Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Killer Giveaway from VRS for 2013

It's just about time to don your hat and toot your party horns....ok, I don't do party hats.  But as those who know me can attest, I often toot my own horn.  The holidays will soon be a blur and it's time to get down to business.  What business you say????  Let's all get our proverbial "crap" together.
I am one of those crazy people who like to make resolutions. Crazier still, I keep track of them throughout the year and at year's end, see how I did. They are not crazy ones like meet Prince Charming  (check, got em), lose 4012 lbs. ( not gonna happen).  They are more like business goals, places to shop for work, and self improvement goals....(everybody needs a little improvin).

Last year I bought an amazing calendar from a friend of mine, Sue from Vintage Rescue Squad. I have to say the photography is awesome.  Such fantastic vignettes to get the junk juices flowing.  As you know, I make my living re-inventing vintage furniture and accessories.  It's tough to plan all the necessary flea market shopping around my busy family.  Sue's calendar, Dreaming of Junking makes it so easy!!!  Each month has a ton of vintage shopping events located throughout the country.  I've even planned family vacays around an even, bahahahat...really!!  (Like my family doesn't know...he he he)
Being the super cool chick that she is, Sue has offered a 2013 Dreaming of Junking Wall Calendar to me to giveaway to help you get ready to shop your way through next year. If you want one now, just scoot over to her etsy site and grab one for $20.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy New Year!!
Have a good one,

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Remember to look for the LIGHT....

My three children are the light of my life.  It doesn't matter that they are 25, 16 and 12...they will always be my babies.  I carried them, nuzzled them, nursed them, loved them from the first moment I laid eyes on them.  As they grow older they don't physically need me as they did when they were little ones, but they still need me.  Now I laugh with them, talk with them, cry with them, and worry about them. In light of Friday's tragedy in Newtown, CT I've been thinking alot about my children and wondering how I would ever get through such an event.

This is the light that we wait for as mother's every year of our children's lives...birthday candles.  They burn bright and mark one more year of amazing memories that we have had with our kids. The candles also allow us to dream and look forward to the future that "baby" will have.  I have noticed that as my kids get older, I'm a little sad at birthday time.  I love the wonderful people that they are growing up to be, but my heart yearns to hold them in my arms and sing a lullaby to them.  Tonight, there are mommas in CT that will never see the light of another birthday candle.  It's hard to contain the sorrow I have for them.
These are the candles that every mother dreads.  A candle to represent the loss of a life.  No more laughter, dreams and hopes.  Replacing them is a grief so heavy and strong that going on seems nearly impossible.  Every breathe and footstep forward in labored and  yet go on you must.  I can't imagine the pain and agony being felt by mommas throughout Newtown, CT tonight.
This is the end of a light....something that should never happen to your children.  My family suffered a tragedy years ago and we buried my 17 yr old nephew.  My heart still grieves for his momma.  And now it grieves again for the momma in Newtown CT. 
And yet, now many years after my nephew's death, a new light burns bright.  Finally, after time, we think of him with smiles and laughter.  Remembering the joy and comedy he brought into our lives.  He is a light that will never be forgotten.  A momma will never forget the loss, but I do believe God lessens the burden and allows for healing.  And when the sorrow gets too heavy it's time to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.....
Those amazing, darling, funny, smiling children will be waiting in heaven for their mommas with arms open wide.  This is the promise of faith in Christ.  So let's hold on to the light we have in our lives and know that He is always with us and His Light will shine FOREVER.
Have a good one,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting a little Holiday on....

For those of us in retail, this time of year is both a curse and a blessing.  I would hazard a guess that about 25% of my annual sales happen between November and December.  That being said, Christmas doesn't start in November for me. I literally start thinking about the Holiday selling season the January or February before kidding.  Even though my shop isn't usually open on Black Friday (see the frenzy to the left) I do have to be prepared for a giant Holiday Open House sale and two more sales at my space in Chartreuse & co....AND in my infinite wisdom and moment of genuine insanity, I added another location, The Old Lucketts Store.  The shoppers don't disappoint.  They want lots and lots of holiday merchandise.
I really do LOVE my job!! I mean it!!  Despite the broken nails, perpetually trashed vehicle, slight smell of must, I LOVE old vintage tarnished semi-falling apart lovely awesome junk...I mean treasure.  It's just hard to get excited about the holidays at home when you've been working on the holidays all year long.  This year I had the pleasure of crafting with my daughter, Bella!  That girl knows her way around some German glass glitter.  She now knows that you can get a splinter from real glass glitter, hence the term, "glinter"....Love it! And love her.  In fact she is the reason for this post.  Isabella, aka Bella is number 3  of 3.  I was Martha Stewart for the first two boys, but I've run out of steam.  I used to go all out for Christmas.  Literally 5-6 trees of varying sizes, baking my brains outs and decorations in every room.  Sooooooo....last year I really put a lot of effort into decorating my house after the shop closed for the year.  At least so I thought.....Bella had other ideas.  Bella the other day.... "Mom, maybe we can decorate this year instead of just a little bit."  Apparently I set the bar a little too high.  Gonna try to get it right this year for my Bella. 
Found this wonderful fresh wreath at a craft fair in Shepherdstown, WV.
A vintage pedal car fire truck filled with a cheat....a faux tree from my favorite local boutique Guten Tag.  It looks soo real, that's way I had to have it.
I'm trying a new room/space at a time.  Stay tuned to see if I can live up to Bella's Holiday dream!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not so Christmas Gifts.....

