I purchased this table back in September at a garage sale.

I loved the detail on the base of the table, but didn’t love the dated dark, shiny, reddish finish which also was not in very good condition.  So of course I planned to give it a makeover.

I started by stripping the top of the table using Citristrip.  Although I stripped this piece outside in my driveway back in September, I like using the Citristrip because it can be used indoors also and it’s not as toxic as some of the stronger strippers.  But the trade off is that it doesn’t work as quickly as the stronger strippers.  Usually it works great to just remove some old varnish, but this piece had some serious red colored stain that just kept coming up.  In fact, even after three passes with the stripper I still hadn’t gotten quite all of it.  So I put the table in the back corner of the workshop to think about its bad behavior for a while.

Then over a frigidly cold weekend recently I pulled it into the house to finish the job.  Since the tabletop was not a uniform color, I decided to forgo my original plan of just waxing it and instead try the Homestead House Stain & Finishing Oil All in One (or SFO for short) in Cappucino.

Homestead House sent a complimentary sample of this product to me a while back, but this is the first chance I’ve had to try it out.  Although this product isn’t designed to cover up discolorations, my hope was that the dark color of the Cappucino would help disguise the fact that the wood tabletop was still just a little bit splotchy from that red stain.

First things first, the SFO is ideally meant for bare wood.  It is designed to soak into the wood rather than sit on top of another finish like a gel stain does.  Also, it is color and topcoat in one, no need for the multiple steps of stain followed by poly.  Once cured this stuff is even durable enough to use on floors.

Here is what Homestead House has to say about the ingredients:  “Our Stain & Finishing Oil is composed of plant products, Safflower oil, Tung oil, Linseed oil, Vegetable wax, safe odourless mineral solvent and cobalt free siccative which means effective drying without toxic cobalt dryers while being virtually odourless.”  And based on that, I felt comfortable using this product inside my home with no windows open.  It was -12F outside when I was working on this, so opening a window was definitely not an option.

To prep the table top I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper, vacuumed the dust, and then wiped it down with a clean microfiber cloth.  I applied the SFO with an old brush, but next time I think I would just use either a lint free cloth or a stain applicator pad either of which can then just be tossed.  This is not a water based product and cleaning an oily brush is just not something I enjoy spending time on.

After applying the product I let it sit for about 10 minutes to absorb into the wood.  Then I used an old t-shirt to wipe away the excess.

And that was it.

Yep.  Done.

No need for an extra topcoat.  After 3 days this finish is cured enough for normal use and after 10 days it is fully washable making it a great choice for table tops.

Although you can use multiple coats to deepen the color, I found that just one coat was plenty dark for my table.  However, keep in mind that multiple coats will also improve the durability and increase the shine slightly with each coat.  If you don’t want to darken the color, but do want to increase durability or shine you can do your first coat in the color you want (Cappucino for example) and then add subsequent coats of SFO in Natural (allow 24 hours of drying time between each coat).

Seriously though folks, I am pretty much a novice stain-er.  I don’t have a lot of experience with wood stain and I am pretty intimidated by it.  It seems like you have to be very careful to keep the color even, etc. etc.  But this stuff was super easy to use.

I mentioned that the SFO is best suited for bare wood, but it also works great over milk paint.  I did a double take the first time I read that one myself.  I do a lot of painting with milk paint so I’m always interested in alternative top coats.  When you think about it, it makes total sense that the SFO will work well over milk paint since the paint itself is porous and will allow the finish to soak in.  I did a little practice board to see how the Cappucino SFO would look over both some Coal Black (top) and some Midnight Blue (bottom) Homestead House milk paint.

By the way, please try to ignore those white specks in my paint.

Don’t use sandpaper that was previously used over white paint to sand your dark milk paint, it will leave little flecks of white paint behind.  Lesson learned.

But hopefully you can see that the SFO looks fantastic over the milk paint.  It adds a richness to the color, but not a lot of shine.  I plan to try this technique on a piece of furniture that I’m working on currently.

