Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a BIG change~

On Friday, May 13th my career turned around, again, in an amazing string of events.  I viewed a building in down town DeKalb Illinois that was on the market to rent.  I knew of the opportunity, and even took a peak in side before, but never imagined in a million years I would ever be able to open my own shop.  Friday the 13th my eyes were opened to that very possibility. 

That same day, Annie Sloan, creator of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, published a link on her social media networks to my review on this blog of her chalk paint.  I knew my career would benefit from this, but I never imagined how awesome it would become.   

Since that day, I have been working on getting that shop open.  It's been quite a crash course in business, tax information, LLC or INC or Sole prop., and let's not forget insurance!  I am counting my blessings from all the knowledge I never thought I would use from working at the has proven priceless more than a time or two!

This opportunity has also shown me how every endeavor in life is a foundation for what is to come.  Years ago I used to paint murals & faux finishes and was known in the small town I lived in at the time as the  painting girl.  Its hard to believe now I would be looking into carrying a line of paint and teaching others how to use it, and opening my own shop.  I am blessed beyond measure :)

I know this doesn't look like much, but it will give you an idea of what Carter's Cottage the Shop looks like.  Today I spent 3 hours vacuuming, 3 hours painting, and 1 hour cleaning.  Oh, and these are the before pictures.  I'm sure I will be posting so many pictures of this place everyone will be so tired of hearing about it!

We are set to open on June 15th with a grand opening June 18th.  When I'm not working on the shop, I am home working on projects.  I'm truly sorry I haven't been able to post much lately, but I'm sure that will change once the shop is ready for business.  I have many projects that I can't wait to share with's just going to take a little time to get them posted.

                                                                                    This is what it looks like standing in the front window.

This is what it looks like standing in the far back corner looking towards the window.  Mr. Cottage taped ol news papers in the windows.  He says it will build excitement and people will try to peak in to see what's going on.  He surprises me with little things like this and it makes me smile:)

And the periwinkle is soon to be GONE and replaced with a nice neutral Dusty Trail...yes staying in my comfort bubble on this one lol~

This is a picture of the far off corner where I was standing in the previous picture.  These are little dressing rooms which are a perfect size for someone with glass ware or smalls to sell!

I know what you're thinking...what is this?!  This is going to be my sales counter! Duh! lol~  And man is she R-O-U-G-H! She has such great character though!  It'll be worth all the work that's going to go into her to get her ready!  Just having a hard time convincing Mr. Cottage about that lol~
These are the sliding doors I took off to hang behind the sales counter.  I think they will be awesome in Duck Egg Blue!  Wha-d-ya think?  Oh, and that black speckle stuff, yeah that's mold.  A friend salvaged her from a barn in Wisconsin.  She kinda smelled like the cows so I had to give her a good scrub down!

I know this has been a long post.  Thanks for sticking with it to the end.  And even though I don't have anything really finished yet, I'm still going to post this on some of my favorite links.  It will have to be a first in a series...that has to be done SOON!

Linked to:
Savvy Southern Style Wow Us Wednesdays
Blue Creek Home Treasure Hunt Thursday

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Garage SALE!

I'm sorry I've been MIA for the past few days.  Things have been pretty crazy around here for many reasons, namely because of the big  annual garage sale.  I thought I'd share a few pics of things that are up for grabs.

This was my daughters bed.  Very cute, but she's not a day bed kinda gal.  So, it's up for grabs!

Here is a really cool Czech table.  The top has decals of roses.  I just love this table...but don't really need it.

Alright, I got this little chair a while back and thought I'd re-new it.  It's in amazing condition! Finding chairs without damaged rattan is rare!  Will be an awesome find for some lucky person!

This is a sad set.  I took the hardware off because there were a few pulls missing and put them on a different set that needed less pulls.  I was going to re-new them...but I've come across a few other great finds that will require less work! So, I hate to see them go! But...time to make room for Flo!
This is a unique set of odds.  Very old chair in need of a new rattan seat...yep damaged rattan lol~  Foot stool with loose legs.  And a vanity bench that just didn't seam to match the vanity so it has to go!

And finally, oh, not that this is my last piece for the garage sale...I have so much stuff I hope I sell most of it, but would be happy if I sold a quarter of it! lol~  Back to this little set.  This is a vintage tele table that's in very good condition.  Would look great painted a bright orange! Or whatever color you like!

