A Vintage Cast Iron Lion’s Head Bench – Made Better Than New

Danny has had an obsession with refurbishing garden benches. I think he has restored 6 and has 2 others (so far) in his queue.

This is the state the latest one was in before he added his restorative touch.

As you can see the boards on this one were in pretty rough shape, so he bought new 2 3/4″ thick treated pine boards. He wanted thick boards to make a very sturdy bench. The sides were in great shape and had the lion head detail he really likes.

He took the bench completely apart then used the boards as a pattern to cut new ones, sanding all the edges smooth.

This bench had a metal brace down the center of the back and under the seat. He used it as a pattern to make 2 more for the next two benches he will make as they were only the cast iron sides.

He then attached the new boards to the sides with new carriage bolts.

It was time to torch it. 😳 He actually saw this burnt wood technique done on a Flea Market Flip episode. He used a propane torch, held it close to the wood and “watched it toast like a marshmallow,” as he described the process. Lol. This technique gives the piece a beautiful rustic look and really brings out the grain in the wood.

Here’s a video I found on YouTube showing the burnt wood technique:


He could now prep then spray paint the sides and the brace black (covering the boards to protect them from overspray) and reattach the brace.

To really bring out the detail of the lion heads, he painted them a metallic silver.

This beautiful bench is very heavy and sturdy. It took both of us to lift it up into the wheelbarrow to move it. It is too heavy to carry far.

This vintage bench is better than new now and should provide some person lucky enough to buy it another lifetime of memories.

Yes, this beauty is for sale – $150.00! Correction. This beauty sold the day after he finished it.

Photos of some of the other benches he has refurbished:

This is the first bench he refurbished and sold.

This 2nd one was almost exactly like the first.

He painted this for one son’s birthday. Created a solid back on this one.

This one just needed painting. Staged with cutie patootie grandson. Bench belongs to his mom and dad.

This one needs more stenciling. His Alma Mater.


A “Press for Champagne” Plaque. Why not?

A “Press for Champagne” silent buzzer plaque idea was in a book I have, so I made this small 5×8 inch one that will soon be available in my French Country booth at Spirals Art Gallery and Studio in Cuba, MO for $12.99. It can either hang or sit on a stand.

The fun idea is that when you press it, it will “silently” ring on your end but will summon a waiter that will immediately bring you a glass of bubbly.

After I made it, I put it to the test. I think there may be a slight malfunction. I ended up having to get my own glass of wine due to the fact there was no champagne in the house. Imagine that. However, Danny made the dinner that went with it, so there is that. As a disclaimer then, there is no guarantee you will have a waiter appear for you, but one can always hope.

I can custom make these. They would all look different due to the buzzer I can come up with. Think…Press for Wine, Ring for Rose’, Press for Cabana Boy…lol. Just think outside the box.

Of course I had to research how this idea came about, so here’s what I found for your reading pleasure.


Creating a DIY French Country Look on a Metal Container

I am in the process of restyling our booth for selling our painted furniture and other items so I’ve been busy curating all kinds of goodies to go with the new style: French Country/Farmhouse/Cottage and anything that will blend well with that look.

I have been learning a lot about this type of style, and the more I learn, the more I love it.

For instance:

I found this metal container. It shouted out, “I know I’m dated, but buy me and transform me into the look you want.” So I did.

I knew the look I wanted but didn’t know how to go about achieving it. So, I googled it. I came across an interesting book that was recently published that explains 70 DIY French Country Decor projects. It was on Amazon, so I bought it.

Title: French Vintage Decor

Author: Jamie Lundstrom

Thanks to a YouTube video I watched, Christina, from DIY Mommy.com, shows a project from the book, creating a DIYFrench Country basket! https://youtu.be/078L3KpZK54

I loved it and will try it on a basket, but today I wanted to try it on the metal container. I love the final result!

As a bonus, Christina shares a video of a friend that created a concrete bowl-another tutorial in the book. You see why I bought the book?

Read the text on Christina’s video and you’ll find a link to the book on Amazon if you are interested in purchasing the book and a link to the concrete bowl DIY video.

So now, here are the steps I took to transform an outdated metal container into a cool French Country one I will be selling in my newly restyled booth.

