Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plain Jane Pines for a New Look

Fueled with enthusiasm from my smaller projects like candlesticks and picture frames, I asked my husband to join me for some Saturday morning shopping for more things to paint.  We headed off to the flea market, but much to my surprise, I wasn't finding the bargains I had hoped to find.  Sometimes I find better deals at thrift stores and garage sales.  Feeling somewhat discouraged we set off for home, but then I remembered reading about an estate sale.  We stopped by on our way home and I discovered some rather "plain jane" pine end tables available at a good price.  I could see they were well-made, solid wood and I could also see the potential there. 

I couldn't wait to get started! I decided to paint the tables in the beautiful Paris Grey color and then to embellish them with a stenciled design in Old White.  This was my first piece of furniture using the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I loved the way the paint went on and the great coverage that you get.  After just about 30 minutes, it was dry and I was able to do a second coat.  I decided to do a "white wash" to accentuate the edge details and braided trim.  Then it was on to the stencil.  I have to admit, it took me some time to get the stencil done on the first table, as it had been quite a long time since I had done one.  But kind of like riding a bike, you start to remember and then it becomes quick work.  Once the stencil was dry, I waxed and distressed the piece a little bit for that well worn look. I purposely left the little dents and dings in the table because I think they add to the character of this hand painted piece. 

I don't know about you, but I love the color combination of the soft grey with the creamy white!  I think they look more delicate and detailed now.  I really like the soft sheen that you get from the wax finish, too!  What do you think?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Passions Ignite

I just recently discovered my newest passion.  Painting once loved, but now neglected, abandoned or forgotten items to give them a new, fresh beginning.  Some call it "upcycling," but whatever you call it, it's better for the planet to reuse perfectly good items, rather than haul them to the dump.  Not to mention, better for your pocketbook!  Many of us "well meaning" folk bring our outdated and unstylish items to our local charities for donation, hoping they will find a new home.  It's kind of like the "island for misfit decor."  You need vision and a sense of adventure to sort through those cluttered shelves. I've always loved the hunt for that perfect little treasure that will solve some organizational problem, or fill some empty gap or need in my house, but often the finish or the color of an item prevents me from using it as I'd like. 

As the new year dawned, I found myself contemplating all of the unfinished projects that I still hadn't gotten around to doing.  I had several pieces of furniture that I had been putting off painting.  A conversation with my mother, who is a decorative painter, clued me in about a new paint that was perfect for furniture.  It's a European paint and wax system called Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that results in a beautiful finish and is especially perfect for those french country distressed pieces.  It sounded too good to be true, but I had to try it out.  I attended a workshop at a faux finishing studio to learn some finishes to use with these products and came home ready to jump right in.  This new endeavor combined my love of decorating, creative play, restyling, repurposing, and thrifting, and it's good for my home, my budget and the earth!  Imagine that!  I was so excited about the possibilities!

So now all I needed was a project to get me started.  I wanted to start with something small and inexpensive, before I tackled my daughter's furniture.  I found these great little candlesticks at a local thrift store.  I loved the shape, but I was not crazy about the color. 
 A fresh coat of paint, some wax, and a little sanding to distress and voila!
A beautiful vignette to show off my latest creations!