My First Show & Working for The Middle

Hi ya’ll!  If you saw my She Shop Shape Up post a few weeks ago, then you know my first show was on Sunday.  That’s right, The Road Less Traveled Design Co finally made its debut at The Belle Aire Market. 😊

Kate & The Booth

It was a cloudy day with torrential rains in the forecast, but there was still a great turnout.  I met many people, passed out several Check Out My Blog postcards (perhaps some of you are even reading now) and networked with a few local businesses.  For me, though, the most fun part of it all was finally getting to see all my transformed forgotten finds in one place displayed together in all there distressed, farmhouse, shabby chic glory.

I’ve been working like crazy for weeks to get ready and it was awesome to see it all come together.  But, as awesome as it was, it was also equally intimidating.  There’s something quite unnerving about putting your work, and by extension yourself, out there for everyone to see and critique.

Several years ago, I was knee-deep in another endeavor- jewelry design.  My husband and I had a booth at a weekly farmer’s market in the city and I remember being a bit nervous the first week or two then as well.  This time; however, those same nerves seemed to have multiplied by a thousand.  I can’t say for certain, but I think it’s because this time I want it more.  I’m more passionate about interior design and home décor than I ever was about jewelry.  It was a creative outlet, but not much more.  The Road Less Traveled Design Co is the culmination of years of collecting home interior magazines, reading books on design, rearranging rooms, trying new DIY techniques, succeeding at this one, failing at that one and dreaming big dreams.

I’ll be honest though- I still have a long way to go with even bigger dreams and aspirations on my mind.  Unfortunately, sometimes I let my head get the better of me and I start down a path of discouragement.  I get trapped in an infinite loop of negative thinking naming all the reasons why this can’t work or why I shouldn’t have even taken the plunge in the first place.  It usually starts with me looking at the successes of someone else and instantly feeling bad because I haven’t hit those milestones yet myself.  It’s a fool’s errand really.  There’s no good that can come from thinking that way.

I know we’ve all been there at some point in our lives- as athletes, students, employees, friends, spouses, parents- at one time or another we’ve all compared ourselves to someone else that we thought had it all together.  So, on Sunday, as those negative thoughts kept creeping into my head, I battled back with a quote I read the other day on the Artsy Chicks Rule blog and I thought I’d share it with you…


What a powerful saying- I hope it helps give you the same solace as it did me when you’re going through your own Am I good enough? struggle in your mind.  Keep chasing those dreams and running your race.  With a lot of hard work and perseverance, someday we’ll both be in the middle!

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Chalk Painting Tutorial Part II: Paint

Hi ya’ll!  Welcome back! Today is Part II of my Chalk Painting Tutorial.  If you missed Part I, you can read the full post here.  Included are tips for project selection, paint prep and material choices.  Here’s a recap:

  1. Choose Your Project Piece
  2. Inspect & Repair
  3. Clean Piece
  4. Mask
  5. Select Your Paint
  6. Choose A Good Quality Brush

Now that all the prep work is done and you have all the necessary materials, it’s time to start painting!  This is the really fun part, so let’s get started!

7. Start to Paint

The best thing about chalk paint is that primer is rarely required.  It could be beneficial when painting over laminate or melamine to boost adhesion although I have found that a good sanding usually does the trick.  I’ve only ever primed one piece before and that was mostly because it was a darker stain and I was using white paint and didn’t want to have to apply more than 2 coats.

In most cases, you can start painting directly over the original finish on your piece. For unfinished wood, it is best to apply clear shellac to any wood knots or open grains to prevent the tannins from bleeding through your paint layers.  This is particularly important when working with pine, oak and certain types of mahogany.


I apply shellac with a chip brush and because it’s so simple, usually end up applying it to the entire unfinished piece.  I find that it keeps the wood from absorbing the paint as much which means less coats are required for full coverage.

Just lightly brush it on like you would paint.  It dries in minutes and then you can move right on to painting.  Rust-Oleum also supplies it in spray form if you like that better.

When your painting an older piece typically from the 40s and 50s, the original stain may also bleed through your chalk paint layers.  This happens most often with cherry and mahogany.  If I’m concerned about bleed through, I’ll usually apply a small strip of chalk paint in an inconspicuous area as a test.  If I get bleed through, then I’ll apply clear shellac to the entire piece same as unfinished wood.  Shellac can be applied over paint so no need to strip the test area.  If you still get bleed through, you may need to apply an additional coat.

Tip: Shellac does smell so I recommend applying it in a well-ventilated area, outside if you can.  I have done this in my She Shop before, but always wear a respirator mask when I do.

Now, you can start painting.

Be sure you shake and stir your paint well before you begin.  That way you can ensure all the pigments are mixed and the color will be even.  I usually turn the can upside down and shake it several times before opening and stirring it.

Shake & Stir

Dip your brush in the paint.  Be sure to have enough paint on your brush to maintain a wet edge while painting.

Paint on Brush

When painting furniture, I usually start with the bottom of the piece first and then finish with the top.  There is no need to paint the underside of the furniture that touches the floor unless you want to.  For smaller pieces (like lamps, baskets and bowls) I typically paint the surface that makes contact with the table first, allow it to dry and then paint the rest of the piece.  That way I can set it down flat when doing the majority of the painting.

Paint with the grain in long sweeping strokes where possible.  This is particularly important on table tops and other large surfaces since it helps minimize brush strokes giving the piece a smoother and more cohesive look.  Chalk paint dries fast…really fast, so work quickly and try to minimize paint runs, drips and heavy (thick) edges.  However, the great part about chalk paint is that it is very forgiving and most issues can be sanded smooth after the paint is dry.

Long Sweeping Strokes

Note: I reviewed some important brush features to look for in Part I.  Long flexible bristles come in handy when painting corners and intricate details.  Flexible bristles, particularly on rounded brush heads make painting these features a snap.  That’s one reason why I like Annie Sloan’s Pure Bristle Brush so much.  The bristles easily mold to the corner leaving no bare spots.

Painting Corners

Let’s talk about coverage:

After you apply your first coat, don’t panic.  It will likely look splotchy and see-through like this end table…

1st Coat

But, I promise you the second coat makes all the difference.  Most times, for darker colors, 2 coats will be all you need.  For lighter colors (especially over dark stain), you’ll likely need 3 coats for full coverage.  If you’re looking for a more distressed finish, you may even be happy with one coat.  That’s the beauty of chalk paint- you have full control of the end result!

Here’s that same end table after a second coat…

2nd Coat

(Note: This photo was taken when the second coat was still wet which is why there are flat and shiny areas.)

To keep your brush fresh in between coats, you can wrap it in saran wrap or enclose it in a ziplock bag.

More Ways to Customize Your Finish: Chalk paint can be thinned with water for lighter coverage or to create a wash, but can also be thickened by allowing it to sit open at room temperature.  Thinner paint will give a smoother finish while thicker paint will intensify the brushstrokes and overall texture of the piece.  I usually apply my first coat as is and will sometimes thin the second and third coats depending on the final look I’m going for.

8. Remove Masking Tape

I usually wait until the paint is just dry enough to be tack free and then remove the tape.  I’ve found that waiting to remove the tape until after the paint is thoroughly dry can sometimes cause it to peel.  Chalk paint dries fast…really fast…so it is usually tack free in about 15 minutes.  If I’m painting a larger piece, I’ll wait until I’m finished with the final coat of the entire piece and then remove the tape.  I have found that Frog Tape gives better results than other masking tapes if I have to wait until the next day when the paint is completely dry to remove it.

9. Distress (optional)

I love to distress my painted projects.  I feel like it only adds to the farmhouse feel and country charm.

