When I woke up that Saturday morning before Labor Day, I thought about turning over and going back to sleep.
The night before, I’d spent some time perusing Craigslist and the newspaper classified section. But both showed little in the way of yard sales. Typical on a holiday weekend.
But the bargain hunter in me would not go back to sleep, so I slipped out of bed, grabbed a handful of cash and the keys to the pickup truck and set out driving down the country roads near our house.
Unlike most Saturdays, I had no plan. No Craigslist printouts. No circled newspaper ads. No pre-mapped route. (Yes, I am that kind of yard sale shopper — more prepared than a Boy Scout!)
Instead, I just drove, looking for signs and enticing piles of junk along the roadway.
It didn’t take long before I saw a sale, just a few miles from my house. It came up on me so fast, I had to do a turn around and circle back to the sale. And boy, am I glad I did.
This was my kind of yard sale. A bunch of old rusty, spiderweb-covered stuffed strewn out in a gravel driveway.
I immediately spotted a set of four old sturdy wooden chairs with a faux wood, three-legged dining room table. The table held no interest for me, and not just because it only had three legs. The chairs were covered with some dusty chair pads in a hideous fruit-covered pattern.
“How much for your chairs?” I asked, holding my breath, for it was too early in the morning to be making bargains.
“$20 for the table and the chairs,” the proprietress answered back.
“I don’t want the table,” I said. “How much for the chairs?”
“Well, I wanted to sell it as a set. How much will you give me?”
“The table only has three legs,” I answered back. “I don’t want it.”
“I’m sure I have the other leg in the building,” the proprietress responded.
By this time, I had also picked up an old wooden Coke crate and another little do-dad.
“How about I give you $20 for everything?” I asked, referencing the chairs and my other two purchases.
That transaction was to be the start of a very good yard sale venture, as you can see by my packed pick-up truck.
Can’t you just hear the “Sanford & Son” theme song?
The chairs are in the back. You can see the legs sticking up in the air. (Insert dirty joke here!)
Anyway, here’s what they looked like, sans the ugly cushions, which went straight in the trash.
I later saw a set of six chairs just like these and a table for sale at an antique store for $399. They were labeled as made by Lexington Furniture, a North Carolina-based manufacturer from way back. Even though I don’t have the matching table, I’d say I got a pretty good deal at less than $5 per chair.
I pondered the set of chairs for a while, sometimes sitting in them while I pondered.
How to make them over?
Initially, I thought about painting them all the same and selling them as a set. But the sitting and the pondering convinced me otherwise.
Though these chairs are solid wood — they’re not made for long sitting by big-butt people. And we are big-butt people around here, so I decided not to paint and sell the chairs as a set as a favor to other big-butt people around the world. (I do not think much about little-butt people and their chair-sitting preferences.)
After much pondering, the chairs and my other yard sale purchases started talking to me. Why not use my other Memorial Weekend yard sale purchases as inspiration for the chairs.
That’s exactly what I did.
Remember that Coca-Cola crate?
Here it is, rendered as a chair and accessorized with other yard sale finds (everything except the basket holding the Coke bottles; Atta Dad made that):
And here’s a closeup of the chair seat, an homage to my favorite soft drink. I may be North Carolina born and raised, but I’m a Coca-Cola devotee. (Coke Zero is my drink of choice.)
I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Emperor’s Silk for the chair. I painted the Coca-Cola logo in Old White, then heavily sanded BEFORE waxing because I wanted an aged, worn look. I finished the chair with a coat of clear wax and dark wax to give it a nice, old patina.
My son has already claimed this chair for his room. And while I think it will fit nicely there, I have other plans for another of chairs for his room. I think it will make a perfect desk chair, and I have just the vintage inspiration for my dinosaur-loving boy. When I finish said chair, I promise to share.
And speaking of chairs, I did paint another one, inspired by my yard sale purchases and perhaps the Memorial Day weekend. You’l have to wait until tomorrow for the unveiling of that masterpiece, though.
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