I’ve been on another course… this time a course that I think will help change my current bad mood with my home. Living in a rented flat has never been what I wanted. I’ve always wanted to own my own home so that I could have creative freedom over my space and create a place that is inspiring to my ever thinking mind. However, I have not yet had the opportunity to buy a home, and whilst the plans for this to change are already in play, I remain frustrated and a little low about the state of my cramped and uninspiring rented flat.
Working from a 1 bedroom flat is not easy… living space is turned into a workspace and visa versa. And the ‘work stuff’ I have around the flat is quite overwhelming for me and my poor husband who just sees mess wherever he goes. I understand… I see it too. It didn’t help that a few weeks ago we visited for the beautiful home of one of my friends in Brighton and could see how cleverly she and her husband have regenerated their home. Beautiful colour schemes, clever use of space and the most incredible handmade touches that made it look very special. Actually, it probably did help. On our way home we discussed all the things we could try and do in our little place to make it feel a bit more ‘us’ between now and when we can go crazy in the home we plan to own.
So over the last few weeks we have spent a lot of time getting rid, re-sorting and planning new ideas to make our home more functional. A couple of cupboards have been reorganised with shelving so its not a dumping ground – all my work and craft stuff is organised and hidden away now. A couple of trips to the charity shop have taken place and a lot of pinning on Pinterest has gone on!
It was serendipitous that Love Handmade in Northfields, Ealing (not far from where we live) were advertising an Annie Sloan techniques 1 workshop. I have tried my hand at using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint before, but wasn’t overly keen on the outcome (I ended up with some chipped paint chairs… pastel pink doesn’t go with an underlying dark green!). I had collected a few tins of the paint and a tin of wax and often would ask the various stockists what the best way of using it was… generally the consensus was slap it on any way and wax it afterwards to cure it. But after doing this course I realised that whilst that was generally true, there are some useful techniques to use to get the best out of the paint.
I like to know the ins and outs of any craft I try and always want to learn proper techniques from those in the know… so this was a perfect workshop for me. Annie Sloan only ever approves independent small businesses to stock her products, so you know you’re getting a good deal if you are having a workshop at an official stockets. Having recently been on their own stockist workshop with THE Annie Sloan, Martin and Louise provided a perfect opportunity for me. Aside from the fact that it was one of the hottest days of the year, Love Handmade is an ideal location. Crammed packed with refurbished furniture and local handmade goods, it is a handmade junkies heaven. Everywhere you looked there was a giant piece of furniture that had been restored and made exciting again with the aid of some hard work by the owners and some Annie Sloan paint and wax. It provides plenty of inspiration for you to take home with you.
The workshop began with an introduction to what this miracle paint is actually made of and why it is so versatile. Who knew that there was no chalk in chalk paint?! We proceeded to work our way though a variety of key techniques;
- colour mixing to create new colours
- a two colour distressed finish (one colour underneath another and then removing areas of the top colour to show some of the base coat, this created a very ‘shabby chick’ or rustic look
- creating rough textures, this helps to create an aged or ridged look when using wax, the ridges in the paint give the wax something extra to cling to and look well worn
- a colour wash effect, great if you want to see the grain of wood on something or create a lighter effect
- a smooth flat finish to create a more modern, bold look
- waxing techniques, using clear wax to cure a finished piece (you need a lot more wax than I thought!)
- using white, dark and black decorative waxes to create an aged effect on your project
Martin and Louise created a really relaxed atmosphere for the 6 or so participants. Snacks were readily available (always a plus at a workshop!) and the drinks were much needed on such a hot day. Originally I thought 3 hours may be a little long, however I feel it was just right. It gave the paint time to dry, allowing for plenty of questions and the participants time to really understand the techniques we were being taught. In fact looking back at similar evening workshops that I’ve done in the past, this one felt a lot less rushed, and definitely a lot less overloading with too much information.
I have walked away with a million new ideas and a new Pinterest board to help inspire all these projects I have in my head. I have a couple of new tins of paint to add to the collection and a new tin of dark wax that I couldn’t resist (totally didn’t think I’d like using dark wax, but I loved the outcome when I used it). I can now see how I can make our home more individual within the rented constraints and feel a lot more inspired to fill it with colour and personal handmade touches… bring on the chalk paint!