I had great plans for today. I was going to get two furniture pieces finished and fit in e-mail and some photo shoots as paint dried. The day was going as planned until about noon. It’s been raining here for two full days. Hard. We’ve had a little bit of water seeping into our basement, just because the water table is so high. This is normal, though, and the water is mostly corralled into channels with the help of some strategically placed towels. I was busy oiling one of the shoe racks I bought and noticed some water seeping beyond the towels. I figured they were sopped, so I exchanged them for dry towels and put them on the spin cycle in the washer. The new towels were soaked in minutes and I realized there was a big problem. I could hear water splashing. It was pouring in under the window sill and through several pin holes in the cinder block walls. Water was running in faster than I could control it, so I started rolling up rugs and moving stuff where it would be dry. We’ve always kept things off the floor in case of flooding, but we haven’t had water in the basement for years, so I had become a little complacent.
I spent a few hours pumping, wringing, bailing, sopping and drying and things are pretty much under control now. We’re still getting a few heavy bands of rain, but hopefully we’re at the end of this storm. Nothing was ruined and anything that got wet will dry out again, so I had to keep reminding myself that it could’ve been much, much worse. It was merely a kink in the day.
So, here’s what I managed to get done before the rain came in…
Yesterday, I stripped the tops of the vanity and dresser that match the “Trophy” dresser.
You can check out my tutorials on stripping furniture here – Part 1 & Part 2. I love painted furniture, but I like wood tops on pieces. I think it feels nicer and wears better and I also like the contrast.
Once the tops were stripped and cleaned, I sanded them smooth and also sanded the body of the pieces to prep them for painting.
I sand furniture for a couple of reasons – First of all, any paint is always going to grip better if the surface has a little “tooth.” I only sand pieces that are glossy or slick and these were. The second reason is that I don’t like shiny polyurethane showing through when I distress or if there is chipping with milk paint. It just look strange and takes away the authentic look. So, I sand to take off that factory-finish-look. I think sanding has gotten a bad rap, but this isn’t the Bob Villa variety of sanding a piece. This is a quick, five-minute-max rough-up.
I sand the body by hand and with an orbital sander and then use a finish sander for the tops. It doesn’t leave those swirly marks in the wood that you get with an orbital sander.
I did the vanity/desk in Typewriter….
…and the dresser is in Apron Strings.
I’m going to warn you – Apron Strings looks more like Flamingo when you’re first applying it! This is one that definitely changes as it dries and will change even more once a finish is applied.
I stained the tops in Dark Walnut, which is my go-to stain for everything. It’s dark, so it’s forgiving, it’s very warm and seems to go with everything.
I just apply it with a clean cotton cloth and wiped away the excess in long, smooth strokes.
See how much better that wood looks with the rich Dark Walnut instead of that orangey/red stain?
I often get questions about working with veneer. In general, I just leave it alone unless it’s bubbled and a total mess. This piece has a little chipping along one side…
I just sanded the edges and then applied the stain, working it into the crevices.
The stain makes the chipping less obvious, but it still retains some character.
Remember that I’m not about restoring a piece to look like it’s brand new. I want to refurbish furniture and use the imperfections and quirks and all of the things that are a part of the history of the piece to my advantage.
More to come on these pieces next week.
Lastly, I wanted to show a photo shoot of one of the newest products in my line – the Milk Paint Mixer. There are a lot of ways to mix milk paint, but we found a little electric frother worked perfectly, so we had some custom made. They are inexpensive and run on 2 AA batteries, so it’s easy to use.
The little whisk agitates the milk paint and water mixture just enough to break up the lumps and clumps that can happen when mixing milk paint.
Give it a stir for about 20 seconds at the bottom of the container and your milk paint will be nice and smooth.
Click HERE for a detailed tutorial on using the Milk Paint Mixer. Now I’m going to be a terrible sales woman and say that you don’t *need* one of these little mixers to mix milk paint. You can shake it in a lidded container, use a small whisk, fork or stir stick or a blender or immersion blender. This is just a handy tool, so we thought we would make it available.
If you want to purchase one online, I know they are in stock in the following online shops -
Click HERE to find a retailer near you (and we have them all over the US as well as in Canada, UK, Europe and coming soon to Australia.)