Oct 27, 2014

Antique dresser in Artissimo

Sometimes I come across a piece that is so special, I wonder if it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

About a year ago, I was shopping at one of my favorite spots, and there was an amazing lot of furniture that had come in.  
I was able to get a bundle deal, and one of the pieces in that deal was this dresser:

I won't gross you out with all the yuckiness I had to deal with just to get it "clean" enough to load up, but I knew this was a rare find.
The gorgeous shell handle pulls were what had me.

This was in the worst condition of any furniture piece I've ever brought home.

The drawers were all wonky and falling apart, but everything else was decent, so I took a chance.
As soon as I got it home, I stood back and admired it.

Miss Mustard Seed had recently introduced Artissimo in her paint line, and I knew that was what I would be painting this dresser in.  
No question.

So then it sat in my garage.
And sat.
And sat.

I decided I really needed to get the drawers fixed so that I could get this dresser back into it's full glory.

I usually go to my dad for any construction / fix it help, but he has been on a creative explosion recently, and I didn't want to interrupt his flow by handing off this extensive of a fix.

I found a local furniture restoration company and made an appointment to bring it in.
The guy was instantly enamored- but not with my initial paint job. 

The drawers and slides all got repaired, and when I went to pick it up, the cost was significantly less than his estimate.
He really, really liked it, and wanted to restore it.
But so did I.

I thanked him and told him if I ever found one again, he would be the first to know.

There's just so much to love about this piece.

The turned wood corbels.
The gorgeous old wood.
And the handles.
Did I mention the handles? 
Oh yeah.

Let's admire them once more.

I used clear wax on the body of the dresser, and hemp oil on the handles and top.
Here's before using the hemp oil:

I keep my phone close by while I'm working on projects for the before photos...
You can see how much lighter the wood was before.

I love all the character behind this dresser.  
The top is gorgeous- it has repairs and a long history of being fixed and re-loved, and I hope that will continue.

The vintage gooseneck lamp is also a recent find- it will be available at The Farmhouse Show!
The brass dog bookends are mine though.  
I just love them, and I've used them in several photo shoots.

This dresser also has a secret bit of history still attached to it.
Wanna see?

Original shipping tags still attached on the back of the dresser.

Miss Emma had this gorgeous dresser shipped to Omaha somewhere in time.
I don't know about you, but I love to daydream about what was happening in history with Miss Emma and her dresser.
Was it a big move?  Was she a new bride?

I'm just glad that this dresser will begin a new history with someone soon.
It's amazing to think about where this has been and all the times it has been loved by different families, and all the hands that have touched it.

History and home decor.
The best.

xo Denise

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Oct 22, 2014

French blue secretary

It is a super gray, rainy day here in Oregon.  
Normally I hate these kinds of days, but since I am holed up inside working on last minute prep before The Farmhouse Show, I'm ok with it.

It did make the photo shoot for this secretary a bit challenging, but I'm finding that I am getting more comfortable with my camera and it's not as daunting as it used to be!

Here's another piece I finished working on for the show:

Normally I shy away from doing blue pieces, because they don't sell as well for me, but sometimes I get tired of doing the same stuff, and when it feels right on certain pieces, I'm willing to give it a try.

This pretty French style secretary is painted in Miss Mustard Seed's French Enamel.
This is such a gorgeous blue- it's really hard to describe, but what I love about it is that even though it is a medium blue tone, it always seems to give off a hint of aqua.

What really got me with this desk was the gorgeous hardware:

Once I had painted the desk, they were looking just a tad bit dated with the dark 
1970's tones....
You can see the one on the bottom that I'm holding is unfinished, and the one on top has a new brighter look with Rub N Buff.  I used Gold Leaf.

Yes, it's a subtle difference, but I think the final outcome looks much richer.

I paired the desk with some rustic accessories.
This amazing wood bowl will be available at the Farmhouse Show.
I found it on a buying trip in Portland a couple weeks ago.  
It had some traces of a hand painted design and ball point pen inside, but I sanded it away and gave it a good scrub with some soapy water.
I oiled it with hemp oil, and now it looks amazing with it's aged patina.

Speaking of hemp oil, that's how I finished the secretary.  Usually I use clear wax, but I am running low and won't have time to order more and have it get here before next week.  
I have a big piece that will get waxed tomorrow, so I had to preserve what's left for that!
The hemp oil went on beautifully, and has a silky smooth finish.

I had initially planned on painting the interior of the secretary, but at the last minute, I opted to leave the natural wood.  I think it's a great complement to the bits of distressing on the exterior, and looks great against the French blue.

It's been nice with the pouring rain to sit and get some painting projects and sewing done!
But hopefully it will go away before next Tuesday when we start loading the truck up!!
See you soon!

xo Denise

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Oct 20, 2014

Scandinavian style dresser

Whew!  It has been a whirlwind around here!!

