Sunday, July 24, 2016

How To Clean Silver

I am preparing for an intimate wedding reception this coming weekend.  Part of the preparation is cleaning, repainting, and sometimes resurfacing (chalkboards) rental items prior to the event.  As I was cleaning my silver pieces I thought it would be great to blog this information as it seems to be a little secret many don't like to share.  Anyhow, if you have heirloom silver or found an old beautiful vintage silver piece but don't like how it has tarnished over time, then give this a try! 

 (Please be careful not to leave your silver for more than 5 minutes and practice this at your own risk.  I am not a silver smith or professional silver cleaner, this has worked for me and I do not use it too often until I really need to.  These tips were given to me by a large import company who imports silver chaffing dishes, pitchers, candelabras etc. and it sits on their shelves for a while before selling and is part of their routine cleaning regimen.  They have been in business for over 20 years.)

What you will need:

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Salt
  3. Hot Water 
  4. Aluminum Foil (bright side up)
  5. Soft Cloth

Line aluminum foil in tub or bucket with shinier side up

Fill with hot water or add some boiling water to tap water

Add  1 tablespoon of baking soda and sprinkle a little bit of salt.  (I added more because I have a large tub)


My tarnished trumpet vase cannot wait to be cleaned!

Its going in!

The silver should make contact with the foil (Don't leave in for more than 5 minutes)

Sitting in the water for the first 30 seconds and already see changes in the color

I turned it around and voila!

And here it is with just a few minutes of bathing in this solution.

My Candelabra Before Bath

My candelabra Before bathing in the solution

My Candelabra After Bathing Solution

My Candelabra After
The candelabra to the left was bathed in the solution and the one to the right was not. 
After bathing your silver in this solution be sure and rinse off, dry, and polish with soft towel.  My photographs really don't do the results justice.  I had a little bit of a hard time trying to catch the light at the correct angles.  But I think that these photographs give you an idea.

This will give you another reason to head out to the next flea market or estate sale near you!

Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Where to Find Used Furniture

Hi Sweet Friends,

Spring is here and there is nothing like opening up my garage and working away while watching the children ride their bikes up and down the street.  Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the sound of children playing while I work in the garage is music to my ears.  I don't have any small ones BUT I am soon to be grandma!! 

My daughter is very close to finishing college.  About six months ago she came home with the news that I will be a new grandma and her a new mom!  I wouldn't exactly say I wanted to do cartwheels at that moment but it has grown on me and excitement is in the air!!  I know it will give me and my husband of six years a chance to really love another human being together from start to finish!!  We are excited about that!

I have given it a lot of thought and I may slow down on painting  momentarily but will continue to do some custom work from time to time.  I am also entering a new venture with a very good friend of mine.  I will be moving forward with the Event Rentals and I am really excited about it!!  To see some of what I already have click RIGHT HERE .  I have helped with a number of events for family and friends and really enjoyed doing so that I wanted to help others make their special occasion an event to remember!

Ok, so I will be sharing more soon!  Stay tuned!!!!!

Where to find used furniture?? 

I get asked that alot!! It is really not a BIG secret, but it does take work!  Work?  Yes, foot work.  Most of my finds are from second hand stores, antique shops, storage lockers, and auctions.  But the best place to look is on Craigslist.  I know, I know that its very seldom to get a GOOD DEAL on Craigslist.  However, there are people that buy storage lockers and list their goods on Craigslist.  Their goods either sale or become stagnant.  Locker sales are competitive and they will always try to keep their prices competitive as well. They try to move furniture fast because they have rent to pay every month.  So, sometimes you will find their goods come down in price but you will have to either be patient or AGGRESSIVE.  Both do work.  Sometimes cash money in hand is a WIN WIN for both parties. 

 I began making relationships with locker owners or for a lack of a better word, locker furniture sellers.  It initially takes time to build these relationships because you have to make time to meet them, drive to them, spend a little gas money, and then follow up with them.  After due diligence, they will have you on speed dial and will know you well enough to know what you like.  They will eventually call or contact you when they get something in or trying clear their space!!  That is the part that is most rewarding from these types of relationships!!  But I have never walked away with an item I was interested in without leaving with a truckload of stuff they discounted to clean out there space.  This is the TICKET ladies and gentleman.  Being there when nobody else is around and they start lowering their prized items to make room for more!!  Talk about being there at the right time!!

This way has been the most profitable than any other way of finding furniture.  Easy never pays and there is no quick and fast solution to finding beautiful furniture to paint.  Building relationships with fellow competitors has also helped me find beautiful furniture pieces.  I have many friends that have bought pieces from me that I could not get to and vice versa!  You can learn from them and share ideas.  Don't be afraid to get to know others that do the same thing because there is plenty of work to go around for everyone!  Insecurity, greed, and jealousy can only get you so far.  Always lead with an open heart.

