Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why I Love Owning a Pitbull

Almost two years ago now, Mark arrived on our front stoop, knocking his boot against the door frame to be let in. In his arms, he cradled a trembling ball of wrinkle and fluff. The fall wind rushed into the house as I opened the front door, gasping in surprise at the tiny pup he held. Shaking but with tail beating against Mark's side, the little guy flattened his polka-dot ears and began licking the air in my direction.

"He was so beautiful, I couldn't leave without him," Mark offered as explanation. My husband wasn't exaggerating. With honey-gold eyes, speckled ears, and a piebald coat, the puppy was one of the prettiest dogs I had ever seen and certainly one of the prettiest among the seemingly countless puppies we had applied to adopt.

"Hi, little guy," I crooned. He scampered across the floor, wetting the doormat almost instantly. Tiny, terrified, cold, yet eager to be my friend-- my first introduction to our pup Solo. Overwhelmed by the cuteness of this tiny little mess-maker, I never paused to consider what it would be like to own a pitbull. The media hype and general prejudice against the breed never entered my mind. Instead, my brain imploded with cartoon heart-balloons and googly eyes at his waggy tail and tiny paws.

Two years later, I feel like I better idea of what it's really like to own one of the most slandered and feared dog breeds. To be honest?

I'll never own another breed. And here's why:

1. Pitbulls are both insanely strong and insanely smart.
Many people have strange misconceptions about the pitbull breed. These odd ideas include the likes of: "pitbulls' brains swell and cause them to suddenly snap," "pitbulls can only be trained to fight," "pitbulls don't feel pain," and "pitbulls, once latched on, will not/can not release their bite." Here's the truth: pitbulls have the same type of brain and the same type of jaw-mechanism as any other dog breed. Not only do their jaws not lock--as people often claim--they actually have lower jaw pressure than most other large dog breeds.  So why the misconceptions? I believe it has a lot to do with the breed's strength and smarts. Pitbulls were often trained as fighting dogs due to the ease and quickness with which they learned commands and due to their overall strength. Pitbulls have been documented pulling tremendous weights-- some over 5000 lbs. Don't believe me? Here's proof.  It's unfortunate for the breed that their positive attributes were used for ill purposes rather than for practical ones.

2. Pitbulls are very eager to please and very respectful of their pack leader.
One of the first things we learned about Solo was his eagerness to please. He is very attuned to our emotions, words, and actions. If we act displeased or sad, he's sad and worried. If we act happy, he's happy. Whenever he disobeys, he tends to punish himself even after we tell him no-no. Some reading on the breed revealed that this eagerness to please their "pack leader" is characteristic of most pitbull terriers. If you establish yourself as the "alpha" from the very beginning, your pitbull won't forget it.

3. Pitbulls bounce back very quickly from difficult experiences.
This breed trait may very well be the origin of the "higher pain tolerance" myth. Rather than being immune to pain, pitbulls simply bounce back from the bad experience very quickly. The American Temperament Test Society conducts breed temperament tests on American dog breeds to determine the most well-mannered canines. American Pitbull Terriers had a 86.8% pass rate, a number higher than that of the Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, and even the Basset Hound, among many others.

4. Pitbulls don't bark at every living creature they see-- at least, mine doesn't!
Now, I don't have any statistics to prove this claim. However, having been around several pitbulls, I can honestly say that I've rarely heard them bark at cars, neighbors, or other dogs. I  can count on one hand the times I've heard Solo bark and in all instances it involved some type of distressful situation (such as being left outside alone for the first time).

5. Pitbulls are incredibly friendly and "smile" when happy.
Every day, Solo does his happy dance when we come home from work. Any time guests come over, well they get the happy dance too. Check out these precious "smiling" pitbulls-- one of the quirky but so stinking cute traits the breed is known for!

