Thursday, 22 September 2016

How to age, antique and distress furniture (using two colours and dark wax)

When you’re browsing thrift shops and furniture shops have you ever wondered how they make pieces of furniture look so old, faded and shabby? painting and distressing is one way to go about it, but it doesn’t necessarily make it look old. So what is the secret I hear you ask? well as you're all so lovely I will tell you. It’s DARK WAX! Now I know the thought of smothering your beautiful piece of furniture with what looks like black shoe polish is a daunting idea, I was reluctant myself but it really does work wonders. So to give you a demonstration I've made over some of my dining chairs, and I used the opportunity to experiment with two-tone furniture distressing too! Once you've tried this you'll realise just how easy it is to transform your furniture. Read on ...

How to age, antique and distress furniture using two-colours & dark wax

Two-colour distressing technique

Two-tone distressing is when you use two different, one on top of the other couple - then sand back to reveal some of the colour underneath. It can be a strong or subtle affect depending on the colour and type of paint you use. I wanted a subtle affect for these chairs so I painted these chairs white - followed by a light grey, and it worked perfectly.

Annie Sloan painting technique - before and after

Ronseal recently sent me some of their chalk furniture paint to use for this project which I was really impressed with (along with their precision paint brushes). I especially love their shade of Dove grey, it's the perfect shade of grey. I’m now looking around the house for other things to use it on, but Ralphy won’t sit still for long enough :-) Please note: That was joke ... no doggies were harmed in the making over of these chairs.

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

How to make: Pressed flower lampshade + using hydrangea petals

As we near the end of summer I decided to make use of some of the flowers I pressed earlier in the year. Hydrangea petals are ideal for making pressed flower projects because they are so pretty and delicate. I don’t know about your hydrangea bushes but mine are still in blooming, so if you fancy making this pretty pressed flower lampshade you should still have time! Simply pick the petals, make sure they are nice and dry and lie them flat in a press or inside a heavy book for a week or two, then you can begin.

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Friday, 2 September 2016

A month in pictures - August

Hi Folks, well it's the end of August. Boo! Actually you I don't mean that, you know me well enough by now to know I love the autumn and the cosiness it brings, but I shan't be wishing away what's left of our summer just yet. I know August can feel like the end of summer for many .... kids are back to school, mums everywhere heave a sigh of relief, and the word 'Christmas' starts popping up in conversations but here in the UK September is such a beautiful month too, so I'm happy to stay in the moment for a little while longer. We've had a lovely August here at AHC. Ralphy and I had a birthday and although we haven't escaped for a holiday yet we've had some lovely days spent with our friends and family, and the good weather also meant I could tackle some bigger craft projects! Here's out month in pictures .... 

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

UP-CYCLE PROJECT: French Style Welsh Dresser Makeover

French Style Welsh Dresser Makeover

Earlier this month I was invited to do a Homebase DIY Challenge, trying some of their products for a makeover project of my choosing. I had a look around my little home and there was one piece of furniture that was crying out for some TLC - my little welsh dresser. Now I do like some pieces of furniture left dark but when you live in a little house as I do, you find you need to invite in as much light as possible. So my little welsh dresser visited the AHC beauty parlour! I'm thrilled with her transformation, and I have to say I highly recommend the Rustoleum furniture paint - because not only is it far cheaper than many other brands of chalk paint, it also has a lovely finish and you can apply it straight away, so no need for sanding or undercoat! (it's not that I'm lazy ... well OK actually yes I am.) So here is a step-by-step guide to up-cycling furniture using chalk paint, using distressing techniques and decoupaging for an antique faded floral finish.
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Guest Post - Artisan eco-gifts handmade in Ukraine

I recently stumbled upon a quirky little website called myfancycraft which sells a variety of unusual gifts and handmade crafts, made by craftsmen (and women) from all over Ukraine. Each product is made by hand using eco – friendly materials.

I had a little browse, and came upon this lovely nature-inspired collection on their website which is made from slavic clay. (The wording on the website doesn't translate very well into english but don't let that put you off, their products are lovely and their customer service is great.) I treated myself to a mug and jug (as I do have a bit of a 'Jug' obsession) they also make a teapot in the same range (see below). They arrived slightly more 'glazed' than it shows to the pictures but they are lovely all the same. Would make a lovely christmas gift for a nature-lover don't you think?

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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Canal folk art with Duncan Burrett

This week I had a wonderful afternoon chatting with Canal folk artist Duncan Burrett, who is owner and captain of a delightful narrowboat called 'Zendu' that is moored on the River Stort. Duncan has lived on the boat for 22 years with wife Zena. Ralphy and I often stop to admire Zendu, because not only is she the prettiest boat along the canal, but Duncan also sells a wonderful selection of old antiques and wares on the top of his boat which he paints in the famous 'Canal folk art' style. I have always loved the colourful vibrant style of Canal folk art but I didn't know anything about it until meeting Duncan. So when he invited us aboard to show us his work and give us a demonstration, I jumped at the chance. 

Duncan is a self-taught artist and used to specialised in oil paints and animal portraits. But it wasn't until 20 years ago he turned his hand to creating and selling canal folk art. "It started 20 years ago when I was sat on the boat painting a teapot, a lady stopped by and asked if it was for sale, so I told her to come back in 10 minutes and it would be!" Now he even demonstrates in schools, and is often commissioned by other boat owners. Duncan decorates all sorts with this style, especially old fashioned wares such as old watering cans, tea pots, urns, and even old boots ... and he also encourages people to bring their own objects along for him to paint. I had a lovely afternoon with Duncan, we chatted about his life, about the realities of boat-living, the interesting history behind folk art and how to paint in the folk-art style. He also makes a cracking cuppa tea! Read on to hear all about it ...

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