Empire dressers really are something special. Just like buffets, sometimes they are hard to find while other times I feel like I can get them pretty easily.  I love them because the bones are so detailed and over stated so you can really do any color and create a pretty neat statement piece without doing any over the top designs. With this piece I wanted to just do a simple clean light grey. The paper was one I ordered a long time ago and had in my stash, Audrey thought it was pretty so we went with that.

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For about the last year my studio has been stacked with my back stock so I have been painting in my dining room. Plus its so cold out there! I got in another huge delivery and reorganized the space and ended up with about a 1/3 of my studio back. Which was kinda odd, considering I added 15 pieces!  I was so excited to paint in there again. I have shelving with all my supplies, it always inspires me to try new things and create different designs. Its like a personal Pinterest board in my own home. Im excited to take it back over. This piece really shines in person. the lines are clean and smooth but still has a aged feel.

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I called Mike on his way home on Tuesday and asked him to grab flowers (and ice-cream). Having flowers around the house make me happy, and I just needed that this week. When he came home with hydrangeas I cringed because I am not great at keeping them alive. I mean Im not great with any greenery but Im particularly bad with hydrangeas. But I recently read a post from She Holds Dearly about how to keep them fresh. I am happy to report it is Friday and they are still alive! Thank you dear friend for your advice. (Sarah took my paint class over a year ago and she is so delightful).

This past weekend I went to Snohomish, WA with a good friend that told me I HAD to visit. Such a great town, filled with antique shops, artisan food, and handmade ice-cream. We had so much fun taking it all in. Among other treasures, this cute little metal hand came home with me. I liked how odd it was and its perfect for my little photos.

And finally those flash cards that say “beautiful daughter ” hang on my daughters door … and it makes me smile every time because raising girls is SO full of heart. Her and I are working on kindness, and empathy. I want her to grow up with love in her heart for others. Even if its hard. Even if it feels better not to. I want to teach her to not be a victim but to have understanding for everyones journey. I think even as an adult I am learning with her. Learning to grow my heart and faith in people. Love, is really important… to pretty much everyone.  She is such a beautiful girl. Hope you all have a happy weekend.

xo
Amanda

Stillwater Grey by The Real Milk Paint Co.

About a month ago I received a surprise package from one of my favorite paint companies inside was a really nice new color that I was excited to try. I was surprised and flattered that they chose a color for me that couldn’t be a better fit. It is a nice warm neutral grey with brown tones. I’ve taken the last week or so off, so I was really looking forward to some painting time.

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My experience with The Real Milk Paint Co. has been wonderful, anyone who asks me about paint has probably heard me say that I adore them. They are incredibly friendly and have been huge supporters of me. Not only is their packaging eye catching but it is also functional. If you are a milk painter I think you would appreciate the little marble that they include in their cans. It helps mix and froth your paint.  Its like painting with foam, the coverage is amazing, and it just feels good on your brush.

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I wish I had a good before picture of this buffet. The last few months I was really heavy on dressers in my back stock and didn’t really have a lot of buffets… and now I am over loaded with 6! I am always inspired by them and I feel like they are really diverse, so people can use them for anything really. I like to work up a little design board. It helps me see the colors and patterns together.

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I did very little prep work other than cleaning the piece, I was planning to let the Milk Paint run the show and decide to be chippy or solid. It ended up adhering really well. I did two coats and sanded back with a 220 grit to get a nice smooth finish and take off just enough. I decided to seal this one with Polyurethane (crystal clear, satin finish) to give it some added protection but also a little sheen. I chose to swap out my original knob choice because they just blended the tone a little too much. I think the simple white ones look a little better.

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Im off to enjoy the 4th with my family! Have a great holiday everyone!

P.S. Those sweet silhouettes I found at the street fair on our trip to Portland. I had no idea who they were until after we bought them. Can you guess who they are? You can follow the maker on IG @outnerdme.

