this little piggy.

I picked up this pig shaped cutting board a while back.  Well, to be honest, far enough back that I don’t really even remember where I got it.  Was it a garage sale?  A thrifted find?  I’m not sure.  But I had it in the stash waiting for a makeover.

I have a feeling that there was a time when every high school shop class churned out these pig shaped cutting boards by the millions.  They seem to be fairly common around here.

I added a French Market stencil to one way back when I was still hosting an occasional sale out of my carriage house.

In fact, I stenciled quite a few different cutting boards back then.

But lately I’ve been more into painting them.

But for this pig, I decided to go back to my roots and give him a quick stencil using one of Dixie Belle’s silk screen stencils from their Farmhouse set.

First up, I washed the cutting board thoroughly with very hot water and some Dawn dish soap.  Often times these old cutting board are pretty grungy.  Then I sanded it down to some fresher wood.

Then I applied the stenciled design using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky paint.

Let’s talk for a minute about silk screen stencils.  They are a bit different from traditional stencils.  For one thing, they are made out of a flexible, adhesive backed vinyl rather than the stiffer mylar of typical stencils.  Also, rather than a fully cut out design, the area to be stenciled is backed with silk screen.  That means bridges aren’t required in the design.

If you aren’t familiar, bridges are the areas that hold inside pieces in place, like below in the letters “P”, “O” and “A”.

So silk screen stenciled designs can look less, well, stenciled.

One downside to the silk screen stencils is that they don’t hold up to tons of use though.  I find that the silkscreen gets a little clogged with paint after a few uses if I’m not super diligent about cleaning them immediately after use.  And as we all know, I’m definitely not super diligent about that.

So if lots and lots of repeated use is something you value, and you aren’t all that good about cleaning your stencils, you may not like the silkscreen stencils.

You can see the result of a slightly clogged silk screen stencil on my pig.

Once I saw that rather rustic result from the stencil, I decided to make it work by adding some age back to the wood using Homestead House’s Antiquing Wax.

In hindsight, I kinda wish I had followed my own regularly given advice to lay down a coat of clear wax before adding the dark wax.  That allows you to move the dark wax around a bit more for a uniform look.

But no, I didn’t do that.

So I did end up with the dark wax being more pronounced over my stencil, basically where the cutting board was more worn.  This is definitely a case of do as I say, not as I do.

I will say that I think I certainly accomplished my goal of adding back some age though.

This definitely doesn’t look like freshly sanded wood with a newly painted stencil, right?

I should be sure to point out that this little piggy is no longer food safe, but rather intended for décor only.

What do you think?  Do you prefer the stenciled look, or the painted with transfers look?  Leave a comment and let me know.

craving some green.

I know I’m a month early for St. Patrick’s Day, but I just didn’t want to wait that long to share this little project.  Hopefully I’ll find something else to paint green between now and then.

In the meantime, you may remember that I picked up this … um, I don’t know what to call it … little cupboard thingie? … while thrifting recently.

I’m sure many of you were wondering what in the world I was thinking.  I have to admit, I was wondering that when I got it home too.  What was I thinking?  These cheap little things are a dime a dozen, why would I spend my time on it?

But in the end I thought, if nothing else, it would just be a fun little project to work on.  And sure enough, it was.

I started by using a small flat saw to cut off those knobs.

I knew I would be replacing them with library card catalogue style pulls, and they were glued in place so I didn’t want to risk doing damage trying to force them off any other way.

Next I scuff sanded the whole thing a bit so I wouldn’t see shadows left by the raised areas of the hand-painted birdhouses under the new paint.  After cleaning it, I gave it a coat of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  That’s because I was originally thinking I’d paint it black.

But once I had the black on, I thought that seemed like a rather boring choice.  It’s just a small, inexpensive item, why not go bold?  Maybe it’s all of that white snow we’re surrounded with here, but I’ve been craving a bit of green lately.  So I pulled out one of my favorite shades, In a Pickle milk paint from Sweet Pickins.

I mixed some up and painted over the black.

