Burlap and Bees




Paint - In My Opinion

I was just in the studio working on a paint project and thinking about why I used the products that I was using. Paint from two different brands, finishing products from yet another brand. There is so much discussion out there on which "brand" is the best. I'm not an expert. Just a DIYer myself. I've been restoring and painting furniture since 2009. Started with latex and spray paints (usually country white). Moved to chalk paints and wax and now use water based acrylic, milk paint, and occasionally chalk. I prefer glaze to wax for finishing. So, right or wrong, this is my opinion on the many paint choice out there.

Latex is easy, cheap, and accessible at your local hardware store. You do need to sand or prime first and it's not environmentally friendly. It's easy to apply, but, clean up is messy. If you want to keep your brushes, you will need harsh chemicals to get the latex paint off or they will be hard as rock.

Super Tip: For Latex paint, look for the "ooopsie" section of the hardware store.

You can get small cans of different colors that they either mixed wrong or just was not right for the customer. Cost is only a few bucks. If you are distressing, be sure to use a mask. You don't want to breath this in. On that note, that's why I stopped using spray paints (even with the mask). They left a film layer of burning paint on my contact lenses (yes, I wore protective goggles) and burned my throat and chest. Cheap and easy to apply but I was quite sure I was shortening my life cycle every time I used it.

Furniture Paint. Chalk and acrylic paints are much easier to use as far as applying and for distressing. Some brands go on better than others. Some go on like butter and are real smooth while some start to get sticky and clump a bit if you are too slow on applying or are brushing over (which you are really not supposed to do with chalk paint - long stokes, one direction is best). Water based acrylic paint goes on smooth and you can go over it a few times with the paint brush without it getting tacky. You wont ruin your piece if you step away for a minute as you might with some of the chalks. I have used four of the most popular brands. I don't have a favorite chalk paint. I usually go by or suggest people go by

#1 The color they like best #2 The most convenient location and #3 The best price. Right now, for me, that's Paint Couture.

Chalk paint is no sanding, prep, and prime, but, you really need two coats for full coverage. You need to wax after you paint or your piece will be matte or chalky to the touch. Waxing can be a big job. It can get sticky and tacky. If you have any kind of carpel tunnel or tennis elbow or weak muscles, this can be a painful job. If you didn't have any of these symptoms before, you probably will get them after doing a few projects that need a wax finish. To get a very sturdy, wont chip or scratch finish, I understand you need a few coats of wax and need to repeat.

Most of these paint lines have low VOC. Paint Couture is one of the lowest in VOC andCeCe Caldwell has no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). If you are going to wax, I highly recommend CeCe Caldwell's wax. MUCH easier to use than AS. Little to no smell. Goes on real smooth and not as tacky and hard to work with.

Water based acrylic: Although its acrylic based rather than chalk based, this paint is very similar to the chalk paint lines in that it needs little to no prep work and distresses very well. It goes on smoother than some of the chalk lines and is low VOC. Like chalk paint, it dries very matte and needs a finish.

I've recently started using glaze and lacquer as a finish on my chalk and acrylic paint projects. Love it. Goes on smooth with a brush, dries hard as nails, and rinses off the brush easy. There are also different colors. You can use lacquer if you just want a totally clear finish that will not change the color of your paint. Or, you can use colored glazes and get all kinds of different looks. Ive even done a wood table in just glaze. No prep, prime, or paint. It turned my 90s style bleached pine table into a fabulous walnut finish in about 10 minutes total time.

Milk Paint: Not for the faint at heart. With the other paints, you can pop open a can and get going without thinking much about it. There is a learning curve with milk paint. Milk Paint is an ancient, totally organic paint containing basic ingredients including milk protein, limestone, clay and natural color pigments. A Milk Paint finish is unique and can range from a solid color to a stain, it all depends on how much water you add. It can be used on any porous surface without a primer. It will not chip or peel on porous surfaces as it soaks in and binds with the substrate. If you are looking for a rustic, country, or stained look, milk paint is the best to use. You mix it in a cup with water. It goes on watery, but, as you brush, it gets a nice smooth finish that is super easy to distress, very durable. Finish with natural beeswax and you have a unique, durable, and completely eco-friendly product. Rinse the brushes safely and easily in the sink. Milk Paint comes in a powder form and has a very long shelf life. All the other paint products, once opened, don't keep well.

