My last pot of Amsterdam Green and the project that wouldn’t end.

I am trying to make a dent in the pile of furniture that is in my garage.  It is slow going.  A while ago I bought this blanket box.

Super cheap.

I was really looking forward to this.  I bought a very cute matrioshka doll stencil that I have been dying to use and thought this box would be perfect.


I wanted the box to be quite dark but the existing paint is in such a mess so I repainted with Graphite.  And then this happened.

IMG_6458  IMG_6459
So….no problem, I know what to do.  I paint over the mess in clear lacquer to seal in all of the spots and repaint in Graphite.  And the mess stayed the same.  I even tried dark wax and it didn’t work–which will normally hides most imperfections.



And then I remembered that I am one of the last stockists to have the colour Amsterdam Green.  It is the darkest colour on the pallet.  It is actually my favourite colour to use.  And unfortunately it is not in production anymore.  My distributor doesn’t have any either….but I have one final pot!!  (there is a rumour that this colour will be put into production again!)


And I paint over the Graphite with the Amsterdam Green.  And it worked!  It isn’t perfect but it works.  The spots are barely visible on the dark colour.  Yeah!  Now I can get on with it!
So my next step was doing the stencil on the box.  It is quite cute- can be folky or can even be a modern retro style depending on the colours you choose.  I wanted to keep it quite simple but pretty bold.

So I did the stencil in Original, which is only available in Europe.  It is a soft white with a touch of yellow.  I actually picked this white because the Boleslawiec knob that I put on there was a perfect match.



And the stencil wasn’t easy either.  First I tried a stencil brush which leaked paint into all the tiny spaces.  Then I tried a roller which also made a mess.  And then lastly I tried a sponge stencil brush which worked really well except that it looked like I sponged it on.  I thought I would deal with that later, because getting the stencil on was most important.  So I did the majority of the stencil with Original and then taking inspiration from the knob I painted the flower on her body in blue and green.



And I didn’t like it.  I wanted it to be more simple.  So sanded off the flower and then repainted and did a flower on top in Amsterdam Green.

And this is the final result: (after three days)

IMG_6490  IMG_6494


As you can see I also repeated the flower detail to give it a Polish folklore feel.  I am thrilled with this box.  I would love to try this stencil again on a white background so I can use really bold bright colours.  I sanded the stencils down slightly so that the sponge marks were not so visible.  Also, most importantly, after I waxed the spots and spills were barely visible.




Wabi sabi……

She says with a straight face.

No kidding.

I have just come back from a whirlwind tour from Geneva to Brighton, England.  It was a paint thing.  (honestly, Chalk Paint has changed my life.)  I flew to Geneva where my friend/fellow painty person picked me up.  I camped at her house for a night and the next day we set off for France to meet another friend/painty person.  We stayed over in Brittany and then the next day set off to Brighton, England where the conference was held.  Thelma and Louis 2013.  We took the Chunnel.  Freaky that.

Anyway……while in a W.H. Smith book store we loaded up on English books (New Direction for the kids, design for me.)  I picked up the most amazing book “Elle Decor Country Living.”  It is full of the most inspirational homes and photographs that are simply drool worthy.

So, I am reading a story about home owners in France and part of the style description was “wabi sabi”.  Of course I had no idea what it was, I thought perhaps Japanese but the photos matching the description were nothing like any Japanese style I have ever seen.

So of course needing to know instantly what this is I turned to my trusty computer and searched.  And I felt as though a massive lightbulb just went off above my head.

Now this may sound silly, but, it is not very often  that new design terms are created.  Particularly one with such a silly name.

What is “wabi sabi”?

well, let me tell you!

Wabi sabi is a term used to describe a type of design that actually celebrates flaws and imperfections as part of design and living space.  It is life with all its imperfections and flaws.  It is accepting things the way they are and enjoying them.

It is a wooden bowl with a crack, it is a cabinet with a broken door, it is a wooden table with a scratch and it is a gilded mirror missing a bit of gold.  It is life.  It is living and enjoying everything that there is to the best of our ability and not worrying about the imperfections.

And this concept carries through from design to beauty to relationships to foods as well as to our jobs.

It isn’t perfect and we should enjoy it all for what it is and for the pleasure it gives us.




A beautiful table with a natural stress fracture is no big deal…..








The above photos may be too extreme for some people.  But it is the concept behind it that is important.  Learning to abandon the notion that everything has to be perfect.  It is human nature to want to be surrounded by beautiful things….but teaching yourself that even the cracked and broken also have beauty is a life lesson and something that should be handed down from generation to generation.

Perfection can be boring.


Finished brown table

So here is the end result!





I had a hard time taking photos of this.  I forgot my tripod and today was a pretty dull grey Warsaw day.  The table is actually a bit darker than this- more like dark chocolate.

It really suits the style of my clients house….had it been my choice I would have painted the table in Graphite and finished with dark wax.  I don’t think a light colour would work with the claw feet.

I still have the same opinion about painting furniture brown…..I like wood- if I want brown I would stain and varnish it.  But it isn’t my table!!


Mixing brown

Brown is not a colour I regularly paint with.  If I wanted brown I would leave the wood and stain it- not paint it.  I know a lot of faux finishers use brown for their techniques….but I am not really a faux finisher kinda gal.  😉

However, those who love modern furniture also seem to like brown….in my experience, anyway.

I have a lovely Finnish lady who has a typical Scandinavian style.  Lots of white, grey and beiges.  I have painted in her house before and there is just something really comfortable about this particular style.

A few weeks ago she came to drop off a round claw foot side table that has loads of carving details in it.  The wood looked to be a birch or a maple but had yellowed over time.  I didn’t get a picture of the before, unfortunately, but just imagine ugly yellow wood and you are close.

And she wanted it dark brown.

But dark brown is not in the Chalk Paint pallet!  But the colours mix really well.  Problem solved.

If you have never made brown before -it isn’t difficult.  You just need to look at your colour wheel.

Basically, you mix all three primary colours together, that is the red, the yellow and the blue.  This will make brown.  There are other methods still using the colour wheel like mixing a primary and a secondary…..but mixing the blue, red and yellow is the easiest.

You may need to play around with the exact amounts until you get the brown you are looking for- but those three will do it.  Adding white or black will also lighten or darken your brown.

So I started with this:


These colours are English Yellow, Emperor’s Silk and Monet Blue.  (Monet Blue is a European colour)

I added equal spoonfuls of each colour until I got this:



A very chocolatey brown.



I painted two coats with this and thought it may be a bit light for my client.  She did want it quite dark.  So the next step is the dark wax.  This is just a bit of it done- the paint wasn’t completely dry when I took the photos.


Here you can see in the foreground the brown and the darker in the background.  But you can really see how dark the leg is after the dark wax application.


Tomorrow I should have the finished table for the Finnish lady!