Remember ‘paper twist’?

I am seriously dating myself by bringing this up, but my earliest ventures into crafting included ‘paper twist wreaths’. 

I loved that stuff.  I could sit and untwist it while watching TV for hours.  So when I found a big bundle if it at a thrift store a while back, I couldn’t resist.  But this newer stuff would NOT un-twist!?!?  It was like it was glued in place.  Just as I was about to toss it into my donate pile and send it back from whence it came; I had a brainstorm.  Maybe if I spritz it with some water it will untwist??

It worked.  But these were reeeeeeeeally long ropes of paper twist and my spritzing wrist tired quickly.  So, I filled the sink with water, cut the ropes into more manageable smaller pieces and started dunking.  That worked even better.  I just had to handle it carefully while untwisting as it tore easily.  Then I spent a couple of DAYS, mindlessly untwisting yards upon yards of paper twist; piling the untwisted pieces in a plastic bin.

Then I got to wondering if there were any NEW kinds of crafts that had been invented since I last played with paper twist?  Off to Pinterest of course to see what I could find.

 1b8047b6daba537018d9a6080f42f149Not much!  There were these . . . .Boooooooooooring!!

28337405788da9df6f6ff9b8f3319df1And this.  Seriously???

f96b7d41942837187fc76d817227f9cbGetting closer . . .but NO cigar!

The ones I used to make ended up looking more like the burlap wreaths that are so popular right now.

a54642ade5a9fc3718f855d94109e207So, with no NEW ideas in sight; I went back to my old tried and true method.

P1140882First I cut my bigger pieces into smaller pieces.   Then folded them over and stapled together.  Did this until I had a while bin full of ‘petals’.

P1140865I didn’t have any wreath forms, so I made my own by gluing two circles of cardboard together, then wrapping with thin strip of paper twist.  Then I started gluing the petals to the outside rim.

P1140883I prefer to NOT use a hot glue gun if at ALL possible.  Tacky glue sets pretty quickly, so I put a dot of tacky glue on the petal end and then used some little clips to hold it in place while the glue set enough to hold on its own.  This only worked on the OUTER row; for the rest I did have to use my hot glue gun.

P1140866Outer rim almost done.  I’d let it set overnight to be sure the glue was completely dry before adding the other layers.  I don;t have pictures of adding the rest of the layers, I just started at one spot and worked my way around; filling in petals wherever it looked like one was needed.

P1140867Once all the petals were in place, I added some little berries. (cut apart berry sprays from the dollar store)   Back in the day, I used to dry flowers from my garden and add those to my paper twist wreaths.

P1140869Michael liked the smaller one best; I liked the bigger one!

P1140973With fall color berries.

P1140974Close up of fall berries.

P1140975I really like this lighter color!

P1140976The light colored paper was ‘softer; and more pliable than the kraft paper.

P1140988Chocolate brown with white berries.


P1140985Multi color one to use up all the left over petals!

P1140993Altogether I had enough paper to make six wreaths.  They are too bulky to sell in my etsy shop, so I guess they will be going to the fall craft show.


Someone recently left a comment asking what kind of varnish I used and I realized that I’ve never really talked about varnish very much.  So, here it is, THE POST ABOUT VARNISH.

I go through a LOT of varnish, using most of it on my signs.  On my furniture I typically only varnish the TOP or areas that need the extra protection.  Why NOT just varnish the whole thing?  I like to leave my things with the capacity to continue to ‘additionally distress and age naturally’.


I ONLY USE WATER BASE PAINT PRODUCTS; INCLUDING VARNISH.  The product I buy says on the label “CLEAR MATTE FINISH”.  Then water thinned acrylic-urethane.  I’m guessing this differs from POLYUrethane in that poly is most likely an OIL based product.

Since I go through so much of it, I buy my varnish by the GALLON from Miller paint stores.  (I think Miller might be a NW only paint store)  Really ANY brand will probably be fine.  What ‘makes the difference’ is the ‘sheen level’ you get.  Glossy, satin or matte.  I ONLY use matte finish, which has the LEAST amount of sheen to it.

Why a matte finish?

The less amount of sheen, the less dust and scratches will show up.  If a glossy table gets scratched, you are REALLY going to notice it.  If a matte finish table gets scratched (especially if it is distressed!) the scratch will barely be noticeable.  Shiny and glossy surfaces are much harder to photograph too . . . .you’ll always have that darn GLARE to deal with.

