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Swan Lake Foyer Table

When I first read a novel about the tragic heroine Odette inspired by the ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, it captured my imagination. Like all fairytales, the heroine is under an enchantment which she must break free of by finding true love. Under the spell, she is trapped as a swan forever except for a few hours each night. Swans mate for life, so the symbology of them in the fairytale is conducive to Odette being transformed into a swan. The elegance of ballerinas pairs perfectly with the beauty of swans whose long necks craned and face to face, create a heart. They are romantic symbols of grace and beauty.

It was obvious to me that this foyer table with a matching mirror would be inspired by Swan Lake. I used a delicate blue, silvery metallic paint. I painted the swans with Wise Owl’s pearl metallic paint and gilded them with a touch of Redesign with Prima’s shiny star decor wax. The patina is created with chalk pastes in manor coffee and English country. You can catch the live if you would like to see how it is done.

The top is a faux marble created with Modern Masters metallic plasters in antique lace and shimmered moon. I did the veining with the decor wax as well. There is a live for that one as well. I sealed it with epoxy resin. The flowers are colored with the galactic halo and ursa green decor waxes.

The tragic nature of the story resonated with me. If only all our problems in life could be fixed by true love. The power of love is legendary but how many of us truly attain it? It’s a romantic and idealistic notion that gives us hope of something perfect but as humans, we can’t possibly ever achieve. I have been trapped many times in life, wanting to escape the clutches of despair and like Odette, I had the hope of someone saving me. Now I know only I can save myself. There is no prince charming. The sorcerer is my own mind and sometimes I am free for a brief time but it always returns. I just try to enjoy the times I feel free and savor the hope that allows me to continue living.

Find the waxes and chalk pastes here:

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What is Boho Furniture

Bohemian Furniture

What is boho or bohemian furniture and style? Bohemian furniture is unconventional. It doesn’t adhere to rules or the standards of design. The furniture is often vintage or antique. Not something you would buy new at a furniture store. It doesn’t adhere to modern concepts. It’s about taking something old and turning it into something new that is the opposite of the furniture style. An example is rococo furniture painted in a myriad of bright colors that aren’t the norm historically. Designing a room, it is about using antique and vintage furniture with other types of styles such as exotic pillows on a Victorian bed, a rattan chair with a Moroccan throw, mixing elements to create an unexpected design.

Artistic furniture is boho. If it has something that makes it one of a kind then it is boho. When I create my furniture pieces, I am looking to do a unique design that nobody else has done. There are many ways to make the furniture unique using stencils, moulds, transfers, and many other products. This is why I love the Redesign with Prima products as it allows me to use many different elements on my furniture. I also love mixing paint colors for contrast or a blended look. I love all kinds of patterns whether it be more modern or old like damask. For my home, I love different colors of furniture together in a room with bold decor. I want something warm and inviting that makes you want to sit down and relax. I like it to feel lived in and with my children, that’s never a problem.

Urban or Modern boho is an updated version of the design style that uses modern decor or furniture and pairs it with a burst of color and pattern. It often uses colorful pillows, macramé, rattan, plants, and interesting textiles with modern or vintage furniture and retro styles. Midcentury Modern Furniture has become extremely popular with boho interior designs. The use of clean lines and natural elements along with pops of color is the new trend. For a modern boho home use leather, modern furniture, a minimal palette of colors, a bold pattern contrasted with something plain, vintage furniture, statement walls with bold wallpaper along surrounded by plain walls creating a feature, incorporate natural wood in the room, baskets are becoming popular as boho storage, rattan chairs, different textiles from around the world, wicker or rattan furniture which is typically used as porch and outdoor furniture now and back in the day. A lot of natural elements paired with modern elements like metal or concrete. Lots of plants seems to be the boho staple.

