They’re HOT!!! And so am I…well it IS hot in my apartment!

I have a flea market this Sunday so I thought I’d share a few of the pieces available.  If you want and need them, and if you’re local  me know!  OR come see me at the Somerville Flea!

How about a great little side table?

 flowersb4   floweraft

Before…. and after!

Or maybe a cool mid-century coffee table?

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I love this bookshelf.  It has a very cool design.  I decided to give it personality with decoupage.  Same color, but all different patterns.

black and green b4 coolshelfaft

coolshelfaft2 a little side view.

And finally for today’s sampling… ugly chairs.  They aren’t the “Ugliest Chairs Ever,” I’m still working on those, so keep any eye out.  But these were a close second!


And now…


But wait!  There’s more!!  I don’t have just two of these chairs, I have four!!  All you need is a table and the room!  I think they turned out really well!

Let me know what you think!  More is coming!

Why do I do this? Some personal insight.

Not long ago I was emailing back and for with my friend Amanda who was trying to do a little flipping herself. We both have museum backgrounds and I think I made a passing comment that by flipping, it taps into my inner conservator.  We talked about how we both had once wanted to go into art restoration and conservation, but that meant too much science!

As an undergraduate student I was an art history major and during a semester in Italy I took a class in art restoration.   The professor said that artists who go into the field of restoration often have a hard time because their artistic desires and creativity often get in the way.  That made sense.  Rather than trying to restore a piece of art back to the the way it originally looked –the way Leonard da Vinci originally painted it, some would try to make it look the way THEY thought it should look, for better or worse.  There is difference.  While taking the class and thinking about that, I realized the advantage I had was that yes, I have artistic abilities, but I never thought of myself as an artist.  I was always copying pictures and photos as a kid but when I tried to create something out of my own imagination it was awful!  So I thought I would be great as a restorer/conservator…or forger!  Unfortunately, as I said I discovered that to follow that professional path, I would need a lot of science and chemistry!  YIKES!!!  I never even took chemistry in high school so I knew I would pretty much have to start over again in a field I really don’t think I have any aptitude for. So I never did pursue that interest.

I’ve realized that by flipping these pieces of furniture and the occasional object, I am doing my very one UN-SCIENTIFIC form of restoration.   Below is an old 19th century metal candelabra that my friend Gus gave me.  It was in a few pieces but it didn’t look like anything I couldn’t do something about.  I thought I could put it back together, clean it up, paint and make it nice again. It just needed some love



Did I mention “un-scientific?”  For anyone out there reading this who IS a conservator, please forgive for what I have done.  I obviously don’t have the correct training, tools, or cleaning materials to do this properly, so to scrape off some of the gunk that had accumulated around the base where the metal and marble meet, I used a flat head screwdriver.  The marble could use more cleaning, but I didn’t know exactly what to use, so I just used a  green product to clean it up as best I could.  Marble is also much softer than I expected so I had to be careful in what I did so that I didn’t damage the it.  In terms of cleaning the metal, it could have used a good strong bath with some sort of chemical solution to get off the grime and layers of gold paint.  Again, I just scrubbed the best I could with what I had.


There are three pieces to set in place where the small candle holders would be screwed in.


One of them, had the center piece broken off.  It should have been soldered back on, but all I have is a strong glue.  I’m pretty sure, if down the road a professional wants to tackle this piece than do so easily.  One of the things I do know about restoration and conservation, is to make sure everything you do is reversible!

Once everything was cleaned, as good as it was going to be, I looked at it a little closer and realized that there were small holes all around the three oval pieces.  Of course!!!  There had once been crystals hanging to catch and multiply the candle light and sparkle.  So once I’d decided on the painting the piece blue, I had to replace the missing crystals with new ones.   Rather than buying antique pieces or REAL chandelier crystals, I opted to make my own.


In the end, I think the final result is quite pretty.  I know not everyone will want or need a navy blue candelabra, but the one person who does, let me know!  I think the blue makes it more fun and somehow less formal.  It would be great accent piece any room.


Here it is on display a the flea market.


