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Applying a Simply Said vinyl design to chalk painted furniture

When I was painting a lot of furniture, I loved putting designs on them. Chevron was very popular. So was anything french, Paris or script-inspired. It still is. The problem for me, was that I was relying on stencils to achieve the look. With stencils, I always had a little paint bleed-through and could never achieve the crips, clean edges I desired. Transfers were another option (using tracing paper to imprint a design onto a painted surface), but they took forever to fill-in with paint. And again, my hand wasn’t steady enough to get the crisp edges I wanted.

BUT NOW – there’s a solution to the edge issue. And a big time-saver. It’s vinyl designs. I just applied my first Simply Said design to a little side table and I LOVE it! It took a whole 3 minutes to apply!

Here’s the easy steps to applying the design:

1) I applied it over a piece that was painted with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Old White, with clear wax.


 I ordered the design in a grey color that looks a lot like Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey. Look how pretty it is!

Next, I laid it grid-side facing up and ran the application tool across the entire surface to rid it of air bubbles.

 Then I began in the top corner and slowly pulled the grid paper back and down to remove it.

Next, I laid it over my table.

Then I used the application tool again by running it over the whole surface to remove air bubbles and flatten it to the table.

I started at the top left corner and pulled the paper back and down to remove it slowly.

And there she is! Pretty!

It really looks like its painted on! I couldn’t be happier with it!

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The Secretary is In!

This afternoon I delivered another custom piece for a client – a lovely secretary desk.

Below are the BEFORE photos: (Even completely spray-painted black, it was very pretty.)

 Here’s the AFTER: painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen and Old White.

I distressed the edges lightly and added dark wax in the crevices on the crown molding and around the window panels, after sanding back the stencils.

She decided to leave the inside black. Thank goodness, can you imagine how much time it would have taken to hand-paint inside all of those compartments!!

Here’s the piece in her home, adjacent to its matching table and chairs. She loved it and I am so happy with how it turned out!

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Graphite French Country Tables

I have someone interested in having a dining set painted in Graphite, the Annie Sloan chalk paint color that isn’t quite black, but a lovely charcoal color. The shade deepens to nearly black with layers of dark wax. I have been dying to try it out, and gave it a go with two french country tables I acquired recently.

These Bombay coffee table and end tables were in need of repair – both had damaged surfaces, but were otherwise in great, sturdy condition. (sorry, I forgot to take a photo of the coffee table in the BEFORE stage)

First, I sanded down the table tops to remove most of the damage and smooth out the surface. This convinced me that I really need to invest in an electric sander! Using sanding blocks and manually doing it was a you-know-what! And I was doing this in my garage, on a friggin 90 degree day, when the humidity was high enough to drown a duck in its own sweat! No fun.

Next, I painted each with a coat of ASCP in Old Ochre – a sort of antique white color. Then I painted the tops in Graphite. It went on a bit blueish. A very pretty color indeed! I made sure to paint in every direction – left to right, up and down – purposely giving it texture. After it dried, I began waxing it with several layers of dark wax. Each time it got a little darker – and more beautiful – because the wax settled into all of that texture. The color is spectacular – aged and beautiful! Then I clear waxed the legs. Next I distressed the edges of the tops and just a bit on the bottoms of the legs. I went over all distressed areas of the tops with another layer of dark wax. The bottom distressed areas got clear wax again, and I finished by putting just a tad bit of dark wax on select areas of the legs to age them a bit too.

Here’s the finished pieces:

Charlotte can’t resist a photo shoot!!

These pieces are for sale: http://leopardandblackinteriors.com/2012/04/items-for-sale.html

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Fabulous Find of the Day!

Sometimes I come across a great deal, bargain or find that I can’t help but shout about from the rooftops! You know them – the kind that make you smile just thinking about them. Well, I found one over the weekend at a Christmas Tree Shoppe in York, PA. But, I would bet you might be able to find this at any of the their locations. (For my Virginia friends, there’s a location in Richmond.)

This little pillow was just $4.99. Yup – a cute pillow for five bucks! I love that it looks like it was made from an old grain sack, with the script writing, french scrolls and of course, a bird image on the front – the female goldfinch if I am not mistaken (I see this bird in my yard everyday).

I LOVE it. And for the itsy-bitsy sticker price, I was searching through the bin looking for more with different birds on them. Unfortunately, this was the only version. Still – I was happy to take this home!

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The Dresser – Before and After Photos

For all my neighbors who have seen me working in the garage day in and day out on the dresser – it’s done! Finally! But, I must say, I love how it has turned out. I think its just a thing of beauty. In fact, I am tempted to keep it. But, I really don’t NEED another dresser. And goodness knows, that I hope to keep finding diamonds in the rough like this.

So, here’s the new and improved dresser in French Linen (Pardon my make-shift staging in the garage. It’s just too heavy for me to get into the house by myself.):
Remember what it used to look like? Heavily stained, majorly dinged up, with pulls covered in years of grime, and probably the same stain on the wood.
Now the beautiful curves and carved sides are accented with light distressing, and sealed with clear wax.

