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Monday, April 14, 2014

Reasons and Seasons

Spending time on the plantation has been quite an experience!
We feel refreshed and full of inspiration

While we've been focused on that chapter of Stiltskin Studios,
other chapters remain unread, 
skipped over,
perhaps even unfinished or yet to be written

When presented with such beauty and potential, it's easy to lose yourself a little,
becoming enmeshed in someone else's dream

It's time to re-focus on our story and dream for a bit, don't you think?

A good friend told me everything has a reason and a season...
and I could't agree more
Sometimes, though, it's hard to distinguish the reason 
and where one season ends and another begins!

But enough contemplative narrative...

No deep thought is required to embrace THIS season

SPRING has definitely SPRUNG!

There is something so fundamentally necessary and restorative about being outdoors,
preferably barefoot...connecting to nature

Achingly beautiful, isn't it?

Just waking up an hour early, engaging in the beauty of your surroundings;
it makes you  feel so ALIVE

This explosion of color has us yearning for happy, sunny colors on furniture...
How about you?


Friday, March 28, 2014



What a WHIRLWIND life has been around here!

I know you're itchin' for more details and photos from around the plantation,
and we PROMISE they will be coming soon

For now, though, I believe I owe you a little tutorial, right?

Want to make things sparkle and shine? 
How about a little gold or silver leaf...

 (actually comes in sheets...this is my pile of debris...but it is still SO pretty!)

Step one is to paint your piece (if desired) with the paint of your choosing and allow to dry
(I used Amy Howard at Home One Step in Palmer Pink)

Next up is applying Bole (pronounced like bull)
Historically, Bole was clay-based, and used to make the leaf really "POP"...
the color of Bole is dependent upon the type of leaf (silver, gold, etc) and the desired effect
(I did a project with Bole and a project without...both are lovely)

Keep in mind that some of your Bole color will inevitably show through the holidays 
(areas where there is no leaf), and the brownish red under gold is very authentic

 The Bole will look like the ugliest paint color ever...but fear not!

 it gets LOADS better, I promise!

 Once the Bole is dry, you'll want to apply Size
Size is what makes the leaf stick
so you'll want to be aware of your coverage

Sparse coverage will give you a sort of mottled effect
while more thorough coverage leads to more complete coverage with the leaf

When the Size is tacky 
(use your ring finger to test...does it resist and stick a bit?  Perfect!)
you can begin to apply the leaf

The leaf is sold in sheets, and for this project,
 I cut a portion down to size by cutting the entire book in half
(photo above shows the already-cut sheets)
I used these more narrow sheets for the smaller trim work,
 and used the full size sheets for the legs

You'll want to apply the leaf sheet directly onto the Size, 
and avoid touching it too much with your fingers

See the orange tissue sheets that separate the leaf in the photo above?
If you keep your leaf attached to the book,
you can use that tissue to burnish over the leaf with your finger

Once you place your leaf, burnish, and remove the tissue
you will want to smooth over the leaf with a fairly firm brush

 See the areas where the reddish Bole is peeking through the gold leaf?
Those are the holidays

After you're satisfied with the leaf application, you're ready to seal the finish with wax
Can I tell you how HAPPY this makes me? 
 Wax does NOT remove the leaf...
if you've used Liquid Leaf and some other gilding pastes, 
you'll know exactly what I mean

So fancy :0)  

On a completely unrelated note...
I had this genius idea to plant miniature rose bushes in my old paint cans...
I say "genius" in jest...because I kill plants
Also, by "plant" I mean I ripped them from their little containers and crammed them,
dirt and all, into the paint cans

By some miracle, they did NOT die...
(well, at least SOME didn't die!)
and the little rosebuds are shades of pale pink and magenta...amazing

Be BRAVE and try silver or gold's messy, its fun, and it's GORGEOUS!


Sunday, March 9, 2014


We can't share too much about the plantation just yet...
but we did want to share our experience there with you

We're suckers for original paint and patina..
so you can imagine the beauty of age surrounding us there

Most of the plantation has been restored to it's former glory,
but the owner acknowledged the need to preserve some of the patina
and the mix of fresh and old is stunning

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...
so we'll shut up now

Thanks for following along!

Kenny and Michele

Friday, March 7, 2014

Southern Charm

Gosh, what a whirlwind life has been for us these past two weeks!

On our way to Memphis to train with Amy and Gene Howard,
we stopped off at Real Milk Paint Company to meet Dwayne

He and Kenny hit if off immediately and talked all evening 
about paint and trucks...ha~!

While there, we got to see three of our four new milk paint colors!

We stopped by City Farmhouse on the way to Memphis, 
and Sweet South Cottage and Farms on the way home 
(pics in another post, I promise!)

We shared some of our experience at Amy Howard at Home with you earlier this week

All these things were wonderful....but our last stop was literally life-changing

A few weeks back, a client stopped in and bought a few pieces of furniture, some mirrors,
and mentioned she needed more.

Much more.

Because she bought a PLANTATION!
A real-life, early 1800's plantation...

She started running down her list of needs, then said
"Can you just come visit and see what you think I need?"

