Behind Closed Doors

She sits tapping her perfectly manicured nails on the worksurface. The sound of her husbands keys can be heard rattling as he opens the front door of their North Yorkshire home, following yet another long day at the office.

“Something smells nice” he shouts as he makes his way into the kitchen to greet his wife.

“Nice day at work honey ” she asks in her sarky tone.

“Please love, I don’t need to come home to yet another argument” he pleads.

She stares long and hard at him as if she is trying to see through his soul. She reaches for the kitchen drawer, opens it to produce a handful of shiny business cards.

“Do you not work enough hours? Now you want to offer your services in whats meant to be our family time” she snaps.

He shakes his head while stating “We have Laura now, we need the money!”

Sarah, David’s wife had given birth to their first child Laura some 6 months ago. She had previously been a high flying career woman who struggled to settle into her new role as a mother. Deep down she had began to resent David and his “Work”.

Sarah raised her hand into the air, releasing the shiny cards into a heap on the kitchen floor!

David, now looks a shadow of his strong confident self as he kneels down and hurriedly scoops up the cards within his reach. Suddenly as if from nowhere the sharp point of a glossy red stiletto comes crashing down onto his trembling fingers. He yelps out in agony as she twists her heel as if stomping out a Smouldering cigarette.

“Useless” she sniggers in her usual callous tone, as she leaves the room to reluctantly attend to her daughters cries.

David, sat unable to move! His whole body overtaken by fear of what would come next. He knew from experience that there was more to come. Broken fingers were sadly not a first… These outbursts of rage, many leading to physical violence had become a nightly occurrence, so much so David started to dread coming home instead opting to stay later at the office! Only this only fuelled Sarah’s rage making things much worse when he later returned home.

Suddenly, he hears the sound of his wife’s heels the ones she made her weapon, clomping back down the stairs. David quickly try’s to pull himself to his feet only to feel the most excruciating pain shoot through his back! His kicked with such force he collapses back into a withering heap.

“Pathetic excuse for a man” she snaps

“Get up, clean yourself up, our guest are due soon”

He wants to leave, of course he does! But his scared! His scared of what she’ll do, how she’ll look after Laura and what he’ll do without her. Yes, despite the abuse, the physically pain this man endures, he just can’t help but love this woman! The same woman who becomes so angry she once drew blood with her teeth! But then she can also be sweet, loving and sorry… Yes, she’s always sorry!

An hour or more lapses, David leaves the bathroom now ready for a night of entertaining. Just then Sarah appears, first aid box in hand.

“David, you know I love you don’t you?” She whispers while kissing his bruises fingers

She then atentatively wraps her husbands wounds in a bandage, and continues… “I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me darling… I promise it will never, never happen again”

He nods, she takes him by the hand and leads him back downstairs! Together they both lay the dinner table.

A few hours later the scene now taking place at 64 Coombe lane, North Yorkshire, is a somewhat different one from that of a few hours before. A laughing smiling couple, enjoying the company of their friends over a glass of white wine and a plate of minted lamb chops. Laura soundly asleep in her cot unwoken by her fathers nightly cries. Its the scene of a somewhat happy family, though behind closed doors the story is a somewhat different one.

I wrote this short story to impress Solopress and possibly bag myself a pretty awesome prize.

This Weeks Vintage Finds

Saturday I had an awesome time bargain hunting over at a newly discovered Rummage Sale that took place at “Foal Farm” located in Biggin hill Kent.

The rummage sale is a cross between a bootfair and jumble sale. There is absolutely loads of bric a brac to look through, plus toys and collectables.

Foal Farm is actually an animal rescue sanitary so they also have there own pet shop on site selling reasonably priced items.

There is both stalls inside and outside to explore. I really did found some great vintage treasure for very little money at all.

