milk paint madness.

One of the things that you may have noticed about my blog is that I like to use different types of paint, as well as different brands of paint.    Although I do receive free product to use from several different paint brands, I don’t sell paint myself.  I like to think of myself as the Switzerland of furniture painting blogs, able to remain neutral.  I love trying new things, but I only promote the products that I truly love working with.

I love the ease and simplicity of using acrylic paint for some projects, especially mid century pieces.

 And I also love the beautifully smooth finish and the gorgeous coverage you can get with chalk paint.

And sometimes I even resort to using spray paint on certain pieces like wicker and cane items, but shhhh, don’t tell anyone about that little dirty secret.

However, in the end, the paint I love the most for pieces I’m keeping is milk paint.

Just for fun I took a little walk around my house and counted my own painted furniture pieces.  I have 1 piece painted in Fusion, 1 piece painted in latex from way back, 3 pieces painted in chalk paint, 4 cane backed chairs that were partially spray painted, and 19 pieces painted in milk paint!

My guest bed below is painted in Homestead House milk paint in a color called Ochre and finished with the Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat finishing cream.

One of my favorite pieces is my rooster cupboard.  It’s painted in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint, a base layer of Artissimo and a 2nd layer of Flow Blue, then finished with Miss Mustard Seed Antiquing Wax.

The bed in our master bedroom is painted in Homestead House milk paint in Coal Black with Homestead House black wax as a topcoat.

I love the look you can achieve with milk paint, especially when it crackles …

or gets chippy in just the right places.

There is just simply an authentic feel to a distressed milk paint finish that you can’t get with any other kind of paint.  Sure, you can come close, but to me the others always look a bit more faux.

That being said, I thought it would be fun to write a blog post sharing all of my favorite products from the various brands of milk paint that I’ve used over the years.  I’m hoping that I can inspire some of you to break out the milk paint yourselves.  And what better way to do that than having a giveaway?

So I reached out to my favorite Fab Four milk paint companies, Homestead House, Miss Mustard Seed, The Real Milk Paint Co and Sweet Pickins, and asked if any of them would like to offer some product for me to give away.

And you know what?  They all said yes!  And then sent me piles of stuff to give away.

Not just paint, but also different top coats, brushes, books and even some stains.

In fact, they were so generous with the free stuff that I’ve decided to break it down into five prizes!

One for each day of the week, Monday – Friday.  So just for next week, and next week only, I am going to return to posting each weekday.  Five days in a row of posts all about milk paint.  We’ll start with the basics and work our way up.  I’ll post about different techniques such as layering with other types of paint, how to get your paint to crackle, how to achieve perfect chipping every time (and how to fake it if not), what kinds of topcoats to add and how durable they are and any other subject I can think of.

And each day there will be a giveaway!

Details on how to win will be included with each post.

So be sure to check back on Monday for the start of Milk Paint Madness!

kiss me I’m Irish.

Do you remember back in the day when we had those buttons that said “Kiss me, I’m Irish”?

I always wore one of those on St. Patrick’s Day even though I’m not a bit Irish, although many of my friends are.  Have you ever heard that there are more people of Irish ancestry in the U.S. than there are in Ireland itself?  Hey, I’m not making this up, check out this article from the Washington Post if you think that sounds crazy.

Well, regardless of whether or not I’m Irish, I do love the color green.  So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day I thought I’d share some of my favorite creations that are wearin’ the green.

One of my all-time favorite shades of green is Sweet Pickins In a Pickle.  I’ve used it on a few things, but the first was this old farmhouse table.

This shade isn’t for the faint of heart.  It’s a rich, saturated green.  After falling in love with it on that desk, I also used it on a vintage dresser.

I think what I loved most about that dresser was how beautifully the paint crackled.  It was a gorgeous finish.

I used the color again on this sweet little table.

And I just used up the last bit of a packet of In a Pickle on an adorable kid size chair.

Another shade of green that makes a big impact is Fusion’s Park Bench which looked amazing on this mid-century piece.

That piece was such a hit that I used it again on another fab mid-century piece.

And then I completed the Park Bench trilogy with my latest mid-century piece earlier this week.

You might not guess it lately from reading my blog, but Fusion has some other lovely shades of green too including Little Speckled Frog, the subtle pale shade of green on the body of this next dresser (the drawer fronts are painted in Fusion’s Limestone).

This next piece is painted in Fusion’s Lily Pond.  This color was available for a limited time only so I’m not sure how hard it might be to get your hands on it, but some retailers might still have some of it around.

Miss Mustard Seed milk paint has a darker green called Boxwood and a lighter green called Luckett’s Green and I used both of them on this little table.  The undercoat is Boxwood, and the upper coat is Luckett’s.

