DIY – Chalk Paint – Part 1

I’m starting a 3 part series on chalk paint! The do’s and don’ts and the how to’s! I’ll be dispelling the myths, and offering some handy tips to make your projects go smoother! Chalk paint sticks to slick surfaces well and distresses beautifully. It’s also easy to obtain fabulous layers with different colored paints and waxes. It’s not the perfect paint for every project, but it comes in handy at times. 

 Did you know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money for chalk paint? In fact it’s incredibly simple to make it yourself when you use Calcium Carbonate powder. (I’ve tried the Plaster of Paris method, but feel like it never gets mixed well, and stays grainy.)
Here are the steps:

1. Mix 2tbs hot water with 4tbs calcium carbonate powder. 

2. Mix for a “pancake batter” type consistency. 

3. Add 1 cup of latex paint. “Flat” sheen works the best, but “eggshell” is fine too. 

4. Mix well! 

Store paint for up to a week in an airtight container. 

If paint is too thick, add water. If paint is too runny, let it sit open for a few hours. 

Paint your favorite project and seal with polycrilic or wax!


You’ll be surprised at how much it covers! This desk required less than 1/2 of a quart of paint! Try buying sample sizes! At $8 or less, you’ve just saved almost $35 from the big (unnamed) manufacturer’s fancy paint! 

Do you have a favorite color that only the big chalk paint manufacturer makes? Check out Pinterest for a list of those colors in Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore colors. 

Now it’s your turn: What are some chalk paint fails you’ve experienced? Has every project been amazing? Do you love chalk paint? Or do you kind of hate it?! 

The Tornado Couch

This month, instead of taking my usual trip to the Canton Trade Days, we made the drive out to Canton with Mormon Helping Hands to help the tornado victims.

Knowing how much I love furniture, my son found me a couch! And I’m sharing it here because it really changed my perspective!

I couldn’t believe the damage that the tornadoes caused.

It was just shocking! There was a total of 7 tornadoes on the ground and they killed 8 people. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, and lives were changed in an instant.

This family’s home was lifted 6″ off the ground and set back down again, destroyed. We found an entire wall, luggage, clothing, pictures, and the refrigerator all smashed and ruined underneath gigantic felled trees!

It made me realize how fragile life can be!

Helping clear the land and working so hard felt good, and I left wishing we could do more.

I was also reminded how giving service to others often lightens your own load!  It was nice to take a break from my own problems and help someone else!

I have to admit, there was a small crazy part of me that thought about refinishing the couch…  But it was just too damaged. So I’m calling it the tornado couch. It taught me about service, it taught me about gratitude and it helped me be a little bit more aware of the needs of others.

Tutorial: Turn an old door into a shelf

Here are the steps we took to turn an old door into a wall shelf:

✔️Begin with an old door.

✔️Measure and cut a plank of wood plank to desired length for shelf. We used a piece of old barnwood measuring 1″ thick by 10″ wide.

✔️Attach shelf to the door using grabber screws. Screw goes through the back of the door into the wood. (Don’t forget to pre-drill holes or your wood will split!)  ✔️Measure and cut wood for corbels to desired lengths. We used 4″x9″x1″ for the “L” section!of the corbel.

✔️Miter one end of the corbels to 45 degree angle.

✔️Attach corbel “L” section using screws or brad nails.

✔️Cut 3″x6″ lengths for corbel brace. Miter both ends to a 45 degree angle. 
/”>✔️Attach brace to corbel “L” section using Brad nails or screws.

✔️If your old wood plank is not square, push or pull while secure the corbel brace to level using a square tool to straighten the wood.

✔️Prep for paint. Sand as desired.

✔️If desired, fill the screw holes or brad nails with wood putty.

✔️Paint or stain as desired. For an extra chippy look, try putting a layer of wax or Vaseline in certain spots before you paint. The paint won’t stick to those areas and will scrape or sand right off for an old chippy look!

For hanging the shelf: ✔️Locate the studs in the wall. This can be tricky. Be sure to take your time measuring twice  and use a stud finder if possible.

✔️Measure, mark and Pre-drill holes on the door.

✔️Use long grabber screws and drill through door and into the studs. We used 4 long grabber screws.

Decorate and enjoy! 
Comment be
is tutolpe

Mo’s Kitchen – Part 4 – The Shelf

I’ve been especially excited to share the story behind the old door to shelf project as part of Mo’s kitchen transformation! 
First off, I have to introduce these two: 

I wouldn’t be anywhere without them! 

