I really don’t like carrying anything heavy when I am shopping or even just strolling…
I love something small that will hold the essentials and will hang over my shoulders diagonally…It just feels safer that way!
So when I found these little bags I fell in love…they are small but will hold a smartphone and there is a side pocket that is zippered to hold money, credit cards and of course the most essential…LIPSTICK!
We have lots of these fun bags at The Whistling Elk in colors that are bright and really…just plain fun!
You see a customer brought me an old mirror with a top trimmed with lifesize acorns hoping that I could fix it….hmmm! She brought it all the way from Massachusetts! There were a couple of acorns missing so being commissioned to make repairs I took the challenge. Sometimes I wonder “what was I thinking”. My customer was totally thrilled that I would even try because she said she had taken it many places and no one would give it a shot!
After she left I was looking over the situation and got the idea to try to find some small wood component that I could “doctor” to fit the shape I needed. Ok the challenge was on!
First I went to Michaels and looked around and amazingly found some small pieces of wood that I could carve into the shape of an acorn. This was not easy as I am definitely not a carver and do not have “carving tools”…I used a sharp box cutter and sandpaper and hoped for the best. After I got the basic shape and size that I wanted…I used Paint Couture!™ Embossing Medium to enhance the shape and fill in where needed.
The Embossing Medium was fabulous because I found that when dry I could actually carve that too! Great! It really carves nicely!
Then I painted the acorns I made with Paint Couture!™ Pale Gold…let them dry and then sanded to smooth them as much as possible. I put another coat of paint on, dried them then used Van Dyke Brown Glaze to “dirty up” the gold.
Since my acorns weren’t perfect I moved the acorns around on the mirror so that the original ones were all in the front and put my “replacements” in the back. I think it turned out pretty good…here it is complete! My “faux” acorn is the one at the far right!
When you love something it is always better to paint it or repair it to make it “new” again! My customer loves this piece so I know she will be thrilled to see it repaired…glad for her sake that I wasn’t afraid to “bite the bullet” and give it a try!
You know how you always have a lot of little tiny pieces of gold leaf that are left over from a project…I can just never bear to throw them away…
Well I was painting up a finish sample that had gold accents and I thought I would try to use the gold leaf to highlight the pale gold areas. Wow I love it!
The finish sample is Paint Couture!™ French Putty all over, then accented in three areas with Pale Gold. After drying I applied a skant coat of Italian Ivory all over and then rubbed some of that off. To further increase the patina of the finish I brushed on a coat of Van Dyke Brown and rubbed that off. I love the way Van Dyke Brown looks in the cracks. It darkens the crevices like black but in a much warmer way.
I wanted the gold areas to pop so I took some of my tiny gold leaf pieces and applied them strategically to enhance the finish…then reglazed them with the Van Dyke Brown.
Voila…loving this finish! Hmmm I am looking around the shop right now to see what needs to have this finish on it…!
Join in the fun! Sign up for one of our Paint Workshops at The Whistling Elk in Chester NJ and learn how to create beautiful finishes for your furniture projects. We use Paint Couture! products and you will be amazed at the myriad of possibilities these wonderful products will make available to you!
I have decided to create “finishes” instead of “paint samples”. Hmmm, what does that mean you might ask…
Well I have a lot of paint samples that I created using paint stirrers…I have posted these at the time that I paint them. However, now when I “finish” something and I love the outcome – I paint a sample board too (for future reference).
This way when I talk to someone about painting a piece I can show them boards of more complex “finishes” rather than a sample of a color with a glaze. This may sound intimidating because the sample boards are usually combinations of more than two processes. But if you are going to paint a piece of furniture or an accessory dont’ you want that piece to be out of this world beautiful? Maybe its just me but I want something spectacular if I am going to spend the time – something truly unique – a signature piece!
so with that in mind….here is a white compote that I decided use as my first victim for this new philosophy…:
For my Signature Finish on this piece I decided to use Paint Couture!™ Pale Gold, Vintage Flair and Brilliant White paint and Amber Honey Glaze.
This was a 4 step process – Below is the compote after the first two steps. First I painted the whole compote with Pale Gold. When dry I painted portions of it with Vintage Flair. The Vintage Flair coat of paint was what I call “skant”…a very light coat of paint that did not cover the gold entirely. I chose accents to leave completely gold (arms and the decorative band on the base).
