How to Age Terracotta Pots

Last weekend I picked up three small terracotta pots at a yard sale for $1.  Lately I’ve been thinking I need some live plants around but because I do not have a green thumb I tend to not even try.  I guess my desire to have live plants won!  I went to Lowes and picked up some small cute plants that were only about $3.50 each.  I did want them inside but I’m also redecorating my patio so I thought they might be cute out there too.  However, I wanted the pots to look old and worn, not like this!

And I’m pretty obsessed with old mossy urns and pots that look old right now! (Pinterest Photo)

I purchased a can of Sand Stone spray paint at Lowes.  This will add some texture to the exterior of the pots.

After randomly spraying this paint on the pots, they looked like this.  You don’t have to cover the entire pot perfectly. (Watch out for those alligators in the background!!!!!). HA!

Oh, did you notice I’m using a piece of cardboard that I snow flocked some things on at Christmas?

Next I took some white paint and “dry-brushed” some paint on the outside of the pots.  Be careful to not use too much paint. Your brush should be wiped off before you even touch the pots.  I put the white paint on heavier in some places because I liked that look.

Next came a dab of olive green and black craft paints that I bought at Michaels.  This is simply to lightly add the “moss and dirt” spots to a few parts of the pots.  Again, the trick is to dab almost all the paint off the brush before touching the pots.  You don’t need much at all.  I guess I’ll have lots of this paint available for another project down the road.

Here are the pots completed.  Some people would seal them with a sealer at this point.  I chose not to and will just see how they hold up.

These two pots landed outside on the patio for now but I still plan on using the other one inside somewhere.

This was a super easy project and the result make the pots seem like I’ve had them for years and not killed them!

 

 

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First Finished Project of 2018 – Painted Antique Buffet

You may remember from a December post that I created this Christmas coffee bar on my antique buffet.   I purchased the buffet off Craigslist in the Fall and had plans to paint it but with the holidays I knew I couldn’t get it done until a later time.

Although I like antique wood and don’t always paint it, this piece just begged for a fresh coat.

Last week I decided it was finally time to tackle the project.  I lightly sanded a few spots on the top that were a little bubbled.  As we all know, an antique will always have some flaws and not be perfect.  I view that as part of the charm of an old piece.  They don’t have to be perfect!

The buffet originally had a “back board” on it that I didn’t want on there so it had three holes on the top that I needed to fill in before priming it.  I only had spackle so I tried that.  Not a great idea.  I finally went to Lowes and actually bought wood filler and filled it in more.  Then I sanded each hole to a smooth finish.

The next step was to prime it with a primer so the paint will adhere.  I’ve used a lot of chalk paint lately but I decided to use regular latex paint on these piece.  I used a brush to get around all the grooves and corners first and then rolled large areas like the top with a small foam roller.  I use this piece to store all my teacups and since I wasn’t painting the inside I just left them in there.

It took about three coats of paint to cover all that dark wood!

For the final step, I sealed it with Polycrylic in a matte finish when ended up being more like a satin finish.

 

The hardware was a antique brass color and I wanted it to be more dark bronze so they all got a fresh coat of dark bronze spray paint to give it this look below.  Miraculously, I had saved a bunch of old keys from my yardsaling hunts and one of them actually fit and locks the side doors.

I also lightly distressed the edges with sandpaper to give it a an old worn look.

 I really love the new look and how it brightened up my kitchen area.

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Easy Graham Cracker “Gingerbread” Houses

Gingerbread houses a cute and fun to decorate.  However, here is a quick and easy way to make a “gingerbread” house.  My daughter, her husband and I made these easy graham cracker houses about two years ago.  I loved them so much I actually sprayed each of them with a clear coat of shellac-type spray paint to try to seal them so I could keep them for many years!  We were not planning on eating them so we cheated a little and hot-glued the graham crackers together first and then had fun decorating them with royal icing and many different kinds of candies and marshmallows.  I think they turned out super cute and it only took about two hours total to make them.   It was fun to see how we each put our individual touches on our houses.

Last year I displayed them on my coffee table and this year they are on my kitchen countertop.

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How I Snow-Flocked My Artificial Christmas Tree

After seeing how pretty snow-flocked trees were last Christmas, I decided early in the year that I wanted a white flocked tree this year.

I looked on-line for flocked trees and they ranged from about $200-800.  Christmas trees can get real expensive!   I have limited space in my living room where I put the Christmas tree in my front window so I needed a skinny, but tall tree.  I was having a little bit of trouble finding a pretty flocked tree so I came up with another idea.   I’ll flock mine!  It’s the perfect size already and I’ll save a lot of money.  As you know, I am very practical and always looking to save money.

