Can’t Get Enough of Green

With sincere apologies to Kermit the frog…It’s beautiful being green…

As I look back on my history of painting vintage furniture it obvious I just can’t get enough of green painted furniture.

These next nine pieces shown below all painted in various shades of green shown some of are my own projects. They were all bought, restored, painted and waxed by me and all were done the first year I was painting and selling my chalk painted pieces.

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Then this week I read on Houzz that forest green is a “trending” color right now. http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/80942265/list/shop-houzz-3-trending-palettes-for-forest-green

These photographs below are from my Pinterest file titled Green Furniture. I love, love, love these vintage pieces shown below…

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At the Small House green is the new black!

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

Vintage Vibe Magazine Holder

By now you have figured out I REALLY have a thing for vintage furniture.

And today, I finished another vintage piece, this time a magazine holder. Today I waxed the green on green vintage magazine holder I’ve been slowly working on.

It’s been several years now since I began this piece but it for some reason it got put on the back burner. This piece sat in my studio for a couple of years half-way painted but never finished. No real reason… just a lack of time, energy or motivation I guess.

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The magazine holder, “after.”

I’m thinking of decorating the front with something special, probably using a stencil and gray or black paint but I’m not sure exactly what stencil yet.

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Not this exact stencil but something simple and similar in feeling to this. 

When I found myself missing the painting gig this winter, I began to make time to work on a few unfinished projects still in my studio. And once again green chalk paint has really become my thing.

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I forgot to take a “before” photo of the magazine rack but this one is similar.

When I bought this piece it was painted a shiny red and black and quite frankly, it was ugly! But I’ve painted enough ugly pieces over the year that I knew that with some paint and TLC it could be made pretty again. Although my paint stash is running low and my choice of chalk color paint is quite limited, I did have enough Michigan Pine green left to complete this project.

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Another magazine holder from a similar era found on Pinterest. 

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Light green and dark green paint make a subtle but pretty contrast.

It took multiple coats of green chalk paint to cover up that bright red glossy paint, but it worked. I really adore the dark green with light green accents and the contrast this had made. It is really a pretty combination in my opinion. I especially I LOVE the turned legs on this piece that reminds me of the spindles on the Jenny Lind bed I bought for my son’s when they were babies.

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Another view of the contrast between the greens.

This piece also sent also me on a hunt for similar magazine holders on Pinterest and I found a lot of them; both tall and squat, on legs and with no legs, painted, decopaged and decorated and more. I have saved over 100 versions of the painted magazine rack on my Pinterest board titled, Vintage Magazine Holders. Feel free to visit that!

In fact, I noticed today that I have four different boards, with the title Vintage in it!

Although this piece is technically a magazine holder, I imagine it could can be used to contain numerous other items like maybe holding towels, linens, platters, a laptop and more. What else do you think this magazine holder might hold?

I find there is gracefulness to these older pieces that makes them lovely to look at as well as still functional.

Viva la vintage!!

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

Easy Lamp Revamp

Apparently this is my winter for lamp make-overs!

Last month I painted a stained lampshade to update a pretty blue canning jar lamp and today I chalk painted and waxed two out-of-date 1960’s brass lamp bases. My bedroom lamps are not old enough to qualify for vintage but they are certainly not new either.

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Here is the “before” shiny brass lamp with its old pleated shade. 

The pleated shades are quite dated and because they are a light weight fabric and pleated they collect dust and are a pain to keep vacuumed.

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Both lamps bases before the recent make-over.

I have been looking at new lamps at Home Depot and on the Internet and I fell in love with this wooden artisan-shape lampbase (which I would have painted or more likely washed using my watered down green chalk paint.) But when I realized each lamp cost $125.00 plus shipping and that I needed two of them I knew new lamps were not going to be in my current budget.

And besides I don’t want my lamps to look too matchy-matchy, right?

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A Kathy Ireland designed lamp with the look of a hand-turned base. So pretty.

