New Year, New European Container, New Shop Goals and DIY Products

Hello everyone!  Another year has passed, and COVID round 2, and I’m ready to just focus on 2022!  We at the Rust and Refind Artisan Market are so grateful for your support and patronage.  As the times progress, challenges seem to increase for us in the retail world.  From pandemics, to economic conditions (supply chain, price increases), to social media and the online shopping world, to customer expectations, it’s becoming a full-time job to try to stay ahead of the power curve.  I cannot say I am ahead of it, but I am doing my best to improve and challenge myself, to make your shopping experience better, to help the artisans who chose to be part of our team, and to find what I am really passionate about in this business.  With it still being January, and the month to to organize and declutter, I am letting go of the unnecessaries and streamlining the necessaries.

The first necessary and my passion is antiques and vintage, especially European.  And trying to hone in on my true style. I still want to offer a wide variety of products for my customers, but less of “everything” and more of my favorites.  The first of my European containers just arrived this month, after a long break from my last one.  August was a tough month to go to Belgium, but absolutely worth it.  They had just opened up after COVID mandates, and the vendors were finally getting to other countries to bring more product in.  The container took way too long,


but IT IS HERE!  Check out some sneak peaks and come visit.  I will continue to bring out to the floor as I get the pieces ready, but there is much available already.  I look forward to another trip, but for now there is plenty of European goodness to offer.  I am holding off putting the product online to allow my B&M customers first dibs.  Which brings me to my second goal.

Brick and Mortar.  In this online shopping world, I still believe that to see in person, touch in person, visit in person is the best. That social and community connection.  Meeting the customers.  Customers learning the stories and seeing things displayed…which is another reason for me to have a B&M.  I love vignettes, staging, styling.  I cannot imagine having a storeroom somewhere and selling solely online.  It is not where my soul wants to be.  Yes, there is more overhead, more “work”, and such….but it is what I enjoy.  Speaking of online….

My 2022 (and 2019, 2020, 2021) goal is to improve my online visibility shop wise.  I have an Etsy shop Rust and Refind on Etsy , but I do realize the economic and customer driven demand for online shops.  I am working on that to allow more of my social media posts “shoppable” for your ease and instant shopping pleasure.  Please give me grace as I try to navigate the technical component of this part of business.  :o)

And, continuing with the B&M space and what we can do to help and improve the customer experience.  We’d love your feedback, of course.  In reviewing our shop hours, we decided to continue with our Wednesday and Thursday opens and two weekends (a first full weekend and another Saturday).  We all have other things in our lives that we need to work on such as custom work, buying, design work, behind the scenes “business” and so on, and we do not have hired help.  And, that other thing….family.  We believe our current hours of operation give plenty of opportunity for our customers to shop in store, and we are always available by appointment.  Please reach out.  Facebook and Google make it difficult to “post” our irregular hours (though Google has allowed us to input our weekend days that we are scheduled to be open), but we are all super at posting events and when we are open.  It may seem repetitive to some of you, but trust me when I say that we get so many inquiries asking when are we open.  We have open flags, signage, Rusty the truck, sandwich boards announcing our opens (working on improving emails, because I hate getting a lot and assume you do as well).  We also will start to work on offering our workshops again.  COVID was tough for in shop workshops, but you have been asking and we will get some out on schedule, BUT also would like to express our workability for offering on-demand workshops based on what you would like to do and when you can do it.  So, workshops by appointment.  We would, of course, need 3-4 minimal attendees. Stay tuned as we work through getting the details and workshop offerings out to you.  And, along with workshops, comes my other favorite aspect of this business. DIY and the diy products!  We have exciting diy news for our customers in that we have expanded our General Finishes lines, Paint Couture lines and Redesign with Prima lines.  All of our artisans will now be offering some component of each of these lines for sale, bringing just about any product you need to you in a one-stop shop.  Our DIY space downstairs has expanded and improved and looks oh so good, too, making it easier to see and find the products.  We all use these products and will be offering you the expertise and products to help with your diy projects!

Finally, the Artisan Mercantile component of the market is expanding as well!  More rentable space downstairs and up, bringing our customers even more local, handcrafted home decor and gifts.  We love supporting other local artisans and offering a wider variety of goods.  Please reach out for more information on getting on the waiting list to rent shelf space, room space, and for our outdoor market set ups this year.

Realistic goals, higher expectations.  :o).   As always, I hope you continue to support us with your purchases, follows, likes, shares, and reviews.  We love feedback.  We love your visits.  Happy 2022, best of health, prosperity and happiness….and,


Smile and Make Life Fun


Decking the Halls for Empty Nesters in Small Spaces

Christmas 101 for decorating a small apartment:  A little goes a long way!

