My Garden

Sunday, 29 July 2012

milk painting diaries - chapter 1

My husband calls them my "flights of fancy" - no he is not from 1882, he's only 36 but he likes his "old-timer talk" - I find something and become obsessed. In my mind I think this love will last forever, sometimes it does; but often I get over it and move onto something else.  I am waiting to see what will happen with my current obsession: milk paint. Will it this love last forever or will I discover that it was only puppy love, over soon after it began?

I mean how could I not love this paint when some people (admittedly these are pics are from Miss Mustard Seed, a painting pro) are getting results like this:

via miss mustard seed

via miss mustard seed

Now, this paint is finicky. Something I didn't fully appreciate this when I brought it home for the first time. I did up some frames and they turned out beautifully - they covered amazing, distressed like a dream and made me feel like I too was a painting pro...

I gave myself all kinds of credit and I even shamelessly snickered to myself about all those who "struggle" with this paint.

WAY over confident in my awesome skills - I took on my next project - a side table.  AH how the mighty fall...To say it was a disaster would be putting it mildly.  It was awful. I could not even bring myself to photograph this disaster. Instead, I scraped off what little paint adhered and started fresh with regular old paint... How could things have gone so wrong?  Maybe there is something to what everyone is saying, maybe this stuff is finicky...

Oh and just for the record I don't think I am the most awesome furniture painter ever. I have plenty to learn and more improvements to make then you could list. If from time to time I get a little over confident, but reality always brings me squarely back down to earth... I enjoy painting but I'm no expert!

Anyway, I have decided to put this paint and myself to the test and have lined up several milk painting projects. I will parse them out over the next few posts. So here we go with the first victim: 

Candidate #1: sideboard purchased at a local thrift store.

A real beauty isn't she...

After doing an adequate (that's right I said adequate - I live by this word/philosophy) job of removing the varnish I turned to the paint. I used Old Fashioned Milk Paint. You can order it online here. I mixed snow white and pitch black together making a nice charcoal grey. I painted one coat of the grey and then when it dried I over-painted it in snow white. I liked it, but didn't love it (there is no pic of it at this stage). I had to stop here and think on it for a few days...

I decided on this:

2 toned white and grey.  I am happy with it now and love the contrast and texture.  You can still see the grain of the wood and some charcoal peeking out from under the white.

I actually really enjoyed using the milk paint and I found that after the varnish was off this piece took the paint really well (I did not use the bonding agent - I didn't have any).  The paint is definitely unpredictable and covered in some areas better than others, but I think that it ended up giving the piece a little charm and character.  There was definitely a point where I was hating it and thought it looked awful, but I pushed on and am happy with the results.

Now my debabte is between this:
with baskets
with baskets

and this:
without baskets

Thoughts? Any  tips for this amateur milk painter? What about the baskets, yes/no? I would love to hear your opinions.

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Monday, 23 July 2012

ikea side table to kids' chalkboard table

I have 2 of these filling space in my basement (who doesn't have these tables?):

LACK Side table IKEA Easy to assemble. Low weight; easy to move.
ikea lack table

When I bought them they definitely filled a void and served a purpose. They are not serving that purpose anymore and if there's one thing I don't need its a side table. I have side tables a plenty. I may actually be subconsciously hoarding them (I mean you never know when you are gonna need a little side table, best to keep plenty handy - just in case - right???). So one of these tables, at least, needed a new life.

Get ready cause now I am gonna hit you with a little not-so-subtle goes, lets see if you can guess what I did...

Sofa tables...but with chalk board paint.
chalkboard painted sideboard via absolutely beautiful things

chalkboard painted sideboard via pure style home
chalkboard painted sideboard via in the fun lane

Now, did you guess I was gonna turn it into a chalkboard table or did you think I was gonna work some real magic and turn it into a sideboard... Be honest... Sorry if you're disappointed - it is not a sideboard...

BTW - Holly at in the fun lane has a great tutorial on how to get a great looking chalkboard table, so I won't try to re-invent the wheel - just pop over to her site if you want a how-to. I must have been channeling her because this table has been on my to-do list for a while but only got around to it last week - and then what do I see on her blog??? I love it when I "channel" people with really good taste!

