All because I dropped the door….

I am winding down for our big European tour starting tomorrow but I thought I would show a piece I just finished today.

This is the before:

Ugly, no personality, cheap pine furniture.  Blah!  I like pine but this was ugly!

I removed the varnish from the top and stained with a dark walnut then waxed.

The base I painted with Graphite and the interior I painted with Sienna Yellow–I think that is Arles for the rest of the world.

Actually what I tried to do first was fill in the ugly diamonds.  On the body- it was no problem but on the door….nothing but problems- I couldn’t get it to look good.  The paint on the filler dried differently than the wood- still leaving the diamond showing through.

And then I dropped the door.   What happened was the panel inside slid….and a lightbulb went off in my head!  Of course!!!  Remove the panel- so easy!

I had some floral arrangement wire….I can’t find chicken wire here- so I have a substitute.  The only problem is that it is copper- so I just painted it slightly to remove some of the shine.  Then I stapled the wire to the inside of the door and covered the staples with trim.


How is that for a before and after…..and it all started with my slippery fingers!


Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ™….questions answered!

For those of you that may stumble across this blog and are curious about the person behind it…..I am a stockist of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ™ in Warsaw, Poland.  I am originally from Canada…..but life has taken us to this side of the world and I completely enjoy it.

I have taken the course for stockists run by Annie Sloan as well attended a conference for European stockists with the purpose of networking and different modes of advertising in order to get the name out about the paint.

I am the only stockist in all of Poland.  Which is good and bad.  The good is that people can only buy the paint from me but the bad (not really bad) is that I have a lot of paint sales via internet- which is quite popular in Poland but takes the personality out of selling the paint.

At this moment I am completely swamped at work.  I am going on holiday next Friday for two weeks so I am trying to finish up a few things, teach a course as well as shoot photos and write an article for a local magazine.

So I don’t have any before or afters of some of the projects I have done, unfortunately- but I thought I could write a bit about using chalk paint and answer some of the questions that appear on my blog.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ colours.

All of her colours are historical and are based on the colours that were used in Europe in the past with heavy influence from France.  For example, Aubusson blue is a colour based on Aubusson carpets of Aubusson, France that originated in the 17th century.

Monet blue…from the famous Monet paintings, Antoinette—-yes, from Marie Antoinette’s personal decor style.

The paint, with the exception of Graphite, has no black in it- which gives the possibility of mixing colours without any of the mixes turning muddy.

This aspect is in fact how we can expand the paint colours.  By using any colour and adding Old white we can lighten the very saturated colours.

The paint is mixed in small batches and has the lowest VOC’s and is made from organic materials.  It has a secret recipe!

Using the paint:

This paint will adhere to many surfaces.  Old paint (oil or water based), old lacquer, waxes, concrete, brick, plastic, fabric….there is a lady who even painted her driveway with this!

What this means is that if you buy a piece of furniture it is not necessary to scrape off the old finish in order to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ™–you can paint straight away– saving time and energy.  I can often finish two items in one day and sometimes more if I am really on a roll.

Drying time:

That depends.  In the warmer and dryer months it typically takes about 20 minutes for one coat of paint to dry.  In my shop, where the walls are damp, in the winter it will take longer to dry.

How many coats:

For all the pieces that I have painted so far, I have needed two coats of paint.  The only exception was with a colour called Amsterdam Green- I am a European stockist so this colour is not available in North America, Amsterdam Green usually only requires one coat.


There are two methods of distressing that I really like.  The first is using a wet sponge to remove the paint before waxing and the second is sanding after waxing.  There is no hard and fast rule when I use which method – depends on the piece.

Of course there are other painting techniques but for simplicity sake I just mean a regular distressed/chippy paint finish–probably the most popular.


Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ™ needs wax.  This paint is a two step process- the wax is step two and it is used to seal and protect the finish as well as giving a soft shine after buffing.

I apply the soft wax with a round flat brush.  It lets me apply the wax more evenly as well as letting me get into all the grooves and details of a piece of furniture.

It is possible to apply lacquer to chalk paint but please be aware that the lacquer will yellow.  This may not be noticeable on darker colours but on Old White or Pure it will be obvious.

I usually apply two coats of wax—very thin coats!  This is important.  If you apply a thick layer of wax the top will dry first and bottom will stay soft- so the finish is not hard.

