Personalized Gifts For You

Christmas season is the busiest time of year for me.  I love all the unique gifts that people come up with; original, personalized gifts, for family and friends.  My friend Eva asked me to create a couple of just such items.  

This style table is one I have readily available. As a matter of fact I have created a couple different designs on this very surface.  Here's a couple of past posts

She had seen this particular table 

and had asked if I could possibly do it in purples and greens. Being the accommodating lady that I am I said, "Yes!"  So, this was her first table:

Maybe, you recognized this faux from this recent post?  I used the same greens in this armoire to                             create a mossy styled faux for the backdrop of this flowered cat.

Her second table was for her daughter's boyfriend who was an avid Boy Scout.  She sent me their emblem and asked if i could recreate it on a table.  Being the accommodating lady that I am, I said....yep, you got it, "Yes!"

I hope y'all get/got some pretty creative and interesting gifts this holiday season!  

Stop on over to our Etsy Shop and see all the wonderful new items we have. I encourage you to bookmark our page and come back to create your own personalized gifts at some point in time. We are adding new things all the time. 

Or stop by our Pinterest page or Instagram for some creative inspiration.  



Sexy Legs

I'm sure this title will probably get me some not so sexy hits on the Google search Engine, but as they said in Advertising 101, "Sex Sells!"  So, with that said, let me introduce to you, my idea of a sexy leg!

I can spot a sexy leg from miles away.  Even driving by something on the side of the road at 55mph, my eye immediately goes right to the legs.  If the legs aren't sexy, chances are I'm not going to be excited about a piece.  Who's with me here?! Okay, no one...I think I just heard a cricket?  Well maybe, I have some weird fetish, but good legs turn me on.

When this piece was dropped off to me, I could hardly contain myself, "What a leg!"  The curves, the thickness, it was beautiful. Sigh....just take a moment.  Call me crazy people but it was swoon worthy.

I usually start at the top of a piece and work down, but this time I built up.  I had my color palette. The customers front entrance was a taupe/brown color, her front door black, but she wanted this piece to make a statement.  She told me reds, greens, browns.  Of course it was perfect because I was feeling some "Fall" colors coming on.  

Now, for just a moment, look past the legs here and bare witness to my shelf of paints!  Some people are crazy cat people, me, I collect paints.  That is only the corner, it runs the whole length of the wall, onto the floor and into every crevice of the studio.  Seriously, when I say I love paint...I LOVE PAINT.  Anyway, I digress, back to the legs.  

After I base coated them out I went back in with gold metallic paint.  These legs seemed almost regal to me, and a gold accent always amps it up.

This is the best metallic out there, at least for me.  I've used a lot, but this one is thick and takes the least amount of coats to get the desired look.

The top part of the leg was painted brown and a little blah, for my taste.  Even after I painted a design on it, I still wanted it to have more visual interest, so I crackled it.  

I buy a crackle paint that goes on top of a piece.  Then you let it set, and as it sets it cracks.  

Or if you are impatient like me, you blow dry it.  What you get are these tiny little cracks (or larger, depending on the amount you brush on).  It almost gives the effect of porcelain. Here a some pieces I've done this technique on in the past.

You get the point.  The thing is, this is a fast and easy way to give character to a piece.
You brush it on in a well ventilated area, unless you like getting high on fumes.

 Blow dry it.  It only takes minutes to set up

Then you see the cracks appear. It's really kinda cool.  If you spread it on in different directions you get cracks going in different directs (see how that works).  Once I have the cracks I want, I take some stain, rub it into all those little cracks, and get that beautiful aged look we love so much.

Okay, so we've got the sexy legs going on, now for the top.   Over the past years, I feel my art work is evolving into a more folky, indy, type of art. Like this cedar chest and this podium or this end table.  I like the flower patterns, circles and pointillism if you will.  You kind of just keep adding and going deeper into your piece, until someone has to come in and slap you into reality. I felt this piece was calling for that slap worthy kind of style.

I laid out the basic design first.  I just used stencils that I cut out of manila folders (love manila folders-but that's a whole other post) and traced around them.  I'm a planner to a degree, I don't usually just PAINT I always draw out my design first.

The end result were these bold, detailed flowers. Once the flowers were finished though I knew the perimeter needed something, but I didn't want it to compete with the inner part, so i opted for a scrolling design (caring your eye gently around the piece) in a very similar color, making the design, very subtle.  

Then I brought in stripes around the underneath part.  Using a credit card to smooth down the tape is a fabulous idea!  NO BLEEDS!

A lot of this piece was done in monotone colors, to create visual impact without really taking away from the focal point, which was the flowers.  

In that spirit, I added light brown circles to an espresso brown drawer and added a new knob (which I changed out for a handle as you can see in the below pictures).   Slapped on a cute tassel for bling and here's the final piece, sexy legs and all.

So there you have it...I guarantee after this post  you wont look at furniture legs without a little smile on your face.  You'll think of me and say. "She's right, those are damn sexy legs!"

Happy Holidays!

