DIY Custom Mixed Color Drum Table Makeover

closeup of mint drum table with glass knobA few weeks ago I found a beautiful French Provincial chest of drawers on an online “yard sale” Facebook page, and jumped at the chance to snatch it up. It had been a while since I’ve gotten my hands on any real Frenchy pieces, so I was thrilled. We drove the 25 minute cross town drive on a Saturday morning, and got a little queazy when we saw it was on the third floor with a very tiny stairwell. We climbed to the top, and the woman yelled that it was in the back bedroom.

Except it wasn’t.

I yelled back that I didn’t see it. She, quite flustered, ran in the room, noted the missing dresser, and began apologizing for her no good brother, who apparently raided the house sometime recently. It was their mother’s house and things have been confusing.

A little irritated, but understanding of the situation, Tommy and I made our way out, and this drum table caught our eye in the corner. The woman offered it to us got free for our 50 minutes of driving for nothing, but we did pay her for it. I just hope she didn’t give any to her brother.

Here’s the before picture. As you can see it had potential, but was pretty boring. Drum table makeover beforeNow I really wanted a subtle color, but something with a little punch. I decided to go with a custom color I’ve used a handful of times. Equal parts Annie Sloan Louis Blue and Annie Sloan English Yellow makes a stunning pale mint color, and I love it. I rarely mix my own paint, but this color is worth it. I have an old, tall plastic food container that I put lines on with a sharpie, marking the one cup level and the two cup level. This makes mixing equal parts so easy.

paintThe custom color goes on the same way as any other Annie Sloan. I painted two coats, watering down my second coat with a few tablespoons of water to make the finish a little more smooth. Once the paint dried, I lightly sanded and distressed the piece with a medium grit sandpaper and sealed the paint with Johnson Paste Wax. I buffed the piece with a fine grit sanding block to blend the paint and wax together and give a strong finish.

And here is how she looks! I love this color, and it’s worth the extra work to custom mix it. Of course, she’s headed to Sweet Clover for the sale starting this Friday!FinishedFinished

DIY Le Dirt Half Moon Table Makeover

I’m a day late. Second week into my commitment to blogging and I’m already struggling to keep up with my self appointed deadlines. I blame Tommy, he needed the computer to take to his class Thursday evening and threw off my schedule. But, better late than never!

halfmoontablebeforeI had this little half moon table sitting in my basement for months. It was one of those things that I kept in the back of my mind, but never got around to doing. I knew it was perfect for Le Dirt Antiquing Dust from Maison Blanche Paint Company, and I finally dragged it out of the basement and got to it so I could post a tutorial of it here! ledirtI’ve used a handful of Maison Blanche’s products, but Le Dirt is by far my favorite. It’s perfect for furniture with carved detail. It brings out all the nooks and crannies with a pop you can’t get with just paint and sanding. And I knew this half moon table had the perfect detail for it. upclosebeforeIn my opinion, Le Dirt looks best with a light neutral color, and I went to my old standard, Annie Sloan Old Ochre. I painted the first coat and watered down my second coat, just like I did on my bow front dressers. The table looked nice, but it was still missing something. painterThen came the antiquing dust. It’s a simple process. First you wax the areas where you want to apply the Le Dirt. I like to put the wax on extra heavy to make sure I get it in all the cracks.

waxThen, before the wax has any time to dry, I apply the Le Dirt with a clean, dry paint brush. My paint brush may not look so clean, but it has only ever been used for Le Dirt. I apply it all over, making sure I get deep down into all the detail. ledirtappThe final step is wiping all the extra wax and Le Dirt off the piece. If there is any Le Dirt that sticks to an area I don’t want it to, I dip my rag into the wax and rub it clean. The extra wax will remove any stray antiquing dust.

RagIt’s amazing how big a difference this stuff makes on a piece! I think this little half table is adorable, and of course it’s heading to Sweet Clover for the September tag sale.



