Be Careful Who You Let Into Your Home

from Craigslist.

I was open and friendly to a female customer last week who had sold things in the past on Craigslist. Albeit unsolicited, she gave me some advice about how to handle things to procure my safety. She suggested using a man’s name, making comments about my boyfriend being home, etc.

And I did only one thing. By happenstance I actually had my boyfriend and his male friend in the apartment when The Craiglist Killer II – The Serial Space Heater Buyer, came over. Luckily, they just happened to come back from Cleo’s down the street. They talked about going to another bar, but I sort of manipulated the situation so that they would chill at the apartment until my buyer came. I felt a little nervous.

and rightly so.

The item he alleged to want to purchase was a Holmes Space Heater. A perfect one at that – in great cosmetic and working condition, a 1-touch digital quiet and heat-generating slick piece of machinery. In fact:

holmes space heater

The Space Heater Serial Killer and I talked on the phone for about a half hour, during which some of the following rules of Craigslist Safety were disobeyed by me:

  • I talked on the phone for a half hour with a craigslist buyer – way too long
  • I revealed personal information about my physical appearance to a man, for example i talked about my hair color
  • I gave a gender and age
  • I’m not certain i said “boyfriend” or “husband” at any point
  • I was female
  • I discussed a current foot injury that imposed a physical limitation to my ability to run, should I need to

He talked to me to an annoying extent over my price. Perhaps not only is it important for me to stand up for myself and my pricing on principle, but also it is important for them – and they believe in what they are arguing. But more often than not, I feel like it’s an insult to the value of my product and service – and that they are arguing over a petty amount of dollars.

I usually veer towards what they are offering, although I have my limits. I know that a Holmes Space Heater is going to get at least $20. And I still ultimately agreed to $18. I do research on the market value of the product. Incidentally, he had offered me $17.50, but having done my laundry earlier that day, I was more than saturated in quarters.

I gave him my address and he said he’d be over for the heater in half an hour. During that time, my boyfriend and another male friend he had been out with came home. I didn’t plan that – although, I did ask them to stay, like I said. And it’s a good thing I did.

The guy – a personal trainer/bodybuilder – came to the door and said he had a present for me. He had JUST STOPPED at Walgreens (I looked at the time, the receipt was in the bag) to spend almost $25 on an ankle rap for me, as I told him I had an injury. That seemed so nice. I gave him the heater and chatted about about it (how hard is he gonna make me work to sell this to him, this is ridiculous, i thought, smiling my way through it).

I was very confident that the thing worked, and my place had guests, a hyper dog, and clutter – but i let him come in and test it. If I did not have people over, I’m not sure what would have happened. He immediately had weird and illogical reactions to the space heater. It’s clearly Grade-A (as verified by my bf and his friend afterwards), and there’s not much to really decide when it comes to an $18 space heater. I even brought a second one that was dirty from my back porch/laboratory that I used, in case he preferred that one. He just seemed like he wasn’t going to buy it, and possibly like he had no intention of buying it in the first place, or else he wanted something that didn’t exist – some huge heater to immediately shoot 90 degree air in your face or something. Like getting in your car, shit takes a minute to warm up. Because for example, he wanted something quiet but seemed to like the revving sound the non-quiet one made. Anyway, I quickly said “you can think about it” and that he could call me back, and he left, skittishly.

What do we think might have happened had i been home alone?

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The Little Red Chair That Could

When I alley-snagged this chair, I saw several angles of potential appeal. First of all, with a fresh paint-job, this sucker could be ALL RED. That in itself is cool. Secondly, with the curvature and angles of the back, it could be positioned as mid century modern (mcm) to appeal to those who like that hot furniture trend. Even if it’s not actually an mcm chair (how do i know, i found the fucker in an alley after all), it could be worded to at least give a nod to the style.  It also had “soda shop chair” coolness going on with its wrought iron shapely base.  Lastly, I sensed this would appeal to just the right hipster (which it ultimately did).

BEFORE

red chair before3

Now this wasn’t a chair in trouble, but it wasn’t a chair that was at its most awesome potential. The wood of the seat was a bit weird, kind of like a pile of wood verses a solid block, and not particularly akin to sanding.  Plus there were some decorative holes in it. So I didn’t really think about what to do, I just primed.  Not only that, I primed like a moron. I put tape on the chair’s base to protect it, when in fact, i didn’t realize i could take the damn seat off with the wee use of a screwdriver.

DUMB & DUMBER
red chair before 2

Taking off the base made painting the chair’s base a helluva lot easier!
I had a nice shade of red that i picked up at http://www.dickblick.com/, one of my former employers actually, and i just basically reapplied to the entire base, and vadda bing, shines like a fire engine!

SHINY HAPPY REDNESS
red chair before1

To really pull off this chair, something needed to be done with the seat, and that something is called “antiquing” or “distressing.” There are many different ways to achieve this look, but I chose to follow Better Homes & Garden’s Tips. The only deviation was that while they started with a wood surface, I started with a primed surface. Although, I did somewhat sand it to allow some wood exposure.