I went on Amazon and found this and ordered it!

I went on Youtube and found a few videos that showed how to flock a Christmas tree at home.  It sounded pretty easy.  All you need is a spray bottle with water and a metal strainer.  I got my strainer at the dollar store.  I read that it can be a bit messy so I set up on a tarp inside the garage.  You do not want to do it where it is windy.  The stuff would blow all over!  I set up the bottom third of the tree and began spraying the limbs saturating each one randomly, not being exact at ALL.  Just spritz!

This is all you need.

Fill the strainer with the “snow” and shake it over the limbs.  It will stick to the wet limbs.  Then lightly spray the snow again to “set it.”

I found that it was going on nicely but I actually wanted it to be even more covered.  To get it to glob on heavier, I just took handfuls of the snow flocking and threw it at the limbs.  It was quite fun!  Don’t forget to spritz it after applying it.

I added each tree layer (I have three) of the tree working my way up to the top section.  Please ignore all the random stuff in my garage!  It’s quite the storage place.

It’s getting there!

I set it up in the living room trying to be as careful as possible not to brush up against too many things.  You can see how “skinny” my tree is and how it actually brushes the ceiling.  I love the size of the tree.

After putting all the lights on, the floor looked like this.  It really wasn’t too bad.  I got the vacuum out and swept it all up.  I needed a new tree skirt so this prompted me to get a plain white one knowing the snow would show on any other color and probably look messy all the time.

Here’s a sneak peak of my Swedish Christmas tree theme this year!  Many years ago my dad made the wooden hearts and Dala horses using a jigsaw.  They are very special to me since he made them for me.

Are you ready to try this simple project?

 

 

 

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How to Make a Wooden Coffee Bar Sign

Like many others, I love coffee!  I grew up dunking cookies in coffee and I guess I acquired a taste for it early.

I recently decided to create a coffee bar for the holiday season.  As I was putting it together, I wanted to have a coffee sign but didn’t want to spend a lot of money or time getting one.  Plus, I didn’t want a store-bought sign with no personal touch.

One night when I was having trouble sleeping, I started brainstorming on whether or not I had something in my garage that I could use to create the sign.  I remembered that I had picked up a couple of wooden wine boxes at a yard sale a while back and immediately sprung out to the garage to take a look.  (I pick up unique items at yard sales just for times like these!)

  

Yes!  I can work with this!  I grabbed a plyers and pulled the hinges and latch off and decided that the top of the box would be perfect for my sign.

I dug out some antiquing wax that I had in the garage and started painting it on and rubbing it off like a stain to darken the wood.

   

  

I left the project to dry and decided I needed to come up with a plan of what I wanted it to say.  These were some of my ideas below.  For those who don’t know what “Fika” is, it’s a Swedish term for a break in the day for coffee, something sweet and friends!  I LOVE Fika Time!  I also liked personalizing it with our last name.  I did that one in Powerpoint.

I also decided that I wanted to lighten my sign and also it would be easier to rub a transfer on if it were a lighter color.  I grabbed some sample paint that I had in the garage and just painted the inside part, leaving the wooden frame.

I found this “but first, coffee” transfer on-line and tried that as a test by following a Pinterest instruction on-line.

This method was done by wetting the paint brush and then rubbing off the ink with the blunt edge of a sharpie.
 

The “wet paintbrush” idea was a Pinterest FAIL.  The letters were simply just not dark enough with this method.  I repainted the inside again and let it dry.

Since this first method failed, I thought I’d try again with another look I had created on Powerpoint.  In order to “flip” the words so that they can be applied ink down, you have to select the horizontal flip in the print menu.  I printed it on some photo paper I already had in a drawer and figured I would just try that before running out for transfer paper.  What’s the worst that would happen?!!  I would have to repaint it again and try again?

  

I placed the paper face down on the wood and was careful to hold it still with my left hand while I rubbed the back of it applying pressure with the sharpie edge.  I rubbed back and forth as long as I could and then removed the paper and it worked!  I could have rubbed even more on the outside letters to darken the ink a little, but I’ll try again with another project.  I like the slightly distressed, faded look.  I may eventually seal it to protect it but since it won’t get touched very much, I am just going to leave it alone for now.

