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 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!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Google Machine or the Paint Brush?

So, the painting bit is seemingly easy - the problem is once you start trying to sell said beautiful painted items!

Where do you go if you just want to sell your wares? Take a page in the papers? Apparently not - so 1980s, apply on a postcard in the local postoffice? Small problem, no windows or postcards in our post office. Open a shop? Well, supposedly this is the difficult route to take, but I am beginning to wonder.

Needless to say on the suggestion of many people far more knowledgeable than I, my quest began behind the computer. Armed with my iphone, ipad and laptop I decided I would embark on a full on assult on the internet. No wireless stone would be unturned. OMG. What a nightmare! I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be any kind of IT expert, but I thought I knew the basics. Um no. I did not.

I would like to just go back to the garden, get out my paint brushes and start painting, but no, I find myself on the loveliest days of the year (neah decade) inside attached to my computer, trying to make sense of it all.

You heard earlier about my twitter and facebook triumphs, but oh readers it was only the begining. The easy bit is setting up the accounts, the hard bit is actually finding things people are interested in hearing about and then finding more people that are interested! No wonder people make entire careers out of jobs like "google opimitisation manager" or "social media network administrator" no longer shall I scoff at these made up job titles - turns out these folk are well practiced in the black arts of the google machine!

I am however very lucky, I have Girl-About-Town's and Web Boy as relatives (they are my own personal IT consultants) and thank goodness. Web Boy has been staying with The Rascal and I while Maj C is away and thankfully he has manage to work is magic on the blog and now, as you will probably already see, you can track Rascal & Roses on Facebook and Twitter! How exciting! How lucky you are readers...lucky lucky lucky. Soon you will not be able to even pick up your computer or electronic device without seeing what we are up to here at Rascal & Roses HQ.

Anyway, in my high and low search of all things internet I found many things. They mainly fell into either the; I-do-not-understand-what-I-am-reading pile, or the you-are-telling-me-nothing-other-than people-look-at-the-internet,-this-I-know-already pile.

But one little snippet did cover most of the bases in words that made sense to me, so I am sharing it below. If you like crafty anything its worth a look anyway and if you want to do anything on the internet to do with websites and blogs and you know nothing (like me) its also worth a look - I reckon it covers just enough that should you find yourself stuck at a party talking to a Web Boy or Girl-About-Town about Pinning their Tweetbook to the FaceSpace then you should at least be able to nod knowingly!

Google stuff: 10 simpletips to get your craft blog seen

Phew! Now the technical stuff is out of the way I can get back to the good stuff, with the added bonus that you lovely readers will also be able to see it!

Friday, 12 July 2013

So many Colours so Lttle Time - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

So, the weather has been amazing, utter bliss. However, this has meant that my plans to work like a Trojan on new pieces has suffered somewhat. But I still managed to do some work- albeit not in the least bit strenuous, in fact unless I could do it with a nice cool drink in my hand it didn't happen. Anyway, back to my point, I found lots and lots of lovely new blogs to follow (have a sneaky peak) and I did manage in the times the sun wasn't out in full to do some painting.

I have managed to finish a letter holder, a ladder and a shelf! Yeah. But my rather laissez faire approach paid dividends, as I realised you really can make some super nice colours by mixing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint odds and ends and seeing what happens!

It started out as a love affair with Paloma - I love the purple, its so summery and looks fabulous with the grass and the blue skies. So letter rack was purple, it was lovely, but I knew it could be even more lovely, I wasn't sure how, but I knew it was possible. So, I left it and started to white wash my ladder. I didn't want it too white, and I didn't want it too blue or green. In the end I went with an Original and Duck Egg Blue wash that produced a gorgeous off grey colour. Bingo! That was what I needed to tone down my Paloma. And it worked a dream. Then a sanding, 2 layers of Craqueleur, 1 hair drying later and some dark wax and voila. It must be a success because none other than Annie Sloan herself liked it (shameless self promotion by moi? Buy why yes of course!) Duck Egg Blue white wash over Paloma and then some sanding and there it was. My shelf was already Duck Egg, but I felt it needed something more exciting too, you guessed it a quite white wash over the shelf and bam another piece. Perfecto!

Sorry, I could wax lyrical about more colours, but you've probably all had enough right now and besides which I can hear the rascal stirring so I'd better and go and see what on earth is going on, I sense she might be perfecting her pole vault technique out of the cot by the sounds of it.

As I suspected she was trying to spider climb up the corner of her cot, most angered she is back lying down...anyway, as I was saying, I loved mixing the Annie Sloan paint up- it mixes super easily and looks delicious. More laziness on my part required next week for some new pieces I think, how exciting.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Its Gin o'clock

Well, it probably actually is in most civilised households, but here at Rascal and Roses HQ we have to wait for the Rascal to go to bed. Tonight though we will be celebrating the momentous achievement (of her being in bed) by having a drink outside, using my new decoupaged tray! I love it, it only took me a few evenings to complete, but waiting for the layers to dry is agony - not something to do if you are in a rush. As I suspected, it is definitely definitely addictive though, I'm hunting down possible victims for my next cut and paste session.

