I took a leap. And I’m glad I did.
After several attempts at painting furniture in my house by the tried and true “trial and error” approach, I took the first step of recovery: admitting I had a problem. This was quickly followed by step 2: I needed help.
When one of my design blogging heroes Shaunna West from Perfectly Imperfect announced she was a stockist for Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. I was intrigued. When she announced she was hosting workshops in her HOME, I signed up almost immediately.
So in borrowing from the woman I will clearly borrow a lot from in the future (in an inspiration perspective, not like a creepy, misdemeanor way!), here are my 25 things about my trip Alabama for Shaunna’s painting workshop:
1. It’s truly surreal to meet someone in person who you have been reading online.
Here we are – eek! So cool!
Not only do we dress alike (best-ies!), we’re also hand talkers. In this picture, I’m not trying to eat her head with my giant mouth, I’m just really loud and extreme in all things, especially hand gestures and throwing my head back in laughter.
Just like when my favorite cookbook author responded to my email (AND commented on my blog – eek!), I was star struck. When Shaunna’s name showed up in my in box after I registered: I couldn’t stop smiling. When she opened the door to her house and welcomed me: I started sweating and not from the Alabama heat.
2. Southern hospitality isn’t just a phrase, it’s for real, ya’ll.
It was incredibly appropriate that Shaunna conducted the workshop in her dining room in front of this sign.
She invited 12 strangers into her home and did so with grace and humility. She didn’t even mind all of us super fans walked around and took photos. We were like the blogger-stalk-a-razzi. But I asked first Mom, in case you’re reading and wondering if I have any manners!
3. Yes I took a photo of her bathroom. (I have those West Elm towels too!)
She says its a work in progress, but the mirror. SWOON….
4. I have an incredibly random memory.
I have to take iPhone photos of the parking garage numbers to remember where I parked my car and frequently forget why I stand up from my desk at work to do something on the way to doing that thing… But as I walked around Shaunna’s house I remembered the exact blog post where she wrote about the particular item I was looking at.
I wasn’t alone. Thankfully many of the other delightful ladies did the same.
“Oh look, the hutch in French Linen…”
5. I pledge allegiance to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, for painting in my life.
I’d read about this paint before – mostly from Shaunna – in how easy it is to work with. It’s made for painting furniture. And it’s from England, so obviously cool.
But this paint is special. Even the messy can is cute.
You don’t need to prime or sand (unless you want to!). It’s low VOC. And the colors are amazing.
I’m pretty sure I said several times how I wanted to make out with the French Linen (like the hutch – love!).
6. The technique is incredibly easy.
Shaunna patiently answered our many questions, but her biggest tip was to just go for it. You can’t screw it up! If you do mess up, it’s so easy to fix!
7. The paint can be used for a wide variety of finishes.
I would describe my home decor style as contemporary and eclectic, so I don’t always gravitate toward “shabby” or French finishes. But I’m starting to and this paint will be a really easy way to get both finishes with just varying my technique.
Look at Shaunna’s sample board for two different crackle finishes. BOTH were so easy!
8. Home designers and DIY experts are a unique community that I want to be a part of.
I was bummed I wasn’t able to go to the Haven Conference for DIY and home bloggers last month. I need something more. I need to learn hands on from experts who document their own journeys for me to Pin and leave. I need to be with a group of women who had shared interests. I’m glad I’m not the only one with a hoarder’s pile of furniture to tackle!
It finally clicked for me this community is truly that (a community) when Shaunna started sharing her own story and I felt compelled to comment rather than just Pin and leave.
I want to contribute my own journey (including failures) on this blog as a creative outlet. Even when my day job has nothing to do with choosing clear or dark wax…
9. Shaunna is not only knowledgeable about the paint and an amazing designer/photographer, but she’s also goofy and real.
Oops, I hope I didn’t break any implied confidentiality from the workshop, but her personality is infectious and fun. Just like she says her house is real, “allegedly” unfinished bathroom and all. That’s all part of her Perfectly Imperfect brand.
It was courageous of her to open her home to strangers and try this Annie Sloan thing as a part of her business. But, I got to meet her dog (and her husband and her intern Natalie) and that’s cool.
10. I did that!
Because it’s part of my own brand not to finish things or procrastinate them… I guess my 25 things is only 10. But there’s no better way to finish this than with what I did…
So there are many more things I learned and took away from this workshop. Mostly: I CAN do this! I can make beautiful things – or at least take the things I don’t love and make them lovely.
Sincerest thanks to Shaunna, Matt and Natalie for a wonderful workshop. Now, let’s get to that garage full of furniture and cleaning out those old buckets of latex (ew!) paint!