I really love the results of a road trip and an unexpected surprise!

Michael, Dad, Mark and I devised a surprise for Mom and Susie to celebrate their 75th and 50th birthday’s in Lake Havasu this year. Dad, Michael and I flew into Las Vegas, rented a car and drove to Havasu, arriving at 10:00 PM. They were surprised!
The next morning, we all got our first look at their new house, desert landscape and enjoyed waking up in the lovely climate.
The back yard offers a pool and an attached casita. I stayed in the room you can see behind the red chairs.
Mom and Dad stayed in the Casita, behind the waterfall.
Susie enjoying her Chai tea by the pool! Hello family!
Mom and Dad hold on to each other while surveying the neighborhood from the driveway.
Michael and Mark catching up after breakfast.
The ladies went into town for lunch and shopping. We found this fun shop with novelty spices. Check out this brand!
I was motivated to get in the pool and do some water aerobics. I was proud of myself for making that happen on vacation!
We all found our perfect spot around the pool in the afternoon!
The boys coming back from the lookout behind the house.
Susie taking a break from hostessing while the boys are climbing around in the desert terrain.
We found this cool teak wood mirror when in town and Susie decided to hang it above the outdoor dining table. It looks perfect!
The next day, we all ventured out on Lake Havasu on Mark’s boat.
So fun to be together and floating on the water. The weather was beautiful!
Mom enjoying the sun!
The Captain!
Michael taking the role of co-captain!
Looking back toward Lake Havasu City. It’s built on the hill overlooking the lake. Lake Havasu City is a cool town of about 50K people. Snowbirds and locals hang out at sidewalk restaurants and enjoy the warm weather during the winter months. It definitely feels “beachy” in this town.
Beautiful distant mountains surround the lake.
We enjoyed an al fresco lunch of sliders and snacks.
Zooming around the lake, Preston is a great host!
Dad found a seat in the back of the boat.
Thompson men, here!
Mark and Preston happy to be on the water!
Look at this young man! He’s no longer a boy.
My happy place, on the water!
The London Bridge is a tourist attraction at Havasu. The bridge came from England and was reassembled here, connecting the mainland to “the Island”. Everybody cruises the canal between the mainland and the Island. We’re checking out some of the massive muscle boats we see.
Once again, we find ourselves congregating back at the pool before dinner.
Mom and Susie enjoying a glass of wine!
Mark sitting under the patio while talking with Susie and Mom.
The sunset bring everyone outside every evening.
The day Mom, Dad, Michael and I leave for our homes in the mountains.
Look at these love birds!
So happy together!
Everyone was a good sport and posed for family photos!
The Thompson’s.
Not too bad for a 75 and 77 year old! Vibrant people!
Good looking!
I made it home after 3 nights in Arizona and found some new projects to work on. A vintage valet stand.
A pair of stackable Mid Century Modern ottomans.
Which I tore apart and will paint the base and recover the cushion.
Looks easy enough!
This is the fabric I found for the ottomans.
And this leather and carved wood base ottoman.
Disassembling the ottoman, one layer at a time so I can understand how to put it all back together.
One by one, I pull out the staples.
This is what the cover looks like after I get it off the ottoman. I’m intimidated by the complexity of it. I might have to make some changes to the new cushion cover.
Once the leather cover and cushion is pulled off, this is what it looks like.
I always feel a little anxiety when painting wood. It seems like the wrong thing to do. However, once I get the steps completed, the new look is rewarding and fresher. I’ll give these pieces new life.
Painted and ready for distressing and glaze. I’ll keep you informed as I finish these pieces.
One of the wonderful things about traveling is viewing the unique landscape and the wildlife in each place. Every morning we watched the quail migrate from the left of the house to the right and they return again in the evening. I think this is a feeding pattern. We also saw a coyote jog by just above their house and this roadrunner was available for a photo at the lake. So grateful for my family and the time we spend together!

Thrift Store Treasures, from Scary to Sexy!

