Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Orleans here we come and new furniture for the shop

 will be CLOSED  until April 9th as we are attending the 
Annie Sloan conference in New Orleans next week~!
However our Boston store will be open FRI SAT SUN 11-4
but our Malden store will be closed. 
 Boston has some new additions to the shop~
we hit the auctions and have tables, chairs and more 
in store for you there! Check it out online if you wish 
to shop from your armchair at
 Of course we are thrilled to be carrying Annie's newest book too.  
We sell this online as well with a grat shipping price of only $2.99!!
 A fabulous pair of mid-century modern black leather tufted 
recliners is headed into Boston as well.
These make a statement for sure! 
Create a private library or smoking room with this pair!
Priced to sell at $300 for the pair~yup that is right!!
You can buy them online, but pick them up in town!
 An elegant china cabinet with lots of pretty detailing is in Boston too~
this would make a nice bookcase, a towel holder for the bathroom or 
even a ....China Cabinet!!!
I grabbed it at auction and just love this piece!  
I will get a nicer photo of it soon, promise.
I also got a beautiful Hepplewhite sideboard.
Thanks to Colin for doing the moving and bringing the pieces 
where I need them, this kid is the best!! He will be in Boston
 running the show, so pop in and say hi! I will be living it up 
with Justin and Annie and the gang in New Orleans
 and have tons to blog about upon my return!

Read more »

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring fever!

 Officially it is spring but not here in Boston! 
At least the sun has been shining for the past couple of days 
and the snow is starting to melt off of the lawns. 
I am soooo ready for some beautiful spring weather!
White pants and a bright blue top for me today! Yesterday 
we got some official Annie Sloan logos for our store windows
 and doors~I ordered mine in Henrietta pink 
which matches the paint job on my shop. 
 My screen door is painted Duck Egg Blue which is 
a vintage aqua color~I love pink with aqua!
 My massive armoire is finished but for the finish coat~
I love how it came out. Its also a vintage aqua color.
 A rustic pot of lavendar looks springy on my desk.
 Great looking faux, which I think are hard to find. 
We often carry these in our shop~both online and in 
our brick and mortar stores.
 From the outside of the shop my cheery pink sign hangs welcoming all!
And in the window is Mr. Easter Bunny~
I plan to cook Easter dinner this year~
what another triumph that will be for me,
I have already got it all planned out.  Not doing a traditional Easter Ham 
but a roast beef with some of my favorite pureed cauliflower and leek
 (my lo-carb mashed potato substitute). 
We will have regular potatoes too and lots of veggies.  
Finishing up with a delicious coconut cream pie!!! 
(Marie Calendar's in the frozen food section makes a knockout!)
 We loved getting in Annie Sloan's new book 
Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture! I decided to
 make a small book area on this great old scrubbed pine bookcase 
carrying only the books that I love!! See how selfish you can
 be when you have an odd little shop like this one?  
There are no rules, only the ones you want to have~
so I want only the books I love to read. 
Most are french inspired, or cottagey reads
 and of course Annie's selection which we sell online.
 This week we are painting a battalion of Mora clocks! 
Today we have two Old White clocks getting finished up, 
Justin and I will be working side by side on these babies, 
with his little dog Sylvia at our feet.
I will be adding May  WORKSHOP classes to the online shop soon~
April is SOLD OUT, except two seats in the April 28th class.
  Come have a blast and leave with so much information 
your head will explode~! When I teach my Annie Sloan Introductory class
 I really give you all you need to go ahead and translate that 
information into the ability to paint furniture.  Tons of extra tips 
and inside knowledge will make you feel assured of what project awaits! 
 Happy Spring everybody!!

Read more »

Monday, March 25, 2013

"You look like Diane Keaton!" Really?