So instead I bought two new lampshades at Home Depot at $19.95 each and painted the lampbases I already had. I would have preferred a drum-shaped style shade but the size I needed did not come in that shape. I also needed a shade large enough and deep enough to cover up the brass screw in the lightbulb part so this was the only shade that actually fit my older style lamps.

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A close up of the shiny brass look that was popular in the 70’s & 80’s.

My choice of shades colors was a bit limited but these marbled tan shades will do the trick and will certainly freshen up our bookshelf headboard and provide some nice contrast of the dark green paint against our medium green painted wall.

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Left lamp based painted right hand side base painted and waxed.

I crawl into bed early every night to read and wind down so these lamps get quite a workout in my home.

  • MY STEP BY STEP:
  • I started off by washing the bases well to remove any dust or gunk that might have settled there over the past few decades.
  • Then I brushed on the Ce Ce Caldwell’s Michigan Pine chalk paint just covering them with one coat because I wanted some small bits of brass to show through for contrast.
  • Then I waxed each base using Ce Ce Caldwell’s Aging Wax using a rag to apply the wax because my waxing brush was too stiff to get the wax into the cracks and crevices. See more information here; http://www.cececaldwells.com

I was torn between waxing and not waxing because I like them both ways so I  sat with them a few days until I made up my mind.

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The painted lamps bases in process in my kitchen.

Finally I waxed them both and this Ce Ce Caldwell’s wax took forever to dry. I’m not at all sure I like that slow-drying trait. It took the wax longer to dry than the chalk paint itself which dries in less than an hour!

I put on the new shades, took a few photographs and put them into place in my bedroom. This project was very easy to do and only took me one day (except for the wax drying which took more than a week) so my “satisfaction rating” is high. LOL!

This is budget-based decorating at its best!

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Do you have any lamp bases or shades you might like to paint?

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

My DYI Chalk Painted Lampshade

I tried a little experiment today.

I had a seriously discolored lampshade on a DYI lamp that I put together a couple of decades ago from an old canning jar and stones. I was visiting a hardware shop in Shipshewana, Indiana and purchased a DYI lamp making kit.

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I photographed this image so that you could see the cord set-up coming out from under the shade. That’s my handmade paper on canvas artwork on the wall behind this vignette.

I found this large quart Ball jar and added the screw on lid, added some pretty black stones I had gathered and I had a small-scale lamp. I was a young bride and I was pretty proud of myself then.

I noticed this past week that the white replacement lampshade was mottled and discolored. I automatically set it aside to go to Lowe’s with the intent of purchasing a new shape. Then it occurred to me, why not try to paint it before I discarded it? I even had the same color chalk paint that I used on the dresser turned family room storage unit that it sits on.

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I have successfully used chalk paint on wood, metal, and a vintage leather top table so why not give it a try? It was incredibly easy to do. I watered the paint down very lightly, used a regular paint brush and painted it on taking care not to load too much paint on the glued edge.

I am really pleased as how the fabric took the paint. Not only does it cover the stains beautifully the finished shade has a lovely velvety look to it.

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A vintage Ball Perfect Mason jar holds Petoskey stones I gathered over the years.

This little trick save me the cost of a new lampshade and even more important it saved me over an hour’s drive to get to the closet home improvement store. It also saved a lampshade from going into the landfill. What a win-win!

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A repurposed and painted gentleman’s chest in maple wood and sea foam green chalk paint adds a bit of pop to the window wall in our family room as well as needed extra storage. This chest which is adjacent to a bathroom is filled with TP and paper towels!

This is one DYI experiment that worked!

Small House Homesteader, Donna

Finding the Courage to Paint my Island

I’ve have wanted to paint my kitchen island for a long time now. But I have had this irrational fear of a future buyer (most likely my age) not buying my home because my kitchen island is now chalk painted. I know this is crazy but honestly this is how I have felt. I know it’s only paint but the fear of a future buyer being turned off by the idea of a painted island has stopped me in my tracks every time.

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My maple island “before” its current transformation.

