…building a business: the haters

Haters. They are everywhere. Like bees buzzing around the flowers looking for honey; looking for a chance to sting. But, I have to say that I don’t see them much anymore. In the first few years of Blue Egg Brown Nest I would get nasty emails and comments that really, really bothered me. If you’ve been reading for a long time you will know that I don’t deal with meanies very well. In fact, I post about them.


Just like in life, I think we have to teach people how to treat us. We do this by creating healthy boundaries, saying no when it does not work for us and saying “This is not okay” when people do something hurtful. I’m not saying that we can stop mean people from treading on us, but we do have a choice in letting them get to us. For me, I find that saying “No way” and then changing focus helps me. I don’t call them out to hurt them back or change their minds, I call them out to say to myself, this is where I draw a line. This is not okay.

When my girls come inside crying because the boys in the neighborhood will not play with them. I tell them to change focus. What can you girls do instead? What would help you? With some proding and affirmation, they set up a popcicle stand and don’t you know when those boys get really hot playing soccer by themselves, they all want to come over and buy a pop from the girls. It’s not about getting even, it’s about changing focus to do something that serves you.

Criticism is one thing, but meanness is something that I just won’t have here in my space. I think I’ve set this standard here. I also think it’s okay that people know that I’m not going to take it. I’m going to say “Nope. Not here you don’t.”

Biting your tongue or not letting it get to you is not easy. The hate and negativity can really trip you up. If ignoring it was easy we would all be doing it. It’s not easy. I’m not even sure it’s healthy. But, staying “No, thank you” is rejecting the hate and putting your own stake in the ground. Draw a line for yourself. If you are feeling like someone is pushing against you or being outright nasty, then respond with your adult voice. No. Then change focus.

“And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Sounds like being a hater a miserable way to live, doesn’t it?



…how to paint outdoor metal furniture

I bet many of you out there are experimenting with painting your outdoor furniture. And you should! Got old wicker and metal dining sets where the color no longer works for you? Instead of buying expensive, new pieces painting is always a good and inexpensive option. Why not try it before you make any decisions about opening your wallet?

I refinished two side tables for a client a few weeks ago. The yellow no longer worked and I painted them Duck Egg. Here is the before:


Here is the after in Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint.





There are a few important things to know before you paint your outdoor pieces.

1. Go slowly. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

2. Feather on your paint in thin coats. You will need several coats for coverage.

3. Let paint dry between coats of paint.

4. You will not be able to sand like you can wood because you will see metal or the original undercoat color. You can sand the paint if you need to clean it up, but then you will want to do touch-ups.

5. Go over your piece and do touch ups. You will find with thin metals bars like this that there are many touch-ups to do.

5. Be sure to paint the underside. Many times there are cut outs of designs on your outdoor pieces. You will want to paint the underside to make sure that the original color does not show.

6. Clear wax. Technically you do not want to put clear wax on your outdoor pieces because the wax will melt. If pieces are not in direct sun I will sometimes use a very LIGHT coat.

Here is a set for the same client that I am working on. I have done a Video Tutorial to show you all the steps I outlined. I will post it this week.


…adirondack chairs in duck egg blue

I don’t think there is any other outdoor seat more comfortable than an adirondack chair. Preferably one that is staring out onto a lake. Maybe a margarita in my hand. Definitely a margarita in my hand.

A friend that I have known for a few years is moving to London (!!!) soon and asked me to refinish her adirondack chairs. She close Duck Egg Blue and I think they look awesome in this color. It’s definitely a color that you cannot buy an adirondeck chair in.

The chairs for originally painted black when purchased.


They needed to be sanded down. I always give my clients an option. Electric sander for a smooth finish (and more time & cost) or hand sanding, which is lighter.

Here they are after being painted & distressed.




Just a reminder. If you are painting over a piece that is already a color, like these chairs were originally black, then you will have a few layers when you sand. You will have the original wood color, the black (original color) and then you will have your top coat (new color). I love seeing the black come through on these chairs. I think it’s adds a ton of interest. You definitely can’t purchase this look at any store!



Selfie with the adirondeck chair. We match!

Unerneath the chairs I only did one coat as I tpyically do. I LOVE this look too.


Rustic, chippy, lovely.


…blue egg Q&A’s

Hi Friends! Here are you Q&A’s. Got questions? Email me: cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

I have only been painting pieces for myself and my family but a friend-of-a-friend recently contacted me about painting a cabinet/hutch of hers. I’m happy to do it for her but I honestly don’t know where to begin when it comes to giving her a cost for me to do the painting. Is there some basic formulation you use to estimate the labor cost for a customer? Also, I want to work on the cabinet in my home but she doesn’t have the means to bring it to me. My husband offered to pick it up but I’m worried about being responsible for transporting it.