So off to bed I go!  I hope I can sleep tonight! Big sale tomorrow!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Little Sheet Music Table

In all the excitement of yesterday, I totally forgot to post about this sweet little table I finished!  The sheet music tables I have made have really been a great success!  They leave the store almost as quickly as I get them in!  I guess there's just something about vintage yellowed sheet music atop a cute little side table that makes every gal need one!

I found the vintage sheet music at one of my regular hot spots.  The song is "I Love" and was written by a local musician for one of the high schools plays.  Each of the pages has the characters name at the top written in pencil along with notes about timing and pitch.  Oh the memories it brought back of my high schools plays and concerts.  lol~ No, I am NOT a singer.  Many of my friends were though and I remember them making similar notes on their sheet music.  I still plunk around on the piano, but that's more for my kids amusement (smile:).

Today is a HUGE garage sale day around here...and of course it's raining!  How can it go from sunny & 86* to rainy & 49* in less than 24 hours?  Guess that's Northern Illinois for you!  Speaking of garage sales....I'm going to have on next weekend!  Yep!  Not sure what I'll throw in, but I'm sure someone will love my goodies!

I'm adding a link to:
Miss Mustard Seeds Furniture Feature Friday...yes...a day late :)

Debbiedoos Newbie Party

Friday, May 13, 2011

I am SPEECHLESS! Comment from THE Annie Sloan!

Oh I am REELING with excitement!  AND I don't know if I should be excited or embarrassed!  I'm not sure I really care right about now because this is such a HUGE moment!  Are you ready?  (deep breath in, now slowly out....ahh)

ANNIE SLOAN FACEBOOK-ED ABOUT ME!!!!!  Granted, she did call me naughty, but still!!! SHE FB-ED ABOUT ME!!! ON HER PAGE!  Do you realize what this means???  Please inform me as I'm not quite sure myself!  All I know is, I love her paint, wrote a review, she happened across it, read it, and she called me naughty!  But still!!! SHE STILL READ IT!

Here is what Annie said via her FB page:
Christie of Carter's Cottage has been quite unconventional in the way she has painted - quite naughty I'd say - by using a sponge roller to apply the paint! But hey! if that chest is what she achieves then why not!
(Would suggest though that she waxes before she sands - very dusty otherwise.)
I am over the moon!  OVER-THE-MOON I tell ya!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thoughts on Chalk Paint®

With the blog world a buzz with Chalk Paint®, after much thought I ordered my first quarts.  With so many wonderful trusted bloggers posting about it, many of you have also ordered.  However, some of you are still contemplating your first order.  Understanding how cautious I was about ordering, I thought I would share my every thought on this infamous paint.

First, I don't know if you caught it or not, but in the first few sentences I stated "my first order".  Yes, I the ever cautious designer/painter/skeptic will be ordering several quarts very soon!  Having said that, I feel there is much to know about this paint before spending the $34.95 a quart.  Please let me elaborate.

The piece I painted first had a mirror finish and was in impeccable shape. (It was almost a sin to paint it!)  Due to the fact it was in such good shape provided a perfect surface to test the stickibility of ASCP.  It stuck!  AND when I used a foam roller, the roller did NOT slide!  It rolled the paint out perfectly.  I was very impressed~

Foam roller...Yes, the directions, along with many of you, have talked about using a brush.  I have small hands and have a hard time brushing an entire piece even if it is just a small table.  Using a brush for the detailed areas and corners worked perfectly.  I then followed with the foam roller on the flat surfaces.  The finish was a little mottled...which made me wonder if the paint was really going to hold up the my high expectations and the rave reviews from so many trusted bloggers!  After the second coat, yes 2 coats, the finish evened out and covered nicely.

