a parisian bookcase.

I’m continuing to pull old pieces out of the pile in the carriage house.  A friend of mine passed this bookcase on to me a while ago … dare I even say, it was probably a couple of years ago.

It was pretty in the existing white, but the paint that was used was a little too shiny for my taste.  Also, I snapped the ‘before’ photo above after I sanded it to prep it for painting.  So it wasn’t really distressed when I got it either.

Because this is a smaller piece, I decided to go big with color.  I’d recently ordered Antebellum Blue from Dixie Belle Paint Co and I was dying to try it out.

It took two coats of the Antebellum Blue to cover the white.

Once I had it painted I wanted to add just a little something extra inside the bookshelf.  I considered using a transfer, but I didn’t have one that was a good fit.  So instead I decided to add a stencil.  I had a feeling that a metallic gold would pair beautifully with the Antebellum Blue, and I had also recently ordered the Moonshine Metallics paint in Gold Digger (also from Dixie Belle).

By the way, I used that Mini brush shown above to paint the bookcase.  It’s so much easier painting inside a bookcase with a short brush like this that let’s you get in there without knocking the end of your brush into the underside of shelves.

But back to the stenciling.  I hadn’t used the Gold Digger before, and I wasn’t sure how it would work for stenciling so I decided to do a test board first.  I always recommend doing this when you’re trying out a new product or technique for the first time.

So I painted a piece of board in the Antebellum Blue, and then stenciled it using the Gold Digger.

So far, so good.  You’re going to see that test board again in a minute.  But first, I went ahead and added the stencil (the stencil is from Maison de Stencils) …

I then left everything to dry for about 24 hours.

The final decision I needed to make was what top coat to use.  I was debating between hemp oil or clear sealer when I remembered the Easy Peasy Spray Wax (also from Dixie Belle).  I’d forgotten I had that in my arsenal.  So I pulled out both the Spray Wax and the Dixie Belle flat sealer and once again grabbed my test board to try them out and decide which one I liked best for this project.

What I discovered was that the Easy Peasy Spray Wax smeared the Gold Digger just a bit, so I was glad I tried this on the test board first and not directly on my bookcase.

And remember, this was after 24 hours of dry time, so it was quite dry.  It’s just something to keep in mind if you are ever using these two products together.

Despite that, I still decided to use the spray wax because it really is easy peasy.  Simply spray it on, let it sit for 10 – 15 seconds and then wipe with a clean cloth.  I just avoided wiping across the gold stenciled area with my cloth so as not to smear the metallic paint.

I really love the pairing of the gold and the Antebellum Blue, don’t you?

This shade of blue also pairs beautifully with the Sawmill Gravy that I used on the chair I shared last week.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and the Easy Peasy spray wax, and thanks to Maison de Stencils for providing the stencil for this project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

The stencil I used can be found here.

And if you are local and in need of a petite Parisian bookcase, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see if this one is still available.

a sweet petite bench.

You’ll remember that recently I mentioned how much I procrastinate when it comes to upholstered pieces.  Apparently that’s even true of pieces that just require simple upholstery, like this one.

 My friend/picker Sue found this bench quite some time ago.  And actually, she was going to give this one a makeover herself.  Her husband had already cut a sheet of plywood to make a new base for the seat.  But for whatever reason, she gave up on it and offered it to me.

As you can tell by the ‘before’ photo, that was some time ago.

I painted it in Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Farmhouse White way back last summer.

I was hoping to get a little chipping out of it, but I really didn’t.  I did distress the edges though, and am very happy with the end result.

I top coated the paint with some clear wax, and then … well … I ignored it for the next 7 months.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to make it comfy enough to sit on without spending a fortune on upholstery foam (that stuff can be weirdly pricey).  I kept thinking I’d run across some sort of over-sized cushion while out garage saling that I could re-purpose for this bench, but I never did.

But then I got inspired by a piece I saw on Instagram and decided I could just use a king-sized pillow.  And while out shopping with Mr. Q one day, I found a cheap one at Target for just $10.

All I had to do was ask Sue to sew me a cover for it out of drop cloth fabric, and ta da!

Well, technically there were a few more steps in there.  First of all, I covered the plywood base with some batting followed by drop cloth fabric.  Then Sue sewed the drop cloth pillow cover.  Once I had that back, I added a stencil to it using Dixie Belle paint in Gravel Road.

