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    DIY Wedding Decor: Sola Wood Flower Pomander Balls

    {Update: we are thrilled to be featured on the WeddingBee boards!} Flowers are expensive. Ok, now I'll tell you something you don't know. Sola wood flowers are not expensive. I'll tell you a few other things I've learned recently:  Sola wood flowers are actually made of wood from tapioca plants. It's like a really thin version of balsa wood - made into FLOWERS! And they look incredibly realistic. My discovery path looked a little like this: Pinterest > Etsy > Google > > Pinterest > Here's a little tutorial on how to make your own sola flower pomanders! They, and these instructions, could be used to make so many different decor items. I can't wait to search out and DIY some other creative ideas for them! 1.    I purchased hundreds of sola wood flowers from Most of them were the natural wood color, except for a few that I ordered already dyed orange. {our colors are a peachy orange, gray, and lots of white and blush pink} They cost approximately $.25 each. 2.     There weren't many color options available, so I decided to make my own. I bought a couple of craft paints from Michael's Crafts. 3.     And mixed them into some water in old tupperware dishes. When I first tried, I underestimated the amount of paint I'd need. I kept mixing until it coated the flowers nicely when I dipped them in. I'd say I used about half of each bottle with the amount of water you see below. 4.      I just held onto them from the bottoms, dipped them in, swished {technical term} them around a bit, and plopped them on some paper towel to dry. I didn't soak them in the paint at all - in fact, I never let go of them, the whole process for each flower took approximately 3.786 seconds. 5.     Aren't they pretty?!?!?!  I'm in love. 6.     Then I pulled out this styrofoam ball. One of the twelve I purchased. We'll talk later about why I'm returning 11 of them... 7.      And I also bought this fun little gadget - a glue stick melter. It's like fondue, for crafters! It's better in theory than in practice, though. When I make the rest of these poms, I'll go back to my trusty glue gun... 8.     Back to the poms. I dipped the ends of the ribbon in the melty glue, and set them on the styro ball. I'd estimate I used about 20 inches of ribbon. Then I tacked it in with some stick pins, just to triple-secure that they won't fall apart if it gets windy on wedding day!!  9.      Then I started gluing! I used the natural colored, the purchased orange, and my new DIY-dyed flowers in a random pattern.  10.  Ta Da!!  I'm completely, ridiculously in love with how well this turned out! And how real the flowers look. So much better than silk or other fake blooms.... {oh yeah, and about the styro balls I mentioned returning - it's because they were so large, they took over 60 flowers each to make, and were about 3 inches bigger than I expected. you know, because the flowers add circumference once you add them....clearly I didn't anticipate that. so I'm buying less expensive, smaller ones that will require fewer flowers, meaning this project will cost EVEN LESS!!} How would you use these fun, wood flowers? In a bouquet? Just like this? What colors would you dye them? homework      Linked Up To:  Cozy Little HouseMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaThe NY Melrose FamilyThe Blackberry VineCarolyn's HomeworkFunky Polka Dot GiraffeNot Just a HousewifeDIY ShowoffThe Pin Junkie

    If only it were as easy as Flea Market Flip. A re-finishing rant.

    A friend, and one of our dealers at Carver Junk, sent me this blog post a few weeks ago. It hit home, and I've been trying to think of a way to post it for our fans/followers/customers to see, without making it seem cranky. While noodling on how to do that, I've also been (completely unrelated) DVR'ing episodes of Flea Market Flip, and catching up on them on Sunday nights. We've had a ton of people ask us if we've ever seen the show, because they "LOVE IT!"

    Well, here's the scoop on Flea Market Flip. It's completely unrealistic, and gives viewers the impression that big repurposing projects can be completed with quality in less than 24 hours with no additional cost beyond the original purchase price {seriously, who is paying for all that paint, and all the people helping the flippers do the work?!}. And unfortunately, it leads some {not all} of those viewers to expect much lower prices than are feasible at stores like Carver Junk Company.
    To illustrate, let's talk about a piece we bought recently, and repainted: A round pedestal table - priced at $40. The price was fair, so we didn't low-ball or negotiate. We drove 20 miles to pick it up. Because the woman selling it wasn't able to help Chad move it, both he and I had to go, costing us both time - it took about an hour there and back.
    I forgot to take a Before photo, so I borrowed this from an online post. It is pretty darn close to the table we bought. {Although the veneer on this one is in better shape; price is also higher}.
    Purchase price:  $40 Gas: $7  {yes, our Jeep stinks for gas mileage, but it's great for hauling our trailer} Time: $40 {we value our time at $20 per hour} Then, when we got there, we found the reason the table was only $40 {which, of course hadn't been shared when we asked the condition} - the veneer was bubbling on both the top and the leaf for the table. Add an extra 30 minutes of veneer-fixing time. Fixing: $10 Once it was prepped {fixing the veneer}, we were ready to paint. We use Milk Paint or homemade chalk paint, both of which require no sanding prior. Woohoo! Time savers! But, what we make up for in time, we lose in cost of paint. It's worth it, trust us. Milk Paint: $18 Wax: $3  {a small portion of a large container used} Sandpaper, brushes, etc:  $3  {brushes are reused, sandpaper is cheap, but let's add something for supplies} Bonding agent: $7  {ensures the paint sticks and doesn't require the sanding prep work} Painting with Milk Paint is actually a time SAVER, because it dries so quickly. We chose a light color, so that meant it required a couple of coats. We'll call it three. Each coat takes about 20 minutes, so we're looking at an hour. Painting Time:  $20 Distressing/Waxing Time: $3  {about 10 minutes} It's done! That's it, right? Well, there is also the rent {and utilities} that we have to pay in order to have a place to showcase the table. Sq Ft Rent for Table:  $25 per month, but we'll assume it sells in one month. It's also possible that it sells in the first day of the sale, and we replace it with something else that sells - this is ideal :) And there are the folks we have to pay to work at the store while we're open. That only adds a small cost to each item, so we won't even add it here - but it's important to note the number of things that go into "selling" furniture! So, what does that total look like? Purchase price:  $40 Gas: $7 Time: $40
    Fixing: $10
    Milk Paint: $18 Wax: $3 Sandpaper, brushes, etc:  $3 Bonding agent: $7 Painting Time:  $20 Distressing/Waxing Time: $3 Sq Ft Rent for Table:  $25This table COST us $176 to buy, paint, and put in the store. We'd likely price this table at $249 {which is determined by a lot of factors like our market, the piece itself, current demand for this type of item, etc.}
    Can you see all the distressed and chippy goodness in this photo? And the finish feels like butter.
    Well, it's apparent that we aren't professional photographers, but here is the finished table, with leaf. It's she a beauty??
    So once we've paid ourselves, the bills, and sold the table, we will have $73 left over to go buy another piece of furniture and start the process all over again. And just for kicks, let's compare our table {$249} to a couple of major retail store tables & prices:
    Crate & Barrel,  $499
    Pottery Barn, $799
    Now, let's be clear. I am not complaining. We LOVE what we do, we LOVE our customers, and we RARELY encounter a situation where someone is disrespectful about pricing. I didn't blog about this in an effort to change anything that happens in our store, nor to make you feel sorry for us - it truly is more about education. In fact, we even offer painting workshops through Carver Junk, so YOU can do these projects yourself if you like! And now, you'll have an idea of what it will cost you in time and real dollars.{and, you won't be fooled by shows like Flea Market Flip! watch, enjoy, and take it as a great entertainment show :)  }