A few bloggers have made the comment that it dries fast and the workability window is narrow.  I did not find that to be true.  Please keep in mind, I am in northern Illinois where it was cool and rainy today.  Humidity is ALWAYS a factor in any painting project. Getting back to workability...personally I cut in only the area I can paint within a minute or two with my roller.  I find this prevents shadowing and with good ol latex paint, pull off. (paint is pulled off the wall/furniture by the roller)

With two coats, I did feel the need to sand the finish smooth.  There's just something about the feel of ultra smooth paint!  Sanding is not required if you are going for a more uneven look...Now please understand.  When I say "uneven" I don't mean goopy, gloppy, drippy runs nor do I mean shadowing.  The consistency of this paint is perfect to me! What I mean is when using a roller, you will have the roller finish just as you would when painting a wall with flat paint.  There will be subtle texture.  If an ultra smooth or even a smoother finish is desired, then you will need to sand.  The up side to sanding is it sands beautifully and effortlessly!  I used 150/200 grit to even out the surfaces and 100 for the distressing.  When sanded, the paint turns into a super fine powder.  I used a commercial grade shop dust collector (because they are sooo quiet! Really!) while sanding to keep the powder from spreading to other areas of my studio.  It worked perfectly and kept the air nice and clean. (any dust/vacuum/shop vac would work just more noise)

Speaking of air, I would suggest wearing a dust mask.  Though the dust is super fine,  it's probably best not to breath it!

Once I achieved the smooth finish I was looking for, I used the wax to seal the paint and give it a nice shine.  I used Minwax clear and applied it with a soft natural brush.  After buffing it with a soft cloth, painting the original hardware (with spray paint) reattaching them, and attaching the stained top, the piece was complete.

I completely finished this table in one day! ONE DAY!  And that was including sanding, staining, waxing the top.  If I had not been so cautious, I could have painted at least 2 additional pieces and had them nearly ready to finish (wax and re attach hardware) in one day.  That would make 3 pieces of furniture ready to sell in ONE DAY!

Using other primer and paint, the quickest I could have finished this one piece would have been 2 days...pushing it, 3 more realistically.  After I put the night stand/dresser away, I counted how many other pieces I could have had done if I had this paint sooner!  Can't beat myself up over my cautious nature!  

For myself, it all comes down to dollars & sense.  Kelli over at Re-Store Interiors said that you can get 3 pieces of furniture per quart.  That averages to about $12.50 per piece of furniture.  If you are buying smart, then time saved and $$ spent on the paint should still give you a nice return on your piece. (I do not know if Kelli applies 2 coats or one)

As with most everyone one living in the world today, I am more than just a blogger.. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, business owner, chef, taxi, accountant, calendar, maid, laundress, and the list goes on.  Some of these things I love being..while others...well let's just say the laundry is one of the last things one my to-do list and it never seems to-done lol~  Regardless, my time is worth something, even when it's not spent working on something I will make a profit on.  So, I saved 3 days of work.  That, is priceless.  Especially considering summer vacation is nearing, I'm going to be opening another shop, and my kids are officially teenagers! 

In closing, this review is mine...and was not influenced by freebies (if I could only get so lucky!:).  I felt like there was more to this paint then what many were saying, and for me there was.  Like I've said before, I'm very cautious, and am probably the  most frugal person alive!   Spending $34.95 + shipping on a quart of paint is unheard of for husband said I must of been sleep shopping lol!  Having said all that, this paint is well worth the investment and I am a believer!

I am beyond pleased with this piece, and impressed with Chalk Paint®.  Next on my list to order is Arles, Paris Grey, Louis Blue, Graphite...well probably at least one of each color...two of some basic staples like Old White! lol~

This piece is going directly to the shop where I'm sure it won't last long!

Posting this to:
Debbie Doos Newbie Party
Coastal Charm's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesdays 
House of Grace Twice Owned Tuesday

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blogger Woes

Hello My Blogging Friends,

I am sorry to say, Blogger is having some sort of technical difficulty.  Many of the blogs I personally follow are not showing on my dashboard!  This is a tragedy as I can't visit them and see all the creativity or treasures you are posting!  I'm positive Blogger is working very hard to resolve the problem and are as sad as I am that their service isn't living up to it's potential as it normally does!

Yes, there are ways to skirt around the dashboard to find all the latest posts from my favorite blogs...that requires me to visit every single blog I follow, and not everyone is addicted to blogging as I am and posts several times a week!  Many of the blogs I have recently visited are on a mini vacation...with the last two weeks of holidays, I totally understand!  So it has become a little time consuming.

