I guess I like patchwork?

I bought this chair from a lovely lady who lives close to the German border and often goes brocanting to all the second hand shops and flea markets.  It arrived to my house slightly broken- the top portion of the back had already been repaired by a previous owner and during transport it had cracked again.


The above photo is how it looked after I had sanded off old glue, re glued and then filed in the cracks then sanded smooth.  You can see the old springs that were added later.  I kind of figured this chair is more for decoration- you can use it, of course, but it isn’t the most comfortable, which is probably how the back was originally damaged- leaning too far back…..this is a formal chair!

I decided on the colour Dried Clay from the Pure&Original colour palette.  If you haven’t tried this paint….it is magical.  It goes on so smoothly and levels like a dream.  There are a few options to finish this- you can leave it as is for a matte finish, you can apply “eco sealer”, “lime soap” or “Italian gloss wax”.

The eco sealer is basically a non yellowing lacquer that dries to a dead flat finish.  The lime soap is more or less linseed oil (it smells amazing) and the Italian gloss wax is a liquid wax that can be buffed to a shine once dry.


From the left we have the wax, then the sealer in the middle and the right is the soap. All three of these finishes are used on the the Marrakesh walls, Fresco lime paint and the Classico chalk paint depending on where or what you paint.



the repair…


This is where I am trying to figure out the layout of the patchwork to bring home to sew, once I was happy with the order I then marked on the back so I wouldn’t forget :)


After second coat and light distressing on the edges.


The liquid wax- it can be applied with a brush, sponge or cloth.  This wax is the easiest wax I have ever used and it buffs to a lovely shine.


After wax application- still wet.  It usually takes about 20 minutes to dry.

The above photos is the sewing process.  Basically I sewed three rows of fabric and then sewed the rows into a large square.


Upholstering a chair seat is a good starting point for anybody that is interested because it is relatively easy.  Lay down the fabric then staple a few in the front and a few in the back to keep it from sliding, then staple until about 10 cm away from corner.IMG_1027-2

I like to finish my corners like this, some people do a fold over- whatever works for you!


So then once it is stapled all the way around and there are no  bumps or puckering where you don’t want it, cut very close to the staples all the way around.


And then, of course, we need to hide the staples – I usually do this with hot glue and decorative trim.


The finished chair!IMG_1033-2

A closer look at the patchwork.  All the material is linen with the exception of the mattress ticking which is cotton.


Looks nice agains the Fresco lime paint wall, doesn’t it!!  If you have read my blog before you will have seen that I have done a patchwork slipcover using linen as well.  I just love it and it is a great way of using up any extra scraps of fabric that you can’t seem to throw away ;)


Pure & Original….the colours!

Changing my shop around is a slow project, with having customers come in to buy items and also finishing up a few commission pieces–but I have had a few opportunities to test the colours of this amazing paint.

I painted a wall with the Fresco lime paint using the colour Earth Stone.  With this paint it is necessary to use a primer on the walls unless the walls are a mineral foundation- so your average home would need the wall prime first.  This is just usually one coat, applied normally like you would latex paint- with a roller.

Then, when dry,  you paint with the Fresco lime starting from the top and working your way down.  I painted my wall with the P&O brush working in a kind of cross hatch method.  When I was in Holland meeting with the owner- this was one of the techniques we did on sample boards.

A word of warning- the colour in the can is not the same as the dried paint on the walls.  I opened the can and for a second I thought I had the wrong colour because the wet paint was so dark.  Once it dried the colour was true to the colour card sample.

It is usually necessary to use two coats making sure that each coat is completely dry.  Another important issue- do not leave a wall half finished.  Once you start the wall- you definitely need to finish it otherwise you will have a line where you stopped and started.  do one complete wall then move on to the next.

The above photo on the left is during the process.  The bottom portion is just two coats of the Fresco lime but the darker top half has the Italian wax.  The photo on the right is complete but the bottom portion still has wet wax….I couldn’t wait!


This photo shows how the wall looks now- the right side has the light hitting it so it does look a bit different than the left but you can see the texture- it looks like a concrete wall.

And then the colours…..love love love.  There are so many lovely colours it is difficult to chose one…..so I didn’t!

Can a person be in love with a paint?