In my opinion, the layer of chalk style paint was not a wasted step though.  This little cupboard had a shiny, plastic-y sort of finish on it.  Milk paint would not have adhered to it very well at all.  That can be OK, if you want a chippy finish (or if you add a bonding agent).  But it could have possibly chipped a lot, and I didn’t really want that.

So, that brings me to today’s q tip; if you want to use milk paint over a shiny pre-existing finish but you don’t want unpredictable and potentially excessive chipping, start with a base coat of chalk style paint.

As you can see on my piece, once you distress the edges you will see both the original color and the base coat color under your milk paint so choose your colors accordingly.

After distressing, and then adding a coat of clear wax, I added those card catalogue pulls.  My friend Sue found a pile of these at a garage sale for me.

Next up I added slips of green and white gingham scrapbook paper to the pulls, and also lined the drawers with it.

This piece makes another great place to store one’s washi tape.

Or your Tim Holtz metal number plate thingies.

Or a million other small things that need to be rounded up.

I’m in love with this green and white gingham, especially for spring.

What do you think?  Would you bother with such a project?  Spending time and the cost of supplies to make over an item with little value?  Just for the fun of it?  Leave a comment and let me know.

diy apothecary bottles.

My friend Sue popped by the other day with some thrift finds for me.  I’d told her all about the dark academia themed window we were putting together at the shop (fyi, if you want to see how it turned out, check out the Reclaiming Beautiful Facebook page), so when she saw these amber Kombucha bottles she thought they would be a fun addition.

She suggested that I use some of the white I.O.D. Traditional Pots transfers on them.

But I was reminded of a video I’d watched from Canterbury Cottage (that Sue had also sent to me) where she printed out apothecary jar labels and applied them to bottles.  The video even has convenient links to the .pdf for printing out the labels (find that here).

So I thought I’d go half and half.  There were 8 bottles total, so four got white transfers and four got labels.

First up I washed all of them in hot, soapy water and let them dry.  Then it was super simple to apply the white transfers to four of them.

The white transfers have definitely improved over time.  When they first came out, I wasn’t a fan.  They had more of that filmy halo around them.  But I think these look really good.

There certainly is still some halo, and you can see it in that close up photo.  But to the naked eye it’s pretty insignificant.

People always ask if I seal transfers when applying them to glass, and I do not.  They stick like gangbusters to glass.  In fact, I usually warn people to make sure you’ve got your placement just right before allowing the transfer to touch the glass because it will get sucked down onto the glass like a magnet.

As for wear, they will be fine if handled gently.  You can hand wash them with soapy water, but don’t scrub on the transfer.  For that matter, when you get sick of them you can scrape the transfer off using a razor blade.

For the next four bottles, I added those apothecary labels using Mod Podge.

Personally, I prefer working with the matte version.  You all know I’m not a big fan of shine.  I also think that in this case it gives those paper labels a more authentic look.

I had printed the labels out on your basic printer paper.  Once I had them cut out, I brushed a thin layer of Mod Podge on the back of the label and applied it to the jar.  In contrast to those white transfers, you can easily slide the label around on the glass until you have it on there straight.  Once I had it in place, I smoothed it down with my finger to remove any air bubbles and then added another layer of Mod Podge over the top of the label.

I then carefully wiped away any excess Mod Podge around the edge of the label using a damp paper towel.

And that’s it.  Super simple.  I just had to let them dry.

Unlike the bottles with the transfers, these labels would not hold up well if you got them wet.  So I would not advise washing these other than possibly wiping them down with a dust rag now and then.

That being said, they really did turn out kind of fabulous, don’t you think?

Once I was done adding labels to all of my bottles, I thought it might be fun to update this little wooden crate to hold them.

This was a super simple project.  I scuff sanded the wood, wiped it down with a damp cloth and then stained it using DIY Liquid Patina in Dark & Decrepit.

I have to admit, I haven’t found a lot of uses for this product.  I experimented with it over paint and didn’t really like that look.  However, it worked perfectly for this.  I just applied it with a rag, and then wiped away the excess with the same rag.  I did have to use a q tip to get into some of the corners, but that wasn’t difficult.

