Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

Mardi means Tuesday and Gras means Fat, so Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday which is the official beginning of lent. Fat Tuesday traditionally is a day to indulge in sweet, rich, and fatty foods as a last harrah before the lenten period of fasting.

Café du Monde French for “Café of the World”, is a coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is known for its café au lait and its French-style beignets.

IMG_1171

Last February was my first visit to New Orleans. It was the first day of Mardi Gras. I went to Café du Monde and enjoyed café au lait and beignets.

I especially liked the decorations on all of the houses. The residents go all out and every house is decorated.

IMG_2333

There are parades everyday, twice a day. The first parade was February 24, 1857 by the Mystick Krewe of Comus. Founded in 1856 it is the oldest continuos organization of New Orleans Mardi Gras festivities.

The King's Jester float makes its way toward the Canal Street turn on during a Mardi Gras parade, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune, David Grunfeld) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; USA TODAY OUT; THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE OUT

The King’s Jester float makes its way toward the Canal Street turn on during a Mardi Gras parade, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune, David Grunfeld) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; USA TODAY OUT; THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE OUT

The tradition of throwing beads dates back to the 1880’s. It is related to the pagan ritual in which milled grain was thrown as a way of celebrating ones survival of the harsh winter.

This is my collection of beads from my trip.

IMG_2338

The King Cake is a combination of american coffee cake and french pasty. Personally, I don’t like it. Make it a pound cake and it would be better. There is a small plastic baby baked inside, the person that is served the baby gets a prize from the host of the party or is the person that will be the host of the party the following year.

IMG_2331

No one can travel to New Orleans without eating some traditional New Orleans fare, Etouffe, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Po Boys. Yum.

Last stop, or maybe the first is to Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane.

How to Make an authentic Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane

In a 26 oz. Hurricane glass, mix

  • 4 oz. of Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Rum or a good Amber/Gold Rum
  • 4 oz. of Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix
  • Fill with crushed ice
  • Garnish with an orange and cherry

Needless to say I enjoyed my first trip to New Orleans, and at some point plan to go back.

Note: I apologize for the long time between post, the only thing I can say is that life got in the way.

Thank you for reading my post, I would love to hear about your time in New Orleans or how you celebrate Fat Tuesday.

Beautiful in Graphite

Beautiful in Graphite

IMG_1931

Thank you to my good friend Linda who passed this tables on to me after her mother passed away. No one in the family had room for these gorgeous tables, and Linda knew that I would love to work on them. I love the way the legs curve out, it makes a beautiful silhouette. The wood was beautiful and I hated to cover it up with paint, however they were a little beat up with normal use and grandchildren.

I painted the tables with two coats of Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Graphite. Graphite is more of a charcoal grey than black and trust me that this color will look beautiful on almost any piece of furniture.

IMG_2074

I wanted to reuse the original hardware, so I used a product called rub and buff in gold just to bring out a richer gold color. The tables are finished with Annie Sloan Clear Wax. The wax is an important step, it seals the paint. But keep in mind that the furniture should still be protected by using coasters.

Linda was so happy with the final result and I did offer her the tables back, but she thought it was time for another family to love them.

IMG_2091

I love how they were featured in the window of Love Charley, Old Town Manassas, VA. They sold within a few days. Now they can continue to be loved for many more years.

Thank you for reading my latest post. As always, I am available to answer any of your questions.

Love to all,

Karen

 

Love Old White

Love Old White

I had a great summer spending time with family and friends, hope you did as well. With summer approaching I had some lofty goals of getting ALL the furniture in my garage painted and up to the store,  Love Charley for sale. I was also going to paint a few items just for me. May came, my daughter moved back from college, guess where all of her stuff landed? My garage. Now things were a little harder to get to. We all went to the beach, out to dinner, lounged by the pool, took in the sun, and just enjoyed being together. The only furniture that got painted were a few custom pieces that I needed to finish for customers.

Now it’s September, daughter is back at school, garage is clean, even though its still full of furniture and I have been planning all the projects that I will complete. Ha, wish me luck.

I did want to show you my latest project. I found this beautiful table at a yard sale last summer. Ok, so I tend to procrastinate a little. I love the scalloped shape and the glass top.