I love Christmas, really I do.  However, I'm not a big fan of the Christmas themed gifts that I often receive.  But let's face and green trees and stars look a little bizarre in the middle of March!!!

I gathered some of the items in my shop....gotta love a little self promotion.... that are soooo giftable.  Now and later!!!!

Tea towels....okay, so we really don't do tea anymore. But they are great in the kitchen and bathroom.  I had a customer who used them as window!  A great hostess gift gathered around a bottle of wine with ribbon.  At only $14 each they are perfect to have on hand.

Jewelry is a given. I love the new hand-crafted dictionary and typewriter key pieces I just received from my Texas artist!!  They are stylish, chic, and affordable!! Gotta luv that!!!! From $20 -$38.
What's trending...owls, white...white owls???? Fabulous Owl Vase $26.95
Amazing Sweater Vases and Votive Holders.....priced from $14-$28
See anything you like??????
Find them and more at The Robin's Nest Holiday Open House
NOV 4 - 6, Fri/Sat 9-4pm, Sun 12-4pm.
Have a good one,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chair Love...Refresh an oldie, but a goody! Part 4

Sorry for the delay, guys!! Here's the long overdue final post from my chair series.

Look how far we've come! I've talked you into sniffing, wiggling and sitting into every chair you see. Seriously though, it's important to check out the chair before you invest time and money into its transformation. You've considered whether or not to paint it and how much to spend on fabric. But.........Speaking of transformation, that's the final topic that I want to talk about in this series

Changing the style of a chair through paint and fabric choice.

Let's say you find a sturdy, comfortable, "un-stinky" chair.'s not really your style. Doesn't mean you have to keep on walking to find the next potential candidate. If there is even one special detail about a chair, then I focus on that and know that the right paint and fabric can totally change the "look". Best to show this by example. Time for the before and after pictures I promised.

Looking at this cane chair, it's got traditional written all over it. In fact, you could go safe and paint, distress and do the "frenchy" thing and it would turn out wonderfully. However, since I'm on a modern kick these days, I know gloss paint would transport this beauty into the 21th century. Add a geometric print from...let me say it... MOOD in NYC (yup!! went into a fabric coma there!) and voila...MODERN CHIC!

Traditional and Predictable

Outdated Style
It's amazing what a little paint and fabric can do...huh???  Just stop and dream a little. Imagine your perfect chair, then go out an find an ugly duckling. The possibilities are endless.
Have a good one,

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chair Love...Refresh an oldie, but a goody! Part 3

If you have been following this series, you know that Part 1 (picking the chair) and Part 2 (to paint or not to paint)

Part 3: Picking fabric for your chair re-do project.'ve sniffed, wiggled, looked, loved, what??? You've got to choose a fabric that is right for the chair and it's intended purpose. Questions to ask yourself?

1. Will this chair be for looks only?
2. Is this chair gonna get a lot of wear and tear?
3. What kind of look am I going for?
4. How much am I willing to spend on fabric?
5. Should I be bold or subtle?
6. Does the fabric match the chair?

Looks only....No way baby!!! If you live in a palace on a hill, well, sure. But most of us use every part of our homes. I think we should likeLOVE everything in our homes. Why waste your time on a project if you aren't gonna use it.

Wear and tear...Depending on where you are gonna put the chair, durability comes into play. If the room doesn't get a lot of use, you can use light-weight upholstery fabric. Got kids, pets, etc. you really have to get heavy-weight upholstery fabric. Scotch-Guard might be in order. Also, think about texture. Can kitty claws pick and pull and knubby fabric??? Gotta get real here.

Look...Smart, vintage, modern, traditional. How do you want your chair to look?