So, I have a little favor to ask of you!  If you have an awesome post, or recently read an awesome post, leave me a link in my comments box! This way, I can stay connected, get my blog fix, and meet new bloggers that I wouldn't normally have met without your help!  I're not supposed to enable an addict...But PLEASE!  Just this ONCE~ lol!  What can I say?  It's been a long cold winter and spring here in Northern Illinois!  And it's a chilly 49*, rainy day here!  I need my creative fix~ lol!

As a result of visiting every blog I follow, I am going to be dropping a "Hello!" note to every blog on my Follow list!  I know...contain your excitement!  It's me...Christie...from Carter's Cottage. Big deal.  It is to me!  You are my inspiration, check and balance, my shoulder to cry on, blogging family!  Without you, I wouldn't be the person I am transforming into today.  Thru this outlet, I am constantly learning and changing from how you have touched my life.  For that, I am thankful!

So, until I drop you a "Hello!" comment, enjoy today!

Thursday, May 5, 2011



I WAS FEATURED over at Rhonda Spires Blue Creek Home, Treasure Hunt Thursday last week!  I was so busy with finishing moving into the shop, Easter, and my fathers property as it was hit by the terrible storms, that I didn't have time to participate in last weeks Treasure Hunt Thursday!  This was my first feature and I didn't even get to participate! How sad is that?!  Well, life happens and sometimes we can't fit everything we need or want to do into our schedules. I didn't miss it this week! :) 

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU Rhonda for featuring me on your site!  It's so much fun to see all the links of great treasure on Thursdays!  If you have a minute, go over and visit other fantastic bloggers with amazing treasures or add your treasure to Rhonda's Blog! Blue Creek Home  

I can't wait to see all the entries this week!

SO EXCITED! Indroducing "The Girls"!

Ok, I just can't contain my excitement about my latest thrift find!  Oh this is SO GOOD!  It's like so good I can't even type fast enough!  It's like better than the chocolate milkshakes I would crave when I was pregnant!  Or the first time I had tiramisu, or ran 5 miles, or when I got Flo my 95' Mustang GT 5.0L, 5 speed convertible!  Yes, it's THAT GOOD!

I went to one of my all time fav thrift stores and found this!
Introducing The GIRLS!

Are these not the sweetest thing?!!  Ready for the best part?  The cushions are springs with DOWN FILL!  YES DOWN! Soft, fluffy, cotton candy like DOWN!  It's like sitting on a cloud! They are in amazing shape with no funky smells or stains.  It's like they were sitting in a parlor that was never used!  Lucky Me!

Oh!  Just look at those LEGS! So curvy!  Such detail!  Makes my heart go pitter-patter!  No vacuum scuffs or stray dust bunnies clinging too these beauties!  It's not every day you come across a find as good as this!

Yes, they are pink and blue which doesn't actually fit into my "neutral" world.  But for now, they are just fine.  After finding these, I did order the zipper foot for my Pfaff and it should be here soon. Reupholstering these will be a task as I haven't tackled anything quite like these before.  However, shopping for upholstery for The Girls is going to be so much fun it will make the task well worth it!

Speaking of upholstery, do I stick to my comfortable bubble and go with a beautiful linen?  How about a nice silk?  Maybe just scares me! Water stains, finger prints, not to mention if I make a mistake...Let me rephrase that...When I make a mistake, the needle holes will show. lol~  How about a nice mocha velvet?  Or, hot pink!  My mind is racing with possibilities!

Now it's time to get back to reality!  The shop is doing well, and I've got to get back to my studio to replenish for the weekend!


Visit this link to other great thrift store finds!
Blue Creek Home Treasure hunt Thursday's

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The story of a girl who could keep a secret

Hello My Friends!

Have you ever sat down to post on something, but didn't have a great story to share about it?  No story about the thrill of the hunt, nor about the transformation.  The piece just simply happened.  Yes, as with nearly all pieces for me, it was difficult in deciding exactly what to do, but nothing note worthy.  All the original hardware was there. Though a little on the rusty side, it wasn't anything a good scrubbing, primer & paint couldn't fix. It also had some veneer damage, like nearly everything I pick up, but it I worked on it and patched it up seamlessly.  It weighs a TON and had to be moved numerous times due to weather and priming.  I am so blessed to have a strapping young Son Cottage and Mr. Cottage to help!  But other than that...nada!