Typically, I distress prior to waxing (although Annie Sloan does recommend distressing after). For me, though, distressing before tends to be faster and a little less work because I don’t have to break through the wax as well, but it does create more sanding dust.  I also love the effect wax has on the exposed wood (it shines it up a bit and really makes it stand out).

NOTE: I do all of the distressing in my She Shop and I can promise you, it won’t feel like you’re in a desert sandstorm, but there will be dust. 😉 Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is completely safe and has nearly no odor so there’s no danger other than a stuffy nose, but if you have allergies like me or are prone to sinus infections (also like me), you may want to wear a mask.

To combat the dust, I occasionally wear these dust masks (occasionally because I often forget haha) and use 3M extra fine, fine or medium grit sanding sponges depending on the surface and the extent of distressing I want to achieve.  I’ve also been using Annie Sloan’s Sanding Pads lately.  This pack includes a fine, medium and coarse grit pad.  They are incredibly flexible making them a great choice when you need to sand in hard to reach areas.  I’ve gotten great results with them and feel like I have even more control using the thinner pads than the sponges.  However, they don’t seem to last quite as long as the sponges.

When distressing, less is more.  You can always distress more as needed, but you can’t go backwards unless you repaint the surface.  That’s not a tragedy but will add time to your project.   It’s also important to think about where your piece would normally exhibit wear and tear after years of use.  Distressing in these locations will give your pieces a more authentic vintage look.

For this end table, I used the Annie Sloan course grit sanding sponge and distressed along most of the hard edges as well as the feet.

Distressing End Table

End Table Distressed

And, of course, you don’t have to distress at all if you prefer a more polished look.

10. Apply Wax

It’s important to seal your chalk painted piece for added durability.  I use Annie Sloan’s Soft Clear Wax (visit for a retailer near you or purchase from Amazon here).

Annie Sloan Wax

Wax is my preferred way to seal and protect chalk painted surfaces and Annie Sloan’s wax is by far my favorite product.  One 500mL can will last through numerous large scale and small scale projects.  I only recently finished my last can.  It lasted me three months and I was using it nearly every day.  I can’t even begin to list the pieces I used it on- at least 50 small projects as well as a coffee table, side board, corner hutch and more.

Wax will deepen and enhance the color of your piece, but will not change the color.  It will be dry to the touch immediately after application, but takes 5-21 days depending on ambient temperature to fully cure so be sure to use your piece with care until then. Once fully cured, Annie Sloan’s wax is food safe.  It is also safe for use on baby and child’s furniture, although Annie Sloan recommends extending the cure time to 4-6 weeks before use.

Wax can be applied using a brush or clean rag.  When I competed my first project- the 10 foot built in I talked about in Part I- I used a rag, but have since used the Annie Sloan Wax Brush for every project since.  I find brush application of the wax to be much faster, but it’s really up to your personal preference which method you use.

The technique when applying by brush or rag is basically the same.

First, remove a small amount of wax from your can (Note: the can in this photo is actually a sample size that’s why it looks so small. I ran out of my 500mL can and didn’t have a back up in stock-whoops- so I had to make do 😊)

Removing Wax From Can

Place this wax on a clean paper plate or a piece of paper (a paper plate works better, but I ran out of those too- I have got to get to the grocery store! Haha).  Don’t use a paper towel- they’re fuzzy and all that fuzz with definitely stick to and contaminate your wax.

Wax on Paper Plate or Paper

The reason I do this is to keep my can of wax clean and fresh.  Wax is sticky so your brush or rag will pick up any residual dust on your piece and carry it back to the wax.  Using the wax off your paper plate will prevent contamination of your entire can.

Dip your brush or rag into the wax like so…

Wax on Brush

You don’t need a lot of wax.  Less is definitely better.  If you end up with too much wax on your brush or rag, you can just wipe the excess off on your paper plate.

Apply the wax to your piece by pushing or rubbing (if you’re using a rag) into the surface like you would apply hand cream.

Push Wax Into Surface

Work in small sections at a time and then wipe away the excess wax with a clean lint free rag.  I use these rags all the time and they work great for both application and excess wax removal.

Wipe Away Excess Wax

You can use the same rag for excess wax removal until the wax starts to build up on it.  One 6 inch by 6 inch rag is usually enough to complete a small end table.

If you’re looking for a matte finish then you’re all done, but if you’d like a slight sheen on your piece then you can buff the surface with another clean rag.  Annie Sloan recommends waiting 24 hours before buffing, but I’ve had success waiting as little as 15 minutes.  I tend to only lightly buff my pieces because I prefer either a matte or eggshell type finish; however, you can buff to a gloss finish if that’s your preference.

Here’s the end table above after it’s been waxed and buffed.  So pretty- I love this color.  It’s called Duck Egg Blue. ❤ ❤

Final End Table Photo

If you notice any streaky areas after you’re finished, just apply a little more wax and buff it out.

For table tops or surfaces that will get a lot of use, I usually apply a second coat of wax, sometimes even a third.  This can be done as little as an hour after the first coat.

When you’re finished, a little warm water and dish soap will remove any leftover wax from your brush.  Hang it bristles down or lay it flat to dry.

Annie Sloan also makes a dark wax that can be applied after clear wax.  I’ve only recently started using this- it helps highlight brushstrokes, fine details and creates a really pretty aged effect.  You apply it the same way as clear wax.

Tip:  Always apply dark wax after clear wax.  This will allow you to control the color.  If it’s too dark, you can always reapply some clear wax to lighten it.

11. Install hardware (if applicable)

If you’re working on a dresser or hutch, then its time to install hardware.  Sometimes I reuse the original hardware, but usually I find something new.  Hobby Lobby is one of my favorite places to find knobs and handles- they have an entire aisle of goodies. The nearest one is over an hour away from me so I usually only go once every couple months and stock up when I’m there.  I also save the hardware from every piece I’ve ever refinished and will often spray paint of chalk paint it to give it a little update before using it on a different piece.

If you’re using different hardware and patched the original holes (see step 2 from Part I) then you’ll need to drill new holes.  I use my Dewalt drill and drill bit set for this.

12. Line Drawers or Interior Spaces (optional)

If your piece has drawers or interior surfaces (like the inside of a box), you can line them with scrapbook paper or fabric as the final finishing touch like I did in my Custom Rolling Cart Makeover and this Vanity Reveal.

I adhered the scrapbook paper to the drawer bottom with matte Mod Podge and then applied a thin layer of Mod Podge on top for added protection.

I don’t always line the drawers on the pieces I refinish, but it can add a little pop of color or an unexpected surprise if you do.  😊


I’m sure by now you know just how much I love chalk paint and I hope someday you will too!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or leave a comment below.  As always, I’d love to hear from you and I’d really love to see before and afters of the projects you tackle.

Good luck and let’s get painting!!

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Chalk Painting Tutorial – Part I: Prep

Hi ya’ll!  The day is finally here where I share my complete chalk painting tutorial.  If you’ve been following me from the beginning, then you know I love chalk paint.  It’s by far my favorite product for transforming forgotten finds and breathing new life into a project.  I’ve used it on everything from small mason jars to table lamps and stools to full size kitchen tables.  It’s the perfect finish for creating pieces with farmhouse and country primitive style, requires minimal prep work, few application tools, can be manipulated to yield a variety of textures, is forgiving and easy to work with.

Because it’s my number 1 choice for refinishing, I thought it would be great to share how I transform a piece with chalk paint start to finish.  If at the end of this tutorial, you have any additional questions, you can contact me here or leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

Here we go!

1. Choose Your Project Piece

What I love most about chalk paint is that it can be used on just about everything- metal, unfinished wood, stained wood, plastic, fabric, brick, walls, floors, cabinets, indoor, outdoor – you name it! I have even used it on laminate and melamine (TIP: those are the only two surfaces that I’ve needed to sand first to get good adhesion- I learned that the hard way 😉).

