Suspending Disbelief

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ” 
― Pablo Picasso

Part of what I love about finding vintage furniture is that I immediately look beyond what's in front of me. When I stumble across a piece that screams out for my attention, I recognize where it has been. It has most likely been passed down among various family members, given away to friends, survived many moves, sold at garage sales and flea markets until it finally arrives before my eyes.

Everyone can see that it is worn. It has the visible scratches, knicks, and dents that come with years of use, but for me, that is only the beginning. The state that it comes in no longer has to be its reality. Suspending the belief that it has to keep its present appearance and imagining something no one else can see is pure fantasy, free from rules or guidelines. A place that only exists in the imagination where nothing is wrong, only different.

I met Hope after several exchanges regarding the antique school desk she had listed for sale online.  I had seen desks like this one many, many times before, but for some reason, something was telling me to it was the right time to take this one on as a project.


There are times when the people selling these items are happy and eager to tell you the history of the piece and other times not.  Luckily, Hope was the former and not the latter. It so happened that her husband had kept the desk that was given to him by his father, which was most likely was passed down to him. This desk is in wonderful condition which is always great to see and good to know that it was taken such good care of.

That being said, there is no reason why it must stay the same. Opening up to new ideas of what it can be and creating a new reality for this desk is what I love to do. Looking past what I see and replacing it with a dream is an ability I never want to lose.

This particular project included some beautiful nailheads that I purchased from Rhinestones Etc., one of my favorite people and favorite shops. Below, I am going to show you just how easy it is to incorporate in any decor.

 Items you will need:

Standard staple gun

5/16" 8mm Universal Fit Staples

Acid-Free, High Tack, Multi-purpose Spray Adhesive

Quilt batting available at any craft store

API's Crafter's Pick Glue 

8.54 mm Gold Pearl 4 prong Nailheads (from Rhinestones Etc.)



1 yard of fabric of your choice

2 yards of fabric trim

After I disassembled the desk, I took the existing backboard and glued on some loose quilt batting to the front using some spray adhesive. I then cut the fabric to surround one side of the backboard. I make sure to cut the fabric a little larger than needed to give myself plenty to work with. Making the fabric taut around all sides is necessary to then staple the fabric in place on the backboard.


Once the fabric is stapled in place I then glued the fabric trim completely around the backboard using API's crafter's pick glue. After the trim had adhered to the fabric, which was pretty immediate, I then went to the fun part! Putting on the beautiful gold nailheads I picked up from Karen at Rhinestones, Etc.


These nailheads were extremely easy to use precisely because they are 4 pronged. These prongs made them steady while reaching for the hammer to tap into the backboard. 

After putting the first nailhead in place, I then continued tapping in the nailheads at one-inch intervals until I completely surrounded the backboard.

Well, there you have it! Using these gold nailheads was just what my project needed to give it that extra sparkle and shine. I'm sure you can find endless ways to incorporate them into your home's decor. This is how my desk project turned out and I couldn't be more pleased to give it a whole new reality.

I'll never be able to express all that goes on in my head about the creative process piece by piece, but that's what makes it magic!

I have attached the song Magic by Pilot because it's important to suspend belief once in a while in just what you see with your eyes and create what you see with your mind.


Magic by Pilot

For an added bonus, I've attached a TEDx talk by the one and only Kermit the frog with his unique take on creativity.

Creativity - In the words of Kermit the Frog

Always stay classy,

Julie Hickman

Project Vintage US

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post and feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. I started writing pieces and posts to prove to myself I could articulate my thoughts in a way that made sense. I realized soon after that it was somewhat therapeutic to express my thoughts about life's mysterious twists and turns as well as all the wonderful lessons we learn on the way.


  • Hey Karen,

    It was my pleasure to use your gold nailheads. It really brought the whole design together! I know I’ll have another chance to use some of your great products in the future my friend!

    Julie J Hickman
  • Thank you for incorporating my nailheads into your beautifully re-imagined desk! It looks absolutely stunning!


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