It dried quite quickly, and once dry I added some more decoupaged apothecary labels to the sides.

Easy peasy.

Unfortunately, I did not get these finished in time to take them in to the shop this week.  And in other news, my sister and I are flying out to visit our mom on Saturday, so I won’t be around to take them in for a couple of weeks.  But eventually they will make their way into Reclaiming Beautiful.

In the meantime, which style is your favorite?  The white transfer, or the labels?  Personally I’m digging those labels.  They look so authentic to me.

Posts will be hit or miss over the next two weeks while I’m off at mom’s, but I’ll be back before you know it so be sure to stay tuned.

the birds and the bee.

I’ve got a couple of signs to share with you guys today.

The first is a short and sweet makeover of the cupboard door sign I whipped up last November.

I don’t know, I thought it was pretty cute.  But it didn’t sell.  So I brought it home from the shop and I was planning to just tuck it away until next November and try again.

But as I was looking at it the other day, I thought it just might be the perfect size for the row of birds from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer.

So I sanded down the stenciled Christmas wording, vacuumed away the dust and then added a fresh coat of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

That gave me a clean slate for adding those birds.

Aren’t they adorable?

Full disclosure; the Brocante transfer comes with two different rows of these birds.  It took a row and a half to fill my sign.  I trimmed one of the rows in half and pieced it in with the other full row.

The wording is from my usual favorite, the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer.

It was a quick and easy makeover, and now I plan to take it back to the shop and see if it sells this time around.

I just had to stage it up with my Custom Laundry Co hanger.

Last summer my neighbor/handyman Ken called up and said he had something I might want.  He’d been cleaning out the basement and he was going to throw it away, but at the last minute thought it might be something I’d like.  A vintage hanger that says “French Dry Cleaner” on it?  Yes, please!

Did you know that dry cleaning was invented by the French in the 18th century?  Originally it was referred to as “French” for that reason, but it’s the same dry cleaning technique as any other.  Who knew?  Well, google knew apparently.

Certainly “French Dry Cleaners” sounds way more posh, am I right?

Either way, I’m sure glad that Ken didn’t just throw that hanger in the trash.  It will be right at home with the rest of my vintage advertising hangers.

And in the meantime, it also looks good hanging from the birds.

Whether you do your laundry the old fashioned way with a bucket and washboard, the new fangled way with a washing machine, or you send it out for some French dry cleaning, this bird sign would be adorable in a laundry room.  Or a potting shed.  Or your foyer.  Or really just about anywhere.

I pulled out another cupboard door to turn into a sign last week as well.  This one was a blank slate, a factory finished door.  To give it a bit of age, I painted it in a base coat of Dixie Belle’s Collard Greens mixed with some of their Sea Spray to add some gunky old texture.  Once that was dry, I added a coat of DB’s Drop Cloth and then sanded it all down once the Drop Cloth was dry to reveal hints of the Collard Greens underneath.

Next I pulled out my I.O.D. Kindest Regards stamp …

and my VersaFine Clair ink in a color called Pinecone.

As I’ve mentioned here a few times, I’ve struggled in the past with using stamps on painted items.  I’ve never been totally happy with my results.  However, thanks to tips from a couple of my readers (using the VersaFine Clair ink over unsealed chalk paint) I think I’ve finally found success!

I stamped randomly onto the door creating a wordy background.  I let the ink dry for several hours before proceeding on to add some I.O.D. transfers.

I think using the stamp as an imperfect background rather than a focal point was the secret to making the stamped look work for me.

What do you think?

I’ll be bringing both of these signs into Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater this week, thus giving you locals another reason to head out there (remember, they are only open Thursday to Saturday each week).  While there, you could also check out the snow sculptures in Lowell Park (along the riverfront).  We stopped by on a foggy morning last weekend to see them.

This one from Team Flozen, the team from Florida, was my favorite.

It’s free to go see them, and you can go anytime of day or night.  I recommend going in the early morning to beat the crowds.  I think I’d also recommend going before the sub-zero temps kick in on Friday night!


faux enamelware.

