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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Props

Mack, our oldest son, works with us at the Studio,
and now, at the store

He cleans drawers, gilds hardware, assists with shipping, 
basically, whatever needs to get done...

Except painting furniture


Believe it or not, he can't stand painting furniture!

But the kid loves to pull staples and stencil...
and he can stencil like nobodies business!

This stencil?
Not done by us...
One of our client's fell in love the table, bought it, and had it shipped to us to re-paint
I'm a little shocked someone would sell something that was stenciled like this!

Take a look at Mack's work...the kid's got skills!

(there is a side you can't see...that half a stencil actually wraps around the wall)

Not bad, huh?  

If you're local, and need stencil work done, I got connections...

Michele

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Paypal...a true story

Consider this blog post a cautionary tale...
a public service, if you will

If you accept Paypal, take note

Now, we've had our fair share of hiccups with Paypal over the course
of the 13 years we've used it

But this latest fiasco was the last straw for us...
Adios, Paypal

Let me tell you what happened to us
(and could happen to you)

We sold some nightstands on Etsy
They were available for custom paint
but the buyer wanted them "as-is"

Of course, we have the entire conversation documented
 in our Etsy email convo
(not that I thought I'd need it for evidence...geez!)

Since she didn't want them painted, we paid for the shipping
($120 plus time and packing supplies)

Custom orders typically ship in 4-6 weeks
but because these were going "as-is", they were ready to ship immediately

We shipped the items within two days
(hooray, the client will be so surprised!)

We send client notification that items have shipped,
and she replies with "I want to cancel my order, I found some I like better"
and follows up with a nasty email saying we shipped them early on purpose 
before she could change her mind

We don't accept returns, especially on items that have already shipped
We try to be fair...if the items haven't shipped, or custom work hasn't started
we'll make exceptions

She tries to file a dispute with Etsy, who tells her she agreed to our shop policies
when she made her purchase
To Etsy's credit, they pretty much let you run your own business
(what a concept!)
so long as your policies are stated 
and they don't violate Etsy's own policies

The buyer then files a Paypal claim for non-receipt, 
even though she knows they are on their way

Paypal allows a dispute for non-receipt within two days of purchase? 
Yep.

No worries, right?  All we have to do is provide Paypal with the tracking info
 to show proof of shipment and delivery
We shipped via UPS with tracking

Per tracking the items arrived
Case closed, right?
Wrong.
Now she files a dispute saying the items are not as described
claiming she wanted them green and we told her we don't paint things green...
(I'm not joking.  I wish I was. She seriously said this in her dispute claim.)

Again, no worries because I have the conversation from Etsy where she specifically said
she wanted them just as they were.
One of the emails said
 "I don't want them painted, just send them as they are"
I take a screen shot of the entire convo and send it to Paypal.
Guess what?
Screen shots and emails ARE NOT ADMISSIBLE AS EVIDENCE

Paypal emails the buyer and tells her that we have AGREED to refund her
if she returns the items
No one even contacted us about it
I hardly call that agreement!

You know Paypal pulls that money RIGHT out of your account 
until a dispute is settled, right?
So all this time, we are out the items AND the money

Fine, we think. At least she has to return the items.  
We're out the shipping costs,
but we can resell the items
Not ideal, but it's better than nothing
and really, what can we do at this point?

Paypal stipulates that the items must be shipped back to us by 10/27
with proof via tracking info

On 10/26, I get an email saying the items have been shipped
and a tracking # is provided

Paypal says they will "officially" refund her once the items are delivered
and we have confirmed they are in the same condition they left us in

I check the tracking # on Monday, 
because she's in-state and in-state delivery with UPS is next day

Guess what?  The tracking # is no good...
NOT A VALID TRACKING #

So I email Paypal and they confirm that yes, indeed, the  tracking # she provided is not valid
(don't they bother to check these things?)

My next email from Paypal SHOULD be a proper tracking #, right? 
Or perhaps an email saying the case was closed because the buyer failed to 
fulfill her end of the deal? 

Nope.
It's a notice that they have SIDED WITH THE BUYER
and refunded her in full

Evidently, you can buy something,
claim it wasn't what you expected,
promise to return it,
get a full refund,
and keep the items
All you have to do is pay with Paypal
 file a claim
and make up a tracking number

So, now we have NO items returned to us
NO payment for the items
NO tracking info to prove they were even sent
and NO RECOURSE
because Paypal does as they please with YOUR money

I know.  I'm sort of in shock.
How can this be?
If I was reading this, written by someone else,
I'd assume they were exaggerating
or there was more to the story

I'm not, and there isn't. 

