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Roadside Rescue: Must-Have Tools of the Trade

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Blog, Quick Tip Tuesday, Tools, Trash 2 Income | 10 comments

Hi everyone… welcome to another Quick-Tip-Tuesday!

In the last two years, I’ve rescued and restyled numerous pieces of furniture that were trash bound. Through experience, I’ve learned having a few choice tools on hand makes a rescue SO much easier.

Roadside Rescues:Must-Have Tools of the Trade

If you do any roadside rescuing or curb-shopping, here’s a list of must-have tools of the trade!


1::  Tape Measure 

Measure up before loading up! If you spot a large piece of furniture on the roadside, it’s a great idea to measure before trying to load it into your vehicle! A perfect example – my sister and I spotted and braked for a large bookcase/wall unit… it was amazing. We struggled by inching this beast of a unit off the curb onto the road …only to discover it was a few inches too large to fit into my van… omg! Andrea and I laugh about it now, but at the time, we went home disappointed and with aching muscles.

2::  Flash Light

A flashlight is a must-have in your vehicle. It comes in handy when spotting a potential piece at night. There have been a few pieces I’ve loaded into my van under the sheath of darkness that I’ve totally regretted bringing home. The two pieces that top my list – a moldy dresser and a badly stained chair. If I had had a flashlight to give these pieces a quick once over, I would have saved myself some time and effort.

3::  Wet Naps 

I always carry a container of sanitizing wet naps in my van. They are great for cleaning and sanitizing anything off your hands… or the furniture!

4::  Bungee cords or Rope

A bungee cord or rope works great to keep the trunk secure if your piece is sticking out and the hatch/trunk doesn’t close. They also work for securing and fastening furniture in your vehicle. Safety first!

5::  Blanket 

Wrapping a blanket around your furniture will help protect the rescued piece AND your vehicle. Blankets can also be used to cushion a back hatch that won’t completely close or they can be placed in-between two separate pieces of furniture to keep them from scratching each other. I keep a few moving blankets in the back of my van but any type of blanket will do. If find them a must-have for delivering furniture to my clients, and also for retrieving cast-offs!

6::  Screw Driver 

On yesterday’s post I wrote how grateful I was for my small find. Because I had a multi-head screw driver in my van, it was super easy to unscrew and rip off a backboard on a roadside dresser. Not only is it handy for furniture parts (ie. legs, backboards etc.) but it can also be great for removing pulls, knobs and hardware off a roadside find.
So there you have it. My arsenal of tools which I keep in my van for lucky furniture finds! And no need to spend a lot of money. Most of the above items can be purchased at your local dollar store!

What are your must have tools when rescuing furniture? Care to share one of your roadside rescue stories? I love all your comments, questions and suggestions so don’t be shy…chime in!

Catch last week’s Q-T-T here – and if YOU have any ideas or tips you would like to share on the SI Quick-Tip-Tuesday-Series, send me an email!

Related Posts ~

The Importance of Gratitude & My Small Find

Curbside China Cabinet

Road Rescue General Finishes Desk

Enjoy your day and have fun with your next project!

Denise x


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The Importance of Gratitude & My Small Find

The Importance of Gratitude & My Small Find

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Blog, Business, Furniture Repair, Milk Paint, Mindset, Painting Furniture, Random Chit-Chat, Trash 2 Income | 20 comments

Growing up, my Dad was always fixing or MacGyver’ing something to save a dollar.

He’s raised me to believe being wasteful and over spending is a bad thing. Time and again, Dad has proven that anything is possible if you combine a little elbow grease with a dash of creativity.

Truth be told, as a young girl, I was embarrassed by his thriftiness.

I would hide in the back seat of the car while he browsed yard sales. My favorite hiding place in thrift stores was smack dab in the middle of those round racks of used clothes.

What I didn’t understand; it wasn’t purely out of necessity.  It was more about his desire to create, build and repair and feel proud of his accomplishments.

Little did I know, watching my Dad salvage parts at junk yards, thrift stores or yard sales (and then somehow putting it all together to make it work) would eventually rub off on me.

Salvaging, repurposing and restyling has become my passion – my business – my fun! And somewhere down the line, my embarrassment turned into gratitude.

So what does all this have to do with a plain ‘ol dresser?


Plain Ol Dresser Restyled


This dresser was so plain, it took a little more thought to restyle.  I originally wanted to spruce-up this piece with stripes. That plan went nowhere. All of you on Facebook agreed – “NO” to the stripes. Thanks for chiming in, I appreciate your input!

I was wracking my brain trying to think of how to give this piece some unique character.

Then it came to me.

A few months back, I was driving my Dad to one of his appointments. On route we spotted and old dresser with a shapely backboard hanging off it. The dresser was in horrible shape. But we stopped to grab the backboard. We were excited that it could be used one day.

