5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Paint Color

paint color:  SW Rice Grain

I have gotten several e-mails asking about paint colors in my house. 

Along with the paint colors I thought I would provide unsolicited advice on the ins and outs of choosing a paint color.  I preface this advice with the disclaimer that I am not an expert.  I don’t work for a paint company.  I have not gone to paint color school. 

What I am, though, is so much better.  I am the person who has painted and repainted and repainted rooms because I couldn’t figure out the answer to this simple question,  “Why did the paint color in the store not look like the paint color on my wall?”

If you are a paint color expert….this post is not for you.  Please feel free to come back later.  If you have ever stood in front of a paint chip display and closed your eyes and pointed….please read the following:

(1)  The darkest color on the paint strip is your best friend

When you are looking at colors on two (or three different) strips of paint chips, many times the colors will appear to be the same.  THEY ARE NOT!  Do not be fooled.  Each strip of paint color chips are tinted in a slightly different direction. 

For example, a khaki could have a pink base or a blue base.  A gold can have a green base or a brown base.  A red could have an orange base or a pink base.  (I think you get the point).

To see the true color tint….look at the darkest color on the strip.  This color has the most color saturation and you can see the color more easily. 

paint color:  SW Anonymous

(2)  All surfaces are not created equal

Fact #1:  When painting a ceiling any other color than white go at least one shade lighter.  Color on a ceiling appears darker than on the wall.

Fact #2:  When choosing a color for the floor.  Always go one or two shades lighter.  Color on the floor appears darker than on the wall.

For example, in the master bedroom, we pulled up the carpet and painted the subfloor with squares.  The darkest square (see the floor over by the Christmas tree) is the same color as the walls, yet it looks darker.  Amazing.

Note to self:  Post idea #456 “How to paint subfloors with squares.”

(3)  Saturation is the Key

If you remember nothing else from this post.

If in two months you say, “thistlewood who?”

Please, please remember this unsolicited advice when you are standing in front of that paint display:

Find the color you want…..and then go one shade darker.

I know.  It’s scary.  It’s only natural, we have a tendency to go lighter with our paint choices.  The only problem is, natural light and “stuff” tend to wash out our first color choice. 

Trust me on this one.  You will be much happier with a little more saturation.

paint color:  SW Mindful Grey

(4) You Can Never Have Enough Paint

You have seen them in the paint store mixing paint.  They take the tinted base and then add different colors.  Here’s the secret:  no can of paint is exactly the same.

They are close.  Maybe you won’t see a difference.  Maybe you will. 

Don’t take the chance.

Buy a five gallon bucket and mix your cans together before you paint.

Learn from a person with a two-tone painted room.

paint color:  SW Mindful Grey

(5)  Sample, sample, sample

They sell $4.95 quart paint samples at Sherwin Williams.  I suggest you do not let $4.95 come between you and the perfect wall color.  A painted swatch on the wall beats a paint chip color hands down every time.

I use them to paint samples.  I use them to paint furniture.  I use them to paint anything and everything.  I mix them together to make sure I use every bit of my $4.95 paint purchase.

So for the person who e-mailed me about the paint color of this hutch, I can’t really help you out.  You see, it’s invented.

Let’s call it SW:  Anonymous Mindful Rice Grain Grey….

                                                                           ….and leave it at that.

PS  If you would like to see any of these colors on your wall, Sherwin Williams has a great tool called a color visualizer.  You simply upload your photo and brush in the color.

A Standing Ovation

If I were a wooden tray….

…..this is what I would want to be when I grew up.

Nothing too fancy for me.

Just paint me white….

                                 ….distress me a little….

….and when I was dry….

….drill tiny little holes in the shape of letters….

…..then finish my make-over by weaving grey embroidery through the holes to spell out words.

I guess that makes my sister a tray mind-reader because she knew…..

…..somehow she knew what every neglected, over-looked, under appreciated wooden tray found in thrift stores everywhere truly wanted to be.

You’ve seen them before…..

……sitting over by the plastic fruit and the unfinished paint by numbers.


Waiting for greatness.


Hand-stichery on wood.

Who would have thought?

