What is UP my friends and fellow busybees. I hope you’ve had a great week since I last checked in with you. I started my week off on a VERY exciting note, I had my first real, large-audience media appearance which was super fun and I was very grateful for. I was interviewed by CBC Canada radio and got to go into their studio and be featured by Hallie and the team and I’ve since spoken to another producer who will be doing a video segment on CBC TV on the Our Ottawa program this Saturday. So it’s all been very exciting– it’s the smaller things like this that really help to get me and my brand and my business out there that are really validating and keep me inspired to keep creating.
There can be times where things feel like they’re semi-stagnant or like the growth isn’t there as much as I would hope it to be, but then opportunities like this come along in those times when I’m feeling like that and it just reiterated that I’m on the right path and that doing the things I love and just sticking to that and being consistent will yield results. So I will link that interview in the show notes of this episode if anybody is interested in checking it out but I just wanted to mention it here for anyone who is feeling similarly and like things aren’t really going to plan or you’re not growing as quick as you had hoped you would be— just keep persevering and seeking out those opportunities because eventually you’ll get a “yes” and you never know what will come from those opportunities and who will hear you and who will reach out as a result and what amazing projects can come from that.
So for today’s episode, I wanted to get to this idea a little bit ahead of when it would maybe make sense for this to be aired, which would be closer to the holidays, but I know that some of you (and I mean only some of you, not all of you, because I know you’re my people and if you’re my people you wouldn’t be planning this far in advance) but I know that some of you are already starting your holiday shopping and getting ideas together so I wanted to get the bug in your ear sooner than later if there are any furniture painters or refinishers in your life or if you are one yourself and you’re looking to compile a holiday wishlist.
If that’s the case, I hope that this episode can be of use, because we are going to be talking about the ultimate wishlist for the holidays for the furniture painter and refinisher. I wanted this list to have some different ideas at different price ranges depending on who you are buying for or who you’re asking for a gift from, and you know, you can decide what amount you feel comfortable requesting from someone to pay. But also keep in mind that if the price tags are on the higher side, that’s something that your siblings or a group of your friends or whoever could come together to purchase. Or if you’re buying for somebody else you could go in on a gift with some other people as well. So keep that in mind!
But I basically wanted to compile a list of items that I know are things that aren’t exactly necessities and you could get by without them and still accomplish great furniture makeovers, but they are things that are nice to have and somebody would likely, I’m assuming, appreciate receiving. Things they might not feel like they’re “need to haves” so they might not invest in these products themselves, but would get great use out of them if they happen to show up in their lap.
So that was the mentality I had in mind as I was putting together the items on this list. And I have a quite a few products on this list so I’m not gonna spend a whole lot of time talking about them in detail but if you have any specific questions about them always feel free to send me a DM on Instagram @MelDidItHerself or send me an email it’s Mel@meldiditherself.ca and I’m always happy to answer any questions that you have. I will also be linking all of these items in this blog post– the links that I put in the show notes are often affiliate links, any ones that are are indicated with an *, but just know that that means when you use those links you’re helping to support my business as I get a tiny tiny commission from every sale but it is at no extra cost to you. So in advance, if anyone chooses to buy through those links, I very much appreciate it and your support for me and my business. But regardless, you’re here supporting me by listening to this podcast, so thank you very much for that as well!
And a little sneak peek for next week’s podcast episode: in my Friday Furniture Focus newsletter I sent out last week I had mentioned that I was setting aside some time to do some goal planning for next year. I know, I’m already setting goals for 2023 and it’s not even the end of November. But that’s kind of the point– the sooner you do it, the sooner you start thinking about these things and working towards implementing them and taking action on them. So I like to start early.
