Monday, February 13, 2012

more answers to your questions...

It has been a couple of weeks since I have gave some answers from my Q&A post while I was sick. 

Anyone ready for round two??

I say we just dive right in! This is a loooong post!

Oh, and the photos are totally random shots I found on my camera the other day...they make no sense with this post at all. Just saying'...


Do you use Annie Sloan chalk paint? If I do, do I have any problems with it?

I just bought my first quart of AS chalk paint last week when I was at Tattered Tiques! I know I am a little late to the party since most have been using it for some time now, but I was hesitant to switch to something new. The one thing that my clients always comment on is my finish and I was so afraid to deviate from that. 

I started using it yesterday, and I will say I am happy with the great coverage it gives. It was very flat and chalky (as I expected) but I am hoping the wax will give it the durable finish I love. I plan on using it for the pieces I paint a color...but for the white pieces I am sticking with my primer, paint and finish. I have many buyers that add pieces to match what they have already purchased from me, so I don't want to change things and surprise them if they are not the same as what they already had.

What is your current obsession in the antique world??

My obsessions have pretty much been the same since I first discovered my love of vintage. In my very early 20s and I think I was the only nerdy girl that spent her days at antique malls and garage sales hunting for white ironstone, old locker baskets, clocks, kitchen scales, old pine furniture, old painted pieces, sign letters and anything "industrial" looking. I love anything white, too! Here I am in my 30s and I still love the same things. The only difference is back then these things weren't "in" yet, so I could get them super cheap. Luckily, I amassed a pretty good collection that I still have and love.

What is your favorite candy bar?

Hmmm...I am not a big chocolate lover. I eat it, but it has to be mixed with something else, I could never eat a straight Hershy bar. (totally weird, I know!) But since you ask...I do love a frozen Snickers! Otherwise Peanut M&Ms. Does that count as a candy bar?

Are you going to the Country Living Fair this year, and if so can we meet up?

This was a very popular question, so a lot of you must think I am fun to shop with! Lol! My answer right now is that I am not sure yet if I will be going, but if I do YES we can meet! I love to meet fellow bloggers, and do it every chance I get! Junk Bonanza in Minnesota is the same weekend as Country Living Fair in Ohio, so I am torn on where to go this year. That, and I am taking my 7 year old niece and 5 year old nephew to DisneyWorld just days after both of these shows happen. I have to have time to mentally prepare myself for that! Haha!

What is the very first thing you sold?
How did you get started in this business?

Ahhh...this is a crazy answer to most, but I know bloggers will totally understand. In 2000 I was home from my "real job" recovering from foot surgery after a car accident. I was so bored. I am defiantly not a girl that can sit on the couch all day. The hubs and I lived in a little 1920s bungalow, and were completely remodeling the inside. As I was sitting on the couch, I was looking at the window next to me and thought to myself "that trim would make a great picture frame". It had about 1000 layers of white paint on it, and we knew we were going to have to change the trim throughout the house because of it. So, I put on my post-surgery boot and hobbled to the basement for a crowbar and hammer. I ripped the trim off and made a large frame out of it. At the time the long, horizontal prints of roses were the "in thing", so I framed it and put it on Ebay. It sold for an amazing amount of money, I couldn't believe it! 

From there my business was born. I started making frames by the dozens, all shapes and sizes, and painting small pieces of furniture that I could easily ship. Soon I added frames made out of beadboard and offering them in an array of colors. I always loved vintage, so I sprinkled that in with the frames and in my Ebay shop. I always painted furniture for myself, so I gradually added a piece or two until I found myself selling large pieces of furniture online and shipping them all over the world. You really can ship a china cabinet across the US or the world, I promise!

I truly think a number of successful businesses have "accidental success" meaning you never really intended it to grow into what it did, but it my case it was literally. Everything I now do and have is thanks to that car accident. See, everything does have a silver lining! 

Did you ever have a vision of a dream house when you were little?

My dream house has ALWAYS been only one house. The one I grew up in. It was a big, old farmhouse with wrap around porches, large rooms and tall ceilings. That house is so very special to me, I can't even drive by it without pulling over at the end of the driveway and totally sobbing in my car. I had such an {AMAZING} childhood growing up on that little farm, I would give anything to own it again. The new owners are not taking care of it, and it breaks my heart. The barns are going years without fresh paint, the  landscape is totally kills me to see it. If I ever win the lottery my first stop with that check is the bank, and my second stop is that house. I dream of knocking on the door and writing them a big fat check to hand over the keys. 

Are you watching Downton Abbey? 

No. But I feel as though I should be! I have a feeling I am totally missing out!

What is your favorite TV show?

Ok, girls...some of you may click off after reading this. I am all over the place with what I watch. I love the show Southland, it is sooo good! I am a huge crime show person. Other than that I always look forward to Amazing Race, Big Brother and Celebrity Apprentice, Storage Wars and American Pickers. And I admit, I can never pass up an old episode of Seinfeld.

 Do I dare admit I watch Days of Our Lives? Not sure why, I just have since college. Purely ridiculous, and yet I am sucked in. Oh, and who can forget the Real Housewives of Orange County and Atlanta?? At just about any other moment in our house I have HGTV or the DIY Network on in the background. Oh, and I have every episode of PanAm on my DVR, but I have yet to watch one episode!

Do you have children? 

I get asked this one a lot, too! Sometimes I feel like I am the last one in the world without kiddos! My only child is one handsome boy of the 4-legged variety...his name is Jake. The hubs and I have several nieces and nephews 2 on his side...22 on my side. We have some we are very close with so that is so much fun! And we try every year to take one or two vacations with a few of the kids. It is awesome building those memories with them.