Then I stuffed the pillow in and tried it out.  It was way too puffy.  So I pulled it back out, ripped open a seam and removed about half of the pillow stuffing.  That helped a lot.

It was about this point that I realized I didn’t like seeing the uncovered pillow inside the drop cloth cover.  So I sent it back over to Sue’s house and she sewed a ticking stripe cover for it.

Ahhh, much better.

This bench is quite petite at 36″ tall x 40″ wide x 24″ deep, so it wouldn’t work well at a table.  However, it would be adorable in a small foyer or maybe at the foot of a bed.

If you’re local and have the perfect spot for it, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see if it’s still available.

 

a chair with some british flair.

You may notice a bit of a theme to my posts over the next couple of weeks … or at least I hope so.  I’m really working on clearing out that pile of stuff up in the carriage house and today’s piece also came from there.

I picked up this chair at a garage sale many, many moons ago.  I loved the shape of the front two legs, and that union jack design of the chair back.

Somehow it got stashed upstairs in the carriage house and I forgot all about it though.

So last week I pulled it out and took that quick ‘before’ photo on our deck.  FYI, since then all of that snow on the deck has melted, and you can even see patches of brown grass out in the yard.  I think spring is coming early this year.

Anyway, I cleaned the chair with some spray cleaner and then painted it with two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.  I’m really loving this color.  So much so that I just ordered the large size jar.  It really is just a barely-there grey.

I generally tend to avoid buying things to paint that have already been painted, but you know my motto, ‘never say never’.  If I really like something and the price is right, I will make exceptions to that rule.

So, here are a couple of tips for painting over pre-existing paint (without stripping it, because that is a nasty, messy job).  First, keep in mind that the durability of your paint will be dependent upon the durability of that pre-existing paint.  If it’s peeling, your new paint will just stick to the peeling paint, not to the surface under it.  Also, if there are lots of drips, you need to sand those down before you paint or you will still see them.  I always prep pre-painted pieces a little more carefully before painting over them.  Sand it well, preferably using a mask just in case the old paint has lead in it.  Then clean it well before you begin painting using a product like TSP.

And finally, remember that if you are going to distress your piece, the old color is inevitably going to show in layers.  So if you’re not OK with that, either don’t distress at all or paint a base color first, then use a wet distress technique to allow only your base color to show through.

I ended up really liking the layering of colors on this chair.

To play off that union jack design on the back, I added just a snippet from the re.design with prima Everyday Farmhouse transfer just under the seat of the chair.

Perfect, right?

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing the supplies used in this project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for re.design with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

And if you’re local, and you need a chair with some British flair, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see if this one is still available.

sow’s ears and silk purses.

I sent Mr. Q to pick up a dresser from someone selling on Craigslist a few weeks ago, and while there he texted me to ask if I wanted a second dresser that the guy had for sale.  There was a bit of miscommunication and after some texting back and forth, he ended up buying the 2nd dresser without my having seen a photo of it.

On the plus side, he only paid an additional $15 or so for it because that was all the cash he had on hand.  On the minus side, it’s a fairly cheaply constructed piece of furniture.  It also needed a few repairs before I could paint it, and it’s fairly nondescript.  Definitely not my usual style.

But, what the heck, Mr. Q bought it, so I may as well do what I can with it, right?

First I called up my favorite handyman/neighbor, Ken.  He was busy counting his hockey pucks (no lie, he collects hockey pucks and has been working on rearranging them in his custom made display rack lately), but he was willing to take a break from the pucks and help me out with this dresser.  We worked together on shoring up the drawers that were falling apart, replacing missing drawer stops, grinding down stops that were rubbing on the drawer bottoms and adding some glides that were missing.

The rest was easy.  I sanded it lightly, vacuumed away the dust and wiped it down with a damp rag.  Then I painted it in two coats of Dixie Belle’s French Linen.

French Linen is one of those chameleon like colors that totally changes depending on the lighting and the colors around it.  It’s a muddy grey-brown with a tiny hint of a lavender undertone.  I didn’t see the lavender while painting the piece in the artificial lighting of my piano room after dark, but once I pulled the piece in front of my white wall on a bright, sunny day I could see it.

Once the paint dried, I added re.design with prima’s Carte Postale transfer.

It was the perfect fit for the front of this dresser, and I also love how it looks over the French Linen.

As for the knobs … well, I thought about replacing them with glass knobs.  That certainly would have been pretty.  But I would have needed to order them (I usually order them by the dozen from D Lawless Hardware).  Plus, there are 10 knobs on this dresser and I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest any more money in it.

