July 30, 2012
Steve and I spotted this one day while out on the yard sale trail. It was part of a few items by the side of the road being proffered by a lady we’ll call Crazy Aunt Peg. She just had the look. She had some rather nice and very old chairs and a few other items, but this mirror caught my eye. Sure it had a lot of chipped veneer on the frame and was covered in a solid and enduring layer of ick, but you could see what was under that.
The Crazy Aunt Peg’s of the yard sale world don’t offer their goods for $5. No this was going to be a little more costly – but we could see that this was a great piece – the mirror itself was worth some money. Just then a van pulled up and out hopped a little fellow with long straight hair and a beard. I knew this guy – some years back I lived on a block with about five antique shops, and this fellow was around a lot. He clearly knew what he was doing and he looked straight at my mirror.
Oh it was mine. I placed a firm hand on it and told Steve to go find out what Crazy Aunt Peg wanted for this treasure.
“She wants $25!”
My eyes were locked on the little fellow with the long hair. He was trying to be cool, but he clearly wanted the amateurs to make way.
“Pay the lady, Steve. Pay Crazy Aunt Peg whatever she wants.”
My gaze never wavered. The little fellow saw the money change hands and moved on to an old painting. Defeated. Broken. Just a little bit littler than when he hopped out of his van.
Meanwhile, I cackled all the way home.
“Did you see that little fellow? He wanted this mirror. Oh ho he wanted it all right. But we got it! Ha! twenty five bucks! Crazy Aunt Peg didn’t know what she had! HA!”
I was alight with glee. Steve, on the other hand, was curious.
“Do you actually know this woman? I mean, is her name Peg?”
“Just drive will you, I need to cackle a bit more.”
So we brought the new mirror home. It used to be part of a vanity set and had bolts on either side for attaching it to the stand. I wanted to hang it above the bar, but the space was just too small. It was decided that it would go upstairs in my office – which we refer to here as The Lab. Not so much because it’s like a creative laboratory but BECAUSE, STEVE, I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A GODDAMN PUPPY.
The mirror just needed a good cleaning and some special bolts fitted into the sides so Steve could hand it with wire. It was pretty grubby.
I got out my trusty Circa 1850 wood cleaner
and followed that up with a little Danish Oil in medium walnut. That stuff is magic! It not only adds richness but it stained the parts of the frame that the veneer had come away from. There was no way I would paint this one – the wood was just to beautiful. I also decided to leave the chipped veneer as is. The damage was pretty extensive on the bottom, but it just spoke to the age of the piece and its well-traveled history.
The cleaning and polishing really did it justice.
So finally, it was time to hang it. I had to sadly remove the small cork boards I was using to hang necklaces and the like – but that only means I will need to devise some new method for storing them!
And here it is in its new home:
It’s hung a little high but I’m always having the top of my head lopped off in mirrors, so I erred on the side of high heels. I think it looks pretty lovely as is.