Also, matte finishes require less (if ANY!) prep work (sanding or priming) when and if you ever decide to re-paint.  New paint just does ant adhere well to glossy, slick surfaces.  I know I’ve mentioned that many times when giving shopping tips.

I think the last time I bought a gallon of varnish it was over $80.00 (yes EIGHTY!) but hat will last me close to a year, and much more economical than buying a quart every four months.  BUT, it does tend to ‘settle’ quite a bit and require a VERY good stirring before use if it has sat unused for very long.

BE SURE to ask the paint store to ‘shake’ your can of varnish (like they the paint).  They WILL frown at you and advise you NOT to and tell you that it will cause bubble in your varnish; which it MIGHT, IF you are going to use it right away.

I made the mistake of NOT having them shake the first gallon I bought and the ‘stuff’ at the bottom was SO thick and hard that I never was able to ‘mix it in’.  And as I already said, it will re-settle pretty quickly.  To minimize the amount of hand stirring I have to do AND to better insure the proper mixture (of the stuff that settles to the bottom) throughout my entire gallon of varnish; as soon as I bring a new gallon home, I pour it into 3 or 4 smaller plastic containers with screw on lids.  AND place a piece of was paper or freezer paper over the top of your jar before you screw your lid on.  That will keep it from getting ‘glued on’ and make it much easier to remove.  And since the portions are smaller, it’s easier to stir up the gunk that settled on the bottom.


And that is everything I know about varnish!

ReVamped plant stand

P1140982Found this tall plant stand at the thrift store.

P1140981A couple of fairly DEEP scratches on the top that would require sanding down.

P1140983But the legs were in great shape and would just require a light sanding before painting.

P1140996I talked myself OUT of stenciling a design on the top since the distressing was so dark,  But still . . . it needed a ‘little something’!

P1140995The apron was just wide enough for me to add this stenciled design; which I did on all four sides.

P1140994Sanded along the table top and leg edges too.

P1140997A couple of coats of varnish on the top and it’s done!

P1150139Available to purchase at Stars for $45.00.


Vintage oval picnic basket

P1150081The SHAPE of this vintage picnic basket is what first caught my eye on the shelf at the thrift store.  Picked it up and noticed the meticulously painted Noah’s Ark design on the lid.  (and that it’s painted BACKwards!  This is the direction that the basket open from!?!?  oops!)

P1150079I really almost didn’t want to destroy this beautiful painting!!  And I COULD have unhinged the existing lid, traced out the size on a new piece of wood, and easily replaced it.  But then what would I DO with the painted lid???  Donate it BACK to the thrift store?  I’ve been donating MORE than enough stuff lately, so I sanded off the design.  ***(and you DO need to SAND it off, because the paint lines would shoe through otherwise)

P1150134Don’t forget to check for clean ‘innards’ before you buy!  I NEVER buy picnic baskets that have fabric linings attached.  How the heck do you CLEAN the fabric?!?!  Occasionally though, I have found fabric lined ones where the lining can easily be ripped out.

P1150129LOTS of sanding to completely remove the original painting, a couple of coats of paint, a stenciled on design (facing the correct direction!) and a coat of varnish and done!

P1150132Just cleaned up the rest of the wood and left it ‘as is’ since it had a nice vintage patina.


P1150167Available in my booth at Stars for $32.00.

P1150168The ‘plain top’ split lid basket beneath it is $25.00.

Another step stool

P1150091This is the second one of these that I’ve found recently.  My intention was to keep this second one for myself.

P1150116Painted it aqua, distressed it and was going to call it good; but decided to add a design to this one since I had left the first one plain.

P1150119I use my orbital sander for all the distressing on pieces like this.

P1150117Since it’s going to be getting stepped on a LOT, I gave it  TWO coats of varnish to extra durability.

P1150136I liked it SO much more than the plain white one that I decided to put this one in my booth at Stars and bring the white one home for me to use.  Price is $ 24.00.

P1120169And it’s albino twin has come home to live with me!

Little old step ladder

P1150090Remember this little guy from a week or so ago?  LOVE these little step ladders.  GREAT display pieces and always good sellers.  This one just wasn’t very grubby!

