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

 

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.

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