Some exciting things happening in my part of the world…..

I am selling a new brand of paint!  And it is amazing!!  Just like I was the first to have Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Poland- I am the first to have Pure & Original paint here too!  This paint has the most amazing, dreamy colours- making it very difficult to choose.

Pure & Original is a Dutch company that manufactures the paint in Bruges, Belgium.  (a road trip may be necessary)

If you have a moment have a look at the Pure & Original website.  You will love it.

So…..more to come in the future!


serendipity |ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti|
noun [ mass noun ]
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity | [ count noun ] : a series of small serendipities.


I bought this table:


It seems to be the sister of the one I have just painted in Duck Egg.  They have the same legs….I am certain the previous was meant to be used as an extension because one of the sides is not bevelled, but that makes it perfect in smaller spaces if you want the table butted against the wall.


I have been staying away from Old White but I have a lot of people that come into my shop asking what the difference between our three whites is- so I decided to paint an example.

One coat of white on the legs and apron….

This table is obviously pine and very country. I didn’t want to paint the table top completely but wanted to add some details to it but still keeping it a little bit folky.

A few months ago when I expanded my shop I bought a lot of Polish folk stencils.  It turned out they were the sticky one time use stencils so they didn’t work for what I had planned and they have been sitting in my shop for a few months.  But as luck would have it….one of them fit perfectly.  Serendipity- because I have been wondering what to do with them.

I found the mid point of the table and the mid point of the stencil–then took off the sticky back and stuck it right in the middle.


I have heard that there are some really great “one time use” stencils out there.  These are not them.  I hate these- but I love the patterns–I was so thrilled when I bought them because the patterns are fantastic……until I tried them.  Basically, you peel off the sticky back then place the stencil where you want it.  Then peel off the paper layer to reveal only stencil.  The problem with these is that the sticky paper has too much glue on them making it really difficult to remove.  Then after the fuss of that and the painting, with these, removing the stencil will peel off the paint under it.  But I thought it would work on this table as it had been lacquered.

IMG_1669 Then I thought it needed a bit of a frame so I taped off a stripe on either side.  The great thing about folklore is that it shouldn’t be perfect.  It is very rustic and primitive so if you make any mistakes—it is very forgiving.


Next I  lightly sand the stencils to reveal a bit of the pine under the stencil creating a faded look.IMG_1673

On the table top I decided to use lacquer.  Personally, I like to use lacquer on a table top with heavy use.  Wax is just as good but because we need to wait for three weeks for the wax to harden and cure- it is often not an option for people. All other applications I use wax.  Always.  Even on these table legs, I waxed then sanded….I think I will sand a bit more, though- just so it is heavily distressed.


This is a Boleslawiec knob.   I have written about  Boleslawiec before- hand made and hand stamped Polish pottery.


Serendipity…..the stencil went exactly to the tip on either side….sometimes luck is on my side ;)



Because I sanded the stencil before I lacquered it is level….I mean you can’t feel it if you run your hand across it.


I like it!








Rustic Duck Egg Blue!

Duck Egg Blue is one of the colours on the pallet that works with so many styles.  It is a greyed down bluish greenish greyish colour that has loads of possibilities!

I got this table for free…..well sort of free.  I bought a table and two side tables from a seller of German and Dutch used furniture and I paid too much for shipping so he threw in this table.

IMG_1630 It is just a regular pine table.  Nothing special- lovely turned legs!

I painted with one coat of Duck Egg Blue.  Just one coat!

Then I added some stencils on the apron.

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I continued around all sides then sanded lightly so the details were a bit faded.


Next step was the legs!  I clear wax first, distressed with 180 paper then added dark wax.

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Of course I didn’t stop there!  On to the table top!

IMG_1640 You can see grease marks or similar bleeding through the paint.  There is no way of telling if this will happen.  Crap shoot, really.  If it does happen it can usually be fixed by sealing in the stain with lacquer or shellac then painting again.  I live on the edge so I just left it and added clear wax.IMG_1641 Then I added a touch of dark wax to give it more of an aged rustic look.  If you are not used to adding dark wax- it can be a bit fussy on lighter colours.  Getting the wax perfectly even can be difficult but if there are places on your piece of furniture that are darker or blotchy, simply wipe over it with a bit of clear wax and it will lighten the dark.