But I had mentioned in the newsletter that if anyone wanted to hear my approach to goal setting and planning for the new year to reach out and I heard from so many of you, so I’m actually going to do a two-part episode series next week and the following week on goal setting and how I go about it and some of my goals for the new year and that kind of stuff so if you’re interested stay tuned for that, and if you weren’t already aware, the Friday Furniture Focus newsletter is a weekly newsletter I send out that gives updates on any projects that I have ongoing, shares furniture facts which are different tidbits about the furniture that you’re making over, or a furniture fix which is a hack or a tip for saving time and effort doing your furniture flips. And every week I feature a new furniture painter or refinisher and do a Q&A to get to know them, their pieces, and their business better. So if you’re interested in receiving this, you can head to my website MelDidItHerself.ca to sign up and then keep an eye on your inbox.
So let’s hop into the first choice for the holiday gift guide for the furniture painter and refinisher in your life: A carbide scraper and contour scraper set. These were some of my favourite tools to discover this year because they help you to remove the finish off of your furniture pieces by scraping it off instead of having to use paint stripper and then scraping it off, or sanding it off with an electric sander. It ultimately saves you more time and money– although it doesn’t always save the amount of effort, I’ll admit, because depending on the finish you’re working with, you might work up a bit of a sweat or get a good arm workout in. But for me, it has quickly become my preferred method for removing old finishes off of my furniture flips and I would recommend them for anyone doing this kind of work. The contour scraper sets do the same thing, except they have different blades with different lengths and shapes so that you can really get into the grooves and details of pieces that are more ornate.
Next up is an inexpensive and smaller item, which would make for a great stocking stuffer– painting pyramids. I think I may have mentioned these on a previous episode of the podcast as a way to make your furniture makeovers easier, but this is such a straightforward product. They’re literally plastic pyramids, and you get a pack of them and just use them to elevate your pieces off of the workshop or garage floor when you’re working on them. They’re really structurally sound so they can elevate pieces that are up to 200lbs and although you can put other items underneath the piece to get it up off of the ground, I used to use things like leftover paint cans but depending how big the piece is, it might then be too high up to work on OR be difficult to elevate the piece high enough to get the cans under there in the first place if you’re a one man or woman show. So this is a great item to have handy that makes things much easier and they just stack up into each other for compact storage when you don’t need them.
The next item is a Kreg hardware jig, which is the other great tool discovery I had this year. Personally, there is nothing that makes me procrastinate more during a furniture makeover as when I know I need to do the measurement and math to drill holes for new hardware I’m putting on the piece. Don’t ask me why, I just always classify it as being a pain in the ass and I’m always paranoid I won’t line them up correctly or do the math right or whatever so I just always would put it off. Which was unideal when you’re trying to get pieces finished and out of the workshop. Then my buddy Chris, shout out to BrokenOakRestoration in South Carolina, mentioned this Kreg hardware jig absolutely fucking changed my LIFE because I had never thought about the prospect of there being a tool to help with this, which obviously there is! So it basically acts as a guide that you can set up for how low you want the holes to sit on the drawer face or whatever and then you adjust the spacing of the holes to correspond with the hardware you’re going to be using, mark the spots and then you can drill as per usual. Highly recommend!
Next up is more of a general recommendation, but a great idea is to invest in some new, high quality paint brushes for them if you know they like to paint their pieces by hand. This is something that I often won’t splurge on because I know I have tried and true brushes that work for the time being, but I am always sooo appreciative when I’m gifted them because I love discovering new favourites and trying out different brands and different shapes for different uses on furniture pieces. Check out my blog post Paint Brushes 101 For Furniture Makeovers & My Favourites to find out more specifics on the various types I recommend having in your tool kit, and some that I have been loving lately.
This next item is one of those big ticket items I was mentioning, but it’s something that I have used for about a year now and has performed so wonderfully and saved me a ton of time and effort when sanding my furniture pieces, and that is a SurfPrep Sanding system. The one I have was actually a gift to me from my husband and let me tell you, it is an amazing gift for a furniture painter and refinisher. I was literally so shocked when he gave it to me that he thought it wasn’t a good gift at first because I like, simply had no words. And it’s something that I probably wouldn’t have ended up getting myself because I would have found a way to not justify it, but holy shit it has been so helpful to have.
