Websters Chalk Paint Powder giveaway!

Coco before and after dress.moxiblog.comer  Lets talk chalk paint. I have mentioned in the previous furniture refinishing post that I loved working with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but there are some disadvantages, especially here in Switzerland. Namely price and availability. This is not so much the case back home in the US. The availability is growing as people find how great it is to avoid sanding and the lovely distressed looks  you get from chalk paint, and milk paint products. The cost in Switzerland (like everything else) is a little higher, but the shipping is really pricey, because I have no local stockist.

In a search for a solution I scoured the internet and some of my favorite blogs for options. I ran across WEBSTERS CHALK PAINT! I wrote them a nice note and they are excited to be sponsoring Moxiblog’s very first give-away! I have a small sample package for just checking out their website and leaving a comment below. I will randomly select a winner on Friday and send you the packets in the mail. Facebook comments do not count, the comments have to be posted to the blog. Easy right?! Good luck!

Websters is a powder that you simply mix into any color, any brand latex paint. I used it on all the projects I am featuring this week. It worked pretty good. I am using locally sourced Swiss made latex paint. It is a thicker product than I am used to in the states- which I liked, but oddly enough it is not more opaque. I think all of the local paints do not cover as well as I am used to, so keep that in mind when reading my review- it may be an unfair comparison?

I am not getting compensated for my review and I am totally honest, so here are the pros and cons:

Pro’s-

  • I love the flexibility in colors. I love going and getting a custom color mixed and being able to match it to anything I want. This is an awesome feature!
  • I love the price! It is very affordable in comparison to ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint). And even if you have to ship it, it is inexpensive to ship because its just some powder in a package and not a heavy liquid can of paint.

Con’s-

  • I do not think the adhesion is nearly as good as ASCP.
  • I don’t believe coverage is as good, it took more coats to do the same job as ASCP.

**** This could have to do with my “Swiss paint” and may be different in the states, but after all the fact that it was universal was supposed to be a selling point for me.

Later in the week I will be sharing a custom color piece that I am really happy about~ also used Websters powder for it, and a heavily distressed cabinet that I think worked really well with the Websters powder.

sophias original dresser

sophias dresser

Coco’s dresser is only 28 inches high. I think it’s a perfect vanity for a little girl. I paid 40chf at a thrift store, It is not a bargain bottom price, but pretty fair I thought. Here is a photo of the dresser when the final coat of paint and wax was applied. In order to make it match up with other furniture in her room I did not want to distress it, however it looked so plain!

finished dresser_1

Since she originally requested I paint it pink, I decided to compromise and added her monogram on the drawer. I think it’s the perfect touch of pink and brings a little of the American South to our home in Switzerland. Tomorrow I will show you how I did the monogram. What do you think? Like it better wood finished, white finished, or white with the monogram?!

Dining Room furniture finished!

table befor and after This table is my final dining room project. I picked up this at a thrift store for 120 chf. I passed by it several times and by some miracle spotted it under a pile of other furniture. My girlfriend who what with me at the time was delighted and convinced that this was a great deal with great potential. I honestly was not completely sure but after searching for days I took the plunge, and wow, I am glad I did!

The table is big – and solid wood. The leaves were different colors, obviously they had been tucked into the table for years and the sun faded the top.

two color table top

We decided we would keep some wood and make it darker to try and make sure that we could correct the color discrepancies. As I mentioned in this post about the hutch that we had a horrible experience with our attempts to be environmentally friendly by using some eco product. After a lot of work and re-work, we abandoned the environmental cause for good-ole-chemically-enhanced stain and in one shot- JOB DONE. Sorry- its the truth. Originally I had planned on using the Annie Sloan Dark Wax on the table base and parts of the hutch, but after distressing I was happy with the way the finished… I may change my mind and add more distressing or way to the table base at some point, what do you think?

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On the base I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in OLD WHITE, just like on the rest of the pieces. It works great and is so easy to use. I really love it. That said, I am looking for a homemade recipe or a powder mix that will be comparable. The ASCP is not easy to get here in Switzerland and like everywhere else, is a premium price. Any suggestions? Any one using Websters, or Plaster of Paris recipes? Leave a comment or email me tips!