Meatless Monday: Stuffed Shells & Homemade Pasta Sauce

IMG_1930_1My husband and I eat like crap. I wish I could say something different, but it would be a lie. Between our full time jobs, Tommy going to school in the evening for his MBA and my little Bmore Nestled, we barely have time to do enough laundry to have clean underwear. Most evenings we throw together something easy and quick, which generally means processed. And you don’t even want to know what we eat on the weekends which are too often spent on the road (we were out of town nine out of 11 weekends this summer). So, we could stand to have something a little better in our bodies.

Which is why I have decided to take on the Meatless Monday challenge. And with this meatless meal, I am personally taking it one step further and trying to eliminate processed food on Mondays as well. My first attempt isn’t perfect, there’s a few processed ingredients here, but baby steps here, right? Enter stuffed shells and homemade pasta sauce. IMG_1852_1When I decided to make this sauce, I called my mother’s best friend since seventh grade, Patti Panasiti Carper. Not only does she have a good Italian family recipe, she also was a cook for a large university for decades and knows her way around a kitchen. She gave me all her secrets, and I tried my hardest not to mess it up.

I could have used fresh tomatoes, I should have used fresh tomatoes. But alas, I was running late and didn’t even head to the store until 6:30, so peeled canned tomatoes it is. And it only has about 1/4 the amount of sodium as regular store shelf sauce. From everything I’ve read online and from Patti herself, San Marzano are the best tomatoes to use. They’re significantly more expensive than the store brand, but I’ve been told they’re worth it, so I bought them. 

I started by chopping a large white onion.

IMG_1854_1I sauteed these onions in a few table spoons of extra virgin olive oil. While they were cooking I smashed 4 cloves of garlic. My favorite way to prepare garlic is to peel the cloves and cut them into large chunks, then I take my large knife, hold it over the chunks, and pound it down with my other hand. It minces the garlic nicely, and it is so much easier than chopping or a garlic press. I learned that from The Chew. Thanks Mario Batali!

IMG_1857_1I tossed the garlic in with the onions and sauteed it all together until I could smell the garlic and the onions turned translucent.

IMG_1862_1I added tomato paste, bay leaf, oregano, basil, fennel seed, and some crushed red pepper flakes. You don’t need the pepper flakes, but Tommy and I like a little heat in our sauce.

IMG_1870_1One tip that Patti gave me was to put the oregano on the palm of my hand and rub it slightly before you add it to the pot. It releases the oils in the oregano and makes it more flavorful. IMG_1868_1I simmered that together for a few minutes, then I added the canned tomatoes.

IMG_1874_1I let that simmer together for over an hour, letting it cook down to the thickness we like. I tried to put a lid on it so it wouldn’t splatter, but the steam kept watering down the sauce too much, so I took it off and just kept the heat low.

After it had enough time to cook down and blend the flavors together, I took the bay leaf out and used my immersion blender to smooth it all together. I added salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_1906_1So, there it is. It tastes pretty darn good. Although when I tried to give Tommy a taste of the final product, after tasting it a million times through out the process, Tommy told me he’d try it later. He was all “sauced out”.IMG_1914_1

Of course, I needed something to put this sauce on. And I could have just made spaghetti, but I figured I’d make something good to go with this sauce, I decided to make stuffed shells.

Fotor0907234159I made the sauce and the stuffed shells Sunday night, and kept them in the fridge overnight separately. When I got home from work Monday, I poured a few cups of sauce over the shells and threw them in the oven. It took some prep on Sunday, but it made Monday really easy. And I even had it ready before Tommy had to run out the door to his class. I’m excited to keep this going, and any suggestions for next week is appreciated! IMG_1929_1

Homemade Pasta Sauce Ingredient List:

  • One large onion
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil to saute
  • 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 to 2 bay leaf
  • 2 28oz cans of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Crushed Red Peppers to taste



DIY Lamp Black & Old White Vintage China Hutch Makeover

Lamp Black & Old White china hutch close up

I’ve been a loyal Annie Sloan Chalk Paint user ever since my first ASCP experience, but lately I’ve had a wandering eye. I’m just a little bored of the same old colors over and over again, and I wouldn’t mind having a semi-gloss finish every once in a while. So I’ve begun a new love affair with General Finishes Milk Paint.

