Saturday, March 23, 2013

Milk, Cream and Cautionary Tales

It was just after sun up. The day was still mostly before me. (I'm a morning person so I feel doomed if I don't have my work underway by sun-up.) As I sat on the couch by the front window, I felt the hands of time approaching from some not too distant place, ready to swoop in and dig their gnarly claws into me. Move, move, move, I thought. It's the only way to escape the sense that time is going to do a painful number on me. 

The little rolling cart I found on Thursday morning with the broken top was not on my priority list. My first mission was to take care of a baby shower gift and card, a birthday card and a thank you. This would take me some time, I knew that. Card making with no ideas at the get go makes for slow going. Thing is, I also really wanted to get working on making signs from my new mirrored cabinet doors and call it done. That should be simple enough, I thought. How great would that be to have that marked off the list too?!

I talked myself into believing it was possible.

But without any knowledge of what those signs were going to be, that plan was going nowhere fast and I dread looking for sign graphics; it's like looking for the missing socks after the laundry has been done. If I don't already have a graphic ready for whatever the project is, the search for one seems neverending. I often give up in hopelessness. Either the graphics I come across end up the wrong shape or size, are too intricate, or they just have the wrong vibe.

The Rabbit Hole

I started the search anyway. I was going to make this quick. (That's what I always think.) Searching the internet is known to cause loss of memory about what is important and even about what one is searching for. The internet doesn't care that the hands of time are threatening to strip me of my sense of accomplishment. The internet probably likes that. It seems to be into that sort of thing. The internet might as well be the rabbit hole Alice went down, only it's not a Wonderland when you look up at the clock and realize it's nearly ticking it's last tock. Those gnarly hands are always hovering.

I pressed on, wary of the impending fate that would await if I did not focus. The only graphic that smiled at me and gave a little wink was the adorable Milk and Cream logo that Angie at Knick of Time painted a month or so ago on a vintage window pane. It wouldn't work for either of my cabinet door mirror signs though. Hmph! Yet wait! Look what has been sitting pure, lily white and longing for some typography to make its life complete ever since I got it about a month ago... I think I heard it begging for some milk and cream. "Pretty please?"

That's it, I'll adorn this little box, I thought. Oh, sure, it wasn't on THE Official Priority List, but it WAS on my Silent Scream List, which is the list I know needs to be done, but which just hasn't quite made it to the forefront of the must-dos with a screeching voice of insistance. Today it got bumped, because just like that I knew what to do. {hearty applause!} This little project was going to be done AND pronto.

I'd read somewhere while searching for graphics that you can print on wax paper and transfer from there onto the surface you want to paint. I still haven't gotten to the store for any graphite paper (bear with me, Donna!) but I did have wax paper, so what the heck. Let me be your test case if you've never tried this.
Here are the printings I did.
#1 As always, I forgot to reverse the image before printing.
#2 I had it on fast draft and it didn't seem to have enough ink for a good transfer.
#3 It got reverted from reverse to regular and I didn't realize it until it printed.
#4 I accidentally printed on paper.
#5 The last time was the charm. However, as you may be able to tell, the top image was all smeared. Never fear...I had printed two per page, just in case. Finally, I did something right!

When printing on the wax paper, I taped it first to a piece of regular paper to be sure it would go through the printer without getting jammed. It seemed that the top image on each page was smeared. Use caution when printing on wax paper. The slightest brush against anything and the ink easily comes off.

Cautions regarding your project zone:

Warn all dwellers of your home about the sensitive and vitally important project you are working on. Elaborate as I do in this post, if necessary. If nothing else, they will likely nod off and your project will be safe from their interference. If they are made of strong stock or they just awoke from a Rip Van Winkle slumber that lasted well into midday and are unlikely to fall back asleep until 2 a.m., consider that they may happen to wander into your zone.

Announce your vitally important project up front. Better yet, beseech them to stand down and be very still, perhaps they could hold their breath. Banning them from the house is also an option. If you fail to do so, and you leave your post at the kitchen counter in front of the toaster oven where you have been hovering over your transfers for the past hour+ in blissful peace, you can expect that other house dwellers (who have no concept of the precarious and drastically important implications of your project - they never do!) may (dare I say) touch things. They may [gasp!] move something off the toaster oven and set it on the smeary transfer papers while they toast bagels. It could happen.

Suddenly from the other room, you will hear movement in the kitchen where previously you were the sole inhabitant, the same domain where your work is drying and where your smeary transfer papers are scattered across all surfaces so as not to smudge.

Your protective project instincts will kick into a state of high alert. 
You will nervously shout a question regarding the movements of said person and whether they so much as nudged, touched or otherwise allowed their heart to beat near any of your precious papers. 
They will hesitate ever so slightly before carefully crafting an answer in the negative. 
You will know in your heart that what they say is an untruth. 
You will exclaim as you are known to do.
"Casey!" you scold.
Casey will snicker. 

You will enter the kitchen just as you see her removing your camera from where she has just set it on some wax paper transfers.
The pang in your heart will tell you it's too late. 
You will muddle through, making a mental note for next time. 
Unfortunately your mental capacities are wandering somewhere between the internet and the back patio where they are likely shuffling about like that eccentric person you were the day before when you brought home all that stuff from neighborhood trash piles. 
Mental notes are futile.
So you sigh your usual sigh and move along. 
There's little that can be done to help the likes of you.

So I muddled and I sighed. I carried on. Being the weeny that I am and not wanting to wreck the caddy with this new transfer process if it didn't work well, I decided to do a trial run on the bottom first. I carefully taped it on and used the eraser of a mechanical pencil to burnish the design onto the wood. Here's how it looked after so doing.

Good enough, but the finish on the sides of the caddy were slick and the bottom was not. A light sanding and a coat of white chalk paint over the side gave the ink something to grab onto.

