your choice of toppings, on the lighter side.

On Monday I shared my favorite technique for using a dark wax over bare wood.  Today I thought I’d focus on using other colors of wax over bare wood (or white washed wood).

Once again, all of my favorite wax brands make a version of white wax.

Starting at the top and moving clockwise that’s Miss Mustard Seed White Wax, Homestead House White Wax, the Real Milk Paint Co Soft White Wax, and Fusion Liming Wax.

That brings up the first question, are white wax and liming wax the same thing?

I don’t have a definitive answer from the experts, but I’m pretty sure they can be used interchangeably.  One may have a slightly different color, or maybe a little more or less pigment, but as you can see all of the white waxes that I have are slightly different in color anyway.

You can apply white wax to bare wood in just the same way as the dark waxes that I talked about on Monday.  If you need a refresher you can refer back to that post.  However, I often choose to apply a coat of clear wax before applying the white.    The purpose of that is to soften the look of the white wax and allow it to blend a little bit more.  But if you want that cerused or lime waxed look to be more pronounced and you really want to see those streaks of white that catch in the grain of your wood, go ahead and just use the white wax right over your bare wood.

The tabletop below has a coat of clear wax followed by a coat of white wax.

As does the top of this washstand.

These days I almost always apply my wax with a brush and then remove any excess wax with an old t-shirt.  The large Miss Mustard Seed wax brush is a favorite of mine (you can find it online at Carver Junk Co if you need one).  Mine is well used …

Another favorite light wax of mine is grey wax.  I used to make my own grey wax by mixing black and white wax together.

But now when I want grey wax I just use Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Grunge Grey.

I used this wax on a coffee table last winter.

It gives that sort of driftwood appearance.

Finally, there is always the option of just using a clear furniture wax over bare wood.  That’s what I did on this buffet top.

Just keep in mind that clear wax won’t alter the color of your wood like the tinted waxes will, it also won’t help blend any discolorations that your wood might have.

But if you love the natural color of the wood on your piece, try just using clear wax.

Before I let you go I want to mention that besides being an incredibly easy and relatively foolproof technique to use, I think wax provides the most natural looking finish for beautiful wood.

It isn’t the most impervious finish, nor is it the shiniest.  If you’re looking for a perfect looking finish, maybe wax isn’t for you.

But if you like to embrace the imperfections in old furniture and bring them back to life just a bit, definitely give this a try!

Also, if you’d like to learn more about lime waxing or white washing, check out this post …

your choice of toppings.

I can still remember that ‘eureka moment’ when I realized it was possible to strip the old finish from furniture and then just use wax to refinish it.  Prior to that I had no idea that it could be just that simple.

I thought that you had to stain wood and also then finish it with some sort of poly topcoat, but I was wrong.  You don’t have to do it that way.  You can choose to just strip off the old finish and then wax it.  If you use a colored wax, the wax itself will give a beautiful color to the wood, so there’s no need for stain.

This is pretty much the most fool-proof method for refinishing a wood top that I’ve found.  No need to worry about your stain not taking evenly, or your poly topcoat looking streaky.  Anyone can wax.

And it doesn’t matter if your piece is solid wood or a wood veneer, this technique works beautifully for both.

Solid oak:

Burled walnut veneer:

Step 1:  Strip off the old varnish using Citristrip (or your stripper of choice).  Clean the piece well and sand it smooth using 220 grit sandpaper.

Step 2:  Apply the wax using a brush or a lint free cloth.  Remove any excess wax using a clean cloth.

Step 3:  Wait 10 or 15 minutes and then buff to bring out some shine.  If you prefer a more matte or rustic look, you can do very little buffing or even skip it altogether.

Are you wondering which wax product to use?  Here are my favorite dark waxes …

As you can see, they are all very well loved.  They are also all non-stinky and safe for indoor use (to read more about wax safety, be sure to check out this post).

All of the various wax brands that I use have dark and/or brown versions and they are all just slightly different in color.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you some options so you can compare.

First up, Miss Mustard Seed Antiquing Wax.