Price...I'm a go for broke kinda girl! That being said...I love a great deal. I buy better than I can afford. How I do this...the net! There are a number of great fabric resources on the web. Look for remnants! Search designer upholstery fabric remnants
Don't forget your local fabric store...remember your coupon for the best deal!!!

How much fabric? Are you doing the upholstery yourself? Check the web for upholstery yardage guidelines. Are you having an upholsterer do the project? Send them a pic. of your chair to get an estimate BEFORE you buy the fabric. Always buy a little extra (.5 to 1 yd) to ensure you have enough. You can always whip up a pillow with the extra.

Bold or Subtle....This is really determined by your personal style. If your chair is small, it's a great way to add punch to the room with a bold fabric. If you are dealing with a larger chair, remember that you are looking for a punch of style, not a black eye. The larger the chair the more subdued your fabric should be. The look can be changed with pillows, think longevity here. Classic style can always be updated.

Does it match the Chair?...You may fall in love with a fabric, but remember to consider the size of the design/print. Larger prints traditional don't work well on chairs, especially small ones. Fabrics with large designs can overwhelm a chair. Sometimes the design can be so large that it isn't fully represented on the finished chair...bummer. If you can lay the fabric on the chair before you begin to see how it will look. If you are buying the fabric online, then look at the repeat dimensions (the amount of space that each(one) motif/design takes up on the fabric). Quickly measure this out on scrap fabric and lay it on the chair. Does this work for you? Is it too large? Too small?
Don't be afraid of solids. There are fabulous rich fabrics out there....velvets, linens, cotton sateens, even...hush your mouth drop cloth! Go for it!

Stay tuned for Part 4 in this series. I will show some of my before and afters as well and talk about how to mix design styles...chair vs. fabric.

Have a good one,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chair Love...Refresh an oldie, but a goody! Part 2

Hopefully, you read Part 1 of Chair love so you are ready to move on to Step 2.

Chair love, take 2!!'ve finally picked out your chair! You wiggled it, you sat in it, you smelled it, and you love it. What to do next??

Let's back up just a minute. I think I had a "brain fart" in step one and forgot to mention that this process is for upholstered chairs. They really are no-brainers when it comes to a re-do. If they are sturdy, cheap and interesting, then GO for it!! A little cleaning, paint, wax or whatever and presto...a great chair.

This chair series is to help you understand how I pick a re-do candidate. blah, blah, step already, girl.

Step 2: To Paint or Not to Paint...That is the Question (?)

1. Unless the wood finish is in terrific condition I paint the frame. Actually, come to think of it, I almost always paint the frame. A traditional chair can really be modernized by paint.

2. What type of paint to use?? There are so many kinds out there right now.
Latex, chalk, spray...which one is right for you?

If I am trying to achieve a modern look I always go with a gloss finish spray paint.  I really like Valspar Gloss in black or white.  When a chair has a lot of carved details, it can really be a pain in the a*^%&* to paint with a brush. Because my chairs are for sale, I have to keep things neutral so I stick with black or white.  For personal use, I say...GO FOR IT! Bring on the color!
If I am going for a cottage or more aged look...then handsdown, chalk paint is for me.  I use Cece Caldwell.  There are other really great brands, but the colors they offer make me smile!  Paint, distress, wax. That's my motto.  I love the look of carved chairs when the wax settles into the details.  It really looks like an old piece. Super cool.

You can always use latex paint, (I love Behr).  Don't forget to prime the chair before painting. I hate this seems so fruitless, so I spray or chalk paint....hint, hint, hint...NO PRIMING!  Just a light sand and wipe down and you are ready to PAINT!!  Instant gratification, baby, that's what I'm talkin' about! 

Check back for the final post on Part 3, Picking the fabric.

Have a good one,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chair Love...Refresh an oldie, but a goody! Part 1

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I have been obsessed with chairs lately. I just can't seem to get enough of them! Fat ones, little ones, tall ones, squat ones (love that word...) I want to re-do them all! It's a great way to really change up a room without starting from scratch. A new chair or two, some amazing throw pillows and your room looks totally new.


Today I wanna take you through my process for picking chairs that make great re-hab candidates.

Picking the right chair to rework is really the most important part of the process. If you choose a dud from the start, all your hard work could be a waste. We can't have that now can we??!!!

I have a couple of rules that I always follow when chair shopping:

1. The STURDY test...wiggle that sucker around! Is it sturdy, wobbly, wonky? Any of the pieces missing? Wood splitting? Is this something you can fix by yourself? Really...gotta be honest here people.

2. The BUTT test...sit in the chair, if it's not comfortable KEEP on walking baby, do not pass go and collect $200. Even if it's dirt cheap or free...NO NO NO. The shape of your butt will not morph to fit the chair, I've tried.

