Creating A Cottage Garden: Part One!

A few years ago, when a neighbor was dividing her garden and offered me some plants, I was a little hesitant to accept. My record on keeping house plants alive was pretty dismal at best. So much so that the only greenery I had in my house were preserved boxwoods.

But the plants were free, and I had always wanted to try gardening, so I accepted the offer. My first try was not perfect, but I learned a lot from the experience and have since started two more small gardens around my house.

As my knowledge of gardening grew through reading and You Tube videos, I fell in love with the romantic and wild look of cottage gardens. I thought about creating my own cottage garden, but we really did not have a spot for it, so I put it on the back burner.

Fast forward after having an addition/renovation done on our home over a year ago, we now have a perfect place for my cottage garden. The area is 13×13 and is nestled right against the house. I had to wait the entire winter to get started, but now I am ready!

The first step was to roto till the area and add garden soil with fertilizer. I don’t have any pictures of using the roto tiller, but it was a blast to use!

After a week, l couldn’t wait any longer to get started, so Sunday at 7:30 in the morning I went to work (now you have the answer to why I named my blog Impulsively Creative).

I wanted some kind of statement piece for the center of the garden. I spotted the bird bath all the way in the back of the yard.

It was too heavy to lift so I laid the base on its side and started to roll it. Then went back and did the same with the top.

As I was rolling the birdbath on my hands and knees across the lawn, I am thinking about our new next-door neighbors who I have not met yet and wondered if they were up that early and seeing me doing my thing, wondering what they may have gotten themselves into.

Also on the other side of the yard were some left over pavers. I thought they would work to create a pathway to the birdbath. For these I was able to use the wagon to transport them to the garden.

I dug out the area around the pavers to make them flush with the ground.

Next, I wanted something that would define the entrance to the garden. I had two large planters with boxwood in them on the patio. I rolled them over and added wrought iron cloches I purchased at Brimfield.

At this point, I was loving the way it was looking and wished someone would wake up so I could show them!

After three hours I was finished and definitely needed a shower.

Later that day, we went to Wayside Garden Center in Macedon NY for flowers.

I purchased Russian Sage, Black Eyed Susans, Cone Flowers, Sedum, Coral Bells, and Alyssum.

I placed three Russian Sage in the back, two Black Eyed Susans in between, then Cone Flowers, Sedum and Alyssum around the birdbath.

If you are a gardener, I would love any tips you may have for me. I am an amateur and would welcome any help you want to give!

I also plan on dividing plants from my front garden and adding to the back.

I am looking forward to sharing my progress in the coming weeks!

Artwork Created From Redesign Prima Transfer!

I purchased a beautiful transfer called Earthly Delights from redesign with Prima a few weeks ago. I was thinking about using it on a piece of furniture, but I had already used a transfer on my antique secretary desk. Wanting to continue my journey of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I decided to look elsewhere for inspiration. It arrived when I was shopping at Michael’s. They were having a buy-one- get- two- free sale on canvases which included a 36×40 inch size. I immediately thought of the transfer and how cool it would be to put it on canvas. So, I took all three canvases home and got to work!

The canvas was the perfect size for the transfer.

You have to push down and rub hard to get a transfer to adhere. Without a solid surface to press on, it was going to be a problem. I tried a few things, but books underneath the canvas worked best.

I chose Annie Sloan French Linen chalkpaint as a background color for the canvas.

I loved the movement the paint gave the canvas.

I placed the transfer on the canvas and took measurements to find the center point. The grid on the transfer makes it much easier.

I decided to remove the words. I wanted the flowers to be the focal point.

I had to work very slowly making sure the books were aligned underneath to provide the solid surface I needed.

There were a couple mishaps, but the first part went fairly well.

The whole process probably took three hours and I was pleased with the results. There were a few adjustments that left gaps, but I was able to fix them with paint.

I gathered all my supplies to fill in the gaps

Acrylic paints.

Brushes

And of course, the color wheel!

I used a piece of foam board as my palette.

It is definitely not perfect, but I loved the challenge of putting it together.

I was really excited that I was able to match the original colors! There was a lot more to do but this got me fired up!

This is what it looked like after filling the gaps. Again, not perfect but pretty darn good!

I am about to push the boundaries again!

I wanted to make the background more alive.

I started by adding Annie Sloan Athenian black and Waverly Mineral chalk paints to the background.

I added paint.

Sprayed with water.

Then used a rag in a tapping and swirling motion. Stepped back and repeated the process.

I just went for it! It was very freeing!

This is where I ended up. I love the way it came out! I still need to tweak the lower left corner, but I was too exhausted and did not want to risk messing it up.