P.S. What are the thoughts on the new photo/collage approach? I'm loving it, today but not sure it may get a bit tedious...jury out at the moment. 

British Summertime and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint time

It's officially a fabulous week to be British, The Lions win the tour down under, Murray raises the Wimbledon trophy and the weather is glorious! The UK is the very best place to be in a proper summer, but here in Rascal and Roses HQ we've had a mixed few days.

It started on Thursday when Maj C got delayed in "sunnier climbs" due to an aircraft breaking down. This was most unfortunate as it meant he missed the grand opening of The Rascal and Roses Facebook Page but you will be pleased to know, I'm sure, the launch went without a hitch or technical fault, which is in itself a small miracle.

So, without Maj C in the country we also had to pass on an invitation to Henley Royal Regatta, I was gutted, I'm pretty sure The Rascal and Stanley were pretty pleased with the outcome though as they spent the afternoon in the garden, while I did some painting. I love how pretty the Annie Sloan colours are, I've used Versailles on the dining chair and the carver is done in Paloma. They are going to look amazing when they are finished and I'm thinking they need something like a big old oak whitewashed kitchen table to really show them fact I might start hunting for a new table...I digress (as always), as you can see from below (when I wasn't distracted) it was actually a pretty productive day in the end! By Saturday though Maj C had returned and this meant I had some time to get the staple gun out and start reupholstering my dining chairs. I love them, just need to get cracking on the painting now, so that I can have at least one complete chair!

Stanley & The Rascal
Chairs taking shape

There is lots and lots more to share but I hear the rascal stirring so I will return when all is quiet!


Saturday, 6 July 2013

It's summertime!

We are absolutely loving the sun here at Rascal and Roses HQ, yippee! The rascal is a big fan and Stanley the puppy is jubilant at all the time in the garden.

But as always, due to the gorgeous weather I have been so preoccupied the blog has been abandoned some what. No need for panic quite yet though as tomorrow will be a blogging day and there is so much to tell.

My newly acquired upholstery skills have been tested and my addiction to Chalk Paint grows ever out Oakham I'm coming to paint you. We have also had the unofficial (or soft as my professional marketing friends will tell you) launch of the Rascala and Roses Facebook page.

Anyway lovely readers, stop reading and go and enjoy the sun!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint- #more than paint?

It's finally here, all please kneel before the true glory of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint; revealed through the resurrection of my pine towel rail. A rail that has not graced any discerning house since 1979  returns to my guest bedroom. Yes that's right excited readers-the towel rail is complete and in use.

Clearly now this done nothing will ever be the same again. I have finally (but one month after I began) completed a project. Yes Annie Soan your paint is beautiful, yes you are extremely talented at what you do, the effects your paint can achieve are sublime and thought provoking; but really the testament to your skill lies in my guest bedroom-as I, mother of one, carer of puppy and cat, sole adult in charge for longer than should be allowed, and delayer of all things whenever possible, has finally finished something. I thank you. There is far more to this towel rail than meets the eye. Annie's hash tag #morethanpaint appears to be correct. 

You must excuse me now readers as while the guest room looks wonderful, my sitting room (and dining room and hallway and kitchen) now need to be reconfigured-it turns out Maj C is not keen on making the entire ground floor "my studio" but I'm sure once he sees the towel rail he will change his mind? Surely?

A few arty close ups for you (these are the kind of shots I shall be saving when I start my Rascal and Roses Coffee Table Book). 


Monday, 1 July 2013

Decoupage Passion and Craqueleur

Ok, so its been at least 3 days and I am still a massive fan of decoupage - yes its official, this craze has stuck (hahaha - nothing better than a crafty joke - yes that was 2 jokes in consecutive sentences). I digress; having done lots and lots of research I feel fully qualified now to begin my first decoupage project. I am not going to lie, this is not likely to be a huge success but we'll see-stranger things have happened! forward....

I started this entry a few days ago and forgot to finish it, but I am pleased to announce that I did it! I decoupage and it was awesome. A quick sneak below at the detail and then my next post you will see the final results of my weekend!

More miraculous, not only do you see decoupage of the finest quality, but also I managed to remember how to use Craqueleur (by Annie Sloan of course) and it worked!

I have to be quite clear though that none of this would have been possible without the spectacular artwork of The Graphics Fairy her work is exquisite and even a technophobe like myself can work out how to use her beautiful prints. I imagine I will spend the next few weeks of my life admiring French Topography and quite frankly, what else would you rather d