3. The SNIFF test...does it smell? Yup, you really gotta smell it! I mean, get in there and sniff around. Once a stinker, always a stinker! Words to live by. Unless you have a billion $$$$ to totally replace all the foam, not CHEAP, then again, walk away.

4. The SPECIAL test...what makes this chair worthy of your time? Cool lines? Something you've never seen before? Will fit in that spot just perfectly? I think there should always be something special about a project chair. You don't want to spend your time on ordinary.

Here's a couple of before pics. of my latest project chairs.

Stay tuned for Part 2, to paint or not to paint!

Have a good one,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recycled Sweater Ideas...Too hot for you?

I know, I's the middle of July and hot as h@*ll! I have a sale next week and I should be painting furniture to get ready. Emphasize the word should. My workshop is in the basement of my 1882 brick farm house. As much as I love my house, being in the basement in this muggy summer "hotness" (new word?) is soooo yucky!

Instead of doing what I'm supposed to be doing, I've been rooting around in my summer kitchen/cottage, a.k.a. the "world wide headquarters" of The Robin's Nest, looking for projects for my fall sales. Enter exhibit A...

I have a huge stash of vintage wool and cashmere sweaters just waiting to be turned into some amazing home accessory. I started looking through my idea folders and didn't get inspired. Enter exhibit B....PINTEREST

Here are some of the contenders....

Any thoughts on which one I should choose? I'd love to hear from you!

Have a good one,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Rain, sleet, snow, HEAT...Can't Stop a ROAD Trip!

It's been so hot here in rural Maryland. The thought of spending all day in the middle of an open field shopping for vintage treasures wasn't at the top of my priority list last week. However, my inner junker couldn't let a flea market bonanza opportunity in PA pass by.

Time to hit the road! My truck is not quite this bad, but you get the idea! Kelly from Madison & Mabel, my partner in crime, and I thought we would make the most of our trip and go up the night before. I contacted my travel agent, aka hubby, and gave him the criteria: cheap, safe, clean. A little side note hubby travels for work all over the world. I haven't paid for a room in about 10yrs, think hotel points! He tried points, no luck, had to pay. Enter the "cheap" aspect. $70 prepaid...gosh in my mind that was a little high, but let's go.

We pull up to said "cheap" hotel...

Kelly and I checked in, and cautiously made our way to the room, first floor, facing to the street. Open door, eek!! hairs on the holey sheets, bed squeeks--ewwwoo...heat lamp in the bathroom. Oh, heck,no! A quick look at each other, Kelly..."I'll pay for another room"...done deal!

Roll into Comfort Inn down the road, ask to see room before check in, ahhhhh. Not fancy, but clean, safe and now new criteria..."reasonably priced." We go to the car and grab our bags and head to the new room. A quick note about me...I have celiac disease, so gluten is a huge no no. Walking up the stairs I share that my stomach is hurting...

Dialogue goes something like this..
Robin: My stomach is killing me
Kelly: Do you think that you got gluten-ed???
Robin: No, I'm not worried about gluten. I'm worried about almost getting murdered!

Now I'm not a sissy, but sometimes your inner radar goes off and you know that things aren't safe. Guys just don't see it the same way. My hubby's response..."You coulda probably turned that first room over a couple of times that night and made a bunch of $$$." Funny, honey.....not!

Next post...the goods!!! Stay Tuned!

Have a good one,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The woo of Southern Charm

I know I've been MIA for a while. I have big plans to post regular blog post sharing my treasure hunting journey with you, but life sometimes gets in the way. Blah, blah, blah...all that to say, I'm back and filled with inspiration gained by a much needed vacation to South Carolina. In fact, my family and I have been making this trek for, insert drumroll here, 32 years. Approximately 104, family and friends descend on Pawleys Island, SC for 2 weeks every year. No worries, we're all not in one house! During this vacation, I plan trip within a trip to Charleston,SC with my fabulous cousin, Lisa. Husbands, fine dining, and lots of cocktails make for a memorable trip every year.

Charleston, SC has become a real "foodie" city. On our trip, we always trip to pick a resturant that's up and coming. When I saw a recipe from HUSK in Country Living this Spring, I knew our choice for this year. OMG....pretty much descibes every single morsel I put into my mouth. My fav...get this, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese spread. It'sounds like you could be eating out back behind the Piggly Wiggly on your lunch break, but let me tell you, this was southern fine dining!

One look upward to this amazing church steeple and you know you're not in Kansas anymore! The architecture and colors of this old world city left me with a head full of ideas. How can I incorporate this european feeling into my furniture and projects. Enough chatter, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Have a good one!