Aug 3, 2015

Building Plans >> Ladder Style Bookshelf

I have been designing building plans on graph paper for several years now, but just recently decided to look for a software that would allow me to share my plans with you. Jen from The House of Wood pointed me to Google Sketch Up and I was able to download free version of Sketch Up that is perfect for designing woodworking plans. I found some great tutorials on YouTube that showed me how to use the program and now I am sharing my first set of plans with you.

About This Project:
This shelf was inspired by an old shelving unit that I saw in an antique mall. I wanted it to be portable so I could easily transport it back and forth to vintage markets and craft fairs so my top and bottom shelves are attached with pocket hole screws and I added a brace on the back to keep it square and sturdy. When it’s time to set it up all I have to do is screw in 16 screws and slide in the middle shelves. The whole process only takes about 5 minutes. If you are looking for a more permanent solution you can add pocket holes to each of the side braces or opt for wood glue and brad nails to secure your shelves in place.

Required Skill Level: Beginner
Estimated Time Investment: Day project
Estimated Cost: $75

It still needs to be finished, but haven't decided on how to finish it yet. If you would like full plans you can download them here and please feel free to pin and share. Please feel free to e-mail photos of your creations or share a link in the comments section. #ArdentHandsPlans

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Jul 31, 2015

Before & After >> Flop Top Table

I wanted to pop in real quick to show you a piece of furniture I finished up a few weeks ago, but haven't had the time to share here yet.

I have one very poor before photo that I took with my phone, but it's not something I am going to try and share at this time. Even my photo editing software is telling me no.

This is just a little flip top table that I fell in love with at Goodwill. I think I paid something like $38 for the table. If it were not for the scratches in the table top itself I would have left it in its natural state, but I decided to just sand down the table top and seal it with hemp oil.

For the Bottom section of the table I used MMSMP in Mora and sealed it with antique wax. By the time I was done I felt it needed more so I actually painted typewriter over the entire piece , let it dry, and then wiped it away with a wet cloth leaving a very cool layered effect.

One of the coolest features to this table is that it sits like a slightly over-sized sofa table but the top flips over on hinges and a leg swings out so that the table can be turned into a larger eating area. These kinds of tables are great for apartments and college students.

Shared with:

Patina Paradise
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Jul 28, 2015

Oops! Where things went wrong with wholesale.

In January I started a new journey for my business by leasing a space at an antique mall and I took you all along for the journey and updated you as things went along. There hasn’t been much to report there but I have added a new dimension to the business with wholesale and want to share some of my experience with that as well.

Back in March I landed my first wholesale gig. I had just added my Boo Boo Buddies to my hot pack line and was encouraged to take my large hot packs and Boo Boo Buddies to a store in a neighboring town that supports local artists.  The first meeting went well and the company rep bought what I had on hand as a trial to see how they would sell in the store. Now when I say “bought” I say that in an accounts receivable sort of way. I was asked if mailing a check would be ok or if cash would be better. I was nervous and didn’t want to lose the deal so I told her whatever was easiest would be fine. 

The hot packs were a hit and a few days later I had my first big order. I dropped that order off and in about a week I received another order. Things were going pretty steady for a little while, but after about a month or so I started wondering when the check was going to come. I talked with the company rep and she said that sometimes it takes a little while to get new vendors into the system and that she would try to speed things up. I finally received my check but to my surprise it was only for the first two invoices. 

In an effort to stay proactive and encourage on-time payment I started sending an e-mail the week an invoice was due with a copy of the corresponding invoice and every week after until it was paid. I quickly found myself sending 2nd and 3rd reminder notices and time between payments became longer and longer. I finally had to tell the rep that if I didn’t get paid in full that I was going to have to stop selling to their company. She said she would talk to the accounting department and within a few days I had a check. There was still one invoice that had not been paid but it wasn’t late yet either, so against my better judgment I went ahead and delivered my next order. I am still waiting to get paid for that order. Needless to say I have stopped delivering product to that store.

I learned a couple of things from this experience.
  1. Talk with other vendors to determine how the company treats them before you determine to sell to them. Ask specifically about how timely they are in sending payment.
  2. If cash is offered take it.
  3. Don’t get so caught up in landing the deal that you put yourself into a bad situation. Find out exactly when you will be paid and get it in writing. Draw up your own wholesale agreement and include a late fee.
  4. Don’t be afraid to set a policy that payment needs to be made at the time of delivery.
  5. Talk with a lawyer so you know what you as a small business owner can do in situations like this. (Yeah … I still need to do this.)

I currently do not have any companies that I wholesale to, but I did find a consignment store that I have product in. They work on a 50% commission and pay on the 16th of every month. I’ve only had my product in their store for about two weeks now so I’ll let you know how that goes in a few months.