This curb-shop excursion made my Dad super happy. Hey – no more hiding in the backseat… and his daughter has figured out how to do some MacGyver’ing of her own! ;)

I love the finished look of this dresser and I’m truly grateful for my small find.

Not only because it finishes off this dresser perfectly, but also because it makes me realize how important it is to appreciate all things big and small. I’m super grateful for my Dad and all the thrifty-creative lessons he’s taught me. It’s who I am, who I’ve become, and I have so much fun with it. Sure, I could go buy new, but just like Dad, it gives me a true sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to create something new out of something old.


Dresser w Salvaged Backboard


Blck Tall Dresser w Salvaged Backboard


Salvaged Dresser Backboard


MMS Typewriter Blk Dresser w Back Board


Blck Paint-Stained-Tall-Dresser MMS


Distressed Hardware


Painted & Stained Drs w BackBoard


Salvaged Backboard on Dresser


Even though my Dad is not able to fix and MacGyver as many things these days, in my eyes, he’s still the ultimate handyman that can FIX ANYTHING!

What are you grateful for? Are you appreciating your blessings- big and small? I’d love to hear what you think of this dresser and any other questions or comments you have… so feel free to chime in below.  

Link Parties

~ The Painted Drawer ~ Remodelaholic ~ Elizabeth & Co. ~ Thirty Eight Street

Have an amazing day!

Denise x


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Dresser w Salvaged Backboard before&After

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DIY Furniture Glaze – So Easy!

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Blog, Glazing Furniture, Quick Tip Tuesday | 0 comments

Happy Tuesday friends!

Jennifer at Trillium Park Designs has been a generous contributor to our Quick Tip Tuesday Series here on the SI Blog. She’s sharing yet another of her DIY tips that saves time and money while customizing your furniture to perfection!


“Did you know you can create your own quick and easy glaze? Just use two parts glazing medium and one part latex or acrylic paint. Yes, even the cheapie acrylic paints will do the trick. Not only is it inexpensive, but you can make just the color you need in the amount that you need for the project you’re working on. A little goes a long ways!”


DIY Glaze - TrilliumParkDesigns DIY Glaze Before&After - Trillium Park Designs


You can see more of Jennifer’s tips here and here, and I hope you take the opportunity to drop by her Facebook Page and leave her some love. :)

Have you ever mixed a custom glaze? Do you have a favorite brand of glaze or recipe you’d like to share? I love all your comments, questions and suggestions so keep ‘em coming! 

Related Posts ~

How To Feather Glaze (French Country Bird Desk)

The Glazed Deilcraft Occasional Table

Desk with General Finishes Van Dyke Glaze Effects

Catch last week’s Q-T-T here – and if YOU have any ideas or tips you would like to share on the SI Quick-Tip-Tuesday-Series, send me an email!

Enjoy your day and have fun with your next project!

Denise x


Like what you see? Subscribe to Salvaged Inspirations so you’ll never miss a post!

Follow along on PinterestGoogle+, and Facebook for more inspiration!

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10 Tips for Staining Wood Furniture

10 Tips for Staining Wood Furniture

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Blog, Quick Tip Tuesday, Staining Furniture | 16 comments

Hello friends and welcome to another Quick Tip Tuesday! Today’s tip isn’t super quick, but I know you’ll  find it SUPER HELPFUL! Today I’m answering some of your questions on staining wood furniture. I’m also throwing in a few of my own concerns that I had when I first started out!

With the popularity of painted and stained restyled furniture, these 10 tips are going to take the ‘intimidating’ out of staining… and  start you on your way to creating some beautiful pieces!

Milk Paint Furniture -Eulalies Sky



Either or works beautifully and I still use both. Just like paints though, I believe more and more furniture painters/artists are making the switch to water based products. The benefits of water based stain is similar to water based paints. No harsh fumes or odors. Easy clean up. Faster dry time. And a TON of colors and shades to choose from.



I’m going to give one of these do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do answers. Stain before paint is usually the norm! Why? Because if you mess up, you can easily paint over stain, but it’s not as easy to stain over paint… often sanding/stripping is required.

Personally, I’m the opposite. I usually paint first and then stain. I have a pretty steady hand and often don’t bother covering up the finished surface before starting the next…. I must like living on the edge ;) … but I’m sure it will bite me in the you-know-what one of these days.

Whichever you decide to do first, it’s important to wait until the surface is THOROUGHLY dry before masking off and covering up the finished area. You don’t want to mar a perfectly stained top by covering it up too soon.



This could be two reasons; first, for oil or water based stains, pigments settle to the bottom of the can so mixing is required before use. It’s super important not to shake the can when mixing because it will cause bubbles or froth. Then when you dip your brush and start staining, bubbles can disrupt an even application. It’s better to stir gently yet thoroughly before using so no additional air gets added to your stain. The second reason could be in the application. Sometimes using a foam brush can lead to bubbles when applying the stain.



