Rustic Workshop Trunk Makeover (Before & After)

Rustic Workshop Trunk Makeover (Before & After) via

Rustic Workshop Trunk Makeover (Before & After) via

Well, the last three weeks have been quite an adventure. We’ve had breakdowns, accidents, injuries, life changes, work changes and exhaustion. For awhile there, I was on a simple loop of coping and sleeping. Things seem to be getting to a state of equilibrium now, in my new normal. I’ve been wanting to show you what I’ve been up to, and I’m so thankful I have the time and space to do that again.

First up, my workshop trunk. This little trunk had been waiting for soooo long for it’s turn under the paint brush! I found it at the Goodwill years ago and I’ve been using it for storage in my workshop (i.e. office-slash-craft-room) ever since. I think it was originally a cherry-style finish, but somewhere along the way someone had attempted to paint it. It looked like part spray paint and part latex painted with a roller. Even with all the “distressing” it’s gotten over the years (read: total abuse and neglect), it just didn’t get better. It was shabby, but not in a good way. [Read more…]

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After)

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

I‘ve been working on my workshop (craft-slash-office space) for some time. I knew that I wanted to paint the main work table, but I could NOT decide what color or style. Stained top? Painted legs? Plain white? Something fun? It’s been a major stumbling block for moving forward on this room. That and the jigsaw puzzle of figuring out that plus everything else — walls, other furniture, slipcovers…

Well, as you know, I finally decided (thanks to the inspiration from Pinterest and this book), to keep the walls white. Then I decided to refinish the wood buffet (still in progress). Which meant, yay, I could paint the table. I knew I wanted the top to be white to aid in photography for the blog, but I also wanted something fun since the rest of the decisions so far have been pretty staid. But what?

Kathy of Petticoat Junktion to the rescue!!

I was reading her amazing blog, and saw this adorable grain-sack inspired table:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via Petticoat Junktion

Isn’t that swwony? I mean, who could resist with the cute turquoise paint and the vintage quilts and chenille. I emailed Karen immediately and asked her if I could copy her for my table, and she graciously said yes (and also said I could share a picture or two of hers here so you could see — thank you, Kathy!!).

This is how I did it. First I had to pick a color. True to form, this was agonizing and took a long time. Here’s just a few of the samples I tried (some new, some from my stash)

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

I’m glad I held out until I found the exact vintage-y blue-y green-y color I was looking for. The legs are Aloe (SW 6464) and the top is Steamed Milk (SW 7554).

I drug the table outside, sanded the top some and stained it dark walnut to give it some age before I painted. The top got a coat of primer and two coats of white, and the legs just got two coats of green since they had been primed and painted white by the previous owner.

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Once the paint was dry I distressed it, then brought it inside to do the stripe. I used the same basic technique that Kathy did, shown here:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via Petticoat Junktion

I used plain masking tape to tape off the center stripe, because that’s what I had on hand, so I cut in against the tape when I painted my center stripe. Then, like Kathy, I hand-painted the thin stripes with a tiny little brush. I used the tape as a guide to keep them straight. They’re definitely hand painted (read, wobbly) and I love them.

I distressed the stripe, too, just a bit, then polyed the whole thing. Three coats, and I buffed in between. I don’t usually bother with multiple coats or buffing, but with a table that will get hard use I thought it would be worth it.

My work table is a repurposed kitchen table that I got for $40 at a garage sale. It’s a standard 3′ x 5′ table, and I thought a 3″ stripe seemed about right. The skinny stripes are small, maybe 1/4″ wide? And the width of the tape apart from the main stripe. You’ll notice Kathy did two skinny stripes on her table, and it looks great. I did mine from memory and only put one. I actually like Kathy’s version better, but it’s already polyed so I’m going to call it good and be happy!

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the before and after:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

And here:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

I’m completely in love with the whole thing. Too bad it’s covered up most of the time with my works in progress! Ha!

I did take a moment to take some pretty pictures before I put it back to work. Here’s a few:

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Grain Sack Workshop Table (Before & After) via

Whew! Now on to the next project.

Do you all struggle as much as I do with making decisions? It seems so effortless for most people!

~Angela :-)

Thank you again, Kathy, for letting me share your great work and copy your idea!

Linking up to: The Shabby Creek Cottage, From My Front Porch to Yours, Fine Craft Guild and Lilyfield Life

How (Not) to Rub’n’Buff Raised Letters or Numbers

Rub N Buff on Raised Numbers

Thrifted Mantel Clock Made Over

So, when I told you about my thrifted mantel clock makeover, I may have left out one little thing. I had a little mini-fail right in the middle of the project. I’ve never used Rub’N’Buff before, and when painting the little raised numbers on the clock face, it all went wrong. Not once, but twice!!!

First of all, if you’re asking, “What the heck is Rub’N’Buff, Angela,” then let me explain. Rub’N’Buff is this magical stuff that can make metal things look like differently colored metal things. Like a lot of people, I first saw it on Trading Spaces when the ever-fabulous Genevieve Gorder made a brass light fixture look like pewter. When she was done, the light didn’t look painted, it just looked like it had always been pewter! It was amazing.

Since it’s easy to use and comes in a convenient tube and dries almost immediately, people use it for all sorts of things. For example, Cindy from My Romantic Home uses it for lots of projects, including this amazing mirror:

So, let me tell you what I learned (the hard way) about how NOT to Rub’N’Buff something detailed like this, and then Mr. Magpie will show you (and me) what actually works.

