How we launched an email newsletter

Last year when we made the decision to refocus our inventory on vintage furniture, we wanted to become a go-to source for those in our area who paint and restyle those pieces. We’ve had some good feedback from this group on the mix of pieces in our booth, and we also sell some pieces online through the various buy and sell apps. We’ve had buyers say things like, “I’ll be looking for you on Letgo,” understanding that it might be kind of hit or miss for someone hoping to find our pieces.

Newsletter banner | Hazel & VerdieSo with that in mind, we decided to venture into e-mail marketing, and launch a newsletter for our painter friends to keep them informed about new items in our inventory. I want them to know about what’s in our booth, but also about what we have waiting to go in to the booth. (Because if we can sell a dresser without having to actually move it into the booth? Win-win!)

I started with a trip up to The Picker Knows, where I collected business cards from the booths of anyone selling painted furniture. I also looked up a few folks whose pages I’ve liked on Facebook, and a few buyers I had connected with on the buy-sell apps.
I compiled all the email addresses from these sources, contacted them individually to introduce (or re-introduce) myself and my newsletter concept, and asked if they would like to be included on my list of recipients. Out of 16 invitations, only two have not yet responded, and all others requested to be added to the list.

For the first issue, I made a list of the pieces I thought would be of most interest to painters, took some pictures of those pieces, and compiled their “quick stats” – price, condition, and how to purchase.

newsletter content | Hazel & VerdieI won’t go into a whole how-to on using the email software (I chose Constant Contact, which I love), but suffice to say it’s simple enough because it’s template-based, and I had no trouble compiling and sending my first issue. The software also tracks how many (and which) people opened the email and/or clicked on any of its links, and offers them an automated way to unsubscribe if they wish. (You can do a 60-day free trial with Constant Contact, then purchase a subscription after that. If you choose to do so, please email me first and I’ll send you an invite. If you end up subscribing to it, we’ll both get a $30 credit!)

Our first issue went out a few days ago, and we’ve sold one of the listed pieces. I haven’t figured out yet if it sold to a newsletter recipient, I plan to continue with the newsletter for awhile and hope to also grow the subscriber list. If you are local to the Des Moines, Iowa area and would like to be notified about our paintable inventory, please send me an email and I’ll add you to the list!

Furniture re-do: nautical side table

Hey remember that post where I told you that I never paid more than ten dollars for a table at an auction, except for the time that I did? Well this is that table – and again, although I don’t have a before photo, you can imagine this being a plain honey-pine side table with details that could either be interpreted as ranch/western… or ship’s wheel/nautical, which is what I chose. Here’s what I did with the little pine table, as a gift for my daughter who loves all things beachy and nautical.

Painted a light baby blue using the Martha Stewart brand of chalk paint in Agave.

Nautical side table | Hazel and Verdie's

Nautical side table | Hazel and Verdie's

Seahorse and oceanic graphics applied using an inkjet transfer method. The quotation reads: “The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. – Jacques Cousteau”

Nautical side table | Hazel and Verdie's

Nautical rope applied around the edge.

Nautical side table | Hazel and Verdie's

All ready for an umbrella drink!

Nautical side table | Hazel and Verdie's

I hand-painted a directional “beach” sign to go with this piece that also featured a bit of rope and some shells. Shortly after she received these items, my daughter relocated to Florida for six months to take part in the Disney College Program, where she worked at the Magic Kingdom, visited the beach many times, and even learned to surf. I’m pretty certain she’ll be going back some day.

More soon,

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Repurpose a small wooden cable spool into a coffee station

Recently at work our maintenance team gifted me with a small empty wooden cable or wire spool. (Do they know me or what!?)

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

I had seen so many examples of the larger spools being repurposed into tables, and I knew there must be a  use for this size too. A quick review of Pinterest yielded  several good ideas, but my favorite was the creation of a counterop coffee station. It seemed simple enough, and after some planning I decided my coffee station needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Be as compact as possible to save countertop space.
  • Spin for easy access to all the cups.
  • Decoratively corral supplies on top so they would not “fly off” while spinning.
  • Have a “vintage cottage kitchen” look.

Here are the steps I used to complete my coffee station!

I removed the two full-length bolts that held the cardboard center tube in place, and retained those for a future project. I pulled the tube loose easily from the top and bottom wooden pieces.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Using spray adhesive, I wrapped the tube in a carefully measured and cut piece of textured wallpaper that I had on hand.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

You could also paint the center tube, cover it in Contact paper, wrap it in nautical-style rope, or even wrap it in a mosaic tile sheet finished with grout – whatever suits the look you’re going for. I trimmed the excess off the ends so the paper was flush with the cardboard tube.

