This weekend, we hosted a BYOF (bring your own furniture) MMS Milk Paint workshop at the studio.  Those workshops are always such a fun time of painting and fellowship and we had a great group of ladies who brought some awesome furniture pieces.

It was a good excuse for me to take a couple of days to thoroughly clean and tidy-up the studio and restock our supply of drinks, snacks, and, of course, chocolates!  I also brought in some sweet cherries and homemade mini blueberry muffins.  I love playing hostess and sharing my creative space with others.


The class went from 10:00 until 3:30, so we had a lot of time to chat and work on the pieces.

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It’s fun for me to introduce people to milk paint and see their trepidation turn to excitement as their pieces transition from the before to the “ugly stage” to the finished product.  As a part of the workshop, I take “before” pictures of each piece and then style them for a little photo shoot when they are done.  It’s fun for the attendees and then I get to share them with all of you!

Here is Leighann’s small dresser before…


…and after…


She painted it in two coats of Flow Blue, heavily distressed, and finished with Antiquing Wax.  This was an interesting piece, because of the size.  It was too large to be a doll dresser, but too small for a child.  We guessed it was probably a homemade piece.  Whatever it is, Leighann did a great job painting and finishing it.  (By the way, Leighann has an Etsy shop, The Fishbone Bride, if you want to check it out.)


This is Vickie’s table before…


Kriste and I knew those spindly legs would be a pain to paint, but Vickie did an amazing job.


She painted the table in Trophy and finished it with Antiquing Wax.


The hand-rubbed finish really suited this piece well and picked up all of the beautiful details on the legs and apron.

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Vickie’s daughter, Melissa, brought this little cabinet/side table that was already painted in a putty color.


She painted it in Flow Blue over French Enamel, heavily distressed, and finished with Hemp Oil.



This would be a great side table in a little boy’s room, I think.


Vickie and Melissa are teaming up to launch a creative business selling painted furniture and antiques.  I loved hearing about their dreams for their business.

LaDonna brought a sewing cabinet…


As an aside, she is a needlepoint designer and she brought me all kinds of goodies for my new cross-stitching hobby!

Anyway, this piece looks very innocent, but she was a trouble-maker.  The sewing cabinet, not LaDonna.  The stain was bleeding through the Farmhouse White paint, so we sealed those spots with Tough Coat and that did the trick.  LaDonna applied a second coat of Farmhouse White, distressed the cabinet, and finished it with Antiquing Wax.


This was a piece that had a really rough “ugly” stage, but she pulled through and turned out great!

Gwyneth brought this amazing French server…


This is one of those pieces that didn’t really need to be painted, but she picked it up for a bargain and wanted to go for it.  She painted it in two coats of Farmhouse White, did a moderate amount of distressing, and sealed it with Tough Coat.  She also wiped the top with Hemp Oil to hydrate the wood.

It was pretty unpainted, but I love it painted, too.

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Gwyneth is another super-talented lady who makes all kinds of cool things.  She was wearing a bracelet made out of an antique silver fork and both my mom and I ordered one on the spot.

Karen brought this great primitive shelf…


It looks like it was built out of an old shutter.  She’s taking her house in a lighter, brighter direction with a mix of whites, so she painted the shelf in two coats of Farmhouse White, finished with Furniture Wax and some touches of Antiquing Wax.  She did a very light distressing along the edges as well.


It was hard to photograph this piece, but you get the idea.

The real highlight, though, is the crackling and crazing that happened.  It was pretty amazing.

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I had to run out and snap a picture of how she was getting the shelf home.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?


I had actually just met Karen a couple of days before the workshop.  She is my regional USPS business development specialist and was getting me set up to handle our increase in shipping better.  We found we shared a love of antiques and she asked to sign up for the workshop!

Lastly, Kathy brought this side table…


She sanded it with a palm sander prior to the class, but I still wasn’t sure how milk paint would adhere.  These new, mass-produced furniture pieces can sometimes be tricky.  Kathy was the adventurous sort, so she just went for it and painted the piece in Mora.


The piece chipped in a really cool way on the legs and body of the piece, but the paint was flaking off the sides and drawer fronts in big pieces.  We sanded them down and applied Tough Coat as a sealer, followed by another coat of Mora.  With all of the sanding and dry time, we weren’t able to finish it, sadly.  When you get in a situation where milk paint isn’t sticking well and you have to change the process, trying to rush can make things worse.  So, I suggested she finish the piece at home and  gave her the product she needed in order to do that.  I’m hoping for word of a happy ending!

I’m always too busy teaching and helping to do much painting myself, but I have a date with a particular chest of drawers tomorrow…


  1. Toni

    I love the before and after pics. Did the girls know what they wanted to do beforehand or did they consult with you and Kriste?

    • marian

      It’s a mix. Some people knew exactly what they wanted and others talked through it. I have found that most people know what they want, but just need a little encouragement to go with their gut.

  2. becky

    What a fun day! I love the before and after pictures.

  3. B

    They all turned out great, my favorite is Vickie’s table tho because the new color makes the feet really stand out now. I think she should sell it to me asap!

  4. Gina

    What a wonderful post. I love the before and after pics! I am sure everyone was very excited and have a great time….I know I would be! Thank you for sharing all that with us today. I can’t wait to see pics of the “difficult” piece!! It has such great lines. Once this heat lets up here in the South I am tackling my furniture projects…..this is great motivation!

  5. Leighann Hessler

    Such a great day! Really gave me the “juice” to keep painting. Thanks so much.

  6. Cindy in Oklahoma

    oh my goodness… that French server and the staging is gor-ge-ous!

  7. Kells

    can we talk about that trophy color…I am in love. could I do my whole stair case railing in it? or is it not recommended for high trafficked areas…not on the steps themselves but the railing

  8. Jessica | Petal + Ply

    I am really drawn to LaDonna’s piece! The lines are beautiful and the new light paint really accents the beautiful shape.

  9. Diane Anderson-Edwards

    Love the French server painted!!

  10. Anne Hamilton

    Leighann’s little dresser could be an apprentice woodworker’s practise piece.

  11. Sue Pratt

    Wow, everyone’s piece came out so beautifully! I’m curious about Leighanne’s piece…did she sand it down anywhere to smooth out any of the roughness of the wood or did she just paint right over everything?

  12. Mary Anne Merfeld

    Marian, Do you mind if i use one of the photos to advertise my MMS Bring a Piece Workshop? They are so pretty!
    Mary Anne


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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