Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Painted Upholstered Chair: Graphite, Old White

Painted Upholstered Chair

Amy Howard inspired my painted upholstered chair project. Safe to say, I wouldn’t have done it had I not viewed this photo on her Facebook page. She transformed this sofa at Lucketts Spring Market. I love the gold leaf accent band.
Amy Howard Lucketts Demo 2017

My upholstered chair languished in our climate-controlled warehouse unit — I had forgotten about it. The fabric didn’t speak to me when we bought it, but the chair was structurally sound. I especially liked its cabriole legs with detailed wood carvings and the hairy-paw feet.

I decided to replicate Amy Howard’s project by painting the fabric and wood, and highlighting the carvings with dark wax and touches of gold leaf. As the pièce de résistance, that magnificent blaze of gold.
Upholstered chair unpainted
Overall, the fabric was in excellent condition. I simply vacuumed it.The embroidered fabric would create an interesting pattern once painted. This sun-dappled closeup shows the embroidery.
Upholstery embroidery fabric painting
Screech! Stop! Fling that plan out the door.

I talked to our son, Michael, and his girlfriend Raven. Both work Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery. They quickly quashed my gold-leaf enthusiasm. Shiny doesn’t sell well in Jacksonville, they advised. No gold leaf, not even to highlight the wood carvings. Also, stay away from colors. Stick with black or white if you want to sell this.

Unknowingly, they snatched away the sole reason I wanted this project.

Nonetheless, full speed ahead with the revised, more sedate, version of a painted upholstered chair.

Although Amy Howard inspired me, I had Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Graphite on hand.

Here’s my technique for painting fabric with ASCP:

  1. Add approximately 20% water to your paint and stir
  2. Spray water on the section you’re working on
  3. Use a rounded brush — I used one of Annie Sloan’s — to push the paint into the material. A circular motion works well. You don’t want to simply brush the paint onto the top of the fabric
  4. Apply about 2-1/2 coats
  5. Sand lightly with 320-grit sandpaper and wipe off paint dust with a damp cloth
  6. Apply a coat of Clear Wax

This photo shows me starting out. I’ve already spritzed a section of fabric and begun to paint. You can see how important it is to push the paint through the fabric and the embroidery. The pattern will remain visible — and look good.
Painted Upholstered Chair

After 2-1/2 coats of paint, light sanding, and waxing, I achieved this look shown below. Just so you know, David and I carried the chair outside because — like every afternoon — it looked cloudy with a high chance of rain. Perfect for a quick photo session. Alas, once we started taking photos, the sun came out and created weird bright and shadowy spots.

Painted upholstered chair
Back to the project. After I finished painting the fabric, I moved on to the wood. I tried Paris Grey but it failed to create the sharp contrast I sought. Not to be deterred, I repainted the wood in Old White. Much better, and the Paris Grey served as an excellent primer. I applied the paint thickly to create texture.

On went Clear Wax and I decided to test out Annie Sloan’s Black Wax. Since I couldn’t incorporate the drama of gold leaf, I wanted to highlight those beautiful carvings:
Black wax on Old White
Annie Sloan Black Wax Oldl WhiteThe hairy-paw foot is so defined and striking:

painted upholstered chair
Here’s the final product. A black-and-white-painted upholstered chair, as Michael and Raven recommended. No gold leaf band, no touches of gold. Let’s hope their advice translates into an appreciative shopper.

Painted upholstered chair graphite old white

This chair, I must say, turned out much better than the previous one I painted. That one  sustained rain damage and never fully recovered: Removing Water Stains from Painted Upholstery.

Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!

