My Style of Black Friday

What is your Black Friday tradition?  Are you one of those people who camp out in line in the wee hours of the morning to score the best deal? Or do you just watch the news footage of those people from the couch in your jammies?  Well, I spent my Black Friday at one of my favorite places, First Monday Canton Trade Days.

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The weather was beautiful, and in my opinion there is no better way to walk off those extra holiday calories than some good junkin’.

I was expecting larger than usual crowds, but it was surprisingly calm at the south’s biggest flea market.  A few of my favorite vendors were missing, but I still found lots of wonderful stuff. Here are a few highlights.

A petite vintage rubber stamp holder . . . I have seen these used as wine glass holders, jewelry displays, or just enjoyed as they are.  They have a great, unique shape.

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This stool is quite primitive, with lots of rust and chipping gray/blue paint.  What I really thought was unique though was that once upon a time, someone made part of an old wooden spool into the seat.

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I loved this antique paper cutter.  I have seen lots of these around, but never a white one.  It even has hints of turquoise paint showing through the white.

DSC05775One of my favorite finds was a collection of six vintage cardstock punch-outs of Santa in various scenes.  The image is printed on both sides, and on one side Santa’s suit is velvet.  This one of Santa with a reindeer (Prancer, maybe?) was my favorite, so it’s staying with me.

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If anyone recognizes them, I would love to know where they originally came from.  A children’s book or magazine . . .? You’ll see Santa some more in an upcoming post.

Continuing the Christmas theme, everyone needs a rocking horse at Christmas.

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The detail on this guy is amazing, down to his fluffy white mane.

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After getting back home, I did head out with the fam a little later to take advantage of a traditional Black Friday sale at Lowe’s. We came home with a handful of poinsettias, a steal at only $.99 each.

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I also grabbed two real fir wreaths.  I usually don’t decorate with real greens because they are pricey and tempermental.  But these little guys were only $5, so I grabbed two.  One is hanging over my Craigslist shutters that sit on the landing in my stairway.

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And did you spot our Elf?  He’s perched up high to be able to see all the action.

I think my favorite Lowe’s deal though was two more industrial shelves for our garage.  You all have seen glimpses into my garage before . . . it is a disaster. Now, all of my business stuff is contained in one shelf!

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It helps me breath a little easier every time I head out there.

I hope you all found lots of wonderful deals yourselves and have enjoyed your holiday weekend!

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Milk Paint vs. Chalk Paint, My Take

I get lots of questions from friends and family about what types of paint I use on my furniture and what my thoughts are on the different paints available.  Most of those questions center around milk paint and chalk paint–the two hot furniture paints out on the market right now. Other bloggers have taken aim at answering this question about the pros and cons of each paint, but everybody has a unique perspective, so I’ll offer mine to my faithful readers.

Milk paint has been around for quite awhile, but from my understanding chalk paint is a relatively new product.  In the past 2-3 years both types have gained lots of popularity because of their ease of use and great color pallets. They are both wonderful products, but they produce different results.

There are several different brands of each, but the two I use are Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

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For the purpose of this post, you can assume any mention of milk or chalk paint refers to these two brands.

Let’s get started!

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Milk Paint

Milk paint comes in a powdered form and is mixed with water before use.  You only want to mix up as much as you will use in one sitting, because the paint is perishable.  It is a thin paint, and can produce many neat effects, from looking like a colored stain to that awesome “chippy” effect you have probably seen.

Milk paint requires no prep on the furniture, although how well it sticks depends on the existing glossiness of the furniture’s finish. The more glossy the finish, the more the paint will naturally peel and chip away.

Here are the Pro’s of Milk Paint:

– affordable cost

– beautiful color pallet

– creates interesting, one-of-a-kind texture with its natural chippiness

– environmentally friendly

– different colors can be mixed to create your own custom color

Here are the Con’s of Milk Paint

– can be difficult to mix and get the paint smooth

– is  a little unpredictable, the chippiness cannot be controlled without purchasing another product to add to the paint

– color can easily turn streaky as pigments separate, you have to keep mixing the paint you’re using

I really love using milk paint, although I would not recommend it to a furniture painting “beginner” because it is so different than any other kind of paint you may use. It requires some practice, but once its mastered you can use it to create really unique looks.

Here are  a few pieces I have painted with milk paint:

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Ironstone over Shutter Gray

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Luckett’s Green

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Luckett’s Green

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Artissimo

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I usually save milk paint for those pieces whose natural surface is in good shape.  I like the chippy effect, and so I tend to only use milk paint over surfaces that I am ok with showing through.

