Saturday, August 30, 2014

If I Have A Truck, Then I Love Estate Auctions

...and this is why I love them.

Because where else would you be able to get a nightstand like this...wait for it...

...for $0.50?!

Yeah.  FIFTY CENTS.  Even more incredible, and much to my woe, there was a ton of great wood furniture at this estate auction, and the majority of it went for prices like this or a dollar or two!

Why was this to my woe?

Because I did not have Scruffy the Truck with me, but my Mini.

Yeah, Scruffy's battery died.  We knew it would happen sometime in the near future because the battery was 5+ years old, and it decided to die on us recently.

Thus, I had room for only one big item in my car.  I came to the auction with the intention of getting a nightstand, and I got one for a phenomenal price.  But the furniture I had to pass up made me silently bite my lip as each one was sold off for almost nothing.

Things like this amazing carved coffee table:

As soon as I saw it, it called to me.  Already I was picturing painting it a lovely coral or aqua color and staining the top when I bent down with my tape measure was too long to fit my car.  By a mere few inches.

Guess how much this coffee table sold for...

Yup, you guessed it.  FIFTY CENTS.

*Cue sorrowful music and wringing of hands*

However, I did walk away paying for a nightstand using the loose change at the bottom of my purse.  And I did get a solid nightstand that I'm excited to paint and transform.  And I did not break my back hauling it by myself to my car.  Good stuff.

This will be Karl's nightstand, replacing the current tv table he's been using up until now.  Can't wait to get it finished for him!  Now to narrow down colors...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DIY Milk Paint Guide for Beginners

(see more of the finished buffet by clicking here)

On the last post having to do with my attempt at trying milk paint for the first time, this is where we left off:

As expected, milk paint is unlike anything I've used before, but so far it looks like it's coming along ok.  I'm putting another coat or two on it Monday, a finish, and then the knobs, and that'll be it!  Crossing fingers for no problems!

I went into this project optimistically, as most of us do when we're rarin' to go on something new and exciting.  There had been many hours reading the Miss Mustard Seed (MMS) blog, watching her videos, watching other videos from people who had used it and their blogs...I felt prepared!  But boy oh boy, I was in for a learning curve...

First, why milk paint?

There is quite a lot of history to milk paint - some of the earliest examples of its use are found in cave paintings from thousands of years ago.  The paint is made of all naturally-found ingredients, such as clay, lime, and earth pigments, which makes it free of toxins and harmful chemicals (VOC-free) and biodegradable.  If it's winter, I can still paint with it inside the house with closed windows and be just fine.  As we still can find it on cave walls and Egyptian boats, it's very durable and great for both exterior and interior uses.

Better still, it requires NO PREP to be done to the furniture or surface you intend to paint - no priming, sanding, dusting...nada (one allowance to this rule: if the the furniture you're painting has had an oil-based paint or finish previously painted on it, you will need to prep. Milk paint is water-based, and oil and water do not mix. Click here for what to do to test a piece for oil paint before starting.)

It also dries very quickly - usually 30-60 minutes between coats, and it's a very forgiving paint, hiding even your brush strokes.

Milk paint is different in that it usually comes in a powdered form.  You spoon out the amount you need (something you can only take the guesswork out by doing lots of furniture), add water and mix it until it becomes smooth.

Yet, like mixing specialty drinks, there is an art and a science behind mixing milk paint.  I would say this is the hardest and most important step of the process, and as a newb, also the most perplexing.  But more on that in a bit.

First, a few more "before's":

Though they say that there's no need to even sand the wood before painting, the buffet was semi glossy and I wanted to be extra sure no paint would chip.  There were also some places that needed some wood filler where some old fixtures and screws had been, so I just went at it with a sponge sander.

wood filler
I made up a mix and added the bonding agent that prevents the paint from chipping (I will have to try it without the bonding someday tho, as there are some beautiful looks you can get).  Soon I was happily painting away.

After the first coat of paint had been applied and allowed to dry overnight, I examined the buffet the next day and felt that I seemed to be doing a-ok; the paint was a little on the thin side with coverage on the wood, but from what I had seen and read on the MMS Blog about the subject, I was expecting it to be that way and to need two coats.  Better yet, the bonding agent seemed to have done its job as I saw no flaking.

