"I just want to create beautiful things, even if nobody cares" -Anonymous

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Never ceases to amaze me...

I swear, Chalk Paint™ never ceases to amaze me. Here's a shot from an interior design project I was working on. The client had a red cabinet with gold accents that she really wanted to a repurpose.

I agreed. But the new design scheme was softer... creams, blues, and neutrals. I decided to paint it with  Duck Egg Chalk Paint™.

I really questioned how it was going to turn out and if the gold design would show through. But I grabbed the paint and went to it anyway.

Not only did the gold pattern not show through, the paint covered in one coat! I then sealed it in Annie's clear wax followed by the dark. I even allowed some of the red to show through slightly in areas to add some interest. It turned out amazing! I think it literally took me only an hour. It was hot that day so the paint dried almost instantly. I waxed it right away and took it inside. Done.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sale at Country Roads!

Today is the last day to take advantage of Country Roads Thanksgiving holiday sale. It's storewide, including 10% Chalk Paint™ and supplies!

Their inventory is AMAZING, don't miss out!

Have a great one,


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Annie Sloan Fabric...

It's here! Annie Sloan has introduced her fabric to America. To make things a little easier, I've included what Chalk Paint™ colors I think go best with each pattern. Annie also has suggestions on HER website. All of the fabrics are factory direct from either France or Belgium.

First up is "Faded Roses":

Beautiful. It's 100% cotton and 55" wide. Repeat is approximately 25 inches. I'm going to also tea stain this one and maybe even try bleaching it in the wash to make it look vintage! $41.00 per yard.

Next, "French Hens":

Love it. It's 80% cotton, 20% Polyester. 63" wide. Repeat is approximately 24 1/2 inches. $48.00 per yard. Looks great with "Panama Rouge"!

On to "Normandie":

This beautiful lilac toile is DOUBLE WIDE. Wow! That's 110 inches. Repeat is 24 1/2 inches.  Perfect for drapery panels. 100% cotton. $84.00 per yard.

And now for "Charcoal Pastorale":

A timeless black and white toile. Again, a DOUBLE WIDE 110 inches! 28 1/2 repeat. 100% cotton. $91.00 per yard.

Here's "Panama Rouge":

This great striped fabric is an amazing 108 inches wide and 100% cotton. 6 1/2 inch vertical repeat. Who doesn't love practically ready made drapery panels?! I just made over a footstool with this using Coco. Turned out fab. $56.00 per yard. This is a limited edition fabric! Use with "French Hens"!

Introducing "Monaco":

Super fun! It's 55" wide, no repeat, and 100% cotton. $ 59.00 per yard.

Make way for "Gigi":

Sassy. Gigi is 56" wide. Horizontal repeat of 18 1/2 inches and 100% cotton. It just makes you smile when you look at it. $59.00 per yard.

Drum roll please...

The final pattern is "Nuits Et Rouge":

This ticking is described as "saucy" by Annie(love that!).  Has a great nautical feeling to me. 55" wide,  no repeat. 100% cotton. $62.00 per yard. This is also a limited edition fabric!

All of Annie's fabrics are available to purchase by the yard. I will have my samples in Country Roads tomorrow for all to see in person!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ultimate Before and After... with Chalk Paint™

Whew! What a project. I do LOVE me some Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan! I was on a quest to try it on as many surfaces as I could. I pulled items that I had in and around my house(I'm an Interior Designer by trade, so I do have more things to play around with than the average homeowner!). After painting each item, I either used Annie Sloan soft wax or Annie Sloan Lacquer and some I left unsealed. I only painted half of each item so you could see the "before"(well, except for the paper book in the first photo). Shall we start?

Here we go.

Group #1:

The basket is in Emperor's Silk, unsealed. The paper book with burlap bow was done in Coco, unsealed(a $1.25 project by the way! I'll post a tutorial on it soon. Stencil used was "Scroll-all-over" by Royal Design Studio). The book cover is in French Linen and Old White, sealed with clear and dark wax(Martha Stewart stencil). The rope was painted in Primer Red, unsealed.

Group #2:

The pumpkin was done in Graphite, sealed with dark wax. The terracotta pot was painted in Olive, sealed with clear wax. The pinecone was painted in Barcelona Orange, unsealed. The plaster frame is in Napoleonic Blue, sealed in clear and dark wax. The stick is Scandinavian Pink, unsealed. The rubber handle is in Antibes Green, sealed with clear wax.