Ann Marie and David

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DIY: Creating Aged Patina

Let’s start with the After photo of 3 females carved from wood, showing their aged patina:
3 Female Figures Carved Wood

I’ll give a quick run through of how I achieved this look. The piece started out looking much different. It suffered from wear and tear, with scrapes and scratches exposing the bare wood beneath an all too dark exterior. As you can see, I’d already begun to apply wood fill on some of the dings and scrapes. Not all of them though. I wanted to keep its aged look.
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

As you can see, two pieces of wood come together to form this sculpture.
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

My original plan was to repaint it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) in Graphite, remaining consistent with the original color. My son, however, suggested I consider lightening it up with paint and aging it with wax. Sure, why not? I pulled out my can of Old White and set to it. I have the first coat on here.
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

And the second coat:
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

After the paint dried, I covered the whole piece with Clear Wax. Next, I dipped my chip brush into Dark Wax and highlighted the lines by brushing the wax into them and using a soft cloth to rub off the excess.

As for the rest of the piece, I wanted to achieve a lighter contrast using the Dark Wax. I dipped the tip of my brush — lightly — into the Dark Wax and judiciously dabbed, brushed, and rubbed with the cloth. I worked in sections. Any area looking too dark, I applied Clear Wax to lighten it up. It was important not to slather on the Dark Wax and simply rub off. My process took more time.
3 Female Figures Carved Wood

ASCP leaves brush marks that are perfect for Dark Wax to settle into and create an aged patina look.
3 Female Figures Carved Wood

Lastly, I want to mention how powerful I find this piece. It’s 30-inches tall and can stand alone or hang on the wall with a sturdy hook. In that regard I’m reminded of sacred figures in church. The gospels, for instance, mention 3 women at the foot of the cross.

I’m also reminded of family. This piece could easily represent daughters — my neighbor has 3 and this week became a grandmother for the third time. All girls.

Or, the carving provides a symbol of generational love, presenting the unity of a grandmother, mother, and daughter.

Above all, I believe it shows the strength of women through the ages. Standing together, laughing, learning, and lifting up.

3 Female Figures Carved Wood

I think the ladies look great. I’m glad I went with the lighter paint color because the Dark Wax shows a lot more detail now. This sculpture is now in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery.

Thanks for stopping by. You can also find us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Ann Marie and David

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Hand Painted French Provincial Bombé

Here’s our newest hand painted French Provincial bombé:
Hand painted French Provincial Bombe

I don’t find much French Provincial furniture at estate sales, but this little guy grabbed my attention. We’ve handled so much Mid-Century Modern furniture lately — which we don’t usually paint — that I welcomed this piece.

Hand-painted bombe nightstand
Boston and Starbuck Appraising the Bombé

He doesn’t have a stellar pedigree but he’s so cute! His original look was faux leather with gold filigree.

Bombe handle
Bombe’s Handle

Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg Blue — I had some, so it went down as the base coat.

French Provincial Bombe
First Coat of Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg and Old White

Once that dried I mixed different tones of Duck Egg and Old White and set to work. I wanted to create an Old World patina using light and shadow. This process is always a judgment call, in that I work on a section until I’m satisfied with the mix of tones. I wait for that section to dry and adjust as needed.

Hand-painted French Provincial bombé

I finished up by dry brushing touches of Old White and French Linen and then Clear Waxed. He still needed something, so I lightly distressed to add interest and texture.

Hand-painted French Provincial Bombe
Hand-painted French Provincial Bombe
Hand painted French Provincial Bombe

Here’s something I learned: there’s a bombe (pronounced BOM) dessert and a bombé (with the accent, it’s pronounced bom-BEY) piece of furniture. That means you may place the bombe (BOM) on the bombé (bom-BEY), like this:

Bombe on Bombe
Sources: Bombe on Bombé

Or the bombé (bom-BEY) on the bombe (BOM), like this:

Bombé on Bombe
Sources: Bombé on Bombe




For another example of my layering technique, check out this Empire Revival library table.

Thanks for stopping by. We’re also on Facebook and Pinterest.

Ann Marie and David

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Painted Smooth Finish on MCM Furniture

Warning: The following post may be unsettling to MCM purists.

