The Journey Of Opening A Vintage Business

Hello beautiful people! Good gracious it’s been a bat crazy week and I’ve found myself trying to work in more things in a day then I can fit.

Most mornings start with some kind of training, ’cause you know, that duathlon is coming in November. The weather has been absurdly hot, even early in the morning when I’m out. We were hitting record highs of 106-110 in parts of the state and it’s been like that for a couple days. Yesterday’s bike ride, I was on the road by 7:30 and the sun was already high in sky and the heat and humidity were fierce. It was a tough 23 hilly mile ride. I didn’t do a new PR on those hills like I’ve been lately, but I did break my top speed from a few days before at 41 mph 😛

I’m now starting to fantasize about leggings and colder weather again… or at least cooler weather.. you know… like in the 90’s.

And then of course there are some interesting topics I wanna delve into here like something I heard about the other day… CLA’s (??) its supposed to be some wonder fat burning thing… hmmm.

Then there’s the some new products out that are supposed to magically help you shed pounds without investing that pesky effort, you know, of eating properly and moving your body some.

Fortunately, there will always be plenty to write on in the market of the newest diet/weight loss gimmicks.

Of course one of my favorite topics to write on is healthy, well balanced nutrition and foods to sustain our active busy lifestyles.  I don’t care how you exercise, if your nutrition is awful, you’ll struggle in the weight loss arena.

However, between my love of athletic shenanigans and encouraging people to follow suit, training for an event, finding time to write and do plethora of things that come in a day ( cleaning. I love stuff clean, but hate having to give up time for it) and working part time helping my son in his business, I’ve also been getting more involved in a fun hooby/ side job/obsession of flipping old antique and vintage furniture.

You may have read some of my posts on it and seen some of my projects. If you missed out, find some of them below…..

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/22/the-art-of-flipping-furniture/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/23/steps-to-transforming-vintage-furniture/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/30/monday-musings-11/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/09/monday-musings-9/

Anyway, today I’m venturing off into another part of my life that isn’t about fitness and eating good. I wanna share some exciting things I’ve had going on this week…

So it looks like my hobby is kinda turning into a business…..for real.

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A peek in my shop

A few months ago when I kinda sorta fell into doing a couple pieces and they came out really cute and everyone went crazy over them, the bug bit me to keep looking for sad, awful, needy furniture that could use some new life breathed into them.

No, I hadn’t previously done this. I just started and it turned out I was pretty good at it, I started selling some of what I did and well… it’s just kinda moved along from there.

I’ve tried to set myself apart from so many who are buying up furniture and slapping paint on pieces just to make a quick buck outta their garage ( all while being staged on paint cans with the same brush still laying on floor by piece after they put final coat on)  Even though I haven’t had a “store” to sell from, my marketing, photos, and detail to work and professionalism are  important to me and set a tone for what I’m doing.

Secretly though, I really wanted to have all my stuff in one spot where it was in public and people could stop and see it, touch it, and well, buy it then and there. I’m not sure how retail areas are in all parts of the world, but here we have places in our town where you can rent rooms of cute old buildings and have your “business” set up in there. It’s a fun shopping adventure as you can roam room to room and see different things based on the individuality of each owner.

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There was one such shop I enjoyed hanging out in and had visions of… maybe some day.. it would be fun to have a spot there…..

Well, “someday” happened this week.

I’m so excited to share that I opened my own actual little “shop” within our local Vintage store.  There was a single room left that I loved, and thought really, was the coziest of all.  Somehow, that room waited for me to make the commitment and dive into claiming the space as mine. I spent some time over the weekend getting things moved in and fine tuning all the details that matter to me.  Once again, my amazing husband, who encouraged me to take the plunge, was there moving furniture in and offering his skills to hang pictures, mirrors etc.

When I went back the next day, and walked in seeing it with fresh eyes, honestly it was so pretty it made me want to cry.

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Another angle of the shop..

I’m a girl. What can I say?? 😉

Maybe it’s more the emotion I always feel when I’ve taken on something I never have, and do it. When I see it being fulfilled or coming together it always overwhelms me.  I’m like that when I finish big athletic events.

