Create-A-Bench Auction, A Closer Look Part 4

Today we will be enjoying some nature themed benches that are available in our Create-A-Bench Auction.  If you see one you can’t live without, you can place your bid HERE before 3pm on October 20.  If you can somehow live without one of these beauties but want to share your opinion on which deserves Best in Show you can vote HERE.


by 8th Grade Art Students from Greece Olympia

What a great opportunity for these middle schoolers to learn about working together, helping others, and of course, art.  Students from Greece Olympia collaborated on this bench titled, Nature.

Using acrylic paint they worked together to depict classic symbols of our natural world.  The seat back shows a broad blue sky with a glowing sun and peaceful cumulus clouds floating by.  The seat itself is painted a bright spring green that almost seems to smell of freshly mown grass when you sit down.  Don’t sit on the carefully painted flowers, butterflies, or bugs though!

Each side, also painted green, sows a variety of flowers in more springtime colors and you may spot a ladybug or 2.  The sky blue continues over the top to the back side of the bench and is sprinkled with spots and swirls that might make you think a breeze is blowing through.  Lastly, the front edge of the seat is patterned in coordinating spots that bring all the colors together and finish the seat off nicely.


What a perfect bench for a covered porch even in the fall and winter to remind you that spring will come again.  Maybe you would like it in you child’s bedroom or family play room as extra seating.  It would be just right for storybook reading with little ones.


Time Flies

by Colleen Krawskic from Fabulous Flowers

Flowers are what Colleen does, and her bench was made to match her daily life.  Bright red and yellow dominate her bench, Time Flies.  The seat back is custom cut and extended to create 3 giant sunflowers in full autumn bloom with their stems and leaves spreading across the seat.  The black at the center of each flower is mirrored along the edges of the arms tying it together.

Instead of simply continuing one color around to the back, Colleen has created bold red and yellow vertical stripes that make her bench a statement from any side.  Being a florist, no job is complete with out live flowers.  Both ends feature glass vases with lovely bouquets from Fabulous Flowers in autumn colors also found in the painted ones.


When you bring this bench home you can swap out the bouquets when they begin to fade.  Maybe you have a garden of your own and enjoy bringing your blooms indoors throughout the year.  Then this bench is perfect for you as it will be a constant reminder to “take time to enjoy the flowers.”


She Believed

by Peterson and Clark Soccer Team Friends

You would recognize one of the soccer team friends from the bench she did on her own, Photo Inspiration which we visited on day 1.  Rhana encouraged her team to do a bench together as a donation but also as a memorial for a lost companion.

They gave the bench a wonderfully rich painted finish using at least three colors and a dry brush technique.  The combination gives the finish a textured stone look but it is still quite smooth.  The cream and greys are so universal this bench will match almost anyone’s decor.  Even yours.  They choose to fill most of the seat back with the phrase “She believed she could so she did” a powerful encouragement for all women.

The outlined butterflies that adorn the seat back as well as both ends were handpainted in black bringing a softer feel to the stone look.  The butterflies seem to be drawn to the 2 larger silk sunflowers growing on one side of the seat back or perhaps to the flowers in the vase on the other.  The glass jar vase is securely attached to one end and currently has a bouquet of silk daisies, but the new owner can swap out for real flowers and fill the vase with water.


The finishing touch to the team’s bench brings all their hands together on the back to form a larger butterfly in grey.  What a powerful reminder of what friends and women can do if they believe in themselves and each other.


Fall Leaves

by Roseanne Zinni and Jennifer Morris from 2 Designers

Keeping with the nature theme today lets move from flowers and spring to Fall Leaves by a team of 2 friends.  When Roseanne and Jennifer are not giving a much need makeover to benches for charity they are floral designers in the area.  Maybe those flowers your husband had sent to your office were arranged by one of them.  You never know.

The 2 Designers decided to keep the original pale yellow of the bench for their base coat and it complements the rest of their work wonderfully.  They collected real leaves from their own yards to use as masks for the first layer.  Arranging the leaves they used gold, burgundy, and toasty brown spray paint to imitate the brush of wind across the bench.

Once this dried they repeated the process to darken the first layer giving the bench the pattern of leaves in a variety of subtle crispy autumn shades.  They then used some hand cut leaf stencils to paint more solid leaf shadows in deep green, burgundy, and dry leaf brown.


