Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you find interesting ideas and inspiring images. Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated! Check out my facebook page.

About Me

My photo
My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Trip to Portugal - Hope to Replace with MY Photos Upon our Return

View toward Castle - we are staying close to this area
My husband and I are about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Portugal - staying at a timeshare location near the coast (Fano) and also five days in an apartment on the hill near the Castle.  This is so exciting.  We love to travel and know almost nothing about Portugal.  I did check out some sites  - link to wikipedia and a tourist site for Lisbon - llink to lisbon site but I have found that until you are actually at a location, it is almost impossible to imagine.  We have also been so pleased to get many, many recommendations from "Joe", the gentleman who is our agent for the apartment we are using in the city.  

So this will be my last blog for January - I hope to get lots of material and photos.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Tribute to My Upholsterers - the Lees at Song's in Norcross

Some Pieces Upholstered by Lees 
Last year, I reported with dismay that my upholsterer of over a decade, Mrs. Song of Song's Upholstery in Norcross, GA, was retiring and had sold her business to Mr. and Mrs. Lee.  I had been so happy with Mrs. Song and her shop's expert work that this news made me not just a little nervous.  I am so happy to report that Mr. and Mrs. Lee are doing a beautiful job with my pieces.  Mr. Lee is the upholstery expert and Mrs. does the cutting (and precise matching) as well as making pillows and other smaller projects.  She also handles the business end of their little enterprise.  They are wonderful people and I would highly recommend them to my neighbors.

The Lees are still operating as Song's Upholstery so the name has not changed.  They are also allowing me to store my "before" items over there - which is HUGELY helpful and prevents me from cluttering up every nook and cranny in my house.  Also, as can even be seen on some of the photos (green carpet is the give-away), some of the pieces are stored with them if I run out of space and I have taken some of my photographs in their shop.  This is not ideal from a well composed picture perspective, but does help me in a pinch!

Here is their location and a blurb from my website link to contact page on my website
If you like the expert upholstery work you see in my products and live in the greater Atlanta area, I'm happy to share this referral - Song's Upholstery, 6470 Spalding Dr. N.W., Norcross, GA  30092 (770-446-7671).  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Update on Pinterest - My New Obsession

I have been using Pinterest for about a month and find it fascinating.  Not only do I get some really good ideas supporting my furniture refurbishing passion, I find it exciting to see what others have found and how vibrant of a community it really is.  I have learned some things about Pinterest and am still exploring others.  One of the things I have not learned how to do is to connect my pinterest boards directly to my blog which seems like it should work.  I've seen others do it but have not been successful so far.

I checked out the pinterest website and found a few helpful tips - link to pinterest website - including this nice description of what pinterest is and does:
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
I also  like the user guidelines: 
Be Nice
Pinterest is a community of people. We know that tastes are personal, but be respectful in your comments and conversations. 
Credit Your Sources
Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry. 
Avoid Self Promotion
Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion. 
Report Objectionable Content
We do not allow nudity or hateful content.  
I am still in the process of creating (and revising) my basic organizational scheme but it seems to be working for me.  Since I am most interested in home decor, I am breaking this category down into usable parts - e.g., by color schemes.   I am still lumping together all recipes, all things French and Italian (my favorite travel destinations) and all Do It Yourself (DIY) projects.  The challenge is not to have too many categories and yet have them be meaningful.  I am not doing the best job of describing the "pins" or "repins" often using overly simple language like "yellow bedroom", "living room", etc.   The images do help a lot so sometimes that is all I need.  I do worry a little about how this could get out of hand and become less meaningful if I just keep adding both images and categories at my current rate.

I will have more "lessons learned" as I continue to discover this fascinating method of finding, sharing, and tracking. I have noticed that it appears to be a "girls" thing - I have yet to see a male "pinner" but I am sure there are some out there!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Before and After - Custom Projects

Not mine - but loved it from B in Real Life Blog

Every now and then, I have been showing the results of some custom work with clients using the "YOU CHOOSE FABRIC" option on my eBay listings.   Here are before and after photos of two of such projects.

For this option, I list items for sale based on the completely refurbished price.  I show the "before" photo; provide some samples of available fabrics from my stock; and set a price that is based on a fully refurbished piece or pieces including expert upholstery work by the masters at Songs/Lee's in Norcross, GA.

Before - Waterfall Club Chair
Before - Southwood Martha Washington Chair
I use this method of selling to better meet customer needs.  I often get comments and questions about refurbished items asking if I have others I can do in a different fabric or asking if this particular piece can be redone and at what cost.  Since I have already incurred the cost of fabric and reupholstery - my major expense - the additional cost is usually prohibitive.  So, I have been selling some items as "YOU CHOOSE FABRIC" options specifying how much fabric is needed.

After - Waterfall Club Plus Ottoman
The two highlighted projects are ones in which the customer already had fabric they wanted to use and I made an adjustment to the price.   I think they made some excellent fabric choices and the results are outstanding - both sets are being picked up tomorrow by my door-to-door shipper, TSC Moving!

