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

seed saving

seed saving-4678We had a prolific crop of bush beans this year.  It was probably the best yield in the garden, second to lettuce, with no pest issues.  We planted three rounds of bush beans in purple, green & yellow.  The purple is my favorite simply because they turn green when you cook them.  Right before your eyes!  We’ve been eating them fresh for a couple of months and I blanched and froze some for winter.

As we continue to harvest more, I’ve grouped the pods together in bunches to dry out.  Once the bean pods are all shriveled up, they’re ready for seed saving.  The pods open up pretty easily along the seam with a fingernail or scissors. And boom, there’s next year’s seeds so we can do it all over again.  A frugal little DIY…

seed saving

I have repeated these steps with snap peas as well so we have a little stash of peas to plant next spring.  This is a fun garden task to engage kids in.  The seeds are big so they’re hard to lose although I’ve had a few pop out of the pod and fly across the room!

These seeds are, in fact, the actual bean.  As in, the dry bean you buy from the store so we could always soak them and eat them this winter.  It is just another way to preserve the bean harvest.  I think we’ll plant a bigger crop next year so we can produce a decent amount of dry beans.  At this point, we have a few dozen – enough to plant but certainly not enough for a bean soup!

seed saving jar

Speaking of next year, The Old Farmer’s Almanac for 2015 is now available at The West End Garage.  I took a sneak peek at the weather forecasts!  Let’s just say that we may have been spoiled by our mild summer weather this year.

The Old Farmer's Almanac 2015 now available at The West End Garage

the topless table

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4414

Flow Blue Gilded Table

This little side table is so cute and petite and just unique.  I brought it home topless.  I suppose it had a top when I found it though.  The flea market dealer I bought it from had a piece of glass over it that obviously belonged to another long, lost table because it wasn’t the right size or proportion.  I chose to leave the glass behind and knew we’d come up with something all our own for this little transformation.  The ‘before’ shot is pictured below with my new favorite chenille draped over it.

before...

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4419

Ryan cut and secured a wood top to fit the table.  I customized the new top with Maison Blanche’s glacage.  Have you heard of this product?  It is essentially a texturizing embossing cream for wood.  Fellow vendor, Eastcote Lane, sells it at The West End Garage.  I was very excited to give this product a shot and am happy with the one-of-a-kind results.  Better than a wobbly, ill-fitting glass top!

Flow Blue milk paint + glacage

I gave the entire table two coats of milk paint in Flow Blue followed by furniture wax and a bit of antiquing wax on the textured top.  Something about these mid-century pieces always seem to call for a moody blue, navy or black in my opinion.  The finishing touch, though, was in the gilding wax around the edge.  I love how the gold captures the light.

Flow Blue Gilded Table-4417

The formerly topless table is now for sale at The West End Garage along with a selection of gorgeous olive trees in perfectly weathered clay pots.

Flow Blue Gilded Table at West End Garage

we took the plunge

The Ardex plunge, that is. This product has taken the DIY world by storm lately. For those of you that don’t know, Ardex- Feather Finish is a concrete substrate traditionally used in subflooring.  It has been getting increasingly popular as a low-cost way to resurface laminate counter tops.  In my continued quest to update our 80’s kitchen on a tight budget, I thought it was worth a try.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

The über fake looking wood grain formica counter never jived well with the true wood backsplash we installed a couple of years back.

Pallet Wood Backsplash

Counters Before Ardex

Last you saw the space we installed chrome hardware, about a year ago.  At that time, I had searched for Ardex- Feather Finish planning to move right into the counter project. The product is difficult to find although I tracked it down at a local tile shop and now it is readily available on Amazon.

Rustic Industrial Wood & Concrete Kitchen - applying Ardex Feather Finish

I delayed the counter installation because I couldn’t make a decision on what sealer to use.  It is very much personal preference however you must choose a food safe sealer considering this is a kitchen counter after all.    Some concrete sealers have a fungicide in them which make sense in a shower or on a patio but on a counter I prefer not to have any pesticides as food may come in direct contact.  You also have the aesthetic choice of sealers with a matte finish, more of a sheen and even stains.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

We went with a sealer we had all along…Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil.  It stained and sealed the concrete, plus it is food safe.  I applied three coats back to back because the porous surface kept soaking it up.  I plan to apply another coat or two this week until it reaches total saturation.
hemp oil

Mixing Ardex is very similar to mixing milk paint.  It comes in a powder form and mixes easily with water.  (1 part Ardex to 1/2 part water)  To prep, we first sanded the countertop to rough it up a bit for best adhesion.  Then we carefully and quickly applied one thin coat right over the formica using a trowel.  It was much like icing a cake.  Ardex dries very quickly and turns to a clay like consistency.