I prefer using a rag or shop cloth for Gel Stains, and a natural bristle brush for traditional ‘watery-type’ stains. I find more watery stains tend to sink into the wood nicely on their own, where as gel stains benefit from being rubbing into the wood. Having said this, it’s all personal preference so I’d encourage you to try both and see what works for you.



If you want an exact shade/color, it’s a good idea to test your stain in an inconspicuous area of your furniture {or scrap piece of identical wood if you have one}. Why? The final color will always vary slightly from what you see on the can depending on what type of wood is being stained. For instance, a walnut stain will look somewhat different on walnut wood then it will on pine. Make sure you LIKE what you see before diving in to your entire project.



Maybe, maybe not. This depends on the type of wood and the final look you desire. Let’s start with the wood. Pine is notoriously known for blotchy stain finishes. With pine, the knots and varying softer areas accept the stain differently which can leave a blotchy stain job. Pine will definitely benefit from a wood conditioner to provide a more even toned stain. Now let’s talk ‘look’. When restyling primitive looking furniture, I want them to look well loved. Because a perfectly stained top isn’t needed for these pieces, I often skip the wood conditioner and let the outcome surprise me. If you’re okay with slight variations, wood conditioner is not needed.

Hard To Stain Pine Wood



Okay funny story. When I first started working with stains, I brushed my stain onto a table top and waited for it to ‘naturally’ sink in. Hours later, I wondered why it wasn’t dry? You can even see the over application of stain in the pic below. Here’s the thing, once you apply your stain, it needs to be wiped off in the direction of the grain. This applies to all types of stain! Stain is meant to be absorbed by the wood, it’s not meant to sit on top of the wood. For a lighter effect, you can wipe off right after applying it. For a darker effect, you can leave the stain on for a short period of time (read label – it should help you determine the time) and then wipe.

Stain not drying on table



Whether you use oil or water based stains, these stains add gorgeous color but they DO NOT provide any protection. {Note – Unless you buy a brand that specifies topcoat and stain in one.} A sealant or topcoat is a MUST to protect the wood from spills, dirt and oils. You can protect  a stained surface with wax, polyurethane (may cause yellowing over time), polycrylic, shellac or varnish.  Just be sure your topcoat is compatible with your stain. Note ~ A water based finish can be added on an oil based stain if sufficient dry time has been allowed. I would wait a good few days.



If your first coat of stain is not the rich dark color you envisioned – wait until fully dry and then re-stain! I find a good few coats of stain is often required to achieve the look I’m after.



I’ve mixed stains to get a desired look. I haven’t tried mixing directly in the can yet (but you definitely can!) It’s probably a good idea to use the same brand and be sure to write down your recipe in case you need more! What I usually do is apply two different stains directly on my furniture. I start by applying a the lighter stain first. Let dry. And then apply my darker stain. I’ve used a warm oak under a java to warm it up. I’ve also used lighter stains, not liked the look – and then stained over with a darker stain. Both are easy enough to do so long as you’re working with the same type of stain ie. water based with water based or oil with oil.

Staining over stain



Although this last tip is not at all exciting (so it’s an add-on to my 10), it does need to be said. Protective eye-wear, gloves, old clothes and a well ventilated area is recommended when working with any type of stain.  Stain is heavy duty enough to permanently stain wood so it WILL stain everything else in it’s path. Always work safe my friends!


10 tips 4 Staining Wood Furniture


Before I sign off today, I just want to thank everyone for the warm response I received on Facebook last week. I forgot to do that on Friday’s post… I’ve been so distracted! You were all so generous in sharing your personal stories and support on care-giving for an elderly parent(s). Thank you! Your support and understanding mean more than you know! x

Feel free to share some of your tips and ideas on staining wood furniture …. leave a comment below.  Or if you have any questions… ask away! 

Catch last week’s Q-T-T here – and if YOU have any tips you’d like featured on the SI Quick-Tip-Tuesday-Series, feel free to send me an email!

Have a great day and happy staining!

Denise x


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Milk Paint & Bonding Agent Secrets

Milk Paint & Bonding Agent Secrets

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Blog, How To Tips, Milk Paint, Painting Furniture, Staining Furniture | 16 comments

Hello my friends! I recently finished this Milk Painted Dresser with this irresistible Chippy-licious Finish. Milk Paint is perfect for a distressed primitive technique because it has the tendency to naturally chip on non-porous surfaces.


milk painted dresser w numbered drawers


When I came across this $27 Broyhill Dresser Deal at my local ReStore, I imagined the EXACT opposite. This dresser was calling out for a vibrant-clean-full-coverage finish which you can also achieve with Milk Paint!


