Antique Buffet Transformation Part One!

I finally got over to our storage unit to pull out a piece of furniture to work on. I chose the buffet because it has beautiful lines and there was no major work needed. I was not ready to take on a project that needed work on the entire piece (there are some of those in the storage unit). The piece had a couple minor repairs that were easily remedied. It is a large piece and painting it will be time consuming but that I can handle. Because the buffet is so large, I will be breaking it up in two blog posts.

Part One:

The top was sanded before it was put in storage. If the wood is in good condition, having a wood top is always a good choice for a buffet.

The minor repairs I was talking about. The drawer has pieces of molding missing and will have to be replaced.

I sanded the area smooth.

I also used an exacto knife to make the edge a clean cut.

Using these two products, Amazing Mold Putty and Amazing Casting Resin to create a mold of the trim and after the mold is set, I poured resin into the mold to make a replica of the trim.

There were two containers of putty in the kit. A (white) and B (yellow).

You take equal amounts of both and mix them together until the putty has a uniform color.

Once it is ready, I placed the putty on the drawer to create a mold.

This is what it looked like after it dried you can see the trim shape in the mold.

The resin also had two parts that needed to be mixed together. I put equal parts of each into cups then poured both into another cup to mix. There was a short amount of time before it set, so I was unable to take pictures at this point.

The resin is ready when it turns white.

I cut the pieces to size and super glued them to the drawer. I let it dry overnight then sanded it a little.

It came out better than I thought it would. After it is painted, you will not be able to tell the difference!

This will be a game changer for future projects. I will no longer have to pass on furniture with missing pieces. I could recreate them using this process!

Next up was a thorough cleaning inside an out. The blue velvet inside the drawer is in perfect shape.

I am still contemplating my color choice. I may go with Annie Sloan Oxford Navy chalk paint because of the color inside of the drawer. But that decision will be in the next blog post!

Until then, keep on pushing your Creative Self!

Simple Fall Decorating Using Good Will Finds!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons! I love the colors, the scents, and brisk weather that allows me to take out my cute sweaters!

I wanted to add some fall decor to my home, but I still have a couple more weeks of recouperation from my surgery before resuming my regular activities. With that being said, I will not be lifting and toting and moving things around like I normally do. I still wanted to add some fall decor though, so my husband drove me to Good Will in hopes that I would find some smaller items I could use.

The trip was successful, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

I really liked the colors in the bowls and the subtle design.

I didn’t know there were three at first but as soon as I did, I got an idea. I had to get one more thing to make it work though.

I found the other thing at Michael’s for eighty percent off the original price!

I also needed plants which I purchased at Lowes. Do you see where I am going with this?

I put each plant in a bowl and used dried moss to hide the top of the pot.

The stands worked perfectly!

Here they are on a shelf in my family room, so cute!

I also found this candle holder. I thought it was beautiful and would go with the Fall decor.

I put LED candles in each glass holder

It looks great with the candles lit but also when they are not.

I wanted to put some Fall foliage around the house, so my husband got these out of storage for me.

This pitcher was my husband’s grandmother’s, it is one of my favorite pieces.

I had to put paper towel in the bottom to give the stems more height.

I used these same stems on my Christmas tree last year (see picture below).

These stems can also be used in more than one way. I use them as filler or by themselves.

Looks great all by itself!

I have a bunch of pinecones in various sizes. I like to put these out as well.

Very simple, but elegant!

Tips On How To Style Wall Shelves!

You know what they say about the best laid plans? July 2020 was the day we broke ground to start our addition/renovation. My mother-in-law was going to move in with us and the addition part was for her. Because of health issues my mother-in-law moved in before all the work was done. Of course, her health was utmost on our mind and a lot of things were put on hold.

One such project was the wall unit we were going to build in her room to hold all her antiques she had collected over the years. We recently completed the unit started to unpack her antiques and start placing them on the shelves. She asked for help with styling the shelves since she liked what I did with my front room shelves.

While I was helping my mother-in-law, I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I earned over the years on styling shelves.

The wall unit has a space for her television, a desk area for her computer, multiple shelves for her antiques and the bottom is for storage which will have doors soon.

Audrey (AKA my mother-in-law) was like a kid in a candy store finally being able to bring out her treasures! These are just a few of the many boxes to unpack.

These two bronze statues had shelves built in the unit especially for them.

Another item with a place of honor centered between the two bronze statues. All three of the statues needed more height so I used wooden risers for the bronze imps and acrylic for the woman rising from the ocean.

One trick I use is hanging something on the back of the shelf. In this case, I hung a decorative fan which creates interest and breaks up the negative space.