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Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint is sold in quarts and has a wide range of trendy, yet classic colors.  It’s a thick paint that you can use at full strength, or water down to your liking.  It will stick to just about anything, so it is a great option for covering a laminate wood surface or even metal.  It is almost fool-proof to use, and because of that, I consider it worth the almost $40 a can pricetag.

Several of the colors I have used covered well in one coat.  Each quart of paint will go a long way–I have painted a full size bed frame (with rails), dresser, and desk with hutch with one can. Like milk paint, it distresses easily and so requires a top coat of some kind.  Annie Sloan sells soft waxes which are a great option, and those can be used to add additional depth and texture to the piece.

Chalk Paint Pro’s

– very, very, very easy to use.

– provides great coverage and can transform a piece quickly

– beautiful array of colors available

– versatile paint, easy to clean up and store

– easy to mix and create custom colors

Chalk Paint Con’s

– high cost, roughly $40 a can

– Annie Sloan’s line lacks dark colors

– can’t create the interesting natural “chippy” look that milk paint can

I would recommend chalk paint to anyone, even to beginners.  Its a great time saver because it will stick to anything without having to previously sand and it dries in about 20 minutes.  It does need some sort of top coat to take away that chalky, flat look though, and using one color for a whole piece can look a little cheap.  I think my pieces have gotten better over time as I have learned how to use more than one color to add interest and detail to a piece.

Here are some pieces I have done in chalk paint.

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Custom mix French Linen and Pure White with Old White accent

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custom mix French Linen & Duck Egg Blue with Old White and Dark Wax

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Duck Egg Blue with Old White dry brush

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Aubusson Blue

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French Linen with Old White

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Aubusson Blue

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Duck Egg Blue with Old White and Dark Wax

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Paris Gray

So who is the “winner” ? Well, neither.  I love and faithfully use both paints. Each has its own unique qualities though, and so I pick which to use based upon the piece I am painting and my vision for it.  They are both awesome products and are taking over the DIY world, so maybe you should give one a try.  I hope my thoughts have educated you a little, I’m happy to answer any other questions you may have.  Happy Painting!

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Two-Tone Chest of Drawers

I finished one of my projects! Yay!! It is such a great feeling to mark something completely off of your list.  This week started out a little rough because of a nasty cold we had going around our house.  But after a trip to the doctor, some antibiotics, and some Benadryl everyone is feeling better, and more importantly, napping better.

So, before we get going with pictures, I have to admit a blogging fail.  I forgot to take a before picture of this great antique chest of drawers.  I was planning to use  some pictures that were emailed to me by the seller, but in an effort to de-crazy my inbox I must have deleted them.  Ughh.  Sorry.

I will tell you a little about the piece though. It was a find on Craigslist, being sold by a lady who had received it as a gift from her ex-boyfriend (note–people selling things from their ex’s are often willing to make you a good deal just to get it gone).  It was quite creaky and really very primitive, but the finish was overall in good shape.  It did have a trim piece on the top I decided to remove because it just didn’t fit right, and it needed two new drawer bottoms.

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I decided to give it a two-toned look by keeping the excellent finish on the drawers and painting the rest in MMS Artissimo (I am LOVING that color).

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I gave it a light sanding all over, just to help the paint stick.  Milk paint can be a little unpredictable though, and this piece is a great example. It ended up going on more like a wash or stain.  After the first coat I really liked the imperfections in the coloring and decided it fit the primitive feel of the chest well. So one coat and done.

While the paint was curing up, I set to work on the drawer bottoms.  I measured the drawers and went to Home Depot to find some replacement wood (do I get extra points for having all 3 kids with me during this process?)  I was helped by a wonderful Home Depot employee who cut two pieces to size for me at the store.

The drawers have a curved front though, so they needed a slight trim.  I took out one of the old damaged drawer bottoms and used it as a guide to trace the curve of the front.

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Any Lego Chima fans out there?

Then I used my hubby’s jigsaw to cut the curves.

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Again, bonus points for doing it by myself!

I slid the new bottoms into place, nailed them into the back drawer piece, reinforced the joints with wood glue, and let them set overnight.  On this day my two youngest kids were in a Benadryl induced super-nap, so it was a productive afternoon.

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Now that the drawers were done, it was just a matter of giving the chest’s body a coat of clear wax.  It did this awesome thing where it gave the milk paint some great depth and brought the wood tone through.

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On went the awesome knobs I found at Hobby Lobby …

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And here is the final product:

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It’s quite elegant and grown-up.  Here is a closer look at the imperfect, wash-look:

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I’m having a hard time letting it go . . . I really like the way it looks in my house.  I would like to introduce some darker blues into my living room, so I’m considering using it to replace my Henry Link chest that’s in my entry.

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One will have to go, I’m gonna sit on it a few days and think it over.

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In the hopper . . .

