Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What I've Been Up To This Loooong Winter

Yes, it's been far too long, I know.

This winter is preventing me from painting furniture as some days my workshop only gets up to the low 50's, and I don't feel comfortable with the paint curing at that temp.

I have been working on some vintage signs, though.












I'm having fun with these, I think I will be doing more.

Meanwhile, come on over to my Facebook page, I post more often there.

Hope you're staying warm,
                                          ~Sue~

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My First Show Is In The Books

My first show called Weekend in the Country is now a memory.

Last year was the first year for WITC. I arrived to see what it was all about, and by the time we left. I was determined to be an exhibitor this year.

In May, I nervously sent off my application, and was over the moon when I found out I was accepted.  For the last several months I kicked it into high gear preparing for my first show.

Friday was set up day, and I was anxious looking at the other vendors' booths, but once I had everything staged, the confidence returned.

The show was great. The people were awesome. The weather was beautiful Saturday, but it rained all day Sunday. That didn't stop the shoppers from coming. What's a little precipitation when you're looking for treasures?

Here are a few pics of my booth:







and our security detail Nigel was a chivalrous as ever.....


Already thinking about the next steps for my biz.

Come hang out with me on Facebook

Friday, July 19, 2013

Baking Soda Paint 201

Whew! I think we made it through another heatwave. Hopefully tthe next one won't be for a while. Actually, I'm hoping there won't be a next one.

My workshop has been sweltering, even with the ceiling fan going, but I won't get an AC unit until I get the money from sales. How's that for motivation?

The last post was all about the basics of painting with baking soda, or what I refer to as 'soda paint'.
In this post, I will review some brands of paint I have used.

First up, Valspar. Available at Lowe's. I have used this paint forever. Used it on my walls, on my mailbox, and even on my furniture back in the days when I sanded and primed. I love it with baking soda- it's not too thick or too thin, it's juuust right. I also like that they have colors denoted as 'National Trust For Historic Preservation'. It's kinda like a cheat sheet, since I love to use 'old colors'.
I've used both the Ultra, which has zero VOC's and is also the paint and primer in one and their signature paint, which also is P and P in one. Maybe I'm just a creature of habit, but this is my favorite.

Next up we have Clark & Kensington, ACE hardware's paint, you lnow, the soul colors? I don't get the soul thing, but, whatever, they were giving away free samples for a while there, and so I scooped some up. The paint works great, and come to find out it is Consumer Reports top pick (not necessarily for furniture), but, hey, it's good and it's closer to my house.

My third review, not so good. Sherwin Williams Emerald paint. At over $18/ quart it better be awesome, but, alas.....
Both times I bought it, it was because a client wanted the specific colors from SW, and the sales associate talked me into the Emerald line. When the paint dried, it was tacky for a long time afterward, even when it wasn't humid outside. The first time I used it, I thought it was a fluke, but, no. I thought that maybe it was oil based, but the can says it's acrylic.

The mixture was pretty thin, too, so that made for more coats. There is definitely something different in the make up of this paint, just not sure what it is.

Lesson learned. If, in the future, a client wants a color from the SW line, I'll just take the paint chip over to Lowe's or ACE.

Here are examples of the Sherwin Williams projects. I like the color and I'm happy with how they look, I just don't like the cure time.

 BEFORE



AFTER


Oh, and a side note on this one. It has legs that I removed before transporting home. After I was done with the dresser I figured I'd slap, ummmm, I mean apply paint to the legs, and a couple of coats of poly. Easy- ummm, no. The paint went on as expected, but when I applied the poly, this happened:


That's not supposed to do that. So, in a panic, I check the dresser. It's fine. Just the legs. I am assuming they put an oil based finish coat or maybe just oil based paint. To be honest, it was kind of cool. This was happening right before my eyes. OK, I'm easily amused, what can I say? 

I scraped off what I could, and then I sanded the paint off of the legs and started over.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you have a piece that's been previously painted, you may want to at least do a quick sand so as to avoid this. Unless, of course, you are as easily amused as I am.


The next piece I did end up sanding, with no problems. Love when that happens!