So instead I cleaned up the original wood knobs using Dixie Belle’s No Pain Gel Stain in Walnut because that didn’t cost anything.

After I took that photo above, I made a small mistake.  I started to wax the knobs before they were fully dry.  The wax ending up taking off some of the stain giving me a lighter color as you’ll see in a minute.  I rather liked the result, so I went with it.  But this is something to keep in mind.  This is an oil based product and takes longer to dry than the typical products I work with (6 to 8 hours according to the label).

The wooden knobs give this piece a totally different look than glass knobs would have, don’t you think?

I suspect this decision will have a polarizing effect on you guys.  Some of you will love it, some of you will hate it, but there probably won’t be many in between.

So, here’s the thing about this dresser.  Although it has been repaired to make it as functional as possible, and I have done what I can to improve the look of it, in the end you know what they say, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

No matter what I do to it, it won’t become a high quality, well constructed piece of furniture.  I can’t charge top dollar for this piece no matter how pretty it is.

But it definitely is pretty.

So is it worthwhile to spend 6 or 7 hours on repairs and finishing, add a $30 transfer, plus another $15 or so worth of paint and wax on a piece like this?

Well, it can be.  In this case it will work out because I only paid $15 for the dresser.  My handyman Ken works for wine and some occasional profit sharing, and I have nothing more important to do with my time (although Ken could have been counting hockey pucks instead).  In addition, both Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima send me their product for free.  So yes, for me this piece was totally worthwhile.

But for you that might not be the case.  My advice is to always try to find higher quality pieces of furniture to work on.  They are out there, and you may pay a little more than $15 for them, but they will be more worthy of your time.  In the end you’ll have a beautiful piece of furniture that is also well constructed.

Then again, if you’re on a budget and just want something pretty for the kid’s room, or the laundry room, or the potting shed … this dresser might be perfect for you!

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing the supplies used in the attempt to turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for re.design with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

the beast.

When I was searching out pieces for my Chippy Barn collaboration, I found this empire piece.

In the end I decided to paint this one dark, and instead used the taller empire dresser that I shared last Friday for that project.

I paid top dollar for this piece at $100.  I don’t usually spend that much, but this one really appealed to me.  Plus, it’s a good sized dresser.  Plus, it was in relatively good condition.  Plus, it’s a solid, well constructed sturdy piece of furniture.  So I splurged.

I suspected right away that those drawer pulls were not original to the piece, they just aren’t the right style.  And did any of you notice that just one of them is on upside down?  Go back to the ‘before’ shot and see if you can find it.  Or maybe 7 of them are upside down and only one of them is right side up, I’m really not sure.

Anyway, when I removed them I found that there were original holes behind them for a knob.  Yep, they definitely weren’t original.

So I filled the two newer holes that had been drilled for the pulls before painting.

Here are my tips for filling holes like these.  First, place some painters tape behind the hole.  This keeps the fill you use from squeezing out the backside of the hole.  Next, fill the hole as full as you can with Dixie Belle’s Mud.  Let that set up overnight.  Once dry, add a layer of spackle over the Mud.  The spackle is not sturdy enough for the entire job, but will give a smoother result for the final coat.  Once dry, sand smooth and paint.

I challenge you to find those filled holes now!

Once the holes were filled in, I sanded the dresser lightly and then cleaned it with TSP Substitute.  I was planning on going with Dixie Belle’s Bunker Hill Blue on this one, but when I pulled it out I realized I didn’t have quite enough paint for this large piece.  So I decided to stretch my paint by adding some In the Navy.

Here’s a comparison of the two colors for you.

The Bunker Hill Blue is more cobalt, while the In the Navy is a very dark navy almost bordering on black (here is one of my fave pieces I painted with In the Navy).  The combination of the two is a gorgeous, rich navy blue.  It ended up being the perfect color for this piece.

Oh, hey, did you notice anything else about how I changed up this piece?

I removed the trim pieces that were on either side of the drawers.

That was totally just a personally preference kind of thing.  I didn’t like how ‘colonial-ish’ they looked.  I feel like the dresser has a much more current feel without them.  I know some of you are going to wish I’d left them on, but I’m making all of the decisions here so they came off along with those classic colonial drawer pulls.

By the way, I replaced those pulls with some simple wooden knobs that I had in my stash.

