Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Obsession: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I'll admit it.  I've got champagne tastes on a ginger ale budget.

With my Pinterest obsession came my desire to make my whole house look like this

 and this.....

 but I don't have the budget for new furniture/decor/lighting/etc. etc. grrr. 

Well, I got inspired by a long-lost friend from when I lived in North Carolina as a child, Michelle  (holla, girlfrand!!!!).  She began posting on Facebook and Instagram pictures of refinished furniture she had done herself using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ( Check her out!!. )  It seemed to me that Michelle had a knack for taking so-so old furniture, seeing the potential in it, and turning it into something beautiful that made me go, "I want that!!"  But several things crossed my mind....

1) I have no artistic talent, nor do I have any idea what color "goes" with what........but I have Pinterest for help!!!

2) Who is this Annie Sloan and where do I buy her paint and can a person like me (see #1) dabble in furniture refinishing

I checked out Annie's blog  at and watched a couple of tutorials.  I also typed "Annie Sloan chalk paint" into Pinterest's search and was inspired by even more beautiful transformations.

Hmm.  Can I do this?  Now...where do I buy it???

This wonder paint and products are only sold at select stores and boutiques, and the nearest one I could find was a boutique called Pippi & Peanuts Eclectic Boutique  ( enjoy their Facebook page HERE!!

I took a trip up to Quakertown, PA one Saturday afternoon and walked into......heaven.  

I was immediately greeted by the store's warm and friendly owner, Jan Reese. As I gazed around at all of her beautiful chalk paint creations, I sheepishly told her that I was a newbie, and could she get me started on the world of Annie Sloan.  Jan encouraged me to start simply, but let me know that there are so many techniques to learn about.  I chose a color (harder than choosing a name for my son), got myself a can of wax, a special brush for the wax, and chatted with Jan well past closing time.  

I took my can of Coco colored Chalk Paint home, did some minor prep to my husband's 12-year-old GIGANTIC oak dresser and BAM! Total makeover.  

Total easy, totally fun, and made me feel like I had created a whole new dresser.

Now don't get me wrong.  I am still a newbie. There are many amazing things/techniques you can do with this Chalk Paint that I haven't even attempted such as using two colors and accenting with colored wax. 

And....I totally stunk at the waxing part.  Didn't help that I was waxing the furniture in a tiny, non-ventilated mud room (ummm.....completely opposite of what the can recommends.  the stuff is STRONG and they recommend air and a mask.  oops.)  

But, that's where practice, and MANY more trips to Pippi & Peanuts, comes in! 

One more thing.....I found that a little bit goes a long way!  I did two coats of Coco on the dresser and only used a half a quart of paint (approx. $40).  After that, I chalk painted a flower pot, an old IKEA server thing, the cabinets in my powder room......and it's still not empty! 

Check out Annie Sloan's blog, but you can pretty much Chalk Paint anything.  Wood, metal, cement, brick, lamp shades, small children, dogs named Pierre, and your toe nails (minus the last three.)

I'm hooked.  


Monday, February 3, 2014

Mini Bathroom Makeover- Part III (Faux Granite Countertops)

So, of course when it came to ideas for revamping the powder room's counter top (new vanity or real granite is out of our budget right now), I consulted Pinterest.

First idea was to mix, pour & spread a concrete mixture on top for an industrial look.  Until my husband reminded me that I had absolutely no cement mixing skills. Touche.  Next?

Next, I found a faux granite kit at Lowes.  After staring at the box for a good 10 wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and I had no idea how it would turn out.  Meh.  

Finally, I began pinning idea after idea on how to create a faux granite look using acrylic paint and sealers.  Hmm....I can do this! 

Shopping List:

- blue painters tape

- Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish- Clear Satin

- Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer
- Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac (clear).  One blog I found called for Marine Varnish to be used as the sealer.  Lowes does not carry that, so the dude recommended I use this instead.  When I asked him, "Is Shellac a type of varnish, kind of like Kleenex is tissue?" he furrowed his brow and said, "I guess."  Good enough.

- sandpaper.  I'm sure a regular ol' sheet of sandpaper would do, but I liked the "holdability" of this little guy

- various shades of acrylic paint that you'd like to see in your "granite."  Not gonna lie, this was a total crapshoot.  I pretty much just picked three neutrals that I liked and a metallic for little flecks of bronze.  The colors I chose were:
              - Artist's Loft (about $3.99 at Michael's)- unbleached titanium, raw umber & mars black
              - Martha Stewart Metallic craft paint in copper (about $3 at Michael's)

- various sea sponges.  You can either get a big one to cut up, or a pack of little ones.  Or both, like I did.  For no good reason.

- paint brush & those sponge brushes w/ the stick in them for the Shellac

Okay, here we go!!!!!


1. Tape off edges of counter top and sink (if there is one....duh.  Don't like, install a sink if you don't have one and tape it off.)
2. Take selfie in mirror looking really hot.
3. Using the sand paper, sand the shit out of the counter.  It's basically to remove any shine from the formica.  Mine wasn't very shiny to begin with, but I felt like I needed to sand it regardless.

4. Clean off counter w/ damp paper towel & dry.  Using your paintbrush, paint a thin coat of primer all over area that will be "granited".  Let dry for about a half hour to an hour.