Miss Mustard Seed also has a lovely shade of mint green called Layla’s Mint.  Although I didn’t use an official packet of that color on this vanity, I did use Miss Mustard Seed’s recipe for it which combines several of her other colors.

 The Real Milk Paint Co makes a gorgeous, deep rich green called Peacock that I once used on an antique Eastlake style dresser.

Homestead House also makes a similar shade of green in their milk paint line called BayberryBayberry leans a bit more towards the yellow end, while Peacock is a bit more blue.

Bayberry is the perfect shade of green for painting chalkboards too.

So how about you?  Do you have a favorite shade of green paint?  Maybe in a brand that I haven’t mentioned.  If so, please be sure to share in a comment!

out of the blue.

By now I’m sure most of you have seen the 2018 Pantone color of the year.


A choice that seems to have come completely from out of the blue.

As a Minnesotan, I should probably be embracing the purple.  Purple pride, Purple Rain, purple is everywhere here (just for fun, check out this flash mob video taken at this year’s ice castle and you’ll see what I mean!)

But no, I’m just not a fan of purple.  You aren’t likely to see me painting purple furniture anytime soon.  Although as I like to say, never say never.  I did use purple on a dresser I painted for my niece a while back and I did once paint a desk using Miss Mustard Seed’s Dried Lavender, so you never know.

However, when I want a little more color, for the most part I’ll stick with the blues.

I have yet to meet a shade of blue that I didn’t like.  The trio of chairs below are painted, from front to back, in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in French Enamel, Artissimo and Flow Blue (I’ve included a link to the original post for all of the following pieces, just click on the green underlined wording to go back and see the full details on each one).

Fusion’s Midnight Blue is a gorgeous navy blue.

Homestead House makes a matching milk paint also called Midnight Blue.

Homestead House’s Maritime milk paint is a sweet blue that reminds me of the color of blue hydrangeas.

Little Billy Goat makes a beautiful shade of dark blue called Prize Winner.

I also used Prize Winner on the pirate desk (click on that link to find out why I called it the pirate desk, but here’s a hint, it has a peg leg).

 I haven’t used it in a while, but I always liked Annie Sloan’s Aubusson.

Sometimes I just create my own shade of blue.  This next dresser was painted in a mix of Miss Mustard Seed’s French Enamel, Luckett’s Green and Eulalie’s Sky with a touch of Ironstone thrown in to lighten it all up.

Miss Mustard Seed’s Eulalie’s Sky, Shutter Grey and Grainsack combined to make the gorgeous pale grey blue shade on the dresser below.

This washstand is also painted in a mix of Miss Mustard Seed colors.

Mixing Fusion paints to come up with a unique shade of blue is fun too.  My sister created a color we decided to call Lake Superior Blue, which is a mix of Fusion’s Homestead Blue and Liberty Blue.

 And now I’m looking forward to painting something in Dixie Belle’s Yankee Blue.

I have just the piece in mind, a lovely buffet that I brought home a few weeks ago.  It needs a little work first though, and my handyman Ken doesn’t work in the cold.  So it could be a while before I get to it.

But how about you?  Do you have a favorite shade of blue?  Please share in a comment.

aging british rockers.

Before we get on with today’s regularly scheduled blog post, I promised to report back on how long it took the sell the ‘young at heart’ green dresser that I posted on Monday.  I was a little nervous about painting it in the vibrant green of Fusion’s Park Bench and wasn’t at all sure how easily the piece would sell in that color.  Well, I posted it on Craigslist on Tuesday morning.  By Tuesday evening I had two potential buyers expressing an interest in the dresser.  The first buyer in line showed up on Wednesday and bought it!  So if you’ve been hesitating about painting something in Park Bench (or perhaps some other more vibrant color) I say go for it.  I’m starting to think that I might just start painting everything green!

I also want to share the story of selling it.  The buyer was a young woman furnishing her new apartment.  She loved the dresser and promptly handed over the cash.  But when we went to load it into her vehicle it was just a hair too wide to fit.  Flipping it up on its side wouldn’t work either.  Mr. Q and I don’t usually deliver my pieces, but on a whim we offered to load it into our van and follow her home with it.  After all, we didn’t have plans for the rest of the evening and she had mentioned she lived in Minneapolis so I knew we wouldn’t be going all that far.  So we loaded it up and headed out.  Turned out that she lives in a huge old mansion just off Hennepin Ave that has been sectioned off into apartments.  The foyer had the most gorgeous original hex tile floor, beautiful oak wainscoting with a stunning arts and crafts style wallpaper above.  The apartment was full of old leaded glass windows, a built in china hutch in the dining room, gorgeous original wood floors.  Even the radiators were amazing.