First I got myself some Ebony Rub’N’Buff (i.e. black). Okay, actually Mr. Magpie got for me. He ordered the Rub’N’Buff from, since the local craft store only had gold, and we wanted black.

Ebony Rub N Buff

Since most people say to apply the stuff with a fingertip, that’s what I decided to try. With a glove since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get it off my hands afterwards!

Dab of Rub N Buff

Just use the fingertip to apply….

Applying Rub N Buff with Fingertip


Total Mess with Rub N Buff

Total fail! My huge finger just smeared the Rub’N’Buff everywhere, and then when I tried to wipe it off it just stained everything. What a mess!! I had to re-prime and re-spray that section to fix it. Sigh.

So, I’m thinking, well, I need something smaller, like a cotton swab!

Using Cotton Swab for Rub N Buff

Just get a little on there, and then dab it on the number…

Applying Straight Rub N Buff with Cotton Swab


Messy Edges on Raised Number

Fail again! Granted, not a huge mess, but look at it! It looks terrible, all frayed around the edges.

This is when I called Mr. Magpie, who has actual art training. This is what he showed me. (Please forgive his perma-dirty hands — he does most of the heavy lifting around here).

First, get a TINY TINY amount of Rub N Buff on a cotton swab.

Picking Up Tiny Dab of Rub N Buff with Cotton Swab

Next, rub most of that off on a scrab bit of cloth or paper — in this case, the leftover packaging.

Rubbing Off Excess Rub N Buff on Scrap Cardboard

Finally, gently (gently!) swipe over the raised surface, one…

Applying Rub N Buff With Dried Cotton Swab


Applying Rub N Buff With Dried Cotton Swab


Applying Rub N Buff With Dried Cotton Swab

It’s like magic!

And that. my friends, is how you do that!

Finished Mantel Clock Makeover

What about you? Have you used Rub’N’Buff for any projects? What did you do with it and what did you think?

~Angela :-)

How To Paint & Trim Oak Cabinets (Tutorial)

Paint & Trim Dated Oak Cabinets

One of the most common decorating challenges I hear about in kitchens is the dated oak cabinetry. My friend Kim has done a spectacular job of tackling this challenge in her own house. With her kind permissions, I’ve put together a step-by-step how to on her process. If you like Kim’s work, please also check out her blog: One Woman’s Cottage Life. There’s more stuff there than anyone could read in a lifetime, and it’s all adorable.
Kitchen Cabinets Before
When Kim bought her house, her kitchen had fine quality cabinetry with face frames and doors in solid oak. They were under 5 years old and in excellent condition. Fortunately for Kim, they also had a traditional raised-panel door, the shape of which was a nice fit for Kim’s history-inspired vision.
Kitchen Cabinets After
Kim added moldings, details, hardware and completed a multi-step paint finish that gives the entire kitchen a beautiful, timeworn feel. She also added a distressed island and updated her dining area to a farm-house style. Even through her kitchen and dining area are still under construction, the impact of the new finish on the cabinet doors is clear.

Before you decide to tackle this project, be warned, it is a very labor-intensive, multi-step project. If you don’t have the discipline and dedication to see it through, hire a professional. It’ll still be cheaper than buying all new cabinetry, and it’s nice to recycle if your cabinets are in good condition.

These are the steps that Kim went through to complete her project:

  1. Clean and degrease all the cabinets, inside and out.
  2. Remove the doors, drawers, shelves and hardware.
  3. Add crown & rope molding at the top of each cabinet.
  4. Add bottom molding (to hide under-counter lighting).
  5. Add beaded board panels to the cabinet sides.
  6. Add decorative moldings to the front of selected drawers.
  7. Sand all the cabinet carcases, shelves, doors and drawer fronts.
  8. Apply two coats of primer.
  9. Apply two coats of cream basecoat (so distressing, will reveal cream).
  10. Apply four coats of red paint.
  11. Lightly distress the drawers and drawer fronts.
  12. Use antiquing glaze on same.
  13. Dry brush same with light green paint.
  14. Wax cabinets, drawer fronts and doors.
  15. Spray paint old brass hinges with Krylon high-adhesion brown paint.
  16. Rehang and intall drawers and doors.
  17. Position and install new oiled bronze pulls.

In addition, Kim updated her interior shelves with toile style wallpaper covered with three coats of poly. The results are beautiful.

Kitchen Cabinets After

If you want to duplicate Kim’s gorgeous colors as well as her process, here’s what she had to say:

  • The red that I used is by Waverly and it’s called “Cherry.”
  • The off-white basecoat was American Tradition Homestead Resort Parlour Taupe.”
  • The glaze was “Raw Umber” translucent color glaze.
  • The green walls in the background are not permanent. We will be using a creamy, off-white wall color.
  • Our trimwork will also be painted white.

As for the final tip, Kim says, “I can’t really recommend waxing, though I did wax mine. It was really hard to get the wax buffed out and to get just the right sheen. I still don’t have the sheen I really wanted but removing wax isn’t easy – so I’m living and learning!”

Since completing her cabinets, Kim has also added a painted brick backsplash and a tongue-and-groove faux beamed ceiling. To see pictures of the latest, check out my post featuring her kitchen remodel.

~Angela :-)
All the photos and information here are from Kim at One Woman’s Cottage Life, reprinted here with her kind permission.