Last year, when I crossed the finish line of my first ever multi sport event, the dualthlon, I started crying. The poor guy bringing us in as we crossed was like.. “Oh are you ok??”

Like, how did I explain to him all I felt?

All those months of training and sacrifice, workouts in hot and cold and rain, the exhaustion on some days of kicking my own butt from a heavy workout, the mental and physical conditioning, the moments of self doubt followed by my fierce determination to see it all through, how could I even voice that as I choked back my tears overcome that I had done it? More tears came when I saw the posting I had taken first in my age group.

It felt amazing and was worth everything I had invested into it getting to that point.

Only this time, my little baby “hobby” is some how morphing into my baby business. I’m not sure where it will go. Hubby hopes I make enough for him to retire early. I’m not sure on that but I do know and have learned in life, if I don’t dive in, follow my heart, and do what scares me and makes me wonder what the heck I’m doing I will never accomplish anything and will always wonder…

“what if….”

I don’t want to do that.  I like living a bit fearlessly. I teaches me more about myself, and on top of that, I’ve done things I never, ever saw myself doing.

So as I write this today, the shop is open for business and I will just roll along and see what transpires in the months to come.

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One of my favorite antique tables.

My business is Shades of Yesterday and you can follow me there on Facebook if you’re so inclined and happen to love crusty old furniture and fixings that have a touch of freshness to their flaking, old, weary brown bodies. I love my business name and took some time to contemplate various ideas but when I something creative comes to me, it usually sticks.

I knew Shades Of Yesterday was absolutely perfect for what I was about.

It’s such a perfect representation of the freshness that cleaning, and often some shades of paint can give to items from yesterday. Once again they are ready to serve in a new way, hopefully for a long time to come. It absolutely brings me joy to restore pieces and have them look so different, in a good way.  I guess it’s a skill that kinda just popped up? But I don’t examine it to closely, I just give thanks for it, and am trying to use it in the best ways I can.

I love how cozy and homey things from the past feel and it gives me joy to set up my shop in a way that reflects that and others enjoy too.

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So that’s what’s new in my world. I’m venturing into the land of having a business and seeing where it leads. So among my other activities of life, my days are spent not only finding things I think will work in my little “shop” but also a lot of hands on work getting pieces ready to launch into the world to sell.

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Simplicity

And because you know I love showing you before and after on some things… I want to show you this little treasure I got at the thrift store. I loved how old and cool it was, all carved wood and such beautiful details. However, it was missing one of the decorative corner pieces. It was only 1.00 so I figured, why not? I felt certain I’d come up with something clever to use it for.

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Before….

Then I got inspired to use it in a most clever way in my new little shop…..

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After….

I made a piece for missing corner, painted and antiqued it, and now it holds vintage jewelry for sale 🙂 Not bad for taking a 1.00 risk, right?  I absolutely love how this ugly tired pieced revived.

Well that’s it on my news. Thanks for going on a virtual tour with me on my newest adventures!

We will resume regularly scheduled news next time…. now I’m off to run… or cycle.. or write.. or make old things new again…..

 

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Steps To Transforming Vintage Furniture

“So, that piece you did. You just paint it, right?”  I tried not to choke and laugh all at once and instead I did some kind of unladylike snort thing.

The person was asking about a cute chair I had recently finished.

Ok.. before I go on… if you’re just joining the party this is a kind of a Part 2 to my post from yesterday, The Art Of Flipping Furniture. You can find it here if you wanna catch up, if not, continue to read on…..

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/22/the-art-of-flipping-furniture/

As I’ve ventured into this interesting hobby/growing side business, I’ve learned there are all kinds of interesting variables going on.

The first being, it could be assumed that I go buy a piece of cast away furniture, run home, and slap paint all over it.

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Just another sunny day dragging home some of my prizes

 

 

That being said, there are people who do that. It makes me sad to see a gorgeous piece of furniture that has obviously been hastily painted, and before paint has even dried they have snapped photos to put it up for sale.

