Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Barossa Kitchen: Jam Season

Yours truly, putting the jam into jars.
In a red apron, best for working with red fruit !

A relaxing and peaceful day off.  I love working in the kitchen in this house.  It keeps calling me to bake, cook, try new things.  We have a fridge full of leftovers (having plenty of turkey leftover dinners here !).  And also full of some stunningly beautiful fruit.  Raspberries, red currants, blackberries, strawberries, rhubarb, dark cherries, apricots, nectarines.  We also have on hand lemons, oranges, and a stray grapefruit and banana, plus a few kiwi fruit.  This is my best jam making season, summer fruits are gorgeous.  What jam I make is influenced by what is looking best and available in suitable quantity at the right fair price point.

rinsed red fruit
I planned on using the raspberries and red currants.  The latter would keep, but the raspberries were at their peak and needed to be used before they were lost or past it.  I made a mini batch of raspberry and red currant jam last year, stealing fruit from the Christmas dessert plan (I kept a bit of it plus strawberries and made a different dessert with what I had left !).  It was outstanding, albeit a bit of an accidental plan.  So my plan was to start my jam making season doing this one over, documenting the proportions and making a bigger batch (enough for 5 half pint jars or more).  I knew I could get fantastic raspberries at the Barossa Farmer's Market.  $7.50 for a 200g pun net box.  I got four and had a few extras from the week before that were still good.  I bought blackberries too, as a plan B.  Because I could not find red currants the week or two before Christmas !   Then on Christmas Eve, I found them at Nuriootpa Foodland.  I bought 2 small boxes of 125g each.  I needed about 200g for the jam and the rest was to garnish our Christmas dessert, a Rose Petal & Rhubarb Berry Trifle.
bowls and measuring cup

Had the radio on to hear the Ashes test Cricket on the ABC (I enjoy listening to test cricket on the radio) while I set about getting the work area ready for jam making.   I have a very large stainless steel stockpot with a clear glass lid and a small tray for the bottom to hold the jars off the bottom of the pan.  First thing is to get the water in that and start heating it.  It takes the longest time to heat it to  boiling and the jars then get boiled for 10 minutes to sterilise them.   The same pot and boiling water will be used for the boiling water bath to process the jam once it is put into the jars.  I have a smaller pot to use for sterilising the lids and rings.  That one is kept on hand also for boiling water to dip a clean cloth in for cleaning off the edge of the jars before putting the lid on.

towels & cloths:
red is practical for handling fruit !
Once that big stockpot got going, I assembled the rest of my tools.  A stainless steel funnel, jar tongs, lid tongs, stainless steel spoons of various sizes, timber pot coasters, all the jars and lids (already washed), and vintage glass measuring cups (my favourites).  Small little sauce dishes and small spoons get put into the freezer, for later testing the jam setting.  The funnel and spoons all were clean and got dipped into boiling water.  Then I got a variety of cloths at the ready.  Red and dark pink tea towels are practical, because red fruit stains (an inevitable part of jam making) won't ruin them.  Little dark cherry coloured cloths used for holding and wiping jars.  Silicon coasters for the big brass handles of the jam pan.  I also put on an apron (red, best for working with red fruit).

Red raspberries, red currants,
one lemon plus sugar
Then came the fruit.  First raspberries.  Rinsed and then weighed in a stainless steel bowl, so I could calculate fruit weight and work out how much sugar I would need.  Then red currants, pulled off stems, rinsed and also weighed, then put into a duck egg blue Bisonware ceramic bowl.  The raspberries weighed 816g and the red currants 199g.    With just over a kilo of red fruit I measured out 5 cups of granulated sugar for the jam, dumped that into another  stainless steel bowl.  I had a lemon and cut it, squeezing its juice through a strainer into a small glass measuring cup.