6. Pitbulls are playful and energetic but tend to be calm indoors.
Like most large dog breeds, pitbulls have a lot of energy. If you're into outdoor sports, you should consider owning a pitbull. Solo loves to run, swim, hike, and play catch. A phrase sure to get him excited is "Wanna hike?" However, he knows when to calm down-- being indoors is a signal that its time to "be easy." I have to say though: our little pittie pup is one of the happiest things to happen to us ever. Who could say no to his big, toothy, tongue-lolling grin.

7. Pitbulls interact very well with small children.
Despite their fighter-dog rep, pitbulls tend to interact well with small children. Their calmness, gentleness, and patience help them cope with little kid's enthusiasm and occasionally roughness.. Solo definitely demonstrates. He is incredibly tolerant with my nephews and little cousins, allowing them to smack-pat him and pull his ears without one second's distress or complaint. The older he gets, the more mellow he gets with children as well. HOWEVER, I want to stress that no dog should be left alone with small children, regardless of how well they seem to be getting along. Dogs are animals, and kids are kids-- both need adults in the picture.

8. Pitbulls make excellent service dogs.
Pitbulls and the U.S. military have a decorated history together. During the World Wars, pitbulls were used as mascots and served our Armed Forces. Here's a quick guide to some decorated pitbull army pups.

I hope that some of these reasons will influence your
perception of the breed and help you realize that pitbulls
are just another type of pet, another family dog. 

P.S. Isn't Solo adorable? He knows how to work that camera.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Photo Reel // Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Last week, Mark and I unplugged our phones, disconnected our laptops, and packed our bags to roadtrip down to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina. Rather than posting while on vacation, I decided to take a week-long blog hiatus and spend some simple days soaking up the sun.

We dash through life in a hurry. Hurrying to get ready. Hurrying to get to work. Hurrying to get that promotion. Hurrying to pay the bills. Hurrying to answer emails, to help the customer, to meet the deadlines. Taking a week to just unplug and relax had the same affect on my brain and soul as soaking in a lavender-Epsom salt bath has on my body.

It. Was. So. Needed.

We didn't set alarms. We didn't worry about work. We didn't check our cell phones. In fact, Mark and I made a point to leave our phones at the condo whenever we went down to the seaside. I tell ya-- it's a nice day when your only worry is whether you need to apply more sunscreen after taking a dip in the ocean.

Ocean Isle Beach is located just across the Intercoastal Waterway in North Carolina, about 25 minutes north of North Myrtle Beach. While there are a number of pastel-painted houses cropping up on the tiny island, a goodly portion of Ocean Isle is devoted to salt marshes, sea grass, and sand dunes. Crabs scuttle about on the beach, and the crowds thin out during the week. As the tide rises and falls, pools of water form on the sand. Sunwarmed, these pools serve as a respite from the Southern heat. Floating aimlessly, you worry more about stepping on a jagged seashell than drifting out to sea or bumping into an inquisitive shark.

Every afternoon, a summer storm rolled onto the island. Off shore, the coming rain muddled the sky, turning crisp blue to murky grey. Like the color of decayed violets: dusky purple and opaque. Palms bent to the will of the wind as tall sea grass whipped on the dunes. There's a small, overlooked miracle: the ability of roots, burrowed into loose sand, to anchor such flimsy plants even in the face of a tempest.

Lightning splintered the clouds, purple-blue. Shattered reflections of light bounced seemingly all around you. The rage of a coastal storm seems stronger, more volatile than the mountain storms at home. The wind beats harder, tossing beach- chairs and banging shutters. All around you, the colors change. Like the over-rushed strokes of an artist's brush, violet, navy, indigo, green-grey all muddle together. Blurred color on a wet canvas, turning darker and darker.

A summer storm's rage is quickly spent. It rushes to arrive and then rushes on down the coastline. And in its wake: a sky swept clear and blue by wind and ocean waters roiling still with remembered rain.

Mark and I so enjoyed our week away. If you've never visited the Carolina coast, we highly recommend Ocean Isle Beach. Our only regret is that the week flew by too quickly and another workweek arrived too soon.

