summer breeze & dried lavender

Summer breeze makes me feel fine!

This morning was one of those fantastic summer mornings that left me in a really fabulous mood.  I woke up to a chilly summer breeze blowing in from the sea.  The sun seemed a little late to peak.  Just a subtle amount of light streamed in past the drapes.

dried lavender chair-4107

I reveled at how perfect the morning was over a seasonal breakfast of yogurt, farm stand strawberries, homemade granola and local honey.  And it dawned on me, that we’ve lived in this fantastic agricultural beach town for almost a year now.  A year in Cape May!  What a dream come true.

strawberries

I got to work capturing the calm, morning light and snapping up some photos of this now finished caned chair.

dried lavender chair-4108

The chair was given to me by a friend about a week ago.  It spoke to me right away.  Some just do that you know.

IMG_4061

I knew it had to be painted dried lavender and I knew the caning had to remain natural.  It is rare to find caning in excellent condition.

dried lavender chair-4111

Last you saw the chair, it looked like this.  Two coats of dried lavender with bonding agent.  Perfection.

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4091

But wait!  The chair got a soft, nearly silvery glow to it with a topcoat of white wax.

dried lavender chair-4114

Summer breeze…blowing through the jasmine (or lavender) in my mind.

comparing topcoats: then & now

The most pinned and visited post here is one I wrote a couple of years ago about my preference in furniture topcoats.  There has been consistent conversation on that post.  I’d like to continue that conversation over here with a 2014 update.

While the products I was using then are certainly fine products, tastes & trends change and new choices become available.  Let’s check in and compare what I was using in 2012 vs. what I’m using in 2014 and why…

2012 #1 Minwax Paste Finishing Wax – I was using paste wax primarily over stripped and stained surfaces.

hemp oil

Current #1 Hemp Oil – This is my current go-to topcoat for stained surfaces and raw wood.  Basically it can be applied to revive and treat any porous surface including flat paint leaving a rich finish.  Hemp oil is 100% natural, no VOCs and food safe.  I even use hemp oil on my cutting boards and cast iron pots.  It has no harsh odor so I use it indoors.  Hemp oil has a multitude of other DIY uses but we’re just talking about topcoats today so I will limit it to that.  Hemp oil can be applied with a cloth or brush.  I typically use a brush.  I love the addition of oil to my repertoire.

drop leaf table with hemp oil finish on raw wood and paint

2012 #2 Johnson Paste Wax – I always liked the finish this wax provided over painted surfaces but the chemical odor is just so strong that I never use it anymore.

furniture wax

Current #2 Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax – When I want a wax finish over painted furniture, I always go for this one regardless of the brand of paint.  It is made of beeswax and therefore has no odor.  It is incredibly easy to apply and leaves a nice even finish.  I apply with a wax brush.  MMS furniture wax dries very quickly, in about 5 minutes, and lightly buffs out with a lint free cotton rag.

mustard seed yellow milk paint nightstand with furniture wax

2012 #3 & #4 Annie Sloan Clear & Dark Wax – These waxes are nice and thick which is why I liked them back then.  At the time I was using a lot of chalk paint so it complemented well.  A thick wax over a full body paint made sense to me then.  However, there has been a lot of conversation around the clear wax leaving a haze and fingerprints while the dark wax was mostly just too dark and hard to work with on its own.  The dark wax is very pigmented because it is meant to be more of a stain from what I understand.  I have experienced both of those issues and pushed through until…

antiquing wax

2014 #3 & #4 Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing & White Wax – No surprise here but I’ve fully converted to all MMS waxes.  The antiquing wax creates such a subtle warm patina with no fear of being too dark as referenced before. The pigment is easy to spread.

lucketts green over trophy milk paint with antiquing wax #mmsmp

On the other hand, white wax creates a washed out look to the painted finish that I’ve been raving about this summer.  The white wax also has a very light scent that is pleasant and not chemically at all.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax #mmsmp

I use brushes to apply these waxes as it helps gets the pigmentation to settle into the paint creating an aged look.  I reserve one wax brush exclusively for each color wax for easier clean up.  It is fun to use both antiquing and white wax on one piece to create depth and the illusion of years of wear.  I like to think of it as highlighting and low-lighting.

white wax

In 2012, I also indicated that I was using a buffer and still receive many questions about my buffer today.  Well, I can’t remember the last time I used it!  I power buffed because all of the waxes I was using were thick and it was the best way to get an even, shiny finish.  My current choice in waxes are much lighter.  When needed, a cotton rag and elbow grease buffs them out in minutes.  Although the beeswax is thinner, it gives a very solid, durable finish when cured.

