Sunday, March 9, 2014

Waiting for Milk Paint and the "French" Dresser

I got some exciting mail this week. 

Don't you just love exciting mail? I find tracking packages incredibly exciting. You get to watch them go from state to state and wonder how they made such a giant leap from Glendale CA to Tuscaloosa in one day, and then wonder why the heck they went to Tuscaloosa anyway? 

Maybe it's just me and you guys are all sitting there thinking "Ooookaay..." 

Crazy or no, I really do love the anticipation of packages and letters. 
It makes me giddy just thinking about it. 

But this story doesn't really begin with the package, that's the ending. So let's start with the beginning, at Asher Hill Farms. (This is my friends Margaret and Jeff's place. You can read about it here)

The first time I went to Asher Hill Farms, Margaret took me on a tour of her stash. See the barn here? See the attic? The stash fills that attic. Well, it did until we had the barn sale. Now there's a bit of space. 

Part of the tour was Jeff's workshop. In a corner of the workshop was a stack of bed frames, tables, boxes, tools and a vintage dresser. Margaret points at it and says, "Oh that's my trash pile." 

Trash? All these great old beds and furniture. And the dresser? trash? I nearly had heart failure. 

My face must have dropped because she looks at me and says, "You don't think I'm gonna throw this stuff away do you? I just can't use it, so it needs another home. I never throw anything away. Take anything you want."

Anything I want? Will all of it fit in my car?

Then I remembered I'm married. DK is a wonderful, long suffering man, and one of his major purposes in this life is to keep me from getting in over my head. Big job for the poor man. So I took a deep breath and thought, "What would I actually use?"

My daughter could use a new dresser. Or I could paint and sell a dresser at Lucketts. And I can fit a dresser-emphasis on the singular, ONE- in my studio and still be able to walk...So guess what came home with me?


I know. You're shocked. I'm even shocked. But it was before barn sale season and I knew I wouldn't get to painting it until after the show. So Margaret (or rather, Jeff) just let me leave it where it was until I had the time to deal with it. I highly recommend having friends with a big barn who give you stuff and then store it for you. I need to make them a pie.

So fast forward 7 months. I have been to Haven at this point and fiddled with milk paint and white wax. Miss Mustard Seed released a new color, Lavender, with this astonishingly beautiful piece.

Here's the link to the whole post, or just click on the image.

I needed to make something like this! But there was no budget for more paint. Boo. 

So I waited. 

I kept reading Instagram posts from Front Porch Mercantile about milk painting and using hemp oil and white wax and got more and more jealous. Wendy runs the cutest shop in New Brunswick, Canada and is always posting pictures of the fantastic classes she's teaching that I am too far away to take. 

And then there's Finding Silver Pennies. Have you guys discovered this amazing blog yet? Danielle is my hero. The things this girl can do with paint. You need to see the heavily distressed milk painted dressers she did in Feb hereTo.Die.For.

But I am wandering...Back to our riveting story and my quest for milk paint.

I even tried to get the paint for my birthday. I sent DK links to all the colors and products I wanted from online vendors and talked about it with my kids a bunch. I got everything else I asked for, including a gift card for the lumber to make the second 2x4 planting box I've wanted to build for a year, but no paint. Then one day, the clouds parted.

Shaunna West, author of the Perfectly Imperfect blog and owner of a fabulous shop by the same name, announced a sale one all her MMS milk paint products. And she had those cute little electric hand blenders I had seen, but always were immediately sold out. So I finally ponied up and bought the paint. And the hand mixer.

Isn't that just happiness on a tray?

With the paint on it's way, I figured I better go get the dresser.

The thing about this dresser is, it has great lines for this project, but a lot of it is laminate. At least it's old laminate, so I think I can sand it and give it some tooth, but I'm a bit leery about it. There will definitely be priming and sanding and bonding agent used. And I'll keep you guys posted. Then you'll have the inside scoop about whether or not you can paint laminate successfully. And don't worry. I'll tell you if it scratches right off. Either that, or you'll just hear me yelling in my garage.

I have to say though, as I clean this piece, (and it needed a lot of cleaning) I am falling more and more in love with the lines. I love the curvy top...

 And the delicate hardware. I will be replacing the mismatched top knobs with crystal ones. And painting the existing pulls to match the new look.

I love the detailed base and the carved feet. So much room for embellishment here.

And this little ornament on the bottom! So cute!

Yeah, this dresser still has a long way to go, but I can see it in my head. Repair the runners, fill the larger scratches, sand the tar out of everything. Prime it with a stain proof primer that sticks to anything. Bonding agent infused Lavender milk paint (mixed with my darling hand mixer, of course! I can't wait to use that thing) spread liberally everywhere and accented with Pure White ASCP vine style designs and glazed areas. It's gonna be awesome. At least, I hope it will...

What are you guys working on this week? 

Did you get any exciting mail? 

Do you laugh maniacally when tracking your packages? 

Leave me a comment and tell me your story.

Talk to you soon,
CM Shaw

PS. If I haven't talked long enough, and you want to see more of my exciting daily adventures, you can follow me on Instagram @cmshawstudios . I post awesome things there, like smiley faces in the left-over gravy. Cuz everyone needs a little happy gravy, right?


  1. Oh, wow! What a find and I think it is going to look so very pretty in dried lavender. I can't wait to try that color out. Marian, you are so very kind. Thank you for the lovely words about my blog and my painting. It really means so much. You have truly made my day with those sweet words. x

  2. Always a joy to see what you are up to! I LOVE that you are charging ahead with this project...I see an addiction coming on! Haha laughing at your tracking fetish! Did you know I worked for what is now Fed Ex Ground for 13 years???? When you say tracking packages...I cringe! Too funny! But there is nothing like finding that box on your step! Can't wait to see the after!

  3. You are just so sweet - thank you for the shout out Marian, I love your feedback on my projects and I agree that Danielle has just an amazing talent - she inspires me daily! I am loving this beautiful dresser you "found" at your friends, just great!!! It is going to be beautiful in Dried Lavender! thanks again for the shout out, you are indeed just the sweetest! Wendy xx

  4. Love it my dear friend! I can't wait to see the finished product. I have missed you.