Group #3

The mirror was done in Provence, unsealed(stencil is "Springtime in Paris", again by Royal Design Studio).The piece of pottery was done in Florence, sealed with clear and dark wax. Metal platter was painted in Antoinette, sealed with clear and dark wax. Cork was done in Henrietta and Cream, unsealed(how cute would a whole cork board painted like that be?! Stencil by Martha Stewart) . Glass mason jar was painted in Duck Egg, sealed with clear and dark wax. The plastic horse is painted in Emile, sealed with clear and dark wax.

Group #4

The granite was painted in Louis Blue, sealed with clear wax(I've passed up some beautiful cocktail tables at Salvation Army because of ugly stone material tops. No more!). Cement was done in Arles, unsealed. Marble was painted in Versailles, sealed with clear and dark wax. Porcelain was done is Chateau Grey, sealed with Annie Sloan's Lacquer. The stone sample was painted in Greek Blue, sealed with Lacquer. The brick was painted in Country Grey, left unsealed.

Group #5

Cardboard was painted with Napoleonic Blue, 3 coats, unsealed. I always use cardboard to make my chalkboards! I grab a frame, paint some cardboard(allow to dry), rub chalk all over it, wipe it clean, and staple it to the back of the frame. Super easy! Wood flooring is Paris Grey, sealed with  Annie Sloan Lacquer. Laminate flooring was painted in Old White, also sealed with Lacquer(you can paint laminate furniture also! Seal with wax). Vinyl flooring tile was painted in Aubusson Blue, sealed with Annie Sloan Lacquer.

And last but not least...group #6:

The wood chair was done in Pure White and Paloma, sealed with clear and dark wax. My chair happened to be unpainted(only stained and sealed), but Chalk Paint™goes over previously painted furniture also! Remember, NO PRIMING, NO SANDING. What a beautiful thing. And then there's fabric. Yes, you can paint fabric, also leather. It doesn't even get crunchy! The above fabric was also painted in Pure White and Paloma, sealed with a mixture of clear and dark wax.

Chalk Paint™ also goes on walls! I didn't have any spare drywall to paint a sample of, but believe me, it looks amazing. Velvety and smoooooth.

So why did I do this? To show all of you how truly amazing this paint is. Period.

Now it's your turn. Go create something beautiful, even if nobody cares.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The story of how Chalk Paint™ made it's way to the USA...

Here is a great post by Junk Bonanza on the story of how Chalk Paint™ made it's way to the great U.S. of A.  Lisa Rickert is the woman behind it all.

Look for the picture of the beautiful chandelier Lisa bought while she was in Orange County on a visit. She snagged it from Debbie Watts' booth at Country Roads Antiques & Gardens!

Looks AMAZING! In fact, her whole house is amazing. The beautiful look is all courtesy of Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Annie's new Work Book!

Well, she's doing it again! Another fabulous book by Annie Sloan is due to be released November 30th! I'm super excited to get my paint covered hands on this....

The 112-page full color Work Book, published by Oxfordfolio, will be available from November 30th exclusively through the 300+ US and Canadian stockists of Chalk Paint™. Priced at $24.95 (Canadian: $30.95). The first page introduction is a hand-written note from Annie with an invitation to "Go ahead and paint in the book" and experiment with colors, ideas, sketching, collecting fabric samples, magazine cuttings, and more.

 Annie’s whimsical line drawings (including two self- portraits of ‘the artist at work’) delightfully illustrate her top tips and suggested projects throughout. With its blank pages, hand drawn lines encouraging notes, ideas, and several handy pockets, the Work Book provides inspiration as well as the ideal medium to keep design ideas in one place. It’s the dream solution for home décor fans everywhere and is sure to become a prized possession.
The wire-bound Work Book opens flat and also features an expandable band to hold everything securely in place once it’s filled with reference materials. The cover is designed to look like it’s been liberally painted with Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint.

In her introduction, Annie explains, “When I first went to Art School I was encouraged to keep a sketchbook. This was not just for sketching but also highly useful as a way of developing a visual voice and language. I used my sketchbooks to collect colours, pieces ripped from magazines and pattern making. I still do. Use this Work Book in the same way as your ‘aide memoire’. Plan the colour palette of a room, work out a piece of furniture, or simply use the book to experiment and develop your own particular style and colour palette by collecting what appeals to you. Draw little sketches, use the pockets to collect ribbons, fabric pieces and cuttings from magazines. Experiment with colour combinations and making your own mixes. Don’t worry about not being able to draw – just use stick men! Remember, if you do something you don’t like you can always cover it with a magazine cutting you fancy! Keep it handy in your day bag, or by your work desk or bedside. You can never tell when a creative idea will suddenly jump out!...Love Annie Sloan.” 