Then I put a dry brush coat of Brilliant White over everything.
When dry I glazed the compote with Amber Honey Paint Couture Glaze as shown in the picture below I glazed heavily over the gold and then only wiped some off strategically here and there to give a gold highlight effect.
On the portions of the compote that were painted with the Vintage Flair I wiped off a lot of the glaze. On the inside of the compote I used a swirling motion to apply the glaze. The inside reminds me of the Universe…! Only there are no planets…hahaha.
Here is a side view of the finished product!
Voila! A beautiful, rich complex Finish!
Attend one of our Paint Workshops at The Whistling Elk and learn techniques to help you create your own Masterpieces!
I have a door in the shop that leads to a little foyer and the back door.
The door is in my little “Paris Boudoir” so you can see that it just wasn’t making it in its “silly brown” color…
I like to show my customers what they can do with Paint Couture!™ but I keep selling the pieces that I paint so I decided to paint the door…my landlord would not like it if I sold his door so I figured it was safe to paint it with Paint Couture!™ in order to have a ready sample at all times!!! P.E.R.F.E.C.T.
So the door got a very light uneven coat of Italian Ivory with Dream in the area around the raised panels of the door and Pale Gold on the moldings around the raised panels.
Remember the movie Romancing the Stone when the smuggler says he’s going to get his “li’l mule” and smiles…well I feel that way about my li’l hand sander. So yup I got it out and beat up that door! I did get a little carried away on the “back side” of the door.
Yesterday I stenciled the front side of the door with Pale Gold…but I couldn’t decide if I was really done…that happens a lot when I paint.
Sometimes when I am not sure about how I feel about something – I go home and sleep on it – it never fails that when I wake up I have the answer…actually it came to me before I even got to sleep…A Door Has Two Sides…who said they have to be the same?
This morning when I came in I glazed the back side of the door with Light Brown Sugar on the raised panels…lightly rubbed in. Then I glazed everything but the raised panels in Champagne. Ha! I used some different stencil designs so it looks completely different than the front side.
So now I am having one of those moments where I am thinking, Yah, you can have your cake and eat it too!!!!
Mirrors make such beautiful design statements…now take this one for example….the top is just breathtaking.
And the finish is wonderful because its a champagne metallic….a little gold…a little silver.. and just the tiniest bit of black.
You can put it almost anywhere (that it will fit – it is tall at 63″) and it will blend into almost any color scheme. It will add an architectural element to your room. Of course the “old world elegance” makes it look like you carried it back from les puces de saint-ouen. Mmmm let’s go back!
There little ovals are perfect for powder rooms….at 31″ L x 25″ w but they will make for a pretty collage too mixed in with some great artwork.
This last mirror is one I have blogged about before. It is so elegant and versatile. You can lean this 73″high mirror or hang it. You can hang it vertical or horizontal – design your room around it! Simple.Beautiful.Elegant. Perfect!
You may remember that I wrote a post on November 12, 2013 called “Mantel Madness with Paint Couture”. I had a lot of fun painting that mantel and it was beautiful…but I always knew that it would take on a new personality yet again some day…well that day has arrived! Here it is after I finished it the first time…
I watered down some Paint Couture!™ Italian Ivory and brushed a thin coat all over the mantel…effectively whitewashing it. After it dried I got out my hand sander and beat the whole thing up! Gotta love that little hand sander.
So now I have a “new” mantel…again! The Paris Boudoir is looking verrrrry nice!
Good Lighting makes a huge contribution to the beauty and functionality of a home. And the addition of beautiful fixtures – chandeliers and lamps – creates delightful design elements in any room. Whenever someone tells me they have recessed lighting and don’t need any lamps the designer in me just cringes at their lost opportunity.
Having just received some new lamps in the shop got me to contemplating lighting and thinking about my own home so I thought I would share some lighting information with you.
10 Lighting Tips
A truly beautiful room will tend to have soft pools of light that come from a variety of sources – Use lighting with different wattages and and place light sources at various heights.
Position lighting all around a room to dispel dark corners.
Table Lamps are excellent decorating tools…use them even if they do nothing! They are not actually doing “nothing” because they are creating great verticals which enhance the beauty of any room filled with horizontal lines.
In a lamp that has double bulb sockets use two different wattage bulbs and you will create a medium and low setting!
Lamp shades that are opaque will create a more dramatic atmosphere as they throw light up and down and emit little side light.