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hutch

before and after

I found this little goodie for 120 chf. It had been marked down 100chf just that morning. It is hard to tell you with words how massive these old pieces of furniture are. It weighs A LOT! the wood is thick and solid. There are 4 locking drawers, 5 locking upper cabinets and 4 locking lower cabinets.

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It had a strange splattery orangey slightly tacky “mess” of something on the finish. It does not show up in these photos, and in fact the wood inlays etc. really had me feeling guilty about painting it. However I knew that I was not going for a “swiss challet” interior look and hoped that I could make this storage treasue a cute match for the table I also bought at the local thrift shop on a different visit. I struggled to clean off the gunk, but every time I painted a coat of white, the orange came through. I read somewhere that if the finish comes through that you should coat it with a clear finish and try again. I coated it with a polyurathane product I purchased here and tried again- it helped but did not completely solve the problem. In the end the random bleed-through added a little age and character to the piece.

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I can’t wait to get it filled up and looking perfect.

DSC_3958From the beginning I knew that I wanted the top of the table and the top of the hutch to match with a beautiful wood finish. This required a lot of work stripping and sanding. We had some trial-and-error set-backs with using different stains and finishes here in Switzerland. We were first sold and eco friendly product, and people we tried to be environmentally friendly; we re-sanded, we re-stained, and tried again and it just never looked good. It was streaky and had some strange absorption problems. I abandon the Eco friendly approach and sought out a “normal” chemically enhanced version- It worked great! Our home was turned into a workshop for the large part of 3 weeks.The last 3 days were the most chaotic. Proof of the mess below.

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Coco spend long mornings in here pajamas. She miraculously entertained herself with a game of sorry with her stuffed animals ~ guess we were all feeling creative!

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Once again we used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. We ordered 2 small containers of “old white” and still have some left, even after 6 chairs, a big hutch and a table base. Not bad. The only downsides to the product are cost and availability. I had to pay a large shipping cost on top of a cost of about 40chf per can! It was worth it for sure- I hate all the stripping and sanding. And so do my Swiss neighbors (I heard about their complaining when the apartment management paid me a visit… try and be clam, try not to say anything bad about them…).

Spartacus and I make a great team. For projects like this there is an unspoken understanding that he will handle the wood staining and the hardware and I will do the painting. I love paint, I love paint brushes, love the smell, (some people complain about ASCP- I find it to be boring and orderless… nothing like spray paint:) I love the colors and the layers and at the end I love the distressing. In my last post I referred to Blue Egg Brown Nest for tutorials on using the ASCP. I don’t think I have anything to add regarding the painting, waxing, and distressing process. Although I will say that I did not tape over any glass or keyholes. Because the paint is like chalk or plaster once dry, I used a razorblade and cleaned the glass easily and quickly after. Can you imagine taping off all these corners and rounded panes? I hand-painted around the keyholes so that the inlay-ed wood and locks remained original (I loved that little detail).

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Spartacus is supplying us with the valuable tip for the project:

When you remove hardware- number it in a way that you can put it back together EXACTlY like it was. ESPECIALLY when working with handmade antique furniture. We learned this the hard way. It’s a little hard to explain but each piece is fitted in slightly different- each door had to fit EXACTLY like it was in order to shut and to lock. Each hinge is carved out slightly differently and sits ever so slightly deeper or more shallow onto the wood. It was like a watching a lone contestant on survivor try and solve a puzzle. 18 hinges later the hutch was finished!

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This project will eventually be for sale but I hope to enjoy it for a while first! Send lots of great comments! Is it looking a little french country?

Sneek Peek- chair before and after

chair before and afterThis is one of the “life” things I refered to yesterday that consumed me for weeks whilst I was away from my computer and Moxiblog. In our endless effort to economize, and in part for the pleasure of it, we spent many hours combing thrift stores and Ricardo.ch (a mixture of Ebay and Craigslist) for bargains that we loved or that could be transformed into something loveable. I had a friend warn me that if you double what you would expect to pay in the states, you might be getting close to the average Swiss pricetag. So when I share my bargains, keep the rule of doubles in mind!