After - Southwood Chairs

Sunday, January 15, 2012

TA DAH!!! - My first totally refurbished Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Piece!

Recap of Prior Work on Chair
I continue to drone on about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) and promise to get off this subject soon.  Yesterday, however, I picked up my first totally completed piece from Song's/Lee's Upholstery in Norcross and love the finished product.  Here is the blog that discusses my work on this inaugural piece November Blog.

I selected a Waverly (still, I believe, made in the USA) print cotton fabric which just shouts "French Country" called "florie" in a blue with white and yellow color scheme.  I can easily imagine it in a fine home in Provence - or alternately in my house!   I am, however, selling it on eBay and on my website link as a first in the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Collection.  I have three more chairs in the pipeline!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Using Dark Wax

French Style Chair - Dark Wax Project
In a previous blog, I discussed the treatment I would be using for this French style chair and showed the above before and mid-way photo.  I had used two coats of ASCP off-white and one coat of the clear wax to prepare to use the dark wax for the first time.  The story picks up from that point.

I found an old bristle brush (concerned that I would have to toss if I couldn't clean adequately - something some others have discussed). I dove into the very dark clear wax and started going over the woodwork.  It is VERY dark and immediately looks very dirty as shown below.
Immediately after application of dark wax
After doing a small portion (e.g. leg), I took a white cloth (old T-shirts) and, using a small amount of clear wax, started to clean the finish to get the right proportion of dark to light.  This is a VERY important step and evidently can only be done by using the clear wax as a cleaning agent.  I continued throughout the piece which took some time doing in small portions.  In order to maintain some level of consistency, I kept stepping back to survey the whole piece and made adjustments (sometimes putting more dark back on if I had scrubbed too hard).  I started to like the effect, particularly on the carved patterns which really demonstrate the impact of light and dark the best.
Detail - crown 
Finished and ready for upholstering
So what did I learn:

1.  You really do need to do the first wax coat in clear and do a pretty thorough job.  In areas where the first coat may not have totally covered, the effect was more muddied and harder to control.

2.  You need a number of clean cloths - I went through almost two T-shirts which work beautifully.

3.  You need a lot of clear wax to do the cleaning and adjusting of colors - more than I typically use to do a whole piece in clear alone.  This impacts dramatically on your supply of "costly" wax - I am finding a need to purchase another expensive can after doing not that many projects.

Overall, I will do this again.  I will only do it on pieces with considerable carving which will be enhanced by the treatment.  In areas (like the back of this chair) that are straight, it looks like distressed woodwork but otherwise, in my view, is not that interesting.

Good luck and check out my other ASPC projects.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Visit to Scott's Antique Market

From Website
Scott's Antique Market (aka the BIGGEST yard sale in the world) is held in the Atlanta area during the second weekend of every month.  It is overwhelming and a lot of fun.  Today, my friend, Bette, and I visited both north and south exposition halls to check out the goods.    For my first discovery adventure at Scott's, check out my prior blog from the November sale - see Previous Blog

My goal this time was to find the fabric vendor who I had met in November selling North Carolina fabrics by the bolt for really reasonable prices.  I cannot resist well-priced great fabrics!   Unfortunately, we did find several fabric sales people who did have great fabrics but were selling in the $20 per yard and up range - which is WAY more than I spend.  The trip, however, was not wasted.  There are so many great items and displays that many people spend all day if not all weekend at the sale.

We did see some trends we wondered about.  Quite a few sellers showed burlap as an upholstery fabric, sometimes done on a heavily gilded piece.  The look was interesting but somehow misses the mark and the pieces look like they would be scratchy and uncomfortable.

Given my recent obsession with Annie Sloan Chalk Paints (ASCP), I visited the vendor who sells the paints and discussed techniques, applications and the new colors.  I also kept my eye out for interesting chalk paint-like treatments and found a TON!!

Greys, creams and off-whites seem to be the more popular colors but you can find a wide range from oranges, to greens, to robin egg blues (one my new favorites).

Bette was looking for a particular plate hanger that doesn't scratch the china and holds pieces well - she had bought these years ago at the market and we searched for the same vendor.  In addition to other items that caught her attention, she did find her plate hangers and bought several.

We enjoyed our visit and found that it was possible to come into the  market on set-up Thursday - supposedly the best day to find those hard to find deals.  So, maybe again next month!
Near entryway -  a wide variety!
We thought these were interesting but couldn't quite figure out what do with them. 
Loved these fabrics - but too pricey! 
There were two of these - loved them!
I have a bolt of black velvet and am looking for inspiration - maybe a little too much!
We thought this was clever but perhaps a little too cutesy - perhaps for a child's room!
They sell everything!
Lots of primitive pieces!
Great DIY project - use a rectangular piece of heavy linen (could be lined with a thin foam piece) and cover with trim to top a desk - we loved this idea!
A lovely vignette on way out!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Project - Graphite and Old White Combination

French Chair Project - Old White Undercoat with Graphite
Yesterday's blog discussed how this particular chair got started and how I had planned to finish it.  I purchased another color, graphite, and it came yesterday so today I was raring to finish this piece.

