Hello and welcome!
I’m new to the blogging world and never really considered it before a few short weeks ago, but I felt a stirring in my heart to begin this site. As I was preparing I realized I had been unknowingly preparing for years-I have always snapped before and after pictures of my projects and dreamt about putting them online somewhere, someday. I had more of an online portfolio in mind, but the idea of a blog is intriguing since I love to encourage others in their creative process as well as in their journey with the Lord. My goal is to blend these two things here at Beautiful Branches, two of the things that fill my soul with fulfillment and happiness.
When I first started thinking about the idea of blogging I was reluctant, mainly because I’m the kind of girl that logs onto social media once in a blue moon-and I post even less than that. I have good intentions: I’ll take photos, even think about how I would word the post on FB, but then I get distracted (life can be so distracting at times!) and promptly forget to actually do it. Sometimes I think I check it off in my mind since I thought it out…I have been known to do this when responding to text messages too. My apologies if I’ve done that to you. Point is, I’m a little outta my scope here, and I owe a huge thank you to my sister for spending many hours over the phone helping me decide on and buy a domain name, and to my husband and friends that have continuously encouraged me and graciously shared their wordpress knowledge.
So, on to my painting post…
My first chalk paint project, Kitchen Chairs, circa 2013
I remember being excited and nervous as I anticipated this project, partly because of using this new medium I had heard so much about, and partly because I didn’t talk out my plan with my husband like I usually do. We are both very familiar with DIY refinishing projects, and I could already anticipate the 101 questions I would get from my sweet guy when I told him my plan to paint these chairs without any sanding or prep work. Already being a tad nervous about diving in, I decided not to mention it.
One evening after dinner I put a drop cloth down over my dining room carpet, plopped one of my chairs on it and got to work painting. It was extremely satisfying seeing the results without any of the pesky prep work like sanding or stripping. I was halfway through painting my first chair when my guy came down the stairs and saw what I was doing. Exchange went something like this:
DH: “why would you want to paint that perfectly good wood?”
ME: “because it’s cheaper than buying a new dining set.”
He shrugged his shoulders and walked away, probably realizing it was too late at this point to do anything but let me finish. I was relieved he didn’t notice the fact that I was painting directly over the stain. So I kept painting, and about an hour later I was finished with the first two chairs. I didn’t wait long to wax, just until the paint dried. When I was busy buffing away, he came back to check my progress and he was pleasantly surprised. (I was pleasantly surprised at his reaction! 🙂 He ran his hands along the backs of the chairs and commented on how smooth the new painted finish was. He admitted the chairs had turned out better than he anticipated. (This is how many of my projects have gone since then, with the stages from my sweetie being initially doubt, followed by surrender, and finally happiness—the last stage partly because he likes the finished product and partly because he is so glad I’ve finally finished it. I’ve been known to procrastinate a bit.)
So on to the specifics: I painted my six chairs with Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue. It took a little more than one coat of paint, but not quite two coats. In other words, I did one good coat, and then went over the areas that needed it with a second coat, which was not a lot. I was going for an antiqued, shabby chic look (aka I didn’t want the inevitable damage I knew my kids would do to be obvious) so I lightly sanded & distressed the chairs. This light sanding helped create a super smooth, velvety finish, which I love.
Wax was next, and the step I was most intimidated by (remember, first time here people. I’m happy to say wax no longer intimidates me). After watching several YouTube videos I dove in and applied my coat of clear wax & buffed. Really was not as scary as I thought. The last step was dark wax, which is optional, but I knew I wanted it because I like the subtle patina it creates on the paint, I think it is a richer look (and I’ve since found out it hides dirt really, really well. Bonus!)
After applying my dark wax I buffed & buffed…and buffed! I didn’t think waxing would be more work than the actual painting, but yes, yes it is-without a doubt. In fact, now when I take on a larger piece I know to take some Advil ahead of time. Oh, the joys of getting old.
I learned a lot from that first chalk paint project, and two years later I’m still loving my chairs. It gave new life to my almost decade-old kitchen set, and while the paint was expensive ($40 for the quart) this was much less than buying new furniture, and I only used a quarter of my quart for the six chairs! It was a nice surprise to see how far the paint went, and eventually (recently, two years later) I did use up my Duck Egg Blue. If you come over, you will notice many things in my house are that lovely shade of blue.