For your first project, I recommend a small piece like an end table, coffee table or small dresser.  Of course, the choice is up to you so if you’ve had your mind set on updating that china cabinet, go for it.  My first piece was this nearly 10 foot long built-in we constructed in our den.  It turned out great, but was probably a bit too ambitious for my first piece.  I was pretty worn out by the end.  (That was also the piece where I learned you need to sand melamine first- I had to paint, strip and sand that bead board twice to get the paint to stick- ugh).

Built In

I’d also recommend steering clear of pieces with special meaning (like your great grandmother’s vanity) so that if it doesn’t turn out exactly the way you hoped, then there’s no emotional attachment to it.  Chalk paint is very forgiving and can easily be sanded smooth and waxed for sheen, but if you’re not in love with the color, you’re only choice will be to repaint or strip and that’s not a very fun end to your first chalk paint experience.

Thrift stores and yard sales are great places to find your first project.  I love a good yard sale.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen how a relaxing walk to Starbucks turned into this…

Impromptu Starbucks Walk Yard Sale

Thank God for my Dad and brother who helped me lug all those goodies home.

2. Inspect & Repair

Look over your piece and make any necessary repairs.

Chips in the veneer, gouges or scratches in the wood and holes from hardware you don’t intend to re-use can all be patched.  I use Elmer’s Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler.

Wood Filler

I really love this stuff.  It is incredibly easy to apply- honestly, I usually just use my finger, but you can use a putty knife if you prefer.  This filler also changes from purple to tan when its dry so there’s no guessing when its ready for sanding.

To apply, you want to push the wood filler into the hole, chip, gouge or scratch and then gently swipe your finger or putty knife across the patched area and surrounding surfaces to remove the excess.

Filling Holes

(1) Hole (2) Push Filler Into Hole (3) Wipe Away Excess (4) Let Dry

If you don’t remove all the excess, don’t worry because you’ll be sanding it smooth once it’s dry.  The less excess there is just makes the sanding step a bit quicker and easier. I wait 3-4 hours for shallow scratches to dry and overnight for deep gouges or holes, then sand with 220 grit sandpaper,  on my Dewalt Orbital Sander.

I most often use my sander for speed purposes, but will occasionally sand by hand using these 3M sanding blocks  when I want more control.  Both offer the same end result so you can go with whatever you feel more comfortable with or whatever is more readily available.

Tip: After sanding areas that you’ve filled, it’s important to run you finger or hand across the surface to check for smoothness.  Occasionally (particularly when filling deep holes or gouges), the fill process may need repeated one or more times before surface smoothness is achieved.

I usually close my eyes and run my finger across the surface.  If I can’t feel the area I filled then I know I’m good to go.  Closing your eyes may seem strange, but it works wonders.  My eyes always play tricks on me- I’ll swear the area is smooth, move on to paint and then end up with a big dip in the spot I thought was filled.

Finger Test

During this step, you also want to check the stability and functionality of your piece.  Do any screws need tightened?  Are the legs wobbly?  Are the drawers sliding smoothly?  You’ll want to make any necessary repairs before you start painting.  Take a look at this post to see how I fixed the wobbly legs on this cute little stool.

Final (1)

If you have any questions about a specific repair your piece needs, let me know- I’d be happy to offer some suggestions from my own experience.

NOTE: When I’m looking for a rustic or vintage look, I often forego repairing shallow scratches, nicks or dings since, to me, they just add to the character and history of the piece. Like this end table…

Character Nicks

3. Clean Piece

Dust your piece with a soft cloth to remove any dirt, dust or sanding debris.  If a more thorough cleaning is needed, mild dish soap and warm water work well.  You can also disinfect with Lysol wipes (I always do this on interior drawers or shelving).  Do not use furniture polish- it will compromise the adhesion of the paint.


4. Mask

Mask (aka tape) off any areas where you don’t want paint- these could include the inside of drawers, any surface that you want to maintain the original stained finish, etc.  I wanted the underside of the cart below to show the original wood, so I masked off areas to prevent any paint from accidentally dripping on the surface.

Taped Cart

I usually use Frog Tape for Delicate Surfaces.

Frog Tape = The Best Tape

It’s actually designed to mask previously painted surfaces from the application of a second color without damaging the original paint.  Any masking tape will work over unfinished or stained wood.  I just prefer using Frog Tape since I already have it on hand for other projects.

5. Select Your Paint

The popularity of chalk paint has seemingly exploded overnight so there are many different brands of pre-mixed formulations on the market.  Additionally, the internet is filled with DIY recipes for making your own from any flat latex paint.  I haven’t tried DIY’ing my own yet, but I have narrowed down the recipes to one in particular that I plan on trying soon.  I’ll share that recipe and my experience with it in a later post.

As far as pre-mixed formulations go, Annie Sloan’s is my absolute favorite (can you tell? 😉)

All My Chalk Paint- My Precious

“My Precious”

Like all chalk paints, Annie Sloan’s rarely requires priming or sanding.  It is also incredibly easy to apply and to manipulate giving you the opportunity to really use your creativity and put some personalization into your project.  Her paint can be thinned with water for lighter coverage or to create a wash, but can also be thickened by allowing it to sit open at room temperature to intensify the brushstrokes and overall texture of the piece.  She offers a wide range of colors, but because her paints are water based, they can easily be mixed together to create even more options.

Annie Sloan Color Chart

Annie Sloan Color Chart

The concern I hear most often is the expense.  It is true that 1 quart (32 ounces) of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint will cost between $35-$40 depending on the retailer, which is about the price of a gallon of some of the better wall paints out there (Sherwin Williams, Valspar, etc.) However, the coverage is phenomenal.  I used 1 quart of Coco to paint a coffee table, end table, kitchen table and 10-15 small pieces like lamps, trays and bowls.  I still have some left!  If you prefer a thinner application and dilute it with water, it will last even longer.

Her paints are sold through handpicked, trained retailers who can also offer tips, advice, project ideas and sometimes live demos and workshops.  You can find a retailer near you at but can also order many of the colors from Amazon.  Some retailers also have online stores and will ship paint to you.

While I am interested in the cost savings of making my own chalk paint, I love the ease of being able to crack open a can of Annie Sloan’s and just get to work.  With two little girls at home, I have limited DIY time (actually limited free time in general 😉) so I have to be ready to go at a moments notice.

I also like being able to reach out to her retailers when I have a question or want to bounce an idea off of someone.

6. Choose A Good Quality Brush


No need to buy an expensive brush, but here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for your own:

  • Natural bristled brushes work best.
  • Look for fairly long, flexible bristles with a little bounce .
  • The shorter the bristles, the less freely the paint will flow.
  • Stiff and inflexible bristles will give the paint a scratchy look when it’s applied.
  • Overly floppy brushes make spreading the paint onto surfaces more difficult.

The photo above shows all the different brushes I’ve used.  The two on the left are Annie Sloan’s Oval Pure Bristle Brushes and they are by far my favorite to work with.  I have 5 different ones in varying sizes and I use them daily.  After each use, I rinse them with warm water to remove all the residual paint and then hang them bristles down to dry.  They are expensive, but if you take care of them they will last forever.  Mine have gone through a beating, but are still going strong.  I also have very few instances where bristles fall out while I’m painting.  This is a common problem with natural bristle brushes, but happens much less with Annie Sloan’s.  You can purchase her brushes at your local retailer (find one here) or on amazon.  I prefer the small size brush because it fits the best in my hand.