P1150112A little dry brushed aqua paint and some black and white splatters and blobs and it looks like it’s been used for years!

P1150113It literally takes FIVE minutes to dry brush paint a piece like this.  The splatters and blobs actually took longer!


P1150164On display in my booth at Stars and available to purchase for $22.00.

Check THIS out!!

COUNTRY LIVING’S list of best colors.  Guess what the Number ONE color is?!?!?  That must have been the paint chip that was missing on the RL board a few weeks ago when I bought my paint.  Good thing I had another sample piece for them to match the color to!

Guess i was just a little ‘ahead of the times’ when I selected it as MY number one color eight years ago!

And speaking of color . . .  Here are a few newly painted items that I just took to my booth at Stars:


Wood step stool with handle hole.


Vintage oval picnic basket with painted lid.


Painted carrier with Paris chic stencil.


And two rounded corner shelves (back to back).


It’s the start of a new month, so that means a new ‘half price sign special’ in my etsy shop.

The half price sign for August is my “GUEST ROOM” sign.  Regularly priced at $19.95; now reduced to $10.00.

*While current supply lasts or until the end of the month; whichever comes FIRST.  Once the sale ends, more of the signs will be listed, but at their regular price.*

And if you are wanting to MAKE some of your own signs, NOW is the time to buy stencils. 

Maison de Stencils is having a 40% off ALL stencils sale.   (this is the place I get a LOT of my stencils from; including the cool French ones!)

The sale only runs until August 6th, so if you snooze you’ll lose out on some great savings!  To get the discount enter promo code   summer2014  (all lower case, no spaces) at check out. 

And while you are on their web site, sign up for their email list to be notified directly of their sales.  They have frequent ‘flash sales’ that are only valid for a very brief time; too short of a time for me to post on my blog; but still some very great deals.


Estate sale and thrift store finds

I really am trying my darndest to ‘use what I have’  and get rid of the inventory that I have boxed up and stored and not buy a LOT of new stuff.    Still, it’s a good idea to ‘get out and look’ on a regular basis.  You just never know when you might come across that ‘perfect piece’.  Furniture though is one thing that I don’t have a huge stash of, so I picked up a few things last week at an estate sale and the thrift store.P1150090Thrifted little step ladder.  I really prefer them to be more naturally grubbied up and paint splattered.  But when you can’t find grubby; you can always CREATE grubby.  These little ladders always sell well and are great for displaying on.

P1150091Little wood step stool.  I already did one just like it for my booth at Stars.  Gonna keep this one for myself so I don’t always have to drag out the folding kitchen two-stepper!

P1150089These little carriers always sell well, AND they are great for displaying multiples of things in.

P1150015Neat old wood bench.

P1150026I broke one of my own rules when buying this piece.  I normally don’t buy pieces that the legs need a lot of work on, simply because they have to be hand sanded and it’s very time consuming and labor intensive.  If I can’t make over my pieces in a timely manner, I don’t make any money doing this.  BUT, it you are buying pieces for yourself to keep, the time element really doesn’t apply.   I just might have to KEEP this one!

P1150025See how scratched up the edge is there? It’s like that in several places on the legs too.  I think maybe a baby tiger was teething on it!

P1150017Sweet little drop leaf end table.

P1150021It opens up to quite a bit of room.  I’m really liking (and HUNTING for!) drop leaf items lately.  Nice that they don’t take up a lot of space, but can provide extra space when necessary.

P1150029A cast iron candle pedestal that will probably become a small table base.

Those grubby child size chairs

P1130156Remember these two chairs??  Unfinished frames, but pretty ‘grimey’ from a LOT of use.


And the SEATS were really scratched and marked up!  And made of some weird composite material.  Looked like dry erase board stuff on top of particle board, so SANDING to prep for painting was out, because it would probably do more harm then help.  THIS is when it’s preferable to PRIME instead of sand.

P1150001So I sanded the unfinished wood parts to get rid of the grime, and gave the seats TWO good coats of KILZ primer before painting.


I distressed the edges of the chairs (but NOT the seat).  The headrest was just the right size to add a little stenciled word to.


These sold before I even got them into my booth at Stars.  Had a customer looking for items in my booth, and I wasn’t going to have room to bring everything from my car.  Took her to my car to show them to her and she wanted them.  So I took them to the front desk to add to her pile of purchases.


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