Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Essential Fall Elements

 Have you started your Fall decorating yet?  I confess to being a tad
tardy to the party on this one.  Perhaps its because the colors of Fall
don't tend to go with my home's color palette.  So decorating for 
the season is a bit more creative than other seasons.  But the rules 
apply for everyone here, so regardless of your home's palette
you can get that Autumn spirit by grabbing some Fall essentials at 
your local HomeGoods!  You will find pumpkins galore, in ceramic,
glass, natural materials like straw and vines and of course textiles.
It didn't take me two seconds to decide to buy this pale smokey blue
ceramic pumpkin.  It fits the feel of our home perfectly.
Adding a pumpkin to a tabletop is certainly a Fall essential!
 A beautiful Fall wreath is another essential.  Hang them from
your interior doors, windows, or like I did here, right on top
of a mirror.  Tie a ribbon through the hanger and then tie the ribbon to the 
back of the mirror's wire hanger. You can also
use the wreath as a tabletop centerpiece with a candle in the center.
 Again, I chose a neutral toned wreath as that is what 
I prefer when I decorate for Fall.
This time of year calls for scenting the air to set the mood.
Another essential is a great smelling candle.  I wanted to try one of 
HomeGoods many offerings, and I am delighted with the scent of this
Tobacco and Oak candle I found in a smokey grey glass container.
Sometimes getting a good candle is a crap shoot, but at their 
prices, you don't have to worry about going wrong.
 Everyone loves a decorated mantel, it sets the tone of the season!
Simple fall berry garland and some fancy orange and gold
patterned candles were added to my candelabras.  Its simple and 
elegant and oh so easy to do!
Rustic lanterns that hold more candles are a great Fall essential.
I got this wood and metal lantern and filled it with a tiny
Fall wreath and a faux candle on a timer to give the room a glimmer
and flicker of light at dusk.  When I get home from work I turn on
the candle and pour a glass of wine and enjoy a few quiet moments.
When I leave the room I don't have to worry about the candle being
unattended.  This is such an easy tabletop decorating idea for Fall.
My spring and summer pillows have been packed away and I 
treated myself to a large down filled velvet damask pillow.
Its dusky blue shades work well with my antique mirror and the
colors of the room.  Pillows are a great way to add a seasonal change.
I'll be back with more Fall ideas from HomeGoods and overall 
shots of the room. So make your list and add a few items to 
get your home in the Autumn mood.

Note: This post is sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in their Pinterest Designer program, Happy by Design.  Check out other Designer's tips on our Pinterest Board here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Revamping

