Monday, February 24, 2014

Milk Paint Display

Coming up with creative ways to display product can be daunting. We seem to manage to put together nice displays with what we find here and there.

Like this gigantic antique display cabinet..

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Or this piano that we use as a display demonstrating the difference between Chalk Paint® and Milk Paint.

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We used books for a color display of all the Chalk Paint® colors (Clear wax on the cover and dark wax on the back).

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The wall of crates display that underwent days of dark waxing and dirty fingernails as a result of making them look authentically old. 

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And, more recently a display and storage unit for our many styles of knobs.


I used to maintain the philosophy that everything is for sale. Time and time again our "displays" would sell and we would have to scramble to find new pieces to display product. It was stressful. 

With some defined display pieces finally in place, we changed our policy and have a few fixed pieces of furniture that are used solely for displays (such as the ones listed above).

Included in our line of display pieces is our vintage refrigerator. 

What better place to store a selection of Milk Paint than in vintage milk bottles inside of a vintage refrigerator? 


One of the local metal scrappers stopped by the shop one day and asked if we wanted this refrigerator (minus the awesome paint job) complete with about three inches of disgusting grime.

I thought Michelle Black was going to freak out over this piece. We completely lost our game face and what was offered for free somehow ended up costing $40. Go figure.

We used Lucketts Green to paint the framework and you can see the variation of the original finish where all of the chipping is. 


I cleared out one of my go-to antique stores of every old milk bottle they had to keep the different colors of milk paint in the bottles...in the fridge.


I used enamel casserole dishes for the waxes and color cards.


When I first started using this fridge as a display, all of the products fit nicely inside. The Miss Mustard Seed's line has grown so much in the past year, I no longer can fit all the colors, waxes and hemp oil inside. With the addition of mini whisks, white wax, bulk sized containers, wax pucks, etc...I've had to expand the display onto tables or shelving units...whatever I have on hand. 

Nothing sets apart one shop from another better than how they are able to display their products. It's my favorite thing about visiting other retailers. I love to see refreshing ideas, creative and re-purposed pieces to show off product lines. It keeps me inspired and motivated to constantly change and refresh! I have a new display in mind for custom color creations! You'll have to wait to see how that comes together within the next couple of months. I promise at the very least, it will be completely and overwhelmingly colorful!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

knot too shabby Bazaar and Consignment Sale

Our first Bazaar was such a big success, we had great plans for the "Second Annual..." But, we relied on a location that ended up selling right out from under us...literally. Just days before we were ready to sign the rental agreement for the vacant lot, it sold to a new owner. So, all of our plans went on standby. Consequently, we had to postpone what would have been an annual summer event until we could coordinate something with the new owners.

Now, nearly a year later and with a few added brainstorming sessions under our belt, we not only have the dates set for our 2nd Bazaar and Consignment Sale, but we are making it a monthly event!!!




Scheduled for the first Saturdays of the month this April, May, and June, we are inviting local vendors to sell their goods. Anything from vintage wares to painted furniture will have a presence at our Bazaar.





Not to mention local artisans with an eye for rustic and chic handmade home d├ęcor.




There's still time to tackle those projects to get them ready for the event.  And, if April is too soon to commit, you can always reserve space for May and June!




Vendor Details

  • 10x10 booth rentals available.
  • Early bird registration is $65 until March 1st. $75 after March 1st
  • Painting Passports Holders and Interns get $65 booth rental rate
  • Credit Card processing available for vendors if needed. Knot too shabby will allocate 10% of vendor related credit card transactions.
  • Reserve three months in advance for $150
Consignment Opportunities
  • For those who have items to sell but not the time to sit in the hot sun, consign your wares
  • Consignment rate is 50/50 split
View our registration and information packet for more details or to sign-up!

Shoppers, vendors, and consigners alike are invited to join the facebook event for May's Bazaar now!

Monday, February 10, 2014

French Provincial Dresser and Mixing Products

There are a lot of purists out there. Those who believe in one product for all projects. 

That's not me. 

In fact, if I were to give a speech about my painting philosophy, it would sound something like this...