Fore beach pictures, follow us on Instagram @ampnabi

Friday, July 10, 2015

Patina & Purl is on Vacation

Hello, everyone! I'm here today to give you a heads-up that Patina & Purl will be on a mini vacation break until the week of July 20th. Mark and I are getting away for some much needed relaxation, sunshine, and family time. We'll return in a few days with more DIY, renovation, and Frederick-town adventures. See you in a few days, lovelies!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Good Reads // Under the Tuscan Sun

So. Weird creepy fact: it was exactly a year to the date between downloading and reading this book and the last time I used my KindleFire. How is that possible? Is there just some lure or pull in late June- early July that says "You must read your Kindle. Open your Kindle. Use your Kindle." in a airy, ghosty voice? Definitely one of those weird life things that make you pause and say "huh. weird."

This past week, I read and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. You may be familiar with the 2003 movie of the same name, staring Diane Lane. That movie (incidentally, one of my all-time favorite movies) was inspired by this memoir in which Mayes recounts the process of moving to Italy and renovating a Tuscan villa and oliveyard. I'll admit that I saw the movie long before I read the book. Since I loved the movie so much, I figured I would at least enjoy the book. Oh my word. I was right.

Where to start? Suffice it to say, that this book may become one of my all-time favorites and certainly one of my favorite summer reads yet.

Here are my thoughts on this Good Read:

1. Mayes has quite the talent for description. Her writing warms your skin with the Tuscan sun, stains your fingers with grape juice, and makes your belly grumble for lemon-basil chicken or ravioli with sage and ricotta. Sometimes, there were whole paragraphs and even pages that had me highlighting. Passages that make you pause, breathe, and just live in the words for a moment. If you want to experience an Italian vacation this summer, definitely pick up this book!

2. Her description of the woes and joys of renovating are spot-on. Maybe it's because I too am renovating an old house, but Mayes had me nodding along and sometimes laughing out loud at the foibles and successes of her villa renovation. Cracking plaster, sloping ceilings, quirky wiring-- it all rang true! She delves into the meaning of home and place as well-- pulling out gold nuggets of truth that will make you feel all cozy and lovey-dovey for the old house you're attempting to wrangle into the 21st century. Truly the house builds and shapes you as you build and shape it.

3. The movie and the memoir definitely differ. The movie stressed Mayes' divorce, added some Italian lovers, and introduced Mayes' second husband Ed only at the end, a nod to all the book fans in the audience. In reality, Mayes had already overcome her divorce and had remarried before purchasing and renovating the villa. Additionally, the movie hints that Tuscany was Frances' total escape from her old life, whereas in real life, Frances and Ed--both writers and college professors--lived in Italy only during holiday seasons, not year-round. The "real story" doesn't lessen my love for book or movie. As Mayes said, each is simply a different translation of the same life story. And both perfectly capture the beauty of Tuscany, the culture and hospitality of the Italians, and the adventure of living as an expat.

Interesting tidbit: some real characters from the memoir made cameo appearances as extras in the movie! Mayes wrote that, when she saw one of the local citizens polished and dressed up one day, she thought someone had died in this family. Turns out, he was just working as an extra on set for the movie about her life! Ha! Life and art collide in funny ways.

4. If you're into Italian cooking, this book has several delicious recipes as well. Memoir has always been one of my favorite genres due to its trait of blending writing styles. Mayes tells her story through traditional narrative, journaling, poetry, and recipes--giving you a complete, intimate portrait of Cortona, Italy. Plus, some of the food just sounds downright stick-to-your-ribcage tasty. I can't wait to try out a few of her cooking suggestions. Trust me, she'll make you wish for a kitchen garden!