 This is my favorite home decor magazine, but it only comes out a few times
each year.  Sometimes they will put a different cover on it and say it is republished
due to popular demand, so make sure you don't get a re-issue of a mag you already
purchased. This one is a new one and I loved every page!! It gives me clarity and 
inspiration when I am redecorating my home or shop.  There are about 7 or 8 homes
featured and they all had some beautiful rooms!  With fall arriving so suddenly,
(it felt that way to me), I had to think of our shop and getting in the fall mood.
So here are a few pics of a shop revamp we did, all in one day!!
 This pic below shows the store awhile back, and you can see the paint shelf 
on the left.  When you walk in our shop we have this wall in the middle which
separates the shop into two sides.  After the revamp, the paint went to the 
opposite side of the store for a fresh new look. Check it out.
Center wall as you enter. We like to do little home vignettes here,
A pretty antique mirror over a chest, or something like this settee makes
a nice statement upon entering the shop.
The left wall had the big paint cabinet and a stencil display rack that
ended up being kind of a pain in the butt.  It wasn't easy to see what the 
stencils were as they were layered on top of one another.  So that needed
to get changed in addition to just moving stuff around.
 We moved the paint to the right rear corner and check out what we did with the stencils.
 The new paint display is in the back, and to the right is a wall full of stencils
 hanging from three rods for easier viewing.  A big color chart is on the wall, 
and plenty of painted decorative samples are displayed in the 
wire planter to inspire people who are selecting their paints and finishes.
Our original antique mora stands guard next to the Chalk Paint color display.
She is for sale at a very good price too~so if you want an original, compare 
before you buy! Check our Antique Mora out online at shopmaisondecor.com
 Other vignettes took shape as the furniture was moved around.  Its just like when you 
decorate at home and you get an idea to try things~you have to wing it to a certain
extent.  Sometimes things look great, and other times its a bust.  
 A dining room table that is 5 feet wide with six chairs is the foundation 
of the corner now where the stencils and paint used to be.  
I was inspired by the Country French magazine to create the 
look I love using what we had.  Do you ever shop your house for things
 to give it a fresh new look?  Its an easy way to fall in love all over
 with the things you have by placing them in a new area
and switching out your accessories, and just adding one or two new items.
 And if you are in the market for a great dining room set for the holidays,
 this one is hard to resist at $849 for the table and chairs. 
It has an impressive center pedestal base and the entire set is solid as a rock. 
 I had planned to paint it, but the labor required had
 me thinking I would try selling it as is instead.
You know I have fondess for antique chandeliers,
 and this one screams old world Europe to me.
Its blackish rust finish with highlights of venetian gold 
and shimmering crystals are all original.  It also has a pair of chic metal tassels 
that adorn the bottom and the center of the chandelier. 
 Original wiring would dictate having
 your electrician go over it before you hang it. 
Its just been added to the online
shop.  Another antique is landing in the shop this week, 
its a large Florentine style chandelier! I'll share as soon as it comes in the shop.
How about a simple way to create a fall tablescape?
Pick up a gorgeous fall wreath at your local HomeGoods and place one of our
Park Hill wicker sleeved candles in the center.  Its rustic and beautiful.
When your candle is finished, you can plop a small ivy plant from your
local nursery or supermarket into the wicker container and thread a thin
velvet ribbon through the rattan.  Its simple and stylish and a way to 
reuse these beautiful containers that our candles come with.
For my Chalk Paint fanatics, how about this marvel?
Paint right over a marble top with stunning success!
Yup, just paint your basic two coats of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.
Let dry and wax the following day for superior coverage and durability.
I am reworking this table to see if a client likes it~
if not it will be up for grabs in the shop.  Painting the marble
isn't the only thing I have planned, we are adding Efex decorative appliques
to the front panel for an old world look.  
Stay tuned for step by step results this week!
Until then, make your life and home more beautiful!
For our great low prices on Chalk Paint®, shop here.
Note: this post is partially sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in the designer program on Pinterest: Happy by Design. See tips and tricks from the HomeGoods designers, including me!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

New Jersey has a new Chalk Paint® shop!

Just a quick post about someone who has a special place in my heart:
I am happy to tell you about my dear friend's new 
Chalk Paint® store in New Jersey!  Patty Seaman 
is an accomplished painter and did you know she 
was my Chalk Paint® trainer when I started with Annie Sloan?
I think she is simply wonderful!  So for anyone in New Jersey, this 
is for you~she will be having workshops
twice a week in her shop that is located in Red Bank.

What a beautiful shop!
 Paint Passion is located at 
30 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ
Phone: 732-842-2244
Hours of Operation:
MondayWednesday and Friday 10:30-3:30
Tuesday 12-3:00
Saturday 11:30-4:00
Workshops on select TuesdayThursday and Saturdays.
Paint pickup can be scheduled on Thursdays by 
emailing Patty at  sales@bestfurniturepaint.com.
 Here is a shot of me with Patty to my left at Annie Sloan's Boston Workshop in 2012.
  The other gals are L to R, my CEO of Annie Sloan Unfolded, Lisa Rickert, 
 Jaime of Freckled Laundry Blog, me, Patty, Shauna West of Perfectly Imperfect blog, 
and Karen, Patty's sister who is also a fabulous painter.
Shauna and I both made the decision to become Annie Sloan Stockists
 after this workshop with Annie.
This group photo is courtesy of Janet Metzger 
of The Empty Nest in Warrenton VA, also a stockist.
Well I was captivated by Annie and I already was a super fan of her paint....
so the next thing I knew I was headed to New Jersey for several days of training.
This was my training set up with Patty~seems like eons ago! I took two full days
of training at her home in New Jersey and she is the best teacher anyone could have.
So if you are looking for a great Chalk Paint® workshop
 I can personally recommend Patty at Paint Passion in New Jersey! 
 As always, you can check AnnieSloan.com to find a local stockist near you.  
We continue to offer our workshops at Maison Decor, and September INTRO
has sold out.  October was just added, so don't hesitate to sign up at 
www.shopmaisondecor.com if you are in the Boston area!
Have a great weekend everybody~I will be in the shop today 
so come on in and see what we are working on today, there is 
always something interesting going on. Wishing best of luck to my teacher, Patty,
as she begins her new venture, Paint Passion!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Create Chateau Paneled Walls and an easy trick to Getting Rid of Wrinkles on fabric

