Monday, January 20, 2014

Roll Top Desk Make Over {Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint Review}

One of my favorite blogs is Miss Mustard Seed. I love her decorating style and the furniture she refinishes. She came out with her own brand of milk paint called Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint.

I had heard of milk paint, but always thought it was something you could only use on raw wood. Milk paint was how they used to paint furniture back in the 1800s. If you have an antique piece of furniture from the 1800s that has original paint on it, chances are it is milk paint.

Once I started doing a little research, I learned that milk paint can be used on any finish, not just raw wood! It gives a great antique, chippy look when it's distressed, so I thought I would try it out.

Here are a few things to consider when you're choosing this paint:
  • It comes in powder form, so you only have to mix what you need. It's easy to mix - you just add water.
  • The consistency is much thinner than latex, oil or chalk paint. It resembles, well, milk. Slightly thicker than water, but still a bit runny.
  • There are more color variations since you do have to mix it yourself. If the pigments don't stay mixed in, the paint can change colors slightly. So, remember to stir frequently.
  • If you don't use a bonding agent, this paint will chip naturally. Be prepared for large portions of paint to come off in some areas. If you like to be in control of your distressing, this is NOT the paint for you.
  • You don't have to sand or prep your furniture in any way when using this paint.
  • A top, protective coat is necessary with this paint. I chose to use a wax finish on mine.

All in all, I highly recommend Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint. It comes in a variety of great colors, and it's much more affordable than many chalk paints on the market. I like it because you only mix what you need at the time, so I feel that you waste less paint that way. Plus, the way this paint distresses gives your furniture a true antique finish that other paints can't accomplish.

If you want a no fuss paint that stores easily, lasts forever in it's powder form, and is affordable - go out and purchase a bag of milk paint for yourself! Let me know how you like it!

Go to Miss Mustard Seed's page to find out where you can purchase paint in your area, and to learn more about how to mix and distress the paint.


Linked to:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Fireplace is so Delightful!

Well the weather outside might be frightful just about everywhere this week, but I have to say my fireplace is certainly delightful!

When we were discussing remodeling our living room, we debated on what to do about our fireplace. It was floor to ceiling slate tiles, and even though I would love a floor to ceiling brick fireplace that option just wasn't in our budget. We literally had about $100 to spend on all remodeling in our living room - wainscoting (see it HERE), barn wood bar wall (see it HERE), paint, and now our fireplace.

So, instead of tearing out and starting over, we did what any budget conscience DIYer would do. We went to our paint cabinet to see what we had on hand. Luckily, we had a light gray paint that would look great with the blue I had picked out for the walls and the bright white wainscoting that would be right next to it as well.

All we did to prep the surface was wipe down the tiles with a damp cloth. We grabbed paint brushes and started painting. Let me say, we had no idea if this was even going to work. We just used your everyday Behr Paint from Home Depot - water based, latex paint. We didn't even prime!

I really thought it was going to peel off, but we did our scratch test after the first coat. Guess what? That paint wasn't going anywhere!

We did two coats of grey paint, and this is what it looks like now:

Well, I guess as of today, it doesn't look like this anymore. I've taken down Christmas decorations and have started putting up a few Valentine's Day things. I've never decorated for Valentine's Day;  I usually go into a void of decorating between Christmas and Easter. This year, I thought I would jump on the Valentine's bandwagon.

How do you like to decorate for Valentine's Day? I need some good ideas for my mantel and front porch.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

{Old} French, Meet {New} French

My Granny had amazing style and taste. You never would have guessed she grew up poor on a farm in the middle of Oklahoma during the Great Depression when you met her. Her house was full of French Provincial decor, which I really never took notice of until I started decorating my own home. I suddenly realized why I loved the French style so much; it reminds me of her.

While my Granny did have impeccable taste, her French style is what I call Old French, or 1970's inspired French. She had the yellows and olive greens with lots of gold and dark stained furniture. While I know some of those colors are making a come back, it's not exactly my style.

I was blessed enough to inherit a few pieces of furniture from Granny, and I was so excited to inherit her dining room set. Since I'm trying to stick with lighter tones and more of the Gustavian style, I thought the chairs needed a little updating.

I chose to paint the chairs with ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) Old White. I distressed them and finished them off with clear wax. I found this great French print upholstery fabric for 50% off at Hancock's Fabric. Two and a half yards covered all 6 chairs, plus I have enough to make a couple of throw pillows, too!

For now, I decided to keep the table stained as is. I really like the contrast of the painted chairs and the dark table.

I ran out of time before the holidays to finish painting all 6 chairs. (There are two arm chairs that I keep in other parts of the house.)

So, before Thanksgiving I just recovered the seat cushions of the last two chairs and left them with their original stain.

I keep going back and forth on whether or not I want to paint these last two chairs. What do you think - paint or not paint?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY {Growth Chart Ruler}

Have you seen the super cute growth charts that look like old wooden rulers? I love the way those look! The one I originally fell in love with was from one of my favorite blogs, Dear Lillie. This is her version of the sign.

