I get to meet Annie Sloan!

Just two weeks now before the Purple Painted Lady Festival! I know I have told you repeatedly how excited I am to be in this festival. What I have not emphasized enough is how over the moon I am to meet Annie Sloan! Annie Sloan has requested to meet all the vendors who refinish furniture using her paint. It will be such an honor to meet her not only because she is such a successful business woman, but because she truly inspired me. When I was a stay at home mom and desperate to decorate my home while on a budget, I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It allowed me to take used and hand me down furniture and make them beautiful! It also gave me a way to express myself creatively. An outlet I really needed! Check out this link about the Annie Sloan back story.


And now another furniture transformation. I bought this desk on my buying trip to North Carolina.

NC desk I had already started to strip the old stain and varnish in this photo.

NC desk 2 resize This is the inside with the desk top lifted up. As you can see it was in bad shape.

spot 2 The body and shelf are painted with Annie Sloan Graphite Chalk Paint. I finished it with Annie Sloan Black Wax. The desktop was done using Minwax Dark Walnut Stain. Leaving the top wood gives it a classic look with a twist.

IMG_4093 It even has the original key. It doesn’t lock, but it adds so much character.

spot I just used Old English wood repair on the inside and it came out great! This desk would be perfect for an entry way, office or bedroom.

The next couple weeks are going to be a whirlwind. I plan to practice setting up my tent since I have never done this before. Once the tent is set up I will place my items in it and take photos. By taking pictures, I will have a reference for where I want to place everything on site. I also have a check list the length of my arm! Two weeks is more then enough time to accomplish everything! Getting closer, getting closer, whoo hoo!!



Hard work, long hours, satisfaction!

I was just looking over my inventory for the Purple Painted Lady Festival. I was able to refinish and rework nine pieces over the summer and go to North Carolina on a buying trip. It is very satisfying to go down to the basement (where everything is stored) and look at what I did. It makes up for the many hours I put into it. I must admit I did not know how hard I would have to work. Prior to this, I worked on a few pieces a year as commissioned pieces or those I would sell on Craigslist.

I am really proud of everything I was able to accomplish. I am however a little nervous about sharing it with the public in such a big way. I am used to working with people and knowing what they expect or someone contacting me through Craigslist. This is different. I have put my heart and soul into some of these pieces and they will be out there for people to judge. On the other hand I am so ready! It’s like practicing for a big event. You do everything you can to prepare for it and then it’s game on!!

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you more of what I have been working on. For this week, here is a wooden train I found at a garage sale that was in rough shape and deserved a new life.

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I had already started to paint, but you can still see how rough it looked. One of the wheels was missing on the engine and needed to be replaced.
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The train also came with peg people.
I was able to replace the wheel and axel with ones I purchased at Michael’s. I finished painting the cars using Annie Sloane Chalk Paint in Abusson Blue, Emperor’s Silk, Versailles and a mixture of Antibes Green and Graphite. I like the way it makes them still have character and not look brand new.
I painted the wheels black.
I sanded all the cars and cleaned them off.
I took my cue from the book “The Little Engine That Could” and went with a circus theme. I found these great images online.
I decoupaged them onto the train cars. After they dried, I applied Annie Sloane Clear Wax to all the cars.
Now on to the peg people!
I used acrylic paints for the peg people.
I had so much fun creating my circus peg people! The clown was the most difficult. I had to do it over three times because the first two ended up looking scary. I finally decided to forgo the mouth and that did the trick!
I love how the signs look on the side of the cars.
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I really hope someone buys this for their child so it can be used and loved again!
The conductor going to the next stop.

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Meet the Fortune Teller, the Clown and the Strong Man.

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Bring up the rear are the Ringmaster and the Trapeze Artist.

As a vendor for the Purple Painted Lady Festival we each were given signs to put out on September 1st. I put mine out this morning and it brought tears to my eyes. It just made it so real. It is really happening and I am going to be a part of it!

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North Carolina Or Bust!

I am back from my buying trip to North Carolina. The purpose of the trip was to find unique home décor items and boy did I ever! The trip was a great success, not only for what I was able to find, but the wonderful people I met along the way. They were truly excited to hear about The Purple Painted Lady Festival and my love of refinishing furniture. Many have been in business for years and were quick to share their wisdom and advice. The information I gained as they say was “Priceless”!