I chose not to distress very heavily on the fronts of the drawers and did not distress on the top at all – except along the edges. Where you do see distressing, it was done to intentionally accent areas that were already imperfect – like scratches or dents.
And the drawer pulls got a good cleaning with  Brasso. They had been heavily stained with the same wood stain that was on the old dresser, and covered with years of dirt and grime. Look how lovely they are now – they shine and you can really see the intricate metalwork.
I had so much fun watching this transformation happen before my eyes. As soon as I started painting the drawers with the first coat, I was amazed at the difference. Amazed!
This dresser is for sale, along with a few other pieces I have completed lately. Click here to see my inventory: Items for Sale
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Design Inspiration at Lucketts!

As many of you know, my hubby left Saturday morning for a couple of months overseas. He wasn’t scheduled to leave again for another month, so the suddenness, and gravity of where he was going this time, hit me a little harder than usual. And maybe because Easter was the next day and our son’s birthday party is this weekend. Departure day always sucks – but this one was crappier than usual.

As he drove off to the airport, we headed in the opposite direction toward Pennsylvania, to spend the holiday with my in-laws. On the way, I stopped at a place I have been dying to check out – The Lucketts Store, in Lucketts, Virginia. I needed some retail therapy.

And wow, did that place lift my spirits! I mean, seriously, I was feeling happier as soon as I drove onto the grounds. It was absolutely packed with people, and had a festival atmosphere. They were selling food on the grounds, music was playing (I think. Or perhaps all the coolness of the joint made me hear music in my head?), and people were milling about looking at rustic, farm treasures, funky garden urns, and refurbished finds. They even had baby rabbits for sale! You bet your chocolate bunnies that Saxon begged for one of those – but it didn’t happen.

I found a few items I plan to use to decorate a spring table-setting (more on that to come).

But, in the meantime, I wanted to share these photos of things that absolutely whet my design whistle! Oh how I want to redo my whole house!! That’s not going to happen anytime soon either, but a girl can dream.

I want a hutch. I had hoped to find an old girl in need of a makeover someday, like the top photo (obviously this one has already been made over). Then I fell in love with this beauty above. Less country,  more french. I could see one in my dining room, the other in my living room. Oh, how to choose!

On to wall-hangings…

Okay, I find these girls kind of creepy. But, I was still drawn to them. It’s like the ugly sister is glaring at the pretty sister. The more I look at the photos, the more I want to hang these in my house, just for conversation starters!

They had a selection of really large-scale horse paintings/photos/illustrations. This white beauty was stunning! I would love this in an all-white room. This photo does it no justice – they are simply amazing in person.

Proof that not everything inside an antique shop will look like something from your grandma’s house…these completely cool, driftwoody structures add a sense of modern architecture and rustic charm at the same time. Love them!

I was excited to see this shelf, as I found something similar recently (but smaller), at a consignment shop. My piece is actually from Pottery Barn, not antique, but it’s distressed like this. I’m saving it for my powder room makeover.

This selection of old doors and shutters were outside, aging beautifully in the elements. I’ve seen lots of cool-looking projects online for using just these types of reclaimed pieces in your decor. For anyone who’s been in my home, our great room has a huge 2-story wall that I just don’t know what to do with. It’s a big, blank slate, and I would love to put up some kind of funky, old-door installation. But, that’s a project I am not ready to tackle. But, when the time comes, I know where to find fabulous doors!

Above: More furniture that made me drool!

Below: The drooling continued…

Hello pooch!
This would make quite a statement in the front yard, but HOA would have a fit, for sure!
Loved this chandelier! And the design house featured large, brass numbers all over the place. I thought it would be cool to hang those above Saxon’s bedroom door, with his birth date.

This reclaimed wood farm table was beautiful. Notice the foot? I’m not understanding the foot thing. That is one thing you will NOT find in my place. Ever. I don’t care how trendy it may become.

These long plant-holders on the other hand – loved them!

And this mirror was amazing. Perfect for a large wall. I adore them.

And since you know I am all about the birds, both live and in my decor, I just had to snap a pic of these playful little parakeets. How fun to walk into this room and hear these little guys tweeting! Again, another boost to my spirit! I really would love to buy a beautiful cage, and have a couple of colorful finches in my house.
I saw room after room of things that made me smile at The Lucketts Store. And they got my creative juices flowing for my next paint project. Until then, here’s hoping you run into things to make you smile too!

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Beautiful furniture on display at the workshop

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of what I learned, I wanted to share images I took of the furniture that was on display at the workshop. It was held at The National Conference Center, and these pieces were displayed in one of their lobbies. I eagerly snapped shots, but should have taken notes on who did each piece – so for that I apologize in advance to the person who did the first piece below.

This was by far my favorite piece in the room. Look at her French loveliness! Oh how I hope to find a deal on something like this one day. Well, this or an amazing hutch.

Here’s some more beauties…The yellow dresser was done by the girls at Hue-ol-ogy.

This lovely chair and hutch were painted by Amy from Gallery on Third. Even the fabric was painted using a stencil on a drop cloth material! She said she just couldn’t find a fabric she liked, so she created her own! Ingenious!

These little tables and armoire were painted by Celeste at On a Whim (in Lucketts for all you Northern VA friends!) I am so in LOVE with the duck egg blue color!

I could totally see this contemporary color combination in my front living room! Love the Emperor’s Silk Red with the black and white fabric! This was done by Terry at Budget Redesign.

Here’s a closeup showing you the distressing detail of another one of my favorite pieces from
BB Home. Love!

And finally, here’s a folksy-fun piece painted by Janet from another local Northern Virginia ASCP stockiest, The Empty Nest.