I was on the hunt for an oversized picture frame suitable for making a large bulletin/sample board for the workshop.  I made a short list of the likely places I might find such an object at the right price. 

My first stop was the East Bay Thrift Shop on Franklin Street in Bristol because every purchase supports the East Bay Food Pantry.  It also doesn’t hurt a bit that the price is right!  This means I don’t  have to patiently wait out a mark down at a consignment store which can translate to multiple visits and the very real possibility that my almost prized possession could soon be in the hands of another.  

If that is a miss, my next stop is always Second Helpings on Gooding Ave. in Bristol.   They have a very large selection of items at a range of prices and it is just a great place for scouting out the next great find.  Problem is, I am not the only one on the hunt!  On more than one occassion I have scolded myself for waiting too long to make a purchase and discovered on the day of a final mark down that someone had long taken possession of my object of desire.  I take solace in the fact that I have been on the winning side of the transaction as much as the losing side –but it still hurts!

Since I was plainning to discard the contents of any frame I could find, it made the assignment a bit more challenging.  I found a very large mirror at Second Helpings, the frame was the perfect size but the price was too steep considering I only wanted the frame.  I needed to wait it out, so I did.  Finally, about 4 days before the final markdown I entered the store and found  the once obscure mirror prominently displayed on an easel front and center.  I had a decision to make.  I could wait four more days and save another $7 or I could just take it home before anyone else had the same idea.  I quickly grabbed the tag off the mirror and proceeded to the cashier. 



Once home, I removed the mirror from the frame, apparently not carefully enough because the backing scratched the back of the mirror and de-silvered it in one spot.  Well I’ve always wanted to experiement with antiquing an on old mirror so I guess I have another project I can add to my list!

I quickly cleaned off the frame and then started painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  The first layer was Arles (a beautiful color) and on the second layer I added a bit of Emperor Red and Louis Blue in spots where I wanted to distress the frame.  When that quickly dried I went over it with a coat of Graphite and then a coat of clear wax.  I distressed the piece and then added a coat of clear wax to seal it.  I set it aside and moved on to making the bulletin board.


We cut down a scrap piece of  homosote board to size using a utility knife.  I had some bleached drop cloth fabric left over from an earlier project and attached that to the board using a staple gun.  I bought some 2-inch sticky-back velcro tape at Home Depot.  I lightly marked lines on the fabric where the center of the sticky tape would go.   I then used the staple gun to secure the fabric to the homosote board using the penciled in vertical lines as a guide.  We then cut the velcro tape to size leaving 2-3 inches of overhang on each end.  We needed a couple of hands to keep the velcro tape in place when removing the tape backing and to press and secure the tape to the canvas in a straight line.  When that was done,  we wrapped the ends around the back of the canvas and secured it in the back with a staple gun.

The board was inserted into the back of the frame and secured in the corners with thin wood strips (cut down paint stirrers).  While we first thought about hanging the board on picture wires, we realized that it would be best to secure it directly to the wall which we did with drywall screws.  To finish the piece,  I attached Velcro tape to the back of my sample finishes and hung them on the board.  They are now appropriately framed.





Green-ish Blue-ish

“Green-ish blue-ish” that is how my youngest daughter describes the color I have grown fond of the last few years.  Even though red is just as high on my list, she insists that I can only have one favorite color in my house and I’m told it is not red.  Well I guess I can’t fight that wisdom!  I kept this new rule in mind while pondering my next project—painting a pair of 8-year old hutches.

Let’s just say I wouldn’t normally take on a project of painting two hutches at once for the fear that they would be left abandoned in some sort of half-painted frozen state.  Maybe I would make it all the way through 2 coats of primer, one on each hutch and then lose my steam.  Perhaps there was hope I could get a first coat of paint color on at least one of the pieces (in between dance recitals and soccer games)–dare I say two?  No way.  

Thanks to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, my thinking on tackling such a project has completely changed!   No need to  prime or prepare– I think this paint was made especially for me!  So I dug right in, fearless in my approach not only because the makeover candidates were from IKEA, but the Chalk Paint is so forgiving that worst case scenario I could quickly paint over something if I didn’t like it.


I decided to first paint the cabinets in a wash of Annie Sloan Old White Chalk paint diluted with water and then over that coat with a more elegant green-ish blue-ish (Provence mixed with  Duck Egg blue and water to a consistency of a cream).


After the paint was dry I lightly sanded the finish and then applied one coat of of Annie Sloan Clear Wax.  While I was at it, I changed out the toile fabric with something more neutral with the look of linen (canvas drop cloth).  


Green-ish Blue-ish it is!

It’s a sign!

I had my eye on a vintage wooden “paint supplies” sign at Robin Jenkins Antiques for longer than I care to remember.  I really, really wanted to buy it and hang it in my workshop but had to forgo it since there were other pressing needs at the time (like a new lock system for the van—ouch!).  Of course in the pecking order of priorities, replacement of our ratty old living room couch scores much higher than “really cool sign” for my studio.  I was sure that someone would come in and snatch it up long before I was in a position to buy it. 

Fast forward several  months later and my Mom was on the hunt for the perfect birthday gift for me.  At the same time, I was exploring the possibility of being a Stockist of Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.  Having given up the search for the elusive gift, my Mom decided to ask me if there was anything  that I really, really wanted for my special day but wasn’t in a position to get for myself.  The answer was a resounding “YES !”  Checkbook in hand, I raced over to Robin’s to see if the sign was still in the back of her shop.  As I opened the door there it was —a sign!  My sign!  ( ratty couch =0, really cool sign =1).  Robin helped me get the sign to its new home.  Hanging the sign was added to the very bottom of our very long  ”to do” list which seems to come with the territory of living in an old house.  I was still just as happy to be its proud new owner!

While I loved the sign “as is” I thought it could use a little love and brightening up.


Enter Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in my favorite color -Provence!

The sign is now appropriatly hung in its place of honor in my newly restyled workshop/retail space.  The last time I looked its brother, a Hardware &  Tools sign, was awaiting adoption at Robin Jenkins new shop space in Tiverton Four Corners.  Suddenly I’m feeling very maternal!



Brimfield Calling!

Since I probably won’t be able to sneak off to the Brimfield Antiques Show in Massachusetts this week, I need to wistfully recall the fun I had going to the show in May.  Each year, as a birthday present, my husband takes the day off to join me in my annual pilgrimage to the mecca of all things antique and vintage.  Yankee Magazine aptly captures the spirit of the show in its May/June 2010 issue where it describes Brimfield as both the utimate treasure hunt and a three ring circus.  I just call it heaven!

As a new Stockist for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I was on the hunt for a display cabinet for my first paint shipment that was arriving any day.  I scoured the fields in search of the perfect piece and hurried past a turnoff that led to a row of tented shops and then to a dead end.  I thought better of it, turned back and headed down the previously ignored path.  Here it was, my diamond in the rough!

Since it was early in the show my husband thought it would be better to do some more looking around and circle back (Golden Rule #1–There is no circling back in Brimfield!).  Alas, it was too late—I was smitten!  It was a little worse for wear and tear but the price was right and it fit the bill perfectly.

One problem  – no way would this big boy fit in my van!  Luckily the stars aligned and the dealer turned out to be from the Out of the Blue Antique Shop in nearby Swansea, Massachussets.  They offered to deliver it to Bristol on their way back from the show.  To my surprise I heard two of my favorite words–FREE DELIVERY!!!!

Well after a lot of cleaning up, and a fresh coat of Annie Sloan’s Henrietta Chalk Paint on the shelves, this little cast off has been officially revived.   And boy can it hold a lot of paint!