Lastly, using a gold paint pen they added the shining details tracing some leaf edges or spines in tiny gold dots.  Don’t forget to peek at the back of Fall Leaves before moving on.  Carefully hand lettered in gold is a thoughtful saying.  “While cares will drop away from you like the leaves of autumn.”


Create-A-Bench Auction, A Closer Look Part 3

Welcome to day 3 in a series designed to take a closer look at some of the beautiful benches we received for our Create-A-Bench Auction to benefit the Open Door Mission’s Coldwater House. Bidding on all benches takes place HERE until 3pm Saturday, October, 20, 2018.  You can also vote for Best in Show HERE.

100 Years

By Lynn Miller

Lynn Miller is a local artist and quilter living in Pittsford.  She has been inspired by Rochester’s connections to women’s rights and suffrage movement.  Knowing that 2019 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote, Lynn chose this as the theme for her bench.

100 Years is painted in stately grey and navy that will fit almost any décor.  She painted a banner across the top that says “19th Amendment” and stenciled the years 1919 and 2019 on either side.  Elegant yet simple stenciling completes the design along the bottom of the seat back.

With so much pressure to freehand lettering today, it may be surprising to find an artist interested in using stencils, but Lynn has a history with them.  When I was a child Lynn (aka my mom) stenciled borders around the tops of the walls in my sister’s and my bedrooms.  They were not simple patterns either.  Lynn cut her own stencils and used multiple colors in each room.  This was a time consuming but rewarding task.  I loved my stenciled trim.

Thanks Mom, for stenciling my room so patiently and for using your talents to benefit others.


Dream Big!

By Jackie Gasbarre

Jackie Gasbarre has three simple phrases hand lettered on her bench, Fly High, Touch the Sky, and Dream Big!  These 3 encouraging phrases could be written for every person on earth to read, but are they speaking directly to you today?

Jackie’s bench is full of movement and texture and it’s not just in the almost dozen hot air balloons soaring through the cloudy blue sky.  Each balloon is full of hot air and rising steadily toward high hopes and dreams.  It is these balloons that capture the attention right away with their detailed adornments.  Take a closer look at the rest of the bench though.

The seat and seat back are painted with detailed shading in creamy grey making it look like folded fabric from a distance.  The back of the bench is done in stripes of the same cream and darker grey adding whimsy to the back that compliments the detailing on the front seat edge.  Here Jackie has painted some wonderfully fun black and white checkers with a bit of gold pulled through mimicking a pattern we will not name similar to a style we also will not name.  Just below the checks is a row of elegant goldish fringe that is about an inch and a half wide.


So much time and though went into all the little details and shading of this bench, it is sure to be a high earner for Coldwater House.  Imagine entering someone’s house and being greeted with a seat like this to sit on and take off your shoes.  You would be sure to have a delightful visit.


Beatles Come to Rochester

by Paul Button from Salvage Monkeys

The first thing I learned about Paul Button is that he has a great sense of humor.  For one, his business is called the Salvage Monkeys, and two: the motto is, “We rescue the discarded and make cool stuff.”  This is so true.  Everything Paul makes starts with another man’s “trash,” and every one of his “treasures” takes on a double meaning or requires another way of looking.

Paul’s bench, the Beatles Come to Rochester, is no exception. All the lettering and locally recognizable but outdated sponsors’ logos were cut out of adhesive black vinyl.  The caricatures of the 4 Beatles themselves are also digital images.


Disclaimer: there is no Beatles concert at Midtown Plaza on October 11 from 2-5 this year or any other upcoming year.  Please don’t be disappointed.  Instead, bid on Paul’s bench as a souvenir for the concert that wasn’t to be.


Flower Garden

by Julie Wasson from tidbits & scraps

This is the easiest one for me to write about, because I don’t have to interview anyone.  I made it.  I will try to pretend I am not biased and it is not my favorite, but it is.  At least I can tell you more about my process.  I hope you find it interesting.

I gave my entire bench a base coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite, two coats actually.  Then I covered the seat back and the inside of the arms with ephemera, old papers, book pages, sheet music, tickets, etc.  Then I did a wash of the whole thing using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco and Provence (or Duck Egg, I don’t remember).  A wash is when you water down the paint.  I wiped off excess liquid as I was working.