A Designer Table for The Design Garden

Hi Everybody! For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Mary, and I own a small business named The Decorative Paintbrush! Well, actually I am co-owner of 2 businesses; The Decorative Paintbrush (, the one which is my passion, more than my paycheck, and 2 Women and a Paintbrush ( the one that is a bit of both! I mention 2 Women and a Paintbrush because without “IT” there would not be the other.

See about 8 years ago my partner and I, newly divorced, needed a flexible job that could pay the bills, fill our creative spirits and most importantly allow us time with our then, 5 young children. At the time she was an RN and I was a newly graduated Special Education Teacher still looking for a permanent job. I had an AS in Advertising and Design and had always loved to paint in some sort of fashion, while my partner Maggie was Ms. Fix it. We decided to draft up some flyers and put them around neighborhoods just to see what we would get. Low and behold our decorating/wallpapering/painting business took off!

Over the years people would ask if we painted furniture, to match the designs we were doing on the walls in their homes, to which we would always reply, “We paint anything!” As the demand for artistic pieces grew, so did the need to branch off, so last year we launched The Decorative Paintbrush.

We have an Etsy store( which has been doing wonderfully, especially on our smaller items, like jewelry boxes, hair tie holders and coat racks. We also have a great following on our Face Book page ( where we like to keep people up to date on all sorts of creative endeavors, ours, as well as others, and then we have our blogs. We also attend several local craft shows a year where we sell a lot of our larger pieces as well. 

Although, The Decorative Paintbrush is mainly about furniture makeovers and upcycling, we do build some new pieces ourselves and occasionally, we purchase (cue the bad music, danta da da!) a piece of furniture too (if we're doing a custom piece). Really though, 85% of the fun is the hunt! Garage sales, thrift stores, auctions, estate sales and (even to my children’s horror) pick-ups on the side of the road (they call it social suicide; I call it “winning, dugh!”). Those of you who are recyclers, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

I am so grateful that Sommer saw my blog and asked me to guest host today! It is actually my first time, “guesting” anywhere, and I am honored that she even finds me worthy to grace her page! So, I am thrilled to be sharing my latest redo with you here at Design Garden first, but please if you get a chance, stop on over to The Decorative Paintbrush and check out our other functional pieces of art! I hope it inspires you to get out your brushes and start coloring your world, even if it is just one piece at a time!

This piece was a great find at our local thrift store (the picture isn't the actual piece, I forgot to take a before picture, but the design is exact, it was just stained and in worse condition). The top pieces were loose and not sealed together so I decided to just unscrew them and take them off , but in doing so, I left large holes to patch. I filled them with wood putty, sanded them and primed the entire piece.

Because of the "unevenness" in the top I knew I was going have to do a faux to
camouflage the lumpiness, so I decided to age the top.
I had a gallon of light tan left over from another job, so I took it back to the paint store, had them darken it up to match the brown I was going to use in the faux and base coated the top in a dark sandy brown. Then I laid down a medium brown (2098-Roasted Coffee Beans) with a paintbrush then ragged it off with a cotton (old recycled t-shirt) cloth. Then I repeated the process with a darker brown (2134-Night Horizon). Then I went back in with the dark sandy brown again and in the center gently ragged outward forming a soft oblong circle where I wanted my stencil to be. Creating a "glow" that would highlight my stencil.

I traced on the stencil with a pencil. Just a side note: I always draw on my stencil first then go back and paint it in and add to it if I want. I use it more as a guide then as an actually stencil (stippling it with a paintbrush). It isn’t that I can't draw, I actually draw very well, or so I’ve been told, but I’m just impatient, (and sometimes insecure of my drawing abilities, truth be told). So I use, stencils, tracing/transfer paper or even projectors to get pictures on my furniture, but the painting, the painting is all me. Once the stencil is filled in and dried, I coat it with the crackle finish. The thicker it is the bigger the crackle, the thinner the coat the smaller the crackle, so mix it up for an aged affect, and drag your brush in different directions. I also use a large foam brush so that it doesn't leave bristle marks.

Again, that whole impatient thing….it says to let it dry over night or at least for a couple hours but who has time for that! So, I always speed up the process with a blow dryer.

Once the cracks are set I take another, cotton (recycled t-shirt, good thing I have 5 kids, I go through a lot of these) dip it in some stain (Minwax Stain Red Mahogany 225) and gently work it into the cracks. This brings out the cracks and gives it that aged look.

Then we moved down to the bottom shelf. I base coated it in the same dark sandy color, took the Roasted Coffee and dry brushed it on creating a faux fur, then I gently rubbed more down the center simulating the “spine” of a leopard. Again, I drew on my stencil using a black paint pen and filled in the print using black paint.  Then in random spots went further in and made brown spots, simulating leopard print.

To add some extra flare I painted two finials in complimentary colors and patterns and screwed them into the top panel. I kept the legs simple on this piece letting the two shelves command all the attention which worked out really well.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Oh, and just in case you were curious, the table was $2.00 and the paint was near nothing, although the crackle was new @ $1.99 (Hobby Lobby). So, the total cost was under $10 and really it took me about a two days to complete.

Benjamin Moore Colors Used:

2098-Roasted Coffee Beans
2134-Night Horizon
999-Rustic Taupe
2067-Blue Lapis
2146-Dark Celery

Happy Painting,