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!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® a Full Spectrum Paint?

It occurred to me today as I was playing around mixing different ACSP colors, how similar Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan is to full spectrum paint such as Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum Paint. Full spectrum paints are colors mixed without adding any black pigment to them. Unlike most commercial paints that do contain black pigment, full spectrum colors do not. What makes these paints special is their chameleon like quality. The colors change in different light and also according to the time of day.

A description from the Ellen Kennon website reads,

"Our paints are blended from the 7 colors of natural sunlight and closely mimic nature's elements such as sky, water and stone, with infinite color and variation. Standard paint colors are usually a blend of two or three pigments that includes black, which absorbs light. Ellen's paints omit black and have a broader range of pigments that reflect a broader range of light and coordinate more easily with the colors and furnishings around them. They are chameleon-like in their ability to pick up colors from adjacent materials and to change character as the light changes. Also, because of the absence of black and the perfect balance of a full spectrum of pigments, they don't tend to turn muddy or lose their character in low light conditions." 

Years ago I belonged to a popular decorating forum where I was first introduced to the notion of full spectrum color and the Ellen Kennon line of Full Spectrum paints. Thanks to that decorating forum, I now have Ellen Kennon Edgewood Green in my kitchen. I had just remodeled the kitchen and was at a roadblock as to what color to paint the walls. Sound familiar? Ellen was so kind as to speak with me after I had emailed her assistant pictures of my kitchen. I included all my choices from cabinet finish to tile to hardware and counter top. While viewing my pictures she and I discussed what color options would best suit all the finishes I had selected. Her professional suggestion was Edgewood Green and almost eight years later, I still love the color!

Here are some shot's of Ellen Kennon Edgewood Green in my kitchen from a few year's ago

I am totally in love with this color!

So, as I was mixing some ASCP colors, knowing that Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan didn't contain black pigment with the exception of Graphite, it hit me that Annie's colors could also be considered a full spectrum paint! That would explain how beautifully soft they are and how a piece of furniture painted in Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan can change according to the light of the room. These paints also possess that chameleon-like quality of a full spectrum paint.

This also explains why it is so hard to capture the true essence of a color with a camera. The light, the room, the computer monitor all play a role in how the color is interpreted. We can garner an idea to use as inspiration, but my best advice to anyone is to test your color on a scrap piece of wood before committing it to a piece of furniture.

That is my my rambling for today folks!

Have you had any light bulb moments lately?

Also, please go and check out Confessions of a Plate Addict's post on Thanksgiving Inspiration...Tablescapes, Recipes, Decor and More! She was kind enough to feature my Thanksgiving table centerpiece from my post, Around The Table. There is so much great inspiration to be seen there. Be sure to get comfortable...you'll be there awhile!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Custom Color Mixing With Chalk Paint®

Painting with a custom color today using ASCP Paris Grey and Old White!

Check back to see what I'm transforming now!

Hint...it has caning!

Have a good weekend!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Letting Go of Perfection

Welcome back for another episode of my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint therapy session!

You saw my recent post's on what I've been doing with ASCP here and here and here.

Well, another day, another color!

This time I used Country Grey which is not a grey at all. It's more of a beige-y color or as Annie herself describes it, a putty color.. Just as I see Paris Grey leaning blue, Country Grey leans more yellow and green and the dark wax seems to accentuate the yellow even more.

I scored this Hollywood Regency number at Goodwill for $27.00! A true bargain since I saw an identical table on ebay listed for $125. Really? And that was in its original red mahogany state! Whatever.

My parents had the same exact bedside table, so it tugged at my heart a little when I saw it.

It had a little wear and tear but nothing a coat of chalk paint couldn't fix.

Anyway, after researching a bit on chalk painting anything with a red/brown stain, I read over and over to first put on a coat of shellac to seal in the stain. Apparently, if that is not done, you will waste your time because the stain bleeds through the paint and creates a reddish mess.

Oh how I hate extra steps, but I heeded the warning and put on a coat of fast drying shellac.

 It made it all shiny and new looking!

But also sort of fake looking. Looks like plastic!

Being impatient and wanting to get on with the party, I opened my little sample jar of Country Grey and poured about 3/4 of it into a small tray and began painting.

And this is where the Letting Go of Perfection comes in.

