It has been a while….again.

I have just moved my shop.  For the second time.  So this is a funny story…..about three months ago the landlord to my shop called my husband and said “we need to talk”.  Both of us knew I would be moving out.  Basically, somebody came into my shop, decided they liked the size of it and offered the landlord more rent per month.  So the landlord asked if we would match the offer and stay, if not we need to leave….so I left.  A week before a friend of mine, from South Africa but living here in Warsaw, came into my shop saying she wanted to get together and pick my brain about retail in Warsaw and she told me she was going to be opening a shop with decorative items just down the street.

This is going to be long…..

Anyway…..the place she was going to move to I had looked at for warehouse space about two years earlier when I was the country distributor for Annie Sloan, but since I stopped selling the brand it never panned out.  A lovely couple that lived in Detroit for 25 years own this group of warehouse spaces in Konstancin and she was taking over a space that sold fire extinguishers.  So after we gave the notice to move out- I contacted her and asked if there is space in the same complex and if she would mind if I moved there.  She was thrilled because she wants to change it from warehouse into something more community focused and artsy.

So new lease signed and I had three months to organize my stuff.  Last week I finally moved into the new space…..after some renovations and now I am digging myself out of painted furniture hell!!

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This last photo is from today.  I can finally see the floor.  After all this work I am so glad to be here.  As much as I loved being in the old place- I felt as though I was stuck in a bit of a rut.  Another thing- I sell Pure&Original paint which is marketed more for whole home and not just for furniture- I was finding it very hard explain how this new paint works- so now I have samples on the walls!  I will always sell painted furniture- in fact I have different paints for that—-Fusion and Miss Mustard Seed- both from Canada, but now I can show how Fresco and Marrakesh wall paints looks!

And here is a bit of karma for you.  The landlord and the new tenant couldn’t agree on the terms of their lease- so my old shop is sitting empty!

Anyway- signs going up on the outside tomorrow as I continue to “curate” my collections!

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Kolo market!!

This post has been a long time coming!  This is one of my favourite places in Poland.  Kolo, which means “wheel” in Polish is an open air market full of antiques.  And you can find almost anything here…..

For example:

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Boxes and boxes of treasures.  I love searching through everything.  Some things are a bit disturbing though- Nazi war memorabilia is a bit unnerving -but it is part of Polish history.  This place has its own culture.  Many of the vendors have been selling their stuff for decades and they all know each other.  There are people that travel from all parts of Poland with a full car of stuff to sell.  In the summer time this place is packed…..so I have a feeling I am not the only one that loves it here!

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Painting leather!

So I had a delivery of antiques and other fine things to my shop in Warsaw from Switzerland!  Very exciting- just like Christmas!!

I spy with my little eye some pretty great stuff!!

So when you get all this in one day…where to begin?

Well….I started with this:

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So this is an old French chair with a leather seat and back that has a pattern pressed into the leather.

I don’t believe in painting everything.  If the wood is nice, if the condition is good and if I love it without paint then I definitely won’t paint!  But this chair needed paint.  It was sad, damaged and needed a new outlook!

I decided to use Pure&Original colour Evening Shadow.  It is a lovely light grey colour.  I cleaned the chair first- and then I painted everywhere- even the leather!

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This was after one coat.  After the second coat I decided to add a little colour to highlight some of the details in the leather….which of course you can’t see in the photo!!

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Anyway…this is the final result:

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I did distress it a bit with sandpaper, in fact, I distressed the leather too much so I had to repaint in some spots- but luckily this is no big deal when you use P&O paints!  I also finished with a layer of white wax.  I really wanted to soften the look a bit and adding white wax does a nice job.  The details on the leather are clearer and this tired old chair has a new outlook!

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Ever heard of a “Bullet Journal”?

I am on Pinterest every single day.  For inspirations, to see what is trending in design and fashion as well as collecting recipes.  Yesterday I cam across something called a Bullet Journal.  The first time I had heard of this was yesterday and it immediately peaked my curiosity.

Let me just say that I am not a journal, diary or day planner keeper and I never have been.  I did have a day planner a few years ago that contained addresses and payments received for shipping of paint orders but when I stopped my online shop….the day planner stopped too.

I write things on pieces of paper or note books that are all over my shop.  Highly productive, I know. 🙂

So, I clicked on this link for a Bullet Journal which took me to a video which explained how to do it.

 

It is kind of genius, actually.  A cahier (for the Canadians out there) and a few pens and you are ready to go.

This is mine:

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I have seen so many blogs that add so much detail- some of them are quite amazing!  For example:

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Both of these are from http://www.sublimereflection.com.  They are amazing- but quite honestly, I don’t have time for this.  These pages are like works of art.  I paint furniture, do upholstery, sew…….I don’t need so much detail in my journal, but apparently there is something called “minimalist bullet journal”…..which is what I am going with.

I will start tomorrow.  I have just set it up, added a few items and now I have plans to be so organised!!

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Just one photo!

I have slowly been updated our house now that I sell Pure & Original paints.  Everything was painted in various hues of beige….and I am tired of it.  We have changed a few things, new brick wall, new finish on the fireplace, new colour of sofa, new curtains, new carpet, new upholstered dining chairs…..and now I have started on the wall colour in the living room.

This is Fresco Lime paint in Warm Grey.