So in my own little way, I guess I did end up in restoration work.  It’s my way of saving and keeping a bit of the past and history alive and beautiful a little bit longer.  Maybe some one will keep one of my flipped pieces for a long time and pass it on to a friend or family member. Maybe some dec arts restorer will find it and redo everything I did.  That’s okay, as long has it has life.  I do dread the day when I see one of my flips at at thrift shop, or on the side of the road.  Will I pick it up and give it life again??  Probably.  I think I have a strong nurturing side that never really got to be used since I never go married or had kids.  I can take care of and love my cat, and I can take care of and love the abandoned pieces of our lives.  Everything wants to be wanted and loved, even a table or blue candelabra.


After two rained out Sundays, I finally was able to get to my first flea market showing of the season!

I’ve said it many times, my flea market days are the hardest day of the week for me.  My day off starts Saturday afternoon after I get home from work.  I pick up the van then load it up so that I’m ready to go Sunday morning.  I get to the Somerville Flea by 8:00 a.m. and spend the next two hours unloading and setting up to be ready by 10:00 a.m. Then I spend the rest of the day sitting around, talking to potential buyers, and trying to sell.  We close at 4:00, so then the clean up and load up starts which usually takes me about an hour.  Once I get back home to Salem, I have unload everything again, and carry it all back upstairs.  When that exhausting task is complete I take the van back to the rental place and walk home.  It ends up being about a 12 hour day.  No wonder  I have no energy to do anything Sunday nights!  Last night I was particularly tired; probably because it was my first day back.    A friend pointed out that this is like moving every weekend… TRUE!!!!  I hadn’t thought of it before but that’s exactly what it’s like.

DSCF1989  DSCF1990

It was a picture perfect warm, sunny, summer day.  Unfortunately, it seems that not too many people were looking to buy small pieces of furniture, although I did see large pieces being sold.


Oh well.  My first day out was a disappointment but I’ll be back next week and will try again.  I have plenty of pieces ready to be sold, and several more waiting to be flipped.

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These four pieces sold, plus a small mid-century table on wheels that I did nothing to other than cleaning it up. So farewell my little beauties.  I hope you have good homes now!

Looking forward to doing it all again next week!

Counting the Days!

My first flea market day at the Somerville Flea is two weeks away!  I can’t wait!  My apartment is bursting with flips…mostly finished but several pieces waiting their turn.  I have no room to work on them!   My “real” job has been keeping me VERY busy the last few months so I’m really glad I was able to get ahead and have so many pieces ready to go.   So here are a few of the latest!

Someone sent me this suggestion/idea last year.  It took me a while to finally find a suitable table, but I did!  It’s a great place for playing with LEGO’S and for storing them!  Easy -peasy clean up!! Just toss them all in the basket.

                           DSCF1814      lego


The next before and after is a great little table…in my humble opinion.

stripe b4 stripeaft

okay, so I don’t know what that weird black squiggle is on the AFTER photo, but I assure you, it’s not there in person!

I really wish I could find the before picture of this table.  It was nothing exceptional, nor was it in horrific condition.  It was just a plain piece of brown furniture.  Now it has some personality!


Speaking of brown furniture.  I have a friend Ron, who I met when he taught me how to re-cane chairs.  He HATES painted furniture!!  I get it.  I have a degree in the history of decorative arts, and although furniture was not my interest or focus of study (ironic, I know) I DO have a great respect for the natural beauty of a piece of wood. I love the beauty of the grain and the finish of unpainted furniture.  I know that in the antiques and auction world a piece of furniture in it’s natural state is always much more valuable than a piece that’s been altered in ANY way.  But I’m not working on museum pieces.  I wouldn’t consider painting a piece that I have if the wood is good and is still beautiful.  If I can clean it up, maybe restain I’m happy to do so.  But the fact is the pieces I work on are the ugly, beat-up, discarded, mess of a remnant of a once nice piece.  So I can leave it on the side of the road or in a thrift shop, ugly and unloved, and probably headed to the dump, or I revive it and make it wanted and desired again.  The fact is, these days most people don’t go for what we call “Brown Furniture.”  So I paint.  Or decoupage.  Or both.

Tables and chairs and things…oh my!

My first flea market date is supposed to be mid June, so I’ve been busy flipping.  My job keeps me very busy beginning in May so I’ve been trying to get ahead of things.  I have more time and energy to flip now than I will later, so…

his is my dining room today…well what used to be my dining room. Everything except two chairs in the foreground is flipped and ready to go. You can’t even see the right side where there’s more!  The funny thing is I have two out of town trips coming up, and my suit case and carry on bags are in the far left corner.  OOPS!!