The middle two brushes are by a company called New Renaissance and can be purchased here.  They are also natural bristle brushes, but are a fraction of the cost of Annie Sloan’s.  I’ve used them for both wax and paint (different brushes assigned to each) a couple of times.  They work well, have minimal bristle loss and are holding up so far.  I’ll let you know in a year after thousands of paint projects how they’re doing. 😉

The two on the far right are by Wooster and can be purchased at your local hardware store.  I used these on the built-in project and they worked well, but I found application with the rounder natural bristle brushes to be faster.  I’ve also heard from a few other chalk paint enthusiasts that Purdy brushes (also from the hardware store) work well too.

Now that all the prep work is done and you have all the necessary materials, its time to start painting!  That’s the really fun part when it all starts to come together. I’ll be back Friday with Part II of the Chalk Paint Tutorial.  We’ll paint, distress, wax and put on all the finishing touches!

No need to wait- check out Part II now!

See you then!

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Vanity Reveal

Hi ya’ll!  Happy Friday! After a rainy, but restful and productive Memorial Day weekend, I’m back with the final reveal of this cute little vanity I picked up from our local thrift store last summer.


It’s been in the SheShop since then and had practically become a permanent fixture while I tried to figure out what to do with it.  This poor little vanity had definitely seen better days.  Someone had previously painted the entire piece dark brown as you can see on the spindles below.  I don’t usually work on previously painted pieces.  It’s basically a shot in the dark when it comes to surface smoothness and adhesion since you can’t be sure that the previous person prepped and applied the paint correctly.  But, I loved the curved legs and simple design so I took a chance anyway.

Spindles- Brown Paint

My first thought was to sand the top and restain it, then paint the entire bottom and mirror white.  You can see in the photo below that I was a bit too overzealous with my sanding and ended going right through the wood veneer to the plywood. See how splotchy and rough the surface is.

Splotchy Over Sanded Surface

Ugh.  So, I quickly restained the exposed plywood with my Minwax Finishing Clothes in Walnut (this is what you’re seeing in the photo above).  Then, in desperation (and frustration, if I’m being honest), I pushed it back into the corner of the SheShop to work on another day.

Well that day, finally came and I love how she turned out!

Final Photo

I painted the vanity with a custom mix of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen  and Pure White (1 part french linen to 1 part pure white).  I love how the color turned out- it’s a very soft, warm toned gray.  I honestly had no idea what it would look like.  Normally I test my color concoctions, but this time I just went for it and I’m so glad I did!

Painted Vanity

I changed out the drawer hardware with this cute drawer pull from Hobby Lobby and painted the mirror hardware black then white with some distressing to match.  I used Rustoleum Professional High Perfermance Enamel Spray Paint in Flat Black and Flat White for the mirror hardware.  I love this spray paint.  It applies easily and seems less susceptible to runs.  It also dries to the touch in 15 minutes and dries hard in 1 hour.  #timesaver 😉 (If you’ve been following me for a while now then you know any product that saves me time gets my vote!)

Drawer PullMirror Hardware

I lined the drawer with the same fabric as the vanity bench.  Take a look at this post for details on how I line drawers, boxes and other containers with fabric.

Fabric Lined Drawer

When I bought this vanity, it didn’t come with a bench.  I knew it needed one to really complete the look.  After several months of searching and finding nothing in the style or price range I was looking for, I decided to get creative.

I spotted this chair from the Lenoir Chair Company on sale for $3 at Good Will.  The Lenoir Chair Company was founded in 1926 by Ed Broyhill and eventually became Broyhill Furniture Industries, a company that continues to produce quality furniture today.  I seriously love when my furniture finds include the original tags or maker’s marks.  Learning their history fascinates me.

Vanity Bench (Chair)Lenoir Chair Company

I originally thought I would use the chair as is, but the ornate back really competed with the simplistic design of the vanity.  I also had my heart set on a more traditional vanity bench with no back.  So, I pulled out my Ryobi Compound Miter Saw and got to work.

I cut off the entire back of the chair and then cut off the top curved piece.  I had a plan to add that piece back to the chair bottom.  My hubby used his hack saw to cut notches in the top of the chair bottom.  I then attached the curve piece to the chair bottom using 2 inch self-tapping screws.

Self Tpaping Screws

I rounded off the sharp edges using my Dewalt Oribtal Sander and filled the gaps with Elmer’s Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler.  I use this wood filler all the time- it’s easy to apply and changes color from purple to tan when dry leaving no room for error.  Once dry, I handed sanded off the excess wood filler and painted the bench with the same french linen/pure white mixture I used on the vanity.

Sanded EdgesWood Filled Bench

Then it was time to reupholster the cushion.  First, I removed the original fabric and padding.

Tip:  Wear a dust mask and gloves when removing old upholstery.  You never really know what you’re getting into and I’ve found mold before.  Yuck.

This chair was in great shape though.  I disposed of the old fabric and padding then gave the seat base a quick sanding on the top and bottom to ensure it was smooth.

I wanted a thick comfy cushion on this bench, so I used 3” high density foam (I purchased mine at Joann’s, but you can also order it from Amazon here).  I placed the seat base on top of the foam and traced the shape with a permanent marker.  I then cut the foam using a serrated bread knife (unless your upholstering all day long, there really is no need to buy a fancy foam cutting knife- this works great).

Foam Cutting

I cut a piece of batting large enough to cover the cushion on all sides and to wrap around the backside of the seat base.  I always use batting when I use foam.  I feel like it helps smooth out the corners of the foam and gives the cushion a better over all feel.  I purchased mine from Joann’s, but you can also find batting on Amazon here.

I placed the foam in the center of the batting and then placed the seat base on top of the foam.  I folded up the edges of the batting around the sides of the foam and attached them to the bottom of the seat base with staples using my Dewalt Multi-Tacker & Brad Nailer.  This nailer makes the job super quick and easy, but a basic staple gun would work too.

Batting-Stapling Sides

I always staple the sides first leaving the corners for last.

Tip: Staple the top side first.  Then pull batting taut and staple the bottom side.  Similarly, staple the left side, pull batting taut and then staple the right side.  This helps ensure there are no wrinkles in your batting or areas where it is loose.  The same applies when attaching fabric.

To finish the corners, I pulled the very corner up over the foam and attached it with one staple to the seat base.

Staple Batting Corner

I then fold up each side adjacent to the corner and attach them with one staple each to the seat base.  Think birthday present when folding up the sides.

Stapling Batting Corners

I cut off the excess batting then repeated this same process to attach the fabric to the seat base.

Trimming Excess Batting

I attached the newly upholstered seat base back onto the bench with the original hardware and tada!

Bench Only

I seriously wish I could keep this set.  I’m so excited with how it turned out and am so glad that I finally had the guts to finish it.  This is also the first time I retrofitted a piece into something else so this makeover has a special place in my heart.

From This To This

What pieces do you have that you could transform into something different?  Do you have a project you’ve put off to the side for far too long?  I hope this post gave you the inspiration to break out the paint and get creating.

I’ll see you next week with the full Chalk Painting Tutorial I’ve been promising.  Have a great weekend!

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Primitive Pantry Box Replica

Hi ya’ll!  Happy Friday!  This week, it seemed like Friday might never get here.  I’m so excited for this three day weekend even if the forecast is rain every day.

Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays.  My hometown always held a small parade that featured local American Legion and VFW chapters with all the members looking sharp in their military uniforms.  My Grandpap, a World War II veteran, marched in it every year and I was always so proud.  At the end, the entire town would follow the parade procession to the cemetery where they would hold a ceremony, play taps and have a 21 gun salute.  The boy scouts would place American flags on the graves of all the veterans.  It really was a great tribute to lives lost in the pursuit of freedom and democracy and a beautiful celebration of the American spirit.