This is what you agree to when you agree to accept Paypal

It doesn't matter if you do everything right...
timely shipping, tracking...
you can still get scammed, and Paypal lets it happen
in fact, they facilitate it happening

Oh, and to add insult to injury?
When I tried to cancel the transaction on Etsy to recoup the fees we paid on that sale,
they DENIED us because the buyer was still in possession of the items
even though she was refunded in full.
Um, seriously?
I pointed this out, and to be fair,
I haven't heard back yet.
Perhaps it was an error.
I certainly hope so, because that just ain't right!

I was researching this situation, and I stumbled upon case after case
just like this...it happens all the time
Appalling, but true


The moral of this story? 

Paypal sucks. 





PAINT...and so much more!

It's really amazing, how much you can accomplish 
when you stop worrying about it and just start DOING IT!

We're making great progress,
and today I get to announce some of the 
AWESOME products we'll be offering! 

It's safe to say we've used just about every
furniture paint available

We tried and tested so many...
and these are the ones that knocked our proverbial socks off! 

It's no secret we have a bit of a painter crush on 
Amy Howard Home products
so you can imagine how EXCITED we are to become retailers



If you're not familiar with this line, it's fantastic...
One Step Paint, Lacquer Spray, Antique Mirror Solution


gosh, the list just goes on...
everything you need to recreate your environment 
and re-imagine your own furnishings

Check out the website, and let us know which colors make you 
WEAK in the KNEES!



We've had a long, lovely relationship with the folks at 
and of course, we have our 
custom color collection collaboration
with them (say that five times fast!) 



We adore not only their amazing, vibrant color choices 
and their Burnishing Paste makes us HAPPY! 
Pay them a visit and check out all the wonderful products!



As we were pulling up to the studio a few months ago,
we noticed a little gift bag out front...
inside, some samples of 



We really loved the products,
and found the variety of sizes
(8, 16, 32oz) appealing

(Their Varnish is one of our favorite products!)

Dixie Belle is a local paint manufacturer,
and we are proud to be able to offer a locally produced product!

Oh, did I mention more custom colors?  
YEP!

We'll be carrying a few other product lines,
including candles and soaps
as well as hardware (knobs and handles, not nuts and bolts!)

But that's another post :0) 

Michele



Monday, October 28, 2013

Serenity

It's been a week since the wreck,
and it's high time I got some painting done...

It's a fabulous distraction!

Kenny came to the studio and commandeered all the pillows he could find
to prop himself up in that huge wicker chair we inherited

And that's where he remained until I made him go home with Mack!

Anyway, I was able to work on a custom order
and finish up this fabulous piece



The details on this buffet are pretty amazing...
and there is a LOT of detail work
so I decided to keep it simple and elegant



I highlighted the urn and the curlique details with champagne gilding paste
It's subtle against the Ochre paint and helps accent the moderate distressing



I used Amy Howard's Dark Wax to outline the details
but didn't apply to the whole piece, as I wanted the color to remain true


Even the side are detailed...amazing, right?



The top of this piece is leather...
and I'm not crazy about leather topped furniture
It takes paint remarkably well...
a bit of wax painted directly on the tooled detail helps stand out

I really enjoyed painting this piece...
focusing on all the details,
adding the wax into the details w a tiny brush
applying the gorgeous champagne gilding paste
It's almost meditative

The over-all effect is quite serene, which is how I felt when I was done!

Michele

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Updates...

What a roller coaster ride we've been on this week!

If I NEVER have to do this again, it will be FINE with me...

Because there are attorneys involved now, 
I'm not supposed to share information
on FB, the blog, etc
but I know everyone wants updates

I can say that Kenny is as good as would be expected
after going head and chest first into an SUV at 40mph
He's also very frustrated at not being able to do much of anything
and I'm very frustrated at having to tell him he can't do anything!

He survived a terrible crash, but being his nurse might just do ME in! 

We appreciate your kind words, thoughts, prayers, and everything else
SO VERY MUCH

I talk to you guys all the time, so I know you're all awesome
but Kenny was caught off guard by how many people
were sharing in this ordeal with us

In other somewhat related news...
We are coming to the realization that 
Friday's Opening just isn't going to happen

My father-in-law has been helping us over at the shop
(thank you Ron!)
and today, he pulled out all the nasty cabinetry
in the kitchen area...

Here is what was unearthed
Yeah, it's a hot mess...
(but you know I am THRILLED about the exposed brick!)

Seems with every new project we cross off the list, 
it uncovers another 
bigger project

For example...
this is what happened when I started to peel the latex off the wood trim

it uncovered tons of old termite damage...
the building was tented (thank goodness!)
but the painters just painted right over all the damage
and the slightest bit of pressure caused the wood to crumble

Much as we are disappointed, it's the right decision
Kenny has so much stress about not being able to work
and how it will all get done...
and I just want him to focus on getting better

On the bright side, 
the front gallery is nearly done!