Whether your style is more of the eclectic boho or more modern, it’s fun being able to pull all kinds of elements into a furniture design and interior design without being restricted by rules. I like dabbling into many styles and making them my own. I have done more modern styles, coastal, to the more is more concept. I love color and it helps me therapeutically. There is nothing I won’t try. Life is meant to be lived freely. Experimenting with various mediums and patterns is fun. If you don’t try, how will you ever know?

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How to Use Moulds and Add Them to Furniture

Moulds are silicone templates for all kinds of shapes. You fill them with a medium like clay, modeling material, or resin and the appliques harden. You attach them to surfaces for a unique design. I love using them on furniture and decor to add details to my designs. I prefer to use fast cast resin. It comes in 2 parts and you mix them in equal parts then pour it into the mould. It hardens within 10 to 15 minutes and turns white. You pop them out of the mould and can attach straight away or paint them first and then attach. It is pliable for a short time after it hardens. This makes it convenient for attaching on curved surfaces or anything uneven. You can also heat the resin moulds to soften them and make them pliable again.

You can use many types of adhesive to attach them. I like using e6000 as it is durable and dries clear. There are many industrial strength adhesives available. Try them and decide which is your favorite. I tape the mould in place until the glue has had time to dry. The weight of the appliques causes them to slide down. If you are applying on a flat surface level to the ground you don’t need to but if it’s upright it’s best to do so. It also ensures the applique remains flush to the surface without any gaps on the sides of it. Experiment with your favorite casting medium to achieve your preferred look. Clay tends to crack and shrink as it dries. Resin does not shrink or crack. Depending on what you are hoping to achieve you will want to use a certain product that has the characteristics you like.

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How to Prep Furniture Before Painting

Before you paint, furniture prep is just as important as the finish. Your furniture will only last as long as the base beneath the paint. Most paint companies claim no prep is needed but it’s just a generalized statement with the caveat that the surface you paint on is ready to be painted. You must clean, do whatever repairs are needed, sand if needed, strip if needed, and make sure that the paint will adhere so that a scratch with your nail doesn’t result in seeing the wood underneath. The proper cure times are essential as well.

How do you know what to use and how to use it for prep? It depends on the surface slickness. Some pieces are made of pressed wood with a lacquer or laminate over it. This causes sleek surfaces that make it difficult for paint to adhere properly. That’s when priming is a must. Primers are made to adhere to glossy and slick surfaces however even primer has issues adhering to laminate type surfaces which repel water and thus repel the primer. You will need to sand so that there is some grip given to the product you use on it. I painted a laminate surface on MDF wood. MDF looks nothing like real wood but is comprised of wood fibers. An attractive finish is needed over it. Most of the time it is a faux wood-looking laminate that can be a solid color as well. I used a primer over it and after it had dried, proceeded to paint it with a high-quality paint that claims no prep is needed. What resulted was a peeling mess. The paint would not go on evenly and streaked. No matter how many layers I tried to cover it with, it still peeled easily. I stripped it and sanded the surface with 120 grit paper. After that, I went ahead and primed then painted. The paint stuck and didn’t peel. The lesson of the story, deglossing is not enough on the contact paper like laminate nor does primer prevent paint from peeling. Sanding is a must in certain instances. You cannot cut corners trying to go around essential steps in prep.

Shellac is made from secretions of the female lac bug. It is used to seal wood for a more durable finish. It is self-leveling. It also prevents wood tannins from seeping into the paint and stains that you cannot see coming through like cup rings. It provides a solid layer like resin for stain blocking properties. Certain woods are prone to bleed through more like cedar and redwood. Back in the day when people often smoked inside their homes, the nicotine coats the furniture over time. This is another reason a thorough cleaning with a product like the Krud Kutter degreaser is important to strip off accumulated layers of nicotine and old varnish. Sanding further removes any residue. If you use a shellac-based primer like the Zinsser Bin advance primer, it will help with paint adherence, coverage, and blocking stains as well as bleed-through of tannins. The staining is especially noticeable with light-colored paints and notoriously white paint. White paint is prone to yellowing for many different factors including bleed-through of tannins. This is not to say your white paint finish won’t yellow over time due to sunlight, what you use to seal it as an oil-based varnish will certainly yellow it, and what is used to clean the furniture. Do your diligence to prevent yellowing as much as possible with the proper prep.