Because the fan is the focal point it allows you to place items on either side.

Audrey wanted all her Asian pieces together. I used an acrylic riser to balance the larger pieces.

To finish the shelf, three ivory pieces were added. The height of each item and the fan on the back of the shelf keep your eye moving so you appreciate each piece and as a whole vignette.

The last shelf we worked on holds Audrey’s collection of “Moss Rose” pieces.

Because the pieces were so small and were very much alike, I had to find a way break it up.

Audrey had a small glass curio box I thought would be good for vertical interest. I also used two acrylic shelves at varying heights to bring your eye around.

I am so glad I was able to help my mother-in-law to style her shelves. We worked hard to get three shelves done and there are still boxes to be opened. I will post more pictures as the unit progresses and of course the final reveal!

Cigar Box Transformation Using Decoupage!

Ever since I decoupaged a dresser using rice paper I have been wanting to do it again. However, the dresser was a massive undertaking, and this time around I wanted something smaller.

I purchased an old cigar box at Good Will and thought it would be the perfect (smaller) item to decoupage. I had the item, now I had to pick out the paper. After looking through hundreds of papers, I was drawn to one called the Bluebird Queen by “Decoupage Queen”.

I had everything I needed, and it was time to get started!

I love this paper. It is fun, quirky and mesmerizing!

I used Wavery Chalk Paint in Mineral to paint the cigar box.

The wood inside the box was in good shape so I did not paint it.

I gave the top two coats so nothing would show through the rice paper.

I cut off the border of the rice paper before applying.

Ready to decoupage!

To apply the paper, I used wallpaper paste.

Starting at the top, I brushed on the wallpaper paste.

I placed the paper on the box and pressed down smoothing as I went. I used my hands, but you can also use a brush. Once that part was down, I brushed on more paste and repeated this process.

I kept going all the way down the front.

I cut the excess off with an exacto knife.

I always keep the extra paper in case I need to fill in.

I wait until it dries a little before cutting to minimize tearing.

Once it dried, I sanded the edges slightly.

The decoupage paper did not reach the sides, so I extended it using acrylic paint and oil pastels.

By using my color wheel, I was able to match the colors in the “Bluebird Queen” decoupage paper.

Using acrylic paint, I brought the tree around the side.

I used oil pastel then blended it with a paint brush.

I had seen others do this on You Tube and wasn’t sure I would be able to do it, but I was very pleased with the results.

I did the same to the other side extending the tree and the feathers on the bluebird.

Again, using acrylic paint and oil pastels.

I used leftover decoupage to fill in the rest of the side.

To open the box, I put on a knob and spruced it up with rub n buff antique gold

The sides look like they are part of the rice paper (right).

Left side

Finished piece, I love it!

Using Chalk Paint To Create A Faux Natural Wood Finish!

I don’t always follow trends in design, but one trend I have been transitioning too is the use of lighter more natural looking wood tones. I love the organic look and warmth it gives to the space.

I recently rearranged my family room which included placing a half circle table in front of a window. The table had been painted and needed a refresh. Many of the pieces already in the room have natural wood tones. The piece in question is not good wood therefore not a candidate for refinishing using stain. I have been experimenting with chalk paint to create a faux wood finish and thought this would be the perfect piece to try it on.

Since the body was in good shape, I decided to just use the technique on the top.

Let’s get too it!

The top was in rough shape. It was hidden behind the couch before, and no one could see it. Not anymore!

The first step in the process was applying two coats of Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint.

Sometimes I use water to thin the chalk paint. In this case I wanted a thicker base to work with.

The thicker base enabled me to create a faux wood grain by painting in one direction, you can see the grooves in this picture.

I did not get pictures of the second step which was to paint another two coats of chalk paint this time using Annie French Linen.

Once the paint was dry, I used Waverly Antique sealant. I have used it on other projects and loved the richness of color and natural wood look it gives.

It may seem like a waste of time using two different types of chalk paint then covering it with a dark sealant. But I can tell you from experience just using one type of chalk paint or just the sealant will not give you the same look. Layering is the key to getting a natural wood appearance.

When applying the sealant, I went in the direction of the grooves that were created using chalk paint, again adding to the look of real wood.

The color was a little uneven.

I created a wash using Annie Sloan Old White Chalk paint and water to help even it out.

First, I misted the tabletop using a spray bottle then applied the chalk paint.

Using an old tee shirt, I wiped off the excess.

To get in the crevices I used a small paint brush.

At this point I liked everything I did thus far, but felt it still needed more movement

I took a chance and added Annie Sloan Old White, French Linen and Honfleur Chalk Paint. The worst case being I would have to start all over again. Been there, done that before! Not an issue!

