losing my mojo.

Before I get into today’s post, I just wanted to say that I really wish I could give some wax brushes to each one of you who left a comment on Monday’s post!  I never suspected that so many of you don’t even have one wax brush, let alone a bunch of them.  I have to say, once you’ve used a brush to apply wax you’ll never go back to using old t-shirts.  It’s just so much easier with a brush (although I do still buff it afterwards with those old t-shirts).  If you haven’t yet left a comment on that post, you have until midnight (U.S. central time) tonight to leave a comment and be in the running to win the pair of Dixie Belle brushes that I am giving away.

OK, moving on.  I have a confession to make.  Lately I feel as though I have really lost my mojo when it comes to painting furniture.

I just haven’t been having any luck at finding pieces to work on.  First of all, it seems like the prices people are asking for their cast off furniture have gone up (have any of you noticed that?) and it doesn’t seem as though the prices I can charge for my pieces have gone up commensurately.  I haven’t been able to find much of anything for less than $100, and that is typically the most I will spend.

Secondly, I’ve been striking out with the online purchases I do set up.  I’d arranged to meet someone at their storage facility to buy a dresser a couple of weeks back and the person never showed.  We waited in the parking lot for 45 minutes, I messaged repeatedly, and nothing.  I finally heard from her three hours later when she messaged to say that she got held up at work.  Really?  And she couldn’t bother sending me a message to let me know?  As you can tell, I’m still bitter about that one.

I found another piece on Craigslist recently and arranged to go pick it up on a Thursday evening, and once again I was ‘ghosted’ by the seller.  Although we’d agreed on Thursday evening, and I’d set that time aside, the seller never got back to me with her address.  I finally heard back from her on Sunday evening, ooops, she’d forgotten about me.

Not quite as annoying, but still somewhat frustrating, in many cases I send an inquiry about a piece of furniture and just never get a reply of any kind.  I assume the items are sold, but I still see the ads listed.

Really though, all of those things just feel like excuses.  The truth of the matter is that I don’t know what direction to take these days.  I know I could paint up some mid-mod pieces and they would likely sell quite quickly.

But the competition for snatching up these pieces has gotten quite fierce, and now the sellers seem to know that they can get more than $50 for them too.  Plus, I’m just not feeling inspired by the mid-mod pieces of late.

I sometimes wonder if I should just play it safe with some more traditional sort of pieces painted in neutral colors, like the sofa table I painted a while back.  It sold quite quickly, so I think this style is a safe bet.

But I’ve never really been drawn to this style, and it doesn’t satisfy my need to feel creative to paint these pieces.

I really love pieces that have that sort of shabby chic vibe.

I’d certainly work on more of these if I could find them.

bed full

What I really love most of all though are the primitive, farmhouse, rustic sort of pieces.

This is the style that I have in my own home, and the look that really speaks to me personally.

But, these pieces generally require more repair work and it’s difficult for my handyman Ken to work on larger pieces in the winter.  It gets so much easier when he can just pop over to my carriage house workshop and let himself in to work on something.  Then I just come home from the day job to find pieces magically repaired.

Hopefully I’ll find more of these primitive sort of pieces this summer.

For those of you who also paint furniture, I’m curious to know, what kind of pieces are you working on these days?  What styles are selling best for you?  Are you still finding good bargains on Craiglist?  Do you choose pieces that inspire you creatively, or do you stick with pieces that you know will sell easily (or maybe you are lucky enough that those two things are one and the same)?  Inquiring minds want to know, leave me a comment!

In the meantime, I did manage to bring home a dresser that I found on Facebook Marketplace last week.

dresser before

I’ll be finishing this one up over the weekend and sharing its makeover with you next week (and I think you might be surprised by my choices on this one!), so be sure to stay tuned.

45 thoughts on “losing my mojo.

  1. I’m in a little different place than you lately, I’m closing my shop and moving so I’m not experiencing a shortage of pieces to paint! But, my best guess on finding furniture in your area is waiting a couple of weeks till spring cleaning kicks in! And my other solution to finding furniture at a great price is to go to estate sales on the last day, a couple of hours after they have opened. That’s when the estate sale company is feeling quite open to negotiating good prices on pieces they have left. And one other hint, call junk removal companies (especially independent ones) to see if they sell the furniture they remove in their clean outs. They may be a great resource.

