Tuesday, 5 November 2013

We Will Remember Them

I know it's been an age since I posted but I promise I'll be back in the game after the 19th Nov when my exams finish. 


I've only got a few mins to spare but I definitely have enough time to post something about brave Service Men and Women around the world that have made the ultimate sacrifice in their duties. 

This Sunday will be especially poignant for us as Major C is still away in Afghanistan and it really is a time to remember friends that haven't come home and those that never will.

I hope you are all supporting the Royal British Legion and all troops this sunday, as they do a spectacular job every day of the year.

Please wear your poppies with pride. X

Monday, 14 October 2013

Review: Ronseal Interior Varnish - Does exactly what it says on the tin?...

...Or does it? Well as you know I like painting stuff, lots of stuff, all the time, but you realise once you venture into the world of furniture painting-there is a lot more to painting than just paint. Don't get me wrong, it's not on a par with brain surgery or travelling the galaxy; but there are things that you need to investigate if you want to get that all important "finish" to your lovely painted items...ah yes, I hear you cry-"the finish". But what does this actually mean? Well, as far as I am concerned, I want my pieces to not only look beautiful, but they need to feel beautiful and they also need to last-so all in all the "finish" is pretty important. Now, Annie Sloan sells soft wax which goes brilliantly with her paints. I have both the clear and dark wax. They are easy to use (too many different techniques for me to cover her) and they lock in the colour and make your furniture feel silky smooth. But I've been thinking recently that I needed more than a wax. Take my lovely wooden stool below as an example:

The white feet are a modern addition and while wax would certainly do them no harm, I couldn't help but feel that the white would start getting pretty un-white pretty quickly. But to be honest I was scared-granted not middle of the night, stuck in a wood, with no light or food and a werewolf on the loose-not that scared, but shall we say wary of turning my back on the soft wax and using a varnish instead. My memory of varnish was gloppy, hard to handle, sticky tar like substances that ruined brushes, were impossible to use and unless you were a seasoned expert gave you a messy finish. But I knew deep down that I needed to use a varnish, so I spoke to Ronseal and they suggested two products that may very well fit my requirements.

So my highly anticipated tins arrived and I was excited (and still a bit scared)! It was time to bite the bullet and start varnishing. Paintbrush at the ready I opened tin number 1 : Ronseal Interior Wax, a natural matt, wax finish - colour Natural.

I was skeptical, there is no way this is going to work-it's going to ruin my stuff with its super shiny, streaky finish and I was going to spend my life re-varnishing. So I bottled it and I decided to test my new tins on some painted spoons that I knew were in need of a nice smart "finish" instead.

Well, how wrong can you be about something? Turns out very wrong. From the moment I opened the tin I was delighted with it. It was fluid and not the slightest bit tacky or gloppy, it was smooth and silky. It was white in colour (I was scared again...) but then I remembered so are loads, in fact the majority of waxes and polishes, so I ploughed on undeterred.

The varnish went on incredibly easily, with even coverage and you could fill in any gaps easily. Spoon completed, I waited. I was a bit concerned that the varnish wasn't going to dry smoothly as you can see there are tiny bubbles on the pic on the right. Ha, I thought-here's the issue; I bet I have to wait 5 days now before I can move the spoon and when I do its going to look a mess. Um no, about 15 minutes and it was dry, even better than it says on the tin (Ronseal recommend 20 minutes, but I am very impatient). There were also absolutely no bubbles once dry. 

As you can see the application was even throughout and it definitely did not look shiny. So a second coat and another short wait. The second coat did a really good job, but the tin recommends three, so three it was. I would definitely concur that three coats is required, the third one really makes the finish.

Having sat back for a while admiring my spoon I realised that while I was determined that I wanted a matt finish, rather than a shiny finish, I now in fact felt like my spoons would benefit from a higher gloss finish. Not in texture and feel so much but just to look at. So, drum roll please...it was time to try tin number 2 from Ronseal: Interior Varnish, a quick drying finish - colour clear matt.

I could not imagine that this was quicker drying than the earlier varnish, but it was worth a try. Once I gave the can a shake and popped the lid, it looks pretty identical to the wax, white in colour and smooth but not gloopy. Again it was easy to use and covers evenly and without bubbling or moving any of the paint underneath. With my earlier excitement somewhat more contained, I manage to wait for a whole 15 minutes for the varnish to dry and yes this too was touch dry. The finish after the first coat was not dissimilar to the wax, it felt silky and was matt to look at. I quickly applied a second coat to see if with an extra layer the finish was any different. The second coat looks pretty similar too if I'm perfectly honest. The tin for the varnish however says I need to sand before applying final coat. So I sand away and then apply third and final coat.

