple gun couldn’t fix. That is why there is blue tape in the photo. I put tape on for support until the wood glue dried.

Oh, hello lovely little birds flying around with branches in your beaks! Would you like to come home with me and stay with me forever?

Can anyone help me identify the genre? I am thinking it’s art nouveau, but it’s a little more structured than art nouveau, maybe? And when I try to google pineapple feet, I get all sorts of weird stuff. If you have any ideas, let me know!

And for dessert we have another adorable pineapple foot to drool over!

Anyway, I should probably get back to work. Or back to cleaning so I can get back to working. Or back to baking cookies, and then cleaning up after myself so then I can get back to work. Or back to finding the perfect cookie cutter on so I can get back to baking, and then cleaning up, so that I can get back to work. Or… the possibilities of things I could be doing other than studying are endless…

With love,


Amazing Find! Antique Dresser

Amazing Find! Antique Dresser

So this post took me a while to get to. I actually scored this awesome piece back in May, but it was in the midst of moving to a new apartment so photographing it was hard. You may be asking yourself, what kind of idiot buys a new piece of furniture in the midst of moving from one large apartment to another smaller apartment. This idiot does. Me.

That hardware is darling. I think it might be called “batwing.”

But can you blame me? Look at it! Only $30 and truly a glorious bonafide antique with more charm in one little drawer pull than in all of Restoration Hardware.

Charming little dresser found on craigslist for only $30!

I actually loved it so much that I picked it up in the morning before a final. Stopped studying and everything just to go get this baby. It came from the attic of a man’s childhood home. He had recently moved his mother into a nursing home and was cleaning out the house. He had used this dresser as a boy, and said it had been in the family for longer than that most likely.

That is all natural antiquing – I didn’t do a thing.

Before this was painted the outermost cream color, it was a rose pink. So where the paint is chipping (and it’s quite chippy) both the original wood and the rose paint peak through.

See the rose color under the white?

This dresser is wide and deep and holds tons of stuff. It was a steal. And it is now at the top of my list of favorite furniture that I actually own. Squeeeeal!

Swoon. (One piece of hardware is upside down, I need to fix that.)

Just wanted to share my super awesome find. Have you found anything super awesome on craigslist or yard-sailing recently?

With love,


I’m Back. I missed you.

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I’m Back. I missed you.

Hello Blogland,

I am back from the dead. I guess being dead in blog land is actually being alive, as in living real life, interacting with flesh and blood people instead of internet people. Weird though. And like any resurrected zombie, I am HUNGRY! Not for brains and flesh or anything like that, because, let’s be honest, ewwwwwwww. But hungry to resume blogging and to resume creating.

It has been a crazy six weeks since my last post (ewwwwwww). Shameful. But wanna know something cool? Even without creating new content, I have had a pretty steady stream of visitors! Neat, huh! I guess I must be slightly relevant or something. Or people just really want to see one of these things.

A lot has happened in the last six weeks. For one thing, I finished my first year at Princeton! This means I only have one more year of grad school to go. Four is a lot of years of grad school. In fact, if you don’t count the thumb, you almost cannot count to four on the fingers on one hand. I mean, I know how to count to four on one hand, since I am in grad school and everything, but it’s cutting it kinda close.

Second thing, Pinterest! I mean, I know that sounds old and trite, but I was way behind the bloggers in getting into Pinterest. What a great way to spend 3 hours 10 minutes on a study break. I think the reason why I like Pinterest so much is because it’s like watching a BUNCH of HGTV episodes really quickly, where you can skip straight to the reveal. And, while there is a lot of cool stuff on Pinterest, there is also a lot that I don’t like on it, like HGTV, so it’s really helping me hone my style.

Third thing, I am moving out of my apartment next week.

Fourth thing, I am MOVING TO VIENNA. AUSTRIA. In case you didn’t realize, Austria is a whole other country. I am moving there for the summer, but whatever, it’s still moving there. And I am pretty sure I will move there when I graduate anyway. I cannot WAIT to take Suits and Aprons there! Vienna is a great antiquing place. Plus, I am going to try to find an Austria cooking class and then will share my creations with you! Seriously guys, Europe.