Have you ever done a project where you just let loose? I would love to hear about it.

Ladies French Writing Desk: Before and After!

It has been a while since a piece of furniture has tried my patience like my current project. The litany of problems seemed never ending. Re-assembling the top and bottom pieces, peeling veneer, broken drawer fronts, replacing the backer board because of warping, and finally reinforcing the legs so it will not wobble (thanks to my husband). I was getting to the point of wanting to call it a day and start another project. But invariably, I would look at it and see how cute it could be and keep going. It is probably the same reasoning behind my catching spiders in my house and letting them go outside. I am giving them another chance at life!

In last week’s blog, I reglued the veneer, fixed the drawer fronts and doors.

I knew I wanted black for the desk, but when I saw this, I knew I wanted gold as an accent color.

After painting the plywood for the back with Annie Sloan Athenian Black chalk paint I decided to add some gold.

Using a stencil, I filled the spaces with Rub N Buff and created this pattern.

I attached it to the back with nails and filled in the gaps with Drydek spackle. After it dried, I sanded it smooth then painted it to match the desk.

To give it some more flair, I highlighted the raised trim on all the drawers and the hardware with Rub n Buff antique gold metallic wax.

And here it is! It has been a struggle, but I think I accomplished the goal of bringing this old, needy piece back to life.

I can’t say I will take on another project like this anytime soon but am glad I was able to save this one!

Ladies French Writing Desk Revamp: Part One!

I purchased this desk off of Facebook Marketplace a couple weeks ago. The price was originally $55 but when my husband went to pick it up, the top portion had fallen off and the owner dropped the price to $35.

I still thought it had a lot of potential and got to work trying to give it a second life.

Because of the amount of work needed, it will definitely be a two-part blog series.

This is part one:

This is the top part of the desk. I removed the old veneer then reattached it to the base.

The veneer was coming off in a lot of places and needed to be glued down. I collected every size clamp we had in our garage to tackle this job

I also got out my wood glue syringes. They are a must have when working with veneer.

They are easy to use. Simply fill the syringe with glue, put on blunt needle and then inject away.

It gets into all the hard-to-reach areas which is key for a better bond.

I wasn’t kidding about the clamps!

There are two small doors on the desk that have beautiful detailing. One was in great shape and the other not so much. I had to work really hard but, in the end, I was able to save it!

The veneer on the drawers could not be saved.

Some of it came off easily, but the rest was stuck on pretty good.

I used a wet paper towel to help loosen the glue.

The veneer started coming off a little at a time. I repeated the same process until it was all off.

The wood underneath was in good shape and sanded nicely.

When I removed the veneer, the raised molding came off. I saved it so I could put it back on.

There were some chips in the veneer that I had to fill.

I used DRYDEK spackling. After it dried, I sanded it smooth.

I used wood glue and a small paintbrush to put the molding back on the drawers.

When I paint it, this detail will really stand out.

This is as far as I got after several days of resuscitation! I am getting excited about the finished product! Watch for Ladies French Writing Desk Revamp: Part Two!

Behind The Scenes: Finishing Touches!

When I finish a piece of furniture and reveal it on my blog you see the outside of the piece and its transformation but not the inside. I usually do this part after I post my blog and am getting ready to sell it. I always try and make the inside of my furniture pieces look their best too. If the piece is in pristine condition on the inside and reflects what I did on the outside, I just give it a good cleaning. But let’s face it, the pieces I purchase are usually not in pristine condition and need a lot of work.

For instance, the dresser I did on my blog post last week. The inside was not in great shape. It took a lot of TLC to get it looking like I wanted it. I will take you through the step by step process.

The drawers were rough to the touch and needed sanding. I covered the front with plastic to protect my decoupage work.

At one time, the dresser must have gotten wet. There was a distinct musty odor coming from the drawers after I sanded.

I learned a trick to eliminate odor from furniture. Just spray shellac inside the drawers and the cavity of the base and it will seal in the odor. It has worked every time!

I started by painting the bottom of the drawers in a color similar to the outside of the dresser.

I liked that, but now the yellow orange color of the sides really stood out.

I have seen You Tube videos where people used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to stain furniture. I decided to try it using Honfleur.

I just painted it on.

Then wiped it off with a cloth. It came out great! Love the deep rich color! I repeated the process on the all the sides of the drawers inside and outside.

Really loved the combination of the pale green and the deep rich brown!

When it was dry, I sealed it with Polycrylic.

Now when someone opens the drawers, they will not be disappointed!

And now you know the complete transformation story!

