makers making

This week has been all about making.  And pricing but we won’t talk about the endless task of tagging holiday inventory.  Making, however, is one of my favorite things to do.  My second favorite actually.  Buying, sourcing, picking, whatever you want to call it…that is my very favorite task in this business.

When sourcing vintage inventory it is common for us to come across old wood, doors, trim and the related that can be used to paint a vintage style sign.  I can get lost for hours sketching, painting and conceptualizing these signs.  This week they were primarily holiday specific.

Ryan prepares the surfaces, cuts and secures boards and attached the hardware.  Some are simple but evoke the spirit of the season.

handpainted holiday "Believe" sign on reclaimed wood + driftwood tree

Painting smalls like these signs presents a great opportunity to use leftover milk paint mixed from a larger project.

handpainted vintage style Santa sign on reclaimed wood

The Santa is permanent chalk over rustic old boards with great texture.  I achieved the look by using a fine flat brush and grainsack milk paint applied over the initial chalk sketch.

handpainted Santa Clause sign on reclaimed wood

I think this board was part of an old cupboard door.  The green streak of paint was already there along with the texture and smudges.  I took a lead from those colors when choosing the aqua and brown acrylic paints for my design.  I painted a similar Moose Lodge sign a few years ago.  I always loved it so decided to replicate it with a different color palette.

handpainted holiday sign on reclaimed wood-Moose Lodge

I went over the moose with white wax to blend it into the old paint job on the door.

handpainted holiday sign on reclalmed wood-Moose Lodge

This Silent Night sign is a piece of scalloped trim.  Nothing fancy.  I like the muted color scheme provided by a wash of shutter gray and navy lettering.

handpainted Silent Night on salvaged trim #mmsmp

Another project on tap this week was turning a salvaged column into a clothes tree for retail display.  We’ve had a pair of salvaged white Cape May porch columns for several years.  They’ve made cameos a number of places including in our salvage style bedroom (which is currently getting a more sophisticated re-vamp).

salvaged column clothes tree painted with mmmsmp kitchen scale, retail booth display

I decided to paint one in kitchen scale and topcoat it with antiquing wax.  Ryan built a tiered support system on the bottom and secured a trio of iron hooks on top.

salvaged column clothes tree painted with mmmsmp kitchen scale-5064

The new and improved salvaged column clothes tree will be popping up in a retail display this season!  All of the vintage style signs will be available for sale.

linen stockings + salvaged column clothes tree painted with mmmsmp kitchen scale-5066

bringing out the blues

I’ve got a good old-fashioned ‘before and after’ to share today.  Here is a 1960′s barrel back caned chair.  I love the shape of these chairs and the upholstery is in excellent condition.  The problem was the dark, shiny finish.  It was muting the pretty blue fabric.

chair before

With the addition of lighter paint, the texture and colors of the fabric pop and give this chair a fresh look for 2014.

barrel back caned chair-5033

First, I applied a coat of Artissimo (navy) with bonding agent while carefully getting the paint in all of the crevices of the caning.

barrel back caned chair-

Next, I used the wax puck in a few places around the edges and raised areas to create a resist between layers of paint which is evident in the final distressing.

shutter gray chair leg #mmsmp

I brushed on a coat of shutter gray over the entire chair carefully applying it lightly over the caning so the navy would really peek through.

painted barrel back caned chair-5036

The final steps involved lightly sanding back the wax puck to reveal the navy blue under the gray followed by topcoating with furniture wax.

The upholstered back of this style chair is one of my favorite features.  Such a great shape.

barrel back caned chair-5047

I’m not usually a glitter and gold kind of gal but I’m loving these pinecone branches which are popping up in our holiday displays and juxtapose rustic accents well.  They’re festive and easy to mix into a vase arrangement, mantel or wreath.  What do you think?  Love ‘em?

glitter pinecone branches

Here’s a look at how the Circa Dee holiday window display is evolving at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown along with the barrel back chair.  Speaking of Serendipity, I’ll be conducting a Milk Paint Demonstration there on Sunday at 1 pm.  Be sure to join us as this will most likely be the last one of the year.

holiday window display

The Sleigh Rides sign did not last long so I’m off to paint more!  Hope to see you at the demo this weekend.

glitter and rustic holiday vignette

 

home for the plants

With the fear of frost looming at the end of October, we had to come up with a suitable winter home for our plant collection which was taking up residence outside and our deck.

succulents reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

They’re now sitting pretty in our living room amongst my favorite pair of vintage chairs.

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug,  reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase, locker

terra cotta & olive, mohair chair

We came up with a game plan to extend our sunny bay windowsill in order to accommodate the plants and my favorite vintage pots, bowls and vases.  We started with fantastic weathered old 1×6 lumber that has almost a barnwood-like quality.  We needed 6 – 5 foot boards in total.  The boards previously made up a section of simple post and beam fencing in our yard.  Each was stripped down to expose the worn grain.  Two boards were paired together to make a 12 inch deep shelf.  Three sets of boards were attached vertically to one another to create a 3-tier shelf system.

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand/ bookcase

Plumbing pipe shelving is not a new concept but we came up with our own simple plant stand version using pipes and fittings to connect the unit.  There are 2 connecting points on each shelf therefore we used a total of 4 – 9 inch plumbing nipples and 8 flanges which screw into the wood.  These also double nicely as book ends.  The plumbing materials were the most expensive part of this DIY project.

olive tree,  reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-4999

We decided on a set of simple 7 inch turned legs for the bottom which cost less than $5 each at Lowe’s.   The raw wood of the legs and shelves received an application of hemp oil for a durable water repellent topcoat which also left a subtle stain highlighting the wood grain.

succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4992

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-

The plants have happily been relocated to the new plant stand where they are enjoying the expansive window and, normally, bright light.

indoor terra cotta succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

These snaps are from this morning during a dreary, cold November rain.  I love the mix of terra cotta amongst the saturated colors in the kilim rug and mohair chairs – all vintage finds of course.  Such a cozy new space!

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

new milk paint display

Recently I completed one of my largest milk paint projects to date.  This armoire is an oldie but goodie.  It dates back to the 1800′s and was built to be easily taken apart for moving purposes.

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4952

It was love at first sight!

armoire before

It is a real stunner composed of beautiful wood.  Fortunately the inside wood was in great shape with minimal damage.  However the exterior finish was faded and worn.  chippy milk paint antique armoire-4954

I painted 2 coats of shutter gray and the door insets were painted in 2 coats of ironstone.  It led to the most authentic chipping paint which fits this particular old piece very well.  It seems like this armoire would be right at home in a centuries old farmhouse.

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4957

Quite reminiscent of chipping lead paint…a look I love so much but one that can be pretty dangerous.  This paint has zero VOCs!

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4958  chippy milk paint antique armoire-4960

The interior raw wood was brought back to life with all natural hemp oil.

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4959

MMS milk paint’s newest topcoat option is tough coat which proved to be the best choice for such a textured and chipping piece.  Tough Coat locks in the chipping paint so it doesn’t continue to flake off.  It leaves a nice durable finish with a little luster. Tough coat is now available.

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4965

One of the original brass drawer pulls was damaged.  I looked for a replacement at the flea market but that was basically like searching for a needle in a hay stack.  Ultimately, the drawer pulls were updated with clear glass handles.  They are also available for sale at both Circa Dee locations.

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4967

The size of this armoire works perfectly as a display for our milk paint at The West End Garage.  Come check it out in person!

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4968

So what do you think?  Is this much chipping paint a look you love or loathe?  You know where I stand already!

chippy milk paint antique armoire-4956

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