As many of you may know, Mr. Rust and Refind and I are empty nesters, sold our longtime large family home and moved into a small apartment a few miles from that home at Christmas time last year.  Most of our home furnishings and Christmas are in storage until we find our “retirement” forever home, but until then, we are blissfully content in our flat.  We brought many treasures from our travels and life here to enjoy this living small; after all, I’ve never believed in living temporarily while we were and are actually living somewhere temporarily.  I’ve painted walls in homes we lived in for one year; decorated them as we would a long-time home.  365 days of staring at college-style furniture and white walls for 30 years would be such a travesty!  So, on to Christmas decorating 101 for Empty Nesters living in small spaces.

First, let me start with the tree, which is the grand-dame of the Christmas decor.  When we moved from our family home to our flat 8 days before Christmas 2020, Christmas decorating was the last thing on our mind, as was what the future (2021) would bring.  So, we literally grabbed one small Christmas tree from the shop, a garland, lit the porch with Christmas lights, and brought an inherited and found vintage Santa over to deck the living room while our Army daughter was visiting for a few days prior to heading to her Army training in Fort Lee, Virginia.  There is VERY LITTLE STORAGE space in the flat…everything has a place and there’s a place for everything.  The Santas and small tree get stored behind the Turkish screen in the corner after the holidays.   On to Christmas 2021:  we find ourselves still Tennessee house homeless, still living in the flat, therefore in need of a little more Christmas cheer here at home.  I’ve been living Christmas at the shop since October, so one weekend with a bit of time, I finally broke out that tree and was depressed.  Mind you, I have been decorating homes for the holidays for 30 years and was up to 17 trees, so my standards are a wee bit high. But, there’s limited space to decorate and to store when the holiday is over.

Inspiration Ornament

So, with a tree to decorate, we set off on a day trip to Pennsylvania where we visited some small shops and found ONE SMALL VINTAGE ORNAMENT, this vintage wood camel, that ended up being the inspiration of our new tree. Minus our two Santas, all our Christmas decorations (the family ornament tree, the White House trees, the theme trees, etc) are in storage, and although I was a little woe is me and missing that part of our life,  I was also getting a little excited about creating a new tree!  This vintage camel ornament reminded me of my husband’s parents, who lived in Turkey for several years, and many of their Turkish items that we inherited are now in our Turkish-inspired apartment living room.  Now, before I get counseled about THEME trees vs. FAMILY trees, let me say I believe in BOTH.  Our family tree (you know, the one with all the ornaments collected throughout the years from our travels, ornaments received as gifts, children-made ornaments, first(s) ornaments, and so on) is our most treasured.  But, I love doing many trees, and every room in our home had one.  It usually starts with one ornament or idea/theme, and so here goes the “$400 camel ornament story” (because …other ornaments).

The camel ornament was lonely.  He did not look good on the current tree and as I sat staring at it for hours, I knew I had to start over.  In our efforts to #supportlocal , Mr. R&R and I headed to Merrifield Garden Center (our local garden and seasonal/home decor shop) and I found these boho wood print round ball ornaments that reminded me of Turkish-inspired old-world fabrics that set the tone for the rest of the tree.  We also added (from Merrifield) a few wood and felt beaded garlands to coordinate, and these super-cute old-world style wood toy ornaments.  A few more vintage ornaments found on our PA trip (the brown gingerbread style flat ceramic ornaments, and the primitive leather flat star/tree ornaments) complete the look.  It really can be super fun to do a theme tree.  If you’re stumped on how to do a theme Christmas, just find one inspiration ornament or two, and go with it!  From something that reminds you of your past, or a hobby, or favorite color, or anything.  Think Williamsburg trees, wildlife or rustic,  vintage ornament trees, family home-made ornament trees, or go back to popcorn and cranberry garlands!  So many options, and that is why I had 17 trees.  Because other than a few trees like the family tree (that is a theme in itself), mixing styles and colors can be jarring.  The trees can range in all sizes, too (because those large trees take a LOT of ornaments)!

Arguably, the tree is the foundation of Christmas decorations, but I love to deck the halls with favorite decor items like Santas, greenery, nativity scenes, and so on. At the risk of getting yelled at and being called a Christmas decor snob, I don’t think every nook and cranny, cabinet and corner  needs ornamentation or red bows.  Seriously, have you seen those Hallmark Christmas movies?  Who are their Christmas decorating consultants?  I believe less is more and keeping it simple really go a long way when decorating for the holidays, and I’ve noticed it’s a current trend with many of my friends.  Maybe because we are older and wiser (or perhaps after years of doing the decorating, a little tired because who LIKES TO UN-DECORATE)? And, it’s budget friendly, too.  There are so many ways to make your home or apartment (whether large or small) feel festive without going over the top.

Greenery on LightingOne of my favorite (and sometimes cheapest) things is to use fresh greenery.  If you buy it, it can pretty costly (especially this year) so we buy AND forage and mix them both.  Living small has its challenges and perks.  The perks:  you don’t need much to make the space look filled (save time, effort and money).  The challenge:  not a lot of space if you really like a lot of stuff.  :o). We filled our small flat well with large European art and furniture, and simply adding a touch of fresh greenery here and there has a lot of impact. With space limitations, there was barely room for the tabletop tree.  We got creative here and put it in a vintage iron base and on top of a vintage small stool for height and it’s near our fireplace (since it’s not real, we can have fires without worry of drying out the tree or causing a fire).