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Jul 17, 2015

Furniture Before & After >> Antique Rocking Chair

My 11 year old daughter came up to me the other day and asked me if she could paint something. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant because I had a bunch of stuff I needed to get done and really didn't have time to walk her through it all, but figured it was worth it so I let her choose from all the furniture I had and she picked this great piece.

For the color she picked Miss Mustard Seed's Schloss Milk Paint.

Milk paint is so easy to work with that I didn't really need to keep as close an eye on her as I thought I was going to need to. For the first coat on the underside I let her work on it while I worked on another piece and just gave her some tips here and there and then let her fly solo for the topside. We both worked on the second coat together to make things go a little quicker.

To seal the chair she applied a mix of clear and antique wax. then I buffed it to a shine.

She decided that using canvas was the way to go for the seat cover. She helped remove the old upholstery and I made the new cover. I had actually been avoiding this piece because I was nervous about working with piping, but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I didn't have the right sewing foot to get a nice tight seem, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

I just love the carvings on the back of the chair.

Shared with:

Miss Mustard Seed
Craftberry Bush
MMS Milk Paint
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Jul 13, 2015

5 Great DIY Projects for the home.

I haven't had much time to do anything for my home recently, but I love woodworking and thought I would share some different sites that have wonderful DIY Furniture and Home Decor Building Plans.

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Jul 8, 2015

Where I Sell My Furniture

Do you have a passion for painting furniture and are curious about how to turn your passion into a business? Here’s a little snapshot of how I got started. 

When I first started selling my furniture via Craigslist. It’s pretty simple and if you know the rules about meeting up with someone it’s a pretty efficient way to sell although you can expect that you won’t get as much for your pieces as you could elsewhere. A short while later I opened my Etsyshop and tried listing a few pieces there. I was surprised to find that the furniture sold well there. At the beginning of this year I opened a small booth at Lone Star Gifts and have sold a few pieces there. It’s a pretty small booth so it can’t hold more than about two pieces of furniture which is perfect for right now.  Coming up in August I will be participating in a vintage & craft market called Summer Show ATX and will have a few pieces available there. I also post all my pieces for sale on my Facebookpage and have sold a few pieces locally through that.

Once I opened my space at Lone Star Gifts I started using Craigslist as an avenue to draw business to my pieces at Lone Star. I list them just as I would if I were selling them from my house but include a note in the description that points prospective buyers to the store. This really helps weed out the scammers and makes for a safer transaction.

I have yet to have any luck with fairs, but am hoping that will change with this show in August and would really like to participate in one of the Vintage Market Days shows.

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Jul 3, 2015

15 Best Places to Buy Vintage Furniture

So you’re looking to fill your house with gorgeous vintage or antique furniture … where do you look to find a great piece at a good price? Here are a few places I have found to have reasonable prices on ready to buy and project pieces. These are all going to be a little hit and miss, but a good find is worth the search. 

Any Day Stores:

1. Family & Friends - let your family and friends know that you are interested in finding some vintage or antique pieces for your home.

2. Antique Stores - let’s face it traditional antique stores have a tendency to be a bit on the pricey end, but there will be some stores that sell pieces at a reasonable price.

3. Antique Malls - the malls tend have lower prices than a traditional antique store and will carry traditional pieces as well as painted pieces in a variety of styles.

4. Goodwill - is a little hit or miss but if you have a store near you it is worth stopping by early on a Monday to see what they have available. They put their best pieces in the auction which is usually held on Saturday.

5. Thrift Stores - I personally haven’t had a lot of luck with local thrift stores, but I know many who have had lots of luck.

Comfort of your own home:

6. Craigslist - just make sure you ask lots of questions before meeting someone and take someone with you.

7. Etsy - this is a great place to browse in the comfort of your own home and support small business. You’ll find lots of quality and unique pieces here, although you will need to count on adding about $250 for shipping depending on the size of the piece.

8. Chairish - this is another great online outlet that supports small business.

9. Facebook - look for local garage sale groups on Facebook.

10. Ebay - I don’t really have any experience with ebay, but it’s an obvious outlet so had to mention it.

Weekend or Seasonal

11. Vintage Markets - probably the best place to find great pieces in one shot. Vintage markets are loaded with tons of different styles and all vendors have been screened so you know everywhere you turn you are going to find something great.

12. Flea Markets - It’s hard to find a good flea market but they are out there. Check them out online and check with friends and family to determine if they are worth the time. There’s one near me that never requires their vendors to be open during flea market hours so only about ¼ of the vendors are actually there.

13. Auctions - takes a lot of time and patience and are more fun with a friend.

14. Estate Sales - If you go on Friday you will find a larger variety but prices will be at their highest. If you wait till Sunday you’ll find lower prices, but will have less to choose from.

15. Garage Sales - I hate going to garage sales, especially in my area, but they can still be a great source.

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