It’s usually still sitting on a trailer, the back of a truck, in a yard or garage on concrete blocks with random junk around it.  But my favorite was a beautiful vanity piece ( originally it was beautiful) sitting in a dirt yard on cardboard with crunched up soda or beer cans behind it and a tire to the side of it.  No hardware back on drawers.

Sigh.

I am setting myself apart with other furniture artists who invest ourselves into our pieces for the pure love and joy of it understanding we will on some occasions, not get a dollar amount equal to our investment of time and resources.

We love making things once tired, bland, broken and ugly, beautiful with a fresh new life to give.

So, I thought I’d kinda conclude this topic by sharing a little of what goes into the process so when you see a unique, old, hand painted piece of furniture for sale you can also understand the price that may be attached to it.

We just don’t take it home and slap paint on it.

Get comfy, it’s time to go on the journey.

The Hunt

The first time I called it that, my family laughed. But really, I do view it as a hunt. I have several places I stalk online and really, if there is something super cool, and if it happens to be a good price, it’s gone instantly. You have to almost see it the second it’s posted to get it.

There are so many things that I don’t want, or that are not that old or even that impressive. I know what I like when I see it. I also consider what it’s flip ability is. If it’s something I want personally, well I have a little more wiggle room ’cause I don’t mind paying a bit more for something I’m keeping.

Now I’ve learned the hard way, just because I’ve found an item I want, confirmed with the seller, set a time for pick up and got an address doesn’t mean I’ll get it.

Without blinking an eye people have sold things out from under me. I try to understand if they are that desperate for money from someone else who gets there an hour before I do… well they must need it really bad.

It is still ridiculously frustrating when that happens.

But when I find the item I want, and arrange pick up with seller it’s time to do what I call …..

Go bag the game

As a hunter, if you’re successful you get what you’re hunting for. But here’s the deal, once I score a piece of furniture it’s rarely close by. I’ve driven one way over an hour to get pieces.

All the cool stuff is a good drive away.

So, there’s time and gas going to get the prize. I’ve gone to some seedy kind of places getting stuff. I usually am the one helping load or doing it alone ( yay for girl muscles)

I take blankets or something to put down because the furniture has usually been stashed or stored somewhere, it’s old, total filth, sometimes it has an odor and desperately needs cleaned.

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Inside the 1900s gentleman’s dresser I dragged home… waiting to get cleaned

 

I’m thrilled, load it up and head home. That’s when I can officially let my ideas start forming.

I have it.

Nothing is worse than seeing a piece I want, having ideas, then not getting it.

The preparation

Usually when I get a piece home I do an assessment of it, what it’s needs are. Some pieces are pretty straightforward and don’t need much more than a light sanding and washing down to prep them.

That is really, the rare thing.

Most pieces need anything from a lot of sanding, to sucking leaves out of the inside of a cabinet and removing years of dust, dirt and grime before I can even consider painting.

Sanding. I do most of it by hand. It’s off the charts messy.. for me and the furniture 😉

I’ve bought pieces with veneer damage so I need to set aside time to do repair work before anything else can happen.

Some areas have cracks and holes that require wood filler. Once that’s placed it has to dry, be sanded, and often filled again to the area is smooth and level.

Have I mentioned my carpentry skills have increased a 100% doing this work? haha

Old furniture is cool, but age has caused the varnish to get dry and brittle and it’s often flaking off. This all has to be sanded before any painting begins.

I’m going to use this chair that I’m currently working on as an example….

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Flaking varnish and chipped legs all need sanding.

 

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Definitely some glue and clamps coming up for repair on this leg
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You can also see because the corner is loose, the support block for seat is out and will need to be put in and glued at the same time, It looks pretty bad, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Sometimes, as in the case of chairs, the legs or connections are loose or separated and need glued and clamped to make them more secure. The seats are usually original wood and have become weak and brittle.

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After sanding and repairs, the piece gets washed down to get all dust and grime off

 

 

New seat bottoms need cut…oh but that means a trip to local hardware store to get some plywood for new seats. Time to spend some money.