With all this talk of SFO being an oil, designed to soak into porous surfaces like bare wood and milk paint, you might be thinking that you can’t use it over an existing sealed surface (such as Fusion or other acrylic paints).  While it’s true that it’s not ideally meant for those surfaces, you can do it.  Much like you can put hemp oil over Fusion paint.  It won’t soak in like it does over bare wood or milk paint, but it will harden as it dries and provide both color and added protection.  I tried a practice board for that too, using Fusion’s Plaster and Park Bench.

The difference when using the SFO over non-porous surfaces is that you need to wipe carefully.  If you wipe too vigorously you will just wipe away all of the SFO.  Wipe gently leaving a thin coat behind and then let it dry.  I think it gives a similar look to using a glaze, but again with very nice matte finish.  I love the Cappucino over the Park Bench.

I hope that some of this info about the Stain & Finishing Oil has helped give you a better understanding of how this product works.  I definitely plan to use it on a couple of upcoming projects, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that.  But meanwhile, back to my little table.

For the base of the table I pulled out some Fusion paint in a color that I’d never tried before called Cathedral Taupe.

I’d always thought this color had a bit too much pink in it for me, and it definitely does have a pink undertone.  I think the pink shows up more in photos than it does in real life actually.  The combination of the Cappucino colored top and the Cathedral Taupe base is gorgeous in person.  I feel like I didn’t really capture it well in my photos.

Once again I applied a little beeswax before painting to help make distressing the edges of the table base easier.

I plan to bring the table in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell, unless one of you wants it first?  If interested, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more info.


adding the gleam of copper.

Recently the lovely people at Fusion offered to send me some of their Copper furniture wax to try.

  And I have a confession to make, I had it all wrong in my head.

I thought this was going to be a product similar to Rub ‘n Buff.  A heavy, thick wax that you could apply just to the edges of something to highlight them in copper.

But no.  This is a light, creamy furniture wax.  Much like the clear version that I used on the cutie patootie chair, but with the added gleam of metallic copper.

I originally pulled it out thinking I could use it just around the edges of this platter that I painted in Fusion’s Little Piggy.

I applied it to just the edges, and … well … nothing.  You could barely see it.

So next I applied it all over the tray, much like one would with any other furniture wax.  It added just a hint of a copper glimmer to the surface and it also darkened up the color overall much like a clear wax would, but I couldn’t capture the effect very well with my camera.

Obviously I was entirely mistaken about how this product should be used.  It really needs to be used on something that has a bit more detail to it so that it can build up in the crevices.  My tray is relatively flat and smooth.  This was definitely not the right piece to use to show off this wax.

But this little experiment made me realize that I’m probably not the only one who doesn’t always know the difference between the various metallic products out there and what applications they are best suited for.  So I thought I’d share some insight into that with all of you using copper as an example.

If you want a solid copper, my product of choice is Fusion’s Copper paint from their Matthew Mead Studio Metallics line.

That’s what I used on these jewelry trays.  I love the shimmer of the metallic paint.

If you want your copper to have an aged, oxidized patina, the patina metal effects kit from Modern Masters works great.

I used it on some dresser knobs and they turned out perfectly.  You start out by painting your item with the copper paint from the kit.

Then you apply the aging solution and let it do it’s magic.

I think this kit gives the most authentic look if you’re going for the verdigris color of oxidized copper (the rust kit is also fantastic, you can read about that here).  The small kit is a little pricey though.  I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon though, so that helped.  The kit doesn’t go very far either.  You will use it up entirely on a project that is 2′ square.  However, it’s definitely worth the splurge if you want an authentic looking patina.

Finally there are the heavier waxes like the Rub ‘n Buff and other similar products.  Although I’ve used the Rub ‘n Buff in gold, I’ve never tried their Copper (although they do make one).

I have tried the Little Billy Goat Goat Sticks, including their Old Penny.  You can read more details on how to use them here.

I like this product, but it can be harder to find than some of the others.  My local shop, Reclaiming Beautiful, used to carry them but I don’t think they do anymore.  It’s also a little bit more expensive, usually also priced around $20.