Full disclosure here: General Finishes sent me a sample kit of their products in exchange for some “well lit, staged photographs of my finished products”. Now, I have used their Milk Paint before and already loved it. That is why I almost screamed with happiness when I read the email offering me the kit. My first sample products from anywhere- little Bmore Nestled is getting to be legit.General Finishes Lamp Black Milk PaintI was so happy when I saw Lamp Black in the kit! I had the perfect piece for it and I almost immediately pulled this adorable little hutch out of my garage where it’s been sitting for months. I knew the sleekness of the Lamp Black would really modernize and update this piece.

DIY China hutch makeover beforeI started by removing the broken glass, using a knife to gently pry off the thin framing from the inside of the door. As I pulled each section out, I labeled them left, right, top and bottom. I have taken so many of these out and spent a loooong time trying fit it back together perfectly, I learned not to skip labeling. I also removed the decorative wood screen from the door. There may be some times where you could paint it and it would look great, but I’m really going for a modernized look for this hutch and decided to toss it.
Removing framing
After I started painting, I noticed some of the veneer was peeling off on the drawer. So I busted out my hair dryer, picked my knife back up, and started removing the sections that were loose. I would pry my knife under the veneer while I used the hair dryer to heat the sections I was peeling. The heat softens the glue and makes it come off pretty easily.
Removing veneer
After two costs of Lamp Black, it came time to paint the inside. I tried General Finishes Millstone and Annie Sloan Old White on different shelves. I decided that Old White really made the piece pop with the great, bold contrast. Old White is a little more difficult to work with for me, as really is any white, because it doesn’t have great coverage. But three coats in and I was happy with it.

I sealed the hutch with Johnson Paste Wax, buffed and lightly sanded it.

I measured the door and headed to Lowes to buy replacement glass. Thankfully the door was a standard size and I could buy pre-cut glass, but they would cut one to size if I needed them to as well. I got home, popped the glass in and reattached the thin framing strips to hold the glass in place.

And there she is. I actually took this picture before I replaced the glass so I wouldn’t get any glare in the picture. She’ll be headed to Sweet Clover for the September tag sale on September 19, 20, and 21 in Frederick, MD. I really do love General Finishes’ modern finish and Lamp Black is an awesome true black. And the Annie Sloan Old White is the perfect pop here.
DIY Lamp Black & Old White china hutch DIY Lamp Black & Old White china hutch DIY Lamp Black & Old White china hutch Linked to: Do Tell Tuesday, DesignedbyBH, The Makers Link Party, TOO Cute Tuesday, Outside The Box Link Party

Real Dressers Have Curves: A Bow Front Dresser Makeover

bowed front dresser makeoverThere is nothing I love more than a bow front dresser. The soft edge of that subtly curve in each drawer makes me weak in the knees. That’s why when I saw a posting for an estate sale 40 minutes away from my house featuring a beautiful set of bow front dressers, I fought off the urge to sleep in and set my alarm for seven a.m. on a Saturday and headed out.

It was the second day of the estate sale, and I wasn’t super confident that the dressers would still be there. When we pulled up to the house in the middle of nowhere Maryland, I hopped out and nearly ran through the house. And low and behold, tucked back in the master bedroom of a stranger’s house, there they were. And, I found out much to my delight, half off of the listed price. I was pleased.

bow front dresser makeover before

Note the Mad Men. Binge watching TV and painting furniture are a match made in heaven.

I wasted no time, and once we loaded them up and brought them home, I started working on them the second I could Sunday. The photo here makes the finish took like it’s in perfect condition, but believe me, it wasn’t. It needed a lot of work, and nothing updates a dingy old piece of furniture like some paint.

I should be painting outside. Get some fresh air, take advantage of the natural light, and save my hardwood floors from needing to be scrubbed with a toothbrush every few weeks to remove all the paint speckles. But I just can’t bring myself to do it consistently. It’s all too often looking like it’s about to rain or this Baltimore humidity won’t let my paint dry. In the Winter I obviously can’t paint outside, and I have gotten into a groove and system in my house I don’t feel like rearranging to do it outside. So, inside I go and keep that extra toothbrush handy.

