My Annie Sloan makeover

I finally got around to the Annie Sloan makeover I’ve been planning for ages. Yay! This is what the small chest of drawers looked like to start with:

Boring, right?

I started out by gathering my tools and materials:

  • Annie Sloan chalk paint in Aubusson Blue  – £16.95 per litre
  • Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White – £16.95 per litre (although I had some left over from another project)
  • Annie Sloan clear wax – £7.95 (although again, I also had some left over)
  • Clock drawer pulls from Sense in Clifton Village – £5.95 each
  • My trusty No Loss paintbrush from Harris – from £2.20 for the 12mm (they really don’t lose bristles, which is brilliant)
  • Some cotton rags for applying and buffing the wax (the Annie Sloan wax brush is on my wishlist!)

Don’t you just love those drawer pulls?

It goes on rich and deep and dries to a soft, chalky finish

Having had a lovely long chat about my project with Juliet Seldon, who runs the studio on Gloucester Road which is my local Annie Sloan stockist, I decided to follow her tips and paint the inside of the drawers in solid Aubusson Blue, and only undercoat the areas of the outside that I was planing to distress. I applied the edge bits relatively thick and with a stippling rather than smoothing motion, to create more texture.

That’s not a wand, it’s a chopstick I used to mix the paint!

After that was dry, I applied Old White all over the outside, and along the front and sides of the drawers. I had to touch up a few areas with a second coat, and luckily had just enough paint to get the job done.

Next came the waxing and buffing – all over, inside and out, which was quite a workout! – and then a bit of sanding along the edges where I wanted to blue to show through. Finally I added the drawer pulls and… voila!

What do you think?

What do you think?


I love seeing the rich, dark blue every time I open a drawer


I adore these knobs – definitely worth £5.95 each

* I first learned how to use Annie Sloan chalk paints at a course with Emma Purvis at Kindle House in Wales. There are plenty of other trained tutors all over the country, including Juliet here in Bristol. For more details, visit the Annie Sloan website.


Christmas at the Orangery

I need to stop going to design fairs. I just can’t afford it. I’ve bought all my Christmas presents now, but seem to keep accidentally buying stuff for myself!

But who could blame me when the quality of the exhibitors at yesterday’s Christmas at the Orangery event in Henleaze, Bristol, was so high (clearly due to the fabulous taste of the event organiser, designer Rachel Goodchild).

It was the lovely Juliet Seldon (stockists of my favourite Annie Sloan chalk paints, among other things) who invited me along, and I’m so glad she did.

Some of my very favourite designer-makers were present…

Elle and the snow dove giclee print £28, Belle & Boo

Elle and the snow dove giclee print £28, Belle & Boo

Bike cushion £47.50, Ella Doran

Bike cushion £47.50, Ella Doran

The Dove Heart range by Rachel Goodchild

The Dove Heart range by Rachel Goodchild

…plus I discovered a few more…

Figgy pudding cotton napkins (four), was £32 now £24, Charlotte Macey

Figgy pudding cotton napkins (four), was £32 now £24, Charlotte Macey

Pottery by Matt Waite

Pottery by Matt Waite

…and even got to meet two of the nicest crafty writerly types, editors Jo Keeling and Nicole Burnett of Pretty Nostalgic – and yes, a subscription was one of the gifts I treated myself to!

I do hope there’s going to be another event next year – pretty please, Rachel?

Annie Sloan work book

I love getting post. Not bills, obviously, but pretty much anything else still makes me childishly excited.

I think it comes from when I moved to the UK from South Africa and, in those pre-internet days, relied on snail mail to bring me news of my friends ‘back home’.

I particularly love getting books and magazines in the post, so you can imagine how excited I was when this arrived:

The new Annie Sloan work book, £16.95, out 30 November 2012

It’s the latest offering from Queen of Paint, Annie Sloan, whose products – as you well know – I love.

The work book, which is due out at the end of November (there are some benefits to being a journalist!), is no exception. It is stuffed with inspiration…

Water Annie’s chalk paints down to create a soft wash effect

Did you know you can paint canvas shoes with chalk paint??

…as well as useful hints and tips…

Who needs a paint brush when you’ve got an old cork to hand?

Some tips are more helpful than others!

…and there is a lined section for notes, and a pocket at the back where you can stow any loose bits of paper, pictures and swatches. Genius.

This inspiring book would make a fantastic Christmas present for a home loving creative type, and will be available to buy through the Annie Sloan stockists only – check out the website for your local store.

Mashed Creations

A friend of mine recently discovered the delights of decoupage – or “sticking stuff to stuff and varnishing it”, as she puts it.

When she said she was going to turn her newfound skill into a business, I’m afraid to say I was skeptical. After all, this is the girl I used to get up to all sorts with when I was a teenager, and it’s hard to forget sometimes that that was a long time ago and we’re all supposed to be grown ups now!

Anyway, true to her word she has been working hard on making Mashed Creations a success, and I must say that I’m hugely impressed with her progress so far.

This is her latest creation:

Pretty, isn’t it? I like to think I helped a little, by recommending the Annie Sloan paints she used for the base.

This is a more modern-retro style piece, which I think is wonderfully kitsch and would work brilliantly in a kids room or a suitably quirky, fun apartment:

Having seen Clare’s handiwork, I’m starting to wonder whether I should include a touch of decoupage in my own furniture transformations when I finally get round to sorting my study out.

If I do, I promise I’ll take pictures…

Key cupboard

There are many useful things I could buy for my flat right now. A new, smaller desk would be good. And I need some more Annie Sloan paint for my next project (giving a horrible pine chest of drawers a make over for my new study).

But instead, I find myself drooling over silly things that I don’t need at all but which are SO PRETTY! Sorry, pretty things make me a little effervescent. Pretty things and the enormous amount of work I have on at the moment.

Anyway, this is the gorgeous key cabinet that caught my attention today.

Work In Progress key cupboard £45, Found

I don’t have a spare £45 (and if I did I would put it towards the aforementioned desk and paint) but in my view, featuring something on my blog is the next best thing to buying it.

What do you think?

Annie Sloan paint

Annie Sloan ©

I have a new crush: Annie Sloan. Or rather, Annie Sloan’s incredible Chalk Paints. If you’ve never heard of them, you really need to investigate – the colours are delicious, they stick to anything (wood, metal etc) with no need for sanding or primer, and it’s ridiculously easy to create stunning effects.

Annie Sloan ©

I took part in an Annie Sloan furniture painting course led by Emma Purvis of Kindle House last weekend, and have been buzzing ever since. I’d been wondering what to do with my almost 20-year-old pine furniture (servicable but boring as anything) for ages. Now I have the answer.

Annie Sloan ©

I can’t say too much about my fantastic day yet, because I’ll be writing about it for the next issue of WM magazine. I’ll let you know when it’s out, but in the meantime do check out Annie’s website and that of Kindle House, which sells a gorgeous range of homewares and gift items.

Annie Sloan ©

You can also buy one of Annie’s many books, including the latest two: Quick & Easy Paint Transformations (which I will definitely be getting a copy of) and Creating The French Look.

Annie Sloan ©