It’s so fun to get to see where the dresser ended up and to know that it’s going to look amazing in that space.

But enough with the green dresser, let’s move on.  Today I thought we could talk about aging British rockers.

No, no, not that kind of rocker, this kind …

Although I will admit that I am a Rod Stewart fan, after all blondes do have more fun.  I especially like his more recent Great American Songbook recordings and I often listen to those while painting.

But seriously, this post is about that 2nd rocker.  You might be wondering what makes it British, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

I picked up this aging rocker at a garage sale last summer.  I have found that I really enjoy painting these little chairs.  They are perfect for an afternoon project, and also as a way to try out new paint colors, or conversely use up the little bit that’s left of some already well-loved colors.

In this case I pulled out my bin of milk paint.

Am I the only one with a bin of milk paint?  These are all of the opened and partially used bags of milk paint that I have.  Let’s face it, those zip lock tops are really hard to get sealed back up again properly and I store my milk paint in my somewhat damp basement so I need to make sure that it is kept dry.  I used to store each individual opened bag of milk paint inside another gallon sized Ziploc storage bag but that got to be cumbersome, so now I store them all in this plastic bin with a tightly fitted lid.

I pulled out a few colors, Eulalie’s Sky, Luckett’s Green and Flow Blue (all Miss Mustard Seed) to mix together and see what I could come up with for the rocker.  The first batch I mixed ended up far more blue than I wanted.  I think it was the Flow Blue that threw it off.  So I went back to the drawing board and mixed 3 T Eulalie’s Sky with 1 T of the Luckett’s, leaving out the Flow Blue altogether.  That combo was far too green.  So I simply added in some of the previously mixed ‘too blue’ paint one teaspoon at a time until I had the color I wanted.

I’m calling this one British Rocker Mint.  Isn’t it pretty?

I once posted a piece painted in a mix of milk paint colors like this and someone commented that it was a bit much to expect people to go out and buy three bags of milk paint to paint one piece of furniture.  Yes, I totally agree.  I don’t mean to imply that you need to do that.  What I am suggesting is that you can use up your left over milk paint in a similar way.

If you don’t have enough of any one color to paint an entire piece of furniture, mix a few of your leftovers together and see what you can come up with.

Now, back to that aging British rocker.

The only prep I did on this piece was to wipe it down with a damp rag.  I was feeling pretty flexible about any amount of chipping I might get.  There were spots of pre-existing shiny finish, but there were also lots of areas where the existing finish was completely dried out and I knew the milk paint would adhere well in those spots.

I got great coverage with British Rocker Mint.  I did use two coats, but I prefer a more opaque finish.  Once dry, I sanded lightly to remove any loose flakes of paint.  I followed that up with vacuuming away and dust and further flakes of paint.  Then I finished with a coat of Fusion clear wax (same as Miss Mustard Seed clear wax).

Oh, and I almost forgot … what is it that makes this an aging British rocker?

Well, it’s the portion of an IOD transfer that I added to the seat before I added the wax.

This section of transfer was left over from the IOD Gilded Gander transfer that I used on the handmade hutch last year.  This leftover bit fit perfectly on the seat of the rocker, and  gave it a little British style.

This was definitely a project that was good for using up some left overs!

And the end result is an aging British rocker even more adorable than Rod Stewart!



a sample sized giveaway.

Last week while my sister, niece and I were at Disney World the Food & Wine Festival was taking place at Epcot.

During the F & W Festival there are kiosks set up in each of the various countries around the World Showcase where you can purchase samples of food and wine from those parts of the world.  Some of my favorites included the Bougatsa from Greece, a phyllo dough strudel with sweet vanilla custard filling drizzled with lemon-honey syrup, and the Canadian cheddar cheese soup and pretzel roll.  The Grand Marnier orange slush at the France pavilion was pretty fab as well.

The samples are sized smaller so that you can try lots of different things, rather than just one.  What a great concept, right?

Last month when I attended the Miss Mustard Seed paint workshop at Carver Junk Co I saw that each participant received a little sample sized bag of milk paint to take home along with their finished projects.  I’d forgotten that you could get MMS milk paint in these adorable little sample size bags.

Each bag contains just enough paint to mix up and try out on something small.

What a great way to try milk paint for the first time!  I always recommend that you start with something small if you’re a milk paint newbie.  Maybe a wooden picture frame, or a small shelf or a little keepsake box.