I removed the hardware, cleaned out the drawers and started painting. I was using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre, so no need to prime or sand. It has great coverage and I never have problems with adhesion. After the first coat I like to add a few teaspoons of water to some paint in a separate container. This makes the second coat go on smoothly, helps the coverage, and gives a more silky finish. I nearly always water down my second coat.

Annie Sloan Old Ochre

After the second and final coat dried, I took a medium grit sandpaper and got to distressing. I sealed the piece with Johnson Paste Wax and took a sanding block and buffed everything to a nice finish. Doing this really makes a difference, you shouldn’t skip this part!

Annie Sloan Bleed Through with PrimerWhen I started on the second dresser, there was one spot that had a scratch just deep enough to cause the dreaded bleed through. This is the one time I do need some stain blocking primer. It took three coats of primer I applied right to the stain, but it finally covered. Some more paint, some distressing, and some waxing and I was finally done with both dressers. At four a.m. Monday morning. Happy Labor Day!

We’ve already taken them up to Sweet Clover in Frederick, MD for the monthly tag sale on September 19, 20, and 21.

Here they are finished! They really are some of my favorite style.

bowed front dresser makeover finished


bowed fronted dresser makeover after

Linked to: MabeySheMadeIt, NotJustAHouseWife, UpcycledTreasures, FunkyPolkadotGiraffe, Work It Wednesday

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Lil' Mrs. Tori

The First Piece I’ve Done For Myself

When I got married and moved to Baltimore, my husband already had all his furniture, fit for a bachelor pad. It was pleather, dark, brown (the only color I hate), heavy and masculine. It was purchased at Big Lots when he was 21, and although it was hideous, it was surprising sturdy and I couldn’t find a valid excuse to get rid of it.

I accessorized it all up, cute pillows, bright paintings, delicate flower vases. I made it livable, but I never liked it. And my least favorite part of it all was the dining table. It was counter height, which I’m not a big fan of, and it was prone to turning white whenever there was anything damp set on it. I literally had to iron my table after nearly every big meal.

But then one day I found this beauty sitting along the road, one block from my house. I carried it back to my house and had it sitting in my kitchen for a month, waiting for it to be turned in to the beautiful table I wanted.




The biggest problem was there were only three chairs, and we definitely needed at least four. But then we stumbled upon these gorgeous upholstered dining chairs at The Barn and we picked up 2 of them.

I was debating between Duck Egg Blue or Aubusson Blue, both Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and I settled on the richness of the Aubusson. While I’d love to match the cushions of the side chairs, I don’t have access to the fabric, so I just did a creamy tan to match the background of the arm chairs. (Tip: I actually bought a drop cloth from Home Depot for $7 to cover the seats and still have a ton left over. Much cheaper than going to a fabric store and it was a perfect match!)





Here’s the finished product:


I’m in love! Now I just have to wait 21 days for the wax to cure so I can begin using the table. That’s very important for a dining room table, it’s going to get so much use that you need to make sure it was a good finish on it. And there it is, the first ASCP piece I’ve painted for myself that I have zero intention of selling.

One more tip I’ve found with Annie Sloan: I have been watering down my final coat. When I just need a little extra coverage to fill in the gaps I missed, I water down the paint and it goes on faster, smoother and saves paint. Just a little water really makes a big difference! The more I paint with it the more I love it!

I’ll leave you just a great before and after shot! Seriously, I’m obsessed.


French dresser with ASCP

I’ve been busy getting back into the swing of things and finishing up my booth for the January sale at The Stylish Patina Barn. The time off I took around the holidays was great, but man I did miss painting.


Here’s a small French provincial dresser we picked up at an auction a few weeks ago. It’s solid and sturdy and make of cherry. The finish was nice, but it has some wear and tear and needed a good pop of color.

I put on two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence (a color I got for Christmas! Thanks, Nana Kay) and finished it with clear wax. I kept the original hardware, but I’m debating if they could use a coat of paint themselves. Maybe for next month.


There’s the finished product. I’m in love! Provence is a great color. I also got dark wax for Christmas, I may have to try that out soon too with the Provence.

Check out the other pictures of my pieces for this month’s sale at our facebook page.. This is just a preview, there’s a few more pieces to come! Stop out this weekend, January 18th to the 20th, to see all my products!