Here is the Prima Marketing art alchemy metallique wax in Rich Copper.

I ordered it from Amazon for under $10 with two-day shipping (you gotta love that Amazon Prime).  You can read more details on how to use this product here.

You can see that this copper is a bit brighter than the Old Penny.  Here’s a comparison to show how each one looks on some metal drawer pulls.

That’s the Rich Copper on the left and the Old Penny on the right.  The drawer pull in the background is untreated.

Aside from the difference in color, I think both of these products work equally well, as does Rub ‘n Buff, to add a little color or shimmer back to old hardware like these drawer pulls.

These are just a few of your options for adding the gleam of copper to your projects.  Do any of you have a favorite product that I haven’t mentioned?  If so, feel free to share that info in a comment.

all that glitters.

The holiday season is the perfect time of year to add the glimmer of metallic’s to your home, but I bet there are a few of us who love to see the glint of gold year round.

Along with the IOD Decor Stamps that Prima Marketing sent my way last week, they also sent a few of their Art Alchemy Metallique waxes.

Aren’t they pretty?  The Vintage Gold looks like gold leaf in wax form.  It’s not too shiny or bright, but the perfect aged gold.

As soon as I opened these up I wanted to try them out on something.

Then I remembered this pair of frames that I found at a garage sale last summer.

They are fairly beat up, which is part of what I love about them, and they also have a hint of green to them.  I thought it might be pretty to add just a bit of metallic shimmer to the high points on the frames.

I used the Vintage Gold on one frame …

And for a more subtle look, I used the Bronze Age on the second frame.

I used q-tips to apply the wax.  I dipped the q-tip in the wax, swirled it around a bit to coat it well and then lightly rubbed the q-tip over the frame just hitting the high points.  Then I buffed very lightly with an old rag.

It couldn’t have been any easier.

These frames are so gorgeous that they can stand on their own as art without needing anything in them.

They are perfect just propped on a shelf with some old book pages adhered to the wall behind them.

All that glitters may not be gold, it might be Bronze Age instead, but either way it sure is pretty!

These waxes would work really well for touching up the finish on vintage hardware or for highlighting details on furniture as well.  I plan to do some more experimenting with them along those lines, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

By the way, if you want to try one of these just google the name.  They are readily available online.  I found them for less than $10 each on Amazon including shipping.

IOD decor stamps.

If you’ve been following my blog over the past year, you’ve probably noticed that I have succumbed to an addiction.  Yes, it’s true.  I’m addicted to Iron Orchid Designs Decor Transfers.

I discovered them back in March when I saw one on a Facebook group I belong to, How to Paint Like a Pro.  I promptly ordered two of them online.  My first project with a Decor Transfer was the cupboard where I store my painting supplies (well, to be honest, just some of my supplies fit in this cupboard, there are two more cupboards full of supplies in other rooms of my house, who’s with me on that one?).

I love these Decor Transfers so much that I went on to do countless projects with them over the last 8 months (some of my faves can be found here, here, here and here).

So you can just about imagine my delight when I found out that Fusion and Iron Orchid Designs/Prima Marketing were teaming up.  Now Fusion retailers have the option of also stocking the IOD Decor Transfers.  And as an official Fusion Mineral Paint Blogger, I was offered the opportunity to receive some IOD products to try free of charge!

I believe I did a little happy dance when that message came across my computer.

But then I was stopped in my tracks by that word, ‘try’.  Hmmmm.  I have to admit, I felt like I would be a bit of a fraud if I sent back a big list of Decor Transfers that I wanted to ‘try’.  After all, technically I’d already tried almost all of them, many of them more than once!  And some of the ones that I hadn’t tried yet, I already had in my cupboard (yes, that same one shown above) waiting to be used on something.  I’ve had poor Mr. Q ordering IOD transfers for me via Amazon for months (he himself is an Amazon addict).

So it felt a bit greedy to ask for more!

But guess what?  Prima Marketing and IOD have some other cool products too, like their Decor Stamps.