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And it’s sporting a new seat.. thanks hubby for cutting that 🙂

 

Can’t have my potential customer falling through, can I ?

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Shhhh a sneak peak of the new project. It’ starting to look a bit different now

Ah! And now, we get to paint! The chair has been sanded down removing all old flaking varnish, I’ve glued and repaired legs and support bar, washed the piece, air dried then sprayed with a Matte shellac to prevent any bleed through from dark areas.

Once that set, the chair got it’s first coat of slate blue that I love. Once it dries  ( chalk paint has a fast dry time) it will get touched up in areas that were missed, allowed to dry, lightly sanded, then I will clear wax it and go back with a dark wax that will accent and pop all of its unique details out. While that settles, I will take it’s new seat, add the new foam and fabric I purchased to make a bright cushion for it. All that will remain to be done will secure the seat back to the chair ( fortunately it had all it’s original screws)

After that, it will finally, be ready for a new home.

Other stuff in the process

 

Sometimes, on furniture a piece of hardware or fixtures are missing so I have to hunt it down which depending on age is tricky, again another cost involved in process. The perfect piece has all of its original fixtures.

Oh speaking of the hardware… all that is usually tarnished and dirty from years of neglect so it needs taken off and cleaned. Sometimes, it’s an easy job, other times it’s time consuming and frustrating.

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This 1900 cabinet has all of it’s original hardware which is stunning. It’s also been quite a challenge getting it cleaned!

 

Some pieces have bad veneer damage and I’ve made the decision to take it off.

Can you say, work? It’s a ton of work scraping off glued on veneer. However, if the surface is especially bad it’s worth the time to get to a fresh smooth surface underneath it.

Other times, I’ve tackled the veneer damaged and focused on repairing it, especially if I’m painting it.

Some pieces like a desk I did recently, require being totally sanded down, which I do by hand.

One table I recently purchased, it’s so cute, it opens up and the closes back to a half table. I wanted to try and sand the top down and re stain it and perhaps do a color on the table. Hubby got a good start on it but I’ve been working on all the edges this week, Do you know how tedious it is, sanding those edges? Or how careful you have to work with the veneer so you don’t chip or crack it in the process?

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So close to finishing the sanding on the top!

 

This is just a slow, time consuming process, but the end result will be so worth it.

Some recently finished work…..

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So back to that original question….

“So you “just” paint it, right?”  Well, as you can see the painting, new stain, or whatever look it gets, is really the last part of the process.

It’s the fun part.

Picking up and purchasing the piece, cleaning, repairing, sanding, prepping, painting, then top sealing with wax or a poly top coat, cleaning hardware, making new cushions etc. are all a part of the unique process of renovating antique or vintage items.

Besides the cost of the actual piece, the time and gas to get it, the supplies needed to do the job, and the hours  and labor the artist puts into it may help you understand better the pricing on a unique, one of a kind, piece of hand painted furniture that you won’t be able to find at your local furniture store.

Thanks for hanging out with me in this two part special! I hope this gives you a little more insight into the topic of “renovated” or “upscaled” old furniture. I hope that it has also given you a better idea of the labor of love it is for so many of us.

Do you have any hobbies or projects you enjoy that you do as a “labor of love” and enjoyment?

Monday Musings

Hello beautiful people! It’s Sunday evening as I write this and I find it ironically funny I’m tossing down black coffee like it’s free beer night at the bar and following it down with some Peanut M&M’s while I get ready to write a post for my health and fitness blog.

I have weaknesses ok? Don’t judge me.

Anyway, life without some chocolate is just boring, can I get an amen?

I once was on a committee  with a man who always brought chocolate to our meetings, usually M&M’s. He called it brain food.

I called him a smart man.  I always angled to sit by him. We all worked better with that brain food 😉

It’s ok though, I’ve been grinding it out this week with my workouts so I’m thinking my treats are ok.

One of my training sessions was miles with a lot of big back to back hills thrown in. And I’ll tell you, I always know where my glute muscles are after those sessions!

 

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Yes, I’m standing on the hill in the middle of the road. Check out the scenery I have to suffer through while doing hills.