I have a fabulous hammered copper jam pan (Mauviel) .  Fruit put into unlined copper must have sugar mixed in straight away.  So I tipped in the sugar first, then topped it with the red fruit, and poured the lemon juice over the top.  By now the jars and lids were into the boiling water to sterilise, so I turned on the burner under the copper pan.  I mixed the fruit into the sugar and we were off  and running !
red fruit atop sugar, in copper jam pan

Jam heating up, on cooktop
It did not take long for the heat to cause the sugar to dissolve and the fruit was mixed in well by then, taking care not to over  stir the raspberries to the point of breaking them down too fast (they are delicate).   The fruit had the most divine aroma, bright, red, and nice mix of tart-sweet.  Red currants are a perfect partner to raspberries.  Before long the fruit and sugar mix was getting nice and hot and then all of a sudden it bubbled and foamed up.  I used a large spoon to skim the foam off into a separate bowl.  I am still getting used to the copper pan, and am carefully making adjustments to my jam cooking.  The copper pan heats up and stays hot longer than the stainless steel one I used to use.  If care is not taken, the jam can go from set to caramel stage very quickly (which would be ruined).  The jam started to bubble away, foam was skimmed, and it started to reduce.  When it was reduced to half its volume, it was time to test if it was at set or gel point.
Jam bubbles & foams up,
I skimmed off the foam

testing gel & set of the jam,
freezer (spoon/dish) method

I use little dishes and small spoons put in the freezer for a freezer method set/gel test.  I get one of each out of the freezer and carefully use another spoon to get a small bit of the jam mix and pour it into the spoon taken from freezer.  Then the bottom of the cold spoon becomes room temperature, then I carefully pour the jam into the cold dish.  And let it sit a minute or too, then run my finger through it to see if the trail stays separated or the surface wrinkles, both signs of a good set.  Today I had to do 4 set tests in fast succession (2-3 minutes between).  The last one I was pretty sure was it, so I turned off the heat under the jam pot.  I was right, and so the jam pan rested for a few minutes, then got put near where I would jar the jam.
Filling a jar with jam,
through funnel

One by one, I took a sterilised jar out of the hot water in stock pot, tipping the water back into the pot.  The funnel gets put in the jar, next to the jam pan.  I spoon the jam into the jar through the funnel.  When full, I carefully wipe the edge with a clean cloth dipped in boiling water.  Then place a lid and ring on the top.  It is tightened to light finger tight, so air can escape during processing in the boiling water bath.  Then the jar is returned to the stock pot, using the jar tongs.  This process was repeated six times. When all six jars were in the stock pot and water, I turned the heat back up to bring it to boiling.  And processed the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Each jar was removed from the boiling water bath in turn and placed carefully on a timber coaster to cool.  In very quick succession, the jar lids popped as they cooled, indicating they had a good seal.  Each will have a shelf life of a year (if they last that long !).  When the jars were cool enough, I tightened the rings on them a bit more.  And fixed small labels to each with date of the jam and a best by date of one year hence.

Filled jar of jam being put
in stockpot for boiling
water bath processing

last bits of jam in the pan
The dregs of the jam pan got scooped out and put in a clean small jar for testing tomorrow morning !  There was not enough in the jar to sterilise (a partly empty jar will bob around in the boiling water bath….yes, I have tried this and do know !).  Also, I discarded the foam skimmed off the cooking jam and underneath there was a lovely syrup.  I put the syrup in a another jar.  It will make a nice topping for ice-cream.  The test jam and jam byproduct syrup do not have a long shelf life, they will be used this week and went right into the fridge !
Copper jam pan wash up

clean &ready for next batch !
I clean up all my tools and things right away, so it can all be put away and ready for next batch of jam.  Which might be tomorrow !  

Ashes Raspberry - Red Currant Jam

The cricket had been going pretty well.  So I decided to name this jam Ashes Raspberry - Red Currant Jam.

Looking forward to soon have studio space again for painting.  To see recent progress on the last phase of the renovations, completion of the studio, see placeandtimedesign blog, where I post renovations news and progress.

Friday, December 20, 2013

When Life Gives You….

Cherries !

I saw a great interiors photo of a beautiful kitchen last week and it had in it a cute sign that said Cherries on it.  I decided I would like one for my kitchen.  So I set about to do a prototype sign and work out my composition options, colour palette, and so on.

