Author Archives: andreabrehl

Painting all over Facebook

I realize it has been quite some time since my last post, and I am happy to say that all of that time has been tied up in taking old furniture and making it new again! Unfortunately or fortunately…depending how you want to spin it, I have been so busy with projects that I have been unable to keep up with my blog. On the plus side, I have a Facebook page that I update on a daily basis and it would be lovely to reconnect with all of you there. You can find me at:

Thanks so much for reading and keep in touch!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Sweet Dreams Peacock Blue

A couple of weeks ago I met a lovely young woman who stopped by my booth. “Hey!” she said “this stuff looks familiar”. Turns out she had friended me on facebook and was following my posts. “I had no idea you were local!” she said …

Then after writing and publishing last week’s post; A Wonderful Day I was asked if my items were for sale …

Hmmmm… time to make a few changes.

When I first started this adventure into blog world I wanted to stay away from putting prices on my posts – for some reason I thought it might appear slightly  ummm – tacky. Well dears, after much deliberation I’m thinking I should start treating this ride as the business that it has become – so starting today I’ll remind you all at the end of each post where I’m located and how much everything is selling for. I’m also always looking for pictures of the items you have bought so I can include them in these posts.

So let’s start with what’s new this week, and in spite of Christmas decorating our whole house, reupholstering the dining room chairs, painting a dog chair and then painting the room off the kitchen, I actually managed to make some items for my booth this weekend. How? I have no idea but here we go!

When I first spotted this sweet little vanity in the thrift shop four of it’s original drawer pulls were either gone or destroyed. It sat and sat and sat waiting for a new owner until finally it was reduced to half price, not being able to resist I snatched it up.


With a lot of it’s veneer chipped and ragged the only solution was paint, crackle medium and more paint. Shown here with a lovely little chair that just coincidentally was recovered in peacock material the 2 are a match made for each other!



Dresser is selling for $75 and matching chair is $30.


Whenever I find a wooden jewelry box I grab it. Painting them is one of my favorite things to do and the end result is always worth the effort.


Once again, using a combination of paint and crackle medium I’ve covered up the scars and given it some personality. It is $25.

So remember that nice person I spoke about in the beginning? She sent me a message asking about a headboard. After much discussion we arrived at this piece. She will be picking it up this weekend and I can’t wait to see the pictures of it installed in her bedroom!!


My apologies for the pictures. Try to pretend that instead of seeing the base of the washtub and head board legs you’re looking at a super puffy bed covered in pillows …

The barn board pieces stand up against the head board and will be behind 2 matching night tables that will be painted and distressed in the same white as the door. Will this girl be dreaming sweetly or what?



A close up of the amazing colors that were hiding underneath the original white paint.

Thanking my lucky stars that I have big muscly guys to help me load this stuff I hope you have a great weekend – I’ll be in my usual place this Sunday from 8 to 4 at McHaffie’s Flea Market 5070 County Road 31 in Morrisburg Ontario.

Thanks for reading!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Wonderful Day

Yesterday I spent the entire day with my best friend Jeanette. This is something that I try to do on a regular basis because she’s so good for my soul. Normally, we just stalk the aisles of thrift shops hunting for treasures but yesterday was different.

We went Christmas shopping…and it was magical. Maybe it was because we shopped in a “new to Canada” big US store and fell in love with their shopping carts, their prices, their displays and their stuff! Maybe it was because we both were so relaxed or maybe it was because we were just plain enjoying ourselves. Whatever the reason I came away completely energized.

There really is something heart bursting about shopping for the ones you love and if you’re as lucky as me and you have a son like my Spencer – you’ve  got a lot to be grateful for.  He and his lovely girlfriend Kaitlyn have been squeaking out an existence in a teeny tiny bachelor’s pad for nearly 2 years now. Sharing 950 square feet with 3 fat cats, a salt water aquarium and 13 lizards I’ve never heard them complain. Sweet Kaitlyn is in her 3rd year of a 4 year term in animal studies and Spencer works at a local pet store chain. Next month they will finally get the opportunity to move into what I’m sure, will seem like a mansion – a 2 bedroom apartment!! I can’t even begin to imagine the excitement they must be feeling.

Yes, yesterday was all about being with the ones you love and sharing that joy, it was a wonderful day!