Rustic Industrial Wood & Concrete Kitchen - applying Ardex Feather Finish

Twenty four hours later, it was dry and ready to be sanded down to a smooth finish.  I used 60 grit sandpaper and then 150.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

After vacuuming up the dust, I applied another slightly thicker coat. And then repeated the above steps again the following day to make for a third coat.  As you can see, we did not remove the sink.  We simply took the Ardex right up to the edge.

applying Ardex Feather Finish to laminate kitchen counters

On the third and final coat, I was more deliberate in my application and trowel marks as I realized these would be seen on the finished surface.

From laminate kitchen counters to concrete on a budget

The process went pretty quickly.  Actual application only took about 30 minutes each time as we didn’t have much counter space to cover.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen

The final step was sealing the concrete finish.  As I mentioned, we chose hemp oil since it is all natural and food safe. I simply brushed on the hemp oil.  This will need to be applied annually as will most sealers on a porous counter.  I am also considering applying a coat of furniture wax for a little luster.

Using hemp oil has a sealer on concrete counters

It soaked into the surface right before our eyes and we continued on with the next coat.

Using hemp oil has a sealer on concrete counters

Overall I love the final finish.  It has a natural rustic feel vs. the fake plastic look we had previously.  I am not convinced that it has the look of a poured concrete counter but I am happy with this low-budget transformation.

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

Here’s where this space started and where it has progressed over the past few years.  You can review the transformation starting with painting laminate cabinets, installing a wood backsplash, adding hardware and now resurfacing the counters…

From 80's Laminate to Rustic Kitchen

Next up, the floors!  Then maybe a fancy range hood?

Rustic Industrial Kitchen - wood backsplash & Ardex concrete counters

 

 

chenille love

Can we reflect for a moment on my love for chenille?

vintage chenille rug in cottage bathroom

My vintage home decor tastes are constantly changing from nautical to industrial to cottage and back again but through all styles, chenille remains constant.  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s just a little dose of granny whimsy usually in the form of a blanket.

chenille blanket in coastal bedroom

When I found this yellow chenille rug a few weeks back, I knew it would be right at home in the cottage-style bathroom we finished last winter.

upcycled cottage bathroom

It is thin and worn and some of the frayed edges are long gone but I love it just the same.  Sigh.

vintage chenille rug & milk paint stool

And that stool?  That was a quick little milk paint makeover.  The worn finish on the top matches the vanity almost perfectly.  Happy accident!

ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool #mmsmp

It is simply constructed of plywood.

#mmsmp ironstone & shutter gray milk paint stool-4310

The first coat of paint was done in lucketts green on the top and base.

chenille rug & milk paint stool

Then the wax puck made an appearance again between layers of paint…

wax pucks

The top was painted with some leftover ironstone and the base with leftover shutter gray.  A little bit of furniture wax and the stool was finished!

vintage cottage bathroom

A couple of winners!  Am I alone in my adoration of vintage chenille?

 

 

 

 

 

 

roar & a look book

Lots to share today!  First off, I am loving this sweet little tricycle red chair.  Lately I have been experimenting with heavy distressing which I’m not sure is always my thing.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but this chair was meant for distressing.

mms milk paint tricycle chair-4332

I picked it up a few weeks ago on our road trip.  I actually didn’t mind it in its before state…already perfectly worn and distressed however I thought the mauve color was boring.

chair before

MMS milk paint in Tricycle punched it up!

mms milk paint tricycle chair- wax puck distressing

To achieve this style of distressing I rubbed a wax puck all over the chair before painting.  I focused on areas that were already worn as well as places that would naturally wear like the edges, rungs and back.

mmsmp wax puck

Then I painted two coats of tricycle over the entire piece.  Once it dried, I rubbed back where the wax puck was applied with steel wool to reveal the mauve and raw wood in some places.  And finally, a coat of antiquing wax was applied to the chair to further age and distress.

mms milk paint tricycle chair- wax puck distressing

I love this little lion pillow as well.  It was handmade for me by a family friend several years back.  It seemed like the perfect juvenile prop for this chair.

mms milk paint tricycle chair-4330

While we’re talking about pint-sized chairs, handmade pillows and milk paint, guess what has arrived?  The much-anticipated Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Look Book!

mmsmp look book one-4352

And yours truly has a little feature.  This rocking chair is in the dried lavender section for all to see!  My cousin and her new baby girl are the owners of this chair.  Such an honor to have it featured along with my very own photography. Can I call this my first photo credit in print?

mmsmp look book one - dried lavender

The look book is gorgeous and full of loads of inspiration and tips.  I will have a few available at both locations very soon. They were only produced in limited numbers so if you’d like to own one, grab it fast!  Or let me know so I can reserve you a copy.

mmsmp look book one-4356

And P.S. major sneak peek into our new slate flooring…it makes a fantastic photo backdrop.