Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Bold Headboard - Coloring Book Style

Coloring isn't just for kids!
  Stroll through any Art & Craft store and you'll see coloring books galore.
Adults have re-discovered the joy of coloring.
It's fun, restful and creative.
When a favorite client asked me to create a
 "COLORING BOOK" wall for her daughter's bedroom, 
 I was excited to help.

But first I do a test run so I can give my client a proper estimate.
Looking around the house,
I decided my guest room headboard was a good candidate for change.
Oh, these old doors begged for fresh paint!
Whoops....Almost forgot the BEFORE photo!
First, the background.
 I slip-slapped on a few vintage colors
 and added a punch of PARAKEET GREEN for fun.
This is case where things look worse before before they get better!
...and they do get better, promise.
Next, the flowers.
Using a few coloring books from the craft store
and some books from my bookshelves for inspiration,
I picked up a brush and began to paint.
There's no need to draw anything first.
This is a free-spirited, casual design.  You can't make a mistake with it.
So resist the urge to over-think this.
Grab a brush and go for it!
I used artist-brushes and diluted black acrylic paint
to paint the line drawings of leaves and flowers.

See how the background colors mix and mingle inside the design.
Flowers and leave have a mix of colors in them,
and that makes each one unique and interesting.
This is FUN!
The test run was successful
my guest room got a mini-facelift!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kitchen Table with French Script

Sometimes a mistake can lead to something unexpectedly wonderful.  
That's exactly what happened here. 
Wanting to re-stain the top of my kitchen table top, 
 I began to sand.....


Things got out of hand.  
What I thought was solid pine was actually veneer, 
and before I knew it, there was an ugly divot in the table top.
Hey, things happen! 
Re-staining wasn't going to work 

On to Plan B:  painting the table top.  
(Do you see my helper ready to pounce onto the fresh paint?)

 I painted the table simply,
 imitating those appealing vintage enamel-topped drop leaf tables.
You know the one's I mean. 

But it looked too-oo--o plain,
so I added some lettering, and liked it much better. 

For those who ask, the template is from Cutting Edge Stencils.
You'll find lots to inspire you at their website.

Much better -- 


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Not Your Grandma's Desk

 My Mom has a desk just like this one in her living room.
On a recent visit to her home, I casually suggested painting it for her. 
but she told me that she likes it just the way it is.
In other words, "Hands Off"!

So imagine my surprise 
when my neighbor offered me a desk just like Mom's.

I was delighted to have it,
 but would only take it, if she didn't mind that I paint it.
No problem!

So I carted the desk home and began to think about how to paint it.

White?  Black?  Color?  
Have I mentioned that I'm enamored with Mackenzie-Childs designs?

I'm a "plain-jane" sort of girl, 

and for the life of me, I can't explain why their sassy, 
exuberant style appeals to me, but it just does.
I'm smitten by it!

(Go ahead - check out their site, guaranteed you'll have fun, too!)

 I planned to use this desk in my guest room, 
the one with shabby white furniture and neutral walls. 

This desk would bring a decided touch of whimsy to the room.

To mimic the MacKenzie-Child style,
it's a matter of mixing colors and pattern, 
then adding a liberal amount of black. 

I used a damask stencil, brush-stroke roses, borders of checks, 

and the painted illusion tufting to get there.  

Each drawer was painted differently,

and the finial got some variegated gold leaf.

A trio of bunnies decorate the desk front. 

Now to finish the rest of the room!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thrift Shop Trays

Trays, are the workhorses of home decor.
They're practical, versatile, functional 
and pretty all at the same time.
Now what could be better than that?

When I saw these trays (a set of 3) at a thrift shop in Canada 
I couldn't resist.
They were a bargain at $4.
But then I realized that was $3.06 US.
Even better!

At the time, I didn't know exactly how I wanted to paint them, 
but they were definitely coming home with me. 

I had these decorative papers in my "stash of good things."
They'd work well for this project.

But if you didn't have papers like these,
what else might you use?
....old sheet music, pages from a book, 
vintage sewing pattern envelopes, maps.... 
any of these would be unique.

I used my Go-To paint formula:

1. first paint Black  
2. then follow with my favorite white,
Westhighland White by Sherwin Williams.
3. Finish by sanding to reveal the black underneath.
Easy -peasy.

I randomly tore the edges so things looked less "perfect"
and applied the sheets with Modge Podge. 
Two coats of clear poly-acrylic went on top for protection.

Yes, there were some wrinkles in the paper, 
but to me, they added character, so they don't bother me.

On one tray I added a distressed green border
to fill in the gap surrounding the paper. 

They turned out well!

Each tray quickly found a place to be useful,
one at a bedside, another in a bath
 and the third on a desk.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The French Bench

Just like you, 
I've seen beds turned into benches on Pinterest.
So when these lovelies appeared 
at a local thrift store, it was time to build.

Ultimately, the benches would be for sale 
in a local shop.
This was new territory for me,
and I admit that I was curious to see 
what interest the benches might draw.  

My husband quickly caught on to the idea 
of changing a bed into a bench
and took over construction.
There's nothing he can't do!

I'll come back on the scene when it's time to paint.

Because the benches have a cottage-y design,
they begged for shabby paint and French lettering.

 You'll find lots of French lettering for inspiration
at the 
Graphics Fairy.

This one appealed to me because it reads:  
 " Furnished house with large
apartments and comfortable rooms".

I'd like to think this bench would find itself 
in a house with large, comfortable rooms.

Even though the benches would be white, 
I first painted them BLACK
so that some color
would show when I sanded them. 
If you look closely, you'll see some of the 
under painting peeking through.

And here's another Paint Tip:

White furniture can look too "fresh and clean".
To create a vintage appearance,
brush on a dark brown glaze --
then wipe most of it off with a rag.
You'll get a soft, subtle effect. 

Here's a taste of what you'll see at 

If you're ever near Milford, Michigan, 
plan to visit the shop and enjoy the wonderful
re-purposed, antique and cleverly made items.
It's a visual vacation!


P.S. We were excited to hear that both benches 
sold within a week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Because I paint for clients,
 I never know what my next project will be 
until the phone rings.
Often it's something that stretches my imagination,
 like this recent project.
And that's what makes each day interesting.

A client wanted a painting for his office.

Muscle cars from the 1960's.
Yes, include the race car his business sponsored.
Yes, to bright colors.
And yes, it had to be large.
3 feet by 6 feet.

I know precious little about Chrysler cars.
Can't tell the difference between
a Challenger and a Charger!

Fortunately, my husband and all his friends
are car enthusiasts.

They provided lots of photos and advice
on what to include in the design. 
With all their suggestions in mind, 
I made a collage of iconic MOPAR vehicles,
and began to paint.

Little by little, things took shape.

Painting a collage, instead of a single scene,
 made the large canvas more interesting. 
I was able to use a variety of cars, 
logos and lots of color.

You can see that instead of painting the cars realistically,
I stylized them,
giving an impression of of their iconic details.

Like this:

Almost finished!

Once the brushed silver frame was added, 
the piece was ready for delivery. 

And here it is in it's new home.


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