I leave it one hour this time before returning and I am really happy with the outcome. I've already braced myself for the fact that this varnish is a clear matt version, so it is not going to be highly glossed and therefore I should not be disappointed if it is still matt looking. However, the finish is not as matt as the wax that I had first used and as you can see from the pics it is very smart. You can see the difference on this photo, its not enormously obvious, but there is a difference and for my spoons I think I'm happier with the varnish than the wax. What you can't really see on the photos (I apologise I need to get better at taking pics) is just how lovely the varnish makes them feel. The finish is very silky and just plain lovely.

For spoons I think trying a non-matt, glossy version of Ronseal's interior varnish would give you a glossier finish, which would look amazing. But I realise that most people are not really hunting the earth for spoon specific varnish! The interior wax was really very good - far better than I had expected. It was easy to apply, quick to dry, didn't need sanding and looks and feels very similar to the far more time consuming (and more expensive) soft wax. The finish is perfect for most shabby chic, country style, repainted furniture and quite frankly I cant fault it in terms of cost or effort.

On balance there are still going to be many occasions when finishing my pieces that I will still grab for the soft wax; mostly when I want to achieve really aged and vintaged looks. However, if I want a finish that feels silky but is just harder wearing than the soft wax I would thoroughly recommend Ronseal's Interior Wax, with a natural matt finish - it does exactly what it says on the tin!

Having thoroughly put the tins through their paces I decided it was probably time to actually start using it on my stool, so I've included the finished pic of my stool with the Interior Varnish used on the legs.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Introducing Rascal & Roses Logo and Badge Swap

As I promised (about a month ago) I have not yet unveiled my new Logo. You may have caught sight of it on my Twitter and Facebook banners down the side, but I thought I would give you a close up here, because it is so pretty. I had no idea how long it took to create your own logo, what a nightmare, but what a brilliant job Leigh Morris did - I for one love it! 

Most of you reading know that I am very new to the world of blogging - known as the Blogosphere (possibly only by me, I am not sure it is in the Oxford Dictionary?) Oh, I just checked it is. Ok so probably more than just me uses the word blogosphere. Anyway, my point is I am but a novice and so I take great interest in reading other people blogs and seeing what people get up to, especially crafty blogs - I've already told you all about #Craft Blog Club (7-8pm Tuesday nights on Twitter) but while I was cruising around Twitter last week I spotted a Tweet from a lovely lady called Clare asking if anyone with a blog wanted to do a Badge Swap.

Badge Swap? What is a badge swap I thought? Google is my best friend and Google told me a badge swap is when you both put each others Badges (logos to you and I) on your site so that your readers can pop over and see even more lovely blogs. So Clare very kindly added my badge to her site (almost 2 weeks ago) and I am hopelessly late, but hopefuilly she has forgiven me, so it is definitely time I shared her badge. 

Maybush Studio

Please go over and see Clare at Maybush Studio. Her blog is amazing. You will be enticed by her marvelous photography, brilliant reviews and general cleverness is all things crafty. It has been lovely meeting such nice people over the internet and its amazing how easy it can be, Clare's husband is also in the forces, so it has been nice to speak to someone who knows what its like now Maj C is away and her blog has definitely inspired me to write more.

Enjoy Maybush and see you all soon - if I have time to post here...I may be too busy looking at other lovely blogs.

Saturday, 28 September 2013


I love them-particularly the ones off Great British Bake Off. You know the ones-wooden with painted handles? Well you should keep your eyes peeled next week to see if you can see them! They are beautiful.

Who doesn't like a beautifully painted spoon? Answer: no one, that's who. 

...More lovely spoons

My favourite collection of painted spoons. 

So, I search high and low for them...well I googled them, but same difference.  Anyway, my search  was fruitless (spoon less). No one seemed to be selling them. So onto trusty Pinterest, tahdah! I knew Pinterest wouldn't fail me, beautiful pictures of lovely spoons. This makes me very happy indeed! But yet again, no one selling any. It's time to face facts. The only way I'm going to get these life changing spoons into my house is to paint them myself. So, I'm off to buy some boring old normal wooden spoons and then let the magic begin. I've got my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, some masking tape, some brushes, I also think it will be a brilliant way of testing my new Ronseal varnishes that arrived this week. Beautiful spoon tutorial coming soon! 

* I apologise for the terrible photos that were on here, hopefully all sorted now. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

12 days....

