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trading horses again


Remember my rocking horse?  The one I bought from Restoration Hardware and then painted with MMS Milk Paint to make it look chippy and old?  

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

Well, in typical Marian fashion, I sold it.

I wasn’t planning to, but a client asked if I could custom paint the same horse for her.  I agreed to the job and we tried to schedule a time for her to drop her horse off at the studio.  As we tried to schedule and reschedule, it occurred to me that it would save her a trip if I just gave her my painted horse, since she wanted hers to look exactly the same, and I could take the unpainted one and paint it again.

Are you tracking with me?

So, when I was in Virginia for the Holiday Expo, we met and traded horses.

An interesting thing…  I really don’t mind buying and selling pieces, but I missed my horse and was eager to get this one painted and in its spot.


Just like the original, this one was a total pain to paint!  There is something in the finish or the wood that resists the milk paint worse than anything I’ve seen.  I could’ve used the Bonding Agent to help with the adhesion, but I wanted it to be chippy, like the original.  So, I sanded and painted and sanded and painted again until I liked the amount of chipping I had.

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

I painted this one in Shutter Gray, followed by Farmhouse White (coming soon) on the body and Trophy on the hoofs, tail, bridle, etc.  The Trophy looked a little dark, so I applied Shutter Gray on the final coat.  I finished it with Antiquing Wax to soften the contrast between the dark wood and the light paint and to add some instant patina.

Here’s how the new horse looks…

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

And, as a comparison, here is the original, that is painted in Grain Sack over Shutter Gray.

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

My favorite part about the new horse is the dappling on the hindquarters…

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

I’ve seen this on a few antique painted horses and I always loved it, so I decided to replicate the look.  I just dry-brushed light swirls in Trophy with an artist brush.  I didn’t take it too seriously.  It’s supposed to have a folk art quality about it.

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

Because I painted over chipped paint, the result was this wonderful crusty effect that looks very authentic.  I know some people don’t get the crusty/chippy thing, but it’s all yummy to me.

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

And, as I was decorating for Christmas today, the new horse got a garland of fresh greens.  I just tuck and twist and nestle until it looks the way I want it to.  I use a little twine to tie the first couple of branches together.

milk painted rocking horse | miss mustard seed

If you’re interested, HERE is a tutorial on how I applied the first cost of paint to the original horse and HERE is the post showing the second coat.

And here is the video showing how I applied the Antiquing Wax

You know, I never named my last horse, but I think this one needs a name!  I think he’s a boy.   Any ideas for a sweet dapple gray?


I started decorating for Christmas today and I made a total mess of the house, but had a grand time doing it.  I’m not finished, yet, and it was a dreary day for pictures, but here is a little preview of one project I did…

christmas decor | miss mustard seed

The pots were already filled 3/4 of the way with dirt, so I just stuck a votive on top and surround each one with moss and fresh greens.  This would be better with higher candles, but I was just working with what I had on hand and I’m not planning to light them, anyway.

christmas decor | miss mustard seed

christmas decor | miss mustard seed

christmas decor | miss mustard seed

I am so in love with juniper this year.  The frosty blue berries and gray/green needles go perfectly with my decor!  I think I need to plant a juniper bush at the next house…

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  1. Patricia says:

    I loved your horse so much that when I saw one at the Restoration Hardware outlet I snapped it right up. I’ve been too chicken to paint it and was hoping for your take on what you would do differently this time so Thank You! This is perfect .
    How about Gideon ? ( giddy- up) ?

  2. Sandy says:

    SO glad you traded horses and ended up re-doing one for yourself! I’ve always admired your transformation of this rocking horse. I just found a regular sized kids rocking horse that I’m going to transform to look chippy and painted. I just looked at your horse for inspiration. I also really love the dappled hindquarters. I saw one in a decor magazine and always vowed to try to duplicate the look. Haven’t tried your paint yet but I bought a package to try it out. I’ve been using ASCP paint over the years and have tried many others. I totally get the chippy look and love it!

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