Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Official Color of Knot Too Shabby

I knew there was a reason I was so excited about Florence.

Rich teal. Vibrant. Bright. Happy!

The official color of knot too shabby!

Of course, I didn't realize that until I saw a picture of myself in my knot too shabby teal t-shirt that I even connected that it's the same color as Florence! (Seriously, one of the most unflattering pictures of me...sigh. I really need to work on the whole self-image thing).

Back to Florence...

I've had this armoire for over a month in the store in its natural wood. Oak. Grainy and in really nice shape. I like to give nice furniture a chance to sell before I tackle it with a paint brush. Plus, this piece just wasn't "talking to me."

When I got word that we were getting Florence soon, I decided to hold off on this piece until it came. And, I'm so glad I did!

Tuesday morning I got the call. "It's in." To which I responded, "I can be there in an hour!" Six cans later and a couple of hours, I had this puppy painted.

Though, the dark wax is what makes it. The dark wax settled in all of the grain and around the edges of the gorgeous wood detailing.

The simple paint job compliments the elegance of this entire piece. Some things are worth the wait and I'm so excited to have a new color to play with!

In other news, I'm super excited about how the Bazaar and Consignment Sale is coming along. So far, over a dozen sellers and 500 pieces of advertising floating around in the community and on the web. Only one week to go until we have the sale of the year.

Lastly, I'm just weeks away from my one year anniversary on Glendora Ave. and we have some very exciting things in the works. New business initiatives, opportunities for other sellers and more. I can't share all yet, but welcome your prayers as we venture forth to grow our business...that we do so in a fashion that supports our brand, that benefits our community and most of all honors God in all that we do!



Monday, June 11, 2012

All About the Flea

Have you ever wondered why they call it a Flea Market?

I always assumed it was because the stuff sold at Flea Markets is old and infested.

I did some research and though the origin of the term has been disputed, the general agreement is it originates from the literal French translation marche aux puces.  

The marche aux puces is an outdoor Bazaar in Paris, France that was named after the pesky parasites that infested the upholstery of furniture purchased there.

Lesson Learned: Beware of upholstered furniture! 

All that to say I went to the Flea Market yesterday. I like to hit up the Rose Bowl Flea Market a few times of year to indulge in the competitive spirit of vendors and the one of kind oddities that you can only find amongst thousands of sellers.

I tell you doesn't matter what time of year we is ALWAYS HOT! January or June, it doesn't matter!

Yesterday was no exception. Despite five hours of shopping, we barely scratched the surface of all that was being sold.

I did, however get some pretty cool things.

I bought the tin letters to make my own store sign. I love the letters, which are hand cut out of reclaimed and recycled metal and tin. The wood was from a different vendor and already pieced together and serves as the perfect backdrop to my letters.

I truly rare find. An antique Geography book from 1849 with page after page of old maps. I will sell these one page at a time. And, beneath it is an atlas from 1949 with pages of old maps.

Authentic and original fruit labels from a variety of packaging companies. I got about ten of these, all different. I stuck to ones that had some local flair...a few with Scottish images to appeal to us Glendorans.

An antique alarm clock from 1914. It sort of works. The alarm went off last night.

I'm such a sucker for vintage tin. The fact that these were blue was an added bonus. I bought these with the intention of keeping them...but, I have to give them a shot to sell in the store first.

A toucan garden ornament, hand made out of scrap metal. I actually don't know why I got this. There was something about it that I thought was unique and would be interesting in the shop.

And, the cream of the antique apothecary cabinet. This was on the top of my "wish list" and was super excited to find one.

Among some other odds and ends not pictured, I got a few fabulous pieces of furniture including a Hall Tree from the 1920's and a mahogany side board. They are BOOTIFUL and I'm going to be putting them in the shop for the Bazaar and Consignment Sale as "Pick it Before I Paint it" pieces.

A Happy Picking Weekend despite the sun and accompanying sunburn. ;)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Heap

This dresser was a HEAP! See beyond the high gloss latex; beyond the plain, yellow wood knobs; beyond the scratches, chipped paint and uninspiring yellow.

Beneath the cream and yellow paint is solid wood with a deep brown stain.

With the simple lines yet elegant curvature of the top drawers...I saw some awesome potential!

Step 1: Strip the hideous high gloss paint.

Step 2: Strip the thick varnish

Step 3: Sand

Step 4: Stand back and admire the GORGEOUS wood!!!

Step 5: this case using Annie Sloan Dark Wax to stain the wood. I applied two coats of dark wax.