MMS Antiquing Wax is the color of dark chocolate.  I’m not a fan of eating dark chocolate (give me milk chocolate or white chocolate every time), but I love this wax.  It’s very creamy, has almost no smell, and it works beautifully.

Fusion also sells wax under their brand name.  Keep in mind that Fusion and Miss Mustard Seed are both from Homestead House Paint Company, so their waxes come from the same wax manufacturer.  As does the Homestead House brand wax.  It’s all museum quality, safe for you and the environment, non-smelly and I think it’s the creamiest wax out there.  It’s a bit softer than some of the others which makes it much easier to apply.

I’ve included the Cece Caldwell Aging Cream in my line up today because that was one of the first dark waxes I used over stripped wood.  I don’t tend to use it anymore mainly because the local shop where I used to buy it went out of business.  It has a bit more of a reddish tone than the others, so if you’re looking for that color this wax is a great choice for you.  Here it is on a dresser top …

I’ve only recently started using the Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax.  Their Brown wax is perfect for finishing bare wood tops.

It is just a bit harder (more firm, less soft and creamy) than the others.  So it takes a little more elbow grease to apply.  However, I think I’m also less prone to wasting product because I don’t accidentally get too much on my brush.  I also think it buffs up to more of a shine than the others.  I have a feeling that there is a relationship between how soft/hard the wax is and how much shine you can get out of it, but that might just be my own perception.

  One caveat regarding wax, it should be reapplied periodically to maintain the finish.  The good news is that wax is super easy to refresh, simply clean the surface and then apply more wax.  If you get a water ring or a scratch or two, just spot sand lightly, clean and re-wax.  It couldn’t be easier.

Personally I would not choose to use wax on a surface that is going to get a lot of wear, be exposed to a lot of moisture or require regular scrubbing such as kitchen cabinets or a bathroom vanity.  For those surfaces I would opt for something more durable like a poly finish or Fusion paint (which is very durable and washable once cured, even without a top coat).  However, I think wax is quite durable enough for a dresser or desk top.  I even have a wax finish on my dining table that has held up very well (although we do use coasters for sweaty glasses).

So if you haven’t already tried refinishing some pretty wood with wax, give it a go next time.  I’ll add a link for this post to my ‘how to‘ page so you can always find it for future reference.

And in the meantime, be sure to check back on Wednesday to learn about more choices in toppings!

the autumn washstand.

First things first, the winner of Friday’s giveaway is Kristin from Hazel Mae Home.  I’ve already contacted her via email and will be getting those transfers in the mail to her.  Thank you all so much for your glowing comments, the Rustic Teal dresser was a huge hit!

Now, on with today’s post.

I picked up this pretty little washstand at a garage sale this summer.

I love doing these pieces, and checking back through my fab furniture page I realized that I’ve done quite a few of them.  In fact this will be the 11th one.  I love these pieces because they make excellent bedside tables.

I started this one by stripping the top with Citristrip.  That process made me realize that the stain on this piece was very, very orange (you can see the orange color coming off with the stripper).

Because of that I briefly toyed with the idea of painting it black.  I just knew that the orange stain was going to bleed through a lighter color.  But somehow I just couldn’t let go of the idea of painting it a creamy white.

So I painted just a little test patch on one side.  Sure enough, the stain started bleeding through almost immediately and quite heavily.  So I dug out the Dixie Belle BOSS.

I’ve learned from experience that you need to follow the directions with this stuff or it may not work.  So I followed them to a T.  I started by painting one coat of BOSS over the entire piece.  I let it dry, and then did another test patch.  Nope.  Still bleeding thru.  So I added a second coat and once dry, tested again.  Nope.  Still bleeding thru.  That means you need more drying time.

So I simply left the piece to dry for a full 24 hours.

That did the trick.  It seems weird that you don’t need more product, just more drying time, but it works!

Once I had that bleeding under control it took just two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth to get awesome coverage.

I did something this time that I rarely do.  I painted over the hardware in place.