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  2. I get where you are coming from. I moved across country 2 yrs ago and I have been finding the prices have really jumped up. Prior to the pandemic I found many reasonably priced pieces.
    Cynthia

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  3. You are definitely not the only one. I’m always looking for my friend. All I seem to find is plastic furniture poorly made. I have my best luck on bulky trash week but if you’re at work that’s a disadvantage for sure! Soon it will be yard sale season. That should help.

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  4. Prices have definitely been going up around here too – coastal SE NC. And I’m also not able to sell at as much of a profit. I go to auctions and estate sales mostly. They are starting to pick up. But these days even at auctions it seems I have to pay more so I try to focus on one or two pieces that I’ll have to pay a bit more for. I occasionally find pieces at the Restore or thrift stores but even they seem to have gone up. The pandemic really did a number on my booth business. I considered giving it up but I swear it’s like a disease! I love it and can’t seem to stop 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. I love the older pieces too. Can’t seem to find the inspiration for mid century. I imagine things will probably get better for you in the warmer weather.

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    1. It definitely sounds like I’m not alone. I have been finding a few pieces at the ReStore, but not much at the thrift stores. Maybe I need to head back to the ReStore this weekend!

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  5. I avoid Craigslist like the plague. In our area (suburbs of Atlanta) Facebook marketplace is loaded with furniture. Most folks start high and quickly reduce if no action. Pieces needing repair are often very minimally priced, they just want it taken away. It’s all about supply and demand and with so much available, the prices tend to be lower.
    For the primitive stuff, that’s a little harder to find because there’s just not as much of it and it’s priced higher too.
    Have you checked the online auctions in your area? We used that service to empty my parents house in Ohio since COVID rules did not allow onsite auctions.

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    1. It always seems like the online auctions come with a lot of rules … like if you are the winning bid, you have to pick the item up at a location two hours away and you have to be there between 1 pm and 2 pm on a Tuesday. OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s never convenient.

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  6. Real Spring is right around the corner and once estate sale/garage sale/tag sale season heats up you’ll be able to stockpile more inventory. Getting your mojo back is sometimes just a matter of reconnecting with your original motivation(s) and/or creating new ones. I’ve loved following your blog for years; from what I can tell you have 2 primary motivating factors: filling your soul creating beautiful items that speak to you and putting aside $$ for your travelling adventures. So it may be, while the inventory for interesting furniture is on the low end, you’ll need to bite the bullet and crank out traditional pieces for your bucket list fund and then work on the few unique items you can find (for now) to fuel your creative spirit. I have faith in you!! Plus a nap, which always makes everything better…….

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    1. Leslie! It’s as though you can read my innermost thoughts! You’ve nailed it perfectly. And I think I’ll schedule that nap for tomorrow. It’s supposed to be rainy and cold, perfect napping weather 🙂 Then next week I’ll start scouting out some of those traditional pieces.

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  7. I am seeing these exact issues in all places to buy used furniture. I’d never do that to someone else. People think their old stuff is much more valuable than I do even those pieces that need major repairs. My redoing has slowed way down not being able to get the pieces that fit my purposes. It has been fun but may have run its course unfortunately. I have thoroughly enjoyed it for quite some time.

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  8. I think we speak the same language! The prices here in NW IN are getting very high – the horrible, beat up “antique” dressers they try to sell for $200 that just need a wee little bit of TLC are ridiculous. Wish I could show you some Marketplace pictures. CL is even worse on pricing. When I do find something reasonably priced on Marketplace, it’s usually gone before I can get to it – I don’t check Markpetplace when I am at work, only during lunch, so that limits my exposure. Even furniture at auction seem to have skyrocketed! We only have on-line here and the prices are very high there too. I keep looking though! Here’s hoping you get your mojo back – your blog is my very favorite!

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    1. Yep, we do speak the same language! And you don’t need to send me photos because I know just what you are talking about. A piece of furniture that has huge chunks of veneer missing and the description says ‘just needs a little work’. It reminds me of my favorite line from ads, ‘just missing one knob,’ which always cracks me up because it may as well be missing all of them unless you magically have a match for that one missing knob.

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  9. What a timely post today,I cannot tell you how right you are. Here on the west coast of Canada and I am experiencing the same challenges. Lots of “project” pieces that require a total rebuild but most worth painting cost the moon. People want to purchase safe, mainstream stuff painted in neutral colours. The only pieces I can really use my creativity is for family or myself.I hope spring brings new possibility.

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    1. Exactly! Fortunately with warmer weather coming I can take more of a chance on the pieces that need repair since my handyman can work on them in my unheated carriage house.