I gave myself some pats on the back for being a fantastic newbie at this milk paint stuff, and got to work on mixing the 2nd coat.  This is where it all went downhill...

I applied the second coat and everything looked normal.  Yet when I came back an hour later after it had dried to check on it, what do I see but speckles all through the paint!

They didn't seem to be air bubbles, as the paint was still smooth to the touch.  Not knowing what else to do, I sanded it all down to the first coat (and some areas frustratingly became thinner than the first coat) and re-tried it with a new brush.

Later I came back to check on it, and same thing!

So I sanded it all again (I got quite a workout with my arms on this project!) and tried with a whole new batch of paint mix.  Even before it dried one could tell that I had still had a problem.

Frustrated, I took a few days after this to recharge and rethink my approach, researching to find what I was doing wrong.  Finally, after lots of dead ends, I came across this blog entry from Makely Home that showed various coats of milk paint in a goldilocks fashion, from too thinly mixed to too thick, and then just right.  From what I could tell, I had been mixing the paint too thinly.  Breakthrough!

Whipping up another new batch, I set to work.  However, as I painted I worried that I had perhaps made it a little too thick this time around...

...but it ended up working out so much better!

dontcha just love all the layers of color the paint gives?!

After a very light sanding in some places I added hemp seed oil as a natural finish and sealant, which magically changes the matte dusky light blue to this lustrous dark blue you see below.  It's amazing to see the immediate transformation in the color as you rub the oil in. (you can also use different kinds of furniture wax to get other "looks" to the milk paint color)

darker area is where the oil has been worked into the wood - look at that color already!
Above: left side without hemp oil, right side is with
bottom drawer with hemp oil, top without

I used a brush for the oil, though in the future I'd recommend getting a round bristle brush, as most of the motions are in a circular direction as you work it into the wood.  I didn't use a cloth because when I tried it, it got lint all over the wood.  Talk about scary.  Thankfully after the oil dried/cured (best to let it dry overnight) I was able to brush it off.

Now, all said, this is not to scare you all away from milk paint.  No way!  It's fantastic stuff once you get a feel for it.  But it's something that you'll have to learn only thru experience, and that takes time and mistakes along the way (though hopefully you can learn somewhat from mine!).  But hey, we learn best through failure!

As you can see in the "after" pic (see more pix here), my stubbornness perseverance and work paid off!  It's beautiful, and I love how phenomenal of a transformation it is!  In retrospect, the milk paint is rather forgiving once you get the right thickness, and I really love that the product is made of all-natural ingredients.  I want to continue to try out other milk paint colors on more pieces and get a real feel for the stuff until I feel I can consistently use it well.

ALSO, recently I discovered General Finishes that makes pre-mixed milk paint (and have great colors!). I've been using them for multiple projects and LOVE that I get all the benefits of milk paint + no mixing involved! [see a review I did on using GF's paint here]. Highly recommend them!

Hope this helped take the mystery out of the process of milk paint for y'all!  Show me your creations if you decide to take on a project of your own!  As is always the case, I welcome any questions you may have, so ask away in the comments and I'll be sure to respond!

P.S. If you liked this post, check out my other furniture painting guides like How To Prep Furniture for Painting, the ease (and my love) of pre-mixed milk paint from General Finishes, and how to get the "Gold-Dipped" Look for your piece!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Say Hello to Artissimo Blue Buffet

It's done!

As you may or may not remember (I know it's been awhile!), I fell in love with this buffet table at an estate sale, and decided it was the perfect candidate for me to try milk paint with for the first time!

At first I was bent on making it be an emerald green color, but I had trouble finding a milk paint color that had that kind of tint, often looking too "grassy" or in the olive family.  Karl and I both like blues, so "Plan B" became blue.  I went with Miss Mustard Seed's Artissimo Blue, and I adore it!  It even changes color a little in different lighting - sometimes it's navy blue, other times I see almost a deep turquoise coming from it.

It was a learn-as-I-went process for a noob like me, so I'm really glad it came out so well in the end!

I'll be going into the whole "how-to" process in tomorrow's post, including some major failures and woes I came up against during the course of painting it.  So pop back over here Thursday to check out the whole story and avoid my mistakes! [edit: see the complete "how-to" for milk paint here]

Gold Fixtures/Pulls: To learn how to update your old fixtures as I did for the buffet, hop over here.

