more fundraising

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for the Fab Four Flea in Cape May a few weeks ago.  We cleared out a ton of stuff and sent many treasures to new homes to be adored, as they should be.  Naturally we had a blast doing it regardless of the 5 am wake up call.

Fab 4 Flea

So much fun that I’m hosting another yard sale this Saturday.  This time in PA.  Montgomery county.  That’s right, another multi-family yard sale (with other families) where we pawn more of our long forgotten about treasures off on you for next to nothing.  We’re practically giving it away all in the name of charity once again.

vintage treasures

All of the funds from Saturday’s sale will benefit our Bike MS: City to Shore fundraiser.  (Ryan’s offline donations need to be updated, if you’re keeping tabs, but they are growing!)

bikelogoThe great purge of 2014 continues…expect more vintage, some furniture, lots of kitchen items, sporting good equipment and just general household items – some old, some new.  You can view our ad here and find out where to go on Saturday morning.  As always, early birds welcome.

save the world buy vintage

We have another Team Recanize fundraiser event planned for later this summer.  I will be sure to share details ASAP.  I think you’re going to like it.  It does not involve buying any of my old junk.  I mean junque.  Stay tuned…

While I am shamelessly self-promoting our events, please note that I will be hosting another free Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint demonstration on Sunday at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.  Let’s talk paint.

free MMS milk paint demo

 

creating age & patina

A few months ago, my sister-in-law and I tackled this large hutch for their home “landing area”. It was the perfect candidate for milk paint. An older, well made piece with slightly porous wood in most areas and a dulling finish left on it in others.  We predicted the dulling finish would create a resist and cause chipping.  Sorry, I can’t seem to track down a before picture but it was looking slightly dated.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3415

We chose to use “half strength” bonding agent. That’s a term I sort of made up meaning I don’t measure the recommended one part bonding agent to one part paint ratio. I don’t recommend “half strength” bonding agent until you really have a feel for how the paint works on different surfaces because it can be a bit of a wild card in terms of adhesion.  Of course, that is the fun of it!

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3419

For the look we were going for, it worked out just right. We did little to no prep on the piece other than removing the hardware. We applied 2 coats of Mustard Seed Yellow with some bonding agent as described. We used antiquing wax around the edges, handles and details and waxed the rest with furniture wax. This created a perfect warm patina on the yellow.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3425

We were thrilled with how natural the chipping looked as if this hutch has been gracefully aging in a farmhouse for decades.  It chipped a little further after the piece was moved into its permanent place.  Once they felt the finish was just right, my brother applied flat polycrylic to those areas to stop any further chipping from occurring.  This essentially locked the age in.

For the inside shelves, we applied 2 coats of Linen. We thought the yellow undertones in the neutral would be a nice complement to the Mustard Seed Yellow.  We used regular furniture wax on the linen to keep it bright.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3426

When evaluating whether or not to paint a piece of furniture and what color to paint it, I feel you really have to honor the style and era of the piece.  I’ve learned this with trial and error of course.  But not every piece can handle every color.  This hutch is just perfect in a warm chipping yellow.  It has a nice farmhouse feel.  Yet, it can also complement some contemporary homes and decor as well.

I really love how this one turned out!  I’d love to see your latest milk paint project too!  Email pictures or tag @circadee on instagram with your finished project.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3428

how to: dresser to vanity

Thanks for all of the nice feedback on our new bathroom. I just love how it turned out!  I am going to share how we constructed the vanity with you today. There are many tutorials out there outlining how to do this but our approach was a little bit different since we went with an over counter trough vessel sink.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Many of you who know us, know how things work around here. Typically I conjure up an idea (sometimes crazy) that utilizes salvaged or vintage materials, develop the aesthetic and then get my husband, Ryan, on board to help execute it. Ok, to mostly execute it. I will fully admit that I don’t have the patience to DIY some of the things I come up with on my own. Hello, blue print wallpaper! I like to think of myself as the Art Director and Ryan as the Engineer around here. Do you have self-appointed titles at home? The bathroom reno followed the same suit until it came time to complete the vanity. We called in assistance from my father who is a Plumber. So without further adieu, our Circa Dee/ Marston Mechanical collaboration!

How to Turn a Dresser into a Vanity...and not lose any drawers by Circa Dee

First things first, we started with prepping the dresser.  I mentioned that I had been holding onto this for a while because I knew it was just the right size for this bathroom.  I thought I’d paint it with a fresh coat of white.  My plan was to use MMS milk paint in Ironstone but as we considered the dresser further it actually had just the right chippy look that I was going for, only in latex.  We scrubbed the dresser and pulled off a few of the chipping pieces to find blue/green paint underneath.  Perfect.

Three coats of polycrylic sealed the distressed paint and created a durable top coat so this could be used in a bathroom.  I chose polycrylic because it won’t yellow the white paint like polyurethane will.  Plus it is water based which makes for an easier clean up.  Bonus.

