recipes for success.

I really enjoy mixing my own custom colors with milk paint.  Of course you can also do the same thing with Fusion’s acrylic paint and also with chalk paint, but somehow measuring the different powders and mixing them up with water is so much more fun.  It’s a little ironic since I have absolutely no interest in baking.  I definitely get far more use out of my vintage measuring spoons with paint than I ever would if I used them for baking.

So far my all time favorite custom mix is the Blue Alligator that I came up with last month for this dresser …

The recipe for Blue Alligator is equal parts Miss Mustard Seed Kitchen Scale, Homestead House Upper Canada Green and Homestead House Loyalist.

A close second for favorite status is a color I called Robin’s Egg Blue.  I mixed this one up way back in April 2014 and used it on this dresser …

The recipe for this one is a little more complicated than some of the others I’ve done.

 I used 1/4 cup of MMS Luckett’s Green, 1/2 cup MMS Eulalie’s Sky and 2 T of MMS Flow Blue mixed with 3/4 cup of water.  This quantity was enough to paint two coats on the dresser, plus there was enough left over for a mirror frame.

Another pretty combo is one that I copied from Miss Mustard Seed and used on this chippy little table.

This color is a mix of equal parts Shutter Grey, Eulalie’s Sky and Layla’s Mint (all Miss Mustard Seed milk paint).

Tropical Island is a a mix of 3 parts MMS Luckett’s Green to 2 parts MMS French Enamel.  I used it on this little wall shelf.

It really easy to lighten up a color by adding some white.  When I painted this empire style buffet I wanted a pale grey, so I went with 1 part MMS Trophy to 2 parts MMS Ironstone which gave me the perfect shade of grey.

Back in July 2014 I created my own Minty Fresh green by mixing together some MMS Luckett’s, Eulalie’s Sky and Grain Sack.  Grain Sack is a white with very grey undertones and I love using it to both lighten and to tone down a color.

If you are thinking about creating a custom mixed color of your own, I have a couple of tips for you.

First of all, be sure that you mixed enough color to finish the job.  If you run out of paint halfway through your final coat, you are not going to be able to mix more that exactly matches.  That kind of precision is not something you’ll ever achieve with milk paint.

I know that it can be difficult to predict exactly how much paint you’ll need.  It’s something you’ll get a feel for over time, but at first you may struggle with it.  So, I have another tip for you just in case you didn’t get the quantity right.  Always pay a little bit of attention to how much paint you mixed up at the start, let’s say it was about 1 cup.  Then when you’ve completed your first coat, take a look at how much paint is left.  Do you still have at least half a cup left?  If you think you might be just a tad short, can you add just a little water at this point and go with a thinner 2nd coat?  If that’s not going to work, or if you think you may even end up needing a third coat, now is the time to mix more paint before you start your 2nd coat.  If the color is a little off, it won’t matter if you paint a full 2nd coat in this new mix.

My final tip; be sure to mix your paint thoroughly and then let it sit at least 15 minutes or so before you start painting.  This gives all of the pigments time to dissolve properly.  I don’t use any fancy mixing tools (like a whisk or blender), I just super cheap craft sticks and a red solo cup and then I toss them after each project.  I know, that’s not very ecologically sound of me.  When I first started using milk paint I used glass canning jars so that I could shake my paint to mix it, but cleaning those jars was a pain (just ask Mr. Q, he usually ended up with that job).

As always with milk paint, be sure you mix the paint frequently as you are using it to keep your color well blended and consistent throughout.

Do you have any favorite custom mixes of milk paint that you’d like to share?  If so, be sure to leave a comment!

my color comfort zone.

I mentioned last week that Homestead House recently sent me some more of their milk paint.  I had requested some neutral shades, and I got plenty of those (and will be sharing a piece in one later this week), but they also sent me quite a few colors that I probably wouldn’t have chosen on my own.  One of those colors is called Gatineau.

Here’s how it looks on their website.

Hmmmm.  Yep, I definitely would not have put this one at the top of my wish list.  I’m not gonna lie, when I pulled it out of the box of paint I received I really didn’t think I would ever use it.  It was way outside my color comfort zone.

We all have a color comfort zone, right?  I actually have two.  One for items I’m keeping for myself and one for items I’m planning to sell.  My own personal color comfort zone is pretty wide open.  In fact, the front door of my house is quite similar to the Gatineau

But I tend to be a bit more cautious about color with items I want to sell.  Almost anyone can work a neutral color into their existing décor, but there just aren’t as many buyers who will be able to use a color with a lot of personality.

