Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Difference a Door Can Make!

I love making subtle changes that add character to my home.  So far, our kitchen is where we have done the most customizing. We have added light fixtures, cabinet hardware, backsplash, and window trim. Hopefully I will get around to blogging about all of those, but today, I want to share my most recent, and one of my favorite updates, and that is my pantry door! Here is the kitchen right before we moved in, and now. The floor is still covered in the before photo, but nothing else changed before move in day (except appliances).

 I have known from day one that I would want to change my pantry door. I searched for months for the perfect antique door, but couldn't find anything the right size. I could have cut a door down, but with most of them, I would have been left with half a door knob hole, or something else just as weird, so I had to get creative.

I found a new, unfinished pine door on, and I knew I could work some magic. It was under $200, and only 1/4" too wide. Once it got here, it sat in my garage for at least 3 months... It's always hard to get to my own projects, because my customers come first.

I wanted my door to look old, so I got to work. So many people have since asked about the stain, so I wish I had done a tutorial, but I'll do my best to explain how I got the look.

First, I wiped the whole door down with Minwax Special Walnut Stain. Then I took both Classic Grey, and Dark Walnut, and wiped them on sporadically and blended. After letting it dry for a few days, I came out and sanded most of it off. I know that sounds weird, but It really helps with the aged look, because it looks like it's been refinished a few times. Here is how it looked at that point.
Next I wiped Special Walnut over the whole thing again. While the stain was still damp, I added a really thin paint wash with a light grey chalk paint. After that I just needed to seal it. I used Minwax water based polyacrylic.

At that point we went ahead and hung it. I knew I wanted to do an obscured glass treatment, to help hide the inside of the pantry, but figured I'd get to that gradually. I was so excited about how it changed the room, so I went ahead and shared this photo in a few of my favorite forums, and on my Facebook page, with mention that it wasn't quite finished.
I received a lot of compliments, and a lot of questions about why I didn't just want to leave the glass clear. A lot of people were unsure they liked my glass idea, and I got a lot of opinions on what I should do differently. My favorite comment was, "I highly suggest just cleaning and organizing your pantry." I had to laugh out loud. I considered my reply carefully. I could have explained to the commenter that I DO clean my pantry... a lot... but 5 people live in my home, and 3 of them are children. Honestly, if they actually make an effort to put something back in the pantry, I'm happy. I am not about to criticize how they do it. I opted to thank her for the suggestion, and tell her I hadn't considered that possibility yet! Haha! Humor in everything, right?

I did the glass treatment gradually, over a couple weeks, a pane at a time. I used a product called Gallery Glass  Window Color, by Plaid. It was easy, and fun!

Here is the door all finished!

I am so pleased with the outcome of my glass, and sure enough, the masses love it too! This time I DID  do a tutorial, and it's on my YouTube. Here is the link if you are interested. I am NOT a professional YouTuber, and it's definitely not the best tutorial you've ever seen, but I do believe you will be able to do this after watching it, and that was the goal. Enjoy! Subscribe if you want! I plan to do more!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Paint Plug!!!

I'd like to take a moment and give a shoutout for Fairy Chalkmother's Single Step Paint!

You all know know I love me some chalk paint, and I like to give new brands a try often, to make sure I'm not missing out on something. I have a few brands that I like, but this one has definitely become my go to, and over the last couple years, it truly is the brand I use most. Here's why:

1.  I like the paint. Plain and simple. Goes on smooth, adheres well, great colors, I can spray it, etc...
2. It's local. I love to support local, made in the USA, small businesses.
3. It's convenient. There are a lot of retailers near me (and probably near you), so I can usually get my hands on what I want, really soon after I decide I want it. (I'm not the most patient when I want to start a project.) You can, however, order online if it's not local to you.
4. Last, but not least: The Fair Chalkmother, herself, is truly an awesome person! I liked her paint before I met her, but I have learned over time that she is not only talented and fun, but a very kind, generous, and giving person. Makes me want to support her business even more! All the ladies that I have purchased her paint from are pretty awesome too! It's a great little community!

You can check it out for yourself at She can even make custom colors for you!

The color pictured above is Linen. It's one of my favorites, and the one I used on my bedroom furniture. Since we are sharing, here are some pics of it in action! My dressers are linen on the body, and FCM Noble Brown on top. I love them, and get compliments on the rare occasion people see my bedroom. ;)

Monday, February 27, 2017

How to Paint Your Piano!

I have been promising more tutorials for a long time, so here they come! Bear with me though, as I am not so great at tutorials so far. Hopefully I will get better with practice!

Also, I am really going to try to keep the blog updated more frequently, however, keep in mind I am a busy mom, and my business is busier than ever. I'm sure I'm bound to fall off the blog wagon now and again. I'm sorry!

So, let's get started. This is how I refinish a piano. I have seen a lot of other tutorials, and they all do things a little differently. To each their own. My personal motto is "You will never regret doing too much prep work! You will, however, regret not prepping enough!" So, to some, my method may be a little over kill. I don't care. I want my pieces to last, regardless of what paint I use.

