jeudi 11 avril 2013

l'Ouverture de la Nouvelle Saison - New Season Opening!

Nous somme heureuse d'annonce notre ouverture de 2013 pour Samedi, 27 Avril!

Pour commencer la saison, nous serons ouverts definitivement tous les week-ends de 13:00 - 18:00.... et plus comme inspiré!

Nous avons des nouvelles collections Vintage, de La Fiancée du Mékong, des bijoux et beaucoup des petits truc amusant!  et bien sûr, des belles meubles relooké!!!

plus de nouvelles à venir .... et à trés bientôt!!!   Kimberlee xo

We are happy to announce the opening of our 2013 Season on Saturday, 27 April!

To begin the season, we will be open all week-ends from 13:00 - 18:00 ... and more as inspired!

We have new collections of Vintage women's clothes, new styles from La Fiancée du Mékong, new handmade jewelry collections and lots of fun little things!  and OF COURSE, beautiful new revamped furniture pieces by yours truly!!!

more news to come soon xo can't wait to be back and see everyone soon!  Kimberlee xo

lundi 25 mars 2013

chalk paint vs. chalk paint

Un petit note sur la peinture craie que j'ai appris. J'ai déja essayé un version fait maison qui n'etait pas trop mal.  mais, pour ma part, je suis concernant avec l'environment et la durabilité de les choses je fais.  Il y a beacoup des produits qui vous pouvez mettre dans votre peinture à fait un effet de 'craie'.  Mais, ils ne changent pas la composition de la peinture, les toxins etc.

Avec la peinture d'Annie Sloan <>, vous avez une peinture 'eco-friendly', verte ... sans odeur, et trés faible avec les chimiques.  Il est comme une rêve à utilise avec simplicité et sans complications!  Les couleurs sont très pur et durable, ils sont fait par une artiste donc, voila! tant mieux!

si vous êtes comme moi et vous avez l'envie une ambience ecologique a votre maison, les chose vous aspirez et touchez ... vous allez trouvez cet peinture la meilleur, c'est sure.

A note sharing a little more I have learned about chalk paint.  Doing some research led me to homemade chalk paint recipes which I indeed tried with some success.  That homemade version and many you will find on the market, involve adding chalk or chalk-like substances to the paint.  This results in a mixture that sticks better to an unsanded, unprepared surface.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, which I also tried in comparison, is not called chalk paint because of the addition of chalk.  It has that name because of the flat, almost chalky finish it produces when dry and before treated with any waxes.  Unlike many other mixtures, it also is very eco-friendly being low in VOCs and practically odor free.  Its colors are formulated from an artist's point of view and remain true even when diluted.

I am just learning more about these varieties of paints, but one thing that stands out to me is if you are buying/using a chalk additive to put into your paint ... you may be achieving a chalkier mixture that adheres differently.  But the paint is still the same, it is not an eco-friendly paint and the same elements remain in the paint that affect how it mixes and goes on, the color quality, the texture of the paint, etc.

So if you, like me, are concerned about the environment, about what affects the quality of your home environment...even to the point of what you might be breathing in or have touching your skin ... you might want to take a closer look at your DIY projects and how you accomplish them.  Annie Sloan also has wall and floor paints which are worth checking out.

I am of the conclusion that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, around for more than 20 years, is the original and best out there.

lundi 18 mars 2013

au nord! up north ...

Je suis dans le nord pour faire beaucoup de choses, y compris les lieux de chasse pour de nouveaux <>. J'ai entendu parler de certaines sources intéressantes dans Reims ... également, j'ai mes favoris à Paris.

Je vais aussi visiter Les Couronnes Sauvages
à coté St. Malo pour acheter un grand choix de peinture <> et trouver quelques meubles pour les relooké.
J'ai retardé l'ouverture du magasin quelques semaines à cause de tous les travaux ici. Tous les jours la route est fermée dans un nouvel endroit et il est presque impossible de se garer ou à venir avec la route et les ponts fermés. J'espère que pour la mi-Avril maintenant, il me semble que les routes seront ouvertes comme d'habitude alors!  à très bientôt!


I am in the north to do many things, including hunt new sources for vintage.  I have heard of some interesting places in Reims ... also, I have my favorites in Paris.