 One of the things I like most about having my little shop is creating display vignettes.
Basically you get to redecorate little bits of the shop over and over and try to engage
your shoppers by creating something that makes them slow down and linger.
This is a small little nook in the shop with two walls that create an L shape. I thought
it would be fun to make it look like a paneled wall
 out of some old chateau in a French Manoir.
After coming up with a story line in my head, I set out to make it happen.
I drew up some big rectangular shaped "panels" using a 4 foot level.
At the top and bottom I traced around an old tole tray to get a shapely
finish.  You can trace around a platter or create a card board template to 
trace around so that they will all be the same.  Do some basic math and figure
out how many panels you want in your space.  My panels were about 18" wide
with 5" in between each one.  The background wall color is a dark taupe, and I don't
remember the color I picked, but it was just your basic satin wall paint.
I used white chalk to draw my shapes.  
 Since we display stuff, I figured I did not need the panels to go to the floor
as they would likely be hidden by our merchandise.  This space is going to be
a bedroom in a French Chateau, and a special tufted linen headboard is on its
 way as we speak. It will go right here when all is said and done.  
 To make it a little bit easier than hand drawing all the details, I used a stencil
to fill in the tops and bottoms of the panels.  I only used one part of the stencil,
and did not use the entire pattern of the stencil.  When you look at getting a stencil,
did you ever think of using only parts of the design pattern?  You can get a lot more
out of every stencil if you use bits of the pattern instead of the entire pattern...at any rate
I used the acanthus leaf part and placed it to go over the curved areas.  The shells were
added by hand.  Shells are typical in Rococo design, the highly ornate French style of 
furniture and architecture which glorifies nature. The word Rococo derives
 from  the rock, "rocaille" and the shell, "coquille".  Pretty interesting, right?  Rococo is my
favorite design style, and its basically anything with a curve to it.  Rounded chair backs and 
rounded headboards, all those beautiful curves are Rococo style!
 Anyway, back to my Rococo panels.....at this point I used the stencil with
Paris Grey Chalk Paint® to outline the leaves and the hand drawn shell and then I 
dry brushed Paris Grey on the interior of the panel.  You can see from this pic
I had planned to do bottom panels, but I scratched that idea after realizing that
they would not be seen after putting the furniture in the space.
 After the Paris Grey, I painted on Duck Egg and Duck Egg with some Old White 
in the mix to get some variation of blues and greys on the panels. I used Old White
to highlight the edges of the leaves and shells and the centers of the edges of the panels.
I used some French Linen and a small brush (our gilding brush) and painted shadows
along the bottoms of the leaves and shell and the edges of the panels. This is
in effect creating dimension by adding shadow and light.
 At the end of the day I put all the furniture back in place and left for home.
It looked cool, but it was very flat in appearance. 
Tomorrow I would jump right back in 
and get some dimension on the rest of the wall.
 Versailles Chalk Paint, which is a historical celery green color, was the next color
I used and I painted it in straight lines with a dry brush technique.  Keep your strokes
straight so it gives it a wood paneled look. This is very fast and doesn't have to be
perfect at all.  The more perfect it is, the worse it looks actually! I started to do a bit 
of water spritzing and ragging, but stopped as it was taking away the texture that
the dry brushing gave to the overall appearance.
 Then from out of left field in my brain I thought it might be cool to add a bit
of crocodile pattern to each panel.  I used Pearl Plaster by Artisan Enhancements and
quickly added it in little sections through our CROC stencil, which we sell online.
I have mostly used the CROC and Pearl Plaster over dresser and table tops, so 
putting it on the wall was really kind of fun.  And super easy!  But don't apply it
in perfect fashion, just smear the pearl plaster through partial sections of the stencil.
 This shot shows the random application of the pearl plaster through the large rectangular stencil.  I was LOVING the CROC on the panels! I finished the one wall and had a plan to finish up the adjoining wall the following day.
 The plan was that I would tell Gina, my design assistant to finish the smaller wall.  She 
would need to replicate what I did and do two more panels.  I gave her the basic tutorial like
I have given you all here, and look how well she did!  She was a bit dubious at first, but 
in no time at all she was on a high seeing how well it was coming out and what she had created!
 I wanted you guys to realize that you can do this if you choose.  
Now where would one create panels in their home? 
 How about in a dressing room? Or a bathroom or a little princesses room? Now that
the walls were finished, Gina and I started to set up the vignette.  You can see her on the 
ladder hanging up hardware for our grey linen sheer panels that we sell (both online and in the shop).
But look at the wrinkles in the linen panel! UGH. Well that happens quite often to all of us,
whether its at home or in a shop creating a display, something has wrinkles and it just kills the 
entire look.  Then I remembered I had been asked to review a new product called Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!  I had already started testing out the Downy Wrinkle Releaser on a few things, but this was real life and if ever there was a time to take out wrinkles, this was the time! So lets see how Downy Wrinkle Releaser performed.  And for the record I will say that Gina told me that she used it when it 
first came out and she was unimpressed.  I noticed on the information I got with the product it said it was the NEW IMPROVED wrinkle releaser PLUS