All in all-- this book definitely will go onto my "favorites" shelf. It certainly trumped the last book I read. Now, at Mark's urging, I'm moving on to a completely different type of story: the sci-fi classic Dune. Have you read it? I'm having a little trouble getting into the first few chapters. Mainly because there are so many made-up words I don't know. I have my doubts... but Mark insists its good so we shall see!

What's on your summer reading list? 
Share in comments-- I'm always looking for more reads!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dill House Diary // Kitchen Progress

As most of you know, Mark and I have been working tirelessly for the past month on our kitchen renovation. In this post, I shared some images of kitchens that inspired our project. Today, I thought I would share a bit of the progress we have made thus far on the renovation. We're not quite finished-- there are a few details left to be concluded-- but we are getting so close. And I just couldn't wait to share a little of our progress on the blog!

When we bought the house, the kitchen was Dreadful-with-a-capital-D. Everything was white-- and not in a sleek, modern kind of way. More in an institutional, someone-had-no-eye-for-design kind of way. The cabinets were the stock white type... the sort of thing you'd find in any basic apartment anywhere. The walls were off-white, a dreadful pale color that the previous owners bought in giant five-gallon barrels and painted on everything. The original hardwood floor? Ripped up and replaced with a oak-leaf print linoleum that had stained and weathered poorly over the years. Ugh, my heart. Aside from functionality, this kitchen had nothing going for it.  Here's a blurry iPhone 4 photo to prove it. Its so white it almost glows. Or maybe that's just the grainy photo quality.

The profusion of white in the house must have triggered some kind of color-alarm in my brain, because I went out and bought a gallon of apple green paint, thinking it would liven up the space. My mother's kitchen was painted a lovely spring green color, a shade which totally worked in her space. Thinking longingly of home, I decided to copy the color as closely as I could.

And got this result...

Wop, wop, wop-- sad music sound, am I right? Thank goodness that this bloop was rectified!

Here's a lesson: green is a very finicky paint color. Without the right light, the color will not work in your home. My lovely apple green turned highlighter bright during the day and tinged yellow in the evening. Again, dreadful. I put up with it for several months--gritting my teeth and insisting I loved it--before I finally caved and bought a gallon of pale grey paint, with just the slightest lavender hint. The transformation was truly a testament to the necessity of buying paint that works in your space's lighting. Even if you love that Pinterest photo, the colors may not work for you.

Even once painted grey, I knew the kitchen was still not what I wanted. I fantasized about ripping out cabinetry and totally redoing the room. But the reality of a newly-wed budget settled in. Plus, since we don't plan for this to be our forever-home, there was really no point in busting the bank for the renovation. I knew that between the two of us, Mark and I could achieve style and functionality on a budget.

The Kitchen Goals:
- install new flooring
- paint the cabinets
- rip out upper cabinets and add open shelves
- replace ceiling fan with a stylish light
-replace cabinet hardware
- add a tile backsplash
- swap out outlet sockets (almond --> white)
- extend cabinets to the ceiling

So far, we've made some serious progress, checking off most of the goals on our list. Here are a few shots of what we've managed to achieve so far.

The first step was to remove the cabinet hardware (gold and outdated) with sleek oil rubbed bronze hardware that coordinated with our faucet. Next, we painted the lower cabinets using Annie Sloan Chalkpaint in the color Old Violet. If you're local to Frederick, you can pick up a can at Repurposed & Refined on West Patrick Street.

Then, we removed the bulky white upper cabinets, an act which instantly opened up the space. Our galley-style kitchen is very small so anything that opens up the space is a plus for me!

Next, my amazingly talented husband installed a white subway tile backsplash from the counter to the ceiling! Needless to say, that project took a while-- almost an entire week. You can only lay so many rows of tile at a time. Each row has to set; otherwise, the the whole backsplash could come sliding off your wall. Now that would be a disaster! 

Finally the backsplash was completed! At this point, we removed the wobbly old ceiling fan and replaced it with this simple light from Home Dept. Together, the tile and new light visually raised the ceiling about a foot! I still can't believe how much airier and open it feels in this room. 

