_0001Guess where I went on Monday!  If you read the title of this post, then you know:  I went to the Blogger Block Party hosted by HGTV Magazine!  Since my middle son, Matthew has been functioning as my assistant in some of my DIY projects, I brought him along.  (It is surprisingly cheap to take a bus from Philadelphia to NYC!  Both of us got there and back for about $24 each!) Being at the mercy of the bus schedule, we arrived a little bit early and were the first ones there!  So we had time for a few photos in the lobby.

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We got our picture taken when we got in and that photo made it onto the big screen where it rotated in and out all day._0003_0004There were stations set up on three floors and speakers/demonstrations every hour. There was a Flea Market Flip contest between Brooklyn Craft Company founder Brett Bara and HGTV magazine lifestyle editor Jodi Kahn.  We were welcomed by Editor in Chief, Sara Peterson:

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Laurie March demonstrated a DIY art project using burnt matches similar to some art projects she did in the DIY Network’s Blog Cabin:_0006

Jason Cameron’s talk was a bit more of an infomercial for Wagner paint’s spray gun, but he’s pretty cute, so it was easy to watch!_0010

I actually got invited to the stage with Stephanie Marchetti of the blog Sandpaper and Glue to help Danny Seo make an upcycled home version of Candyland using scrapwood and Wilsonart laminate sample chips.  _0011

We both got a copy of Danny’s book Upcycling: Celebrations and Stephanie got to keep Danny’s pre-made version of the game:_0016

We saw season 7 Design Star winner, Danielle Colding._0013

Matthew and I did the Chinet Challenge where we had 1 minute to do a pretty table setting.  The photos were tweeted or Instagram’ed and printed out and Sara Peterson & Genevieve Gorder judged the best one.  I’m pretty sure we came in second place. 😉
tableGenevieve Gorder shared her thoughts on coming design trends.  For 2016 she thinks we’ll be seeing more of a Scandanavian influence with black and white contrasted and timeless tribal print patterns with an emphasis more on triangles and less on circles and squares. For 2017 she thinks we be seeing a big Cuban influence with tropical green colors and bold leaf patterns with pops of coral-ly pink.

_0014After she spoke, Genevieve posed for photos.  She was very gracious and took the time to chat with everyone in line.  I hate to post this photo because she looks like Barbie and I look like…Mrs. Potato Head, but here it is…

_0015We did some fun activities throughout the day.  We created mini terrariums and painted tiny canvases with stencils.  Matthew won a Snuggle teddy bear by spinning a wheel and naming the flower that the spinner landed on.  We had some fun designing a shopping board on a giant smart board using products from Overstock.com.  The event ended with a reception during which Matthew and I hung out in the lounge.  Quite a fun day!

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So…here is something we haven’t talked about on this blog yet.  In addition to my design business, I own a retreat house.  You can find it here:  Legacy Retreat House, if you care to take a peek.  IMG_5448

It started out as a weekend retreat house for scrapbookers, quilters and other crafters and has begun to take on vacationing families.  When we furnished it, we put in a luggage rack for every bed figuring no one was staying more than a few nights.  Now with our vacationing families, people are beginning to stay for a week or two at a time.  As I was out running errands one day, I thought, “I really need to start looking for dressers for the retreat house.”  No kidding, on my way back home, there was a dresser on the side of the road with a big “FREE” sign on it!

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Of course, I stopped and put it in my van with the help of a nice teenage boy who was riding by on his bike.  It’s an interesting little dresser.  There were originally four knobs on each of the three drawers, but many knobs were missing.  There were three left on the top drawer, one on the middle and three on the bottom.  I really didn’t want to invest in new hardware… and four pulls per drawer seemed excessive, so I decided to redistribute the hardware I had and fill in the holes where I was not going to replace the pulls.

See all the holes for the missing hardware?

See all the holes for the missing hardware?

Let me tell you… this is a really nice, high quality, much-heavier-than-it-looks dresser! Look at the stamp in the drawer and the dovetail joints!

Ethan Allen!

Ethan Allen!

Dovetail Joints

Dovetail Joints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here is what it looked like after I filled in the holes:

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I sanded the drawer fronts and spray painted them with Rustoleum Ultra Cover 2X Spray in gloss white.  The dresser top was looking a little beat up, so I decided to sand and spray that, too.

_0013_0005While the paint was drying, I tackled the hardware.

With salt and lemon juice...before adding the Bon Ami. Compare the top three to the bottom one.

With salt and lemon juice…before adding the Bon Ami. Compare the top three to the bottom one.

The knobs are real brass.  The pulls are brass plated.  Not that it matters, you clean them the same way.  First I tried a little Bon Ami, a natural cleanser that we use for cleaning our copper bottom pots and pans.  That didn’t really do much.  So I tried a mixture of salt and lemon juice with a tooth brush.  That did a pretty good job. THEN…I added the Bon Ami to the salt and lemon juice…score!

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Look at that hardware shine in the photo below!

 

 

 

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And lastly, a photo of the dresser in it’s new home:

photo 1 (2)Here’s a before & after side by side:

Before

Before

After

After

What do you think?