Recharging in Portland

Mike and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this past weekend in Portland, OR. Being PNW natives it wasn’t too much of a journey but just enough to recharge and put some things into perspective. Audrey will be 7 1/2 and this was the first time we allowed ourselves a getaway  without our kids. With two kiddos and 2 rambunctious dogs its hard to plan and exicute a vacation. But with this milestone we thought… lets just do it. We will go small and fun… relax and treat ourselves…. and boy was it FANTASTIC. We heard wonderful things about the Portland community which in all honestly really didn’t feel all that different from home. Maybe a little more trendy and accessible (slightly more friendly) but really it was a lot like Seattle. Our first day we left home bright and early at 5am, dropped kids off at Grandmas and hit the road. Portland sits right on the boarder of Washington and Oregon, so its about a 2.5 hour drive for us. After stopping for coffee, gas, etc. We arrived around 9:30 am. Hitting Pip’s  Original Donuts & Chai was our first stop (if you are ever in the area… very yummy made to order mini donuts and huge chai selection that is to die for), and a cute little treasure store next door. Then downtown was our next stop, mainly because I heard they had a new Anthropologie and I just had to see it, of course.

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It was a amazing location with tons to see and loads of inspiration. We must have walked for about 6 hours through the city. Being a shop owner now, I love to see the little shops. I am really into branding and placement so it was really fun for me to see what made all these little shops stand out. Aside from retail, we spent the whole trip checking out coffee shops, speciality doughnut cafes and restaurants. I am so used to doing everything with 2 kids in tow, so it is such a relaxing experience. I wish I would have taken more photos to share some of the places along the way that we visited… but honestly I was a little disconnected to the online world. I needed to step outside of it for awhile.

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The second day we woke up early and set off to find Multnonah Falls. Mike did a wonderful job “maping” our trip…. he researched a few things that we should hit while in town and we kinda made a guideline itinerary. But we tried to keep it spontaneous at the same time. Arriving at The Falls was breathtaking. A photo can’t even do justice. It is massive. The greenery around it is really what caught my attention the most. Absolutely stunning.

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You can hike a pretty easy path to the bridge and then continue on a not so easy path to the very tippy top of the waterfall (which we originally didn’t really plan to do). Once up there … we just kept walking. Do you know that feeling when can feel your heartbeat in your ears? about half way up, I was totally there. Mike turned to me and said “at the next look out we’ll head back down”. Next thing I knew we made it to the top. IT WAS AMAZING. Its a different kind of relaxation when you are in your head, outdoors… breathing like you may need a hospital when you get to the bottom again.  I wish I could do it everyday because there really isn’t anything like it.

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The next stop was their weekend street fair. This really reminded me of home… loads of tents filled with creatives. Street bands playing. We even saw a group of what appeared to be a naked bike ride race. Talk about entertaining! We walked the city a bit more and stopped into a few antique stores. Mike found me a “F and F”.. which was pretty neat.

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We found the coolest pizza place where we built our own garlic, ricotta, pear and honey pizza! Let me tell you…. it was fantastic. We custom built the base and the chef suggested we add the honey. It is a new favorite! And finally we headed to the movies to end our night… we saw The Shallows. It made me wish I didn’t have a water adventure planned in the morning.

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The thing about going on vacation without kids when you never go on vacation without kids is that you really know how to utilize your time. We saw a lot in 3 days… without a wasted minute. We kinda crawled back to our hotel that night… our legs feeling a bit like jelly.

Day 3 was my favorite… or at least the first 3 hours. There is a sweet little kayak rental on Hayden Island, and the people were so helpful and friendly. Something about being on the calm water early in the morning has me hooked. I just kept leaning back and closing my eyes… it was sunny but not hot, windy but not enough to make the water choppy. Very peaceful. Mike and I have been talking about buying kayaks for the last few years but we take the dogs with us on most occasions so we really need a canoe more than a kayak. Either way, our decision is definitely final. I want to do that every morning… or at least as much a possible.

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After we were out of the water, we wrapped the trip up with two pieces of furniture that I eyed on Friday when we first arrived, lots and lots of donuts to take home, and a little more shopping. It was so hard to leave! Aside from missing our kiddos it was so fun to hop around the city without a care in the world. I have felt brand new all week, I think I needed it more than I thought. I can’t wait to do it again.. Mike and I joked that we need a monthly getaway, that we should just get a little place down there to call home away from home.

Simple white dresser.