Also: notice my pretty hardwood floors! Bye bye, ugly leaf-print linoleum! My heart still aches for the original hardwood the previous owners ripped out and threw away... but we work with what we've got, right? 

Next step? The open shelving! My sweet parents had some basic white shelves left over from their restaurant in Georgia. With just enough for us to complete the project, Dad kindly gifted them to us. It definitely helped us keep costs down! 

So now we're at some of the final stages: extending the cabinets, swapping out the outlet sockets, touching up paint. To extend the cabinets, we had to remove the top shelf to give Mark some wiggle-room to work. What's next on the agenda? Painting the new tops and moulding. Don't worry, they're not going to stay cardboard-box brown! 

I'm thankful to have a functional kitchen once again! I don't think I could have stood any more nights of take-out food. We're not quite finished... but the end is in sight! Stay tuned for the full renovation reveal-- this one with real camera photos, not iPhone photos. Haha!

Have you ever tackled a big renovation project? 
If so, how long did it take you? Was it worth it in the end?
Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Console Table Makeover

Happy Monday, everyone!

How was your Fourth of July celebration? Did you come through the other side, retaining all your fingers and toes? I hope so! Mark and I kept it simple this year. We stayed in Frederick to enjoy a cookout with friends and fireworks in the Baker Park. Which, by the way, if you're a local Marylander, you should definitely make the trip to Frederick for our Fourth celebration. This little town can put on a lightshow. Complete with a rousing soundtrack of patriotic songs, the firework show dazzles you with light and color before concluding with the national anthem played on the park's belltower. I shared a few images on my Instagram which you can find here.

Of course, holiday weekends always end, and Monday inevitably returns. Today at the Frederick shop, I've been working on a console table makeover. This piece is not vintage, but even newer pieces can benefit from an Annie Sloan chalkpaint makeover.

Originally, the piece was a butternut yellow color. Not bad-- but again, not great. Slightly one-dimensional. Here's a look at what the piece looked like beforehand.

To give the piece a more French Country feel, we decided to paint it in Annie Sloan Chalkpaint Graphite, the closest shade to black that Annie Sloan carries. Graphite is a really lovely color: a dusky chalkboard black. However, painting and waxing with Graphite can be a little more difficult than with other Annie Sloan colors, solely because the dark shade sometimes betrays any lint or dust that becomes trapped in the wax topcoat. Recently, I found myself in a vicious circle of painting, sanding, waxing, buffing on a custom Graphite bedroom set. The seemingly unending task would definitely be my version of Dante's hell. The problem turned out to be the buffing rags: somehow this ragbag had unreasonable amounts of lint that kept ruining the wax topcoat. Ugh!

Anyway, the console table project turned out to be much easier. No lint escapade anyway!

Materials used:
-Annie Sloan Chalkpaint in Graphite
-Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax
-rags (waxing and buffing)
-paper towels

As with any Annie Sloan project, this was ridiculously simple. We simply painted a few coats of Graphite onto the console table, distressed, and then added a topcoat of Soft Clear Wax. After buffing the topcoat to a nice sheen, we were done!

The end result is a piece that certainly is no longer one-dimensional. The charcoal grey color gives the table a more dramatic flair, while the original pale wood stain still peeks through. It would work well as an entryway table or console table behind a sofa.

If you have any chalkpaint or furniture DIY questions,
please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below!

217 W Patrick Street
Frederick, MD 

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored, nor did I received any compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are truly my own. I just really love Annie Sloan chalkpaint and think you should try it out too! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

My Summer Bucket List

Living in Georgia as a teenager, I used to dread summer. Summer meant 100+ degree weather, humidity so high and thick you felt like you were breathing underwater, an endless cavalcade of gnats, and my lily-pale skin taking on a boiled lobster hue. The only times fit for outdoor activities were early morning or early evening. And you best be armed with a glass of sweet tea because even then the heat could linger, rippling over the driveway asphalt. A visible, almost tangible, heavy heat.