What do you do when you can’t save the original wood? When the time and effort to refinish your find just isn’t worth it? Perhaps if these 2 pieces of Mid-Century Modern furniture had been in better condition we could have salvaged all the bare wood. Instead, David and I decided on a painted, smooth finish.
Dixie MCM Dresser and Nightstand

Made by Dixie, the dresser and nightstand had more problems than just a few dings. While they had excellent bones, both pieces were really showing their age. Take a closer look at the dresser drawers.
Close up of Dixie Dresser Drawer Damage
The factory’s stain and topcoat had broken down with age and use. Beyond that, David faced scratches, scrapes, nicks, and even a bit of water damage.

David usually restores our Mid-Century Modern pieces to their natural glory.

White Furniture of Mebane, NC
White Furniture: Sideboard
White Furniture of Mebane NC
White Furniture: China Cabinet
Mid-Century Modern China Cabinet
MCM China Cabinet – SOLD

But these Dixie pieces had taken too much abuse. Luckily, David thought he could save the drawers. A bold choice. I undertook painting the exterior frame in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old White. I chose Old White instead of Pure White because I had a can of the former and none of the latter.

Testing a New Technique: Mid-Century Modern Smoothness with ASCP

I wanted the paint to resemble the smooth lacquer finish. I’ve read about people loading up their paint sprayer with watered down ASCP, but I don’t have a sprayer. Annie Sloan herself demonstrated a feathering technique for painting modern furniture.

I tried my own technique using a brush and watered down Annie Sloan paint. In retrospect, there are easier ways to achieve a lacquered look. More on lessons learned later.

Here’s the dresser with its first coat of paint, on its way to a smooth finish:

Dixie MCM Dresser

I put two coats of paint on (no water involved), pausing to sand the 220-grit between every layer. After those coats, I swished my brush in water and then dipped it into a plastic container of paint. Very watery paint went down on the next 2 to 3 layers, again with sanding between each layer. The water thinned out the paint so there would be fewer paint lines. I wanted smooth — no lines.

This photo shows the nightstand after a few coats of watered-down paint and still needing sanding. Since we were experimenting, the top probably got 5 layers of watery Old White, and the sides about 4 each. We used 220-grit sandpaper between each layer. For the very last sanding David worked his way up from 220 to 400 to 600-grit.

Smooth Finish on MCM Furniture

Meanwhile, David focused on the nightstand drawers. You can see differences emerge in the photo below:
Dixie MCM Nightstand 3 Drawers
1. Left Drawer – Nothing has been done to it; years of grime contribute to its dullness
2. Middle Drawer – David sanded with 150 grit sandpaper and acetone to strip off the original  finish and sanded the drawer removing scratches and shallow dings
3. Right Drawer – Multiple coats of Watco Danish Oil Medium Walnut. Sanded between coats with 220-grit. No sanding after the final coat. David just wiped it down and let it cure.

We researched the sealer. I saw an article by The Purple Painted Lady with this caution:

Something to be aware of – is if you burnish your Chalk Paint™ (we call this the Modern Look) that you may not be using Clear Wax on top. In fact- you may have a problem having the Clear Wax being absorbed into the Chalk Paint™ since by sanding the surface excessively to get that super smooth feel, you create a hard- compacted surface and the wax will have a hard time penetrating it or the Chalk Paint™ will have a difficult time absorbing the wax now. Slight sanding is fine!…I do this all the time and then apply Clear Wax. But if you are “polishing” the surface, please be aware of this caveat.

Our pieces had a super smooth feel, so ASCP’s Clear Wax was out. We next researched polyurethane and learned that it has a high possibility of cracking and yellowing. Nope — didn’t want that. I couldn’t reach my stockist so I telephoned The Purple Painted Lady’s shop up in New York State. They recommended General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat – Gloss, which I bought locally. We went with Gloss because we wanted shiny brilliance rather than a muted, Satin surface.