But every decorating magazine or book I pick up shows the kitchen island painted a lovely color,, a look I adore and I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE chalk painted furniture. This week I finally decided to forge ahead and paint it anyway. This kitchen island will stay here while any of my other painted furniture pieces will be sold or go with me to our new place, wherever and whenever that will be.

I do love my maple kitchen cupboards and am grateful to have such a lovely kitchen to cook in but if there is such a thing as too much wood in one room then this room is definitely the poster child for that. I knew I wanted a deep dark green and that I was going to start by painting and waxing the drawers. I would leave the sides maple to start. I often paint furniture in a two-tone kind of way leaving quite a bit of the natural wood showing and this is my way to test the waters, so to speak.

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The finished island with its original maple pulls put back on. It looks like I had better stain and polyurethane the back of the second chest!!

I purchased a quart of chalk paint by Annie Sloan in the new color called Amsterdam Green. Roadblock # 1: I did not like that shade of green color. It was just too Christmassy green for my room. So I reverted back to my old favorite stand-by Michigan Pine green, by CeCe Caldwell. I had just about enough left to accomplish my goal.

I quickly realised that Michigan Pine green is a much better choice of green for our home and especially for the deep shade of green found in my green, rust, gold and brown runner that lies in front of this island. My area rugs were chosen with dogs and our homesteads ample outdoor dirt in mind!

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This runner has a forest green color that just works with the Michigan pine chalk paint. 

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This is the Amsterdamn Green that was too christmassy looking for my tastes.

We put down a light-colored bleached wood look linoleum floor throughout our home when we moved here in 2000. When we moved here Small House had a country-practical dark brown carpet and the space look way to dark for my taste.

This linoleum is laid using three varying sizes of linoleum strips that make it look just like wood to most guest eyes. This runner was put down when my Labrador Retriever Spirit started aging and was having trouble managing the slippery floors. This runner also keeps my granddaughters from tripping and falling to.

My original plan was to take it slow and paint just the island front and then wax it with black wax. I know I can always paint the other sides later on if I really like this new look.

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My newly “tweeked” kitchen with the repurposed maple shelves, the black stove vent newly painted and kitchen island adorned in Michigan Pine chalk paint. 

Yes, I know that using dark wax directly over paint goes against the “rules” of chalk painting but I do this all the time.  I love how it look when completed to. Just call me a chalk painting rebel!

Yes, all the directions tell you to wax with clear wax first and then wax with dark wax but that is not how I do it. I like dark wax right over the paint. I expect to put the old maple wood pulls back on but I will see how that looks and decide if I will go safe or make a change to go a bit more spiffy with new pulls.

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I extended my storage space by adding an antique chest. This piece holds placematts, linen napkins, candles and tall vases that my homes lack of storage cannot house. 

What do you think? Do you like it painted green?

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

 

What We Love About Homesteading

One of the aspects we love about homesteading here is that this life takes us out of the consumerist life of the city to a life of production and creation. We may not have enough lifetimes to realize our fantasy of full fledge farming (with mini goats and horses) but in our own small way with our garden, our blacksmith forge, the art studio and the restoring of this home and the outbuildings, we feel that we are making, giving, repurposing, and creating more than just buying our way through life.

And when a thing is truly needed there becomes first a reason to repurpose, reuse and to shop auctions, thrift store, flea markets and more.  These items are meant to be used another generation (or two) and the end result is that our home looks like it has always been this way, even when it hasn’t.

I love sharing our life with my granddaughter who is growing up in the city. She has this opportunity to see nature close up and learn about how we care for it. She loves my chickens and egg collecting and it’s amazing to watch her learn, grow and question how things work.

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We also love living with the seasons. There is a natural rhythm to homesteading or farming that is so different from life in the city. For us it is natural to wake with the light and sleep with the dark. It is natural for mankind to be our most productive spring through autumn and then rest, plan, regenerate and restore during the winter months.

We love the ability to search, forage, and gather plants, fruits, berries and to turn them into a productive edible feast or a healing tincture or syrup. This brings joyfulness along with a deeply felt sense of beauty and accomplishment as well.