Here’s a round up of just some of the items I brought…

Stunning silver plated candle stick holder Marked “E.P Zinc Silver Plated Made in England”

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Sadly I only got the one, though I’m sure I spotted two of these when I first approached the stall. I didn’t buy this right away and that’s why I probably missed out on bagging the set. However this didn’t cost much at all. At the end of the sale we were told to fill a bag for a £1… Yes £1! This was one of the many items I added to my pound bag.

Crystal tray and miniature crystal bottles…

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I’m unsure if this crystal dish is meant for serving snacks etc. I however thought it would be great for my dresser. Different items of makeup or jewellery can be placed in the different dividers.

The two glass bottles I brought in my bag for a £1 bargain, where the dish cost me 70p.

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Vintage Hand Mirror For Dresser…

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This mirror is really pretty and I was only charged a £1 by the stall holder.

Paris Style Sweet Tin…

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This cute paris style sweet tin was a steal at 30p. Its great for sewing materials or simply just storage for all them little odds and ends.

Tiny Vintage Trinket

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I don’t know why but I love this very tiny little trinket. Its big enough to fit just one ring but its beautifully designed and was one of my favourite buys of the day.

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Shabby Chic Oil Burner…

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A very cute little oil burner that I again loaded into my a bag for a quid.

Small Crystal Decanter…

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I don’t know what it is about decanters and glass bottles but I’m really ending up with a tidy collection. I think its all down to a book I own on creating Vintage gifts. One section has this great idea on using pretty decanters to store bubble baths and scented powders. Again this came in my bag for a pound stash.

Shabby Cream Box…

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Not like I haven’t got enough already, I couldn’t resist this cream wooden box that I brought for 50p. The lid lifts up for storage, plus it has a spacious drawer. A perfect jewellery box painted or left as it is.

Vintage Bone China Soap Dish…

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What can I say, it was 25p and its very pretty indeed. Its bone china and has all the markings on the back.

Book Plates…

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I’m unsure why I brought these as I’ve been trying to downsize my book collection. I just found them really sweet. Simply full in your name and stick to the inner cover of your book. They are old, though I’m not to sure just how old. Anybody else seen these before? These were added to my bag for a pound (I actually ended up filling 3 bags for a £1, hence the reason why I can’t share all my items here today)!

Small Decorative Porcelain Perfume Bottle…

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This is a miniature perfume bottle that’s really decorative and looks great on a dresser. It was just 50p and I love it! Not to sure what the last part of the markings indicate but like it all the same.

I also got a beautiful shabby chic wooden chair and a lovely little shelf unit for £4, that I plan to refurbish with some Annie Sloan chalk paint. I will be sure to share once I get started.

Tutorial – Pretty Miniature Fabric & Lace Sewing Kit

This dinky little sewing kit is super cute and makes a lovely little gift idea with that added personal touch. What’s more its dead simple to create.

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All you will need is

A few scraps of blue floral material
Some scraps of light blue lace
Ivory or cream ribbon
Pale pink thin ribbon
Mod podge
Faux pearl (small)
Mini sewing kit in clear casing (available in supermarkets, newsagents and many other places)

Tools needed…
Scissors
Brush for Mod podge
A glue dot

This is so simply that it won’t take to many words to explain how I did it!

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So, first you want to cover the top of the casing in mod podge. Then cut down your material and stick it down on the case adding a layer of mod podge over the top of the material. Do this step for the front and bottom of your case! Remember, Its better to have the material a little bigger than cutting it to small. So if you have a little excess cut this only once the material is dry and turned somewhat stiff to avoid the material slipping about and ending up to short.

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Once dry take a strip of light blue lace and measure it against the top of your casing of your mini sew kit. Cut to size and with mod podge stick it along the middle of your already covered casing. Again add mod podge to the top layer of your lace.

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Once dry work on the sides of your box using the same technique to apply the blue floral material. Leave to dry for around 30 minutes.

Now use some more light blue lace to cover the front edging of your casing just where the case clicks shut. Be careful not to add mod podge to the cases clip. Once your lace is dry you can then cut away the excess material to reveal the cases opening and closing clip.