Here’s the nightstand with 2 coats of the GF Top Coat on, sanded with 400-grit between coats. The third coat was sanded 600-grit. The fourth and final coat, with 400- and 600-grit.

Smooth Finish on MCM Furniture

Painted Smooth Finish

As for our timing, we chose to finish this piece before starting our Christmas holidays. Before cleaning the house, buying and trimming the tree, and before shopping. Theoretically that should have worked but David found himself locked in combat with the larger chest and his work days stretched perilously close to Christmas.

Perhaps David will write a post detailing his trials with this nemesis. How many of us have encountered a piece that fights back every step of the way? But he was determined to place both chests in our booth before we began Christmas — and we could practically hear Santa up on the roof.

We made it!

Mid-Century Modern Dixie chest and nightstand

But the drawers on the big chest didn’t glide smoothly — and that bothered David over the holidays. Especially when a customer bought those 2 pieces and our gorgeous MCM 9-drawer dresser with mirror right after New Year’s.
Mid-Century Modern dresser

We promised the client that the drawers would glide like ice skaters when her fiancé picked up the pieces. And they did.

Lessons Learned
  • General Finishes Top Coat gave power to these two pieces. I love working with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and I did a good job painting, but David’s multiple layers of top coat with increasingly higher grit sandpaper provided depth, gloss and glamour.
  • Avoid delaying your holiday. That’s no fun. For us, the issue came down to space. We had to move furniture into our booth before rearranging for Christmas and buying the tree. I don’t want to be in that situation again.
  • We knew the drawers were sticking and we put a not-ready-for-prime-time piece into our booth. We won’t do that again.

I’m happy to assure you that we had a lovely Christmas season once it began, the 3 furniture pieces went to a new home, and our new client is thrilled because of our excellent service.

Ann Marie and David

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ASCP Barcelona Orange Bookshelf with Spots

I’m so pleased with how Barcelona Orange turned this Ugly Duckling bookshelf into a trendy display case for our booth.
ASCP Barcelona Orange

Our bookshelf emerged from humble beginnings. David and our son Michael found it curbside and brought it home. I liked the rounded corners and the Denmark label. But it’s made of particle board, not solid wood like we’re used to. This little guy had plenty of strikes against him. Scratches, dents and a few gouges.

David cleaned and shellacked it and we forgot about it for a few months. I remembered the bookshelf only when Michael wanted a way to display his modest collection of Pyrex dishes in our booth.

Obviously it needed paint, and I wanted to do something splashy.  We have an orange back wall in our booth, a nice contrast to the pale gray side walls. The orange wall looks fantastic — very Mid-Century Modern, which complements a lot of our furniture.
Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery Booth 76

I’d never used ASCP Barcelona Orange, so it was time.

I checked the internet and found my inspiration picture. Beau Ford, one of Annie Sloan’s Painters in Residence, painted this for a child’s room. Colorful and fun.
Annie Sloan Barcelona Orange

I planned to give variety to my spots by using cool colors like ASCP Florence and Aubusson Blue. Maybe a few white spots.

Rain poured down for days, forcing me to work in our kitchen. I put down some paint and then remembered I needed a Before photo. This is it. You can see one of the gouges I slapped wood fill over.
ASCP Barcelona Orange Bookcase

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint goes a long way but this bookshelf took much more paint than I anticipated. We shellacked its dark veneer twice before painting but this little guy’s size — his inside and out — required a lot of paint. Several coats.

Fortunately I had cracked open a new can. Here is the painted bookcase without its shelves. I considered painting one of the shelves Florence and the other Aubusson Blue but decided that would be too much. I stuck with Barcelona Orange.
ASCP Barcelona Orange Bookcase
ASCP Barcelona Orange

I used a wine bottle cork to make the random spots. That gave me the general circular shape. I filled in any uneven circles using a small paintbrush with Florence, Aubusson Blue or Pure White. Then Clear Waxed everything.

