Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Milk Paint-Tone on Tone

I don't like to waste paint. That's one of the hardest things about working with milk paint. It's hard to know just how much to mix for a given project, and since leftover paint doesn't last very long, it more often than not gets dumped.

Wait...who am I kidding! I don't dump out paint!!! That's a crime. In some instances, however there isn't enough left over for an entire project. That's what happened when we started working on this great quilt cabinet.

I had a smidge of Miss Mustard Seed's Grain Sack left over from a dresser but wanted to paint this piece in Shutter Gray. So, we added Shutter Gray to the existing Grain Sack for a softer color. No paint wasted!

Once it was time for the second coat, the first coat already started to have a delightful, chippy finish.

Since we couldn't replicate the Shutter Gray, Grain Sack mix, we went with straight Shutter Gray for the second coat...which, I happened to have left over from another project. Problem was, my leftover batch of Shutter Gray had some of the bonding agent in it. To ensure that the second coat of Shutter Gray wouldn't adhere to the already beautiful chipped sections, we layered some Vaseline over the chipped parts so that the paint would wipe off where it was already distressed. (This was my second attempt at using Vaseline to distress. My first attempt was rather disasterous, but I think I learned my lesson. You can read about that faux paus here!!!)

The result was this beautiful yet subtle tone-on-tone gray combination that looked as though this piece had been sitting in a sitting room and was faded by the sun!

The chippiness from the first coat was preserved because of the Vaseline barrier.

A diamond cut glass crystal knob replaced the original brass one on the door but still compliments the original handles on the drawer.

This is just one of those instances where pictures don't do this piece justice!

I'm not exactly sure what this cabinet's original intent is, but it struck me as the perfect quilting cabinet. The vivid colors of the vintage quilts I have add a striking pop of color, yet compliment the time period that this piece was made.

I have to give props to our weekend intern, Sabrina! She painted this cabinet from start to finish and I think might be hooked on milk paint!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Epic Fail

I've painted fabric before.

I painted the stripe pattern and French stencil on the upholstery of this settee.

I stenciled the script on this seat.

And, last summer I full on painted a chair. It looked awesome!

So, I thought I'd give a couch a try.

If I could paint a chair, why not a couch?

Enter this cute little wood framed love seat. I loved everything about this sofa. The ruffle on the bottom. The wood detailing on the top and the arms. Everything except for the dingy blue fabric.

I started painting it.

And, I painted more...

...and more...

...and more. Really, this took [freaking] FOREVER!

Can you tell how it is slightly discolered around it?Well, that was me thinking that if I watered the paint way down, it would go further. Instead, it just completely soaked into the material.

I started with Old Ochre as my color of choice.

But, after two full cans, I ran out of paint. So, I went to Old White. I keep between 12 and 20 cans in stock so knew I wouldn't run out.

Here's the scoop...this project was AWFUL! Awful in the "I was on the verge of screaming and running out of the store pulling my hair out" kind of awful. It took at least a week to finish and consumed...wait for it...six full cans of paint! At $38.95 per can do the math.

This is my two cents on why I think it was such a pain to paint. 1. The fabric was too soft and a wider cotton weave. The other fabrics I've painted have been tighter...I don't know how else to explain it. But, the paint just soaked into this fabric. 2. The ruffles and bunched fabric on the back nearly did me in. Too many nooks and crannies to work the paint into. 3. And, it took two coats. So, not only did I have to endure painting it once (by then I was in too deep to just give up) I had to paint the bloody thing twice.

Oh yeah...after pictures?

Cute, right?

Try sitting on it! HA!

Just make sure you are wearing pants and no part of your skin makes contact. It's 60 grit sandpaper itchy.

I painted the wood frame in French Linen.

This would look so cute as a photo prop. No one would ever have to know it's painted!

The reason I classify this as an epic fail is because it (in my opinion) is not a buyable product. I highly doubt I will be able to sell this for even half of the cost that went into "fixing it up."

But, at least I have a nice place to cozy up with my girls and read a story while we are hanging in the store. So, there's a plus to everything!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holiday Stroll 2012

What a fabulous night we had at the Holiday Stroll!

