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