So my wonderful, creative, genius of a sister, Whitney, take the stage for your standing ovation….

…..this is your hour of greatness.

And on behalf of wooden trays everywhere.

We salute you.

PS  I am sharing this idea here, here, here, here, here and here. (I know….it’s enough already)

Just Jump

Have you ever had a dream?

Something that you thought was unattainable, out-of-reach, pie-in-the-sky.

A dream that you put away on a shelf and take out only when life is at its most overwhelming.  A dream that you never thought in your wildest imaginings would ever come true.

But sometimes when you least expect it….when you have given up all hope….your dream becomes reality.

Dreams are funny like that.

This is our dream.

You see….we lived in the hustle bustle world of a big city with all the lights and fanfare that a big city has to offer.  There were restaurants and shops and movies and plays and museums and malls and lots and lots and lots of stuff.

And my husband was on the fast-track in a tall skyscraper in the middle of that very very big city with all of its fast-paced allure and over-whelming responsibilities.  And we were happy with our four children in our hustle bustle house and our hustle bustle lifestyle….but we were so busy. 

Maybe too busy.

Too busy for each other.

Too busy for our family.

But amidst all of that busy….was a dream.  A dream of a place where life was simpler.  A place where our children could run and breathe and grow without all of the constraints of an overwhelmingly fast-paced lifestyle. 

A place where the all of the busy and the hustle and bustle and the noise and the clamor could end in a screeching stand-still.

A place where you could see the stars.

But the merry-go-round was spinning faster and faster.  Life was moving speedily along.  We felt like we spent all of our time and energy just trying to keep up. 

And then one day in church, the pastor preached a sermon entitled, “Just Jump.”  He spoke of listening to your heart and the Lord and if you felt like there was an insurmountable dream….you shouldn’t be afraid….you should jump.

We were afraid. 

We were so scared. 

We couldn’t just jump off the merry-go-round.  Or could we?  The doubts were swirling around and around in our head. 

But there it was…..a still small voice saying…..


Not “jump” in all caps, but “jump” in tiny, small, timid, little letters.

And so we did……

                           …..jump, that is.

We jumped from the hustle and bustle and busy to a still, quiet, beautiful countryside with acres and acres of land to run and play and….


It has been five years since that first jump and our family continues to grow and thrive.  The move has had its challenges and blessings.  Truthfully, sometimes I miss the hustle and bustle.  I miss the convenience of a drive-thru diet coke.  Sometimes I miss the busy.

And then I walk outside on a crisp, clear, January night….

                                                                            …..and I see the stars.

I May Have Been Too Hasty

I may have been too hasty.

After my last post, the family was in an uproar.

“Declare yourself the winner,” they snorted.  “Oh….no….you didn’t!”

“Did you tell them?” my brother said?  “Did you tell them about acorn Mary and acorn Joseph and baby Jesus in an acorn manger?”

“Did they see the acorn camel and the acorn sheep?”

I can see his point…..an acorn nativity does score high marks for creativity…..but in the overall competitiion…..

….some may feel that this pillow made by one of my sisters gave the nativity a run for its money.

Some might think burlap + tiny tea-stained cotton balls = mirror ball trophy.

After a second look, I thought to myself…..was I too hasty to claim victory….too overconfident in the fabulousness of my gift….too quick to decide and boldly declare myself the winner….


I don’t think so…

…..for you see….the other entries had their selling points….

…..but when the dust clears and the Christmas wrapping settles….we all know….

…..the flatware takes the cake.

Have a blessed and Happy New Year!

Stamp By Me

I love silver for collecting.

I love silver in a white urn.

I love silver with dinner…..but most of all….

I love silver for wearing.

Each year at Christmas we have a homemade gift exchange.  This year I gave my family necklaces created from vintage silver spoons.  We simply detached the spoon from the handle, sanded it down and stamped it.

There were many entries this year, including a burlap pillow adorned with tiny, tea-stained cottonballs and a nativity set created out of acorns.

It was a grueling and arduous contest, but in the end….

                                                                          …..I declared myself the winner.


There was no contest.

Who could top a necklace that started out life as a piece of vintage flatware?