So, here is the lovely before of this piano. It has been in the family (my client's family) for a long time, and has taken some abuse. Mainly in the form of water rings. Kids! Use coasters AT LEAST! Haha! I say that because my kids get in trouble for this all the time! Not to worry though, this piano will be beautiful in no time!
Close up of water ring damage. 
So, first thing I do is start taking it apart. I like to disassemble the entire front, so I can get every piece fully, and also be sure to really mask off and protect the inner workings of the piano. This is a little different with each piano, but I just start by opening up the top (usually on  a hinge), and taking off one piece at a time until it's all off. As I go, I take pictures of the screws next to their holes, so I won't have any trouble putting everything back in place.

It seems like it will be easy to remember, but trust me, it can get confusing if there are a lot of screws.  If you have a magnetic dish to put the screws in, that's great! Comes in handy. If not, grab a ziplock baggy. This piano was missing a screw or two, but I found them inside the piano. Wahoo! You may find some treasures you've been missing. Most definitely some pennies! Every piano I have done has pennies! haha!

Then I remove the two outermost keys, just so I can fully paint the wood blocks next to them. Sometimes I have removed all of the keys, but I find it's unnecessary, unless the piano needs a lot of work inside there, more than the usual dust collection. The bottom piece usually pops right out, and you are done. Here it is all disassembled. The top pice is still on, just opened. I should have taken a picture closer up of the two outer keys removed, but they are off, and just laying on top of the other keys for now. This is a good time to clean up a bit. I like to blow the dust out with my air compressor, but you can vacuum. Just be CAREFUL. There are light, important things, like little felt rings, and you don't want to suck one up accidentally. ( Ahem. I may have learned from experience on my own piano...)

These are the blocks I was talking about, when I explained why I remove the outer keys. You will see the insides when you press these keys down, so i want them fully painted.

Now it's time to start taping off the insides for protection. I use paper, or plastic, or whatever I have, but I prefer paper, it's easier to work with. Make sure to mask off the wheels, and the pedals, as well as all the open parts of the piano.  (Yes, I had already masked before taking the last photo. It was kind of an after thought.)

Then I lay out all the other pieces on saw horses, or whatever I can find. 

Okay, now we are ready for the real prep work. First, sand. Yes, you have to do it! I know there are those that say you don't, but wouldn't you rather do it, than regret not doing it? Yes! So I sand everything possible with my power sander, whichever kind you have is great, and then I go back and hand sand in the details, and anywhere my power sander can't reach. I don't sand to bare wood, just give everything a good scoff, and make sure any loose finish is gone. I don't have pictures of sanding, so you'll have to take my word for it. 

Then it's time for a thorough cleaning. You can use tsp, or mineral spirits, or really any grease cutting cleaner. I opted this time to scrub it down with steel wool and a liquid deglosser. This will help with any spots that may not have been sanded as well, like in the grooves. Make sure you wear gloves meant for chemicals, or you may get burned. 

Once my deglosser was dry, I went back and wiped everything down with a wet, lint free cloth, and made sure it was all perfectly clean. Now, this next step is just preventative, because I have yet to paint a piano that doesn't have bleed through. Usually, I prime, paint, and cover any bleed through spots with shellac, but I have found that when I am painting a white tone, sometimes the shellac shows through as yellow when I distress, and I want to avoid that. S,o I am giving the whole thing a coat of shellac FIRST this time! Maybe I can save myself the bleed through. I use Kilz Primer, and it is supposed to be a stain blocking primer, but on pianos, I always have some sneak through anyway. Another reason to use shellac, is that there may be some texture variation, since there are places with bare wood (i.e. the water spots), and places with the old finish still. This will give everything an even texture before you start. It dries quickly, so you'll be able to get back to work fast.

I am using chalk paint, and I have prepped really well, so I can use primer, or not.  Chalk paint adheres really well, so I would feel fine skipping primer. However,  I am going light, and if I prime first, it will save me paint. So, time to prime! I'm going to be using my HVLP sprayer, but you can roll, or brush, or whatever you choose. Sanding between coats will help keep your finish smooth.

This is right after I sprayed the first coat of primer. It's still wet. It's important to point out that you'll need to push the pedals down while you paint the part just above them. Some pedals are taller than others, but you wan to make sure that you haven't missed any spots the pedals may be blocking. I managed to do a good job of painting my hand and my fitbit. You may want to wear gloves. ;)

Okay, after two coats of Primer, I let it sit over night and then I started painting. Unfortunately, I still had some bleed through to deal with, so I sprayed more shellac on the bleed through spots, and just continued to layer shellac and paint until I had it covered. I did two coats of paint all over, and then even more on the bleed spots. 

Once it was all painted, it was Saturday, so I let it sit until Monday, and prayed no more bleed through would come through! On Monday morning, I got right to work distressing. I like to distress all the edges and details, and really make them pop. then I just give the whole piece a nice sand with a really high grit, to make sure it's all silky smooth. Then dust. I blow all the dust off with with my air sprayer. It's fast and easy. Here are a few shots. Now It's ready to seal!

