This is a collection of kitchen tools that I've been gathering.  Some were actually my grandma's, and some were just "like" my grandma's so I had to buy them.  The wood box I got at a yard sale on my street for $1.00.  I thought it made a great way to display my favorite stuff. 

So this is now hanging on my kitchen wall and it makes me smile every time I look at it.  The little milk bottle on the bottom left is exactly like the ones we used to drink out of at St. Agnes School in Bond Hill (Cincinnati) OH.  Our cafeteria was in the basement and to tell you the truth, I really don't recall broken bottles being a frequent occurrence. 

The meat grinder was something my mom used to make homemade ham salad.   Made with actual ham, not all the lunch meat leftovers.  It was so good!  I remember mom putting folded layers of newspaper under the clamp so the table wouldn't get dented from using the grinder. 

Mom used the egg beater ALL the time when making scrambled eggs for the family.  It was a treat to us when she would dice up SPAM and brown it and add that to the eggs.  Good times.

The nut grinder with the red lid near center bottom was something we used mostly at Christmas.  Mom baked dozens and dozens of cookies as gifts for neighbors and teachers.  It all began with the kids sitting around the kitchen table cracking walnuts by the bagful.  Then many got ground up for the Russian Teacakes and other kinds.  I love how evenly it grinds the nuts and use it even now.

Anyone else recall the green handled knife sharpener?  This replicates the one we had, that my mom's dad handmade.  Ours was just on a plain wood handle.  But the process was the same, draw the knife over the washers to sharpen.  I have a more modern version, and it really works.  It's all I use and takes very little space in the drawer.

The pastry blender brings back many fond memories of mom making homemade pie crusts.  I have one I use as this one is too rusted.  I use it for mashing avocado, making egg salad, cutting in shortening for biscuits and more.  Guess it's obvious, I LOVE old kitchen gadgets!

I've had this smaller bench for a few years and never liked the way it looked.  So I decided to paint it.  I chose a bright and cheery turquoise color called Destin Gulf Green and the design was painted in Emperor's Silk red.  The design was painted free-hand in a folk artsy swirly design.  Then it was finished in Varathane Satin.

The three small pieces were all experiments that turned out better than I had hoped using Old Fashioned Milk Paint.  The color is light cream.  The square board was simply a shelf I didn't use on in a small previous table that has already been sold.  I used a blow dryer to hasten the dryer of each layer.  This really enhanced the crackly appearance big time!  I know I could have added a bonding agent (which I have) to allow the paint to bond to the surface and not chip, but why would I do that?  I was striving for ultra chippy and I got it!  Woot!

Next I tried the milk paint on a piece of old floor board.  From all I had read, this was supposed to chip off a lot, but it really didn't.  This had a ultra glossy coat of enamel on the board so I didn't think it would adhere very well but it did better than I thought.  I have two boxes of these board that I saved from a renovation project in our home, they came from an enclosed back porch that the floor was replaced.  Anyway, they're a cool size for signs!

The last thing I painted with the milk paint was a cute little spice rack and it chipped off more than I thought it would but I think it looks great.  It looks like it is a very old piece though it's not that old at all.

All the pieces are finished with Varathane Satin to make sure no further chipping occurs.  This was a fun experiment and the challenging thing about milk paint is the fact that it IS unpredictable.  I just used chalk paint for the lettering done free hand.

Yup, you read that right.  I wanted to do something crazy on the shelf.  The fall colors and wind were inspiring me and I so I went a little crazy!  This is a neat little shelf could sit on the floor or atop a piece of furniture.  You decide.  I chose a bunch of fall colors and literally just slapped em' on here and there randomly.  I love the "freestyle"!  Sometime ya just gotta go with your crazy side.

The next piece is an antique baby buggy I got at the Springfiled OH flea market in Sept.  It was missing the inside but that's not a problem.  My husband will cut a sturdy board to match the inside dimensions and add chain link and hooks on each corner so the height can be adjusted, shallow for a baby or deeper for toddler's.  This may get used for photos shoots with "Photographs by Amy Oliver", (my daughter) or I may/can use it in my booth to display and hold smaller items.

Anyway, they buggy's original color was a horrible dark and drab olive color and going with my shabby look, I decided to paint it in an intentional non-perfect style with Old White chalk paint.  I turned out fabulous and the color makes it suitable for all kinds of photo shoots and more.  I really love the appearance!

Just in case some of you were not aware, I "get to" write a weekly column for a wonderful online publication kyforward.com.

They cover the Lexington KY and surrounding areas including Northern KY.  They have many interesting and informative articles.  It's so refreshing to read and learn things.  A breath of fresh air so to speak.  Not all the typical negative news with murders and robberies that can be such a downer if that's all the news you read.

Be sure to "like" kyforward.com's facebook page and sign up for the emails so you don't miss out on the good news out there.

If you go to the business section at the top of their page and look under "Our Smart Money" you'll see my name Norma Oliver and you can find in chronological order ALL my stories.  Another favorite contributer in that section is Gena Bigler, she always has practical advice.  Good stuff!

Below will LINK you to ALL my stories, work your way back and feel free to comment and share!


I bought this bench long before I began Norma’s Kentiques. It was kind of a ho-hum thing. It’s sturdy but that was about all it had going for it. It has come in handy for extra seating for kids, or just to put stuff on. Anyway, it was time for a makeover.

I gave the raw wood ends a coat of Primer Red chalk paint, and then a coat of Emperor’s Silk. The seat part got two coats of CeCe Caldwell’s Destin Gulf Green to cover the original green enamel.