Found these beauties at Goodwill for $10 each. Looks like something that would have been in my grandma’s house very long ago. I have an idea to make them cool again!
Step 1: Cleaning
A thorough cleaning with TSP heavy duty cleaner (use gloves), and a light coat of sanding sealer to give it a fresh and smooth base.
Step 2: Sanding
Sanding the top edge to remove the old stain and lacquer before staining it to match the top.
With the edge sanded and clean, ready for stain. I’m using Dark Walnut on this nightstand.
I discovered a thin layer of vinyl on the top of the table, with a photo veneer grain. It looks great and I’ve decided to leave it on and stain the edge to match. The veneer protects the top from water rings and scratches and it’s in great shape. I didn’t notice it until I looked closely!
Step 3: Staining
Using a small foam applicator, I stain the edge with 2 coats, allowing 20 minutes between layers to absorb.
I wipe the excess off after a few minutes.
Step 4: Cleaning
I clean the dust off before painting.
Step 5: Painting
Leaving the top stained, I add the first layer of Milk paint to the night stand. I use a milk paint from Rockler woodworking, color Snow White.
It’ll take 2 coats of paint, drying in between layers. I’m looking for an opaque finish before distressing with sand paper.
Step 6: Distressing
After 2 coats of paint, I am distressing the cabinet with a 60 grit sanding block. I’ll try to give the cabinet a worn look, sanding areas that might show natural wear and tear from years of use.
I look for spots on the cabinet that will highlight the natural shape of the cabinet and feature some details in the design.
Most of the interest of the cabinet is on the front, but I want the sides to feel organic with some slight distressing.
Once I feel like the distressing is done, I’m now ready for the glaze.
Step 7: Cleaning
A good cleaning before glaze.
Step 8: Glaze
Using another foam applicator and a wet sponge, I apply the glaze to areas of the cabinet that I want to highlight and use the sponge to work the glaze, wiping it until I achieve the look I’m hoping for.
I use glaze on the whole cabinet, focusing mostly on the front and the drawer.
The applicator allows me to get into small thin spaces and not deposit too much glaze. I’m using Van Dyke Brown glaze for this project.
I spread a small amount of glaze onto the piece, and use the sponge to dilute and distribute the glaze over the surface. This step highlights the irregularities of the cabinet and gives it dimension.
I repeat until I achieve the look I’m wanting.
This is after the glaze has been applied. See how much more dimension the cabinet has with the glaze?
This step is the key to making the cabinet look authentic and full of history. I do this process all the way around the cabinet.
Once I’ve glazed all the panels on the cabinet, I come back to add more and make adjustments before the final step of finishing wax.
The drawer is very visible on the cabinet, so I want to highlight and feature the shape and design.
Before I’ve glazed the drawer. See how much darker the glaze shows on the cabinet compared to the White drawer?
Finishing up the glazing on the drawer.
Wow! It looks so much different than when first saw them at Goodwill!
Here’s a close up of the finish after glazing. It looks great!
These steps give this cabinet a whole new look! It takes some vision to recognize these thrift store gems, but I look for pieces with classic style and update the finish, hardware or use to make them feel current and hip!
Step 9: Cleaning
The final wipe down with tack cloth to remove any particles before the finishing wax.
This step makes a big difference in the final finish!
Lowe’s bought Minwax, so it’s now available at Lowe’s only. Varathane is the brand Home Depot offers now. I’m sure they’re comparable, but I recommend sticking with one brand of wax for a entire project.
Then I use cheesecloth to apply and buff the wax after it has dried.
Step 10: Finishing wax
Using the cheesecloth and wax, I rub the finishing wax over the entire cabinet.
This step will protect the cabinet and give it a beautiful sheen and dimension.
I do 2 coats, letting each coat dry before buffing.
Finally done! I’ll mount the hardware and show you the final result.

This project took about 9 hours to complete. I’ve tried to detail the steps for you, so you can attempt it on your own. The bottom line is you’ll have to get your hands dirty to really learn the technique and develop your own style. However, I encourage you to try it if your inspired by this tutorial. I find furniture refinishing to be rewarding , not just financially, but also for the feeling of satisfaction when taking an outdated functional piece of furniture and turning it into a thing of beauty and value!

Wow! I love the results. These small night stands are beautiful and will compliment someone’s home perfectly!