These are stamps that are designed and sized appropriately for use on furniture or for other home decor applications, like walls for example.

So, ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!  I asked them to send me some of their Decor Stamps to try, as well as their 10″ x 12″ acrylic stamp block.

If you are not familiar with changes that have been made in rubber stamps over the past number of years, you may not be aware that many of them no longer come adhered to a wood block.  Now they make them out of a sticky rubber-like stuff that sticks well to a clear acrylic block, but also peels right back off again.  It’s so much easier to store lots of flat sheets of stamps and just one acrylic block (or several of differing sizes).

When my box arrived from Prima Marketing it was like Christmas came early for me.  I immediately opened it up and started fondling the supplies.  I decided to try a quick little project just to test them out.

I purchased this wooden sock stretcher at a garage sale last summer.

Back in the olden days when socks were made with wool, after you washed them you then put them on a sock stretcher while they dried.  That would ensure that the sock didn’t shrink up and no longer fit.  But when I see these old sock stretchers, I always immediately think ‘Christmas decoration’.

So I thought I would use the IOD stamps to give them a little more Christmas style.

I started by laying out my design right on the sock stretcher.

This way I could move the stamps around and make sure they fit where I wanted them.  These stamps are from the Alpha II set, by the way.

Once I had them where I wanted them, I simply placed my acrylic block (this is a block I already had, I didn’t need the big 10″ x 12″ IOD block for this small design) over them and pressed down to attach them to the block.

Next I lifted them off the sock stretcher and inked them up.

Although Prima Marketing/IOD does currently carry some inks, and they did send me a couple, they are not going to continue to carry ink in their line up.  So I went to my local Michaels and purchased some Ranger Archival Ink in a color called Watering Can.  You can use any kind of ink with the stamps, but be sure to choose one that is suitable for your project (especially if you are stamping fabric, which I hope to try soon).  In this case, I went with a permanent, waterproof ink.

You should absolutely test out your stamp on paper a couple of times before finally stamping your project.  That way you can get a feel for it, and work out any kinks.  You can see if you are getting enough ink on your stamp as well.  Always be sure to have your project on a hard, flat surface when stamping.  Of course, if you’re stamping furniture or walls, they will be their own hard, flat surface.

Finally, ink up your stamp again, place it where you want it and press down firmly.  I usually avoid rocking the stamp back and forth because that can blur your design.  Just press firmly straight down.

I added this sweet little crown to the top of my sock stretcher.

The crown is from the Grain Wreath set.  What I love about this is that the crown doesn’t look ‘new’ or recently added.  It looks like it could be an original detail.

Next I attached a pretty ribbon and hung my ‘sock’ up on the aforementioned cupboard.

This was a pretty simple, basic project using the stamps.  As you can imagine, the sky is the limit design-wise, but I wanted to start out with something easy to get my feet wet (or get my wool sock wet?).  I’ll be sharing a slightly more advanced stamping project soon.

But in the meantime, I’m almost entirely happy with my sock stretcher except for one thing.  I think she looks kind of lonely hanging there all by herself.  She needs a mate, don’t you agree?

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more sock stretchers during next year’s garage sale season!

In the meantime, have any of you tried the IOD Decor Stamps?  If so, I’d love to hear about your project, so be sure to leave a comment.

a chalkboard tutorial.

On Monday I shared a photo of the holiday stuff I was bringing to Reclaiming Beautiful …

And Laura suggested I share a tutorial on how I lettered those chalkboards.

Great idea Laura!

Actually, I’m sure I’ve shared this method before, but I couldn’t find that post and if I can’t find it, it stands to reason that you guys probably can’t find it either.  So that means it’s high time for another post about it, right?

It was perfect timing anyway, because obviously I needed to freshen up the message on the chair chalkboard that hangs in my kitchen …


Time flies doesn’t it?  It feels like I was just changing this up for summer, and here we are looking winter square in the eye.

So let’s get started.

The previous design on my chalkboard chair was drawn with regular chalk, so I just used a damp rag to wipe it clean again.