I used Missouri Limestone Paint Company chalk-style paint, so I know it works great. You can probably use other types of paint, too. Let each coat dry before moving on to the next.

Step 1:

Prep is important. I cleaned the container thoroughly with a vinegar/water 50/50 mix.

Step 2:

I painted the whole container with one coat of “French Roast”, a dark brown. It’s ok that it doesn’t cover completely. That just adds to the old world charm.

Step 3:

I then did a wash with “Zinc”, which is a gray/beige color. To do the wash, I painted it on, then took a rag and wiped it down. It was drying fast, so I also used a very slightly damp baby wipe.

Step 4:

I then drybrushed the whole piece with “January”, a true white.

Step 5:

This step involves using white wax. You can buy it or make your own by adding some white paint to wax. I had a can of Briwax Liming Wax, so I used that. I covered the whole piece. Then, after letting it sit a few minutes, I buffed it by hand.

And that’s it! Here’s my finished container, staged with a flower arrangement.

I can’t wait to get my book in the mail to see what else I can make. I know I want to make a concrete bowl for sure, but there is a video of that to watch!

Edison Bulb Wire Pendant Light 💡

We are custom making Pendant Lights.

We have 3 copper painted wire baskets. We can make two different styles. One has a 15’5″ cord with a wall plug in. The other style is created with a conversion kit that allows you to screw in your new pendant light into an existing ceiling can that a bulb usually screws into.

This is one we made for our kitchen. We already had this type of pendant light so we used those parts, but it is similar to the kit we would use for the others.

This is the kit we will be using. It comes in black or white and has ample cord that winds or unwinds to fit the length you prefer.

We also can make these with a cord that has a wall plug. It has a very long cord. This would work great hanging in the center of an umbrella or canopy on a deck and then running the cord to an outside outlet.

we can paint these baskets to fit your color scheme and the cords can be black or white.

If you are interested in learning more or wish to purchase, please contact us with the link below. Thanks!


And check this out!!!! Remember how I mentioned the cord with the wall plug would make a great pendant lamp for an umbrella or canopy on a deck? Well, we just had to find something around the house to use to make a shade. We found a beat up metal waste can. Danny put a hole in the bottom just big enough for the socket to go through. Then I used a fleur de lis stencil and put dots around the outside edge in spots around the wastebasket. Danny then drilled holes where all the spots were. No Edison bulb as we didn’t have another one. But, oh so cool! Can’t wait to see it lit up tonight!

Sunflower: A Vintage Jewel

I created a story about a beautiful bedroom set I was able to purchase as I was working on it. I love finding the history of the pieces I paint and/or restore and this one surely had a history.

I have recently learned more about this furniture and I have painted the first two pieces of the set, the dresser and one mirror. I call the dresser SOL Sunflower, the patriarch of the Sun God Series. SOL and his mirror are finished and for sale.

I hope you will read what I have learned about SOL and his family. He is a very unique piece.

Sunflower: A Vintage Jewel Part 1

Sunflower: A Vintage Jewel Part 2

If you would like more details on SOL, have information to share, or would like to purchase this unique dresser and mirror, please send me an email at sharsumpaint@gmail.com

Aging a Terra Cotta Pot with Soap and Chalk-style Paint

I ran across the idea of using soap as a distressing medium so thought I’d try it, creating a tutorial as I worked. It would either turn out fine or I’d just have to get another pot and try again. I found this pot under our deck area so I was good to go.

I think it worked pretty well! It was fun and quick to do.

I think the paint brand we sell and use has the perfect colors for this project: Missouri Limestone Paint Company English Ivy and Grannies Lace. Any chalk-style paint should work, though. I just happened to have a new bar of Safeguard soap, but any soap should also work.

Along with the pot, soap and paint, you will need brushes, and a fine sanding sponge. I like to pour my paint into containers. These were once a silicone muffin pan I cut apart.

Note: The video is in two parts due to the length of over 6 minutes in each video.

Part 1 of 2: Aging a Terra Cotta Pot

Part 2 of 2: Aging a Terra Cotta Pot

I am happy with the final result. What do you think? If you try it, be sure to send me your pics in the comments.