IMG_0382

The table was in pretty good condition, and I was planning to paint it. I decided on Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Old White. Old White is one of my go to colors. It’s a beautiful off white, which I like better than white white. I painted two coats then distressed the edges with 220 grit sandpaper.

IMG_1937

The idea of distressing is to make the piece look like it happened over time. I love the detail. I distress before I wax, some artist wax first, I just like doing it this way.

IMG_1935

This neutral piece would look great in any home. If you are interested in learning how to paint yourself, I teach classes and would be happy to provide you with a schedule. In the mean time, come by Love Charley in Old Town Manassas, VA and check out this coffee table as well as all the beautiful repurposed items for sale.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I would love to see any of your before’s and after’s as well as hear any comments. Have a wonderful fall.

 

love,

Karen

 

Texture

Texture

Adding texture to your rooms can be super easy. Look at your favorite magazine and pick any photo of a finished room. How many different textures did you find? What are textures? Glass, fabric, natural elements like sea cloth and sisal, wood, painted furniture, metal. A finished room has different elements that make it polished.

My master bedroom is lacking in texture, all of the furniture is the same color wood (very popular in the 80’s) and I must say sorta boring. So I purchased a great king size headboard in natural sea grass from a consignment store.

IMG_1941

It looked pretty good behind my bed, but I really thought it needed another element.

IMG_1927

I had some fabric from the curtains that I had made and I thought this would be a great layer and fabric adds warmth to a room. I did not want to cover all of the sea grass. The headboard measured 78″ and a bolt of fabric generally is 54″, perfect.

IMG_1939

I measured the height of the headboard, 44″ and added 4 inches to the top and bottom to wrap around the headboard. So I measured off a total of 52″.

IMG_1942

I like to use pinking shears when cutting fabric, it helps keep the fabric from fraying. Also fabric scissors should only be used on fabric do not use them on wrapping paper or you will have really dull scissors.

IMG_1943

I folded over the edge and did a quick stitch.

IMG_1944

I used push pins to hold the fabric in place.

IMG_1945

And an electric staple gun. If you are going to be covering chair bottoms or other projects this tool is a must. A regular staple gun will not work (yes I did try).

IMG_1946

Perfect, I love the look. The fabric adds just enough texture on top of the sea grass.

IMG_1948

And ties in with the curtains. Now on to some of that brown wood furniture!

I would love to hear your comments, your feed back is always welcomed.

Thanks for stopping by,

Karen

By the Numbers

By the Numbers

I am asked a lot of questions regarding decorating standards, for example, how large should an area rug be, or whats the best headboard size? So I thought I would just give you a few general answers.

What’s the best distance from the sofa to a television?

IMG_1819

room by: www.houzz.com

The best distance is 72″. Sitting closer or further away may strain your eyes.

What’s the best coffee table height?

A coffee table should be about 2″ lower than sofa height, this will be perfect for putting your feet up.

How should I size an area rug?

IMG_1817

room by: www.gregoryjflooring.com

This is one that a lot of us get wrong. Ideally, the rug’s edge should be 12″-18″ from one wall. If your space is large you can always put two area rugs together with carpet tape. A much more cost effective option than a custom rug. Also, area rugs should not float away from furniture. To anchor the room the front legs of the sofa or chair should sit on the rug.

What size headboard should I consider?

IMG_1821

room by: www.roomstogo.com

The standard headboard height is 48″ from floor to top edge. This allows 24″ from the top of the mattress to the top of the headboard.

How far should nightstands be from the bed?

IMG_1815

room by: www.houzz.com

You need just a little space between the bed and a night stand so 2″ will do it. That will allow you to reach things on the night stand and have some space.

How high should I hang my chandelier over a dining room table?

IMG_1822

room by: www.materialgirlsblog.com

You should hang the chandelier 66″ from the floor to the bottom of chandelier.

How do I decide where to hang my curtains?

IMG_1818

room by: www.housebeautiful.com

The biggest mistake made when purchasing curtains is not measuring correctly. Curtain height is really subject to personal taste but I suggest hanging them at least 4″ above the window frame and measure to the floor. I personally like curtains to hang just below the crown molding. This will make your walls seem longer.

What’s the best height for a towel bar in the bathroom?

IMG_1820

room by: www.housebeautiful.com

48″ from the floor is a good height to hang towels. This will make it easy to grab from the shower and keeps longer towels from hitting the floor.

