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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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 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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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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Creating Distressed Shabby Chic Treasures

Any piece of wood furniture can be painted and distressed into a gorgeous shabby chic treasure.  The more detail it has the better it will turn out.  I recently saw this solid wood table at our local Goodwill store for $39 plus tax.  I contemplated walking away as I knew I would have to take a paintbrush to it and turn it white.  The other thing was that I don’t have a place to put it in my house.  Painting something with all the other projects I have to do just didn’t seem like a good idea but I just couldn’t walk away without it.  It was just a treasure for $39.

So here it is getting a coat of Kilz primer.  I had to do most of this piece with a brush since it had so much detail.  I used a sponge roller on the top only.  

After the primer was dry, I ended up doing about 4 coats of white latex paint!  This dark brown wood is very hard to cover, but I was persistent and here it is all white.  The detailing on this piece is so beautiful and I love how the white freshens it up!

The next step is distressing.  Simply take a 100 grit piece of sandpaper and lightly sand until some of the paint starts coming off the embossed areas.  You can sand any area that sticks out and would show wear if it was actually an old piece.  This technique works perfect on a dark wood piece because the dark wood peeks through just like it is supposed to.




Last, I put on a coat of Polyacrylic with a brush to seal and protect the paint job.  What do you think?

This cute piece will go over to my my daughter-in-law and son’s place and will be perfect next to their front door.

Here is it pictured a house by the front door at their house.  SO CUTE!  It’s Practically Palm Beach!

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Creating a French Look with Thrift Store Chairs

Right now I am loving the French style of decorating for my home.  Maybe it’s a phase, but I have been in it for quite a while.  It’s classic and classy.  For the past year I have been searching for different dining room chairs in that style.   The real problem was I had perfectly fine dark wood chairs already, but ever since I fell in love with this particular style, the dark brown dining chairs I had just did not seem to work with that French style I wanted.  My chairs in the photo below were purchased from a local Havertys with a dark expresso square table when we first moved into the house. I decided that I really only needed six chairs and started my hunt even more seriously at the beginning of 2017.

I searched on-line for six cute French style dining chairs in this rounded back style for quite some time, but was determined to find some used ones instead of spending a lot of money.  The thrifty part of me could not spend $1200 for six new chairs from that I found.   After all, I already had eight perfectly functional chairs to go with my round dining table I had found at a thrift store for only $10!  (Another one of my fantastic finds.)

Restoration Hardware Chair $419 and up!

The chair pictured above from Restoration Hardware starts at $419 for one chair!  I can tell you this “thrifty girl” can’t do that price.  So the hunt was on!

Homegoods Chair $129

I scoped Homegoods and TJ Maxx but they never had six of the same style chairs in the store – – AND they were still $129 each which was beyond my thrifty budget.  I even diligently searched Craigslist every day for something similar that I could paint or fix and just wasn’t having any success finding French chairs.

Then one day early in 2017 I remembered it was 25% off day at my favorite thrift store and decided to take the 30 minute drive there.  I wandered through the store looking inside and outside. After almost giving up and heading to the car, I decided to take one more look inside and there they were.  Six chairs in the exact same style I was looking for!  I couldn’t believe it.  I noticed the price was $199 for the six chairs plus an ugly glass table that was just randomly paired with them. With the 25% discount, I decided this was too perfect.  Score!  These chairs were going home with me as they were the perfect style.  I knew they had possibilities and were sturdy and in good condition.  The glass table however was donated back to the store and left there.

Thrift Store – Good Bones!

Now we had to find a way to get these home since we figured not all of them would fit into our SUV that already had the side chair I also just found there (see photo below).  It also had great “bones” and it was only $45 so I had to get it.  I will probably do a makeover on this one eventually but now back to the dining chairs.

We planned to come back with two SUVs and pick it all up but then decided – – let’s just strap them to the top.  Why not? That’s what that rack was put on the top for right? Here is the guy helping us load everything up.  I had to get over feeling like “Sanford and Son” a long time ago with all the furniture I have lugged home on the top of my car over the years.

Tying down the hatch!
Had to put a couple on top of the car too!

Although the style of the chairs were perfect, I had plans to change the color just a bit.  I couldn’t be more excited about how they changed the style of my dining room and only cost me what almost one chair would have cost me.  Here is how they looked when I got them in the door and put them around my table.  It was instantly French and much lighter in the dining room!  Some may say it was a lucky find, but I say I was blessed because they were so perfect.

Just home from the thrift store

I loved the new look but the color of the frame was a little too “light oak” for me and did not match the top of my faux-painted tabletop.  Brushing on a basecoat of gray chalk paint was the first step.  This just happened to be a color that I had used on some other furniture I had painted so I just used it as the base color to give it more of a gray tone.  Lowes mixes any color you want in their version of chalk paint so you can do any color you like.

After it was dry, I then took some white latex paint I already had in the garage and “dry-brushed” it on to create an old worn look.  I also painted the caning on the back to change the yellow to more of a white color (on left in photo).  Next I sealed the wood parts with my Polycrylic sealer and a paintbrush.