The person who owned this piece before me had cut off the ends of the eye bolts inside the drawers.  That damaged the ends so that I couldn’t get the nuts off again.  I could have forced them off (or cut them off entirely), but that would have left me with the problem of either getting them back on again later or opting to change out the hardware.  Then again, I could have just purchased new eye bolts (FYI, you can find those for about 50 cents each at, but I didn’t think of that until I was writing this post.  Duh.

But instead I decided why not try painting them in place?  And in the end I really love how they turned out.

Once this piece was painted, I sanded it to distress and then I added one of my favorite Prima Marketing transfers called SeedsSeeds comes in two sizes and this is the smaller version which is 11″ x 14″.

I couldn’t quite fit the entire thing on the door lengthwise so I cut off the bit left at the bottom and then used it on the top drawer.

Prima Marketing makes so many fantastic transfers that it’s hard to choose favorites, but I still absolutely love this one every single time I use it.

After applying the transfer, I lightly sanded over it with 220 grit paper to give it more of a distressed look.  Then I waxed the base of the washstand with clear wax.  In this case I used up the very last bit of the Miss Mustard Seed Lavender scented clear wax that I had.  I love that wax.  It was a limited edition though so I’m not sure if you can still buy it.

Then finally I waxed the top of the washstand with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Brown.

By the way, that monstrous thing in the background of these photos is my Limelight hydrangea.

It has grown much larger than I ever expected and is well over my head.  I’ll probably cut most of those flowers off and use them in my front window box along with some evergreens for winter.

Thank you to Prima Marketing, Dixie Belle Paint Co and Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint for supplying the products I used to transform this washstand.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing Seeds transfer check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Miss Mustard Seed Lavender wax (if you can still find it), check out her ‘find a retailer‘ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth paint, Best Dang Wax in Brown or their BOSS, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a gorgeous autumn washstand, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

the rustic teal dresser.

As promised, today I’m sharing the makeover of one of the dressers I purchased at an estate sale last week.

And be sure to read to the end because there’s a giveaway!

But first, the dresser.

I’m sure that some of you may be looking at that photo and thinking that this dresser didn’t even need a makeover.  But ‘before’ photos can often be misleading.  You can’t see the dings and scratches on the top of the dresser.  And then there’s the fact that I simply don’t like this style of veneer work.  It’s just not ‘me’.  It’s a personal preference thing.

So lets start with prep.  Once again I stripped the top of this dresser using Citristrip.  Next I sanded the entire piece lightly and then wiped it down with a wet cloth.  Then I painted the body of the dresser using two coats of Dixie Belle’s Stormy Seas.

I just happened to have that color on hand and it was an excellent companion for the Rustic Teal transfer from Prima Marketing’s line.

Once the paint was dry, I added the transfer to the areas on the drawer fronts that were ‘framed’ out.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled a bit with this one.  I simply wasn’t being patient enough.  I think I got a little cocky.  I’ve done so many of these transfers and I was thinking to myself that I could just whip this up in no time so I forgot to make sure my transfer was fully adhered before I pulled the backing away.

Fortunately I think the background color of my dresser was similar enough to the background color of the transfer so that it’s not a glaring issue.  I sanded the transfer lightly all over with some 220 grit sandpaper to give it a more distressed look overall which I think also helped.  I then used Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Clear over both the transfer and the paint.

I left the hardware alone this time and simply cleaned it up with soap and water and put it back on.  Aren’t these drawer pulls pretty?

After stripping, cleaning and then sanding the top smooth I simply added a coat of Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Brown and gave it a quick buff.

My handyman/neighbor Ken helped me re-attach the mirror at that point and we both agreed that it’s unlikely that this mirror is original to the dresser.

It just seems too narrow for the piece.  Plus there are extra screw holes on the wooden braces that don’t match up with anything on the back of the dresser.  Nonetheless, I painted it to match and will include it with the dresser.  The future owner will have the option of using it or not.

For my staged photos I balanced out the mirror and dresser by hanging those two adorable vintage kids chairs that I shared on Monday on either side of the mirror.

You know my decorating motto, whenever I have something cool and I don’t know what to do with it I hang it on the wall.

And now for the fun part.  I’m giving away two of the Rustic Teal transfers.

