::Desk Double Dip, a Paint Review, Tips, and a Tutorial::

PSSSST...I'm no longer blogging here!
You can now find me at

Here's a review of Shabby Paints and VAX.
I also talk about glazing.  And stenciling.
And I threw in a tutorial on getting a distressed finish with three colors.
It will be very pic heavy because Miss Cherie got double dipped.

1st incarnation
Actually it's the second incarnation because first I did her in a grey-green with a white top that just wasn't workin' for me....hence, no pics.
That's when I decided Cherie would be perfect for trying the Shabby Paint products.

I received the following from the gals at Shabby Paints to try out.  Yay!
The color is called 'Dynasty Blue', and the VAX is clear.
Their products are non-toxic with no VOCs.  

A quart of their paint is $29, but I love that they carry 4oz, 8oz, and 16 oz sizes too!
The VAX sells for $26 for 12oz, and also comes in a 4oz size. 

Before I get too much further, let's look at how Cherie was dressed when I heard her in the corner of a yard sale rambling in french about how black ages her.

Pretty rough, with at least 2 coats of glossy paint, chipping off everywhere.
I broke out my mouse sander for this baby.

This is after two coats of the Dynasty Blue.
Coverage was excellent. Paint is very similar to ASCP and van Gogh.  
I watered down the second coat a bit (which I always do with chalk paint), so I barely used any of the paint.

It was a bit bright for my taste, so I decided to use some glaze tinted with craft paint.
(1 TBLS paint to 4 TBLS glaze, brush on, wipe off with dry lint-free rag)

 It caught nicely in all the nooks and crannies left from my sanding.
It also toned down the blue just enough.

And because I cannot stop myself, I also added a clock face stencil.
I used the yellow Frog Tape to hold it in place, and applied the paint (American Paint Co's Home Plate) with a pouncer stencil brush.  Lightly distressed it.

 I used the VAX to seal the finish.  Just squirted some on a paperplate, swiped a clean lint-free rag thru it and wiped it on in a circular pattern, then quickly back and forth.  Did two coats on top. LOVE this stuff.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.  It dries FAST (even in stupid humidity), and though you don't need to buff, I burnished it quickly with a paper lunch sack to a soft, smooth sheen.
It's like a non-toxic wipe-on poly.
LOVE.  Did I mention I love this stuff?
For furniture tops that will take a beating (like desks or tables), VAX is my finish of choice now.

But the story doesn't end there.
Cherie was a beauty, and I hauled her one of my markets where she caught a customer's eye.

But the distressed green finish on my friend Sara's wee primitive table 'Martha', who was sitting right next to Cherie, also caught her eye....

You guessed it,
Cherie got double dipped.

Yes, it was hard to redo that lovely blue....but when a customer hands you cash, you obey :)

Although it's not my particular style, I enjoyed doing this finish.
Another 'out of the box' technique I'll keep in my painting toolbox.

I used DIY chalk paint.
1. painted on a sloppy coat of white.
2. took a candlestick and rubbed it on all the edges and in random places over the surface of the piece
3. painted a darker green (sloppily) over that, then used 220 grit to sand off where the wax was to reveal the white.
4. went back over the edges with the candlestick as well as some new places over the green, so some places white would show, other places just the darker green would show
5. painted second brighter green coat, sanded again to remove where the wax resist was.
6. sealed with VAX, burnished with a lunch sack.

The customer loved her, and I'm happy.

 Side-by-side comparison!  
No matter which you prefer, doesn't paint's power to change a piece amaze you?

Thanks to Shabby Paints for sending me your products to review!

Both incarnations will appear at the usual linkies which go live when Cherie arrives.


::To Market to Market::

Here's where I'll be tomorrow:

If you're in the area, please drop by!  Would love to meet ya :)


::Out of the Box::

PSSSST...I'm no longer blogging here!
You can now find me at


Before I show you my latest do-over, I wanted to thank everyone for their sweet comments on yesterday's post about my Mama's birthday.  It helped to read your kind words.  Thank you.
Meet Samuel.
He's the first dude in the bunch at The Serendipity House.

He started out with a severely crackled, peeling finish from some pretty bad water damage.
Pretty sure he sat outside like this for a LONG time:

Hubs sanded off all the old finish til we were back to bare wood.
I worried about the water marks, but I had been wanting to play with stain, so I decided to go for it.

Added the stencils, sanded gently over and around them a bit.