Polycrylic Topcoat - How to turn a dresser into a vanity

Then it was time to bring in the big guns and work around the plumbing. After positioning the dresser in place, we cut out a hole in the back of the dresser to make way for the drainage pipe using a hole saw drill bit.

Plumbing - How to turn a dresser into a vanity

Next we positioned the sink in the center of the dresser and determined where the sink and faucet holes would need to be.  They were cut using the hole saw drill bit too.

  Trough Vessel Sink - How to turn a dresser into a vanity

Next the faucet was installed.

How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity...and not loose any drawers

Everything was secured in place with caulk.  The sink was caulked to the dresser. The dresser was caulked to the wall.

Over Counter Trough Vessel Sink

We chose this over counter trough vessel sink for several reasons…

  1. As I mentioned, the over counter trough vessel sink helped to preserve as much drawer space as possible.  We would have lost half of the drawer storage to accommodate for the drop in.
  2. The dresser is small so if we dropped a large sink in it we’d need to cut a large hole in it which may have ruined the integrity of the dresser and made it weak.
  3. We could have chosen a bowl vessel sink but that just didn’t fit our aesthetic. Too modern so we went with a rectangular trough style.
  4. Bonus.  The combination of the over counter sink and the dresser created a nice comfort height vanity.

Over Counter Trough Vessel Sink

After the plumbing was reattached, it was time to figure out what would become of the drawers.

DIY Cottage Style Bathroom

I was fully prepared to lose the top drawer to make space for the drain pipe which means it would just become a facade of a drawer.  Buuuut they were able to salvage about 20% of the drawer  because there was not a drop sink taking up the space.  The short drawer is perfect for storing soap, toothpaste and other small bathroom toiletries.

How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity...and not loose any drawers

The deeper bottom 2 drawers only lost about 2-3 inches off the back to accommodate for the pipes. The new drawer backs were cut to width from 1×4 pine boards and attached with a brad nailer.  Then excessive few inches on the back and sides of the drawers were cut off with a circular saw.

I seemed to have missed a picture of the middle drawer.  A 2 inch U shaped notch had to be cut out of the top of the back of that drawer with a jigsaw to accommodate for the bottom of the drainage trap shown below.

Custom Drawers - How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity

 It was so minimal though that it is not even noticeable when the drawer is open.

How to Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity...and not loose any drawers

We finished the vanity off with a set of clear green flower knobs on the top drawer and clear glass knobs on the remaining drawers.

How to Turn a Dresser into a Vanity...and not lose any drawers by Circa Dee

This might just be my favorite room in the house right now…

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

living on less

We’ve made some major changes in our lives over the past few months.  For starters, we got hitched in May.  You already knew that unless you’re just tuning in for the first time.  And if you are, welcome!

wedding

What happened next surprised us though.  A good surprise in retrospect but the type of surprise we weren’t totally prepared for.  It knocked the wind out of us at first actually.  We picked up suddenly and moved to Cape May, NJ.  Permanently. We quickly consolidated two houses into one small beach bungalow.  You could call it the great downsize of 2013.  We sold tons of furniture, donated pounds of clothes and narrowed down our favorite housewares.

milk paint table makeover & ship captain lamp

We made the decision to move in June after being faced with some tough issues primarily related to Ryan’s MS which he was diagnosed with last year.  I’ll save all of the gritty details for my future best-selling memoir.  Ultimately we decided what is most important to us is living a simple healthy life together in a place we love.  We made the quick decision to eliminate unnecessary noise and chaos and to leave the grind behind.  Why wait the previously planned 15-20 years to move to our beloved Cape May?  We packed up truckload after truckload and settled into our beach bungalow turned forever home in August.  Now we live somewhere between the woods of Cape May and the sandy shore of the Delaware Bay.  It is quiet, restful and simple.

beach

We’ve taken on a motto of living on less which is a bit of a change from my previous fill-every-closet-in-the-house lifestyle.  Who am I kidding?  Once a hoarder, always a hoarder but I have been making smarter decisions about what I actually need and what collected anecdotes make me happy.  We only have two closets in the entire house and one dresser each so excess clothing was the first to go.  It is kind of refreshing to have such limitations in a way.

vintage ship captain collection

But living on less doesn’t mean bare rooms and no fun. Trust me.  There will be lots of room makeovers now that we’re settled into our new permanent address.  Well, four room makeovers if I have my way.  Several are already in progress.  We have just four rooms in our 1000 square foot home and two bathrooms plus loads of outdoor space.  Doesn’t it sound freeing to only have to maintain four rooms?  All two and a half of us really do not need more space than that.

kitchen

Don’t get me wrong, we are not living in total seclusion here.  I still love the action that the city has to offer.  We make frequent trips “up north” but are thrilled to come home to our peaceful, collected abode by the sea.

bedroom

And being that I built a business based on beautiful things, the hunting and gathering will continue.  Joyfully!  I’ll continue to sell vintage and repurposed wares at The West End Garage in Cape May.  Let’s call that our flagship store, shall we?  Plus on our frequent trips to Philly, we’ll pop up at our favorite Clover Market.  And of course, I’ll continue to be a driving force with milk paint at Serendipity Shops in Doylestown plus it is available for sale online.  In fact, I have another demo coming up on November 17th at 1pm.