It was one of those cooler than I anticipated when I took off kinda mornings. Perfect opportunity to rock a beanie for maybe like, the last time this season.

It’s cute. It doesn’t matter that my hair was soaking after 😛

But hills. Yeah, speed work in disguise so I try and make sure I hit them a couple times a week.  I weirdly like doing hills even though it really is hard work. It’s satisfying hard work.

Of course the week in training also contained things like heavy doses of strength training and some cycling.

Spring is coming though and I’m really looking forward to getting back into heavier workouts.

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Hello spring 🙂

and by that I mean longer miles on the bike and back to once a week brick sessions, (run/bike/run ) to start whipping those legs back into shape. I am planning to do the duathlon again this year. I think it’s good to make those sessions a part of my weekly training even if I am months away from it happening.

On the subject of spring….

Am I the only one who lurched into last week with the whole daylight savings time business? Like those first few days feel all wonky. Midafternoon I think I have hours till dinner and I realize I gotta quit what I’m doing and make plans to feed the natives. Worse is morning when it’s pitch black out and I’m stumbling around looking for coffee trying to not think it’s really only 5 a.m. and that’s why my body feels like its still in a fog. Forget the fact I’m up to my usual time the night before which may contribute to said fog. Of course then I still think it’s early morning when it’s really later, especially if it’s cloudy or foggy out… bleh.

This week has been better though… I’m doing it… go me.

In other shenanigans of the week…..

My furniture adventures… yes I know I promised a post on that and it’s coming… sometime….

Meanwhile, while you wait…

I picked up some more cool stuff I just can’t live without being stored in my work barn. Ha, I kinda joke. Some pieces are for flipping and a few are because I don’t want to part with them.

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I only celebrate my win after I bag the game and am heading home.  A few treasures back there…

It’s kinda hard, flipping stuff. I mean when I  invest time into it and love on it, well, maybe I don’t want it to leave. But for real, I pick certain things I know I’m going to specifically give new life to and then hope someone will want to take it and love it after I finish it. Then there are pieces that make my heart sing and I want to have hang around for awhile. Look at one of the little things I had stashed back there….

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I loved this little piece immediately. It’s on castors, which I think are kinda old school cool. Those drawers are cute too. The top was a mess and I wasn’t sure what would be underneath,

 

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Look at it’s fixtures
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Look… some elbow grease and those water stains were only surface. Some pretty wood hiding under there.

So, yeah I kinda love this piece so for now, it stays with me…

I got this turn of the century Sligh desk on Saturday… gah… look at it….

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Sligh desk circa early 1900s
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So much pretty detail…soooo much work to do on her…

They just don’t make things like this anymore. I of course bought it off a lady who lived in the middle of nowhere and had it in her barn…lucky me.  More on this project later… oh and it should be mentioned I kinda name my projects ’cause “desk” and “dresser” just sound dull and boring.

Say hello to Anastasia. It’s the perfect name for such a lovely piece with so much lovely detail and delicacy.

ok and finally for this week on my side project… I introduced you to my early 30’s china hutch weeks ago. I did not tell you her name however.

Say hello to Scarlett. I’m sure you’ll understand why I chose it for this piece….

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Look how lovely she looks now.
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A peek in the drawer. I love how old and vintage it looks with the wood still showing through and some stenciling to dress it up a little.
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The day I brought it home. Sad, dirty and in desperate need of an updated look

So there’s a little snap shot of some of my projects. I’ve got several in the works right now that I hope will be finishing in the next week or two. A few are flips so here’s hoping they find new homes quickly 🙂

And before I leave you….

You know I’ve gotta talk a bit about food right? Have you ever realized when you are really, truly, deeply hungry it tastes amazing in a way it doesn’t when you aren’t that needy? It’s true.

That being said, I’d be remiss to not share a couple tasty things I whipped up this week. One pan meals… cause I’m all about getting a healthy meal together without being in kitchen all night….

 

 

And that’s a wrap boys and girls. Tell me how this past week went? Have anything fun or exciting ahead of you?