Every Tuesday, Aiden and I drive to visit my grandparents. We take them to lunch and stop in to our regular two thrift stores to find treasures. Aiden usually gets a book or toy, while I hunt for furniture or whatever curious thing I can’t seem to live without. Last Tuesday I was really in a hunting mood! On the way to dropping my grandparents at home at the end of our date I decided to quickly run inside to one.last.store. And of course my grandma had a coupon… Of course. 

And there she was. How could I say no! 

Because she’s a bit more ornate, I wanted something simple. Plus I feel like I’m changing. My style in my home has become more bright, clean and I won’t go as far as saying “modern” but just more minimal. It feels good. I went with Snow White by General Finishes because it’s a great smooth, clean finish. That beautiful peach paper is Spoonflower. I can’t stop ordering. Thank god my “job” supports my addiction to paper because I think that’s my favorite part. Unless we are talking knobs…. These pretties are Anthro. I just love them.

I spray primed two coats to block bleed through, sanding between coats. Applied two coats of the GF Snow White and sealed with GF wax. Simple + Classic. 




Xo

Amanda 

A sweet rustic cabinet with great shoes…

With two small kids, time alone (even enough to finish a cup of coffee, or write a blog post) is few and far between. With summer approaching and today marking the last day of the school year that they are BOTH at school (for 2 hours) … I figured it was a great opportunity to write a post about my latest project. I am so excited about this particular transformation because I had it in my head from the moment I saw it.  This piece was actually sent to me by another painter in my area and for some reason I saw large casters, rustic grey milk paint and just couldn’t pass it up. When I pulled into the driveway and asked Mike to help me unload … he laughed… and I mean he actually laughed and said “well this will make a good before and after”. Challenge accepted.
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I know right? super cute photo… this is the one that was sent to me … and I just couldn’t say no! I knew that I would be replacing the hardware, making some small repairs and using these amazing silver casters. I didn’t do any prep work other that taping, cleaning and vacuuming. I wanted this piece rustic… so I trusted the milk paint to do what it does best. I turned to Oyster Grey by Real Milk Paint Co. because it is honestly my favorite shade of light grey. Its perfect. I then sanded the drawers and trim well, while leaving the panels slightly less aged. Finally I sealed with Miss Mustard Seed wax… I find this to be my go to when painting over milk paint… I love how smooth and easy it is to apply… and it smells fantastic.

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I will leave it brief today because my two hours are up! I hope you have a fun summer planned enjoying every minute.

xo
Amanda

Oyster Grey Desk

This piece was a fun one to work on. I want to say I had this desk for over a year in my backstock. I had stacked it in the back and kinda forgot I had it. A few weeks ago I did a major “summer” clean in my studio and was instantly inspired when I say it again. I’m glad I saved it for the right time. The Real Milk Paint Co. Oyster Grey seemed to be an excellent choice. I’ve been kinda obsessed with their paint lately. I work with milk paint a lot and this one mixes really nicely and I love the coverage. I had some left over from the milk paint class I taught a few weeks prior and knew I loved the perfect cool grey hue. I don’t have a before of this piece but really all she needed was a good light sand and I used a spray Shellac to block the bleed through on the top. I always like to work up a little “design board” for myself to see how the paper and knobs will mesh with the paint colors. It gives me a visual of the project. 

  
I can’t even tell you how much I love this shade. It’s like my long lost grey soulmate. I’ve been searching for it my whole life. Ok… Maybe just a year or so. But it really is perfect. And I only needed two coats. Knobs are Anthropologie (on sale) their knobs are worth the splurge especially if they greatly impact the piece. Paper is Spoonflower artist: Leanne Hatch. 

   
    
 

I think the grey tones down the ornate details and kinda simplifies the overall design. I’m excited to paint with this color again… It’s such a good one! 
Amanda

Introducing–Clementine Home

So many exciting things happening this year with this little business of mine and another amazing opportunity has presented itself in the last few weeks that I am so excited to share! I think most people know of my friend Alison from The Modern Cottage Company. Her style and innovative visions have become inspiration for so many designers, painters and everyday decorators. She grew her business from a home studio, to owning a shop in the gorgeous nook of North Tacoma. I first heard of Alison about 4 years ago (maybe?), I had found her blog and instantly felt like we had so much in common. About a year or so later I was asked to be in my first retail location. At the time, I didn’t have real plan of where my business would lead, I just knew I wanted to paint every. single. day. ….and I did just that. I found my style and passion through painting and started thinking and dreaming about where this would lead and what it really meant for me. I not only painted for the store, but I built my blog, social media, took on custom painting and sold from home. 