I am also going to visit  Les Couronnes Sauvages
 to buy a big selection of Annie Sloan chalk paint and scout some fun furniture for using it on.  They are near St. Malo, so I am looking forward to a nice lunch there as well since it is nearly four hours away!
I have delayed the store opening a couple of weeks because of all of the road work.  Every day the road is closed in a new place and it is almost impossible to park or come in with the road and bridges closed.  I am hoping for mid-April now, it seems the roads will be open as normal then.  Hope to See you SOON!  xx

mardi 19 février 2013

Annie Sloan vs homemade

en francais bientôt!

so I have been wanting to get to this post for a bit. Last update was about homemade chalk paint. here I go with the professional version .... drumroll ... Annie Sloan. I am kind of a day late and a dollar short, as the expression goes. Once I randomly started googling about ways to simplify my painting life given my abundance of projects and scarcity of time ... I discovered that my problem (endless preparation time for redoing furniture) had been solved ages ago. le sigh. because of the myriad of plaudits for the Annie Sloan brand, I decided to try it for my professional test. And now I will join the angelic chorus in shouting hallelujahs to painting high heaven, amazing amazing where have you been all my painting life?

First thing I noticed when opening the can is the luxurious whipped texture. Now this is a can that was shipped to me from Northern France. so it did not come to me fresh off the paint can shaker thing at the paint store (technical term there) so this texture is obviously inherent to the product. It is smooth like frosting, but a little less thick. I chose the Old White because it is presented as devoid of any color pigments (yellow or pink) and thus a welcoming base to any color.

I used the paint on a client project I had overwintered. A large, 2 piece buffet from the 60/70s, pine, covered in a hideous orangey varnish, so well known on pine of this timeframe. I felt this would make a handsome test for the Annie Sloan chalk paint claims of no sanding, no priming, just paint. Normally this sort of finish would reauire either complete sanding or 1-2 Coats of primer to avoid bleed-through to the new finish. especially a light colored finish.

My client had already chosen a color, somewhere between a seafoam and sage green ... the Annie Sloan duck egg made a close match. So I wanted to test not only the ease of using the product, how it matched up to its claims ... but also the economy of it as I have seen some complaints about pricing. For this project I ordered 1 liter of Old White and 1 test jar (100ml) of the duck egg paints, and one tin of the clear wax. I wanted to lighten up the color to get to my client's desire. I mixed approx. 1/3 of the white liter with 3/4 of the sample pot and several tablespoons of water to create the supply of paint for the exterior of the piece. I anticipated I might need to do 2 coats.

For the interior, I blended about 1/2 cup of the white with a yellow acrylic I already had. Also wanting to see how well the Annie Sloan product could integrate with other brands. I covered the entire buffet with one coat that went on smooth as silk, no streaks. I kept the consistency pretty thick like a pancake batter, not very watered down. I did a second coat solely on the top surface of the buffet as this area would experience the most wear.

I did the interior more as a wash because the old wood / veneer was fragile and slightly warped in places and I did not want to get it too wet. I had already contracted with my client not to do any repairs and I did not want to create any more work for myself! After the paint had dried, I was ready to wax.

With chalk paint, you apply wax vs. a clear topcoat of varnish. This goes against everything I have done for years and was the more awkward step of the new process. The weather was super cold here and the wax was not soft (as when it arrived in my warm kitchen) but really firm and difficult to get on the brush. I warmed it up a bit to room temperature and took another go. This will take some adapting on my part, but I can already see where I can improve my approach ... and a little extra research has given me some good tips. Like heating the wax to form more of a glaze you can lightly brush on and then go back to buff. In warmer weather I can see where this would not be a problem, but in my unheated atéliér in the frezing winter of countryside France it is a different story. You apply wax BEFORE sanding which also goes against all instincts for a clean final finish but trust me it worked! only sand what you want to distress or change the look of, you do not have to sand the whole piece to achieve a clean final finish. once you have done your sanding, you can buff the piece to the desired glow or shine. If it is a little streaky or you want it glossier you can add some wax and polish on. The wax adheres to the paint and through buffing creates a finish that will continue to harden and age to a nice patina.

One thing that kind of stumped me was the interior of cabinetry. I usually paint and topcoat the interiors and drawere for a more finished and clean outcome. I don't think it is feasible to wax and buff the interior of cabinetry. No worries there, you can topcoat chalkpaint as an alternative to wax. Which I did.