Used Howard's Feed and Wax over it, even though I used Minwax's Wood Sheen, which is stain and finish in one step.  (LOVE that stuff)

I hope Samuel will find a home in some cute little boy's bedroom or maybe a trendy teen's room.

All his info can be found at The Serendipity House. for local customers.


::Missing Mom::

Today my mom would have been 69.

When I was young, that seemed old.  Really old.

From my 46 year old vantage point, that's young.  Not spring chicken young, but young.

Not having tragedy strike our family in the way I'd seen it strike so many of my friends' lives previously, watching cancer take my mom last fall was surreal.  Like it wasn't happening, even as it was happening.  I kept expecting it to feel more.....poignant and momentous.  Don't get me wrong, it was.  But it didn't feel that way until I looked back at it from the distance of several months.  NOW it feels poignant and momentous.

When she was sick, and getting sicker, I thought about that first Christmas without her, her first birthday after she'd gone, the one year anniversary of her leaving us.  And I couldn't quite imagine what it would be like.

But now I know.  It's like a dull ache that sorta resides in the recesses of your heart and mind and soul and body and emotions.  Like something is 'not quite right', and that life feels different.  There's an emptiness that can't ever be filled and questions that will never be answered.  As final as death is, it has the audacity to offer endless questions that never get answered, like an itch that won't go away....what really happened here?  what happens next?  where did she go?  how do I live now?  You either learn to live with the open-endedness of that, or you go crazy trying to answer them.

Learning to live with the unanswerable questions and the dull ache of loss is an exercise of balancing a life full of joy with a good dose of terror lurking in the wings.  Of realizing life is short, so get out there and live....and full of the unknown, the out of control, and the pain so better to stay in bed and throw the blankets over your head.

When death visits close to home, a deep vulnerability takes up residence where previously ignorance and bliss held sway.

It is just all kinds of wrong that my mom died of cancer.

Life is out-of-sync and wonky, yet still,  amazingly enough, full of gifts.  Life feels more real to me now.

Sorta like how you don't appreciate the sunshine unless you've experiences rain.

Death rained down on my family in a tempest I wouldn't wish on anyone.  It was a relentless, downward slide into an abyss of unknown and untested emotions, into fear and pain....like a storm on the horizon gathering strength, sirens blaring.  I really tried to just give myself over to the gales, to experience it as it happened, trying not to avoid it and dread it, trying to take each moment as it was given, and to let the future take care of itself.  But it was awful.  The terrible beauty of the transition from this life to whatever comes next is as real as it gets...and that kind of reality is shocking.  It is stark and final.  It leaves you raw if you allow it.  It changes you, shifts your paradigm in ways I haven't yet found words to articulate.

And yet.

The sun still shines. The storm passes.  Only now, I'm ever-aware of the damage left behind....the bent emotions and sheared off memories left in the storm's wake.  So I reach for the warmth and light to comfort me, to give me strength to cope with the ever-present ache in my Self.  Because the one who gave me life is no more on this earth.

Happy Birthday Mom.  You continue to teach me as you did in life to embrace joy in the midst of sadness. Cling with abandon to the hope that life is good no matter what.

And always, always keep a stash of chocolate somewhere in the house.


::Monday Tidbits::

Just when I thought I'd melt from the humidity that smacked me in the face at 7am each morning, Angie from Knick of Time hosted a Christmas in July linky.  I had nothing except old posts to link up as I've been buried in paint in my garage, but she was kind enough to feature my glitterfied mantel from 2010. Thanks Angie!

Seeing all the links was a welcome respite from the inferno that is this summer.  Go get your ho ho ho on.

In other news, I finished several pieces over the last week in preparation for a couple markets coming up.
Next one up is this weekend!

Love me some Graphics Fairy for unique and quirky graphics!

I'm off to the hardware store to replace my mouse sander who bit the dust on a custom vintage bed order yesterday....and finishing a few other pieces in various states of 'almost-done-ness'.  

Here's a sneak peek of a couple:

You can keep up with my decorating and painting adventures on facebook....would love to have you 'like' me :)

And I'm on bloglovin'!  Let me know if you follow me, and I'll follow ya right back :)

Have a Happy Monday Peeps!


::Some Whining::

PSSSST...I'm no longer blogging here!
You can now find me at

I know you are all just waiting with bated breath to know what's going on with our build.


Oh, well, humor me, eh?

A big fat zero is happening.

One delay and problem after another.

Dashed hopes.  Disappointment.  Frustration.

More money.

Stupid people.

We closed on the construction loan almost 6 weeks ago.

We moved into this temporary space almost 5 months ago.