Fifth thing: No. I am not having a baby anytime soon. But I had a friend who had a baby back in January. A sweet little girl. I said I would make the baby a high chair. It is now May. I am finally presenting high chair to mother and baby this weekend. I’m a little slow. But it’s cool, because I think babies don’t sit in high chairs until they are around 5 or 6 months anyway. And this high chair might even be for a slightly older kid. Not sure. Not a mom.  But either way.

I got this high chair at a giant rummage sale. I painted it with this awesome yellow homemade chalk paint. I sanded and distressed it. Then I applied a coat of antiquing glaze. Then I stopped and thought long and hard. A high chair is something a baby sits in. The baby might chew on it. (Why? Because babies put pretty much everything in their mouths, and since this chair is so awesome and looks like a gumdrop, it’s definitely getting mauled). The baby will be eating food stuff off of it. And what kind of friend would I be if I used some unsafe substance to seal it?

Also, babies are messy and will spill and maybe draw on things with markers as they turn into toddlers. So I wanted a strong finish.

I just didn’t think furniture wax was up to the challenge, and it might be soft enough to come off when the child chews on it. So instead of waxing, I applied many heavy coats of Krylon’s Crystal glaze. It’s durable so I figured it wouldn’t get chewed off easily, and it would be less likely than wax to transmit any chemicals or what-have-you.

Sixth, all this talk about toxic painting products reminds me of things that have been ticking me off on Pinterest: STOP PAINTING THINGS YOU EAT OFF OF. Most paints are not food safe. That chalk board cheese plate that has been pinned like a million times? Probably causes cancer. I’m not saying that if food comes into contact with a painted surface for a minute that you will get sick, but if it’s going to sit there for a bit, really think about whether you want to put those chemicals in your food. I haven’t ranted about this on Pinterest because that would be an annoying thing to do. But that’s my 2 cents.

OK, I will come up with other things to share. But now I’m going back to bed, and then I’m hanging out with some flesh and blood peeps while I get my summertime on.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Blogland, I missed you. It feels good to be wrapped once more in your sweet, megapixel embrace. We’ve had many good memories, and we will make many more in the future. And I, for one, am freaking excited!



More Thrifty Finds: Meet Chloe

School has been a little insane, which has impacted my blogging and my crafting/DIYing.

But, I did get a chance to do some fun thrifting. I found this adorable owl plate for $0.79 at Salvation Army. Her name is Chloe.

Chloe was a major score!

Chloe goes perfectly with my decor too.

And I found this lovely green pitcher for $1.50, I think:

I am loving these two ceramic horse heads. I am not sure what they are. I think they might make really cool book-ends. They aren’t quite heavy enough, but I can fill them with sands.

What color should I paint them? I am thinking gold. Thoughts?

I am loving these ceramic horses. Cannot wait to paint them. They were only $1 each.

This darling little plate was only $0.49. I have nothing else like it, but I hope to someday.

Check out this sweet rhinoceros! $2! I may also spray paint, but I am not sure yet. It’s just so interesting and adorable.

And the last great thing I found was this little cloche. The plate is heinous, but cloches are lovely no matter what. I may just get rid of the plate and keep the cloche itself. $3.

Well, that’s all folks.

Maybe I will have something more interesting in the future. Also, let me know what color you think I should paint the horse heads.



I’m Linking Up (To the tune of “I’m Coming Out”)

No Minimalist Here

Gold and Brass and Plastic: Thrift Store Scores!

Gold and Brass and Plastic: Thrift Store Scores!

I went to Baltimore a few weekends ago to hang with my BFF. We did some MAJOR thrift store trips, including stopping by an incredible non-profit salvage yard called Second Chance that hires ex-convicts and trains them on how to remove architectural features from buildings facing demolition so that the pieces can be salvaged. It seems like a great program, and they had AMAZING stuff ranging from antique furniture to old wood ovens to giant mantlepieces. If you are in Baltimore or anywhere near, I recommend stopping by. They have 5 or 6 warehouses. FIVE OR SIX WAREHOUSES. You read that right.

It's hard to photograph hallways and stairways. No good angles.

Since I wasn’t looking to install a whole mantleplace in my apartment, I didn’t get anything at Second Chance. However, a few of the many thrift stores we hit up that day (three or four?) had some great stuff.