I believe in all paint products. I still use latex on walls because the quality and finish of the higher end latex paints have come so far. You can achieve a nice finish in one coat with a quality paint and primer in one. Acrylics are fabulous for detail work. You can get a small bottle at just about any craft store for a great price and they adhere nicely. And...dare I say it...I even use spray paint. There it is...I admit it. I think some chairs are 1) easier to paint with spray paint  2) faster to paint and 3)...there is no three. It's just quick and efficient.

Spray Painted Chair
None of those products come close to sharing my love for Chalk Paint® and Milk Paint, however.

Having two superior paint product lines at my fingertips allows me to play with them, experiment and see how they work together; to find the best combination of products to use in order to achieve the finish I'm looking for. 

All of that leads into how I refinished this French Provincial dresser.


The electrician that works on the lighting in the store brought this by for me after he cleaned out his garage. Score! There was some major damage on the top so it either needed to be stripped and re-stained or sanded smooth and painted. I opted to re-stain it. 

The plan:

  • French Linen on the base
  • Old White "Springtime in Paris" stencil on the drawer faces
  • Re-stain the top using Miss Mustard Seed's Curio Milk Paint
  • Hemp Oil the top
  • Clear Wax/Dark Wax mix on the base
  • Final wax coat on stained wood


I was quickly running out of daylight so had to bring the drawers into the house to paint. Which meant we had pizza for dinner. :) I hate cooking anyways.


Once the stencil was applied, I went to mix my wax but had a problem. I didn't have any dark wax at home. No worries...I am good at improvising.


I mixed up a small batch of Curio and scooped a spoonful of beeswax into the drawer and created my own antiquing wax. I could control the darkness by adding more or less curio to the mix. I went for a fairly light finish. 


I didn't add any distressing to this piece.




Nine times out of ten I keep products lines together on projects. I think of them as symbiotic, preserving the character and style as intended by that line. But, once in awhile I like to mix and match and find ways to integrate all of the different product lines; to demonstrate how versatile the different products are.

So, venture out and experiment. You never know what you might discover!!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Antique Buffet and Miss Mustard Seed's Linen and Curio

I've been stuck at home today taking care of my very sick child. Between the tears and cuddling, I don't really know what to do with myself. It's not very often that I just get to be at home. 

I am in the process of building a new website that will not only host the blog pages, but will also have an online store complete with a shopping cart, online workshop registration and a photo gallery. It's been a daunting task and I'm realizing how outdated many of my photographs are. In the photo gallery, one of the tabs will be a "home tour"...pictures of the rooms I updated in my own house. I was pulling my photo files together and was a little shocked by how much updating I've done to my house since some of the original pictures were posted. A day at home seemed like the perfect opportunity to update my photographs for the new website. I still have a lot to do and don't expect the new site to be live until the end of February...if I'm lucky.

While I was taking pictures today, I was able to photograph the white buffet I just finished painting this past Tuesday. 

It started like this:


I found this buffet along with its matching china cabinet and an oak dresser on craigslist. The china cabinet and dresser are staying at the store, but the buffet is replacing this buffet that I've had since June.


I originally put this in the kitchen, then ended up moving it to the living room to go under the TV. I liked it, but the color started wearing on me. It was a little too bright for my space. I'm finding myself drawn to neutrals. I still have pops of color, but they are definitely more muted. 

I couldn't decide, though whether to go with Chalk Paint® or Milk Paint. Really, it was a no brainer. It was shiny, 1940's style mahogany, likely to bleed. Chalk Paint® was the obvious course of action. BUT, I don't have much painted in Milk Paint in my own house. I like having a sampling of the different styles. So, after much internal debate, I went with Milk Paint. 

I didn't want an overly chippy look which meant I would need to use the bonding primer. The top had to be stripped down and re-stained so I had to pull together the stripper, Curio and hemp oil. I went for Linen on the base.

First Step was to strip the top.


I use Klean Strip to remove the sticky, shiny varnish. I always do this step before painting. If the chemicals drip off the top and down the side, I haven't ruined my paint finish.

Next, I started sanding using an 80 grit sand paper on a rotary palm sander.


Even with the sander, there was still quite a bit of varnish on top. So, I put some more stripper on the varnished sections.