Remember the galvanized hanging bucket thingies (I don’t really know what to call them) that I found while thrifting a week or so ago?

They have a black rolled rim and handle, so I thought that if I painted the galvanized part white they would look just like vintage enamelware.

One of my readers suggested I leave them as is and just add a transfer to the front, and I did consider it.  After all, I do like the look of galvanized stuff.  But these had that blotchy look that feels a little faux to me.  In addition, my ‘before’ photo doesn’t really show how dark they were.  I knew I wanted to dress them up with some transfers, and the black wording of most transfers doesn’t show up very well on the darker galvanized stuff.  Here’s an example of that.

It can create kind of a cool aged look, but I wanted to go for that enamelware look with these.

So I washed them first, and then painted them in Dixie Belle Silk paint in Endless Shore.

They really do look like classic enamelware now, don’t they?  Although not quite as shiny.

Next I started thinking about which transfer I wanted to use on them.  I considered going with more color and adding some I.O.D. florals, but then I decided to stick with the black and white theme.

You might be surprised to learn that I used transfers from two different companies on these.

The one on the right has a portion of the I.O.D. Astoria transfer on it, with some wording from the with prima Paris Letter added above it.  The one on the left has a portion of the Lovely Ledger transfer from with prima on it.  All three of these transfers combine beautifully.

My next challenge was to try and think of things to put in them.  Of course, you could always go with the classic florals.

This silk lavender stems came from Hobby Lobby a few years back.

Since the bucket itself is rather neutral in color and style, you could change them up seasonally and it would still work.

When you see evergreens like these, do you think they are strictly for Christmas, or would you leave them out until Spring?

I’d love to get some feedback from you guys on that.  Are you sick of evergreens and ready to see them go by the end of December, or do you leave them out until the end of February?  Leave a comment and let me know.

You could also put a small glass vase inside for the water, and fill these with real flowers.

But I wanted to try and think outside the box a bit.  How about filling them with old altered paint brushes?

Definitely unexpected.

You could also fill one with your non-collection of whisk brooms.

Or am I the only one with things like whisk brooms and gunky old paint brushes lying around?

How about you, what would you put in one of these buckets?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Meanwhile, I’ll be taking these into the shop later this week so if any of you locals are interested, you’ll have to head to Stillwater later this week and do a little shopping.

getting crafty with gift baskets.

Those of you who have been following me for a while may have noticed that I didn’t create my own Christmas gift wrap/packaging this year.  Over the past several years, I’ve come up with some sort of handmade gift wrap each year.

Last year was the stenciled packages.

And the year before I used some I.O.D. stamps to decorate my packages.

One of my favorites was in 2018 when I was inspired by Venetian velvet.

But this year I just didn’t come up with any super creative ideas for wrapping all of my packages.

However, I did put together a couple of gift baskets that I thought would be fun to share.  Neither of them have a predominantly Christmas look to them, so I figured it would be OK to share them even though Christmas is over.

Here’s what I started out with.

Did you know that they have these cute little cardboard pots at Hobby Lobby?

I did not.  Until I saw them there that is.  And if you shop when the paper goods are half off, they only cost $1.  That’s cheaper than a gift bag.

Plus there is the added bonus of being able to get crafty and decorate it however you want to.

I went fairly simple with mine.  I first painted it in Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Anchor, and then I added one of I.O.D.’s Traditional Pots transfers.

This made the perfect container for a gardening themed gift.  I just tucked in some garden gloves and gift card to our local nursery.

I added a star shaped tag that I purchased ages ago on Etsy.

I wish I had kept track of who the Etsy vendor was so that I could share that with you (and so that I could order more myself, this was my last one), but unfortunately I did not.

Next up is this fall themed metal basket that I found at the thrift store.

I don’t know where this came from originally, but my guess is Hobby Lobby, or somewhere similar.  Have you noticed that items like this from Hobby Lobby often look like they were created by someone for whom English is a 2nd language?  Is it just me?  Do you know anyone who calls it a “pumpkins patch”?