So when the tissue and ribbons and wrapping paper were cleared away….I just knew somewhere there would be a mirror ball trophy calling my name…..

….if I could only get the nativity set and the pillow to agree.

PS  If you have any questions about how I made these, feel free to e-mail me at thistlewoodfarms@yahoo.com.

PPS  Here’s the link to the pinterest inspiration.

PPPS  I am partying at the Pinterest Party with Katie and Sherry and Erin and Cassie.  We are pinning it up 🙂


Let’s Dish

Some people collect stamps.

Some people collect insects.

Some people collect 1960’s Italian glass decanters.

As for me, I am an avid, undying fan of vintage silverware.

I collect it all….

                       ….forks, spoons, soup ladles, servers, pickle forks, sugar spoons, iced teaspoons, meat forks, ice cream spoons and on and on.


I think each piece of silverware tells a story. 

Stories of dinner parties and ladies in flapper outfits, tinkling bells for the next course. 

Stories of dignitaries and newlyweds and special occasions.

And just like in days of old, I want my silver to tell its own stories…stories for my children and grandchildren.

And oh…..the stories my forks and spoons could tell….

….but enough about my silverware….  

                     …..tell your spoons and forks to visit me and we’ll dish 🙂

PS  What do you collect? 

PSS  Wishing you a Merry Christmas Happy New Year!

Ask and You Shall Receive

So it has already been established…..

I’m not the best at adding arrows to my pictures.  I can draw an imaginary arrow, but real arrows on pictures…..I leave that to the experts.

Enter Andrea from A Cottage Market …..

She is a creative genius, an incredibly positive fellow blogger, and a talented writer.

She can embellish bags.

She can make fabulous spinach bread.

She can make the cutest glitter bird ornament.

But most importantly she has offered to be the official arrow creator for this blog.  Any time there is an arrow to be produced or created she is on the task.

I cannot emphasize enough, the importance of having an official arrow creator on staff.

Thank you Andrea. 

You are a rockstar.

On behalf of arrowless blogs everywhere, I salute you.

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby

I wish I knew how to draw an arrow on a picture.

If I could draw an arrow, I would add an arrow to this picture of the kitchen to show you where the butler’s pantry is.

Can you imagine an arrow? 

Look at the picture of the kitchen and then (with your mind, of course because I don’t know how to draw the aforementioned arrow) and draw a line pointing to the doorway between the hutch and the cabinet.

That’s it! 

You are so brilliant.

You draw an arrow much better than I ever could anyway.

So now that we have gotten this arrow business straightened out….

I would like to introduce you to the butler’s pantry.

Let’s put it this way….

It’s come a long way.

Even without the arrow 🙂

Merry Christmas

As I sit here in the early hours of Christmas morning thinking about the reason for the season, I could not let the sun rise without wishing each and every one of you, “Merry Christmas.”

Soon my “Silent Night” will become “Joy to the World” and the wonder of Christmas will fill the rooms and rooftops here.

Until then….I leave you with this Christmas blessing:

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace.

May the gladness of Christmas bring you hope.

May the warmth of Christmas grant you love.

                                                  ~author unknown



I Wish I Were Here

I wish I were here.

I wish I were sitting here with my twin girls and a cup of hot chocolate.

If I were sitting here I might be inspired.

Inspired to read “A Christmas Carol” or make gingerbread cookies (which, if you know me, would be a great inspiration indeed).

Inspired to wrap packages with ribbons and bows.

Inspired to learn to play the guitar and start with “Jingle Bells.”

As I read blogs yesterday….all over blogland people were sitting by the fire and knitting and showing pictures of beautifully wrapped packages.  There were pictures of delicious treats and tables that were ready for guests.  It seemed like all of my fellow blog friends were calmly sitting down to a cup of tea.

Ready and waiting for Christmas to arrive.

Not me.

Not here.

You see, I’m so far behind and I’m worried I’m not going to catch up.

My list is too long and the time is too short.

But I’m going to try.

Even though, in my heart I’m wishing I was just sitting here.

Waiting for Christmas.

PS  I just added a facebook page if you want to follow along.  It’s listed as Thistlewood Farm.