The one about the contest.

I apologize in advance for this very wordy and long-winded post.  I promise to have more pretty pictures next time.

About 5 weeks ago I didn’t have a blog.  I didn’t have a Facebook page for Finely Furbished.  I didn’t have a business email.  I had never edited pictures of my work or used Lightroom.  I had never used Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  I didn’t have a design plan for the dresser that eventually became Jenny.

But Shaunna West and her MMS Milk Paint Contest changed all that.

I was falling down the rabbit hole of furniture refurbishing blogland when I stumbled upon Perfectly Imperfect.  I had been on her site a few times before, but this time I just couldn’t leave.  I started soaking up all of her past projects and decided to add her to my bookmarks.  (That’s how I follow blogs.  I’m old fashioned like that.)

Well, the very next day she announced she was going to host a paint contest!  The only rule was that you had to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  Perfect!  I had been wanting to try out some of her gorgeous colors anyway.  The contest was set to start November 1st, which only gave me barely over a week to launch my business, set up a website, learn a new computer program, create and execute a styled photo shoot, and, oh yeah, paint a piece of furniture.

Did I mention that I also needed to feed and generally care for my one and three year old, and also somehow make two Halloween costumes?  First world problems, right?

At first I wasn’t sure if it would even be possible to enter the contest, but with a little encouragement from the hubs, I decided to at least try.  Worst case scenario: It would be good motivation to start launching my business.  At the end of the week, I would hopefully have a painted dresser and, at least, a Facebook page.  Best case, I might get a little exposure; maybe some people other than my closest friends and family would like what I do and want to see more.

So, what’s a girl to do when she needs to get something done and there aren’t enough hours in the day?  Call in reinforcements, of course!  This is what my week looked like:

  • Friday my husband watched the kiddos so that I could make the 3 hour (round-trip) trek to the nearest MMSMP supplier.
  • Saturday my mom came over so that I could get the piece prepped and ready for paint while hubby was at work.
  • Sunday my husband went for a long walk with the girls so that I could start the first few layers before we headed out to a birthday party.
  • Monday my stepmom drove over an hour from her place so I could put on some more layers.
  • Tuesday my mother-in-law watched the girls so I could do the final touches.  (Which ended up being two more layers of paint, but that’s a story for another day.)
  • Wednesday I did the styling and photo shoot during nap time.
  • Thursday I made costumes and then participated in Halloween merriment.
  • Friday, after bedtime, and after a long week for both of us, my friend Amy let me use her computer and taught me how to use Lightroom.

And this was the end result:

Sarah Furniture-3

I thought I couldn’t be any prouder.

And then Shaunna picked me to be in her Top 20!  I was jumping-up-and-down excited.  And then the votes started rolling in.  And the Facebook likes.  And the super, amazingly sweet comments from far-flung family, friends, and people I’ve never met.

And then I won!

You guys!  I have been on a crazy high for this entire week.  And I am so humbled by how much encouragement I’ve had.  I can’t describe how amazing it feels to be getting such positive feedback after working on this little dream of mine in the shadows for so long.  I feel like I’m on the right track, and I’m incredibly, incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support.  Thank you so much!

And, I would like you to know that I was up against some fierce competition.  There were some truly stunning pieces that I wish I could have in my own home.  Some of the entries were submitted by bloggers I already follow and have been inspired by for awhile.  Follow these links to see some amazing work: html   

Again, thank you to everyone who voted!  And thank you, Shaunna, for hosting the contest!

Oh, I almost forgot, here’s a link to Jenny’s album on my facebook page.   There you’ll be able to see some before and in-process pictures as well as more after shots.

Marian (AKA Madam Librarian)

I am so excited to finally share this little desk that has been over a year and a half in the making.  It was the very first piece of furniture I bought with the intention of remaking.   Aren’t those legs just the sweetest thing?

Marian, Before

In my own home, I usually gravitate towards earth tones and soothing blues and greens, but this desk really wanted to be a bold, take-notice color.  So, red it is.


At first I pictured it in a little boy’s room and was leaning towards a superhero theme, but then I found these amazing old card catalog drawer pulls at a wonderfully addictive place called Architectural Salvage.  I just knew that the greenish teal and brass would be a perfect match for the rich red.


After the drawer pulls were added, this desk’s true personality couldn’t be ignored.  She’s classic, bookish, and kinda sexy.  She wears her age beautifully and proudly.  She may seem prim and proper at first glance, but some of her imperfections – like those ink-stained drawers – hint at an interesting past.

Marian 1

And I love her all the more for those imperfections.  Like I always say, “The sadder but wiser girl for me.”  (I don’t always say that, but I do love a good mid-century musical, and The Music Man is one of my favorites.)  If you’ve never seen it and you’re still confused by this desk’s namesake, watch this.  My apologies in advance for getting that song stuck in your head.

And now for more pretty pictures.

DSC_0351 DSC_0375   marian desk top 

Isn’t she great?  In case you were wondering, she is painted in Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in the color Emperor’s Silk.  She’s been lightly distressed and has a topcoat of Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax.

She’ll be available in my Etsy shop soon.


Beyond her good bones and winning personality, one reason I love this desk so much is because she reminds me of all the support I had when I first started this little business of mine.  I won’t do this every time, but I wanted to thank Paul and Amy once again for letting me borrow their truck and then their garage for several months.  Also, thank you to my family for watching the little ones so that I could work in between feedings.  And thank you so so so much to my husband, Jason, for always being excited about my endeavors.