Super Tip: If I'm doing a small piece of furniture, I prefer to buy the sample jars of paint.

Less expensive, you can try many different colors, and you aren't stuck with cans of lumpy, gooey, paint in the cupboards. Milk paint, in it's powder form, does not take up much room and will keep for years. One little packet of Milk Paint will cover 40-60sf.

Hmmm. Should I get into politics and what products retailers should consider if they want to sell one of the lines? Sure, why the heck not.

If you decide to manufacture and sell tin foil, you can call your brand whatever you want. Tin foil has been around for ages and is a common generic term. It would be illegal to try to copyright the words tin foil. Let's say you call it Abby Sam's Tin Foil. You can copyright some of it, but, can't tell other people that they can no longer use the words, tin foil. Even though you may make a fabulous tin foil product, you can't try to stop other people from making or selling their own tin foil. It's the American way. That's what capitalism is all about.

Chalk paint has been around for years. Yes, Annie Sloan made it very popular and has a keen marketing and sales acumen. But, making everyone else have to say, "chalk based paint" is ridiculous. Does everyone else who is not Reynold's Wrap have to call their product, "tin based foil"?

I also understand that it's quite difficult to be an AS retailer as far as quotas, what they have to buy, and margins. On the other side of that coin, their business model is successful. The company markets and sells so well, that people will come to you for the product. You don't have to market and sell their product on your own, they have already done it. People want it. You just have to supply it and it sells itself. They also must have a great training program, because those that sell it, seem very knowledgeable. It is not a passive company and you can not be a passive retailer if you carry it.

Because of the way AS does business, there have been many who did not agree with the way things were managed and so there were other companies formed in response (such as CeCe Caldwell and others). Then, American Paint Company, went to CeCe Caldwell's manufacturer and opened the same paint line under a different name at a lower price point.

Although the background business dealings of competing paint companies could probably be the next great realty TV show, consumers are the winners here. Competition lowers the price of the products and forces competitive improvements and business models. The downside for consumers is that there is greater learning curve to know which product might work best for them.

Naming names: Here are my favorites for different reasons...


Annie Sloan's color pallet leans towards country colors. I prefer softer colors, and they have a few. My favorites are Paris Grey and Antoinette.

CeCe Caldwell is great for color bursts. I love the Santa Fe Turquoise.

Paint Couture's colors are based on the latest fashion trends and are mostly a soft color pallet. My favorites here are Calm and Serenity. For a true black, Baltic Black. They also have a custom color this year that matches the Pantone Color of the Year. Radiance(a dark fuscia).

Milk Paint. The best blues and greens are in the Homestead House Milk Paint line.Laurentine, Loyalist, Niagra Green and Upper Canada Green. Homestead House is the parent company to Miss Mustard Seed. Same product base, but, Miss Mustard Seeds has a their own designer colors. They also have great marketing and tutorials. Homestead House is the same thing - different but similar color pallet - and less money.


Since I have been introduced to glazes, not sure I'll ever wax again (except over Milk Paint). If I did, CeCe Caldwell's is the best for ease of use, more natural, and low odor. Clear wax can be either Beeswax or CeCe. CeCe for dark wax. For giving the aged look, dark wax might still beat the glazes. I'm just not sure you can get the same aged look of dark wax over an off white paint with a glaze. But, for everything else, especially tables, dressers, things you need to put items down on and don't want to scratch, glaze or lacquer wins over wax.