In my mind I could see different striations of color going in the direction of the faux wood grain.

Using a large chip brush, I dipped it into the three colors without mixing it.

I used a dry paper towel to off load and began to brush in the direction of the wood grain. I kept brushing until there was no more paint, then repeated he process.

If you were not sure what I meant by movement, this is it! The different color tones and lines creating the look of real wood.

I am really happy the way the table came out. It definitely looks like real wood and will look great in the space.

I styled the table in the dining room, but it will eventually find its place in our family room in front of the window.

Creating Raised Stencils Using Glass Bead Gel!

Ever since watching a You Tube video on raised stencils, I have wanted to try it! But life gets in the way and trying this technique was put on the back burner. Although it has taken awhile, I am finally ready to create a raised stencil! Here we go!

In the video I saw, they used a large stencil and glass bead gel. So I purchased the Diamond Flourish Redesign with Prima Stencil and Redesign Glass Bead Gel from Etsy.

Because I have never done this before I started small. Instead of starting on a large piece of furniture I used a piece of plywood to make wall art.

I painted the wood white and when it dried, I measured an inch in from the edge, taped it off and painted the interior black creating a faux frame around the border.

Before using the Re-Design Prima stencil, I measured the piece of wood to find the center.

I placed the stencil on the plywood making sure it was taped down so it would not move around.

The Re-Design Prima gel has pieces of glass mixed into a thin paste-like substance.

Here goes nothing!

It feels strange going on. It crunches as you are spreading it and it is thinner than I expected.

After covering the entire stencil, it was time to remove the excess.

I really was not sure how much to remove. It was such a thin layer I wasn’t sure it would be raised if I took off too much. In the end, I removed most of the layer on top.

I circled two areas in this picture. The smaller mark is where a piece of the stencil lifted up and the larger one was where I left a thicker layer of gel.

It lifted off easily with no sticking.

It definitely was not perfect. Where the stencil lifted, there was no definition and where I left a thicker layer of gel, it is darker than the rest. But it is pretty good for the first time!

It has to dry overnight before I can do anything to it.

From this angle you can really see how it is raised.

The gel dries clear and the glass pieces sparkle. I could leave it like this, and I may in future projects, but today is for learning to work with this medium.

Because the gel was clear, and the black showed through, I decided to highlight it with Rub n Buff antique gold metallic finish.

I use a chip brush for highlighting with gold because they are cheap and can be disposed of after. To prevent the brush from shedding, I cut it down.

When I dry brush, I use a piece of cardboard to off load most of the gold finish.

It was easy to highlight because the stencil was raised.

I also added gold to the frame because the white just did not go.

It almost looks like jewelry.

I used black paint to tone down the gold. I like the way it turned out and will definitely do it again next time on a piece of furniture. It should be fun!

Garden Design Ideas Along A Fence!

A few years ago, our neighbors put up a six-foot stockade fence between our yards that could not be ignored. There was no real issue with it on our part. Our neighbors had two dogs and a toddler and needed the fence for them. The issue was how do I would make it look intentional and blend with my design plan for our backyard.

I finally settled on solar lanterns that I purchased from a Joann Fabrics store. They had been the perfect solution until they stopped working this year. I cleaned them and put them in direct sunlight hoping this would recharge them. When this did not work, I decided to open them up.

I was very surprised and creeped out at what I found!

The lanterns I purchased.

I pried off the top.

When the top came off hundreds of ants and larvae fell out. I screamed and threw the lantern across the lawn (not my proudest moment). Luckily for me the bulb inside is plastic not glass. After getting over the shock, I took the hose and started cleaning it out.

Just typing this is giving me goose bumps and feel like I need a shower!!

The inside of the lanterns had been damaged and would need to be repaired or replaced. Neither of these ideas appealed to me. I was determined to find another solution.

I purchased these solar powered cork lights with the intention of using them in Saratoga sparkling water bottles to light my patio. Instead, I tried them in the lanterns.

I fed the wire into the bulb through the top.

The lights fit perfectly inside.

To hold the top on, I used Gorilla glue.

I placed it on top of the lantern until it set.

The sightline of the lanterns going down the fence is stunning.

I also wanted to add some kind of plant along the fence. I had a very overgrown Hosta that I split into fifteen pieces. I placed thirteen along the fence and gave two to my neighbor.

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Even though the Hosta isn’t fully grown it still looks good!

I like the way these lights have a twinkle effect. I may even like these better than the original!

Back To My First Love: Furniture Refinishing!

For the past few weeks, I have devoted all of my time to getting the outside of our house back in shape after our addition/renovation last year. It took a lot of hard work, but it is done!

