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?

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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

 

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