DIY Aha Moment

With all of the painting and staining and top-coating I do on a daily basis, you would think that I know all the tricks of the trade. And I do…kinda…sorta, well, for the most part. Except every once in awhile I have an “aha” moment where I think- “geesh- why didn’t I think of this before?!?”

Do you ever open a brand new can of paint and think, “oooh, how pretty!?” Well, I do, every time, because I love the potential and promise that a fresh new paint color brings to any project. So, I use the paint for that project, then slap the lid back on until the next time…and then I pry it off (because now it’s kinda stuck to the rim because of the left- over paint from the last time) for the next project. And so it goes, and with each project the rim becomes more caked and coated with dried paint (that break off into little tiny micro-chips..which eventually fall into the can and leave lumps while I am painting.) And eventually, I can no longer get a nice snug seal on the paint can and the remaining paint becomes dried and unusable. Ugh.

Annie Sloan Old White Can Edge

So, the other day, after I opened my can of Annie Sloan Greek Blue Chalk Paint (oh, my goodness, this color is swoon-worthy…) I vowed to make sure the cover and rim were clean and clear when I was finished for the day. But here is the issue: there is that second indent in the edge of the can where the lid fits- and that fills up with paint as you wipe your brush along the edge to remove excess paint during the painting process.

Paint Can Edge.jpg

It is virtually impossible to get it clean and paint-free unless you do some surgical intervention with Q-tip(s)-time consuming and messy!

I have tried using the “rubber band” method, where you place the rubber band in the center of the opening and run your brush along that instead of the can’s edge.

Paint Can Rubber Ban Method

But I can attest to the fact that since rubber bands are made out of, well, rubber, there are times when they “bounce back” and the paint will splatter around. And, its messy to remove. Plus, every once in awhile I need to stop and restir my paint and then the rubber band is in the way.

Yesterday, I was looking at the can of paint I was about to open (well, actually, I was searching for the paint can opener because I always seem to lose those), and right beside it was a roll of painter’s tape. You know, the blue kind that we use to mask off anything and everything. My AHA moment! So I grabbed the tape and created a rim guard all around the perimeter of the opening, inside that second indent where the paint typically collects.

Painters Tape Edge Annie Sloan Greek Blue

Because the tape is straight and a quart can is round, I used several small pieces, overlapping as I went along to create a paint barrier. I went to work, painting my pieces, and when I was done, I simply peeled the tape away from the edge and voila!

Removing Tape from Annie Sloan Greek Blue

Perfectly clean…no more caked edges and micro-dots of paint on my projects! Shark Tank here I come! This is a sneak peek at the pieces I am using the Annie Sloan Greek Blue Chalk Paint on- isn’t it gorgeous!?

Annie Sloan Greek Blue Painted Chair

Here’s hoping you have a perfectly mess-free Friday, everyone! Susan xoxo

 

 

 

Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard

Good morning everyone!  I hope you all had an incredible holiday…for us the past two days have been a whirlwind of family, food and so much fun! Even this little guy has gotten into the holiday spirit (this IS his happy face : )Bartlet on the Christmas RugAnd we still have the weekend yet to party! But, in the meantime, I thought I would share my latest project with you, since it is so merry and bright : ) This was a Craigslist purchase that Coach picked up about a month ago. It sat on the porch, waiting for my broken foot to heal (UGH) until finally, I just went ahead and worked on it, boot and all,

Walking Boot for fractured footbecause I needed to get it out of the family room before the holiday! The BEFORE: scratched, dark pine cupboard with a veneer plywood backing.

Red Country Cupboard BeforeAFTER: A Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard with a ship-lap planking background. A happy piece for (I hope) a happy home!

