Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pearly & Beachy End Table

Brown Turns To A Pearly Monet

My Mom says I tend to plunge into things with both feet. I'm an all or nothing type of person. It could be as mild as a hobby or as serious as a religion, i.e. becoming Catholic and having six children, (another band wagon, having a large family).

Well, now a new hobby, not so life-changing as having a lot of kids, or choosing the hardest discipline of life that I know.

Oh, then there is my writing. I've eased back on that a little and it scares me that I may lose the skills and the enthusiasm I've gained. Hence this blog...

I am refinishing furniture.

Now after painting a few pieces very amateurishly, I'm hooked. I'd like to develop it and combine it with writing. Why not? Kill two birds with one stone? Ooooo, I would never intentionally kill a bird. (That was another fetish I had for awhile). At one time, I had nine zebra finches and two parakeets, and more were hatching out of eggs. But I digress.

I'm hoping that like being Catholic, having a lot of children, and writing, that painting furniture will be a long lasting enjoyable endeavor.

So here goes; a tutorial!

A little round end table sat on the end of our monstrous sectional sofa, as the only viable place to set a drink. It's an important piece, yet it was free, so I thought it was worth experimenting with color. My Dad bought it at a thrift store and passed it on to me. Here it is:

 Because this blog is called Sacred Oysters and I imagine myself and the people in my life as such; you know imperfect humans struggling and working by the grace of God and with Him to create beauty around us, I would describe this piece as a brown pearl. It is certainly pretty as it is, but it's just too dark. I'd like to shine it up a bit. My deck during the warm weather is a lapidary, a place to refine and polish pearls. The deck is where the oyster churns.

Alright, too much metaphor...

Let's get on with it!

1) I cleaned her up pretty well with a bit of lavender dish soap on a cloth (it has to smell good!) and removed an ornamental drawer pull. This is a very simple table, no drawers.

2) Although what I know about chalk paint is that it is very user friendly on most finishes and it isn't necessary to use primer, I couldn't help it. I've done a lot of painting, and because the brown pearl (the table) was so dark, I coated it with a layer of water based primer. With the weather on my side, it took about 30 minutes to dry and I was ready to paint! That is something else about me; I have no patience, so quick drying paint works for me. This is also another advantage of chalk paint. :)

Then came the fun part. Not being facetious or sarcastic; color is really fun! I think part of this for me is how therapeutic color is. The downside is that I have trouble making up my mind. Although I gravitate towards blues, greens, whites and even browns, I love a bit of red, gotta have some pink in my life, and yellow is always sunny in my corner of the world. I don't really have a favorite color, but I do have favorite combinations.

Another selling point about chalk paint, and this is a factor, (since chalk paint is expensive) is that it is non-toxic. There is no odor, no chemical fumes to be paranoid about. In the winter, when I have to paint indoors, I will certainly take advantage of this.

How beautifully basic can you get? Couleur (French flair for the word color) that is natural and not odiferous.

I went with a company called Heirloom Traditions Paint.

I can't remember how I found them. I think it was Pinterest. Their paint is made here, at home, in the great US of A! Shop local people!

I chose Venetian White (I like the name, as it sounds very Italian and exotic) and Whimsy (which sounds fun and aqua like. This was a good choice because I like both blue and green.

I'll explain the little canning jar later. *

3) I invested in a decent brush by the same company which can be used for paint and waxes as well. I I layered on the legs of the table two coats of Venetian White. On the round top, I first layered on Whimsy. Then I followed with a diluted coat of Whimsy by mixing Venetian White in the small canning jar. It gave the finish a variation that I like. ( I was being a little daring.) It was fun.  