Well, regardless, the graphic itself was a little cheap looking anyway.  So I sanded it down and then painted the bucket using Dixie Belle’s Anchor.  I then added one of the JRV mini stencils to the front of the bucket.

My neighbor asked me to help her put together a gift basket for her boss.  She provided the fillings.

I decided to work with the gorgeous amber color of the bourbon by adding some brown tissue paper.

I dressed it up a little using the I.O.D. Crockery stamp and some VersaFine Clair ink in Pinecone.

There were a few gift cards and smaller items to be included so I decided to tuck those into a drawstring burlap bag.  My friend Sue had given me a stack of these bags knowing that I could dress them up.

I used a few of the 6″ x 6″ stencils that I’d purchased for the kid sized shovel that I shared a week or so ago.  They ended up being the perfect size for these bags too.

With the addition of a cheese serving plate and a book with tips on pairing wines and cheeses, the gift basket was complete.

I always enjoy pulling gift baskets like this together, how about you?

I hope I’ve given you an idea or two for your next gift basket!

sometimes size matters.

I hate to say it, but sometimes size really does matter.  Especially when it comes to using stencils.

I do most (all?) of my stenciling on vintage items, like this kid sized shovel …

or old wooden boxes.

Old doctor’s bags …

or vintage suitcases.

One of the things I often struggle with is finding the right size stencil to fit on my item.

This is especially a problem with the sleds.

Trying to find a stencil where the typography fits onto those narrow slats can be a real challenge.

My solution is to use bits and pieces of wording from various stencils for those.

I also often mask off stencils and use a smaller section of the stencil on something, like I did on this toy truck.

One of the reasons I really like wallcutz stencils is that you can order them in different sizes to fit your item.  I especially appreciate the larger sizes which work really well for turning headboards or foot boards into signs.

But I couldn’t find just the right thing from wallcutz to fit onto a vintage kid’s snow shovel that my friend Sue found for me.  I only had about 7″ square to work with.

I also looked through all of the stencils I already owned and none of them were quite right.  I debated using one of my mini stencils from JRV Stencils.  I really like the Kroger stencil, and that would have fit nicely.

But the theme wasn’t right for a snow shovel.

So I decided to head to Amazon and see what I could find that would fit.  There were lots of options for really small stencils that would fit a 3″ x 3″ wooden ornament, and I found a few stencils that I liked that were 8″ square, or 10″ square.  After a bit of time searching, I ended up finding a packet of 6″ x 6″ stencils that included one that said ‘let it snow’.

I did a little prep work on my shovel before stenciling.  I cleaned it well and then added a couple of coats of spray sealer to the blade.  It was pretty rusty and since I planned to use this as outside décor, I wanted to protect the remaining green paint.

I stenciled the design using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Once it was done, I decided it needed just a little oomph of something to give it more depth so I added some shading free-hand using DB’s Putty.

I haven’t actually done it yet, but I plan to add a couple of coats of flat sealer to protect the stenciling too.

When I shared the first kid sized shovel I painted back in November, I mentioned that I had this second shovel that I planned to keep for myself.

For now I’ve staged it out on the deck, but I plan to find a spot where I can hang it from the handle … maybe on the potting shed.  Since this is more of a winter decoration, rather than strictly a Christmas decoration, I can certainly display it for several more months.  I think I’ll hang it in place of the Christmas themed sled that is currently hanging on the door.

What do you think?

which way is up?

You may remember that back in August I shared a metal roller skate case that I painted up.

The case was originally black, so I’d simply given it a fresh coat of black to clean it up a bit, and followed that up with one of the German Grain Sack stencils from ellen j goods.

Unfortunately, the case didn’t sell.  So I brought it back home from the shop a few weeks ago to try giving it a different look.

I sanded down the stencil, added a fresh coat of black and then followed that up with the I.O.D. Rose Chintz paint inlay.  I love the way this inlay looks over black paint, gorgeous.

But I didn’t leave well enough alone.  I had this idea that the white Seeds transfer would be perfect over the floral.

Ummmm.  Yeah.  That didn’t really work out so well.

