Chalk Paint II

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Yay! Once again I am posting pictures! 4 hours later and a bit of frustration to mix. I am reposting the initial one with the photos added. A little update though, I have not heard back from the health food store yet as to whether or not they can order the calcium carbonate. I will call them this afternoon before I head to work. Also, Dixie, you had asked what type of brush I was using and I said my 2 1/2″ angled sash brush. I am still doing so for the most part but I did try a sponge brush for the flat surface of a piece and I was duly impressed by how smooth the finish came out.

So glad to be back to it! I am taking some new photos of some other pieces and will be posting on them shortly.

I have had the chance to work with the calcium carbonate mix of chalk paint and I must admit it wins hands down. Not to say that when in a pinch I won’t use the Plaster of Paris type. It is just that the CalCarb is much smoother. You hardly even know that it is mixed into the paint. It dries a little more slowly but not much. And it seems that there is less of a chance for brush strokes. Speaking of which this is another area I would like to address.
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I tried brushing the two different chalk paints on with two types of brushes. A sponge brush and my usual 2 1/2″ angled brush that I use for pretty much everything. The sponge brush wore out much more quickly than usual, especially with the PoP varity of paint. I think maybe the chalk dries it up. Both types of chalk paint went on just fine with my angled brush (I guess I should be calling it a sash brush) and it washed out quite easily as well.

The Calcium Carbonate is a little more expensive but you don’t use as much and I think it balances out actually. It didn’t come packaged like I thought it might. It was simply in a plastic bag. Not sure what I was expecting but that wasn’t it, lol.

Here is the recipe info for

Calcium Carbonate Chalk Paint

2 parts paint
1 part Calcium Carbonate
2T Calcium Carbonate mixed with 1T water and added to 1C of paint.
8T Calcium Carbonate mixed with 4T water and added to 1qt of paint.

The mix should be about the consistancy of pancake batter.

As with the Plaster of Paris mix, a flat finish paint should be used that does not have a primer already mixed in it. Once again, I want to mention that I had already bought paint that had a primer in because I didn’t have that bit of information. I am continuing to use it and have had no problem. Just know that ideally get the one without primer and be safe.
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The pieces shown here are ones I am working on for a market. The chair, painted in a cool gray and then glazed is getting an updated fabric for the cushion.
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The stool also has a small cushion that I am updating. I will be distressing this stool today.

You won’t believe the piece I got at Goodwill for $10.00. It’s a gem. I got it finished and will be photographing it today.

Oops, one thing I wanted to add – if when done painting for the day and you have extra PoP chalk paint, it will keep. You will most likely need to add a little water when you go back to it, but just stir again and it will be fine.

Have a good day!

Chalk Paint

Over the next few weeks I will be working with chalk paint alot. That is not the same as chalkboard paint although you can write on it with chalk. Chalk paint has been around a long time but has recently regained a popularity among decorative painters. It can be used on walls with some effort but it is mainly used on furniture. Why? You may ask. Well, it has excellent adhesion. So much so that you do not have to prime. It dries faster and sands more easily for sanding or making a chippy painted piece.

Now, you can go out and buy ready made chalk paint. And if you do so I highly recommend Anne Sloan products. It can be quite costly if you are doing a large piece or a number of pieces such as I am doing. Beside, I, of course, just want to make up my own.

There are a number of kinds of recipes for chalk paint. I am going to be working with two. The first one is made with Plaster of Paris which can be bought at Home Depot. It is quite economical and goes a long way. The other is Calcium Carbonate which is not that easy to come by. I ended up ordering it from I have heard of people getting it through there health food store which I will be looking into and maybe will know that little tidbit by the time I get to that kind of recipe. Getting ahead of myself a bit here. The cal carbonate won’t be in until next week and seeing as I have a deadline and am just itchy to get started I am going forward with the Plaster of Paris recipe.
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This recipe usually comes in second to calciumn carbonate one because it doesn’t always want to mix well supposedly and doesn’t keep its’ consistancy overnight at times. I will say, however, I had no problem getting it to mix to a smooth consistancy. I’m starting with the smaller piece just to get my hands dirty, so to speak. Remember the piece with the Christmas tree on it? It is perfect for a starting point and I know exactly what I want to do with it to transform it. The other pieces I am still playing with colors for them.
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The recipe for this one is::
Plaster of Paris Chalk Paint

3 parts latex paint, flat
1 part Plaster of Paris

Mix the PoP according to directions until it is a smooth contistancy.
Stir into the paint slowly. Combine until it is well mixed. You will know.
They say it should be the consistancy of pancake batter. Mine didn’t come out quite that soupy and tomorrow I will find out if that makes that much of a diffeerence.
Also, it is recommended not to use paint with a primer already in it. I didn’t know this tidbit until I had already purchased some of the paint. Again, supposedly it dries too fast using a paint with a primer in it. Personally I had no problem with it.
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I put two coats on and am letting it dry overnight before moving on to the next step.

New Project and Oatmeal Cake

Hello there!