Dear Lillie's Ruler Growth Chart

Unfortunately, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag of $75. I haven't found a place in my house for it yet, but thankfully my friend Mindy wanted one for her little guy. She asked if I could make one for her (minus the $75 price tag), and of course I said yes!

I have to say, this was the easiest thing to make. You just have to have a little bit of patience as you wait for the coats of stain and paint to dry before you move on to the next phase.


  • 6' piece of wood - (I used pine because it was cheaper. Width is a personal preference. I used a 1"x8" board.)
  • Stain color of your choice
  • Black paint pen
  • Water-based polycrylic clear finish (I use the Minwax brand that can be found at Home Depot)
  • Pencil
  • 3" Number Stencils (I found mine at Hobby Lobby, but I'm sure any craft store would have them.)
  •  Yard stick or tape measure
  • Lint free cloths (old t-shirts)
  • Picture hanger


Step One: Time to get started! First things first, while you're at the hard ware store, have them cut your board down to 6'. The great thing about these boards is they actually come in 12' lengths, which means you can make two or split the cost with a friend!

Step Two (optional): If there are any rough spots, you might want to go over your board with 120 grit sand paper. This will help smooth it out and get rid of any pesky splinters waiting to prick little fingers.

Step Three: Time to stain! Use an old t-shirt, lint free cloth or paint brush to apply the stain. I let the stain soak in for about 5 minutes before wiping it off with a cloth. If the stain is too light for your taste, simply apply a second coat, let it sit for a few minutes longer and wipe off. This will help darken and even out the color. Once one side is dry (usually about an hour), flip it over and stain the opposite side. This is important to stain both sides of the board. By staining both sides you are helping to prevent the wood from warping.

Step Four: Once the stain has dried, pick which side you want to be your ruler side. Using a tape measure or yard stick, we will begin making our ruler marks with a pencil. Since this will be hanging on a wall, you will want to begin your ruler at the 6" mark. Therefore, the bottom of your board signifies 6", so your first pencil mark will be the 7" marker. As you can see, every 3rd inch, I lengthened my lines, as you would see on a ruler.

Step Five: This step takes the longest! Once your pencil marks are in place, you will take your black paint pen, and go back over your lines. Use a straight edge to make sure your lines are straight. After the first foot, you will start to get a bit cross eyed and easily loose your place if not careful! I had to re-sand and re-stain because I messed up my line lengths. Take your time on this step.

The great thing about the paint pen is it is oil based. It easily goes on over the stain, and it is easy to control your lines. Plus, no messy clean up!

Step Six: Now you will take your number stencils and line them up on your board. I placed my numbers to the left of their marker. That is the way they appear on standard rulers. Honestly, I just eye-balled how far down to place them. I was tired of measuring at this point! They all look even to me! I will also say, the paint pen was much easier to use with the stencil versus using canned paint with a brush. It helped the numbers look more clean and crisp.

Step Seven: Brush or spray on your Polycrylic finish and let dry according to directions. You actually could skip this step since you will be marking on this piece. If you do use the finish, you will want to use a Sharpie pen or other permanent marker product to record your heights. I don't think a pen or pencil would adhere well to the Polycrylic finish.

Step Eight: Attach the picture hanger to the back of the ruler, measure from the floor up 6", and hang your ruler!

For about $25, you can have yourself a great looking growth chart. Plus, you'll have all the supplies to make multiple ones for friends and family! Wouldn't these make great baby shower gifts, Christmas gifts for moms you know or Mother's Day gifts?

I'm really looking forward to making more of these soon! Maybe I'll get crazy and try one in a painted color too. Can you guess what the baby shower gift of 2014 will be for all of my friends??

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DIY Christmas Decorations {Part 2}

Last week, I said I would show you how to make a wreath and a Christmas tree for FREE. This is so easy to do, and will only take about 15 minutes per project!

First, you need to take a trip to your local Lowe's or Home Depot and pick up some FREE, fresh greenery. Go to the Christmas tree stand outside, and just ask for some clippings. They will let you take as much as you want! They just trash these extra clippings, but they make great fresh, Christmas decorations.

Here are the supplies you will need. If you don't already have them on hand, unfortunately, you might need to purchase some supplies for this project.

Supplies Needed:
  • Fresh Greenery
  • Tomato cage (or any large cone shaped object you have laying around the house or yard)
  • 2 wreaths or wreath forms. I had two grapevine spray wreaths on hand, so I chose to use those. (If you don't have extra wreaths on hand, you can purchase the grapevine wreaths at Hobby Lobby when they are 50% off for around $10 each. They are great to reuse for different seasons. A great investment if you ask me!)
  •  Garland (optional)
  • One strand of lights 
I'll start with the Christmas tree since that has more steps.

Christmas Tree Tutorial

First Step: Turn your tomato cage upside down, so it creates a cone shape. (Smaller portion will be at the top.)

Step Two: If using garland, begin wrapping garland around the outside of the cage, starting at the top. 

My garland did not cover all the space. I just made sure it went from top to bottom. There were some gaps when I was done. I mainly did this step, because I didn't think I had picked up enough greenery.