I have been wanting to integrate typography into my art, but free hand efforts have not looked how I want….so decided to use some form of an image transfer on this sign to get the composition of the letters as I liked before hand painting the lettering in my colour palette.  And last week I was in the middle of doing some experimentation with image transfer techniques and was timing and comparing the use of them, before teaching a variety of methods in a new workshop Brocante in the Barossa NEW Image Transfer on Chalk Paint ™ Workshop in January and March.  So I used an image transfer of the lettering onto the board (and did a time trial on it too).

First, I did a trawl online to see Cherries signs and motifs I liked.  I did not copy these, but definitely was inspired by fruits of the trawl.  I combined elements inspired from a number of sources into my design.  Then, I created the actual motif lettering in Microsoft Word, using WordArt feature, trying a number of fonts and shaping to the word before I found one I liked.  I used a pale colour, because I intended to paint over it all.  Then, printing the word art in reverse (mirror image), I  used Annie Sloan's Decoupage Glue/Varnish to apply the word "CHERRIES" to a board painted in Chalk Paint ™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan (colour of ground is Old White).

I began to paint over the lettering by hand and used Chalk Paint ™ by Annie Sloan in Primer Red, Emperor's Silk and a bit of Graphite for a little shadowing effect on the letters.  This took awhile and it does have a hand painted look to it.  I was as steady as I could though and used small taklon (4 and 6) flat and bright paint brushes for the painting work.

Then with small (2 and 4) bristle brushes, I used Antibes Green, and a more emerald looking mix of Antibes and Florence to create some leaves around the lettering.  I did leaves free hand.  I put in some shadows with  Graphite, so the lettering would stand out more and to give the leaves a look of part shadiness.  I used the darker red Primer Red to paint on some clusters of cherries amidst the foliage.  Emperor's Silk is a brighter red and was used for the brighter parts of the cherries, along with it mixed with a very bit of Old White (to make a quite bright warm pink).  To complete the cherries, I lightly put in some Old White highlights where the light would dance on the cherries.

To finish my prototype sign, I used Annie Sloan Soft Wax, first in Clear, then in Dark.  I gave the sign a bit of distressing with sandpaper.  And I rubbed back a bit of the dark wax, especially on the white bits around the letters, to brighten it up.

I like the sign.  I want to make a bigger one and will be planning that.  My immediate design dilemma:  How big should the sign for the kitchen be ?!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Painting Again

completing Unfinished Paintings:
Golden Celebration (yellow roses)
I have been away from blog posting, but only because life, working full-time and running a local business have kept me rather busy !  Also, I don't yet have a proper studio space.  Though, good news, now that the weather has improved, Ian is working on that.  Meantime, I do have the al fresco (under cover) work area, and during the week it is busy fixing furniture or building things.  On the weekend I can sometimes commandeer it myself.  And today that is exactly what I did !

Lovely warm weather, about 31 C, or about 88 F.   I decided to finish, or add to two previous works, so they can go to their new places or homes (this actually has yet to be determined).  But too many partly done or not how I am happy with them things is getting in the way of pursuing fresh projects and paintings.

Magnificent Sunflower 2010 (before)
First I decided to fix the background of Magnificent Sunflower, a painting I did in Jan 2010.  It was painted from life and its subject was an un-opened sunflower.  I love this painting and I liked its background, but it was a bit uneven, lacking in balance (even I admit that).  One side had a dripped paint treatment in the background and the other side did not.  I liked the dripped paint background, it was fun to do.  But maybe it is not best suited to this composition, as most people who see it like the not-side (without the dripped paint).  I decided to unify the background, so the painting can be more balanced.  I worked in oils, as this painting was given an oil glaze several years ago.  Oils were very easy to work and I finished this in half hour, maybe a bit less.  I gave it a softer look, framed by fresh greens and yellows, plus white. Not quite impressionistic, but with a romantic soft frame of colour.  It did not need much and I am happy with its new look.
Detail of new background

Magnificent Sunflower, with new background
Golden Celebration, 2010 (before)
Then, with a bit more paint on my palette and a whole bunch of things that need to be transformed, completed, or painted over to start anew, I picked a painting of Yellow Roses that I call Golden Celebration.  They are yellow roses of the David Austin type 'Golden Celebration' .  I did a photo shoot of them in Dec 2009 and painted this originally in May or so of 2010.  I also have a version of it--also almost finished-- in my US West Coast "studio"  (my parents home in Nevada).  I will be there in November and will be finishing that one too.  Three-year paintings !