I have been doing a ton of work for The Farmhouse Show which is next week!
I've had an incredible two months at Aunt Bee's House, and was starting to hyperventilate (just a little) as my inventory for the show was dwindling to fill in holes in my booths.
It's a great problem to have, and I am so happy to have that kind of situation, but it did necessitate a buying trip late last week to have a few more big pieces to take with me.

One of the first pieces I found was this highboy.
I love the style of these dressers, and saw a lot of potential in it.

I made my own gray with the Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.
This was 5 tablespoons of Linen, and one tablespoon of Typewriter.  I was hoping for a lighter gray, but my goodness, it's amazing how just a tablespoon of the Typewriter really can darken that much cream color!

This is two coats of milk paint.
I had a terrible / hilarious accident when painting this piece....

When the weather starts to get wet and yucky, I will bring my projects inside to work on.  
It's not ideal, but it's what I have to do sometimes.
I always put a good size drop cloth down to protect from drips and splatters.
I was attempting to stand up from sitting on the floor, and the crook of my knee "grabbed" the drop cloth, lifting it up as I stood, and also tipping over the cup of paint.
Well, actually, I said a lot worse than argh.
More like, %!@*%$!!!

It just kept spilling and I seemed to be in slow motion trying to get it picked up before it all spilled out.
Did I mention this was a custom color?

I was desperately trying to scoop the spilled paint back into the cup.
And because so much of it was all over, even with a double layer of drop cloth, I knew it was seeping through to the wood floor.
So bad.
I was able to salvage enough to finish up the dresser, but it was not a happy moment.
Moving on.

It chipped up just in little bits, and I was really happy with the distressing.
I also embellished the drawer fronts with a little leafy-like design that I free handed.
 A coat of clear wax, and then I went over the drawers with a streaky white wax topcoat.

I wanted to find some white ceramic style knobs, and found these ones at Hobby Lobby.
They are so cute!

I'll be bringing this dresser with me to The Farmhouse Show, and I staged it with a few accessories that represent some of the other smalls going too.

Pretty baskets and vintage linens....

...and lots of benches and step stools.  
I thought maybe this cutie would be going, but I may have to hold on to it for a bit.
I've bought and sold so many, but this one just makes my heart pitter patter.

I have several lanterns that I will be bringing to the Farmhouse Show, but not this particular one.  
It's from Ikea, and went the best with the dresser.

One last little detail I wanted to point out in case you didn't see it in the first photo:

You had me at wheels.
I'm such a sucker for anything like this.
Plus it makes it easier when you want to take it home.
*hint hint*

hee hee.  

So much good stuff you guys.  I can't wait to show you.
I'm going to do my best to stay steady with the prep work, and showing you before hand what I'm bringing.  Some of the pieces are so monstrously heavy and buried right now, you may only get a peek at it when I show you my booth photos, but I promise you- there is some cool stuff.

See you soon~
xo Denise
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Oct 1, 2014

DIY: how to create a Ballard Designs finish

Do you look through Ballard Designs catalogs and dog ear nearly every page- like me?
So many beautiful items, and the overall elegant look and staging to their products is so inspiring.

I got a beautiful wall plaque from a friend a few months ago, and really liked the design.  
It was in a black slate finish, but I decided to give it a little makeover to lighten up the look.

First of all, I painted the entire piece with two coats of Annie Sloan's Coco.
I had a sample pot that I've been testing out on a few projects here and there, and it was perfect for this piece.

Once the Coco was completely dry, I made a wash using a 50/50 solution of AS Old White and water.

You can see the wash pooling in some of the corners here.
I really focused on getting not just the surface covered in the wash, but especially down in the crevices of the design.

When it was partially dry, I went over the piece with a wet rag, to remove a lot of the white wash.

I didn't even wax this or finish it with poly.  It really gives this an old world, European look.
Which is what we love about Ballard Designs!

I bet you're looking around the house now and looking at something you could try this out on for a fresh new look, huh?

So fun and simple, and a quick way to give a piece a whole new look.
Give it a try and let me know how it worked for you!

xo Denise

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Sep 29, 2014

Secretary desk in Linen and Artissimo

One of my all time favorite colors is navy.  
I've always loved to wear it, and I love that it is becoming a home decor trend again.  
(Actually, it's a classic in home decor, but we're seeing a comeback right now....)
If we were to dig through some of my old photos, you would even see that my homecoming gown was navy.  
But we won't do that.

Remember that perfume from the 1980's that said, you always feel beautiful in navy ?
It's so true!
It's dramatic and still friendly.
It makes everything somehow warmer, even though it is a cool tone.

I got this secretary from a dear friend of mine.
I remember when they first had it and I always admired it.

 When she asked me if I wanted it, I couldn't say no!
It was beautiful in it's original pine, but I saw so much new potential in a fresh color.

And I have been dying to try Artissimo on some furniture projects.

It's such a pretty, inky blue.

I thought it was a great complimentary color to Linen for the interior of this piece.

I'm still having so much fun working with milk paint.
I love the nuances of it and the results with each project.

It's such a great piece, and offers so much storage and decorating options!