Each one comes with three sheets inside that are 22″ wide x 10″ tall each giving you an overall size of 22″ wide x 30″ tall.  Since I needed two sets to complete this dresser, I thought it would be most appropriate to have one winner who will get both sets.  Just in case whoever wins wants to also use them on a wider dresser like this one.

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win the transfers leave a comment on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the name of a winner from all of the comments left on this post by Saturday, October 27, 2018 at the stroke of midnight (U.S. central time).

The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, November 2, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

And P.S., this dresser is for sale locally.  Remember to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details if interested.

the eastlake table.

Do you remember me mentioning the Eastlake table that I purchased at a garage sale earlier this summer?

I made a classic mistake when purchasing it.  I didn’t look under the items sitting on top of the table in order to fully judge the condition.  I knew that it would need a little gluing and a new paint job, but I was thinking I would strip the top and leave it wood.

It wasn’t until after I’d paid for it that I realized it had a giant, deep burn mark in the top.


There was no way I could salvage the wood finish with that flaw.

However, I could fill the spot with some Dixie Belle Mud and then paint the top along with the rest of the table.  In the end, that seemed like the best way to fully disguise that burn.

I simply used a putty knife to fill the giant burn hole crater (OK, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration).  I let the first application dry and then added a second just to make sure it was going to sand flat.

Once that dried, I sanded the entire piece and then painted it with a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

I sanded to distress the edges and then finished it with some of Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Black.

And the end result is a fairly good looking side table with no discernible burn marks.

The carving on the legs is such a pretty detail.

I hauled the table outside on Monday evening after I got home from work.  The light was just perfect and I love staging photos of furniture surrounded by fallen leaves.

I just added a caged pumpkin, some magazines …

and a chair.

Although really I think this table would be better suited as a bedside table, there was no way I was going to haul a bed out there for a photo shoot 😉

I’ll be taking this table in to Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop in Stillwater where I occasionally sell my items) tonight, so if any of you locals are in need of a bedside table either let me know asap or else be sure to head out to Reclaiming Beautiful this weekend.

As always, although Dixie Belle provided the products I used for this post, all opinions are my own!

the french ceramics linen press.

I’m so excited to share today’s makeover with you.  I put a lot of effort into this piece.  I really think it paid off and I’m hoping you think so too.

I’m a big fan of linen press dressers, so when I saw this one on Craigslist it was a no-brainer even though it was at the very top of my usual price range.

What makes this a ‘linen press’ are the interior drawers.

Every time I see one of these I want to save it, even though I know it’s a bit more work than a traditional dresser.

This one didn’t require much in the way of repairs, just a little adjusting for one of the doors that was sticking.  I simply sanded the bottom of the door a bit, tightened up the hinges and now it works fine.  You’ll also notice that some of the detail trim has broken off, but I’m OK with that.  I think it just adds to its vintage charm.

As soon as I brought this piece home I knew I wanted to use the French Ceramics transfer from Prima Marketing’s line on those interior drawers.

I thought Dixie Belle’s In the Navy would be the perfect compliment to the transfer.

I began by stripping the top of the dresser with Citristrip.  Next I lightly sanded the entire piece and then cleaned it with a damp cloth.  Then I painted the shell with Dixie Belle’s In the Navy and the interior drawer fronts with Fusion’s Limestone.

The Limestone took two coats, but believe it or not I got away with just one coat of the In the Navy.

I waxed the top of the dresser using Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Brown.

That walnut burl wood veneer is kinda gorgeous, so I wanted to bring it back to its former glory.

I waxed the areas painted in In the Navy with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Clear.  By the way, you can feel perfectly safe using DB’s Best Dang Wax inside your home.  It has almost no scent at all and it contains no petroleum distillates.

Once that was done I got out my Bronze Age art alchemy metallique wax from Prima Marketing …

and applied that to the details on the fronts of the doors using a q-tip.

The Bronze Age provided just the right look.  I think a brighter metallic would have overpowered the piece.

And now for the really fun part.  Yep, there’s more!  I applied the French Ceramics transfer over the Limestone on the inner drawers.