The first time I slid in the drawers, they scraped paint off. Ugh. More work. By the second time, I had sanded down the rough particle board edges, applied Clear Wax to the edges, and used a piece of paper between the board and the bookshelf side. Smooth sailing.

A couple of final thoughts: I didn’t add a lot of spots because the purpose of this display case is to showcase the Pyrex. We don’t plan on selling this case — the whole particle board issue again. My knowledge of Pyrex is practically nil but I’m thinking of a future blog about what makes some pieces more valuable than others. Or maybe pass that assignment on to Michael.

We plan on rearranging our booth in the next few weeks, so our lovely display case will soon be at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery — against a gray wall.
ASCP Barcelona Orange with spots

Thanks for stopping by. Comments always are met with excitement and rejoicing. You can like for our Iris Abbey Facebook Page and follow our adventures in searching for success in an antiques mall.

Ann Marie and David
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Try This Painting Technique: Layering

Dark wood takes me back to my grandparents’ home in Rochester, NY. A two-story structure built in the late 1800s, it contained massive pieces of darkly stained furniture. I felt as though the furniture, heavy and looming, dug into the floorboards and rooted somewhere below the cellar. Yet the forest didn’t frighten me; my thoughts of that home remain a warm memory.

The piece we’re looking at today is an antique American Empire Revival library table. It’s a dark wood, solid mahogany and made around 1900. I love its size — rather diminutive compared to most tables — and the pleasing curves of its scrolled legs. Although the table is solid, built-in wheels allow for easy movement.
American Empire Revival Library Table

As you can see, this table came to us in rough shape. Check out that large white ring mark. Did someone put a washtub on top of it, maybe enthusiastic college students looking to ice their beers?

We couldn’t retain the dark mahogany and still hope to sell the table here in the Sunshine State. I started to piece together a plan. I wanted to paint the bottom part with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The question at hand: Could the top be saved? Luckily, David came to the rescue. The top absolutely could be saved, but first we had to clean off over a hundred years of grime with Simple Green and some mineral spirits.
American Empire Revival Style

Once we flipped it over, we found number 377 stenciled on the bottom. That’s the only identifying characteristic but not enough to lead us to a manufacturer.
American Empire Revival Style
David shellacked the lower part in preparation for the paint. It’s essential to shellac mahogany if you are going to use ASCP or else you’ll face red bleed through from the wood. We applied two coats of Zinsser Clear Shellac just to be safe.

On the tabletop, David used Citristrip Paint and Varnish Removing Gel to remove the old finish and stain. Two applications. Once he discovered that the top consisted of solid planks, not just a thin veneer over the subsurface, he grabbed the orbital sander. Using a power sander on veneer is a bad idea. The sander will eat through veneer in a heartbeat. But he now had solid planks. He whirred his way down to the natural wood grain — which is beautiful with rich tones and pronounced graining.
American Empire Revival Style

Here’s Pepper Popcorn checking out our work before being whisked back inside.
American Empire Revival Style

David didn’t fill in the dings and dents. We decided to maintain the integrity of the wood, which was still in very good condition. We feel there are times a piece should show its age and use. The rounded edge of the lower shelf, caused by hundreds of shoes resting and rubbing, are reminders of how many lives have touched this table. Sometimes, dings and excessive wear should be celebrated.American Empire Revival Style

On to the painting. Inspired by Leslie Stocker of Colorways, I wanted to try a new technique. Leslie layers paint tones to create light and shadows. I didn’t plan to use Dark Wax on this table; I wanted tonal highlights to carry the effect. Here’s Leslie’s inspirational image:
Leslie Stocker, Colorways

Before moving on to my tonal technique, I first painted two coats of Old White.
American Empire Revival Style
Next, I created my mixture. Moving from top to bottom, the containers hold

