urban legend of milk paint

Milk paint naturally wants to absorb into a porous surface.  When there is a previous “shiny” finish present like poly or latex, the paint may “resist” it causing flaking paint and the chippy look.  I love a good ol’ chippy finish but it is not for everyone and every piece.  If you want to avoid chipping, you should mix bonding agent right into your mixed milk paint.

Every once in a while you get a curve ball though…

For example, this dresser seemed quite porous.  The surface wasn’t very slick and there wasn’t evidence of poly.  I was working on this with a friend and we made the executive decision to apply milk paint without bonding agent expecting absorption and subtle chipping.  (Dry time is much faster without bonding agent added which requires 12-24 hours between coats.)

dresser before

About 30 minutes after application we got chipping. Major chipping.  Paint flaking right off of the top in large patches.  It certainly wasn’t a good look.

milk paint resist-4302

We lightly sanded before applying the 2nd coat to smooth out the texture a bit.  The next coat was applied with bonding agent in the paint mixture so we’d get the adhesion we wanted.  Ultimately we overcame the flaky issue, however an explanation was still needed.

MMSMP Linen Dresser-4597

Alas, the urban legend of milk paint!  You’ll never believe what it is…

Raise your hands if you’ve ever used furniture spray like pledge to dust.  The chemicals left behind on your furniture will resist milk paint when you try to apply it.

Can you believe that?  Really, it makes perfect sense.  It also explains why we saw so much more chipping on the top of the dresser versus the drawer fronts and sides.  When dusting, aren’t you more likely to put more effort into cleaning the horizontal surfaces?

The urban legen of milk paint

When buying used furniture you have no idea how the piece was maintained.  How can you avoid the above scenario when trying to achieve a near perfect finish?  Again, you can use bonding agent for best adhesion.  Additionally when prepping your furniture for milk paint, you can degrease it to eliminate any oil build up.

MMSMP Linen Dresser-4596

If that sounds like too much prep work, you can always roll the dice and see how the milk paint reacts!  This piece, painted in Linen, ended up really pretty with a primitive texture to it.

DIY pumpkins

Halloween is just a week away!  Fall is my favorite season and about a decade ago, Halloween was my favorite holiday.  Although celebrating Halloween has slipped from my radar, fall decor has not!  Earlier this season Ryan and I made pumpkins out of materials we already had on hand.  They are a bit abstract but they were fun to make none the less.  Check them out…

crafty DIY pumpkins-4897

Ryan cut a few logs to create wood slice pumpkins. Using a drill press, he made a hole in the top to insert the branch stem.  So rustic!

wood slice pumpkin-

I put a monochromatic spin on the popular fabric pumpkin by using just burlap and jute twine.  You’ll never guess what I stuffed the pumpkin with…shipping peanuts!  The shapes on these guys greatly varied just like in nature…

Burlap Pumpkin

In addition to DIYing pumpkins, we’ve been working with real ones as well – mostly in the kitchen.  This season we’ve enjoyed spiced pumpkin bread, pumpkin pizza and pumpkin pizelles. Yum!

What pumpkin inspired crafts & treats have you made?

DIY pumpkins-4900

black & brass

About a month ago I crowd sourced facebook for some feedback on what to do with this little night stand.  I’m not usually a crowd-sourcer.  Typically I just follow my instinct but this one initially had me stumped on what direction I wanted to go.  I really love the shape and style.

vintage chest before

Thank you all for your feedback.  It was very enlightening!  Ultimately I decided on a soft black with light distressing highlighting the brown stain underneath. Typewriter (black) also happens to be the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint color of the month for October.

I achieved this look in a very controlled way.  Although the top was a little scratched up, the finish on the edges was in great shape so I wanted to highlight it.  Before I even started painting I rubbed the wax puck over those high points to preserve that nice finish.  Normally I use the wax puck to create a resist between layers of different paint colors.  This seemed like a good time to try the same technique on the original finish.

Typewriter night stand-4837

After the wax puck was applied, I painted on 2 coats of typewriter milk paint with bonding agent mixed in.  The finish on the veneer was pretty shiny and I didn’t want to risk major chipping on this mid-century piece.  The bonding agent worked like a charm.

Once the paint was dry, I carefully pulled away where the wax puck had been applied using a putty knife.  There was no need for sanding as that would have scratched the bottom layer.  Also, no dusty mess!

Typewriter night stand-4838

I finished the entire piece with furniture wax for a protective topcoat.  I love the original brass knobs against the soft black.

Typewriter night stand-4840

Pictured are also a pair of apron strings candlesticks finished with lots of antiquing wax for a warm fall look.

Typewriter night stand-4839

The typewriter nightstand is new at The West End Garage.  Check it out!  We’re open everyday through October and move to a shortened week in November.  Typewriter night stand-4875

In the meantime, our Fall Furniture Sale is still going on with mark downs on select pieces!