I picked up a set of 6 Swedish chairs with a dark green stain; in the poorly lit “brokenhaus” (thrift-store) (I thought they were black) for a price tag of 15 chf each – today that is about $16.30. They are solid wood and appear to be well made. From the chair on the left you can see they had a nice shine which if you were to appreciate their green color would have been a nice bonus, but I was worried about sanding, stripping, and painting. I had a vision for a more country french/ shabby chic look and I knew I wanted to keep all the furniture very light colored because our apartment is small and Switzerland can be dark and gloomy much of the year. I immediately knew that I would search out Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I have read so many blog post and pintrest pins raving about this product with great adhesion and no sanding or stripping prep-work. I wont go into all the details of the processes , there are millions of tutorials. I particularly liked Blue Egg Brown Nest online video tutorials. It really is the perfect product for a project like this.

Can you see some of the distressing details? I love the distressing part of the project, this is where every piece feels unique. If you look to the far left of the photo you can see a brown spiral shaped piece of wood…. that’s a sneak peak at the OLD table I picked up~ tune in later this week for details.

I’d love to hear what you think of the mixture of modern kitchen and updated Swiss antique chic’…. more on that later!

Homemade Mothers Day Photo Cards

We spent the afternoon making silly shapes on the lawn in the courtyard of our apartment. The neighbors started to congregate on their balconies to watch what the crazy American’s were up to. I am quite certain they still have no idea~ but I am letting you in on our little secret. Mothers day photo card! To celebrate Mothers Day I am sending this set of photos to our Moms, and Grandma’s and Aunts and Sisters. Thanks to digital photography and email our greetings will be right on time this year! Happy Mothers Day to all the brilliant women out there who work so incredibly hard everyday and are changing the world one child at a time. “It takes a village”. ~ African proverb

What to give a friend on their 40th birthday?

I’m a huge fan of Homemade gifts. I love getting them and love giving them. I don’t always have time to paint something or baking something that has to be shipped is not ideal. This year my dear friend Steph is turning 40! And since I just experienced it myself, I thought some positive affirmations would be a great comfort. It reminds us that the 40 years of work we have been investing into shaping our skills, personality, character, etc. haven’t gone to waist. Its nice to hear all these good qualities reflecting off of someone else’s eyes.

I made a card that list 40 things I love about my friend. I am pretty sure she wont be tossing this in the trash. I hand wrote it so that it felt very personal, and the extra pages are tied onto the big card, when you lift up the layers it reveals even more great stuff about her- just like in real life! I hope it will help her remember all these great things that others notice about her.

Transforming grocery store flowers

My adoring husband sent me flowers for Valentines Day. He was out of town and had them delivered to me. In all fairness he would never have chosen this… less than splendid “arrangement”.

I quickly dismantled it and transformed it into a lovely little bouquet to set on my desk. Here’s how:

  • Select a different vase, something short about 6- 8 inches
  • peel off most of the leaves on roses and trim stems (see below)
  • peel off most of the fern “leafs” leaving only about 4 inches on top of a 6 inch stem
  • cut stems off babies breath, leaving it shorter than the roses.
  • I discarded other filler. I often discard all fillers, just depends on my mood. Roses are beautiful on their own in clusters. Since it is valentines day I thought the contrast of the delicate white babies breath against the red roses would be perfect.

 

  • Once in a floral arrangement class, I was told that cutting the stems at an angle and trimming off all the extra leaves allows the rose to absorb more water and use all the water to keep the flower looking beautiful longer, so I always do that first.

  • Put them in a small vase and voila- finished!

 

Airheads Candy Garnishes

Have you noticed an Airhead themed Valentines Day here in Sunny South Carolina? We had plenty of bars left from the Happy Hour post earlier this week. The box comes filled with an assortment of colors and flavors; so with the leftovers I crafted some roses. I think they make cute garnishes for Valentines desserts.