For a table top or something that will get a lot of use I will apply three coats and after buffing recommend about a week before use so that the finish is extremely durable.

Drying time of wax:

After the first thin coat of wax it typically takes about 10 to 15 minutes drying time before I buff and apply the second coat.  Again it depends on the weather but 10 to 15 is about right.

Outside uses:

This paint can be used to paint old garden furniture, signs, flower pots and metal garden furniture….and the paint will adhere and stand the test of time.  The only difference is that the paint shouldn’t be waxed or sealed.  When a piece meant for outdoors is waxed, what happens is that water can get trapped under the surface and then the wood will start to mould.  If it is left unsealed then the water will dry and basically allow the piece to breath and age naturally.

I have signs hanging on the outside of  my shop that have only been painted.  Through rain and snow -they still look as if I had just painted them.

Sand after or before waxing:

This seems to be asked a lot.  With regular latex paint- we sand before waxing or lacquer, however, with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ we sand after waxing.  What happens is that the paint and wax create a bond so the effect after waxing is more authentic.  The paint and wax also seems to roll off the sand paper.  Sometimes the paper gets gummy but the effect is worth it.

There is also less dust when sanding after waxing.


I buff with a soft cloth- actually is a piece of faux sheep skin.  It works for me.  Sometimes I like a lot of shine and sometimes only a bit….depends on the piece.

The wax should be dry before buffing- you can test this by lightly running the cloth on the surface, if it sticks the wax is not dry yet.


This furniture should be treated like any other piece.  It is extremely durable but not resistant to scratching or other damage that would be typical of any other wooden or painted furniture.

Spilled water will bead up on the wax.  Spills and mess won’t penetrate but you can’t put an extremely hot plate on the furniture and expect no damage!

What I have found works to smooth out a surface after about a year of heavy use is by using a pot scrubber (green plastic corse cleaning pad), simply wipe firmly the surface to even it out and then apply another layer of thin wax.

So hopefully this long post with no photos will help to answer any questions you may have when using chalk paint.

I love this paint and since becoming a stockist I have used nothing but!  It is too difficult to go back to the sanding, priming and all the other nonsense when I can finish many projects in one day!


At the seaside

Last week in Poland we had a few holidays during the week days so many people just extended for the whole week, including us!  We went to the north of Poland to the Baltic coast.  This is the part of Poland where my husband is from.  It has a different feel to it than the rest of Poland.  It seems to be a bit more relaxed….more relaxed than Warsaw anyway.   The tri city area of Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk are not to be missed if ever you make your way to this part of the world.

Gdynia is a new city with most of its architecture stemming from the 30’s, Sopot is a resort town and Gdansk has lovely Gothic and Baroque architecture with a heavy Dutch influence.(Sorry I have no photos)

The tri city area is also the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which also led the way in ending the cold war.

We were actually on the Hel (no joke) peninsula, where the Baltic has an open side and a closed side–and the air is really fresh.

The above photos were taken at around 9 pm.  The sun goes down really late here during the summer months.   This is the open Baltic…if you swim, sail, windsurf across- you will eventually hit Sweden.

The above photos are the closed side of the Baltic- the Bay of Puck.  The waters are calm and shallow and the winds are strong which makes it a perfect windsurfing/kitesurfing destination.

The days were sunny, a touch cold but not enough to prevent many from getting their first windsurfing days of the year.

After a week up there I am finding it quite difficult to get back into the swing of things!

Aubusson Blue

This colour is stunning.  It is named after the grey blue colour that was typical of Aubusson rugs in 18th and 19th century France.  It is dreamy.

I started with this:

Great lines and curves and decorative elements.  There was damage on the top and some on the veneer but nothing major.

I have to say that these photos kind of make this piece better looking than it actually is.  Even though the carving details are quite lovely- the rest of this is tired and worn out–in need of a re-do.

I painted the whole piece with Aubusson blue and because I wanted to highlight the gorgeous carving details I painted those with Chateau Grey and then highlighted using Old White.

I then clear waxed and distressed…and then distressed some more.

This is the result!

I am pretty pleased with it.  The wood carvings were in great shape but I think they look so much better now- they are more of a feature where before the most noticeable part of the furniture was the veneer.

The legs are another super detail.  I couldn’t stop this project- I was dying to see how it would turn out- Aubusson Blue is on the list of my favourite colours for sure!