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.

,… 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.


Finishing the upholstery

Part two of the green chair!

I have stapled everything down and now I need to make, buy or steal double piping to cover the staples.  This is where I am now:

IMG_1504                  IMG_1505   IMG_1506                                   IMG_1507

In the above photos you can see the first layer of Country Grey peeking through- which is exactly what I hoped for.

I am happy with it- I think it looks quite smart and the Peking pattern is really lovely.


Tinted wax

Did you know that it is possible to add colour to your clear wax?  Of course you did!!

Last month we drove to Switzerland for a little skiing and a little brocanting…..guess which one I did?

While I was there….I found this chair:

IMG_1485         IMG_1486

It is solid oak and really heavy.  I actually debated whether or not to paint this…..

First step was to remove the old green fabric.



The moment I saw this chair I new I wanted to upholster it with the Peking fabric from the Annie Sloan fabric collection.  It is a beautiful thick linen that is perfect for upholstery, curtains, blinds and pillows.  The base colour is a beigy oatmeal colour and the blue is a lovely deep bluish violet.  It is one of my favourites.

As I wrote earlier, I debated about painting this.  It does have some scratches and dings in it but it is in great shape- it would still work with the wood and fabric combination but I really wanted to give this chair an update.

I decided on Country Grey as the base colour.  This is a true beige with no yellow to it.

I painted the frame two coats and wanted to give it a little extra….so I tinted the wax!


I have written about this before.  Annie Sloan soft wax comes in clear or dark- which is a dark brown. But it is possible to add a spoonful of any paint colour to the clear to create a different patina.  For example, adding a spoonful of Graphite to clear wax then applying it to any of the whites creates a completely different effect than the dark wax.  Try it and you will see!!

I wanted to add a touch of blue to the chair- just a subtle hint of colour so I added a spoonful of Old Violet to the clear wax and mixed it up then I applied it to the chair with an old brush.



You can see that the Old Violet gives a subtle tint to the Country Grey.  It is a really nice look.



Once the chair was painted and waxed I then started on the upholstery.  Today I managed to get most of the seat completed.  Tomorrow I start on the back.  I am also undecided how to finish the edges- with double piping or a decorative edging…..I am leaning towards the piping!



The completed chair will soon follow!


What I love about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint…..

… its versatility.  But isn’t it just a pot of paint?  Well yes it is!  But it is a whole lot more!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is a water based paint, not latex or emulsion, it has a completely different base.  And it also contains natural chalk and pigments.

If you visit  under the section FAQ’s is a file that you can download.  One is for Europe and the other is for North America, Australiasia and South Africa.  This is the m.s.d.s or manufacturers safety data sheet.  They have all the information that you need.

So…..what is so versatile about Chalk Paint??  Well, it is a pot of paint with endless possibilities.  Many people think that this is a “shabby chic” kind of paint.  Well, it can be.  But it is also great for modern, classical, boho, retro, rustic, shabby chic and many others!

First example:

modern orange-chalk-paint


A retro kind of mid century modern gets an easy update with Barcelona Orange!  (Visit the link to see where she uses it!!)


Second example:



Boho Chic is fun.  The colours are bright even clashing but it works well with Chalk Paint because of the vibrant colours in the pallet.  Here we have Emperors Silk and Barcelona Orange.


Third example:



This rustic table is one of Annie’s very own projects.  Because the paint can be diluted and left to thicken it is perfect for adding texture to furniture when you want to create a rustic look.


Fourth example:



Graphite on classical style furniture with a touch of gold can really change the look of a piece of furniture as well as a whole room!  (have a look at the blog to see the before)


Fifth example:



And of course white painted furniture with heavy distressing or shabby chic is a perfect technique with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

There really is no limit.

But that is just furniture!!  You can actually do more with one pot of paint.

For example:



It is possible to paint upholstery and other fabrics.  All that is needed is a paint/water mixture of 50/50.  Paint on a few coats, once completely dry simply wax it.  Once the wax cures it will start to feel like leather.

And this:

antoinettec suitcase


An old leather suitcase gets a feminine touch with Antoinette and Old White.  A touch of dark wax to highlight the texture.  Perfect storage for a little girl’s room.

And what about this:

ceramic rabbits


The lovely lady that did this explains how she painted these cute rabbits in her blog.  You have to see the before- you won’t believe it!

Not to mention this:



Chalk Paint on bricks?  No joke!  How is that for an update!!

Let’s not forget this:



Metal!  It is also possible to paint brass as well.

And then…….there is this:



You can actually dye fabrics.  Annie has done this in one of her books, but basically, add paint to water, let it sit.  Rinse and wash.

It stays.  You could set it with vinegar if you like.  But it isn’t always necessary- of course natural fabrics like cottons and linens will only work.

And then this:



Is that glass??  Why yes it is!  You can also paint glass.  Crazy, I know.


So this is why I like Annie Sloan Chalk Paints!  There are other paints that try and copy Chalk Paint, but they haven’t had any luck so far!

Some other projects I have seen painted with Chalk Paint include a driveway in Florida (no joke), a refrigerator and a car.  No, I am not kidding.

So, what are you waiting for??




Copper leaf….my latest obsession.

Long time!  Trying to adjust to my busier lifestyle!!  In the Annie Sloan range of products there is gold, silver and copper leaf—copper is my new obsession.

I have just recently painted a set of stacking tables with graphite and finished the edge with copper leaf and then dark wax.  If you go on my Facebook page- you can see it.