Milk Paint is different. I would stick with all natural beeswax. Why add chemicals to your natural eco-friendly milk paint project. Goes on smooth, smells good, is natural, works well with the product. They also recommend Hemp Oil with Milk Paint. I don't really like the hemp oil. I stick to the beeswax. They also have a dark antiquing wax with Miss Mustard Seed. I dont really like that product either. I'd stick to CeCe for the dark wax or Paint Couture for a color wax accent (like gold, silver, or blue to give it a patina look).


Well obviously the $3 ooopsie can is the best price, or, making your own chalk paint (which I have not done). But, if you want a really nice finish and don't want too much work (finding all the ingredients and mixing your own chalk paint is way too many steps for me), stick to the above paints or milk paints.

Next in price, is Homestead House Milk Paint ($17). A small bag goes a long way. Their products are the least expensive and most natural. It's a few dollars more for the designer colors (MMS brand abt $22).

Paint Couture paints are the best price in the furniture/cabinet paint category (abt $10 less than chalk paint brands) and I like their soft color pallet the best. It's a company that has been in the designer paint market for years and has recently made their products accessible to the DIYer.


Paint Couture Glaze is my go to finish right now. Love the zinc and champain glazes. The colored waxes are fun to use too.


If you are going to do this more than once, invest in a hand sander. Don't try to use a piece of sandpaper. However, you can also get the distressed look without sanding at all. Before it dries, wipe your item where you want it to look distressed and pull the paint off with a towel. This is called wet distress. Or, go back in with dark wax, glaze, or color finishes and hit the crevices, grooves, and accents.

Another great product out right now is embossing cream. LOVE it. It's a creamy plaster type product that will give you a raised effect. Use it with a stencil (get a good quality thick one). Use a spackle tool to apply it and smooth it out. Let it dry and you have a raised stencil. Color over it with color wax using just your finger tip. Get a lace finish or grass cloth raised effect. Even fix broken frames by molding the emboss cream in the spot where the frame broke off.

In summary, I no longer use latex or spray paints. I do not mix my own paint. I like a smooth easy to apply paint product that adheres well and distresses easily. I'm picky about paint colors and wax. I want a polished, designer finish at a DIY price.

2017 NOTE: I just tried a new paint called Fusion Mineral Paint from The Homestead House company. Hands down beats everything above. I painted a small side table from start to finish in about 8 minutes with a tiny little sample pot. It was fully covered in one coat and smooth finish with no prep, wax, or top coat:

*photo credit The TealCottage

Zero VOC

Minimal prep work

Easy application

Exceptional coverage

Gorgeous matte finish

No top coat required

What's your favorite paint to use?


March 12, 2017

Throughout Buddhism, the 108 bead Mala has remained a powerful meditation tool, helping it's users gain knowledge through ancient mantras, increase self-awareness, and to get closer to enlightenment. - Backpack Buddha Mala Collective says -

The number 108 is significant for so many reasons.

Some believe there are 108 stages on the journey of the human soul, while others associate the possibility of enlightenment with taking only 108 breaths a day, while in deep meditation.

The significance of 108 beads on your mala is open to interpretation.

As mala beads were traditionally created to be used as a tool in meditation, we like to associate it with the ideals of meditation.

Mala beads are also beautiful mediums to set intentions, manifest, and generally feel good. You don't have to meditate on the beads, although that's what they are made for in a practical sense.

Here are some more popular reasons behind the 108 mythology in mala beads.


One of our favorite explanations for having 108 beads on a mala is related to the chakras (the seven energy points in our body).

It has been said there there are 108 energy lines connecting to the heart, with one of them believed to be the path to self realization.


When using your mala beads in meditation and chanting your mantra, some have said you are complete once you have done it 100 times. The 8 extra beads are to account for errors. Or even more beautiful, are meant to be an offering to your guru.


Many choose to recite their mantra in sanskrit, the ancient script of India. Within the Sanskrit alphabet there are 54 letters. Each letter has a feminine and masculine version — totalling 108.

Check our our Malas and Prayer beads in the online shop.