Regardless, while testing out a few of the more neutral shades last weekend I decided to mix up a little Gatineau to see what it looked like IRL (that’s ‘in real life’ in case you didn’t know).  I painted it on a Popsicle stick and then pushed it aside for a bit, but I kept glancing at it and finding that the color was really growing on me.  It wasn’t until the paint on the Popsicle stick was fully dry that I realized it wasn’t nearly as yellow as I thought it might be.

If you’ve mixed up green milk paint before, you’ll know that the dry powder looks yellow.  Your first reaction when seeing it will likely be ‘uh oh, I’ve got the wrong color’.  When you add the water and start to mix, the paint will still look much more yellow than the final color.  You have to be sure to give the green shades of milk paint plenty of time (15 to 20 minutes at least) for the blue pigments to dissolve before starting to paint with it, always mix frequently while working with it, and always paint your entire piece at one time (cautionary tale here).

After admiring the color on that Popsicle stick for a while I decided to be daring and step outside of my color comfort zone and paint something in Gatineau.  Specifically, this incredibly adorable little table that I picked up recently.

After re-gluing some veneer that was lifting up on the top, I sanded it lightly and then wiped it down with some TSP substitute.  Next I painted it with two coats of Gatineau.  I followed that up with some Homestead House Limestone milk paint on the details including that really cool ribbed section.

It’s interesting to note that I got a lot more chipping in the areas that were painted with the Limestone than I did with the Gatineau.  Normally I would say that is because I didn’t sand those detailed areas as much as the flat areas before I started painting, but in this case even the legs didn’t chip much and I hardly sanded those at all (the distressing you are seeing on the legs is more the result of post-paint sanding rather than chipping).  So, I wish I had an answer for you on this, but it’s a mystery to me.

With milk paint, sometimes you just have to go with the flow.  Personally, I was happy to do that with this table.

Had I lined up all of the paint colors from Homestead House in order from most favorite to least favorite, I think Gatineau would have been somewhere near the end of line.  So imagine my surprise when it ended up being one of the first colors I chose to use, and then my total astonishment when it turned out to be so perfect on this little table!

Sometimes you just have to step outside of your color comfort zone!  But the real test will be whether or not this table sells.  If any of my local readers are interested, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ tab for more info.

But hey, how about you, do you like to experiment with color?  Any favorites that you’ve used lately?  Please share.

blue hydrangea.

Recently I asked the lovely people at Homestead House if they would consider sending me some more of their milk paint.  Although I have a good supply of blues and greens, I was completely out of pale neutrals like greys, creams and greiges.  In exchange for the paint I offered to help spread the word about Homestead House milk paint colors.

You see, I find it very hard to judge their milk paint colors by looking at their website.  I think it takes seeing a photo of something actually painted in the color to get a good feel for it.  Of course, photos and computer screens can still be misleading but it’s better than those squares of color that look nothing like the paint itself.

As it turns out, Homestead House is currently in the process of setting up a new website for their milk paint.  If you want to read more about that, check out Mary’s post over at Orphans with Makeup.  Mary’s photography is gorgeous, and I’m super excited to see how their new site turns out.  I can tell just from looking at Mary’s post that it’s going to be a vast improvement and you’ll be much better able to judge how the milk paint colors will look on whatever it is you plan to paint.

But in the meantime, not only did Homestead House send me some lovely neutral milk paints to play around with, they also sent me quite a few more colorful options and one of those is a shade called Maritime Blue.

Since I was dying to dive right in and get painting, I went out in the carriage house to look for something I could paint up quickly and I remembered this galvanized watering can that nnK gave me recently.  Her mom was going to toss it, and I think you can see why …

Who remembers the days of cows and sunflowers, and when people used to slap them on just about everything?

The first thing I did was wash the can with dish soap and water, and next I pounded out the dents by hitting them with a hammer from the inside which actually worked remarkably well.

Then I pulled out the Maritime Blue and mixed some up.  I gotta be honest here folks, that little dot of color on the paint bag didn’t really look like the paint color that I was mixing.

Here’s how the watering can looked with two quick coats of milk paint, but before any distressing or waxing.  I did not use any bonding agent.  My only prep was the washing.

As you can see, I did not get any chipping at all.  That definitely is not always the case when painting metal with milk paint, but this time I think the very flat black paint that was already on the can helped the milk paint to adhere.

The Maritime Blue looks very much like a powder blue without a top coat, but don’t forget, adding a top coat is always going to change up the color of your milk paint.  Sometimes by just a little, and sometimes by quite a lot.

I next sanded the edges and raised areas of the can for a distressed look, and then added a coat of Homestead House furniture wax which did indeed deepen the color a bit.

When my sister and I were out running around last Saturday we stopped into our local Bachman’s so that I could pick up some fresh flowers to fill the watering can.  The blue hydrangeas immediately jumped out at me, along with some white peonies and pink snapdragons.

 As it turns out Maritime Blue is the perfect color to go with blue hydrangeas, don’t you agree?