Ligonier Parade

Today’s makeover gets its inspiration from early America.  As much as I love farmhouse style, I also have a spot in my heart reserved for country primitive décor.  There’s just something about 18th and 19th century antiques that speaks to me.  I’ve always thought if I could revisit any time period in America, it would be the late 1700s.

If I had to choose my favorite early American piece to use in my home décor, it would have to be pantry boxes.

Pantry Boxes 3

Pantry boxes are exactly as their name implies- boxes used to store spices, herbs, sugar and grains in the pantry.  (You can read all about the history, styles and features of pantry boxes here). Pantry Boxes

Authentic pantry boxes are expensive, some as high as $500 or more.  That certainly does not make for budget friendly home décor so I decided to get creative and make my own.

Here’s how I did it.

First, I set my #FMF (aka Flea Market Focus- can you tell I made that up haha 😊) to round wooden boxes. For weeks I searched…weeks and weeks and weeks.  Isn’t that always the way it goes when you’re looking for something specific then finally I found this little guy for $1.

Before A couple days later, I found two other oval ones at my local Goodwill for $4 total.  Now that’s budget friendly décor.  I think they are made of balsa wood, but I can’t be certain.  I have yet to find where I can buy them online so if anyone stumbles upon them, let me know and I’ll be forever grateful. 😊 I did find these paper mache boxes on Amazon and I think they may work for painting.  I plan on trying it soon, so I’ll let you know how if it goes.

I stained my wooden boxes first since I planned on painting and distressing them to give them some age.

Stained Box

For something where stain would be the final finish, I would pretreat the wood first with Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.  It helps ensure even coverage and color of the stain.  Since I wasn’t concerned with that on these boxes, I just wiped the dust off with a dry rag and applied the stain directly to the wood.  I stained the outside of the lid and base as well as the inside edge of the lid (I had a cool idea for the inside of the base so no staining necessary 😉).

I used these Minwax Finishing Clothes in Walnut.


Walnut Wood Finishing Cloths

They are amazing!  A. It’s not messy since the stain is already contained on a cloth (think baby wipes), B. There is barely any smell so you can do this inside and C. It dries in an hour.  Holy timesaver!  When I evaluate a DIY product, the amount of time it can save me is always high on the list.  I’ve stained with your basic, run of the mill, liquid stain before and it’s messy, smelly and takes a lifetime to dry (I’m exaggerating of course, but anything that takes more than a day feels like a lifetime in the eyes of a busy mom 😉).

Tip: You do still have to wipe the excess stain off with a clean, dry rag just like you would with any other stain product.  (If anyone wants me to put together a staining tutorial, let me know.  I am no expert, but I can take some extra photos the next time I stain something to show you my process).

After the stain was dry, I ended up deciding not to paint them.   I loved the unevenness of the stain and thought it played into the primitive look I was going for.

And now for the inside…

Fabric Lined Inside

I lined the insides with fabric to add a unique surprise and a bit of color.  First, I traced the lids and bases on a scrap piece of cardboard I had laying around.  Foam board would also work really well.

Tracing Fabric Inserts

Then I cut out my cardboard circles keeping my scissors on the inside of the line to account for the edge of the boxes.  I dry fit each piece and trimmed as necessary to ensure it would fit inside the lid or base.

Cut Fabric Inserts for Boxes & Lids

I cut pieces of gingham fabric just larger than the cardboard pieces.

Cut Fabric

Gingham fabric is classic in primitive décor.  It’s a simply woven cotton fabric that is pre-dyed so that both the front and back are colored.  It is also typically checkered in varying sized patterns and often has a tea stained look to more closely match traditional fabrics.  I love it.  This one is black and beige.  I ordered it online a while ago but have also found gingham fabric at craft stores like Joann’s or Hobby Lobby.

I used my Ryobi glue gun to put a bead of hot glue around the edge of the cardboard circle in small sections and then folded the fabric onto it being sure to pull it taut as I worked around the circle (no photos of this step- mostly because I only had two hands, needed them both and had to work quickly so my glue wouldn’t dry).

Ryobi Glue Gun

Glue Around Edge

After it was finished, I cut away the excess fabric with scissors so the cardboard insert would lay flatter when placed inside the boxes and lids.

Cutting extra fabric

Next, I cut lengths of fabric just longer than the circumference of the bases and just wider than the depth of the bases.  I folded over the top edge about a quarter of an inch so that the frayed cut end wouldn’t show and then began gluing the fabric to the top rim of the base.

Bead of Glue Along Edge

After I had glued fabric around the entire circumference of the base, I cut off the excess leaving about a quarter of an inch.  I folded the excess under and then glued that in place.

I squeezed a few strips of hot glue onto the bottom of the lids and bases.  Then pressed down the fabric covered cardboard inserts.

Lid Insert

You’ll see that I did not fabric line the inside edge of the lids since that would have prevented them from fitting on the bases and closing completely.

So now, I have three look-alike rustic primitive pantry boxes that were a fraction of the cost of the real thing.  Because I opted to leave them stained only, they’ll compliment the décor in any room.  I chose to tie ribbon around them for some added color and styling, but that ribbon can be easily switched out to coordinate with the colors in any home.

Here’s a recap.

Recap From This, To This Text

I need to find more balsa wood boxes!  Maybe if I quit searching, they’ll just start popping up all over the place.  That always happens to me. 😉

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.  I’ll see you next week with the final reveal of this vanity and the $3 thrift store find that completed the look.


Keep creating!

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She Shop Shape Up

Hi ya’ll! How was your weekend? I’ve been crazy busy the last few days.  My first show is officially less than 3 weeks away and I’ve been building, staining, painting, sanding, stenciling and waxing like mad in preparation.

Our sweet little town in northern Maryland hosts The Belle Aire Market the second Sunday of each month from Spring through Fall.  If you live close, please come visit me on June 10, 9am to 2pm!

Bel Air Mural

Belle Aire Market2We’ve been to the market many times and are always impressed by the craftsmanship and artistry of the vendors.  It’s such an honor to be a part of it this year.  I am beyond excited.

Kate Thumbs Up

This is my excited face.  Admittedly, my excitement in this photo is actually over my new work apron- an awesome Target find from Hearth & Home by Magnolia. *Sigh* I pretty much love all things Johanna & Chip Gaines. Let’s have a moment of silence for Fixer Upper. *Tear* 😥

Fixer Upper

Anyhow, with all this show preparation, the She Shop has pretty much turned into a disorganized disaster.  If you read my 1st Post, then you know I’m a perfectionist and along with that comes an intense love of organization.

Because I work full time and have two rambunctious little ladies at home to take care of, my DIY time is limited to about 2-3 hours a night after they’ve gone to bed.  I’ve learned to multitask like a champ grouping my projects by material (wood/metal/etc.), finishes (stain/chalk paint/spray paint), final paint color and quick versus multistep transformations.  Then, I work on several projects at once (this may be why I sometimes forget to take pictures of every step).

Behold my mess!


All that stacked furniture is actually in my garage but is still a contributing factor to my lack of organization anxiety.  Can you just imagine if all that was in the She Shop too?? I wouldn’t have any room to work!

After spending a week working in that disaster, I finely snapped last night and went on a cleaning and reorganizing rampage.  I cleaned off my workbench and put everything back into my (new) toolbox. (Hubby bought that thing for me and it has been a godsend!)


Then I put away all the forgotten finds I wouldn’t have a chance to makeover before the show and combined my work in progress pieces and upcoming projects onto one table.  Now I finally have space to walk!

She Shop Organization Table 1

I didn’t make it to the garage, but that’s a task for another day.