I am combining some bits of 2 posts. The first one is a project I am working on for an upcoming market show. This is just a before photo of some of the pieces that I am working on. I am focussing on small pieces of furniture for the market. Also I am having a carpenter friend make up some of the wooden cornices that I have worked on and paint them in a couple of different styles. This is going to be fun and I am especially looking forward to presenting the cornices. I will be posting about them off and on as the work progresses. Fun! Fun! Fun!
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The second part is that of a cake I got from the blog It is Oatmeal Cake, and if you would like the recipe and to see more photos of it, I recommend visiting her blog for that. What I will tell you thought is that it is delicious and very easy to make. If you are like me in that you usually having oatmeal on hand then you most likely will have all of the ingredient in your cupboard already. The taste kind of reminds me of an apple cake that I make from time to time that is a bit time consuming. This is a nice alternative!
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Summer is winding down around here. My grandson actually starts back to school next week already!

Hope you have a good week!

Finished Painted Fireplace

Yes! I was finally able to get the photos of the finished fireplace loaded. Everything is moving slowly today.

Well, the final results of the fireplace made the client very happy. And for me, well, I was a little hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure where it would lead us.

The first two photos are of the living room side of the fireplace. Take a close look at the mortar. Can you imagine it being solid black? That is what it was. I really think that this is an option that should be considered before a homeowner were to tear down an existing fireplace. What is the worst that could happen if you were going to do a teardown anyway?

In progress:
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The photo showing the entire fireplace is such a dramatic change from the original. Many times there really isn’t anything wrong with the color of the brick, it is the mortar chosen.
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Going around the corner of the fireplace you walk into the dining room and voila! The painted side.

It was a little difficult trying to make up samples. And it wasn’t just for the client’s sake but for mine as well. I am not fond of getting into something and playing around with it while actually on the surface. However, with this I still needed to make adjustments as I went along because there weren’t any spare bricks to use for making samples. This is why I was a bit hesitant to start. This side I did a little more to it than just paint it. I applied a little texture material to the face of each brick. Then I used a primer called Styx to help the paint to adhere properly. I covered the whole surface with it, kind of scrubbing it into nooks and crannies.
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After drying thoroughly I applied a white basecoat. I don’t very often use white as a basecoat actually. In this case not only was my client very specific as to what color she wanted used, but also, it worked better because I was able to use a shade or two deeper than I would have ordinarily. And that allowed for the color that landed in the nooks to show up better, giving a chance for more texture to show. The closeup photo shows this very well.
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And standing back you get the overall look. Rather elegant don’t you think? Client was pleased. I was definitly pleased. They are planning on putting a new mantle up. They are holding off because they are planning a major kitchen remodel and that whole space will be opened up. So the choice of which style of mantle will wait until they get into that. Wise move, I think.

I hope you have found this to be informative or even just interesting.

Hope everyone has been having a good week and I’m hoping for a great weekend!

Painted Brick Fireplace

Yes, I know, it has been awhile since I have been here. Life can get in the way sometimes, can’t it?

I have written on this subject on Facebook a while back but I think it worthwhile to give some details in case any of you are struggling with the decision to paint your old fireplace or not.

It is understandably daunting. And it is defitiely a commitment. But it can totally change the look of a room, as you will see. In this case the fireplace, (actually the mortar was the worse), was rather dated. And, well, replacing a fireplace can be quite expensive and very messy.

My client and I tried to keep an open mind. Their home is a remodel and they were making several changes at the time, so we wanted to stay open as far as how to progress.

First off I gave it a good cleaning, trying to get into all of the wholes and crevices. Putting down dropcloths to catch the dirt was well worth it.
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My client wanted to soften what was heavy black mortar. My suggestion to her is that we but a medium brown glaze over the black mortar. Not straight paint. Straight paint will give you a painted look and it most likely wouldn’t look authentic. It was rather time consuming. When it was my turn to work on it I would give myself a certain number of rows to complete. As you can see from the photo it helped immensely.
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This is a see through fireplace and this is the living room side. We did something really different on the dining room side. I will be taking final pictures tomorrow and posting them on Thursday. I think you will be amazed!

Have a good day! It’s beautiful here in northern Illinois!

Chicken Fajitas

Want a quick and easy fajita recipe? I should mention delicious too! Then this is one for you! I don’t remember where I got this recipe from and I have made my own adjustments along the way, but it is definitely a keeper!

Chicken Fajitas

1lb boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
2T vegetable oil
2tsp chili powder
1 1/2tsp cumin (I don’t add this)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4tsp seasoned salt (I use regular)
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilis (Rotel), well drained
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper

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400 degree oven.
Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
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In a small bowl combine oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
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Slice peppers and onions and drain tomatoes. I was using things up so this time I used a half of yellow and orange pepper instead of the red and green. Also, you will notice in the picture that I used 2 kinds of onion, not necessary to do this.
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Add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the mix and stir to combine.
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Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
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Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. I am thinking that tofu could be easily substitued for the chicken in this recipe. What do you think?

I am also thinking that they could work quite well in the homemade pitas that my niece makes. Yum!