Then I decided to so some freehand painting with a kind of swirly/vine look. This was done using Emperor’s Silk Red over the Destin Gulf Green seat. It kind of reminds me of the folk art style. The goal was not perfection with the freehand painted areas, because a primitive style was the goal. I didn’t want it to look like this was a bench bought off an assembly line.

Distressing with sandpaper was done to give the appearance this had been painted long ago and was a tad worn from use. Varathane Satin was the final application for a nice protective sheen finish.

My sister began watching for road side rescues when I began this business. This week’s project is a prime example of this. It saddens me deeply to see perfectly good furniture set out on trash day, just because it’s ugly or worn. So it ends up in the dump, and in its place a run of the mill replacement piece from a big box store.

This end table is designed with a faux bamboo look so I decided to go with more earthy natural colors. I really wanted to use one of my newer colors, CeCe Caldwell’s Cinco Bayou Moss. These paints are also green like Annie Sloan Chalk Paints. This is a clay chalk style paint and this line has some great color choices. I used this color for the legs and outer framing for the table and for the muted stencil on the top.

The center of the table top and the woven shelf were painted with ASCP Country Grey (more of a rich cream color). Sand paper in hand, intense distressing ensued! Y’all know by now, I love the distressed and worn look for furniture, as well as the chippy look too.
I had some new paint colors I was dying to try out so I used three on this piece. These are from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint collection: Napoleonic Blue, Olive, and Chateau Grey (a lighter olive) Basically, I just painted these colors on in various layers and distressed revealing a little of each of all the colors. Then in large bold letters I stenciled the word “STUFF” in Chateau Grey. This was finished with a durable satin finish.
I'm lazy today and just copy and pasted what I wrote in my weekly column about this piece.  In case you didn't know, I write a weekly column at kyforward.com in the Business section under "Smart Money".  My column is called Norma Oliver's Furniture Rescue.  You can do a search there to find all of them I've written.  These are published online every Thursday.  So here it is below:

This is a classic Duncan Phyfe drum table, with a nice little drawer. It was in pretty bad shape when I bought it, sturdy but ugly. There were quite a few unsightly water marks on the top as well. It is so exciting to find these pathetic and neglected pieces because I “get to” give them a complete makeover.

So the fun began with giving the whole piece a base coat of white. Because this likely was mahogany which has a tendency to bleed though the best of paints, I did give the top a coat of Zinsser Shellac along with the inside of the drawer. Drawers often have yucky weird stains from pens etc. and you just can’t paint them without bleed through. The shellac is fast drying and does the job.

Next the whole table got a coat of Annie Sloan’s newest color, Florence. I’ve used it on several other pieces and this is very popular color. With fall being so close, I was in the mood to bring a bit of the season in by stenciling the top with a fall like color. Using four different leaf stencils, I arranged them around the perimeter of the table. Emperor’s Silk which is a vivid red, compliments the rich turquoise base color, also giving that taste of fall.

Since this piece was in such a shabby condition, I knew I wanted to distress it….a lot! I wanted not only the white base coat to show through, but a decent portion of the deep mahogany as well. Sanding was done over the leaf stenciling also, tying in the overall aged and worn appearance.

The inside of the drawer has fresh white on the sides with the bottom painted red. A durable satin finish completes this beautiful table for your home. These rich colors will brighten any room, office or dorm. This piece will be available at the Georgetown KY location inside Peddler’s Mall.

Enjoy the pictures below, click to enlarge them.

I TOLD you it was weird!  I wanted to experiment on this sturdy and primitive table.  I knew the colors I wanted to use and I knew the technique, just didn't know it was gonna end up looking like camouflage. 

I applied the paint super heavy and in blobs, drying each addition with a blow dryer to make it crackle somewhat.  The colors used were:  Annie Sloan's Greek Blue, Antibes Green, Florence, Louis Blue and a bit of Graphite. 

After it dried I had the great idea to apply a black wash stain to enhance the beautiful textures.  You will see that they showed up great.  However, after the final step, that part no longer exists, but I love how it ended up even better.

The final painting step was to repaint the legs in Pure White and then I diluted some of the Pure White with water and applied over all the camo colors.  Then using a wet washcloth, I wiped off till all the colors and textures were revealed.  AMAZING!!!  I was thrilled with how this turned out.  Satin finish completed this piece.  This is at my 2nd location at Country Hearts in Williamstown KY.

Enjoy the pics below and click on them to enlarge.  I think you're gonna like the close up detail showing the texture and even the black wash that ended up being covered with the white.

This was a sad looking Queen Anne style table the was overly yuckily glossy.  Yuckily is a word, right?  You'll see what I mean when you look at the "before" pic.

Amazing thing is I didn't have to sand or prime because I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.  I gave it a first coat using Country Grey, yeah the one that really doesn't look grey, more like a rich cream. 

The top is assorted stripes done without taping as I wanted the freehand imperfect look.  The colors used on the stripes:  Louis Blue, Old White, Paris Grey, Duck Egg Blue and Paloma (a purplish grey).  After doing the stripes, I used a wet sanding block to distress taking down to the Country Grey as well as to the original surface.  I wanted to give the illusion that these were individually painted boards across the top.

The legs and sides were dry brushed with Old White over the Country Grey.  Distressing done again with the wet sanding block.  A satin finish was applied overall. 

Also pictured below was a cute little sign made for a client. "Punkin' Patch" Simple, sweet and rustic.  Just what she wanted.  I also posted a few other signs that I have available.  I love signs.  Remember to click on each pic to enlarge.

shabby chic, annie sloan chalk paint, upcycled accent furniture