Revisiting a poor job

I thought you might remember a rather sad hallway table that Mark had painted but when I went back through the arhcives I hadn’t even blogged it. I think that it was so ugly I didn’t want to show the world! He had painted it a completely out of charactor  pinky purple colour, I think it was the same shade ad the bedside unit I did tell you about.

Ugly furniture
A Horrid colour at the best of times!

Then he made a bad job worse by using dark wax over the top and drawer front so those parts looked a little like this other nasty piece he produced…

Dark wax over White
OMG it’s filthy!

Once he had gotten that far even he decided that he had completely ruined the piece altogether and nobody in their right mind was ever going to buy it. I’m just grateful that he did stop there as it made my job of rescuing it a little easier!

Now, because I thought I’d already blogged it, I didn’t get a photo of it in it’s ugly purple dress – sorry!

But here she is with the rescue so far…

Repainted Furniture

I gave her a solid covering in the same mid green that I used on my console table makeover with the intension of using another old map to top it off and cover the nastiness completely!

Then I painted the bits Mark had already waxed and, while the paint was still wet, wiped them with a clean dry cloth to get a distressed look.

Painting over wax

I’m not 100% sure on the finish but I haven’t ruled out filling the details and covering with a map!

Using white wax

I waxed the whole thing with a white wax I have. I don’t usually use it because I’m not always keen on the results it gives, but in this instance, I quite like the highlighted details and that you can see the brush strokes.

Green Hallway table
At least now there’s a slim chance that someone might actually buy it! I really wish I’d taken a ‘before’ shot for you guys – it belonged in the hall of badly painted furniture!

Nikki x

Mid-Century Table Makeover

In my bid to clear through the pile of unloved furniture that has been side-lined for prettier projects, and relegated to the back of my sheds, I pulled out this old coffee table. It was time for my mid-century table makeover!

Worn out coffee table

The top was badly stained and the veneer layers needed glued on one corner where the damp had gotten to it a little, but the overall size and shape was pleasing and I had a colour combination I wanted to try out.

Badly stained table top

I gave it a coat of a bright turquoise everywhere but the top. It took 2 coats to get it solid and the gap between the shelf and the top was too small to get my paintbrush in comfortably so it was a pain in the neck!

I gave the bottom section of the legs 2 coats of gold to add a little glam.

Gold table legs

I sanded the top lightly but it was so old that the nasty varnish rubbed off really easily. It was at this point that I started to doubt my choice of finish for it. I had planned on a dark walnut satin finish but the grain was so pretty that I considered leaving it light and just using a wax. I should have taken a photo here but I got carried away with the project and forgot!

In the end I stayed with my original plan and I’m glad I did, 3 thin coats of a satin finish stain and it was ready to go! I hadn’t used satin stain before now but it seemed easy and gave a lovely deep finish that should be harder wearing than wax.

mid century table makeover

Mark doesn’t like it at all. He said it was an ugly table before and now it’s just ‘not his thing’. Fair enough, we rarely agree on furniture lol. He took a long time to come around to my painting anything made of wood at all and, now he has, he likes the shabby chic finish and not much else, but this piece just wouldn’t have suited a farmhouse look. It’s sleek lines and thin legs begged for glamour and luxury.

Repainted coffee table

I like the way this piece came together but… do you think it needs a couple of gold chevrons on the top? The main reason I haven’t gone ahead and done it is that it looks so nice now I’m almost frightened to change it! I also worry that chevrons, although I think they’d fit with the look, might prove difficult to get even and neat. Also my gold paint is very stretchy when it dries so I couldn’t get away with taping it, or it might lift when the tape is peeled off!

coffee table makeover

So what do you think, should I chevron or not?

Nikki x

Monday Makeover… Chinese Camphor Chest

Painted wooden chest

I mentioned that we had been given an old Chinese camphor chest last week and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

awful paint job

As much as I would have loved to strip it back to wood and stain it a dark red or black the thoughts of getting into all those little nooks and crannies was enough to make me break out in a sweat!