Creating a Piece of Jacobean Royalty with a Watercolor Paint/Stain Technique

This is a tutorial, but also the story of Sir Albert, a neglected Jacobean cabinet who wanted nothing more than to have someone see the beauty behind his years and restore him to his life among the Royalty. He found me, and I fell in love with him and this process, so I hope you enjoy his story. I tried to show the important steps in the process in bold font so they would stand out and others can try this to help save and restore these beautiful pieces of history. I also want to share the thought and work and heart involved in making these pieces quality furniture once again.

It all started when I found this cabinet. I loved the carvings on it and it reminded me of one my mom and dad had refinished years ago (it is apparently in my blood to do this). However, my dad took off about 5 coats of different color paints to get to the wood, and here I am putting paint on it. He would be just shaking his head over that. 😉

At first, I was going to just clean it well and perk it up with some Howard products. I even went so far as to create a video on how well Restor-a-Shine worked on one of the small doors.

However, as I studied it more, I realized it needed more work than just a light restore, including some places that were alligatored. You know, all dry, crackling, and crisscrossing on the finish. (More on that later.) So, I started dreaming on how I would paint it. Sometime after that I had tried a technique I’ve used before where I mixed the chalk-style paint we sell and use (Missouri Limestone Paint Company Indigo Blue) with distilled water (so there are no impurities). This piece of raw wood had beautiful grain and the paint/stain technique turned out beautiful! I did not measure as this piece was so small. I think it was more paint than water, so I would paint on and wipe off. I did this 3 times. I knew then I wanted to try this on a large piece. Isn’t that gorgeous! I love Indigo Blue – a true navy blue! I love it so much I painted a pair of shoes with it. But that’s another story! I spent about a month daydreaming about painting this beautiful cabinet. But first, I wanted to learn a little more about it. A kind lady in one of my painting groups I belong to, Vintage House by Leah identified it for me as Jacobean Style. Thank you again, Leah, for identifying the style of this piece. I did a lot of research but could never find one that looked exactly like mine or knew what the style was even called.

Once I had the style identified and researched some more, I knew this guy was going to be royalty. So I named him Sir Albert from the Jacobean era during the reign of King James. The rest, as they say, is history!

And then, as luck would have it, I posted a pic of my piece on one of my painting groups and Rachel of Not Too Shabby posted one she had done that was almost identical except that hers didn’t have the shield in the center of the large door! How beautiful is this! I was ready to try my experiment!

I tried a practice run on one of the doors. I had cleaned it earlier really well and used Restor-a-Shine on it before I decided to paint it instead. So now, I just cleaned it well with a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water.

It was looking good so far so I knew it was going to work. I could see the more coats I put on, the more the navy blue came out.

My original intention was to do like I had done on the raw wood and paint it on, then wipe it off. But I could tell that where the raw wood soaked up the paint, the stained piece soaked in some places but stayed on top in others. But the thin mix just flowed out of my brush. In many areas I just used a small artist brush.

I was ready to do some watercolor painting!

I finally brought the piece home from storage and decided to try my experiment on this piece. I did not want to sand or strip it as I wanted to keep the original color, darkened with age. I believe it had only a coat of shellac, which was missing in places, and other places the shellac had developed what is known as alligator, cracked, or crazed. Who said this furniture restoring was easy, right?

So, back to Google to research some more. And here is what I found and tried:

Reamalgamation! I learned a new word. It means I could do a technique that would pretty much liquify the cracked shellac then would turn it solid again and unblemished. It worked pretty well. It is not perfect, but neither was the whole piece. But at least I now have a smooth finish instead of an area where the finish was deteriorating.

I first cleaned the piece really well.

1st cleaning: 50/50 mixof vinegar and distilled water is a spray bottle with several drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent added to cut grease. This thing was really dirty. The pic below shows about the 5th rag I used and still cleaned more. I cleaned until I wasn’t getting any more dirt on my rag.

I then used a different cleaning mix to make sure there was no residue left.

2nd cleaning: A 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water.

We did the whole piece two times.

In the process of cleaning a little of the crackling finish brushed off. That didn’t bother me because I was going to touch it up with a little stain and then paint/stain that area anyway. I also wanted a little old world look so this was fine. I didn’t want perfect.