(yep, I was comfortable enough after 15 minutes with this person to change our plans,
cancel our detour to New Orleans, and spend two days with her instead)

And so, on our way home from Memphis, we did just that. 

Talk about being overwhelmed by's incredible.

(this is but a portion...there are outbuildings, two other houses, stables, a creamery, a greenhouse,
a pool house...gosh, too much to even list!)

So we spent the night here...with a key that opened every room
and access EVERYWHERE

Talk about a DREAM...touring historical homes is how we spend our vacations,
and this was like going "behind the velvet ropes" to see and touch everything!

You step onto the property, and instantly all your stress is gone,
long forgotten

this place has a soul; it draws you in
and touches your soul, too

We didn't want to leave

Turns out, we'll be back...often!

I can't share the entire scope of this project with you YET,
but it's overwhelming, and wonderful, and sort of unbelievable

and it's really happening
An opportunity to be a part of something bigger...

Our focus needs to shift a little (OK, a LOT), and that's alright,
 it's probably time

We will be cutting back in our Etsy shop

Etsy has been very good to us, but it's time to move on
(if you sell/ship furniture on Etsy, you know it can be VERY high maintenance!)

and our shop in Tarpon will temporarily only be open
Thurs-Saturday from 10-5
(Of course, if you're local and you need paint or supplies,
we're happy to meet up with you!)

We will still have select pieces in our Etsy shop, and of course in our store
as well as an increased inventory of paint and supplies

We will no longer be taking on custom orders, however...sorry!

We hope you'll follow along and share in this journey

It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
and we feel gifted beyond measure to be able to say,
without hesitation

Kenny and Michele

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Amy Howard Home, Day One

Can't believe it's been TWO WEEKS since we posted!

Here's why:

We traveled to Memphis, TN
to attend Amy Howard University

Along the way, we made deliveries to clients in AL and Nashville
(so fun meeting our clients and seeing where the pieces are going to end up!)
and on the way home, we spent the night at a
 GORGEOUS plantation in S. Georgia
(more on that later this week!)

We rolled in to Memphis late Sunday night,
 and arrived early for class on Monday morning
desperately in need of a decent cup of coffee...
all this food was a lovely BONUS

Amy Howard Home was all about the famous "Southern Hospitality!"

We spent three days with Amy, her husband Gene, and the rest of the crew

Inspiration was literally EVERYWHERE we looked...

all I wanted to do was dip into each and every color on the shelves!

Soon enough, we were playing in the paint, um I mean learning all about the paint

 Mrs. Howard...finish expert, business woman extraordinaire, and all-around really nice person!

 Clearly, Kenny is enjoying himself!

 Silver and Gold leaf over One Step Paint

Kenny's first time using Dust of Ages...I think he's a convert now, too!

 a banquet of COLOR!

 Gene Howard, Amy's husband...such a great guy, cool as a cucumber
(Gene, we went to Commissary on our way home and you were so was amazing!)

I love this photo of Meg from MegMade
The expression on her face says it all...downright delighted! 

Tomorrow, days two and three of class and some Memphis sights and sounds

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014


You know, someone should really put me on their payroll....

I'm at my happiest testing new products, figuring out new ways to use them
and teaching others how to do it

I'd like nothing better than to get paid to play with paint all day,
then write all about it!

Today, between waiting for custom orders to dry 
and prepping pieces for shipping
I had some time to play around a bit

I really wanted to just mix it up and not follow any specific "rules"
for the way the products are meant to be used

My product list?

 One Step Paint in Luxe Grey
Toscana Powder Paint in Riviera Blue
Dark Wax
Dust of Ages
Antiquing Glaze
(all from Amy Howard Home)
Carnauba Wax
(from Real Milk Paint Co)

I wanted to see how the Toscana would react over One Step,
so I applied one coat of Luxe Grey right over the existing finish
(typical old French Provincial creamy colored enamel)

Next, I mixed up some Toscana paint and applied in thin coats, 
over the One Step

I typically mix my powdered paint on the thicker side, 
but I want to do lots of layers of color so I mixed it fairly thin

I used a cheapie chip brush for this, so I could really work the paint into 
every recess without worrying about damaging my nice brushes
(I was not looking for a smooth finish)

After the second coat, the color is really starting to come through
I didn't fuss about the little bubbles and bumps 
because I wanted  the finish to have some cool texture
I knew when I burnished this and the bumps wore down,
 it would leave great character

I applied about six thin coats of Toscana, 
and followed that up with a messy application
of Antiquing Glaze
(it adds a very subtle hint of  warmth)

Once dry, I applied Carnauba wax
and then haphazardly applied some dark wax here and there
followed by Dust of Ages

Once I was sure it was all dry, I burnished the surface to a gorgeous glow

The finish has a gorgeous, aged patina but is smooth as glass

And although it looks delicate, it's SO durable
(I flipped this chair onto it's back to work on the underside,
fully expecting to have to do some touch up when I flipped it back over
and there wasn't a single scratch or scuff...pretty impressive!)

Next stop?  The upholsterer's for a new seat and back...

Stay tuned for this chair's new look!