Sunday, January 27, 2013

When The Car Breaks Down

So, my car broke down. I've been homebound. Having to have a car repair is bad for my wallet and my freedom. It is good, however, for forcing me to stay home and get things done. My plight actually provided incentive to make some paint decisions. When I'm not distracted by searching the streets for new junk, projects have a chance of seeing completion. This little brown chest found itself in the crosshairs of my paintbrush yesterday as a result of my car woes, and it ended up a fresh little bundle of joy.

(My goal today was to take my daughter's advice and not write so much, but... nah, that doesn't work for me. If all the words are too much for you, feel free to scroll through the pictures and head out.)

My painting endeavors all started because I found this sweet little table in the trash the other day on a junk detour down a few streets on my way to work. 

So cute, so simple. So many possibilities. Easy, you say. Slap on some paint and it's done. 

Not easy. I couldn't decide. So, what's new, right? I wanted to make it special, to paint a design on it or give it some sort of decoupage treatment. I could have easily spent all day staring and thinking about it because no plan arose to meet my desires. So until such a time as THE plan unfolds in my head, I decided to practice blending paints to create a more appealing and interesting look with some chalk paint I bought and use it for some other pieces. In the end the chalk paint was paired with a host of other paints I had on hand. Chalk paint, latex paint, craft paint and metallic paint all ended up on the same box as well as on the little chest of drawers. Whatever would work color-wise was included.

The Chest

Step one. Empty the drawers. 

This little chest was my first ever junking find. I went out one day to give junking a try. Drove down the street, turned right, went two or three streets, looked left and there was a pile. Something furniture-like was sticking out. Giddy feelings ensued. It was a little brown chest of drawers. I couldn't believe it. There for the taking. SCORE! I threw it my now broken down car, and it has been in my kitchen under the window ever since. 

It's where I stash all my thingamabobs and whatchimacallits... knobs and odds and ends that come off of my finds. An invaluable little chest. I even kinda embraced the chest's rustic brown look and that it matched a taller chest in my living room. So it was left alone. Its coloring never did anything for the look of the room, though, so yesterday it received a new style.

Definitely junk drawers, and I have no idea how all of this fit in there.

Here's an abbreviated look at the process. It was basically just a matter of playing around. I used many colors of blue, aqua, green and some white. I brushed some on and then would swish and blend it all together with the brush, and then used a damp paper towel to blend when it started drying too fast.

I did so many layers and swishes of color that I didn't have time to keep taking pictures. You can see in the shot below a bit more of the watery effect that I came out with after adding the blue and then more of the lighter yellowy green, the white, back to the dark green and the blue. At times it reminded me of those fakey looking furniture paint jobs at Homegoods that just look like a poorly done faux finish rather than something that got that way over time. I had to work to blend the colors so it didn't look too obvious. Yet, I didn't want it to blend so much that it it just looked aqua. I have enough plain aqua in my house right now. I was going for a more watery feel.

The top two sets of drawers in the picture below have not been sanded much. You can see how they still look multicolored, to the point where you can make out the separation of colors on them. They could use some more work, but I still have the other tall chest to paint. (I want to be on a roll.) I needed to just call this project quits for the day. Plus I'm trying to go easy on the distressing. This one need not be too rustic.

Even though not quite finished, it's definitely looking cuter, brighter and happier in my kitchen now. The orangey coloring of the floor and the wood were a bit heavy together.

A small change, but the color really picks up on the other aqua in the room. The look of the paint changes with the time of day, just as the ocean would.

The handles were not going to come off without a major endeavor, so I painted around them. Taping seems like too much work. Now I have work to do to clean them up. One way or another, the work must be done.

Can you see the subtle difference between the top two rows of drawers and the bottom two? I also added some highlights of silver to the places where the wood was revealed when sanding. It's like glints of light shimmering off the surface of the water. Kudos to Julie at the shop where I bought some of my paint. She is the one who gave me the idea to use the metallic paint.

But wait....there's more! I actually painted the box below first, just to practice the technique.


This box came from a sale at a church. It looks very Armyish. (That's Army, not a misspelling of Amish.) Someone may have made and painted it to look like that, who knows. The bottom paint, however, was black, worn and looked very old. It's a heavy box. I've been using it to hold my Majesty Palm, but the color was dreary and never did anything for the room.