She's a beautiful SOLID vanity, that came together fairly easy, and now sits in my shop.  So I guess you could say the story of this beautiful little vanity, is there is no story!  Or at least a story that I know of.  I'm sure in the 80+ years of life she has lived, she could fill a series of novels!  Oh the stories she could share!

Perhaps one of her stories is about how her corner on the center apron was broken off.  A previous owner cherished it enough to piece it back together with a square head nail.  In one of her travels from owner to owner, the piece had fallen off again.  Each owner seemed to understand the importance of the broken piece, and lovingly placed it in the center drawer.  For years it waited patiently to be reunited with the apron.  The previous owners must have been discouraged with the daunting task of fixing the veneer.  I understand this, but embrace the challenge.  Surprisingly, it stayed in that center drawer until I got her.

When I brought her to my studio, I gingerly removed the nail and pieced her back together.  I spent several hours carving and layering different veneers to replace the damaged veneer.  Once it was near perfect, I  filled and sanded the seams and nail holes.  I then restored her beauty with a fresh coat of paint and gave her a massage of wax to brighten up her curves.   She is stunning!  Most importantly, her life will continue for many more years as she is an heirloom with timeless beauty and grace.  She will hold the secret stories of her past and create new stories in her new home. 

So, there is a story after all.  It's the story of a girl who could keep a secret.

Please visit these Blog Links!

P.S. So sorry for the limited and not so good was a whirl wind of a day and this is the only shot I got of her!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Your Opinion Please CONTINUED...

Hello Friends!
First let me say Thank You! to everyone for your comments, suggestions, and opinions!  I read them carefully, and then re-read them a few more times!  Several of you asked me questions in return that I had not contemplated..which was exactly what I was hopping for~ Awesome & Thank You!  It prodded me into thinking outside of the ol box...which is something I need help with!  You see, I live in something more like a constantly morphing bubble lol~

Let me take a quick moment to answer a couple of those questions you asked me!
1. Is this for you, or to sell in a shop?
  Not for me, to put in my new shop.

2.  Is the condition as bad as you think it is?  Or is it minor, limited to the top of the one piece?
  I really wanted to paint this, but once I saw the details, I had to completely rethink painting it.  The veneer on top of the desk is very damaged, and would be impossible for me to restore to original.  On the curved sides of the desk, the veneer is loose, but could be re-glued.  I could fix the damaged veneer on top, and paint the top, legs, and chair as many of you suggested. :)

3.  Are the flowers painted on or decals?
Upon further inspection, the desk flowers are painted. The side table has decals with painted details on the top.

4. So what are you going to do with these beauties?
I'm going to repair the top of the desk and loose veneer on the sides.  Paint the top, legs, and chair a creamy yellow color, close to the color that is already on it.  And leave the rest alone! :)
If it doesn't sell after a while, I will probably paint the entire thing.

Now, to pick a color~ lol!  I hope I can make a decision on that one!  I first thought I would paint it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in cream with an antique finish.  What a surprise on that one lol~  Then after chatting with Annie, she suggested Old Orcher with a little Arles mixed in.  She thought this would be the closest color match to what is already on the set...which I love!

Though I have been on the fence, I have been swayed and am now a believer!  No, I haven't used it yet. (gasp..what?)  I recently put my first order in, unfortunately not of the two colors I'm going to be painting this set with (guess I am ensuring additional orders to soon follow lol~).

What has swayed me was Annie's customer service.  To take time to email me directly, answer specific questions about color, longevity, and quality, shows Annie is committed to her company and more importantly, her customers.  No, it wasn't a girlfriend chat over was a nitty gritty answer a wavering customers answers to prove your product. She convinced me~  She is good!

As many of you may not know, I am an ultra conservative when it comes to color. Lol~ Look at my blog of what I've painted!  Black & white! lol~ Sorry, I digress...

After being in design, and dealing with customers not capable of making a decision on white, or winter white for their walls (good grief!)...I understand the need to be "neutral" with how I approach the painted furniture I sell in the shoppes.  White & black are "safe" colors, unlike other muted colors and forget brightly painted things!  No they aren't as much fun, but if it's a large piece, I stay neutral.  I know! I know!  I stay neutral any way! :) Believe it or not...Color does make me happy! persons beloved red is anther's hated orange.

Perhaps this set will open my eyes to colorful painted furniture.  We will see!
Until next time~
Carter's Cottage Interiors