Avonlea Antique and Design Gallery

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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Miniature Christmas House

Someone with infinite patience and love — not I — made this marvelous miniature Christmas house. It comes in a fabric-covered gift box.
Christmas Box of Miniature Room Unopened
Remove the lid and two sides drop down to reveal a warm, cozy scene decorated for Christmas. Fa-la-la. In my story this miniature family has gone to Christmas Eve services while their cocker spaniel stands guard.
Aerial View of Boxed Christmas Scene
I’m astonished by the details that the craftsman put into this unique creation. The upholstered sofa offers plump pillows and a throw blanket. Knitting needles stick out from the green yarn, large throw pillows are tossed on the rug and a gift awaits a lucky recipient. On the coffee table a copy of a Mary Higgins Clark novel lies next to a dried floral arrangement.
Miniature Upholstered Sofa and coffee table
The lights on the Christmas tree in the corner twinkle.
Miniature Christmas Tree
Under this tree — bedecked with angels, musical instruments, stars, snowflakes and flowers — are toys, gifts, and nutcrackers.Miniature Christmas Tree
I Imagine the Miniature Mother placed her fanciest crocheted tablecloth on the parlor table. The Georgian style chairs are upholstered with the same fabric to match the sofa and throw pillows.
Miniature Parlor Table and Chairs
The prominent painting, wreathed in garland, features flowers in a vase. The wallpaper stripes, highlighted with gold lines, add formality and richness to the scene. Soon the clock will chime 7 o’clock in the evening.
Miniature Christmas House
Another piece of art hangs left of the tree — a blue and gold peacock with images of his feathers hovering around him. It’s perched above the teddy bear sitting in a chair.

Miniature Christmas House
This last photo offers a cross view of the home. Look closely to see the crèche on the console table behind the sofa.
Miniature Christmas Scene
Now for the details of our amazing acquisition: David and I found it at an estate sale. When we carried it into Avonlea Antique and Design Gallery, the owner offered to display it on the front counter. People grouped around the Christmas scene and Phil, the Avonlea carpenter, began to take photographs, saying, “I can do that.” I had said that exact statement to David when we found it. It’s one thing to say it and quite another to do it.

But I am delighted that we found this little Christmas treasure.

Thanks for stopping by. Follow us on Iris Abbey’s Facebook page.

Ann Marie and David

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Removing Water Stains From Painted Upholstery

Take a look at my nightmare — my dark secret that I’m mortified to show you.

Water Stain on Upholstery

Yes, it’s a water stain on the seat of a rather pricy antique chair. My scarlet letter of shame.

Below, we’re looking at a Victorian Renaissance Revival Chair with an Eastlake influence. Built of gorgeous walnut wood, this chair was manufactured around 1870-80.

Iris Abbey

Generally I’m cautious about painting antiques. If I do, I undergo a bit of intense self-examination:

  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Is the piece tight, with no wobble?
  • What kind of wood was used?
  • How much structural repair is needed?
  • Does the wood have minimal scratches, dings, dents?
  • Does the fabric enhance the piece?
  • Will paint make the piece more appealing in a contemporary home?

My initial, and now silly, problems lay with the fabric and heavy feel to the wood. The fabric was OK but not great and my lackluster upholstery skills deterred me from tackling a project like this.

Victorian Renaissance Revival Chair

Other options? I could paint the entire chair using Annie Sloan’s Old Ochre.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre

I stirred the paint, measured some out, and cut it with water. Then I grabbed my spray bottle and filled it with water. I’ve discovered that spraying the fabric will help the material absorb the paint instead of allowing it to just sit on top.

The chair looked much better with the fabric painted — and the texture still came through. The photo below shows only 1 coat; I painted 2 coats.

Victorian Renaissance Revival Chair

I worked outside in the shade of our 10×10 tent, noiselessly painting the wood Old Ochre. I can’t remember the reason now, but I had to run a errand. I debated lugging the chair into the house but it’s so heavy and unwieldy. Instead, I pushed it into the center of the tent and took off. I’d be quick.

Rain. A sudden afternoon downpour, so common in Florida summers, over as quickly as it began.

Sturm by Adolf Sätbli
Sturm (Storm). Adolf Stäbli, around 1895

Upon my return I leapt from the car and sprinted (actually more of a jog) to the tent. The damage was already done. Horrified, I stared down at the water stain on the chair’s seat. Towels. My first thought was towels. Maybe with enough towels I could blot the water and limit the damage. If only it were that easy.

Water Stain Damage

I paused to send photos of the stain to Pat Stone-Smith, my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) stockiest at Mid-Life Crisis by the Beach. She, in turn, carried my desperate questions to the national ASCP reps. They advised

  • setting the chair out in the sun to dry (this was the easy part);
  • buying a can of Kilz and spray it on the stained fabric.

As long as I’m sharing my mistakes, here’s another: Since I’d never heard of Kilz, I phoned those nice folks and asked which of their varieties I should purchase. “We don’t guarantee it will work on fabric, so we advise you not to use it.” Oh. Better listen to the experts.

The chair dried quickly but I didn’t touch it for weeks. David finally brushed shellac on the seat cushion, assuring me the paint wouldn’t penetrate. Still I waited, sorrowful.

One bright day I mobilized. I mixed a half-and-half solution of Old Ochre and water. After 2 coats I could still see the water stain. Argh.

Kilz Original Aerosol

As I became increasingly desperate and perhaps a bit unhinged, David bought a can of Kilz. We put plastic and newspaper all over the chair, everywhere except the seat cushion. Then we sprayed a white covering on the Old Ochre and, mercifully, the water stain disappeared. The Kilz created a a white hide but eliminated the stain. I waited several more days.

I put 2 coats of Old Ochre and water on the cushion (4:1 Old Ochre to water) and studied it closely.

I was back in business, as you can see:

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre


Out came my stencil. I spooned out a little Louis Blue into a container; next to that I doled out some Aubusson Blue. I didn’t mix the paints. I simply dabbed my stencil brush into Louis Blue, followed by Aubusson Blue (or vice versa), offloaded the paint on a paper toweling, and stenciled.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre

I waxed the entire chair with Annie Sloan Clear Wax. I lightly applied Dark Wax to the carved areas and, although I generally don’t distress, I gently took several swipes . Here it is in the dappled morning light; the sunlight’s causing a few uneven splotches.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre

Originally I intended to put him in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery but we’ve both been through a lot, Chair and I. I am keeping this beautiful boy in my living room so I can watch how well the paint, wax, and Kilz interact together. So, all is well.

We love your comments. Do you have any tales of terror with your own projects? Please don’t hesitate to share!

Ann Marie and David
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