Step 6-9: Paint, distress, wax, add new hardware.

Ta Da!

I used some Aubusson and Louis Blue that I mixed for one project, added a bunch of old white and painted the mix over the dresser with out mixing it completely. The result was a blue/white marbly pattern throughout the paint.

And, just in case you forgot what it looked like before:


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Getting it on with Graphite

I love Annie Sloan's Graphite! I tell customers, "if you want to have the sophisticated look of a rich, black finish without the harsh look that most black paints offer, Graphite is the perfect color."

It is also the color that gives painters the most grief (I base that assessment solely on the number of phone calls I receive from individuals seeking help with their Graphite projects).

Graphite is not black! In fact, none of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paints have black pigment in the colors, including this one. Out of the can, graphite is...well, just that; graphite color. It is the color you would typically find on a "black" chalkboard. A rich, deep slate grey.

So how does that slate grey turn into a richer, deeper shade of black? With Dark Wax.

In fact, Graphite is the only ASCP color that you apply Dark Wax to without a base coat of Clear Wax.

Because of the sheer number of inquiries I get relating to painting with Graphite, it seemed fitting that I offer some tips on how you can work with Graphite with ease!

1. Texture Matters

Dark Wax fills into areas of texture. The more texture in your paint application, the darker the end result. When I paint with Graphite, I will typically use a thicker brush or even a 2 inch wax brush to apply the paint.

I use a multi-directional paint technique so that the brush strokes are going in all different directions.

2. Smoothing Your Finish

If you happen to be one of the individuals that won't defy traditional paint practices...and by traditional paint practices, I mean paint in all different directions for a super textured, brush-stroked can still get a dark finish with a smooth application.

For a smooth finish, I like to use a regular paint brush, appropriate to the size of the piece you are working on.

Paint with the wood grain moving from top to bottom. Then, dip your paint brush into water and paint over the area you just painted with just water.

Just remember, with a smooth finish, the final result with the Dark Wax applied will not be as dark or as "colorful" as with a high texture finish.

3. Applying Wax

Waxing is what causes the most problems for individuals.

Assumption: The more wax I use, the darker it will be!

This is only partly true.

For starters, when you begin waxing your piece, your eyes will have a hard time adjusting between the graphite in its natural paint color and the graphite with the dark wax. In some ways, it all just looks the same while your working on it. If you get discouraged by the perceived lack of change in color, just take a step back and look at it from afar.

If it doesn't look dark enough, don't add wax upon layer of wax upon layer of wax. TRUST ME! It will not turn out well for you if you do that.

I tend to be on the conservative side when using wax. HOWEVER, when waxing Graphite, I will usually apply with a heavier first coat. I work it into all of the painted brush strokes and patterns within the wood so that the Dark Wax settles into every nook and cranny.

When you are waxing a large piece, like a dining room table, dresser, etc., wax with the grain. Initially, your waxing brush strokes can be worked into the finish from all different directions (circles, diagonally, etc.). As you spread the wax out to get the best coverage though, it works best if you go with the grain, from top to bottom (or side to side) in a fashion that doesn't have waxing overlap.

For example, if you are waxing the side of a high boy dresser, the wood grain most likely is in a vertical pattern. Wax from the top to the bottom moving from left to right. If you wax starting at the top and move your way down in small sections, you are creating waxing overlaps that will look unnatural. Likewise, if you are waxing a large table, wax in complete sections along the wood grain.  

4. Wiping the Wax

ALWAYS..I repeat...always wipe off the excess wax immediately!

Assumption: If I wipe off the wax, the protective finish and dark color will be removed.

The most frequently skipped step in the waxing process is immediately wiping off the excess.

First off...what does the wax do?

As the wax dries, or more accurately hardens, it creates a protective layer that acts as a buffer between the painted finish. It helps to prevent scratching, nicks and dings in the wood. It adds a finished sheen, eliminating the flat look and feel of the paint without wax. It also creates some water resistence so the furniture will not be (as quickly) damaged from water rings or spilled glasses.

To explain why it's important to wipe the excess, I need to explain what happens if you don't wipe.

An overly thick application of wax, once hardened or dried feels sticky to the touch. Imagine that you are wearing a sweatshirt, you lean your arms on a table and when you go to move them, the sleeves peel off from the tabletop, leaving tiny fibers from the fabric in the finish. That's an indication of too much wax that wasn't immediately wiped off.