Re-Loved Red Country CupboardHere’s my how-to:

  1. Sanded down the surfaces, buffing out the deep scratches on the lowest exposed shelf. Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard BeforeLuckily for me, other than some scratches and dirt, this piece was in good shape. No mildewy or cigarette odors-that is the worst to try and remove!
  2. Painted with two coats of Annie Sloan Emperor’s Silk Chalk Paint- the most gorgeous color red. Annie Sloan Emperor's Silk Red But, the funny thing about the color red is, no matter what brand you use, it still takes several coats to get a uniform color throughout the piece, especially when painting over a dark surface. In this case, I was planning to distress it anyway so it really didn’t matter that it wasn’t a super uniform finish. I sanded down the edges, Red Country Cupboard Sanded Edgesthen finished it with a coat of Varathane Matte Interior Polyurethane. I love this stuff- has essentially no odor, dries quickly and leaves a soft, slight sheen.
  3. For the backing, I just couldn’t leave that dark pine veneer, so I added some ship-lap pieces of rustic pine planking Coach dug out of the barn. I cut them to the right size, fitting them behind each shelf like a puzzle.Ship Lap Pine Planking
  4. I then stained them a with a General Finishes Country Pine stain for some added contrast.General Finishes Country Pine Stain
  5. Dry-brushed them with a light coat of Americana Chalky Paint.Americana Chalky Paint
  6. I laid them all into place, then used Gorilla glue Red Country Cupboard Gorilla Glueto secure them to the back wall. Once dried, I used my staple/ finish nail gun to secure them permanently without making any apparent nail holes.Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard Interior Planking
  7. Of course, as I was lining up the planking, I created a few scratches on the already finished red cupboard.
  8. So I mixed some paint and poly together and re-applied to the scratched areas, blending into the already finished wood.Red Country Cupboard Paint and Poly Glaze
  9. I replaced the “colonial kitchen hardware” with a simple wood knob and some iron hinges and we’re done!
  10. AFTER: the Red Country Cupboard all decked out and ready for the holidays : )Re-Loved Red Country CupboardI hope you all had a magical holiday and that your new year will bring you much joy-I know we are all looking forward to 2016!! Have a great post-holiday weekend, everyone! Susan

Country Pine Commode Transformed

Another day, another DIY project done! This is an old commode Coach and I picked up at auction last fall for $25.

Country Pine Commode Before

Unfortunately, it was buried in the back of the barn until our most recent barn sale (which was quite a success, I must say). My mom had been searching for a nice storage cupboard for her entryway, and I knew this would be the perfect piece once I rescued it from under the piles of books and bric-a-brac!

Stacks of books in the barn

All it took was a bit of cleaning, a few coats of Annie Sloane Chalk Paint in Old White, a bit of sanding around the edges and a new product (more about this later), a crème wax by Americana Paints that you literally paint on with a brush and then buff off. It has no odor, has the consistency of a clear paint, leaves a nice, soft sheen and a very smooth protective finish. Our original intent was to paint the hardware as well, but once the piece was sanded and finished, we liked the dark contrast against the light wood.

Country Pine Commode Painted

But, the best part about this makeover is the staging that occurred once the commode was finished and moved into place. Because my mom is an artist, she sees everything a bit differently than most folks. The surfaces in her home become a canvas that she transforms from simple and unadorned to simply beautiful,  with a little help from her favorite HomeGoods store(s).

Country Pine Commode Staged

Each of these decorative items were purchased separately, but together they become a lovely vignette in shades of blues and silvers, with a few natural elements from the sea. Flanked by two antique ladder back chairs with gunny sack pillows, some of my mom’s paintings and the pediment mirror that is more than 25 years old, the vintage country pine commode has a new life greeting visitors in my mom’s entryway.

Painted Pine Country CommodeAnd that is what the three “R”‘s are all about- reclaim, recycle, relove. Have a lovely weekend everyone, the sun is about to shine!! Susan

Teeny Tiny Tea Table

My DIY projects are being completed at a record pace this month, knowing that Thanksgiving dinner for twenty is fast approaching and our Vintage Thymes Monthly Market will be the following weekend! One of this week’s projects was refurbishing a cute little side table.

