A Quick Beginner Furniture Painting Tutorial

*affiliate links used

This tutorial is for painting a piece of furniture that is is decent condition.  I use this method for my own furniture. I don't want to make this more complicated than it is so here we go:
1. Lay down a drop cloth.  Those cheap seasonal tablecloths work best- the kind with the felt backing and usually a seasonal design on top.  Set your furniture on top.

2. If you just bought an old piece of furniture or you are redoing a piece you have in your house, you will want to remove the hardware first.  That's all the handles and knobs etc.   Put them away in a ziploc bag or a piece will go missing and you will have to replace them.  If the intention is to replace them, still save them so you can measure for what you need. 

3. Gather your supplies: a brush, rags, paint, screwdriver, sandpaper, cleaner and a paint stirrer.  I LOVE General Finishes paint.  Don't just use any paint-it has to be FOR furniture-either GF, chalk paint or some sort of enamel.  I love GF because it goes on silky smooth, it's thin, and dries fast.  It's also so durable, and doesn't need a base coat or top coat usually.  It only comes in certain colors, but I mix colors to get the look I want.  It's worth the price.  You can order it through Amazon or search for a local supplier here.  A quart will be plenty for a dresser.  I pint would work well for a smaller table.  

For brushes, I use a Cling On brush and LOVE it.  It is worth investing in.  For a cheaper version, I like this Wooster brush.

4. Clean the piece.  I use Krud Kutter. (You can find this at Amazon, Lowes, or Home Depot.) It is such a great product that you can almost use it without sanding (I have before!) It dulls the surface and removes all the grime.  Spray it on, and with a wet rag wipe it off well.  

5. Now is the time to do repairs if needed.  For scratches, use a wood filler and a putty knife.  You might have to do this multiple times until the scratches are filled.  The best way to tell is to use your hands and feel the surface-if you can feel the indentation do fill it again.  Lightly sand these areas so it nice smooth surface after the putty dries.

6. Take out the drawers.  I usually leave up cabinet doors, and I paint the inside and outside of the door.  I don't usually paint the inside of a cabinet but I do tape it around where the door fits to create a nice line when the door is open.

7. Lay the drawers surface size up on their ends so they are easy to paint.

8. Lightly sand the entire piece (yes I skip this step if the surface is dull.). This doesn't take much time, really just "wiping" it everywhere with a piece of 120-150 grit sandpaper-a sponge block works the best.  You do NOT have to sand all the way down to the wood at all.  You are just creating a little adhesion for the paint. Wipe off all the dust with a damp rag, and let dry. 

9. To prime or not to prime.  If you are painting it white or cream, prime.  If the wood is still very shiny or slick, or is a red wood, and you are painting it a light color, prime.  I do not like using smelly primer, so I use this kind when I prime.  Since I use General Finishes paint, if I am painting the wood a darker color like gray, navy or black, I don't prime.  I've never had an issue with it but you MUST use Krud Kutter and sand lightly.  If in doubt prime.  If I am painting something dark a white color, I prime twice.  I don't want to use many coats of expensive paint, when I can cover the surface with cheap white primer first. 

10.  Priming and painting:  I concentrate on ONE area at a time.  I always leave the top for last.  So I brush one side of a dresser, and then I move on to the front, and then the other side, drawer fronts, and then the top.  I go back and check for any drips at the joints.  A THIN coat is better than a thick coat, but just brush nicely and evenly.  Go slow and make sure each area is covered.  Don't go back to repaint right away once you are done with one area-just check for those little drips and dab if you see one.  Once it dries, it will look wonderful and flat-don't panic.

11. Recoat.  Recoat again if needed.  I do not usually sand between coats. General Finishes dries fast so I can usually recoat almost right away depending on how big the piece is. 

12. If you want to sand the edges, wait until the paint is very dry, and using your sanding block go over the edges until the wood begins to show through.

12.  If you want to protect it (General Finishes doesn't NEED a topcoat, but I use one for the tops of dressers, tables, etc) General Finishes Flat Topcoat is the best.  I use the same brush to apply it, and usually do three coats, and I don't sand in between. 

*For antiquing: Between steps 11 and 12 (and I've done this after the top coat also and it worked just fine) I take a damp brush and dip it into the General Finishes glaze, and brush it on the "area" again like I'm painting it.  Using a damp rag I wipe it off gently.  I use a heavier hand for less antiquing and a lighter hand for more antiquing.  It looks more natural left in the corners and edges and around any designs.  The damp brush and damp rag are the key for me.  Adding Floetrol to any paint makes a glaze too.  So if you want to antique with gray, use half to half ratio of Floetrol to gray paint.  It is easier when glazing to work out of a flat tupperware container than the actually can.   You will have lots of wiggle room here, so don't panic.  Just keep that damp rag on hand.

For new hardware, Amazon is great as usually I can get a bulk deal.  Hobby Lobby has unique knobs and handles also.

Any questions just let me know!


Cinnamon Sugar Muffins-An Easy and Delicious Recipe

This is our second favorite muffin, first being the lemon blueberry muffin.  Easy and quick, no tricky ingredients.  I bought new muffin "tins" and I LOVE them.  Why did it take me so long to switch over?  I hated cleaning the stainless ones, and I also always ran out of muffin liners.  All my problems solved!  These are so easy to use and to clean.  I'm adding these to my list of favorite kitchen supply purchases ever.


Daily Duties

The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life's plain, common work
as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Isn't it so difficult to remember this these days?  I think it is.  I love that we women all have so many choices in our life's path, but have you ever either questioned yourself, or been questioned by others for choosing the ordinary? 