Painted chinese chest
Someone else painted this!

Instead I opted for painting it with an acrylic satin black. It took 2 good coats to make sure I got all those little specks of white but it wasn’t as tricky as I expected.

I then gave the inside a coat of a lovely dark purple I mixed with a touch of red – I was inspired by the Pantone colour of 2015, Marsala – I was originally thinking red, but I’m happy with how the ‘marsala’  turned out. You can even still smell the camphor though it.

Usine marsala paint

It was a million times better than it started off, but there was still something lacking…

Then it smacked me in the face. It needed glamour. It needed panache. It needed… GOLD!

I dry brushed the tiniest amount of gold paint onto the top centre panel and it made all the difference. Now you can see the beautiful carving and it’s got a lot more of an oriental feel to it. It has gone from a painted disaster to something quite stunning!

Chinese camphor chest

I know that there are plenty of people who will be shouting at me for painting this piece and I totally agree that it was probably better before it was touched but after the white gloss it came with I had little option!

Some of you might have noticed little white flakes around the inside rim? Well apparently even when acrylic paint is touch dry it isn’t actually dry, dry! The lid had fused to the base and Mark had to force it open! I was loosing light fast, so decided to go ahead and take the shots before it was completely dark and I had to wait another few days before I was home in daylight! I will, obviously, touch it up before it goes on sale!

Hmmm. Does it need more gold?

Nikki x

Projects from Big Red Barn this week

I haven’t posted much recently so I thought it was time I shared some of the many projects from Big Red Barn this week!

Last weekend I was at an indoor flea market. It was freezing cold, I was starving hungry and there was rugby on the tv. I wanted to be home, which in my experience, doesn’t usually lead to good shopping.

I forgot to take my camera, and would probably have been too much of a brat to take photos on that particular day anyhow (and you all thought I was Little Miss Sunshine eh?). My only purchase was a guilded frame with a print of Lincoln Cathedral on board. The only upside to my miserable day was that it was a great bargain at just £4! I’m thinking chalk board?

Turn a £4 frame into a stunning chalk board

A couple of days later, and after a good feed, Mark and I went to the Malt House Emporium  near Stroud. Again, I forgot my camera (actually I forgot working batteries for my camera) but I bought a really obscure triangular chest of drawers that have been painted in a very thick coat of dark red gloss. I am hoping to display/store my furniture mouldings in it eventually.

Unusual Ethnic looking drawers

While we were in the area we did a quick tour of the charity shops of Stroud and I picked up a cute little jewellery box. I think I might throw down a blog challenge with this one – either specifically jewellery boxes or a more general charity/thrift store challenge.

Wooden jewellery box

Then Mark found me a chair at auction. It came as part of a job lot so worked out to be very cheap. I’ve already started painting it a dark grey but I keep changing my mind what colour to paint the fabric. I’ve wanted to try this method since I saw it on Pinterest way back last year (or the year before maybe?) so he earned himself some points that day!

How to paint a chair

The final project I am working on is a Chinese style camphor chest that Mark was given – yes, a true freebie! It has been painted in a pure white silk over a matt blue. It doesn’t look the best but it was FREE, and I have an idea of how I want it to look when it’s finished. This should be a quick fix so will probably be the first to be completed. Once it’s done I’m going to try selling it online before we stick it in the shop, as more of an experiment than anything.

Painted chinese chest
Someone else painted this!

I’m sure I’ve more to share with you but that’s enough for now! Check back again soon to see how they all turn out!

Nikki x

Five of the best… No 6

Hello my friends! I hope you’ve had a better week than me? I’ve been off my feet with a real nasty stomach bug so not a huge amount to report I’m afraid! I have saved up some goodies for you to check out though, so let’s get sharing!

This first project id from Found This Painted That and I love the finished look. I also love her idea of using a quote from Dr Seuss – imagine the dreams you could have!

Hand painted headboard
Found This Painted That

The next project that jumped out at me this week is from Saw Nail and Paint. I fell for the amazing ‘streaky’ effect she has achieved using General Finishes paint – I wish I could get my hands on some to try!