I often use a deglosser as the last step as it helps remove any left over varnish and helps with adherence by making the surface a bit tacky to touch. It does not replace sanding. A deglosser merely coats the surface, it doesn’t prevent staining or bleed through. It’s useful to make surfaces less glossy but if you need to sand, you must sand. I like to prime even if it’s not necessary as it helps with the coverage of paint. If you are painting with a light color, you will not need to use as many layers because the primer has excellent coverage if it’s a quality one and it comes in white or gray. You must have a good base layer with certain paints like metallics. Primers are generally cheaper than the boutique paints that are popular these days. Even if the primer is costly, I prefer to use one layer of primer and decrease the double amount of layers I need to apply using light colors. If you are painting black, it isn’t necessary to prime most of the time. You would use a gray primer if you are using cold tone colors like purple, silver, blue, and dark green or dark red. The gray brings out the true shade of the colors.

There is no shortcut to proper prep. Be mindful of what you are using and its properties. There are instances when you can just clean and paint but I prefer to be careful especially selling my furniture. I want it to last for another lifetime. Be wise in choosing the correct products and steps. Remember, the slicker the surface, the more you need to be leery of your paint peeling. For certain paints, you must use primer like with latex paint as it’s a paint meant for walls and not heavy traffic surfaces. You want to be able to clean the furniture after it’s been painted and cured. The paint should not peel or rub off when cleaning with soap and water. Extra steps will avoid extra headaches in the future of having to touch up the furniture.

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Old World, French Provincial Vanity

Old world, European, shabby chic, french provincial vanity. I’ve been searching for a french provincial vanity for quite some time so I was excited when I found this one in an estate sale. Definitely antique the bench was upholstered with little tacks and shredded fabric. The lacquer was peeling badly on the top especially. I sanded using Gator Finishing Products hook and look, orbital sand paper to strip off all of the flaking, original finish. I primed using Rust-Oleum‘s painters touch in flat white spray. I added the Universal satin bronze on top as the base and a bit of chestnut. I added Re•design with Prima rice papers called Botanical Sonata and Floral Sweetness. I wanted the surface to have a lot of texture and depth so I dabbed on the memory artisan hardware powders in taupe and french ivory. I used the finnabair patina paste in brown rust and gray. You can find the lives where I demonstrate the entire process. The sides are decoupage with the Washed Damask paper. I reupholstered the bench with new satin, damask fabric. She’s glamorous but in a more subdued way because of the patina effect. Dainty like a ballerina with her tapered, slender legs, she is the perfect balance of rustic elegance. I’m happy I was able to revive this vanity and reveal her beauty once more for another lifetime to come. What’s old is better than new sometimes.Papers and pastes: Artisan Powders:

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Freya’s Tears Bombe Side Table

Freya is the goddess of beauty, fertility, and love. As the most important goddess of Norse mythology, she represents the bounty of spring, the warm presence of love, and the shamelessness of sharing oneself with full vulnerability. Similar to Aphrodite, the goddess of love in Greek mythology and irresistible as Helen of Troy, she is the archetype of desire, longing, and the need to be loved.

According to legend, Freya will travel the world searching for her lover Óðr when he goes traipsing around on long journeys, inexplicably leaving Freyja behind. She will assume different names and embody different aspects of herself as she searches for her love. She weeps tears of gold in her sadness at being abandoned by her true love.
Why was I inspired by this particular painting called Freya’s Tears created by Anne Marie Zilberman in the style of Gustav Klimt? Truth be told, I did not plan on this piece evolving as it did into a poem without words. I created the background using Rust-Oleums metallic sprays Turquoise, Satin Bronze, and Carbon Black. I couldn’t decide on the color so I kept spraying a different one on top of the other until I became frustrated and attempted to wipe it all off. What emerged was a dream-like haze of all the metallic colors I had used. From there, I knew what it should be.

