Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Painted Chair: Fabric and Frame, French Style!

Looks like a Duck Egg Blue chair with leather upholstery
and a bit of gilding on the same tone frame.
But it didn't always look like this!
 The chair was circa 1980 or so...perfectly
nice, but dated floral fabric and peachy wood tone.
 Go ahead and paint both the fabric and the frame.
 This polished cotton fabric was a breeze to paint.
First you mist your fabric with a bottle sprayer using water.
Then dip brush into water then right into paint can and spread onto
the fabric.  The mixture will be too light to usually cover in one coat.
Let it dry, then follow up again with the water and the paint on a second coat.
This way the paint will not be too heavy to cause cracking on the paint.
 You can see the faint pattern of the floral design through the one coat of paint.
This is the chair after the second coat of paint. 
I finished it by sanding it lightly with 500 grit paper over the 
dried painted fabric.  This will make it smooth to the touch.
Afterwards I waxed it with a 50/50 mix of mineral spirits and
Annie Sloan's Clear Soft Wax.  Mix it up til its nice and smushy and 
then spread around the fabric with a wax brush. Wipe off any excess.
If you want to add gilding wax, now is the time.
Add gilding wax like I did here, using King Gold Gilding Wax
for a lovely gilded look.  

You have a brand new chair with a beautiful new look!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Parties, Groceries, a cute French village and Claire's Shop

 Here we were at the French chateau~a billion miles away
from our shops and responsibilities.  It felt so great to have this
beautiful home to stay in with friends from around the country and 
Canada.  Janet Metzger, Kathie Jordan and I posed for a selfie in front
of the chateau.  We would be taking a trip to the supermarket for groceries.
Kathie and her husband John had arrived several days earlier and had already
scoped out the land.  The pile of us staying in the house, got into our respective
cars and followed them to the market to buy supplies for the week, as well
as for our big dinner party we planned that evening.
 I only got a few pics of the market, 
as we all grabbed these little red baskets on wheels and
headed to hunt down our supplies.  The market was huge and clean 
and the produce looked amazing.
We all were looking for different items, I was to find some
 candles for the candelabras, and coffee.
John was to get the wine, Janet the dinner ingredients, 
Virginia the breakfast items, Kathie the produce and so on.  
Mr. MD got the beer, and Mr. Secret Agent made sure everybody got what
they were supposed to get. (just kidding)
 When we checked out we had such a huge pile of groceries,
 about 20 bottles of wine, plenty
of french bread, and those mini french pizzas I grabbed for Mr. MD, 
as he is constantly needing to be fed or he gets grumpy.  
The pizzas turned out to be a big hit! So delicious...
at any rate I thought our bill
 would be a million dollars, but it was only about 250 Euros, 
which came down to about $30 per person for the week!
 If you can go to France, rent a house and buy your own supplies, 
rent a car, and I think you will have the most tremendous vacation, 
especially if you can share it with some friends.
 Upon return we set the table with the oodles of monogramed china~
a monogram so hard to decipher
we couldn't tell which way was up or down! 
That is the perfect monogram! 
You can pass it on to anyone and it will work. 
 Anyway, this china closet full of monogrammed china and 
eight zillion wine glasses was a sign of an upper crusty life style. 
 It was very interesting to be in someone else's 
home and using their stuff. We were very appreciative 
and took great care to return everything to its proper state.
 Janet headed straight to work and whipped up some eggplant 
and sausage in red sauce with pasta. 
She knows her way around the kitchen~that girl can cook!
 We all were drinking wine as we set the table and watched Janet cook. 
 Mr. MD built a fire in the library for us to enjoy later on in the evening.
 The sun started to set over the sea and as most nights
 would have us do, we would congregate in 
the glass room that looked out over the sea. 
The tide would come in and out, leaving the sailboats flat on the sand. 
 And soon they would be afloat again.  The day was coming to an end, 
and our first full night in Dinard would be celebrated by 
the household members over dinner.
The dining room was set up with two separate eating areas and this little
table in the center.  Maybe the little table was a serving table? Well no matter,
we pushed the two larger tables together to create a long dining table
and set the little table up in front of the window to hold the wine.
The candles were lit....I forgot to mention the only thing we couldn't 
find in the supermarket were candles. 
 Not sure where you buy candles in France
so we had do make due with the shortened candles that were already in 
the candelabras.  Water glasses were filled~most of us were walking around
carrying wine glasses that we would bring to the table.
We used the traditional french linen dish towels as our napkins, 
and lay one under each place setting.
 And dinner was served! A few photos and the eating would begin!