I inherited the love of projects and working with my hands from my dad; and I got the love of thrifting, passion for decor, and DIY prowess from my mom. I also hope I inherited a teeny tiny portion of her incredible style! Their encouragement and support has always strengthened me throughout all my adventures, and I’m so grateful I get to be their daughter!! 

And now for the story! 

13 years ago, my sis-in-law gave me this old, wooden door that she found in her garage! 

I dreamed about converting it to a shelf or headboard for a while, but I have to admit, it lost it’s thrill as time passed. And then about 10 years ago, we moved, and in a giant purge I decided not to take the old door with me. Instead, I gave it to Mo, along with all of my dreams of ways it could be transformed.

Well the years went on, and through no fault of anyone’s, nothing ever happened with the door. And it was almost forgotten. 

And then last February, Mo and I started talking about her kitchen. She expressed her desire for a great kitchen that was painted and redecorated, and I began to get a vision of what she wanted! The very first thing I thought about, was to finally take that door and turn it into a shelf to place over her table.

During this past summer trip, I went to her house, took the door and rummaged through her old wood pile. I found some great barn wood planks that would work perfectly as the shelf. That night my dad and I stayed up way past midnight and put together this beauty!

I absolutely love how it turned out! It fits Mo’s fun style perfectly and looks incredible! The fact that I got to work on this project with my dad makes me love it even more! He taught me so many valuable skills during the project, and I loved watching his precision as he took time to measure twice and cut once to create the shelf!  

Ultimately, it is the love of my parents that put this shelf together. My mom encouraging us to never ignore the old, and to try new things; and my dad’s patience, know-how and excitement about projects! Even on late nights! 

I’m so glad it now has a place on my sister’s wall, watching over her and her family. I also hope that it will stand as a little a reminder of the love of our parents! 

Mo’s Kitchen – Part 3 – Decor

Mo had been using her alcoves to store decorations that she didn’t know what to do with. We found a treasure trove of goodies up there! I found this antique mercury thermometer: 

And this chicken wire frame:

As well as several old signs she had made! I stole one for myself! 

I also found some incredible platters, a blue pitcher, some spindles, and this chicken:

One of my favorite things to do with decor is to use or transform items that clients already own. I love giving new life to old things, and it saves lots of money if we can use what is already there!

So the platter, a sign, the spindles and thermometer went on the shelf (along with a strict mercury health-risk warning in case it were to ever break.) 

Since it’s July, I thought Mo’s old handmade sign was the perfect patriotic addition! 
The chicken wire frame got a fresh coat of paint and was hung here: 

Our mom gave Mo the boxwood wreath! I was a little jealous, but love seeing it there!Mo’s knife block was cute, but the green didn’t match. We used spray paint to give it a facelift. 

My son named the chicken Fred. And since we all agreed that chicken Fred didn’t look good in red, I painted him too! 

If they ever get tired of Fred’s watchful protection over the kitchen, they can try the freshly painted pitcher on the table instead! 

We also hung this wire platter on the wall! 

A few more fun facts:

-Mo’s incredible husband built the farmhouse table for her last year. 
-Mo found the high chair at a yard sale and painted it in all its chippy glory! She’s got some serious skills! 

-All of the decor you see here (except for the IKEA plants) was either a gift, thrifted or found at a yard sale! 

-The cost of the entire transformation was only the price of the paint! Everything else was already there just waiting for new life! 

Mo jokes that she has no style, but I disagree! She had it all under her fingertips and just needed someone to come in and put it in the right spots! I’m seriously so lucky that I got to be that someone! 

Mo’s Kitchen – Part 1

Every year the kids and I take a few weeks and drive to Utah to play with family. We send the boys to baseball camp at BYU, play at my parents’ cabin, shop, camp and enjoy the cool nights! 
This year I had the special treat of getting to paint and decorate my sister’s kitchen! (We call her “Mo” after Mohanna in the old Johnnie Lingo movie. She seriously is a 10-cow woman!! If you haven’t seen Johnnie Lingo, check it out!)
Anyway, Mo’s kitchen hadn’t been painted since 1999! It was a creamy yellow and she wanted a farmhouse update! 

She wanted gray walls, and had painted her basement in Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter, but was worried that with all of her dark woods, Revere Pewter would look too beige. I agreed. 