I want to “hang” or attach is to the mirror but here it is at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Can’t Resist an Antique Nightstand

While shopping at a local thrift store for a small coffee table, I found this little antique nightstand for $8 and just couldn’t resist buying it.  Although I don’t paint too many items to sell anymore, I just had to bring it home for that price.  I thought that maybe I could find a place for it somewhere in my house.   It also had the original glass knobs which I had removed already before I took this photo.

I loved the curved front drawer and the interesting “feet” on the front of the nightstand.

It did have some water rings on the top so I decide to chalk paint it.

Here is the result after several coats of chalk paint.  It was ready for purchase.  I posted it on Craigslist and some Facebook sites to sell and it sold quickly for a nice profit.  Interestingly, the person who bought it was going to paint it an off-white instead of the bright white that I had painted it.  Oh well, that’s what happens sometimes.  I hope the new owner enjoys it for many years!

 

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How to Make Farmhouse Charger Plates

Over the past several months I’ve been hunting for some ornate charger plates that don’t cost a fortune that would work well in my dining room.  After all, anyone who watches Fixer Upper on HGTV knows that Joanna Gaines always sets the table with charger plates, cloth napkins and a sprig of something earthy.  I have seen chargers on-line that are outrageously expensive and this thrifty girl knew there was an inexpensive way to get the look I was wanting.  These chargers from Amazon.com are $15 each!

I saw a Pinterest idea of  collecting silver-plated round trays and painting them to use as chargers so I started hunting for just them.  Unfortunately, I have only been able to find about three over the past several months hunting thrift stores and garage sales.

This morning while browsing around our local Goodwill store I came across these red plastic chargers.  There were six of them which is exactly what I needed.  They were only .99 each so I grabbed them knowing I had a project ahead to make them fit into any season, not just Christmas or Valentines Day.   I like to keep my dining room table “set” (staged) and I really needed some chargers to complete the look.  I liked the scalloped edges even though I really want something a little more ornate down the road.  I figured these would work at least as temporary chargers with a little work.  Ok, they don’t look very “farmhouse” or French country… YET!

After washing them, I put my drop cloth over my counter and stove and got some chalk paint out that I had used in a previous project.

The paint I used was sort of Paris gray/taupe color.  I just used a small paintbrush and started painting each one with a thin coat to cover the chargers.

This is how they looked while drying after one coat of chalk paint.

After a second coat was dry, here was the result.

I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do next but just decided to rub some lighter paint on the edges with my finger (see photo below).  Project FAIL!  I didn’t like the look.  It looked like a little kid had painted on the edges and it looked messy.  I had to repaint that one and come up with a new plan.

I always think that a dry-brushed paint job comes out the best.  It looks rustic, old and farmhouse chic.  Perfect!  I dry-brushed each charger and let them dry.  (Dry-brushing is when you dip the tip of the paint brush in the paint and then wipe off most of it with a damp rag before dragging is across whatever you are working on.  After that step, I put on two coats of Polycrylic to seal the paint because chalk paint always needs to be sealed to prevent the paint from chipping.

The whole project only cost me the $6 (for the chargers) because I already had the other supplies in my stash.

 

This was an easy project that only took a couple hours (because of drying time) to finish.

I’m loving the new addition to the table.  I guess I should put some flatware on it now but I feel like it is a Practically Palm Beach success story now.

 

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From Bombay to “Fixer Upper”

From time to time I find just the right thing I’m looking for.  This summer I found a pair of matching Bombay dark wood nightstands on a Facebook selling site in our area for only $40/both.  Finding solid wood nightstands for that price was a steal!  I had been searching for some nightstands for some family and these two Bombay nightstands were just the right height and size for their “Fixer Upper” style master bedroom which I was helping to decorate.  Keep in mind that no matter what the color of a piece of furniture is, it can always be changed to something else.  Don’t let any color keep you from buying it.

I forgot to take a before photo so this is one of them while I was taking out the drawers to paint them.  The wood is very dark and the pieces are actually from the Bombay store (if you remember that store that used to be around).

They also have this cool pull-out shelf at the top.  What the heck is that for anyway?

After removing all the drawers and hardware, I washed it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt.

I bought some white chalk paint from Home Depot and started the painting with a brush.  Here is what it looks like with just one coat of chalk paint.  I found Home Depot’s chalk paint a little harder to paint with than Lowe’s paint.  However, they now seem to have the same paint which I was not happy about.  Lowes had a very nice paint this summer that was a lot more “chalky” and painted on easier.  Now their paints seem to be very similar and I miss the former mix.   This piece actually ended up taking about 4-5 coats to cover up the dark wood.  You have to be patient and determined when you are changing something this dark to white!  Just stay at it!

