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Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Chic

I was walking through JC Penney today,
on my way into the mall to pay the cable bill
(yawn)
when THIS caught my eye

I think I ran down the escalator to have a closer look
It's lacquered AND it's vibrant blue!
What the heck is this doing at JCP?

I looked around...and gasped!

Jonathan Adler has a line at JCP
Say wha...

Behold the gorgeousness






I fully expected to find Ikea or Target quality furniture
(sure, it looks cute, but it's not exactly heirloom quality, right? 
None of that stuff will end up being the antiques of future generations...)
and I was pleasantly surprised to find nice craftsmanship 
 


The guys setting up the shop within the shop probably thought I was nuts
because I was flipping chairs upside down and crouching down to look underneath tables!

The price point reflects the quality, however...
The desk that had me swooning?
$900

This is a good thing, I think...
see, when mass-market stores like Ikea, Target, etc
 sell furniture or knock-offs of hand-made goods
(hello, Threshold, I'm talking to you!)
it gives the impression that this is what these things should cost
People who've never stepped foot into a high quality furniture store
see a desk at Ikea that looks darling and costs $199 and that becomes the barometer
of what a desk should cost

A mainstream store like JCP, which isn't what I would consider "high end" 
(I'd say it's pretty accessible for the average person, wouldn't you?)
is probably taking a big gamble with these price points,
but I think (I hope) it will introduce a wider audience to a higher quality,
 higher price point piece of furniture
that is meant to last...
Not to mention, GREAT style :0) 

I definitely see myself picking up more than a few accessories from this line...

Here is the link if you want to check it out for yourself...
 
I shouldn't be surprised, I guess...Sephora is now inside JCP, and lots of cool brands I like 
such as Buffalo and Mango are available there

What do you think? Are you surprised to see a traditionally inexpensive department store
carrying such an upscale product line?  


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Doubt...

Do you let small comments shake your confidence?

I have to admit, sometimes, they do make me second-guess myself!

For example,

when we first opened the studio, it was intended to be just that...a working studio
It's in an industrial park, and not really suited to foot traffic or retail.
but it has a small, cute little front room that serves as an office/showroom.
We figured *maybe* we'd use it for retail by appointment only, but we just weren't sure.
Would we offer classes? Not sure.
Will you sell paint? Not sure. 



Asking for a critique is one thing...
receiving them, unsolicited, is another thing entirely...

A well meaning visitor to our Open House said we had no focus or direction,
that we didn't know what we wanted the studio to be...
and I thought, "oh no, I don't have a set plan!"
but then I realized, it's OK for things to evolve.
Of course, focus is great. 
A plan is great.
But so is flexibility and just waiting to see what will unfold...
I went from being proud of what we've accomplished 
to feeling doubt based on nothing more
than one person's opinion.
Turns out, what I thought I wanted wasn't really what I wanted at all...
and I'm glad I didn't have a strict plan to adhere to
I think we'd be very unhappy now if we did!

Or how about when you find a wonderful piece to paint, and even though fifty people say
"whatever you do, it will be gorgeous"
it's the one or two people , with their passive-aggressive
"I'm just sayin'" comments that stick with you
and turn that elation and creative energy
into that icky feeling of having to defend your choice to *GASP* paint it
(#2 annoying statement? "If I were you..."  
Clearly, you are NOT so why are we pretending you are?)



Or what about when you finally realize there is value in what you do,
you realize you do it very well
and you're ready to have your prices reflect that...
and one person, upon seeing a higher price tag, says
"You're selling that for WHAT?!"
and you think "oh, am I crazy to think I'm worth that?"
Then you see a knock-off, made in China piece of junk that retails for $3000
and you realize even your higher price probably isn't enough

Moral of the story?
Don't let those "innocent" comments drag you down
Focus on the great comments instead! 

I try to reflect on what is said...is there any truth in it?
No? Then shake it off and move on!

Appreciate the comments that truly come from a genuine place
and overlook the rest

Everyone won't love what we do, and that's OK
Everyone won't even like us, and that's OK, too...
if being authentic to yourself means you lose a few "friends" along the way, so be it

Truth be told, this was a little pep talk to myself
because I've allowed a few peeps to annoy the heck out of me lately
and that stops NOW :0) 

I hope you're able to relate~

Monday, March 25, 2013

If I hear dueling banjos, we're outta here!

This is not a love story...


See this dresser?
It's been on Craigslist, along with three nightstands,
for months and month.