 I told Gina that I had tested it out with Cindy, my sales associate earlier in the week and we thought it worked great.  Gina remained dubious...well I always write an honest review and if these wrinkles didn't come out, that is what I would have to tell everybody.  Since I hadn't thought about using the Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus on this day, and I was in full painting mode with hair pulled up and no makeup etc....I decided to be very brave and let Gina snap a few pics of my spraying the wrinkled linen panels. Sometimes you just have to get over yourself in the name of public service.
 There was a customer shopping who stopped to watch this quickie photo session with the Downy Wrinkle Releaser.  I smiled and aimed the spray bottle at my new creased linen panels.
 I just sprayed until damp in sections at a time. 
 These panels are 102" long so I sprayed about four areas at a time.
  After you spray your wrinkled fabric, 
it says to smooth or tug the fabric to release the wrinkles.
 Placing my hand on either side of the dampened fabric I just smoothed the panel out.
  Out went the wrinkles to Gina's amazement!  
Even the customer watching us do this 
said she was going to go buy some!  I loved how easy it was!
 This could be a game changer around the store and my home. 
 It smells nice and its fast and easy and it REALLY works!!!
 All the creases were removed in about 5 minutes.  
I had to do the other panel~you can see the creases in the one on the right.
The one of the left is hanging beautifully! Thanks to Downy!
And while we are going over this Downy Wrinkle Releaser review,
this is what Cindy and I did to test it out in the back room.
 Cindy is model gorgeous and a good sport!  She grabbed her white cotton shirt
 and bunched it up and made it all wrinkly.  
She DID NOT come to work like this, just to be clear. 
 She is way too stylish to do that!
 Using the little hand held sprayer she spritzed her wrinkled shirt....
 And spritzed and then rubbed it flat and tugged it straight. 
 The wrinkles came right out!
 We only sprayed the middle of the shirt, and you can see that the
 wrinkles have released and relaxed.
I am definitely keeping one of these little hand held jobs in my closet
 for when I get dressed in the morning in case I need to zap out some wrinkles.  
 The other test we did was to take out some wrinkles on this
 fabric that came all rolled up and stuffed in a box. UGH.  
Who ships fabric like this??? Well it came with plenty of wrinkles.
 I unrolled the fabric....and there were the wrinkles. 
Okay Downy! Lets get to work!
 We spritzed then rubbed and smoothed out the fabric.
 This product really works.  It takes out wrinkles! 
No steam iron, or steamer needed people.
Gina is getting some, as is Cindy and that shopper and I am too.  
Colin was impressed when he stopped in and worked for me last Saturday,
 so I gave him a spritz bottle so he can look all dandy 
when he goes to his real job during the week!
So this is what it looks like if you are hunting it down. 
You can get it in the supermarket and at Target and Walmart to name a few. 
 I know I will LOVE using this on my dining room tablecloth come the holidays.  
No need to spend hours with iron and ironing board. 
 Its also an emergency static cling remover  which will come in handy at Justin and Madison's wedding
in the fall.  You can also use it for freshening up the smell of your upholstery.  
So do I need to say it? 
 I highly recommend this product, Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus.
Hope you enjoyed seeing a change we made in our shop on the walls.
  Creating a vision is easy with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan
 and a bit of imagination.  Make it happen in your own home! 
click here to go to our online shop. 
 Its all about Making Life More Beautiful for us!
 And thanks for reading the blog today, I know it was another long one. 

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