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.


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.

Creating A Cottage Garden: Part Two!

It started with Creating A Cottage Garden: Part One, Then 1.5 and finally Creating A Cottage Garden: Part Two!

Thanks for taking the ride with me! Let’s get to the results!

After our addition/renovation this little corner area was formed. It was in rough shape, but I took one look and thought this would be the perfect spot for my cottage garden!

A recap of Cottage Garden: Part One, after rototilling, I added a focal point (birdbath) and some pavers.

Next steps, I bought perennials and created a design plan for placement.

This is where I ended Creating A Cottage Garden: Part One!

After planting everything I took an assessment of what I thought it still needed. I wanted to enclose it somehow without losing the cottage feel.

I was watching Garden Answer on You Tube where they made a really cute fence out of pallets. I loved the look and wanted to make one for my garden.

I located some pallets and gave it a try.

Getting the boards off was no easy task.

I managed to get four boards off then the trouble started. The boards kept breaking because they were so hard to remove. I looked into buying a reciprocating saw but it cost more than I wanted to spend. So, the fence idea was put on hold.

Instead of a fence, I decided to use boxwood shrubs as an enclosure.

I really like this look. Of course, it will take a while for my bushes to get this mature.

Even though they are small, the bushes will definitely give the illusion of a separate space.

I used a tape measure to keep them straight and the same width apart.

On my wish list for my garden is a water fountain. I may not be able to swing a full water fountain for now, but I found a solar powered bird bath fountain.

I almost didn’t get this picture. It had been raining all day and the fountain will not work without sun. There was a break in the rain and the sun came out. I was able to get the shot! It’s really cool!

My first cottage garden!

I will post updates on the garden’s growth and the changes I may make along the way.

Creating A Cottage Garden Part 1.5?

A couple weeks ago I started my cottage garden by prepping the area, placing statuary and buying plants. I then put the newly purchased perennials in the ground and was ready to split and add additional plants from my front garden. But when I saw my front garden, I realized how overgrown it had become. It had been neglected for almost two years because of our renovation, landscape delays, and just trying to get everything back together. The gardening was just last on my list. Before I could think about going any further with my new cottage garden, I had to deal with this first. Thus, the reason for the title of the blog.

You can see how overgrown it is.

One of the reasons for the overgrowth is this invasive groundcover. It has been my nemesis for years! If any of you know what the name of this groundcover is, could you let me know? Better yet, if you know how to get rid of it! I would appreciate it!

My garden weapons! I mean tools…

Drat you groundcover! Usually, I can keep it under control as long as I am vigilant about it, but this is something else altogether.

This was me for most of the weekend. Kneeling and pulling, kneeling and pulling, on and on and on!

Then pushing and dumping and more pushing and dumping! You better believe I was sore the next day!

I was making headway, but at this point I needed to get off the ground.

I switched gears and tackled my forsythia bush.

I like my bushes to have more of a tree form for two reasons. It allows you to plant underneath it and it also gives it interesting architectural detail.

This was just the beginning. There was another whole pile added to this. I may have cut half the bush off!

I thought I would add a picture of what it looks like in the spring. It is really beautiful against the backdrop of arborvitae.

After spending most of the weekend working outside, I managed to get half of the front garden and the forsythia bush trimmed. I will finish it this week and start moving some plants to the cottage garden!

This is what the cottage garden looked like after planting the perennials last week.

Next week I will have the full reveal!

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.


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.