  • Old White
  • Arles : Old White, 2:2
  • Arles : Old White, 4:3
  • Arles

I anticipated my color to be a bit lighter than Leslie’s cabinet.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I relied on the two Arles/Old White mixtures the most, using the Old White for highlights and  pure Arles for shadow. Here’s the beginning of my paint going down. As you see, I’m just applying patches of different tones randomly. A simple layering technique.
ASCP Arles and Old White

After I finished painting, David put on the first coat of MinWax Polyurethane. That’s where we are in this next picture. No wax on the paint yet, but light and shadows coming through. It’s subtle.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Arles and Old White

A problem cropped up with the polyurethane. David brushed it on in the shade and left it to dry but when the unseasonably warm sun came out, bubbles formed and dried on the table top. An unhappy David snatched up his sandpaper (180 and 220-grit) and set to it.

Four coats of the polyurethane went on. Between each coat David used 220-grit sandpaper  to smooth out imperfections caused by dust or a slightly uneven application. He sanded the final coat of Poly with 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper and lemon oil. The table top feels as smooth and satisfying as soft ice cream on a sizzling day.
MinWax Polyurethane

Meanwhile, I brushed on ASCP Clear Wax and wiped it off with a cloth. We snapped a few pictures and loaded the table into our SUV. American Empire Revival Style
This table is inherently heavy and utilitarian but the lines and upswept curves of its design give lightness to the piece.  It now sits at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery, ready for anyone looking for a desk, or computer table, or television stand.

Our French Bombé is another example of this layering technique.

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Ann Marie and David
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Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach

We’re headed to Jacksonville Beach today. That’s where I go for my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP). Pat Stone-Smith owns and operates Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach, a shop that features “casual coastal elegance sprinkled with the spray and salt of the sea.” Pat is a fantastic resource for me. We discuss colors for furniture and accessories that I sell at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery, she demonstrates painting techniques, and encourages me when I need advice.

Mid-Life Crisis resides in a beach bungalow three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. I love its bright Caribbean colors, but not the summer’s sweltering heat. This afternoon the temperature danced at 101°.

Mid-Life Crisis by the beach

The balustrade features these fanciful nautical designs that Pat’s company, Wicked Designs,  manufactures. We’ll see more of her designs as we head inside.

Mid-Life Crisis by the beach

Mid-Life Crisis by the beach

I always gravitate to the paint, the rows and rows of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint singing their siren song. Today I bought a quart of Paris Grey that I’ll use to transform a client’s mahogany piano. That project should begin tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach

If you can pry your eyes off this delectable sight for just a moment, let’s take a look at some of Pat’s furniture painted with ASCP — and she does fabulous work. Due to technical difficulty I took all these photos with my iPhone. My regular camera is on the fritz, so imagine that everything looks even better.

Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach

Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach Table with Pillows

Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach Table with Iron Filigree

Mid-Life Crisis By the BeachOur brief tour of Mid-Life Crisis By the Beach is over all too soon. I wanted to walk the three blocks to the beach and share a photo with you but David mentioned the heat index: 105°. Not today. If we had gone, you would have seem something like this, but with a lot more people.

Wikimedia Commons Photo by Excel 23
Wikimedia Commons Photo by Excel 23

Thanks for stopping by. We love your comments.

Ann Marie and David

How To Make a Comfortable Pet Bed — More Tips

End Table to Pet Bed

We transformed another end table into a pet bed. It’s been a while since I discussed our previous ones like the Peacock Pet Bed and the Red Flannel Pet Bed. I thought I’d review the steps and include some new tips.

Zinsser Shellac went down first, followed by Paris Grey from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint line. I neglected to get a “Before” photo, but you can get an idea from the interior wood. I liked the wood grain that appeared through the paint. That’d be important in the Dark Wax phase.

Pet Table From End Table


Pet Bed Burlap Grey Paint 2

Springtime is here in Florida, so David and I  painted outdoors as sunlight dappled our work area. We put down 2-3 coats of Emperor’s’ Silk, occasionally dipping our brush in a cup of water because we were running low on paint. But we finished the job with about a tablespoon to spare.