Also, I finished this dresser with a coat of clear wax.  You can see a couple of streaky spots on the top edge of the dresser in that photo above.  Those are spots that I missed with the wax and didn’t notice it until looking at the photo.  Ooops.  That’s an easy fix though, just go over it with more wax.

I got the idea for staging this piece from Flea Market Finds magazine … or maybe it was Country Living … uh oh, I can’t remember.  Well, regardless, a recent issue showed a room with shelves that housed the set of classic books that I found in my attic last December.  I got these books from my parents and had entirely forgotten about them.

I must confess, I never saw myself doing anything with these books other than donating them to the Goodwill eventually.  But there they were in the magazine, and they looked pretty fabulous in a color-blocking sort of way.  So I pulled them out of the attic once again.

You might be wondering why I titled this post ‘the beast’ and really it’s just because this dresser is quite a bit larger than it looks in photos.  It is 46.25″ tall x 41″ wide x 22″ deep.

I think this dresser is a great example of how much you can change the look of a piece with just some paint and a hardware change.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint, as well as the Mud, used for this project.  Thank you to Fusion Mineral Paint for supplying the clear wax (once again I used their new Hills of Tuscany scented wax).

You can find Dixie Belle products here.

And here is a link to info on where to buy Fusion Mineral Paint products.

If you’re looking for a beast of a dresser in a rich navy blue, check out my ‘available for local‘ sale page.

cottage white and toile.

As most of you know, I am on the re.design with prima design team.

A while back Prima asked if any of us would like to collaborate on a project using Amulent Paint from The Chippy Barn.  Since I love trying out new products and sharing them with you guys here on my blog, I jumped at the chance.

Amulent Paint is not a chalk paint or a milk paint, instead it is a ceramic paint.  I have to say, I don’t know much about the science behind ceramic paint so I googled it.  I found an article online about ceramic paint that lists its benefits (you can find the article here):

    • A smoother, more continuous paint film that resists cracking.
    • Superior stain resistance—stains don’t get absorbed, so they can be wiped off.
    • The ceramics produce a less tacky paint surface, which reduces dirt accumulation.
    • Round spheres roll past each other in the paint, greatly enhancing flow and leveling.
  • And microspheres help hide the underlying substrate and reduce the luster of the paint.

It all sounds good to me.

So, I started searching online for just the right piece to use for this collaboration and found this empire style dresser.

I knew I could deal with the mismatched knobs.  This piece also had quite a bit of loose veneer, but that was remedied with some gluing and clamping.  And FYI, this is another faux wood grain piece.  Those stripes are fake, so I didn’t feel one bit of guilt painting over them.

After gluing, clamping, sanding lightly and cleaning thoroughly (this dresser was also disgustingly dirty when I got it) with TSP substitute, I added a coat of Cottage White.

I always prep my pieces with a light scuff sanding followed by vacuuming inside and out.  When you’re working with used vintage furniture I think it’s just good common sense to give them a good clean before you move on to painting.  Generally I use TSP Substitute which is less harsh than TSP but does a good job of removing any greasy residues.

I was quite impressed by the coverage of this paint after just the first coat.  I stopped there and let the paint dry for a good 24 hours mainly because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t getting any bleed-thru from that orange-y looking stain before moving on to a second coat of paint.

I was in luck, no bleed-thru on this one.  So I added a 2nd coat of the Cottage White.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t need a 3rd coat, especially since this is a white paint.

I also found that the Amulent Paint distressed beautifully.  I sanded the edges of the dresser using 220 grit paper to add a little ‘age’ to my finish.

Next I pulled out re.design with prima’s Simplicity transfer which is a lovely black toile print.

I considered using it for all of the drawer fronts, but to fully cover them all from side to side would have required three sets of the transfer.  The drawers are around 26.5″ wide by 36″ tall,  the transfer is 22″ wide x 30″ tall, so just a hair short both ways.  So instead I decided to just do the top two drawers.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the graphic punch of black and white, and this transfer was perfect over the Cottage White paint.

For a final finish on this piece I used The Chippy Barn’s Specialty Clear Wax in the Lemongrass scent.  If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I LOVE using products that smell good.  If you like lemongrass scent, you will love this wax!  If you’re not a fan of lemongrass, it also comes in four other scents; Lavender, Lilac, Peppermint and Spearmint.  Or you can get it unscented, and in white, brown or black.