Of course, this is just my opinion and perhaps, no surprise.  I wouldn’t sell a line of products that I don’t truly love.  There are many, many new topcoat choices on the market including a range of tinted waxes and ones with low or no VOCs.  It is important to find what suits your style best.  Please share in the comments what your go-to products for topcoats are.  I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered!

another day, another drop leaf

I can’t stop with the drop leaf tables. There’s more where this one came from too! This is another one that we picked up in Brimfield. It is the perfect size in my opinion. I like drop leafs for their versatility. This one is petite when closed. Just right for a cottage beach house kitchen that can open up to accommodate additional diners around the table. However it could also make a really functional sofa table that can open up as a game table or home office if need be. Anyway, enough imagining its future life. Let’s discuss its former.

french enamel & tricycle MMS milk paint drop leaf table

When I acquired the table, it felt really primitive to me.  Too primitive for my taste.  It needed color. A little pizazz.

dropleaf before

I started with a coat of tricycle MMS milk paint which is such a good, vibrant red.  Why I haven’t I used it in so long?  However, red on this piece still felt primitive.  I punched it up with french enamel MMS milk paint, a gorgeous light blue that I also don’t seem to use enough.

bentwood chair & drop leaf table

The twist, though, is that I created a resist once again using hemp oil.  Just like the last drop leaf I painted.  The red peaks through in just a few chipping spots on the legs and apron of the table.

french enamel & tricycle MMS milk paint drop leaf table

I considered staining the top with curio, the dark brown MMS milk paint.  It is getting increasingly popular as a stain for table tops and dresser tops.  But it turns out that just a coat of hemp oil did the trick to revive the dehydrated wood top.  I love the nicks in the top too.  It gives so much authenticity.

MMSMP hemp oil table top

Ahh, the magic of hemp oil!

MMSMP hemp oil

This table is for sale at West End Garage in Cape May.  The chairs are not.  They’re mine!  The entire Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint product line is also available so you can achieve this look on your own piece of furniture.

Have you made over any furniture lately?

french enamel & tricycle MMS milk paint drop leaf table

small wonders

We’re still digging out from our trip, unpacking, preparing for Memorial Day at the shore and working on a number of other projects.  It seems you need a staycation after a vacation but there’s no time for that now!  So let me jump right in and share a few treasures & projects…

I have never seen a sewing table like this one before.  I suppose they were prevalent when it was more common for housewives to mend and make their families’ clothes.  It is very light weight.  At one time, the legs folded up underneath it for storing such a utilitarian table.  But it’s been doctored over the years for stability and the legs are now stationary for permanent use and display.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3552

It also has a measuring tape engraved right into the top.  Oh that top!  It has two-tone wood inlay and shows just decades of wear and hard work.  There are even imprints from where patterns stuck to the table.  I love true timeworn pieces like this.  They seem to tell a story.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3544

I conditioned the top with hemp oil to let all of the scratches, patina and stories shine while also hydrating and reviving the wood.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3554

For those skinny, little legs, I applied two coats of boxwood milk paint (no bonding agent) and also topped with hemp oil.  This would make such a cute little console table.  It is definitely a conversation piece!  And it can be yours – available for sale at The West End Garage.