It occurred to me the other day as I was shopping for more items that I need to slow down; my first date is still two months out!!  So I guess I need to slow down since I have no more room to work or store pieces.  My work space is pretty full too. It’s actually all good because my work schedule is starting to pick up and will steam roll from here on out, so all the hard work the last couple of months and getting ahead was a good idea!  It’s just  hunting for new things is addictive!!  But I have no more room, so the hunt must stop for a bit.

In the meantime meet some of my newest and most favorite flips!


I’ve been looking for a dresser that I could try out an idea on.  I have to admit, it’s not an original idea but I saw it somewhere else and loved it and couldn’t way to do it.

What do you think?  I LOVE it!!  It’s one of those pieces I’m tempted to keep, but if you’ve ever seen my apartment, you know I can’t.  Unless I get rid of something else, sigh.

drsseraft2  drsseraft3

This next piece I’m really proud of because I had to stretch my upholstery skills and knowledge.

n ugly chair, but with good bones and was in good shape.  It just needed a make over.  However, it took a lot of work and thought.  I wasn’t worried about the seat, it’s like every other chair seat I’ve done, but the back was a different story. I’d never done a back before, so I had to take it apart carefully and figure out how it was done.  The curves added another tricky element!


Naked chair!!

I figured it out and I am so proud of it!

uphaft1     uphaft3
t’s beautiful if I do say so myself!  I did have one little issue concerning staples… but I think I resolved it, or at least covered it up so it’s not a problem unless someone looks REALLY hard.

And finally a nice triple mirror.

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More to come!


A couple of months ago, I had a dream…yes I know for all of my musical theatre friends that’s a song cue!  But in this case I did have a dream and it was about me adding pillows to my inventory for flips by phipps.  Last year I started trying to add a few things to my flea market spot that weren’t furniture–smaller things– like clocks made out of records, lanterns made out of wine bottles, so why not pillows?  And the fun thing is you flip them…

One one side it says…

pillow1And on the other side it says…






Get it??  These are just the prototypes.  My sewing skills aren’t great but I think once I get the hang of it I can make them and make them look nice.  There is also quite a bit of hand finishing.  The real issue is the letters are iron on, and I can get a packet with all the letters I need except one.  In the packets there are two of each letter except for “F” how annoying!!!!  And the packets aren’t cheap.  So I figure I’ll make a couple more pillows and see how they do at the market this season.  If they’re a hit, I’ll look into having the wording silk screened.

What do you think?  Suggestions??

A Tale of Two Tables

I mentioned in the last post that one poor little table was having an identity crisis because it was supposed to be one thing, but then I changed my mind.

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I loved the curved legs and thought it would be perfect for a top that Gus gave me.  But as I progressed, I decided proportionally it wasn’t ideal.

Here’s the top:
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What a mess!!  This Moorish looking table top has silver filigree apron that is beautiful and so delicate.  I’m pretty sure at one point in time there were some sort of plaques or inserts in the oval openings.  I thought about trying to put something back in, but decided to let it be. It keeps it looking lighter. As you can see the metal was rusty and corroded. I attempted to polish it up, but after a while, I realized it was an uphill battle.  I was going to break down and just spray paint it silver. Done.

The top was another problem.

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It was really just a big piece of 1 inch thick particle board with lots of missing chunks and chips all over the top along with what looked like a little bit of water damage.  All that gray you see around the edge is wood fill, lots of wood fill!  Oh, and don’t miss the two large holes in the center.  They were filled too. Obviously something thick and heavy probably topped it originally, but what was I going to do with it?

I hoped with all the wood fill I could get a relatively smooth surface and not have to put anything else on top.  It wouldn’t be perfectly smooth, but smooth enough.

I found another small table that was a little bigger and studier for this top and voila!!


I love my Moorish table!

moor3 moor2

Lots of paint on the table, more sanding, and lots of polyeurothane (no I can’t remember how to spell it) to help smooth it out and give it a glossy top.

It was a LOT of work, but some lucky person is going to have this one of a kind piece!  Will it be you???