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At this stage I had emptied my sewing case and separated into two half as to allow them to fully dry without anything becoming glued shut.

I then added a strip of cream ribbon across the middle of my top casing (across the light blue lace) using the modge podge.

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Only once I was confident my casing was completely dry I placed the two pieces back together again and refilled with my mini sewing items.

The last thing I needed to do was add a pretty little finishing touch. I did this by cutting my pale pink ribbon to size and then tying it into a pretty little bow. I added my bow to the middle of the cream ribbon on the lid of the casing with a glue dot followed by a little mod podge.

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And there you have it! A perfectly formed miniature sewing kit housed in a girly floral and lace case. Perfect for any handbag and an ideal gift for Mother’s Day.

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Tutorial – Vintage Inspired Lace & Pearl Lipstick Case

Looking through my makeup drawer yesterday I found my little old Crome lipstick case and decided it needed a little TLC to make it pretty again.

This is a really easy upcycle and if you have an old lipstick case knocking about anywhere, you could easy make one too.

What you will need

A metal (or other type) lipstick case
Some pieces of ivory and black lace
Mod podge
A faux pearl
Black Textured Ribbon

This is a very simple look to create due to the magic ingredient of mod podge.

I basically covered my lid of my lipstick case in mod podge then applied a piece of ivory lace, adding a layer of mod podge over the top.

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I then gave it around 30 minutes drying time before starting on the body of the case.

For the body I opted for a nice black lace. I worked in the same way as my lid allowing to dry and then trimming of any excess lace. This is easier to do once dry as the material doesn’t slide around its more stiff and easier to cut.

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Once I’d done each part of the holders body and it was dry, I used some pretty black ribbon with pretty frill detail to cover the remaining exposed metal (the edging of the lid).

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Once dry trim any excess ribbon to create a tidy finish.

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Lastly, I added half a glue dot to the lip just above the opening of my holder and then stuck on my tiny faux white pearl.To make this stronger I added mod podge over the top and left in a warm place to dry.

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And there you have it… A vintage inspired pearl and lace lipstick case.

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Make Your Own Shabby Chic Box Bags

A few months back I grabbed some of these large paper mâché box style bags from my local Hobbycraft.

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I was instantly drawn to them with a host of different uses and craft activities accumulating in my mind! The fact that they were reduced a little in price also made these all the more desirable.

My plan… To make storage bags that if desired, could be hung freeing up more space. The size of these boxes are perfect for makeup, craft essentials and more besides.

They look really pretty once complete, tying in with the whole shabby chic theme I’ve got going on.

Materials….

Paper Mâché Box Bags (Hobbycraft)
(I created a set of 3)
Decorative Paper (pattern/design to suit)
Mod Podge Clear Gloss
White Acrylic Paint
White String (ribbon or twine works well)
Strip of Ivory Lace (enough to cover around the bottom of box)
Faux Pearl Bracelet (big enough to go over box)

Tools
Paint & Glue Brushes
Pencil
Scissors

Here’s a demonstration on how to create these box bags.

1) First use a paint brush to give your box a few coats of white paint (just to ensure the darkness of the paper mâché isn’t seen through your paper)!

2) Use scissors to remove paper handles.

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3) section by section apply mod podge to your box and cover with your paper. Press firmly to remove air bubbles or make some tiny hole pricks with a pin. Be sure to apply the mod podge over the top of the paper as well as the box.

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4) Once covered reveal the 4 handle holes on your box by penetrating with a sharp pencil.

5) with mod podge run your ivory lace around the button of your box. Remember to add mod podge over the top of the material also.

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6) Now take your faux pearl bracelet and place it over your covered box so that the bracelet sits around the middle.

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7) Cut 2 pieces of white string or other. Now thread through holes one side to the other. Tie in a knot to secure.

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Now simply fill with treasure, display on a dresser or hang from hooks for a great storage solution.

