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Monday, July 30, 2012

La Sur

Let me preface by saying this project took
considerable time,
was messy,
was a little stinky,
was hot,
and was completely worth it!

I've really been into blues lately...
ok, that's a lie...
it's not really "lately"
Turquoise is my birthstone
and also my FAVORITE color

I knew what I wanted
for this set...
bold color, lots of texture...showstoppers, basically
What these photos don't capture well
is the almost translucent quality of the colors
like you are looking down into deep, clear water

We stripped the top back to bare wood
until it was silky smooth with no sander marks
before applying three coats of stain and sealant

We painted the whole set in two coats 
of a custom mixed turquoise color,
The plan was to apply Milk Paint over the top
in a rich, bright blue
We expected the Milk Paint to crackle and chip
revealing the ASCP below

What a surprise it was when the milk paint
crackled itself AND the chalk paint underneath
right through to the wood! 

Of course, it was a dream to distress
(OK, the Milk Paint is a LITTLE earthy smelling...get over it!)
and the outcome makes me VERY happy indeed!

Kenny says the headboard reminds him of Pangea,
slowing drifting apart...
Yeah, I can totally see it

( in "before we lugged these BEASTS down two flights of stairs!)

We're completely thrilled with the outcome, 
and even more thrilled that we found yet ANOTHER way
to use our beloved 

We can't wait to try it again...
I've already cooked up the color combo in my head!

We hope you enjoy viewing the photos!


I did a hard thing
over the last two weeks

I stopped conversing 
with people that bring nothing but
drama and frustration
into my life
Can I just tell you,
it's been WONDERFUL!

Building a small business is hard work
(as many of you know!)
and we need to give and receive
all the support and encouragement
we can 

I've learned there will always be
those people...
the ones that pretend they are happy for you
pretend they are impressed by you
but once your back is turned
the truth emerges
(doesn't it always?)
The hard part, sometimes,
is figuring out who REALLY is on your side,
who is on your side as long as it benefits them in some manner,
and who is not on your side at all

Once you've figured that out,
I encourage you to just 
STOP allowing these people to cause doubt
STOP allowing them to shake your resolve
STOP allowing them to rent space inside your head
~wish them well, and send them on their way~

because once you STOP
they become powerless
and you, my friend

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Waxing Poetic

You know that moment? 

The one right after you admire your fine paint job…and right before you pick up your wax brush?
Do you get a knot in your stomach because you’re afraid of the Wax?
Using Clear and Dark wax needn’t cause you anxiety, but there is definitely a bit of a learning curve!
Pull out an old board to paint and wax, and follow along…

First, the basics:

 Annie Sloan Paint and wax are meant for one another.

Trust me on this.

I’ve tried other waxes over painted furniture, and it never ends well.
OK, so maybe it doesn’t end in the horrific demise of the piece being waxed, but it certainly never looks as rich and lustrous
as when I use Annie Sloan Wax. 

This is about how much Wax I use each time I dip in to the tin…
there is no need to cover each bristle…

I like to really swirl it around in a haphazard fashion…
really working it in as I go
 This photo (above) shows Pure White with one coat of Clear Wax

Clear and Dark wax are meant to be used in conjunction with one another
Apply Clear Wax first,
 remove excess with an old T Shirt or soft cloth
and follow with Dark Wax
Remember to work in manageable sections…one drawer at a time, etc.
If you cover the entire piece, by the time you finish, 
the area you started on will have already started to “cure”.
The longer the wax sits, the harder it is to remove the excess.
Make it easy on yourself! 

 This is how my Dark Wax looks before I wipe off the excess…
it’s a thin layer, but you can see I’ve really worked it in to the paint

 The photo above shows one coat of Dark Wax applied
over one coat of Clear Wax
 (see, nothing to be afraid of! It’s lovely!)

 This photo illustrates the outcome if you simply skip ahead to Dark Wax…
and once you’ve done this, there is no going back (aside from repainting…)

 Sometimes, I like to skip ahead…Dark Wax looks fantastic all by itself over darker shades such as Emperors Silk, Graphite, and Olive, to name a few. 

If you think you’d like to try using just Dark Wax, I strongly encourage you to try it out on a sample first!

The beauty of applying the Clear Wax first is that if you get a little too aggressive with the Dark Wax, 
or just don’t want so much Dark Wax on your item,
you can apply a bit more Clear Wax
 and buff away much of the Dark Wax.
 A little Clear Wax will go a long way…
if you apply a boatload (technical term!) of Clear Wax,
 you’ll probably remove all your Dark Wax 
and end up spending your time trying to remove
your over-zealous Clear Wax application…
lots of buffing! 

That’s it, really…the basics. 

1.       Apply Clear Wax-use enough to work the wax into the paint, but not so much that it’s gloppy and thick. Wipe away the excess. Now walk away. You heard me. Walk away, get a drink, check your email…let the wax “cure” for a bit. Overnight is lovely, but if you are like me, that’s not going to happen. I wait at least 30 minutes.