I just dropped it off at Aunt Bee's this weekend.
With the end of September quickly approaching, I've started making my to do list of everything that needs to get done before The Farmhouse Show in 4 weeks! 
Lots to do between now and then.
I'm already working on Christmas projects....whew.

How about you?  Are you a fan of navy?

xo Denise

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Sep 28, 2014

Comforts of home: Fancy grilled cheese and Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

Fall is the season for warm, hearty soups, isn't it?

One of my very favorites is Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder.
The first time I tried it was at a soup exchange that I hosted a few years ago.

My sister in law brought this one, and it was my favorite.
And what is better with a big bowl of soup than grilled cheese?!

As a fun twist for fall, I am showing you these fancy grilled cheese sandwiches that you can make with a leaf cookie cutter.
Super fun, and super easy.  
Yummy, and a special treat for dinner with friends or family.

For the grilled cheese~
I have a couple leaf cookie cutters in my stash.
You can find these pretty easy at gift shops, cooking stores, or sometimes in your local grocery store with the seasonal baking goods.

My cutters aren't very big, so you might have some extra bread left over, but you can find bigger cutters that won't have as much waste.
I cubed my extra bread for another topping for dinner.

It's easier to cut out with a thicker type of bread- we really like sourdough, and it works great with the cookie cutter.
Once the bread was cut out, I did the same for the cheese.
I buttered the outside of the bread and fried it for about a minute on each side.
Crispy, ooey gooey, good!


 Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder:

1 1/2 c. shredded chicken
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T butter
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 cup hot water
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 c. half and half (2% milk is fine too)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cans creamed corn
1 can whole corn kernel
4 oz green chiles
dash of hot pepper sauce

optional: 1 tomato, diced

Brown the chicken , onion, and garlic in butter until chicken is fully cooked.
Put into a large cooking pot.
Dissolve bullion in hot water.
Add to chicken mixture and season with cumin.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in crams, cheese, corn, chiles, and hot sauce.
Cook, stirring often until cheese is melted.
Stir in tomato if desired.

This rich and hearty soup is packed with flavor!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

xo Denise

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Sep 26, 2014

simple no sew pillow tutorial with freezer paper stencil

Hey everyone!  
I wanted to come back today and show you a super simple and fun pillow you can make.

I enjoy sewing, but I know not everyone has access to a machine or likes to sew, so here's a super easy way to make a customized pillow.
For this project I used a scrap piece of drop cloth for my pillow cover.
You can also use cotton or twill.

I used a longer lumbar pillow for this project.
The size on this one was 26 x 14"
and I bought it at JoAnn's a few years ago for another pillow project.

I've had a hard time tracking down this size again, but you might be able to find it...
If you can't, Ikea also makes a good size rectangular pillow (slightly smaller though) that I like (Fjadrar)It's usually around $7.

**Be sure to get a pillow suitable for outdoors if it will be exposed to the elements though!!
The Ikea pillow is down filled, so it can't get wet!

For your fabric, cut it about 24" longer than your pillow.

You will lose a lot of that extra length when you gather up the edges to tie off.
You want to also make sure that you have enough fabric length to wrap it around the pillow.

Next, you can print off your welcome or whatever saying you want to have for your pillow.
I just used my Word program.

The font I used here is Janda Stylish Script.
It's a bit wispy, so if you have trouble seeing something that thin, you might want to opt for a chunkier font or script.

Print off your phrase- I made mine big enough so it printed off on 2 pages.
You can cut the font in half where it would naturally join together and tape it for your stencil.

Place the print out underneath your freezer paper, and trace the lettering.

Once it is traced, I place the freezer paper on a self healing quilting mat and cut out the letters using an exacto blade.
Again, if this is difficult for you to see, use a thicker font and you can maybe even get away with some sharp scissors to cut out your letters.
Make sure you save any interior pieces- the middles of E's or O's etc- because  you will need them!

Once all your letters are cut out, place your freezer paper on your fabric where you want your lettering to be.
Smooth it out and make sure it is as straight as possible.  Using a hot iron, iron the freezer paper onto your fabric.
Place any middles to any letters (...your E's, A's, etc) where they belong and carefully iron them in place.

Once your stencil has been ironed onto your fabric, you can use craft paint to to dab the color onto the stencil cutout area.
I just use a foam brush.

Use uniform coverage when you apply- mostly so that there aren't any globs around the edges where you will be lifting off the stencil.

Let the paint sit for a few minutes to dry slightly, and then you can peel away the stencil from the fabric.

P.S. If you want an aged, faded appearance to your fabric lettering, once the fabric is 90% dry, toss it in the washing machine for a quick wash, and it will lift some of the color so you have an aged,  faded look to the print.

Continue to allow to dry for approximately one hour, and then you are ready to wrap your pillow!
I wrapped the width and had about 2" overlap.
I folded over the edge and simply safety pinned it shut.

No one is really ever going to see this side of it, but it still looks nice to have a folded edge.

Gather up the ends and using a length of ribbon (I used about 12" for each side) tie a simple knot.

That's it!

Have fun~

xo Denise

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