How To Transform Free Into On Fleek

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I am obsessed with this decanter!  I saw it down in Paso Robles at Adelaida last month.  Click here if you want to buy one for yourself or send it to me as a gift!

When I was in high school, I cleaned house for the Martin family.  Mrs. Martin had me polish her silver set once a month.  One afternoon she told me, “If a visitor picks up your silver when they don’t think you are looking, don’t invite them back.”  She told me this was a sign of bad manners by a house guest.  Note: back in the day, if silver was heavy, it was expensive.

Buying low, even better finding it free, and selling high as a DIY Queen is an art. Recently we found a couple of free dressers on Craigslist.  When we got them home, I peeked in one of the drawers and found a label I hadn’t seen before: J.B. Van Sciver Co.


imagesI did some research and found out that J.B. Van Sciver Furniture Co. was opened in Camden, N.J., in 1881 by Joseph Bishop Van Sciver.  It was later run by his sons. Read more about the company by clicking on this Wikipedia link.  I Googled the name again and found the furniture label alone was being sold on EBay for $19.99.   Click here if you are interested in buying it.  The photo on the left was one of their fliers from the 1950s.

While I loved the hardware, I thought the wood dresser needed an update because there were a number of scratches.  I looked in the garage for a trusty quart of Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint and went to work.2016-08-03 15.48.42

An hour or so later, the dresser was done!  The original hardware looked stunning on the updated piece and it distressed very nicely.


I didn’t want the dresser to look naked for its photo opp, so I styled it up with pillows lying around it and then tried a sheet.  It still just looked like a dresser that was trying too hard to hide the asphalt around it.

The photos didn’t have the pop I was looking for, so I pulled the heavy dresser against the fence and re-arranged the staging pieces on top of it.  2016-08-03 18.16.29

In case you were wondering about the staging pieces, I bought the red sphere at TJ Maxx Home Goods and the candle at C. Wonder, which has since closed.  Read the article on how Tory Burch’s ex-husband’s knock-off store crashed and burned.  Adding three books from my bookcase, I chose The Cardinal Way (because I am a die-hard Redbird fan), the Word Book II and a Rick Steves Travel Florence book.  Rick Steves is a legend and his travel books are a MUST if you are heading to Europe!

The dresser was ready for its close up!  As the kids say these days when describing something cool: ON FLEEK.  By the way, for the millennials who think they invented the words ON FLEEK, it’s been around since 2003!  Finish my blog by reading an article on the phrase! I hope you agree: #mydresser is #onfleek.

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About UpCycling

daysunplanned View All →

Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.

An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.

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