VINTAGE FINDS & Other Mundane Shopping

Because if I have money I must spend.

Olive Oil And Elbow Grease. Restoring a damaged furniture surface.

I found this antique table at a local Denton store, and immediately fell in love with it. I inquired about the price, and the owner told me she planned to paint it before selling it. My inner voices shrieked, “Noooo! That’s a travesty!” Since I always do what the voices tell me to do, I wrangled a price and bought it “as is.”

Damaged antique table

Now, I have nothing against old furniture being painted purple, or orange, or zebra-striped … but this beauty deserved better than that. Yes, the surface wasn’t particularly attractive, but what can you expect? The store owner told me that this table had survived a tornado and then had been stored in barn for several years.

Damaged table

You would look rough, too, after experiences like that! There are a couple of pieces of the ornate woodwork that have been damaged, but that only tells the table’s story. I brought that baby home and tried to think what to do with it. I figured I would polish it, and put it in the guest bedroom. But, then I remembered that I had seen a post on Pinterest about using mayonnaise to restore a finish.

Mayonnaise? Ick! The very thought of slathering mayonnaise all over it was repulsive (and I didn’t want it to smell like a stale sandwich), so I decided to try olive oil to polish it.

olive oil

Armed with olive oil, a soft cloth, some cotton swabs and plenty of elbow grease, I began to polish that table. I swabbed all the nooks and crannies, and even flipped the table over to wipe down the inside (where I had to scrape off a dirt dauber’s nest — proving that it really was stored in a barn). I was very careful about polishing all of the oil off of the surfaces, so it wouldn’t stain the carpet or other furniture. Some of it took an extra swipe of oil, because the wood was very thirsty. I might even have to polish it again in a day or two, as the oil soaks into the wood.

After about an hour, the result was much better than I had hoped. It doesn’t even look like the same table!

restored table

Am I going to hide this lovely piece of furniture in the guest bedroom? No way! I’ve found a place for it in the living room, so I can enjoy it every day.

You might be wondering where I stumbled upon this amazing antique find, and I’ll share that source with you another day. That new store in Denton deserves a post of its own … and besides, I want to get there and buy all the wonderful things that I want before I let you plunder it!

Just remember to try polishing a piece of furniture with olive oil before you pull out the paint brushes. The only problem with this technique is that now I’m eyeing all the rest of my furniture. I’m thinking, “Hmmm. What would olive oil do for that?” I have plenty of olive oil and cotton swabs — but I’m fresh out of elbow grease!

Shocked By Artwerx

Y’all, I was in shock when we exited Artwerx Alley, a gallery in San Antonio, leaving behind the items we had planned to purchase. I don’t believe I’ve ever had an experience where a shop owner was quite so rude.

in shock

We had been planning our visit all week to visit the shop and see the exhibit they had for El Dia de los Muertos. The moment I finished work, we drove through heavy traffic across town so that we could get there before they closed. When we walked in the door, I was ecstatic to see the amazing array of items on display.

Now, you know I wanted to blog about them, and I had my camera slung around my neck. But, I’m respectful enough to request permission before snapping pictures of an artist’s work … sometimes they don’t like it. Who can blame them? Some folks might take pictures and then “steal” the ideas.

When I asked permission, the woman eyed me skeptically and told me “no.” I was alright with that, and I never took the lens cap from my camera as we walked through the shop admiring, and choosing an item or two to purchase. Because I was wearing a dangling necklace, I held my camera away from my shirt as we shopped. I didn’t want my necklace to scratch the digital screen on the back.

I couldn’t help but notice that as we asked questions, the woman seemed to give us our answers grudgingly. I just figured she was having a bad day. But, when I smiled and told her I was ready to make my purchase, she glared at me.

“I don’t mean to be rude, ” she said (which is what people say when they mean to be exactly that), “but I told you not to take pictures. I saw you holding your camera and heard a clicking sound.”

Bewildered, my friend and I looked at each other and both exclaimed, “The lens cap is on the camera!” The woman stared at us grimly, as if we were lying, cheating, felons and made no move to apologize or back down from her assertion that I had been taking pictures in her shop. I was so shocked by her rudeness that I turned to walk out of the store without buying a thing.

That’s a shame for the artists who have their work in the shop … I’m sure that it affects sales if she takes that kind of attitude with customers on a regular basis. And, it’s a shame for any tourist to meet that kind of attitude, because it is NOT the normal treatment you get when you come to San Antonio.

Although we were disappointed, it turned out that leaving her shop led us to a happy accident: we found not one but two delightful shops in the same block where the sales clerks were courteous and helpful.

The Blanco Center Bazaar and Karolina’s were both chock full of delightful vintage goods, clothing, artwork, furniture and accessories. I’ll tell you more about them and show you some pictures, but right now I’m still recovering from the rude treatment at Artwerx Alley. You can bet your bottom dollar they won’t see my smiling face again!

Is Lula B’s Cool or Pimpadelic?

When we saw the sign, we screeched to a halt to go shopping. How in Thunder were we supposed to resist shopping at a place that advertised, “Cool Stuff for Cool People?” After all, Mr. Tucker and I are “pretty cool,” if I do say so myself.

Lula B's East

Lula B’s East, near downtown Dallas at 2639 Main St. is described on their website as “a treasure trove of all things fine and funky, kitschy and collectible, vintage and pimpadelic.” Pimpadelic?

This I had to see. And, I did.

high-heeled-shoe-chair

I don’t know what y’all might think of this high-heeled shoe chair in leopard print, but I think that qualifies as “pimpadelic.” However, ahem, I do have to admit that it wouldn’t be out of place at my house … but it’s still there if you want it.

I was terribly tempted to take home these nekkid mannequins, to keep my collection of them company. But, we are on a buying moratorium until my Fall Overhaul is finished.

mannequins at Lula B

While the store did have a wealth of “stuff,” some of it quite interesting, it seemed overloaded with items similar to ones I’m currently taking to donate. It also included many items that I’m just “too cool” to own. Please tell me that I’m too cool to own a collection of Simpson’s dolls!

simpsons memorabilia

And promise me that I am far above owning a Velvet Elvis painting, or a painting of dogs playing cards, or a mosaic made of colored stones.

mosaic of colored stones

Believe me, I AM too cool for those … and so are you! But, if you want to see them, and are in Dallas for the day, it’s a fun shopping trip. You might even find something “cool” to tempt you to buy … but don’t get those mannequins! I’m hoping they will be there when I stop again.

You think I wouldn’t stop again? Sure I would! I have to visit Lula B’s again, because I’m “cool.” Besides, I want to see more “pimpadelic” stuff!