This dresser was short 3 glass knobs when Mr. Q brought it home.  Not only that, but the knobs were filthy dirty and the metal screws were quite rusted (and not in a good way).  So I found three matching (or mostly matching) knobs in my stash, soaked the originals in soapy water to get them clean and then replaced just the screws with new ones.  Did you know that you can buy these screws in chrome or brass at D Lawless Hardware for just 20 cents each?  Good to know if you ever run into a piece like this.

In the end, all of the knobs look brand new.

As a final touch, I lined just the top two drawers with some scrapbook paper.  The drawer bottoms were a bit stained so I opted to cover that up.

I think this one turned out lovely.  It would be perfect for someone’s cottage style decor, and with six drawers total it would provide great storage.

Thank you to re.design with prima for setting up this collaboration and for providing the Simplicity transfer.  And thank you to The Chippy Barn for providing the Amulent paint and the lemongrass scented wax.

If you’re looking for re.design with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

If you’d like to check out The Chippy Barn, you can find them here.

And if you are local and need a sweet, cottage style dresser visit my ‘available for local sale‘ page to find out if this one is still available.

some people never learn.

Some people never learn … and by ‘some people’ I mean me.

Every time I take on an upholstery job that involves anything more than just stapling new fabric over old fabric, I do these four things.  First, I procrastinate for a really long time before even getting started.  Second, I cuss the whole time I’m working on the project.  Third, after lots of time and effort I manage to create an incredibly amateurish end product.  And then finally, I obsess over all of the flaws.

Let’s face it, upholstery is just not for me.  As much as I would love to be good at it, I’m not.  Of course, I could work at it to improve my skills.  I also could buy the right tools, which makes every job easier.  But the bottom line is that I simply don’t enjoy the process.  Let’s hope I remember this the next time I’m tempted to take on a pair of chairs like these.

I found this pair of balloon back chairs at an estate sale for a great price, $10 each.  I debated buying them knowing how much I dislike upholstery work.  But I just couldn’t help myself.

Once I got them home I immediately started questioning the wisdom of my decision.

Just look at all of these upholstery tacks!

Those were all going to have to come out.  Plus, look at that cherry red stain, it was likely going to bleed through paint.

Seriously, what was I thinking?

I honestly debated just loading them back into the van and taking them to the Goodwill.

But instead I decided to use my tried and true strategy for getting something like this done.   Rather than trying to complete this chair makeover in one fell swoop, I broke it down into more easily accomplished tasks.  Step one was to remove those darn tacks.

That took me nearly an hour for each chair.  Ugh.

Next I put a coat of Dixie Belle’s BOSS on each chair.  I didn’t test them for bleed-thru, I just assumed that they would.  I like to let the BOSS cure for at least 24 hours before painting over it, so that was as far as I got the first day … no, who am I kidding … the first week … that I worked on the chairs.

The next time I pulled them out I added two coats of Dixie Belle paint in Sawmill Gravy.  I knew I was going to use drop cloth fabric on the seats, and the last time I worked with Sawmill Gravy I noticed it was the perfect match for the drop cloth that I use for painting.

The chairs sat around for another week or so after being painted, but when I had some more time I pulled them back out, sanded to distress them and then added a coat of clear wax.

A few days later I pulled out a new drop cloth I’d purchased.  I cut some sections large enough for the chair seats with a few inches left over for shrinkage.  Then I washed and dried the fabric.  Next I stenciled it using Dixie Belle paint in French Linen for the stripe and Midnight Sky for the rest.  Both of the stencils are from Maison de Stencils.

But when I held this fabric up to the chairs I realized two things.  First, this new drop cloth fabric was a different color than my older drop cloth and I didn’t like the way it looked with the Sawmill Gravy.  Second, the black paint felt too harsh compared to all of the other more muted colors going on.  I really wanted a more subtle monochromatic look.

So I went back to the drawing board.  I cut two chunks of fabric off my old drop cloth (luckily I had a couple of corners that didn’t have paint all over them).  I washed them up and then stenciled them without the grain sack stripe and using the French Linen for the rest of the design.

Next came the trickiest part, stapling the fabric in place and cutting around those 4 spots where the chair back is attached to the seat.  I managed to get it done, but very inexpertly.  I’m not even going to describe how I managed it because at this point you should not be taking advice from me on how to upholster.

After the fabric was all stapled in place, I trimmed off the excess using a razor blade.  I found that I couldn’t get close enough to the staples using a pair of scissors.