My daughter Bethany said, "I like that Mommy. Don't distress it! Don't antique it. It looks good the way it is!" But you know, I can't leave anything alone. It looked a little bland, too milky. And here is where I get into a bit of my personal philosophy: I like imperfection. It is like perfection to me. Like humanity. God created us after His own image, who is the great I Am, the only perfection. Once upon a time I also got into knitting. There is an tradition in Mennonite culture with knitting to add a mistake to a project. Maybe drop a stitch, or add one too many to a row is to show a bit of humility, because after all, nobody is perfect. Except Jesus, and in my Catholic belief, although not divine, Mary, Jesus' Immaculate mother. The slight dents and scars shows a life lived. If we don't make mistakes, we aren't forgiven and we don't experience the love of God, because we may not recognize that we need Him. I have to mention here that one of my favorite things in the world are my son's baby teeth marks on my husband's guitar. So a little distressing it is!!!!

4) Advised by the lovely Melissa at Heirloom Traditions Paint to do it this certain way: I took a clean white terry cloth rag, (she said use something with teeth), wrap it around your index finger, dip it in water, and within 48 hours of painting (before the paint sets), rub your finger along the places that you want to expose the original finish, or in some places, the under layer of paint. In more sophisticated pieces, or pieces which the artist decided to paint over a color she didn't quite like, you can expose a hint of differing color, creating a patina that is shabby chic. I did this on another piece. There is a word for that, called pentimento. Isn't that a cool artsy word?! Here is a picture:
Distressing towel

Man, look at that hand. That's a lot a diapers, dishes, and duty. But notice the pearl ring. No I didn't actually wear the pearl while painting and distressing. Lol.

Here's the table after distressing:

5) Now the scary part. Now this is where it took real guts. I used a colored wax by Heirloom called Muddy Pond. I brushed it on with a cheap bristly brush on the legs first. I liked that part. But then I tried it on the Whimsy colored round top. Even though I obeyed, wiping the wax with a clean cloth to a look and color (the wax changes the paint color somewhat) I panicked. I hated it. This is what happens sometimes when you try something new. I thought I'd failed. I consoled myself by saying, "Hey at least you weren't afraid to take a small risk." It looked like a muddy puddle.

I walked away and decided to sleep on it and figure out what to do in the morning. Guess what?! It did look better in the morning. What had happened is that the wax dried and set. It's like wet hair at the hairdresser. OOOwey! But then the stylist blows it dry, and uses her tools, and the hair do is beautiful. The wax had to dry for me to see the real beauty. 

6) I brushed on 2 coats of clear finish (by the same company) to protect the wax and paint, and (tongue in cheek), the distressed.

7) Back on went the drawer pull, and Wow-LA! Here it is!

 Sacred Oyster Nacres a Pearl

Hey Friends, If you show me that you like this by leaving a comment, I'll do another tutorial. Even if you are only brave enough to share the comment on Facebook. 

Blessings Pearls! xo



  1. Quite a project well done has a beachy look

  2. You know you are inspiring me. After I get all these clothes picked up that were left behind by my two college girls, I am going to jump in. I have at least 3 pieces I want to paint. Will start with the smallest and work my way up to the larger. The weather is getting cooler so I can dry outside and not sweat so much. Then again, I can go to the beach to relax after my work.

    1. I'm scheming about the next project, Catherine. It's my dresser, a dark veneered colonial looking thing. I was all over the place with paint choices and decided I wanted to create an ocean color, like Bethany's eyes. I already have Whimsy,Venetian White and the Muddy Pond wax. I just ordered a Danube Blue and I'm ready to tackle. My friend Sarah S. says you can't mess up chalk paint. It's been a real retreat for me and I haven't had to leave the house to enjoy it. I played some Cars and David Sanborn, "Smile" and it is like I'm on vacation. Next best thing to Ocean Isle. ;)

  3. What a beautiful transformation! LOVE the colors, great tutorial! The wonderful thing about paint is that if you decided you don't like it, or you're tired of a color, just repaint it ;-)

  4. Hi Anne,

    So sorry I'm just seeing your comment. Thank you. It's fun! This whole painting process. Almost everything in my house, (if it's not moving) gets painted.

  5. Hi Anne,

    So sorry I'm just seeing your comment. Thank you. It's fun! This whole painting process. Almost everything in my house, (if it's not moving) gets painted.