Thursday, November 22, 2012


I have so much to be grateful for on this day of giving thanks.  But, I'm not going to give you a list.  I know you all have meaningful lists of your own.  I just wanted to wish everyone a joyful Thanksgiving Day with expectations that you are enjoying it with people close to you.

I picked a few current things from my list to share in pictures.

I am especially grateful for the wonderful weather we have enjoyed this Fall and for the beautiful color that hung on so long. 

It allowed me to get so much accomplished that wouldn't have happened in colder weather.

One of those things was the rehab of my back porch.

 Unexpected repairs mushroomed into major renovation.
But, it is sound again with lots of new parts including the siding and a new paint job.  Still waiting on the arrival of the light fixture that goes over the doors.

I have a big family and they are a wonderful bunch of relatives.  Relax, if any family members are reading this, I'm not going to toss your photo into cyberspace.  But indulge me just a tiny bit while I send special wishes to my darling grandchildren who have so much to look forward to.

Keep an eye on what is wonderful in your life...

 And your life will be wonderful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dresser to Buffet

We have a Goodwill Outlet store that sells everything by the pound.  Everything except furniture and larger items like bicycles.  The rest of the merchandise is 39 cents a pound for books and glassware, and all else is 79 cents a pound.

This piece is SOLID which translates to very HEAVY.  I am guessing on the weight, but I think the $10 I paid would make it about 10 cents per pound.  That translates to GREAT DEAL.

It was missing one piece of hardware but for $10 I thought I could deal with that.

The first thing I did was sand the top down to the bare wood.

Next I removed the hardware and scrubbed the drawers inside and out.

I had a general idea of what I wanted the drawers to look like but I didn't really know how I was going to achieve that look.  I started by painting the edge around the drawers black.  As things progressed, I decided I didn't like the black and changed it but... I'm getting ahead of myself.

My plan was to decoupage the smaller middle set of drawers with these papers.  However, as things moved along,  I nixed that idea too.

I picked a handful of colors and....

... randomly applied them to the drawer fronts.

I applied the same colors to the smaller drawers as well after I gave up on the decoupage idea.

I painted all the drawers a dark gray over the top of those greens and blues.

 and then sanded some of the gray off.  I think I caused myself some unnecessary work with this step but live and learn.

Then I added some pinks and a citrus green.  Over this I dabbed on a lighter gray and sanded some more.

Next I played around with some product I had on hand.  (It was all pretty ancient stuff but what could it hurt?  It wasn't like I was eating it.)

 I mixed a pale blue pigment with some glaze and rolled it over the drawers one at a time.  I squirted this with a blending solvent and then with something called activator.  I dabbed at it with cheese cloth and let it dry. I repeated this process nine times, and, because that was such fun, I did it all again.

This time I changed only the color of the pigment to a pale greenish tint. At this point I declared the drawers finished!

I moved on to the top.  I wanted to stain the top because it had a beautiful walnut veneer.  The problem was, I didn't want to use any brown stain. (You will understand when you see the dining room colors.  Oh, did I mention this is no longer a dresser but rather a buffet?)  Another factor to consider was that the walnut was not going to accept any stain easily. I don't have pictures of all that happened here but let me give you a brief rundown.  First I painted it with a watered down gray paint and rubbed it off as quickly as I could.  I "played" with this process for awhile and then slept on it.  The next day I sanded off as much of the gray as I could. (pretty much as you see it above)  If you haven't guessed, there was no formula to this process.  I was flying by the seat of my pants. 

My next step was having the paint store mix up a blackish charcoal stain.  I applied that and wiped it off.  The top blends well with the piece as a whole even though it doesn't appear that way in the photograph.

 The edge around the top is not veneer and even though I had meticulously sanded all the finish off of every curve in it....I ended up painting it gray and rubbing the stain mixture over the top of the paint.

This same treatment I applied to the edges of all the drawers.  (This is where the black border on the drawers was switched to a BM Winter Gates AC-30.)

A couple coats of wax added a nice luster and depth to the top.

Moving on to the hardware:  First step was to clean the existing hardware.  I debated switching to all new hardware .

I explored some options from Hobby Lobby.

I loved this one for the small drawers but that was a problem.  They only had one in stock and more had been on back order for four months.  The chance of getting even three of these was pretty slim.

I loved these from Anthropologie but...I would somehow have to match the pulls for the rest of the drawers and that wasn't going to be easy.  I checked the paint at the automotive store and could not match the platinum color on these knobs.

Back to the original hardware:  I sprayed them silver and then silver leafed them.

Then I painted them with a pearl white  metallic from Folk Art.  I wiped the paint off the high spots.

Then I painted them a Folk Art gunmetal grey metallic and wiped it back.
In between all of this I experiemented with graphite and stain but the paint won out.
I bought three knobs for the smaller drawers at Hobby Lobby and gave them the exact same treatment.
I'm sure there is hardware that would have looked spectacular on this piece but 9 pieces of expensive hardware could turn my $10 bargain into, no longer such hot deal.

Now we just have the body of the piece.  I had applied a base coat of Benjamin Moore (Smoke Embers AC-28) early on, and I was waiting to see how everything else ended up before I proceeded.
I decided to treat the corners the same as the drawer borders.

I applied the stain to the decorative applique...

...and continued down the rounded corner where it broke before going into the foot.

Someone told me years ago the secret to decorative painting is to know when to walk away.

I often have that internal argument with self about when enough is enough and more is too much.

Sometimes you can try out an idea and then change your mind as I did a few times with this project.  Other times it is harder to reverse a test try without destroying parts that were completely satisfactory.

It often helps to let it rest for a few days before altering the piece in any way.

Right now I'm playing around with what goes on and above my new buffet...not to mention all that can go in it.

 It will practically double the storage of my previous buffet.
This project brings me one step closer to showing you the completed dining room.  However, I still have six chairs to paint and reupholster.  Then comes the wall decor and finally a post on the dining room that began last June.

As always, I appreciate comments, questions, and suggestions. 

I am linking to:  No Minimalist Here
                            Savvy Southern Style
                            The Shabby Creek Cottage
                            Miss Mustard Seed
                            Simply Designing

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Custom Cards

A good friend of mine is finally making her hidden talent public.  She has been drawing cards for family and friends for years.  After some nudging, she is now offering her artistic talent and wild creativity to everyone interested in custom cards.

Here are just a few samples of her work.

Some of these are cards I received for my birthday or other special occasions.

Provide her with something going on in the life of someone you know and she will transform it into a card that was personalized just for them.

She has Christmas cards that can be purchased in bulk as well.

These cards are keepsakes.

It is a wonderful greeting for somewhen when you want the card to say more than the generic ones you buy retail.

It also saves you lots of time standing in the card aisle trying to find a card that fits the person you have in mind.

Information on purchasing these cards can be found at