...not of Christmas, but since I last blogged! Apologies all. That is ridiculous! I don't even have time to blog properly now. But what I will do is show you a quick pic of why I've been so busy and then I'll fill you all in properly soon-super soon I promise. 

I've spent the week painting and covering chairs. This is the first one. 3 more on the make as we speak! 

A close up, so you can see all the lovely fabric.

Now, so that you know I'm going  to keep my promise, here is a small list of what I'm going to tell you all about next time:

1. The "how to guide" update.

2. My exciting delivery from Ronseal.

3. Obviously, more Pinterst related things.

4. My New Logo!!! - very exciting. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


So, last week I was pottering around the twittersphere and something caught my eye #craftblogclub. Ooooooooh I thought, that sounds like fun. And fun it was!!! Its the brain child of the author of lovely Life is Peachy Blog and a fellow PVB contributor, Emma.

Anyway we had week 2 last night and Craft Blog Club is really picking up speed. It's a great way for crafty people to exchange tips and hints, brilliant if you want a nose at lots of fabulous blogs and just a generally lovely place to be! So I urge you, if you're even the slightest bit crafty (and even if you're not!) come and say hi and take a peak: Tuesday nights 7-8pm #craftblogclub. I have to go now as I have approximately 37 new blogs to get acquainted with...anyone would think I've got nothing else to do with my time! 

Obviously I do, I have many things that need painting. But I shall leave you with a little pic of my latest project, which I love and am not really sure I want to part with! 

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen gentle distressing and a clear wax finish with Toile de Jouy fully lined drawers. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Country loving

We're currently in glorious Herefordshire and enjoying the final throws of summer. We've been visiting friends and finally and while there has not been much time for painting this weekend but lots and lots of inspiration...

This is the view from my granny's backdoor. I consider this a proper garden path, one that all others should be compared to. 

Pretty pretty flowers, I love unstructured beds. 

Last of the Budlehia being enjoyed by the butterflies. 

All this countryside got me thinking about furniture (of course) so here are my top 5 favourite country looks using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that are making me smile today (straight from Pinterest obviously - still my all time favourite pastime)...I'll keep you posted in how my visions actually turn out! I'm trying to make a pact with myself to not use such muted tones. Its all about Colour colour colour. And as long as you look carefully at where your pieces are going it can still look amazing. 

Country Brights: 

I'm popping off now to get my brushes out now, especially as I have nearly finished my Antoinette and Gold side table. Post coming soon! Thanks for checking in. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Less painting more life!

So, I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was asked to write a weekly diary for PVB online magazine. They were keen to hear about my life as an Army wife. So, we are 2 weeks down already in the diary entries and Maj C is off shortly to sunny climbs. So if you'd like to read a bit our about life when I'm not painting, then please feel free to take a look! Hope you're all enjoying the sun, so happy it's still got its hat on! Whoop whoop.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

French Chic with Annie Sloan Antoinette - "Let them (by them I mean you) eat cake"

So we have had a marvellous time on our first family holiday abroad in Normandy. The weather was glorious and the Chateau we were staying in has well and truly inspired me, this week I will mainly be channelling French Chic (arguably the only chic-but that might be a discussion for another day).

So, in order to relieve my French-country-Chateau-chic-ness itch I have bought a new  tin of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (well technically two tins, but don't tell Major C) Granite (a lovely dark grey) and the aptly named Antoinette (the lightest of dusky pinks). I am super excited about getting started on my garage full of treasures. And to continue the French theme I will ensure I am eating lots of cake in order to ensure my French theme is thoroughly embraced (surely it would be rude not to? Non?)

I have a beautiful telephone seat (very french and glamorous) and I'm thinking a Granite base with Antoinette on top and lightly distressed will be perfect! Now all I need to do is match the perfect fabric and I sense this will be the greatest piece in the Rascal & Roses repertoire (are you enjoying my clever use of French appropriate words? Thought so).  I will keep you posted on the fabric decisions and hopefully keep you up to date with progress as the week goes.

As an aside I am working on a Q & A section for the blog and the main hot topic has got to be how to use the Annie Sloan Wax...wow I could write a book I think. However, if you have any other Annie Sloan Chalk Paint or general upcycling, refurbishing, upholstering based questions (or lets be honest, any questions really) please drop me a line and I'll do my very best to answer them - long answers will be posted here and Facebook - short answers on Twitter.

Hopefully you are all having a fabulous bank holiday, I shall leave you with one of my favourite weather appropriate quotes (but the academics among you may realise its not really about the weather)....

Sunday, 18 August 2013

We are living in a material world...