My husband sat on one of the benches outside and, consequently got to listen to the things people had to say when coming in and out of the store. These were some of the funniest...

(referring to knot too shabby) 
"'s kind of like a museum, or thrift store but they have lots of really cute stuff!"

A ten year old boy who wandered in and ran out...

This one, you have to visualize...
(woman) "Oooh, what's this place?" (looks up at sign) "knot too shabby!?" (drags poor husband by the hands into the store...or just leaves them outside to wait.

Said by a group of men hanging out man to the other
"I'm giving her the eye to get out here but she isn't paying attention."

All in all, we had a blast talking to people, watching the silliness at the photo booth and relishing in the spirit of the holidays!

The biggest hit of the night was our photo booth by Killer Cupcake Event Photography and these are some of the great pictures that were taken.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vintage Sewing Machine Made Table

When two perfect things come together, magic happens!


But, seriously...

At least six months ago, I traded a (dilapidated and wonky) table for an antique Singer Sewing Machine. I've wanted a an old Singer for two reasons; the first, to paint in a wild color and use as a console table of sorts. The second, to dismantle and use for parts.

That's what I did with this one.

I took the entire piece apart. I kept the drawers and used them to stash various and random items. The wood framework I used as wall art. And, the base was going to serve as a new and improved table base.

Unfortunately, it sat collecting dust for the past six months because I didn't have the right table top. I thought about dismantling a pedestal table...but, I wasn't feeling it. I had a few coffee tables...but, they didn't have the right look either.


a month ago, I visited my favorite barn sale near my sisters house in the desert and found these.

Raw wood, vintage wire spools that had the original rusty nail heads and company stamps.  


Seeing as how the spool was never intended to be handled for day-to-day use, it was really rough. I had to sand it quite about to smooth the finish and then I just applied some Annie Sloan Clear Wax to protect the wood and soften it even more.


It seats four people comfortably.

Probably, my favorite refinishing and re purposing project to date!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Crazy Weekend and Seasonal Items

This weekend was crazy! Or...maybe abnormal is a better term...and very full! I spent Friday afternoon on a "picking" spree (not wedgies or bogies as my husband likes to joke), but antiques. Best of all, I got to do it with my favorite Virginia pickers, Sally and her husband! It was like old times. sigh

Then, on Saturday my yard saling trek took a slightly abnormal turn southward which landed us at the Salvation Army store. A few hundred dollars and three truckloads later my husband did some mass re-arranging in the storage unit to try and get everything to fit. It's PACKED! I couldn't fit another piece of furniture if I tried.

It's a good thing, too because on Sunday, I stopped by the store to get a head start on re-arranging for the Holiday Stroll (which is this Friday at 6:00 pm) and ended up selling three large pieces of furniture. By the end of the day, I just stood in the middle of the store, looking at an empty north wall thinking, "oh shoot. What am I gonna do now?"

All that to say, I have a tremendously busy week ahead of me and  a lot of furniture to get ready for our biggest night of the year (The Holiday Stroll...this Friday at 6:00 pm)!

In the meantime, as I was moving things, re-stocking wax brushes and setting up a new paint display, I was thinking about how much of a bigger variety I have to sell this year as opposed to last year (specifically, at the Holiday Stroll on Friday night)!

Paper wreaths, much like the ones we sold last year, but a better variety with vintage flair! This year, they are just $32 and the sale of each wreath is benefiting the Cornerstone Woman's Ministry Outreach Program.

Artist and photographer, Michelle Black has a whole new line of Christmas projects that she is bringing! I haven't seen what she is working on, but I know it's gonna be good stuff and perfect as teacher gifts.

I've been spending a bit more time being crafty and pulling together "leftovers" from other projects to make Christmas decorations. This is just one of them...a broken violin, canvas painting and some free Christmas greens that were given to me turned wall art! I also have some awesome pennants that are adorned with vintage baby dresses. You'll have to stop by to see that one!

Large burlap bows! I LOVE these! $10 each and perfect for the rustic, vintage and earthy Christmas Tree or mantle piece!

Lest you think we forgot about Thanksgiving, we still have a few fall items left!