During this time, I did not work on any furniture. However, I did purchase some really great pieces and put them in our storage unit. With the outside done, I am ready to start refinishing furniture again.

I went to the storage unit and pulled out a buffet as the first piece I will work on. I also took pictures of other furniture to show you what might be next.

Having a storage unit lets me purchase well-priced items knowing I have a place to store it until I can get to it.

I was able to get this secretary desk for a song. The people selling it were moving and wanted it gone. It needs some minor repairs but will be beautiful when it is done!

This piece was also a really great deal! It is such a solid piece and has some beautiful trim.

I want to use a dry painting technique on this piece to bring out the detailing.

This cabinet looked very different in pictures than it did in person. I think the scroll work is too busy. Because of the price, I purchased it anyway. It will probably give me a headache and I will most likely wish I never purchased it, but I do like a challenge.

Lastly the buffet. My husband sanded the top for me. Whenever possible I like to keep the wood on the top of a serving piece. It makes it more conducive to put food on.

I ordered this stencil months ago knowing I wanted to try it.

Using the stencil and a paste that dries hard, I will be attempting to create a design like the one above on a piece of furniture.

I am looking forward to starting the pieces and being able to share them with you in the next few weeks!

The Front Garden Is Finally Finished!

While it has taken several weeks to complete, I kept pushing myself beyond even my expectations. I would get up around 4:30 in the morning and work for a couple hours before going to work. Then, when I came home, I would do more, eat dinner and drag myself to bed. Just to repeat it the next day. During these past couple of months, I put my back out several times, pulled muscles in my foot, and every part of my body was sore for weeks!

Why push so hard? There are actually two reasons. One is my mother-in-law Audrey is turning 90 and we are having a party for her here. The other is I am having surgery and will be out of commission for several weeks and want everything done beforehand.

The latter was a must for me. Not having things done and me not being able to do them would have driven me up the wall!

Now I don’t have to worry about it, and I will be able to concentrate on healing faster!

I am going to start by showing you what I began with and finally revealing the results.

Our addition/renovation was great for the inside of the house, but not so much for the outside.

My garden suffered from the addition/renovation as well. With all the machinery and work being done, I was not able to tend to them and they were severely overgrown.

Even the forsythia bush was out of control!

I started with the forsythia bush making it easier to get to the actual garden.

After weeks of pulling out weeds and taming back the out-of-control groundcover, I asked myself was it worth it?

The answer is emphatically. Yes!! I love the way it looks now, and I don’t cringe anymore when I pull into the driveway.

My sister-in-law gave me a beautiful wooden piece of wall art with iron work detailing a few years ago. I absolutely adored it but was never able to find the perfect place. As the garden was taking shape, I knew I would need something to deal with the large utility box. I tried a few things but liked the wall art the best. It needed some more height, so I attached a sign I purchased last year from Michaels. Voila, a one-of-a-kind garden ornament!

Since I had to dig up a lot of plants to remove the intertwined ground cover, I took a chance and pulled out the large spirea bush and transplanted it on the other side of the garden.

As you can see in this picture it is thriving!

A friend of mine gave me this crate a while ago. Even though it had a broken side I thought it was cool and took it hoping I would find a place for it. That day is here! I needed something behind the sign and immediately an image of the box with flowers in it came to mind. Perfect!

After removing the groundcover, I found plants I didn’t even know I had. If you look closely at the lower half of the wrought iron tower there is a climbing vine with purple flowers. I planted that a couple years ago and it is finally showing!

If you recognize this perennial, can you leave the name in the comments? I would appreciate it!

And here is my finished cottage garden. I can’t wait until it starts to fill in!

If you want to see the making of the cottage garden, check out: Creating A Cottage Garden blog posts: Part One/Part 1.5/and Part Two

Making Flower Arrangement With Store Bought Flowers!

I wanted a flower bouquet to help bring spring indoors, but my peonies have already bloomed and none of the other flower are ready to be cut. To make the bouquet I went to my local Wegman’s grocery store to see what I could find. My criteria included flowers that looked like they came from a meadow and needed to be twenty dollars or under.

Take a look at what I found for nineteen dollars!

I purchased one bunch of miniature carnations for seven dollars, tulips for six and filler (do not know the name of it) also for six.

I chose this vase to create interest by using the juxtaposition of the formal vase with the informal bouquet.

The vase came with insert to hold water. Cool!

I think carnations get a bad rap. They are so pretty and smell wonderful!

I would add some flowers step back and make an adjustment or add something more.

I repeated this process until I was satisfied with the results.

The finished bouquet!

Not bad for nineteen dollars!

Below are a few more examples I created from store bought flowers.