Boxwood Sewing Table-3546

As for this little mellow yellow nightstand, the secret ingredient is white wax.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3555

Let me start with this before picture.  I don’t normally go for Chippendale style.  Usually it has big, bulky feet and hardware that just isn’t appealing to me.

nightstand before

Fortunately this one had turned and tapered legs and the hardware could easily be changed to a simple brass & ceramic Anthro pull.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3561

This was a very shiny/slick nightstand so I applied two coats of Mustard Seed Yellow with bonding agent mixed right into the paint to ensure it would adhere to the finished surface.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3558

Then I topped it with my new favorite product in the MMS milk paint line – white wax.  Move over hemp oil, white wax is taking the lead…for now.

white wax

It washes out the color just-so which lends to a summery, beachy look.  The results of white wax remind me of a sun faded canvas beach bag at the end of the summer.  I can’t believe how much it can alter and mellow any color.

This sweet little piece sold in just a few hours!

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax-3564

Which is your favorite?  Have you ever seen a sewing table like that?

 

chairs for all seasons

This funny thing happened the other day. It seems to occur to a lot of us in the vintage and furniture flipping industry. I finished refreshing a pair of chairs with milk paint, wax and fabric.  I posed them at either end of our breakfast table just for a mini before and after shoot before bringing them to the shop.  For sale.

grainsack milk paint dining chairs

Well…I think you know where this is headed.  As I snapped pictures to share with you here of the “new” chairs, I was growing more and more fond of them there at the table.

grainsack milk paint & ticking fabric dining chairs

…in our eclectic little nook.  Still a work in progress.  Always a work in progress really.  That is the fun of it naturally because you never know what treasures will find you next.

eclectic breakast nook

The grainsack milk painted chairs just seemed so much lighter and brighter in the space than the others we had in there.  And yes they match the table anyway!

grainsack milk paint dining chairs

The streamlined back is pretty comfortable.  And the caning allows more light to pass through.  It just feels summer-y.  We can change out chairs seasonally, right?

grainsack milk paint dining chairs

For the seats, I used Waverly ticking stripes which plays well off of the grainsack upholstered bench and linen bentwood chairs too.

ticking fabric upholstery

The walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs were looking winter-y there at the table.  However, they are my favorite and aren’t leaving the house.

Eclectic Flea Market Style Breakfast Nook

In fact, I carved out a little sitting area in the living room just for these chairs.  More pictures on that soon but for now an instagram shot preview…

vintage walnut & mohair ward bennet chairs

I certainly have a vintage chair fetish.  How about you?

vintage dining chairs
In other vintage chair related news, we’ll be at Clover Market on Sunday in Ardmore, PA.

Clover Market Spring 2014

And on Saturday at 11 am, I’ll be hosting another free Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.

Milk Paint Demo

Perhaps I’ll run into you this weekend!

 

upcycled lighting

Hey guys! I’m still in the spirit of Earth Day/Week here so I’d like to share how we turned this galvanized piece of junk into a one of a kind chandelier in our dining nook. And of course, I do mean junque.

Flea Market Style Industrial Galvanized Light Chandelier

The question still remains: What the heck is it?

Galvanized Light

We really don’t know but it seems like some sort of farm machinery.  Someone suggested that it may be for cotton picking.  I have no idea.  Do you?  It’s probably for manure…

It was not originally a funnel.  Ryan cut the hole to replicate a funnel so we could wire the light fixture through.

galvanized light

Galvanized Pendant Chandelier Light

This light transformation was easier than you might think because we had all of the parts already.  Do you remember the kitchen from when we first moved in?  Check out that 80’s light fixture.

kitchen before

Look a little closer because the innards for it are what made up our new light.

before

Breakfast Nook

We carefully took it apart saving all of the pieces.  A few tweaks were made to the innards – new light sleeves plus I sprayed the old shiny brass antique white and hemp oiled the wood.

making a light

Ryan wired the light using our new-to-us “shade” with all of the old light’s parts.  We also switched out the gold chain for a reasonably rusty galvanized chain to complete the look.

Breakfast Nook

We love turning random objects into lights and shades.  Here are a few of other favorites from the archives…

Galvanized Funnel Pendant Lights Galvanized Funnel Lights-3206

Mason Jar Pendant

Mason Jar Pendant

 Vintage Birdcage Light

Vintage Birdcage Light

Shell Fan/Chandelier

Shell Bathroom Fan/Chandelier

What have you upcycled or repurposed lately?