Teeny Tiny Tea Table BeforeThe original finish was a shiny scratched shellac with large milky stains on the top over a dark mahogany wood. After several unsuccessful attempts to remove the stains, I made the decision to paint and antique it instead. Since I wanted to show off the pretty delicate floral border, I decided to go with two coats of Annie Sloan French Linen for the base and a specialty deeper gray color that I created. (I’m calling it CDH Parisian Gray : ) I have been mixing my own colors and creating a chalk-like paint using a recipe I recently discovered online. LOVE it. Blog for another day.

CDH Parisiian Gray Paint

For the finishes, I used some Martha Stewart products I discovered in a 50% off mark down bin at MichaelsCrackle Effect for the center, Antique Tintable Glaze for the contrast and a Satin Acrylic Finish. 

Martha Stewart Glazes and FinishesHere is the How-To:

1. Cleaned the table and remove cobwebs and dust (it was in the barn…).

2. Painted the base coat with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The beauty of ASCP is that you don’t need to prep or prime anything. Just paint and go. Two coats. 3. Sanded the edges to give the table a more rustic appearance. (You can skip this step if you want it to be a bit more refined : )

Annie Sloan French Linen Paint- 2 coats legs4. I had left the middle circle untouched, thinking that I would just add the crackle medium and then paint over that to allow the dark wood to show through. (For more info on using crackling medium, check out my Big Rack Attack Towel Rack tutorial)

Martha Stewart Crackle Medium over shellacFAIL. The crackling medium dried, and when I painted over it for the contrast, it looked fine.

Martha Stewart Crackle Glaze Over ShellacUntil I started to add the glaze. What a mess. All of the paint started coming off with the rag! Apparently the crackle medium did not adhere to the unprepped and shellacked inner circle. So I scraped it off,

Scraping off Crackle Glaze and Paintcleaned it well, sanded it down,

Sanded Table toppainted it with my CDH Parisian gray,

Painted Inner Circle of Tea Tablecrackle glazed and repainted that inner circle again, allowed to dry thoroughly,

Repainting inner circlethen proceeded on to the next step.

5. Mixed the Antique Effects Glaze with my darker gray paint.

Martha Stewart Antique Glaze and paintRemember, the more paint you use, the darker the glaze effect will be, so just use a small amount of paint. Paint it on, wipe it off with a damp rag. Do one section at a time, as this product dries pretty quickly and you want it to be blended smoothly and not leave streaky lines.

Painting on Martha Stewart GlazeI started out with a fairly dark mixture of paint and glaze, then added more glaze to lighten up as I went on. The great part about this product is that it is water based, so just taking a damp rag to it removed the excess perfectly. You can see how the glaze enhances not only the crackling effect in the center, but also the medallion of flowers along the border. So country pretty!

Wiping Off Excess Glaze6. Allowed to dry, then added the Martha Stewart Satin Finish for protection. Done. Overall, I give the Martha Stewart products two thumbs up! They go on smoothly (the crackle fiasco was my bad, not Martha’s), clean up with soap and water, are essentially odorless and a little goes a very long way, so it’s inexpensive as well. But the refurbishing of this little table cost me a lot of time. Good thing Coach got it for FREE-99!!

Table with Martha Stewart Satin Finish7. So, where could you use a Teeny Tiny Tea Table? How about next to a pretty pink victorian rocking chair in the Parisian-inspired guest room?

Teeny Tiny Tea Table Vignette PMOK, I am off to decoupage the world! Or, at the very least, some more stars… Have a super Sunday everyone, and GO PATS! Susan 

The Master in Class at Maison Decor

Recently, I had the good fortune to observe an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint class instructed by Amy Chalmers, owner of Maison Decor in Reading, Mass.

Amy Chalmers

With the perfect blend of skill, patience and great humor, Amy was able to successfully educate the attendees of the class on the basic techniques of using chalk paint to make their life more beautiful.