So using the BHG method, which was really quite simple, and bonus, I had all the materials in the house, I antiqued away. And my friends, this is what you call a chair.

AFTER
redchair2

SOLD FOR $35. (not too shabby, pun intended)

The Pink Princess

So I’m driving along (in an alley, of course) when a young-looking guy (approximately 21) emerges from behind a fence carrying what I knew could become a beautiful nightstand. It had one of my favorite features, which is that the drawer was on the bottom, not the top. There’s no name for this type of drawer placement, btw, at least not per the research that I conducted. He was quite nice, and even helped me secure the piece in the back of my vehicle.

“Are you sure you don’t want it?” I said.

He replied, “Yeah, it’s time for it to move on to someone else.”

ME!!!!!!

I wasn’t sure what to do with the piece at first (I never am) and then the idea struck. You will see this idea in the finished photo below. I think inspiration came from various sources, but in particular I was inspired by this site, found randomly during one of my net-surfing extravaganzas.

I had bought some pretty pink paint from The Home Depot, but at the time I didn’t have any particular use for it at the time of purchase, and I have a huge can of alley-FOUND linen white paint that has been rocking my world. So I decided to do a sweet combination utilizing both colors, that was totally not in my personal taste, or at least not meant for my current home decor, but bound to be perfect for someone else’s.

And it was. I posted it in two sections on Craigslist because I thought it would be perfect for a child’s room (which is ultimately where it went) and threw in some bemusing SEO buzz words like shabby chic and cottage chic, which the piece really was. What befuddles me sometimes is when I read descriptions of other postings that end with something like this: Perfect for your cottage beach home/romantic Parisian apartment…. etc. Who actually has these homes, and wouldn’t they be living off the beach or in Paris, and why would they be on Craigslist? But I digress. It could be more of an Etsy thing, and i don’t play in that space – not yet anyway.

My buyer might have had a cow if she saw the piece before i had done the work. it needed sanding, oh did it need sanding, but luckily I had my favorite toy, this Black & Decker Sander. I also primed the piece to make sure the paint went on as beautifully and smoothly as possible, using this good ole primer. If you ever wonder about what primer you should use, here’s a quote from one of the great employees at Home Depot: “Primer is Primer.” Sound advice, simply stated.

Then on with the paint! I had to decide where to place the linen white so that it didn’t overpower, but rather accented the piece. I think I hit the nail on the head, or the paint on the primer, so to speak.

BEFORE

refurbished nightstand

AFTER
pink1

Now folks, readers, and fans alike, I swear this piece was not commissioned. Here is a photo of it in the child’s room. Could there be a more perfect fit?? 🙂

pink princess

Transformation

This was a lot of work for such a little guy! Many angles to paint from, and much old paint to remove! The new color scheme was inspired by the SKOW desk.

BEFORE

before brown stool2

AFTER
stool4

SOLD FOR $20.

Some Kind Of Wonderful: The Saga

I was commissioned to do this piece by someone from Craigslist. She had contacted me originally about a TV stand I was a-sellin’ that ended up not living to see the light of day, due to a Gorilla Glue mishap. Suffice it to say, the would-have-been-tv-stand-buyer and I remained in email contact, and as it turns out, she needed a desk. She sent me a picture of one that she liked, here it is:

INSPIRATION
desk inspiration

Just days later, while I was doing some errands, in a not-so-good neighborhood in Chicago known as K-town (for Kill town) I found it. The desk that would become hers.

When I found this desk, its striking resemblance to the one my buyer, Sonya, had sent me stopped me in my tracks. I had to acquire it no matter what. It was in an alley, in someone’s backyard with a bunch of junk, so I don’t know if I was technically trespassing or if it was the garbage area, but some of it was gated. The desk was behind the gate (i guess that would mean I trespassed), and I got out of the car in this ghetto hood in my fancy dress with tights on, and thought about climbing the fence. Then I noticed that the neighbors had pitbulls – and not the friendly ones. In essence, I had to work fast, and I was at risk. Gunfire could transpire at anytime. I grabbed that desk, grabbed three of the four drawers, and figured i’d come up with a solution for the missing drawer. It was just too far and the gate was locked. I tried driving around front to trespass from that angle, but the gate was locked there too.

I got the desk home, and had to figure out what to do with it.
BEFORE:
SKOW desk before
Happily, I realized I needed to use.. the saw. I sawed the crap right out of that place on the right where a little drawer would have been, pulled/unscrewed any remainder pieces, and immediately created more leg room. Nobody would ever know that a drawer had once been there.

Then I simply had to clean all that crap on top of it. I wanted to retain the neutral ivory-tone of the desk, and Sonya had told me she loves metallics, so I thought I’d keep the gold trim too. She also told me she wanted something with pastels, particularly coral, as that would match the room she was putting it in.