I try to never go out of my way to find furniture.  I always stop in an antique store, Salvation Army, and Goodwill as I am passing through.  Either on my way to visiting a relative or out to eat with my husband.  My stops are quick and fast.  Auctions on the other hand take all day to sit through and you can spend an entire day at an auction and come home with nada, zilch, zero!! You can get very lucky at auction, but you can also risk leaving feeling emotionally drained because of the constant noise and bidding that takes place.  It is quite nerve racking but it is a fun experience.  Most auctions are for high end business owners and most average persons would find it to be too expensive.

I asked a couple of people that are in the storage locker business to allow me to blog a little about their business.  There were some who wanted to remain anonymous as they have professional day jobs. But, I did have one young lady that loved the idea!!

MEET JESSICA, Locker Owner

 Jessica can be found on Facebook at  She is a mommy of two toddlers and when she is not running after them she offers beautiful furniture pieces for sale.  She loves what she does and you will quickly become her friend!  She has an eye for gorgeous pieces but you will always find more in her locker space.  She is one of many that offer pieces for your next furniture flip!  She just announced today that she is having a Spring Cleaning sale!!  This is what she posted today but will not be there for long!!

Furniture Pulls

And the cutest tables

Jessica works very hard to find beautiful furniture pieces.  She spends her time looking, driving, and picking these pieces.  So her prices are not garage sale prices but are fair enough to make a profit.  

She is making room for more furniture pieces and she stays really busy over the Spring and Summer time of the year!  I love making friends with people like Jessica, she has sold hundreds of large furniture pieces throughout the time I have known her. 

I wish it was more simple than this folks, however, building relationships does pay off and it will make the hunt less difficult in the end. 


Mary Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ombre Stained Dixie Serpentine Double Dresser


Hi Friends,

 A couple of weeks ago this gorgeous Dixie Serpentine Dresser was finished in an Ombre Stained Finish.  The body was painted white so that there was contrast between the stains and paint.  I stripped the top and with some help the drawers were stripped as well.  It left a nice blank canvas for my imagination to take over!  I love trends.  BUT, they have to be classic enough to be enjoyed for along time.  I thought this was trendy and at the same time very classic!  This piece will allow the owner to change the decor a million times and will fit in every time! 

I have had a few people ask what stains I used and wanted to share the stain colors I used.  I used four different stains and made sure to use a conditioner prior to each application.

Local Lowes store had all of the four stains available.

I liked all four stains including the wheat and driftwood!   Wheat was so rich and appeared as it was made for the original piece.  And the driftwood was very subtle that I hope to use it again very soon!  It was a lot of fun making over this piece. 

The shape of the dresser is called "Serpentine"  It really adds a lot of character.

Curves add a lot of value to the piece and this is the reason its difficult to find or even buy.  The craftsmanship is unbelievable.  It takes days to get a drawer to bow in any direction.  

The stained top did add to the richness of the piece.
 All of the hardware was refinished in a Bronze color.  Sad story, I was so excited to insert all of the hardware and to find out at the very end that one was missing.  Not two, not three, just One!  Oh My GOSH did that just really upset me.  I eventually got over it.  These pulls are gorgeous and add so much appeal and character to the piece!!  I made a promise to myself that I would never stop looking for that missing pull!

The white painted body allows the dresser to feel at home in any setting.

It was a very short stay until it left to a loving home.
I hope that I inspire you to stain a piece of wood or furniture soon!

Mary Elizabeth

Saturday, February 14, 2015

INDIGO BLUE painted Occasional Table


I am sharing a quick way to treat yourself this Valentines Day!

I don't know if you noticed lately but indigo blue has been the trending color as of the summer of last year!! I have been itching to paint a buffet or dresser this color for the past year and half.  I just need to gather the courage!! Pottery Barn mixes this color with yellows, oranges, beige (natural materials), grays, and reds.  They compliment every color really!

Photo credit: Pottery Barn  / Doodle credit: Me

I am in no way a designer of any kind and it takes me years to put something together I really like.  Late last year we were updating our color scheme from rust orange walls to a calming gray and white.  I did enjoy the orange and greens but I really wanted muted walls and then to add color and have the freedom to change the color as I pleased.  Well, after we updated our walls I didn't know how to dress up my furniture, or what accessories to buy, or even what complimentary colors to use.  And it stayed that way for 6 months.

It finally hit me the other day, I looked at my two upholstered chairs and gray occasional table in the middle and thought I need to add a punch of color!  Indigo it was!  ((I use my phone camera to capture these photographs which are not the best of quality)

Gray occasional table just made everything look blah!