I sanded both sides of each of the wood pieces, and painted both pieces top and bottom with three coats of leftover white paint.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

I used my E-6000 glue to attach a spinning spice rack to the underside of the bottom piece of wood. Mine was already white – you might have to paint yours depending on what color you need it to be.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

I attached white screw-in cup hooks to the underside of the wooden top, using my trusty “eyeball-it” method and a stand-in stunt mug to figure out the spacing of the hooks.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

The key here is to make sure the cups don’t touch or clink together, so be sure to use your largest cup as your stunt mug. I set my hooks far enough in so the cups would hang under the top edge, as this would save space. I also had to experiment with a variety of hook sizes so that the hook would fit my cup handles but not drop the cup so far down that it touched the wood base. (I now have a lifetime supply of cup hooks of varying sizes and finishes that were used in testing!)

The top also needed to corral supplies such as sugar and creamer packets. For this purpose I attached a decorative basket to the flat surface of the top, using small dots of hot glue around the perimeter of the basket bottom. This could also be a small wooden box painted to match, a small bin, or any small container that fits the surface and your design theme.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

With the individual sections now complete, I used my E-6000 glue to re-attach the center tube to the wooden top and bottom sections. I used books as weights to hold everything solidly in place as it dried.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Once it was dry, I simply stocked my coffee station with mugs, coffee, and other supplies. It sits neatly under the kitchen cabinetry and keeps everything within easy reach.

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

This piece could also be used for tea or hot cocoa supplies – customize for your beverage of choice!

 

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

Cable Spool Coffee Station | Hazel & Verdie

I’ll be sharing my repurposed wooden spool coffee station at these fun DIY parties. I’ll post direct links to the parties soon!

DIY Salvaged Junk Projects (Funky Junk Interiors)
Inspire Me Tuesday (A Stroll Thru Life)
Metamorphosis Monday (Between Naps on the Porch)

More soon,

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Antique booth sales are brisk

We had our best month ever in December at The Picker Knows, with sales at almost quadruple our rent. This gave us enough money to re-stock for the beginning of tax refund season (people do spend their refunds on “nice-to-haves,” like antique furniture… right?). We also started off strong in January, selling two more pieces and meeting our January rent obligation early in the month. The rest of January has been a little slower, but we are still on track to sell triple the rent, so that too will be a strong month.

The picking trip was fun – we decided to do an overnight trip to the Omaha/Lincoln area, so we spent some time leading up to it looking online for pieces we might acquire in that area. So by the time we arrived on Friday night, all we had to do was call the people whose pieces interested us, and set up appointments to go and take a look.

Vintage dresser | Hazel & Verdie's

Vintage dresser | Hazel & Verdie's

This strategy worked well and by 1 pm Saturday we had a van full of vintage furniture pieces. We stopped at a rather interesting indoor flea market that had a large variety of new and vintage items, and we also stopped at a small independent antique shop while in Omaha. Found bargains at both of these places, crammed them into our already-packed van, and headed home, arriving back in Des Moines around 5 pm Saturday.

Vintage dresser | Hazel & Verdie's

PK is good about calling us whenever a piece of furniture leaves the booth – this lets us know that our booth has a big open space in it, and of course we always want to look full. So we like to have a few pieces in storage at the house that we can take over right away when something sells. (It’s a balancing act – we’d get a bigger booth but we don’t want to be on the hook for additional rent, especially because the rental rates are going up soon. So we store as much as we can at home, and take one or two pieces at a time up to the shop as needed.)

Vintage dresser | Hazel & Verdie's

Fingers crossed for a strong weekend to cap off January!

More soon,
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Furniture re-do: chalkboard coffee table

I’ve never been shy about grabbing something useful off the curb… and neither has Greg. The two of us make a rather unbeatable team at this, and we seem to recognize the value in the same types of things. Case in point: a nice piece of furniture, like this low-slung coffee table that we picked last Fall. Well-made, a handy pull-out drawer, and solid if a bit out-dated.

coffeetable

Perfect for an upcycle project! My vision for this piece was based on its height – it stood only about 14 inches off the floor, on beautiful curvy legs, and had a solid expanse of top. I envisioned it as a piece for a kids’ room, and I thought, “It’ll make a great play surface, but they’re going to write all over it.” And that’s when it hit me!

Chalkboard coffee table | Hazel and Verdie's

Chalkboard coffee table | Hazel and Verdie's

 

Yep, I masked off that center section of the top, painted the table base with a light blue hue called “Little Whale” from the Tones for Tots line of Fusion Mineral Paint, and then painted the center section with chalkboard paint. I lightly distressed the blue base, and sealed it with satin-finish poly sealer. It made the perfect activity table, especially if those activities revolved around chalk!

Chalkboard coffee table | Hazel and Verdie's

More soon,

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