Notice how much whiter the back is after painting over the yellow.

I decided to leave the fabric on the seats for now because it was a nice light neutral color.

The chair on the left is before chalk painting and the one on right is after the process.

Before and After


I sold the eight dark chairs on-line and actually the new chairs didn’t cost me anything in the end.  I even had money left over after selling them.  The perfectionist in me knows I will someday lighten the outside edge of the chair backs and legs even more to make them more white and cover even more of the gray but I love the chairs and the new lighter French look.

Another project done!  It’s sea and sand time again.




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Adding an Iron Gate Looks Like Palm Beach

Creating a Palm Beach Look With an Iron Gate

Several years ago after we moved into our current home, my husband and I were out driving in Wellington and I noticed a home that had an iron gate on the exterior of their front door. It wasn’t just a “functional” gate that looked like it would keep out criminals, but a very beautiful wrought iron gate. I loved it and decided at that moment that I would have to look for something like that for our house.

If you drive around on Palm Beach Island you will also see a lot of iron gates around the mansions that look like these below.  The gates are both decorative and functional to secure their properties.  They remind me of a French Chateau gate.

They add such a huge statement to a home. These gates stuck in my head for years.   Because I am so practical, I would check places like Craigslist to see if anyone out there was selling an iron gate that could be used outside of my house.  Nope, I wasn’t finding a thing.  In the meantime, I had found these decorative matching iron wall pieces at a yard sale in Wellington and fell in love with them at $40 for both!

Garage Sale Iron Gate Wall Art $40

I can’t believe I almost didn’t buy them because I didn’t know where I was going to use them.   Something told me to purchase them anyway.  I went home and  took down what I had on my living room wall and put them up above my couch.  I have always loved the scrolls and curves that they have.  Little did I know that they would become my inspiration for another project.

A few years went by and I started thinking about the exterior gate again. In 2016, I found a guy who lives in our area who manufacturers all things iron called Calabrese Creations in Iron.  One day I gave him a call and he made an appointment to come by our house. He really listened to my idea as I showed him my plan based on the two iron gates hanging on my wall. He took some photos of the wall gates and measured my outside entrance and he was on his way to make my gate.  Below is a photo that he sent me during the process before it was powdercoated.

Before getting a powdercoat

It took a couple of months but the day finally came and he installed it a few days after Halloween 2016. I think it is my favorite thing about my house now and I get lots of comments about it from visitors and neighbors who are in love with it just as much as I am.  See more photos below.

The scroll work is beautiful!


Time for a beach day!
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Yard Sale Coffee Table to French Country Treasure

If there’s one thing I have learned in the past five years it’s never, EVER pass on a solid wood piece of furniture that has lots of design if you have a place for it in your home.  Over my years of having a furniture painting business, I would specifically look for things that had character and “shabby” potential.  I just happen to love that look and if you are into repurposing, it also sells very well in our Palm Beach area as it fits in with a beachy look as well.  About a decade or more ago, I discovered I really loved the Rachel Ashwell “Shabby Chic” look.  It was soft, feminine and looked like it had been around for a hundred years.

And, it is actually a look that is fairly easy to do.  Personally, I’m not a fan of dark wood.  I’ve learned that the lighter the furniture, the less you see dust!  Yes, I have replaced brand new dark wood pieces that I bought with thrift store finds to paint because I just dislike seeing all that dust every day.  (That will probably be the best tip of this blog.)  Buy light-colored furniture pieces or paint what you have light!  You will spend a lot less time dusting.

While shopping garage sales one Saturday morning, I found this medium-colored solid wood coffee table.  To be honest, it was pretty ugly.  But, I loved the curvy legs and intricate design on the sides and legs and it was $15.  SOLD!

Yard Sale Coffee Table $15

I brought it home and decided to get some chalk paint out.  I gave it a couple coats covering the entire piece in a soft white chalk paint that I made from latex paint, some Plaster of Paris and water.  There are hundreds of recipes for chalk paint on Pinterest.  Here is one.

You can also splurge on the Annie Sloan version of the chalk paint or Lowes now also has a chalk paint that they can mix to any color.  That is a nice option I recently discovered.  This is what the Lowes chalk paint can looks like.   It is great to paint with and I use a nice 1.5″ brush.  I have learned that buying a more expensive brush will make your painting jobs easier.  The right tools are a must!  Instead of buying that cheap $3 brush, get the $9 one.  You will get a lot more use of out it, but you should clean it very well after each use with warm, soapy water.  Rinse it well!  You will have a much more polished product in the end.

It will most likely take at least two coats of the chalk paint to cover over a dark wood piece.  It helps to lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper in between coats to make the surface nice and smooth.  (This is not required but will leave a smoother surface.)  Wipe with a dry clean cloth to get the residue off before starting the next coat.  Finally I waxed the entire piece with Johnson Paste Wax.  Rub it on with clean, soft rag.  Let it sit for a few minutes (see directions on the can) and then buff off with another soft, clean cloth.  It gives is a matte finish that will protect the paint.

Here is the finished coffee table in my family room.

After a project is finished – the beach is always calling!

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