We purchased relatively inexpensive greenery from Trader Joes:  fresh wreaths for the front door, living room and bedroom windows, and a few small fresh garlands that I cut in half and placed on a few pieces.  A walking trip around our apartment compound produced a huge array of free greens:  cedar, pine, holly. I tucked in bowls and vessels around the flat.  The smell and the pop of green make everything look festive!  A small nativity that we purchased at Merrifield, the two vintage Santas, and a vintage ceramic old-world tree (ours is in storage, so this one reminded us of our grandmother), completed our decor.  I may add fresh greens as the holiday gets closer, since the fresh greenery tends to get crispy and lose its fragrance.  But, when this used to daunt me in the past due to the scope of a redo since our home was large, when #livingsmall, repeated efforts are minimal!

Living small and being empty nesters comes with mixed emotions, definitely.  Although I miss the family home filled with the girls and their friends, and all the decorations; I do not miss the craziness of the spin up to decorate and un-decorate.  I love the spare time to enjoy the holiday and it taking only a day, if that, to decorate our flat.  The past 30 years have been a huge blessing with many memories, and we look forward to the future.  Maybe we will decorate 17 trees again in our forever home.  But, for now, the break has been wonderful and we’ve made our Christmas in our Flat a celebration.   And, I’m thinking the trend to keep Christmas simple is catching on, what about you?  After all, there is THE reason for the season (celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior) that I’m glad we have more time to reflect on.

Until next time, happy decorating (even if you have that big home), and remember, smile and make life fun!

XO, Brenda


Empty Nest Downsizing – Double-Duty Furniture

In my other life I would have been an organizer.  It’s my OCD thing, and I have tricked out our little 962sf flat of ours to be as comfortable and functional, even though less capacity, as our just-moved from 5500sf family home.  Challenging? Yes. Exhausting? Yes.  But, oh so freeing!  The most difficult part of downsizing is going through years of accumulation (we are a military family used to moving every 1-3 years, so this home got quite comfortable in 12 years).  Then, deciding WHAT you need and want that will FIT in the smaller home and still feel like you have a life and options.  This process was somewhat easier for us because we put the rest of what didn’t come to the apartment into storage since we will still need it to go into our Tennessee home we have yet to buy.  So, this downsize wasn’t the end state, but a transition into a smaller apartment and a second home. The process would be a lot more entailed and involved if permanently moving into one and smaller home.  However, this flat is our full-time home now, and will be lived in more than our TN home for quite a while so has to be set up for full-time living.  This move has altered our Tennessee home search in that we realize smaller is better in so many ways, so a BIG home is off our grid.  Ideally, larger than our current flat for future family gatherings, of course.  Right now, we can fit perhaps 6-8 people for cocktails, and dinner is off the table (pun intended) unless for four or perhaps buffet style.  So, since we are fresh off the downsize, I decided to share pros and cons and advice to help any other future “empty nester downsizers” out there.  Topics I’ll cover are organization, apartment selection, storage, furniture selection, accessories and decor, and a few others perhaps.  Most pros/designers would agree, I think, on several elements, but I contest a few popular rules of thought since in the end, YOU have to enjoy and love your space…and if dark is your preference over the much-touted light, go for it!  So, let’s start with the BIG one.  Furniture.

Furniture selection is, arguably, the biggest aspect of downsizing.  Organization could potentially rival this but I have tied that in with furniture in so many ways that I consider furnishings to be the most important consideration when bringing or purchasing to the new, smaller space.  Ideally, most of the furniture should perform double-duty.  Storage and function, beauty and use, visual and physical spacing, and so on need to be high on the list.  We were fortunate that we did not need to purchase any furnishings except the dreaded over the toilet cabinet (I’ll touch on that in another segment) and a chair that pulls out to a twin bed, but that means I had to carefully work out spacing and dimensions, in addition to usage and design.  We quickly decided on an English vibe accented with vintage Turkish decor, so those furnishings were the ones we “blended” from several rooms in our sold home and are pieces we’ve acquired from years of travel (and some inherited pieces as well).  I’ll touch on other elements later, but for now let’s focus with the double-duty pieces and in the main living space for this post.

Flat Topped Chest as a Coffee Table – great storage and function.

COFFEE TABLE:  Although many designers choose open coffee tables (visually non-blocking) like lucite or glass and open bases, I have often prefer ones with storage (that word again).  The space was too small for my preferred map-chest coffee table so we chose the flat-top chest that was in our family room.  It’s lighter in wood to break up the dark browns, and has great storage!  It currently houses our balcony blankets with room for items we need to keep out of sight with minimal needed access.  I placed a tray on top along with accessories like a lantern, and it can also double as a “seat” if needed when we scoot the table out from the window to accommodate more seats.