Before and After Furniture Makeover Using Decoupage!

Before and After Furniture Makeover Using Decoupage!

I have been wanting to decoupage a piece of furniture for some time now. After watching what seemed like a hundred You Tube videos, I decided to finally try it myself. I chose Sandrina Rice Paper Decoupage, by Decoupage Queen to use on a dresser I found recently. It is a large design that will perfectly cover the entire front of the dresser. Considering the only decoupaging I have ever done were on small boxes, this was going to be quite the challenge.

I purchased this dresser on Facebook Marketplace a few weeks ago. I cleaned it up and then filled in veneer that had chipped off.

To prevent any bleed through, I put three coats of Kilz primer on.

I love this Decoupage paper and was really excited (albeit nervous) to try it!

As I mentioned before, I watched dozens of YouTube videos on how to decoupage. Each had their own way of applying the paper. I chose to use wallpaper paste because it gives you more placement time. I knew I would need that!

After trying a few ways to place the paper, I settled on centering the rose and then cut off the excess on top.

Everything was ready to go. I applied the wallpaper paste and started to lay the paper. Right off the bat I knew I made a mistake trying to put the paper on with the dresser standing up. It was impossible to control and the paper started to rip.

I called for my husband (if I am honest screamed for him) to come and help me lie the piece down. We laid it down and I went back to work. And he was only too happy to go back to what he was doing. I can be intense when something is going wrong. He is the best husband!

Once I had the dresser down, it was much easier to handle. I also cut the paper to work one drawer at a time. The second mistake I made was trying to use my hands to smooth the paper. I could not get the wrinkles out and was getting frustrated. At this point I decided to just go for it and used a chip brush. It worked great and really smoothed it out.

All in all, the decoupage experience was successful. I was able to repair the torn paper by using extra pieces of paper and decoupaging over it.

I was a little afraid of having to decoupage over the molding. This is where I really thought things would go south, but they didn’t, and I am really proud of the way it came out.

I let the decoupage dry overnight and the next day I put three coats of Polycrylic water-based polyurethane to seal and protect.

Next step was painting the dresser base.

I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in CoCo.

It looks like cocoa.

Using a round brush I went every which way to add some texture.

For detail work I used a small brush moistening the brush to help the chalk paint go on smooth.

I was extra careful as to not get chalk paint on the decoupage around the drawers.

To add depth, I did a ragging technique using Annie Sloan chalk paint in Olive, Coco and Chateau Grey and Waverly chalk paint in Celery.

You simply add color to create high and low lights.

Then use a damp cloth to tap the paint, taking some off, moving it around, until you like how it looks. I liked the results, but after it dried, I felt it was to gray for the decoupage paper design. I mixed together Annie Sloan Olive and Old White and water to create a wash. I brushed it on and wiped it off leaving a pale green glaze that now perfectly complimented the design.

I let it dry overnight and added clear and dark wax to seal and age it.

The finished piece! I can see this piece in a bedroom, foyer, office, garden room, really anywhere.

I was able to keep original hardware. I just added a little Rub N Buff.

I would call that quite the transformation!

Easy DIY Decorating for Easter!

I have seen Easter egg trees in magazines and on television and have always wondered where the idea came from. I did some research and found that it originated in Germany and is called Osterbaum, meaning Easter tree and it symbolizes new life.

This is a picture of a decorated tree. The eggs are blown and hand painted.

I decided to take this tradition inside and make my own Easter tree. However, the eggs were not blown nor hand painted eggs.

I used pussy willow branches that were purchased from Wegmans supermarket to shape the tree.

I put a large foam brick in a flowerpot to hold the branches in place.

I placed branches in the pot and then stepped back to check it out until I was satisfied with the result.

Once branches were set, I started on the faux eggs I was going to hang. I did not want to glue them to the ribbon, so I used a needle.

I put the needle through the ribbon and pushed it into the egg.

Then hung it on the tree.

I tried to hang the eggs, so each side was balanced.

Love how they look with the pussy willow branches.

I had left over Easter grass from last year and put it in the pot to cover the foam brick.

I also brought out the bunnies I purchased at Good Will a few months ago. The Easter egg tree looks amazing reflected in the mirror!

I will take tulips over roses anytime. They are just as beautiful and last a lot longer.

They are so cute!

Trying Something New with Re-Design Prima Decoupage Papers!

I was watching Kacha’s YouTube channel (you should check out her channel she is amazing) and she referred to herself as a Furniture Artist. I had never heard that term before, but when I looked back on my body of work, Furniture Artist seems like it fits well for me too!