 A toast to the chef!
 More clinking of glasses! Everyone was in a bright and cheery mood! And why not?!
We got Mr. Maison Decor and Mr. Secret Agent in the pic as someone
luckly snapped the other end of the table for us.
That was the last pic I had in my phone of the party...it went to the wee hours
of the morning.  The next day we had a full agenda! We would travel to 
Dinan (not to be confused with Dinard) and Dol de Bretagne and visit my good friend Claire
Chalkley's shop. She is also an Annie Sloan stockist, and she is a florist.
She did many of the flower arrangements in Annie's book Color Recipes,
and some of the flowers in Annie's newest book. I was excited to see her again,
as I had not seen her in almost two years, since we met in New Orleans
at the Annie Sloan conference for American stockists.
This is Claire's shop, Les Couronnes Savauges, in Dol de Bretagne.
Her shop is located in the most picturesque village!! Its like Disney World
over here, I kid you not.  Its rather bizarre! So cute and charming!
It was such a surprise to me, these little enchanting villages.
 See what I mean? So cute! So Disneyworld-ish!
 This is the front of Claires shop~she painted the bunting (little flag banner) in her window with all the colors in Annie's palette. Very smart!
 As it turned out, Claire was not in her shop when we stopped by...
so I was looking around inside, when Mr. MD beckoned me outside....
look who had arrived! It was her handsome son, Spike. 
He was on his way home for lunch break from school. 
Spike and I have chatted on FB messenger, but we had never met in person.
  I told him I would bring him some New England Patriots and Red Sox apparel
 over when I came, as I knew him to be a big sports fan of 
our teams in particular! He is so cute!!
I brought him a Tom Brady shirt, as that is my favorite player,
as well as a Red Sox athletic pullover.
 And just then Claire came walking up,
 and I was overcome to see her.  I missed her a lot!
In typical fashion, she was carrying a loaf of french bread! This stuff is 
really what goes on over here, everyone is always going to the bakery everyday
to buy these long loafs of bread, called baguettes.  She brought it home for
Spike to have for his lunch!! Everyone in France is addicted to fresh bread and 
they go out daily and get theirs.  No sliced bread in plastic bags for them~you 
can't even find bread like that.  Mr. Maison Decor LOVED their bread, and the little
long skinny sandwiches they made using the baguettes.  I will need to find a bakery
and start going daily as soon as I retire so I can get us our delicious fresh French bread.
 Claire and I went inside her shop and posed for a group photo
 with the rest of our housemates and 
a few of Annie Sloan's peeps~as tonight was the first night
 of the conference and there was to be a big welcoming party
 hosted by Annie herself!  And Claire was the dynamo
 behind the scenes making all the arrangements 
for the European stockist conference,
 as she is the French Distributor for Annie.
 And then Claire and I got back to chatting as Mr. MD snapped away....
 Laughing and blabbing and trying to squeeze it all in...
But Claire had to run to set up for the
 big party that night, so we said our goodbyes
for now and headed off to find a street cafe for a....
 But first a few more moments taking in Claires shop...
 That jug of flowers is in Annie's new book....
She had all of Annie's fabrics....
they have more fabrics in Europe than we
do in America.  And some lovely ones too.
Charming displays with paints and fabrics 
and lovely French furniture were
scattered around Claire's shop.
One formal group pic, and out the door we went...
 We walked up the street looking for a place to sit, 
past a few touristy type shops,
 and many everyday kind of shops, all mixed in together.
 Pretty painted facades were everywhere.
 Iron balconies galore! 
Lilac windows and blue front
door with bright magenta signage~
this was almost the norm. So pretty and charming.
 We were in the Brittany area, where the swiss alp style
 look is commonplace.  These buildings were so old,
 they were tilted.  Lanterns and flower boxes and
 cute store signs with brightly painted wooden doors 
made for such a charming village.
 Janet and I mugged it up for the camera! I was having a blast!! 
No worries about daily life, just being in France 
and soaking up all it had to offer with my husband 
by my side and a bunch of fun friends. 
It doesn't get any better than this!
Kathie and John Jordan, from Canada, were an absolute delight!
My guy was having a ball too, so that made it all the more fun for me. 
 He took many of the photos so I could enjoy myself.
Perrier, Wine and Beer were all served up, but not in a hurry....
One thing you will see is that the pace is slow in France. 
No one does anything fast here!  So just go with the flow
 and wait a half hour for your waiter to arrive,
 then wait a half hour to get the check!  
 After a pit stop at the cafe we headed off to Dinan
 and walked around this beautiful village.
 My American in Paris...look at Mr. Maison Decor!
He's not blending in with the locals very well.
He was enchanted, and I will say his hat brought him many
admirers and cute exchanges, especially with the French women.
 This town, Dinan, was simply gorgeous!
 Look at these buildings and the streets
of cobblestones.
 The stores were really charming, 
and some used bicycles as advertisements.
 A sneaker store...my boys would have enjoyed this one.
 Historical stone churches were not uncommon. 
France is a Catholic country for the most part.
I loved this twig fence around the church front garden.
 Lace cafe curtains in shop windows and 
apartment windows above the shop were common too.
 Another shop with a sign and bicycle out front...
doesn't this look like France in Epcot center, Disneyworld?!

 And then it was time to find another place to eat....
 and drink....! More wine please!
Janet and I had quiche Lorraine (lol) and 
the guys had some of those ham and cheese 
sandwiches on baguettes.
It was getting on in the afternoon, and we decided to head
back to the chateau as we had a very important party to
get ready for! 
It was the welcoming party for us from Annie Sloan 
at the casino in Dinard!
So we all got gussied up and took some pics
 and then headed over~
that story next time.  You will meet Annie and
 see some of the fun pics we
took of the cocktail event we shared with all
 the other stockists from Europe.
Like a few selfies with Annie!)

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