This is what the posting said:

THIS WAS MY GRANDMOTHERS FURNITURE. OVER 30 YRS. OLD. FRENCH ANTIQUE WHITE DRESSER, WITH TWO MIRRORS. IN GREAT CONDITION. THERE ARE 3 NIGHTSTANDS THAT GO WITH IT. ALL ARE OF SAME GOLD LEAF PATTERN. I WANT TO SELL THIS AS A SET.
PLEASE MAKE A REASONABLE OFFER. all offers will seriously be considered..
PLEASE REMEMBER TO LEAVE YOUR NAME, AND NUMBER AND YOUR OFFERING PRICE. PLEASE CALL xxx-xxx-xxxx.
ALT. # xxx-xxx-xxxx NO TEXTS. CANNOT RECIEVE TEXTS, AT THIS NUMBER.
THANK YOU.
I'm taking all offers. If interested, leave me an email, with your offering prices. please be close to asking price. no unreasonable offers. thank you. 

I don't think 30yrs makes it an antique,
but I'm not an antique dealer so what do I care, right?

I contacted the seller when they first listed it

How many times in this posting does it say they will consider all offers?
I think five. Five times they mention making an offer.
So I made an offer. A reasonable offer
$50 less than the asking price

They declined stating they were FIRM ON PRICE
 Huh? 
I guess I don't fully understand the concept of 
MAKE AN OFFER
ALL OFFERS CONSIDERED
LEAVE YOUR OFFER
 
It is located over an hour from home, so I decided to pass on it...
(partially due to the drive, partially on principle)
they couldn't tell me the maker or if it was all wood
and I didn't want to make the drive without having more info

Then, a few months later, the price dropped
what did it drop to, you ask?

My initial offer price

And of course, the listing still says the same as above...
All reasonable offers considered

so I contact them again, asking what's their best price
They are FIRM, they state again.
At this point, it's sort of a running joke...
Kenny: "Anything good on CL?
Me: "No, just the Make-an-Offer-Must-Sell-But-Price-is-Firm people"

I let it sit a few more weeks, 
actually wondering why on earth it's still around...
maybe it's a disaster, or smells bad

Soon, it's relisted yet again...this time without a price
(makes it hard to make an offer close to asking price, you know?)

So I decide to bite the bullet and just pay the asking price,
whatever it happened to be this month...
(truth be told, it was the drive, not the price, that was the issue)

I have Kenny call them, 
and the husband talks to him for awhile...
and agrees to a price (only $15 less than their second asking price)
Kenny explains we are FAR away
and seller assures us he's
"got nowhere to go"

Up until now, they've only spoken to me, via email...
so they have no idea it's the same people that made an offer 
LAST YEAR

Kenny tells him we'll be there in two hours
and leaves our phone numbers, just in case

We arrive, nearly two hours later...
down at the end of a dirt road in a rural area...
and guess who is 
NOT HOME!!

We call both contact numbers, with no response...
so we leave, after waiting about 20 minutes
(it was a little too "Deliverance" to hang out, if you know what I mean...)

 so yeah, that's pretty annoying :0(  

The reason I'm not totally pissed off?

Because on the way there, an hour from home, I eye-spied
what I thought was a French dresser sitting out front, amongst the junk

In fact, it WAS a French dresser!
And not just A French dresser...It's a WHITE FINE FURNITURE dresser
circa 1930's....you know, the era of two inch thick drawer faces and solid brass hardware...
and there, right behind it, the ornately hand carved mirror, in PERFECT condition

I can't tell you what I paid for it...but it was less than I pay for a haircut!



Oh, and if you are local and have this CL ad saved, 
thinking you might make the drive
don't waste your time!

Has this happened to you?
Have you ever made concrete plans to buy something
and have the seller TOTALLY flake on you?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Glam-O-Rama

We recently had the opportunity to re-vamp
a room at a popular local salon...

the resident stylist had left with VERY short notice
and the salon owner took the vacancy
as a great time to give the space a new look
before the new stylists moved on in!

Here's where we started:
 My friends laugh when I say 'I don't hate it"
about things that I don't really like,
but don't deeply offend me...
like this room.

 I certainly didn't hate it, 
but it lacked any personality..
the rest of the salon is totally fun
and energetic,
filled with equally fun and energetic
people!

 The giant mirror must weigh 150lbs
it's HUGE!
Again, I didn't hate it...
but the oil rubbed bronze finish
seemed a bit dated and sedate for the space

 The wall color was fine...
but you didn't walk past or in to the is room and go
WOW!
 This is the image that reflected into the giant mirror...
a serious of Kirkland-esqe wall plaques
again, not terrible,
but not inspiring


Our only restrictions were that the cabinets, counter tops,
and flooring all needed to stay...