We try to make the drive to Iowa every Halloween to take the little one's Trick-or-Treating, too! 

Do you find renting a warehouse space to redo your furniture takes a big chunk out of your profit? Is it worth it? 

Gosh, I would say it totally depends on your volume of business. For years I worked out of my house and my garage and it just grew to the point that it took over our lives. Our home was no longer our home. It was a warehouse and a workshop all rolled up into one. And get was 900 square feet!! Don't even ask me how I did it, because I truly have no idea! Now I have just under 10, 000 square feet to spread out and I still feel crowded! Lol! It took time, I didn't just wake up one day and say "I'm going to paint furniture for a living, and I think I need a warehouse to do it in." (although I would have LOVED to!)  Just like any success, it is rarely overnight. It took literally years of building a reputation and clientele and getting to the point where I felt it was worth paying the extra money to have my own space so I could really expand and grow. But, the key thing I cannot stress enough it give it the time it needs to grow FIRST, this kiss of death for me would have been taking on too much, too soon, financially. But for me, at this stage in my business and my life, it is totally worth it! 

Do you use some sort of protectant like poly or wax on your furniture? I don't want anything that will leave a yellow tint like so many do. Would it be best to just paint touch things up from time to time?

My advice would be to defiantly protect your paint finish with something. My choice is wax. I have used about every product under the sun...and still wax is my favorite for most things. I will say if you are painting a lot of white like I sure you use CLEAR wax. Most of what you find is 'natural'...that will tint it slightly over time. When you see something that has really 'yellowed' it was because they used an oil-based poly as their top coat. Any clear or white oil based product will yellow over time simply because that is the nature of it being oil-based.

I do use a Poly-Acrylic top coat on my dark painted pieces, like charcoal or black and I always try to use it on chairs because they take so much abuse. Minwax is my favorite because it is easy to work with and I like the sheen of their Satin product. Benjamin Moore offers one as well, but I find that one to be too glossy for me. 

Ok, girls...I am going to have you on information overload soon, so I am wrapping this session of the Q&A up. However, I did promise I would announce who won the giveaway for seining in a question! One reader is going to get a secret box of vintage goodies from my without further adieu...

the lucky girl is....

Krysti from A Collected Cottage 

Email me, Krysti so I can get your surprise package on the way!

Thanks for following along girls, these Q&A sessions are kinda fun!


  1. you must watch those pan am episodes soon!! i am so hooked on it. love the "vintage" ness of the show.

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  2. Thanks for the info! So fun to hear the questions and your answers:)

  3. I have Pan Am saved up to watch too. Hope it is good. Have you watched Friday Night Lights? That is our all time favorite. I enjoyed reading this post and learning a bit more about your business. You must be like a little whirlwind! I love hearing how people follow their gut and do what they love and become successes.

  4. i sell at country if you go..stop and say hello !!!
    and loved your random pics !

  5. what kind of clear wax do you like to use? Love your blog, thanks Libby

  6. I love your q and a's!! The Mr. actually started his own business while recovering from a terrible wreck... don't let him show you his scars ;) And, that sheep photo... LOVE!! I have this thing with sheep... and really dark brown cows against green, green grass:)

    I hope you can buy that house back one day... how awesome would that be?

  7. i'm loving these Q & A's.
    what you're in your 30's! i was thinking you were in your 50's. see just another reason for you to get that picture up. ;) please take that in the nicest funnest possible way, it probably has more to do with you seeming to be so knowledgeable & well traveled than anything.

    oh....& i hope you win the lotto. i feel for your farmhouse.

  8. Mary this was so much fun to read. I hope you do win the lottery someday so you can buy back your farm, sounds like a wonderful place when it was your family's. All the business side of your life was fun to read to! I would love to shop with you too, would be lots of fun! Have a good week!! Susan

  9. Okay these were really fUn!! I love it when we get a sneak peak into what makes you, YOU. :) So fun... and really interesting about your business. And inspiring!! Oh and I love that you watch Seinfeld and some of those others... and I was way hooked by DAys when I was in highschool. Haven't thought about it in years! I want to watch Pan Am really bad too... Never enough time in the day. LOL

  10. Chanting.... Junk Bonanza Minnnnneeesssooota.... junkkkkk bonnaanzzzaa, miinnesooootaaa....... But you have to go on DAY ONE.


  11. I have a similar story about the house my grandparents lived in. If I ever win the lottery, I'm definitely sending some of it your way! :)

  12. Great Q&A....i just did a little your photos!

  13. Great post.
    Hope you do get your farm back, someday. It sounds like it needs some loving care.

  14. Awesome post and such cool pics; there is so much beauty to be discovered in the heartland.
    Have a great week,
    Jenah xo

  15. My daughter and I have been back to the farm where I grew up a couple of times. The first time the tenant invited us in and we talked about the changes that had been made. It was in good shape except that the owner had pocketed the money from tornado damage and not done necessary repairs. About 4 years ago we were in the Midwest and stopped again. The owner had rented it to a group of single young men; almost every outbuilding on the place had been allowed to fall down or had been torn down--and the barn, with nearly 100 year old hardwood floors had been hit by a tornado and absolutely nothing was being done to make it safe or to demolish it (the wood could have been salvaged). I did find my foot print in a slab of concrete--from when I was two or three years old. But it's heartbreaking to see such beautiful buildings turned to something that can't even be salvaged.

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