Enter some watery wonder. I recently bought some chalk paint from a little shop near me called, Coastal Home and Garden. The store owner, Julie, mixes the paint and sells it much cheaper than Annie Sloan's, and I liked her colors. I struggle with picking good hues for chairs and such (it's tricky) and thought it would be nice for a change not to have to try 5 colors to find one I liked. It was already painted on some chairs in her store, so I knew I liked it. Plus I didn't have to mix it up myself. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to mess with that.

The lovesick frogs begged for inclusion in my shot. 
They long to be near water and the painted box reminded them of it.

I'll spare you tales of my color layering, sanding, repainting and relayering. I used the same group of colors on this box as I used on the chest (you'll see all my colors at the end of the post). The box got a more rustic treatment. The dark of the box showed through and provided a good contrast when sanded. It's a very worn look, but the blues, greens and the dark gray compliment one another.

Evening results - Subtle

The color of the box is now a bit more in keeping with the new color on the wall in this room, which of course you can't see in the picture, so you'll have to take my word for it. Plus, looking into this room from other parts of the house where I have a lot of this color, provides some consistency now with this accent. The above shots are how it looks in the evening... more bluish.

Here's how it looks in the morning with sunlight streaming in. Brighter and more of an aqua.

Here's the cast of characters that went into these two paint productions. I used all of them on both. 

Next up, I'm going to start the process all over and paint this:

Or that was the plan this morning. I got home from church later than planned, so we'll see how far I get now that it's already afternoon. If I don't start something first thing in the morning, chances are not good I'll get a lot done. Besides, I still have all those thingamajigs and whatchamacallits to put away. Maybe I'll surprise myself and get 'er done.

Fingers crossed.

My projects can be seen at these cool blogs:

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Furniture Feature Fridays

Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage


Ivy and Elephants

Cowgirl Up @ Cedar Hill Ranch

Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on The Porch

mop it up mondays


  1. Wow! You've been making hay while the sun shines. Way to be productive in your dilemma. :) I LOVE your watery blues - they look great - and that they're just a bit different from each other works so well. Nice job, Liz.

  2. WOW Liz... I love how your projects turned out!! They do bring out the aqua in the rooms. I love the 'heron in the box' under the palm... so cool. The frogs look great on their new perch too. You must be getting used to them by now. I think you need to paint your kitchen cupboards white now... it would look great I think with your new aqua chests! xo

  3. Hi old friend, Love your style! sometimes it takes an emergency to keep us homebound to create, organize and spruce up! Best of luck on getting your car fixed! Follow me on my new blog, I had to change it because "Customs" was a problem when shipping my shop items because of the word "Apothecary" in my shop name! Adore the chest! xo Pam


  5. Great color!! Love how everything turned out! Good job!

  6. It's me so you know a list is coming!
    First, I would love to shop in your junk drawer - there are some great finds in there. Do I see casters?
    Second, Great bunch of colors to paint the chest and box.
    Third, Beautiful results on both. I love the way the color changes with the light. Do the frogs ever come in the living room?

  7. I agree with Donna above. I love your thingamabobs too. I never find stuff like that. But then I don't really do demolition and roadside pickups. I love how brave you are forging ahead with new paint ideas. I am much more reserved. Few colors in my furniture palette. The box and the chest look great.

  8. My fav colors, so I'll go on and rave about these! Love them! The light coming in on the box is gorgeous. I always love some terracotta mixed in with my blue/greens. Your floor just adds to the beauty of the blues.

  9. Your little chest turned out to be so sweet!

  10. beautiful chest and box redo! love the pretty color, too! great collection of trinkets--the casters caught my eye! hope the car gets up and running without breaking the bank, liz. and i love that you can write such a great post--i struggle with the writing:)

  11. New fan via i should be mopping...

    I love your new drawers in the kitchen and it really does give the kitchen a pick me up in color.

    I'm adding you to my RSS feed!

  12. Oh so pretty!! I absolutely love the color, it looks fantastic on both pieces. You have given me the incentive to start playing with my paint and to finally paint some furniture that seriously needs refreshing!

  13. Your pieces turned out great! They look so updated and fresh now and you get to cross some items off your to do list!

    I thought I had a lot of paint cans hanging around our house, but you've got me beat!

