Poppies Paint Review

I first started painting with chalk paint about 5 years ago.  At that time we were doing some remodeling and working with a decorator.  We had one piece of furniture that had sentimental value to my husband, with the 1960s antiquing job didn’t fit into the new decor.  The decorator suggested painting it with chalk paint.  I had never heard of chalk paint and staring doing some internet research.  At that time, Anne Sloan was “THE” chalk paint to use, but it wasn’t available to purchase locally and the online prices seemed very high to me.  However during my research, I found a recipe for making my own chalk paint using latex paint and plaster of paris.  I’ve been using that recipe with success since then.

Fast forward to last month, when I received a free package of Poppies Paint Powder to try [Note here:  while I received the free product to try I was not obligated to write any sort of review and I have received no compensation for this review.  The opinions stated herein are based solely on my, and my husband’s, personal experience with Poppie’s Paint Powder.]

Poppies Powder

Frankly I was skeptical that there was much difference between the various “additives” currently on the market for making your own chalk paint.  I was wrong!!!


I love this product.  It is far better to my plaster of paris recipe for the following reasons:

  • the powder mixes easier with the latex paint
  • the final mixture is smoother (less chunks) then when I’ve mixed with plaster of paris
  • because the paint is smoother, I have less issues with brush strokes showing than with the plaster of paris- this also means less sanding
  • you can save unused paint (the company claims that the paint will save over 2 years)- this is a big plus- while I’ve been able to save the plaster of paris chalk paint a day or so, allowing me to mix paint on Friday and still use the leftovers on Sunday- we mixed a batch of the Poppies Paint and was still able to use the leftovers 3 weeks later- I could never do this with the plaster of paris


Poppies is more expensive than using plaster of paris but it is still significantly less expensive than buying pre-made chalk paint (1 $14 box of powder will make 1 qt of paint).  It’s easy to use: To make one cup of paint (which is plenty for most furniture projects), mix 1/4c of Poppies Powder with 2 TBSP of warm water and 1 cup of latex or acrylic paint.

For me, the biggest of advantage of making my own chalk paint is the ability to use latex paint that I already have around the house along with the ability to make small batches.  Of course, with Poppies I can now make bigger batches if I want, without worries that I will be wasting the unused paint.


Shaker Writing Desk

Again, I get nothing if you order, but if you choose, you can learn more about Poppies Powder and order yours at www.poppiespaintpowder.com

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Spring is in the air

While the calendar may have said that Sunday was the first day of Spring, Mother Nature apparently didn’t get that memo because we woke up to frost on the deck and car windows.  Temperatures in the afternoon only got to the mid 40s, thus the list of outside projects got pushed off to another weekend.

On the other hand, I was still inspired to bring some Springtime to the house by updating my boots wreath.  You might remember seeing my boots this past fall all decked out in autumn leaves and foliage.  The boots got packed away for the winter, but I’ve been itching to bring them back out for the spring.

For my spring update, I picked up some new greenery from JoAnns on Sunday (while they were 50% off):

  • florist foam block
  • pussy willow stem
  • forsythia stem
  • pink dogwood stem
  • weeping willow leaves stem

My supplies


First, I cut the floral foam in half and carved the corners down so that the foam fit inside each of the boots.  Next I divided and cut the various floral stems from the large/thick wire stem to give me several small floral pieces.  Finally, I simply stuck the floral pieces into the foam, putting all of the longer/taller stems in one boot, which would be the back boot, and the shorter pieces into the boot that would hang in the front.  I used the weeping willow leaves to fill out both boots.

I initially hung the boots on my back door again, but the flowers were so full that the storm door wouldn’t close.  Therefore, they moved to the front.  My only disappointment is that I really need to find a longer wreath hanger as the one I’ve been using is really just too short to have the boots hanging where I’d really like them to be on the door.

Spring is at my Front Door

That’s it- easy peasy, which is good since I have very little talent at floral arranging.

So while it feels closer to winter outside, at least the house is welcoming spring.

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ReUse-apolooza- Designer Challenge 2016 Part 2

Tom has been working hard on our entry for this year’s ReUse-apolooza #DesignerChallenge.


As with many projects, we started with an inspiration design, based on a project we found on Pinterest.  Our project will also be a Wine Bar/Buffet, though a bit less country/shabby chic than the inspiration picture.

Repurposed kitchen cabinets: i like the basic idea- different color though, shorter legs, chicken wire is a good choice too:

Design Inspiration found on Pinterest from fleachic.BlogSpot.com

Of course, our final project will NOT be looking like this!

For our supplies we are using the following items we picked up at Building Value:  kitchen cabinet, solid wood paneled skinny closet door, spindles, shelves.  In addition, we picked up two 11″x14″ picture frames from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.  In keeping with the reuse/recycle requirements of the challenge, we’ll also be re-cycling paint, stain, and poly that we already have on hand.  The only thing we’re going to have to buy new will be braces for attaching the legs to the cabinet.

