Pauly D Foundation Auction Winner

Hi friends! It's been awhile since I have blogged about it, but I have been busy painting this spring. Today, I've popped in to share a reveal with you from earlier this year. This table is one of the most dramatic makeovers I've done in a while, and it was my first time working with the much raved about General Finishes Java Gel Stain.

Last fall, I donated a service to a fundraiser for our dear friends' foundation, the Pauly D Foundation. After tragically losing their son in an accidental drowning, the Pauly D Foundation was established to advocate for water safety and drowning prevention. Their vision is to make a difference by raising the bar on water safety education and awareness. I was happy to donate to such a wonderful cause. The lucky winner contacted me early in 2017, and we went right to work bringing life back to her much used dining table.


The top was in rough shape from years of use and the grandkids had given it their own special touch by carving their names in the apron with a pencil. It was definitely time to show this table some love. My client settled on a two tone look with a dark espresso top and white distressed apron. I have been intrigued by General Finishes Gel Stain for a while now. The way it works is that you can stain right over an existing finish, but this top had a lot of peeling and cracking. I decided to sand down the entire top and work with staining the raw wood for an even, clean finish.

I used my trusty Dewalt Random Orbit Sander that I always talk up on here. I started with a 60 Grit pad to knock off the existing finish and followed with a 150 grit pad to smooth it out before staining.

General Finishes has some great videos on how to work with their gel stain on YouTube. After watching them, I went to work. This is a picture after I put on the first coat of gel stain in Java. I found the whole process really easy.

I did two coats of stain and finished it off with General Finishes Gel Top Coat. I did three coats of top coat. And again, you can see the whole process by watching General Finish's video on gel stain on raw wood.

Once I completed the top, and gave it a few days to cure. I taped off the top and painted the apron and legs with Annie Sloan Old White. I used a 400 grit sand paper to smooth down the entire surface which let some of the original finish peek through. Then I finished the painted portions with Annie Sloan Soft Wax in clear.






It turned out just beautiful, and General Finishes now has a new fan!

The Pauly D Foundation is such a great cause, and I'm sure I will help out next year. If you have a service in the Chicagoland area or goods that you would like to donate to this fall's fundraiser, use my Contact tab to shoot me an email. I'll get you in touch with them!

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on a link and purchasing an item may result in a commission for Pretty Distressed.

My New Obsession: Annie Sloan® Graphite

I have a new color obsession to share with you- Annie Sloan®'s Graphite. Any fans of PrettyDistressed™ know I love me some Old White, Paris Grey, French Linen and an occasional Duck Egg Blue in her Chalk Paint™ line. In the past, I have shied away from using Graphite. It is the darkest color in the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® pallet, and I had heard it can be tricky to work with. But let me tell you now that I have used it, I am dying to paint something in my house with this color. It's so rich and unique. Then once you put the wax on, it comes to life!



I am so grateful for my clients, and the way they push me out of my comfort zone. She selected Graphite for this dresser I was refinishing for her son's room. She has an amazing old century home and has a lot of antique brass throughout the home, so we knew we wanted to do a brass cup pull on the dresser. I selected the Martha Stewart Bedford Brass Canopy Cup Pull from HomeDepot.com. Graphite is really the ultimate complement to the antique brass. The cool thing about it is it's not a true black but more of a slate like a chalkboard.

My client only wanted mild distressing, so I went with a different technique than I usually use. Instead of making big brush strokes in every direction, I kept my strokes smooth and in one direction. I did two coats and really covered the wood. Then I took a 400 grit sandpaper and smoothed the entire piece down. This technique exposed just a smidge of the original finish on the edges of the drawers and corners. I finished it off with Annie Sloan clear wax.
antique brass pull



graphite

annie sloan graphite


chalk paint

I am really excited about working with Graphite more. I need it in my house somewhere! Trust me, you have to check it out for yourself. I've got some more projects in cue right now and can't wait to share more reveals with you soon. Happy painting!

Applying Annie Sloan® Soft Wax with a Lint Free Cloth

I have been busy working on some client pieces this past week and was inspired to share another video tutorial with you. People always ask me if you need to get a wax brush to wax your furniture, and the answer is "no." In fact, I think most newbies out there will find it a little easier to apply wax for the first time with a lint free cloth versus a wax brush.



I have been doing this for a while now, and I use both. I like a wax brush for really detailed pieces and chairs, but I like to use a rag for large flat surfaces like on a dresser. So if you are thinking about tackling your first piece, try the cloth application and save your money for a wax brush if you really get into painting furniture like me.
If you need more tips on painting furniture, you can check out my Video Tutorial tab to see my library of videos.

I hope you are enjoying my tutorials. Have a question? Make sure to shoot me a line if there is anything you want to see that I haven't covered yet. Check back for some fun reveals coming soon.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Video Tutorial #1 - Prepping and 1st Coat


Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to share several videos that will document the refinishing process I use for furniture from start to finish. Today, I will cover prepping a piece along with painting the first coat.



I know videos like this were super helpful for me when I was starting out painting. If you think of any questions that I didn't cover in this first video, please send them my way. I will try to answer them in the remaining videos. And I am going to work on cutting out some um's, so's and try not to touch my face so much. Yikes.

Over the River and Through the Woods to Carter's Cottage

Last week, my husband gave me the day off. Yes, you heard me, an entire day without having to dress, bathe, feed or transport anyone but myself. Glorious. So what did I decide to do...hop in the car and drive out to the heart of downtown DeKalb, Ill. to visit my local Annie Sloan stockist, Carter's Cottage.


Previously, I had bought my paint from a local store that shipped to my home and at a store in Tennessee when I went to visit my parents, but from now on I am making the drive out to DeKalb to see Christie. 

I was lucky enough to get a chance to meet Christie Carter, the owner and designer of Carter's Cottage. She was gracious enough to spend some time talking with me about her journey to owning her own shop. This lady is amazing and so inspiring. Not to mention her painted pieces are amazing. She knows Annie Sloan personally, in fact, Annie called her directly to ask her to sell her Chalk Paint®. Can you imagine!? 


I spent about two hours there just taking in the store and drawing inspiration. I ended up leaving with a few cans of paint of course, but I also bought some sweet bird nests and blue eggs. Along, with carrying Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® and refinished furniture, Carter's sells wholesale goods, too. And Christie and her crew do a fabulous job selecting the perfect country chic items to complement their cottage decor. This place is a dream.




I think one of my favorite pieces was this graphite hutch. I have been dying to try this color out, but I am a little intimidated. This hutch makes me want to give it a try or maybe I will consider just buying this gorgeous piece.


Carter's Cottage also offers Annie Sloan painting workshops for those looking to dabble in Chalk Paint® or learn some new techniques. I am going to attend the next class in May and can't wait to share the experience with you.

DeKalb is also a great little destination town. While you are down there, you can visit all the other independent shops in the historic downtown area. There are antique, salvage, craft and clothing shops with some seriously cute stuff. And I love the idea of supporting independent business owners versus a big box store. As a tip, Christie shared that all the restaurants are open for lunch on Wednesdays if you want to make a day of it and of course they are open on the weekends.

So there is my magical day at Carter's Cottage. I left feeling inspired and can't wait for my next visit. Do you feel the same way about your local Annie Sloan stockist?