I love the art nouveau movement but in particular, Gustav Klimt’s work is powerful in its intensity featuring women in various poses wearing geometrical patterns and the heavy use of gold. It made sense to keep the metallic theme on this piece and who better than Klimt to inspire the design. Like Freya, I often feel lost in the stream of consciousness in my mind. There is a beauty in sadness as is symbolized with Freya’s golden tears. Without it, we would not know happiness. We would not feel joy.

I used gold leaf and some of Re•design with Prima®️ transfers: Gilded Distressed Wall and Rustic Sea. I painted Freya with a mixture of Eye Love Hue Paint and acrylics. I also added some of Modern Masters pale gold. I wanted the design to look like a story so the script was perfect. Additional gold on the sides tied it all in cohesively. You can catch my lives on the creation of Freya.
Aren’t we all seeking something? The need to be loved? Wanting what is lost? The continuation of our species? From my heart, I poured what I felt into this. I hope you feel some connection with this piece. It is sadness, but it is also what the power of love can do to unite us all.

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Mardi Gras Furniture and Decor

Today is Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras where extravagant celebrations are held before the 40 days of abstinence during Lent. Originating from Christianity, it’s become more of a day for partying and festivity. It’s about extravagance, indulgence, gluttony, and debauchery like the last hoorah before you are married. Festive colors are displayed, there’s parades, feasting, parties, and all kinds of revelry. This year the festivities will be more subdued but there’s no reason not to show off all the purples, yellows, greens and other bold colors with costumes. Here are some of my carnevale inspired decor and furniture.

Masks are worn especially in the Venetian Carnival to hide one’s identity as you commit acts of debauchery and gluttony. It’s also to free one of all inhibition with the mask of anonymity. I created these masked ballroom and carnevale masks using Re-design with Prima moulds. I filled the moulds with resin and modeling material then glued them on using e6000. I painted them using Modern Master’s metallics and also added decor waxes to further highlight the mouldings.

I’m often inspired by colors and I have a few pieces with carnival glass like finishes and color schemes. I used Modern Master’s metallics and Re-design with Prima decor waxes. For video tutorials on the finishes, visit my Facebook page.

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Phantom of the Opera Demilune Credenza

“Floating, falling, sweet intoxication. Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation. Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in to the power of the music of the night.”― Charles Hart, The Phantom of the Opera: Piano/Vocal

Let the darkness fall and wrap you in its mystery. Beneath the earth where the living tread, is perpetual night. It is the land of the dead and the realm of hidden things. You find yourself descending lead by plaintive notes full of longing and foreboding. Falling, floating, slowly enthralled by the strong grip of organ notes striking deep the cords of your heart. You are frightened but cannot resist this force stronger than your fear. Leaving the light and all you’ve known behind into the music of the night.

Is it the secret longing you’ve always hid deep within to feel beyond the mundane? You ache for excitement, the thrill of succumbing to what is wrong, rejected by society. You are not like the others, happy to live their lives to the monotonous beat of the drum. Theirs, a straight path with the same ending as millions of others. You want to be swept away by danger and romance. This darkness promises more. Give in to it. Blindly navigate through it. Let its cold fingers take your hand and a make you a bride to the darkness.

I went for a Phantom of the Opera mood as I created this piece. Initially, I was planning elegant with clean lines and a smooth surface but I went a different direction all together. I decided to go all out with drama and impact. I added patina for an aged texture and pops of blue that goes well with my faux marble top. A bit of checkerboard on top and the Vintage Rustic transfer on the sides. The demilune shape made it a bit tricky to apply the Lovely Script transfer. The color is Rust-Oleum’s Carbon Mist and Satin Brass. The patina is Modern Masters Inc. oxidizing bronze.
The faux marble top I created with Ranger Ink. alcohol inks. I coated it with Marine Epoxy resin. It’s my preferred resin choice. The gold veining is Pinata gold alcohol ink. You can catch my lives on Facebook of the process.