So … what did I do this week?  Have a look see ….

Do you know a Leaf’s fan that likes to put the feet up? If so, here’s the perfect gift.



Another foot stool but this one is for pretty feet!


It’s got nice little wheely wheels on the bottom too!


I found this next item on line at Barnfull O’ Goodies. A one of kind hand made coat rack. Picture this in that man cave!


Light weight and completely balanced – this is a beauty!


Do you see the big muddy paw print on my painted floor?

This is one of the sweetest little pine cupboards I’ve ever seen. I added the willow tree and that was all it needed!


A place to store all your whatnots.


So that’s it for this week, hope you all have a lovely weekend and until next Saturday stay happy!

Thanks for reading,



Winston – the owner of that muddy paw print wanted to say hi..


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wagon Jumping

Have you noticed how quickly holidays speed into our lives nowadays? When I was a little kid Christmas never came quickly. I spent more time going through the Christmas catalog than doing anything else and that magical day took  F…  O…  R…  E…  V…  E…  R … to get to our house! As soon as it get’s here this year, I’ll blink my eyes and it will be all over with.

So this time I’m doing something different. I’m jumping on the wagon, rolling with the punches and getting with the program – I’m start’n early!

Quite recently it was explained to me that we spend thousands of dollars on decorations, both inside and out our homes – yet wait until the last minute to put everything up. We stress over our lack of time, lack of money and lack of holiday cheer. Once again, Christmas comes and goes and we’ve missed the boat … blah blah blah – how frigg’n depressing!

Not me. Not this house. Nope. Not ever again. This holiday season I laugh in the face of stress, time mismanagement and lack of money – I’ve learned my lesson – I’ve started ahead of time.

This week was spent doing all things Christmas. I changed the fall urns at the front of our house into winter ones with cedar, red willow and white birch. Then, while the sun shone down on me in +10 weather I stuffed bunches of blue lights in between the branches that will create a lovely soft glow when it’s time to turn them on. I strung white lights around the front door, found all my light timers and made a mental note to myself as to where I was moving them to.



Monday and Tuesday were devoted to my first serious attempt at Christmas crafts. I made so many that right now the summer kitchen looks like Christmas threw up in there… Then on Thursday I spent almost 10 hours at my booth moving, arranging, cleaning, purging and setting up for “the” season. I even found room for a lit up tree!

Bring it on I say. Bring it on.


This is a vintage suitcase that would make a great display for your front entrance way.




Shutters shutters shutters … and Leonard.


Old child’s sled turned into a front door knockout!


Another entrance way statement maker.


For the kid’s!


Hard to tell by the photo, but this is a rusty little angel attached to a piece of barn board – this one’s gonna be hard to say goodbye to … hello Leonard!


With  a ton of elements mixed together this wreath is definitely one of a kind!


Last picture – bells on the goose!

Hopefully the wind will make them jingle merrily!

Thanks for reading.


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Remembering my Father

My earliest memories of my Dad are of him carrying me back to my bed at night after I had woke up and gone to the bathroom. Wrapping my little legs and arms around him and wishing for the short walk to the bedroom that I shared with my twin brother Ian, to last and last and last. Enveloped in the warmth of his embrace, I would fall asleep with a smile on my face.

Throughout the rest of my life, if ever I asked it, he never failed to be that source of comfort, that blanket from all that was chasing me. He welcomed me home again after failed marriages and helped me to get back on my feet. He co signed loans, he built fences for protection and he removed demons both real and unseen from my life. In short; he was my hero.

Today he is gone, taken away in his sleep and is no longer of this earth. Yet, the person that he was, the British soldier, the husband, the musician, the father, the poppa, the man, still lives in everyone that knew him.

This post is dedicated to his memory.


Roy Clinton Barnes was born in Portsmouth England December 6, 1918.  On January 30, 1933 he lied about his age and joined the Lincolnshire Regiment of the British Army. He was 15.


Here he is, the littlest one on the far right with friends. He later would tell me that the hat and boots that they issued him were too big. Did they know he had lied? My guess would be yes … but life was much different then and the luxury of proper food, clothing and lodging were too much to pass up and in spite of what the future would hold for him, he said he was very happy.

The picture below shows again how small he was compared to the rest of his fellow soldiers. He is 2nd on the bottom right.


