7 Cool Yard Sale Tips

7 Cool Yard Sale Tips

Spring Is On The Way

Hi Friends,

I know it’s been a while since we’ve been in touch with you, and we didn’t want you to think we have forgotten about you.  Angie and I have been very busy on several distressed furniture projects for clients, and a couple family members.
7 Yard Sale TIps

Today it was in the 70’s here in North Carolina and the beautiful smells and heavenly sights of Spring are all around us.  So we’ve naturally been thinking about all the things we want to do with all of this wonderful weather that is headed our way.

It’s Almost Yard Sale Season

One of the most exciting things that we love to do together this time of year is go to yard sales, garage sales and estate auctions.  The season for all of these great opportunities to score some great new items for the house will be in full swing, and we plan on taking full advantage of these.

It’s not just about housewares, furniture and great deals though.  To get out early on a Saturday morning in the Spring with a hot cup of coffee, a pocket full of small paper bills, and start hunting for bargains is such a great experience.  Yes, it may not be for everybody, but we love it and there are very few ways to find such amazing deals.

So here are a few tips to getting out there and having a great time.

  • Go Early – Not just early in the morning (although that is an absolute must), but go early in the season.  Some folks have multiple yard sales throughout the year and you can be the first to get to the good stuff!
  • Bargain – Yard sales are about bargaining.  Never pay the ticket price.  It’s half the fun anyway and the people expect it.
  • Ask About Other Items – If you like the style of furniture that you see, but don’t see the right piece, don’t be afraid to ask the people if they have anything else they want to sell.  You may get hold of something no one else will!
  • Go On Friday – This tactic can either blow up on you or work out great.  Go around neighborhoods on Friday afternoons and look for yard sale people that are setting up tables and putting out merchandise.  Ask politely if you can look around.  Some people will tell you know but a lot will say yes.  Remember they want to get rid of this stuff so they are more than happy to take your money in most cases.
  • Go To Upscale Neighborhoods – Look for sales in upscale neighborhoods.  A lot of times you can find really nice pieces for a great deal.  A lot of times it’s not about the money for them, but moving out the junk so ask for a good deal and you’ll probably get it.
  • Church Yardsales – These can be excellent sources of great items.  They typically get a bunch of families in the church to set up booths or tables in the parking lot.  You can go to 50 different yard sales at once when you find these.
  • Take Cash – I know this is kind of obvious but just don’t forget to go to the bank on Friday and don’t take all $20’s.  A good mix of $1’s, $5’s and $10’s does the trick.  You don’t want the seller to be rethinking the bargain he just gave you while he searches for change!

Those are some good tips to get you started.  The main thing is to get out there.  Spring is a simply wonderful time to be out looking for bargains and these types of sales will be everywhere soon.

Thanks so much!  We love having each and every one of you around.

How To Build A Brick Book Shelf

How To Build A Brick Book Shelf

how to build brick book shelf

We shared recently some pictures of our two new brick book shelves that we built in one afternoon for less than $40.00.  We told you we would be sharing a tutorial on how to build a brick book shelf for your own home so here it is.

Yes, most people could probably look at the shelf and see how to make your own, but we do tutorials here as you know, so we wanted to put together this quick tutorial to show you how we built these beautiful brick book shelves.

Now, there are of course a million ways you can do this project.  You can use many different types of bricks, material for shelves, stain colors or paint, different sizes to fit your needs, etc.

We chose this particular style and size to fit the needs of the room we put them in so be sure to do the same.  Take this information and be creative.





What You Will Need

  • Bricks – Choose Your Own Color, Size and Style – For ours we used simple red bricks from Lowes $0.49 each.  We used about 40 of them but this will vary depending on the size book shelf that you are building
  • Shelving Board – We chose 3/4 x 6 shelving board from Lowes
  • Skil Saw or Hand Saw – Unless you buy your shelving board already pre-cut in the size you need
  • Wood Stain – Choose your color – We mixed Minwax Dark Walnut and Golden Oak together to get the shade we were looking for
  • Sandpaper – 150 grit
  • Foam Paint Brush or Clean Cloth
  • Furniture Wax or Polyurethane
  • Clean Cloths

Step 1

how to build brick book shelf

Cut the shelving board into 2 foot sections (remember this is what we did on this book shelf.  If you need a bigger book shelf adjust according to your needs)

Step 2

how to build brick book shelf

Use sandpaper to smooth and round the corners and edges of the board.  This step may be optional, but we do this whenever we cut shelving board.  The smooth, rounded edges give it a very nice, professional looking finish.