I sanded with a fine grit sanding block in between coats (well, after most of the coats) and got off the dust each time to get a smoother finish. I actually used my vacuum hose with an upholstery brush to get off the sanding dust.  I also lightly sanded the edges for a distressed look.  I dry-brushed the hardware as well to cover some of the brassy finish.

Then I coated it with my favorite Polyacrylic clear coat to protect the paint job.

The room is coming together and these two nightstands were the perfect size to fit in this master bedroom.

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Painting and Waxing Over Painted Furniture

One of my standard rules as a furniture recycler is that I really only want to touch (paint) a piece of furniture once.  I usually put too much work into it the first time that I do not want to think about changing it another time.  However, I do get asked, “Can you repaint a piece of furniture that you have already painted?”  The answer is yes!   I have done it to several pieces, but I usually do it “kicking and screaming.”  I try to not do this much but sometimes it is just easier than trying to find something new, especially if  it is a solid piece you love.

You may remember a previous blog that I did on this wood yard sale coffee table that went from medium brown wood to white which made it look “shabby chic French” style with distressed areas.

The coffee table was white for several years and worked pretty well in the space.  However, recently I spotted a couch on a local Swip Swap sale site that I purchased and put in my family room to replace my other dark leather couch and it is a cream color. I fell in love with it and had been looking for this type of sofa for a while now.

When I put the two pieces together, something just wasn’t right.  Everything in that room was a vanilla color with no contrasting colors.  I now needed to get the table to contrast but still work in that room at least until I find something else I like better.  I started by taking some dark brown paint and dry brushing some strokes on the top (photo below.). It just wasn’t looking right and still had too much of a white background.  I knew I needed to make it darker to work with the new couch.

I found this dark wax in my garage that I had bought at Lowes and had never really used it on anything.  At one point I must have bought it for a project I had but never used it.  I also pulled out my Polycrylic to put on as a seal coat to protect it when it was the way I wanted it.

I took the brush and started very lightly brushing on the dark wax and wiping it lengthwise with a clean cloth which made some interesting stroke marks.  This was going to be totally experimental for me and I didn’t know what I was doing not having used this type of wax before.  This was a tedious, but necessary job to get the look I was wanting.  I stopped a couple of times just to give myself a break and come back to it for another look.  I liked where this was going!  The color it was becoming was exactly what I wanted.  It had a brown tint but I still wanted some lighter areas showing through.  I started rubbing the wax on the sides and legs with just the rag and it worked great.  After I had finished the look I wanted, I let it try for about an hour.  I then put two coats of polycyclic on with a brush to protect it letting it dry fully in between coats.  The thing to remember with the dark wax is to just apply it and wipe it off right away.  Don’t worry too much about getting things perfect.  It’s not supposed to look perfect.  It is supposed to look blotchy, worn and old.  I finished it in one day so it really did not take long at all.

I think it turned out sort of in a Restoration Hardware look.

I just love the carved detail in this piece of furniture.

Here is the final outcome.  I will definitely use that can of dark wax again on another piece.  The table contrasts and blends in so well now with the new cream couch and I am so happy I was able to give this table a new look and keep it.

 

Sunrise photo taken from our balcony on vacation this summer.
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Yard Sale Ornate Mirror Makeover

As an avid yard sale shopper, I look for unique things that I can envision fitting into a space in my home and sometimes other people’s homes.  This large, ornate gold mirror was one of those things I almost passed on but then decided that for $20 it was too great and took it home.  The frame was PLASTIC!  But then, who cares??  It’s pretty!  Of course, if you have been following me at all since I started this blog, you will know that I paint a lot!  Most items will get a new look with just a little white paint.

I looked around my house and couldn’t find a spot to put this mirror but at the time I got it, my son and his wife were purchasing a new home and I knew the perfect spot for it.  Out comes the white paint from the stash in the garage and the transformation begins.

First, I completely covered the frame with a couple coats of satin white paint from Lowes.  You could use any color but I’m in a white mode right now.  Then after it was dry, I took a small piece of sandpaper and lightly “distressed” some of the detail.  This gives it just more of worn, older look and allows some of the gold to show through as in the photo below.

When I was finished, I brought the mirror over and hung it in their dining room.  It was the perfect place and reflects the light and crystals in the chandelier.

Don’t you just love their elegant French Chic dining room?!!

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