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.

custom mix: slate

We have a new DIY project under way in our home.  We’re creating a custom hearth in the corner of our living room.  Once that is complete we’re having a wood burning stove professionally installed.  (We know our DIY limits!)  We’re hoping to have this project finished in time for a fire on the first chilly September evening.  We started planning early so let’s hope we stay on track with the timeline.  In fact, we’ve been talking about executing this for a year, at least, but you know how house project timelines can go…

After much pinning and deliberating we decided on natural slate for the hearth.  Most of the pins on my wood burning board seem to just reflect beautifully stacked wood which I am certainly looking forward to aesthetically, however the end result will hopefully be a combination of the following photos.

source: Apartment Therapy

source: Apartment Therapy

Source: The Kitchn

source: The Kitchn

The slate arrived today and we’ll begin the project next week.   All of the slate discussion seemed to seep into my painting world though.  Completely unintentionally too!

trophy & slate MMSMP dresser-4161

I scored a beautiful old chest of drawers at an estate sale. It actually has the original tag still intact on the back.  (Sorry for the poor quality phone pic.)

Dresser tag

The previous owner had sanded down most of the cherry finish.  Can you believe that?

Dresser before

I proceeded to use milk paint without the bonding agent and expected decent adhesion since the glossy surface was sanded.

trophy & slate MMSMP dresser-4164

Beginning with the drawers, I originally thought I’d paint them typewriter (black) as I knew I wanted to head in a masculine & sophisticated direction with this piece.  However, black wasn’t giving me exactly what I wanted.  On my work bench I had a little artissimo (navy) left over from these nightstands.  And a little boxwood (green) left from this sideboard (which I haven’t blogged about yet).  I went ahead and mixed all three colors together producing such a beautiful deep color that immediately reminded me of slate.  I did not measure but if I had to guess, I would say it was three parts typewriter to two parts artissimo and two parts boxwood – give or take.  Mixing paint colors can be so satisfying at times!

trophy & slate MMSMP dresser-4160

The body of the dresser was painted trophy (gray) which mimics the color of the grout we chose for our slate hearth project.  The entire chest has a durable coat of furniture wax.

trophy & slate MMSMP dresser-4156

The glass knobs pulled the piece together and seem to make it sparkle.  As much as slate can sparkle, anyway.  Tell me what is inspiring you this week!

trophy & slate MMSMP dresser-4167

The chest just landed at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown where you can also find all of the paint colors mentioned and those glass knobs.  I must say that it looks spectacular in the window on Oakland Street.  Go check it out!

trophy & slate MMSMP dresser-4154

I’ll be in Doylestown for another Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint demonstration on Sunday, August 24th at 1pm.  Save the date!

trophy & slate MMSMP dresser-4159

 

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.

painting over the chipping

In several of my recent milk paint demonstrations while addressing “the chippy look”, people have asked what happens if you paint over chippy milk paint?

Great question!  Let me give you a visual…

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4079

So in other words, you have a shiny or varnished piece of furniture that you paint with milk paint without bonding agent added and immediately this happens…

Lucketts Green chipping

The paint begins to flake or chip off as quickly as it dries.   Cool, right?  But maybe that is not the look you are trying to achieve.  So for better coverage with lots of texture simply paint over the first layer of chipping paint with bonding agent in the second coat.

Did you get that?  When it dries it will be bumpy and raised in certain areas from where the first layer chipped.

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4088

At this point you will want to sand it back with a fine grit sanding sponge.  Sanding will smooth the surface out while also pulling out some of the other colors.

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4085

For coverage comparison purposes, the chair on the right pictured below is painted dried lavender with bonding agent.

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4081

Finally, wax your textured piece.  This is a good opportunity to mix white wax and antiquing wax since you already have various shades of paint and loads of texture.  You can’t go wrong!

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4084

I usually have a random “experimental piece” like this sitting in the workshop.  This way I never waste leftover milk paint and I usually learn a thing or two as I play.  At some point, I deem it finished.  This particular bookshelf started with lucketts green, then got some ironstone, eulalie’s sky and linen plus all three waxes!

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4083

Lots of paint posts lately as I’ve been plowing through so many pieces in my workshop this summer.  Subsequently they turnover relatively quickly as this is our busiest season for retail. We are planning our winter list of DIY house projects and it is looking mighty fine.  I can’t wait to share all of that inspiration as it unfolds in just a few months!  Although, I certainly don’t want to rush summer…

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4091

starry night

I remember it vividly.  There was a competition in art class in third grade.  We were to replicate van Gogh’s famous painting, The Starry Night.  I was mesmerized with the painting.  The colors, the swirls, the sharp roof lines.  All of it.  I loved van Gogh’s post-impressionist style.  He quickly became my favorite artist because of that painting and competition although I did not win.

Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_

The following year, in fourth grade, we had to do a presentation on our favorite artist.  Maybe it was our favorite historical figure but the category was broad and I remember choosing van Gogh.  We were instructed to not only present the person but portray him or her during the presentation.  At this point I had done a bit of research and learned that Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear.  That fact stuck out in my young mind so I incorporated it into my presentation by wearing a large, sticky gauze bandage over my own left ear.  Tearing that bandage off was painful, let me tell you.  It had to score me some major points, right?

Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_mirror_self_portrait

About 10 years later while in college I had the opportunity to visit the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  It was such a fun experience to see so many of his original pieces in person.  With every corner I turned I hoped to see The Starry Night, the painting that initially piqued my interest in van Gogh and his work.  After touring the museum I found out The Starry Night was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  Go figure!  I will never look at a still life of sunflowers again without remembering that trip.

Vincent_van_Gogh_sunflowers

At any rate, I was working on these two cute little side tables last week when van Gogh and The Starry Night jogged my memory.  I hadn’t thought about that painting in a very long time until I was applying white wax over Artissimo.  The contrast between the dark and light.

artissimo + white wax

Certainly this isn’t post-impressionism work but a little bit of white wax over such an intense color softens the look, doesn’t it?

artissimo + white wax

Do you have a favorite artist?

artissimo + white wax

(All van Gogh images are from Wikipedia)

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!