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We love having the ability to control the food we put into our bodies. We grow it ourselves or source it from trusted growers near us putting that money back into our own community.

We love the freedom this life gives us to go into the woods, marsh, fields and farmland once a day to hike, explore, walk our dog, bird watch, observe nature and be one with the natural world.

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Living here and homesteading lets me practice my ethical belief of acting on behalf of the common good.

There is way of recapturing the spirit of the past found by people like us who have made the decision to slow their lives down to farm or homestead. This is a revival of the pastoral life of long ago while adapting and evolving it to our personal need and tastes.

In no sense was this house, the life the life of our dreams. But over our lifetime this has instead slowly turned into something better, the house and the life of our realities.

These images are the Grand Finale to our saying goodbye to fall on a foggy, fabulous fall morning.

Small House Homesteader, Donna

Kitchen Shelves Showcase Pottery

It’s not that often that I get turned on by a new design idea. Mostly they are either out of my price range financially or are a design idea like gray walls, for instance, that would not cut it in our 6 months of gray sky Michigan. Or these new designs just don’t fit in my 60-year-old rambler.

But two maple wood floating shelves in my kitchen, now that’s an idea I can get into. And this gives me a way to utilize more wall space for showcasing my small pottery collection.

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Last year Gene and I found three large slabs of 2 1/4 inch thick maple wood sitting along the side of a nearby roadway put out with a free sign on them. Apparently someone redid their kitchen and put these gorgeous thick cutting board slabs out to find a new home. Of course we brought them home with us. I didn’t know then how I would use them but they were gorgeous maple wood and I knew at some point I would come up with an idea. I call these pick-ups “a roadside rescue.”

One board quickly became a chopping board on my kitchen island and the other two went into storage awaiting the perfect project.

Somewhere along the way I began to think about floating shelves. A talk with our handyman Frank, determined that he could rip these in half using his table saw and we could have the wood needed for two 23” long X 6” wide shelves to hang between our cupboards and our stove top .

So the search began for photographs of hanging shelves that fit our space and my design sensibilities.

It turned out that there are not sufficient wall studs to hang actual floating shelf on the desired wall. But Frank said I could have my shelves if I was willing to hang them using shelf brackets. Then the challenge began. I needed brackets that were 6 inches in length or shorter. I had at first thought I would find black wrought iron because of my black appliances but everything I found on ESTY Amazon.com were either too chunky or too large scale for my taste or space. For a while I thought about ordering hand-forged custom brackets made by a blacksmith (or waiting until Gene could make them in the forge) until I realized this whole project was getting way too pricy. I was looking at over $100.00 plus shipping.

Finally I found brackets I liked on the Joss & Main website that were fairly priced. Find that site here: www.jossandmain.com/ They are simple in design and yet strong enough to hold the heavy maple wood shelves plus whatever decor I decided to put on them.

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The brackets are painted a soft creamy white, look perfect with my subtle wallpaper as well as contrast nicely with the maple wood; I decide these brackets would be there on the wall and look attractive but not steal the show. And that would allow my collectibles to move to the foreground in interest.

These four cast iron brackets costs me just $34.89 and I received free shipping through a special holiday deal. The labor cost me $30.00 and the wood was free. Total cost: $64.89. Right up my alley of the “How to get creative on a tight budget plan.”

My board was cut in half and the length was cut to 22 inches. I used several coats of mineral oil on them to bring out the lovely maple wood grain. I also opted to leave the raw edge facing out ward to show the lovely grain and character of the rough cut wood.

I oiled the maple wood using mineral oil just like I do my cutting boards and island top.

The third cutting board ended up on my granite counter for my husband to use while he is chopping vegetables with me for our meals. I am calling these our “His & Her Cutting Boards” when Gene helps me to chop up vegetables for my AIP and his insulin resistance diets.

Now that is a match made in heaven!

Small House Big Sky Homestead, Donna