I am impressed by the ease of working with this product as well as how easily it adhered to the original finish on the furniture! As far as the cost goes ... here it was 22€ for the liter and 9€ for the sample pot. I estimate I used about 20€ of product on this very large two part piece. I did not sand and I did not pay for primer. I used my existing brushes and tools. At a minimum the expense was about the same. I still have plenty of the white paint and wax to use on another project. Which I already have planned! I also purchased a sample pot of their Antibes Green which I was immediately attracted to. I think I can stretch this for 2 projects I have ... wait and see!

I know there is a plethora of other techniques to discover with this paint such as layering more than one color and revealing with water vs sanding, using the dark wax to achieve an aged patina and some of the other specialized finish products like crackling ... but for now I give an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up!


jeudi 24 janvier 2013

winter ateliér .. ateliér d'hiver

So while I wish I could say I lead the cosmopolitan life, shuttering the shop to take wild adventurous voyages ... I must confess that it is the period where I truly lead the modern pioneer life! At the coldest point of the season, my kitchen is converted to workshop. Paints and implements are dragged in and used close by the fire. Paint is splattered on the (thankfully) painted and distressed floor. At some point in the future I may or may not sand the offending colors off ... or decide that they lend a more 'bohemian' aspect to the room. (lazy girl's obfuscation). I usually look around and think, "wow, if anyone saw my life now, they'd think ugh, what is this woman thinking? who wants a kitchen like this?" I now understand that whole fable about the cobbler's shoeless children... my many home ideas and projects typically give way for the latest shop brainstorm.

Imagine my glee when I stumbled across this blog post from Les Couronnes Sauvages. (more on that stumble in a future post!)

Not only is the author a lover of furniture and design and beautiful paints ... but I recognize myself in that kitchen. A thing of beauty and whirling dervishes and lofty ideals and circus-like juggling.

You will have to visit my other blog, Je Regrette Rien for more musings on why we soldier on, the trade-offs of a life in a foreign land.

But how encouraging to see familiar territory, familiar travellers braving it all with vigor.

Not to mention that Claire, the propriétaire hosts a lovely boutique in the north with wildly colorful blooms, all mention of sweet treasures, beautiful paints and workshops ... just the sort of spot I would careen to a halt for in one of my week-end meanderings.

I suppose, to be fair, I should share some sort of snapshot of my kitchen .... ok, well, just a corner then

et maintenant, je vais essayer en francais ... oo la. bon. Je voudrais vous dire je suis un vrai cosmopolite et chaque hiver, je travers le monde pour la vie 'jet-set'. Malheureusement, c'est pas vrais. L'invers, il est le moment de la vrais vie pioneer. Le froid, le silence, le sobriété...

Il faut faire un ateliér dans la cuisine! j'amene tout mes peinture, mes outils et j'attaque mes projets en face de la cheminé! mon plancher, heureusement déja peint, souffre de la peinture renversée en silence. quand je la regarde, je me demande .. imaginez si quelqu'un a vu cela, ils ne pensent qu'à une personne folle voudrait cette cuisine!!! mais c'est comme ça, toujours mes projets à la maison sont fournis après mes projets de The Bohemians!

donc, imaginez mon joie quand j'ai vu un blog à Les Couronnes Sauvages. une femme comme moi avec une cuisine pareil! une cuisine qui reflet un spirit un peu pioneer et un peu jongleur, sauvage, artistique...formidable! EXCELLENTE!

et plus, visitez son site! elle es amoureuse avec tout les choses déco, les petits trésors, les fleurs bien coloré .. la belle peinture.

je pense peut-être une vrais ame-soeur?

vous pouvez visiter mon autre site de blog personnel, Je Regrette Rien à decouverte plus (seulement en Anglais ... desolé) ou si vous voudrais me corrige, bien sûr, laissez un commentaire pour moi!

vendredi 11 janvier 2013

Paint ... Peinture

So I have been playing around with paint, investigating options to make it easier, prettier, EASIER, for myself. 

I have been dabbling in painted furniture for about ten years now.  When we first opened Mignonne Decor many years ago, we didn't paint the furniture, we bought it from artisans. My daughter, the artist, became inspired to try her hand at it, first for the savings .... but finally as her passion. 

I had dabbled here and there in various crafty projects for a while, but never seriously until moving to France. But before that, I started collecting painted furniture for my homes ... never thinking so much about technique but just being drawn to pretty pieces.  