Round Table to soften the lines

TABLE:  This vintage Italian table was the first element I knew I wanted to bring to the flat.  There is a “bar” in the kitchen which serves as a pass through as well, so there is no designated dining room.  We used this table as a card/game and cocktails table in the past, and set it up as that currently with quick and easy access as dining for two by the window  .  Visually, the round shape softens all the hard-lines of the square and rectangle furniture in the room, and the open base allows the eye to visually continue to the window making the space feel more open and larger.  It’s also easy to move the table away from the window to fit four for dining.  We have an extra “desk” chair to bring out for this if needed.  I haven’t figured out what to do with the lamp yet when we do have to move for four…I may end up getting another chandelier, but for this rare occasion, it’s not a priority.  We can have our coffee and drinks here looking at the views of the ponds, eat dinner, play games, and use it for another important task, especially during COVID work-from-home, as an alternate workspace should one of us need the study/office for phone meetings, etc.  The location isn’t the intended dining area, which is nearer the kitchen, but this layout is a much better flow and the table opens up the window space.

Double Duty Dresser – Bar, Buffet and Storage

DRESSER/BAR/BUFFET:  This dresser is an antique French piece that was earlier used as our TV base and we never used the drawers for storage…we didn’t need them in the big house.  But, now it’s our bar since the TV is over the fireplace mantle (another thing I don’t prefer, but for the space and art, and physical layout of TV watching capability, over the mantle it went).  The dresser could also be a buffet (that we don’t need since we have the “bar/pass through”).  The drawers provide ample storage for our table linens, wine accoutrement, large platters, trays and games.  And we still have room since we chose carefully about what to bring here.  Who needs 48 napkins and placemats in a flat for two?  Pretty art (another topic) and blingy lighting make it a destination and much-used piece.  Or would that be the booze? ;o)

Small Dresser as end table with storage


END TABLE/DRESSER:  This little French piece I purchased years ago from a French woman in DC who was moving back to Paris and selling all her French things and keeping her American ones!  Gasp!  It provides the needed end table for lighting and pretty things, and houses our candles, games, books/magazines.  Similar style to the other dresser to keep the aesthetic pulled-together.  It anchors the sofa and is a great bridge between the chair and sofa, also defining the “living” space.  I have pillows on the floor behind that chair for color and decor that emphasizes the Turkish and cozy vibe.  Textiles are some of the best ways to tie in themes and color, and to provide a soft edge to all the hard lines.  And, they are functional since these are the big floor pillows, so great for those extra guests or lounging on the floor.  Although, kilim pillows aren’t exactly the softest on the skin…but they are sturdy.

Narrow Foyer Cabinet as focal point and dish storage

TALL AND NARROW CABINET:  The vintage Korean cabinet was used to store all our rice china in our previous dining room.  That china (amongst a LOT of dishes….oh that is so another topic) is in storage, but it was almost not a keeper for this space until I realized I needed a cabinet to put our everyday and much used dishes and silverware.  There was not enough cabinet space in the kitchen (is there ever?) and those cabinets were heavily competed for to store bulkier kitchen items and appliances.  I had a plan for the glasses, instant pot, blender, tupperware bowls, pots and pans, mixing bowls and platters, bakeware…again, I will touch on those in another post.  But, for now this sweet little THIN and TALL cabinet fit oh so perfectly at the end of the foyer as a great focal point, didn’t block any access to the living space or the study, and visually draws the eye in.  It conveniently stores the everyday dishes we use, which is right around the corner from the kitchen.  Quick and easy to grab from the kitchen or to the table and frees up much needed kitchen cabinet space for every day items that I use frequently and within easy reach of the stove and cooking areas.

I hope this helps those who are anticipating a downsize move in the future or who are struggling with the decision process!  If this process seems daunting or you have no time, come talk to me about how I can help!  Future posts of the “downsize” process and suggestions will hopefully help as well!

Until then, smile and make life fun. The “move” is only a blip of hard work and hard decisions, but the end is oh so worth it.  B


Customer Appreciation Ladies Night

We at the Rust and Refind Artisan Market love our customers.  We know that, without you, there would be no market.  And, without you, we wouldn’t enjoy what we do half as much.  We could each have our own business at our home, sell online, and probably have much less stress in our lives.  But, we would have messier homes if our “studio” was there, we wouldn’t have the “get away” place that we all strive for to turn off work and, most importantly, we would not have the chance to meet you.  To chat and get to know you.  To interact.  And I, personally, enjoy the physical interaction and the physical vignette and setting up shop and seeing things displayed much more than the buying and selling. 

