Tag Archives: refinished

Travel Buddy

What’s better than having a travel buddy who shares a love of history, antiques, flea markets, and four-legged friends?

Camilla and I live 400 miles apart, which means there’s a good deal of traveling that has to happen before we get together and shake up some dust. A great surprise for my BFF would be a funky update to a vintage train case I’d bought on one of our jaunts.

Out came the insides, including the mirror.

The fabric inspired the paint colors: Annie Sloan Florence and a pink concoction left over from Just In Case.

At first, I cut the fabric in the shape of the old liner, but I lost patience trying to glue a lightweight fabric into a cramped space. I took a different route.

I painted the interior, then cut pieces of fabric and thin foam to fit the bottom. (I thought it would be nice to have a little bit of cushion, especially if the case might hold a fragile flea market find.) I sandwiched the layers with spray adhesive.

I measured a length of fabric to wrap around the inside walls and cut the top of the strip in a wave, leaving only whole, jumping dogs at the top.

Honestly, because it didn’t have to line it up with top edge, the wavy cut made it a whole lot easier to position the strip and adhere it with Mod Podge.

Painted clothesline, also left over from Just in Case, neatened up the inside. I coated the whole interior with Heirloom Traditions 1Gel. [A note about 1Gel: It’s expensive. I only choose it over Mod Podge when I want a tougher topcoat. It’s also a good transfer medium.]

I created paper versions of the dogs by scanning and printing the fabric. I decoupaged the doggies with 1Gel and let it dry. To seal the paint and and create a uniform sheen, I gave the whole exterior a coat of (you guessed it) 1Gel.

I stuck on an oval mirror from Michaels with thick, double-sided tape. The clips in the corners are Gorilla-glued clothespins disguised by decoupaged doggies.

For reasons too silly to explain, I sometimes call Camilla, “Rosie.”  Behold a doggie train case a la Rosie the Riveter. The whole mish-mash kind of says it all.

Love ya, Rosie! Where are we going next?






I Can Top That

Thrift store. Ten dollars. Need I say more?

First it got a good cleaning.

Then I took the top off…

and popped out the particle board insert. It took a little elbow grease to scrape off some of the glue it left behind.

I painted just the table top and the ball feet with Provence, and the rest with 1:1 mixture of Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue and Provence. I tried Old White on the insert but decided to toss it all altogether. I had an idea for that gaping hole in the table top.

But first the wax. As usual, every surface got a coat of clear.  I wanted to highlight the details with dark wax but didn’t want the stark streaks it often produced. ***Before I brushed on the dark wax, I directed a hair dryer on the can, which gave me a little puddle of melted wax in the middle.***  DO NOT DO THIS! THE WAX IS FLAMMIBLE!!!

Brushing on a warmer, wetter wax helped provided a smoother effect. You can see my progress in the photo below. All but the leg on the right have a coat of dark.

Notice that I didn’t screw the top back on the base. I reimagined the tabletop as a removable tray.

I bought two of these handles on Ebay from a seller who had six of them. (I loved them so much, I went back on Ebay and ordered the remaining four, for future projects.)

Now to take care of that big hole in the tabletop:

I took the top to Cooper’s Glass and Mirror, and for forty dollars, the enthusiastic owner of the local shop had the glass cut and siliconed inside the grove. He even had it ready for me the same day! More often than not, artisans are happy, and sometimes even excited, to be a part of the creative process.

I glued felt pads (normally used for chair feet) to the bottom corners of the tray. These keep the tray from slipping around on the legs and it also protects the surfaces wherever else the tray might rest.

I love the subtle difference in the two paint colors and I also love the functionality of this table.

Imagine bringing drinks or snacks from the kitchen and having a handy place to rest the tray. Even if the tray stays put, it’s a pretty great side table. It’s hard to top that!


Wood It Work?

I’m an empty-nester now and I have more time to devote to my new obsession with chalk paint. But even before chalk paint, when my nest was still full, I managed to find time for faux finishing. I had a happy reminder of those times when I came across a wood-graining tool I hadn’t used in I don’t know how long.

About the same time I had to decide what to do with an old Bombay table I’d moved from room to room over the course of three houses.


I started with two coats of Annie Sloan Burgundy, leaving the top for an experiment with my new old tool.

On the top, I used two coats of Annie Sloan Old Ochre for the base and let it dry.

Then I got together my other browns, Honfleur and Coco.

I made semi-haphazard strokes of Honfleur and Cocoa across the top with a chip brush, coming back with Old Ochre to tone it down when any of the spots felt blotchy.

I worked fast because the paint had to be wet for the next step.

The wood graining tool works by dragging and rocking it in horizontal lines across the wet paint. The graining will change by how much you drag or rock. For each pass, I started with a different spot on the rocker so the lines of grain it created wouldn’t line up.

I found myself holding my breath each time I made a pass with the graining tool!