The printed graphic was taped down ever so carefully again, this time on its final destination.

Once that was burnished on, I painted with black craft paint over the letters. The shadows were created using white chalk paint darkened to gray with black craft paint.

Yikes. It looks like a mess up close after I finished all the black and got the shadows on the M and the I. It didn't take long before I botched it. I like to get my mistakes out right up front. I rarely disappoint on that. My thinnest brush had gone missing, and I struggled to get the skinny parts of the letters done and ended up with some blobs, shakily going outside my lines. I was going to distress it when I was finished, so it didn't seem it would matter too much.

In the end, the fear that it wouldn't distress well after I painstakingly hand-painted it caused me to leave it as is. That's what you call homemade charm and character there in those wobbly letters. Up close it's definitely worse, but generally no one's looking that carefully.

It'll do.

Stepping back offers a gentler perspective.

Unfortunately the only bottles that fit in this caddy were soda bottles, not milk bottles. So I rolled up some of my blue and green napkins and set in some of my painted bottles. They make a colorful display and the black lettering really offers some much needed contrast.

Thanks so much to Angie at Knick of Time for her great graphic selections. That's the second graphic of Angie's I've used, and she has another one I like as well. It just might work for my mirrored cabinet door! The first of her graphics that I pressed into service was on my Pure Fresh Milk Table. I'm not sure what it is about me and the milk graphics, but so far milk has done me good. After all, it helped me escape the wretched hands of time AND the black hole of the internet.

Odds are, the hands of time will soon be back to scare me into rushing headlong into something else. As long as Angie's graphics hold out, though, I may be able to beat those odds.

Until then, stop over and visit some of these lovely ladies and their blog parties this week:

Ivy and Elephants
Thursday Favorite Things

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Furniture Feature Fridays

French Country Cottage

Lavender Garden Cottage



mop it up mondays


  1. I want to know how to do this so much! I've tried using transfers to no avail! I'm afraid I'll ruin my printer if I try wax paper, so there you go! Anyhoo, the caddy looks great and the green and blue bottles and napkins are perfect for it!

  2. Please do not be so harsh on yourself. If you look too closely at a Renoir, you see crooked brush strokes. The caddy looks just like an old milk bottle carrier. I love the graphic and have been watching Angie work through her stack of windows with the great signs. Finally, go get some graphite paper! I always need mine in the middle of the night. I keep it handy when inspiration strikes. And no, I have not even a clue what my Easter cards will look like!

  3. Your posts always give me a chuckle...:) I think your project turned out so cute! I love it! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Blessings, Vicky
    Life On Willie Mae Lane

  4. And...when you tell it like that well, it's like you've passed the hands of time down the line and have kept me captivated once again by your story telling antics, all the while the black hole has slipped it slinky blackness upon me and begun to surround me with the killing of time.
    It is a dangerous precipice we tread near...when we tread near the edge of here and now; and avarice adventures of the JunkStalker!

    Oh yes, you had me rolling @

    "whether they so much as ...allowed their heart to beat near any of your precious papers."


  5. you do so crack me up, liz:) love your adventure with this cute project--such cute bottles and napkins too!

  6. I think it turned out absolutely adorable, Liz! I need to try using that image again, and including the shadows like you did, because I love how yours turned out! I'd say that was time well spent!!!

  7. If regular people knew the trauma we all go through to produce a project and get pictures....they'd never believe it! LOL It looks wonderful! I'm getting ready to use this transfer myself and seeing it here makes me remember why...because it's so cute! Great job!

  8. This came out perfect! I love its rustic charm!

  9. My son yelled at me,"This is not a craft room, it's the kitchen!"
    Humpfff...all rooms are craft rooms!
    I haven't done any wax paper transfers yet. Yours is adorable.
    My Casey shares the same views as your Casey apparently! LOL

  10. It turned out really cute Liz - I like that graphic too! I hope to do some graphics on some furniture this spring/summer!

  11. I want to try this technique, too. Yours turned out so charming, Liz!

  12. How often can I say I LOVE IT...but I do NOT JUST THE PROJECT AND THE END PRODUCT...your writing style..entriques me...draws me in, amuses, & on and on..can't think of enough descriptive phrases. GRRRRRRRR8


  13. That's just the sweetest little caddy! Angie has some awesome graphics and always so willing to share. You did good!!

  14. I think it's truly lovely. Great job! :) Jo

  15. It turned out fabulous! I, personally, would just trace the darn lettering onto the crate since I'm computer challenged. Now for the big question. Did you get the four most important things on your list accomplished?

    I didn't think so. :)

  16. Awesome job and LOVIN' the colours! What a great idea to use the soda bottles!! So bright and fresh! :)

  17. What a super type face for the Milk and Cream transfer. So vintage. The carrier looks great and well worth the work. So glad you stopped by from MM. Jane

  18. Saw this on Knick of Time. You are terrific!

  19. You are hilarious! And your milk carrier is the cutest thing ever!! I wonder if frappuccino bottles would be small enough. Either way, it is lovely! Pinning!!

    Jenny from

  20. Very nice! Great job :) Love the colours :) The milk carrier is so cute! Easter greetings from Australia♥ ~Pernilla

  21. I love it, Liz! What a great graphic and you had the perfect piece for it!

  22. So glad to see that I'm in such good company that we're keeping the printer ink business alive and prospering with all our do-overs! LOL! Your project turned out fantastic in the end!!

  23. I hear you about the black hole of the internet. But your crate turned out really cute! Thank you for sharing it at to What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a lovely week!


  24. So fun to read! I have done the wax transfer several times, and just so you know I made all the same mistakes! You almost need a check list as you do it just so you don't forget! It turned out so cute, I really love it!


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