BEFORE



AFTER


sorry the pics are small. I took them with my camera phone

So that's it. My paint brand reviews. If you have any paints that you love, please share, or paints you're not so in love with, but be nice ;)

Come check me out on Facebook. Drop me a line, and I'll come check your page out. Spread the love!
XOXO,
Sue


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Name Changes


So I hear Annie Sloan Chalk Paint has trademarked the phrase 'chalk paint', and has gone out and shut Facebook pages down whose names contain that phrase. 
I am doing two things:
1) Never buying her product
And 
2) changing the name of the homemade 'chalk paints' that I use, so that I won't utter (or type) that name again.
Soda paint- baking soda/ latex mix
Grout paint- unsanded grout/ latex mix
POP paint- Plaster of Paris/ latex mix

Go ahead furniture paint lovin' friends, share away!
It's free! Xoxo

Come 'like' me on Facebook and let's hang out

Friday, June 14, 2013

Baking Soda Chalk Paint 101

OK, so I still haven't gotten much better about my blogging, but guess what, I'm not stressing about it anymore. When I have something to say, or share, I will. 

Well today I have something I can share with you. It's the basics of using baking soda chalk paint. Oh sure I've blogged about it before, but I'll give you the pros and cons, do's and don'ts, ups and downs, yada, yada, yada with you all, so basically I'll tell you what I've learned using it.

First, why do I use baking soda paint anyways? (Notice I took out the word 'chalk'? It's not chalk at all, but I know if you're looking, you're using that word.) Well, first and foremost, it's way less expensive than the pre-made chalk paints that are out there. You can get a quart of flat latex for about $15, some more, some less, and some free! Baking soda is way cheap. I got one of those big bags at Costco, which means I'm spending pennies on each batch. That is way better that $35+, IMHO.

I also have more control when I make my own: both with color and consistency. The color possibilities really are endless, and that means I can pretty much get any color I can think of, which makes me a happy camper.

I had found that the pre-made chalk paint was way too thick for my taste, and yes I added water and lots of it. I noticed I had to load my brush much more often than I did with homemade. 

How do I make a baking soda batch? Well, it's not very scientific at all. I put a rounded teaspoon into a container, then add water- enough to make a thick paste, then I pour in my paint.






Now here's an important bit: just make a small batch at a time.

Maybe between 1/4 and 1/2 cup paint to the paste. A little goes a long way, and if you store it for too long,more than two days, it coagulates, and then that paint is useless. So make small batches at a time. You'll thank me later for that advice.





You can add water to the mixture if you find it too thick. I wouldn't recommend adding more baking soda straight to the mixture you have because you will get clumps. Instead, make some more paste as described above and add that.

Once the paint dries, I give it about an hour, you will feel the grittiness caused by the baking soda. Don't fret, totally normal. Take a fine sanding block or paper to the piece. When you sand, it will become smooth. I usually do at least two coats of paint, but I have found that if you paint with a light color over a dark wood, stain, or paint you will need at least three coats. Don't worry about it, though, because you don't need to do the tedious prep work for your piece (i.e. sanding and priming).

What about finishing the piece, you say? Well, I use several different products, and I'm still exploring my options. I have used water based Varathane that is for porch and floor, Minwax Polycrylic water based polyurethane, Minwax paste wax, and yes, Annie Sloan's clear and dark wax (mainly because I bought them, so I should use them).

Each has its strengths and weaknesses: the Varathane is tough, but I have noticed it yellowed on certain colors, especially light or pastel colors. Also, it's expensive. I think about $50 per gallon.

I have found that the Minwax can yellow, too, but I suspect I may have put too much on at a time. Try several, very thin coats.

I really like the look and feel of Minwax paste wax. You apply with cheesecloth.

NOTE: Sand before you apply the wax, otherwise the cheescloth sort of disintegrates and leaves white residue, especially noticeable on dark pieces.

Once applied, leave the wax on about 15 minutes, then buff to a shine using a lint free cloth. I use microfiber cloths and they work great.

The downside is that the wax has a peach hue to it, and it shows up on white pieces.

It took me a while to get the hang of Annie Sloan's wax. I always put too much on and it seemed very streaky. I now use a very little bit and buff going the direction you painted- generally straight across a piece. I tried buffing in a circular motion and it just. looked. BAD!