So I got out some Benjamin Moore paints that I already had in the house, that industriously, I had found in an alley as well, and sent her the color palette for approval, which I received. I then decided each drawer would be painted a different color, and the top drawer would be coral to pronounce its presence. I also repainted the entire base with a very neutral beige-gray paint from Behr (which I also found – crazy huh?). I’d like to take this opportunity to say that paint brand/quality does indeed make a difference. These paints looked beautiful, and went on smoothly. By comparison, some of the Rust-oleum paint I use, which is cheap, doesn’t look-a so good. Although I suppose it sometimes depends on its purpose.

After painting the base and the drawers, I then repainted the trim with a metallic gold (WHICH I ALSO FOUND), let everything dry, and put a protective top coat on (which I bought). Note: I had been making a mistake in the past, putting top coat for stain over paint. So I asked at Home Depot what to use over paint, and they gave me actually a Rust-oleum Paint Cover. Shit takes some time to dry, but is definitely worth it both for the protection it provides and the polished look achieved.

The final touch would be the knobs. This required an emergency trip to Anthropologie, as Sonya was on her way, because I discovered that the knobs I planned to use had broken. This desk would be all about the shabby chic differing knobs on each drawer. The top and bottom drawers have Anthropologie knobs, and the middle drawer has one of the antique original knobs that came with the desk when I found it. Looks very cool, methinks!

Sonya was so happy with her beautiful desk, she decided to take a glamour shot on it.

AFTER
sonya on desk

Sonya was also kind enough to send me a picture of the desk in its new home.

DESK IN SONYA’S HOME
IMAG1116

So, I am now available for commissions. woot!


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What’s this Worth?

Congratulations, you’re the next contestant on The Price of the Dresser Is Right!! What should I charge for this beaut?

the jenna1

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

    My Market: I am selling this on Craigslist.
    My “Studio” Space: I do not have a lot of room, so I may go lower just to get this out of my house. Landlord thinks the back porch might cave in. Boyfriend asked when I’m going to talk to my therapist about my “hoarding.”
    My Labor: I put a lot into this one, although ’twas labor of love, and besides I’m not sure that correlates to market worth.

Thank you all for your help in todyay’s game of The Price of The Dresser Is Right!


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To Paint, Perchance to Repaint

By the third time it happened… well i still wasn’t quite used to it! I have painted something beautifully, and in some cases painstakingly, and the buyer plans to repaint it a different color. What is this phenomenon? Perhaps I am sensitive because I was once a housepainter for the highly recommended Complete Home Care, and thus I have some professional experience. What the f do these girls know? Yes, they were all girls. Why would they buy an item that is the wrong color? Are they gonna die when they see the actual original surfaces, lol, or are they gonna just go over my smooth paint job? I know I told at least one customer about Klean Strip paint remover and even showed her my scraper and gave her some instructions for how to remove the paint.

Here is the first of three: “I painted it, now they plan to repaint it” incidents:

1. Now this one is scary. I had managed to conceal that underneath lie a piece of crap. My customer was a mother with her son, who wasn’t all that much younger than me, buying stuff for his new apartment. The mom said she just needed it to be a different color to match the room it would be in.

BEFORE
IMG_0644

AFTER
green cart

SOLD FOR $25

STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING POSTS INVOLVING BACK-TO-BACK DRESSER REPAINTS!

Sold!

Within three days of being put up on Craigslist, within two weeks of finding it, which included a trip to Scottsdale, AZ at The Sanctuary for my brother’s wedding. There are no words. There’s also no before photo.

I was likely influenced in the color by my love for Arizona. I’m glad the flower design is still visible. I’m glad my buyer didn’t mind that i didn’t paint it perfectly in one spot before i decided to use Menard’s painting tape!

Behold, “The Bench:”

SOLD FOR $40

Another Red Chair?

I suppose one red chair inspires another…

This was a cute little find that I’d held onto for a long time, not sure what exactly to do with it. For a while, I used it as a plant holder, but that grew tiresome. Then I hung it as a decorative ornament on my back porch, but that was just a bit weird. Then one day it hit me. Hearts. Red. Paint chair red.

The girl who bought this red chair, Vanna, is starting her business as a children’s photographer, and bought it to use as a prop! She referred to it as “one of those great Craigslist finds.” That comment went straight to my heart (pun intended), and made me feel all warm and fuzzy. She was very sweet, and if you have a child, I recommend contacting her. You can check out her work on her Facebook page. She’ll work within your budget and come up with great ideas and occasions for photographing your child!

Also, my brain is not only permeated by red chairs, but also by the song Red Shoes. Check it out in case you too have red on the brain. 🙂

This was an easy job by the way. I smoothed out the wood with some sandpaper, and then used some red paint I already had, and that was all she wrote. Or painted.

BEFORE

AFTER

SOLD FOR $10