Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Coffee table makeover, Part 2 – The save!

So this is where we left off yesterday – with a pretty crappy looking coffee table after multiple fails at painting it with milk paint. All sanded down and ready for yet another attempt at giving it a new paint job…

sanded down

All primed and ready to go…


And  all painted it with my new favourite furniture paint, INSL-X Cabinet Coat. And FINALLY, the paint didn’t peel or crack or chip, YAY!

green table

No more chipped feet! YAY!


The colour is nice, but it could use a little something more. The uneven top of the table doesn’t make for a very good spot to put down your laptop or dinner plate. So to make the whole top one level surface, I used two pieces of MDF cut to size. And to make things a bit more interesting, Brian and I decoupaged a map of nova Scotia onto the pieces of MDF.

mdf pieces

And that took two attempts. My first attempt was a total fail – I trimmed the overlapping edges of the map while the paper was still wet and it tore and left a raggedy edge. Then when I went to the tourist center to get another map, they didn’t have any left and weren’t expecting to get any more. What the what?! Luckily another tourist center had the maps in stock, and I picked up two just to be safe. And then I handed the job of sticking the maps onto the pieces of MDF to Brian, because I knew he wouldn’t screw it up :-D

The pieces of MDF fit into the spaces perfectly :-)



My favourite part of Nova Scotia :-)


south shore

I painted on five coats of Mod Podge and sprayed on an entire can of Krylon sealer. Unfortunately, the finish isn’t as resilient as I’d hoped. Hot thing stick to it, but oh well, at least the table is DONE!


from top

whole table

And that, my friends, is the end of the coffee table from hell project!

Have you ever started a project that turned out to be a disaster? And were you able to save it?

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Linking up to…

Inspire-Me-Monday-Link-Party    MM

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Coffee table makeover, Part I – The epic fail

*DISCLAIMER* I know that milk paint is super-popular. Everybody loves it. It’s so easy to use. There are hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of pictures of furniture painted with milk paint on Pinterest  So I’m not saying that milk paint sucks. I’m saying that milk paint sucks for me.

It started out as an easy enough project – give this pale yellow coffee table a paint makeover.


I’d never used milk paint, so decided that I would give it a try on this table. I even went to an info session on how to use milk paint and bought all the supplies I’d need to create a lovely two-tone blue effect.

I was excited to get started. I cleaned the table to remove any dirt or residue. I gave the table a light sanding. I mixed the milk paint with the bonding agent to be sure that the paint would adhere. Three steps to ensure the perfect finish.

The first coat went on great.


And then it was all downhill from there. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this sucked. But I’ll try anyway, because I don’t have pictures to tell the story. Because I was so annoyed and fed up and disappointed in how the table looked, I couldn’t even be bothered to take pictures of it. It was truly ugly.

After the first dark blue coat, I painted a lighter blue coat. With some sanding and wax application, this was going to give me a beautiful two-toned blue finish. Instead, what it gave me was chipping and peeling and cracking paint. This wasn’t supposed to happen! I decided to try hemp oil instead of wax, thinking that maybe that would somehow make the paint stick. It didn’t. There’s literally not a single picture of this part of the process. That’s how bad the table looked.

At this point, I decided to move on to plan B. I used a hand sander to sand the entire table. Then I cleaned the whole table again and mixed up a batch of my own custom light blue milk paint and added the bonding agent and painted two coats onto the table. There were a few spots that needed touching up after the two coats. I had to add a bit of water to the paint to thin it down, which changed the colour of the paint. ARGH! So instead of doing touch ups, I had to paint a third coat. Then I waxed the whole table. And… the damn paint chipped and peeled and cracked again! I mean really, how crappy does this look?

chipped foot

chipped edges

I lived with it like this for a few weeks because quite frankly, I was tired of painting. Then one evening while I was watching TV, I started to pick at some of the peeling paint. It flaked right off. I got out a screwdriver, and paint chips literally flew everywhere as I ran the screwdriver along the peeling paint. Then I sanded the whole table with a hand sander AGAIN.

sanded down


At this point, I was really wishing I’d never painted this stupid table in the first place! But, I’m stubborn. And the table isn’t actually mine (it came with the rental house), so I couldn’t leave it looking like this. What was supposed to be a quick & simple paint job was now a total of two cleanings, one quick sanding, two in-depth hand sander sandings, one coat of hemp oil, one coat of wax, and five coats of paint. And I was back to square one. Actually, I had passed right by square one and was in the negative square zone. Because at this point, the table looked even worse than it did when I’d started.

And that’s why milk paint sucks for me.

Does milk paint suck for anyone else? Or has everyone who’s used it had better luck than me?

Luckily, I was able to save this table from being a complete disaster. Tune in tomorrow to see the final result – which still isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better!

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Linking up to…

Inspire-Me-Monday-Link-Party   MM

Friday, 2 October 2015

It was one year ago…

…that this whole crazy Nova Scotia adventure began.

A year ago, we put in an offer on a lot that we had rushed out to see the evening before our vacation in Nova Scotia ended.


We had no idea it would take almost 11 months before we would officially own that lot. There were lots of moments of excitement as we dreamed about what we would do once the lot was ours.

house goes here

And there were lots of moments of frustration as we waited and waited and waited for the sale to become official.


In May, we moved here with whatever we could fit into our little pick-up truck, trailer, and Mazda 3 hatchback.



Our house in Ottawa wasn’t sold, and the lot in Nova Scotia still wasn’t ours. But here we were, and all we had was each other and our three dogs.

three dogs

And then I met a nice lady named Anne on the beach. And then I met Barb and Avy and their three Golden Retrievers. We were invited to Pub Night where we met lots of kind, generous, friendly people.. They shared their own building experiences with us. They gave us names of people to contact. They invited us to come look at their houses. And most important of all, they made us feel welcome. We don’t feel like outsiders who had intruded upon this beautiful village nestled next to the ocean. We feel like we really belong here. And that’s a great way to feel :-)

And now what looked like this a year ago…


Looks like this!


We’ve come a long way, but we we still have a longer way to go!

Happy Weekend!

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