My personal favorite are these silverware pockets! I bought 100 burlap bags, gave them to Michelle Black and asked her what she could do with them!

This was her brilliant creation. Best of all, they are machine washable!

And, if you are like me and say "I could totally do that myself," we are selling the blank bags for just $1 each!

The printed ones are $5 each and come in a pre-packaged set of four. Such a perfect hostess gift.

There are also a couple of Thanksgiving wood art pieces left and these are just $9.

A handmade quilted wall hanging for $35! Beautiful!

And, a festive throw pillow cover. How cute would this look outside on the front porch on a chair or bench? Hand sewn and adorned with vintage pieces for $35.

By the way, did I mention that the Holiday Stroll is this Friday night, from 6:00-9:00 pm! We are soooo not ready...but, by Friday, we'll be smokin'...guaranteed! And, I'll have the pictures to prove it.

Last thing, stay tuned for a blog post about a project that was the most epic fail of all things I've ever done. Epic, I say!

I leave you pondering what it could be. Until then...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wow Us Weekend

It seems like the weekend just sneaks up on me! But, here we all ready for another Wow us Weekend Feature!

Jeanne, from Perfect Imperfections refinished a great writing table in soft and subtle, Antoinette.

I love the legs and the overall simplicity of the entire piece. Sometimes, just adding a bit of paint and keeping it simple is just right! And the chair...I love a great cane chair! 

Beautiful job Jeanne! 

I love looking at all of the weekly submissions, but remember to keep your links to furniture and home decor! And, share the love and link away!

Painting a Kitchen One Piece at a Time

About two months ago, I decided I wanted to paint my kitchen cabinets.

But, I didn't know if I had it in me to tackle a project as big as the kitchen.

The more I thought about it, the more I was feeling motivated to take it on.

The trick was how to manage this project in a fashion that wouldn't detract from my family time, wouldn't take away from my regular schedule working in the store and would still allow me to use the kitchen to prepare meals. 

This is how I did it:


The best plan of action for my schedule was to do the work while my three-year old took her daily naps and my five year old worked on her homework. That allowed me approximately two to three uninterrupted hours during the day  to tackle a small piece at a time. Since my five-year old does her homework at the kitchen table, I could still be engaged with her and pause to help read instructions or answer questions. It also allowed us time to chit chat while we were both working. 

Day One (Sunday)

The plan was to start painting on Monday afternoon. I spent Sunday evening taping off the walls and drilling pilot holes into the cabinets and drawers where the new hardware was going to go. 

Total time: About one hour

Day Two (Monday)

The trick was to think of this as one small project every day. In order to maintain the use of my kitchen, I couldn't completely dismantle the cabinets. But, I also couldn't start painting the cabinets and then cook a meal without waxing them. So, I thought of each individual component as its own piece of furniture. If I painted, distressed, then waxed it one at time, I could finish this project in small pieces without it feeling too overwhelming. So, that's what I did.

I started with the upper cabinets above my sink. The plan was to do just the one cabinet on the left. But, things kinda snowballed and I ended up painting all of the uppers. It only took one coat of paint! As soon as they were dry, I lightly distressed the edges and applied wax. I finished waxing the upper left just when my little one woke up so I had to put the rest of the waxing on hold until the girls were in bed.

By the end of day one, I started and finished all of the upper cabinets!

Total Time: 3 hours

Day 2 (Tuesday)

Tackling the lower cabinets with Old White. The plan was to finish just the two beneath the bar. Once I got the first coat on, it was apparent that they would need a second coat, so while I was waiting for those to dry, I continued on to the drawers and sink (see how it just keeps snowballing). By the time I finished the first coat all the way to the dishwasher, it was dry enough to start the second coat. 

I had to wait until little ones were in bed to wax them. But, by the end of the night, all of the lowers on the entire north wall was painted, distressed and waxed.

Total Time: 4 hours

Day 3 (Wednesday)

Time to start the south wall. I started with just the upper cabinets.

The painting went so quickly on those, that by the time I finished painting all of them, they weren't dry enough to distress. So...(here comes the snowball), I painted one of the lowers. Once that got its first coat, I could distress the top ones. Then, I added the second coat to the bottom cabinet and waxed them later that evening. 