Flashing forward to past the beginnings of WWII, he became a stretcher bearer. A very dangerous job that required him to run into battles and remove the injured, wounded and dying. He and hundreds others, perhaps thousands were taken prisoner in southern France and forced to walk to Poland. By today’s maps the distance is approximately 850 miles.

He told me that only the toughest of the tough survived, the ones who had gone without, had known hunger, pain and suffering where the only ones who made it to Poland alive. He told of a chicken that he and fellow prisoners had stolen hoping to eat. In the end, having no opportunity to without being caught they had to discard it, it had become so rotted that it was inedible. Somehow and somewhere along the wretched march Nuns were able sneak food to them which saved my father’s life.  Often times while relating his memories he would break down and weep from the atrociousness that he had witnessed.


In a one time and unsuccessful attempt to placate the rest of the world and under the direction of the Red Cross and Geneva Convention, the Germans allowed postcards of British soldiers to be sent home to their families. My father addressed his to his mother; Mrs. Dolly Barnes, as he had not yet met and married my mother. All postcards are stamped Sta lag 8B . He was part of 20 men in the camp band.

In all 3 pictures he is center. First picture; center back (between 2 men). Second picture he is center front and last picture he is 2nd top row, 6th in from the left.


My father spent 6 years of his life in Stalag 8B, and in spite of my attempts to get him to speak of it he rarely did.

He was repatriated November 24, 1943, 71 years ago under The Sick and Wounded Convention. His employment was restricted to medical units and in a non-combatant capacity, yet despite his stellar career and hometown welcome as a hero he rejoined the army to continue the fight against Germany.This next picture shows the celebratory parade on Liberation day May 7 1945 in Utrecht Holland where the British and Canadian troops over took the city from the Germans. My father told me that seconds after this picture was taken snipers who had been hiding in the buildings above the streets opened fire on the Nazis, killing them. As you look at the open windows there would have been many places to shoot from.


My father met, fell in love and married my beautiful mother in July 1948. They then immigrated to Canada in the late 50’s where my twin brother and I were born in 1960. By that time my father was 42.


He and she lived peacefully in Chilliwack, BC until his retirement sometime in the 1980’s.  With over 47 years in the British and Canadian armies combined he was a true decorated military man.

His temper was short, but his love and loyalty of family and country was long and far reaching. He was smart. He was funny. He was old fashioned. He was liberated.

He was staunchly British, yet proudly Canadian, I hated him, but oh! how I loved him!

He was my father, the strongest most dedicated force of a man that ever walked. He was a war hero and he was my hero.  He helped save a world. He helped save me.


His medals from right to left;

Gold Stars – 1939 – 1945 Star, France and Germany Star. Victory Medal. Long Service Medal and Good Conduct. Canadian Forces Decoration.


Tomorrow 69 years after the end of WWII I will spend a great deal of my day thinking of him, missing him and thanking him.

I sincerely hope that you can spend your Remembrance Day feeling the same way about our war hero’s.

Thanks for reading.

Andrea, daughter of Roy.

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Kitty Kaves

A while back my friends; Heather and Mike asked me to transform a little barrel table into a cat napper. Heather suggested taking the doors off and voila! – the perfect spot for your favorite feline to snooze away the hours. It turned out great and that`s when I realized that I had 2  of these babies stored in the basement.

I started out by removing the doors, painting the outside and then upholstering the entire inside. Of course I needed to add a pillow for comfort and then finally kitty bling!

Then while the final steps were drying my trusty side kicks;  Howard and Leonard took them out for a spin!


They both agreed that they were comfy enough to sleep away a rainy afternoon in …



This is what they look like without a cat. Picture them as the end tables they once were but now only … better!



Next is a huge faux stained glass window. When I found it it was minus the window. It`s gorgeous and I`m sorry the light does not show it`s true colors.



Lastly, with Christmas coming I had to replace the last little Union Jack table. This one`s a super heavy, mid century cast off that is lovely enough to beautify anyone`s space.


That`s it for this week – thanks for reading!


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Little of This

It’s a rainy Saturday morning and am I ever glad my son Mike and I created a winter workshop in the garage yesterday instead of today! There was a cold wind blowing, dark heavy clouds to the north and I knew something was on it’s way … the robins were feasting on the bumper crop of grapes left on the vines beside the big door and I felt bad that we were disturbing their lunch!