During COVID, small business and customers have had to deal with more than their fair share of angst and struggle.  We want to show you how much we appreciate you…your continuing to work with our adjustments to deal with COVID guidelines and how much you hang in there with us as we try new things and say good-bye to others.  We are ready to fall forward full speed…with weather, with decor, and hopefully with less restrictions and much more normal.  On that note, we are putting a twist on our September artisan market.  As last year, we will still have a mini-September outdoor market on Saturday and/or Sunday for local food, beverage and artisan product vendors (please contact us if you want to set up a space), BUT we will only be open on FRIDAY from 4-7pm for a special Ladies Night autumn preview for our email customers only.  (Please get on our email list if you are not already).  Come Sip$Shop …enjoy some down time while browsing before heading off to family and/or friend events, dinners etc.  We would love to see you.  Follow our  September Artisan Market Facebook Event  for updates.  Consider giving each artisan a follow and like on Facebook and Instagram…you will get sneak peaks at new products and what we are up to!  We open Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 12-5!  Let’s hope the weather is a perfect fall day to enjoy wine country, a hike, or just getting out and spending the day outside.

Until then, smile and make life fun.  B

Forever & Always Vintage

Morga Studio

Allison Shortmeyer Interiors

Vintage Revival Design Co.

Katie Did Designs


Private Shopping by Appointment, Square Gift Cards and Customer DIY Show and Tell

Dang, is this COVID-19 thing over yet?  If there is one positive thing about this crisis (and I do believe there are a few) it’s that many of us, myself included, are using the time to learn to do new things, or in better ways.  I’m still working the online shop (an alternative to my Etsy shop), but I’ve patted myself on the back a few times this past week with finished projects including making it easier for our customers to shop the #rustandrefindartisanmarket during the COVID government restrictions.  Not only am I accessible every Wednesday and Saturday 11-2 for walk-in and regular curbside and contactless pickups of items we post throughout the week, but you can always make an appointment based on mutual availability by calling or messaging me AND now you can book online HERE.


SHOP DIGITALLY – BUY A GIFT CARD NOW. And, understandably, customer hesitation to shop due to the mandates, health concerns and financial uncertainty during these last couple of months means small business loss of income, sales, lack of customer interaction and product turnover.  We’ve made it easier and safer for you to shop from home, or in store.   We are now offering digital gift cards for both gift giving and buy now/shop later…even better?  Click BUY A DIGITAL GIFT CARD now through 30 April and get a special discount.

CUSTOMER HIGHLIGHT/SHOW AND TELL. Our customers are DIY-ing their way through quarantine using many of our products available at the shop.  Two of them wanted to update their tile floors by painting, so we’re sharing Tina’s bathroom floor update this week, and will show Tracy’s sunroom floor in the next blog.  The biggest recommendation is to have patience, to properly prep/clean, and more patience (and maybe some wine).  Painting a tile or vinyl floor can be a much less invasive and costly endeavor and is a DIY-able project for any homeowner.  We offer a variety of paint, stencil, topcoat products to get the job done…and professional, recommendations.  But, we are highlighting TINA’s step by step process and her oops in what and how she painted her bathroom tile floor so that our customers can relate with another customer trying this the first time. Here’s here step by step process:

  1.  Cleaned floor with vacuum and then mopped with TSP.  Tried to avoid bringing cat hair back into the room (we can relate Tina)
  2. Two coats of primer (XIM UMA) **this product available at Rust and Refind**.  That was day one (cutting in took the longest).  Waited three hours between coats.
  3. Day Two: THREE coats of Paint Couture Arctic White **Rust and Refind is a Paint Couture Retailer** (I probably only needed two coats but it’s an old floor so I felt better with three).  Waited four hours between coats. **We recommend 2 coats on floors, but more is an option**
  4. Day Three:  Began Stamp (IOD stamps available at Vintage Revival Design Co.) Made a few mistakes and decided to paint over the errors.  I took advantage of the error and decided to add a “field of gray” (mix of Paint Couture Arctic White and British Grey).  I taped off the area that would have the design.  LET THAT SIT OVERNIGHT.  I thought the gray was too dark so I did a white wash over it.
  5. Day Four: Stamp round two.  Realized I had the brayer to transfer the paint from the IOD stamp to the floor.  The stamp design was painted in Paint Couture Midnight Blue.  It took about four stamps in to get the hang of the stamping–it was easier for me to stand to place the stamp so I had a better view.
  6. Once the stamp paint was dry, I pulled up the tape and painted a midnight blue line around the edge to give it a finished area rug look.
  7. FINAL DAY: 3 coats of topcoat ***This product available at both Rust and Refind and Vintage Revival Design Co.  and we do recommend three coats for floors)***.  The topcoat used for this project was Wise Owl One-Hour Enamel Satin Finish.