2.       Apply Dark Wax-again, use enough to cover, but not so much it’s difficult to remove; a thin coat is plenty. You can always add more dark wax to certain areas if you so choose.  Wipe off excess. Don’t buff, just wipe. This should not entail a vigorous workout. If it does, you’ve probably been a bit heavy handed with the wax. Walk away again.  Come back later…like, tomorrow. 

3.       Buff the surface, if you desire. Annie recommends using cheese cloth for this, but a soft cloth or old towel works well, too.  You should be able to buff the surface fairly easily. If it’s still really tacky and sticky and you’re having a hard time, use less wax next time.  You might have to put a little muscle into it to get the shine you desire, but you probably won’t break a sweat. 

If dark wax still scares you, you can mix your Dark Wax with a bit of Clear Wax to lighten it.

 I prefer to work with a Wax Glaze.
A Wax Glaze, you ask? Yep. So easy. 

 You’ll need Dark Wax and some mineral spirits
(you can buy this at any hardware or paint store)
I like to use a variety of brushes when working with Wax Glaze

I save my old Wax tins for mixing Glazes and Colored Waxes
 ( Just add a bit of the color of your choosing to Clear Wax and like magic, you have Colored Wax. I love Graphite the most.)
Some prefer a 50/50 mix of Wax to spirits but I prefer mine a bit thicker, so my ratio is more like 75/25

On the left, Dark Wax, on the right, Glaze. 
You can see the Glaze is thinner, but not super runny

The Glaze, due to its thinner consistency, really grabs onto my brush, 
but that’s OK since it’s very easy to remove

Glaze is applied in the same fashion as Dark Wax.
 You can apply it over Clear Wax or on its own
It does tend to “cure” faster and can still be buffed to a lovely sheen
Here’s my photo step-by-step using Dark Wax Glaze over Clear Wax

 One coat of Provence

 One coat of Scandinavian Pink

 Clear Wax, prior to removing excess…
notice no huge globs but all areas are covered
 (and yes, I distress prior to waxing…my personal (messy) preference)

 After applying Glaze

 After wiping back the excess. 
You can see there is still too much Glaze, 
but a rag just isn’t going to do the trick in those nooks and crannies…
enter the $1 2” chip brush!

 It’s cheap and gets the job done! 
Used dry and (relatively) clean,
 it works most of the Glaze out of the depressions,
 making it much easier to wipe back
 (just don’t try painting with these…they are terrible!)

 That’s better! Here is the finished product. You can see the Glaze,
used over the Clear Wax, 
adds just a bit of definition and depth. 

When you want a softer look (or if Dark Wax scares the bejeezus out of you), 
Glaze is a great option! 

I will note, I used to despise working with Wax…Dark in particular.

 My first project with Annie Sloan Paint was done in Old White.
 I didn’t know about using Clear Wax, so I just lobbed the Dark on.

I used WAY too much (I was used to working with Glazes)
and did the entire piece before I started wiping back.

 By the time I was done, my arms were numb from buffing,
and I called the piece “Café Au Lait”…
that should tell you what color I ended up with…
it sure wasn’t Old White!  

I’ve learned much since that first experience.
I read Annie’s books Creating the French Look 
and Quick and Easy Paint Transformations 
and then I painted and waxed.
A lot. 

It took practice and patience,
but I firmly believe NOTHING looks as gorgeous on a piece of furniture. 

Now go forth and WAX!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Open House...Hooray!

 If you couldn't make it out today,
we missed you!

 We've (mostly) finished the gallery and studio...
I still want to add more mirrors
and a few other accents
but those can wait!

 For all intents and purposes,
we are ready for classes!

 We've incorporated some of our favorite items
and used them to stage the gallery...
most are for sale
some are not :0)

 I pulled up the other day
and Kenny had cut cardboard "curtains"
and taped them to the window...
I thought it was so cute,
I decided to use Annie Sloan Paint
to reverse paint on the glass
I'm not the fine artist my husband is,
but it turned out sweet 

 It dawned on me that every piece
we featured was done with Chalk Paint...
wonder why that is? 
(ok, we all know exactly ROCKS!)

Yep, that's a toilet below...
I wanted to show off my awesome floor!
ASCP, of course, 
with Lacquer on top (two coats)
It's been three months now,
with ladders and work boots on it..
not a single scratch!
 Outside the gallery is our wareouse...
lots of wonderful finds, awaiting paint!

 and our infamous ceiling!

 Next to the warehouse is our actual studio space...
where we get to paint and such
(yep, that's ALL paint...and there is more underneath)

Kenny keeps his tools immaculate...
all the time! 
I, on the other hand, am like a tornado
It's nice to have someone to reel me back in 
(or clean up after me, as is often the case!~)
In case you didn't know,
we're very loyal customers to the brands we love
so I wanted to give a shout out to Dewalt
whose tools are our favorite
and to Annie Sloan/ Annie Sloan Unfolded 
whose paint and products inspire us every day

We had a wonderful day with family and friends!
We're proud of all we've accomplished
and we're looking forward to what the future may bring
for Stiltskin Studios

On another note, we've been so swamped with the studio preparations
and fulfilling custom orders that we've not gotten much listed lately...
watch for that to change next week! 
We hope you've missed seeing our new goodies more frequently :0)