So…..smaller project but big change.

I started out with this lovely Danish modern type wooden bowl.  I think it is European oak.  As you can see the inside of the bowl is a bit worse for wear.  I love the shape of it and I love the wood but a little copper foil will give it a quick update.




The first step is to make sure that the bowl is clean and smooth because all bumps will show.  This can also be a desired effect but here I wanted it smooth.  The leaf is so thin that whatever texture is under, including grain will show through.



So I painted with gold size, which is the glue for the leaf.  I did it in sections because this can get a bit messy.

At first the gold size has a purple tinge to it but once it starts to dry it turns clear.  Simply test lightly with your finger to see if it has hardened and is sticky.  Once ready apply the leaf.



The application can be a bit fussy.  If you put a little baby powder on your hands it will prevent the leaf from sticking to your hands. So then gently lay it on the glue and with a soft bristled brush –smooth it out.  You can also crumple the foil a bit in your hands and once you apply it to the gold size it gives a bit of a different look- kind of textured.


So then keep applying the leaf and cover any spots that you have missed.  Gently brush off the excess leaf- this is really messy, all the flakey bits that are not stuck down come off.

Once you are happy with the look of it–add the wax.  On the copper leaf I really like the look of the dark wax.



The dark wax dulls the copper a bit.  I rely like this look.  A touch of luxury.  Then after about 20 minutes I buffed the dark waxed leaf so it has a bit of a shine.  I also waxed the outside of the bowl to darken a few spots that had lightened.




Once the wax cures, after about four weeks, it is possible to use this as a fruit bow.  The mineral spirits from the wax evaporate so it is safe for food.  But- of course not wet foods.  Bananas, apples etc etc are ok….but no soup :)

This project probably took about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Don’t worry about wobbly lines with the leaf.  You can always use a fine grit sand paper to sand off the leaf in the placed you don’t want it.

And there you go!!  Old bowl, new look, short amount of time!


Broken camera :(

If you look back on many of my photos you will see they are kind of funny.  Which was really frustrating because I thought I was doing everything correctly!!

Well it turns out my camera is a little bit broken.  I needs to be calibrated.  Which basically means that it needs a tune up.

So it is being fixed!  Hopefully it won’t take too long because I have many interesting projects to blog about!!

How I got started and where I am today…..

….it has been a while.  For good reason.  I am really busy.  And it is a good thing.  I thought I would tell my story to perhaps inspire somebody in some way.

I have been working as an interior designer in Warsaw, Poland for quite some time.  In Poland, when you buy a house, you buy it “shell and core” which means that it has nothing in it.  No floors, no plumbing, lights…..anything.  It is up to the purchaser to “fit it out”.

So I was doing the design portion of the fit out for clients and a carpenter would do the rest.  Besides doing the renderings and design, I also sourced everything.  Which meant that I spent a lot of time in my car driving from one place to another looking for tiles, sinks, lights….you get the idea.

About four years ago I was working on a project and while searching on the internet I came across Miss Mustard Seed’s blog.  She is very inspirational and a really great blogger and reminded me how I liked to paint and refinish furniture.  I have been doing this since I was a teenager but with changing countries and having kids I had pretty much forgotten about it.

But what really got me was that she wrote a review about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I had been thinking for some time that I wanted to start refinishing furniture and selling it on the Polish version of ebay.  And then I read the review she did on the paint and I thought this would be something to bring to Poland.  I had never come across a shop that fixed up second hand furniture here.  There was a place that sold new pine furniture and had flowers painted all over it.  This really wasn’t my thing.

I love furniture and really like giving an old piece a tasteful update…not with flowers painted on it.

So the concept was there.  Second hand furniture and Chalk Paint.  Now for the location…..

Warsaw has outrageous rents.  It is stupid, actually.  And it doesn’t make sense.  I can say this with confidence because my husband is a commercial real estate broker in Warsaw and knows the market like the back of his hand.  So we needed to get creative.

We searched and searched and everything was too expensive and too small.  Then we came across a pre war building that was a bit of a mess but we thought we could give it a try.

This shop worked out for the year that I was in it.  Then people started finding me and I needed more space.  First good thing!  Then a Polish lady that was living in Ireland moved back to Poland and also opened a shop selling the paint- now there are two!!  And then I moved shops –to a bigger location!!

There were two of us for just over two years- then a former colleague of my husband’s desperately wanted to change jobs so I suggested opening a shop with paint……then there were three!!   And I became the distributor of Poland- which means the paint enters Poland through me and I distribute to the others.

Since I became distributor I have been searching for others in Poland to sell the paint.  It was an uphill battle.  I wrote loads of emails and people simply didn’t get it.  And then all of a sudden they did.  I have been getting emails and calls from people who want to do the same thing as the three of us!

So now- we have somebody in Szczecin, somebody in Gdynia, Krakow, Kozienice, two in Warsaw and one in Pruszkow!!  And I distribute to everybody.

My garage is full of paint and furniture….but it is a good thing.  And this is the reason why I have neglected this blog and the Polish one.  I am swamped!  But happy.

And another thing- my shop is a mess.  I have so much furniture in it- commissioned pieces that are waiting in the queue, that I can’t even stage a good photo anyway!

So once I get this cleared out I have plans to update my shop a bit- clean it up, add some lighting……and hopefully get back to some before and afters!!


So please hang in there…..I’ll be back!  (said in my best Swartzenegger voice)