So we tried some samples of Sherwin Williams’ Repose Gray, and Agreeable Gray. 

Design Tip: ALWAYS paint a few test samples to try in the room before you paint. Don’t just look at pics online to decide your color, and don’t try to evaluate how your entire room will look using the teeny tiny chip at the paint store. Lighting, woodworking, and built-ins all factor into how the color will look on your walls! 

I buy the sample sizes and either paint a board to move around the room, or paint sample colors directly on the wall so I can evaluate what the color looks like in corners and next to permanent features. 

Our test samples in Mo’s kitchen were a lot darker than she wanted. She has a beautiful dark wood ceiling so dark paint would make the room feel smaller. We needed a warm light gray to keep a bright fresh feeling in the room.  
So we chose Agreeable Gray, and had the folks at Sherwin Williams lighten it by 75%. (Meaning, they only add 25% of the color to the can.)

That test proved to be too white, so we took the paint back and had them change it to 50%. 

This pic is Agreeable Gray, and the paint around it shows it lightened by 50%. (Meaning, they added 50% of the color to the can, making it 50% lighter.)

Armed with our Sure Line edging tools and paint brushes, we cranked up the music and began! 

The color was a perfect soft, calming and very subtle gray that brightened the room and made it feel fresh! We were thrilled! 

While we painted, we danced, giggled and even cried a little! We solved the world’s problems while we worked, and I just loved spending so much time with that incredible girl! 

I’m so excited to share the results!! 

The Layers Chair

This little antique chair has stolen my heart. Not because it’s ticking stripe fabric makes me weak in the knees…

It’s because of the layers.

The chair had been left on the curb for the trash, and I could easily see why. It smelled horrific, and was so dirty that it turned my fingers black when I picked it up.

However, the instant I touched this chair I knew it was special. The old wood, and flathead screws indicated age, and I was excited to think about it’s possibilities.

The easiest way to reupholster furniture, is to cover over the existing fabric. Lots of people do it, because it’s fast and it works. I considered that option, but with this chair being so dirty, I knew it had to be taken back to the frame. Back to the core.

The deconstruction was like walking back through time as I revealed 5 different layers, the original being a hand woven fabric, covering horsehair that was caked in dirt. I’ve never seen so much dirt on a piece of furniture! And judging from the rusted tacks holding it together, my best guess was that this was built sometime in the late 1800’s.

To think that all these years, people just kept covering up the dirt and grime, never knowing what they were sitting on.

Here’s a picture of the layers:

So this got me thinking about life.

Sometimes it’s easier to cover up my own problems, insecurities, and mistakes rather than fix them.  But the more I do that, the worse the problem gets. It’s easy to add a new layer that looks good, but it doesn’t hide the fact that I’m hurting inside. The dirt is still there.

Sometimes I need to just get back to the basics. Back to my core.

To root out the problems and become centered again.

I’ve even been in situations where I’ve felt that the dirt was so bad that I wasn’t worth it.  That I too should be left out on the curb. But when I’ve made a change, eradicated the problem and gone back to my core, I was rebuilt.

Getting back to our core isn’t easy… For example, deconstructing that chair took 3 hours! That’s a long time for one little seat! It was difficult and disgusting!

But possible!

I knew that the chair would look amazing when it was redone. I knew that the hard work would be worth it.

We are the same way.

Hope is real!

Change is possible!

Life, love and faith will pull us through! Just like this chair was rebuilt, we can uncover our own layers, become centered again, and rebuild.

And if we do, our new self will be stronger and more beautiful than before! A self free from dirt, heartache and pain. We will become an individual with a powerful story, and amazing history! And just like this chair, we will be stronger, and ready to face a new beautiful future, free from layers.

The “3rd Try” Cabinet

Ive been read the book “The Fearless Mind”, by Dr. Craig L. Manning, and learning a lot about fear. 

I live so much of my life in fear! Fear of failing, fear of succeeding, fear of messing up. And so often those fears keep me from progressing, making decisions and moving forward! 

So I’ve been trying to be fearless lately. To live more in the moment, rather than afraid of the future. I may write a little more about this topic in the future. But for now, here’s the story of how failing almost halted the progress of this project. 

1st Try:

A good friend gave me this little TV cabinet, and my first thought was to paint white. Everything looks better in white, right? 