Since Homestead House was so very generous in supplying me with milk paint, I decided to pay it forward with a giveaway.

I’m giving away three bags of Homestead House milk paint to one lucky winner, a Laurentien (my favorite color, here’s how it looks), a Cartier (which is the color I used as a base coat on the spoon carved cupboard) and a Coal Black (you can see that here).

If you’d like a chance to win simply leave a comment on this post telling me what you would do with these three colors.  Be sure that you have used a valid email address when leaving your comment so that I can contact you if you win (no need to include your email address in the comment itself, just in the spot for it on the comment form, you’ll be sharing it with just me and not everyone else).  A winner will be chosen at random by Thursday at 5 pm and announced here on Friday (May 5, 2017).  Best of luck to you!


In my recent post about the dresser that I painted yellow and white, I mentioned that as soon as I saw that dresser I wanted to paint it yellow.  But I was a little nervous.  Yellow doesn’t always sell well.  To help convince myself that yellow was a good choice, I went to pinterest to seek out a little color pinspiration.  I just typed “yellow dresser” in the search field and my screen was flooded with beautiful yellow dressers.  That led to my creation of a pin board devoted to yellow.  And then one devoted to green.  Then aqua.

Seeing all of this color based pinning, one of my followers suggested I write a blog post about how to organize your pinterest boards.  Although your idea inspired me Victoria, I decided to go in a slightly different direction.  I decided to create some color based blog posts using my own photos, and it was far easier than I thought it would be!  Clearly there are certain colors that I am drawn to, and today we are starting with green.

garden chair books

An easy choice for my first color focused blog post since I have always loved green, maybe because my eyes are green!

grow plate in box

Or maybe because it’s the color of money 😉

This toolbox is painted in Dixie Belle chalk paint in a color called Kudzu.

box kudzu

My initial thought was that I’d have to take a bunch of new photos of green stuff around my house, but then I started looking through my past blog photos and realized I already had a lot of green!

mac grove milk truckThis green depression glass canister belonged to my grandmother.

french farmhouse styling

These pretty green depression glass sherbet cups were a garage sale find.

green glass

I sold this green birdhouse at my Carriage House sale one year, and I kind of regret it.  I should have kept this, it was so cute.

green birdhouse

This green ‘french farmhouse’ dresser is one of my favorite pieces, but it still hasn’t sold.  Perhaps no one else out there loves green as much as I do?  The chippy finish on this one turned out perfectly.  Anyone need a green dresser?

french farmhouse corner

This farmhouse table is painted in the same Sweet Pickins’ milk paint color called In a Pickle and it did sell.

green desk and books

Goodness gracious, I do love me some green, don’t I?  I have a small collection of vintage scales in green.

porch scales

This is almost too easy.  I feel a little bit like I’m cheating.  Who knew I’d find so many greens!

green (2)

green crate (2)

This little table wears an undercoat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Boxwood, with Luckett’s Green over it.  This one also sold quickly.

green chippy close up

Apparently I’m even drawn to green ribbons.

vintage green ribbon

And obviously green vintage ornaments.

green ornaments

I found these green doors in Budapest.  I love me some graffiti doors.

budapest doror

Two years ago my front window box was monochromatic in green and white.  I loved this combo up close, but from the street it was a little bland.  I’m still debating this year’s window box design.  I’m thinking about a pink and chartreuse combo using caladiums, lime green potato vines, and maybe some coleous in pinks and greens.

test photo width

I posted about these sweet green outfits that my grandmother knitted for my Barbies way back when, you can revisit it {here}.


Of course, I use my vintage green garden tools and books in many of my photo shoots.

plant a garden manual

Naturally I have a green clock on hand for photo shoots as well.

stool with books and clock

Fusion’s Lily Pond is another great green.  If you are looking for paint in the color of Jadeite, then Lily Pond is a great choice.

lily pond

How do you feel about green?  Is it your favorite?  In your top five?

And as for that yellow dresser, it did sell quickly … as a matter of fact, it sold quickly twice!  I put it on Craigslist and had a buyer in less than 24 hours. But once they got it home, it didn’t fit up the staircase in their vintage home.  I could totally relate to that problem.  I also have a staircase with a turn at the top and have found myself in the position of having to return furniture that didn’t fit up the stairs.  The buyers brought it back and purchased a smaller dresser from me instead.  Meanwhile, another of my blog readers had expressed an interest in the yellow dresser, so when I mentioned that it was available again, she called dibs on it and picked it up a couple of days later.

Not only that, but two separate furniture blog parties chose the yellow dresser as a favorite!  First Terry at The Curator’s Collection and then Lucy at Patina Paradise.

So, it turns out that yellow is far more popular than I thought!