We are going to assess what still needs completed 
and figure out a realistic time frame
We'd rather adjust the opening date than adjust our standards
and cut corners

Our goal is a two week delay...but I will keep you up-to-date! 

Michele

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jade Chinoiserie Dresser

About a month ago, we stumbled upon an usual 
dresser/console

It was pretty plain, with the exception of the tucked feet 
and Asian-inspired hardware

Nope. We didn't grab a before shot.

But...we did get an "after"!


This piece could definitely handle a strong, saturated color...
we chose Jade Green, in homage to the Chinoiserie vibe of the piece

We adore the perfect mix of Mid Century Mod with classic Asia styling
It's timeless and very "of the moment" all at the same time



The hardware is what sold me...very Horchow, don't you think? 



Glossy enamel gives a lacquered look...perfect for this piece


Love the feet...and check out that SHINE!

We're trying to reserve some items for the new store...
so this may or may not end up in our Etsy shop in the next few days...
not sure yet!

Thanks for stopping by :0)

Kenny and Michele

Pics of Picks!

We finally took a day off to go do some sourcing
(aka PICKING...hate the way that sounds!)

We covered two counties,
but all I managed to buy was some 


and BONUS...
we met the lovely and charming
Melissa and Vickie from 

Now, I'd have been perfectly content with that,
but our time is at a premium right now,
so a day spent shopping needs to be more fruitful, you know?

We have a wonderful picker that sets up shop in the same complex
as our studio...and he treats us pretty good!

Take a look at what was waiting for me, a few doors down...
(ironic, isn't it?)

 Gorgeous, right?
This one is getting a neutral color with lots of dark glaze, I think!

 Shangri-La bedroom suite...
tallboy, double dresser, pair of nightstands, and mirror
I can hardly stand all the fantastic details...
fretwork, stunning hardware...it's all good
Going high gloss lacquer for sure!

 So comfy...I nearly fell asleep in this chair today

 HELLO GORGEOUS!


 Amazing carved details are EVERYWHERE on this set...

Inlaid marquetry (that's wood, not paint) on the tabletop...going to salvage that, without a doubt!
Three leaves, too

 Two arm chairs, four side chairs
 I did a little research on this set
and turns out it was brought here from Belgium
I can not WAIT to get paint on this set...
I do believe it will be a project for working on at the new store!

And this little cutie...she's getting a vessel sink (and paint!)
 then being re-purposed in the powder room at the new store

Not bad, huh?  
You know what WAS bad?
Having to make room for it all! 

Michele

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sunshine and Grey Skies

Kenny and I make a pretty perfect team...

He is the perfectionist, and I'm the creative 
(in other words, he's the neat freak and I'm like a tornado!)

The beauty of our working relationship is that
we both like to do things differently
but our strengths compliment each other

Sometimes, however, we do NOT see eye-to-eye

Case in point:

This lovely dresser
(that you are only getting a preview of!)


Kenny wanted to paint it Sunshine Yellow,
one of our colors from Real Milk Paint


but we'd already done one very similar in Sunshine...
I wanted something totally different


When I suggested painting a color over it,
he wanted to do a burnt orange in honor of Autumn


I wanted to do Gypsy Pink
you know, very Boho Chic

When I suggested Grey, I got THE LOOK
(the look that means he thinks I'm crazy)

He walked away and left me to it...
(and to be fair, I wasn't sure how it would turn out!)

There is also a mirror that I wanted to leave off...
Kenny wanted to attach it

I figure  the mirror isn't permanent and the buyer can remove
if they so choose
(gotta pick your battles, you know?)

Anyway, you'll have to check back tomorrow to 
see the uber hip dresser

It's cool and modern mixed with rustic and primitive...

Hip Farmhouse :0)

Michele

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Handsome Pair

I purchased these lovely pieces
with the intent of keeping them

If you know me at all, you know I change my mind
a LOT
and I'd barely gotten these pieces to the studio
when an antique buffet from France was in my sights

So these lovelies are up for grabs!


We chose Selznik Grey for these pieces
from Amy Howard's One Step Paint line


We are LOVING this paint!
Sticks like nobodies business,
and the finish is so satiny smooth...
and when they say One Step, they are not kidding...
you don't have to seal it!


 Inside, we used Old Ochre from Annie Sloan
one of my favorite colors


 We lightly waxed the Ochre panels for an aged appearance
and a lovely contrast against the grey


Of course, we gilded the hardware...
nothing better than grey and gold in my book!


so much storage and so elegant, don't you think?

And let's not forget the buffet/server!





Selznik Grey looks much darker on the color chart, but don't be afraid!
It's actually a really lovely mid-toned warm grey

If you love Grey like I love Grey, check out the other fabulous Grey's 
available in this color collection...
makes me very happy, indeed!

Kenny and Michele
Stiltskin Studios