…why i need to paint

Sweet Greta went to the ER this week. I stayed back with Fiona that had strep and tried to remain calm. I cooked, showered, cleaned, knitted, sharpened pencils and finally turned to paint.

Like a breath of air in my tight lungs.

Painting is like meditation for me. It is a soothing rhythm, the soft color changing a surface, coating it and transforming an object into something better. Magic.

The act of painting is a gift that works for me more than medicine, more than tea, more than a fluffy magazine or a nap. God gave me a solution for pain and stress.

Greta came home for an hour and then had to return to the ER and was eventually admitted. Lying in her hospital bed and holding her hand was probably the only relief better than paint.

Greta is all things sweet in the world.


…blue egg q&a’s

Here are your Q&A’s! Be sure to check out the video of Bensten at the end. I know you all have been praying for him!

Got questions? Email me at cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

I would like to try your technique for being creative with a drop cloth. I’m wondering your thoughts on attacking it with a wire or stiff bristled brush to aid in softening/distressing/antiquing. Do you think it would help or just tear up the fabric too much.

The drop cloths that I use are canvas so you don’t have to worry about tearing the fabric. It may be hard to control if you are just doing lines like I did. However, if you are going for a larger design it could give you the texture you are looking for. I would work with a smaller brush for control if possible.

I have some pieces I want to share with you that you have inspired me to create…if you are interested.

Yes! I love to see your projects!!

I am a little stumped as to when a person should paint the inside of dressers, desks etc.  Do you paint the inside of desks and dressers?

I never paint the interior of a drawer. It’s just not necessary. I love old pieces and this reminds me of where the piece came from. I do paint the interior of a secretary and armoire since I am going to open a door and see the inside. I think a contrasting color looks super cool.


Do you clear wax all surfaces that you paint (interior sides/backs of hutches for example). That is the hard part and I’m inclined to only wax the surfaces that will need protection.

Yes, I clear wax all pieces because this does add a protective layer. If you do not clear wax then it is a chalky surface that is more prone to scratches. I do not dark wax all pieces as dark wax is for a look and not protection. 

Did you ever do a post on how you installed the chicken wire on your cabinet? 

Yes, I believe I did. It involved a nail gun and patience.

I was just wondering can you use chalk paint over wood furniture that’s already been painted? I think with a latex paint?


I love the TV hide and seek screen.  Is it available for purchase?

Due to my work load I am not doing custom screens right now. Check back in, though.

I love the fabric that you have above your kitchen window, as I noticed it also matches some of your pillows.  The other fabric that I really like is on the couch in your formal living room.  It has more of a French motif, and it appears to have actual people on it.  I was hoping that you knew the names of the fabrics and where I might be able to locate them. 

It was many years ago at an online shop. I know I’ve written about it so you may want to do a search on my site. I will try to find it.

Small Room Design

Were you able to paint while you were pregnant and, if so, did you take any precautions like wearing gloves?

If you are using Chalk Paint then you will be safe – it is environmentally friendly with no chemicals or fumes. If you are using other latex or spray paint I would hire someone to do it for you. The fumes are too much, especially indoors.

How do you price your services? Do you go by hour or size of a piece. I would really appreciate if you can give me your take on that.

There are many factors. How big is the piece? Consider the cost of your materials and your time. Where do you live? Is there a market for this type of work? Do you know how to give a client what he/she wants? I cannot give you a cost, but think about these questions. You will always have to tweak your cost. You can always ask if he/she thinks the price sounds fair.

In your experience, what TYPE of pieces sell faster than others?  I’ve read your advice about what you are normally willing to pay for pieces and our need to be patient for a piece to move, so thank you for that smart advice.  As I search and negotiate prices on pieces (Craigslist, flea, etc.) I find myself wondering which types of pieces you have found move more quickly than others (armoires, dining buffets, bedroom dressers, etc.).  Obviously a higher ticket item will sit a bit longer in general at times, but have you found any sort of trends to what people tend to swoop up the fastest?  It helps as I plan on what combo of pieces I should purchase at a time. 

In my experience beds move the slowest across the board. I find that the items that move quickly make sense: dressers, consoles, side tables. Think about the items in your own home that are necessary.

I was just wondering how your nephew is?  I have been praying for him.  

Amazing! Have you seen the video of the Caps visiting him? Check it out! Prayer works.


Caps visit Bensten video here.

…building a business: imperfections

Sometimes it’s just not possible to get perfect materials. I think about furniture, fabric, and the gem stones my dad works with. Sometimes there are imperfections.

I primarily refinish vintage furniture and there are always these “imperfections”. Sometimes they are gorgous like a huge wood knot in the middle of a wood table. Other times, these details need a little attention.


I think you then have to have an attitude towards it. You are either going to throw your hands up and say, “I won’t work with this!” Or you can embrace it. I tend to look at these areas like, “It is what it is. Let’s make it work.”

My DH is my handy-man and furniture repairer. Old furniture sometimes needs a little bit of care. I have gotten to the point where I always think, “Oh yea, we can fix this.” DH asseses the situation and usually says, “No problem.” I love that. Good team work.


Just to clarify, I always buy & sell pieces in excellent condition. I try to never buy a piece that is poor shape. I’m mostly talking about scratches and wiggly legs. Things that have happened from wear and not a beating to a piece. You know?

Working with vintage and antique items, I have grown to love these little indiscrepencies. They add charm in a world filled with Pottery Barn dressers.

I never want to convince anyone to love the dents and rubs like I do. Some people like new. I get that. But, if you can appreciate the old or imperfect, you are bringing your own taste and style to the party – you are not buying someone else’s taste.


…old orchre

Here is another sweet piece for a client I’ve had for years. Love what she brings me! I refinished it in Old Orche and I must admit that this is the first time I’ve used this color. It is a very mild color. Not too yellow, not too brown, not to creamy. Very soft. I am a fan.







Of course, any piece with all these carvings will look good painted.


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