When it dried, it looked too stark.

A wash of Old Ochre softened the faux grain.

Then the “wood” and the Burgandy got a coat of clear wax. I added a new knob and lined the drawer with a wallpaper remnant I bought at a garage sale for a dollar.

This beauty now has a prominent and permanent place in the living room. It’s gotten some oo’s and ah’s and I have to admit, I have fun showing off a bit by revealing that the top is actually painted.

Would you think it’s wood?


The Golden Touch

My King Charles Cavalier didn’t seem impressed with the royal treatment the middle child of this nesting table family received in If at First You Don’t Succeed, so I decided to dress the eldest for a coronation.

With gold spray paint.

It looked as if King Midas had come for tea.

King Midas and the Golden Touch by Al Perkins, Pictures by Haig and Regina Shekerjian, Scholastic, 1973

To tone down the gold, I experimented with a wash of Annie Sloan Old White. The paint beaded on the glossy surface and I let it dry like that. It was an interesting effect but still left too much of a Midas touch.

Out came the Black Gel Stain. I applied it to the surfaces as if it were paint. Gel stain is oil-based and thick. I doesn’t behave exactly like paint but if you’re patient and let it cure between coats (in this case, two days), it leaves a rich and solid finish. It’s blacker than Annie Sloan’s Graphite chalk paint and it doesn’t need wax or varnish.

I learned from A Cup of Joe to Go to wear gloves and use a foam brush.

I wouldn’t take all the gold away from this rich little table. The metal base and pull, as well as the inside of the drawer, stayed golden.

The random raised pattern left by the beaded white wash gave this little prince some depth.

Quite regal.


Just in Case

Be still my heart! Two wooden suitcases at Goodwill for six dollars each!

Fumigation not included.

I had a big idea for this small suitcase: A table when it’s closed and a vanity when it’s open. You know, “just in case” I need to freshen up.

I paired the suitcase with a table waiting for the perfect partner.

Stripping the inside of the suitcase involved experimenting with a few cleaning products. Goo-gone won first place in glue removal BUT it soaked through in some spots and darkened the exterior. Decision made. Paint!

Magic Eraser did such a good job cleaning up the trim and handle that I decided to leave it as is. Before painting, I taped the trim and the hardware.

The suitcase and table were graced with two coats of Annie Sloan Cream. In this “case,” I didn’t need the tabletop. I removed it and saved it for a future project.

I taped off stripes on the suitcase and added pink and peach highlights to the table. The pink is a combination of Emperor’s Silk and Cream and the peach is a combination of Barcelona Orange and Pure White. I don’t know the proportions. I just mixed until I liked the color.

It looked a little stark so I did some distressing and added images. Thank you to the Graphics Fairy and Diana Dreams Factory for the “Shabby French Roses Furniture Transfer.” The complete transfer is on the bottom shelf. I enlarged some of the elements for the top of the suitcase. Heirloom Traditions 1gel is a great transfer medium.

On to the “Just in Case” vanity…

I had some beautiful fabric and used a craft paper template to cut it to fit the back of the lid. I brushed the fabric with Mod Podge before the final cut. That made it easier to get a true cut without loose threads and it also helped align and decoupage the fabric to the surface

Before I glued the fabric to the suitcase, I cut an oval in the center about half an inch smaller than the mirror.

For more secure adhesion, I wanted to be able to glue the mirror directly to the the bare wood (and granite-like cardboard residue). To avoid sharp edges, I’d purchased an inexpensive mirror with a beveled edge

After the Mod Podge dried, I sealed the fabric with 1gel. 1gel is much more expensive but I find it leaves a harder, more protective top coat.

Gorilla Glue gel held the mirror beautifully.

To attach the suitcase to the table base, I needed a sturdy piece of plywood that fit inside the bottom. I was excited to break open my brand new jigsaw but I waited until my brother Jim was available for some lessons and guidance.

(I asked to borrow a sweatshirt. Apparently he only owns NY Giants sweatshirts. Worked for me.)

A perfect fit!

I rested the board on a smaller table and flipped the open suitcase on top of it. I screwed the table base through the bottom of the suitcase and the board at the same time. I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture. I was on a roll.

This is the flip-side after the operation was complete.

The interior came to life with another piece of fabric decoupaged to the board on the bottom and sealed with 1gel.

I used the same method for the trim that I used for the Pretty as a Peacock Chair. I soaked clothesline in water, then soaked it in paint, and hung it up to dry. No wax if you’re going to glue it!

I felt like Willie Wonka on the cusp of inventing bubble gum licorice.

“I am the maker of music, the dreamer of dreams!” – Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

With a little extra help from Beacon Fabri-Tac, pink trim!

With repurposed clothesline, repurposed clothespins seemed the right choice for some handy hooks.

A suitcase side table…

with a surprise inside.

Just in case.