The first coat always goes on streaky. Try as I might to go back over it with the brush, it always leaves some streaks. This is also where the magic of Chalk Paint happens too!

If you just let it go and wait for it to dry completely, you will come back and find that it doesn't look as bad as you thought when it was still wet.

The first coat took the 3/4 of my sample jar, which isn't really that much considering there are only 4oz. in a sample size jar. For the second coat, I added a little water to the 1/4 of what was left in the jar, put the top on the jar and shook it really well.

This watered down version is all it took to give my table a nice solid matte finish. Not even a full two coats! That's where the savings comes in. It doesn't take a lot of Chalk Paint to get full coverage!

I decided to add a wash of Old White over the Country Grey and let some of the white settle into some areas. I also decided to Clear Wax before distressing so I could see the difference since I had distressed before waxing on my last project.

Again, the perfection thing came into play!

I was going about distressing with 150 grit sandpaper and feeling good. I forgot that when wiping the wax back off it can also remove a little paint. So, when I got to the top surface of the table where the inlaid leather was, it ended up a little too distressed for my tatse.

My overzealous waxing removed a bit more paint than I would have liked.

Well, what's done is done, (another exercise in letting go of perfection), and I moved on to the dark wax. I knew I had to clear wax before adding dark wax. At least I got that right!

So, did I mention overzealous waxing? Yep. You guessed it! I was so gung ho on getting this done, I smeared the dark wax all over and then had a hard time wiping it all off to get the look I wanted. It seemed like it was drying too fast and not giving me a whole-lotta-time to remove it. It looked like I had been waxing it with a dirty baby diaper! I'll spare you the pictures but you get the idea!

By this time, I had the kitchen window wide open, even though it was thirty-eight degrees outside, because I had been working up a sweat waxing on and waxing off!

Luckily I had remembered reading that if you had used too much dark wax then you could remove it using some clear wax! Whew!

Using an inside-out white sock from our "socks without partners" basket in the laundry room, I dipped my sock-gloved-hand into the clear wax and went over the dark wax rubbing in circles to remove it. It worked like a charm! The dark wax was coming off on the sock. Hooray!

After all that and some buffing I was ready to call it a night. I was practically crossed eyed since it was now 11pm and I promised myself not to critique it anymore until I could see it with fresh eyes in the morning.

Here is the finished table.

It looks a lot lighter and creamier in this picture than it really is.

A few close ups.

Although I wasn't thrilled before hand, I am happy to say it is really growing on me!

This bed was looking for a bedside companion...

Hmmm...it seems the bed is now asking for a makeover too!


This really was an exercise in learning how unique each finished piece can be!

For a recap, ASCP Country Grey, a wash of Old White and clear and dark wax.

For a perfectionist, letting go and knowing when to stop takes some practice!

And because we all love a good before and after...

Perfection!  :)

Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Around The Table...

Setting the table has never been something I've enjoyed. When I was younger, every night my parents had one of us kids set the table for dinner.That was usually around the time one of us disappeared into a room so as to escape this most boring ritual. Little did I realize then, that this was the easy part of getting dinner on the table!

Fast forward a few years and setting the table has become a much more enjoyable experience for me.

Having my own family, I realize it is much more than scattering the table with a few plates, utensils and napkins.

It has become a labor of love.

For a family, the table is a central place of gathering where we celebrate together, create traditions and fortify relationships.

It is a place where we slow down, have conversation and connect with one another after a day that is often filled with busy schedules that go at breakneck speed.

You see, while I was rolling my eyes and trying to busy myself with doing something else so I wouldn't have to set the table, I didn't realize the importance of the presentation of the table and the lessons my mother was teaching.

During the Holiday's, the table setting is as important as the food that is served. We delight in the beauty of the sparkling glasses and the glow of the candlelight...

It enhances the dinner experience and fills our senses.

 We sit down together, say Grace and pass the dishes from one set of hands to another...

...we connect.

 Sometimes there are candles...and sometimes just placemats...

But there is always conversation...

...and laughter...

We share stories about our day...

and enjoy the meal that has so lovingly been prepared for us.

It is effortless...

And when the meal is done and our bellies are full...

....we clear the table of the dirty dishes...

 and blow out the candles and continue our conversation in another room.

We are content.

I hope this holiday season, you have many memorable moments with your family...

...enjoy old traditions and create new ones....

and always remember the love that was shared...

...around the table!

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