I have been looked for thrifted owl stuff for ages to no avail. On our second swing through the houseware/chotsky section, BFF found this guy (moral: always go through each section twice). She didn’t see the potential, but I had told her that if she saw ANY owls that I had dibs. It is plastic, about 12 inches tall, and has a wall-hangy thing on the back already. How much? $2.99. Maybe a little steep, but owls are hard to come by.

I know you don't see the potential, but just wait!

Well, first thing I did was spray paint my new friend gold.

After spray paint, before antiquing glaze. Starting to see it, huh?

Then to make it look like, well, an antique, I coated it with Valspar antiquing glaze, making sure to get the glaze into all the little nooks and crannies.

He looks so regal sitting on the wall, at the top of the stairs now, doesn’t he? He needs a name…. Hmm….Suggestions? What about Philbert? Eugene? Ooooh…. I am liking Eugene. I will let it ruminate for a little bit before I make it official, but I am liking Eugene.

Standing guard at the top of the stairs - always vigilant and always welcoming me home!

So now you are probably thinking that the painting below Eugene is a little weird. And you would be right. It’s a little weird. But the frame is awesome. I got the painting for the frame at another Baltimore thriftstore for $8. I almost passed it up, but so glad that I didn’t.

Nice size, lovely patina. Ignore the bizarre painting - you can change that.

I am actually planning to switch out the oil painting with one of my own. Guess what I’m going to paint!? Guess!

AN OWL!!! I’m gonna paint a little owl friend for Eugene and it will be awesome. Boyfriend may have called me the weird girl with lots of owls earlier today. But I only have two now. You haven’t met the other one yet (you will). But two owls does not a “crazy oil lady” make. Just saying.

Didn't need to do anything to this. Perfect as it is.

I got this mirror at the same thrift store as the picture frame. I think the mirror was $20. Which is WAY more than I like spending on thrifted good. But it was awesome. And I knew I would regret it. So I bought it. Super good decision.

Because now, the gold owl and frame, and this brassy mirror all hang at the top of my stairwell, making an interesting statement. Not sure what that statement is yet, but it’s interesting at least. 🙂

I dig it. You may or may not. But that’s OK. I have fun new pieces to talk about, and my new friend, Eugene.

Another shot of my new triptic of thrifted finds.

It’s really hard to get a good photograph in my stairwell. The light is terrible and the angles are impossible. Apologies.

I hope I have inspired you to get thrifting. But just remember, if you find something awesome, you should buy it. Because if you don’t, I will. And then you will see it on my blog all awesomized and you will kick yourself for letting it get away.

You have fair warning. Ready, set, thrift!



I’m Partying Here:

French Country Cottage

Common Ground

Happy Hour Projects

Tater Tots and Jello

Funky Junk Interiors

Be Different, Act Normal

The Tablescaper

Between Naps on the Porch

House of Grace

Coastal Charm

A Diamond in the Stuff

Not Just a Housewife

Type A Decorating

Giggles Glitz and Glam

My Uncommon Slice of Surburbia

Domestically Speaking

Saavy Southern Style

DIY by Design

A Beach Cottage (Though their linky party is a little glitchy today, and poor Mrs. Beach suffered a terrible bug bite. Get well soon!)

No Minimalist Here

Somewhat Simple

The Shabby Creek Cottage

I love me some free stuff…

I love me some free stuff…

Before I start in on the good part (free stuff), I will warn my growing readership (yay!) that I may be playing around with different appearances on this blog for a bit. Trying to spice things up. Thanks for your patience. Any feedback always appreciated.

Onto the free stuff! Who doesn’t love it? A while ago I had some major scores, but have neglected to share them with you. Until now. I’m first going to post all the before pics, and then, show you what I did with them. I can guarantee that for some things, you are going to say: “Rachel, of course that crap was free. It’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.” And then I’m going to BLOW YOUR MIND. Trust. Or at least, I will make you reconsider, even if your mind isn’t entirely blown.

I believe the secret to good free stuff is karma. And being in the right place at the right time (which I am going to attribute to karma). I think you get good free stuff karma if you give stuff away – on craigslist, on the street corner or to your local thrift store. I believe it all comes back to you.