Over time, however, I've grown to love summer. Perhaps it took experiencing a real winter to really appreciate the scorching summer sun. This year, after slipping on ice and shoveling away feet of snow for the upteenth time, I told myself This summer I am not going to complain about the heat. Not once. And I meant it. Even as hot as it has gotten this year, I have truly enjoyed the tingle of the sun on my arms, the heavy warm air, and the pulse and glow of fireflies at night.

To truly take advantage of this season, I put together a fun summer bucket list of things I feel truly encapsulate the freedom of these long summer days. I may not get around to all of them--after all, it wouldn't this list would lose the fun aspect if I forced myself to check off each item like a mandatory to-do list. Instead, its just a bucket list of things I both love to do and want to do this summer 2015.

1. Read, read, read.
As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite things to do in the summertime is catch up on my reading. So far, I've read about four books. My goal is six by the end of the season!

2. Finish renovating our kitchen.

3. Camp at Chincoteague Island and kayak to see the wild ponies.

4. Indulge in something sweet at Rita's Italian Ice.
Hello, Georgia Peach Gelati, I'm looking at you. 

5. Eat clean and green.

6. Visit the downtown farmer's market.

7. Have a cookout on the patio.
Preferably one complete with a little table cloth and a jar of wildflowers.

8. Bike around historic Frederick.

9. Eat a juicy tomato-mayo sandwich, with a fresh banana pepper on the side.
These things are sacrosanct in our family.

10. Experiment with fresh salsa recipes.
I already burned our pants off with a recipe chock full of fresno chiles. 

11. Write several book chapters.

12. Go for evening strolls around Baker Park.

13. Locate a Maryland lake perfect for swimming and fishing.

14. Build an old-door headboard for our master bedroom.

15. Catch a jarful of fireflies.
The one bug that doesn't make me squirm or squeal. Well, butterflies don't either. 

16. Play a pick-up game of Ultimate Frisbee.

17. Watch fireworks in the park.

18. Go to a baseball game.
If you live in Frederick and haven't yet been to a Keys game, you need to go. So much fun!

19. Plant more flowers that any reasonable person needs.

20. Try my hand at plein-air painting.

We'll certainly be checking some of these off this weekend!
What's on your summer to-do list?  Got any special plans?
Comment below, I always love to know who has stopped by!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Good Reads // Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

These summer afternoons stretch lazily into evenings, like the rose and ochre clouds that stretch across the sunset. As the fireflies hover and pulse in the twilight, the outdoor temperature becomes perfect, the day's heat waning to a tolerable level. My favorite way to utilize the last of the sunlight is to kick back in a chair with the windows open, a glass of sweet tea in hand, and a good book cracked open in my lap. 

Last week, the book was Paula Hawkins' novel The Girl on the Train. After downloading this book on my Kindle, I devoured the story in just two days. Which is possibly the  fastest I've read a book in a long while. Once completed, however, I had mixed feelings about the story. So today, I wanted to share my thoughts on this bestseller and see if you're in agreement. 

Warning: if you haven't read the story, there are spoilers ahead!

1. The biggest irritation I had with this story was its portrayal of relationships. Every woman in the story was somehow being used by or using her significant other. Personally, I found this to be a somewhat pessimistic view of relationships. In fact, ALL the relationships in the story were somehow exploitative. Everyone used everyone else and seemed to place their own comfort or needs ahead of others. After awhile, I found myself wondering if anyone in the story was going to turn out to be a decent person. They didn't. And the conclusion did not leave you with any hope for their betterment in the future. I know... I know... Hawkins was showing us that you never know what's going on behind closed doors and that nothing is what it seems. But still. 