The last step was to glue some trim all the way around to hide the staples.  I used my hot glue gun for that step.

I had to laugh when I finished up and realized all of the different tools I’d needed for this part of the job.

What a mess.

But in the end I have a pair of semi-decent balloon back chairs.

I don’t plan on keeping the chairs, and I know I’ve done a terrible job of ‘selling’ them here.  But if any of you locals are in need of a pair of budget priced chairs that look pretty, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and to Maison de Stencils for providing some of the products I used on today’s project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for Maison de Stencils you can find them here.

the birds and the bees.

Once again, my handyman Ken did a fantastic job turning a bed into a bench.

Mr. Q retrieved it from Ken’s house and set it up in our piano room (which is where I paint in the winter) last Friday afternoon.  When I got home from the day job I took this quick ‘before’ photo so that I could get started painting it right away.

Originally I was going to go more neutral and paint it either white or a pale grey.  But then I decided I was bored with playing it safe and I pulled out Dixie Belle’s Savannah Mist.  This is a lovely grey blue color.

But before I applied the Savannah Mist, I decided to paint out the new wood bench seat using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Curio, which is a dark brown.  This way when I distress the edges you won’t see brand new wood underneath.  Milk paint (much like a traditional stain) soaks into bare wood rather than sitting on top, and it dries really quickly so I didn’t have to wait long to start painting over it with the Savannah Mist.

I was able to paint the seat in Curio, then add two coats of Savannah Mist to the bench in the space of a few hours on Friday evening.

I decided to try the bare leg look again on this piece since there were four pretty turned legs to work with.  They were fairly dinged up though, so this was a good opportunity for me to try Dixie Belle’s No Pain Gel Stain in Walnut.  The difference between a gel stain and a traditional stain is that gel stain sits on top of the surface, while traditional stains soak into the wood (like milk paint does).  Because of that, you can use a gel stain without having to completely strip off the old finish.

I sanded the legs just lightly with some 220 grit paper first.  As you can see in the ‘before’ photo, for the most part I did not sand down to bare wood.  I also did not have an even color before moving on.  I then cleaned off the dirt and dust using a damp rag.  Next I applied two coats of gel stain with an old t-shirt.  Looks pretty darn good for not having to strip first, don’t you think?

It’s not perfect, but certainly totally sufficient for these legs.  If you’re a perfectionist, you might prefer stripping to bare wood, using a traditional stain, and then adding a poly finish.  But if, like me, you think some imperfections simply add to the charm of an older piece then the No Pain Gel Stain is for you!

You might be wondering at this point why I didn’t just use the gel stain on the seat before painting it, rather than the Curio milk paint.  That’s because the gel stain is an oil based product.  It takes much longer to dry than milk paint.  I would have had to wait a couple of days to paint over it.

So to recap; gel stain and chalk/latex/acrylic paint sit on the top of a surface, traditional wood stain and milk paint soak into the surface (providing they don’t meet resistance from a pre-existing finish).

In addition to leaving the legs unpainted, I also left that little trim piece at the top of the bench unpainted.

It has the sweetest little original floral decal on it.  I don’t usually try to save those because, to be honest, usually it just looks a bit wonky to paint around one or otherwise try to retain it.  But in this case I thought leaving that part unpainted along with the legs created a nice triangle for your eye to follow.

As a final touch, I added re.design with prima’s The Birds & the Bees transfer to the bench.

I just love what this transfer says, This is the place that I love the best, a little brown house like a ground-bird’s nest hid among grasses, vines & trees.  Summer retreat of the birds and bees.

How sweet is that?  And how perfect for a bench in the foyer of someone’s home.

I used a variety of brands on this piece.

So thank you to Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint (Curio milk paint), re.design with prima (The Birds & The Bees transfer) Fusion Mineral Paint (clear furniture wax), and Dixie Belle Paint Co (No Pain Gel Stain and Savannah Mist paint) for providing all of the products used to finish this bench.

Let me know how you like the end result!

And if any of you locals are in need of a unique bench, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

bed benches.

A week or two ago I purchased another bed frame that I sent directly over to my handyman Ken’s house to have turned into a bench.

I neglected to get a ‘before’ photo of the bed because we literally picked it up and drove it straight to Ken’s garage and unloaded it there.  But, it’s very similar in design to the first bed bench that Ken and I collaborated on in the summer of 2018 …

It has a similar shape to the headboard and also has a curved foot board.