I simply cut the airheads in half long way and started to roll the center part. I then cute half moon shaped petals and pressed them together like play-dough! The older kids will love making them and kids of all ages will love eating them. When I served the strawberry dessert (above) the roses were gobbled up first.

Alt Roomie Sursee’s

I am rooming with 2 total strangers for the Alt Summit in Salt Lake City this week. I wanted to share a little southern hospitality so I prepared a little welcome sursee.

  • Tiny notebook- I have heard to write everything down so that you dont forget any of the loads of info you will hear at ALT Summit
  • Some Charleston Pecan Pralines to snack on (I am allergic to pecans but I am told these are DEE-LISH).
  • A bag of Chaleston Grits – many people living outside of the south east have never had this famous staple of southern cuisine.
  • Lastly, I wanted to give them something really special and homemade. I decided to make them a postcard to send home to themself’s each day. On the front side it reads “we met at ALT” and the backsides read different one liners to tune of “Dear Self, I wanted to write you so that I will remember how I felt right now…”
    My roommates will simply write just a quick line or two and leave the card at the front desk -the postage stamps are already affixed and ready to mail home. (I told my mom and she tear-ed up, just the reaction I am hoping for! )

I loved the postcard idea so much I made a few extra for myself and a few to pass out at ALT.

 

 

Homemade Advent Calender full of fun

hanging next to garland are our advent surprises

This year after admiring the gobs of pinterest advent calendars, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and make up something that would work for us. Thanks to  Annie Valentine for the ideas and voila here are are daily surprises (they also come with chocolates).
Dec. 1: pick names for surprise family gifts
Dec. 2: start to decorate house for Christmas – light advent candle
Dec 3: elf neighbor
Dec. 4: read The Little Match Girl
Dec. 5: call grandparents and tell them you love them
Dec. 6: make gingerbread house with missionaries
Dec. 7: buy tree and trim tree
Dec. 8: write a letter to Santa
Dec 9: arrange the Nativity Scene- kids tell Jesus birth story for advent- light advent candle
Dec 10: say something you love about Mom
Dec 11: say something you love about boo
Dec 12: say something you love about coco
Dec 13: say something you love about Dad
Dec 14: shop for your surprise name gift
Dec. 15: go to family Christmas party at the friends
Dec. 16: make a craft with Mom- light advent candle
Dec 17: take Christmas gifts to teachers
Dec. 18: sing Silent Night in front of the Christmas tree before bed
Dec 19: buy gift for charity/ provide charity
Dec 20:  have hot cocoa together outside and look at the stars
Dec 21: surprise Dad with a Christmas lunch at work
Dec 22: watch Annabelle’s Wish with treats
Dec 23: deliver treat to neighbors–light advent candle
Dec 24: wrap gift for names
Of course this isn’t the only fun stuff we will do over the holidays, but this is the stuff the kids will make sure we do:)

I ran to hobby lobby with my 40% coupon in hand and bought a big expensive hole punch. But for this you need two so you had better have a 2nd coupon ready, and the patients to make them ring it up on separate orders. I bought more than I used and took it back today. The “soft spoken” sticker kit was inspiration but I didn’t need it so back it went. I printed out the numbers and 1 1/4 inch punched them into small circles. Then with a 2 inch circle punch I did red glitter circles to glue as the background. I mounted the numbers on mini-brown sacks and voila! If you can find smaller sacks then I recommend- I only needed enough space for little chocolates and a paper strip, and there is still plenty of space. Filling them with chocolates and our list of joy-inducing holiday spirit will make the kids excited but not too sugared-up. I spent a few hours with my happy-to-help children making a craft- I probably spent 10 bucks worth of supplies, Its darn cute. Make one of your own and send me a photo!!!!

red glitter paper

glue

2 number sheets:

advent numbers 1-12

advent numbers 13-24

and I did use the little tiny rhinestones stickers to give it a little bling.

The holidays are officially among us!