Wrong. The white just wasn’t working. It was boring and I wasn’t feeling it. Meanwhile, life got busy. I took on too many projects, tried to tackle them all at once, and this shelf became an afterthought. 

2nd Try

I found some inspiration of heavily distressed coastal inspired pieces, and decided to try some layers. I layered wax and vasoline on top of the white. Then did a layer of blue paint. 

Using a paint scraper and power sander, I took off layers of paint. The paint just flakes off wherever the wax or vasoline is. 

And I got this look:

It photographed well, and my focus group loved the coastal look, but everyone who saw it in person hated it. Including my kids.

At this point I was stuck. By now it had 3 layers of paint, and I felt like I messed it up. I was ready to give it away and the fear snuck in.

Could I fix the paint and still have it look good? Would it be gloopy? Would it be boring? 

Again, all fears about the future, right? 

3rd Try:

I gritted my teeth, sanded a little more and pulled the gray paint back out. 

I used BM Gray Wolf, and added a black glaze and polycrilic topcoat, and this is what I got:

 It worked! It’s not gloopy, feels strong and smooth, and I love how it looks! 

For me, facing my fears means doing what I can in the moment and keeping going. 

I knew that if I quit this project it would get more stressful and the problem would seem bigger as time wore on.  

I learned that pushing through with confidence in what I could do now, really makes a difference! And sometimes, the 3rd time is the charm! 

Vintage Rocking Chair Refurbish Project

Just finished this custom designed rocking chair for a client and wanted to share it with you! 

My client chose the colors and fabric and I loved putting it all together! 


My client had done much of the hard work to remove the fabric and stain, but since I was spray painting, I wanted it to be completely smooth. There was a thick splotchy coat of wax that would interfere with the paint, so the power sander really came in handy here! I also had to do a fair amount of scraping to get the wax out of the tiny cracks. 


My client wanted to keep the original cane work natural. So I used plastic and painters tape to protect it. 

First step was Zinsser Shellac. I know I’ve talked about it before, but Zinsser seals in old stains and eliminates bleed-through. I use it every time! 

Next I used Krylon’s Color Master paint plus primer spray paint, and did several coats to achieve the desired coverage. 

One trick with spray paint is to sand in-between coats. That really ensured a smooth finish! 

I sealed the paint with Minwax Spray Polycrilic, and just love how smooth it feels! 

I got to try out my new air compressor with my staple gun for the upholstery! Makes me feel like such a big girl to have my own tools! The air compressor was a Mother’s Day present! 

Sigh… some girls ask for pedicures… I ask for power tools! 

Some gold trim and this beauty is ready to go! 

What do you think? Ever had success with spray paint before? 

Patio Table and Seating Refinish

So excited to share my custom refinish project on this outdoor patio furniture! 

My client’s Pottery Barn patio table and chairs were loosing their luster. The stain was chipping off, and it was warped in a few spots. 

The mahogany was so weathered that it had turned gray! This is a fairly common problem with outdoor furniture, but can be easily repaired with a little elbow grease and oil-based products. 

I wanted a topcoat that would hold up better than it had before. We also wanted to match the top to the color of the legs and keep that dark rich look. 

I’d heard a lot of good things about Thompson’s Water Seal and did a test board of it on top of my stain. The results were not good, and after a lot of research, I learned that Thompson’s is best on untreated wood. Remember that… somewhere in your vast hoards of mental data! Since we needed to go over the top of stain, Thompson’s was out. 

I ended up doing more research, sample boards, and talking with several pros! My neighbor showed me the teak oil he used on his boat, and that got me thinking about how boats take a real beating, but still look great. So I checked with my friends at Benjamin Moore and they led me to Old Master’s Marine Varnish. An amazing product used on boats! I was thrilled!  

After a few more successful test boards, I was ready to go!

The weather was amazing for this outdoor project! These longhorns were very patient with the noise from my power sander! 

I think I’m developing a little love affair with mahogany… it’s gorgeous!! 

I had a slight panic attack after the first coat of stain. My sunglasses were making it look bright orange and green! When my client came by I began to apologize and she said she didn’t see what I was seeing! It was only later that I took off my sunglasses and the color was corrected! Phew! 

The varnish went on smooth and I just love how this gorgeous set turned out! 

This table and seating came out so beautifully, but the best part was seeing my client’s excitement over it! I’m so grateful I got to be a part of this table’s journey!