It took her many days – each day was really only a little over an hour (except stamping day – that was a little longer).  Tina chose to do an area rug style as she didn’t want to deal with the partial stamps or work around the commode.  The vanity was also painted in Paint Couture Midnight Blue.  She admits to a small mistake on one stencil but decided to leave it.  Her take-aways:  take your time, time to let coats dry, time to line up the stamps, and don’t be afraid to make a mistake.  Tools used:  3/8 nap 4 1/2″ roller for the floor paint and to apply to the stamp.  She used a foam roller for the top coat.  Used a Swiffer to clean the floor just prior to applying the topcoat, and in between coats (darned that cat) and recommends doing that after the paint coats dry and before applying other coats (something tells us that cat shed a LOT).  ;o).  I think her hard work paid off…her bathroom looks fantastic, don’t you think?

Work in Progress and an OOPS!






That’s it for now friends!  It was a busy project week and lots to catch up on.  Let us help you DIY your way to a beautiful home and add another chapter to your story!  Your Home, Your Story.  I hope to see you soon…miss everyone!

Until then, Smile and Make Life Fun.


Easter Tablescape, ONLINE and IN STORE Shopping with Curbside Pick Up & Delivery, Plus DIY Wood Tray

EASTER/SPRING TABLESCAPE. How was your COVID Easter?  It’s sad that it has a depressing name associated with it, but I am grateful for my daughter and her boyfriend being here with Mr. Rust and Refind and I to celebrate and be thankful for the health that both my daughters, my family, and those closest to us currently have.  Having dinner for four when many were alone was a blessing indeed.  I maximized the occasion by (1) taking a break from all the cooking and supporting a local restaurant that just opened, The Black Sheep Restaurant by ordering our Easter Dinner from them.  It was fabulous…they delivered (contactless) and the spread was bountiful and delicious, (2) finally went out briefly to buy some perennials to fill my front burm and supported another local business, Merrifield Garden Center, Fairfax.  Please don’t yell at me about social distancing.  We have minimized our ventures out and practiced good Social Distancing and Stay At Home,  had gloves and masks, and were in and out! and (3) I used the fresh florals as my Easter table centerpiece BEFORE I plant them this week.  I simply tucked them in a vintage dough bowl, layered a couple faux greenery garlands (also purchased at Merrifield) over a linen and burlap runner, and added a wooden Easter Bunny that was a gift to my daughters from their grandparents when our girls were little.  I took out floral china I haven’t used in years, and used twig placemats that signified the Crown of Thorns, and green Italian charger plates for signifying new life.

Easter Tablescape

Prime Rib from The Black Sheep Restaurant

Easter Dinner from The Black Sheep Restaurant

Easy, Simple and quick for any one to do, and has such a splash that is worthy of celebrating this holy day or any occasion without letting the events surrounding us weigh too heavily.  I felt so happy being able to do this, and I know my family was very appreciative of the efforts. We watched Easter services on TV and Andrea Bocelli’s concert at the Duomo in Milano was breathtaking.  It was a semblance of normality.


With the festivities over, it’s back to business…well, as much as business currently allows us.  I will remind everyone that we will continue with COVID-19 mandates and hope to resume normal and full operation soon.  We are posting our products daily where you can purchase in a myriad of ways, and we provide contactless curbside pickup, local delivery and shipping.  Curbside pickups are Wednesday and Saturday 11-2, and we also accept appointments to view and pick up.  We wear masks and gloves, and continue to sanitize the shop.  We offer DIY Kits to mail out to your home as well.  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates.


As we continue to steer through the current events, we are all stepping up our online shops (Etsy and Website), and how-to videos, too!  Check out our feature artisan this week, Cathy of Forever and Always Vintage as she shows you how she transforms a cabinet door into a tray.


She is our resident UPCYCLER and does magic with everyday objects and transforms them into new uses like a TV into a wine bar (SOLD), or a cabinet door into a tray using IOD transfers and handles.  Want to learn how to do your own?  Check out how to Upcycle your own wood tray here.

The Rust and Refind Artisan Market hosts 6 artisans, interior designers and fine artists and we continue to strive to be your local go-to home interiors, design, gift, and DIY shop.  We offer vintage, European, antique, upcycled, painted, and custom work and are retailers of Paint Couture, Saltwash, General Finishes, Howard Products, Wise Owl and IOD products.  All these can be purchased in store, curbside, online, and shipped.  We hope to help you make your home beautiful, and continue to tell your story through things you collect along the way.  We miss seeing you, but hope to see you all again soon.

Until then, smile and make life fun.  B



COVID-19 Stay at Home Activities and Things to Do

The artisans at the #rustandrefindartisanmarket are hunkering down and getting creative with ways to bring our product, tutorials and project kits to you…either by curbside pickup, local delivery and/or shipping.  We, like the rest of the world, are pivoting. And, we are mastering our own stay at home activities, too.

Michele Of Vintage Revival Design Co.

Michele of Vintage Revival Design Co.