Vintage Rustic Transfer:

Lovely Script Transfer:

Ranger Alcohol Ink:

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Taking Care of Paintbrushes

Paintbrushes are one of the most important tools for furniture refinishing. Investing in quality brushes is essential as you use them everyday and they effect the finish on your work. There are many different paintbrushes out there and finding the ones that match your needs is much like finding the right paint to use. I use all kinds of paintbrushes for varying reasons such as size, type of bristle, shape, and cost. I still use chip brushes when I want a certain finish but I expect them to fall apart and shed bristles like crazy. They are basically disposable and not long term brushes. These I’m not too concerned with maintaining but what about the brushes you spend $30-$60 on a piece? You want to make sure you are taking care of your expensive brushes.

I’m not the best at taking care of my brushes or gently handling them. I’m the type where my paint brushes are covered in paint splatters and never look like new after the first use. For that reason, I invest in durable brushes that can withstand the occasional overnight with paint still on it type of scenario. I can clean them and get them back to serviceable shape. What do you do when the paint has dried on the bristles? What do you do when the bristles have hardened over time? What do you do when the bristles have bent out of shape being in the water and crammed with other brushes? There are a few tips and tricks you can use to get the bristles soft, paint free, and in original condition.

Murphy’s oil soap will remove dried up paint and condition the paint brush bristles. I soak them in a solution of Murphy’s oil soap and water for 12 hours and then use dawn soap and a scrubby sponge to clean off the dried paint. I’ve been able to resurrect many paint brushes because of Murphy’s oil soap. Another way to revive your brushes is to soak them in fabric softener. Use 1/4 cup of fabric softener to a quart of water and soak your brushes over night. If you’ve been using oil based paint or oil based products with your brushes, you’ll want to clean them with some mineral spirits and soak in some turpentine to get all the oily residue off. If you’ve been using the brush to wax, use mineral spirits to clean.

Cleaning my paintbrushes that have not been near death and are just dirty with wet paint, I love using Scrubby Soap. It’s made of biodegradable oils so not harsh on your hands and smells citrusy. Using dawn dish soap works mostly as well. I will also spray my brushes that get a lot of residue with Krud Kutter’s tough task cleaner. You can use denatured alcohol to clean your brushes but just be aware that it will dry out the bristles. There are better alternatives to alcohol when cleaning. There are also specialty paintbrush cleaning solutions you can use that work well like Krud Kutter Brush Wash-Cleaner and Renewer. I highly recommend the Krud Kutter brand because their products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and eco-friendly. Soaking your brushes in this solution will remove some of the more stubborn dried on paint/ primer from the bristles.

How you store your paintbrushes is just as important as cleaning. If you want to be extremely thorough you can wrap a wet paper towel around the brush bristles after it has been cleaned, put the brush in a zip lock bag or wrap with cling wrap and store it into your refrigerator. It will be ready to use when you need it. Never store your paintbrushes with the bristles down in a container as it will splay the bristles. I hang mine on my pegboard if I can or store them with the bristles up in a container. I just dampen the bristles with water before I need to use them so the paint does not go on too thick or dry quickly on the bristles. I use Cling on brushes a lot and those you store in clean water. Before I got the Cling On brush keeper my brushes would get bent out of shape with splayed hairs but now that I’ve been using the brush keeper it’s been a game changer. It’s a big fancy stainless steel bucket with 8 rubber holders to prevent the brushes from being crammed on the bottom. It’s also allowed me to easily switch brushes while I paint.

If your brushes are splayed and have the annoying stray hairs sticking out here and there, you can fix it by wrapping some twine around the clean and damp brush bristles loosely. Let the brush dry and the bristles should be back to normal. Making sure you don’t keep the brush bristles down so they rest on a surface while storing, will help to stop this from happening. Maintaining your paintbrushes is essential if you don’t want to keep replacing them. However, if you forget to clean them after each use, you can still revive your dried up paint brushes and bring them back to life.

