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Saturday, March 29, 2014

French Inspired Wall

Sam and I recently painted a focal wall at Not Too Shabby.  

Let's start with inspiration pictures from Pinterist (where else!).  

I really love this wall; however, there is no way I have enough time to hand draw this design on a wall.  

Don't you just love this blue! 

Clearly I'm in love with gold, blue, & white.  Sam & I gathered our supplies, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Duck Egg & Old Ochre.  Along with 3 gilding waxes ( King Gold, Silver, Copper), and some mineral spirits.  Final piece de la resistance is a Royal Design Sudio stencil.

We started with painting one coat of Chalk Paint® Duck Egg.  We actually refrigerated the can for a couple hours to thicken the paint.  This way we only had to do one full coat over the grey wall.  Samantha took the top half of the wall & I painted the bottom half.

The paint dries so quickly, we were able to immediately wash Chalk Paint® Old Ochre over the Duck Egg Blue. The wash dried in minutes, so we washed a clear/dark wax mineral spirits blend over the entire wall.  Really starting to love it!

Now we had fun with the Royal Design Studio Stencil & the gilding waxes.  We picked the Small Scrollallover stencil, which is a great design that lends to formal pattern or randomness.  
First we mixed the copper gilding wax with mineral spirits to make it liquid, similar to pudding when it starts to set-up.  Then we brushed it on the wall, randomly placing the stencil, all over the wall.

We could have easily used Royal Design Studio Stencil Creme but I already had the gilding waxes open.  Next wall we'll try the stencil creme and compare.

Because we liquified the gilding wax, it took about 12 hours to dry.  After the first go around of copper, we overlapped with the same pattern in a Silver/King Gold blend.  

The wall is amazing.  It turned out exactly the way I wanted.  

I love that the gilding wax dried with texture, really feeling like textured wallpaper.  
Stop by the store to check the wall out on your own.  


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Home Improvement - getting started

We decided to hire out the interior painting of the house.  After asking around and doing some research we settled on PAR Painting.  Owned by Audra & Clarence, they lead a professional crew in painting and replacing all of our baseboards.  

Now the awful work of packing up everything so they can get in and paint.

Cleared out almost everything, boxed up smalls & stacked up pictures.  Unfortunately everything got moved out into the garage (aka my workshop).  Which meant I can't really get anything done till it gets cleaned back out.

Our dining room.

All big pieces moved to the family room.

Stairwell was the easiest to clean out!
And, finally the entryway.  

Sorry for the picture quality, there wasn't a lot of lighting after all the lamps were packed up.

Monday, October 7, 2013


We made it home safely after our first European adventure.  The trip was totally amazing & wonderful, can't wait to go back again and share more ideas.

Here's some last thoughts and pics that we took in England.  Just a hodge-podge of last thoughts.

Many of the buildings in Brighton and London had these really unique 'bulls-eye' pieces of glass.  Here's a closer look

Of course I was totally curious and had to know how this happened.  We asked Ben and he said those are the oldest panes of glass.  Originally window glass was made by glass blowers and they would blow the glass into the pane then flatten the glass so it fitted into the pane.   Pretty amazing.

This is a picture from the Brighton Beach, lined with catamarans, surf shops, and cafés with coffe, tea, or fish & chips.  This was our last day in Brighton and it started out very blustery and cloudy, turning into a beautiful sunny day.
This was the menu outside the white tower.  I loved how there was sparkling water everywhere.  Anytime there was water, they also offered bottles of sparkling so I ended up not drinking any soda until our flight home, because the airline ran out of sparkling water.

Art, there was art everywhere!  Every park had statues, in addition to permanent & temporary installations.  Our hotel was tastefully decorated with so many pieces, I couldn't even count.  It was very stimulating and inspiring to see mixes of pieces everywhere.

Loved touring the Tower.  Viewing the Armor display just re-inforced how long London has been around, it is pretty amazing.

Final note - no picture.  The bathrooms in England were fantastic.  They all had round seats, instead of oval.  There was no little or no water in the pot.  Seemed very environmentally efficient.  They were always clean, nice opening doors, with locks, and always 2-ply toilet paper.  It seems like a small thing, but it really made the trip nice.

Now back to painting, creating, and decorating!

Thanks for coming along the trip with us.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

England - Day 7, Charleston House

After a wonderful day of sharing ideas & best practices, Annie & David organized a late trip out to Charleston House, located in East Sussex.  According to their website. 

'Charleston was the home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury group. The interior was painted by the artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, and together with their collection forms a unique example of their decorative style.'

- See more at: http://www.charleston.org.uk/#sthash.KwXWuwWz.dpuf

The personal story of the artists, their love, family, and friends was quite intriguing.  On a side note, Vanessa Bell was the sister of Virginia Wolf, who lived up the road.  