Sadly, because my obsession with organization overtook me, I don’t have a full blown makeover for you today.  Instead I’m sharing a few transformation photos of projects I recently completed.  Remember how I said I always forget to take progress photos?  These are all those projects that only ever got a before and after photo.  Hope you enjoy.  Thanks for stopping by and I promise to be back Friday with a brand new project!

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Before After CabinetBefore After Pineapple LampBefore After Pillar CandlestickBefore After Wooden BoxBefore After TrayBefore After CandlesticksBefore After Drawer



Hanging Pineapple Succulent Planters

Hi ya’ll! Today’s makeover is definitely one of my more out-of-the-box transformations.  It required a little extra imagination, but I’m loving how it turned out.

If you were with me on Tuesday this week, then you’ll remember this cute little set of wooden pineapple bowls.

(Before) Pineapple

I picked this entire set up from our local Goodwill store for only $5!  I NEVER pass up wooden bowls when I see them.  They are so easy to repurpose in a variety of ways.  These little pineapple bowls threw me off a bit, but since pineapple décor is coming back in style and is essential in primitive designs, I tossed the whole lot of them in my cart.

The larger bowl had this maker’s tag on it.

Makers Mark

I love when my finds include maker’s marks.  It is so fun to research where they came from.  These bowls are from a Philippine company who specializes in woodcrafts.  A quick google image search showed tons of other wooden bowls, serving trays and trinket boxes.

My inspiration for this makeover came from the succulent trend that’s sweeping through the home accent aisles of nearly every store in the country.  They’re a great way to add some greenery to your space.  I prefer artificial ones since my batting average for keeping plants alive is pretty much zero.  I was on a search for said plants when I came across these on Amazon. (You’ll soon find that I love love love Amazon- talk about a busy mom’s dream come true.  Search, click, buy now and tada, it’s on your doorstep in two days!)

Pinapple Inspiration

Potted Succulent

Hanging Planter Inspiration

Ceramic Hanging Planters

I loved the idea of hanging planters, especially ones that were flush to the wall, and the little potted pineapple was adorable.  It was that little pineapple that reminded me of my wooden pineapple bowls.  I decided to merge the two ideas into a hanging pineapple planter.

I chose three of the smaller pineapple bowls to transform.  I love odd numbers in design and I’m a big fan of The Rule of Three.  The Rule of Three basically says that things arranged in odd numbers, particularly in groups of three, are more appealing and memorable.  The same rule can also be applied to the number of colors, patterns, textures or fabrics in a room.

I started by drilling a hole in each side of the pineapple.  These holes are where I eventually attached a piece of this burlap rope for hanging.

Burlap Rope

I drilled a 11/64 inch pilot hole first (usually I refer to this as pre-drilling) and followed with a 5/16 inch drill bit to enlarge the hole a smidge wider than the thickness of my rope.

I used my trusty Dewalt Drill and new Dewalt Black Oxide Drill Bits for this step.  I’ve always thought drill bits were a dime a dozen until I bought these- I love them.  They’re sharp, precise and don’t seem to splinter the wood as much as others I’ve used.  Pre-drilling also helps with splintering.  It’s a necessity when drilling through hardwoods that are prone to cracking.  I also always pre-drill when I’m working with an unknown wood.

Drilling the holes

I painted the pineapples with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Violet (visit for a retailer near you or purchase from Amazon here). Old Violet is more blue than purple and I thought it offered an unexpected twist with a nice pop of color.

Old Violet Paint

I distressed the painted pineapples on the edges using my medium grit Annie Sloan Sanding Sponge.

Then sealed with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

All Waxed

Now it was time to add the rocks and succulents.  I found single artificial succulents on sale at my local Dollar Tree (I bought about 25 of them in varying styles and sizes).  I also found these great sets on Amazon that I plan to order for my next project.

Amazon Succulents (1)

Artificial Succulents

Amazon Succulents (2)

Artificial Succulents in Flocked Green

I also found a bag of small black rocks at Dollar Tree, but you could get them from any craft store or even on Amazon (although the ones I found on there did seem a bit expensive).

I attached the rocks to the pineapple first using my battery powered Ryobi glue gun.  This thing is incredible.  I use glue guns for so many craft projects and I’ve always been tethered by a chord or had to dangerously link several extensive chords together to give myself some mobility (talk about a trip hazard and with an inquisitive toddler running around, it was a burn hazard too).  The Ryobi glue gun heats up quickly and the battery lasts for at least a solid hour of gluing.

Attaching Stones

I attached the rocks haphazardly so it would look like they just spilled out naturally in the pineapple.  Then I cut the stems off the succulents and glued them in as well.

Succulents & Rocks

After that, I cut three equal length pieces of burlap rope (approximately 10 inches long).  I tied an overhand knot in one end and then fed the rope from the inside of the pineapple through one of the holes I previously drilled.  Then I fed the rope from the outside of the pineapple through the other hole and tied an overhand knot.

Tied Hanging Rope

Here’s the trio all finished…

After Photo

After Photo DetailsAfter Photo Details (2)

I love how they turned out- such a cute twist on a hanging succulent planter and since they’re artificial, no water or green thumb required (lucky for me 😉).

Here’s a recap…

Recap Illustrator FIle (Blog Optimized)

Enjoy your weekend. It’s going to be rainy here, but that will give me lots of time to work on some new projects to share with you.  See you Tuesday!

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Grain Sack Striped Farmhouse Stool Makeover

Hi ya’ll!  Today’s makeover is one of my recent favorites- it’s a perfect fit for my farmhouse style and I love the color scheme.  You’ll probably be seeing this combo on many future projects- I just can’t get enough of it!

I bought this little handmade stool for $3 at a barn sale.  Yep, that’s a real thing.  It’s basically an estate sale that’s held in an old barn.  The few that I’ve been to always include an awesome variety of farmhouse finds from mason jars, vintage kitchen utensils, old farm equipment to unique furniture.  Along with this little stool, I found an old rusted cheese grater and some vintage Ball mason canning jars.  You’ll see both of those in later projects.


This little stool was well worn after what I imagine was many years of functional use perhaps in a kitchen or even as an old milking stool.  I fell in love with its handmade features…like these legs- check out how they’re attached! (Sorry that they’re already painted in the photo.  I was just too excited to remember to get a picture pre-finishing…whoops.)

Mortise & Tenon Stool Leg Joint

That’s a mortise and tenon joint- it’s been used by woodworkers for thousands of years to join two pieces of wood and is actually still used today.  I don’t know how old this stool is, but I love that it uses these classic joints.  The legs were a bit wobbly though, so I decided to use 2-inch self tapping screws to better lock the tenon in place (the tenon is the protruding feature that fits in the mortise hole).

Sketch (Mortise & Tenon Joint) (for web)

If you missed my Custom Rolling Cart Makeover Part 1 post, I’ll recap: I love self-tapping screws because they rarely require pre-drilling and are usually self-countersinking- both of which are huge timesavers.  For a busy mom, that’s a big win.

I then used my DeWalt drill (an awesome Christmas present from my Dad and brother 😊) to screw from the top of the stool down into the tenon being sure to screw down far enough that the screw head was just below the wood surface.  I used one screw per leg and didn’t measure where I needed to drill- instead, I just eyeballed it.

Disclaimer: This eyeballing “technique” usually works for me, but I have had instances where my eagerness to complete a project has bit me in the behind and I’ve ended up having to patch holes that I didn’t mean to make.  Shame, shame. You know my name. I’m impatient, but at least I own it.  Haha

I don’t have a photo of the above step, but it looked a bit like this:

Sketch (Lock Tenon with Screw) (for web)

I filled the shallow holes from the countersunk screw heads with Elmer’s Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler.