And this is the result:

IMG_1643 IMG_1648

So if you are looking at my photos and wondered what happened…..it was the white balance in my camera.  In the first photos I had it set on auto white balance and it was reading the light wrong.  The last four I switched the white balance to tungsten and the colours are more clear and true……lesson learned- sometimes auto settings are not the best!

fIMG_1662 IMG_1663

Close up of the details, wax and distressing.  Those grease marks are barely visible and actually add a little authenticity!

IMG_1664 IMG_1665The stencil has been sanded like I did on the apron- just so it is faded and the lines are blurred.

If you want to try a different colour besides white- I recommend Duck Egg Blue.  It compliments many others in the Chalk Paint pallet and is flexible enough to use in a few different furniture styles.


Pretty in Pink!

Watched that movie hundreds of times, I am certain!

I have been trying some new techniques and some new colours lately- I can’t say it enough- this one tin of paint offers so many possibilities!

2015 is going to be a great year for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Poland.  Most notably the most recent “Painter in Residence” is from Poland.

This is her—–>https://www.facebook.com/RedesignByAgnieszkaKrawczyk

She was one of my first customers when I started this Chalk Paint journey almost four years ago.  Her style is really rustic, really flakey and chippy and so far the paint world is reacting positively to her work.

We also have one of Annie’s books “Colour recipes” being printed in Polish….actually they have been already printed and are sitting on a pallet in either Holland or England—waiting for me!!  And also….Annie is planning a trip to Poland in November!

So…..using Agnieszka as inspiration I have painted a “chippy” piece.  This is a very popular look with milk paint- the only thing is that with milk paint there is little or no control with where the paint chips off.  For some painters this is part of the charm but I wanted to control the chippy!

I started with two of these cute bedside tables.  Typical western Europe reproduction furniture.


My first step was to paint with the colour Henrietta.  This is a strong pinky colour with a hint of violet.


Then I painted a second coat of Antoinette–a very pinky feminine colour.


While the paint was still wet I then added in some areas the colour Scandinavian Pink to give it some lowlights and dimension.

IMG_1612   IMG_1613

I put the Scandinavian Pink in areas that I thought needed some contrast- then with more Antoinette I blended it together so that it quite a soft contrast.

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The next step was the distressing- I used this tool and scraped off the paint on the edges.

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I also dry sanded….sanded before waxing.  I don’t usually do this…for obvious reasons- this is the dust in the below photo!  I usually sand after waxing-there is less dust and it creates an authentic aged look, but this time I really wanted to thin the layer of paint so I used a high grade sand paper to softly get to the wood.

IMG_1619 IMG_1620

I has been scraped and sanded and chipped …..sounds like a day at the spa.

This is the final result:

IMG_1622 But she has to be staged….of course it is a she!IMG_1623 IMG_1626 Some of the detailed distressing:IMG_1627 IMG_1628      IMG_1629

There are three different pinks on this.  It isn’t quite clear in the photos but the Henrietta under the Antoinette just lightly peeks through giving it a bit of dimension.


Knitting pattern side table complete!

As I said before- this isn’t for everyone.  Some people with think this is hideous and some will just love it.  I think that is kinda cool.


As I was painting the Graphite trim I was thinking to myself that I wanted to keep this quite simple.  Then it occurred to me….I have just decoupaged a knitting pattern on a side table.  I can have a little fun with it.  So I added a Graphite bit at the top and bottom just to balance the whole piece.


This is the final result:



And a close up of the stencil pattern:


I think it is kind of fun. Once again….I know not everybody will like it.  That is fine with me.  I did distress the edges a bit just to show some of the other layers underneath the French Linen.  I wonder if anybody will remember this pattern from 1974?  We will see…..


I am not a decoupager…..

But I am willing to try anything.  Actually, I do glue things onto furniture but it isn’t small bits of flowers or other things like that, I prefer more graphic things like sheet music or maps…..or knitting patterns!!

This side table has been kicking around my shop for a few years.  I can’t sell it.  It has been painted a few colours and distressed with the hopes of catching somebodies eye….but unfortunately no takers!  Its most recent colour is French Linen.  Lovely colour.