April 4, 2017

What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life?

You know what will happen with that kind of inner clarity and outer action? You’ll feel the way you want to feel more often than not. Decisions will be easier to make: You’ll know what to say NO to and what to say HELL-YES to. You’ll be more optimistic, more open-hearted. It will be easier for you to return to your center in the midst of a challenge.

Check out our workbooks based on Danielle LaPorte's The Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions.

If you want to learn more about becoming a Certified Desire Map Facilitator, CLICK HERE.


March 3, 2017

European Beginnings

The Santos dolls take their name from the Spanish word for Saint, and are also known as Santons (French) and Santibelli (Italian). The Santos that started the genre of dolls we currently represent (primarily Spanish Colonial and Western European style), were originally started as copies of 17th century carvings by priests. Originally, Santos were created for use as in-home altars. They were needed in small villages that did not have a priest, as well as for when it was not possible to travel to church, such as during times of war. Their development flourished in European the 1700's and 1800's, primarily due to these wars.

Santos dolls are closely related to the Crèche figures, which were implemented in Italy by St Francis of Assisi, during the 13th century. However, the Crèche are primarily associated with Italian and French nativity and crib scenes. Crèche scenes are still elaborately displayed throughout Italy and in parts of France, most notably in Provence.

Discovery of the New World

European Santos dolls were also brought to the Latin Americas during the Colonial age of Spain's settling of The New World. Many of these original dolls, along with the art that inspired them, were destroyed while trying to settle the West. Therefore, antiques in good shape are rare and very expensive. It is not uncommon to see an antique Santos bring 4 and 5 digit figures. In more recent years, fine and folk art has emerged to replace these dolls. Santos dolls are designed and created by "Santeros" or "Santonniers" (loosely 'saint maker'). As the art form has progressed, the Santos has become recognized as a true artistic doll. Some dolls are rustic carvings, while others have magnificent details.


Santos, particularly the females, exhibit a most loving expression that is also complex and thoughtful. Their shape is often rustic in nature, yet with delicate details. The dolls emulate the image of Christ, The Virgin Mary, Patron Saints, as well as other notable figures in biblical history. There are very few original Santos Dolls still around. If found, they run in the thousands of dollar range. Still an art today, very nice reproductions are usually made of wood and resin (for the detailing of the faces and hands) and often hand-made or hand-painted.

(article from the Santos Cage Doll website)

Source: http://www.burlapandbees.com

Find Santos dolls online at:  http://www.shopburlapandbees.com

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March 19, 2017

This week's Goddess card is Leap of Faith (Ainne). "Take a risk, and put your heart's true desire into action"

"Procrastinating about your dreams won't make them go away. Neither will it make them happen. Indecision is the death of the soul's burning passion to improve, grow, and learn. Don't worry about making a wrong decision. Instead, worry about making no decision at all! Take time to pray, meditate, investigate, research, go on nature walks... and then, make your decision.

Once made the universal energies will immediately support your decision, and doors will successively open as if by magic. The magic, you see, is that you've set your mind to accomplish something. This intention is what sets you on your magical journey. Trust that the universe will support you in all ways. Trust that your intention is clear and right for you. And then take a leap of faith and jump fully, squarely into the midst of putting your dreams into action. Don't hesitate or delay a momemnt longer!" - Doreen Virtue Goddess Guidance Cards

Supporting Your Leap of Faith

Gemstone: Lepidolite can be helpful in releasing fear of the unknown or one’s concerns about the future. It helps to slow down one’s thoughts, assisting one to live in the moment. Or, Rhodonite which calms worry and works on mental balance

Essential Oil: Ylang Ylang. Nourishes the positive emotions such as confidence, self love and spiritual awareness. It brings the body, mind and spirit back into alignment. Helps us to follow our hearts desire without worry or regret.

Chakra: Heart

Chakra Color: Pink

Where would a leap of faith take you?