Next was the most time consuming part.  I cut or tore all the flower parts and leaves and stems using papers that I had previously mono-printed using mostly acrylic paints (that’s a whole other story).  I adhiered all the pieces with Mod Podge both under and over the papers.  After all my flowers and butterflies were in place and dry I went in with charcoal and Stabilo pencil to add shading around everything.  This is the point when I stepped back and discovered I was seriously thrilled with the outcome.


I decided to seal the whole thing with a clear glossy spray by Krylon that dries super fast.  I had to do many layers before it becomes truly glossy.  There you have it.  The entire week long process in a nut shell.  And yes, I do custom orders!

Create-A-Bench Auction, A Closer Look Part 2

Today is day 2 in a series designed to take a closer look at some of the beautiful benches we received for our Create-A-Bench Auction to benefit the Open Door Mission’s Coldwater House.  Today we will be learning about the brightest of the benches with base coats in red, orange, and yellow.


by Sally Kamprath from ReHouse

This vibrant red bench was created by ReHouse’s very own Sally Kamprath, owner.  The bench auction was her brain child but she didn’t stop at the planning stage.  She wanted to create a bench too (actually she did 2).  It can be assumed that the owner of ReHouse has a fondness for items from the past and this includes vintage advertising.

Sally handpicked several colorful and often witty ads from some 1940s era issues of The Saturday Evening Post.  Some are from brands that have passed on into the obsoleteness like Servel, Norge, and Wonsover. Others are from brands we still see every day like Ford, 8 O’clock Coffee, and Kodak.

She found some pretty clever slogans like the Kodak one that claims, “your camera becomes a ‘color camera’ when you load it with Kodak color film.”  Did you know that the Whitman’s chocolate sampler is, “fresh as autumn air – smooth and rich and rare”?  I love the one for the General Electric radio that says, “See?  This little wife knows radio value!”  Isn’t her husband lucky?  It seems The Saturday Evening Post was just full of good ideas for the “budget-minded belle.”


Stop in to the store this week to read the other chuckle worthy ads from the 1940s.  You will also save 20% if reading outdated ads turns to buying cool stuff.


Hippie Daze

By Tracy and Jackie Tambe

Another bright and fun bench is Hippie Daze created by team Tambe.  I have a suspicion that the base color is called “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  Whatever it’s called it sure makes me smile.  Tracy and Jackie used some of the most popular icons of the hippie era in the US including the peace sign, flowers, smiley faces, and the VW bus.

They did some custom cutting and routing on the seat back to give the 2 peace signs some real dimension and then lined the openings with tie dye fabric, another classic from the 60s and 70s.  The tie dye also appears on one end of the bench but rather than use fabric there they incorporated a current popular art trend called acrylic pouring.  The process can be very messy but as you can see the results are quite remarkable.

The other side of the bench features some bold and beautiful flowers as a reminder of free spiritedness and the importance of our natural surroundings.  The largest even has a smiley face.  The center of the seat back has my favorite part, the VW bus.  A popular mode of hippie transportation, the vintage VW bus has an unmistakable portrait.  Restored buses are coming back and I regularly see 3 in particular around the area.  This one is hand painted in turquoise and white with rainbow shaded windows and a smiley on the front.


No hippie would be complete without bell bottom jeans.  The Tambes decided to incorporate denim by adding a cushion and upholstering the seat in old jeans shorts.  This really completes the fun vibrant aura of their bench and makes it extra comfy to sit on.  Great job you two!  Peace out.


The Planets

By Sally Kamprath from ReHouse

I told you Sally did two benches, and here is her second.  She had so much fun with Nostalgia that she had to keep going.  This one shows a more creative and artistic side to the boss at ReHouse.  While in San Francisco a few years ago she saw a street artist creating space scenes with spray paint and bowls and some other everyday materials.  Since she couldn’t remember all the details she went to YouTube and found a few videos similar to what she had seen.

The base coat is another in this series of bright and fun colors: orange.  It might not be a typical outer space color but is really makes the planets pop off the star speckled black sky.  You may be wondering where the bowls come in to play with this technique.  The artist used any size bowls or other circular objects as masks when spraying the black background.  Alternately, stencils are used to spray just the colors for the planets.  The planetary textures are often made with scrunched up paper or plastic wrap pressed on the wet paint to lift it and show the color underneath.


