Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gilding, Stenciling and Decoupaging, Oh My!

Last night I attended the Chalk Paint® 102 workshop at my local stockist Edwin Loy Home. As expected, it was a fun night of painting, chatting and learning. There was only one other woman in the class with me so it felt more like a private class. Lucky for us! We got right to work, but not before Amy, our lovely instructor and shop owner, opened a bottle of wine for us to sip while we painted! I'm not sure that would have happened in a full class! Lucky us again!

We learned how to use Craqueleur and gild with gold and silver leaf. This was my favorite project of the night! We also decoupaged and stencilled using chalk paint.

For our first project, we painted a piece of molding that we would paint over with the Craqueleur. The Craqueleur causes cracking (duh!) in the paint to occur when dried with the heat of a blow drier. Another method is to let it dry naturally in the hot sun but that will have to wait for better weather...months from now!

The nice thing about these workshops is having all the colors available to experiment with. For the Craqueleur project, I chose Old Violet and silver leaf. There are several steps in this method, none of them hard, but look at the beautiful result...

After the crackle has developed and the leaf applied, dark wax was brushed liberally over the entire piece and wiped off. The dark wax settled into all the nooks and crannies giving it a lovely aged appearance.

It was also great practice using the dark wax and I learned to be quite brave, brushing on several more coats and letting it sit a minute or two before removing the excess with a soft rag.

I think this might be my new favorite color! I fell hard for it and purchased a quart to bring home.

It reminded me of a custom color I created a few weeks ago while playing around in my kitchen workshop. Here it is pictured with the Old Violet. It is the one on top.

In real life the Old Violet is a bit bluer. The custom color with the dark wax is not an Annie Sloan dark wax. It is made by Liberon and is in Dark Walnut. Still a very dark wax, but as you can see not the same color as the Annie Sloan dark wax. Just wanted to point that out to you. I promised myself I would finish the can I had before purchasing Annie's dark wax. I didn't want it to go to waste, afraid that once I started using Annie's, I wouldn't go back to what I had on hand.

One more shot of Old Violet because I love it so!

Moving on...

Decoupaging was next and stencilling. Like I said, I like to experiment with colors I haven't used before.

Here is the stencil project.

I used Old Ochre as the base color and Emile as the stencil color. I then used a wash of Duck Egg, Scandanavian Pink, and Old Violet applying and wiping back each of them. A coat of clear wax, some distress sanding and finally a coat of dark wax and we were good to go!

 Here you can see the layers upon layers of colors I used.

Next up, decoupage...

If you think you've never decoupaged before...yes you have! 

Remember back in elementary school when you cut out a picture from a magazine and glued it to a piece of construction paper then painted Elmer's glue over the whole thing?

That was decoupaging!

We didn't use Elmer's but Mod Podge is used in a lot of decoupage projects.

Here I used Olive as the base color followed by clear and dark wax.

I was excited to use the Olive with dark wax because I have it in mind for a chair awaiting my attention!

It is very pretty!

I seem to be drawn to the darker colors but as I said last night, you can't go wrong with any of Annie Sloan's colors!

So, that's it folks!

Instead of shopping and wrapping and baking, I was happily getting my hands dirty and my finger nails caked with paint!

Anyone interested in a wrapping party?

I'll host!

Christmas In The City

Hello friends!

Only 10 days left until the Jolly Old Man makes his way into our homes!

Are you ready? Have you got all those beautifully wrapped gifts nestled under the tree?
Join the club!

I should be wrapping gifts, but instead I'm reminiscing about my childhood.

You know what they say, "Christmas brings out the child in all of us". Let me tell you why...

Growing up in New York City, I have many special memories of Christmas in the city tht never
Living in an apartment building people always asked how Santa delivered presents to our home if we didn't have a chimney? Why Santa doesn't need a chimney! And no, we didn't leave our doors unlocked! Santa has a special key that he uses to gain entry into apartments. At least that is the explanation my father used when I asked how Santa came into our home. He was right, because Santa always left presents under our tree!

If you don't have a chimney, don't fret. Here is a sweet little poem to print out that will put worrying minds at ease! Go here for a printable file

Our stockings hang upon the wall.
We have no fireplace at all!
You see the problem is quite clear.
Santa, how will you get in here?

We hear a legend. Is it true?
Of magic only you can do.
We'll leave out any plain old key
And mark it "Santa" so you can see.

Your magic makes the key fit right.
So you can get inside that night.
Thank you Santa, here's our key.
The milk and cookies are on me!

Print  out on cardstock and attach with ribbon to a skeleton key like in the photo above!
Skeleton keys can be found at places like Hobby Lobby.
For some more really cute ideas look here.

I no longer live in The City but I have great memories of Christmas among all the hustle and bustle. One of my favorites were the department store windows! Stores like Lord and Taylor, Bergdorf's, Macy's and Saks always have the most beautiful themed displays! The lines are usually long this time of year but so worth it to get a glimpse of the magic of these Christmas windows!