This week I started work on an antique dresser. My plan was to decoupage the front of the dresser and paint the rest with Chalk paint. Two things happened to put a kibosh on my plans. The dresser needed more work than I initially thought, and after researching decoupaging, I found that it needs to be done slowly and methodically. What I am trying to say is there will not be a reveal this week.

So, with that, I will share what I have done so far!

The dresser has great lines and is a very solid piece.

As I started to clean it, pull out drawers and remove the hardware, I began to see just how much “love” it needed.

I washed the dresser down with water and a capful of lemon-verbena all-purpose cleaner. I had to change the water three times before I was finished.

I removed all the hardware. They are gorgeous!

My husband sanded the top for me since my allergies were acting up.

There were a few pieces of molding that needed to be glued back into place.

On the top of the dresser some of the veneer was pulling up. I used a cabob stick to push the glue underneath. Then placed some books on top to keep it in place while it dried.

In other areas the veneer was completely off. I filled those spots with spackle.

Because the dresser has dark wood, I painted it with three coats of KILZ primer to prevent bleed through.

It took longer than I expected, but it is ready for the next step. Decoupage!

This is the decoupage design I chose.

It is big enough to fit the entire front of dresser. Maybe I should have started smaller?

Cross your fingers next week a decoupaged dresser!

Furniture Makeover: Antique Secretary Desk Before and After!

I am excited to work on this secretary desk. We had one in our living room when I was growing up. Even then I wondered how it would look painted.

I chose Annie Sloan Olive Chalk Paint, because it is a beautiful color, and I thought it was the right vibe for the secretary desk.

Always stir your Chalk Paint before using it to get the true color.

I was not a big fan of the hardware. They look like the Batman signal to me. I removed the handles and center pieces and filled in the little hole marks.

The handles left marks. So to smooth it out, I sanded this area as well as the spackled holes.

You won’t see them once they are painted.

Once prep work was done, I began painting.

I really love this color, so rich!

Oh yes, I had to paint the inside too!

I am not going to lie, this was a bear to paint.

It took three coats. Did I say this was a bear!

I plan on putting a transfer on the drop door.

I let the desk dry overnight. The transfer needs to be applied to a clean dry area.

I learned about re-design Prima from YouTube. They have a variety of items. Transfers, decoupage, stencils, etc. I decided on re-design Prima ‘Somewhere in Paris’ for the gold detailing.

The transfer comes in three parts. You can use it all together or each separately. I used just the top part.

The transfer goes on before any wax or topcoat. Simply pull off the backing and center the transfer. Once placed, use the tool that comes with transfer and gently rub until it releases.

Next, I used Annie Sloan waxes to add depth. I always put clear wax on first. It allows you to move the black wax better.

I ordered new hardware from Amazon. I love their simple elegance. I added some gold gilding wax to pick up the gold in the transfer.

Using Rub’ n Buff, I put some on my finger (you can also use a small brush) and wiped it on the handles.

A little goes a long way.

I also highlighted some of the detailing inside the desk with gold.

The final touch of gold went around the outside of the drop door. It really made the transfer stand out.

I did not stop there. I added re-design decoupage paper in washed damask to the sides of the drawers.

This was the first time I have done that, and it will not be the last!

I am very pleased with the results. It feels so good to be refinishing furniture again! Next week I think I will do it again. I see a dresser and maybe decoupage

Going Back to My Roots!

A couple of years ago I took a hiatus from refinishing furniture. I had gotten myself into a creative rut. I took the the time to learn new techniques, push my boundaries and hopefully become a better furniture artist.

I had been toying with the idea of refinishing a piece of furniture using some of the techniques I learned. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to start with when the decision was taken right out of my hands. I had been looking for a French Writing Desk for my office and I finally found one. It needed to be refinished and I went for it. I don’t know if it was the new techniques I tried or forgetting how satisfying working with furniture can be, but my creative juices were ignited again, and I wanted to do more!

So, I went on Facebook Market Place and found two pieces, a secretary desk and an antique dresser.

I was hoping to find another French Writing desk, but I came across this old secretary desk instead. I really liked the lines and thought it would be perfect for refinishing.

There are few dings, but nothing major.

I will most likely replace the hardware.

The inside is in great shape, just needs a good cleaning.

I also filled in some holes on the top with DryDek spackle

I have a lot of ideas running through my head on what direction I want to go with this piece. I do know that I will be going out of my comfort zone and am excited about the prospect.

The dresser I purchased is a little bit worn, but I like the shape and I wanted a dresser with a flat front.

It definitely needs some love, but I’m up for the challenge!

Next week Secretary Desk reveal!