There was a little shop on the coast of Oregon, a collective, where I met Darla, someone whose furniture continuously drew me back and sparked a flame in me about the beauty of the old becoming new again. I blab on about this because she has been on my mind while I conduct my experimentation with chalky type paint and its merits. See, this little table I am working on is one of the first pieces I bought from Darla. It was just a plain creamy color. But so many little details ... the rollers, the lion paw feet, the gateleg, the insert, the carved edging ... she has travelled far with me, this little lady and is in need of a touch-up! I hope to learn something new and do her justice for one of my early inspirers! Darla, if you are out there ... I think of you often!  

So, regarding paint. I stumbled across some videos demonstrating and debating the virtues of various paints...milk paint, craft paint, chalk paint...various brands like Miss Mustard's Milk Paint, Ce Ce Caldwell's true blue American paint, Annie Sloan's sophisticated English Chalk Paint ... I found homemade recipes for paint that include grout, calcium carbonate, baking soda, plaster of paris ... antiquing treatments with boot polish, walnuts, coffee grounds ... wow!!! talk about Alice's hole of painting wonderland! 

I will be honest. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Last year, my furniture inventory suffered because I was stretched too thin. I love doing my furniture but there were not enough hours in the day or energy to do it all. And since I have been considering offering some workshops, I want to make it easier for my customers too. So when I started reading about chalk paint eliminating mountains of prep time, I made one of those Scooby Doo snorts and started researching.  

Being in one of those too much to do moments presently, I decided to start my experimentation with the homemade version. I am leaving in a day or two to head to Paris for the Maison et Objet show in Paris.  

I opted to mix up the Plaster of Paris/paint version to create a type of chalk paint. I am no expert, the little I know is that the chalky substance allows the paint to adhere much more strongly to the surface you apply it to, theoretically allowing you to eliminate the sanding and priming prepwork I so judiciously adhere to with all of my furniture.  

I whipped it up and painted my little table. It was slightly gritty in bits, even after looking like the pancake batter texture recommended. It dried like a matte paint, a bit rougher and brush strokes were evident. I used two coats on a painted, polycoated surface. It sands like a dream, becoming smooth. For the bottom, legs and such, I proceeded zith the recommended wax vs. poly, applied with a brush and then I buffed it. Nice result. Since this is a kitchen surface piece, I think I will poly the top. This format was easy enough to work with but from what I see, would be most useful on distressed furniture vs. modern slick undistressed effect you might use on later dated furniture. 

After the conference, I am ordering some Annie Sloan product to test. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this paint and I am looking forward to testing it out. If anyone has thoughts to share, please do? how interested would you be in having this product available in the Dordogne? perhaps with some workshops? have you used it before and what did you think? inquiring minds and all!!!  

so that is it for now, my slam packed agenda calls!!! more updates soon about the great paint experiment!!  

Mesdames et mademoiselles, tous les filles ... je vais ecrire un traduction trés bientôt, sûr tout mes aventures en peinture! bisous!  


mercredi 2 janvier 2013

Bonne Année! Happy New Year!

Friends and followers, The Bohemians wishes you a safe and prosperous 2013 with health and happiness and most importantly, an abundance of love!

We are so grateful for your support and encouragement. 2012 was a wonderful year and we are very excited about the 2013 season.  A beautiful new boulevard is under construction, with grand sidewalks promenading from the center of the village and along our charming boutique.  I look forward to finding just the right set of café tables to place outside for a short repose, where one can view the oldest bell tower in France!

We will be on a short break while I am in my atelier preparing the 2013 furniture collection and reimagining our space for the new season.  I am already on the lookout for new artists and artisanal, handmade collections to share ... if you are an artist, please get in touch soon at to find out more about exhibiting this year.

Looking forward to sharing more and seeing you soon!


Chers amis, The Bohemians vous souhaites un trés bon 2013 avec beaucoup de joie, santé et le plus importante, l'amour!

On vous remercie pour tout le support et vos encouragements.  2012 etait merveilleux et on attends 2013 avec plaisir.  Un nouveaux boulevard, trés beau, est presque fini ... avec des grands trottoirs qui passe juste en face de la boutique.  J'ai hâte de mettre une table mignon de prendre une pause et admirer le plus vieux clocher de France!!

The Bohemians est sur une petit pause pendant que je suis dans l'atelier préparation de la collection de meubles 2012.  Déja je cherche les nouveaux artists et collections fait à la main, si vous êtes un artist, trouvez tout renseignments à

à très bientôt!! Kimberlee