Fall Furniture Sale

 

a blanket rack

Fall brings out the nesting instinct in so many of us.  Definitely me.  I found myself pulling out all of my favorite cozy wool throw blankets.  Too many really.  Although they do all get snuggled up against throughout the season.  But still I have quite a stack of them.

vintage ladder blanket rack

The issue of too many wool throws combined with a corner begging for height and color brought about the idea of a repurposed ladder blanket rack.  The paint splattered aqua ladder is one of my favorite treasures.  I could have sold this ten times over but always knew it belonged with me and now, here as a blanket rack.  vintage ladder blanket rack

That corner is really shaping up to be my favorite, stacked high with vintage treasures.  The captain lamp on top of that desirable card catalog table framed by those blankets and ladders.  Yes, please!  I think that the introduction of aqua in the corner has saved the card catalog from the white paint job that I was contemplating.

vintage ladder blanket rack

Have you scored any new vintage treasures lately?

apron strings & terra cotta

Oh, apron strings! A winner every time – spring or fall. This MMS milk paint color is just so bright, feminine and fun.

Apron Strings-4806
The little chest of drawers is pretty versatile.  It was originally white washed pine.  It is a newer piece with likely a factory finish.  Sometimes milk paint adhesion on a factory finish can be tricky so I used bonding agent in each coat to be safe.  Worked like a charm.

Apron Strings-1

The color or finish under milk paint can sometimes influence the tone of the paint since milk paint is a thin, water based paint.  If you’ve come to one of my milk paint demonstrations, you’ve probably heard may say that.  This piece is a good example of what I mean.  The white wash effect definitely provides a lighter base.  If there was a mahogany stain under the paint, it would’ve been a bit deeper.  However, I darkened the finish with a hint of antiquing wax around the edges.  Overall, I used hemp oil as a protective top coat.  You can see the luster it left behind.

Apron Strings-4811

The finish was looking a little too pristine for my taste so I decided on a heavily distressed painted knob.  I layered apron strings, flow blue and this custom green – while randomly wax pucking in between colors to encourage the layered, chipping effect on the knobs.  It provides a fun contrast to the body of the dresser where there is very subtle distressing.

Apron Strings-4821

Check out the latest wreath topiary that we’re now offering at West End Garage.  Such a sweet shape that hints toward the holidays.

Apron Strings-4826

Yes, I have the holidays on my mind…already!  I’ve been pricing ornaments as previewed on instagram yesterday.  They’re starting to make their way into The West End Garage and Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.  Falalalala!

The chest is also headed to Doylestown.  You can check it out on Saturday when I’ll be giving my next milk paint demonstration at 1 pm.  Hope to see you there!

Apron Strings-4806

bookmark it

Busy bees over here.  Would you believe we are about knee-deep in Christmas inventory and decor for the shop?  True story.  But I’m not ready to jump the gun and share photos of Christmas just yet.  We are, however, stocking more books this time of year as they make the perfect gift.  I am very excited about the selection of garden to table books we have at The West End Garage in Cape May.

garden to table book inventory at West End Garage-4717

The newest release is the The Kitchn Cookbook from Apartment Therapy’s sister website, The Kitchn.  I’ve been paging through it the last couple of days.  This isn’t just a cookbook but more of a textbook with some really practical lessons like knife skills and kitchen layout.  The Kitchn Cookbook

I truly enjoy all of these gardening, cooking and cocktail books and reference them in my own home.  They live right in the kitchen.  We recently picked up a potting bench that we’re using as a microwave cart.  It is a fantastic addition to our kitchen.  Check out that zinc top!  The drawer holds linens and the shelf neatly organizes those books.  In addition, the pegs on the side allow tea towels to hang.

zinc top potting bench as microwave cart

We also started stocking Philadelphia-made diagram tea towels from Girls Can Tell.  I love their quirky designs and am especially drawn to the garden themes.  The evergreens are new in store.

Girls Can Tell for sale at West End Garage-4719

And while we’re making the rounds of new inventory, I must tell you about my latest obsession.  P.F. Candle Co. has the most delightful scents.  We’ve got some seasonal scents such as apple picking and pumpkin spice.  I can’t decide which is my favorite.  The simple packaging and branding make me very happy.  Check out the cute little amber jars.

autumn soy candle at West End Garage

We pulled the trigger and got these adorable ceramic egg crates in as well.  I’ve been using mine for years and am glad to share this novelty in the shop.  The egg crate makes a perfect gift paired with The Fresh Egg Cookbook for under $25!  Just sayin.

egg crate

So that about covers the “new” inventory we are stocking.  We are rolling out more and more vintage pieces every week.  In fact, we are running a sale on select furniture currently at The West End Garage.  Come in and check it out!

Fall Furniture Sale

I’ll leave you with this image.  Our popular autumn wreath on my favorite old chippy door.  Love the contrast in colors!  How about you?

autumn wreath at West End Garage-4747