Is there a standard height for the toilet paper holder?

26″-28″ would be the perfect height.

I know that I didn’t answer all of your questions but if you send me a message I will get back with you regarding an answer.

As always, thanks for reading, your support is greatly appreciated.

Love always,

Karen

 

 

 

New Dining Room Table and Chairs

New Dining Room Table and Chairs

When completing a custom job, it sometimes takes more than just paint. This vintage 1970’s dining room table and chairs were in great condition, except for the seat cushions.

IMG_1260

Not only was the fabric completely out of date and worn. But the cushion itself had lost its shape.

IMG_1768

This is not un-common, and a pretty easy fix. Seat bottoms are easy to remove, and should always be removed before painting.

I removed the fabric and the worn cushion.

IMG_1771

Just throw that away, this cannot be reused.

IMG_1772

I went to my local Hancock store and purchased  1″ Cushion Foam. Just measure the foam and cut. For the fabric, you will need 1/2 a yard per seat bottom. I was covering 6 chairs, so I needed 3 yards of fabric.

IMG_1767

Place the seat bottom on the fabric and cut about 2″ larger on all sides. Bring fabric up around seat and secure with a staple gun.

IMG_1766

You would never guess that was the same seat bottom.

IMG_1777

For the chairs, I painted the 2 arm chairs with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Old White. The 4 side chairs I painted in ASCP Paris Grey.

For the table, the top is painted in Louise Blue, and the legs are painted with Graphite.

IMG_1774

I slightly distressed the table and chairs.

With every project, I am always amazed by the transformation.

IMG_1260

IMG_1774

I am frequently asked where to buy pieces and what to look for, so here are a few tips:

I shop at Salvation Army, Consignment stores, Thrift stores, garage and estate sales. Estate sales from the elderly or the recently departed will yield better quality furniture than a young couple’s garage sale. You can check for estate sales in your area.

Always look for well made solid wood furniture and don’t be afraid by peeling paint or slight damage.

Try to stay away from strong smells like smoke or mold and water damaged items.

I always carry masking tape and a sharpie with me. If I see a piece I want, I will mark sold on it so I won’t have to worry about someone else buying it while I continue to shop.

I am always on the lookout for my next piece. It may be on the side of the road on trash day. Yes, I do pick up things on the side of the road, no I am not embarrassed.

Also accept that you will make mistakes and bring something home that is in worse condition then you thought. We have all done this. Just set it out for someone else to pick up or take it to Salvation Army. Move on.

I hope you have enjoyed my upgrade. As always, I would love to hear from you and thanks for reading.

 

Karen

Painted furniture is everywhere

Painted furniture is everywhere

Everywhere you look you see painted furniture. I have most recently spotted pieces on television. Emily Thorne (Revenge) has a beautiful painted piece in her gorgeous beach house and Molly Flynn (Mike & Molly) have a white and green 3 drawer dresser in the bedroom.

Magazines are full of furniture, and it is a great place to get some inspiration. That’s what I did, I am a copy cat.

IMG_1399

I spotted this little table in a magazine, Better Homes & Gardens (I think). Well, guess what I had in my garage? A table very similar to this but just a bit bigger. I decided to paint it with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in one of my favorite colors, Provence. I added two coats of paint for the look I wanted.

IMG_1421

I also roughed it up just a bit. I am not big on distressing furniture but thought this piece would look great a little beat up or loved.

IMG_1422

I love a drop leaf, and it was so cute on this small table.

IMG_1423

I roughed it up using 220 grit sandpaper. As you can see it had been painted a few times, see the white a navy coming through.

IMG_1424

It looks great sitting next to my yellow chair holding a few magazines. If you don’t have a piece of painted furniture in your home, it’s  defiantly time to get on board. If you don’t want to paint one yourself, come to Love Charley in Old Town Manassas. I am sure you will fall in love with more than one piece that would be perfect for your home.

Not sure where to put a painted piece?

IMG_1402

How about a beautiful farm table for your kitchen or dining room. What I like in this room is the pairing of a painted table and the simple wood chairs with the pop of pink, nice combination.

IMG_1401

Very rustic coffee table and desk chair.

IMG_1476

HGTV Magazine shows a beautiful pink dresser against a navy wall.

