Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Family Reunions - Just the Best

First Cousins in the Cook Clan - not all by any means but a good representation. (why do we look so old???) Cousin Jim grew the produce!
Of all my childhood memories the one about our family reunions are some of the best,  I come from parents with HUGE families.  Dad's family had 9 kids and Mom's family had 11 kids.  We had yearly family reunions on both sides.  It was a blast.  For many years the Hope family reunion was held on Thanksgiving at my Uncle Jim's house in OKC.  They lived on a golf course so there was always a large football game on the course after dinner.  Uncle Jim also owned a hotel so we always got free rooms and all the kids went swimming at the indoor pool.  Cousins are just the best.  Both families believed in having 3 day reunions so we could really get some good visiting and eating (homemade blackberry cobbler at the Cook reunion and Dressing made 3 different ways at the Hope reunion ). Family is truly a gift from God. I really feel bad for people who are only children or do not have any cousins. I know I could call on mine at any time for just about anything.  
Since I moved to Tennessee I have not been able to attend all the reunions but I try to do one side or the other each year.  This year I went to the Cook reunion.  It is amazing how you jump into conversation as if you had only seen them last week instead of 2 or 3 years ago.  That's the beauty of family.

Collins Clan leads the hymn sing.
3 of the 4 Lee Cook kids (missed you Warren) and my husband
Maybe it's because I'm getting older and we are starting to miss some of our loved ones who have gone on before us, but this year seemed sweeter to me.  I especially loved when the cousins from Arizona led us in a hymn sing on the lawn with guitars and 3 part harmony.  Sooo cool. Just doesn't get any better than that. Ok well maybe the chocolate malts in the soda shop or the chocolate cinnamon ice cream nachos that my husband had might be better.  The resort in Northeastern Oklahoma where we have the Cook reunion is "Fin and feather".   It's straight out of an old movie (think of the place in Dirty Dancing) . Rustic and quaint.  Fishing lake in the middle, soda shop with great menu and porch with fans, all you can eat buffet every night, and fun house with games for the kids.  Of course there is the pool too.  The gift shop is stocked to the brim with all kinds of great stuff (we don't find that in Tennessee).  Let's just say this place is  a great memory just waiting to happen.

I your family doesn't have reunions, start one.  Your kids will have the time of their life and you will make memories that will provide smiles for years to come.

Hugs to all, ele

Shades of Amber: How to Use Chalk Paint

Here is a great step by step method of using chalk paint and wax.  There are a couple of details in it that I did not have in my last post.

Shades of Amber: How to Use Chalk Paint: Step One: Paint   Use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to paint directly onto your piece of furniture, no sanding, priming, or pr...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chalk Paint Project

I know you all thought I had dropped off the face of the earth.  Sometimes life just happens.  But thanks to some of my sweet cousins encouragement at our recent family reunion I am at it again.  It seems that creativity runs in spells.  This looks like it is going to be a good spell as I have so many things to share with you!  I promise not to take 6 months  off again.
  I have recently discovered Annie Sloan chalk paint.  Yes I know, I must have been hiding under a rock not to have known about it before now.  However when it did hit my radar it hit over and over and over!  I actually happened on to it in Nashville by happy accident.  Just browsing in a few cute shops when there seemed to be quite a buzz  over a table of paint samples and quarts.  The people in the shop didn't have to sell me the product because the customers did!!!  They were gushing over this product and I had just read a blog about it. I heard them say things like; 'Amazing; no prep work; use on all surfaces; easy and fun; a little expensive but well worth it!; no fumes so  you can do it in the house; water clean up; water thinning; " hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, all sounded good so I dove in head first!  One quart of graphite paint, one can of clear wax and one can of dark wax and one wax brush. I was thinking 'this better be good cause it all totaled about $130!!!  What was I thinking??!!  What can I say??Enthusiasm is contagious!! This had better be good.

     I knew that my sweet daughter-in-law had inherited a couple of really beat up mahogany chests when she got my son. I mean as in tons of college moves and fraternity brutality!!! These chests are not identical but of the same style and they were good solid mahogany.   'Good Bones' if you will. When I heard 'no sanding or prep work' that got my attention.  I have been known to skip critical steps before  ( me impatient???) and this way there were not supposed to be any critical steps to skip!!!  So we dove into this project.

This chest not in quite as bad shape as the other.

Nice lines but terrible shape.

Gouges and scrapes

deep scrapes

      First step is to take off hardware , this is the only prep work we did.
 We just used regular old paint brushes and painted the whole thing 'Graphite'.  We were not careful or worried about how smooth it was.  We were waiting for this paint to do its magic.  It did go on very quickly and dried with in an hour.  Impressive.  Then we put a coat of clear wax.  Think of this as the sealer for the paint. Since it is clear it doesn't make much difference what kind of technique you use.  We used the wax brush to 'paint' ( more like dab) on a layer and then a soft  cloth to smooth out and make sure the entire surface is covered well. We used a little too much at first but then got the hang of it.  After it dries a little while ( 1 hour) then buff it with a soft cloth to get a sheen.  We didn't spend much time on this as we knew we were going to apply the dark wax for the antique finish.  You could stop after clear wax but you would miss the real magic. 
After clear wax step.  Cara with her 3 month 'baby bump'!  Yes, #2 is due in December!!
Dark wax step.
     Next we used fine sandpaper to rub off the edges and high spots.  Think about what would get rubbed off naturally in normal use.  We also sanded through to the wood in a few places on the top and fronts.  The sanding went very quickly. (good thing cause this could have been a deal breaker for me!)  Do not worry about the whitish streaks it leaves in the clear wax because that all goes away when you apply the dark wax.
     The dark was is a little trickier.  You wipe it on with the wax brush and very quickly wipe it down with a lint free cloth to get to the desired amount of antiquing you want.  You much pay attention to the direction you wipe on this step. Always go with the grain.  This wax dries very quickly so work in smaller areas at once.  For instance just one drawer front at a time.  When you get it the way you want it you let it dry and then biff to a soft sheen with a soft cloth.  (We used microfiber from the auto store)  Walah!!!!! Done!!

Finished project. ( minus 2 missing knobs!!) We love it!! That's us in the mirror admiring our work. 
The dark wax really adds depth to the project.

These 2 chests are on opposite sides of the room and look very handsome now.  We used about 1/3 can of the paint and probably on about 1/4 each can of wax.  So considering this it turns out to not be too expensive.  The picture below shows the difference in the paint with and with out the dark wax.  The small table is still only paint and clear wax.

 These are both graphite paint but one is plain and the chest is with the dark wax.  I love the way it turned out!!!

 Close up of sanding detail.
Verdict!!!  I love it.  I am still going to compare to another process my friend Lynn in Dallas uses and I will let you know.  Have fun!!!
This paint is franchised and only sold in 1 place in each city as far as I can tell.  Look on their website,  to see where it is sold.  The story of how Annie Sloan came to invent this type of paint is very interesting. She seems to be the 'queen of faux finishes'.