But really, it’s also the best way to try a  particular color for the first time.  As much as I try to get the white balance right in my photos, the bottom line is that colors don’t always look true in a photo.  The color settings on your device might be different than mine.  Even between my computer monitor and my phone the colors in my photos can look quite different.  I really prefer to see a color in person before I commit to using it on a piece of furniture.

Although I’ve worked with almost all of the Miss Mustard Seed paint colors, there are a couple that I haven’t tried yet.  One of them is Bergere.  What color is that anyway?  Blue?  Gray?  How pale is it?  What will it look like with my chosen top coat?

Before committing to using Bergere on a big piece of furniture, I decided to mix up a sample to paint on this little wooden recipe box that my friend Sue gave me.

I mixed about 1.5 tablespoons of paint with the same amount of water (the sample bags contain 30 g of paint powder, or roughly 2 T).  I gave the paint powder about 10 minutes for the ingredients to fully dissolve in the water.  Then I gave my paint another good stir and painted it on.

I probably could have gotten away with two coats of this color, but since I had the paint mixed and there was still enough to go around I added a 3rd coat for good measure.

Here is the box painted, but without a top coat.

Then to add a little something extra, I decided to add another of my IOD french pot transfers.  I didn’t do any prep work on this box, and as a result I did get a bit more chipping than I anticipated, and that gave me a little trouble with the transfer.  I’ve mentioned this before, but if your paint is chippy it will stick to the transfer sheet rather than the transfer coming off on your painted surface.  As a result I had to be very gentle while pulling the backing sheet off, but I managed to get it off without losing any of it.

To make sure the transfer didn’t chip off along with some paint down the road, I added two coats of Miss Mustard Seed Tough Coat Sealer to seal everything up.  The Tough Coat darkened up the color just a bit, and added just a little bit of shine.

This is just an example of what you can do with a sample of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint!

I love little projects like this that can be completed in a couple of hours.  They are so satisfying!

And now it’s your chance to see what you can paint with a sample sized bag of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.  I have 10 sample bags provided by the manufacturer to give away.  To be eligible to win, just leave a comment on this post by Sunday, November 12 at noon central time telling me which Miss Mustard Seed color(s) you’d pick to try out.

The fine print:  5 winners will be chosen at random.  Each winner will receive two sample sized bags of milk paint.  The winners won’t necessarily receive their colors of choice, although I’ll do what I can.

Even if you don’t win a sample, consider ordering some colors to give them a try.  Specially for us,  Carver Junk Co is offering 3 sample bags of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint for $18 with free shipping!  Use the code MILKPAINT when you place your order to get the free shipping!

Be sure to check back here next week to see who won, to read more details about my trip to Epcot and to see the latest piece of furniture I painted!

the green alligator farmhouse table.

Before I get on with today’s post about the Green Alligator farmhouse table, two things.  First, the Vintage Holiday magazine with the article about my vintage Christmas ornaments is on stands now!

I was so excited to see my name in print for the very first time!

But in addition to my feature, the magazine is jam packed with great vintage holiday decor including an article featuring Pam Kessler from House of Hawthornes (if you aren’t familiar with Pam, you should check her out).  If you want to pick up a copy, I’m told they can be found at Target and Barnes & Noble.  If you’re a local, I found my copies at Cub Foods.  I picked up a couple of extra copies and plan to have a giveaway later this month, so stay tuned for that.

Second, I have to report that my ‘product differentiation‘ really paid off.  I sold my sleigh bed yesterday afternoon.  So, just over 24 hours!  Possibly a new record.  I truly believe it was the paint that made the difference, don’t you?

And now, on with today’s regularly scheduled post …

A while back I mixed a custom color that I called Blue Alligator.  Not because blue alligators are a real thing, but because the surface of the piece I was painting was ‘alligatored’ and the color was a pretty blue-green.  I found a lot of conflicting information on the web about what causes an alligatored finish and I don’t want to contribute to that further by pretending like I’m an expert.  All I know is that sometimes the finish on old pieces will crack and separate leaving a bumpy surface similar to that of an alligator’s hide.

Well … anyway … I really loved the color I mixed for that dresser which was a combination of Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen Scale, Homestead House Upper Canada Green and Loyalist.

So I knew I wanted to use this color on something I was keeping for myself someday.

Flash forward to a week or so ago when Mr. Q and I brought home this drop leaf table.

Technically, that’s not a true ‘before’ photo.  I’d already removed the leaves and added new casters.  I’ve done a few of these tables over the past several years (here, here and here).  I’ve kept two of them for use in my own home.  One is being used as the desk in my Q branch, and the other is now being used as a desk in Mr. Q’s study.  The one that Mr. Q is using used to be on my front porch.

