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 plan to use this desk in my guest room. 
It has shabby-chic white furniture and soft grey-green walls. 
This whimsical desk will be the focal point of 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 on the sides.  
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 and get ready for guests!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thrift Shop Tray Make-over.

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, wrapping paper, 
vintage sewing pattern envelopes, maps.... 
any of these would be unique.

I used my Go-To paint formula:
1. First paint Black  
2. Follow with 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 green border to fill in the gap surrounding the paper. 
They turned out so cute!

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: made from a headboard

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.
These are bunk beds. 
 I loved the board and batten style to them, and we snapped them up. 

Ultimately, the benches would be for sale in a local shop.
Selling in a shop was new territory for me, because everything I do is for a specific client.
I was curious - and a bit nervous -  to see if anyone would find them interesting.

My husband quickly caught the vision 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 style,
they begged for shabby paint and some 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 like to think this bench will 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.

Here's a 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 could also use Annie Sloan's dark tinted wax.
Either way, you'll get a soft, subtle effect. 


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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


 I never know what the next project will be until the phone rings.
Often it's something that stretches my imagination, like this recent project.
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 fairly 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 me with advice and lots of photos of what to include in the design. 
The best way to incorporate all their suggestions was to paint a collage. 

Using photoshop, I manipulated the photos until I had a grouping that I liked. 
Mixed in with the cars were vintage MOPAR logos and a drag-strip tree.

Little by little, things took shape.

Painting multiple images made the large canvas more interesting 
than a single scene. 
It allowed me to use a variety of cars and lots of bright 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!
I decided to float the canvas inside a brushed German Silver frame. 
And here it is in it's new home.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

1970's Dresser Refreshed

Maybe you have a piece of furniture from the 1970's,
but it doesn't look stylish anymore.  
Stop fussing, because you have a gem waiting to shine!

The best thing about 1970's furniture is that it's made of wood. 
Frankly, if you're going to invest time to paint or refinish a piece of furniture, 
you want something sturdy and well made.  

You want wood.  
Like this dresser.  It's vintage 1970's Drexel Heritage.

To bring this dresser up-to-date, I decided to paint it white.
But all white seemed boring. 
For contrast, I chose to keep the wood top.
It was in good condition, but it needed to be refinished.

Let me introduce you to a time-saver:

Minwax Furniture Refinisher
This is the perfect way to remove varnish, shellac and lacquer
without damaging the wood underneath.
No sanding.
No scraping.
No mess. 

The old varnish came off quickly and easily.
In less than an hour, the top was done.

Once I saw the color of the natural wood, I decided not to re-stain it,

and left it natural. 

What a difference!  I loved the lighter, honey color.

So let's paint!

For this project, I tried out a "new" paint.

Actually it's been around for a while, and many of you know about it, 
but it was new to me:


In some ways, it's similar to the popular chalk paint.
Like chalk paint, Fusion doesn't require sanding and priming.
 FUSION has a built in top coat, so adding one isn't necessary.
I prefer a top coat on everything, especially furniture, so I added a 
satin Polycrylic coating on the dresser. 

The results were wonderful!  I'll definitely use this paint again.

Here's a PAINT TIP you may like to try:

Whenever I plan to distress a piece of white furniture, 
I first paint it BLACK.

Sounds strange, doesn't it?

Painting the fiece black first, takes the "sweetness" out of the white paint.

 Plus, the black peeks through when the piece is sanded 
and gives it a little extra personality.

Like this.

You'll notice that I painted the hardware to match the drawers.
 This way, they recede into the background and don't distract from the new paint.

I like how this old dresser turned out.  It's lighter and fresher and has a new lease on life!


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