Streaky paint effect
Saw Nail and Paint

I really couldn’t choose between 2 projects from The Curators Collection – but she has so many beautiful things featured on her blog that I could spend hours drooling at it! So, instead of stressing over which to use, I’m including both!

Distressed wooden Table
The Curators collection
Black and wood
Beautiful details

And last but not least is this fantastic example of milk paint being used over at Sweet Pickins Furniture. I am desperate to try milk paint but have to wait patiently for my supplies to travel all the way to the UK.

Chippy Milk Paint
Sweet Pickins Furniture

Hopefully I’ve beaten the worst of this bug now so can get on and finish painting my corner cupboard – lets call that one an experiment as I’ve never bought something made of Formica with the intention of painting it… in fact I’ve never deliberately bought Formica (plastic laminate) in my life before this corner unit!

Take care til next time,

Nikki x

How To Make Faux/Fake Porcelain Flowers In 20 Minutes

You were probably hoping for a Monday Makeover from Mark, what with this being Monday and all, but he’s been busy working on other stuff and just hasn’t had time to do his own makeover this week!

Instead I’m going to share this great tutorial I found over at White Lace Cottage and knew straight away that these faux porcelain flowers would be absolutely perfect for the vintage table centres I was designing for a friend. I had to have a play with it at the first opportunity, which happened to be just 12 hours after reading her blog post. Not that I don’t have anything else to do, because I really do have a ton of stuff on my list, but sometimes fun and crafty can jump to the front of the queue!

My first decision was what flowers to choose, ideally something like a rose or a peony, but as I was only practicing I took what the pound shop (the UK’s Dollar store) had to offer. I think they are supposed to be rosebuds and maybe peony?

Cheap silk flowers
Normally I wouldn’t give these house space!

Next it was the colour choice. The bride has a lovely scheme of grey and yellow, with touches of navy blue (like these pieces I worked on recently). Personally I liked the idea of a washed out pinks, greys and yellows so I just had a mess around with the paint I had to hand which happened to be a really pale lilac that Mark is was using recently.

cheap wedding flowers
These have so many uses

I tried using the hairdryer on one but be warned it can get kind of messy blowing paint around so make sure you aren’t doing it while sitting on your brown leather sofa. No photo as I didn’t want evidence of paint splashed everywhere, because I was doing it in the living room… while watching an old episode of House. It also changed the shape of the flower and exposed some bits that weren’t covered in paint so I gave it up as a bad job and left them to dry naturally.

porcelain roses
I love the different shapes they took

It took about 2 days for the paint to properly dry, due to the amount of thick chalk paint on them. I’m serious, it was at least 2 days before I could pick them up! Perhaps I should have watered down my paint a little, but I wanted them to look a bit ‘thick’,  like they were actually made of porcelain.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

Not to bad for a first attempt I thought and I imagine they would look better with slightly better flowers to begin with. And I really have to get around to fixing up that little brown jug some day soon!

See the full tutorial and to see how Anne puts her finished  faux porcelain flowers to a great use pop over to White Lace Cottage for a look.

White Lace Cottage Original Tutorial

Now I really must get on, I’m supposed to be setting up an” etsy vs ebay” experiment and decorating my stairway today!

Speak soon,

Nikki x


How Do You Recycle?

Tell me, dear reader how do you recycle your empty cans and old glass jars?

Things fro my recycling bin
2 Glass jars & an empty soup can

Do you just trash them or do you make really pretty things?

Recucled jar table centre
Cute eh?

Like this beautiful table centre I made for a friend!

I had a go at making a paper pom pom too…

Pink paper pom pom
My first ever paper pom pom

And what do you think of my smart new photo backdrop? My 8 year old step-daughter made it for me (thank you Jessica x). It took her about 15 minutes to glue some old book pages to a large piece of cardboard but I love it… so expect to see it a lot more!