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  10. I have been having a hard time in my neck of the woods too. Yes, prices too high to make a profit in my booth. Estates sales have been numerous, but the prices they want for some pieces are way out of my league. Not sure what’s going on. Glad you shared! Still inspired by all your pieces.

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    1. I’ve always found that estate sale prices on furniture are too high for me, except at the very end of the sale when they are practically giving things away. I have a hard time making that timing work for me though!

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  11. I find that if you go to an Estate sale on the last day just an hour or 2 before they close, everything is 75%off. That’s where I find my deals. Like you I love my old antiques that need.love. I have lots of love. I paint alot of pieces in Gray and Blue and I have no problem selling. Good luck. The warmer weather is coming.

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    1. As I mentioned in my reply to Cherie, I have a hard time making that timing work for me with estate sales. It’s good to hear that pieces in blue sell well for you though. I’ve been wondering if blue has gone out of fashion of late. I’ll have to get some blue out soon!

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  12. This is so true! We are experiencing the higher prices in VA also. Goodwill, HFH ReStore, online auctions, CL, Marketplace – they have all gotten so high here. The same with selling, margins have gotten very narrow and the pieces are taking a lot longer to move. And the debate is real on whether I stick with the white/cream colors to help ensure a piece sells, or go with what inspired me in the first place. I get so unnerved bringing a piece into the store and being the only teal or red piece in a sea of white furniture (with a loud “what were you thinking?!” resounding in my head)! Hoping the Spring and the warmer weather will help both with the economy and folks fear of color! Thanks for putting this out there – makes me feel better knowing it’s shared! 😊

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    1. You know what? I’m really glad I put this out here too! It’s always good to feel like you aren’t alone. And I often hear that exact same ‘what were you thinking?’ in my head, and in fact, as you’ll see next week, it will be the theme of my next blog post!

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  13. Oh Miss Quandie this hurts! I cherish the idea that your neck of the woods is the holy grail of great old furniture finds and I’ve often said that one of these days I’m coming up there to look around……pulling a UHaul behind me! I really hope that this is just a glitch, a dry spell……here in Los Angeles every thrift store seems to have an “antiques expert” on staff. I think they contact certain antique store buyers with whom someone has developed a relationship and the things left in the Thrift are either blah or waaaaay overpriced. I’m looking at you Salvation army! Anyway, I hope you have better news when the yard sales start back up. In the meantime, I just love your miscellaneous re-dos. (-:

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    1. I know, right? I used to feel like there was no point in stocking up on great furniture finds because when I was ready for another piece to paint the options were a dime a dozen. Not so these days. Those garage sales can’t get started soon enough, although here in MN that is at least a month away still.

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  14. I am so sorry you’re struggling for inspiration. I got burned out for a while, and nothing inspired me. It felt like I was painting the same pieces over and over again. I finally decided to just let go. I started painting what MY heart desired. Those pieces always sold. Always. It may have taken a bit longer, but finally, the right person came along. Doing this made painting those run-of-the-mill pieces, those commissioned pieces that just weren’t my style, so much easier. I do have to say that painting those commissioned pieces in styles I just don’t like is hard! Follow your creative spirit at least 75%n of the time so that you don’t burn out and stop loving what you do.

    Yes! Prices for furniture that people used to just throw away have gone up. Good used furniture – real wood – has increased greatly. Heck, particle board pieces around here, just mass-produced junk, people want $100 or more for. No, thank you! People have realized that there are many of us who love used furniture to refinish or paint to sell and now think their pieces are worth what we’d sell them for once redone. It’s insane! Profit margins have sure dropped.

    What ever happened to manner? Unless someone’s job is life or death, they have time to message you that they’re going to be 4 hours late! Then others to just leave you hanging! How do you forget you’re selling something? Argh! You have to be so very frustrated between not painting how your heart desires, the cost of pieces, and the rudeness of others. I know this is how business, especially creative business, goes sometimes, but it still just stinks. I truly hope things turn around for you soon!

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    1. I basically decided that this year I would stick to following my creative spirit 100% of the time for that very reason, so I wouldn’t burn out and stop painting furniture altogether. Now if I could just find those pieces that fuel that spirit!

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  15. How frustrating for you! It bothers me that people can be so rude! Yes prices for pieces have gone up. I usually spent $75 to $125 for pieces. Now they want $150 to $250 for them. I am just going to be patient. I do understand how you are feeling. Hopefully things will turn back around. 😊

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  16. You are not alone! I am also finding that sellers are asking for more money these days for the same pieces I used to get cheap. And the thrift/resale stores in my area have never been very good. I am also finding that the sale of painted furniture has slowed down in my area. Now I’m also looking for pieces in better condition that just require minor sprucing up.