On this step we used an electric sander, and if you have one it is highly recommended.  It will save you a ton of time and effort.  However, if you don’t have one it is not mandatory.  You can sand it by hand.

Step 3

how to build brick book shelf

Use foam brush or a clean cloth to apply the wood stain to the newly cut and sanded shelving board.  Apply liberally and wipe off the excess to quicken the drying time

When the stain has completely dried, seal the shelves with furniture wax or polyurethane.  We used Minwax Furniture Paste.  Wipe on with a clean, cloth.  Let dry 10-15 minutes then buff with a new, clean cloth

minwax furniture paste












Step 4

how to build a brick book shel

Assemble your bricks and begin stacking them to put the shelves onto.   For ours 2 bricks on each side of the base was sufficient as we were making small book shelves.  On a longer book shelf you may need to add more to the sides or middle for stability.

***Stability is everything on these and it pays to go slowly.  We’re not using mortar or any kind of sealant so the bricks are merely stacked. You do not want this bookcase coming down on a curious toddler

As you can see on ours we used 6 bricks on each side of each shelf.  Doing it this way you could not go any higher than 2 shelves and maintain stability.

If you want to go higher than 2 shelves then put the appropriate amount of bricks needed to allow room for your books on the bottom shelf then subtract at least 1 and maybe 2 bricks per side for each shelf as you go up.

So for example on our bookcase we have 6 on each side for each shelf.  If we were going higher we might do 12 total bricks on the bottom shelf, 10 on the next shelf up, then 8 on the next.

This will all depend on what size bricks you are using, how long and how tall the shelf will be.  Just play with it and do what works for you.  If it’s unstable then it’s unstable.  Keep trying until you get it pretty stable.  You don’t want to take a chance of it toppling over.

Final Product

That’s it really.  It’s very easy and very cheap to make.  I personally don’t know where you could get a bookcase with more character and rich, rustic style for so little money and effort.

how to build a brick book shel


What Is My Decorating Style?  Let’s Find Out

What Is My Decorating Style? Let’s Find Out

Distressed furniture has become a huge decorating style in recent years.  Interior designers, celebrities, do-it-yourselfers, you name it.  Everyone seems to be decorating their homes in this beautiful and elegant style, and it is not without good reason.

The ease with which anyone can make their own distressed furniture offers everyone from the antiques connoisseur to the frugal stay-at-home mom, the opportunity to fill their homes with the same type of furniture you would find in well-designed interiors from elegant country cottages to antebellum mansions.

As you know, our entire website is dedicated to helping people learn how to distress furniture themselves.  We have decorated much of our home furniture using the same distressing techniques and chalk paint recipe that you see on our site.

However, if you do much looking around the Internet, especially on Pinterest, you will see that distressed furniture can mean anything from shabby chic to utter destruction!  The type of style that we do our own pieces in may be far different from what you would want or need in your home, or even a far cry from what you think is beautiful.antique chair 1

I think this is a good thing.   It allows a very unique decorating style to become an art form in the hands of the painter.   We stress this in our tutorials, but there is no right or wrong in this area; there is only your decorating style personality, your decorating needs and your imagination.

With those three things  you have the power of Rembrandt to create a masterpiece for your home, and the fact that your piece may look different than the one you saw online only means that you now have a one-of-a-kind item that nobody else does – and you made it!

With that being said, if you are one who wonders “Hey, what is my decorating style?” or feels overwhelmed with all of the different styles of distressed furniture you see online we want to help you sift through the noise and find a style that fits your personality and your needs.

Here are some tips to help you get started thinking.

There are many different home decor styles out there.  This post is not about all of them, but specifically about what types of distressed furniture styles may fit your personality and needs.

What Is Your Decorating Style Personality?