On Saturday, Tom used the shelves we picked up to create cubbies to hold wine or other bottles, which we fitted into the center cabinet compartment.  BTW, this took all day on Saturday!!!!

Shelves were cut to create cubbies for the wine bottle

Shelves were cut to create cubbies for the wine bottle


The wine cabinet is starting to come together

The wine cabinet is starting to come together

On Sunday, we moved towards working on the top for the Wine Bar/Buffet.  For the top, we found a great solid wood paneled door.  Of course the door was much too long, so starting from the center of the door, we measured out the length we needed, then cut a small piece off of the bottom and an entire panel from the top (in another Part to this series, I will share what I’ve made with that extra panel!)  The door was then sanded down and the holes from the hardware were filled with wood putty.

Desinger Challenge 2

From there, Tom brought the door inside and stained it with his favorite Ebony stain.  To protect the finish, he’ll be applying several coats of Clear Gloss poly.

Ebony stain and poly added to the door to create a top for the cabinet

Ebony stain and poly added to the door to create a top for the cabinet

Later this week, the cabinet will be turned over to me for painting- both inside and outside of the cabinet.


Be sure to follow along and watch our progress with this project!

Dis You Miss Part One?:  ReUse-aplooz- Designer Challenge 2016

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Removing Rust from Hardware Quickly and Easily

One of the challenges in repurposing/refinishing old furniture pieces is what to do about the yucky rusted metal pieces that may be part of the piece’s construction.  As I continue to work on the chairs that Tom picked up last fall [see them here] I had alot of really rusted brackets that had held the seats to the chairs.  These pieces were so gross I hated touching them without gloves.  The rust was so thick that rust “dust” would come off when the pieces were dropped.  I thought I was going to have to buy new because I didn’t think I could even get them clean enough to spray paint them.

Last night, however, before I gave into to buying new, and before figuring out how at least scrub off enough rust that they could be painted, I did a bit of internet research on ways to remove rust.  I stumbled upon several articles that said to simply soak the rusted pieces in vinegar for up to 24 hours.  Since the pieces were already sitting in an old plastic container that was lidded, I figured I had nothing to loose, except the 1/2 empty bottle of white vinegar I dug our of the back of the cabinet.  Since the vinegar I had was not enough to cover everything, I added enough water to the container so that everything was fully submerged.  Then I did nothing……


Nasty rusty hardware soaking in a vinegar and water solution overnight. My container was a bit leaky.

This morning I checked on the pieces.  As I pulled the first bracket out of the vinegar water I was pleasantly surprised to see that quite a bit of the rust had come off- certainly enough to be able to paint them.  But then I rubbed my finger over the bracket and I was amazed that just using my finger I was getting most of the remaining rust off.  From there I grabbed a Scotch-Brite pad and lightly rubbed the rest of the rust off.  Now the brackets look nice and clean- certainly not brand new, as there is no shine, but definately clean enough that it can reused without needed to be painted first.

Brackets after soaking in the vinegar solution, then lightly scrubbed with a Scotch-Brite pad.

So there you have it.. quick and easy rust remover from your hardware, simply be soaking the items overnight in vinegar.


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Flea Market Flip


As we’ve mentioned before, Tom and I are hooked on HGTV.  One of our favorite shows is Flea Market Flip.  We enjoy this show several reasons- we like Lara Spencer and her style, we love seeing the creative flips that the contestants create, and well, flipping furniture is what we do too!

Last night while watching Flea Market Flip I was surfing the web about the show- while looking to see what happens with with the items that don’t sell I came across several sites that were trashing the show.  While I recognize that not everyone is going to like a particular show, but one of the criticisms that I came across really hit me hard:

I watch and enjoy the show and sometimes the teams can be quite creative. But….it seems kind of “wrong” to me too. Many times the team buys an item for $15 , slap some paint or fabric on it and sell it for $250 or something?? It almost seems like who can sucker someone the most! Now the people who buy some of this stuff from the team maybe want to be on TV….most people don’t shop at flea markets to buy upcycled stuff for hundreds of dollars! LOL!…. Because the people are getting ripped off. Just because there is someone who is uninformed on the actual value of something and is willing to pay hundreds of dollars more than it’s worth, doesn’t make it right. I’m sure if someone told them the item cost $15 and they put 2 hours and $20 more into it, they would not be willing to pay $300 for it. They are just being ‘fooled’ by the sellers. A question of morals I suppose.”

So, it seems that according to this particular person, it seems that taking something that has been discarded, upcyclying it [either via refurbishing, reupholstering, painting, etc] and then turning around to sell it at a profit is somehow wrong- not only wrong but immoral.