Isn't it funny how a certain smell can evoke a special memory? For me it is the smell of the pretzels and roasted chestnuts coming from the corner street vendors. There is nothing like holding a bag of roasted chestnuts to warm your fingers on a cold blustery day!

Of course we would visit Santa at FAO Schwartz! Back then FAO Schwartz was nothing like it is today. It was a much smaller store but it provided the same excitement with all those toys!

If you are planning a trip to New York City this holiday season there are also a few lesser known, off the beaten path attractions that are definitely worth a visit too!

The Holiday Train Show at The New York Botanical Garden has the most spectacular display of a model train traveling through replica New York City landmarks made out of all natural material's like bark, nuts, moss and leaves. A must see! The best part is you can enjoy this attraction in the warmth of the Conservatory!

If you'll be travelling by subway, get off at Grand Central Station (42nd St.) and go witness the hustle and bustle of New Yorkers on the go in this beautiful concourse!!

This year, Grand Central celebrates its Centennial Birthday with a Holiday light show. But hurry, because it only lasts until December 26th!
All the rushing about will surely have your tummy rumbling. Check out The Oyster Bar & Restaurant featuring one of the largest and freshest seafood menus in the city! Not in the mood for seafood? Check out this map of 35 dining options all in Grand Central!

The Holiday Lights Night bus tour by CitySights NY is the easy way to get your New York Holiday fix. What better place to start your tour than Times Square! Get your cameras ready as the bus continues downtown and over the Manhattan Bridge for an unparallelled sky line view of Manhattan from Brooklyn!
Other Holiday bus tours are given by Gray Line,  NY See The Lights Tour! by On Board NY, and All New York Tours. If a Griswold Christmas is more your style, then head over to A Slice Of Brooklyn's Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour for the 3 1/2 hour tour of homes in Brooklyn's Dyker Heights. As highlighted on their website, "Rockefeller Center? FUHGETTABOUDIT!

If your not able to visit my hometown this holiday season, I hope this little trip down memory lane was enough to spark some child like excitement for what's to come in the next

  10 DAYS!

Oh my!

Friday, December 13, 2013

New Finds New Inspiration

So excited for tomorrow! I will be going to the Chalk Paint® 102 workshop tomorrow night at my local stockist, Edwin Loy Home! It will be nice to take a break from all the holiday craziness and focus my brain on something new! Oh and it doesn't hurt that there is a 40% off Christmas sale going on in the shop! I'll try to be good and remind myself I am there to learn and paint NOT shop!

....I'll let you know how it goes :)

In this class we will learn how to gild and stencil over a textured surface, use Craqueleur and create a wash effect! Can't wait to get started because I brought this baby home with me last week from Goodwill!

I'm telling you, good things to be had at Goodwill! I am a total convert!

I'm trying to decide how to paint this little dresser. French Linen? Coco? Or a bright fun color like Provence? I'd love to hear your thoughts! My brain needs a refresh.

To add to my newly aquired hoarding tendencies, I picked up another piece that is still taking up space in my trunk...a Drexel desk! What??? Yep, a cute little curvy desk with all working parts. Well, most of them. It is missing a small detail...a decorative piece that is attached to the bottom leg. If I can find someone with a jig saw to cut out an identical piece, I'm in business! I mean, there ARE three other's that can be used as a template! At least that is the conversation I had in my head as I stood there in Goodwill staring at the lovely desk! Pretty sure Ana White might have started this way! Maybe using a jigsaw is in my future?

Once I decide on a fabric, this chair will be next in line at The Spa too!

She could use a little pampering, don't you think?

One of the great things about knowing you will be painting with Chalk Paint is that it is alright for the furniture in question to have a some wear and tear, scrathes, dings and dents.  As long as it doesn't have big gouges in the wood, (unless that is the look you like), and missing pieces that can't be replaced and will affect the funtion of the piece, I will usually take it home.

So that's it my friends! Furthering my education to transform more Goodwill beauties!

Check back later and see what I'm up to next!

I might be gilding everything in sight!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Revamping Resin Candlesticks With Chalk Paint®

The bug to revamp something with either paint or by moving furniture always seems to hit at the oddest times! Does it happen to you?

I was watching TV the other night and  looked up and saw the dark oil rubbed bronze candlesticks perched on top of the media armoire begging for a face lift! So, right then and there I jumped up and grabbed all three and headed straight to the kitchen island (aka my workbench)!

After laying some newspaper, I marched into my storage shed (aka the mudroom) and grabbed a couple cans of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.

This all happened beginning at 8:30 PM! My impulsivity had kicked into gear!

I was so focused on the task at hand I almost forgot to get a before picture. This will have to do. At least one of the candlesticks isn't covered in paint yet. (The tall guy all the way to the right.) You get an idea of how dark they were.

