shabby peonies

Friday, December 14, 2012

What can you say?

What can you say when the unthinkable happens? When something horrific and violent, like a shooting at a theater or a mall or a school, shocks you out of your daily routine and makes it impossible to just be... happy.

I cannot grasp how these things happen and I'm just so terribly sad for the families involved. Those that are innocent victims and those that cannot understand why their children would do something so awful. What was so terribly broken in these minds and hearts that they thought this was a viable response to the world around them?

Tonight, our synagogue had our annual menorathon: we bring our family menorah and candles and light them together. It's a beautiful sight to see so many lights burning brightly... reminding us to be a light to the world, to continue the chain of tradition, to reflect on years past, to burn with hope for the future. Tonight it felt like a reminder that there is light in the world and that we need to fan those flames when we have dark days like today.

Praying for peace and healing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sometimes my brain goes on vacation without me...

You know how sometimes you can reaaaaaaaaaally mean to do something and you just... don't? Not things like taking out the trash (I forget that on purpose) or putting laundry away (that's just a self defense mechanism) but just other things that seemed important and then... weren't.

I forgot to post finished pictures of the square end tables:

Nothing really changed from this picture, tho. I waxed them and put their hardware back on and I wish I had a large enough living room to really use them before they find a new home. Unfortunately, my living room will not expand so these puppies are just sitting in the garage until someone realizes they NEED them. 

Originally listed them at $75 for the pair on my Facebook page but holidays are approaching and if I want to be able to acquire anything new to work on, these guys need to go. $55 makes them yours, peeps!

More sale prices coming up soon!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ikea hack - French grain sack theme

This dresser is actually one of a pair we own. I think it's an old version of the Tarva or Rask? I don't know for sure. It's 4 to 6 years old tho. I know I put it together while big and pregnant, I'm just not sure who was baking. haha. 

I actually unpacked and took all the pieces upstairs so I could put it together in the hallway and not have to carry the assembled frame/drawers up. Just couldn't wait for the hubby to help, I guess. 

So! It's just a simple yellow pine dresser. It wasn't finished but when I tried to stain it yesterday, you would have thought that was a lie. It would NOT accept any stain except for in the one spot that I'd sanded a water mark off. Ugh. I wiped it all down (sorry! I didn't think to get pictures of this mistake) and took it outside and hand sanded the dickens out of the top. I just wanted to stain the top to contrast with the white, you see. Anywhoo. It looked much more 'receptive' but I guess it just wasn't good enough. I stained it again with English Walnut and it only took the stain with any conviction in the few places my 80 grit had gouged. Double ugh. 

And this is when I did what any self respecting DIYer would do: I mixed up some chalkish paint and painted the whole dadblasted thing. 

Right before I got started tho, I dug out some massive chunks of hardened Plaster of Paris or grout from my gallon of off-white. Triple ugh. I should have taken pictures but A. I was alone and B. both of my hands were covered in paint. 

Anywhoo! I painted this puppy during the girls' nap and then started googling to see what I could do with it. I thought about doing some grain sack stripes and found a couple pieces via Pinterest and Google: this is my favorite.

In progress...

Yes? No? Still deciding on the new hardware. I wanted to get some pretty red ceramic melon knobs but then I found these: 
and now I am not so sure. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Magazine table, take.... 4?

Another lucky find at a local ReSale store. I just can't turn away from these types of tables. They're too cute! This one has plenty of life left in it and it just wants a bit of color...

After a quick cleaning, Glen here got a nice coat of Cobblestone from Maison Blanche. This is starting to be a favorite of mine because it's so nicely neutral. A few turquoise or white knick-knacks would look cute on this table. 

The little jewelry box doesn't come with the table but is available. :) 

What to do with a pair of chairs?

A dear friend of ours was having a yard sale recently and, like good friends do, let me know about a few items of interest. :) A couple of things will simply get new life here with the kiddos but these chairs will be looking for new homes soonish. 

These chairs are in good shape, if a little sad looking. They've seen some use and the back of one had to be re-glued. I love this style, tho. Small enough to not be always in the way but big enough that they don't look like kid chairs. 

I sanded them down a bit, brushed off the loosened finish on the leg and back turnings and broke out the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. 

I wish I had a little breakfast or nook table that matched them but this little wine table makes a decent stand-in. For picture taking, anyway! :) 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Adventures in PaintLand...

Some weeks ago, I painted two hefty end-tables. 