Then, because this was shellac, I learned we needed to use denatured alcohol. Wow! This stuff is dangerous when you read about it on the can. If you try this be very, very careful! And store it high and out of site of children in a locked room. Away from heat. Very flammable. Use in a well ventilated area. And many many more warnings. We weren’t sure how dangerous so we poured just a little into a small mason jar. We were afraid it might eat through anything else. 😱

We got a new natural bristle brush – one of our chippy brushes we use. We dipped it in the denatured alcohol, wiped against the jar so it wasn’t dripping, and painted it on the areas in long strokes. We did not go back over. We dipped the brush each time, so it wouldn’t dry out. It looks really shiny at that point.

We then waited 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, it dulls some. Then we took a very fine steel wool and rubbed gently. And….just like magic… we had a smooth surface.

I tried to get photos in the same spot each time, but I don’t think they quite came out that way, but you can see where there was a cracked finish, now there is not. You can see where a little finish is gone, but as I said, I don’t mind that. I will fix that. I am happy it is smooth without having to remove all the finish or sand it. I wanted to keep that dark look.

So now, maybe you have learned a new word, too, along with what it means. Amalgamation! It may just save your piece!

Here is the link to the site that helped me:


So now I was ready to do some water color painting with my paint stain mix of 50/50 of chalk-style paint and distilled water. I used a cup of water and an 8 oz jar of paint, mixing together in a mason jar. I poured the paint into the mason jar, then poured the water into the paint jar and shook it to get all the paint out, then poured that into the mason jar.

So far so good. More coats will make it more navy.

The inside and shelves had a few scuffs and marks. I used Howard Restore-a-Finish on them, and they are beautiful. Do they still have a bit of character. Certainly. Don’t we all? 😉

The parts I am keeping wood, I refreshed with Varathane water based stain and polyurethane in dark walnut. I just painted it on and left it to dry. It made the wood shine and covered any nicks and scratches.

So, that’s pretty much it. This actually went much faster than most pieces. I just kept painting until I saw the dark navy I was looking for. I think it was 3 or 4 coats. It goes so fast and dries quickly. Someone asked if I taped around the wood on the front sides. No. I used the small brush and the diluted paint just flowed into the right places. It was pretty amazing to me as no background in watercolor or any type of artistic painting.

The last thing we did was put on a new back. The old one was cracked and veneer peeled away. When we did, a package of Singer sewing machine needles fell out.

I love when we find treasures. I am a member of a sewing machine group and found someone there who could use them, so sent them on.

We cut a piece of luan the sizes of the two back pieces and painted two coats of the Varathane water based dark walnut stain and polyurethane. The color matched the wood stained areas perfectly. We used screws to attach the back.

Rachel, my new painting friend, told me she had put new knobs in her piece and I was missing the one on the large door. She searched and found one of them and sent it to me. It was a perfect match, and as Rachel said when I let her know it had come, that she was happy it was back where it belonged on a Jacobean cabinet.

I sealed the whole piece (wood look pieces, too, with Howard FeednWax. I chose it over paste wax due to the fact that it was still mostly a stained piece with wood showing through with lots of nooks and crannies paste would get stuck in. I loved how it worked. Very easy to use and smells good, too. You paint it on. It looks very shiny going on but doesn’t stay that way. Wait 20 minutes and wipe it off. Let dry and lightly buff. A unique thing about wax as a sealer is that it is a natural dust repellent so Sir Albert will not get as dusty as some pieces of furniture.

This has been my favorite piece to paint. I hope if you try making some paint/stain and doing some watercolor on a piece you have that you will share photos in the comments here. I would love to see them.

If you have any questions, or if I can make something clearer, please let me know and I will edit this tutorial.

So here is the last photo of Sir Albert of the Jacobean era of the reign of King James in all his glory until….he gets dressed (staged) in all his finery as he searches for his forever home. When he is ready, I will post those photos, too.

Update: I posted Sir Albert on the online buy/sell site furn.ish and he sold overnight. The new owner fell in love at first glance as she had been a police officer for eight years. The shield on the front and the navy blue color reminded her of the uniform she wore with pride. She did rename him Sir Robert after Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing. 😍