Vintage Revival Design Co Stair Painting

Stair Painting

Michele of Vintage Revival Design Co.has been painting her front door and stairs using Wise Owl Paint Products.  She is the Wise Owl and IOD retailer at the market, and has been working on adding workshops and tutorials to her repetoire.  So, not only is she using her time wisely by updating her home, she is combining that effort with a tutorial for you.  Want to try at home?  Follow her  Vintage Revival Design Co Facebook page for updates and to see the video on how to paint your stairs, check out her tutorial here How To Stamp and Paint Stair Risers.

Katie of Katie Did Designs

Katie at home painting.

Katie, Katie Did Designs has enjoyed “the blessings of #stayathome” by having time to do things she normally wouldn’t…like taking an oil painting class online from Miss Mustard Seed and she got to enjoy that time with her daughters.  Learning and Enjoying family time…another two-fer!  I’m sure you’ll see some of her new talents in the shop, soon, too!

Art a la Katie Did and Family

Cathy in action behind the scenes

More catchup on the behind-the-scenes for Cathy, Forever and Always Vintage who is enjoying painting and upcycling and taking the time to stage and take photos.  Let me tell you, all these extra steps in bringing our product to you take so. much. time.  And, alas, hate it or love it, the time at home and mandatory restrictions are allowing some serious hunkering down project catch ups.

Maria Morga Art

Maria of Morga Studio Is in her home in DC …painting.  Well, that is her “job”…she’s our resident Fine Artist and has been spending time in her studio painting.  She’s also getting to enjoy a bit more time to ride her bicycle…at a safe social distance, of course. Check her  Painting in Action



Seaglass Workshop

How to create a Seaglass effect on Glass

And, yours truly?  I have enjoyed time off with my daughter and her boyfriend, who are both seniors at the University of Tennessee, but here taking their online courses. My husband is “hunkering” in his basement office and I see him only slightly more than normal since he seems to be (and probably is) working harder than at his away office.  I am cooking more.  Probably having a little more cocktails.  And, working on my online website shop, catching up on painting project pieces, social media-ing more for our customers to bring pictures of our product to you since you can’t come to us, and have been working on how-to videos like this second Saltwash Seaglass workshop. I am a Paint Couture PaintSaltwashGeneral Finishes , and Howard Products retailer.

Check it out here. Saltwash Seaglass How-To

We hope this finds everyone as well as can be expected.  Safe, healthy and adjusting to quarantine.  We small businesses are getting quite creative in bringing you craft/workshop kits, paint and DIY supplies to help with your catch up projects, and antique, vintage and home/seasonal decor to update your homes that you’re spending so much time in!  Just get in touch with us…we will do what we can to help you.  Follow us on social media….we are updating daily.  Our Etsy/website shops, Facebook and Instagram, and email.  We ship, deliver locally (some free, some we use a very reliable local delivery company), and curbside pick ups are available, in addition to by appointment viewings.  We are allowed up to ten, but have kept it to 2-3 max in our shop for the safety of the artisans and our customers.  We appreciate and thank you for shopping small and local. And, we’d love to know what you’re doing to keep busy, your projects, and what you’d like from us to help you!

Until the next time, smile and make the quarantine life as much fun as you can.  And, prayers for your health and prosperity.  B

Paint a Wood Frame with Saltwash and Paint Couture

Like everyone else in the world today, life has thrown me a bucket of worms…or should I say a bucket of COVID-19 set-backs.  And, like everyone else, we are forced to pivot, adjust and hope we see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.  But, I have seen a lot of goodness out of all this darkness, and one is that with those pivots, I am forcing myself to catch up on a back log of projects (aren’t we all?) and now that I have a little more time (or so it seems, but really I am spending more time adjusting and catching up, but I digress), I am trying to learn how to do behind the scenes stuff…like website updating and emails, inventory, paperwork,  how to videos and so on.  One such video on my list, was this How to Saltwash® and Paint Couture a wood frame, which I got to play producer, director, editor, actor (well my hands acted…didn’t they perform well???) and special effects crew.  It’s very “J.V” as my husband likes to say when something or someone isn’t completely up to par.  But, I think it turned out pretty well considering this over-50, non-techie capabilities (or lack thereof).