In the past 15 years I've heard, "I just don't feel fulfilled at home."  Or, "Don't you go crazy all day home with the kids?"  or "I was so bored and lonely, I couldn't wait to go back to the office."  Or, "Don't you feel trapped?"  Or, "I could never be home with my kids all day, I'd go bonkers!"

I try to always answer those questions honestly and kindly, of course.  I know that everyone has their own experiences that lead them to make different decisions, but here is what I think.

Yes, being at home with the kids IS sometimes boring.  Some days I feel trapped for sure...I can't just up and leave on a whim anytime I want and usually I have to plan intricately when I do, around everyone else's schedule.  There is no calling in sick on this job, I've found. and no scheduled breaks, at least that I can count on.  I'm lucky if I get any vacation days at all. 

It IS sometimes lonely.  I can go all day without hearing from anyone over the age of 2, or 6, or 15, and just because I am never alone, doesn't mean I don't sometimes feel lonely. 

Do I feel like I'm using all my talents and gifts?  I think I've acquired lots more talents and gifts along this motherhood road by pure necessity.  I think I've discovered what I've needed to do to feel like I've accomplished something everyday, and to get out and socialize (or not!), and to get a little bit of freedom once in awhile to not go bonkers.

I wish I could say, "I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather do!"  when it comes to cleaning toilets or throw up or washing the floor for the umpteenth time.  But when cuddling a sweet little infant, that statement would be true one hundred times over.  When I think of the small sometimes mundane tasks of keeping house-making a house a home for those I love the most-there is nothing else I'd rather be doing.  Every job has mundane tasks, but no job holds the rewards of motherhood.

What it comes down to really, is that I don't think there is anything else I should be doing, right now. 

"The path of right before you...certain that daily duties...are the sweetest things in life."

I don't think our lives as moms are supposed to be easy and fun and exciting and "fulfilling" every day. Sometimes hard work is just that-hard work-service for our family.  I don't think I have something special or different, some incredible talents or gifts, some Barney-esque personality that has turned me into a 'mom'.  I think every one of us moms have talents that lend themselves to making great mothers.  We just have to tap into them...they exist somewhere inside of us.  We have to trust that this long road, this "plain and common work" will be more rewarding to us than any other job on earth...so far, 15 years into it, I can tell you that I already find this to be SO true.


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This is such a quick easy budget friendly recipe, and so savory.   I serve this on fresh buns, and some kids choose to top with BBQ sauce.  It's good just the way it comes out of the slow cooker also!  The next day I freeze the leftovers or save some to add for a coleslaw salad for myself.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

3-4 pounds of boneless pork shoulder (I always have to remember the shoulder is the one that shreds the best)

1 tsp paprika

2 tsps garlic powder

2 tsps cumin

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp kosher salt

3 TBS brown sugar

1 onion, chopped

In a small bowl, mix together the seasonings.

Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker and coat it with the seasonings and onion.  That's it!

Cook on low for 8 hours.  When time is up, shred the meat with two forks until it's all mixed up.  It's ready to serve!


Thinking, Playing, Reading

*affiliate links used


I know I will never regret not watching the news, reading Facebook posts about current events or political opinions, or listening to talking, talking, talking, about nothing.  It has brought such peace and quiet to my life for years and the world keeps turning.  It's called cultivating a life where neighbors help neighbors, and communities come together and everyone stops wasting time on scrolling and getting angry and upset about things, but most then do nothing.  Talk is cheap.  Love thy neighbor.


First up, these affordable coats ($35!) I bought the kids for Christmas are a huge hit.  They are light, but warm (I'd say perfect for above 30°) and great for going to school, recess, and bus or car ride home.  They squish down to nothing (they come with a little bag that fits the coat) and are NOT bulky which was a big request from both my kids.  And they come in the cutest prints.  I bought ONE size up.  (Janey is wearing a Large (usually a size 8) and Patrick is wearing an XXL (usually a size 12). 

Patrick received this cool robot building kit from Santa :) and he loved putting it together.  I helped him a tiny bit - sometimes he gets intimidated by all the instructions, but I was basically there for moral support.  It is so cool, and has great reviews on Amazon.  Right now it's on sale $14 less than it was at Christmas so if you have any birthdays coming up I recommend this for the over 12 crowd. 


Still two of my favorites when I had little ones.  Always calmed me and motivated me to slow down to their pace and parent intentionally.  I highly recommend them both.


Simple Organization-Systems

 Last week I wrote about the basic questions that need to be answered if we need and want to make changes and head in the right direction.  

These were the simple questions I asked myself the last month.

Have you ever made a list of things that bring you joy?  Things that you enjoy doing?  Things that you hate doing?  What you want your day to look like?  A week?  A year?  Your life?  What is one or two feelings you want to have and others that you want to avoid?  What are your priorities?  What do you want to accomplish this year?  How do you want to feel?  How do you want to show up for others?  What do you worry about the most?  Who do you want to be? 

The next step after answering these questions is to figure out solutions or action steps that can apply to "real life".  Practical, calm, slow and steady steps forward.  Not freak out, I'll never be able to do this, this can never happen, one million excuses answers but tons of grace, and experimentation and willingness to find a way.


How I Organize Warranties, Manuals, and Receipts

*affiliate links used


Soup of the Week: Tortilla Chili

Tortilla Chili

I am trying to make a soup for Sunday dinner, and then for me to have leftovers for lunch during the winter months.  This week I made my Tortilla Chili.  It's so easy and so good.  It's easiest to make in a large slow cooker like this, but I can fit it carefully in my regular sized slow cooker also.