Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How I Dry Brush

Lately I've been experimenting with dry brushing on different pieces. 
 I chose to use the technique for different reasons, which I'll share, but my main motivation was that it's a fast process and the results charmingly update vintage finds.

My first attempt was on a metal ceiling tile.  The tile was a rusty brown and someone had used liquid nails to add a mirror in the center.  I chose to dry brush the tile because I wanted to add color without hiding the original patina.  Since the mirror was a bit raised up from the tile, I outlined it with some rope and used the same rope to create a hanger.

I used my glue gun to attach the rope to the tile.

Rope Outlining the Mirror

There already were holes where the tile had been nailed to the ceiling.   I put a link of chain through the holes in the top corners and then knotted the same rope through the link.

Rope Knotted Around Chain Link

The next piece I chose was a woven dresser. 
 I thought that the texture of the piece would work well with dry brushing.  Here's the before.


BEFORE:  Great Texture to Work With

If you're a regular reader of my blog you've already seen the dresser in place at Sweet Clover.
I think the dry brushing added a charming mottled look and updated the piece. 

A Closer Look at the Mottled Dry Brushed Result

Dresser Top
One last example. 
 I chose this bench for dry brushing because I knew its natural grain would work well  with this process.

Natural Grain Enhanced with Dry Brushing


AFTER:  Folding Bench

If you've never tried to dry brush a piece, it's pretty simple.


1.  Some pieces get better results.  I had success when what I chose had
 some patina, some texture, or some bold grain.

2.  Any latex paint will do.  
I was in a turquoise mood, but I'm thinking of using some creamy white on some
 plain brown folding camp stools next.

3.  After you've selected your piece and your color, find your oldest ugliest paint brush.  
You want to pick a brush that's having a very bad hair day.  Here's mine.

My Brush With a Bad Hair Day
4. Next, I dipped just the tip of the brush into the paint.  You don't want a lot of paint because----
da---you want a dry brush.  I tamped the brush onto a paper plate that I lined with a paper towel to get off most of the excess paint.  Tamping just means smashing the bristles into the paper towel until you have just a dusting of paint on the brush.

This is Where I Tamp

5.  Now apply the paint to your piece.  No prep necessary.  Love this.
I use a very light touch to apply the paint.  You might want to practice on a small piece.

6.  Have fun with it and send me pics of your experiments.  I'd love to see what you do.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Tulip Magnolia and Bar Cart

When my tulip magnolia blooms, I know that Spring has arrived.  
The flowers completely fill the large window at the back of my home.

My Tulip Magnolia in Bloom

My fig tree spends the winter inside in front of that window, but that same fig tree prefers to be outside for the summer.  As soon as he vacated his spot, the bar cart rolled out from its corner and filled the space.  No space or horizontal surface ever stays empty for long around here.   Since I'm more of a glass of wine girl,  I styled the cart with whatever barware and accessories I could grab from around the house.   It's not quite a stocked bar, but I like how it turned out.

My Bar Cart

I styled both shelves with barware and complemented with nature-inspired accessories.

Bottom Shelf

Top Shelf

I love my MCM glasses.

How do you style your bar cart?


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shells, Sea Life, Sailboats and Botanicals

This month's sale at Sweet Clover was totally inspired by the Mid Century Modern dresser that I painted with navy and white stripes.  I wanted to share some of my nautical mania.  Even though the space is staged in a barn, you can still steal my nature-inspired ideas for your own home.

I dry brushed a vintage woven dresser with some turquoise paint.  (Dry brush tutorial coming in another post.)  I used sea life-inspired accent wallpaper as a back drop for some empty frames.

A driftwood garland joins the two frames.  The large oval metal tray is filled with star fish, a wooden spiral machine part that supports some faux star fish, and a vintage English pond boat.  The boat was made in Birkenhead, England, near Liverpool.

Framed botanicals hang in a row on a weathered door.
Don't miss my blue bird cage in the upper left corner.  I draped one of my scarves over it.

This pair of vintage Italian bentwood chairs were dark brown and missing their caned seats.   Now they're perfect for a garden table with their high gloss white paint and new blue and white fabric.

I also  dry brushed an old metal ceiling tile.  It already had a mirror in the center when I bought it.  I just added some old rope for some nautical flair.

Here's a full view of the striped dresser that inspired the whole space.

On top of the dresser are some signed framed vintage maps of Pawcatuck River and Mystic  River.
I used a piece of fabric with lily pads as a back drop.  A star fish on a pedestal, a large float, and a weathered wood frame, some faux shells, and a ceramic octopus complete the vignette.

More nautical decor---two framed boat lithographs.   One of the boats has a Union Jack flag.   A piece of faux coral on a stack of books is framed by a vintage frame I turned onto its side.

Here's another sea life vignette on this navy buffet/dresser.

This terrarium is filled with shells, faux coral on a pedestal, and starfish.

A coffee table book rests across the deconstructed stool and supports the terrarium.
 I used some rope to join the wooden floats.

My favorite vintage find is this tray with a hand-painted floral design.

What made me love this tray even more is that it has a circle of arrows.

One last vintage find to share:  Fabulous metal Chinoiserie garden chairs.
They wear their original chippiness.

If you're local, I hope to see you this weekend.  I'm working Saturday.
Or, if you're one of my blog readers I hope I've inspired you to add some nature to your decor.


Sweet Clover Sale
April 17-19


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MCM Dresser Goes Beachy

I recently purchased a Mid Century Modern dresser and initially was uncertain how to update it. With Spring hopefully on the way and many beach trips in the future, I decided that blue and white was the way to go.  

Here it is in all its nautical loveliness.
I used General Finishes Snow White and Coastal Blue and let the natural geometry of the piece tell me where to put the contrasting colors.

What says beach more than blue and white stripes?

Here's the before.

 I'm a sucker for horizontal stripes,
 and the hardware reminded me of my current favorite decor obsession-----arrows.

Doesn't it look like an arrow?

Is everyone ready for warmer weather and the beach?
I know I'm in the minority,
 but I actually enjoyed the snow days and the enforced stay-at-home-coziness.