Friday, March 14, 2014

Experimenting with Annie Sloan chalk paint

Oh I was going to wish you a Happy St. Patrick's day but that is tomorrow isn't it?  The 17th?  Wait!  Tomorrow is the 15th, isn't it?  
I have to admit I have completely lost track of time as Chris was out of town this week.  So that meant I was home... alone.  Okay, not alone as I had two lovely teenage boys to keep me company as well as a list of projects that needed completed.

And do you know what I did?  I grabbed out a few cans of Annie Sloan chalk paint, latex paint, and Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.  I was feeling like a rebel... I mixed, I poured, remixed until I came up with the perfect colors.  

I know, I showed it to you my lovely Aegean Dreams desk here many, many moons ago.  But she had gone through a number of "makeovers" but none of them ever felt quite right. You see, her lines are those of a more refined age, not the perky young teenager she was trying to come across as.  Her dress was a bit too brash, too bold, so she had a bit of wardrobe change if you will.

When I started she looked like this....

I know... a HOT mess!  The handles never did age, her lovely legs and underpinnings clashed, and her lovely top was just too white.  And then someone had decided along the way that adding a layer of black would be just the ticket to add a bit of age.  Yes, hanging head in shame, I did it.  As you probably can tell I didn't like it one bit so I stopped with the one drawer and just left it.  Thankfully the drawer was hidden behind a chair and no one saw my error but I knew and it bugged me to no end!

I started by taking off all of the hardware and removing the silver paint exposing the original brass.  Over time with use and exposure they will age quite nicely.  Then I pulled out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) in Provence, a similar shade but just a tad darker and gave her a once over (or may a twice over.)  The top is a lovely shade of Paris Gray with a layer of the CeCe Caldwell's dark aging wax.  Yes, I know, I know. I am breaking all the cardinal rules... but I can't use the Annie Sloan finishing waxes in the house as they trigger my asthma.  I can honestly say that CeCe Caldwell's waxes are currently the ONLY waxes I can use with NO ill effects.  

I could NOT resist adding a pop of color to these drawers.  Yes this is where my experimenting came into play.  I started with a mix of ASCP Emperor's Silk and Harley Davidson orange latex paint at a ratio of 1:1 with a pinch or two of Miss Mustard Seed Milk paint in Linen.  The result the perfect shade of red to liven things up a bit.  
Do you see the inside of the drawers?  
Sparkly wrapping paper!  Okay to be honest this desk has 7 drawers... and currently has 3 different types of paper.  A map of Alaska graces the large central drawer, the left stack the lovely sparkly wrapping paper, and the right stack has this lovely paper, Bijou Birds Green from the Bloom & Grow collection of My Mind's Eye sold at Hobby Lobby.  I discovered that this paper is not readily available any longer so I think I be going in to pick up a few more pieces.  Yes it speaks to that quirky, inner hippie in me... but that is quite alright! 

And here she sits with the morning light bathing her.  
I know I need to replace the chair but that is a project for another day.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Craving the taste of spring

As I look out the window right now I am amazed by the most gorgeous blue sky and glorious sunshine that graces my world…. spring is quickly approaching!!  And for that I am greatly relieved!  If you live in much of the lower 48 I am sure you are feeling pretty much the same way, as this has truly been a doozy of a winter. As the days get longer and the skies brighter I find myself craving lighter foods as well… gone is the deep-seated desire for thick hearty soups.  Instead I currently desire the fresh tastes of spring… salads, citrus, light soups, and yes maybe a bit of crusty bread to soak up each and every delectable morsel.  So today I am going to share a favorite of mine with you.  It is quick, easy, and all the ingredients are readily available this time of year.

I have to be honest here… this is more of a formula rather than a recipe because once the desire for clean eating hits I do not want to spend long hours in preparation. So a simple spring salad is our answer… one that varies with what we have on hand.

Our go to is quite simple…

Sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced carrots (I use the vegetable peeler to make them paper thin.)
Honeyed nuts (we switch back and forth between almonds & pecans currently)
Optionals: pears, oranges, fresh berries such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, or avocado. (but we always have one of these on the salad)

3:1 ratio
3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar/acid (white wine vinegar or fresh squeezed orange juice)
a dash of salt
a pinch of pepper
a pinch of garlic powder (a very small pinch so as not to overwhelm)
fresh herbs such as lemon thyme, parsley, tarragon, finely diced

Honeyed nuts:
½ cup roughly chopped nuts of choice
1 Tbsp local honey

Place nuts and honey in a small pan over high heat.  Stir until honey is melted and coats nuts.  Take off heat, spread on parchment paper to cool.  Break apart and sprinkle on salad.  Can be added while still warm but it does make the salad wilt.

Roasted chicken can be added to make this more filling.   My personal favorite is to make a vinaigrette and add 1 Tbsp of grapefruit marmalade and serve over a salad of spinach, romaine, cucumbers, supremed blood oranges/grapefruit, and avocado with a sprinkling of honeyed almonds.  I am also a bit of a pepper and cheese freak so it is not all that uncommon to discover freshly grated pepper and a sprinkling of of parmesan slivers or crumbles of feta on my salad.

I hope you enjoy!