Dianes photo source
 Let me say first of all, that I love Diane Keaton~!  
I have thought many times that I hope I age as cool as she has~
she's got style and wit and panache and exudes 
confidence in the way she lives her life.
Yesterday after my Advanced Workshop finished up hubby and I went out
for dinner to one of our regular haunts. 
 Its a steakhouse that we have come to 
feel very comfortable at~but we have noticed all the regulars working
 there seem to have left and been replaced by new people. 
 We like to eat at the bar, and this night was like any other...
except the 30 something bartender was either brand new at her job 
or she just wasn't that good at it.
But we skipped past most of her faux pas....
until in mid bite of my steak she came 
up to me and just out of the blue said, 
"Do you know who you look like??!"
I used to be told I looked like Heather Locklear or Vanna White, 
but that hasn't happened to me in the last couple of years I confess. 
 At any rate, I waited for her to tell me 
I looked like Vanna or Heather but instead she gushes, 
" You look like Diane Keaton!!! 
Do you know who she is??"
My brain kind of stutter stepped...
I am thinking, you mean Diane Keaton who is a lot older than me??
I had a hard time thinking I looked like her, even though
 I think she is cool~but I am thinking, do I look that OLD??? 
 So I just smiled and said , Oh thanks, yeah she is great!" 
But inside I was a bit freaked out! Really? Do I look like Diane Keaton? 
 She is 13 years older than I am!!  
And I was kind of feeling pretty sitting there 
next to my hubby~wow. How to deflate a girls ego...gaaaahhhhh!
As we finished up dinner the bartender came over to clear our plates. 
Hubby always orders surf and turf, eats the surf and takes the 
turf home for his lunch the next day.  On his plate sat his sirloin steak, 
and as she grabbed the plates and was asking us if we wanted 
desert she flung his steak into the trash right under the bar in front of hubby's eyes! 
Now it was his turn to be horrified!!! As soon as she did it, 
she saw his expression, and said , "Tell me you didn't want that steak....?" 
 "Yes I did" hubs replied~she said just wait for fifteen minutes 
and I will get the kitchen to cook a new one for you...
well we were ready to split the scene. She apologized and said 
"I just wasn't thinking", to which I responded, "No, you weren't" 
 and I wanted to add something about the Diane remark 
but clearly she thought I would be thrilled to think I was 
13 years older than I actually am. We ended up with a
 credit on our bill and a memorable if unpleasant trip to 
our now former favorite steak house. 
 How to remedy a situation like that~
we drove up to hubby's favorite place for an ice cream sundae!!!
 Putnam Pantry~the place where they make home made
candies and ice cream! It's been in Massachusetts forever!
 The movie stars of yesteryear used to come to Putnam Pantry.
Some photos dot the walls of this old fashioned and old building,
like this one of Helen Hayes eating a sundae.
 Our photo is not on the wall, but here we are in line to order two regular sundaes!
 Its a sundae bar, you can see our silver bowls with vanilla icecream and the help yourself buffet. Marshmallow, penuche, strawberries, hot fudge, walnuts, homemade whipped cream, etc....can you say stuffed fat pig? That is what you will feel like after you eat your big fat sundae.
The ice cream table and chairs are so cute! 
We got a fireside table with a hokey portrait of Colonel Putnam
 watching over us.  Mr. Maison Decor jumped into the photo 
carrying the mini cups of water required to wash one's sundae down.  
He is being goofy because he knew I was going to blog this event 
(the Diane Keaton identity crisis).
 I ain't no Diane Keaton...
and I know I am no Heather Locklear anymore either...
(but neither is she probably)
Maybe a big sundae will make me feel better.
Yum. I felt better. Fat, but better.
I guess this departure of a blog is just to say its tough getting older, isn't it?
Honestly, on a day you are feeling pretty good about yourself you 
get an assessment test by your ill witted bartender. 
I hope to grow old gracefully and stay reasonably put together,
for me and my husbands sake.  Clearly Diane is doing a good job!! 
She looks like me!!! You rock Diane!
I hope I look as young as you in 13 years!!
On the horizon my plans include taking the first week of April off to head to
 New Orleans for our annual Annie Sloan stockist meeting!!
 I will be headed south with Justin where we will spend 5 days
 hanging out with Annie and company~attending seminars 
and cocktail parties and meeting fellow stockists.
 Malden Maison Decor store will be closed April 1-8,
 Boston will be open its regular Friday-Sunday on  April 5,6,7.