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  17. I live outside the cities (you’ve been here, lol) and always see people getting the best things on their blogs for dirt cheap off Facebook marketplace. Everything I see locally is way overpriced and junky. Because of my health issues, I haven’t been able to thrift this past year so don’t know what those prices are looking like. I get my second COVID shot tomorrow and can’t wait to get back in the stores. Craigslist isn’t any better around here either.

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    1. I’m betting that you see a lot of the same things I do on Craigslist (do you also look at the Minneapolis version?) Now that our governor has opened up the vaccinations for everyone over 16, I’m hoping to get vaccinated in the not too distant future myself. Although so far it looks nearly impossible to get an actual appointment. I’m glad you were able to get yours and will be once again able to mingle with the public 🙂

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  18. In the last 5 years the number of consignment stores in my area has tripled. And the prices for furniture in this type of establishment has as well. I wonder if that might be impacting the availability of pieces. I completely get your drift of working on pieces that inspire you. And for the record I love the primitive farmhouse pieces too.
    Here’s hoping things swing back to normal in the coming months.

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    1. I’m betting that competition to find pieces best suited for a makeover has tripled along with the number of consignment stores, and that’s definitely impacting the availability of pieces. Especially for someone like me who has a day job and can’t spend a ton of time surfing Craigslist and dashing out to be the first one to snatch something up. I also wonder if availability of vintage/antique pieces has dwindled … after all, they aren’t making new antiques, the number of vintage dressers out there is finite, so it would make sense that there just aren’t as many available anymore.

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  19. I believe this trend we are seeing is due to several things a) Cost of lumber has gone up astronomically therefore making new pieces quite expensive so the demand for used items has increased b) over the past year many people have had more time to “play around” with renovating furniture etc so the availability of pieces has gone down (therefore pushing prices up) c) more people have been watching home improvement shows and getting inspired to DIY d) many people cannot afford new furniture and are either just hanging onto what they already have or buying “junk” that would normally be available for us rehabbers. e) some people have not been comfortable buying or selling to the public during this time. And I’m sure there are many other reasons. At least some of these reasons will start to disappear as people are able to get out more and have less time/need for DIY and/or want to get rid of stuff. I agree with ‘Leslie’ in that it is important for you to be true to why you paint furniture (and other items). First, you must keep doing what you love. Otherwise it just becomes another “day job.” And yes, it is a business that funds your travels so you need to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. But at the end of the day people want to buy fun, inspiring things that make them smile. This will only happen when YOUR heart is in it. So be true to yourself and what you love! You are blessed to have a skilled neighbor like Ken. Maybe he has some ideas on how to make some rustic type pieces on the cheap that you can paint. This can feed both your soul and your travel fund😊Wishing you all the best!

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    1. You make some really good points Connie. We’ll have to see how things start to change now that restrictions are lifting and more and more people are feeling comfortable about going out and about. And you’re so right, I’ve never wanted this hobby to feel like a job. That always takes the fun out of things 🙂

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  20. Morning, I totally feel you. I too feel the very same way and after 8 years am pondering slowly finishing pieces I have in stock and phasing out BUT then I think of all the time I invested into getting where I am today (which is a really small blip in the world) and wonder.. is this what I am meant to do? And if so how much longer?

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  21. PSSST … I’ll let you in on a little secret. http://www.nextdoor.com. Now, let me qualify … I don’t rehab furniture. I’m on a budget, so purchasing frugally. Nextdoor has a “For Sale” section. You can even narrow down a search by Furniture and/or Home Decor, etc. Yes, you have to sift to find a “treasure” just like at a thrift store but there are finds. HINT 1: I check first thing in the morning, like 6 am … just sayin’. I just got a $2,200.00 GORGEOUS traditional solid wood corner computer armoire … for $300 … delivered! Many ads list the “price or best offer”. I’ve negotiated down to dirt – even when OBO wasn’t stated. HINT 2: A couple of times when I couldn’t afford something and it’s still listed after a few days, I’ve texted and offered a low-ball price figuring “what could it hurt?”. I’ve been astonished that my offers have been accepted more than once! I’ve always enjoyed your great taste and blog, for me it’s wonderful eye candy and inspiration, so thought that I’d pass on this source just in case it helps. Good Luck!
    P.S. ALWAYS check out the free section, just in case … fingers crossed … 🙂 .

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