April 13, 2017

I'm a bit of a travel snob. Growing up, my aunt would take us on weekend trips. She'd save up for awhile and then we'd take a staycation at a local hotel. Short trips and not traveling too far gave us the money to spend on the little luxuries of a nice hotel, nice meals, and, of course, spa.

Later, I worked in corporate briefings and part of our job was setting up the accommodations for the VIPs. A perk was that we got wooed by the hotel sales management and on occasion got to stay at the best hotels in the city like the Penthouse at The Fairmont in San Jose and The DeAnza. Gorgeous properties and it set the bar really high for what my expectations were when traveling.

Now, as an outside sales rep, I have to stay at hotels on occasion to reach some of my farther away clients. I don't have my aunt treating me or corporate spiffs to get spoiled with. I have to pay out of pocket. If I stay within my budget and go to freeway side motels, I come home with bed bug bites all over and the total heebie geebies just thinking about who or what was on that couch or under the coverlette before me (eeeeew).

Here is the trick... Casinos!

Ok, I will admit getting through the casino itself is a bit nasty (sorry to those smokers out there). I probably inhale two packs worth of Marlboro's from the front door to the escalator that will whisk me away from the casino to the hotel. I hold my breath and walk fast - really fast. But, once through, some of the casino's are really nice - especially the new or renovated ones. And because it's a casino, they want you to go there and stay so the prices are really reasonable. If you find the nice ones, the value of what you get is totally worth the cigarette hotbox gauntlet.

I just stayed at The Gold Country Casino in Oroville. Orovile not your first choice of a get away? It was a perfect location for my sales job as it was right in the middle between Sacramento and Chico. I was able to hit lots of the little towns all the way up. No traffic, gorgeous scenery between Oroville Lake and Table Top Mountain. My room was Huge! Almost the same size as the first story of my house. Huge bathroom - Great jacuzzi tub and a view of Table Top Mountain out my large window. Modern chairs, desk, and a mini kitchen.

I decided to just go upstairs for dinner expecting a Sizzler style Steakhouse. The restaurant there was like one you'd see in San Francisco or Seattle. It wrapped around the top floor with floor to ceiling windows with killer countryside views. The meal started with a description of their in-house bakery made bread basket and 3 butters (regular, honey, and kalmata olive butter - my fave). The main picture here is of my dinner. Beet and goat cheese salad and lobster bisque soap. It was wonderful and so beautiful and peaceful. It was quite luxurious.

Here's where the tip comes in. My hotel room was under $80 and my high-end meal was under $20!

People may think of Vegas for fancy Casino hotels but Reno also has some really nice ones. The Peppermill has a magnificent spa. The Grand Sierra Resort has great shops, a really wonderful spa with great services and luxurious relaxation rooms, cute boutiques, a huge pool, and a full arcade for the kids and putting area for the guys. Atlantis has great Sushi and Oyster bar up in the Sky Terrace. Most of the casinos also have venues for concerts and shows.

So, I suggest rethinking those travel plans for work or even with the family. Steer clear of all the tourists, traffic, $45 night parking, high prices, and outrageous restaurants Consider a casino in a closer vicinity to you but just far enough to get away from it all and enjoy nature and upscale hotel amenities.

I wouldn't gamble on a flea infested motel between the freeway and the train, I'd put my money on a casino hotel.

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March 4, 2017

Women have a tendency to desire more purpose in their lives. For the work they do to have meaning and to be of service to others. Whether they are stay at home moms (or, as I call it, Domestic Engineers) or Corporate Business Women, that piece can sometimes be missing and can leave them feeling unsatisfied.

Some fields that are out there that can fill that need for purpose and service are teaching, coaching, and leading. But these fields often require time for to get a degree or certificate and lots of money. Coach leadership programs can easily run in the $10-$20 thousands and in the end, you still have to get that job or create your program.