I am always searching for interesting unusual bits of history–and then I found these!  Knitting patterns from 1974 Poland.  So fun.  I love everything about them.


And then a lightbulb went off in my head….what if I decoupaged the pattern photo in the frame of the side table?  I am not losing anything by trying…..


The blue heading is on one side and the yellowish is on the other.


And then I took inspiration from the patterned cardigan- which I am sure my Nana knit me one similar when I was a kid.


I have a few stencil patterns that I have been wanting to try- so I started with the largest one int the middle–kind of an argyllsh knitting sort of look to it…..perhaps. I used the colour Graphite to compliment the image.


Then I taped off some borders- much like the look of the sweater.


And then I just kept stencilling until it resembled the style of the sweater in the picture.


And then…..

I thought it could use a bit of Graphite


So this is where I am now.  It isn’t finished but it should be this week.  I am still playing with it to see what I come up with.  I do know this isn’t style isn’t for everyone….and that is OK–sometime an odd or quirky piece added to a room can really bring out the personality of the people living there.

Which is ultimately my goal.  I want my house to reflect me and my family–not be a carbon copy of my neighbours!!


the paint is….bleeding?

Yes.  This can happen with some of the colours that have very deep pigments- for example, Emperor’s silk, Burgundy and Florence.

But it can work for you!

I came across these cabinet doors with great carvings and had to scoop them up.



I immediately thought about doing the two colour technique with the darker colour under a lighter colour.  My first choice as the base coat was supposed to be Provence…..but I couldn’t twist the cap open on my sample pot….so my next selection was Florence.  Lovely bold colour.  Highly saturated and by adding any of the whites in any amount it is possible to mix this lighter.


So I painted the first coat with Florence and the second with Country Grey.


And you can see where the Florence kind of bled through into the Country Grey.  Which is what I wanted.  ***tip***  If you don’t want this to happen- you want to only see Country Grey  after the first coat of Florence apply a thin layer of wax.  This will prevent the colour from bleeding through……on everything except Emperor’s Silk with the whites.  They just turn into a hot pink mess.


Then I waxed and distressed a bit with 180 grit sandpaper and as a final touch I added dark wax.


Here is a comparison without the dark wax:


And here is the final result:



If you were wondering how much paint I used for both these doors…..I used for each colour, both doors- less than half of a sample pot- and that is 100mls.


Chipped distressed finish!

I found a really great table:



A table like this has so many possibilities!  It is a reproduction piece based on furniture that was available in Poland between WW1 and WW2, but painted up it could work in so many styles.

,…..so I have a cherry blossom stencil and I was thinking about doing something with a bit of Asian influence.  I found a really beautiful inspiration picture where the base was a creamy yellow and the drawers were red.  So I thought I would give it a try.


That was as far as I got before I decided that I didn’t like it all.  I am fortunate to have all colours in the Annie Sloan pallet at my disposal.  So I reached for the Scandinavian pink.  This isn’t any of my “go to” colours.  I have to say I love all of the colours on the pallet, there are so many possibilities.  This colour, in my mind, is a really rustic, primitive colour.  It has more style than the dusty rose of the early 90’s- but I thought this table would be great.


And of course it needed to be distressed!

But, I tried something a bit different this time.  A few months ago I was in France for a stockist conference and a few of us drove from Paris to Dinard…..and of course we talked about paint for the whole trip!  One of the ladies from Sweden was telling us how a client of hers did this really interesting technique by lightly taping something with a sharp edge on the edges of the furniture so that the paint chipped off.

There are endless possibilities with Chalk Paint but getting the paint to naturally chip off like a milk paint would- doesn’t really work because it adheres so well to many surfaces.  I have seen a chipped look achieved by putting petroleum gel on first- but this seemed a bit messy to me….and I didn’t have any at my shop to try!!

So I found something with a straight edge and I lightly chipped away at the paint on the edges.



This is how it looked after I added clear wax.  You can see bits of the yellow peeking through the chipped off Scandinavian pink.






I should mention that I did the scraping before I waxed.  I just figured that it would be easier for the paint to chip off if it hadn’t already absorbed wax.  There was a bit of dust with this but I like how it turned out.