3 little dresses, a piggly bench and a mirror 175 years old.

by theprimodonna

Sounds a bit like the makings of a fairy tale.  To start with the little dresses are gifts for my precious granddaughters Brooklynne & Kennley and their soon to arrive sister, Morgann.  As a “retired” interior designer I have boxes (and boxes!) of beautiful designer fabrics and decided to sew up a few dresses for the girls.  I’ve noticed more and more the crossover between fashion and home decor and a lot of little girls seem to be wearing patterns usually reserved for window treatments & bedding.  While looking for pattern ideas I came across this little gem:  http://nightowlsmenagerie.com/pdf/TheGoodDeedsDressPatternbyElysium.pdf  designed for personal use only, especially to make for charity.

The Good Deeds Dress by Elysium Dreams


I modified it a bit for the fabrics I planned to use.  Also adding the lined bodice that was mentioned on their blog.  Piping the edges would have been a lot easier, but I like the way these turned out. Then I made a small pleated skirt and attached it to a onesie for the baby.

Baby Morgann will match her big sisters!

The dress pattern was easy to follow and once I’m sure that the sizes fit I’ll be making more.

What designers do with their leftover fabrics!

So on to the piggly bench…it started with a $2.00 garage sale find.  It was obvious that the horrendous black presswood top had to go!


I removed the top, measured & cut a piece of 1/4″ oak plywood to fit, along with a piece of 3″ upholstery foam.

Top removed

Onto the decision to refinish, or not.  Lately I’ve read about the new chalk paint craze.  I considered ordering some of the Annie Sloan chalk paint, but we don’t have a local supplier and I’m the kind of DIY crafter that likes to strike while the inspirational iron is hot.  If I don’t have the supplies on hand, I get distracted, or lose interest.  You’d have to see my craft area to believe all of the “in process” projects I have.  So I searched for a homemade version.  I used about 3 cups of flat latex with 1 cup of lime….just the normal garden kind.  I’ve read a lot of recipes using unsanded grout, but didn’t have any on hand.  The lime worked fine.  I mixed it with a little water first, and then added it to the paint.  It went on smoothly, dried with a rough, salty texture which easily sanded off.  I used a coarse sandpaper block to distress a few spots.  Then I finished with a coat of paste wax.  The result was wonderful!

1st coat of “chalky” paint

A little distressing

Next I found an old advertising image of a pig, from a butcher shop in Binghamton, NY from http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com  Using a method which involves copying the image onto freezer paper and then burnishing it on to fabric.  Here are the instructions:http://home-frosting.blogspot.com/2011/08/transfer-using-freezer-paper.html  It took me a few practice attempts, but once I got the hang of it, the results were great.  It’s definitely a method I will use again.

Freezer paper image transfer

The Piggly Bench

Now, about that 175 year old mirror…I used the same “chalky” paint to redo cabinets in the hall bathroom.  At the same time we removed this large, outdated wooden medicine curio cabinet thingy.  I went to our local Habitat Restore, looking for a wooden mirror, or an interesting frame that I could paint to match the cabinets.  What I found were 2 mirrors.  One was a simple square, heavy maple for $5.oo, the other was more ornate, and a little too small for the vanity.  It was obviously old, and very interesting and only $8.00.  I decided to purchase them both and was delighted that it was 10% off day!  Thats right!  $4.50 for the square and $7.20 for the ornate.  When I got them home I took the ornate mirror apart.  The backing had water damage, and some of the nails were rusted.  There was a small spot of mirror silver missing and I was interested to see what was underneath the layers and hoped to determine the approximate age by getting a better look at the construction and materials.

Too small & ornate for our bath, but worth the purchase!

I’m thinking of painting or glazing this with a french gray.  I have two Henredon nightstands in the shop waiting for refinishing or a coat of paint and this might be a nice complement.  But the real treat was what I discovered on the back of the mirror glass.  It has a mark that reads “S & Co.  December 9, 1838”

Hard to capture in the photo, but it says: S & Co., December 9, 1838

Seems like a fairy tale ending to me!