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Kids Crafts – Crafting With Baker Ross Ltd

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I love Baker Ross, they are one of my favourite online craft stores, especially when I’m purchasing craft bits for the kids.

As reviewers for Baker Ross we have been sent some fantastic craft kids for the kids to review that proved the perfect activity for a cold afternoon.

I decided to pull out the box of goodies today while the older children were at school and the toddler (Harley age 3) was in desperate need of entertaining (saving from boredom).

The first activity I want to share is that of the fabulous Bug Scratch Art Magnets.

Within the set you get an assortment of reasonably large bug shapes (12 in total), 12 scratch tools, 12 self adhesive magnet strips, instruction sheet.

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Firstly the scratch tools provided are wooden and are not overly sharp, so I was happy for the 3 year old to engage in this activity with my supervision.

There were all sorts of bug shapes from butterflies to spiders and Beatles. The technique is simple just scratch your shapes with your tool and the colour comes through. There are different colours on different areas of each shape meaning as you scratch an array of different colours show through, making each bug colourful and unique.

The next step is to apply the self adhesive magnetic strips to the back of your magnets and then simply stick them on the fridge or a magnetic notice board.

I love that kids can be really creative with their designs, yet there is no mess, paint brushes in need of cleaning, pen lids need finding… Nothing! Simply scratch on your designs and that’s it.

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The toddler had the most fun, he found the whole process fascinating. Its kinda like magic to a 3 year old.

I love his groovy bugs almost as much as I love the concentration on his cute little face.

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We were also sent a number of different packs of self adhesive foam shapes, flowers, dinosaurs, butterflies, and Harley’s favourite… Galaxy foam sticker shapes. This was as well as the huge tub of self adhesive foam letters.

As well as making some really funky 3D pictures and cards that I’m planning on showcasing in a later post, we also used these to decorate some foam pencil cases we were sent (these pencil cases come in a pack of 4 in an assortment of colours).

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A very simple craft idea, especially for a 3 year old. I peeled back the backing paper on the letters and one by one he stuck them in a row on the case in the order that they were given to him. This meant that we were left with his name across the pencil case.

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Harley decided he wanted to use the space foam stickers to decorate his pencil case. He was able to peel away the backing paper but as this took him a while and he started to get bored of doing so I sat and removed the backing from all the shapes that he wanted. I was then able to leave him to his own devices. He had lots of fun creating a space inspired pencil case that I think looks super!

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Again this is the perfect activity for kids. No messy glue to contend with, just a load of paper peelings that are easily brushed into a paper waste bin in seconds.

Lastly we made the British Butterfly Decorations, another foam activity kit.

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These are great but a bit complicated for a 3 year old as you need to follow the visual instruction for each of your 6 butterflies. However Alice loved this one and now home from school she has taken them off with her to her bedroom to complete.

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When doing this with the toddler he just wanted to stick the foam pieces everywhere and anywhere. In the end I positioned each piece and he stuck it down. The next step is to thread the ribbon through the hole and then simply hang to display.

Again no glue, scissors or paints required… Another non messy activity.

Reference…

Bug Scratch Art Magnets (12 Pack)£2.99
British Butterfly Decoration Kit (6 Pack) £3.96
Foam Pencil Cases (4 Pack) £3.96
Self Adhesive Foam Letters Value Tub £6.99
Galaxy Foam Stickers £2.99 per pack

We are extremely lucky to be reviewers for Baker Ross and we love receiving a box full of materials every few months. Although we are provide with the materials free of charge for the purpose of review, all opinions are honest and that of my own.

Mothers Day Crafts – Mum Heart Magnets

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I love this craft idea by my 10 year old daughter..,.

Miniature mum magnets, designed to put a smile on any mummy’s face this Mother’s Day.

To make these cute set of three magnets you will need the following…

Plaster
Mini heart moulds
Assortment of acrylic paints
3 Alphabet acrylic beads in the letters (M, U, M)
Round magnets
Mod Podge

Additionally you will require some
Water (to create your plaster)
Old credit card (smooth of plaster)
Fork (to mix plaster)
Paint brushes
Additional brush for mod podge.