She talks about the book in a great interview with Junk Bonanza. You can read the interview HERE.

Soon you will have a great tool to help you create beautiful things. Thanks Annie!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Chalk Paint™ Sale!

Yep. It doesn't happen that often, so take advantage of the "I survived the International Street Fair" sale at Country Roads on Monday, September 3rd!

I know it's when everyone else is having their "Labor Day" sales, but if you have ever experienced the Old Towne Orange annual International Street Fair, you would understand why they are celebrating the surviving of it.

The city closes the down streets leading to the main plaza, and booths are set up honoring food from different regions of the world. There is also live music, entertainment, and well...beer, and lots of it! I wish I had a picture of the parking lot I walked through last year that is behind Country Roads. I have never seen so much beer in my life! Pallets and pallets of it. Mix all of that up with crowds and heat, and you get some interesting characters and situations! I used to enjoy this type of melee in my youth, but now... not so much.

I'm sure the staff at Country Roads will have their patience tested with all of the drunkenness and people begging to use their bathroom(that will most likely disappear and be camouflaged by some lovely vignette until Monday!). But hey, there will be TONS of foot traffic, which no one can complain about!

I will most likely be hanging out in the store Monday afternoon. So if you come in, look for me! I'll be the one splattered in paint.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chippy goodness...

Today I'm taking some sample boards down to Country Roads of the new Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint!

Come see "Tricycle", "Ironstone", and "Shutter Gray" in person! 

The milk paint should be available by mid September. I'll update you as soon as I have a firm date. There's so much anticipation for this paint. I have a feeling it will go fast! If you would like to pre-order, just send me a message and I'll be sure to reserve it for you! You can check out the entire line on my website: www.roundthecoop.com.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Annie video!

Check out Annie Sloan's new video!

Oh! And you can see me in a few of the workshop scenes(be sure not to blink!). They were filming when I visited her at her shop in Oxford, England last September.  

I love this video and how it shows her personality. It also shows her working in the lab, visiting her vacation home in France, and of course painting. 

I have had the privilege to "hang out"(that's what it feels like. You are completely comfortable in her presence!) with Annie a few times now, and I can tell you she is a truly amazing, down to earth person who has remained humble through all of this. And I know she will continue to be because bottom line is....she just loves to create. She wants you to create too! She is currently working on new products to help you do just that.

There are so many wonderful things happening with the Annie Sloan brand.  Stay tuned!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tablespoons...I swear!

My space at Country Roads was getting kinda bare(sort of of a good thing) and I needed some furniture in there STAT! The below dresser has been with me awhile. I had been avoiding it because it was so beat up and thought it might be a lot of work to repair. The veneer on top was peeling off and the original hardware was barely hanging on(don't know how they all managed to still be attached!). 

First off, I tackled the veneer. Whoa... okay, NOT EASY. I stopped what I was doing(which wasn't much due to the fact that it wouldn't budge) and put in a call to consult my paint bestie, Tami at Patina Decorative Finishes for advice on how to make the job easier.  Her advice? "Leave it", "Work with it somehow". I always trust her advice, besides, I didn't want to spend all week chipping it off(trust me, I tried all the tricks and they didn't make it any easier!).

So I then decided to paint the piece in super distressed rustic style to help mask all of the flaws character. I am not lying to you when I tell you that I literally used tablespoons of Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan! I dry brushed on one coat of Paris Grey Chalk Paint™. It dried almost immediately. I was then ready to apply the stencil detail on the drawer fronts. I used Royal Design Studio's "Scrollallover" stencil , dry brushing the design in Pure White Chalk Paint™. Not lying again... this time I may have only used a teaspoon of Chalk Paint™! I was able to distress the stencil detail almost instantly. I then painted and distressed the hardware, also in Pure White.

I think I spent a whole 45 minutes painting this piece! I finished her off by sealing her in clear wax. Off to Country Roads  she went! I just love her charm.

Until next time....go create something beautiful, even if nobody cares!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Lavender and boots? Yup.

"There's a few things I've learned in life: always throw salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck, and fall in love whenever you can." Sally Owens-Practical Magic

When I heard that New Oaks Ranch in Ojai, California offers "U Pick" lavender during the harvest season, I jumped right on it! Five bucks for as much as you can manage to squeeze into a twist tie and as many bundles as you want. Love it. On top of all of that, they are super nice and really helpful!