There's a total lack of house on the lot next door.

Maybe a makeover will make you all feel better?

Meet Victoria.

I don't have a 'before'.
She was just a light stained oak.

I used van Gogh 'Chalk', distressed and then used Miss Mustard Seed's Dark Wax.

I wanted her details to still steal the show.

I think she'd be perfect in a cottage, shabby chic, or coastal setting....don't you?

I'll haul her around some parties, which will get posted when they go live.
DIY Show Off, A Stroll Thru Life, Cozy Little House, Mod Vintage Life, Coastal Charm, Fluster Buster, Elizabeth & Co., Knick of Time, Farmhouse Porch, Green Willow Pond, Domestically Speaking, Timewashed, City Farmhouse, Lilyfield Life, No Minimalist Here, Stone Gable, Start at Home, The Vintage Farmhouse, Common Ground, Charm of Home, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, Jennifer Rizzo, Redoux Interiors, Mustard Seed Interiors, Craftberry Bush, Liz Marie Blog, My Repurposed Life, The Cottage Market, DIY Vintage Chic, Funky Junk Interiors


::Marcie and My DIY Chalk Paint Review::

PSSSST...I'm no longer blogging here!
You can now find me at

I'm learning fast that most pieces I pick up to flip are gonna take more time than I expect.

When you're working with old, character-filled, vintage furniture they are just about always gonna need some TLC.  Those that don't are the exception.

Case in point: I picked up this beauty for $5 at a yard sale (had already begun filling holes, and hubs had re-glued the bottom....notice the redneck bungee cord clamps?)

Unfortunately, after all the hard work he put in repairing the broken parts, when it dried we realized our lack of measuring meant the bottom drawer would not go back in....you can see it sticking out a bit in the pic above.

Which meant this:

A big, fat do-over. (sad face)

Hubs was a trooper, though, and I was finally able to finish her up for the sale this past weekend.  In my hurry to finish her, she didn't get a proper photo shoot, and I only got the one pic at the top of the post. Thankfully one of my Maven's snapped this pic from that day.  This is Marcie:

I used DIY chalk paint in a creamy white and a pale blue gray, and distressed her.  Sprayed the original handles white.  She sold to a gal who came back 3 different times :)

So, speaking of DIY chalk paint....I've fiddled with several recipes from Pinterest.  They all work fine, as I mentioned in THIS POST, but my favorite is simple calcium carbonate with a bit of water mixed into a quart of Sherwin Williams Color to Go.  I had been adding equal parts primer and sample paint as the samples don't have all the bonding stuff that regular paint does....but it dilutes the color a bit....for instance the grey drawers on Marcie is 'Comfort Gray', but diluted with the primer.

I just redid a desk using just calcium carb and the sample, and it worked just as well.  So I think I'll skip the primer, at least with SW sample quarts.

I use Diane's recipe from In My Own Style, and honestly that post can tell you anything I can but better. :)  She did a great job.

If I had unlimited funds for painting furniture, I would only use CeCe Caldwell and American Paint Co. products (and maybe milk paint too).  I'm finding that working with latex almost everyday leaves me worried about the toxins.  I'm susceptible to migraines, and in the heat, I've had to be careful.  I also worry about all the latex going down my drains when I clean my brushes......and DIY chalk paint doesn't distress or take wax quite as well as a the boutique brands.  Not enough for most to notice, but I do since I work with it so often.

Since I don't have unlimited funds, I'll continue to make my own, and purchase the boutique brands when I have some extra greenbacks floating around.  My hope is that I'll begin seeing enough profit from selling pieces (and using up the DIY and other products I'm not crazy about) to begin to use CeCe and APC exclusively.

What fun all this playing with paint is for me!  I'll have a review of Shabby Paints up later this week.

Marcie parties at: Mod Vintage Life, The DIY Show Off, Artsy Chicks Rule, Knick of Time, Farmhouse Porch, A Stroll Thru Life, Cozy Little House, Coastal Charm, Three Mango Seeds, The Charm of Home, Fluster Buster, Elizabeth & Co., Green Willow Pond, Domestically Speaking, City Farmhouse, Lilyfield Life, No Minimalist Here, Stone Gable, Start At Home, The Vintage Farmhouse, The Koenigs, Common Ground, The Charm of Home, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, Jennifer Rizzo, Redoux Interiors, Mustard Seed Interiors, Craftberry Bush, Liz Marie Blog, My Repurposed Life, The Cottage Market, DIY Vintage Chic, Funky Junk Interiors


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