I love this color and I use it on just about everything. It distresses prettily, contrasts with just about any color you can set your heart on, and a coat of wax makes it just perfect. 

BUT! these are end tables. So they needed something a bit more durable, right? Something that could withstand a bit of use and the occasional toy car race. 
Or, you know, invasion. *teehee*

Unfortunately, my trusty water-based polycrylic turned on me and I ended up with a table that looked like it had been the sole repository for a chain smoker's exhalation for about 20 years. Yikes! It was awful. Terrible. It was a terrible, no-good, very bad result. 

Yup. I had to drag the table outside and sand the daylights out of it to get all that yellow, nasty funk off. At least the girls had a good time running around in the driveway, playing 'go to sleep, kitten!'

Re-finished table finale coming soon. Once I get the wax out...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dresser in French Enamel

Ignore the messy kitchen and the *ahem* beer kit in the background. This dresser came from my husband's grandmother via his mother. It looks so melancholy, does it not? 

Nothing a nice coat of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in French Enamel can't fix! I originally thought I would paint the whole top surface as well but... I do like a stain/paint contrast. So I'm going to haul it back outside tomorrow and sand the dickens out of it, making it ready for some red mahogany stain. I <3 that color so much.

Now, here's the only thing I don't care for when it comes to milk paint. When you sand it to give it that baby-bottom finish, it smells like soured milk. I don't know anyone who's a fan of that. But at least it doesn't retain it for long and it's definitely worth putting up with for the end result. 
It needs new hardware on the top drawers. I'm thinking something funky from Anthropologie would be a good touch. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Patina Desk

You may remember that this was actually one of the first pieces I picked up when I started all this slapping-on of paint. I probably spent more on it than I should have but I thought it was a great deal at the time. Anywhoo. It is finished!

I'm not entirely convinced that this 'patina look' process is as simple as it sounds on some blogs but it was certainly fun and I like the finished product for sure. You?

Sharing over at: French Country Cottage

Monday, September 17, 2012

My house smells delicious!

Thanks to Country Cottage Primitives, one lovely bunch of dried lavender is making my whole house smell calm and peaceful. I should have taken pictures as I unpacked the goods because they really did a great job of ensuring that everything got here in great shape. And cute! Anyway. If you need lavender sachets, dried lavender bunches for display, or anything of the sort, I highly recommend you check 'em out.

I may need some of these:

Cute, aren't they?

Disclaimer: I wasn't asked to do any kind of review for this site. I'm just super pleased with my purchase and thought someone else might like to know about this little cottage business.

In other news, L'Shana Tovah! Happy New Year and may it be a sweet one.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Feeling bold and feisty

There are days when I feel as if I can do no (painting) wrong. Apparently, I had a couple of those days this week. Which probably means that the rest of the month is going to be crazy. ha ha

While I LOVE the look of white/grey/muted greens/blues, I have also been experimenting a bit with the other end of the palette. The end that lives near the sea somewhere on the Mediterranean and says 'Come on, live a little!'

You've already seen this charming fellow (I'm calling him Phillip) mid-process but now you can see him with his wax buffed and his hardware freshly painted.

Milk paint self-distresses and looks fantastic, I think. After reading on a few blogs about how you have to be willing to just let it do its 'thing', I figured it was time to have a little faith. All I did on this piece was sand it lightly with 150 grit and hope for the best. It chipped in places I wouldn't have anticipated but I think it looks so much more natural than I would have accomplished on my own. 

This little table came to me in a very 'blah' condition. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't ugly. It was just a table. But now, he is Maurice! He is bold! He is exciting! He is waiting for a good time with YOU, non? Please do not disappoint him. ;)

Linking up over at 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whoop! Whoop!

This is a sound that has been occurring in our house a lot lately. Because we're so excited, you ask? No... because the girls and I have all had Whooping Cough this past month. Yep, for a MONTH! I knew it was bad but then I came across the CDC article that said the Chinese name is "100 day cough". Ugh. It's been awful hearing the girls hacking and whooping away and it's definitely made it hard to get anything creative done. Throw in some excruciating pulled/torn muscles from the coughing and you've got this dearth of blogging. 

There IS light at the end of the tunnel, tho. I've managed to sell a few things and make room for working on others so there should be plenty to blog about soon. 

In the meantime, check this out: 

I'm attempting a patina effect on this old secretary desk. You might remember what it originally looked like but in case you don't, here you go.

I'm thinking I might do another wash of the light grey over everything but otherwise, it's ready to be waxed/distressed. 