That’s our big news!  Coming to you from Cape May, NJ.  When the world gives you lemons, take them to the beach…

riding for a cause

Wow, what an incredible weekend we had!  This is my favorite season for so many reasons including the warm sunny days free of humidity followed by cool crisp nights and the subtle fall coloring that is settling in.

But this year we added a new reason to the list.  On Saturday, we rode our first Bike MS: City to Shore Ride.  It was a wonderful experience.  A tradition that we’re hoping to continue year after year.

Just one year ago, Ryan and I went to Ocean City, NJ on this particular day to see what the ride was all about.  MS was completely new to us.  Ryan’s diagnosis was all of about 2 weeks old and we were still wrapping our heads around what Multiple Sclerosis is and would mean for us.  Immediately we thought that we needed to get behind this cause and rally a team to ride with us.

Bike MS team

We came up with a solid team of 10.  We had 8 riders on Team Recanize.  Six of us did the initial 25 mile ride.  And 2 of our team members went the distance with the 150 mile round trip from Cherry Hill, NJ to Ocean City and back!  They made us look good!

Plus, we had 2 team volunteers who rallied at the finish line.  This event wouldn’t be possible with out all of the volunteers along the route.

Bike MS team volunteers

I think we did pretty darn good for a rookie, start-up team.  Between the 10 of us we raised over $6000 toward the overall fund of over $5 million.  $6000!  I’m so proud of all of my friends and family who rode with us and also those who made generous donations making our team possible.

On a personal note, I have to admit that a 25 mile bike ride is not something that I would’ve thought I’d accomplish just a few years ago.  I’m not terribly athletic and have always had to work hard toward this sort of thing.  I’m more comfortable as a beach cruiser.  But this was an important goal for me.  Crossing that finish line felt like such an accomplishment on so many levels.  #recanize

Bike MS finishline

Ryan, on the other hand, could have done laps around me and will most likely go more than 25 miles next year.  It’s been a crazy year and I’m so proud of him too.  Here he is channeling his inner BMX rider…or something.

Bike MS

We’ll be back in 2014! Bigger, better and definitely branded.  Stay tuned, friends!

If you are in the PA/NJ/DE area, we’d love to have you on Team Recanize.  You can join us here.  Registration for the event is only $20 until October 4th and then it increases.

the village: part 2

Wow, I kinda dropped the ball over here.  In the beginning of summer, I told you I’d be sharing some introductions of all the folks that help me out behind the scenes.  Basically, my family and friends who help rally and make this little biz and dream go.

We talked about Jake who is kind of hysterical.  Let me update you on his latest venture.  Last week, he calls me up and asks if I know anything about accordions and follows up with a picture text of this gem that he just picked up.

accordion

I tell him I’m no accordion expert but I do know they’re kinda hot and trendy right now.  So his next call was to a local music store. An hour later he’s at said store discussing his new treasure.  Needless to say, he left with a fist of cash all while saving this baby from a landfill.  The kid is resourceful and makes us all laugh with his stories.

Which leads me to my next victims, I mean partners.  The ‘rents.  They too have a big hand in helping make things go and have owned their roles around Circa Dee.  Here they are…acting naturally.

261900_10101365147979394_5274238_n

I like to refer to my Dad as the Director of Logistics/Historian.  He has since passed the truck loading baton onto Ryan however he loves to coordinate logistics when needed.  And I use the word ‘love’ loosely here.  He actually loathes it but if he’s left out, well he feels left out.  Therefore, I think he secretly loves it.  Are you reading this, Dad?  I figured out your game!

_ (1 of 1)-2

Ahh!  The picture above is actually more like it.  Just lugging some furniture around for me and yelling about it.  He always helps unload on site at a popup just to come back at the end of the sale and repeat that process, ideally with fewer items.  What a guy!  And he loves to see the wares when they’re all unpacked.  As one of the, ahem, older members of the crew he always has insight into the vintage gems and tells stories of how they related to his childhood.  Typically he can answer questions for me too if I am stumped on something.  This is why he is called the Historian.

My mom is the Director of Retail Experience.  She is there for just about every minute of the retail sales.  She also helps unload the truck and pack up.  Vintage linens are her specialty.  Particularly, Vera.  I passed that obsession onto her though.  We love hunting for Vera.  And love the hunt in general.

_ (1 of 1)-3

Oh and she also gives me a reality check when I obsess over whether or not I should rearrange/stage for the 5th time.  This applies to my own home too, not just sales.  Sometimes I get neurotic.  Shocking, no? And because she is a mom, she packs lunch for the crew, keeps me company and gives the moral support that is needed.

I’m blessed with such support.  Seriously, what would I do without my village?

And with all of that said, you can expect to see us reunited in our roles and antics in just one month.  The countdown is on for our very favorite Clover Market!  Save the date: September 15th

Clover Market