Here in Texas, we don’t have basements, or real attics for that matter.  All we have is the garage, and mine isn’t a particularly large one.  The garage is where just about all of my furniture finds and projects end up.  I work real hard to get it cleared out and then enjoy one to two weeks of being able to park our van in there, only to load it back up again after the next great find.  Sigh.  I probably should accept that as long as we live here and I’m in this business, my garage is going to be more of a rotating furniture factory than a place to house our car.

Here is a peek at the projects hanging out in my garage right now.

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I found this awesome, hand-built shelf/hutch in someone else’s garage . . . at an estate sale a few weeks back.  It was super cheap and I grabbed it thinking it would make a great display for my shop.  But I’ve developed a liking for it, and so I’m thinking we might keep it here.  We have lots of big wall space in our house, so I  may chop off the bottom pieces that make it a hutch (you can’t really see it in the pictures) and hang it on a wall space as display shelf.  I’ve already thought of lots of neat things I could put on it . . . but for now, it’s just hanging out and serving as a drop spot for paint and tools.

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I also have this great sideboard I found just a few days ago.  I wrote in my last post about my excellent estate sale timing a few days ago . . . how I dropped in right when 90% off was announced! Well, this was one of my awesome finds.  And it gets even better:

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Here’s the top! A solid marble slab with hand-painted tiles, mirror, and trim work.  It’s gorgeous and in excellent condition.  And for you purists out there, don’t worry, I am not going to paint it.

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It was part of a whole set that included a huge armoire and vanity . . . unfortunately, this was the only piece I could fit in my already stuffed van.  It is truly ridiculous what I payed for it–maybe one of my best finds ever.  It does need a tiny repair–one of the casters came off and needs to be fixed back in place.  So, it also sits in my garage for now.

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I found this really old oak chest of drawers on CL last week, and it’s already got a quick coat of milk paint on it.  I’m super excited about the knobs I found for it, they are really sleek.

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Two of the drawer bottoms need repair though, which is a job my hubby has to help with.  So it’s also hanging out in my garage.

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Besides business projects I have a few personal projects going on as well.  I have been working on re-doing my little office area (more on that later . . .) and this great cane arm chair is part of my new scheme.

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It’s waiting for  a coat of MMS Artissimo and some new fabric on the seat.

Lastly, I’ve been doing some furniture switching in my boys’ rooms.  The two big boys got bunk beds to replace their two twin beds, and the baby had one of the twin beds moved into his room.  It won’t be too much longer before he is out of the crib and into a big kid bed, yikes.

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I have a box spring left over from the big boys’ room (they can’t use their boxes on the bunks), but not another twin mattress yet.  I don’t dare put the box spring down onto the bed without a mattress . . . it is low enough that my little one could climb onto it and I know I would find him jumping away, boring holes down into the box! So, it’s just kinda hanging out until I can find a good deal on a twin mattress to go on top.

Rarely are things settled for a long around here.   I wish you all a productive week for all of your projects!

Just Around the Corner

I’m behind in the retail world . . . Christmas started showing up at my mall three weeks ago and until yesterday, I had nothing.  I have been collecting a few Christmas items here and there over the past few months, but I hadn’t given any thought yet to putting together a holiday display in my space.  This past week I made myself spend some time sorting and pricing the few Christmas things I have.  Finally yesterday, I had a chance to load up some things.

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This fun green dresser was an estate sale find last weekend.  It was marked way down because the top had lots of peeling paint, but that’s not a problem for me! I sanded it down a little more to make the distressing more uniform then gave it a good wash down.  The best part is the gold accents on the drawers and french provincial style pulls.

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I like muted Christmas decor, like soft white, silvers and light golds.  But at heart, I am a traditional green and red kinda girl.  So this green dresser was a great anchor point for my venture into Christmas.

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I also love all things miniature, so these mini bottle brush trees from someone’s model train collection are my favorite.  They are scattered throughout my space.

And this isn’t Christmas exactly, but I was excited to find this awesome 42 piece set of Royal  china. On  my way to drop off my Christmas things at the mall, I poked my head into an estate sale right as they announced “90% off everything!” Whoah, awesome! This china set was one of the things I grabbed (more on my deep discount finds later). It is the “Homestead” Collection, and I’ve never see it before.  More great green Christmas color!

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What I really love about it though are the pictures on each piece.  They are all very “homey”, and some are full scenes from an old log cabin, some are singular items like fireplace bellows.  They just feel “warm”.

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And just for a little eye candy . . . here is my friend and next door neighbor, Shannon’s, space at the mall.  She is always so creative in her displays.

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I love the old fan cover as the wreath stand-in . . .

Have you given any thought to your Christmas decorating yet?