Anyway, at first I thought I would just paint the whole thing out in chalkboard paint but it just didn't seem to give it enough of a kick...

Back to the drawing board... Some number paper here, a little modge podge there and presto - a new table is born... or an old one is reborn...

So what do you think?

Linking to:
Cowgirl Up!

Monday, 16 July 2012

painted mason vases

First of all, I wanted to say how excited I was this week when I saw my projects featured by Liz Marie here and freckled laundry here. I am a big fan of these girls and their blogs and so appreciate their complements and encouragement. Thank you, thank you!!!!

And now on with the show.... my latest diy... PAINTED MASON VASES... sounds boring, but I promise you they are worth a look - maybe even a try. Oh and the flowers below - these are the last of my yard's bounty - a wicked hale storm whipped through here destroying everything: my veggies, plants and flowers - all gone. ah well...

Here is what you will need:
  • mason jar(s)
  • chalk-type paint (my preferred mixture can be found here)
  • some type of sealant
  • in the optional section:
    • burlap
    • ribbon
    • alphabet stamps/stencils
    • glue  
Painting it with chalk paint has a couple of advantages: first, the stuff is super sticky and will attach itself to the glass pretty easily; secondly,  chalky paint gives the glass a rough, mat, sandblasted look, which is unique and really pretty.

Here is how to do it:
  • You will need to do a couple of coats of paint and I found for the best adhesion you need to let the paint dry for a pretty long time between coats - I'm talking overnight to a couple of days.  This will tough for those of us that like a quick fix. The paint will dry to the touch within minutes but I promise you if you start a second coat too soon the previous coat will wipe right off. After your coats of paint has dried you may want to stop here, lightly distress (optional) and seal the jar:


  • To continue to fancy these jars up you will need to stamp out something incredible on the ribbon, I went with the fail-safe fleur and jardin. You can't go wrong with French words...
  •  Then mount the ribbon onto a piece of burlap, I used spray adhesive because it doesn't make the ink bleed (not the look we are going for) you could also use hot glue. 
  • Glue the burlap to the mason jar - use hot glue for this job.  
  •  Lastly, you will seal the whole thing using a spray sealant and voila you have a vase.

caution: once sealed this vase can easily handle some splashes of water on the outside but if you get it soaked you are in for a world of trouble - or just a destroyed vase...

So, what do ya think???? Will you try it? Have you done something like this before?

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

summer pillows

There is something about summer that makes me want slow down and relax; hang out;  wear flip flops everyday (even though we are nowhere near a beach); and take time to smell the roses. Speaking of roses...

I normally restrict my floral accessorizing to, well cut flowers and plants, but not this summer. No, this summer I am inspired and MUST have flowers everywhere! I'm wearing them, decorating with them, picking them - lets just say I am flower-crazy.  I don't think I am alone either, flowers are popping up everywhere.

A sumptuous pile of vintage eiderdowns. !!!
via pinterest

Maria Starzyk
via pinterest
Cath Kidston's home #decor #florals #pastel #comfort
Kath Kidston via pinterest
Chintz table cloth
via pinterest
A chintz car!
via pinterest

Yes all these inspirational shots are leading you to my latest project... no I have not wallpapered my car... yet... I am starting small and gradually easing myself (and lets be real for a moment - my husband) into this hyper-feminine world.

So how do you slowly introduce new ideas into your decor? Through accessories, of course! And what accessory is king when it comes to home decor? You guessed it: THROW PILLOWS.

When I saw the fabric I knew what it had to be... it is perfect: white, bright and flower-filled. I added a check fabric to the back to tone down all that floral (you see, baby steps). But it still needed something, perhaps a rustic touch - ah yes hemp ties- now that's the ticket.

And here she is (with her identical twin):

So what do you think?

PS. I am kinda proud of these because it is my 1st sewing project without the watchful eye of my sewing teacher - yes, I am brand new to the sewing world...

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