But we managed to get everything taken out and then placed back in NEATLY and with the warm and sunny autumn we’ve had I’ve almost been lulled into a sense of complacency – I’m very thankful for the Farmer’s Almanac – it never fails me! So forewarned, and full steam ahead I now have a ton of room to work over the winter months.

On Monday I brought all my indoor plants that spend the summer on the deck inside again. After a balmy couple of months they are always so lush and healthy. This year I thought I would do something different with them and placed them all in the family room upstairs.


This is only one small corner and yes, this is the chair that upon creation changed my life! This was when I realized – that I can transform furniture! The trunk reads London S W Removal Dept and is full of ancient worm holes from many sea bound journeys, with it’s lid long lost I used a piano’s music holder to create a top that now houses turn of the century choir books underneath plate glass.

This is Mike’s domain as you can tell by the charging phone and with the introduction of the plants has made things a “tad” less roomy!

But this is not all I did this week – no no no, and before the weather changed I was still sanding on the side deck. Good thing too, because this first piece most definitely originated in a dairy parlor. I would recognize that smell anywhere! Yet in spite of it’s quirky left side opening I really thought it had potential, so after a hunt for some front door bling I’m kinda going gaga over this baby.


Notice the original glass door pull?


Although I liked this next piece, it was never one of my favorites. So when I bought this extremely old rebuild from an even older dresser last weekend I had no idea I would be swapping them. Upon closer inspection of this dresser it was in pretty rough shape – the seller told me it had been stored in a barn which is no biggy, but unfortunately both slatted sides had shrunk so badly that selling it fixed up would mean another complete rebuild and that’s something I stay away from. I loved the weight and size of it though and while poking around for places to house plants I had one of those “aha!” moments.


This is what I’m getting rid of… a beauty in her own right – but not my style.


This is what I replaced it with. Like I said; Extremely old and rebuilt out of another old dresser. The perfect place to put a spider. Oh, and that weird thing above it is an opening into the dining room that I just have not painted yet…


For those of you that are looking for an entrance way seat or a front porch decoration  – here you go –


Saved from the trash and hand built, the seat opens up for storage.


I happen to be one of those crazy women who LOVE old barn windows. Multi paned or single paned to me they’re all beautiful and if I could keep every single one that I come across I would … but I can’t … so I don’t …

Anyway, pair them up with an antique picture of Saint Francis of Assisi and they all smile. I love the colors in that picture – gorgeous!


So what are you going to do on this rainy Saturday?

You could spend it  like my babies do …


Happy Weekend!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Couple of Jacks

What a great week I’ve had! Lots of yard work done – I love putting the gardens to bed for the winter. Tucking them in, digging up weeds and expanding their ever growing borders. In fact, last holiday Monday I claimed another huge blob of green grass from the front yard to make a gently sloping rock garden … I’m picturing teeny tiny little creepers slowly winding their way through the soil, interspersed with a homemade toad abode or two. The weather has been unbelievably mild and one of the sunniest autumns on record – I actually have a rose bush still pushing out buds and blooms on today’s date – October 19!

Lucky for me, the sun is still warm enough to keep working on my furniture outside on the the side deck, so after resting my aching back for a day I jumped right into thinking about what lies ahead of us  …. that dreaded word; Christmas!

Over this past year I have found that if I try to have at least one Union Jack piece in my booth every Sunday it will go – but for some reason I have been limiting myself to only painting Union Jacks on furniture. Well, this week I broke the mold and created a wall hanging plus a sweet little table – they’re both small enough to fit into an apartment but big enough to make a huge design impact and in my own humble opinion; would make  great Christmas presents for those “have everything but this” kinda people!


No one wanted this little beauty because somewhere along the years someone had used it for a saw horse and cut into it’s beautiful oak top! I think it adds to it’s charm and have just painted over top.


See how the new paint cracks over the old varnish when I remove some of it? That’s one of my favorite things and I love it when that happens!


This next piece was the top to a hand built table. The legs were made out of 2 x 2’s and frankly, they were so dead ugly there was no saving them for this project. So, after removing the top and sandingsandingsanding I fell in love with the texture that was left and said “hey – this needs to be a Jack!”