Indigo painted table

I don't spray paint any furniture I sell, it is all hand painted.  I use spray paint for my home because it is fast and an immediate gratification!  It turned out beautifully and I didn't give it but a quick 3 minute sand down.  I am thinking that spray paint is not so bad. 

The table looks so much better in person.  But I can tell you it adds life to our room!

Indigo Pillows with pops of fuchsia.  (I took this pic before I could take the tags off!! I was trying to get a pic before the sun went down)

The spray paint color I used was Valspar Indigo Streamer in a Satin.  It can be found at Lowes.

Indigo spray paint by Valspar

Satin Indigo Spray Paint by Valspar

Thats right, I said it!  Spray paint is not so bad!  The finish would be even more beautiful had I not painted it previously.  I am currently working on two projects and was a able to add this one because spray paint is quick & fast!  And it covered the entire table with one can!

I hope I inspired you to add a pop of color in your home!

Photo credit:  - HAPPY VALENTINES DAY  

Mary Elizabeth


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Verdigris Verdigris, Oh how I love thee!

Photo taken By Me:  Fountain Located at Sam Houston Park in Downtown Houston
Ver·di·gris- /ˈvərdəˌɡrēs/   A Green Bluish Patina formed on copper, brass, or bronze surfaces exposed to the elements for a long period of time. 

Natural patinas form on the surface of bronze, copper and other similar metals and the tarnish and oxidation reflects weathering and wearing due to exposure to the elements over time.  Long term exposure for copper generally results in the formation of a distinctive gray-green patina called verdigris.

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I had been really inspired by this Verdigris or Patina for quite sometime. It takes years to get this patina. But I wanted to make my own faux Patina for decorative use only (meaning that you couldn't do this to outdoor objects) and decided to paint a very ornate metal candelabra to achieve this look.  I found this little ornate candelabra years ago at a local thrift shop.  I thought it would compliment my painted furniture and would be a great candidate for this project. 

Start By Cleaning Prior to Painting

Grab Green and Blue Paint Colors from your local Walmart.  Dab on Green paint over the piece.
 I started by cleaning the brass candelabra.  I picked up two cheap bottles of paint in cabbage like Green and sky like Blue.  I dabbed on the Green paint sporadically over the piece. 

I did the same with the blue.  Trying not to cover the same areas. 
I did the same with the Blue paint.

Once the piece is covered...

Use a sponge or paper towel to press the paint into the piece and at the same time meeting the paints together. ((Note: This was my very first experiment.  Don't be afraid to be more generous with the paint.))
After paint dries...
Once the paint dries cover the entire piece with white paint.  ((I should have added a whole lot more white paint but this gives you an idea.))

Using a Spray Bottle with Water..
Once the white paint becomes close to drying, use a spray bottle of water and spray over the piece as if you are trying to make the white paint "cry".  

Using the spray bottle allows the blue and green paint colors come through.

Final Product

 I was able to create a Verdigris effect on the candelabra without high dollar products.  I did not add a primer so the paint will scratch off if I tried.  Thus, not good for outdoor use.

I used it as a prop on one of my past pieces

I think I might try this on a piece of furniture soon!!!  I hope this inspired you today!


Mary Elizabeth

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How To Update Furniture or Cabinet Hardware Quickly

Hi Friends,

I refinished an entry hall table and spent so some time doing so that I wanted to update the hardware quickly.  I did this in less then 30 seconds!  Yep!  I did this inside the house, no spraying, no fumes, or long drying time.  HOW!?! Well, let me show you just how!

You will need:

  • Your Hardware
  • Baroque Art Gilders Paste - $12-$15 (Foundry Bronze was the color I have on hand)
  • Cheap Artist Brush
I like to place the hardware onto the screw to be able to hold it and keep from getting my hands dirty

CLOSEUP - I applied the gilders paste to the top portion of the hardware.  Do you see the difference?

It goes on easy and the transformation is instantaneous! Just brush on and your done!

From Drab to Beautiful!

I really love this stuff and a little goes on long way.  I have been using gilders paste for quite sometime and I have to tell you that its worth every penny. 

I found the hardware (pull) from a stockpile of mismatched hardware I have collected over the years.  I love to shop from my garage!

Hardware can really transform an ordinary piece of furniture!

It kinda dresses it up like jewelry!

You can find this paste online or at any fine painted furniture retailers near you.  The paste goes a long way as I have transformed a number of hardware pieces and still have a full container left.  It goes on easy and dries pretty quickly.

Gilders Paste was also used on this set of tables.
Updating furniture/cabinet hardware can be a tedious task.  Whether you choose to use the gilders paste or any other method it does give furniture and cabinetry a facelift. And would be a great alternative to new hardware.

I hope I inspired you today!

Mary Elizabeth