Maison Decor Life More Beautiful SignI first met Amy about a year ago, when I ventured into her store in Malden (now being used primarily as a workshop). Although we chatted that day about her blog and her company, I hadn’t really had an opportunity to learn about her own design experience until now. When questioned about her art background (when you see her shop, you know there is a very talented artist in residence), this was her response:

Amy Painting Armoire“I did study art at Northeastern and our program involved taking classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, which was amazing. But I was an English major in creative writing and art was my minor. I just always was the artsy kid, and my dad built me my own special art table when I was 12…it was modeled after an architects drafting table with a raised work surface and it had lots of cubbies on one side for me to put my art supplies. My parents just encouraged my creative leanings and I am glad they did. I painted a mural on my bedroom wall in high school~so it was just something that I found very natural. I think it was my first grade art teacher that ignited the fire inside of me, I was so excited about my art classes with her, and I remember thinking that I wanted to grow up to be an art teacher!”

After her schooling, Amy got into fabrics, making slipcovers and drapes, and started her own business in her late twenties sewing custom pieces. Interior design work followed, and for over 20 years she had her own business specializing in window treatments and color selections. Focusing primarily on residential interiors, she did do an occasional commercial space, including the McDonalds in Fanueil Hall in Boston! (what Annie Sloan colors are in that yellow and red palette?!)

Chalk Paints on Windowsill at Maison Decor

Fast forward to the present, where Amy spends the bulk of her time in the Reading Shop as an Annie Sloan “stockist” and teacher, offering painting workshops while creating and selling gorgeous pieces of furniture and decor, all finished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Maison Decor Chalk Paint SuppliesEntering into the store from Main Street, you feel as if you are stepping into an old chateau in the French countryside.

Maison Decor Shop VignetteHer style is quintessential French Country: loads of soft, muted colors, (Duck Egg Blue, oh yum!)

Duck Egg Bluestunning crystal chandeliers

Maison Decor French Crystal Chandelierand vintage pieces, all restyled and refinished using Annie Sloan paints and finishes.

Blue Painted DresserShe and her sons, Justin and Colin, also working in the business, created this cobblestone floor using sponges and chalk paint. Magnifique! FYI-the guys teach a “men’s-only” class, for the gents who would like to learn the painting techniques while not surrounded by women. Or maybe not.

Maison Decor Cobblestone FloorI arrived a bit early on workshop day, checking out the work table at the back of the shop, all set with the necessary tools and aprons her participants would need.

Maison Decor Class PrepOnce the class got rolling, Amy was a great teacher, at first educating her students on the paints, the company and furniture styles, but then it was time to get messy!

Time Clock @ Maison Decor

Amy’s charming teaching style is stand-up comedy meets mad scientist meets art professor.

Class PaintingShe knows her stuff, and is eager to impart her vast knowledge and expertise to her students, demonstrating technique and patiently answering any questions from her class. This is a hands-on workshop- no boring lectures here!

Amy Chalmers Teaching ClassAfter a few hours of painting and glazing and using blow-dryers (you’ll have to take the class to find out what those are for : ) the final reveal: These were Amy’s demo pieces:

Completed Samples, Teacher

and here are some samples from one of the class members: pretty close, agreed?

Completed Samples, Student

If you are interested in learning about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and if you don’t know what that is, check out Pinterest (and if you don’t know what that is, you clearly have not been reading my blog…)

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

This unique paint, originating in England by a former rocker, is slowly making its way through the US and changing the way American craftspeople re-purpose and restyle their furniture.) Or, you can head over to Maison Decor at 150 Main Street in Reading, and learn everything you need to know from the master, Amy Chalmers, in one of her continually added workshops. They stock all of the necessary supplies there, or you can order online.  And if you do check her out, tell her Sue from Country Design Home sent you! Have a charming Sunday, Susan

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