Obviously, someone’s work bench it proudly shows off it’s past lives beautifully now and you could call these rusty pulleys the ultimate in eye candy …


Do you love little boxes or containers like I do? Maybe I was a cat in a past life but there’s something about them that really appeals to me! Couple it up with a piece of authentic ceiling tin and an Italian door knob and you have the ultimate jewelry box!



My guess it that this started out as a silverware box. LOVE the purple velvet!


I know you can’t see it in these pics, but if you were to look straight on through the glass on the knob there is a star burst etched on the metal beneath it – magnifico!

Leaving you with warm thoughts and sunny wishes here’s some more photos of our extended family enjoying these glorious fall days …


The handsome Winston standing beside a Tiger’s Eye Sumac that was planted in memory of my late father.


Pretty, pretty Lucy nosing around the ornamental grasses.


Little Leonard who managed to get sprayed by a skunk about 4 weeks ago and still smells like one!


The ever talkative and extremely social Howard.


And last but certainly not least, the smelly, snorey, grumpy yet cuddly; Bart.

Hope you have a great weekend!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Beat Goes On …

As much as I love antique furniture there is definitely something to be said for the beauty and sexiness of a great mid century piece. When this style of furniture was in vogue the world was a very different place.

Excess was the name of the game, Bigger was better and too much was never enough. We spoiled ourselves with our thirst for the good life, created and accumulated massive amounts of waste yet managed to envision a super cosmic futuristic world that we would all live in one day. Nowhere is this seen more readily than in the furniture that was built and mass produced. Completely resembling The Jetson’s animated TV show, everyone had these curvy chairs.

Today, it’s very stylish for large box stores to reproduce this look – but why shop there when all you need to do is find a thrift shop, a staple gun and some great material?

The beat has never really stopped and still carries on today ….


Originally having arms I thought this sleek super sexy baby looked way hotter without putting them back on and adding the neon blue shag rug was the icing on the cake.


Another arm less wonder that looks gorgeous on the same blue rug.


Just as beautiful from the back and a swing’in swivler too!


Don’t you just love that rounded bottom?

Right now in my neck of the woods the colors are spectacular, the days have been sunny and warm while the nights have been just crisp enough to know that colder weather is right around the corner. I had a fantastic summer for gardening and as you can see by my window boxes the frost has not arrived yet.

With this being Thanksgiving weekend I wanted to leave you with one last picture. It’s a picture of our front porch and I hope you find it as warm and inviting as I do!


Happy Thanksgiving.


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Donating A Tea Party With Fritz

A couple of posts ago I told you about my art teachers in high school. I have never forgotten them and how they inspired me in their own ways. Today, if I could turn back time to go and speak with that rebellious teenager she would never believe that after all these years I still think of them! Especially Miss Schmidt.

Tiny, extremely eccentric and vastly talented who else would own a pet sea gull that she named Fritz?

My friend Leila and I would giggle every time we heard the Fritz story but in all honesty I would have loved to have seen him! How I wish I could have dropped my foolish teenage ego and asked how and why she got him. Understanding this regret has shown me now that I missed out on something truly magical…

So with that in mind this post and Fritz are dedicated to all the art teachers out there who take the time to inspire and motivate their students. In fact, I would like to donate Fritz to a local art teacher! Preferably an elementary school art teacher who I’m hoping could show her/his students the value there is in creating “something” out of used items. My next step will be to ensure that our young and hip mayor; Eric Duncan gets this post – because I know he knows someone! Eric – are you listening?


What started out as junk has now become art. Slightly off balance and leaning towards the right, Fritz needs to be placed in a protected corner where he won’t get knocked over.DSC04005

Fritz’s embellishments are made from a variety of cast offs. His crown is a lamp finial. His crossed legs are 2 old forks and the tea pot is a Christmas ornament. His cage is attached to a lamp stand and finally, the spoon is from someone’s collection after they visited New York City. If you look closely it even has the NY skyline on the handle and must have been beautiful when it was shiny and new.




I love how Fritz turned out. He truly is made completely out of tossed out garbage and is the example we all need to follow.

It is my hope that he will inspire enough students to realize that creating useful and beautiful items out of waste should be the norm and not the unusual  –  and with the seagull being the universal garbage bird I think he is an apt example of how we are are capable of change!

Thanks for reading!

andi & Fritz

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at