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The concept of the paint is “The Charm of Natural Colours”  so everything is soft and muted.  There are so many amazing colours it is hard to choose.  Can you see the texture?  This is how the paint works.  Various tones and shade of colour happen naturally.  I love it!

Now on to the next!!

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Upholstery 101

I will come back to the verdigris…it is waiting for me.  In the meantime I have started on two chairs that are in dire need of a re do….

I am trying to hone my upholstery skills- meaning I have bought a number of books and have watched hours of youtube videos.

I have also been buying proper tools and materials to make the job easier.

I bought two of these chairs:

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It is difficult to see in this photo but the wood is really nice.  I think it is a nut wood of some sort- I am definitely not painting them!

So with my new tools…

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…..I got to work taking off the fabric.

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This was a nightmare.  There were three layers of fabric.  Instead of removing the fabric and then adding new, the previous owners just added one on top of the other….and stapled or nailed one on top of the other.

Plus the beige lining layer that you can see here.  So once I finally ripped all fabric off and the lining- this was what was hidden.

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Yes this is straw!  And it is amazing.  It has been sewn into shape, complete with an edge roll.  I just tossed the top layer of felt and straw but kept the seat base.img_2930

Notice the layers of fabric and nails and staples?  This was a nightmare.  It took me about four days to remove all of them to get to the frame.  Awful.img_2925

And then under the straw seat pad was burlap- which disintegrated.  The springs look to be copper- they were in great shape so I reused them.  This photo is actually the underside- the strapping that the springs were attached to just dissolved to the touch….so I was really starting from scratch!

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Four days it took!  Finally I removed all that mess and got started.

img_3024This is a great tool and very necessary.  It is a  webbing stretcher (obviously).  Staple one end down, stretch, then staple the second end down.  I am not using nails here–for a reason.  I didn’t want to put any more holes in the wood that could weaken the frame- this poor chair had enough holes in it!

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The webbing runs horizontal and vertical and is woven.

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Then I sewed the springs in place with twine.

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Unfortunately I forgot to take the photos of tying down the springs….but I learned a trick from watching youtube videos to make the process easier.  Basically you staple down a row of string at the height you want the springs to be, keeping them steady and level, then tie a second string on the springs, then horizontal and diagonal….hope that makes sense?img_3029

The next step is a layer of burlap on the springs.img_3030

Then I replaced the straw seating.  This is the edge roll.  This is really old school- and quite amazing that it has managed to stay into place after so many years!

The white cotton on the top is a wool/cotton mix that I had to order from England- I hunted high and low for it in Poland but it isn’t anywhere- which is strange because Poland produces 60% of the furniture sold in Europe!  However, this material is not modern, which is what I wanted.  In my opinion, adding a synthetic layer to this chair would be a bad move- I really wanted to keep the integrity of this chair.

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My eyes are still itching from this part of the process!  But it is really nice to work with.  It tears easily and you can fill any spaces that need it.

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Next step was the lining and then finally I added the material…..which of course I forgot to take photos of the process- but, I have the almost final result!

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I haven’t applied the trim to hide the staples nor have I attached the dust cover over the webbing on the bottom but I am almost at the finish line and I think that even with the visible staples it is still quite nice…..if I do say so myself 😉img_3035

This fabric is a heavyweight cotton, perfect for small upholstery jobs.  I found it on http://www.fabric.com.  I want to sew a double corded piping with it but I tried  before with a different fabric and didn’t have great success…..so I will take a few days to think about it and maybe sew a sample of the piping.img_3036

I have to say I am so thrilled with this.  A lady was in my shop today and asked if I taught upholstery!  Which made me giggle- I did tell her I am learning myself!  I will give the wood a bit of a polish as well but I have to say I am so thrilled with this–except for the fact I have another one to do!!

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Creating an authentic verdigris…..step one

A few weeks ago I was in New York city.  It is dirty, busy, noisy and crowded but has the most amazing museums in the world.  How can a person leave without being inspired?

We got caught in a rainstorm that came from out of the blue- so we hopped into a cab and went to the Met.

If you have never been, it is worth fighting through the hoards of people to see beautiful works from the most important artists in the world. I studied art history in high school and have always had a passion for it.  Some of my favourites include Degas, Matisse, Monet and Lautrec- and I saw them all.

The entire building is an inspiration.  In fact, while we were in the restaurant I came across this:

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A lamp post with the most amazing verdigris patina.  Verdigris is the term given to the patina formed on copper, brass or bronze, usually from air and sea water.  I am sure you can think of a hundred landmarks that have verdigris…..(Statue of Liberty).

Anyway……the most logical thing to do is to attempt to paint this….of course. I started out with these white ceramic candle holders.

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So then I painted with Dark Forest -which is a graphite with a touch of green in it.img_2743img_2744

Then I tried to match the verdigris as best as I possibly could.  The colour I used was Nautique, which is a really pretty turquoise.img_2745

As you can see- this was painted quite randomly and still showing the white and the graphite.

So then I took a lighter green, added a lot of water then dripped it down the sides.  Next I took a thick soft brush to soften the lines.  Once that dried I added a lovely copper colour, called Kenyan Copper, to some of the lines and indentations.

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Once that dried I used more green thinned with water and dripped it down the sides.

And this was my stopping point.  Of course, I am not finished- but I left it so that it could fully dry.   To be continued………

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