To try this technique at home search for “spray paint planets” on YouTube.  Good luck and don’t let you self get caught in a black hole!

Bidding on all benches takes place HERE until 3pm Saturday, October, 20, 2018.  You can also vote for Best in Show HERE.  We were also featured on Spectrum News yesterday.  You can see a short video montage on the Spectrum’s Facebook page HERE.


Create-A-Bench Auction, A Closer Look Part 1

Let’s take a closer look at some of the beautiful benches we received for our Create-A-Bench Auction to benefit the Open Door Mission’s Coldwater House.  Bidding on all benches takes place HERE until 3pm Saturday, October, 20, 2018.  You can also vote for Best in Show HERE.


Garden Bench (item #10)

by Mary Unger and Nicholas Schoenwald from Mary Unger Upholstery

Mary Unger volunteered to be a bench artist to help raise money for the Open Door Mission Coldwater House because “both sides of my family come from the coldwater area, dating back to the mid 1800’s, I’m glad to see this building in its newest incarnation, filling a community need. I was very happy to donate a bench to the cause, I look forward to other fundraisers.”

Mary runs her own upholstery company in Rochester and used her skills to masterfully makeover her bench.  She adding cushioning to the seat and seat back for comfort and covered it with Lee Jofa fabric, Stuart.  This fabric, with a cream background, depicts birds, trees, and flowers in a folk art style and color scheme.  The superior quality of the piece is evidenced in the details; a row of antiqued brass tacks lines the piping on each arm, and the front edge of the seat is adorned with decorative wood trim featuring a row of delicate leaves.

Mary has worked for designers and architects for 35 years, mostly doing wholesale work.  Her most public job would be the first and second renovation at the Spa at the Del Monte (designer Jonathan Ragusa).  Otherwise she has worked in some of the loveliest homes in Rochester including the Gannett Estate and the Frank Lloyd Wright house.


Her business partner and fellow artist, Nicholas Schoenwald, was able to use his painting expertise to perfectly compliment the colors and style of the fabric and upholstery work by adding a custom cut and hand painted thistle flower to each end of the bench.  In fact, says Mary, “his fanciful interpretation of a thistle drove the design.”



Photo Inspiration (item #12)

by Rhana Mufasta

Rhana Mufasta is a local high school student living in Webster, NY and attending school there.  She has a particular passion for nature and portrait photography.  She has been able to take some classes in school and hopes to further her knowledge and experience by taking college classes as well.  Rhana wanted to use her bench to showcase some of her own Best in Show photos from the last few years.

Rhana chose 15 photos for her bench which she painted in an energetic pattern using neutral colors.  The bench itself feels like a small art gallery which images of flowers, waterfalls, and vignettes from her families travels.


When Rhana delivered her bench I discovered a poised and delightful young woman with an obvious desire to capture the world around her.  She showed me other photos from her portfolio and I loved every one.  She recently shadowed a professional portrait photographer doing a senior portrait shoot.  I am certain that the photos she showed me were every bit as good as the pros must have been.  I hope she is available to do my son’s senior portraits next year.


Turtlewoods (item #4)

by Sue Keating

Sue Keating has found a unique niche in the art world, and it all begins with food.  That’s right, among other things Sue eats a lot of avocados and olives and other foods with seeds or pits.  Unlike the rest of us who simply discard the annoying little seeds in an orange or stick an avocado pit in a cup of water hoping it will sprout, Sue makes art.

Maybe it started as a project with the kids in her life or maybe it was a Pinterest post she just had to try.  Either way it has taken off and now she is surrounded by tiny turtles.  It is these turtles that in turn inspired Sue to create a bench for our auction titled, Turtlewoods.  She used a base coat of Glidden Paint in Garden Path green to set the stage for a hand painted woodland scene.   Trees grow up and over the back and arms surrounding the sitter in a forest.  Be careful though!!


Sue’s bench has 8 of her tiny turtles crawling around on it.  Each of these has a body made of ½ an avocado pit and head, legs, and tails made of olive pits.  These are specially prepared to prevent the turtle from any sort of rot or decay.  It fact, if you are careful of the little guys, they might last longer than the bench.