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Why You Should Use Primer on Furniture

These days, a lot of furniture paints claim to be the perfect all in one that you need. No prep, sanding, priming, or sealing needed. We all love convenience and saving time. Companies are built upon making life more easy for their customers. Minimal hassle and effort are appealing especially for a beginner. There are ways to cut corners and save your time, but as we all know, quality is not something that is minimal effort. A little bit of extra work here and there saves you time in the future. I’m going to explain why you should prime your furniture pieces before painting.

Peeling latex paint

Primers help with paint adhesion and can cut down the amount of layers you need to use with the paint you’re using. If you’re using thinner paints, a primer will save you time in painting. When I use certain milk paints or enamel paints, I will prime so that I get better coverage. Some milk paints are more sheer than chalk based paints so primer helps with coverage. Primers help you to get the best foundation you need in order to apply your paint.

Depending on the type of paint you use, a primer is necessary, such as with latex paint. Traditionally latex paint is meant for walls and walls are not high traffic areas like furniture pieces so cannot be scrubbed or cleaned with chemicals. Additional products are needed to make it suitable for the use of furniture. Latex is however cheaper than most of the boutique paints you can find on the market and can offer more variety of colors so it may be more practical for you. If you are painting on glass or plastic, a primer will help with adhesion as well. With a high traffic surfaces that get lots of wear, using a primer will help the durability.

If you are a painting with a light color such as white, a primer is your best friend. It will block staining which happens when wood tannins seep through the paint causing yellowing and bleed through. It will also cut down the amount of layers you need to get a full white coverage on furniture. Make sure you get the type of primer that is stain blocking as not all have this property. Primers can also block odors which you will inevitably encounter when refinishing antique and vintage furniture.

Many paint brands offer their own line of primers now. Wise Owl has an excellent primer that will save you a lot of extra effort work to get the perfect finish. There’s an abundance of choices out there. Just remember, primer helps with coverage so if you are wanting the color underneath to peek through or for the paint to chip, then you would not want to use primer. There are spray can primers and primers you use a brush or roller to apply. I like using the spray primer’s such as Rustoleum’s painters touch ultra cover for ease of application.

Spray primer used on desk before painting.

Metallic paints need a base such as primer to help with coverage. The nature of metallic paints makes them a bit sheer so using primer first will save you money with using less layers of metallic paints and give you a truer shade of the metallic paint. Modern Master’s has their own primers for warm tones and colder tones of their metallic paint colors. They come in beige and gray with customizable levels of darkness. It helps with adhesion and also helps enhances the shade of metallic paint you are using.

It may seem like an extra cost and effort to apply a primer but overall it actually saves you money and time. You can rest assured that your finish will stand the test of time as well with the proper prep which is the foundation for lasting durability. Do you need to prime all furniture pieces? No, it depends on the look and style you are wanting to achieve. If you are painting over an already painted piece then some scuff sanding will suffice unless the paint peels off easily just by scraping your nail on it. In that case, you will want to strip off the paint and just start with a clean slate as the proper prep was not done to begin with. If you are distressing and want the wood underneath to come through or going for a shabby chic look, primer may make it harder for you to get that rustic look especially if you are wet distressing.

Distressed chest of drawers.

If you are painting over metal, a rust blocking primer is wise to use such as the kind Rustoleum carries. Metal corrodes and a primer will help protect it from corrosion due to the paint you apply on it and natural elements. Not only does it protect the over coat but also what is underneath as well. If painting over raw wood, definitely prime first before painting.

Don’t take shortcuts when you are prepping your piece of furniture or surface. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig and hoping for the best results. Certain steps should not be skipped no matter what the paint brand advertises. For long lasting results, taking a couple extra steps saves you the hassle of having to repaint in the future.