Wood Filler

I love this stuff because it goes on purple and then dries tan so there’s no second guessing when its ready for sanding.

Filled Screw Holes

After drying, I used my Dewalt Orbital Sander and 180 grit sanding disc to smooth out the excess wood filler.  The wood on the top of the stool was also a bit rough so I did a few light passes across the whole thing as well.


Tip: After sanding areas that you’ve filled, its important to run you finger or hand across the surface to check for smoothness.  Occasionally (particularly when filling deep holes or gouges), the fill process may need repeated one or more times before surface smoothness is achieved.

I usually close my eyes and run my finger across the surface.  If I can’t feel the area I filled then I know I’m good to go.  Closing your eyes may seem strange, but it works wonders.  My eyes always play tricks on me- I’ll swear the area is smooth, move on to paint and then end up with a big dip in the spot I thought was filled.

Finger Test

It took me two rounds of wood fill to achieve smoothness on this stool.  Then, it was ready for paint.

Ready for Paint

First, I painted the legs and underside with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Chateau Grey (visit for a retailer near you or purchase from Amazon here.  The name is a bit deceiving- it’s not grey at all, but more of a light muted green.
Chateau Grey Base Paint

I used Frog Tape for Delicate Surfaces to mask off the base and then painted the top, edges and lip with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen (purchase from Amazon here.  French Linen is my favorite color of all time! You’ll see it on many future projects- it’s a beautiful neutral grayish brown that compliments most styles and is crazy versatile.

French Linen Top Paint

This stool has really clean and simple lines, so I knew it needed a wow factor.  Since it came from a barn, I thought a grain sack stripe across the top would be just the thing.

After the French Linen paint was dry (about an hour), I used Frog Tape for Delicate Surfaces to mask off the thicker stripe.

Thick Stripe Tape

I decided it would look best if the stripe wrapped around the edges and onto the lip.

Thick Stripe Tape on Sides

Then I applied Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Chateau Grey to the area between the tape.  I waited until it dried just enough to be tack free (about 15 minutes) and then removed the tape.  I’ve found that waiting to remove the tape until after the paint is thoroughly dry can cause the paint to peel.  I waited another half hour for the stripe to completely dry and then taped off two smaller lines on either side of it (sorry no picture of this step- I promise I’m getting better at remembering to photograph everything 😉).  I applied Chateau Grey paint to each of those thinner stripes, removed the tape after the paint was tack free and voila!

Finished Grain Stripe

I love to distress my painted projects.  I feel like it only adds to the farmhouse feel and country charm.  Typically, I distress prior to waxing (some people do distress after). For me, though, distressing before tends to be faster and a little less work because I don’t have to break through the wax as well, but it does create more sanding dust.  I also love the effect wax has on the exposed wood (it shines it up a bit and really makes it stand out).

NOTE: I do all of the distressing in my SHE Shop and I can promise you, it won’t feel like you’re in a desert sandstorm, but there will be dust. 😉 Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is completely safe and has nearly no odor so there’s no danger other than a stuffy nose, but if you have allergies like me or are prone to sinus infections (also like me), you may want to wear a mask.

To combat the dust, I occasionally wear these dust masks (occasionally because I often forget haha) and use 3M extra fine, fine or medium grit sanding sponges depending on the surface and the extent of distressing I want to achieve.

For this stool, I used a 3M fine sanding sponge and distressed along most of the hard edges as well as across the top particularly along the grain sack stripe to give it some age.


Lastly, I sealed the entire piece with Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax (visit for a retailer near you or purchase from Amazon here.  Wax is my preferred way to seal and protect chalk painted surfaces and Annie Sloan’s wax is by far my favorite product.  One 500mL can will last through numerous large scale and small scale projects.  I only recently finished my last can.  It lasted me three months and I was using it nearly every day.

I apply wax with my Annie Sloan brush or a cloth depending upon the project.  There is a technique for waxing and I promise to include the complete process in the chalk painting tutorial I’ll be publishing in the coming weeks.  Also, if you were here with me last week, you may recall that I never mentioned waxing in the Custom Rolling Cart Makeover Part 2 post and you would be right.  I completely forgot to include that step so I have edited that post and it’s correct now. Oh my- where is my brain some days?!? 😉

Anyway, here’s this sweet little farmhouse stool now.  I just love it so much- I’m not sure I’ll be able to part with it.  I may just “forget” to put it on the truck for my next show. Hehe

Final (2)

Final (Collage)



I see this in an entryway as a little plant stand or a little step stool for my kiddos bathroom.  What about you? Where would you use it?  What well used, well loved pieces can you paint some new life into?  I’d love to hear from you!

Check back on Friday to see the unique way I repurposed these wooden pineapple bowls.


See you then!

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From Eighties Orange to Country Chic- A Custom Rolling Cart Makeover- Part 2

Hi ya’ll!  Today is an awesome day and not just because it’s Friday, but also because it’s REVEAL day!  On Tuesday, I shared with you how I mashed up these two eighties gems into a a single rolling cart (click here if you missed it).

Part 1 Recap

And here she is after a little paint and new hardware…

Featured Image

Talk about a transformation!  Gone is the bright orange stain and the dated wooden knobs.  Now she’s country chic and ready for her debut in a quaint cottage or charming farmhouse.  Here’s how I took her from drab to fab.

(NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.)

I decided to give this cart a two toned effect with lighter legs and a darker top and shelf for some contrast.  I started by painting the top and shelf with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco (visit for a list of retailers near you and if no one is close, you can purchase this color from Amazon here).  I love love love chalk paint…so much so that I’ll be posting an extensive tutorial focused entirely on the pros of using chalk paint, surface prep, techniques, brushes, finishing touches, etc. within the coming weeks.  I thought about including all that here in this post but it would definitely have made it way too long so stay tuned-I promise you wont have to wait long.

Anyway, here’s the cart with one coat of Coco.

Step (6)

You can still see some of the orange stain peaking through.  I had actually diluted my chalk paint a little too much with water (since I was a chalk paint novice at the time) so it took three coats to finally get full coverage.

Step (7)

After achieving the coverage I was looking for on the top and shelf, I started painting the legs, drawers and remaining surfaces with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre. I love this color!  It’s such a pretty neutral.

Step (8)

This also took three coats for complete coverage.  Notice my boo boo on the shelf- my hand slipped and I splattered a whole brush full of Old Ochre on my Coco shelf.  Whoops!  Good thing I hadn’t washed that brush yet (speaking of brushes, I love Annie Sloan’s round natural bristle brushes for applying chalk paint, but there are other options as well.  I’ll tell you all bout why I love her brushes so much and give you the run down on the other brushes available in my upcoming chalk painting how to post).

Step (9)

After three coats of Old Ochre and Coco

I ended up removing the drawers to paint the final two coats.  It was much easier to paint them separately- too bad I hadn’t realized that before I applied the first coat.  It was a messy endeavor trying to remove them while they were covered in wet paint.  Oh well.  Lesson learned.

I also grabbed some drawer pulls from my stash and brushed them with a coat of Coco.  These came from hobby lobby.

Step (11)

After they dried, I distressed them a bit with 220 grit sandpaper so that some of the original metal would show through.

Step (12)

Once the cart and drawers were dry, it was time for dry brushing.  Normally, I distress pieces to let some of the original wood and stain shine through.  This gives the piece dimension and a more country farmhouse feel.  However, with this piece, I definitely did NOT want any of that eighties orange stain shining through so I opted for a technique known as dry brushing instead.

Dry brushing is exactly as it sounds- you apply paint with a dry brush.  I usually use a chip brush for dry brushing since I feel that it yields better results than the denser round Annie Sloan brushes I use for chalk paint application. (These chip brushes are inexpensive and last a few applications.  They do shed bristles occasionally, but that doesn’t impact dry brushing much and you just cant beat the value!)