All Blinged Out (#6)

by Maureen Robbins from Maureen Robbins Art

Everything Maureen Robbins creates gives off a sparkle.  Maybe it’s because she uses so much bling in her art.  I contacted her on the recommendation of another bench artist and she was thrilled to participate.  Her bench showcases enumerable pieces of costume jewelry she has collected from various locations.  She collects beads, necklaces, bracelets, not to wear to the ball but to create her art.

Visit her Facebook page and you will soon realize that bling is one of her most used art supplies.  A really good glue is probably number 2.  For her bench she created an edge to the front and back of the seat, arranged her chosen jewels, and encased it all in clear resin truly making it a showcase to display the whole collection.


Pictures do not capture the vast assortment of bits and baubles in this piece, but I hope you can get a sense of just how sparkly it really is.

Come back tomorrow for a closer look at a few more benches.

Wedding Trends Made Rent-able

Wedding season is approaching for 2017, and according to the top wedding trend sites (the knot, Bridal Guide, Glamour), couples this year are envisioning weddings styled with “vintage glamour” and situated in creative natural spaces.  Even with the popular themes of elaborate food pairings and bountiful blooms, a return to live bands, and portrait painters alongside photographers, today’s couples are also focused on going green in more ways than one.


Current popular venues are no longer limited church basements, conference centers, or banquet halls.  While these are excellent and often economical choices where you can be sure practice has made perfect, couples are branching out[doors].  Whether actually indoors or out, more weddings are featuring natural elements.  Free flowing bouquets offer the ambiance of an English Garden.  Potted dwarf trees bring the garden indoors.  Wood and stone elements complete the enchanted forest effect.

The ultimate example of bringing the outdoors in…the avenue of trees at the royal wedding in 2011.  – photo by Murray Sanders for

Going green is not only a desirable decor style.  Couples today are taking on an environmental responsibility to go green as they plan their special days.  Invitations are being printed on recycled paper with soy based inks.  Flowers are being donated after the ceremony for others to enjoy.  Vintage china, silver, glassware, and linens are all being rented to eliminate waste even for casual receptions.  Couples are being more aware of the lasting impressions left by their weddings.  William and Kate may have started this trend when they went green by planting the English Field Maples that adorned Westminster after the royal wedding.

These 3 doors have been in the racks for years…should they be trashed?

At ReHouse we make decisions daily about what we let go to waste and what we are able to save for reuse.  We strive to encourage others to do the same when planning a remodel, restoration, or deconstruction of homes and buildings.  What if we could do the same for weddings?

or should they be transformed with some paint and hinges?

We have always offered a rental option for items being used in theatrical productions or other short term events.  This option allows the renter to use the item as a prop for a predetermined period of time and then return it in like condition.  An item could be saved from the landfill when we salvage it from a house and then again when it is returned as a rental rather than purchased for a one-time use and thrown out For 50% of the retail price, if it’s in stock, you can rent it.


What do we rent out most?  Doors.  In fact doors are so popular as wedding rentals we have decided to create some easy-up wedding backdrops and props using some of our 1000+ in stock doors.  These special event creations are available for one day rentals for the price listed.  Since we are closed on Sundays, Saturday to Monday rentals are considered “one day.”  We loved making them, and we hope that you will love using them for your next event.

PW0007Pale Green, 2 Door Backdrop – features matching solid wood oversized 6 panel doors with upper lites. Painted with durable indoor/outdoor paint in pale green.  Hardware detailing is also handpainted.  Triangle stands on each door and removable top trim support this elegant piece.  Add your own matching floral accents and tulle trim. $225

16938855_10154435757656588_2048778553315398483_nFarmhouse Chic Extra Large Arbor – built from locally salvaged barn wood horse stalls. Rear panel handcrafted to match.  Pergola style top asks to be draped with flowers, fabric, or candles that coordinate with your event’s decor. Designed and built for quick and easy assembly and tear down. $225

16904859_10154435754886588_4085692690442794175_oWhite Bridal Walk-Through Arbor – created with 2 doors slightly different in design painted fresh white to match any color scheme.  Feet on bottom and slats on top provide support for this pergola style arbor.  Perfect for a photo prop, ceremony backdrop, or to frame the bride’s entrance down the aisle, this piece places you right in the garden.  $195