Here is what I pulled together for inspiration:


I had visions of Hollywood Glam
but fun and inspiring...
a room where you could walk in feeling like Peggy
and walk out feeling like Joan
 (yes, that was a Mad Men analogy)

We selected this vibrant aqua/turquoise for the walls
Turquoise has that ability to energize yet relax at the same time...
its calming but exciting...strange how that works, isn't it?
It's a touch more green than this photo reflects...
the exact color of a gorgeous Turquoise bead necklace

The aqua makes everyone's skin look rosier,
their hair, shinier...
plus, it's a happy color

That chandelier is dunzo...
but the new one hadn't arrived when we finished up the walls
Here is the new fixture:
It will be hung over the stylists chair,
and reflect into the mirror...
I love the idea of little black shades
but don't want to diminish the light
bouncing around the room

 We selected the Donatella Damask Stencil
from Royal Design Studio


(blue is painter's tape to protect the not-getting-stenciled wall)

 Black Frost added a hint of shimmer,
but it's very subtle
Every other teardrop got a glittery turquoise shade to pick up the wall color


 Here's the mirror, redone in black lacquer
Visualize that chandelier replaced with the one above...
gorgeous, right? 
The wall color really plays well with the reddish tones in the cabinetry
(I'm angling for some blingy hardware...stay tuned!)


 The once lackluster wall is now a focal point in this room...
a backdrop for clients looking at their beautiful reflection
in that glossy mirror!

Up front, this mirror had the same oil rubbed treatment...
so we lacquered it in black, too!  

Watch for more photos once the room is completely back together
including glossy black shelves, that gorgeous chandelier,
and lovely accents in black, white, silver, and coral...
Joan would be smitten :0)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sunshine...

We're always complaining that no one makes a true yellow...
you know, like a primary crayon

I know Pantone says Emerald Green
is the color of the year...
but we're really feelin' YELLOW



Bright, sunny, happy YELLOW

So, without further delay
allow us to introduce you to 

SUNSHINE






Sunshine is a little intimidating at first...
She appears neon yellow after the first coat
but warms right up w subsequent applications
to a true, sunny, Crayola yellow

Clearly, she's a stand-alone color,
but she's divine for use a primary to mix your own colors, too

Sunshine is available in our Etsy Shop
and is coming soon to The Real Milk Paint Co

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Milk Paint 101

So, of course now that we have our very own
color collection with The Real Milk Paint Company,
We're getting lots of questions about how to use Milk Paint...

So here's a run-down
(watch for more detailed tutorials coming soon!)

Is Milk Paint Really Made From Milk?
Sort of...Milk Paint is made from a milk protein, casein
 that has been mixed with lime (not the fruit) and colored with natural pigments

How Do I Mix It? 
Simple! Milk Paint arrives in powder form, and you mix what you need with water
The powder/water ratio will vary based on your desired result



Do I Have to Prep the Surface?
In a word, yes...I know, I know...chalk paint has everyone spoiled!
If you don't want to prep the surface
(and by prep, I mean strip or sand...you still have to make sure the surface is clean!)
you'll need to use a Bonding Agent
Keep in mind, if you use the boding agent, you won't get the wonderful
chips, cracks, and distressing you normally get with Milk Paint!



 How Long Will the Mixed Paint Last?
We try to mix what we need for a project, but if we have extra,
we store it in the fridge for a few days

Milk Paint provides a variety of finishes:











How Do I Seal It?
You will need to seal the painted surface
with wax, top coat, soap stone sealer, or our favorite, Burnishing Paste
You can also glaze or dark wax over Milk Paint
and buff it to a gorgeous, velvety sheen

Here's the thing with Milk Paint...
you have to let go a little!
The paint really becomes an active participant in the creative process
(an artist in it's own right!)
It reacts unpredictably sometimes...
you never know where it will craze, crackle, chip, or peel

Natural pigments are used to color Milk Paint
and these pigments each have their own unique properties
causing the paint to react in it's own way...
it's a very organic experience! 

For us, that's the best part because the pieces have TONS of character
and it mimics the look of natural aging
(you can't get that look with a sanding block!)

If you've never used Milk Paint,
it's a very different experience from Chalk Paint...
You mix it yourself, it has a mind of it's own, and the end result
is honestly pretty incredible!