I had to go all the way back to 2019 to find the original “before shot” of this vintage bar cart.
It cost $5 at a church yard sale. I remember that.
I cannot for the life of me remember to take the chicken out of the freezer so it can thaw out before dinner. Or remember to put the wet clothes in the dryer before they start to smell and I have to wash them again.
But I remember how much I paid for a piece of furniture at a yard sale four years ago.
And I remember painting it metallic silver.
Here’s a photo of it:
Not Vintage Bar Cart Related (At All!)
And here’s a video of my then-7-year-old playing a plastic trumpet with his nose. I had forgotten all about this, but found it while looking for the bar cart photos. I share it today for no other reason than it is absolutely ridiculous and it makes me giggle.
Painting the bar cart the first time was an absolutely ridiculous task as well — except not in a playful take a deep breath and start giggling sort of way.
I was impatient, overly critical and ridiculously stressed out.
Over a $5 vintage bar cart I found at a church yard sale.
Yep. I remember that.
A Vintage Bar Cart and Issues
Painting this vintage bar cart was difficult. The detail work on the sides was time-consuming. The metallic paint I used was not as opaque as regular furniture paint. So it took a few extra coats to get full coverage.
Many, many more coats.
On all of that intricate detail work on the sides.
I tend to equate time-consuming with frustrating and this project was both of those things for me. Then I got stressed, thinking it looked awful. I got impatient when the next coat wasn’t enough and I had to do it again. Or I got mad when I found a drip in the details when I thought I was being so careful. Painting this project was difficult enough. But my thoughts during the process were what made it so unpleasant.
When I was finished — finally finished — I picked it apart in my mind.
So. Many. Flaws. And I saw them all.
Maybe you tend to see all of the flaws in your projects too?
In fact, I saw so many flaws that I talked myself out of selling this bar cart and kept it for my home instead. But having it in my home didn’t make me happy either because every time I looked at it, I remembered it had so many flaws and how much I didn’t enjoy painting it.
I didn’t understand at the time, but being overly critical of your work is a form of resistance.
I don’t want that kind of energy— in my head or in my home.
I don’t want to be surrounded by objects that make me feel bad, that make me feel critical of myself, that remind me of unpleasant experiences. That’s no way to live! We’re talking about a $5 yard sale table here (which is especially ridiculous).
And I don’t want my head to be swirling with negative thoughts all day either. Thoughts like: This is too hard. This doesn’t look good. I’m not a good painter. Blah blah blah.
If you have something in your home that serves no other purpose except making you feel bad or triggering negative thoughts, then please, please get rid of it. Throw it away if it is trash. Give it to someone who will actually enjoy it. Or donate it to Goodwill.
That’s what I was (finally!) going to do with the metallic silver bar cart with all the flaws. I re-arranged my living room recently and decided it had to go.
Then a really weird thing happened.
I accidentally found the perfect spot for the bar cart in my entryway where I moved it to get it out of the way until I had time to drop it off at Goodwill. Guess what? It fit perfectly in the corner next to my stairs. So perfectly that I decided to live with it there for a week or two.
And guess what else?
It didn’t look flawed to me anymore. In fact, it looked kind of nice.
So I took a bunch of other stuff to Goodwill instead. Then went inside and found this.
It’s the perfect lamp for the vintage bar cart in the corner of my entryway.
I decided to keep the bar cart (and enjoy it!) and paint it black to match the lamp. However, my approach to painting it was much different this time.
My New Approach to Painting Furniture
The biggest difference is my mindset now. I work hard to make the things I paint look nice — not perfect. I take my time and wait patiently for each coat of paint to dry. (I’m not going to lie. The waiting patiently part is still a little hard for me!)
Most importantly, I focus on the overall project looking good — not zeroing in on any minor flaws along the way. It took me a long time to learn how to do this and I re-learn it with each new project I paint. I try to approach the project — and myself — with more tenderness and care than I did in the past.
And I didn’t paint all of that intricate detail work this time either!
I decided to save myself the hassle and leave that part silver. Why make something more difficult than it has to be? I also think the silver framed by the black looks more interesting than one color alone.
Now when I look at the bar cart, I see a cool vintage bar cart.
That’s it. No critical thoughts attached.
Just a cool vintage bar cart that I bought at a yard sale for $5 and painted.
It fits perfectly in this little corner of my home and holds my family photos that greet me when I walk by.
I feel good now when I walk past the vintage bar cart and all of my favorite people smile at me from the digital photo frame.
Now when I remember how stressed out I was about painting this vintage bar cart back in 2019, it seems about as ridiculous as playing a plastic trumpet with your nose.
Follow my adventures! New stories every week-ish.