This is what the car was like the day I left.
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Here is one of the places I stopped. There was a store front, but I started with the items that were under make shift shelters. Most people would have kept on driving, but you can find a lot of great stuff at places like this!
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Just look at the treasures!! Time to start getting down and dirty…I love it!  (Side note: a must have when going on a trip like this are antibacterial wipes!)



After several more stops along the way, you can see the results below:
This is the car on the way home! Jammed pack to the brim! Can not wait to put my finds and all the furniture I have been refinishing over the summer in my booth!. The Purple Painted Lady Festival is September 21st and 22nd!!

As I promised here is another furniture transformation!

free oak dresser 1
The pale blue dresser before. It had layers and layers of paint and took a lot of stripping. Unfortunately, the wood underneath was damaged and I was unable to stain the top and drawers as I had planned.
blue dresser recreated 2
I really like the way the dresser came out. Sometimes plan “B” turns out better than the original plan.


Got these knobs at Hobby Lobby!

Can not wait to share more of what I am working on! It is crunch time! I can not believe The Purple Painted Lady Festival is less than a month away!!!




Garbage Picking and Purple Painted Lady Festival progress!

When you tell people that your a garbage picker it is not always well received. Even my own husband took some convincing. My husband loves me dearly, but getting him to pull over so I can look through someone else’s trash took some work. He finally came over to the dark side when I brought home a table with a broken leg. I took said table mended the leg with glue and screws. Then I refinished and transformed it into a beautiful piece and sold it on Craigslist. Maybe it was the cash that actually changed his mind.  Now, when I ask him to stop he will. That does not mean you will find him along side me scrounging, but he will pull over and help me get my finds into the car.  Progress!


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This is a recent find. I saw it sticking out of a pile of trash on the side of the road. With a little bit of TLC and new chalkboard paint, this blackboard is like new!
These shelves were also in that same pile of trash. I cleaned them up and now they hold my refinishing materials.
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This piece of pottery was another pick. I saw it on the curb and asked the owner (just to make sure) if they were getting rid of it. They were and I took it home! 

Here is an update on my inventory progress for the Purple Painted Lady Festival on September 21st and 22nd!

Welcome to” Impulsively Creative” manufacturing! It has been a constant parade of stripping, sanding, staining and painting. I love every minute of this creative process! 

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Remember this old dresser that my cousin transported from Boston for me?
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Here it is recreated!
After some serious sanding, the beautiful wood top was stained to show off its beautiful grain and tone.
The old plain round wood knobs just wouldn’t do for this piece.  So, I found these fantastic ones at Hobby Lobby. And I was able to get them at 50% off the regular price too!
Boston Dresser Before and After
And here is the side by side before and after.

This week, I am going on a road trip to North Carolina to pick up some unique home décor items along the way for my booth at the Purple Painted Lady Festival on September 21st and 22nd!

Next time: Pictures from my trip and another transformation!




Things That Inspire Creativity!


Sometimes I look around and I am in awe of the beauty I see!  Everywhere I look, there is inspiration to feed my creative soul! It can be a color, pattern, words, music, architecture. Sometimes it comes in the way something has aged. The rust, the cracks, the patina.  I was recently in Saratoga Springs, NY and took some photographs of things I found to be not only interesting and beautiful, but very inspirational too!  I would like to share some of them with you.

I saw these statues at the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga, NY. It made me pull the car over. I was so taken by the symmetry and color. Can you imagine the work it took to line these up so perfectly! 



The statues are on both sides of the walkway. 

Some of the homes I saw were so beautiful…

 I love the way the flowers along the pathway lead you in.
In this one, I love the arched windows and doors. It is even more interesting to me that not all the windows and doors have arches. And yet it works!
I like the way the stone is weaved through the brick on this one. It gives it more dimension then just a brick façade would.
Then of course there is nature! This pond is a simple sight, but it evokes such a feeling of peace and tranquility. 
“The Road Not Taken” 
There is even a place devoted to inspiring creativity!  “Yaddo”, in Saratoga, NY, was established by Spencer Trask and his wife Katrina who was an author. They bequeathed their fortune and estate to the establishment of a residency program for artists. It became a place for rest and refreshment for authors, painters sculptors, musicians and any other men or women selected for their creative gifts. The litany of artists that have stayed there is amazing! Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath and Leonard Bernstein to name a few.  Click on the link if you want to learn more about this spectacular place:  Yaddo


The  gardens at “Yaddo” are free to the public year round.