Fabric shades will create the warmest most glamorous light.
Paint your outlets to match the walls to minimize the distraction of cords and outlets. Have lamps wired with clear or fabric cords.
When placing a reading lamp the height is lower than seems intuitive: it should be below eye level so it lights your page, not your head.
Albert Hadley said “I personally try to avoid all ceiling lights because i think that overhead light is a tragedy.” Well I agree with that in reference to recessed lighting…but as to chandeliers – What could be more beautiful? A general rule of thumb for a dining room chandelier is 30″ above the tabletop. Bulbs should not be bright…lower wattage is better for creating ambience around table gatherings.
Dimmer switches go where you want to be able to create ambience.
The bottom line is that lighting needs to be functional but it can take a room to another level if you think in terms of ambience and beauty. It’s an essential design detail!
I have been posting a lot about painting lately! I guess I am pretty fascinated with Paint Couture™ products so I am really enjoying using them and teaching about them….but don’t be deceived there are always other things going on at The Whistling Elk. It’s the usual juggling act!
Freight coming in, new merchandise being unpacked and lots of garbage….grrr not my favorite activity. Lots of beautiful art though!
While I was painting the vanity … pictures to follow … I was also working on hanging new art that showed up…and my first hit of Christmas items…yes! Christmas…So anyway I’ve been working on this little vanity in between unpacking new goodies for the shop.
OK… Here is the little vanity…it is actually laying on its back on the floor….when I first looked at this picture I was thinking why can I see my feet….haha ! as usual I almost forgot to take the before picture and was starting work on it….
I wanted the vanity to say “pink’ and I wanted to use Paint Couture “LOVELY” but I was afraid it would be to faint….so I decided to undercoat it with French Polynesian Pink…hmmm that really did the trick.
I did a lot of embossing on this piece and in addition added just some plain stenciling later to fill in some of the designs. I wanted a lot of embellishment on this piece.
I did distress this piece somewhat to show just a faint hint of the French poly pink. I also lined the piece wherever I could with Angelic Paint Couture to make the pink stand out even more.
Inspiration is a wonderful thing…Good design is always based on inspiration… Sometimes you are on a design path and you take a right or left turn…in that case I know that something along the way changed my inspiration…
Painting is like design in that you start with an inspiration and then work in that direction…adjusting as the piece you are working on speaks to you…
The trio of pictures following was my inspiration for a dresser that I am just finishing up painting with products from the PaintCouture – The Collection™.
Ok, here is the dresser….BEFORE…it was a nice old dresser painted blue and the drawers were whitewashed. It was dirty from sitting around so I cleaned it with TSP really well.
Before I started painting the dresser I painted up a sample using the paints and glazes that I decided were going to achieve the look I wanted based on my inspiration…I chose the below Paint Couture™ products: Vintage Moss, Brilliant White, Lite Brown Sugar Glaze, and Pale Gold Metallic Paint and here is how they looked on the sample I painted.
So loving the way this frame turned out! I love finishes that have depth and look “vintage” – with a little of the dirt of age on them…ha! I couldn’t wait to start work on the dresser. It’s funny but this is one case where I never deviated from my inspiration…it was soooo clear where it was going!
First I painted everything with the Vintage Moss. After 24 hours I dry brushed the piece with Brilliant White. I then used the Paint Couture Embossing Medium and stenciled on some designs. This always takes some time because you have to plan your stencil layout. I used parts of two different stencils. After drying the PC Embossing Medium I laid my stencil back over it and applied PALE GOLD – Paint Couture’s beautiful metallic paint! (one of their many metallics)
The combination of the BRILLIANT WHITE and the PALE GOLD gives this dresser a metallic gleam…it sparkles!
Next I glazed everything with Paint Couture’s Lite Brown Sugar. It’s such a pleasure to work with – very creamy. I happen to be a light glazer…I would rather put it on and take it off and then glaze it again. I feel very much in control when I work this way. You can always go darker!
You can see the French Polynesian Pink PC peaking out on the sides of the drawers…I love the pink with the Vintage Moss…I decided not to the glaze the pink – it is less subtle and I love the contrast it creates of the Bright against the Aged!
After thoroughly letting my piece dry I applied a 2nd coat of Lite Brown Sugar Glaze. This really deepened the finish on the dresser. It’s very rich!