See you tomorrow for Five of The Best,

Nikki x

Updating Forgotten Furniture

Sometimes I buy a piece of furniture, fix it up and get it down to the shop within a week. Sometimes. More often I’m already working on something, have a customer commission or there just isn’t room in the shop, so the piece gets stored. Now there’s 2 types of furniture in my storage, the type that I can’t wait to get out and work on and the type that keeps getting pushed to the back.

This piece has been pushed to the back so many times it was starting to look like a permanent fixture in the shed! I really wasn’t sure how to make it ‘mine’ and, to be honest, I had no intention of working on it this week. I asked my daughter to go fetch me a long narrow coffee table from the shed as I knew just what I wanted to do with it. She came back with this…

Oak Console Table
Not very exciting is it?

So the upshot is that I decided I’d have a go at updating this piece of forgotten furniture.

It took me an age to get all of the gunky brown varnish off the drawers but with a little chemical help and a lot of elbow grease it did, eventually clean up ok.

How to strip using Nitro Mors
Please be careful when using chemical strippers

While the chemicals got to work (several times) I gave the carcass a couple of coats of a lovely dark sage green paint (one of my own). I also decoupaged some ceramic knobs (tutorial to follow).

Use tissue paper to cover plain knobs
Lydney is where our shop is!

Okay, the drawers don’t look a lot different but, up close, the dark wax is a much nicer finish. It was nice but not stunning. Then I added a vintage map to the top and distressed it slightly in all the right places and WOW! It went from being a piece I was avoiding to a piece I wanted to keep for myself!

Painted Oak Table
Lightly distressed on the legs and edges


Old map of Severn Estuary
The antique map shows the area we live in!


Details of console table
I lined the drawers with leftover map

Maybe I should go to the back of the shed again soon – who knows what other treasures I might find!

Refurbished Table Lydney
It’s in the shop already!

Come back again tomorrow to see what I found in my recycling bin!

Nikki x

Five of The Best No 3

I am overjoyed to report that normal blogging has been restored (almost) and that from today I should be back to bringing you regular posts a few times a week (I hope). There have been several things holding me back this past couple of weeks – I’ve had a lot of hours in my ‘real’ job, I moved from the free to the self hosted and my old faithful estate car broke. Not just a little broke but full on, never going to move again, turn it into something useful like a baked bean can kind of broke!

Thankfully everything seems to have calmed down again this weekend. I managed to buy a little car that will get me around without relying on other people’s kindness and a friend at work has asked if I can swap a couple of shifts so I will actually get an extra day off this week!

Enough of my ramblings… I still managed to find a few great projects around the interweb to share with you. So, without further ado…

My first piece was found on Hometalk, it’s by Just The Woods. I’ve only just discovered the site but will be talking about it later this week. I love the silver detail on this piece and would almost start drinking wine just to have an excuse to own it!

Silver on wood

This next piece isn’t a furniture makeover but an absolutely stunning work of art discovered by Found This Painted That and then she does her own and gives details in a very clear tutorial so we can all have a go.

Amazing Book Art
Amazing Book Art

None of us have a perfect track record and sometimes there’s a project that just doesn’t go well for us. Find out how things turned our for Laura at Finding Home when she tried to make these cute Valentines Hearts she found on Martha Stewart

Crayon Hearts Valentines Craft
Martha Stewarts Crayon Hearts

I LOVE this piece I found while catching up on some old posts from Petticoat Junktion. You see so many ‘tastefully’ distressed pieces it’s great to see something that has really been worked over!

Very distressed paint effect
I love how distressed this piece is.

The final piece for this week is an ugly little side table that had a badly damaged top. Beck over at Beckwith’s Treasures did a fantastic job in replacing the tops but I’m not sure of the dark stain on pine, but that’s just my personal preference.

Wood stained top
Pine stained with dark oak

I’d like to thank everyone for letting me share their work. If you seen something amazing recently that you feel should be on 5 of The Best then drop me an email – and I’ll have a look.

Coming up this week: Mark’s Monday Makeover (you could help settle an argument), my first Ikea hack (closely followed by my second and third!) and a console table that gets a great new look.

‘Til next time xxx