It's nice to use the dark wax for antiquing a piece too.

Downside? You guessed it. Too expensive for this frugal little lady.

Oh, and I apply the Annie Sloan wax with a brush, it looks very similar to her wax brushes, but it is made by Purdy, Symphony is the line of brushes. It is called a pouncing brush. This baby is less than $7 and it works great!




A few weeks back I had someone tell me I had to use chalk paint (the pre-made stuff) if I wanted to paint furniture, but I'm here to tell you, that, nah, you don't!

Here are some samples of pieces painted with baking soda paint:








I hope you found this post helpful. I will update my findings periodically, too.

~Sue~


Come by and say hi on my Facebook page, and I'll come see you!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The 'Shop Is Open

I have been very busy as of late readying my little shop for customers. The paint has been flying, and I've been having lots of fun using my B&D orbital sander, my new best friend!

This past Saturday was the first of many open houses that will take place.

Here is my 'showroom floor'




I also had a table with smaller items including necklaces featuring my artwork:




One of my favorite pieces went to a good home that day:



All in all, a great day, and I look forward to many more!

In fact, I just got out of the staff meeting (in my head) and decided the next open house is.....

Saturday, May 25 10:00-4:00

see you there!

Hope you all have a great week,
                                                    Sue

PS
Don't forget, you can catch me on Facebook




Thursday, February 7, 2013

Workin' on the Workshop.....

.....which is why I haven't been around here since, well, a long time ago.

We have a detached garage with an 18x24 workshop area that is separated from the garage by two huge swinging doors. We had been in this house for about 10 years when it dawned on me, 'hey, why don't you use that as your studio?' I have told you before I am slow on the uptake. Have I also told you that when I get a crazy idea I act on it right away? Well, I did, and I kicked my husband's things outta there and started using it as my own.


Let me tell you a little about this space that I had moved into. Like I said, it was quite large, so I could have lots of storage space, so that was good. If you looked up, you saw the beams were exposed, which was such a cool look, and in the winter it even felt cool!




So we talked about putting up drywall, I pouted because I wanted the wood, but somehow, the husband convinced me to get some insulation and drywall up there. So guess how we spent Thanksgiving weekend? And that was alright with me because I hate shopping, especially then, and we had our two boys helping us, so it was a team effort and it felt really good! (By the way, the drywall lift is one of the best inventions ever!)




We had to cut four holes in the drywall for lights. One for over the workbench, which was already there, the light, that is. I plan on making a wire light cover for that.

In the workshop area we put an antique brass track light to provide task lighting, annnd, I can work at night- hooray!


For the other two holes, I will put a small ceiling fan to help keep the place cool in summer, and a chandelier for my 'staging area'.


I also have two 'Edison' string lights on opposite walls to provide warmth and ambiance.





I almost forgot to tell you one of my favorite stories from putting the ceiling up. I went to Home Depot to get the mud and tape. I had asked a gentleman where I would find them, and told him I was working on finishing up the ceiling. He had asked if I was doing it myself, I said I was, but may get help from hubby, to which he replied, 'that's what I thought.' That was it! Game on! I was doing that muddin' and tapin' myself. And I did! It is not hard, it just requires patience, which I have more of. The hubby will attest to that. It turned out ok. I won't quit my day job, but people will be checking out my product, not my ceiling ( hopefully).




After all of that fun, I was finally able to get to the walls. The guy that built the garage/ workshop was your original repurposer. He used whatever he could find for the walls; pressboard, drywall, paneling, what have you. So as a nod to him, and because I didn't want to drywall the whole place, I caulked the seams and started painting with an antique white.




As I started painting the mismatched walls, I wasn't thinking, 'this looks great', instead I was thinking it looked a bit ho-hum. So I looked at the white door and took my paintbrush dipped in a smoky purple to it.

That definitely helped, and when I started putting things on the walls, and over the windows, it made all the difference! And decluttering, from the last couple of months, that helped ALOT!












I've started painting furniture in my space again, and it feels great. I still have tweaking here and there in the 'shop, but I am finally feeling inspired in there!


I hope you have been inspired because I find inspiration in so many of you!

Come check out my Facebook page. Leave a comment, and I'll stop by yours.