Sometimes I use a chalk pencil or even a chalk pen on my chalkboards, both of which can be harder to remove.  A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or generic equivalent) will work well to remove those.  But in this case the damp rag was all I needed.

Once the board was dry, I re-seasoned it.  To ‘season’ a chalkboard you simple rub chalk all over it …

And then wipe it off again with a dry cloth.

Next I print my design on paper.  I often find chalkboard designs on pinterest, but the design I’m using today was a free download from yellowblissroad.com.  Don’t confuse this with printing a design for a transfer, you do not want a mirror image for this method.

Next rub chalk all over the back of the piece of paper that has your design on it.

Place your paper design side up, chalk side down, over your chalkboard.  You can tape it down if you are worried about it shifting while you work.  Now just trace the design with a pencil, pressing down with a little firmness (not so much that you tear through your paper though).

When you lift the paper back off your chalkboard, you’ll see a faint outline of your design.

This is your guideline for going back in and filling in the design with chalk.

This will be easier if you sharpen your chalk.  An old lip pencil sharpener will work well to sharpen regular sized chalk.

I use a piece of notebook paper to rest my hand on while I’m filling in the design.  It serves two purposes, first to keep me from leaving hand prints on my seasoned chalk board and second to keep my hand from smearing that faint outline of my design.

Today’s q-tip: use a q-tip to clean up any messy areas or touch up mistakes (sorry, I couldn’t resist)!

I wasn’t too happy with that last ‘e’ in ‘here’ so I erased it with the q-tip and tried again.

And now my chalkboard chair is all set for winter.

This really is my favorite method for a chalkboard.  I’ve tried teaching myself to do free-hand designs, but in the end I’m never really happy with how they turn out.  I sometimes use stencils to create an outline for a chalkboard, but then you are limited by whatever stencils you happen to own.  I once tried the Martha Stewart Erasable Liquid Chalk with a stencil and that was a total fail.  So ultimately this seems to be the method that I fall back on the most.

I think it works pretty well, and if you are like me and you just aren’t satisfied with the results you get trying to draw free-hand, give this method a try on your next chalkboard!

a rusty toolbox.

Back when I sent a welcome email to Miss Mustard Seed, a.k.a. Marian Parsons, she offered to send me some of her products to try.  How totally awesome of her, right?  But I had to admit, I’d pretty much worked with most of them already.

However, I thought I vaguely remembered reading somewhere that her Tough Coat Sealer had been re-formulated to have more of a matte finish since the last time I’d used it.  So I asked her to please send me some of that.

So the other day when I was contemplating what product to use to seal the rusty toolbox I brought home from that garage sale I wondered if I could use the Tough Coat Sealer.

The toolbox isn’t terribly bad on the outside, but the inside was quite rusty.  It was rather greasy and dirty as well.

So I did a little google research.  I googled “using Miss Mustard Seed Tough Coat Sealer to seal rusty metal” and that search took me directly to this post from Miss Mustard herself where she conveniently addresses that question in the comment section.  She also mentions the reformulation of the Tough Coat Sealer in the post itself.

So, full steam ahead.

I first scrubbed the toolbox well with Dawn dishwashing soap and one of those 3M Scotch Brite scrubbies.  I tend to use dishwashing soap when I’m trying to cut grease.  I suppose that TSP substitute would work just as well, if not even better, but I haven’t tried that.

I wasn’t aiming for perfection here, just an easy clean up and coat of sealer that would allow me to store stuff in the toolbox without it getting all gross.

Once the toolbox was dry, I simply brushed on the Tough Coat Sealer.  I gave the inside bottom of the toolbox a 2nd coat just to be sure I was taking care of that rust, while every other surface only received one coat.  Here’s how the inside looks after …

Much improved, wouldn’t you say?

Although it’s cleaned up and the rust is sealed, I also added a paper liner just to make it a little prettier.  I used one of my favorite October Afternoon papers, and just laid it in place with no adhesive.  If it gets grungy over time I can easily replace it.