It is this judgment that hits me hard.  Most of the projects that we work on and resell have been rescued from the trash, picked up from Craigslist free item, and purchased very cheaply from thrift stores.   Thus like the show contestants we pay very little for the items we flip.

Next we clean up the items, make necessary repairs to the furniture, and then stain and/or paint the items.  Some of these upcycles are relatively quick and easy and others take more time.  Unlike the show, we can’t get three projects done in a single day.  Of course, we are doing all of the work and aren’t lucky enough to have professional craftsmen assisting, LOL!  Regardless, in the end the finished product is something that anyone can be proud to have in their home.

Once we are done with our projects we don’t give them away.  Instead, we do our research and compare our projects with comparable items that are selling elsewhere, including retail stores.  We consider what we paid for the piece originally (if we didn’t pick it up for free), the cost of our materials, and the value of our time, efforts, and creativity.   We then set our prices accordingly.  What people like the one quoted above seem forget is that there is VALUE in our time and talent and that we are entitled to be compensated for our time and talent.

Most of items have been selling in a relatively quick time- some almost as soon as we have listed them for sale and only on a few occasions have the have buyers negotiated lower prices.  In addition, we have had several people email us back to share how happy they are with their purchase.

So, in answer the the person above- NO IT’S NOT IMMORAL and NO WE ARE NOT RIPPING PEOPLE OFF and I would venture to say that most others who are also doing this as a business are taking pride in their projects and giving their customers high quality recyceld/repurposed/reimagined items for a fair price.


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Oops we did again!



It seems that lately Tom and I have gravitating towards the same projects: toy box/blanket chests or coffee tables.  Our latest project was the yet another coffee table- in fact its the same style as another table we recently sold.  This table, however was in much worse shape that the last one we did. 

On a recent shopping trip to the local St. Vincent de Paul store we came across a table that was almost exactly like the last table we had completed.  When Tom spotted the table, without any price tag he immediately hunted down the store manager for a price.  Any  boy what a price we got!  Unfortunately to say that this table was in bad shape is being generous.  I’m fact I’m kind of surprised that St. Vincent de Paul didn’t trash this table rather put it on the sales floor.  This table had been seriously abused before being donated to the store.  In addition to the usual scratches and dings that you would expect to see with second hand furniture, the top of this table had deep gouges and profanities into it- who does that?  Who actually thinks its ok to take a knife/pen/carving tool and write obscenities into a table and then donate it?

In any case, we saw the potential buried under the disastrous finish and happily brought it home for some much needed love and TLC.

The first order of business was removing the top from the base and sanding out all of the carvings.  The Tom, our “master sander” and “master staining team” stained the top with a rich walnut stain and then applied poly to protect the finish.  Meanwhile, the base was sent downstairs to the “paint shop” where I painted it with two coats of Bayberry Green milk paint.  Because I didn’t sand the base first nor did I add any bonding agent to paint, as it dried I got a nice chippy look as some of the loose paint came off when I “sanded” with my scrungie pad.  Once all of the loose paint was removed, I gave the base two coats of spray poly to seal and protect the finish.  After Tom finished staining the top I did the same to sides of the table.


The finished table had that great rustic farmhouse look.  I listed it for sale and it didn’t last long before it found it’s Forever Home with Darla and her family.



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ReUse-apalooza- Designer Challenge 2016


Tom and I are excited to be entering the Designer Challenge for ReUse-apalooza, a local event benefiting Easter Seals.

What is the ReUse-apalooza Designer Challenge?  To be quite honest we aren’t 100% certain as this will be our first time participating in the challenge and the event.  It seems, however it be a bit like HGTV’s Flea Market Flip- except we only have on project to complete, no “experts” to help us, and an entire month to complete our projects.

Upon signing up for the challenge we received a $125 store credit to Building Value to be used for the supplies for our project (like the initial $500 contestants get to spend on Flea Market Flip).  We can also use other materials we have on hand and if needed can purchase additional supplies, though this is discouraged since one of the reasons for the Designer Challenge is to showcase the imaginative and creative ways to reuse/repurpose the items that Building Value carries.  In addition, the rules of the challenge require that our projects be made from a majority of resused or repurposed items.

After getting our supplies, we have until May 1 to complete our projects and return them to Building Value. (Thankfully, lots more than the single day contestants get on Flea Market Flip)

The big event then comes on May 20- Easter Seal’s ReUse-apalooza– a “FUN and FUNKY fundraiser, featuring unique live entertainment, local bites & beet, and the ever popular Designer Challenge auction.”  At the event all of the entries from the Challenge are on display and offered for sale through a silent auction.  All of the proceeds from the auction benefits our local Easter Seals organization.

At the conclusion of the auction, prizes are awarded in several different categories based upon the highest sale prices (just like on Flea Market Flip).