No, I do not have a formula. As I always say, it really depends on your time, materials and if the painted look is really understood in your area. In this case, if you do not have experience painting someone else’s piece, please give her a good price – at least under $100. You don’t want a friend paying a ton of money when you don’t have a lot of work under your belt. You will definitely need the piece delivered to your house. If your husband can do it, great. The friend needs to trust you so I wouldn’t worry about it getting damaged in transport.

Do you know what the Victorian piece is you are showing on the right?  Is is a plant stand? sewing storage piece? footstool (when covered?)  I have one of these and I am not sure of its original purpose.

It is a side table that had a marble top. Lovely.


My family has had some pretty tough times in the last several years and I started painting furniture for myself as therapy :) but financial situations made me realize I need to do more to bring in money, so I thought I’d try to sell some pieces. Needless to say, I’ve spent money I didnt have and havent sold anything…yet :) It’s only been about a month, so Im a little impatient… I was encouraged by your posts, and your story! Even though my garage is already getting packed with furniture, I havent sold anything, and am out of money, still I spend all my extra time looking for furniture to buy/paint, blogs on painting, different color combinations, etc – it makes me happy!! I know God has started me on this journey and His plans are better than my dreams! I will keep reading your posts and learning from you – thank you for being bold enough to reach out like you are. Im not a seller, buyer ~ absolutely, but not a seller, I can honestly say that this is way outside my comfort zone.  Its comforting to read advice from someone who has been working through it, I guess building that yellow brick road that I can follow. 

I’m so sorry that things are rough financially for you right now. My advice to you is if you do not have the budget to invest in painting more furniture then wait before buying more to paint. I know this may be hard. I would focus on marketing yourself and trying to sell the pieces that you have. The last thing you want is to run out of space and be in debt with a bunch of furniture in your garage and home. A small business is a marathon, not a sprint. Good luck to you!

I am very familiar with Annie Sloan products.  My question is, did you sand your table at all?  Was it varnished when you began?  Also did you seal it.  I am thinking a matte poly because it is a table surface, which will see wear,  and shiny to begin with.

No, I did not sand any table you may have seen if I was painting it. You can totally use a matte poly on a table surface for extra coverage.

What is white spirit referenced in the first Q & A.

A reader suggested using wine, I believe, to water down dark wax. I’ve never heard of it, but I’m totally going to try it.

Can you tell me where you bought the chicken wire that you used on your chicken cabinet.  I believe you said it was small solid brass wire mesh.  Did you end up painting it?

You can buy chicken wire many places online, but if you want smaller mesh and/or a brass color then you need a specialty shop. I bought mine online at Van Dyke’s. It’s a great resource for things like this.


I remember a post you did (actually a series) about kitchens and i think i remember you saying that you installed an ikea kitchen? In your first home. We are going to install an ikea kitchen as this is all our budget will allow. We already have the butchers block worktop and ceramic sink from ikea installed. Im thinking white traditional kitchen, but i’d  like to know your opinion on your ikea kitchen and what style to go for? Any help you can give would be great.

Oh fun! We actually only installed the Ikea butcher block counter tops and farmhouse sink on our first renovation. We never did the cabinets from Ikea. I would just try to buy cabinets that you can use for a long time – real wood and a color you can live with. White is always good.

I was wondering if you could tell me the paint color you used on the shutters in your dining room? They are a pretty blue. I have shutters i have been going back and forth trying to figure out a color to go with my gray walls and that blue would be perfect.

The are Duck Egg over Provence. I applied the Duck Egg very loosely so you can see the Provence underneath.


I was wondering if you could get more into detail of the process of shipping through USHIP. I am so hesitant to make this available to my clients. It just seems so overwhelming and possibly a huge headache! What steps do you take in this process? 

Sure. You can also do a search on my site for more info. USHIP allows you to list a piece that you want to ship. You insert measurements and a photo. You will then get bids from truckers going that way. They can do white glove and insurance for an extra cost. You want to make sure that your client has some options so get a few bids. Make sure they know that shipping furniture is not cheap. You will schedule a date and time with client and shipper. It take a lot of coordination.

How does the paint do on laminate furniture?

If it is new laminate with a shiney surface, the paint will not adhere. If it is vintage laminate you will be fine. Do a sample.

Also I have a table that I would like to do that has grooves in the top that I don’t like because crumbs get in it and it is hard to clean. Do you think a wood filler would work to fill them in then I could paint over it? 

Yes, wood filler would be a great solution for you.

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