  
Months later in a very serendipitous way Alison and I were connected through the Tacoma shops. We chatted, I attended her Seattle opening and things just naturally took off in this amazing connection through design, vision, and friendship. When Alison opened MCC in the current North Tacoma location almost a year ago I remember sort of pinching myself. Painting had filled me up in ways that I never dreamed. Not only is the entire team exceptional artists but they are amazing people. I feel very lucky to be apart of such a supportive and loving team. I think Alison and I both knew that we needed to do something together and had flirted with a few collaborations and then a few weeks ago we were presented with this amazing opportunity. Things are now falling into place and we have decided to open a staging business called Clementine Home. We are partnering with a really awesome team and these projects will blow you away! Michelle from Blue Roof Cabin will be adding in her AMAZING upholstered creations as well!!  I can’t wait to share before and afters and some progress teasers.  Ferpie and Fray will still continue to grow in my own artisry. And Alison will still continue MCC in the same way. But now together we have Clementine Home to share with you! Staging is a huge passion for both of us in our own businesses and we are excited to bring it up a notch.  We have so many great ideas in the works, and hope you will follow along! 
  
Happy 4th!! 

Xo, 

Amanda 

The Real Milk Paint Co. Class

I feel like the last month was on super speed.  One of my biggest goals is to blog about each piece (or at least the big ones) that I do. But the reality is that I just don’t always find the time. I really wanted this post to be a sort of recap of a few pieces that I have done in the last few weeks since my last post and maybe I will add some photos near the end but I have something a little more exciting to talk about. I started teaching painting classes at my friend Alison’s shop in North Tacoma (The Modern Cottage Company). The idea came from a paint demo I did when she launched a new product from the General Finishes paint line. That night we sat around and thought of how fun it would be to offer a variety of different classes right there at the shop.  I jumped on board right away, as I tend to do and loved the idea of running the classes. I would have to stand in front of people and teach though, which made me a little nervous… but I was so looking forward to the amazing opportunity. I knew that if I did classes I would want a very personal spin on it. I believe the painting is art of perception. Just like canvas painters, furniture painters have a wide variety of knowledge, tools, products, likes, dislikes, tips, tricks, opinions and taste. So I wanted this class to be my perception. What works for me…because really there is a million different ways to do anything. I also wanted to make sure that the pressure of following the rules was taken out of the class. A lot of painting is experiential. The best painters I have known are the ones that try new things constantly and push the limits of the instructions. Knowledge of your paint and tools are so important but tapping into your creative (and rule breaking) self is crucial.  I partnered with Real Milk Paint Company for my  first milk paint class and to say I was thrilled would be can understatement. I first tried RMPC a few years ago when I was heading into my first retail store and I wanted to try something completely new and different. 20 pieces and a two month deadline… Perfect time to pick up a paint you have never used. Right? And to my surprise I actually fell in love right away! Something about the experience had me hooked. So for them to approach me about sponsoring the class was a true honor.  Not only is their pant amazing they just changed their packaging to a fun modern design. I am such a sucker for good branding. This paint comes as a powder, traditional milk paint form in an easy to mix convenient container. It was hard for me to narrow down colors, there was so many good ones to choose from. After a lot of thought I settled on Lilly Pad, Honeysuckle, Parchment, Oyster Grey, Mustard, and Black Iron. 

 

In the mix of products they sent was also Bunishing Paste in Dead Flat, Low Sheen and Espeesso. This stuff was so smooth and easy to worth with and gave a really pretty finish! The class seemed to enjoy the mixing process and the coverage was great. Most people were able to apply just two coats to their projects. I have to say this company has been a joy to work with and I am so excited to try my own hand at a few pieces! 