Back to the story: One weekend, boyfriend and I were driving around Princeton and happened upon TWO awesome free find locations. The first was a guy cleaning out his garage. I initially thought he was having a garage sale because the amount of stuff on the curb was impressive, and because the guy was out in his garage. We stopped, and it turned out all the stuff was free. Boyfriend mumbled a little as I loaded all my treasure into his car, because boyfriend, sweet as he is, sometimes doesn’t share my vision. Few truly do.

Anyway, I got this cool silver tray.


I got these weird figurines.


I got this lamp.

You guessed it, also free!

I also got some picture frames that have yet to be dealt with or photographed. Score!

Later that day, we found this magazine rack on a curb. It was super dirty, but I could tell it was a great find. It’s really old, and already had an awesome chippy paint finish.


Dirty, but that’s what soap and water is for, right? This is a picture of the top.

The dirt was free too!

Now see what I did with all this cool stuff:

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Roses, Teal and Brass: How to Personalize A Lamp

Roses, Teal and Brass: How to Personalize A Lamp

Anthropology, eat your heart out.  You would sell the shade for $98. It cost me $2 to make. You would sell the base for, let’s say, a reasonable $118. It cost me $6 at a rummage sale. And, with my lamp shade, I get the pleasure of knowing that I made it.

Roses, Teal and Brass Lamp

This was one of those projects that I didn’t exactly plan out. I was bored one night, trying to figure out a good craft project that I could do while watching a movie. When you spend all day reading and doing econ homework, sometimes (often?) you just need something to watch and  a project that makes you remember that you can use your hands for things other than taking notes and punching dumb numbers into a scientific calculator.

Teal, aqua and white: the three little bears of color.

I find making things with my hands so unbelievably therapeutic. And, there are two benefits from making things with your hands: 1. The therapy part makes you feel better. And 2. You get the cutest little lamp to grace your bedside table for less than $10.

This brings me to my apology for the posting hiatus – school has been crazy busy lately. I managed to find the time to do the project, but not the time to post it. And I am still having broken camera drama. Sigh.

Anyway, Here’s how I did it:

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How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Chair

How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Chair

Some of you may remember this chair that I found at a garage sale for only $10! (If you recall, I turned into a cartoon wolf and my tongue rolled out of my jaw like a carpet unrolling, and I had to use my hand to roll my tongue back up and then to shut my jaw. The metaphor was maybe a tad long, but what are you gonna do?)

Here is the chair again.

The guy I bought it from had already removed the previous upholstery and had started putting on some new upholstery but hadn’t gotten very far. Something amazing about this chair (I mean, besides the fact that it’s beautiful and everything)? The padding is actually HORSE hair! That’s how you know for sure that it’s an antique. It’s maybe a little gross, but it also means that this chair is pretty darned old. And I’m going to pretend like the horse hair was washed and stuff before they used it for the chair. Don’t tell me otherwise.

Here is what I turned it into:

Some of my readers may also remember that I am SUPER into blue velvet. I was visiting my ‘rents in the Bay Area, and my friend, Molly, and I were driving from San Francisco back to the East Bay when I saw a discount fabric store that was having a sale. Though Molly and I were supposed to meet a friend for lunch in like 15 minutes, I flipped a U-turn last second (ignoring Molly’s screaming protests that we did not have time). As I parked the car (while Molly kept asking, “Rachel, are you serious?!?”) I told Molly that I would be in and out in 10 minutes. Max. I just needed some blue velvet. Real quick. Just a blue velvet fix and I’ll be damned if you stand in my way, Hussie!!! Just a yard. Or seven.

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Wall of Frames

Wall of Frames

Sorry for the posting hiatus (she said to nobody in particular). Things have been very busy at grad school. Who knew?

Anyway, I have a bunch of projects that are about 90% complete, and I kept saying to myself that I would post them when they were finished. But, as my mom loves to tell me: the first 90% of the project takes 90% of the time and the last 10% of a project takes the next 90% of the time. So that’s where I’m at. (And here is where my dad would tell me to never end a sentence with a preposition. Hehe.)

So I figured I would post something that is 90% complete. My old roommate (Jamie, of dog-cake fame) will cringe that I have hung more picture frames without pictures in them, and will also remind me that for over 6 months last year I swore I would find pictures to put in frames that I had hung, but never really did. So Jamie, now is the time to look away.

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