Friday, May 20, 2011

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan, where have you been all my life?? It just goes to show, you shouldn't craft in a vacuum. That's why I love all my blogging friends!

Like many in the furniture restoration world, I absolutely LOVE Miss Mustard Seed, and Mustard Seed Interiors. Well, this evening, I was multi-tasking...that is, I was watching "How I Met Your Mother" on TV, and looking at Miss Mustard Seed's blog. If you've ever seen her blog, you know that it is full of tutorials, and gorgeous pictures of her latest creations. Her description of a "Paris Gray" color bureau caught my attention, and I started doing a little research...which lead me to her post on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!

Imagine how delighted I was to find that there is a North American supplier right here in NJ!! I called and spoke to Patty Seaman of Classic Wall Finishes. Patty and her sister Karen Donnelly, are both artists. Classic Wall Finishes was one of the first three stockists of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the United States. Patty spent a great deal of time with me on the phone, patiently answering all of my questions, then telling me a little about Annie Sloan's "Soft Wax", with which I was unfamiliar. We set up a time for me to come by and pick up the colors I had ordered, and I got to meet both Patty and Karen. These lovely, talented ladies set themselves apart with their customer service and sincere interest in helping their clients. I left with some great ideas, and the wish that I didn't have to sleep, because I was so excited to start painting I knew I wouldn't want to stop.

Here is the first piece I completed for a client. Here's the before:

....and after, painted in Annie Sloan "Old White". She did not want any distressing - and I have to say, with the lovely, charming detail of this bureau, it's not even necessary!:

The paint has such low VOC that I did half the piece inside...that was the 98 degree weekend. The wax has a strong enough odor that Patty recommended using in ventilated conditions, and I agree. By the way, the wax is soooo luxurious; easy to rub on, and leaves a lusterous, protective finish. I put three coats on the top of this dresser, and two coats on the rest, and used maybe 20-25% of the 500 ml can.

I am seriously seeing this dresser finished in Paris Grey, most likely with the wood top sanded and waxed but left natural. I may not even sell it!!

I'm also eyeing these in Paris Grey...PURISTS, BEWARE!! You are not going to like this!!

Stay tuned...

What projects are keeping you busy??

Mona Kay

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I miss white...

After a little more than a year of collecting vintage pieces from flea markets, estate sales, etc., and using them in my home decor, I had hoped that a specific style would emerge; perhaps a Miss Mustard Seed meets Katies Rose Cottage. Nope. I'm having trouble settling down & landing anywhere!

Recently, I added several beautiful pieces from a wonderful estate sale. I love every piece...

But a funny thing happened. I was was looking at some photos I submitted for a contest at the beginning of the year, and I was surprised to discover...I MISS WHITE!!

I never would have thought it! I honestly believed I was moving away from my monochromatic first love...expanding from the philosophy of "if it doesn't move, paint it white". It seems I am mistaken, and perhaps I have more of a preferred style than I knew. It's a bit of a relief, actually!

So...what to do?? Some of the white furniture has been sold, and I love the new estate sale pieces...I see white paint in their future!! Until then...


Has your style evolved, or remained constant?

Mona Kay

Sunday, May 8, 2011

You tell me....

I'm on my third cup of coffee this morning, tired & sunburned, but excited from yesterday's flea market benefiting South Brunswick High School's Project Graduation. I had a booth to clear out some of my early (newbie) purchases which, as I'm gaining some focus and direction in my collecting/restoring, no longer fit my needs. My daughter also made the chalk-board sign above, which I added to my display...I gave out a lot of cards, and made a lot of local contacts.

And now, over my third cup of coffee, I am contemplating the balance; the net result. For a day's worth of work, I did not clear a big profit after paying for the space. I did not clear out a lot of inventory. However...I talked to a lot of people, many people "ooohed and aahhhed" over my bags (I needed that...I have a beginner's lack of confidence in these items), and I got my name out there in a local, and as far as I know, un-tapped market.

The best part of the day was the refinishing job I got doing a small table. I keep thinking about this gorgeous's a gorgeous soft, honey-toned wood (probably pine or oak) with vintage detail (turned legs, and a sweet little cut-out on each side). It is care-worn and scratched, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!! The owner and I saw completely eye-to-eye on the refinishing...she wanted a satin varnish, but when I suggested a soft, waxed finish instead, she was thrilled.

So...was it worth sacrificing my Saturday?? I think...YES!! I wish I could stay home and let my customers come to me...and maybe as I get better with on-line marketing, that will happen too. But I am a people person, and I really like face-to-face interactions. So I think there will be a few early weekend days...I can bring a sun umbrella, and forgo the late June-early September events (they're just too hot in NJ). I also really like the idea of supporting local efforts like the local high school.

You tell I on the right track??

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Junking Karma

Like any rookie, I am still learning my way around the "junking world". I'm starting to know where to find the best stuff, what is timeless and what is trendy - who knew there were trends in "junk"? I'm learning where I can haggle, and where I can't (fundraisers, Goodwill shops). I learned early that junking people are nice, and that good manners can pay off in spades.

So this weekend when someone running an estate sale was a bit on the nasty side, I was taken aback, but I kept my temper (not an easy thing for me), and moved on. I hated to miss the cute little chair that I had spotted, but it was not meant to be. When the pursuit of an item stops being fun, sometimes even if I win the thing, I just never have a good feeling about it; it's so much nicer to enjoy the experience as well as the piece you fall in love with!

So I was surprised and delighted when I spotted a darling old chair at a garage sale in my neighborhood on the way home!! No Victorian tufted velvet, padded armed delicate piece.... I instantly fell in love with its character, its almost ugliness.

Imagine my astonishment when I saw the price!

The people selling it couldn't have been nicer; I stayed chatting after I made the purchase. They put it aside for me so that I could fetch my CR-V to load it up.

I don't even care how hideous the upholstery is so delightfully vintage, and VERY COMFY!! I curled up in it this morning with my coffee and nearly went back to sleep.

I believe in garage sale/thrift shop/junking karma, now more than ever. I try to be patient and polite, which is usually pretty easy, because like I said, "junking" people are nice! I'm amazed at how many times I have to forgo an item which has stolen my heart, only to find a different, sometimes better one around the corner....junking is just funny that way.

What has Junking Karma sent your way??

Mona Kay