Monday, October 8, 2012


Natalie - NorthShore Days
Heather - The Beating Hearth

Hey everybody, I'm so excited to introduce you to our second guest poster here at the Inspiration Cafe!  You've probably seen her around....seems like she's been getting features everywhere.  Not surprising because she does some really great stuff!    Please welcome and enjoy, Donna, from Distressed Donna Down Home!

I am so excited to be invited as guest host here at The Inspiration Cafe.  I have been following them for a while and love their Monday features. 

I am Distressed Donna Down Home.  I am a retired middle school English teacher.  I haul and refinish rusty, crusty stuff to resell in my booth at a local antiques mall.  I started blogging back in April and have written at the speed of light ever since.

My posts are as scattered with ideas and projects as my brain is.  I love photos, but am chronically bad at taking them.

Hang onto your coffee cups or iced sweet tea.  It's going to be a bumpy ride!

For this post I chose three unsuspecting little benches.  I love to stack these in vignettes.  I have chosen a bird theme for these and some painting and some distressing and some stenciling and some stamping and some torn cotton and some tags.

Well, you'll see - I just go too far sometimes.
I bought some sample pots of Valspar in (from the left) Summer Sky, Rain, and Prairie.

Very close in shades of blue-gray.  They turned out beautifully and most would stop here.

Not me!
 I hopped over to The Graphics Fairy and chose a nest for the round bench, a dove for the small bench, and two black and white images - a bird and a nest - for the large bench.

On the two colored images, I used the regular Mod Podge method.  Thin coat on the back of the image and placed carefully on the surface and let dry.

 On the large blue bench I decided on the placement of the bird and the nest.  I carefully cut the images out so that there was just a small border of the white paper.  When you are placing the image, remember you will be reversing it so it will actually be on the opposite side.
I put a coat of Mod Podge on the top of the bench and placed the images face down.  After gently smoothing them out, I let them dry overnight.

The next morning I wet the back of the image with water. When the paper soaks up the water, you gently rub the paper backing to release it from the ink.

This takes practice!!!
 Here the bird image is revealed with the nest yet to go.

The results are really worth the effort.  If you mess up, you can:
A.  Leave it and say it was on purpose.
B.  Sand it off and start again.
Finished - finally.  After rubbing the image off, let it dry and then sand with a cheap rough paper towel or a knee-high stocking or if you are fancy, super-fine sand paper.

If you would like, you may go commit a crime - you have probably rubbed your fingerprint off!

 Yes, I know, most would be happy and stop here.

Not me!

I took the benches outside and gave them a distressing using a heavy grit sanding block followed by a fine grit one.

The round bench got a heavy distressing.

The small one got a medium distressing.
 And the large bench got a light distressing around the edges.

Most would stop here.

Not me!
This next part is  Danni's favorite thing to do!


I decided the round bench with the nest needed a bird on either side of the legs.

First stencil in Folk Art Barnwood.

Move the stencil about an eighth of an inch to the upper right.

Stencil the bird in Sea Mist and the leaves in Clover.

Using a fine liner brush and Linen paint lightly create highlights where natural light would hit the object.

I also gave some details to the bird and the leaves to make them pop.

The small bench did not need much extra - the distressing really brought out all the different coats of paint it had endured during its life.

The name of this print is "A Dove At Sea" so guess what?  I pulled out my stamps and put the title on it!
I thought of something special for the big bench - a skirt!

I love tearing up cotton calico.  I purchased this fabric because it went with all three benches.  My sewing machine is hiding somewhere in the house so after ripping and fraying one edge, I ironed down an inch.  Using Peel 'n Stick tape, I taped that down.  Simply slip a piece of elastic through there  and you have a skirt for your bench that can be removed when necessary.

 Here it is a skirt for a bench!

 Most would be happy and stop now.

Not me!

I made a small copy of the black and white nest, colored with with pencils, Mod Podged it to a distressed blue shipping tag, made a torn cotton tassel, and attached them to the skirt.


All three benches received three coats of satin varnish - I forgot that step somewhere along the way.

Most people would be happy and stop here.

And I am definitely happy!


 Baby bench in blue with a dove.

 The round bench in summer sky paint with stenciled birds.

What's that I see?

I know I said I was happy, but I could not resist adding a nest of eggs underneath.

The shy bench with a skirt covering her legs.

If she gets frisky, she can just strip that skirt off!
All three sit outside to pose for a picture.  I must admit to being slightly attached to these three.  I hope you don't regret coming for a visit.  I am sure the ladies at Inspiration Cafe wondered if I would ever shut up, but I am Southern - when we have something to say, we just talk and talk and talk and . . .

Well, you get the picture.  If you ever have the time, come over and visit.

See y'all!

Thank you, Donna!  Can you believe those 3 fabulous projects?  Head over to Distressed Donna Down Home and check out her blog!  She has a little something for everyone!  (I'll tell you a little secret....she makes the most marvelous gift tags you've ever seen!)


  1. Thank you, Danni and all the other ladies for my invitation to guest post. I am very honored and enjoyed doing it.

  2. Simply beautiful, Donna! You know me, I was expecting another "most would stop here, not me" where you give each a name. I always look forward to their names, but I still love the way you finished and designed each one!

    1. They are the Bird Sisters, Gail! Thank you for the kind comment.

  3. Perfect timing. I've got a dozen paint sample jars, and couldn't figure out what to do with them. I'm seeing some second-hand shopping in my future now. Can't wait to try stenciling.

    1. There is more paint than you first think in those little pots. I have enough left for several more pieces. Ask Danni - stenciling is fun! Thank you for reading.

  4. These benches look so vintage . Really nice

    1. The more vintage they look, the more i love them! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  5. What a great idea to elastic skirt a stool! They all turned out beautiful! I hope you and Damien repair your relationship soon, tehehe!

    1. You can easily use the skirt idea on a chair or stool. Thank you for stopping to read and comment.

  6. Those are cute! I wish I could find a little bench or stool to refinish, but have no idea where I would put it.

    1. I use mine on top of other tables in vignettes or Stacked in a corner. thanks for reading.

  7. Awww... DONNA! Fancy seeing you here, my girl!
    You had me at bird. Ever since I started reading your blog, I had this urge to do stuff to my bare, lame IKEA furniture which goes way beyond "yeah, ok, that ooks nice, why not".
    You make it look like I could actually pull it off and I love you for that!!

    1. It is easy - just take baby steps. I have distressed just about everything and there are no mistakes. Just today I broke a leg off a table. I just sawed it in half to make a shelf! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  8. WOW! These turned out so great! And what a great idea to get a little help from an existing graphic to paint your own. Love these!!!

  9. Fabulous job! I tried transferring images and just couldn't get it. After reading through your instructions, I'm thinking about giving it another shot. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. Beautiful! Had to run right over to follow. Thanks, Danni, for telling us about this great blog.

  11. WOW. I have time but I don't want to visit...I want to craft together. What a great guest poster. What a beautiful project.

  12. You can't go wrong having Donna guest post. Besides her fabulous stencil technique and going 3 or 4 steps beyond what many might settle for, she cracks me up. I could have been in her crime mob last week because I was sure I too had rubbed my fingerprints off after I spent hours scrubbing silver. Love the benches!

  13. Darling stools, Donna.
    Glad to learn about you and your great ideas!