Once all the varnish is off, I wipe it down with a damp cloth to clean up the chemicals so they don't gunk up the sandpaper. 

Once it was sanded down to the bare wood, I used another damp cloth to wipe down the dust.


While that was drying, I mixed up a watered down batch of Curio to use a stain on top. Even the watery batch was thicker than I wanted so I grabbed another wet cloth to thin it once it was on top of the buffet. 

While the Curio was drying on top, I used the same 80 grit sandpaper to rough up the base of the piece. I just scuffed it up a bit to give the paint something to grab to. All in all, it took about five minutes to sand the base, including the drawers. 

I mixed the Linen, added bonding primer and put the first coat on the base.


While that was drying, I added a coat of hemp oil to the Curio stained top.


I let the hemp oil saturate the top for about 15-20 minutes, then I took a 220 grit sand paper and hand sanded the top, working down the finish and smoothing it out. Then I wiped off the hemp oil. 

*Now, here's where I got to take a long break. I had to pick up my daughter from school, babysit the neighbors for an hour, make lunch...you know, mom things. All the while, the top and base got in a good couple of hours of drying time. 

Once all that other stuff was taken care, I mixed up a second batch of Linen...actually, just adding a bit more powder to the left over first batch. I didn't add any additional bonding primer to the second batch and made it a bit thinner than the first batch so that it would settle in the unfinished areas. I ended up needing a very light third coat in some sections.


I added another coat of hemp oil to the Curio stained top while the base was drying. 

Once everything was dry, you can see how powdery and rough the finish is. That is something characteristic of milk paint, but nothing to be worried about. 


I used hemp oil on the entire base, brushing it in pretty liberally (even over all the lumps). 


I used the same brush on the base that I used on the top, so the Curio that was trapped in the brush transferred onto the white finish. I focused on the frames of the doors first, then did the drawers and finally the remaining base. I worked it all in to blend the darker edges.

After I oiled the whole piece, I took my palm sander and sanded the base to smooth out the finish. The hemp oil prevented the sander from taking off too much paint while working the oil into the finish. It also worked off the paint in a few areas just giving it a hint of chipping here and there. My plan was to seal the entire finish with clear wax, but when it was all said and done, it really didn't need the wax. 



The Curio is really a rich brown.





Jack Sparrow gets a prime spot on top, coupled with my collection of my favorite books, The Count of Monte Cristo



I asked my husband if it was going to bug him to have to tilt the lamp out of the way to swivel the TV out. He said something to the effect of "do I really have to answer that?" I foresee having to move the lamp in the near future. 

So, now I have a prominent piece in a nice Milk Paint finish. Had I gone with Chalk Paint®, I would've used a classic Old White finish with clear wax. It would have taken two full coats with a very light third coat in some sections. I wouldn't have had to sand the base, but that took so little time it was almost inconsequential. Chalk Paint® is easier to clean up...no mixing bowls, whisks and spills on the counter. But, it wouldn't have had any random chipping.


I like the randomness of the distressing of Milk Paint. 

Intrigued by the process? We have a Milk Paint workshop coming up in March and it's not too early to sign-up. I promise, once you start mixing and painting, any hesitation you had about using it will vanish! I guarantee it! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

French Image Transfer on Desk

There is something about handwritten text that is so classic. Add a foreign language like French and it is just romantic and utterly irresistible. 

I searched etsy several years ago for some antique French letters and stumbled upon a few priced upwards of $20 each. I was never willing to spring for one.

In Tongeren, Belgium where I visited the Flea Market in December, I brought home a stack of ephemera about four inches thick. I really didn't know what I was buying at the time. When I got home Michelle Black and I sat around my kitchen table oohing and aahing over the awesome documents. 


One of the pieces was a French Geometry book published in 1915. Every page looked handwritten.

I scanned one of the pages and sent the file to be printed so that I could transfer the text onto a desk. 


I just love how perfectly worn the book pages were...and discolored along the sides. I wanted to replicate that same look on the desk. The bottom received a coat of Graphite Chalk Paint® and I painted Old Ochre on top, which is creamier and richer than Old White.


