Annie Sloan Workshop!

I love how life works!  In February when I bought my first can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I was scouring the Internet for 'stockists' who sell this product.  There were a few options for my area, but nothing close by so I knew I had to buy the paint online and have it shipped.  That seemed SO foreign to me!  Shipping paint?  Buying paint without looking at a swatch in a fluorescent lit store?  This can't be right!  While searching the web, I came across Classic Wall Finishes of New Jersey's website http://www.bestfurniturepaint.com/ and liked what I saw.  I was instantly hooked because the site was easy to follow and they really made it easy to buy their products!  I started out with a kit, which in my opinion is the BEST way to try the paint.  I got 2 quarts of paint, a book titled Quick And Easy Paint Transformations by Annie Sloan, 2 wax brushes, some smooth paint brushes and 2 tins of wax (one dark and one clear).  This is what started my journey with the best paint ever!

This week I was lucky enough to take an Annie Sloan workshop with the uber talented women who own Classic Wall Finishes New Jersey!  Going into the class I figured I'd been working with this paint for a few months now so what on earth could they teach me?  HA HA HA HA....boy was I humbled!  Now don't get me wrong, I didn't think I was Miss Professional Chalk Painter, but I really didn't have any idea all I could do with this paint until this workshop.

When I arrived on the tree lined street where Patty's home sits, I was nervous, excited and a bit worried.  I was immediately welcomed by Patty and her Sister Karen and instantly my fears went away.  Patty's home is so warm and comfortable it's hard not to feel at home.  Plus Patty and Karen are tremendously sweet and welcoming.  As everyone arrived we all settled in for what was going to be a very fun and information filled ride!
   
This is Patty one of our wonderful instructors who has been dubbed the "Queen of Crackle" YES crackle!  This paint crackles without a crackle medium! Not your 80's crackle, but a more subdued crackle that gives age, texture and depth to any piece you use this technique on.  Patty is wonderful at doing this technique and that's how she was given her 'title'.  She was the third 'stockist' to carry this paint in the USA, so she's connected!  Annie even stayed a few days in her home when she was here for a workshop.  Can you say LUCKY?!!


This is her Sister Karen who was hilarious and gave us lots of comic relief!  Karen and Patty are both very talented artists.  Karen is a painter, not just furniture, but I'm talking paintings.  She recently did a painting for Annie Sloan using her chalk paint colors...how cool is that?!


As everyone arrived and we all settled into our seats for the workshop, which was set up in Patty's dining room, it was hard not to feel privileged having this experience!  There were five of us 'students' lucky enough to be taking this workshop together and each one of us brought a different bit of experience and talent to the table.  

Here they all are working hard on their sample boards.


We were each given a great white apron (why didn't I think of wearing one before this?!), a beautiful notebook, a binder with lots of information about the Annie Sloan paints and techniques, several sample boards to paint and the list goes on.  This was a hands-on workshop.  It was us doing the painting, not just watching someone do the techniques and then trying to figure them out later.  This was perfect for someone like me who learns by doing!

I know I've bragged on this paint many, many times on this blog, but I was even more wowed by what this paint can do!!  I've read Annie Sloan's book Quick And Easy Paint Transformations, but to see it all in front of me and doing the techniques hands on is priceless.  This paint can do SO much more than I ever imagined.  I had no idea this paint can be sanded and smoothed to a silky smooth finish. I'm talking smooth like a baby's rear-end!  


OK, so I'm a paint, furniture and decor nerd, but how can you not think that wax brush is sexy?!!  :-)


One of the first things I noticed on the table when we sat down was the most gorgeous turquoise paint I've ever seen.  I asked Patty what color that was because I certainly hadn't seen that in the paint line up before.  Patty told us this was a new color called Florence and let me say Florence is to die for!!!

Here she is....I am in serious love here!


OK so I might be a tad bit obsessed with this color, but really how can I not be?!


Karen's Daughter Grace was also at the workshop.  She was there helping them out with the workshop and she even picked up our delicious Panera lunch.  What a sweet, personable and confident young woman she is!  Aren't they all just gorgeous?  I have to write here about their Mother.  She popped in a few times while we were working and she has the BIGGEST smile that lights up the room.  A beautiful and sweet family for sure!


I'm not going to go into anymore depth about what we learned because hey you need to take the workshop!  Learning by doing is truly the best way to learn all of the techniques.  By the way I only took the intro class there was an advanced class the next day, but I was unable to attend (insert sad face here!)  I'm coming back another time for that workshop!


One of the most interesting parts about this workshop was most of the women taking the class hadn't used this paint before.  However you wouldn't have known that by their final sample boards.  It was amazing how we were all using the same colors, waxes and techniques and yet each board was different and equally fantastic!  


These are a few of my sample boards.  There's one missing that I will have to take a picture of it another time.  It was a very cool technique that I honestly didn't think I'd like, but it was one of my favorites!


Now how can a table full of sandpaper, paint, brushes, wax, sample boards and mess not be a good time?!  Another favorite color of mine is the Antibes which is that green color above Florence.  It's a great green that looks stunning with dark wax on top!


I can't thank Patty and Karen enough for sharing their talent, vision and passion with me at the workshop.  I came away with so much information that my head hurt!  They had such a fun and engaging way of teaching I can't wait to go back for the advanced class.  Their passion and inspiration are contagious.  There are lots of paints out there, but this is THE best paint out there and these are two of the best people around to buy this paint from!   If you're anywhere near the New Jersey area make sure to look them up and take one of their workshops.  If you have a computer,  you can order paint from them.  I have to also mention here they have the best customer service.  I had a fluke with some paint and they were right on the issue helping me out....they even phoned me to help resolve the minor issue! I can't brag on them enough.  If you're in the market for Annie Sloan products be sure and stop by their site www.bestfurniturepaint.com.

I have to mention here, I was not paid to advertise this paint or this workshop or Classic Wall Finishes NJ.  I paid for my workshop and all my paint.  This is just my honest opinion and experience with this wonderful company!


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