Step Three: Begin snipping your greenery and fill in gaps beginning at the bottom and work your way up. Remember to use larger pieces at the bottom and shorter, smaller ones as you work your way up. You want it to mimic a live tree. The garland helped to hold it all together, but next year, I think I am going to do all live greenery. 

Step Four: Add your strand of lights starting at the top and work your way down.

I was going to add a burlap bow to the top, but I ran out of burlap ribbon. (How does that happen??) I seriously have at least 100 feet of burlap ribbon running through the interior of my house this Christmas. I'll have to remember to have at least 200 feet for next Christmas!

Christmas Wreath Tutorial

The Christmas wreath is so simple it only has one step!

All you do is take your wreath form, preferably a grapevine wreath, and begin stuffing your clipped greenery into the wreath. Work your way around the wreath until you've made a complete circle. The reason I love using the spray grapevine is because it has a more rustic look to it, and you can keep your greenery at longer lengths.

If using a regular wreath, I suggest clipping your greenery shorter. You might also try attaching your greenery with floral wire if needing to use shorter stems.

I didn't use anything to attach the greenery. I simply stuffed it into the grapevine and hung it on our shed doors. They even made it through the worst winter storm we've seen in years this past week! I was sure the greenery would fly off since I didn't attach it, but it has stayed put. Maybe it just froze in place before the wind could pry it off!

I didn't have any berries, but I think red berries would really complete the look on these, don't you? I was trying to go for FREE Christmas decorations this year, though, so the berries will have to wait until next Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My True Love Gave to Me a {Faux Barn}

One day, Jason came home and said that he wanted to build a shed in the backyard. He was tired of having all of my furniture taking up his garage space.  The only (of course!).  A few weeks later Jason came home to say they were remodeling a house at work and tearing down a barn style shed. They told him he could have it if he just hauled it off!

This is what he brought home...

If your first thought was, "Oh my! That is a barn style shed?" You would have been reading my mind. I was a little disappointed in the looks department, but it was functional and helped clear out space in the garage. Jason promised we would fix it up and make it pretty for me. (I'm sure he didn't use the word pretty. )

After almost a year of looking at that as the primary focal point in our backyard, we finally decided to paint. We decided on Sherwin William's Flower Pot Red. I don't remember the exact white we used for the trim.

***Paint Tip***  Home Depot's computer system has all of the Sherwin William's colors on file. If you don't live close to a Sherwin William's or just want to use a slightly cheaper paint, you can go to Home Depot, tell them the name of the color from SW, and they can mix it for you. You don't even have to have the number combinations or anything. Just the generic name!

We still need to add some landscaping around it, but I would say this is a drastic improvement in our backyard landscape! Wouldn't you agree?

I've been so focused on decorating the inside of the house, I've put doing anything to the outside off for a long time. Now that I have this awesome Faux Barn to work with, I can't wait to get started decorating the exterior of the house!

Friday, December 6, 2013

DIY Christmas Decorations

Tis the Season! I thought I'd do a quick post on how to make a barn wood Christmas sign, and share a link to how to make a super cute burlap Christmas tree from Made by Mags! What two things go together better than barn wood and burlap?

First I'll share how to make a Burlap Christmas Tree! Check out what Mags at Made by Mags put together here! It looks so easy and simple to make! I can't wait to add these to my Christmas collection!

Now I'll show you step-by-step how to make a barn wood sign. This is easy to make, and the best part it was FREE! I had a few scraps of barn wood left over from our wall, so I thought I'd make a vintage looking sign. The boards were already cut a perfect size, so I just went to my paint stockpile, found some red and white paint and was ready to get started!

First I had to decide which words I wanted to use on my sign. I chose Merry, Noel, Peace and Joy.  I already had letter stencils, so I pulled out my letters for my words and was ready to begin.

I painted two boards red, and set them aside to dry.

Next, I took the cut out letters from the stencil and laid them out on the non-painted boards. I tried using hairspray to hold the letters down, but the wood was too rough, so they didn't adhere like they usually do with hairspray. So, I just had to hold them in place with my hand. I painted the board white, and went over the top of each letter in order to create the stencil.

Next, I used the same white paint to stencil the words on my red pieces of wood that had dried.

At this point your sign should look like this:

Now it's time to attach your sign together. Take a scrap piece of barn wood if you have it, and cut it to the height of your sign. You will need two pieces - one for the left side and one for the right side. Find some screws or nails that will pass through both pieces of wood without popping out in front. Check your screw or nail lengths by holding it up like this:

Simply screw in four screws on each side (one in each of the sign's boards).

The last step I did is optional. I flipped my sign back over and used my orbital sander to rough it up a bit. I just wanted it to have a real vintage and distressed look to it. You could even add a glaze or wax to it to make it even more distressed.

There you have it! In a single afternoon, you can have some great Christmas decorations for your home. The final resting place for my sign actually ended up on my front porch. It's great for indoor and outdoor use.

Check back next week, because I will show you how to make wreaths and a front porch Christmas tree for FREE!

Merry Christmas!