Not just how you think, act and feel on a personal level, but in regards to furniture and decor.  What kind of furniture makes you go crazy when you see it?  What kind of furniture makes your breath stop, and your heart start singing “I Gotta Have This”?

Do you frequent antique shops?  Is it the old, worn antique, filled with decades of obvious wear that brings you to life?

How about a piece that is so beaten and worn out it looks as if it is about to disintegrate before your eyes?

Or do you love the soft simplicity of the Shabby Chic look?

Start paying attention while you look at pieces in person or online, and let your eyes and your heart tell you when you’ve found something special.  You can only find it inside.  If you only buy or decorate with what is hot, what is new, or what is in, I think you will be missing out on what really moves you.  Your true decorating personality is not likely to change just because some celebrity is decorating in a certain style this week.

What Are Your Decorating Needs?

Remember, to be practical.  You do not need or have room for every piece that you see and love.  It is always wise to strike a balance between your needs and your wants.  What good is it to have that gorgeous, rare and central piece of furniture in the room if it’s crammed in there with a thousand other unnecessary and distracting items.

Look for ways to turn dull pieces that you already own into works of art.  Do you own distressing and at the level that fits your style and your needs for that room.  Even just a coat of chalk paint with no distressing can do wonders for a dull room.

Keep it simple and be honest with yourself.  You do not need every piece.  Just the best ones!


When you are creating distressed furniture there is no better way to express yourself than by being creative and letting your imagination, as well as the piece itself, determine the outcome.   Don’t box yourself into a certain way of doing things just because everyone else is doing it that way.

Distressed furniture is art in its own way.  Don’t worry about trying something new.  Something new is something unique and that is always a good thing.

Lurking around your house, or possibly in the local thrift shop lies a piece of furniture that is screaming out to be turned into a new and amazing piece of art.  Go get it and get started.

Just make it your own.



Old Distressed Ladder

Old Distressed Ladder

Just wanted to share a few shots of this old ladder we distressed and antiqued for a friend recently.   Our friend cut off half of the ladder and got us to put this really nice distressed finish on it.  We used white and beige with some dry brushed hints of dark gray for contrast, then antiqued the finish.

He gave it to his wife for their anniversary this year to use to hang towels or quilts.  A beautiful distressed ladder.   The possibilities of using this to accent your home are nearly endless.


Distressed Ladder

You might also like this website on DIY and more!

How To Make Custom Distressed Wooden Signs

How To Make Custom Distressed Wooden Signs

If you saw our last post you saw that we have been busy at work making some really cool distressed wooden signs for Christmas.

We have really had a blast creating these little signs.  They are easy to make and they can say anything you want them to say.  The only limits are your imagination!

So, now we come to the fun part, where we show you exactly how we make these signs so that you can do it yourself.  There are a lot of different ways you can do it and we certainly encourage you to experiment and find new and better ways to do it for yourself.  This tutorial just shows the method that we use and have found to work the best for us.

So, let’s get to it.

Here’s what you will need

  • Paint – 2 or more colors (we recommend using Chalk Paint – the official kind or the do it yourself kind that you can make cheap using our free recipe HERE
  • Paintbrushes – 1 large standard brush and 1 small lettering brush
  • Wood Slab: We used a simple pine 1×6 board from Lowes cut into 2 ft sections but you can use anything that will fit what you want your sign to look like
  • Writing Pen
  • Word Processing software, printer and paper:  We used Microsoft Word but any word processing program will work.
  • Sandpaper, Steel Wool, or Sanding Block:  You don’t need all 3.  Any of these will work
  • Furniture Wax And Cloths – We used Minwax clear furniture paste or you can use our dark wax recipe or other similar furniture wax

distressed wood signs


1) Prep And Paint The Wood

I like to do a little sanding to the edges of the board to make them rounded and smooth and not so shard and jagged.  I think this really makes the sign look better but it’s up to you.

Next paint the board.  On this one we are doing a red bottom color that we’re going to distress down to so we start by painting the board red

distressed wood signs


2) Vaseline

distressed wood signs vaseline

After the bottom coat has dried take some vaseline and smear it on the places that you want to show under top coat color (that we will paint on a little later).  The vaseline makes the top coat of color come off super easy later on so be careful where you put it. (If you want more info this method is detailed in full in our tutorial “Chalk Paint and Vaseline Method”

Add it wherever you want the sign to show wear but we recommend focusing on the edges and sides.  Then add some in other places, but don’t add really big smear marks on the front and sides as it can sometimes come out looking unnatural.