I found it so handy to have it in that spot because it made the perfect surface for close up photos for the blog, like this one …

But it was easy to move out of the way when I wanted to take a photo of something larger, like a piece of furniture, in that spot.

So after Mr. Q commandeered that table for his study I quickly realized how much I missed it and started looking for another.  I find that tables like this are fairly common in my area, but prices for them on Craigslist can be all over the place.  I was holding out for a bargain.  When I saw the ad for this one at $25, and only 15 minutes away, I jumped on it.

After I got it home I started by removing those leaves.  I’ve already turned one of them into a sign, and I’ll do the same with the other.  And as I mentioned, I added some new casters to the legs.  As much as I love the look of old metal or wood casters, I will be rolling this table in and out of position frequently.  And I have a painted floor on my porch.  So I decided it would be wise to add new rubber casters to this one to save my floor.

Next I stripped the finish off the top of the table and then waxed it with Homestead House white wax.

Qtip of the day:  when using white wax on bare wood you need to decide how much white you want to see before you start.  Full strength white wax on bare wood will leave obvious white areas in the grain.  If you want a more subtle look you can either wax first with clear wax and then add white wax over that, or mix some white and clear wax together to get a ‘reduced strength’ white wax.  For this table top I started with one coat of mixed wax, and then followed up with a 2nd coat of straight up white wax.  White wax will be easier to blend over a base coat of clear or mixed wax rather than on bare wood.

This particular tabletop had some black spots.  Had I planned to sell this piece I would have probably opted to go with dark wax on the top.  But since I’m keeping it, and I wanted a lighter surface for taking photos on, I just chose to ignore them.

My next step was to mix up some Blue Alligator milk paint based on my recipe.  That’s when I discovered that I didn’t have much Miss Mustard Seed Kitchen Scale paint left.  So my ratio this time was a bit off.  I used a little more Upper Canada Green and a little less Kitchen Scale.  The resulting color is just a bit more green than the Blue Alligator.  Thus, I give you, Green Alligator!

Fortunately, I love this color just as much as the Blue Alligator.

Possibly even just a little bit more.

I used clear wax as my top coat over the paint which darkened up the color just a tad.

By the way, I took all of these pictures on a rather gloomy day so you can see why I love this spot for photos.  I get great light here even on the most dismal days.  With November and December just around the corner, I know I’ll be using this spot a lot in the next couple of months.  Since this porch isn’t heated it can get pretty chilly mid-winter, but you’ll still find me out there taking photos even when I can see my breath in the air.

The chalkboard is made out of the framed mirror from a dresser Mr. Q picked up the other day.  You’ll see more of that dresser and it’s mirror harp soon, but in the meantime I whipped up this chalkboard.

I simply removed the back panel, took out the mirror, flipped the panel over to its smooth side, painted it with black Rustoleum chalkboard paint, and reattached it.  Easy peasy.

I freshened up the wood frame with a little of Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil.

It wasn’t until I was editing the photos for this post that I remembered that I had planned to embellish the frame with an old metal number plate, so I added it quickly and took one more photo.

It’s a small detail, but I love the small details, don’t you?


vintage greens.

In addition to all of the fab stuff I found at the Lynnhurst sales on Saturday, I also found time to check out a few sales during my lunch hour last week.

I wasn’t specifically trying to find things that were green, but somehow I ended up with several items in that perfectly vintage shade of green.

First of all was this lovely little box.  I was drawn to the original painted finish.

This is the kind of chippy, distressed patina that I am trying to replicate every time I use milk paint.  I want to study the wear patterns on this box and make my next piece of furniture look just like this.  But really, although you can do amazing things with milk paint, it’s hard to beat the real deal.

I also love the fact that the box looks very homemade.  Even the handle looks like it was just cobbled together from some bent wire and bits of scrap sheet metal.

I’m not sure what I’m going to store in this box, but clearly it needs to be something special.  But for now it even looks fab with some green books.

This amazing little green birdhouse came from the same sale.

When I got it home I immediately replaced the scrapbook paper that was lining the bottom with some pages from an old German book that I purchased at Carver Junk Co.

It also has an amazing patina.  Wouldn’t it be adorable with a little plant inside?  Or filled with vintage books.

I also found a couple of old green toolboxes.

I actually came home with 4 old toolboxes, 3 of them from one sale.  The other two aren’t green though, so they didn’t make the cut for this blog post.  Although sometimes the original color and patina should be left alone, oftentimes I paint them like this …

You can see what I’ve done with other toolboxes in the past here, herehere and here.

I’m still working on finding the perfect spot in my house for a touch of green, but I’m determined to find it.

In the meantime, I’m just having fun playing around with my vintage greens.