When it's time to buff the finish, rather than buffing into a finished shine, the excess wax will be moved around the piece and take on a streaky, cloudy look.

To remedy that, you will have to buff...and buff....and buff...and buff. Or, you'll get so sick of rubbing the darn wax that you'll just end up repainting the entire piece and starting from scratch.   

Case in point, wipe the excess wax. Wax with your right hand, wipe with your left. Do it immediately. YOU CAN'T WIPE OFF TOO MUCH WAX. Wipe until you no longer feel the pull of the towel against the surface.

5. Wait

Wax. Wipe. Wait.

24 hours to be specific...or until the wax is completely hardened. I suggest that after you wax (and wipe) your piece, wait until the next day to buff it.

6. Buff the Wax

You can use a soft cloth, buffing brush, old t-shirt, cheese cloth, etc. to buff. I like to buff in the light so I can see the shine come through.

If the end result isn't quite as dark as you like, now is the time to add more wax. Follow-up with the same steps for waxing, wiping, waiting and buffing. The added layer of dark wax will help continue darkening the Graphite paint into that richer and deeper shade of black. It will also add yet another layer of protection to your furniture.

7. The Finished Result

It's not black enough!'s not black paint therefore isn't a true black. In a room by itself, Graphite waxed and buffed will look black. But, if you put it side by side with black latex or black spray paint, it's going to look more brownish, grey than black.

Similarly, with a smooth finish, like seen below, the final color wll be even less dark than Graphite, Dark Waxed on a heavily textured surface.

The finish is streaky!

It's actually not a streaky finish you are seeing. Rather, it's the variation in color throughout the peice of furniture as a result of the varying textures from the furniture itself or the brush strokes within the paint. Just like adding dark wax to Old White, or Duck Egg or any of the other Annie Sloan colors, there is a lot of variation within the color of the paint to give it the aged, antiqued look. It's what makes ASCP pieces stand out from just ordinary, painted furniture. The same is true with Graphite. You aren't turning gray paint into black paint, you are adding depths of color to the paint finish so that the end result is varying shades of charcoal grey that to the naked eye looks black.

There are cloudy sections!

If you have a finished product with cloudy sections, the most likely explanation is that you used too much wax, didn't wipe the excess therefore it didn't buff off entirely.

The secondary explanation is that the appearance of the cloudy sections is actually areas where the dark wax did not settle into the texture as much. Therefore what appears to be cloudy is actually just the Graphite color, closer to its natural shade than the Dark Waxed shade.

Lest you be discouraged about working with Graphite, I have to tell you that the first piece I ever painted Graphite I had to re-paint. I made all the classic mistakes (which is why I can write this post)!

Over the months, I have really gotten the feel for this color and love how it looks on furniture.

Added distressing compliments the color variation with the dark paint.

Below you can see the difference between Graphite with Dark Wax and Graphite without Wax.


I hope this is helpful! As always, call, email or comment with other questions or bits of advice!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Will Brake for Arrows

Today is my 10 year anniversary!

That's us! 10 Years Ago!
I actually had to take a picture of a picture because when we got married, there was no such thing as digital photos. We paid for actual pictures in an album and got 35 mm proofs. sigh How things have changed!

Anyway, my parents watched our girls for the weekend so we have an entire weekend to do whatever!

Naturally, I was itchin' for a weekend of yard sales. It's been over three weeks since I've hit the streets for some goodies, so in my sweetest voice, I batted my eyes..."Pleeeeeaaasssse, can we get up and go yard saling in the morning?" Which, of course we did.

Some weeks I have great luck finding furniture for the store, and others not so much. This weekend seemed to be one for the kids (ironic since they aren't even home for the weekend).

A fun teeter totter that I got for $30. I'm sure one of them will get hurt playing on this.

A Fisher Price play kitchen that I will sell from home.

Floaties for the swimming pool. I got all three of them for $5! Score!!!

A Cozy Coupe. I already have one at home so will sell this one on craigslist.

I also picked up three of these storage containers. I got all of them for $10! They are perfect for my decopauging materials, tools in the garage...whatever. 

And, lest I leave out all of my hubbies finds...he picked up 40 books to add to his classroom library (complete with the AR reading level and stickers) and about five board games/puzzles for a whopping $6!

I jokingly asked him if he got a receipt to be reimbursed.

All this to say, I love the thrill of the hunt; never knowing how it's going to pan out by the end of the day and the exhilaration that comes from finding some hot deals on totally functional items!

What's the best thing you've ever found at a yard sale?

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