Here is how the toolbox looks on the outside with its coat of Tough Coat Sealer.

I did save the label.

I think I might use the toolbox to store my ribbons.

I don’t really know why I have such a fascination for rusty old toolboxes.

Something about them just appeals to me, especially when they are used for something unexpected, like vintage ribbon.

Looking at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics side by side you might be thinking that they don’t look all that different, but that actually was my goal.  I wanted to seal the rusty metal so it wouldn’t rub off on things or continue to deteriorate, but I also wanted to retain the rusty aged patina.

The Tough Coat Sealer did that perfectly.  It added a tiny amount of shine and it darkened up the color just slightly as well, but for the most part it didn’t change the look by much.

So the next time you need to seal some rusty old metal, consider reaching for the Tough Coat Sealer.

And speaking of Miss Mustard Seed, tomorrow is her workshop with Carver Junk Co.  I think they may still have some spaces left and tomorrow is supposed to be cool and stormy, so a perfect day for hanging out indoors and learning about milk paint.

I’ll be there and I’d love to see you there too!

yardstick shelves.

I’m sure some of you locals have heard of the Bachman’s Ideas House.  Bachman’s is a local floral, gift and garden chain of shops.  They have been in business since 1885, and their first retail location was opened in the 1920’s on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, which is also where the family home was located.

Quite a few years ago (I think it was 2010, but I’m not totally sure) they began the Ideas House.  Basically they decorated the family’s historic home (which is no longer occupied) on their property on Lyndale for the season and then the public was welcome to tour it for a donation of $5 which went to charity.  In addition, everything in the home was for sale.  You just had to come back after the season to pick it up.

At that time, the mastermind behind the decor was none other than Ki Nassauer, now of Junk Bonanza fame.  Her upcycled junk style was evident in every room and I loved all of it.  In those first couple of years the house was full of one-of-a-kind authentic vintage items re-purposed in really clever ways.  The Ideas House is still around, and in fact Linda over at Itsy Bits and Pieces has just blogged about the 2017 Fall version.  Linda has blogged about the Ideas House since the beginning, and you can find all of her Ideas House tours {here}.  But, I have to say that I miss the good ol’ days when they had more vintage pieces and less mass-produced items.  Since Ki moved away to California, I feel like they don’t have quite the same re-purposed vintage edge that they did in the beginning.

Today’s idea came from those early days of the Ideas House.  One year they had narrow shelves made with old yardsticks on the front to hold wine glasses above a bar cart and I loved them.  So the next time I saw some old yardsticks at a garage sale I snatched them up, and Ken (my handyman neighbor) made them into shelves for me.

They are perfect for displaying a non-collection of vintage alarm clocks if you don’t happen to need them for wine glasses.

I still grab awesome yardsticks whenever I see them at garage sales and every once in a while Ken helps me make up some more shelves.  So today I thought I’d show you guys how we do it.  It’s a super simple project that you could handle in an afternoon.

step 1.  cut a narrow board to the same length as your yardstick (um, that would usually be a yard, but the ruler I used this time is not technically a ‘yard stick’).  I use old sections of bead board that I salvaged from the bead board ceiling that my neighbor nnK tore out a few years ago.

step 2.  attach the yardstick to the board.  I’m not gonna lie, my handyman neighbor Ken did this part not me.  He drilled little pilot holes and then used small headless nails to adhere the yardstick.

Today’s Qtip:  If you don’t already know this, a pilot hole is a small hole drilled as a guide for the insertion of a nail or screw.  A pilot hole will help prevent the wood from splitting as you drive in the nail.  It will also help make sure that you get the nail in the right spot.  Your pilot hole should be just a tad smaller than the nail, if it’s too large then your nail won’t grab hold.  Ken taught me the secret of pilot holes and I use them all the time now.  I know this might seem like a simple tip for some of you, but I’m sure there are more people like me out there who didn’t know about this nifty trick.

step 3.  add L brackets to mount your yardstick shelf to the wall.

Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this!

I bet you have some awesome non-collection that would look great displayed on some yardstick shelves!