We were given a lovely tour by an incredibly knowledgeable and passionate Docent, the best kind!  

Annie had shared her love of this house & the artistic examples earlier this year, so I had ordered to book to try to understand Annie's inspiration.  The book has great images, but they fall short of the truly amazing art and painted pieces in this house.  

This is just one example of a table with the tiles painted by Duncan Grant;
(Picture courtesy of the official site)

Every surface, bookshelf divider, wall paper, upholstered piece was painted.  As you toured the house you could see the evolution of their style, the influence of their travels, the change of colors.  No detail was too small, too insignificant.  I fell in love with their large round dining table, painted about 10 colors, almost like a pretty tablecloth was permanently laid on the table.

Pictures were prohibited inside but I took pictures of the lovely gardens.  This was the view outside of Vanessa's bedroom.

There were several garden paths to enjoy

As I write this post, a day has passed & I realize how much I have already forgotten.  I would do this tour again next time, it was very inspirational.  The expressiveness & freedom of their painting.  There were no perfect lines, taped off sections, they just painted.  Or, as Annie says, 'Just get on with it!'.
 The beautiful front door, welcoming you back. 


England - day 9, going home

We were packed up quick and downstairs to have breakfast before taking the coach to Heathrow.
This is the fantastic lift at the Hotel Una

Nice and narrow, just enough room for 2 & bags.  I don't think I have shared enough how wonderful The Hotel Una was, the rooms are generous, the loo is modern and roomy, the daily breakfast had plenty of tasty choices, the hotel is full of really great Art.  But, what really makes The Hotel Una so wonderful are the people.

Starting with Janna and her genuine interest in what we were doing each day.  Paul, one of the rare British men who still live in England.  William, our South African bartender.  Ben, our New Zealand bartender.  And all the others who made our too short of a stay wonderful!  Just like shopping at Not Too Shabby, it's the people who make all the difference!

Here's our National Coach to the airport & home.  The coach is set up to require the driver to take a breathalyzer to start.  Pretty good precaution.

As with all great trips, we are anxious to get home, but sad to end a fantastic trip!

Beautiful San Francisco and a great sunny October day.


England - Day 8, Brighton

The conference is over and most of the international Stockist have gone home.  We have one last day in Brighton so we decide to walk all over town.

The day started out pretty blustery, only our second moment of typical English weather.  We walked down from the hotel, just a block, to the Brighton Beach to see the very active surf!
As you can hopefully see, the beach is not sandy but very rocky.

Then we were down the pier for some fresh made donuts

After some more walking, we went to The Mock Turtle, a very traditional tea house for a proper English Cream Tea

Don't judge, remember - Brighton is for eating.

We then rolled our bodies out and walked around town for a couple more hours.  We ended up walking up and back St James in Kemptown, then passed the Royal Pavilions to Garden Street, up to North Road.  Over to Queens Road, then back down to the Clock Tower where we picked up Western Road, passed the mall.  Then down Preston Road and back to the hotel.  Whew!  After all that, I think we may have only worked off a pat of butter.

There was fantastic shops up and down Garden Street, where I may have picked up a few items for the kids.

Some of the cards I picked up from stores, Stockists, resturaunts, and our fantastic hotel.

We had a wonderful hour visiting with Ben, from New Zealand, samplng a Czech beer, New Zealand Organic Cider, and hearing about all the nearby wonderful places we missed!  

We ended the night with a delicious dinner at Casalingo!  The food was sublime!  Some of the best Italian food I have ever enjoyed.

House made butternut squash ravioli in a sage butter aide, gnocchi with pancetta and spinach in a cream sauce, oh so very wonderful and delicate.  We'll have to walk all the way to America to walk off this day.


Friday, October 4, 2013

England - Day 7, Brighton

The second day of the conference has kicked off & we are starting with study of color.  

I love listening to Annie talk about color.  This time we had the added benefit of getting the European Stockist color opinion.  

I'm sure you have all heard me talk about the 'virgin' paint colors (Pure White, Old White, Paris Grey, Duck Egg), these are the colors which people love without any hesitation.  

A color like Barcelona Orange, a beautiful deep orange, may require a little bravery.  

(Thank you to Randy Stambaugh, one of our American Stockists for this lovely picture)

We all shared stories like Annie's of painting 3 chairs, one a beautiful bold blue, another a beautiful bright green, and the third a white.  A customer walks in and says 'Oh My! I love that blue chair it's just gorgeous! I'll take the white one'.  

Because so many of us have no color confidence, or as my European counterparts say, no color bravery.  Annie shared some ideas & that led to some discussions and more ideas.  I'm so excited to get started, hope you all are ready for it!

Thank you Chic & Antique for the great photo.

I found out from our National Coach Driver, that this location was near where we were!  He said he is only a phone call away!  And he could have taken me there for dinner!  Bahaha!