Danielle LaPorte left the corporate world and changed her life to work with meaning and to have the lifestyle she wanted and flexible time for be with her family. She's now a well-known entrepreneur, author, speaker and creator of The Desire Map Books, workshops, audios and more. She's taken her knowledge, experience, and program and bundled it up to share with others so they can find purpose, success and meaning in their own lives while serving and empowering others in their pursuits of happiness. The program she created allows women to become Licensed Desire Map Faciliators. To become teachers, leaders, mentors, coaches, and successful women. If your work lacks purpose, you might want to see if The Desire Map Licensing Program is for you.

The Desire Map book by Danielle LaPorte has changed the lives of thousands of people. Now you have the opportunity to change your life by becoming a licensed Desire Map Facilitator. Lead groups, workshops, one on ones. Add value to your current job, enhance your yoga or coaching programs. The program comes complete with all the instructions, tools, graphics, social media, marketing support, and a great support team for you to start right away. Change the lives of others with this work and change your life too. It's time. 2017 is your year.

Learn More About The Desire Map Licensing Program by Danielle LaPorte.

Source: http://www.bit.ly/2hzV3P6


March 7, 2017

Love this idea for Mason Jar Herb Gardens (this photo is from Uncommon Goods). You can buy them ready to use or do it yourself with these simple tools.

A Mason Jar (clear, colored, or painted)

Popsicle Sticks

Plastic Apple Sauce Container

Herb Seeds


Eat the apple sauce :) and clean the container

Cut a small slit in bottom and stick the popsicle stick through the bottom of the apple sauce container

Fill the jar half way with water (keep the water level up through the cycle)

Place the apple sauce container on the lip of the mason jar

Fill the apple sauce container with soil and sow a light layer of seeds

Remove the thin metal part of the lid and replace the lid edge back on the bottle.

Place in window. Keep an eye on water level

Enjoy your fresh herbs and pretty garden design


March 8, 2017

This is my guilty pleasure. I LOVE the show Reign. It's a feast for the eyes. The clothing and the jewelry in this show are GORGEOUS. The fabrics in the ladies dresses are so luxurious and beautiful. The costume designer must have the most wonderful time in the fabric stores. Every piece of jewelry is magnificent. And, of course, I love all the different crowns that the Queens wear. Ok, the story is fun too and watching all the powerful women is a bonus. Sweet, gorgeous, a service to her people at all times but if you cross her... "I am Mary, Queen of Scotts, you WILL bow down to me!" ... just don't mess with the Queen.

Their jewels and crowns would fit oh so nicely in my shop. Click on Santos, Crowns, and Wings or the jewelry section in my online shop to see the latest Royal Pretties that I have available.

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March 3, 2017

Chakra balancing is the process of restoring a harmonious flow of energy across the chakra system. The effect of well balanced chakras often translates into a feeling of




feeling centered

The seven chakras are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through.

Blocked energy in our seven chakras can often lead to illness, so it's important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely.

1.Root Chakra - base of spine / tailbone area - foundation, being grounded, finance, money, food

2. Sacral Chakra — lower abdomen - connection, acceptance, emotions, well-being, pleasure, sexuality

3. Solar Plexus Chakra — upper abdomen / stomach area - confidence, control, self-worth, self-esteem

4.Heart Chakra — center of chest above heart - Inner peace, love, joy, happiness

5. Throat Chakra — throat - communication, truth, self-expression

6. Third Eye Chakra — forehead between the eyes - wisdom, imagination, intuition, decision making

7. Crown Chakra — top of the head - spirituality, beauty, bliss

Balancing your chakras will help to establish a consistent flow where there is not enough, regulate energy where there’s too much, and align distortions between the flow of chakras.

Common practices you can use to balance your chakras:

Hands on healing or energy healing

Meditation, including chakra meditation, self-inquiry

Exercises focused on the connection of body and mind, including yoga

Breath work, including pranayama

Holistic or alternative medicine


Chakra healing crystals

Check out our Chakra bracelet online.  Add your favorite Essential Oil to the porous lava stones.