Golden Celebration, during
So what did the Australian version of Golden Celebration need ?  Well, actually a fair bit of fine tuning.  Edges in the composition could be better and neater, with better colour.   Colours needed a bit more tonal definition.  I wanted the painting to have more light playing in it too, so it would not look 'flat.'  As with Magnificent Sunflower, I decided to work in oils.  Golden Celebration also had been painted in Acrylics and then given an oil glaze.  I had struggled with the edges of the petals, and getting them right.  Painting vivid yellows is harder than it looks, shadows and edges are particularly tricky.  Bright pigments like Cadmium Yellow are a bit "bossy" and easily domineer everything around them.  Which isn't very interesting.  How to keep the yellows clear and looking right and get edges, shadows, and such from looking murky or muddy ?!  That was the challenge at hand.

I worked slowly with size 6 and a size 4 flat brushes.  My oil brushes were so happy to get some action ! I used pure gum turps with my oils and a very light hand as I wanted to refine the painting, not do it over.  Three times I declared I was done.  OK, the third time it was really so !  The previous two times I considered and photographed the painting and found it not quite as I wished it.
Golden Celebration, 2013 (after)

For the flowers, I used Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Australian Red-Gold (by Art Spectrum), and only a small bit of Raw Umber.  For the foliage and dark shadows among them I used Sap Green, Australian Gold Green (Art Spectrum), a bit of Titanium White and Lemon Yellow, Raw Umber, and for a bit of high lights, Art Spectrum's Tasman Blue.

Time flew on by and seemed to be very short.  However, I spent 2.5 hours on this, with only one break to put out a load of clean clothes on the line.  I worked without music, listening to bird sounds and the Sunday afternoon sunshine instead.  There were native parrot chirps, chooks (chickens) up next door clucking loudly about the eggs they were laying, and the junior magpie (young bird) was squawking really noisily.  I asked Ian if this is what it sounds like here during the weekdays when I am in the shop and he said it was !

Golden Celebration, completed 2013
(shown leaned against one of the new studio doors !)
I like how this turned out.  It needs some dry time now.  But it is worthy of being displayed now....I will be tackling more unfinished paintings soon, then will be starting some new works.  I may integrated multimedia techniques, as in the shop I have been experimenting with transfers.  I also acquired an old fashioned overhead projector (ex govt) and have gotten transparency sheets for use with ink jet printers.  I will use either or both for lettering or finely detailed images that I am not confident about doing freehand.

More soon :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Obsessed with Colours

Brocante in the Barossa's Colour Wall Display
Blog posts here have become few and far between, but only because we are still so busy with Brocante in the Barossa at the moment.   As might be expected of a new venture.  For more info, check us out at and there are links at top right of the home page to also link to our Facebook and Pinterest pages.

As the business itself and its infrastructure are getting set up, I am turning my thoughts to creative directions.  So a few little forays into some musings here.  

I am particularly loving being surrounded by colour, and exploring colours of the Chalk Paint (decorative paint) by Annie Sloan that we sell.  It is pretty amazing as a product and I love that customers buying it are happy using it and come back so happy with what they can and have done with it too.  That is tremendously uplifting.  One of the really fun things I get to do is advise on colours.  And mix colours.  And help customers choose colours that will suit the project they have in mind, or a room they want to use it, or that they just love.  I guess I feel happily obsessed with colours !
small timber spoons, painted
in Chalk Paint TM decorative
paint by Annie Sloan

timber spoons in blues & greens, L to R
Antibes Green, Florence, Provence,
Duck Egg, Aubusson Blue, Greek Blue,
and Louis Blue

So before a short business travel, leaving the shop in good hands for the week, I created some cute vignettes of colours from the Chalk Paint range.  I have been using little timber spoons I bought a couple months ago and I painted each in one of the 30 colours of the range.  A note about painting spoons: Until I did the first one (and while standing there holding it covered in wet paint), I did not realise how I might be letting the paint on them dry !  Hmmmm....what to do.  Well, Ian to the rescue--he drilled a small hole in each handle and I slide that over an S-hook to let the paint dry.  