I knew nothing about lavender, only that I liked the smell. They showed me all of the different varieties and explained to me the differences. I also discovered I have the perfect growing conditions at my own home for growing lavender, full sun and little water. Yes! I decided that I liked the Provence variety the best. It has an amazing fragrance and is safe to use in cooking. The other varieties contain camphor which is not good for us humans. It was clear that is has no affect on the bees that seemed to be getting drunk on every stalk of lavender we came across! The bees were way to busy to bother us, freeing us from our initial fear of being surrounded by them and we set off to gather our harvest.

I wish they had smell-o-blogger

 Here's cutie pie Mr. 'Round the Coop cutting the lavender for me. He's so awesome.

 We ended up with six bundles. I wanted to pick more, but it was the first day of the harvest season and I didn't want to be greedy(who am I kidding? I wanted to be greedy!).

We ended out trip by sitting at a picnic table under an old walnut tree, sipping on some lavender lemonade that they had for sale before we headed to the car. As we were making our way down the mountain, it was hard for me to stay awake as the car was filled with the fragrance of lavender. Now I know why spas use this stuff, it's really relaxing! Mr. RTC even fell asleep. Good thing I was the one driving! 

When I arrived at my workshop the next day, I needed to dry out all of this lavender. The woman at the ranch said that I could dry them standing straight up. Cool. Except for the fact that I didn't have enough vases or containers tall enough to do this. Hmmmm.

Well, I don't know if you know this or not, but I have a slight vintage cowboy boot obsession. I have them lying around everywhere. I eyeballed them and knew right away I could get them to work for me somehow.

I then needed to have something to hold the stems inside them, while stiffening the upper part of the boot at the same time.

In steps the ubiquitous Red Solo cup. Perfect.

I had more than enough boots to dry out the lavender. After I was all done, I stepped back and couldn't help but realize how darn cute they all looked. I thought to myself , "Well, I do need some more things to hang on my workshop wall". Out came the staple gun and the step ladder(aka the closest chair).

 I little crazy I know(just like me!), but I love it.

I love to re purpose everything around me. I just say "what the h*!!" and try it. Some of these experiments turn out to be the most creative things I've ever done. 

Picking lavender and learning all about it was a great experience. I'm planning on giving some away and selling some in my booth at Country Roads. I would highly recommend paying New Oaks Ranch a visit if you're in the area. They are open weekends starting June 16th through July 28th, 10:00 - 4:00 for the harvesting season.

Now go create something beautiful....even if nobody cares.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Country Roads....

I was going to do a post about my new space at Country Roads, but the owner, Sue, already posted one about it!

Here's the link....


Thanks Sue!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

She's heeeeeeere....

Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan has landed! Tickets are still available for the San Francisco workshop, so get registered! Go to http://www.anniesloanunfolded.com/ to see the details. Not only do you get to hang out with Annie, you get to meet me! HA!! Seriously, this event is going to be amazing!

I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint so much, I decided to dedicate a dresser to it. Here it is currently sitting in my office...

Graphite with clear and dark wax. Decoupaged copies of paint can labels applied to drawers!

I'm off to meet up with fellow Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Stockists in New Orleans to kick off the tour. I'm sure I'll have some great pics to share when I get back!

So while I'm gone, you know what to do....go create something beautiful.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Seek perfection in imperfection....

That's what I always tell my workshop students. They are so afraid of not painting perfectly, so timid when first starting out. I get it, it's really hard for us, especially living in Southern California. We have the illusion of perfection surrounding us constantly. I have luckily received the gift of seeing through all of it and embracing imperfections. I love them, I actually seek them out when looking for furniture pieces to paint. The more nicks, scrapes, and bumps the better. I know those pieces have a story! The imperfections add character that cannot be duplicated with factory made furniture.

I was flipping through the first few pages of Annie Sloan's book, Quick and Easy Paint Transformations, and came across this passage:

I thought to myself, "BRILLIANT!". I'm so glad she and I think alike, as Annie Sloan is one of the people on this planet I admire. 

The look and feel of Annie's paint, and the patina the waxes create are what I love. They don't require perfection. The pieces actually look better when you just let everything happen spontaneously. I can easily change what my initial intention was, without reservation, because the product is so easy to work with! 

So let go. Be free to create whatever comes to you naturally! No over thinking. Please, just try. Deal?

While we're at it. I think we can apply this philosophy of "seeking perfection in imperfection" to people also...

No, he's not perfect. But I bet he made you smile!