One of the best parts of these classes are the people they bring! I’m so grateful for the chance to meet such lovely ladies. These two were an instant connection for me. Don’t you just love when that happens? They were so kind, supportive and excited to be there. The entire group was just fun! Love them!

  

I brought in some old crates, and vintage pieces to use to play with the paint. Here is Lilly Pad! 

  

This piece was Parchment (absolutely perfect light grey you will ever find!)

    

 I have some custom projects in my schedule this week but I am hoping to paint a dresser in Parchment or a Oyster Grey… I’m itching to get my hands on these Perfect shades of grey.  I will be posting my process!   Thank you again to The Real Milk Paint Co. For your generosity and support! 

As promised here is a few pieces from the last few weeks… 

           Xo

Amanda

Before and After–Blue Buffet

This project ended up being pretty special to me. I’m not sure why or how but painting is a serious form of therapy. I get really cranky if I haven’t done it in awhile and very much need it to stay sane. My week has hit me (and my husband) hard. Today after hearing some bad news… I said to Mike, “let’s worry about it tomorrow, I want to paint”. We pulled our projects out in the sunny back yard. I sanded my buffet and he stained the farmhouse desk he built for my office while Aiden dug in the dirt. We both had a moment of gratitude. He said that no matter what happens as long as we are all safe, all is right in the world. We have learned to take things for what they are and focus on the things that make us happy, all the other stuff just doesn’t matter. I’m really thankful for that. I tend to take on too much worry, about Every. Little. Thing. I am learning to weed out problems (and people) that are not worth that pressure.  Anyway, it was kind of a beautiful moment creating with my best friend and knowing that everything is ok. 

This buffet came to me with chipping veneer and broken feet. It took a few hours to get all the veneer off and sanded. I love the bones and knew it would be worth every minute. 

  
I chose Federal Blue from Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. and  Spoonflower paper. 

  
I wanted to accent those chunky legs and I was looking to the knobs for inspiration. I kept wondering, how can I create that look on wood? So I decided to see what I could come up with. First I painted 2 coats of Fusions “Sterling”. I was impressed on the coverage and smooth texture. They sent me some samples a while back and it’s the first time I used this paint and I liked it! I then distressed and sealed with dark wax. I took the same rag (old sock) and applied silver and gold Rub’n’buff to highlight the curves. In person it matches really well! 

 
I did 2 coats of milk paint on the body, sanded with 220 to distress and 400 grit to smooth and sealed with General Finishes Satin Finishing Wax (awesome stuff). 

 

 
  

  

  

Hope you find a moment of gratitude and a good friend to share it with! Happy Friday!

Xo

Amanda  

Before and After– A 2fer The Sweet Little Desk and Black Armoire

I have to tell you I have been blown away by the amount of support for my little business last week. I have been selling a lot more from home lately while maintaining a pretty good stock at The Modern Cottage Co. I finished 3 pieces for sale (and 2 for a promo…more on that later) and each piece sold within a few minutes or hours of being posted on my Facebook and IG. It’s amazing to me that people are following my work and get excited about what I do. I had a few “pinch me” moments and  I’m so grateful for continued growth and the supportive people around me!  I have a few “before and after” photos for you..first up the armoire. 

 
This piece would have looked amazing any color. It’s bones are beautiful and I love pieces with drawers hidden on the inside. It’s a great opportunity to paper or paint something fun. I wanted to keep it simple with basic black and have a coordinating paper inside. I chose Pitch Black from Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company. You get the classic color with a milk paint choice but you still get character in the chippy patina. The awesome scallop paper is from Spoonflower (@littlearrowdesigncompany). 

   

  

   
  

    

I honestly did no prep work other than cleaning the piece. The wood was in good condition and I wanted the milk paint to do what it does best. I sealed first with Maison Blanche Dark Wax (this continues to be a favorite, I love this stuff). I waited over night and went over the whole thing again with clear wax.  

My next piece was originally going to be green but I kept reaching for this awesome deer print (also Spoonflower @Sparrowson)and I thought Driftwood (OFMPC) would be a good match. 

    

I did 2 coats of shellac on this one and mixed a little Light Cream milk paint with Driftwood. I like it slightly lighter.  

   
  

  

Have a great week!! 

Xo

Amanda