To dry brush, dip only the edge of your brush into the paint then brush most of the paint off onto a paper plate (or even a paper towel or piece of craft paper).  I always check the amount of paint left on my brush before actually applying anything to my piece.  This gives me the opportunity to remove more paint if there’s still too much on my brush.

Basic Dry Brushing Tutorial

When applying the paint to your piece, work slow and steady with long brush strokes.   You can see below that the brush will catch any raised areas on your pieces and leave a little paint behind (the photo below is actually of a different project I’m working on since I unfortunately did not take any progress photos while dry brushing the rolling cart- sorry ☹ I’m still learning how to be a blogger 😉).

Dry Brushing

On smoother pieces (like the rolling cart), dry brushing can be a bit more challenging since it is easier to apply too much paint when running the brush over a smooth surface.   After many failed attempts, I finally learned that working in smooth deliberate motions yields the best results.

The photo above shows Old Ochre being dry brushed onto a Coco painted candlestick.  For the rolling cart, I dry brushed Coco onto the Old Ochre painted areas.

I sealed the entire piece with Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax (visit for a retailer near you or purchase from Amazon here.  Wax is my preferred way to seal and protect chalk painted surfaces and Annie Sloan’s wax is by far my favorite product.  One 500mL can will last through numerous large scale and small scale projects.  I only recently finished my last can.  It lasted me three months and I was using it nearly every day.

I apply wax with my Annie Sloan brush or a cloth depending upon the project.  There is a technique for waxing and I promise to include the complete process in the chalk painting tutorial I’ll be publishing in the coming weeks.

I added some wire baskets to the bottom shelf for added storage.  I’m still brainstorming other ways to permanently attach them to the shelf.  I tried staples, but the wood was too hard and the angle was too awkward for my staple gun to be effective.  I eventually opted for the small mounts that are used to tack cable to baseboards.  They’re sturdy and for now, work, but I’m not sure I’m 100% sold on the look.  Any ideas?

Step (14) Lined Drawer

I lined both drawers with pretty matching scrapbook paper.  I adhered it with matte Mod Podge and then applied a thin layer of Mod Podge on top for added protection.

All finished!

Final (1) Details

I thought that someday she’d look pretty as a tea cart…

Final (Tea Cart Staging) …or in the kitchen…

Final (Kitchen Cart Staging)

For now, though…she is perfect for my sewing machine!

Final (Sewing Machine Cart Staging)

And I can store the power chord, pedal and extra spools in the drawers- I love functionality!

Final (Sewing Machine Cart Staging) Drawer Details

Here’s a quick recap:

Recap Photo(1)

It’s amazing what a little imagination and paint can do!  How about you?  What furniture do you have that’s just in need of a little paint and imagination to give it a new purpose?  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend and see you next week!

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From Eighties Orange to Country Chic- Custom Rolling Cart Makeover- Part 1

Hi ya’ll!  I’m so excited because today I am featuring the first furniture makeover on my blog and it’s a doozy.  I actually completed this project last year.  At the time, it was only the second chalk paint project I had ever done and the first time I had mashed up two pieces to create a new piece with a new purpose.

(NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.  Post was updated on May 8th 7:30am to repair broken links.)

Behold these two beauties- solid oak end tables gleaming with the oh so typical eighties orange stain.  I got these last spring in a bundle with another side table and coffee table for only $18 at an estate sale!  That means they were technically less than $5 each- can’t beat that deal!

Step (1) Before Pictures They were solid and in excellent condition, but I was definitely not in love with the stain color.  Eighties orange certainly doesn’t scream farmhouse so I figured they were an excellent candidate for chalk paint.  My husband hauled them home for me and then they sat in my garage for months while I contemplated what I was going to do with them (with two under two running around at home and the explosion of baby items and toddler toys that had taken over our living room, I really didn’t have any space for two end tables).

During those two months, I decided that I was also going to learn how to sew (you’ll see this is something that happens quite often around our house.  I’m always coming up with some new technique or skill I want to take on, you know in all my copious amounts of free time haha).

Anyway, I bought a sewing machine (this one here– I love it! Great machine for beginners particularly those who don’t like to read directions like myself. 😉).  It took up residence at our already crowded kitchen table for a few weeks before the organizing bug hit me and I decided it was both an eye sore and a space hog.  This also happens a lot at my house- I go on a tirade at least once a week reorganizing everything and lamenting over how “messy” the house is. (Side note: it is never that messy- God bless my husband for dealing with me- he’s a saint.)

So, it was during one such tirade that I decided I needed a mobile cart for my sewing machine.  Not wanting to buy something, I immediately went to the garage to examine my pile of goodies (furniture, reclaimed wood, wood scraps, etc. etc.).  I caught sight of the eighties orange and the idea hit me- why not put wheels on the bottom of one of them??  It the midst of pulling one from the pile, I decided to try to attach them together somehow since I really wasn’t sure what I would eventually do with one random end table.  Plus, I liked the idea of having two storage drawers instead of just one.

I sketched out my plan (I do that a lot) and presented the idea to the hubs.  You see, last year, I had not yet faced my fear of power tools- more specifically power saws- so I was going to need his help.

First, we cut off the bottom sections of the legs on one of the tables using our miter saw (had I left these on, the table would have been too tall to sit and work at).

Step (2) JPEG

Then, we cut off the legs on the other table.  We didn’t just remove them because I needed a solid area to attach the wheels to.

Step (3) JPEG

Here’s my pile of table leg scraps- you can bet I’m saving these- you never know when they might come in handy. 😊

Step (4) JPEG

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of this next step (there’s a hand drawn picture below, but you may need to use your imagination a bit).  I removed the tops of the legs on the second table (these pieces here). They were attached to the table base with bolts.

Table Leg Tops

Then I placed the table base upside down on the legs of the other end table (this is where my diagram may come in handy) and used two 2-inch self tapping screws and my husband’s Makita drill to attach the table top to each leg.  Self tapping screws are great because you typically do not need to pre-drill (timesaver! yay!) and they are usually self-countersinking meaning that the head of the screw will drill down into the wood instead of sticking up out of it.  This was important for my use because I needed a flat surface in order to reattach the cut table legs back onto the base.

Kate's Diagram1

I reattached the table leg pieces back to the bottom table top and then attached the wheels using basic 1-inch screws (two per wheel).

Here she is all put together and ready for paint. 😊 You’ll notice that the knobs on the drawers are missing.  I’m not a big fan of wooden knobs so I removed them and will be replacing them with something a bit more unique after paint.

Step (5) JPEG

And, here’s a closeup of the wheels I added to the base.  I bought these from Home Depot, but you can find a similar set here.


You can’t really tell from the background, but I moved her down into my workshop (in the unfinished part of our basement)- that’s where I do the majority of my painting mostly because its quiet and much warmer than the garage in the wintertime. Hehe  I lovingly call this place the “She Shop.”  If you’ve never heard of a She Shop, it’s probably because I made the term up- at least I think I did.  She Sheds; however, are becoming really popular.  If you look them up on Pinterest, do so at your own risk.  I already have at least 5 design ideas for building one someday (shhh…don’t tell my hubby).

I’ll be back Friday to share my chalk paint and dry brushing tutorial as well as the final reveal of this country chic rolling cart.

No need to wait! See the big reveal here!

I normally would prefer to complete an entire project start to finish in one blog post, but this one was getting pretty long- told you it was a doozy. 😊

In the meantime, what pieces do you have around your house that you could mash up into something new? I’d love to hear your ideas/thoughts/questions/you name it below.  Talk to you soon!

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