Thursday, 28 April 2011

More Annie Sloan Magic

So it was time to play a bit......we are demonstrating at the Scottish Home Improvement Show in Ingliston Edinburgh this weekend and yup...we are demonstrating Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and why??? Only because it is the best paint IN the WORLD!!! If you want to come and see us get free entry here.

Click Here

So in readiness we have been painting a few things in our beloved paint including this little cabinet...isn't it sweet?

We found this little sweety a long time back on a trip out with our lovely friend Sue van Oldenborgh. She introduced us to Steptoes Yard just outside Montrose which is the most bizarre place piled high and I mean PILED HIGH, everywhere, inside and out with what looks like junk. First impressions aren't everything though hecause in there...there are a fair few gems. This wee cupboard came to us with a really nasty brown on it, chipped and a bit sad looking you could see that at one time it had been a very pretty soft blue green that I really loved so I grabbed the Provence and my waxes and got painting. It was never going to look brand new - too many times it had been painted poorly so I wanted to take advantage of the patina of the old paint, make the brown play to our advantage and. So I quite quickly and roughly popped a coat on leaving it a little patchy so that I could rub back and expose the brown. The brown was horrid in isolation but combined with the Provence looked quite yummy. A little bit of masking tape always helps to give a good crisp look to the interior.


A light sand to expose the brown and to make the surface nice and smooth. Then the wax - first clear and then rustic to give it a lovely bit of age and also to dirty up the new screws I had to put in the hinges.
Now Painted in Annie Sloan Provence
The same friend who we bought this with since that time has been training to become an upholsterer and her business has taken off with a bang! She lives in Haarlem just outside Amsterdam and is building up a storm of happy clients and so far hasn't had time to get a website going but is on LinkedIn under Sue van Oldenborgh  if any one out there is looking for a great furniture professional. She sent me pictures of her first Annie Sloan project combined with her fabulous upholstery skills and here are the results. First of all the before -
Sad Before

Happy Elegant French Style

ChiChic Close Up

Sue was for many years an extremely successful graphic designer at the high pressure end and she has a fantastic flair for style and design that she will bring to her new business. She left graphics to get a change of pace but I reckon that she will be so busy soon she won't be able to tell the difference....only this is her own business and that will be what will make it all 100% more satisfying. Let's hope Slapping on the Annie will help her expand her services a little!

So where do you buy it...from us of course! visit the website our online shop! Carte Blanche
This week our stock is low...we have had fantastic sales the past few weeks but we have a big order coming in next week  (delivery due 4th May)
Meantime our Edinburgh stockist has recently been stocked and is ready to supply!!!
The Laurel Gallery is our newist stockist. Based in St Stephen's Street in Stockbridge. A great gallery with a new twist - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Galore!

And our Aberdeenshire sockist Rustiques at Milton of Crathes are selling hand over fist so call before you go....just in case they are out of certain colours, we will be restocking them as soon as we get delivery! Check out their fabulous interiors shop near Crathes Castle ...their blog is fun and their website is coming soon.


Beautious Bathtub - Gilding Dramas

I mentioned in my last post how jobs had run over...this was another one. This was a gilding job that went array but turned out BEAUTIFUL!!!! It took 3 times longer than it should have done.
When the lovely interior designer Allison Morse of Elizabeth Allison Interiors  sent me the picture below and asked if I could come up with a finish to work with this picture frame and that could be put on a skirted bathtub

 and the also needed to work with this chandelier... I put my thinking hat on. The frame is a sort of cracked metal leaf and the chandelier is a spattered silver paint. Both had reddy brown in them and a wash of warmth to them.

So the sample I produced is below

Gilding Sample

I did this with a red basecoat, I used acrylic size and transfer aluminium leaf and I applied it very roughly. There were small gaps and I worked the skewings into the patches so it looks crackled. I overglazed it with a brown oil glaze and varnished and Allison loved it thankfuly.
And this was what we produced on the bathtub

Blending beautifully

And I LOVE it!!!! and Allison LOVES it!!! and the client LOVES it!!!!So what was the hassle....I shall tell you - in detail, but if you are bored by technical scroll on down ...there are a few more pictures....