You know, sometimes you just have to try something to find out whether or not it will work.  However, it can be a real bummer when you’ve used up product that wasn’t exactly inexpensive.  Hopefully I can save you from that by sharing my fails here on the blog.

So it was back to the drawing board for idea no. 3.  I sanded it all back down again and gave it another base coat of black paint (in this case, Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Anchor).

You know, one of the problems with a case like this is that you have to decide which way is up.  If the case will be sitting upright with the handle on the top, the wording will go one way.  But if the case is sitting flat with the handle on the front (like shown above) the wording needs to go in the other direction.

I struggle with the question of which way is up with suitcases (or in this case, a skate case) every time I do one.

I tend to opt for the upright position the most.  This is a much easier decision when the suitcase has angled sides since they don’t sit flat if you put them on their side. so it’s unlikely to be displayed that way.

I often do the non-angled versions this way too.

I figure the majority of people are going to display them like that.

But with the smaller cases, like this roller skate case, you never know.  One might want to stack it on top of larger cases instead of sitting it upright.

While considering what I wanted to try for makeover attempt no. 3, I decided to go with something that would look right either way.  That meant no wording, or designs that have a distinct top or bottom to them.

The swiss cross seemed like a great solution.  It can go either way.

I did leave the bit of writing from the Seeds transfer by the handle though.

I love the idea of stacking this case on top of a couple of other vintage cases.

You could store any number of things inside it, including the old photos that I shared the first time around.

But I thought it would be more appropriate to the season to stage it as an ice skate case this time around.

I purchased these skates at the thrift store (or was it a garage sale?) and they came with some sparkly gold laces.

The sparkle wasn’t quite doing it for me though, so I swapped out the gold laces for some alphabet ribbon that was in my stash.

Now they are the perfect companions for my swiss cross case.

Whether or not the case will sell better with this design remains to be seen, but I’m going to give it a shot.  If any of you locals are interested, both the case and the ice skates are listed on my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

As for the rest of you, what do you think?  Are you a fan of the swiss cross look, or would you have preferred the rose chintz?  Leave a comment and let me know.

inspiration and enthusiasm.

OK, so, here’s the thing.  I’m not always real good at being properly seasonal.  I know everyone else out there in social media land is pushing the pumpkins, the fall colors, and the Halloween décor.

I, on the other hand, seem to be stuck in full-on summer mode still.  At least for today.  Quite honestly, it wasn’t until I was halfway done with these boxes that I realized I should maybe have gone with more of a fall look.

Oh well, I’m going to share them with you anyway.

If you’ll remember, I picked up a mini Lane box while garage saling last week.  As several of you commented, apparently these were given away to girls graduating from high school in the past (or maybe even still?).  My picker found the box on the bottom for me, and it’s an old cigar box.

I painted them both up in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth first and then I dug through my stash of transfers to see what would inspire me.

I ended up pulling out several Dixie Belle transfers; Vintage Floral, Dewy Morning and Vintage Post.  Those last two are brand new releases and I don’t see them listed on the Dixie Belle website yet, but they are available from DB retailers if you want to look for them.

Next I just went to town adding flowers to each of the boxes.

Once I had the flowers in place, I added a little wording.  The wording is all from the Vintage Post transfer.

The Lane box has a little bit of curved wording on the front …

And this bit on the top.

I had to look closely to see what that said, ‘inspiration and enthusiasm are caught not taught’.  So true, I like it.

The cigar box has this portion of the Vintage Post transfer on the top …

I wrapped it around the sides just a bit to meet up with the florals from the sides of the box.

My favorites of the flower transfers are the iris and the blue hydrangea on this box.

Those two, and in fact most of the flowers on this box, are from the Vintage Floral transfer.

The hydrangeas on the smaller box are from the Dewy Morning transfer and lean a little bit more purple rather than blue.

I didn’t paint the inside of either box.  I definitely didn’t want to paint the cedar box, since … you know, cedar lining is the whole point of that one.

I did line each one with some Paris map paper from October Afternoon though.