End Table to Pet Bed


End Table to Pet BedWe used a printed burlap from JoAnn’s for the interior. I measured the diameter of the floor and planned to tie twine between a pencil and a marker to draw my circle. David intervened and used a fancy compass. Either way will work. Here’s the bottom, not yet glued.

Pet Bed from End Table

I tried a new technique to cut straight lines in my burlap and highly recommend it. Pull out a single thread all the way across your piece to create a straight cutting line that won’t fray. I found this technique at Melanie and Stephanie’s site 2IY.

Gravity! Tip the end table on its side when it’s time to lay down the fabric on the inside wall. Let gravity assist you and not fight you. Work in sections and keep rotating the end table. I used Elmer’s Glue and, after I ran out, Mod Podge directly on the wood and carefully pressed down the burlap. I used an exacto-knife to cut the overage, and added more glue/Mod Podge along the edges.

End Table to Pet Bed
I left my work table for a few minutes and came back to find Starbuck testing out the pet bed. I shooed her away because this will belong to someone else’s pet.

End Table to Pet Bed

I brushed on Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax, wiped it off. Dark Wax followed: applied and wiped off. I really like the rich tone the Dark Wax gives to Emperor’s Silk and the way it enhances the carvings and wood grain.

End Table to Pet Bed

David finished the piece by putting down faux tacks along the edge of the circular burlap. Next, we staged our kitties near the pet bed. We used food as a lure. Fortunately, none of them wanted to enter the pet bed and nestle into the Petco cushion. They just wanted food.

End Table to Pet Bed


End Table to Pet Bed

Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery is hosting a Spring Parking Lot Sale this Saturday, April 18. We’ll have a tent outside. This beautiful pet bed, suitable for a cat or small dog, will be available in the tent. Our booth inside Avonlea is loaded with treasures. Currently we are offering a 15% sale on everything in Booth #76.

Stop by. We’d love to see you.Avonlea Spring Parking Lot Sale

Ann Marie and David
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Verdigris Japanese Lantern

Japanese Lantern 6

This was a black lantern assembled from flattened Japanese coins. You will just have to believe me on the color. I found it at the thrift store when I almost kicked it.

I asked David to take a few Before photos and then left to run a few errands. This was, in hindsight, a mistake because I neglected to specify where he should take the photos. As soon as I left he grabbed the lantern, carried it out into the afternoon sun and snapped away. Granted, we are delighted to see the sun after a miserable week of rain, but unfortunately the direct light completely changed the lantern’s color. Instead of black, it looks bronzy-blue. Ironically, the washed out colors in this picture are startlingly similar to my end goal of this piece.

Japanese Lantern Unpainted

I wanted to create the illusion of verdigris on the lantern, similar to our Chinese warrior statue. He stands watch outside our front door and his metal is beginning to show weathering. I love seeing him every time I enter our house. I assume he’s based on the terra-cotta army figures found in China by farmers digging a water well — an estimated 8,000 soldiers found, along with chariots and horses. And a small one stands in front of my door.

Chinese Warrior Statue

Apartment Therapy provided historical information on verdigris which I found delightful because I didn’t know about the salt, honey, vinegar, urine and wine.

“The name comes from the French ‘vert de gris,’ which roughly translates to ‘green of Greece,’ and in fact, recipes for verdigris are found throughout ancient literature and include ingredients like salt, honey, vinegar and even urine to be applied to copper plates in order to cause the necessary chemical reaction. In France, verdigris pigment was produced in conjuction with wine, as the acetic acid of fermenting grapes was found to be an efficient catalyst to quickly rust copper. The bluish green patina was then scraped off the metal and ground into pigments.”