Yowza!  I absolutely love it!

Let’s talk logistics for a minute.  I needed two sets of the transfer for this project.  I used the entire first set and just the left 6″ from the 2nd set.  The transfer comes on three sheets that are 22″ wide x 10″ tall each.  The pattern has a repeat both horizontally and vertically.  Meaning that you could line up the design into perpetuity going either across or down. Since the drawers are 28″ wide that meant that I could add another 6″ to the width by lining up the sheets from the 2nd set for that remaining 6″.  Boy, that was about as clear as mud, right?

Suffice to say that you can line this pattern up fairly easily both across and down and it will look seamless.

I gotta say, whoever ends up owning this lovely linen press might find it difficult to keep the doors closed.

Maybe that makes it perfect for a messy person who never quite gets doors shut.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing French Ceramics transfer or their art alchemy metallique waxes, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Fusion paint in Limestone, check out their ‘where to buy‘ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle In the Navy paint or any of their waxes, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a gorgeous linen press dresser, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

Many thanks to Dixie Belle, Fusion and Prima Marketing for sponsoring this project by providing the paint, waxes and transfers.  As always, although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

caviar with a vodka chaser.

Have you ever tried caviar?  I’ve tried it a couple of times.  The most memorable was when Mr. Q and I were in St. Petersburg, Russia where we we tried on fur hats, ate caviar and then washed it down with shots of vodka.

But even with the vodka chaser, this delicacy is pretty much lost on me.  Give me a bag of potato chips instead any day.

But there is one kind of Caviar that I just can’t get enough of …

Dixie Belle’s Caviar!

I’ve shared several pieces painted in this color over the past year starting with a pair of Windsor chairs that I painted back in February.

They were followed by a lovely vintage dresser.

Then in July I painted a gorgeous vintage bed in Caviar.

And more recently I painted the simply beautiful hutch in this color (although the inside is painted in Fusion’s Coal Black which is a pretty good match, just a little different sheen).

On Monday I shared the latest collaboration between me and my handyman Ken, the black bench.

And I still haven’t had enough Caviar!

In addition to the bench, I painted several more items in Caviar recentlyAnd I played around with some other ‘chasers’ including clear wax, black wax and black glaze.  I started with this vintage train case (do you call it train case?  or a vanity case?  or a makeup case?) …


I cleaned the case first with soap and water.  Then I painted it with two coats of Caviar and stenciled it with craft paint.

I finished it with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Black.

I find it easier to apply an appropriately thin coat of wax using a brush rather than a rag.  Once applied, I go over the waxed surface with a clean cloth right away to remove any excess wax.  You can then wait 10 or 15 minutes and buff to a shine, but I’m not a super shine lover so I don’t do very much buffing.  The brush pictured is one that I reserve exclusively for use with dark wax.

Today’s q-tip:  usually I advise adding a coat of clear wax prior to adding dark wax, but with pieces painted in black that isn’t necessary.

Next I painted a library chair in Caviar, and then finished it with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Clear.

I have to admit that I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference between using the clear wax versus the black wax over the Caviar.  Also, as an FYI, I used Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax in Brown on the vintage dresser above which worked beautifully as well.  So if you have a particular color of wax on hand already you could just use that over the Caviar, no need to buy a special wax.

Next I painted this rather heavy wooden tool box in Caviar, stenciled it and then tried something different for the topcoat.  I used the Dixie Belle Black Glaze.

I applied the glaze using a cheap foam brush.

It went on so easily and the glaze seems to add just a tad more sheen than the wax does.

I actually finished this toolbox before I finished the bench that I shared on Monday.  It was my guinea pig for the glaze.  It went on so easily and looked so good that I went ahead and used the black glaze on the bench too.

One thing to keep in mind is that some of the water based poly’s are not recommended for use over black because they can become streaky.  For that reason I tend to stick with wax, glaze or hemp oil when adding a top coat to black.

If you haven’t tried Dixie Belle’s Caviar, you absolutely should.  And although I wouldn’t recommend following it up with a vodka chaser, I do think clear wax, black wax or the black glaze are all great choices!