Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of going back to Enchanted Objects antique store in Boise with some dear friends.  I pointed out a rather large old and dirty toolbox to one of my friends saying "that would make a great herb garden." My friend passed but I did not feel comfortable getting the toolbox just in case she changed her mind.  We left without the toolbox and I returned the next day they were open and made the purchase.
So here it is - marked down from thirty-something to $24 and I saw potential and an easy job - turned out to take a little longer than anticipated.
 I had hubby remove the two "built ins" one was for pliers and screwdrivers and not sure what the other one was for but they were both removed. This "little" job took awhile and I had plenty of time to think about the original owner of the toolbox - I could just see it full of tools and every work morning the man who made this for his tools, might have his coffee and then toss the heavy (it is big and had to be very heavy when filled with tools) in an old Ford pick-up and head off to work.  I think that is the magic of re-purposing old items, wondering about the story they would tell if they could speak to us.
Time for power tools - as in power washer - the toolbox was sitting outside and was filled with dirt and leaves.
After a good washing outside, ready to line it with heavy plastic.

I bought a quart of flat latex and chose Paris white - I knew it had a lot of gray in the color but was OK with that.  I used the Websters Chalk Paint powder and mixed with a cup of the paint (sample size is good for a cup) and painted my toolbox.
 I loved the way the chalk paint went on the wood and will use this product again but I was not prepared for the BLUE - the paint sample was a gray white NOT blue. So I painted it again with Annie Sloan Antique White.
These round brushes designed for chalk paint and waxes are so worth the money as they make the job so much easier.  The brush loads up with a lot of paint but does not drip.  The brush in the photo is an Annie Sloan brush ($) but I have used for a few years and just make sure to carefully clean the brush with Dawn dish washing liquid - it takes the wax out too. I just sent for a couple of brushes and some new wax to try - much less expensive and if they work, I will do a post with a link to the seller on Ebay.
After the second coat of chalk paint dried I mixed a little black latex paint with a little white to make the black not so stark black and carefully stenciled "Herbs."  When stenciling I like to use the little round foam brushes from any craft store and always have some cardboard near so as to tap off the paint after dipping with the sponge brush - you never want a lot of paint on the sponge.
I then used a sanding block and hand sanded the letters and around the sides a little and then off to the shop where I took a small round electric hand sander and went all around the edges and the top.
Not done yet - time for the finish.  First a coat of clear wax.
We keep a bag of old tee shirts and socks from Hubby in the shop and my favorite way to polish the wax is with my hand in an old sock.  Apply the wax with a brush and then rub, rub, rub with a soft cloth (or sock).  Let it dry for a while and then ready to add the dark wax the same way.  With the base of the clear wax is you apply too much of the dark wax it is easily removed by just rubbing on a little of the clear again and then wiping to remove the excess dark wax.

Now it was time for the "easy" part - getting terra cotta pots, saucers and my herbs.  Well as it turns out not so easy - I made a few phone calls and the answer was the same "sorry, it's fall and we no longer have herbs or veggies, we will be closing our garden area soon."  Guess that is what happens when you live in an area where the winters can be a little harsh.  I finally found a local place who said they still had herbs.  When I got there they did but they were yellow, half dead and were things that we did not eat and I definitely had a list of herbs that I wanted for this indoor herb garden.
Thanks to Mr. Google I found this WONDERFUL place in Boise. They didn't just have herbs, they had an herb greenhouse and every herb on my list. A really great place that is now on my list of great places you can count on to carry lovely plants - they even had David Austin roses - be still my heart.
The finished product, thanks to the waxes, it is so smooth and I have just the perfect place in front of a window in my kitchen for this little garden.  I used 6" pots and saucers and like I said I lined the box with thick plastic.  I thought about 4" pots after I got home and realized that my winter thyme would have to be in a pot outside the container but after sleeping on it decided that it was more important for the plants to have some growing room than to all fit in the box.  I also had a bag of gray moss to put around the containers but the pots come up too high for that so here it is, as is - I am so happy with having these herbs near me when I cook.

There is sage, two types of chives, garlic and regular, African basil which I have not grown before but I think it is maybe a little less pungent and a little more fragrant than regular basil, curly parsley and on the side winter thyme.

The sage is not just for poultry - one of the things it is so wonderful with is our take on something we buy when in Canada - maple caramelized onions or as they call it - maple confit - it is a little pricey for a small jar so I like to make it (just slice and caramelize onions in a big pan with some olive oil, a little butter, some pure maple syrup and if you like a dash of balsamic vinegar) add toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh sage.  A great appetizer on toasted baguette with maybe a little shaved Parmesan on top or not.  Or leave out the nuts and just use on burgers, etc. just a top notch condiment and very versatile.


Old toolboxes are not hard to find at antique stores, etc., they come in all sizes and materials - you just have to go on the hunt.
Annie Sloan paints and brushes, at speciality stores and online
Webster's Chalk Paint Powder, Link

Thank you for stopping by.


    JOB WELL DONE!!!!!!!!

    1. Anonymous - this was a fun project and makes me want to find old toolboxes and do things with them. Will love having fresh herbs in my kitchen. Thank you so much for stopping by. j.

  2. I love it! I have some herbs indoors too but they don't seem to do all that well...probably not enough light.
    Wish I had room for something like that it's perfect!

    1. Hello dear Kim - maybe you need bigger pots so the herb roots can have more room? Who knows with plants. I am fortunate to have a window long enough to accommodate this big toolbox and when I set it against the side of the window there is still plenty of usable counter space. You might look for a small one as those are the ones that are easy to find and they don't need so much room. Thank you so much for stopping by. j.