This bench was one of my favorite pieces.  It was painted in Fusion’s Putty and has one of the early Prima Marketing transfers on it.

Do any of you remember the story of me seeing it later in the buyer’s home?  I was purchasing a bedroom set from someone via Craigslist and when I got there to pick up the bedroom set, there sat this bench by her front door.  I did a double take, it was one of those ‘something is out of place here’ moments.  It took me a second to realize that I was looking at a piece I had sold the previous year.  Small world sometimes, right?

Our second bed bench collaboration was completed in October 2018.  This bench was made from an Eastlake style spoon carved bed frame that started out looking like this …

I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Caviar which worked really nicely with the more masculine feel of this piece.

Our third bed bench collaboration took place in January of last year with yet another entirely different style of bed.

Ken had to do a little more finagling with this one to get a bench out of it.  It had an opening in the headboard that need to be filled in with a plank of wood.

This one was painted in Fusion’s Bedford.

I added one of Prima Marketing’s earlier transfers to this one too.  By the way, both of these transfers are no longer available.

That was one of my favorites though and I used it on many pieces.  I still have a couple of these particular transfers stashed away for a rainy day.

I can’t believe it has been over a year since my last bed bench collaboration with Ken.  Time really does fly!  It was certainly time for another one.  As always, Ken whipped the bench up in no time.  I’m just putting the finishing touches on it and I’ll share it later this week.

In the meantime, I’m curious, which of these three was your favorite?

soldier blue.

As you’ll remember, a couple of the prize packages for my 12 days of giveaways included some Homestead House Milk Paint in a color called Soldier Blue.

I had never used this color before, and in fact never even really realized this color was available (see all of the Homestead House Milk Paint colors here).

Two things struck me.  First of all, it’s a gorgeous shade of blue.  Second, it’s pretty close to the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year, Classic Blue.  I knew I had to give it a try myself, so I mixed some up.

It looks a bit lighter as wet paint and I wasn’t sure I would get that gorgeous deep blue in the Homestead House photo.  But, as you know, paint always looks different once dry.  Especially milk paint.  Plus the top coat you use over milk paint can really change up the color.

So I pulled out this adorable little vintage kid-size folding chair that my picker Sue found for me.

I knew painting all of those slats was going to be a pain.  It’s so challenging to avoid drips when you have this many surfaces going on.  But one of the things that I love about milk paint is that it’s super easy to sand off any drips one the paint is dry.  Much easier than with other types of paint.

All I did to prep this chair was wipe it down with a damp cloth.  I was hoping to get some chipping, and the previous finish was fairly worn off so I was willing to gamble on getting just the right amount of paint to stick.

I painted the chair with two coats of the Soldier Blue, then once dry I sanded it lightly to distress.  Sure enough, I got some awesome chipping.

I knew that using hemp oil as my top coat would give me the deepest version of this color, so I pulled out Dixie Belle’s Howdy Do! Hemp Seed Oil.  This is another new-ish product from Dixie Belle that came out around the same time as their Big Mama’s Butta.

I usually apply hemp oil with an inexpensive chip brush, and that definitely would have been the smarter/easier option for this chair.  But, I was too lazy to dig out a chip brush so I just used an old t-shirt.  Clearly this is another situation where I have to say, ‘do as I say, not as I do’.  It’s a little harder to get the oil applied in all of those crevices using a rag.  It would have been much easier to brush the oil on, and then wipe away the excess with a clean rag.

Keep in mind that hemp oil will not add much sheen (if any), and it will also produce the darkest version of the color of your milk paint.  In this case, it was the perfect choice and it really brought out the richness of the Soldier Blue.

I had the perfect little piece of vintage toy china to use for staging this chair.

Isn’t it sweet?  I found it at a garage sale last summer.  It’s only about 2.5″ tall.

Remember when Mr. Q and I cleaned out our attic while getting out the Christmas decorations?  I came across some old stuffed animals in a box and decided to hang onto a couple of them for staging kid’s stuff.

Mr. Bunny still looks pretty good after 20 years in the attic.

I’m loving this shade of blue.  Now I just need to find a bigger piece of furniture to use it on.

I’ve put it in the stash of stuff that I need to bring in to Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop where I sell on consignment).  I probably won’t get it in there until next week though.

  But in the meantime, how do you like the little Soldier Blue chair?

As always, thanks to Homestead House Milk Paint for providing the Soldier Blue Milk Paint and to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the Howdy Do! Hemp Oil used for this project.