The use of symmetry again.


There are many statues throughout the grounds. These are two of four statues that represent the seasons.

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I love the juxtaposition of the different materials and textures. Marble, granite, iron, smooth, and detailed.


yaddo sundial
This inscription is on the top of the sundial.


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I love that you can see the statues through the openings in the stone railing. I am not sure if this was done intentionally, but if you stand back, you can see all four statues representing the seasons.

Obviously, I will never have statues and fountains on four hundred acres of land. But, I have the inspiration they have given me! The architectural detail, textures, materials and natural colors that I can use in my creative design. So look around, take in your surroundings and see what inspires you!

Below I included examples of the same types of inspirations that I have used in my home.


In this bookcase, I used vases in the same shape and color on the upper and lower shelf.  By doing this it creates balance and symmetry.
Here I used contrast. Even though both are metal the age and weathered look of the lantern next to the smooth shiny candlestick creates interest and draws your eye in.
The ceramic vase and wood framed mirror are contrasting materials. In order to get a more cohesive look, I added Pussy Willows as a natural element to tie them together.



Next time: Garbage picking! AND… The Purple Painted Lady Festival progress! Its just around the corner. September 21st and 22nd!

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How to strip and stain furniture

Over the past few weeks, people have asked me how I strip and stain furniture. My cousin Linda was one of them, so I took pictures with explanations and sent it to her. Because others have asked the same question, I decided to share it with you and include all my trials and tribulations along the way.

free oak dresser 1
Whether your working with a painted piece of furniture or stained, the process is pretty much the same.
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I start with this brand of stripper.  It is less toxic and has no harsh fumes.
Apply the stripper liberally and let sit for 30-40 minutes. I usually walk away so I am not tempted to scrape before it is ready. The longer you wait, the easier it is.
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Here is where I will impart some good wisdom from past mistakes. Use a putty knife that is not dulled at the end and gently remove the paint. Make sure to keep it on a horizontal plane so you don’t put gauges in the wood (been there done that).


The same applies for stained furniture when you are removing years of old stain and varnish.


These type of brushes are great for intricate areas.
The foot on this dresser is a perfect example when you should use one of the wire brushes to get into the detailed woodwork.
I usually only put stripper on two times. I found it can dry out the wood. If there is still residue on the piece I will take very fine steel wool (any brand) with some mineral spirits and go over it to remove remaining paint or vanish. This will usually take most of it off and make it ready for sanding.
After it is dry you can start sanding. I start with a medium sandpaper and finish with fine for a nice, smooth finish.


Pre-stain is your best friend. Before I started using it, I would apply stain and sometimes it would be blotchy. I had no idea why. In cases like that, I would have to start all over. I eventually educated myself and found that wood can absorb stain unevenly. The pre-stain conditions the wood so it distributes uniformly over the entire piece. One word of advice, use this outside or in a well ventilated area. It has a very strong chemical smell.


I use Minwax stains. It has always worked well for me. It comes in many different shades. One of my favorites is dark walnut. Sometimes I mix stains, but as a beginner, I used to stick to one to start. You can apply it with a foam brush or lint free cloth. When you apply stain, use even strokes following the grain. Leave it on as long as directed, then wipe off any excess stain. If you want to put on another coat, check the label to see how long it needs to dry before applying a second coat.

applying stain video


I like to use a water based matte finish polyurethane as a protective final coat. It is easy to clean up and for me, easier to apply. I will be honest, I have had trouble in the past with this final step. I have had to sand a piece again because I did not like the way the polyurethane dried.  I have learned that applying with a foam brush works best for me. Make sure the brush is cleaned in between applications. Do not go over areas where you already applied the polyurethane. If it looks like you missed an area, get it on the next application. And finally lightly sand using a very fine sandpaper in between coats. 

Look for more transformation pictures in the coming weeks as I prepare for “The Purple Painted Lady Festival”!

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