.Colours on spoons, L to R:  Arles, Napoleonic Blue, Greek
Blue, Louis Blue, and Old White Chalk Paint.
Now I scatter the spoons in little displays all over the boutique.  We have a colour wall display, with boards painted in the colours too, and then waxed so customers can see the clear and dark wax finishes over each of the 30 colours.  But the spoons are much cuter, sitting around  in and as part of little displays.  Often in arrangements of colours to complement something they are perched on, or visually close to.

Just on the upper right, a palette that speaks of clear sunny days and blue skies, all bright cheer.  Inspired by and against a backdrop of a dark blue dresser we painted in Napoleonic Blue and finished with clear and dark waxes.  On it is an arrangement of yellow, blue, and white ceramics and vintage ginger jars.

Spoons show colours, top to
bottom:  Versailles, Chateau Grey,
Emperor's Silk, Scandanavian Pink,
Antoinette, Paloma, and Emile.
On the left, a very different looking palette.  Delicate pretty colours informed by a backdrop of vintage fabric from France in a pretty floral and figures print.  The colours speak of roses, reds, lilacs, and with some delicate greens in the mix too. I could see these colours on antique china cups, or all but the greens perhaps on pink lustreware pieces.  For a bit of whimsy, small miniature french playing cards have been thrown into the mix and and also vintage numbered tapes (maybe used originally for size tags ?)

Colours top to bottom:  Old
White, Florence, Provence,
Duck Egg, Barcelona Orange
and Coco
The last vignette for today shows some fresh zing in it with an energetic combination of colours that takes advantage of complementary colours principles.  Aqua Blues, with Tangerine.  Soft whites and cocoa to anchor and make them not overly fruity.  I love this combination and thought the small cherub decals echoed it quite well.  These colours will be used for some furniture painting being done while I am away.  Can't wait to see how that turned out !

Soon I will need to find something else to paint up to add to the in shops samples.  I have to find 30 of whatever it is going to be....and reasonable size.  If not spoons, then what ?!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Colour Fun

Our latest window display !
I have been remiss in my posts, big apologies for that.  Art is to come around soon enough, but all energy has gone into getting our business venture off the ground and into flight.  Check out our website to see more about what we are working on.  There is a new blog there for the business (Blog link in menu).  Also Workshop & Events info on menu bar.  The home page is now getting updated regularly.  Construction being completed in coming weeks--and most of that currently is on the Products pages, as we prepare for launching the online shop.

Bison ceramics,
made and designed in Australia
So what have I been up to ?  Well, busy painting with Chalk Paint decorative paint by Annie Sloan.  And helping people learn to use the paint, the soft wax.  We also began carrying Royal Design Studio stencils and recently added Bison home ceramics to what we have in the shop   Bison glaze colours are gorgeous (and many match the Chalk Paint colours).

Antoinette Damask stencil pattern,
by Royal Design Studio.
in Coco Chalk Paint.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colour chart

I have worked on a lot of colour mixing.  First, hand painted colour charts.  Actually, Ian is the designer of the process by which we build them...which is time-consuming.  The swatches are hand painted onto labels and then he lifts them on and places each onto the  printed colour chart card using a precision cut template (that he made), so they are aligned perfectly straight and exactly in place above the colour names.  And of course, the charts are beautiful.

I work on colour mixes and colour recipes for them.  Sometimes on swatches, and sometimes for customers.  Other times just what I feel like painting up.  Or experimenting.  I make up colour recipes and mixing onto 300 gsm watercolour papers, which I cut into strips with a small paper cutter.  I have made some nice ones.  If the colour is nice and as a mixed colour hasn't already been dubbed by someone else, I may give it my own name.  Like Driftwood Grey, made up of French Linen and Paris Grey.  Now I need to name this mix of Coco and Graphite (just above).