...and I am (without a doubt) a material girl. Now, granted Madonna may not have had the same material in mind when she penned her 80s pop classic, but I am pleased to report the song is still as relevant to me today as I’m sure it was to her back in the day!

So, I hear you ask, what has been going on at Rascal & Roses HQ? Why on earth has there been 12 days since your last post? Well dear readers we have been busy busy busy! In fact, things have picked up pace at an astonishing rate. So, in no particular order I am pleased to announce the following exciting news; Rascal & Roses are getting a new website, you are soon going to be able to buy Rascal & Roses from our new distributor (more details to follow) and we have lots and lots of new fabric to start making some gorgeous new pieces.

Now, I understand that until the internet allows you to feel just how lovely my new fabric is you won’t quite appreciate just how fabulous it is, so for the while you will just have to trust me. It is glorious, so smooth and silky and thick and lovely and however good my photography skills are (point of information: they are rubbish) you will never be able to understand quite how bright and beautiful they are. So, in the absence of a tunnel in your computer which will take you directly to my studio (spare bedroom) you will just have to take my word for it. The fabrics are glorious.

My favourite (although admittedly slightly gypsy- carnivalesque) is a multicoloured Manuel Canovas stripe.  Don’t panic though, for those that prefer not to have to wear sunglasses in their breakfast room there are some relaxing more muted tones in the shape of GP & J Baker’s famous Threads range I have put a few pics below to get you in the mood for some things to come.* But quite frankly, whichever way you cut it, its hard to ruin a piece of furniture when your start point is such extraordinary designer fabrics. I must leave you now as I have to tend to my really quite serious addiction to Pinterest. Pop over and visit, but I must warn you it is a time thief.

*Alas due to a technical “hitch” (the rascal threw my phone with all pics into a glass of water) photos will be uploaded shortly (I hope).

Update; hitch rectified-don't ask how...photo now available in glorious technicolour!

Sunday, 4 August 2013


This week, as usual has been rather hectic. Thankfully though the end is in sight becuase Major C is on Summer Leave! Brilliant. We are going to have a busy few weeks, but lots of fun catching up with friends and family before he leaves for sunnier climbs in September.

So, we have left Rascal & Roses HQ (and the garage full of furniture and paint) to go visiting! Major C was happy because he (incorrectly) assumed that while we were away from home I would be unable to get my sticky mitts on anymore furniture...how wrong he was. As we have returned to where I grew up I know where absolutely ALL the possible traders of bits and bobs are and we are going to visit ALL of them! Yeah! I will keep you all posted as to what we find...as the lovely @brookslay suggested this week on Twitter we may have to have a #rascalfindhour to show off all my lovely finds. (If you want to follow anyone on Twitter follow her, she is, as the kids say: Amazeballs).

In other Rascal and Roses news I have been invited to write a guest blog for a website that promotes small independent businesses and its all looking very exciting indeed. I will make sure you are all kept up to date with progress the minute I hear more.

This week I finished a commission for the lovely Kitty's bedroom. Some very nice Stag furniture, which through the medium of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint magic has been updated and transformed! You can see the before and after pics below. I love the apple green and luckily Kitty loved it too! One of the most brilliant things about Annie Sloan paint is that you can easily mix it to get the precise colour you want. Now, my eye for colour can sometimes be a little off target and for the life of me I couldn't figure out which pots I needed to get the perfect shade of Granny Smith Apple, but thankfully the guru herself, The Annie Sloan gave me a pretty good steer of Antibes Green + English Yellow and Old White and turns out it was precisely what we were after! (Again well worth a follow on Twitter if you love painting as much as me.) 

 The Blue Peter style Before & After shot

Yet again though, I find myself back on decoupage band wagon. Love it love it love, so stay tuned for some lovely cut and stuck items. I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. Check you laters alligators. Hopefully this week I will have my very useful "How To" Guide for using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The week that was.

I can't believe it is almost a week ago since I wrote.

We have had a very busy week here at Rascal & Roses HQ. Not only have I been working like a painting demon (think the Tasmanian Devil with a brush in both hands), but we have also been visiting and Maj C has been very busy at work so all in all a hectic week that has merged into the next one already!

So I will post up some pics of what I have been working on - a lovely bedroom set, brought to me for updating and the results are fantastic! You honestly wouldn't recognise them at all. Amazing what some paint, wax (a LOT of elbow grease) and some new knobs can do for your old tired furniture!

I have also had lots of questions about how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and how to get different effects, so I am trying (in all my spare time) to put together a step by step guide for people - not really a bible - but just what I do to make things work!