This one's been a work in progress for the last 3 years and I assume that she will continue to be fun to work with for another 20. ;) 

Below is my first foray into milk paint. I'm considering making my own if I can get over my fear of using the wrong pigments. They have to stand up to the hydrated lime used in most milk paint recipes. If you're interested, check out these links for more info on making your own: Martha Stewart's recipe or

I'm using Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Mustard on this table:

It's a very rough finish right now and it dries much slower than chalk paint. But I'm hopeful that it will sand down to a smooth finish and wax easily. If not, then I have just painted a Henredon table  with a rough Mustard yellow and decreased its value exponentially. Ha Ha!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

All boxed in...

Why yes, I have been a little busy lately. 

Or should I say, I've been busy with littles?

I found these boxes grouped together at a local reSale store. I don't know if it was just a coincidence or if someone had decided to divest themselves of a collection. Either way, it was a great day for me. haha. 

I've painted the tall one on the right but I don't have pictures yet. I think I'll keep it but I haven't figured out exactly where to hang it. 

The tall jewelry armoire on the left plays the theme from The Godfather. How cool is that? I'm a little sad that I didn't recognize it immediately but at least my Mama did and stopped my brain from imploding. I'm undecided as to whether to refinish it. It's in great shape, but it could also be even cuter. I think. Maybe I'm just addicted to painting things. 

This fella is finally DONE. I had to replace the tracks for both lower drawers and the hardware on one of them. It's doing a fantastic job of holding a lamp and some books by the couch right now but I think it would much rather be doing it for YOU. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend pickin'...

Yesterday, my mother told me about an antique store in their town that was clearing out some old stock. She picked up a couple FANTASTIC items that I am super jealous about. Really. They're great. So great, in fact, that I thought I should make a run up there with the kiddos and see what else was to be had. You know how it is. Old towns can be great repositories for 'finds'. 

This sweet little cradle was right out front and calling my name. I'm not sure how I'll restore it exactly but I am really looking forward to seeing what it can become. 

Ok, this next one isn't really a 'pick'. I found these at Hancock Fabrics yesterday and couldn't walk away. I think they'll end up as pillows for the girls' room but for now, they're just sitting around making me happy every time I look at them.

This was the other find today. A cute little musical jewelry box with an interesting inset on the top. I'm not sure if the top is actually metal or just painted to look that way. I'll have to look a little closer. 

The music 'box' part tries to play when the bottom right drawer is opened but it's a little sketchy. Any ideas on how to get a closer look at it without messing up the box itself?

Hope your weekend is going well! Happy pickin'!

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's a teal-rific day!


I really thought I was going to leave it this way. I love this 'white' so much. But a recent exposure to teal has apparently become more serious than I expected and I am now contagious.

How can you not love this? This table is funky, bold, and just dying to cheer you up in the mornings as you sip your cuppa and prepare to go out in the world. 

$75 - table only
I haven't touched the chairs yet because I'm not crazy about trying to sand/paint those spindles. They will likely end up as a separate sale item unless you NEED the whole shebang. ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rest for the weary!

Come on, you know you want to sit and rest a bit on one of these beauties!

These chairs were beyond drab and right into ugly-ville before I ripped off the old seat coverings. Two layers of 'eww' had to be dealt with. Admittedly, I was a little worried about tackling an upholstery project but I suppose if you're gonna get your feet wet, it might as well be with something fairly straight-forward like these chairs. 
I had to change staple-type midway through the project. I wish I had googled other people's experiences to before starting but it all worked out in the end. Shorter staples are much easier to use because they'll go all the way into the seat backing, saving many a wasted hammer-blow and bruised thumb. haha.

In case you're wondering, this little molding addition came from Home Depot

Monday, July 23, 2012

Burn Pile Buffet–Part 2… Using Stain to Make Artwork! | Sawdust and Embryos

I cannot even explain how jealous I am of this girl's talent. It makes total sense that you could use shading techniques with wood stain but it's never occurred to me to try it. I will be on the lookout for a nice piece to try this on now, tho, believe me!

Burn Pile Buffet–Part 2… Using Stain to Make Artwork! | Sawdust and Embryos:

'via Blog this'

Almost time to 'set a spell'...

These chairs are ALMOST done. I need to super-fine sand them and wax them and put the seats back on. None of that will take terribly long, it's just hard to find all the necessary minutes in a row. The husband's vacation is now over so these will have to be an evening project. 

How cute is this little embellishment? I want to stick them on everything stationary right now. haha. Hide yo kids, folks.