If you are local to the Cincinnati area, I’d like to encourage you to consider purchasing tickets to this fundraising event- an of course check our entry and BID EARLY-BID OFTEN and most importantly BID BIG!!!!

Later this week, we’ll share our “inspiration” that we found on Pinterest and the raw materials we got to create our masterpiece entry!

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Puttin on the Ritz

Tom and I are once again participating in a #30DayFlip challenge in Facebook.  This month’s theme is painted furniture.


For our project we started with a flip top accent table that had a petal shaped top which we picked up this fall at the church rummage sale.


The dark stain and gold decals really dated the piece.  In addition the wood of the legs were pretty banged up and the whole table needed to be tightened up.


The first thing we did was completed disassemble the table- took of the top and removed the three legs from the base pole.  Next, Tom sanded down the top to give me a nice new smooth surface to work with.


With the pedal shaped top I knew I wanted to give this table a bit of a feminine touch, but not so girly girl that men wouldn’t appreciate it too.  In addition, I wanted to try my hand at stenciling so off I went to Michael’s for inspiration and supplies.  After considering all the different stencil designs, I settled on a basic Doily stencil by American Mixed Art.  From there the color choices emerged in my head.

For the legs, center base pole, and underside of the top, I used two coats of Carmel Latte Brushed Metallic spray paint by Krylon.  After reattaching the the legs to the center pole I sealed the pieces with two coats of Clear Satin Polyacrylic Spray from Miniwax.

For the top, painted two coats of my go-to antique white latex paint.  Next I carefully taped down the stencil and using a round stencil brush and Champagne Gold acrylic paint, stenciled the Doily design on the top.  After I was done stenciling, I carefully removed the stencil and waited for my paint to dry overnight (of course the fact that I had stenciled at 7 pm probably had more to do with the overnight drying time than anything else, LOL!)  The next day I painted the sides of the top with the same Champagne Gold acrylic paint.  Once the sides were completely dry, I used a sponge brush and applied three coats of Clear Satin Polyacrylic, sanding with 320 grit sandpaper between coats.

Once everything was completely dry I reattached the top to the base and viola’ I was done!

I love how glitzy and chic the finished product turned out.  It’s fun, fashionable, and a wee bit feminine.

I wish I had the space to keep this cutie, but alas I don’t.  Instead it’s currently for sale here at our Shop Our Treasured Life.


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Another Fun Flip

Wow, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted.  No, we haven’t been sitting around all winter doing nothing- in addition to a fall vacation, the hectic holidays, and short winter days, we have been working on several projects.  Today I want to share one of my favorite- Tom’s latest Blanket Chest.


You might remember that this past fall we rescued a toy box from the clutches of the trash man and transformed it into a beautiful creation.  This time we found our chest at an estate sale.  This poor chest sat unloved and called to us for a transformation. [Unfortunately Tom was so anxious to start on this project that he neglected to take ANY Before or During Pictures!]

We debated on staining vs painted and after an initial application of Danish Oil to the top, we settled on staining the top a nice dark ebony and then simply cleaning up the rest of box and giving it a good dose of Danish Oil.  I love how the different woods used to build the box give such a contrast with very little work.  Next, to dress it up we picked up an wooden accent piece from Home Depot, stained the same as the top and the glued it to the front.  This give the finished box an elegant touch.

Over all, once again another great project, which, of course is now available for purchase because, well, we simply don’t have room for all of our great finished projects.

IMG_3733 IMG_3746

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Freshing up the front

For some time now we have been talking about freshing up the landscaping in our front yard.  About 15 years ago we did a major renovation of the landscaping- removing bushes the lined the entire front yard, tearing out a decaying concrete walk way that came up through the middle of the yard and adding an island in the center of the lawn.

At the time, the updates made a dramatic change to once was, but as time as gone on, the landscaping has gotten rather drab.  In addition, after being here for 20+ years, we were tired of the plain bushes that lined the front of the house.  In a nutshell we were looking for more “Wow”

Knowing what we know and not knowing what we don’t know, we enlisted the services of a landscape designer that we found through a local neighborhood website.  We had several meeting with Michelle to give her an idea of what we wanted- fresh look, color year round, and low maintenance.  We also spend countless hours on the internet and pouring through magazines to find pictures depicting what we liked.

After these meetings and several revisions, a plan was developed.

Unfortunately both due to time and budget constraints we decided to implement the plan in stages, with stage one being the immediate front of the house.  Of course, spring and summer have now passed and I thought we would need to wait until the coming spring before we could start actual planting.  Little did I know that fall is apparently a very good time to plan- I guess the cooler temps and wetter conditions outweigh the low overnight temps. In any case, this week the landscapers came, tore out the out and planted the new.

Actually kind of hard to see, but we now have two rows of flowering bushes and low spreading plants as fillers.  A huge difference from the over powering bushes that were once there.

This spring, phase two: the island garden will get its transformation.

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