5. Get yo' paint and sponges ready.  I am fancy and used old birthday cake plates for squirting my paint and working with it.  Start with your darkest color (in my case....mars black). Using a piece of your sea sponge, dab the darkest color all over the countertop.  Leave some white of the primer peaking through.  Let dry about an hour, and repeat with next darkest color.  Start filling in those white spots.  Make sure you rotate your sponge or use various sizes of sponge, or it will look too much like "sponge shape" and not granite-pattern.  Know what I mean?

6. By this time, it's nightfall.  You're gonna want to go ahead and pour yourself a gigantic glass of red wine and take another selfie.  It helps to build artistic confidence.

7. Pick your next color, and repeat above step.  Don't make it look too "patterny", but also be careful that you're creating the same texture/shades all over and not just in one spot (*the wine may be making this step hard.)

8. Dab your metallic (if you are using it) in there, but not too heavily.  At this point, I thought it looked too layered (black, brown, cream, copper), so I squirted all the colors on one plate and dabbed a fresh sponge in the whole she-bang and went over it.

9.  The hardest part is knowing when to stop.  Does it look like granite? Is the color/shade consistent all over the counter? Is it too light or too dark? This is the artistic part.  Keep on dabbin' (and changing sponges so the sponge doesn't get too saturated) until you're done.  (*this may require a second bottle of red.)

10.  Once you like the "granite" you have created, you gotta put that brush & glass down and say, "I like it.  And the King of Spain is not coming to my house anytime soon.  This is pretty much for husband and  I to look at as we flip through the pages of Southern Living or Muscle & Fitness magazines.  Put the sponge down....and back away. Wait about 1-2 hours for all acrylic paint to dry, then apply a coat of the Polycrylic sealer.  Let dry a couple of hours.

11. After the polycrylic is dry, the final coat will be the Shellac. WARNING: use a sponge brush (w/ the stick coming out of it) or another really cheap brush to put the Shellac on.  One that you plan on just throwing out, case you didn't know (like moi), Shellac + water = instant death of paint brush.  Say goodbye.  It basically turns your bristles into a fossil.  Lesson learned.

12.  The Shellac takes a long time to dry.  I applied a second coat (to make it super glossy!!) after 24 hours.  I noticed AFTER I put the Shellac on that the sponged-on acrylic paint looked a bit textured.  Like, unpolished granite.  I kind of like this.  I enjoy texture.  I like to sensually rub my hand on it now after I wash my hands.  However, if you want a more smooth effect, you could try sanding the acrylic before you apply the Shellac.  Not sure how this would work out?

13. Finished!  After all layers are dry, carefully peel off tape and enjoy! Bravo!

Mini makeover (almost) complete.

Mini Bathroom Makeover- Part II

I've had this very scratchy itch to turn my cranberry colored dining room peacock blue.  I love, love the color, but I don't know if it will go the way of cranberry in a couple of years.


I silenced the demons by buying some of Target's Threshold (love) brand in shades of peacock, cream & mustard.  But then I reasoned that a powder room in a blue hue may be kinda nice.

After a little Pinspiration and trolling the paint sample aisle of Lowe's, I found some inspiration and chose a Valspar brand shade of navy-ish.  Just went and checked the can in the basement and the name of the paint is nowhere to be found.  Whoops!

I also liked the look of gold on navy and blank, antique looking frames on the wall.  I ended up buying four $3 frames at KMart and I don't think they look that bad!  I plan on hunting down some keys or somethin' to put in them.  Work in progress. (top two pics are inspiration, bottom left is my back wall behind the ol' terlet.)

After the walls were finished, I bought a sweet bronze mirror, light fixture & electrical plates at Lowes.  Not a great pic of light fixture because of the stupid flash, but it's got some glazed glass over the bulbs.

I finished off the room (for now) with the  Crawley Rug in "nickel"  from Ballard Designs. I love Ballard for affordable home accents like rugs &curtains.

(* here's a bonus hint: For small rugs (like....I don't know...powder rooms!) that may slide all over a wooden floor, you can cut a rug pad from a larger rug pad you may have to use under it.  Like so......

Now, besides some wall fixin's.....the only thing left is this delicious formica countertop....

Check out Part III to see Katie's Adventures in Faux Finishing Formica Countertops Fiesta Hour!

Mini Bathroom Makeover- Part I

Let's face it.  There's nothing in the world I love more than wallpaper.  Wait, wallpaper with purple roses on it!! And to move into a house in 2007 and find that the powder room had wallpaper with purple roses on it?

Well, let's just say I was VERY excited.

I'm lying.  Like a rug.  And after 5 years of staring at that Golden Girls nightmare, I decided to start a mini bathroom makeover. And it began with this.....

Liberating.  And extremely immature at the very same time.

Then, I decided to rent a wallpaper steamer at our local hardware store.

(*Note: our house has/had wallpaper ALL OVER IT when we moved in.  We tried the Diff spray method w/ the scraper.  It was awful and left blue slime everywhere.  A steamer is the way to remove, hands down.)

Commence weekend of steaming while trying to keep toddler and French Bulldog away from boiling hot steamer.

Over the door frame I found the mark of the beast himself...

Charlie?  I will find you.

Walls finished, and continued on with steaming all extra paper and glue off the walls.  Finished off by sanding the walls down to make sure that all extra crap was smooth.  Now......what do I do with this blank canvas of a bathroom?