I am also working on a lovely commission for "Home is Where the Heart Is" sign, its going to be gorgeous.

And in between my painting, I have taken the Rascal to listen to the brass band in Oakham - they were great, she wasn't overly impressed - I think she was spoilt by the Kings Troop at Holkham Country Fair the day before. So to try and up the stakes again we went to a Farm today - it was great, she loved the Shire Horse - I loved him too, even more so because he was called Stanley!

So, after a lovely relaxing weekend in Norfolk with the Rascal, Stanley and Maj C soaking up the sun at Holkham back to the chaos...but I promise pics will be up tomorrow.

Ok, ok, ok - Busted. so I have tried to drag this post out to prove all the things that I have been doing this week instead of blogging. But we all know the truth don't we? I haven't been that busy.  What else could I have been doing ALL week? Well obviously, I was watching 24 hour rolling news about the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge's first born son.

Through my dedication and stamina of maintaining a constant listening watch to all news be it BBC 24, GMTV, Twitter, Daily Mash I can bring you the details you all want to know (I know you haven't had time to find these out like I have because some of you work, or some of you may have been on holiday etc). So here it is:

He's a baby boy, called George. He's lovely. One day he will be King. It's a good week to be British. Congratulations The Cambridges! Apologies a shameless pro Royal Family post - very little help to anyone who wants to paint their furniture but we will resume normal life tomorrow I promise.



Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The modern day Straw that Broke the Camel's Back...

...alternatively entitled: The Massive Wardrobe that Broke Maj C's Goodwill.

Title pretty much says it all. I was tipped off about a lovely wardrobe for sale here I'm Oakham. And lovely it was, and such a bargain (kind of, but for the purposes of ensuring my decision to buy was right) -a complete and utter bargain! So I waited for Maj C to return home, he's been away with work, and I explained about the bargain that was waiting for collection. He rolled his eyes, but as he has been away his defences were low so he agreed,

In order to secure a swift collection of said wardrobe I dutifully found out the whereabouts of said wardrobe. "Obviously", I hear you say, obviously to collect something you need to have the address. Well, it may be obvious to you all, but last time I asked Maj C to collect something for me I forgot the address. Well I didn't forget it, I thought I had it but I didn't-just a postcode and several other snippets of information. The sellers were moving: easy I thought, just go to the house with for sale sign on-ummm there were 9 in total on the road-none of them had the chest of drawers I was trying to buy. Then I thought I would select (from the 114 houses on the road) a house that looked like its occupants had a chest of drawers which they wanted to sell because they were moving...it was a relatively unsuccessful hunt and culminated in us having to return to town to get phone reception to find the house number and by then she had gone out for the evening. Needless to say Maj C was less than impressed.

So, given the context he was unenthusiastic about my wardrobe collection. I knew it would be fine though. So off we went (with the Rascal in tow). I put the 2 seats in the back down and just in case (always best to be prepared) the roof rack-not that we would need it. Off we went-directly to the correct address, things were going well. We arrived and I could see the wardrobe, it was glorious, just as the picture had promised, a little bigger than I had thought it would be, but glorious none the less. Maj C didn't look as excited as I was, but I'm sure he was inside. The kind sellers had also split in in half for ease of transportation.

I don't think we need to go into the details of the next 40 minutes, but I am pleased to announce I remain happily married for another day...just. Instead of a long narrative, I will instead readers leave you with a couple of pics of my wardrobe and it may explain why Maj C will no longer ever collect furniture for me again. Ever.

Friday, 19 July 2013

"Stuff I like"

There comes a time when people have to chose; Vintage or Shabby Chic, vintage or shabby chic, vintage or shabby chic or just plain and simple Upcycle? Well my time to chose should be now, but I can't so I refuse to. Instead I have decided I'm just going to chose "stuff I like".

It is not a trend per se and it doesn't really fit into either camp, but I've decided it's the best solution. There simply isn't enough time in my world to be deciding if something is vintage, or shabby chic or my favourite description this week, "white-painted-distressed-tat-hell" (I sense Maj C would agree with the author of this comment) - so I'm not going to, I'm just going to do what I want - so there!

In line with this new crazy approach I'm not writing anymore tonight, I'm exhausted the sun has bought with it yet more reason for The Rascal not to sleep so I need to catch up on the zeds before she is up again...I reckon I could have a clear 23 minutes if I start now! So in lieu of my witty repartee I'm just going to leave you some pics of some "stuff I like" instead, well to be more specific "yellow stuff I like". It's too sunny to read after all - now all go and enjoy the sun!