2. The unveiling of the murderer's identity was a bit of shock to me. The entire book, I was convinced that the protagonist Rachel had committed the murder. Occasionally, my spidey-senses pinged on the victim's husband, especially after he revealed his inner crazy. Were you surprised by the murderer reveal? When it became clear who'dun'it, I looked up from the book at my husband and said "GASP! I'm shocked!" Yes, I actually said the word gasp because occasionally I'm a dork. I suppose it had to be someone in the inner circle of characters, but I find it hard to believe that someone could be so deluded about their spouse's character. If your husband is an abusive, raving, murderous jerk... surely at some point it would reveal itself. See? Communication in relationships saves you from a world of hurt. Quite literally. 

3. The ending was about as lackluster as they get. The murderer dies. And then everyone drifts to the four winds, never communicating again. Rachel manages to achieve about three weeks worth of sobriety. Tenuous sobriety, I might add. There's no indication whether she's attending AA meetings, finding a job, or living on her own. Instead, she just remains her jumpy, paranoid self. I know, I shouldn't blame her. She went through a ridiculous ordeal. Yet I have to say, the whole time I read her character's POV, I found myself getting very irritated. She just couldn't pull herself together! I appreciate Hawkins' ability to portray an addictive, abused personality... but still. At some point, you want the girl to get over the breakup, pull herself up by her bootstraps, and face reality. But no. The book concludes with Rachel hopping on "her train"-- an act which seems to symbolize that she hasn't changed, that she's stuck in the same rut, committing the same errors, as unable to change track as the train she rides. 

All of this being said, The Girl on the Train was still a captivating read. While it wasn't the mind-blowing novel I expected from all the hype, I did enjoy it. Because of its thrilling pace, it still gets my "beach read" stamp of approval. 

What are your thoughts on the novel?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Shabby Table Gets Chalkpaint Refinish

For several months, this little black pedestal endtable sat unused in our Frederick shop. It wasn't particularly ugly. It just wasn't particularly pretty. Tired of seeing its dull black visage every day, I decided last Friday to provide the table with an Annie Sloan chalkpaint makeover.

Here's the "before" picture, along with a glimpse into our back workshop at the Frederick store.

As you can see, the table was quite shabby and boring. It wasn't horrible. It just didn't showcase the full ability of what we do at Repurposed and Refined. So, I threw on a painting smock and got to work. In the South, we love color. So I was immediately drawn to a jar of Antibes Green that hadn't been used in awhile. My sales sense always tells me that white pieces tend to sell more quickly. However, sometimes you just have to get creative.

Materials Used:
-Annie Sloan Chalkpaint Antibes Green
-Annie Sloan Chalkpaint Louis Blue
-Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax
-Annie Sloan Soft Dark Wax
-chalkpaint brushes
-paper towels

Refinishing the table to have this distressed French-country appearance was much easier than it seemed. To be surprise, the whole project took less than an hour. I simply began by quickly brushing a thick coat of Antibes Green over the entire table. Once that had mostly dried, I applied a second coat of Louis Blue using an dry-brush technique. (If you've never attempted dry-brushing before, check out this video tutorial. But don't worry, it's not hard.)

Once the paint had dried, I applied the Anine Sloan Soft Clear Wax, using a clean rag. Because the workshop stays warm in the summertime, I was able to immediately go back and buff the table. The warm temperatures caused everything to dry very quickly, which helped speed up the entire project. Finally, I applied a second coat of wax using Annie Sloan Soft Dark Wax. The dark wax gave the table it's old world patina.

Here's a little hint: if you apply clear wax before dark wax, you can more easily control the stain and spread of the dark.

I was so pleased with the way this little table turned out. Rather than looking sad and dull, it now has a unique French-Country flair. The dark wax patina is what really sets it off. It will easily suit a French-country, eclectic, or Southern decor style. By accident, it perfectly matches these pale blue armchairs in the shop. I can't wait to see who this little table goes home with!

If you have any questions about furniture refinishing or chalkpaint, please don't hesitate to contact me or to ask in the comments below.

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