Read more »

Friday, March 22, 2013

Using Transfer Gel ~ an Armoire Makeover

This is the "before" photo of the massive Chateau Armoire for sale in the shop.
It is a reproduction piece and had a peachy faux finish coated in a slick poly coat 
that just didn't suit my taste.  I came up with a makeover plan
for this big boy and it was going to be dramatic!
I planned to use my beloved Chalk Paint® of course,
and some new toys from Artisan Enhancements that we 
are excited to have in the shop now.
One of those products is the Transfer Gel and many people have expressed
interest in seeing a step by step account of how it works.
First thing I did was to paint two coats of French Linen Chalk Paint over the armoire.
 Because the transfer gel will work better on a lighter base color
 I painted the panels of the doors with Duck Egg.  My idea 
was for the armoire to have an aged Venetian feel to it~
so while it might look pretty simple
right now, it is not going to stay this way!  I had two images 
that I intended to transfer to the doors,
so I positioned them with a light pencil marking and then applied the 
gel to both the cabinet area where the transfer would be 
as well as to the face of the image itself. 
 Paint the gel right onto the good side of the image, not the white side!
Then position it onto the surface and using a plastic scraper 
(or a credit card) smooth out all the bubbles.  Some of the gel 
will squish out the edges, just wipe it away. You can see the 
dark areas of the surface that were wet be transfer gel. 
These will end up leaving a tell tale sign called a halo.  
I will address that later~!
 After you attach you images you need to use PATIENCE! 
Wait overnight for your images to dry completely and that means 
do some other stuff while you are waiting like Justin and I did~
we were playing around with 
all the Artisan Enhancements stuff while the day passed into night.
You will see it drying up~even if it looks dry, 
it still needs more drying time.
 Don't rush this part or you will be a sad artist.
The next day I came in early I was so excited...
  I was waiting for Justin 
to get to the store so we could start removing the paper 
from the images together! While I was waiting I started applying some 
other product, Crackle Tex, to the door and I
 will talk about that later too.
It was one more phase of the makeover.
Now we started to remove the paper~
we wet rags that resemble face cloths.
You need to be patient with this part too, 
be very gentle when removing this paper or you 
can scratch it off and have no one to blame but your impatient self!! 
 I used a sponge and Justin used his cloth and his cloth seemed 
to work much nicer than the sponge.  I had warned him 
so he was very careful, more careful than I was in fact!  
I had a few minor scratches and he had zero!
 The paper is wet and starting to rub off with the pressure of the cloth/sponge.
 See the bottom corner of the image is starting to reveal itself!
 You can see the bits of white paper that get rubbed off 
onto the floor or the edges of the wet cabinet. 
 More of the image is revealed with gentle rubbing~
All the pulp is pushed off of the image~do this slowly and carefully.
 Its so exciting when it is almost all finished at this stage.
 Still so much left to remove though.  
More rubbing...
and then when you think it is mostly all gone you 
stop and let it dry for an hour or so and look what happens:
All white paper appears again! 
So you repeat the process but this time  it is more important than 
ever to be tender and careful pulling the last layer of pulp away.  
Often you can just rub with your fingers when it is wet and it will 
roll up under your finger tips.  You can use a mist sprayer or a
 wet sponge and gently rub.  Let it dry again to see if you have 
any areas that still have white on them.  If you don't take it off it 
will mar your transfer~although when wet it looks clear, 
when it dries it can be clouded with white paper pulp. 
So go through this step 2,3, or 4 times to get it all off. 
 This is when I did a little damage~you can see a tear halfway 
on the right at 3 o'clock.  
But I don't care because I want mine to feel old and decrepit! 
 They are finally finished! 
At this point is when you might see a Halo effect. 
 That is a shiny shadow where the gel touched the wood outside of the image.
You can gently sand it back to remove it or you can dry brush
 or paint over it or do what I am going to do~cover it up with a texture.
I am now ready to go onto the next stage~
but if you were going to just do a transfer you could 
stop now and either seal with wax or Artisan Enhancements Top Coat sealer.
 The next step I took was to conceal the edges of the transfer
 so it didn't feel like it was just stuck there in mid panel....
I wanted to give it an embedded look. 
 So I used the Artisan Enhancements Crackle Tex to create a 
crusty cracked film around the image. How to use 
Crackle Tex will be coming up on another post.
 After the Crackle Tex I painted the remainder 
of the cabinet in a soft muddled effect
~dry brushing and washing my head 
off with Duck Egg and Chateau Grey.

 Then I broke out the Gilders Paste creating more of a Venetian feel. 
Purchase Transfer Gel here 

Read more »