IMG_1481

Beautiful side table for a living room. Don’t be afraid of color combinations, this distressed table looks awesome next to the blue sofa and colorful rug.

IMG_1479

Not ready to commit to a piece of furniture, try painting baskets. Yes, you can paint just about anything.

IMG_1403

I hope you have been inspired to give painted furniture a try. Still not sure, go small with a table or a great chair.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my post. I would love to hear from you.

Love to all,

Karen

Coastal Charm

Coastal Charm

This great coffee table goes with the side table that I posted on April 20, 2015. They will both be in the same room. The sofa is a light beige with a blue rug. We decided to add a little color to the side table and painted it with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Arles. Arles is a beautiful yellow color, leaning more towards mustard. For this table we painted it Napoleonic Blue. Here is the table before the transformation.

IMG_1265

It took two coats of the blue to cover the green, and we decided not to distress this piece.  We wanted the top to match the side table so we painted it to look like driftwood.

IMG_1499

To achieve the look, I used Old White, Coco, Olive and Duck Egg. The key is to water down the paint and blend the colors together. It can take several applications to achieve the look.

IMG_1656

Blend the colors together using a wet paint brush. You may need to add more color if you blend away too much paint.

IMG_1659

But you can’t beat the finished product. If you have never tried to achieve the driftwood look, you may want to practice on an old cabinet door or something else you may have, It does take time to get the right look.

IMG_1466

Here is another look at the side table. Great color combination. The couple is so glad that they kept the hand me down furniture, so am I. Now I am off to paint some more of their furniture, they have a dining room table and six chairs in need of a face lift.

Thank you so much for reading my blog, as always, I love to get your comments.

Love to all,

Karen

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

Country Chic’s Pebble Beach is a beautiful soft grey that will go with any and everything. I have not created a bad combination and since I use this color all the time I will let you know if I find one.

I bought this little French Provincial table at Carriage House Consignment in Aldie, VA. If you have not been there, you need to go. They get fabulous finds everyday.

IMG_1351

If you are familiar with my blog then you know that I cannot pass up a French Provencial piece. I really have an obsession with the look. I painted the table with Pebble Beach and decided to paint the drawer with Cranberry Sauce.

IMG_1415

Could it be any more beautiful? I love it. I decided not to paint the typical gold outline, I just didn’t think that was the look I was after. I used the original hardware and didn’t even paint it because it looked so good against the Cranberry Sauce. Perfect.

I teach paint classes at Carriage House Consignment and a customer brought this piece in to paint.

IMG_1428

It’s an old sewing table. We discussed paint options and looked what we picked.

IMG_1430

Yes, that is Pebble Beach with Bliss on the drawers with the original hardware.

IMG_1432

It looks so good. I told you Pebble Beach will go with any color combination.

Tell me what color you would like to see paired with Pebble Beach.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, till next time.

Love to all,

Karen

Updated Side Table

Updated Side Table

This great little side table has been passed to a new family, and in need of an update.

IMG_1412

 

IMG_1414

Its solid wood and in really good shape. I think I had one of these at one time from Rowe Furniture. I don’t know if they are still in business this was in the early 90’s. Anyway, it’s new home is lighter with a lot of blue’s, greens, off-white’s and they love the distressed look.

They have a great open floor plan so the family room is open to the dining room. I choose to paint this piece with Chalk Paint from Annie Sloan in Arles. I thought the room needed another color. This will give them the opportunity to incorporate a new color in their decor. Yellow is their least favorite color, but this one leans more towards mustard instead of sunshine yellow. They decided to trust me. I used two coats on the base, and distressed it so you can see the green and raw wood coming through in different places.

IMG_1459

I wanted the top different from the base, so I decided to paint it to look like driftwood. Two pieces of driftwood can look completely different so no two applications will look the same. To achieve this look I used Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Old White, Olive, and Coco. This is defiantly an advanced technique, the paint is watered down to create more of a color wash then painted in layers. A wet paint brush is used to blend the colors. I think it turned out great.

IMG_1466

The table looks sp good in their home with the wood floors and accent rugs. They love it, which is the goal of any custom paint application.

The have a few more pieces, so stay tuned.

I woudld love to hear from you and I thank you all so much for reading my blog and your support.

Love to all,

Karen