Total Time: 3 hours

Day 4 (Sunday)

I had to take a three-day break because life got in the way. But, the break was completely manageable because my entire kitchen was still entirely intact and okay to be used! It just looked horrifically unfinished.

On Sunday, my husband diverted the girls to other activities so that I could get a head start before the busy week. I was able to finish the rest of the lowers by the stove and got the new hardware installed the finished cabinetry.

Total Time: 2 hours

Day 5 (Monday)

The big one. I waited to do this until last because I wasn't sure if I was going to paint it color or Old White. In the end, I went with the color to balance the color on the far side of the kitchen in the curtains and (this is the real reason) I didn't want to do two coats of paint. 

It took all of nap time just to paint this one and and just as long to wax it in the evening. 

Total Time: 4 hours

Well, you know what they say...if you want something done, give it to a busy person. Or, in my case...a busy body! It took just about 17 hours to finish the kitchen and only five days.  Of those 17 hours, at least 13 of them were spent during nap time/homework time or bedtime and didn't detract (too much) from life at home with two little girls. And, yes my kindergartner does have that much homework!

It was manageable because the project was broken up into two hour segments so that life could run its course in between. 

So, my words of wisdom to those waiting for the time to finish (insert project here), think of it less as one GIGANTIC project and more like smaller projects leading to a big finish. The end is so much more rewarding without all of the headaches in between! 

Link up your fun refinishing projects on our Wow Us Weekend Link Party, every Thursday night-Sunday! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Painted Kitchen

My kitchen has been a project ten months in the works. It is finally...sigh...done. Well, as done as any room ever is in my house!


This isn't really a true before picture. This is the "after" picture from last January. The real before had dark, dank green walls and no window treatments. Last Christmas, we painted the whole kitchen to lighten and neutralize the color. This is what we ended up with.

I brought some color through window treatments and new upholstery for the chairs.

Honestly, I love upholstered chairs but am so over them in a kitchen that constantly hosts toddlers! So, part of my kitchen make-over involved ridding myself of the upholstered chairs and changing them out with new (I mean, old) wood chairs.


I wanted to do something different with the cabinets. Something a little edgier than just painting everything white. So, I took a risk and added color to the top and left the bottom ones neutral.

I mixed a custom color which came out to three parts French Linen to two parts Duck Egg Blue.

The bottom units are Old White and both uppers and lowers have a dark wax glaze.

And, new jewelry, of course! I love bucket handles!

The brushed nickel matches my fixtures.

I went "shopping" around my house for new window treatments and swapped the patterned ones with the plain in my family room. I kept the kitchen table (which is one of my all time favorite pieces of furniture in my house) and paired down the six chairs I had to just four. The white, burlap upholstered chair I'm keeping because my Papa saw it in his neighbors trash and pulled it out for me. He's 93 years old and I thought that was so cool of him! I swapped out two white ones for the two antique wood chairs. No upholstery = perfect seating arrangement for my girls!

I traded out this vanity and mirror for  a new piece of furniture...

...a different sort of vanity. But, I will blog about this piece at another time. 

So, here's the breakdown on how much paint I used and the total cost:

Wall Paint: I used Valspar paint and primer in one (Lovely Bluff) which was $32 a gallon.
Cabinet Paint: The lowers took one can of Old White, at two coats of paint. The uppers only took 10 oz. of paint. One coat. And, I used about one can of clear wax and maybe half a can of dark wax. So total cost of paint and wax was $91.
New Hardware: Knobs were in a 10 pack for $22 each and I needed two packages. The handles were $5 each. So total cost was $79.
New Rug: $50 from Home Goods
New Chairs and Furniture: Free...well, when you consider the fact that I already sold what was in its place. 

Total Cost of complete kitchen make-over: $252.00

Not too bad for a completely new look! 

I'll blog later about how I managed to tackle this project in less than a week with a store, two little girls while keeping up with making dinner, doing laundry and all those other day-to-day tasks!

Link up your fun refinishing projects on our Wow Us Weekend Link Party, every Thursday night-Sunday! 
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