*NOTE: You can skip this part or you can use candle wax instead of vaseline.   Both of these substances make distressing much easier but you can choose not to use them and just freehand distress with the sandpaper later on if you wish.

3) Top Coat Of Paint

distressed wood signs

Now add your top coat of paint and let it dry.


4) Lettering

distressed wood signs

Ah!  Here is the tricky part you may be saying, and while it is the most tricky part of the process it is MUCH EASIER than you think!

Now, how you choose to do this is up to you.  We are not professional artists so this method is likely going to be for those of us who have a shakier hand than those with more skill.

If you have artistic ability and can paint the letters by hand please do so.   You can also choose to use stencils for your lettering.  That is fine and a little less time consuming than the method we are going to show you, but with this method you have access to nearly limitless font type and size possibilities so we really like doing it this way.

What you will need is a word processing program like Word or similar.  Just make your page orientation set to “landscape”, type your letters and then adjust the font size so that it takes up about 2/3 of the page (if you are using a 6 inch board like us).  Of course you can adjust this to fit your sign or you taste.  Remember the page will typically be 11 inches long so remember that when you are adjusting your letters.

After you get them the way you like you can go ahead and print the letters.  You may not get it exact the first time, but we have only had to reprint one time.

distressed wood signs

Next, line up the pages so your letters are where you want them to be on the sign.  Then tape the pages to the board.  We used standard painters masking tape, but anything will work okay.

Make sure the paper is flat and tight against the board with no bulges

Now take your ballpoint pen and trace the letters (with considerable pressure but it doesn’t take much)

distressed wood signs

When you are done, remove the paper and you should be able to see the indention of the letters in the wood.  Sometimes it depends on the paint color, wood and lighting to see it good but if you put enough pressure when writing you shouldn’t have much trouble.

Here is a picture of our letters after the tracing

distressed wood signs

Now you are ready to paint the letters with your small lettering brush.  It doesn’t have to be a specific type of brush just something small enough to go around the letters.

Now, again unless you are an artist this may look a little shaky at first and you may have trouble staying in the lines, but don’t worry.  When you distress the letters that shaky, imperfect lettering is really going to look authentic so hang in there and do your best.

Remember old signs were hand painted and not always by great artists so that’s the look we want anyways.

distressed wood signs

distressed wood signs


5) Distressing

Now. take your sandpaper, steel wool or whatever you have and begin scuffing the sign.  If you used vaseline or candle wax it will come off pretty easily.  Just start sanding and work at it until the piece is how you want it.

distressed wood signs


6) Waxing/Finish

When you are finished distressing you can apply a finish.  We used Minwax furniture wax on this one, but on some of our other pieces we used our secret dark furniture wax recipe.  You can get the recipe FREE HERE

distressed furniture wax



See, that wasn’t so bad.  Just add any type of hanging hardware to the back and you will be enjoying your new sign in no time.

distressed furniture wax


Thanks for coming by to see our latest tutorial.  We hope you enjoyed it.  Please come back often.

Angie & Chris

Learn how to antique furniture with antique glaze or wood stain with our free tutorial

Custom Distressed Wooden Signs For Christmas

Custom Distressed Wooden Signs For Christmas

We have just recently begun working on some really cool hand-painted distressed signs for Christmas.

We have these for sale at our booth at Granddaddy’s Antiques and soon online at www.cozyandworn.com but if you are interested we’re selling them for $16.99 each to our blog readers and visitors.

We have some really interesting and unique slogans that you’re not likely to find anywhere else.

Plus if you’re interested, we can make you a custom sign in just about any colors you wish and almost any slogan you want to see for $19.99 plus shipping.

If you don’t want to buy them from us don’t worry!  We’re planning a tutorial showing  exactly how to do them yourself.  Stay tuned for that.

Leave a comment below if you’re interested and let us know if you like these signs.

Distressed Wooden Christmas Signs