To make up you plaster see our last post (click Here) it simply involves just adding water.

Pour plaster into moulds & level of with an old credit card.

Leave to set, you can place in the freezer for a speedier process.

Carefully remove hearts from the silicone moulds.

Alice then used a range of different paints to decorate her 3 hearts.

Once your paint is dry cover in a coat of mod podge and secure one of each of your beads to the centre of each heart.

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Once dry add a second coat of mod podge.

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Stick your magnets to the back of each heart.

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Now place on the fridge.

There are many ways to give these magnets an element of surprise.

Check out what Alice did for me!

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Miniature String Hearts And Magnets

I love hearts and have lots of pretty hanging hearts (shabby chic style) around the home. Today I’ve decided to make my own string hearts & some mini magnets out of plaster.

Here’s what you’ll need to make these.

Bag of plaster
Small heart silicone moulds
String or twine
Assortment of paints (acrylic)
Round magnets
Mod podge
Porcelain pens (optional)

Tools…
Paint brushes
Old mixing bowl
Something to stir the plaster (I use a fork)
Scissors
Water (for plaster)

First make up your plaster with the water adding the water slowly in till the plaster forms a thick spreadable like paste, then pour it into you heart moulds.

Take your string or twine and place it so the string runs along one row of your hearts. The string should be slightly submerged in the plaster, work quickly as the plaster dries fast. Use a wet paint brush to cover the string in plaster.

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Take an old credit card and run it along the hearts taking off excess plaster to create a smooth finish.

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Leave to set… Tip: Placing in the freezer makes this a much faster process. Once set, carefully remove the hearts from the silicone moulds.

You should now be left with a string of unpainted hearts plus single hearts that will soon become magnets.

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Use your paint brush to paint your hearts in any designs you like. Give two coats as a base for a good strong colour. Leave the hearts to dry for around 25 minutes in between coats.

I gave mine 2 coats of ivory and then added baby pink to detail. I also used a porcelain black pen to add detail to some of my hearts.

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Once all the paint is dry, you will then need to give your hearts two coats of mod podge as a finish. Allow about 20-30 minutes drying time between coats.

Once fully dried you can use some mod podge to stick on the round magnets. Self adhesive magnet tape isn’t strong enough for these hearts as they are too heavy.

Hang your string of hearts from a dresser, hook or handle. Place your magnetic hearts on a magnetic notice board or maybe your fridge.

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You can decorate your hearts any way you like. Experiment with colours, pastels or bold. I’m currently making some pastel pink hearts for my daughter. I plan to secure some miniature craft pegs to the back of each heart so that it works as a memo or somewhere to display artwork. Given shes very girly we may even add a touch of glitter.

Love to know what you think?

Vintage Bedroom Furniture Refurbishment Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

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As some of you may have guessed I’m really into everything vintage and shabby chic so decided to refurbish some old furniture pieces to create a shabby chic inspired bedroom set.

I brought the pieces of furniture I wanted to use from a British Heart foundation store that only specialise in furniture and electrical goods.

I brought a dresser that looks 50’s to me. It was dark wood with lots of drawers and a huge mirror! The dresser was priced at just £25

I also brought a chest of drawers that somebody had painted white. These again are rather spacious with 3 really large drawers. The chest of drawers was also a steal at £25

I also brought for the bedroom some white bedside drawers. These had some pretty mouldings on the front but one or two were missing. It also had some pretty porcelain handles. The bedside drawers were an amazing bargain at just £5.

The last item I brought was a vintage French Mahogany Side/Lamp table that used to form part of a nest of tables. This again cost me just £5.

Feeling inspired by the mouldings on the bedside drawers I went on a hunt for some French inspired mouldings on the net. I found some lovely ones being sold by Chic mouldings via eBay. With this I purchased 4 floral corners for £3.49, 3 Rose and Ornate Scrolls for £6.99 and finally 2 large Rose and Ornate Scrolls for £12.99.