First of all, I LOVE the color - I had thought it would be too dark/black and that I would have to mix in some off white to lighten it.  It turned out to be a deep, true grey - exactly what I wanted.

I had planned to completely cover the first layer of old white chalk paint with two coats of graphite, let it dry and sand the edges lightly to bring back the off white highlights.  I had read about this technique and wanted to try it.  I started painting the chair and found that it naturally skipped over the deep groves and ridges and painted easily around them.  I was fascinated with the results and kept going over the entire chair.  Once the first coat dried, I went over with a second coat to create a more solid color and VOILA this is how it turned out!   I love it and plan to upholsterer in a plain cream linen to really show off the two-toned paint job.

SO, what did I learn.  If you have a wooden piece that has deep groves and ridges, this technique would work very well and could be done with any paint combinations.  I'll have to find more ways to experiment with this and also find another piece to try the technique originally planned.  

I am starting to collect a number of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint chair projects and will be introducing a Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Collection on my website soon link to website

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Adventures

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) Color Chart
I am continuing to experiment with ASCP.  Today I started two more chairs - both with nice woodwork that was tired and somewhat scarred.  In other words, perfect candidates for the various ASCP treatments.  See my recent adventure here - Chateau Grey Chair.  

I ordered another color (graphite) because my the chateau grey color actually turned out to be a green-gray - not the dark grey I was hoping for.  Graphite looks pretty black but I am planning to use a little off white to lighten it.  One of the great things about ASCP is that you can mix up the various paints to customize any look.  SO ... that is one experiment I will be doing with the following chair.

The woodwork on this chair is deeply carved and substantial.  I plan to paint an undercoat of the off white paint and two coats of graphite on top.  Then, I plan to lightly sand to bring out the white coat on the edges to enhance the carvings.  IF this doesn't work as well as I hope, I will just paint over it and leave the woodwork a grey-black.  

The other chair is a traditional smaller French style chair with cabriole legs and lightly carved legs and back.  The color of the wood was uneven (and not one I particularly like).  I plan to paint this chair off-white (two coats) and use the dark wax to create a more distressed finish.  I have only used the clear wax thus far and my research suggests that the dark wax is kind of tricky.

One lesson learned from my prior projects is the fact that any dings or splits in the wood are magnified by this paint.  Therefore, on these chairs, I used wood putty to fill in some gaps.  This looks like it might work well!

Both chairs have had one coat of ASCP applied - so far so good!  More on this project as I try to newer techniques (for me)!
After One Coat

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Plug for Skidmore - Beeswax Products Extraordinaire!

At least seven years ago, I found an article in one of my regular magazines - I believe it was Country Home - that recommended Skidmore's Beeswax products for all good furniture pieces as a cleaner, polisher and sealer.  I bought the products at the time and have been using them ever since to clean woodwork and to add luster and moisture to good wooden pieces.   I just placed another order for Liquid Beeswax Cream which I use to oil wood and add luster and shine to pieces that are in pretty good shape and fairly clean.  For pieces that need a little more - perhaps they are very soiled and stained or a little rough - I use the Restoration Cream and work it in with fine steel wool.  
Skidmore Products
Here's there website and a blurb from the owner - link link to website.
Here at Skidmore's, we make natural treatments for restoration, conditioning, and protecting all the leather and wood in your life. We pride ourselves on being environmentally friendly at Skidmore's. We recycle everything coming in or going out. Styrofoam peanuts too.
This is a collection of useful products I have invented over the years.  I produce these products in small batches, by hand, in my shops at home.  I know you may have been using my stuff for years and maybe never thought about it, but everything we make is produced right here at home by us.  I have spent my entire life making things out of leather, wood, metal, stone, and glass, and these products are a result of that work.  They are also a gift from the universe for which I am grateful.  Thanks for trying them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Decorating Styles - The NEW Traditional

Example of the NEW Traditional Style
I have been reading recent postings on some of my favorite blogs and found a description of a "new style" that makes sense to me and one that I am clearly partial to - the NEW Traditional Style.  These bloggers are describing this as a personal mixture of the legacy of traditional design and personal freedom - I  like it.

I think this article perfectly explains the continued allure of traditional decorating and the new, fresh take on this style - link to full article - I liked the following excerpts:
Home decoration’s ageless favorite
The comforting elegance of grander times and the classic furnishing designs of gracious living converge into a traditional style that is clearly America’s most popular decorating theme. Based upon styling first popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries, Traditional decorating’s long history and survival comes from an ability to adapt to lifestyle changes. Avoiding signs of aging is Traditional’s rare hallmark.

Lots of freedom
You’ll be happy to know once some choices have been made about furniture pieces, the door to the Traditional home is open for lots of personal preference. 
The following images are great examples of the NEW Traditional style and show an artful mix of the formal and informal.  I can certainly visualize some of my refurbished pieces in these settings link to my website

The two bloggers that are discussing this subject are the following - they are interesting and I highly recommend following their ideas and inspirations!