Eulalie's Sky MMS Painted Dresser


The secret for these two opposite milk paint finishes – BONDING AGENT!

Bonding Agent works exactly like a primer. It’s the same idea as using a B-I-N / Zinsser Primer (my fave!) to prepare for your additional coats of paint.

Mixing a Bonding Agent into your Milk Paint will help create an even and dependable layer for the additional coats of milk paint bind to.


Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Bonding Agent


Here’s a few tips when using your Bonding Agent:

::   Use Bonding Agent when you want a full coverage finish.

::   A light sanding is still recommended.

::   It changes the consistency of your milk paint making the milk paint thicker.

::   Add directly to your pre-mixed milk paint in a 1:1 ratio for full bonding.

::   Adjust the ratio for the amount of coverage or chipping you want.

::   Works great over pre-finished surfaces but is NOT needed on raw wood.

::   Bonding Agent is only required on your first coat.

::   If in doubt, add it! You can always distress with good ‘ol sandpaper.


Now I’m excited to show you more pics of this restyled Broyhill!

She’s been painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s Eulalie’s Sky- wow – what a color! I would describe it as a slightly softer version of the elegant Tiffany&Co blue-green!

This dresser top was sanded and stained in one coat of General Finishes (GF) Walnut and then 2 additional coats of GF Java Gel Stain. It’s top coated/protected with Minwax Tung Oil. The body of the dresser was sealed with Minwax Furniture Wax.

Along with the co-coordinating hardware I picked up from Hobby Lobby… this dresser is amazing!


Milk Painted Dresser - MMS- Eulalies Sky


Milk Painted Dresser - Broyhill Furniture


Broyhill Milk Painted Dresser - Eulalies Sky


I’m so happy with the top of this dresser. The dark stain with the contrasting vibrant body is stunning! If I had the space, this one would be a keeper!


Milk Paint Furniture -Eulalies Sky


MMS Eulalie's Sky Dresser


And how perfect are these pulls?! This hardware has been sitting in my inventory since December. I’m so glad they’ve found their perfect match!


MMS Eulalie's Sky Matched Hardware MMS Eulalie's Sky Matching Hardware txt

Milk Painted Dresser Drawers


Before&After Milk Painted Dresser


Birds w Books & Flowers


Milk Paint is amazingly versatile. It’s one of my favorite paints to use! You can achieve total opposite looks depending on what type of finish you want!

Related Post ~ Making Dated Furniture Designs Disappear

I’d love to hear what you think of this dresser and if you’ve used Bonding Agent to achieve different Milk Paint finishes, leave me a comment below.  Or if you have any questions… ask away!  

Link Parties

~ The Painted Drawer ~ Remodelaholic ~ Elizabeth & Co. ~


Enjoy your weekend!

Denise x


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Making Dated Furniture Designs Disappear

Making Dated Furniture Designs Disappear

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Blog, Furniture Repair, Quick Tip Tuesday | 1 comment

Happy Tuesday to you! I hope you all had a relaxing Labor Day weekend. I have to admit after 3 full days off,  I’m a little slow and feeling lazy. It’s been difficult to get into the swing of things today! ;)

Since our last few Quick-Tip-Tuesdays have focused on filling and repairing furniture with Bondo, Wood Filler and Plastic Wood, today’s QTT includes another great use for one of these products!

Do you have a piece of furniture with dated carvings? Are you wondering how you can update the look? Many dressers from the 1980’s have this type of detailing. A few days ago, Krista left this comment on the SI Blog asking the very same questions.

My question is what happened to the engraving on top drawer(s) in the before pic? Your end result has smooth drawers? Thanks. Krista


Below is the dresser Krista’s referring to. You can see the full restyle and the entire “AFTER” post here!





And here’s another 80’s Broyhill Dresser I’m working on right now. It has the same type of dated detailing on the top middle drawer.


80's Broyhill Dresser


Filling the detail is easy and Bondo works beautifully because it doesn’t shrink and dries fast. I mix up the Bondo and spread it into the details making sure to mound it slightly higher than the dresser drawer and the design. As you can see it’s perfect for filling hardware holes too!


Filling Dated Furniture Details


Once dry (within 20-30 minutes), I sand the Bondo level to the drawer and it’s ready for paint. This is a really easy way to make dated furniture designs disappear!

I hope you drop in later this week to see this restyled Broyhill Dresser… she’s looking good!!!

I’d love to hear some of your tips and ideas on how to update these dated dressers so leave me a comment below.  Or if you have any questions… ask away! 

Catch last week’s Q-T-T here – and if YOU have any tips you’d like featured on the SI Quick-Tip-Tuesday-Series, feel free to send me an email!

Enjoy your short week!

Denise x


Like what you see? Subscribe to Salvaged Inspirations so you’ll never miss a post!

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