I transferred the image and used straight dark wax to discolor the top of the desk.


I was going for that worn and erratic parchment paper look.


I think I pulled it off.


I ordered extra engineering prints of this image and they are for sale in the shop. The large 36x48 prints are $24 and the smaller 24x36 prints are $18 each (We can ship them, too). They are reversed and ready to be transferred. You can also order your own digital files of the images for just $2.50 each. Just send a facebook message or e-mail if you are interested and we will send off a paypal invoice and then e-mail the file directly to you. 


I have more great images to transfer onto furniture. I'm just awaiting the perfect pieces! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Disaster in Back and Milk Paint Mixology

It's hard for me to believe that January is over, 2014 is well under way as are my business plans for this year! Time eludes me and I feel as though I will never accomplish everything on my list.

2014 is dedicated to organization! 

Organization in my storage unit.

Organization in my workshop.

Organization on my computer (anyone else have stray picture files all over your desktop?)

Organization in the store.

And, as with any organizing project, things always get worse before they get better.


That was my pile, emptied out of storage and stacked behind the store. It was a nightmare. Projects that have piled up over the years. Furniture that has been donated. Pieces that were unusable as home furnishings but had salvageable materials to re purpose into home decor. It just got wildly out of hand. 

In an effort to stay on top of things and keep better track of my inventory, I broke down and hired a couple of guys looking for some extra work...about four hours per week who will come in every week just to move things around and tidy up storage. At first it seemed like a waste of payroll dollars, but when I started adding up pieces that have been damaged and the loss of potential profits, I think it will end up paying for itself. Plus, they will definitely help manage my level of stress when it comes to dealing with the mess. 

My lack of organization benefited a number of individuals who got to take advantage of my purging. I gave away somewhere around 20-30 pieces of furniture to furniture refinisher enthusiasts. And, as I was digging through the piles I would exclaim, "I FORGOT I HAD THIS," or "THIS WILL LOOK GREAT PAINTED." 

I set aside two pieces in particular.


A console table in a hideous gold color and a larger round side table with a marble top.


The bones of this piece was perfect for milk paint and I had two interns eagerly waiting to refine their milk painting skills. 

The plans for this table were to do a two-color finish with a hemp oil resist between coats. The top would get a coat of Chalk Paint® so that we didn't have any bonding issues on the stone work. The base and top would then get an antiquing wax finish to show off  the details.


We chose Linen as the base coat and Trophy for the top coat.


Janet was working on this table and did an awesome job. She was a bit hesitant at first, but by the time she finished she was sold on Milk Paint.



The antiquing wax really defines the stonework and Old White is a perfect match to Linen.


The second piece we pulled out of the junk pile was a gold console table. Natalie tackled that project which was a perfect piece to use the Milk Paint Bonding Primer because of its shiny surface.

We made up a custom mix of equal parts Eulalie's Sky and Shutter Gray.


It was a color comparable to Duck Egg Blue with a bit more blue than green.


I had Natalie scuff up the entire surface with 80 grit sandpaper so that the paint would stick. 


It took two coats to cover and then she hand distressed it so that that obnoxious gold would peek just a little bit (not looking obnoxious at all).


She mixed antiquing wax and white wax to give it an aged look and make the plain, flat surface a bit more interesting.


These pieces of furniture were sitting in my storage unit for two+ years. 

It feels good to give them new life and to free up some of my space!

On a side note...

...I just returned from Vegas over the weekend where I spent all day Sunday with about 20 other Milk Paint retailers from all over the United States in a Retailers Training. I always feel revived and refreshed when I meet with like-minded artisans who share the same passion for painting, revival and even business development. 

I'm front and center on the floor

I think I might start an annual Retailers Convention; a place for all of the artisans to meet and gather, to brainstorm, have round table discussions and just talk business; workshops to develop marketing plans and strategize direct mail campaigns. Hmmm...maybe in the fall of this year. We'll see. :) 

My husband calls me "Starbucks" because "I always have something brewing."

What can I say, I can't help it. 

Anyhoo, check back within the week for some expanded workshops to be scheduled in March and April. I'm excited about what I have planned...until then, keep painting! 
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