Technical stuff :)
You know, gilding in theory should be simple. You get the ground correct, you apply the size, you get the timing right and you apply the allow it to cure, do any ancillary glazes or finishes over the top and seal where required and you finish up with a lovely surface. Ohhhhh if only that was the case. If you can control the circumstances perfectly then MAYBE, bear in mind this is a maybe, you will have no problems.

So let's go back to the beginning and my sample. The sample was all done with acrylic. When I saw the tub, I realised it had already been painted in oil based. This is a metal tub and so every time someone has a bath the metal expands and contracts. In any other circumstance I would have converted from oil to water based and primed with Zinsser 123 but by doing this in this instance there would have been 2 rates of expansion and 2 rates of contraction on a substrate that had quite a lot of movement in it....this would probably have been fine for a while but may have resulted in the surface degrading...worse case scenario would be delamination. So since I am a belt and braces type of gal we decided to go with an oil based system.
The main difference in this instance is in the way the gold size (glue) behaves. Most acrylic size doesn't dry fully ever. It stays tacky. Oil based size dries at different rates depending on which you use, what manufacturer's product it is and also on the atmosphric conditions. You can buy a 1-2, 3, 12, 18 and 24 hour size. In most instances the number of hours refers to the potential window of time between application and the glue being too dry to work with. So for instance a 24 hour size can be applied at 3pm in the afternoon and will probably (depending on atmospheric conditions) be ready to gild on by about 9 am the next day and by 3pm it will be probably too dry to work on. However the Rolco 12 hour size is ready to gild on after 12 hours and then it stays open for 12 you can see that the first hurdle is the terminology can be confusing...also one manufacturer's size can behave differently to the next.
So given the variables and while mulling over the project I called my amazingly helpful and talented gilder friend Emily Swift-Jones  to try and work out which oil size would be best. It was humid and had been for days, so we were looking for about a 6 hour maximum open time but I didn't want to wait hours between application of the size and the application of leaf...because I wanted the job to fall within a 10 hour working day maximum and with all this in mind Emily helped me decide on a mix of 2 sizes...based on the information given her advice was brilliant!
I was so very sure I had cracked it. Popped up to the job in the morning, applied my size and then shot off to go and get some materials, do some shopping etc. etc SURE in the knowledge that all was cool.....I had 2 hours to play with at least. Hmmmmm no-one mentioned the underfloor heating. When I had arrived in the morning it had been mild and wet. After I left the job the rain cleared and a cold dry wind got up...causing the thermostat to kick the underfloor heaitng into play that radiated through the metal at speed and dried the size to tack...a little too MUCH tack for my liking on my return

In a fury of gilding I applied the metal leaf at high speed but knew that without help I wouldn't get done before the size dried too much so an emergency cry went out to husband and painting business partner Gibson to get herere fast and he was here within the hour and we achieved a nice even finish ...only not the finish I had planned on

Nice but not how I planned it

The gaps were too big between the leaf and the size had been too dry to pick up the skewings. Grrrrrr and in consultation Allison definitely didn't want big gaps, fair enough, that wasn't what the sample looked like.
So I called Emily...and her advise was "it is sometimes quicker to do it over again"...which I ignored. So I decided to add in some more on top...I knew it would end up being more blingy than the original but I reckoned I could use aluminium bronze powders to blend between the two, it would be fine.....hours and hours later and no I wasn't finished but this bronze powder was really working well...really was smooth and really a bit different and ohhhhhhhhhhhh shoot, I checked the label and they weren't bronze powders, they were water soluble burnishing powders ARRRGGGG...

Nice but not how I planned it
So I now had a two tone aluminium with an unstable dust all over it...yes it was completely unstable and basically just came off with the oil glaze that was supposed to come next....not only that I still hadn't finished even this stage and the site was closing. This 2 day scheduled project was turning into a nightmare and we were heading for the 3rd visit.
Why didn't I listen to Emily
Back to the site...finish the job and seal off with shellac (hallelujah for shellac) and then a umbery oil glaze was the final stage before varnishing and this didn't happen till I had made sure it had cured hard... PHEW.


P.S. Note to self ...when an experienced and esteemed colleague says "it is sometimes quicker to do it over again", try not to certainly would have been quicker but all said and done I love it and I found a wonderful new burnishing powder that will work well in water based.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

At The Coal Face

I am not sure if this is a phrase used the world over, so here it is explained:

Idiom Definitions for 'At the coalface' - If you work at the coalface, you deal with the real problems and issues, rather than sitting in a office discussing things in a detached way.