Other colour mixes I do on the surface I am painting.  This is a lot of fun, and I can be creative and also let the piece evolve.  The latest one I have done this way is a timber framed clock and I call its paintwork Heather Mists.   Mauve tones inspired by some mauve coloured tarnish patina on the gold tone frame.  Its paintwork is done layers of different purple and mauve colours, first Emile.  Then Paloma.  And into Paloma, I pushed in a bit of French Linen for soft subtlety.  And for a bit of elegant pizzazz, I used Henrietta on it too, before the Paloma paint layer was dry.  Henrietta sits the fence between mid tone purple and pink.  I thought it was too bright and sweet, but I am liking it when it is mixed in with friends :)  The clock frame got a clear wax, some distressing to expose the darker purple Emile layer and then a bit of dark wax to finish it.

More colour work to come.  and will work better on blog posts too !!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Antique Easter Greeting

Antique Easter card, postmark dated 1911 
I have been collecting old post cards for a few years now, mostly choosing ones that have old postmarks and cute visuals or messages.  This is one of my favourites and it is more than vintage, it's a bonafide antique, being over 100 years old ! A sweet Easter card, with pretty spring landscape, an Easter Lily and such a cute Easter chick.  I love the typography on this card too, a beautiful lettering for the message.

Wishing all a happy peaceful Easter.  Nearly over here in Australia, just starting in USA.  Europe half way through !

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Perfect Pink

Dear All, I meant it when I said I would do more posting...and could not resist adding this little post about colour mixing.  You can see why I find selling decorative paint to be creative--I love colour mixing and I love working with colour (and pattern, texture, etc).

Good friend and artist Jacqueline Coates (try for more info on Jacqueline's work)  is seeking the perfect vivid and deep pink colour for her Salon Rouge Gallery decor  (see for more detail).  If we can get it right, she may paint some of the gallery in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint, and source the paint from our boutique, Brocante in the Barossa.  She called in yesterday to pick up flowers at neighbouring Viva The Flower Store boutique (see for info) and looked at some of the colour charts I had.  None was EXACTLY right, yet.  But I agreed to work on mixing some colours today and paint up some swatches for her consideration this week.

Colour Mixing dabs, marks, and notes.  Entered
into my copy of the Annie Sloan Work Book

Here is what I came up with.  Colours I mixed are Emperor's Silk, a brilliant bright red.  Greek Blue, a clear blue, a bit on the cooler side (I am sure it has
some magenta in it, just a teeny bit).  And Pure White, for a clear bright neutral white that has no yellow, blue, pink or grey in it.

I needed to knock back the Emperor's Silk a bit, to bring things closer to the magenta side of the equation, instead of scarlet.  So I added a bit of Greek Blue.  It changed the character of Emperor's Silk only slightly, but that is because Emperor's Silk is very strong, and is not a shy character at all !  A bit of Pure White made things look more pink, but the colour was not deep and vivid as I thought Jacqueline is seeking.  So more Emperor's Silk and more Greek Blue.  Much better.  Adding more Greek Blue pulled things towards (blue) violet.  More Emperor's Silk pulled it back to magenta.  And adding more Pure White tinted it carnation pink.

I think it is possible the two dabs at the bottom are what she is after. I think the one on the left is about right, but it could be the one to its right, or a mix of those together.  We shall see !

This was the fun bit of the afternoon !

A Grand Opening !

Yours Truly, working to prep an old chair
before painting
Again I have been quiet on this channel and will be working to post a bit more often going forward.  But with some new channels and business venture, I have been a bit busy.  Here are a few things to bring you up to date, if you aren't already Liking our Brocante in the Barossa's Facebook page or  Pinterest page.

As I mentioned before, we have a local business venture going and Ian and just launched our interior decor Brocante in the Barossa boutique yesterday, with a Grand Opening...Open for business then an Open Shop Celebration in the evening.  We have been doing heaps of work leading up to this:  business planning, logistics, supply chain, a shop fit out build, set up, and now we are open.  We still have more inventory to acquire or take delivery of, to fill the store up more...but we have the core start and are adding complementary products.  So exciting times !

Complementary colours and mixing using
the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint range,
 painted into our shop copy of the
Annie Sloan Work Book
One of the key and exciting products we are bringing to the local and regional market is the Annie Sloan product range, including the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint.  You can read about the product on  We are delighted to be an Annie Sloan stockist and Ian and I attended retailer training in Melbourne in February.  Since then we have done planning about what our initial order would be of the product and also a lot of work preparing some product displays and marketing, including local ads.