My next decision was what paint to use. Having done a lot of research on the net I finally decided on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the colour Paris Grey. Luckily for me there is a store close by who sells the paint as these are only sold in selected stores. I also purchased Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

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I’ve heard many people state how expensive Annie Sloan paint is, and at £17 per litre at first I would have agreed. However I’ve used just over half a litre tin on all four of my items. All but the lamp table received 2 coats of paint. The wax was priced at around £7.99 and again I’ve used about half a tin. I really can’t believe how far this paint goes!

The best thing about Annie Sloan paint, that I’m sure anyone would tell you, is there is no prep work, the paint sticks to any surface even those that are highly varnished.

The one thing I needed to do was brush and wash down all my furniture to remove dust and marks.

As this was my first time working with this paint I first tried it out on the smallest item… The side/lamp table. I used a big brush from the Harris range at homebase and a smaller brush that I use when using acrylic for the hard to reach areas, then I got going. Chalk paint is really thick and you can add a little water. I didn’t really need to this for the side table but the longer I had the paint the thicker it became so on some of the other items I just added a little water to my brush.

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The paint went on really easily and gave good coverage. If your using this paint for the first time you will discover just how amazingly fast this stuff dries. This is why its important to ensure you haven’t got any drip marks, keep checking as you paint each section. I loved how the table looked with just the one coat of chalk paint and wanted a lot of dark wood to show through once distressed.

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A lot of people wax there wood, distress then wax again. I only needed to use this technique for the small bedside drawers as I found these harder to work with. The paint came of more easily so I decided to wax before distressing then wax again. Nonetheless I didn’t need to do this for the table, dresser or chest of drawers. So once my table was dry I used some 100 grit sandpaper to distress. I paid particular attention to the corners of the table, the feet and sides.

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Once distressed to my satisfaction I used an antique soft dresser brush (that I found in a charity shop) to remove any dust. I then used a cloth to apply my wax working section by section. I applied the wax with the cloth and then used an old washed body power puff to buff where I had waxed.

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Its easy to tell when your wax is fully dried as it looks patchy as certain areas dry ahead of others. The darker areas are those that are still wet.

Before painting my bedside drawers I used the side of a wallpaper scrapper to remove the mouldings. I then took four of the removed mouldings and with some mod podge I stuck 2 to the top corners of the first drawer and 2 to the bottom corners of the second drawer. These were dry and strong within about 30 minutes.

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As mentioned my bedside drawers were much harder to paint simply because the wood wasn’t of such good quality. Despite the fact I liked the handles I removed them and replaced with some lovely floral handles I brought from eBay. The bedside drawers were painted with two coats of paint and I added a little water to my brush as the paint had become quite thick. The bedside drawers got waxed both before and after distressing.

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As for the dresser I removed the mirror and then using mod podge to stuck the 4 floral corners onto the dresser and then I took my large rose and ornate scrolls sticking one each in the centre of both my large drawers. I applied two coats of paint to my dresser letting them dry for around 40 minutes in between coats. I didn’t remove the hardware as despite ordering some 8 beautiful crystal handles from eBay I was still unfortunately waiting on them arriving. Instead I just painted over the handles it already had attached.

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I had a lot of fun distressing this piece and was really pleased with the final result. I found this one took quite a bit of waxing but it was worth it.

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As for my drawers I added my 3 small rose and ornate scrolls to the centre of each draw but decided to paint them first. I worked in the same way as I did my dresser only I was more gentle when sanding as I discovered the previous owners had painted these lilic before they painted them white and wanted to ensure it was only the white that was visible when distressed.

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I painted over the metal Crome handles, distressing lightly as to allow some of the Crome to show through.

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I had so much fun working on this project. I absolutely love the results and now want to paint all that I own and more. I’ve brought a stunning mahogany magazine rack that I want to refurbish. I’m also planning on using some dark wax for this one… I’m getting brave!