Is this my excuse for not producing wonderful images of a mural that I should be well on with...hmmmm probably. For those that don't know what I am talking about you can read more here I really have been working at the coalface though ...honest. Almost every single job that we have worked on in the last two weeks has over-run, and that of course pushes other jobs to the side and the poor mural has been the job to suffer.

So you want pictures. OK, OK, here's one of the jobs I have been's another matching job

The before - hardboard and pine panelling added round the top of the room. Wooden pelmets too. All need to be matched to the turn of the arts and crafts timber in the room.


This is a delightfully austere Arts and Crafts home. That sounds like a contradiction in terms. It has austerity about it, the original features are intact, but the owners, with the help of interior designer Iona Drummond Murray have softened it just enough to make it really homely yet not lost a bit of its character. 

So here's half way - this is where the base coat has the figuring (the pattern of the grain)

half way - underglazing
 And this is the finished product you know wome of what was painted but...can you tell all of what was painted?? Why did this job over-run? Mainly because the colours were incredibly hard to match to, the wood changed so much from one area to the next.

I will post a bit more about what I have been doing...let me gather my pictures.


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Leibster Blog Award - We are LURVED

I was absolutely thrilled for sister-in-law Katie Whitson who's lovely blog Vintage Squirrel was awarded the Liebster Blog Award
I was even more thrilled when she in turn awarded it to our little a relatively new blogger this is just lovely....which is what leibster means...lovely, nice, darling and other words similarly endearing.

So what is it? The aim of the Liebster (Lovely) Blog Award is to bring recognition and exposure to small blogs who have less than 100 followers. There is some contention here as Katie's blog post says less than 100 followers and other blogs say less than 300. I am sticking with 100 as it made me really think about which blogs I had discovered recently and track down where I had stored the information...between iGoogle homepage, Google Reader, Blogger Reading List and My Favourites..and I think I am bringing you some FABULOUS new blogs

If you accept the award, you then agree to tag three to five other small blogs that you would like to recommend to others. 
And the rules?
1. Display the award on a post and link back to the giver of the award.
2. Choose my own blogs to give the award to and let them know they have been chosen.
3. Hope everyone discovers some new favourite blogs.
4. Revel in the blog love.

So, to keep paying the love forward, I will just
link again to Katie's blog Vintage Squirrel  (in case you missed it) and then introduce you to the following five blogs that I am nominating for the Liebster Blog Award:

Plum Siena   this blog written by Ann Onusko always brings fantastic eye candy and style. She has a real eye for texture and patina to tickle the sensibilities.  Ann writes a second blog that is equally fabulous Rose et Lis what can I say, I can't decide which is best so I nominate both simultaneously.....can she have this as one nomination and if she accepts she only has to come up with 3-5 nominations instead of 6-10?????? Not cheating honest as I will count it as 2.

Gary.C.Sharp   anyone who has even the smallest interest in antiques should read this well written, well researched, well illustrated blog. Gary only started his blog in February and deserves a massive following.

The Golden Touch Cat Goldie writes this fun, funky blog full of ideas that are achievable and stylish. Cat makes me laugh, she also makes me feel insecure cos she is a full time lawyer and still finds time to be creative and do majorly cool stuff in her home

CHICPAINT is the Punch and Sizzle blog. Elizabeth Richter VanHoutan who is the owner of Punch and Sizzle has been inspiring decorative painters from the first day she posted a picture of her work on Muralsplus Gallery where I came across her first. Her blog is generous with ideas and and learn.

I hope you enjoy

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Carte Blanche - a different type of excellence

I just had to post this lovely jolly jazz sampler video from a totally different Carte Blanche. Perfect sounds for painting to. Just goes to show that Carte Blanche are the watch words for excellence.


New York's Carte Blanche is a unique revivalist jazz group which delivers a mix of classic American 20’s and 30’s jazz standards, French, and Latin American music. Dressed in authentic 1920’s style outfits, Carte Blanche has the ability to transport the listener to a vintage American speakeasy or a Parisian cafĂ© one minute, and the streets of Havana the next. Sultry female vocals in five different languages which recall the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf and Lila Downs combine with the band’s versatile style to perform musical selections which are far from ordinary. Carte Blanche is available in several different arrangements ranging from a trio to the full six-piece band