The product is very expressive artistically, and I look forward to working more with it.  I have done a couple workshops when in USA last year and also the retailer training was very informative.   I am so impressed with the product and how easily it can be used to achieve beautiful effect for furniture, walls, floors, and other items around the home.  I certainly do not see old items in my home the same way anymore--they are all getting sized up for a paint job !!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint can be
used for gilding.  Use acrylic
gold size (fast drying) over the
painted surface, lay on the gold
(or other metal) leaf onto the size.
Seal with the soft wax.
 I have been bringing sample jars and a few tins of this paint back in my checked bags when traveling from USA to here.  It's water based paint and can travel, though TSA sure does test it to be sure its really paint (yes, they have opened the tins and the small sample jars too, a few of which have then leaked in my bag !).  I have not been able to get the Annie Sloan Soft Wax product here, as it cannot travel in commercial airlines, even in the hold.  I have been using various other products I have found, but none as easy to use or as effective as the Annie Sloan Soft Wax.  So I am delighted we got delivery of our first inventory yesterday, and I have a few tins earmarked for shop stock, so I can do some items we have painted up to sell in the boutique.
Transformation of chair I was prepping
 in top photo above.  Painted and waxed in
Deep Ocean Waters finish.

The chair to right is an example of how artistic this product can be.  This was done in a pale olive colour  called Versailles as an undercoat.  A rich warm blue base coat, called Aubusson Blue.  It is nearly teal.  The chair may look teal, but that is because I lightly distressed the Aubusson Blue to expose a bit of Versailles.  And I applied a dry brush wash of a vivid deep coppery green called Florence over the distressed parts.  The chair got sealed with a clear wax finish and then just a little  bit of antiquing wax has been used to bring out the carved detail in the back and turned spindles and legs.  The result is a finish I call Deep Ocean Waters.  It looks like the water I have seen when boating in New Zealand, when the sun is shining over the deep sea water and looks deep teal and aqua colours.  This chair is in our boutique window display (and it is for sale).

Painted finish on metal clock
frame, showing beautiful
 vivid coppery greens.

Those of you who recall my verdigris lions and other green moods in my paintings might not be surprised by this next project.  The clock here is a little IKEA hack,   I took a metal enamelled IKEA wall clock and put Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on it.  Yes, it sticks to metal !!  This is one reason I did the project, to show customers that the paint sticks to nearly all surfaces, including metal.  For paintwork, I used layers and blends of Florence, Antibes Green, and Old Ochre.  Applied a clear wax layer to seal the paint.  Then I distressed the painted finish with a very light hand.   And lightly applied a dark antiquing wax to deepen the coppery green colour.  The clock is now on the boutique wall, by our counter.

Novice job comes good.  Stencilled feature wall.
 For a feature wall in the boutique we stencilled an allover damask pattern onto the wall.  Using Royal Design Studio's Antionette Damask  stencil and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco colour, which looks like hot chocolate with a bit of milk in it.  I had no prior experience and was pretty happy with the result, which looks like old fashioned block printed wall paper !  Most people who see this wall think it is wall paper, and are amazed it only took half a day to do this !  I am so impressed with the Royal Design Studio product, that we will be retailing their products in our business.  We are now putting together our first order, so hard to choose from their many gorgeous patterns !  To see more about the company and its products, see
Laser cut letters by JAG Signs.
Letters are painted and
installed on the feature wall

Our sign writer has been busy this week.  Laser cut letters  for inside feature wall signage, and we painted them in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colour Graphite.
Window signage !

Outside, we now have signs on the faschia marquis area.

And a best I could do in that light shot.  Showing the signs done for our windows, including the Annie Sloan stockist logo badges.

exterior signage, shown from Murray Street, Angaston
                                                                                      More soon about how its all set up inside.  We have started selling the paint.  And we have begun taking bookings for the April sessions of the Introductory Workshop series covering basics of using the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint product.

More  in a post soon about the artistic directions planned for this business !  And as soon as the new website is ready, I will post a link to that too  (its under construction currently, another week and it will launch)