One of other pivots that a lot of us small businesses are doing (especially for us in this retail world) is being more creative and making products more available to our customers in a variety of ways, from curbside pickups, online shopping, Facebook lives, and offering virtual workshops or DIY kits.  Two of the products I carry at Rust and Refind are Saltwash®, which is a sodium additive that you add to any paint, and Paint Couture Paint.  So, I decided that since I am offering the kits, why not offer a how-to video?  Saltwash Frame How-To Saltwash and Paint Couture Wood Frame KitFor this video,  Saltwash® and Paint Couture paint is being used, and it’s the paint included in the Saltwash® Frame kit available for sale on my website via Etsy shop and at my shop.  It can be shipped, delivered locally, in addition to being available for curbside pick up.  Super fun and easy project to do, and makes for great beach or cottage home decor.  We offer in store workshops, as well, AND can work with you virtually at this time if you need any guidance and person-to-person extra tutorials.  The frames will have added wood appliques (not seen in this video), and you will get a choice of two Paint Couture colors.  The base coat color will be your Saltwash® coat that you will mix according to directions (1:1 ratio usually, a little less powder if using chalk paint) that gets troweled/dabbed on full coverage, and the second color of paint is the paint that goes on after the Saltwash® coat is dry.  The fun begins when both coats are dry and you can scrape off, sand off with sandpaper, sand block, or a sander.  I prefer a scraper since I like my projects to be chippy and I usually apply the Saltwash® coat thickly and chunky.  This creates a chippy, beachy, weathered look on any craft or home decor project.  The kit includes sandpaper and/or blocks but the scrapers and spray topcoat can be purchased online or any of your local hardware stores like Home Depot.  Paint Couture also offers brush on topcoats, too (available separately).  These frames have a backboard mat that can be painted, pictures added to, decoupaged, or chalkboard painted to create a mini-chalkboard (as seen in this video).  There are amazing Saltwash® video tutorials available on line, too… Check them out at Ilovesaltwash.

I hope you enjoy this project!  Until next time, smile and make life fun.



How to Create a Dramatic and Personalized Powder Room

The “Throne Room” aka powder room.  It’s that one small space in everyone’s home that can be completely neglected or over the top!  You have a captivated audience for a brief time so why not captivate them?  Big and dramatic design can happen in small spaces.  My own powder room is Venetian plaster in a dark milk-chocolate brown, gold metallic ceilings, chandelier (of course), Italian art, and a small mirror collection (see why below).

Before the added mirror collection. My small mirror wall, inspired by Mimi.

Recently, I added  several more mirrors to complete what I had always wanted to do but somehow never did until now, since we’ve inherited my husband’s mother’s estate.  My husband and I have been dealing with this the last few weeks, and I’ve gone through her home and taken pictures when I could because I always admired and loved her home and design style and I wanted to have photos to remember.  Even though she had a bit more flair for the dramatic and formal, two of her powder rooms were my all time favorites.  The powder room on the main floor has walls lined with pink FABRIC and decorated with over 30 gold framed mirrors of all shapes and sizes, which was my inspiration for my own powder room (aka guest bathroom) here at home, and to which I’ve now added her mirror collection.

Mimi’s Wall of Mirrors

I’ve replicated the layout as much as possible, even though she had the mirrors on three walls, I’ve only added them on ONE (the initial mirror collection I personally had is on another small wall near the sink).  Sadly, I didn’t take many pictures of that room…we had limited time to clear out the estate and there are a lot of emotions happening…lt’s difficult disassembling a home, especially what was your parent’s home for 30 years.


The complete look!  Homage to Mimi.

I did, however, manage to take pics for THIS powder room on her lower level.  This is my favorite room and we’ve called it the Turkish Throne Room for years.  I am going to completely replicate it here at my home in another bathroom.  Yep…another post on that.

The Turkish Throne

Family Collections and Inherited Pieces Add to Your Home’s Story!

I wanted to share this because I obviously love a well-decorated bathroom and because I hope it helps someone dealing with their parents’ estate.  Although we’ve had just under two years since my MIL’s passing, and over 15 for my FIL, we never felt the complete “closure” because their estate remained in tact with my MIL’s husband, who lived in the home until now.  We felt somewhat disconnected, I think. But, in bringing treasured memorabilia, photos, some decor that remind us of “all things Mimi and Pasham”, and in setting up small vignettes of those treasures here in our own home, we feel that Mimi and Pasham are back home with us.  My husband is happy and when we see these things every day, it brings a smile to our face and we think of them more.  I don’t think one needs to turn their home into a museum for their loved ones, but it’s just another way to personalize your space with family collections and meaningful ways for your home to tell it’s story!  So go ahead, be brave and brilliant in that one small space….and strategically place those mirrors.  :o)


Until Next Time…Smile and Make Life Fun!  B




Setting Up a New Home, First Home, or a Blank Space

Mama Daughter along the Pacific Coast Highway

I’m back from my two week “work vacation” in California!  It was a wonderful time with my daughter and I call it a work vacation because she needed me out there to help her set up her first home (which meant a lot of grunt work taking out cabinets, painting furniture, and so on), but also so we could spend some mama-daughter time touring where she will now call home for the next few years.   I posted pics of our adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

From Bare Bones to Foundation.

That was my goal in helping my daughter, Ashley, by going from a bare bones space to a good working foundation to help her continue forward. The initial enthusiasm and instinct is to try to buy as much as possible and fill the space as much as budget (or credit cards…be careful here) will allow.  But, with only a couple weeks of my visit (and that split with travel), we had to be expeditious and budget-conscious with our set up and purchasing.  We were able to obtain a few basic foundational pieces that would be the start. The rest will come over time…she has a great aesthetic and idea of what she wants.  My biggest guidance to her and anyone is:Read More