The Brilliant White reminds me of fairy dust and the Embossing Medium painted with Pale Gold makes this very ordinary dresser a piece of art.
Because I am impatient…I didn’t want to wait for new hardware. I didn’t really love the hardware that was on the piece originally but I decided to play with it to see it I could get to like it. So I planned my embossed stencil to enhance the hardware. I painted the hardware with Brilliant White, then Pale Gold, then glazed it and applied little crystals. I then hung it upside down to change the look of the design. I love it! It’s so not typical!
When I have paint on my brush I often look around for something else to paint since I have a paint can open and a dirty brush. The PALE GOLD was open and I had a little pedestal. It almost became my problem child. I knew the pedestal had wax on it so I had cleaned it earlier with mineral spirits and then TSP’d it. Woe is me. It wasn’t enough!
After I painted it with the Pale Gold it just didn’t feel right – I knew it was going to peel. So I sanded it down and of course there was still wax on it…sigh…curse…
I had some Mylands Sanding Sealer so on Mike’s advice (The Father of Paint Couture) I brushed on the Mylands. WOW. It.Worked.Great. I put it on over the remnants of the Pale Gold and after it dried you could just feel that the paint was going to be o.k.
I actually liked the way the pedestal looked all chippy and messy and now that it felt right too…it almost had me making one of those left design turns…humph…should I leave it that way???? But in my heart I knew that the really messed up look would not appeal to most customers. Here it is in all its chippy glory…
I ended up having to clean that brush and put away the paint while the Mylands dried and I considered what to do. This must be my week for not deviating from plan…I ended up brushing on more Pale Gold, Embossed a stencil on top, Brilliant White went on the stencil only….then finished with BLACK WALNUT GLAZE all over…(my favorite Paint Couture™ glaze). Pale Gold with Black Walnut gives a very beautiful, deep and rich metallic finish.
I made the right decision. Its very beautiful and elegant and all it needs is a glass of wine sitting on it next to a comfy chair.
Come learn to create your own masterpieces at one of our Paint Workshops at The Whistling Elk. You will learn all the techniques described in this post and you will have fun!
Heres a nice frame with a shabby worn finish…it’s O.K.
But that is just it – for me its just o.k.
I know I can change it and make it better than just o.k.
What has happened to my humility????
I really love this about the Paint Couture Collection. Not only can you paint something that needs to be refinished but you can also transform ordinary objects into something more lovely, something that works better in your current décor environment.
Paint Couture!™ is like having a Toolbox Stuffed with Tools to Create Lovely!
I have always advised my clients: “If you run into the right object but its the wrong color and you can paint it….buy it – you could spend 10 years looking for the right object in the right color and never find it.”
Come and participate in one of our Paint Workshops at The Whistling Elk in Chester NJ and learn how to Paint, Glaze, finish, stencil, gild and more. It’s fun and I guarantee you will put the knowledge to good use!
I always had so much fun Finger Painting when I was a kid and now I get to do it again…
with The Couture Collection – they have a great selection of Gilding Waxes which I love to use to accent a painted finish – any painted finish…even one I didn’t paint! (heehee)
This cute frame was pretty before I started but now I like it even better. It had an all over copper look and now it has touches of green moire and the gold lame that I finger-painted on which gave the original finish a lot more depth.
That is the beauty of the Paint Couture line…you can paint something one color, OR paint and glaze, OR paint, glaze and gild for a finish that has deep, layered and elegant dimension!
We will be happy to teach you all of these techniques at our Paint Workshops!
Call for the date of the next scheduled Class and make a reservation to attend. You will have so much fun! I guarantee you will leave class contemplating all the objects around the house that you will be painting or glazing or gilding or maybe all three!
To enhance a painted finish you simply apply the gilding wax with your finger or with a small artist brush! and voila the perfect way to accent your finished paint project! If you decide to finger paint – a little coconut oil will clean up your talented fingers.
I had a fabulous day today…I really love what I do and now I can even say I am a bit of a contortionist!
My client had an armoire that was a nonedescript green and she wanted to jazz it up but she did not want to (couldn’t) move it. So I gilded and glazed it in place…talk about getting into tough positions in tight spaces…hahaha…I am smiling just thinking about those back legs… Glad no one was there with a video camera…
Here’s the before picture…although as usual I started gilding before I took it!
and here is the finished product!
Amber Honey Glaze Couture!™ was perfect for the job.