(Buy Artissimo Here - fyi, if you do, I will receive a small commission.  I was not paid for using or reviewing MMS or given the milk paint from MMS, so this post, like always, is 100% my opinions.  No worries.  :)  Thanks!)

Power of Paint

City Of Creative Dreams

The Dedicated House

Shared On: thediydreamer, elizabethjoandesigns "your designs this time", elizabethandco, cozylittlehouse, domestically speaking "inspire me monday", modvintagelife, niftythriftythings, savvysouthernstyle, thededicatedhouse, aprudentlife, astrollthrulife, frommyfrontporchtoyours, livingwellspendingless, awesomethingstuesday, whimsywednesday,theturquoisehome "work it wednesday", igottacreate, 733blog's "inspire me wednesday", somedaycrafts, beyondthepickettfence, allthingswithpurpose, dolendiaries "hit me with your best shot", missmustardseed, oneprojectcloser, iheartnaptime, cityofcreativedreams, lizmarieblog, shabbynest, lifeinvelvet, classyclutter, madefrompinterest, the36thavenue, carriethishome "frugal crafty home", thriftydecorchick "before & after", upcycledtreasures "makers link party", notjustahousewife, powerofpaint

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Awesomeness - #1

It's Friday!  We've been experiencing beautiful Fall-like weather all week, and this weekend looks to be no different.  Perfect weather for a short hike, visiting a farmer's market, napping in a hammock - you get my drift.

I'm starting a new series in which I'll be dedicating a post once a month to pinterest faves to share with y'all, starting today.  May some of these inspire you too!

photo by missakassim
Awesome beautiful spot. [Balaa, a 3-level waterfall in Lebanon]

Awesome spiral staircase.

Awesome pebble bathroom flooring.  [love this!]

via House Beautiful
Awesome colorful and summer-y dining room.

via Design Manifest
Awesome kitchen.  Love the contrast between the bottom and top cabinets, as well as the layout. [check out the whole 'before and after' renovation of this kitchen by Design Manifest here]

Awesome late-summer/early fall outfit. [what is with her expression tho??]

via The Bungalow Company
Awesome Craftsman style home.  I've loved Craftsman for years, and would do a cartwheel if ever I got to live in one.

via Cote de Texas
Awesome arbor-covered alley.

Awesome hall.  Just love the amount of light, the exposed beams, colors...

via dar anima
Awesome room.  Great colors, and a swing seat would be so much fun.  I thought it was a living room, but then found out it's a kids' room - how cool is that?  It makes me like that wolf cubs picture even more.

via swordsswords
Last but not least, awesome gadget: sword umbrella.  You know you want one.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Celeric Root Fries

I talked about trying celeric root for the first time when I used it as icing for the meatloaf cupcakes recipe.  Recently I have been experimenting with other ways to use this potato-like veggie, my first being fries.

For those who don't know, I have a nightshade allergy, meaning I can't eat potatoes, tomatoes, or peppers without getting ill.  I've tried sweet potatoes as a substitute for fries, but as much as I try I just can't say I like them.

Happily, my first experience with celeric root fries has been rapturous.  I'd argue that they are even more flavorful than potato fries.  Not to mention, Paleo-friendly foods are oftentimes great for keeping flare-ups down for people with autoimmune dysfunctions such as Celiacs and Crohn's.  Seriously folks, give these babies a try.

To Start:
Except for how you need to cut out the heart of the celeric root before beginning, you make these the same way you do potato fries (see video below for how to cut it).

You'll Need:
- celeric root bulbs (I'd say 1 bulb per person, but these were so good I ate 2 of them myself)
- extra virgin olive oil (buttery)
- parsley
- salt & pepper

Cut the celeric root and making the pieces into fry shapes.

Have a bowl with a few tbsps of olive oil and about 1 tbsp of parsley nearby to dip the pieces into the bowl and coat them.

Lay the fries out on a cookie sheet and spritz some salt & pepper over them, then bake at 350 F for about 15 mins, then flipping them over to bake for another 15 mins or until golden brown.


Shared on: glutenfreehomemaker, vegetarianmama, notjustahousewife, memoriesbythemile

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