Keep in mind I was working on impulse. No plan, nothing in mind, nada. Creatives tend to do that.
Anyway, I started with a coat of French Linen. Next came the Duck Egg. I painted willy-nilly here and there. Remember, no plan.

Then came a custom color I used when I painted this table. But this time I used it as more of a wash. Barely dipping my brush into the paint...again using a slap dash technique.

Then, using a damp rag, I started wiping away some of the paint. In some places wiping back to the original dark bronze finish. Things were really starting to take shape. Perhaps I didn't need a plan?

I discovered that a mixture of French Linen and Duck Egg creates the most beautiful green verdigris shade!

It was getting late, so I let everything dry overnight, not really convinced it was finished.

In the morning, after placing them on my coffee table with the candles I assessed again and decided as much as I loved them, they were too blue-green. Something was off so once more the paint came out. This time I created a wash with Coco and it was exactly what it needed to tone down all the blue-green. It gave it an even nicer old worn look.

Finally, I was convinced they were done!

Next to my rusty crown of vintage glass ornaments they were at home!

Isn't it interesting where a creative project will take you?

Gently nudging you letting you "know" when it's done.

I'm so happy with the way they turned out. I must say all this painting is taking my room in a new direction!

But, with all the Fa-la-la-ing going on, it was only fair to dress them up a little...


Pssst! I think the table is next!

What color would you choose?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Walking Through a Winter Wonderland!

Hello all! Nothing adds to the Christmas spirit like a healthy dose of snow! Luckily I had hung the outside garland and placed the planters with all the lovely greenery in front of the porch just in time! A sprinkling of snow was just the recipe needed to launch me full speed into the holiday season!

Every year I do something a little different. This year I placed a wreath and a gazing ball on top of an urn. Super easy and fast decorating was my jump start to get my butt in gear for the rest of the decorating. You've got to start somewhere and just this little touch was all I needed!

A little icy sparkle made it even better!

 And then on top of the icy sparkle fell a layer of white fluff!

I'm going simple this year and decided to hang a trio of silver and gold wreaths on the front door. Silver and gold never go out of style. I especially love how it looks on the black door. So classic!

Amazing what you see as you are editing and posting pictures. Do you see what I see looking out at you in the lower left, 3rd pane up in the above photo? That's our sweet girl Holly! She got her name because she was born on Christmas day! She will be celebrating her 5th birthday this year! Hello Holly!

As you can see, the snow was falling. Picture perfect!

I placed my planters in their spot in front of the porch. A mixture of greens and red dogwood sticks pushed into the dirt.

A festive bow and a sprig of holly berry's is all they needed.

 Once that was done, it was time to go inside for a cup of Pumpkin Spice Chai latte! So good! Even better with a shot of Bushmill's whiskey added! Similar to an Irish Coffee but with a spicy kick! Sure to warm your bones!

Perfect timing!

Hope you all are snuggled in on this snowy but beautiful weekend!

Are you done with all your decorating or are you somewhere in the middle like me?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Finding My Niche!

I gave you a little hint in this post what I was working on this past weekend and today I am ready for the reveal!

Remember, when I told you the hint was caning?

When I found this lonely little table, it was a mess! It looked as though it had been sitting in someone's garage for years. Dirty, dust covered and cobwebs everywhere. It's a wonder I even bothered but I'm so happy I did!

This picture is after I gave it a good cleaning, right before I started painting.
The finish on top was worn and peeling, so I decided to give it a quick sanding to get rid of all the peeling varnish. That and a wipe with mineral spirits was all the prep that was needed!

I wanted a slightly grayed white so I mixed up 1 part Paris Grey to 4 parts Old White.

Sort of a chalky white. Ha! No pun intended!

Above is after painting but before distressing and waxing. Outside it looks much whiter and brighter, but as a coat of clear wax tends to deepen the color a bit, the gray became more noticeable. Compared to real white, you can see the gray in it. Exactly what I was aiming for!

It kind of reminds me of the color of old plaster.

I am so happy with the way it turned out. I'm finding that deciding on what color to paint a piece can be challenging. Mixing colors is so easy and fun!  As long as you write down the recipe, you can always come back and mix up another batch. I paint a piece of scrap crown molding and write the recipe on the back. This way I have a visual reference too.

This table gave me some practice at painting cane. It's not difficult if you use a dry brush technique. You don't want to load your brush with a lot of wet paint! What I did was paint the flat surface around the cane and then go in and brush in a circular motion on the cane. Let it dry and repeat!

Oh and I always begin painting with the piece upside down so I don't miss any spots!

 A little distressing here and there and a coat of clear wax and you're done!

I am enjoying the process so much I have signed up for the Chalk Paint ® 102 workshop at my local stockist.

I'm really starting to think I found my calling!

Have a good day!
09 10