  14. I adore the Self Serve vignette and freshly-painted hest. So cute!

    Linking from Mod Vintage Monday,
    Ricki Jill

  15. That's a great improvement on the little chest. Has real personality now. And your mind is coordinating things while you're home so there will be more fun projects to come! Thanks for stopping by. Jane

  16. Nothing like a day stuck at home to get the paintbrush going - love, love, love what you did with the Armyish box - the chest is so cute in your kitchen too.

  17. Amazing job! I'm in love with that color! Fabulous work :)
    Amber @ The Honeysuckle Bus Stop

  18. So you are telling me I need to have my car break down and be homebound then I can get some stuff done? Hmmm.... I'll consider it, well the homebound part, that doesn't cost money.


  19. FABULOUS!!!! I love the little blue chest, the pulls are gorgeous. Ditto the self serve plates! (Gotta copy that idea!)
    Love it all, hope you can link with us.

  20. I think you need to open a paint store, lol. I love all those colors!! The drawers look so fresh and alive. I'm eyeing every one of your little trinkets that you keep in those drawers. Love the chalkboard plates too:-)

  21. I like! Very good job! And your house looks so lovely - you really need to share some photos that show off more of it!

  22. Now that's what I call making lemonade out of a lemon situation...not calling your car a lemon...just the situation. I love the color and the pulls. The Self Serve plates are genius!

  23. What beautiful makeovers on both the drawers and the box. I love how the colors change with the light! I'm a new follower on pinterest and google. Blessings!

  24. Your transformations are great. Love the color you used!
    Mary Alice

  25. Wow! Love the transformation! I'm always a fan of turquoise or duck egg blue shades! I popped over from somewhat quirky. Anything with quirky in the name gets my attention! I'm definitely a member of the quirky club!

  26. I feel sorry that your car broke down. What happened? Well, maybe this is your chance to give yourself a break. You can stay at home and do other stuff like starting a new hobby. By the way, how’s your car now?

  27. Great projects and such a fabulous color! Sally

  28. That's a great collection of whatchamacallits:) Sorry about your car. Love the blue chest. stop over

  29. Great makeovers and I love that color. Aqua, like the water is so soothing and peaceful. Hope you get your car back soon.

  30. Isn't it great to get something accomplished like that? I love that feeling. Your little chest turned out really pretty. Love the mix of colors.


  31. Hi, Liz

    I love the color. It's just beautiful and you are just a busy little bee. You do find the best stuff where you live at, here in Polk county I don't find anything. Ugh! You are just so bless finding all those great gems. Have a great weekend.

    By the way, my name for my blog changed. It's now


  32. Gosh you've been a busy little lady lately. It's amazing what we can get done if we don't head out junkin! I love the color of the blue chest and goes so well with the kitchen. You must have the scent finding good pieces on the street, they seem to call you name. Thanks for your kinds words about out precious Bo leaving us. Bo was a good looking charmer.

  33. Looks so great! I'm excited to follow your blog.

  34. Liz I love it! What a total score finding that chest! I love the blue and I waffled with the differences in the drawer finishes but I think I like the silver highlights alot! I can never do a post with less words either!!!

  35. Omg- your chest is lovely (I need to get out and junk more often!)
    I loved the original rustic look but you're right, the blue does pull the kitchen together and give a nice pop of color.

    Good eye and a job well done!

  36. i´m sorry about your car but this pic / stuff is very lovely! :)

  37. Wow - you have been busy, what a great group of projects!

  38. love that chest. loved it before and love it even more after.

    Small House / Big Sky Donna / White Oak Studio Designs / SW Michigan
    Hand-Painted Vintage Furniture Transformations
    Facebook: (for portfolio of chalk painted work)

  39. Love the color and layering on these two pieces! Great job!!

  40. Oh girl, you talk too much and I love it! lol! You made me laugh when you said what your daughter told you. Yes, some of your posts are long, but I enjoy every word. Great job on the layering of colors! She really is a beaut now! Love her new colors! You did yourself proud on the boxes too! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  41. Well, you've been a busy girl! Gorgeous color(s)!

  42. Sorry about your car but yes I agree it does force us to get things done around the house.

  43. How's your car doing now? I do hope that everything is okay by now. You should have your car maintained regularly for it's a necessity. Have yourself a reliable and trustworthy mechanic. You can ask your friends or neighbors within your local, and know more about the mechanic quote, review and feedback. Also, nice job with those boxes. They are truly remarkable work piece.


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