Monthly Archives: July 2013

Finishing Touches

Well, here is the finished cottage bedroom. I was going for a look that says ” come and lay your weary head down here”. The colours I chose were turquoise and citrus green, colours which are on trend, and therefore readily available, and are also peaceful and soothing.
Since my milk painted dresser resisted chipping (which apparently happens sometimes), I didn’t bother with a sealer. I was pleasantly surprised to find that milk paint, all by itself, is a very durable finish and won’t come off. All I did was give it a light sanding to smooth out the raised grain.
I purchased some inexpensive bedding and accessories at Homesense as well as a pair of linen drapery side panels. I really wanted to make it easy on myself and these side panels certainly did, given that they were the right width for both a window curtain as well as a curtain to cover the closet (which has no door). All I had to do was shorten the window curtain, as with a window of this size, pretending that the window is larger than it is by hanging the curtains up to the ceiling seems a bit silly (see the prior post here), so I decided on just one short curtain hung slightly off centre to allow the curtain to be pulled back completely off the window, given the way the window opens to the inside.
As an added bonus, there was enough fabric left for a couple of neck pillows, which just add to the comfortable feeling of the bedroom. I made a few practical additions, such as a basket to hold mystery novels (required summer reading!), and a crackle jar with a jaunty bird on top to hold jewellery, watches, etc. at the end of the day. A stripy rag rug in the exact colours of the bedding provides a soft and warm place for your feet when you get out of bed in the morning. A dreamy cottage bedroom – bliss!


Peaceful and pretty cottage bedroom



New (shorter) linen curtain on the window is out of the way most of the time



The cut-off end of the curtain was enough to make two neck pillows. Just cut in half, and sew along 3 sides, leaving an opening



iron the seam allowance towards the inside of the cushion. This will make it easier to sew it closed



For the stuffing I (literally) cut an old, lumpy but clean pillow in half



then I sewed each half shut. It doesn’t matter what this seam looks like as it will be inside the pillow



Hmmmm……….these pillows need a little something something.




Using a leftover strip of fabric, you can make a bow by sewing 3 sides, just like you did with the pillow



The easiest way to turn a ribbon right way out is to push a yardstick into the narrow sewn edge




and keep pushing through until it’s the right way round.



iron the finished ribbon and tie a simple bow around the finished neck pillows




a jaunty bird sits atop a practical crackle pottery container



The other linen side panel went on a tension rod to cover…………



This mess!!


Milk Painted Chest


Chest before

A long time ago I stripped and lime washed this chest. In the many years that we have owned it, it has been used as a stereo chest, a kid’s toy and game chest, a clothes dresser and now it’s back to holding clothes. What I like about it is that there are many drawers, so it holds a lot of items, and they are neatly concealed behind doors. What I don’t like about it is that the doors were made of a different wood and always looked different than the rest of the dresser. Wood is like that. Also it was looking a bit boring.

So I decided to change it up a bit. I had been doing a lot of research on milk paint because I like how non-toxic it is. It is made up of chalk, limestone, milk protein and pigments. I found a website I really liked called Miss Mustard Seed where the author gives detailed video tutorials on how to use milk paint. I didn’t really want to pay for the shipping of it into Canada, so imagine my surprise when I found it for sale at Weeks Home Hardware in Waterdown. I was doubly surprised to find that it’s made in Toronto by Homestead House Paint Company.

It’s extremely easy to use, no prep required at all. You mix it with water, brush on a couple of coats, then sand or scrape off what doesn’t adhere and top coat with either varathane, hemp oil or wax. As you can see from my photos I did it right in my living room. It smells a bit like toothpaste but otherwise no odour.

In the case of my dresser, I used a Homestead House colour “Laurentian” which is a very pretty turquoise shade. The photo below shows two coats on my dresser but I have not had a chance to antique it or apply the top coat yet. I put the glass knobs on just for the photo so the final finished dresser will look a little different, a richer colour with some distressing. I tried sourcing glass knobs at ReStore but no luck and they were frightfully expensive at Lee Valley, but I managed to source them inexpensively at Target.

I am pleased with the result so far and I think it will really freshen up the cottage bedroom.


milk paint is sold in small packages of powder




all you need is a small plastic cup, some water and a chopstick or something to mix it with



mix for several minutes until smooth



2 coats of milk paint, new glass knobs. It already looks fresher even though I am not finished.



Cottage Bedroom

For my first project I decided to re-paint the bedroom. The panelling had been previously painted but the paint was particularly dingy, making the whole room look smaller and darker. I used a favourite cottage colour: Simply White, Benjamin Moore OC-117. It’s a milky white colour, not an ultra-white, so although it is bright, it’s not blindingly so. Although there were at least two coats of the old paint, the panelling still soaked up a lot of paint, as did the acoustic tile on the ceiling, so I had to do two full coats, despite using one of the new “Paint + Primer” paints. If you are planning on painting a ceiling, do your neck and upper back a favour and use a two foot long painting stick attached to the paint roller. This allows you to stand back and paint forward at an angle, rather than painting up above your head. Using a shorter painting stick is easier for me than a long one, which requires quite a bit of upper body strength to manipulate.

It’s also crucial to provide proper ventilation when painting. Paint with the windows wide open and use a fan in the doorway to force air out through the window. Even with today’s zero VOC paints you are still going to have paint fumes until the paint “skins over”, which usually takes a couple of hours. If you are pregnant or nursing, do your baby a favour and do not paint yourself. This is the time to get someone else to do it. Leave for a few hours and by then the fumes should have diminished significantly.

I am very pleased with the result. The room looks a lot brighter and larger. I scrounged a bed frame and used it to add height and definition to the wall.

Next week: dressing up the bedroom (a bit!)


Before bedroom – paint looks white, right?




Before bedroom – what NOT to do with drapes!



Bedroom after painting in Benjamin Moore OC-117, Simply White



ceiling also painted in Simply White

And you thought that paint was white!

Ventilating the bedroom with a vintage Robins & Myers fan. It works fantastic!

Do your neck and upper back a favour and use a painting stick to paint the ceiling


Green Acres!!

Oh Boy!
What have we got ourselves into now?
Our new house build is going amazingly quickly – roof goes on this week !!! – however we will not be able to move into it until late September. Since our closing date on the old house was June 27, we had to find alternate living arrangements. Camping on the building site was not really an option (and I’m SO glad since we’ve had the wettest summer so far) and any short term rentals were cottage rentals, at cottage rental rates.
Since my husband and I are both a bit impetuous crazy, we decided to invest in the purchase of a rental cottage ourselves. It needs A LOT of work, however, both to get it liveable, and rentable for next summer.
Luckily for us, my hubby is very handy and I love to paint, so it will be the kind of challenge that we love to take on.
The cottage is a real, old Ontario cottage with a great sunroom and lovely wood floors (under all those layers of Lino) and original wooden slider windows, on a large lot with humongous old maple trees providing natural air conditioning so the place has potential, that’s for sure.
Can we do it? Stay tuned to this blog over the summer as we try.


Green Acres is the place to be!!



We were welcomed by a lovely Sunflower



Huge maple trees on the property dwarf the little cottage



Doesn’t this one look like it’s just made for climbing?