These boxes may be out of season, but hopefully you caught some inspiration and enthusiasm from this post anyway.

Both of these boxes are for sale locally (check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details).  If they don’t sell to someone here, I’ll probably tuck them away to bring into the shop next spring when they are more in season.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and the transfers used on these boxes!

thrift find makeovers.

Whenever I’m out thrifting I’m always on the lookout for simple wood items that I can give new life to with paint.

I’ll readily admit that none of these are spectacular finds, certainly nothing to write home about.  But all three were fun makeovers.

Let’s start with the basic cutting board.  After sanding it down and cleaning it with a grease cutting cleaner, I painted it with Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy, and then added some grain sack style stripes using their French Linen.  Once dry, I sanded to distress and then added the farm animal transfer from Dixie Belle’s On the Farm transfer set.

The “Precious Stone Farm” wording is from with prima’s Everyday Farmhouse transfer set.

I just love how it turned out, so cute.  It’s no longer food safe, but would make great decor.

Next up is the rooster shaped cutting board.  Once again, I prepped as usual and then painted it with two coats of the Sawmill Gravy.  Then I pulled out some scraps from the I.O.D. Floral Anthology transfer and pieced them in around the edges of the rooster.

Finally, I added some wording from their Label Ephemera transfer and now he’s a funky french floral rooster.  Again, no longer food safe, but perfect for decorating the kitchen counter top.

By the way, I top-coated both of these pieces with clear wax.

Last up is … well … I really don’t know what to call this thing.  I’m thinking it was originally a napkin, or paper guest towel holder, maybe?  Do you have any idea what this might have been used for?

Well, regardless, I painted it in Sawmill Gravy and then I decided to do a little experimenting with stamping once again.  Take note that I did not use any kind of sealer over the paint before stamping, and this is a chalk style paint.

The last time I tried stamping on paint I wasn’t terribly happy with the results.  But a couple of my readers gave me some tips including Teri B. who specifically recommended VersaFine Clair ink for stamping over paint.

So I went out and purchased some from my local craft store (I can’t remember, it was either Hobby Lobby or Michaels).

First up, I have to say that no matter how good the ink, nothing can help if you’re a clumsy stamper … which apparently I am.  On my first go around, after applying the stamp semi-perfectly, I then dropped it right back down on my surface.  Ugh.  So I wiped it back as much as I could, re-painted with the Sawmill Gravy and then gave it another go.

The 2nd time around I ended up not liking the stamp I chose (and by the way, all of these stamps are from the I.O.D. Crockery set), so once again I wiped it off using a damp cloth.

At that point it occurred to me that I rather liked the washed out look I achieved when wiping off the ink right away so I took a quick photo to share with you.  At some point I may want to use this technique on another project.  But for this piece I once again painted back over it with the Sawmill Gravy.

I will say that this is one of the benefits of stamping over paint, you can re-do it multiple times at no extra cost.

The third time is sort of the charm with this one.

I say ‘sort of’ for a few reasons.  I didn’t apply even pressure to the stamp, and I also managed to smear the ink just a little bit by accidentally brushing over it with my hand.

But those are pretty fine details, and unless you are an uber-perfectionist (which may, or may not, apply to me) this is good enough.  And really, if you’re an uber-perfectionist, stamping probably just isn’t for you.

I also achieved decent results with the stamp at the bottom too.

Teri was definitely right, the VersaFine Clair ink is the way to go if you’re stamping over chalk paint.

After 24 hours, the ink appeared to be dry enough to add a top coat over it without fear of smearing, but I chose to hold off on adding a coat of clear wax.

Why?  Well, I may keep this piece to corral some flashcards and maybe a pair of readers or two and I’m not sure I love this look.  I may decide to give it an entirely different look next, so I’m holding off on waxing in case I decide to paint over it one more time.

After working on all three of these thrift find makeovers, I have to say that I still think transfers deliver a lot more punch than stamps.  But of course, you can only use a transfer one time, while stamps can be used over and over.  So tell me, what do you think?  Do you prefer transfers or stamps?  Leave a comment and let me know.