After his photo shoot, David spray painted the lantern gold, forming the important base layer. I wanted a bit of gold to peek through after I distressed it. The lantern sits on gorgeous hand- painted Japanese fabric, which I picked up at an estate sale for a song. I’d like to transform it into a wall hanging if I can figure out how to do it easily and inexpensively.

Japanese Lantern Gold Paint 1

Next, I followed the procedure described in my Verdigris Cherubs post. I dry brushed Annie Sloan’s Louis Blue and Antibes in patches until I covered each side.

Japanese Lantern 3

To get a softer, older look, I needed to add a whitish patina. I mixed water and Old White at a ratio of 2:1 and quickly brushed it on one side of the lantern at a time. I did this part outside. While that glaze was wet, I sprayed on water and then dabbed it with a cotton cloth. After everything dried, I distressed the lantern with 220 grit sandpaper. I used an extremely light touch so that I didn’t expose the black underlayer.

Here is the finished product, sitting among the Florida oranges as the sun is rushing toward the horizon.

Verdigris Japanese Lantern

Japanese Lantern 4

I’m pleased with the result of faux aged green, blue, white and hint of gold. I chose not to wax the lantern so that it can be used indoors or outside.

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Ann Marie and David

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Great Buddha of Kamakura

Years ago I traveled solo to Japan following a business trip to the Republic of China (Taiwan). I doubted I’d ever get to Asia again and wanted to see as much as I could.

I visited the Great Buddha of Kamakura, a massive bronze sculpture, originally cast in 1252.  His size creates a sense of power, but his peaceful expression conveys serenity. He originally resided in a wooden temple but a series of typhoons and tidal waves destroyed that temple and others that followed. Since 1495 — over 500 years — he meditates out in the elements, calmly enduring rain, heat, and snow.

I took my photo during the summer:

Great Buddha at Kamakura 1

I recently acquired a replica of this Great Buddha. I bought him at an estate sale and he came with a note taped to his bottom: “1994, To Vicky from Haruko Sato, wife of Bishop of Kamakura (Great Daibutsu).” Great Daibutsu means Great Buddha.

That stirred memories of my visit — he still inspires awe. And a Japanese bishop’s wife gave this statue as a gift to a woman visiting the shrine. I needed to do him justice.

1.  I could leave him matte black, his original state when the gift was exchanged.

Great Buddha Black Matte

2. I could recreate the verdigris patina that I used on my cherub candle holders and attempt to match Buddha’s present-day patina.

Cherub Candleholders

3. I decided to paint him Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk, a red with an Asian sensibility, and add gold foil. The original Great Buddha of Kamakura once dazzled worshippers with his gold leaf covering. No longer. But there’s still a hint of gold on his right cheek.

A team of researchers from Tokyo University and CAD Center received permission in 2000 to create a virtual reality model of the Great Buddha in the Main Hall. It’s amazing.

Imagine approaching that original temple and catching sight of the magnificent Buddha gleaming inside:

Main Hall and Great Buddha 3D

Great Buddha 3D Gold

Step into the temple and have the breath knocked out of you. Virtual reality is amazing because it integrates geometric and photometric models with environmental scenes. The result is a hologram that offers an intimate sense of the original shrine and Buddha’s golden glory.

Here is my Buddha after a coat of Emperor’s Silk. Clearly, I have not yet achieved my vision. A couple more coats followed.

Great Buddha First Coat of Red

I pulled out my Artisan Enhancements’ gold foil next. After brushing on the liquid Size I waited about 30 minutes and  carefully applied the foil. Now, foil can be tricky because it’s like a finicky cat. You never know how it’s going to settle. I hoped for a strong contrast of the red and gold, and that’s what I got. I waited 24 hours and brushed Clear Finish over the very patient Buddha.

Buddha Gold Foil

His supreme dignity intact, he may continue his meditations uninterrupted.

Here’s one final photo from my trip to Kamakura:

Great Buddha of Kamakura 2

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Ann Marie and David

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