Add caption
For Sealing, Always use water based sealer for projects like this. The paints are water based, so it makes sense, but the biggest reason is that oil based will yellow. You do not want your white/cream piece to yellow, and even darker colors will change as the poly ambers.  If you like wax, you can use it. I personally don't. For this  project I used Varathane Spar Urethane. It's an outdoor water based poly.  I like outdoor because it's uv protected, and water resistant, which makes it a little more durable.

I went ahead and did 3 coats of poly, letting each coat dry a minimum of 2 hours. After that, I was done, and I let it cure over night before reassembling, and taking these beautiful photographs! (I say that with sarcasm, because these photos do not even come close to doing justice. I the lighting is bad, there are shadows, and I am clearly not a photographer! This piano really is stunning though! I swear!)

 Enjoy! Isn't it lovely? The bench is a whole different story, and I'll be saving it for another post. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Antique Family Heirloom

I just wanted to stop by and show off this beautiful antique I got to refinish.

This dresser belonged to my client's mother in law, and had originally been refinished by her. I am told that nobody wanted it, because of it's color. They could not see the potential, but my client did! So she brought it to me=)

She provided the blue paint. She had been holding on to it for a while, but expressed to me that she wasn't set on it, and that I should do whatever I want to it. Yay! I get to be creative! I knew immediately that I wanted to go two toned. If the veneer had been in better condition I would have just stained the drawers, but there was a lot of repair work needed, so I patched the up and painted them cream. I love it! It's  a beautiful blue, and now I feel you can notice the lovely shape and character, rather than fixating on the color.

The casters are in perfect condition, and the keyholes are just amazing. Every drawer has them! This piece is so lovely!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Two-Toned Coffee Filter Wreath Tutorial

Welcome Friends!

I am really excited to share this project with you! I hope I can make this tutorial simple, and easy to follow, so that you can enjoy a wreath of your own soon!

First of all, I want you to know that I have made coffee filter wreaths before, but this is my first time using THIS method, and it was my first time dyeing the filters. So, let's get started!

Step 1. Dye your filters. Unless you want to keep them all white, that is up to you. I used chalk paint to dye mine. I actually started out with the intention of making a 3 tone wreath. I had 3 colors all ready. I split my coffee filters in to thirds, and dyed each color one at a time. I chose a bright white, a creamy white, and a tan color.

To do this, you mix 1 part paint, with about 10 parts warm water. Dip the coffee filters in to the paint, about 10 at a time, and wring them out really well.  Once they are all wrung out, you lay them on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet. You can see that I put mine all on together, but after this experience, I highly recommend doing one color at a time. Some of the darker ones dripped on the white. Also, you don't have to dye the white ones. I was hoping that mine would turn brighter white, so I could see a difference from the creamy white, but we will get to that in a minute... However, I would still dip white ones in water, and dry them the same way.

Once you have your filters on your pan. You will want to put them in the oven at 245 degrees, and bake them for 30 minutes. You will want to flip them after 15 minutes. This just helps them to dry out. Also, some of the ones that were hanging off edge burned. So it's best not to hang them over.

When you pull them out, they won't be completely dry. Depending on how thick your piles are. Mine were too big, so they were pretty wet. Lay them out to dry the rest of the way. Mine were all over!

At this point, it was clear that I only had two colors. There was no difference at all between my white and cream filters.  So now I had two times as many whites, as tans. I just went with it.

Step 2.  Fold ALL of your filters. At this point, you might as well get a movie, or Netflix, or Hulu going, because you are going to be here a while. 

First fold in half.

Then in half again. 

Phew! Now it's time to get the rest of your supplies. Here are mine. Oh, wait! My wreath frame seems to have grown legs and walked off... Just kidding, I live with a toddler. 

It took enlisting the entire family on a house wide search, but I found it. Now I'm ready for step 3. Also, it's now nap time, so I can binge watch Deception and glue to my hearts desire. =)

Now, if you wanted a ribbon to hang your wreath from, this would be the time to tie it around your wreath form. Before you start glueing. I didn't need one for this wreath, so I didn't. 

Step 3.  Start glueing. There is no real correct way to do this. Just put a dab of hot glue on the tip of the triangle, and glue it. I like to work in sections. I do the whole section, and work my way around the wreath (pictured below). Some people like to do the whole inside of the ring, and work their way out. I did about 4-5 white filters, for every 3 tans. I put the tans together in chunks of 3. 

This took a looooong time. At least 2 full episodes of Deception. Then the unthinkable happened. I ran out! I got this far...

So, I had to dye more filters, and wait for more filters to dry, and then start again the next day. This method does take more time, and more filters, however, I love how full it is in the end.  So here's how it looks after you've completed step 3. Looks pretty cool already, but it's  not done!

Step 4. Now it's time to start scrunching. I did this buy grabbing the ends of each triangle, and pushing in, and down. Just work your way all around the wreath, the same way you glued.  Hopefully you can picture that... This was the most time consuming part. Here is right after I started.

I got about half way, and needed a break. I was getting way bored. I could tell it was going to be beautiful though!

Once I had a good break, I cam back and finished. I am very pleased with how it turned out! It compliments this piece that I painted perfectly. It will sell fast!

Here is a photo with it's mate =) Aren't they a darling couple?