What have I been doing?

Well.  It’s been a long time.

At the moment, the house has taken priority.  We are having (one of) the grotty bathroom(s) replaced and it’s been 3 weeks of disruption.  While that was going on, I ventured into the Chalk Paint arena.  It is NOT the wonder paint some people say it is, although, to be fair, some of it is likely my technique LOL! I just cannot get it smooth and brush stroke free. And the wax?  A nightmare.  Now, some (most?) people will likely say that a) that is the beauty of chalk paint or b) why chalk paint if you AREN’T going to then distress the piece?  Well, I like the matte finish of it.  I liked the idea I could delve into a new area with little or no experience.  I liked that it was fast.

So we had these ugly chairs and table.  Here is one of them, in its unadorned state.  We bought it off Gumtree, I think it was, from someone who lived right across the street, for £40.  The idea was always to re-paint it and see if I liked the process enough to do more of it.

So the first chair, I painted with a brush.  I cleaned it but didn’t sand or do any other prep. It looks ok from a distance LOL!

Funny thing is that fabric? Came over in our storage unit shipment, after being stored for 16 years…it perfectly matched colourwise for my vision.

OK so a couple of things.  One coat of chalk paint is not enough.  The second coat seems to drag up little granular clumps that don’t smooth out. And yes, I stirred A LOT before I started – enough so I no longer felt the chalky residue at the bottom of the tin.   Even after the 4 hours dry time, the brush strokes are very noticeable, no matter how carefully you brush and with or against the grain.  This was a good brush, too, not a cheap one.  I ended up sanding the first coat and reapplying the next day, trying to go slowly and thinly, to get it even.  Not a lot better, to my mind.  I got a better result with a sponge roller or a foam brush, but the roller does soak up a lot of the paint.   This is the brushed on back:

This is the foam roller one.  Yes, I know, it isn’t close enough, but trust me, it’s miles better. And you can see the fabric better…

Next, the waxing.  OMG.  It take more skill than I have, and more time, to really do it well.  I think with more practice I might have managed a better job, but it is time-consuming and you need to really pay attention, working on small areas at a time.  Ideally, you need to rub the hardened wax layer with wire wool before buffing it to get a nice sheen.

On the right is the brushed on chalk paint, with the wax over it.  On the LEFT is the chair I spray painted with a HVLP spray gun, designed for fence painting (on sale at the moment at B&M!)

Not perfect, cause I still had to do some brush cutting in where the grey and the colour met, but a lot better to my mind.

The viscosity cup included will tell you how much water to add to get the chalk paint to flow thru the gun, and I added about 125ml to a partial can.  Not helpful, I know, but it could depend on your brand of chalk paint, how well you stirred it, and other factors.  I’ve seen 3 parts paint to 1 part water when I looked, so maybe start with that.

Another find is this stuff, from my local DIY store:

Freakin’ awesome stuff. Unlike most varnish, this dries to a dead flat finish, just like it says, and it doesn’t streak if you overbrush. Dries fast too! And unlike wax, there should be no need to re-wax it again and again, and it WILL protect from water damage.  It is what is on the left leg above. The satin version can be shined up to look like wax.

So the  chairs are nearly done.

For my first attempt I was probably a bit mad to go all multicoloured. Getting the joins between the grey legs and the coloured other bits is a pain.

Just cause painting them wasn’t enough of a task, I also added some wipeable wall paper to the backs:


I need one more bit of wallpaper to finish the last one.  I really should sand back the waxed one and re-do it but not sure I have the heart to do that.  Maybe after the table. It has a leaf that opens it out to a larger oval (it’s round now) so I have a few ideas on what to do with that!

So that would be why I have been MIA here for so long.  I’ve also painted a small bathroom, framed a ton of art, ready to hang, been working of curtains, unboxed, sorted, and found homes for 57 boxes of books, also from the storage unit shipment, and about 100 other house-related things. We still have to get thru another week of decorating (hubby’s home office) and get the new curtain rods hung so I can finish the curtains.  There is still the kitchen than needs replacing and the floor in the dining room needs lifting to see what is going on underneath.  Ideally the other upstairs bathroom needs some work, and the loo out the back off the laundry room needs insulating, re-roofing, and damp-proofing.

So it will be some time before I get back to regular blogging.  Still doing the book folding templates by request, as and when I have time, as long as it stays at a manageable level.



Some book folding templates and Artistic Flair discount for the USA folk

I was kindly given a specific code for the USA readership for shopping the Artistic Flair site.


I can only guess the original code did not work for USA customers? Drop by and see if something falls into your basket….

blogdividerWhen I get more than one request for a kind of template, I try to take notice.  Teacher templates seem to be the thing.  So I will add TEACHER, in a couple of fonts and then something else that has come up, sports icons.  teach

Download that PDF here – if you wanted, you could easily stop after TEACH as an alternative!

Funny think about the sports icons.  These come from an Olympic official pictogram set.  Note that they are very stylized, but none of them appear unisex to me.  the gymnastics one is the most “feminine” but even so..



See at the bottom there?  I initially thought the ballroom dancing one was for wrestling.  Side by side you can see the differences but initially, you can see why I was mistaken! Except for the slight skirt on one of the figures I thought it was either judo or wrestling, till I looked closer!

Download that set here.

There is some construction going on across the street and the constant jack hammering is doing my head in.  I think I will have to leave my office and knit while I watch the rest of the OJ documentary on the BBC iPlayer.  Or maybe listen to the podcast Someone Knows Something – it’s no Serial, but interesting in its own way. The house on the other side is both farther from the jack hammer and has better, more airtight windows. Another thing to add to the long list of stuff that needs doing….