But again, it isn’t inexpensive, so this is something that would be great to have a bunch of people chip in on. I have the 3x4 electric ray sanding system and I love it because it has different power levels you can control, I can hook it up to my ShopVac so it sucks up any dust that the sander makes so my workshop isn’t riddled with dust, and they have sanding sponges on top of their regular sanding pads that are amazing to sand or scuff sand intricate details and rounded edges on your pieces without sanding them down or sanding them straight off. I also have an affiliate code with SurfPrep so if you do want to use my code, you can save 10% with the SurfPrep promo code MDIH10.
Another smaller item that would make a great stocking stuffer or something similar (because I’m not sure you could actually fit it into a stocking) is a coffee table book that I got called The Furniture Bible. Not only is it a beautiful looking hardcover coffee table book that looks great as décor (and is great for staging your furniture flips with– hot tip!), it is such an amazing resource for furniture refinishers. The author is Christophe Pourny and the tagline reads “everything you need to know to identify, restore and care for furniture”. Enough said, amirite?
I learned about different furniture from different eras and how to identify it, how to identify different wood species in my pieces, different types of joinery, different types of products and how to use them and when it’s recommended to choose them, and so much more. The title The Furniture Bible is painfully and wonderfully accurate, and if you know someone who does this work that doesn’t yet own this book, it is an absolute Must Buy.
If you or the person you’re buying for are wearing cheap protective eyewear that they had sitting around for years and is functional but maybe not all that comfortable or has scratches on it that they’re just squinting through, a great upgrade you can provide them is with some new protective eyewear. And because I’m a basic bitch, of course I’m going to recommend finding something stylish(ish) while you’re at it! The ones I have are gold-rimmed Aviator-style protective safety glasses and I think they’re pretty cute (all things considered) so I would definitely recommend them– they’ve held up great over the years against scratches and breaking when I inevitably knock them off the workbench time and time again when I’m not using them, which is great. I’ve also recently discovered Stoggles which have lots of different styles of stylish protective eyewear as well - and I actually just checked their Instagram and they’re having a 50% off Black Friday sale too, so might be worth checking out! I haven’t tried them myself but I’ve seen other refinishers I trust the opinion of rave about them.
Another gift you could give a furniture painter or refinisher in your life is something more sentimental– think something like a sign or neon sign or something with their business name or Instagram account name or something like that. I have a friend who had started an in-home bakery and made cakes and stuff for clients and I ordered a sign that had her name plus Bake Shop on it and it was cute and fit the theme and she really liked it, and I know I’d love something like this to hang with pride in the workshop as well so I thought this would be something super cute to add to the list. It’s just a way to show your support for their business and their entrepreneurial endeavours, and is something they likely don’t already have! Another option would be to have maybe a sweater or tshirt custom printed with their business name or maybe their branding on it, or even having it printed onto an apron if they wear one typically when out in the workshop. There’s lots of options for getting something like this made on Etsy or other similar retailers, so I won’t link any specifically because I can’t say whether or not they themselves do the service well, but just do some research and you’ll come across tons.
And if all else fails and you’re completely lost for what to get the furniture painter or refinisher in your life or what to ask for from others– I’m totally not too proud to just ask for a gift card. Some people think it feels too impersonal, I am not those people. Especially if you can find out who their local retailer or stockist is that they often order from, what a great way to show you care and have done your research while also supporting the local retailer and putting money into them and their business, too. Double whammy! If you have no idea how to sneakily find out which retailer they typically order from, you can sneak a peek at their paint stash and see what brand they often use. If it’s Fusion Mineral Paint, for example, go onto their website, click Find a Retailer and input your town and most paint companies will show all the retailers and stockists that sell their products near you.
And something you may not know about me… I love little motivational messages. They literally always get me fired up, and I keep a running list of ones that are especially catchy or speak to me in the Notes app on my phone. So I’m going to end every podcast episode with one of those that I have noted down over the years, in hopes that you leave our time here each week feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to take on whatever comes your way that week.
So this week’s Mel’s motivational message is: Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
Alright, that’s it for now, I appreciate your time, and I’ll catch you guys next week!