Annie Sloan Chalk Paint vs. CeCe Caldwell

So today I started my new full time job. I am a retail store owner. I left nursing behind Friday. I cried like a baby when I left the clinic, but I got over it fairly fast. I am still overwhelmed,  I am tackling the custom paint jobs that have been looming. People are starting to pick up their pieces now and money is coming in. I have this big orange buffet-changing table and will be glad to have it find it’s new home. It was painted with latex paint and for a reason I have not figured out yet, feels tacky even after drying for several days. Then the hubby was helping me attach the back piece, he laid that on the top of the buffet and it pulled off the paint. Do you ever have pieces that are just a pain? I was only able to get one door off because the screws were so stuck and stripped. I am not happy with painting pieces when I have to try to paint around a hinge or a knob. There were a few knobs too we couldn’t remove either. Of course it was missing that ONE knob when I got the piece, like with every piece I get in.

I am critical of the work I do and would hate to send out a piece I am not happy with. I am addicted to using chalk paint, so when I have to use latex, it feels like I am painting watercolors. The buffet had 4 coats on and it still showed the wood grain. I finally added a little plaster of paris to my latex to make my own chalk paint. Instant gratification! I will add my usual wax on top and it should be done tomorrow!

There are new things that I am learning. With custom work, people choose their color, which most of the time I have shelves full of my go to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. There has been a few times that I have to go with latex, I plan to use my home made recipe for these too.

I started to wonder if I can make home made chalk paint, maybe I should try another brand. I received a personal like on Tattered Facebook page from CeCe Caldwell. I figured that was worth me trying out her paint. She has a wide variety of colors, more than ASCP. It is cheaper too. I ordered one can, something like Carolina Sun Yellow. I received it and was expecting a very soft butter yellow and opened it up and it was more like primary yellow. I had a little child’s rocking chair that was never painted. CeCe Caldwell is runnier and the grain of the wood really showed thru with one coat. It reminded me more of a color wash. The interesting thing about this paint is that once it started to dry a bit, that soft butter yellow started to show. I gave it 2 coats, then just used AS clear wax over because that’s all I had.

Bottom line is that these 2 paint companies seem like they are in a bitter battle on the internet. I think they are two different types of paint. ASCP is a full coverage paint, whereas CeCe Caldwell is more of a wash allowing the under color to show.


Update: 09/25/13: I forgot to post this over one month ago! lol. Here it is


Leaving nursing!

I think back to when I started this journey. In a corner of my mind I would think “what if?” What if the store was so successful, I could quit my job and do it full time? Nah,,, that would never happen. I have 3 days left at my nursing job, then I’m done… I will open the store every week and not be a nurse anymore. This has taken less than one year to happen.

So how did this happen? Baby steps, small increments. Putting my toes in the water a little at at time to test it. Well, I’m going into the deep end friends! In May, my employer allowed me to cut to part time. That was ideal. I worked Monday and Tuesday, then was off until the next week and worked Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The store open every other Wed- Friday.

This line of work never has enough time in the day. I continue to pick the vintage finds, clean them up, restore and repurpose. I have 10 “vendors” that have their goods in the store. I think the difference Tattered offers is most of the merchandise is things I have created. My vendors have soy candles, handcrafted jewelry, baby items. My sister is the only one who brings in things like I do. I like having creative and quality control.

The big turning point for deciding to close the chapter on nursing was something I NEVER expected or planned. People started to ask me to paint their furniture. Hmm.. ok, I could do that. All of a sudden, my legal pad had 13 custom projects with no time to complete. I never advertised custom work. This is potentially a huge boost to the business!! If the store is a little slow with customers, I have this “back up work.” Right now, I have a buffet waiting to be turned into a orange changing table to match a Dr. Seuss themed nursery, a fireplace mantel disassembled to be painted black and distressed, dressers for several customers and the most recent was an old bike that was salvaged from a ditch. That will be given a fresh color and will find a home in a beautiful flower bed. I think to myself, gosh, can’t they paint these themselves? I guess I find it easy and have to start thinking that I offer a service that other people either have no interest in doing, don’t have the time or just like the way I do it.

I am extremely happy with my future. My husband of course is nervous, but supportive. We had to look for different health insurance and were approved yesterday, so that is a huge relief. I tried not to worry about it. I have learned that God takes care of me and worrying is pointless. Everything always works out in the end, maybe not on my timeframe, but it does.

I have lots of tips and trips to share that I have learned along the way. Can’t wait to share more with you guys. There is such great support and so many of you that want to do similar work. If you have a passion, do it. I wanted to do this for 15 years. If I wouldn’t have been a nurse first, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to do it. Everyone says, you can always go back and be a nurse if this doesn’t work out. That is true, but I ignore that statement. I am not going to worry about if this doesn’t work out. I am an achiever. Set goals and obtain goals.

So, today I am painting the office “Robin’s Egg Blue” sounds beautiful right? If cotton candy was blue, thats the color it would be. Not a huge fan, but I bought it for an accent wall for the store and didn’t like it there and don’t like it in the office. It’s going up though, I’m already half done. I want to get a little organized, my downfall is paperwork. More on this topic later… see I even procrastinate discussing paper work!! Haha..


Repurposing dresser drawers

I visited a wonderful gal yesterday that is helping her grandparents clean out a granary on their farm. She reports it was the building where the whole family put their junk they didn’t want anymore. Those are my kinda places! She hauled a load home and told me to pick out what I wanted.

As I become a ahem… more experienced picker, I scour the pieces for damage even beyond my repair. She had this desk that looking from afar, was super cute and a size that isn’t so gi-normous. BUT, the top was some kind of laminate or formica?? and the piece was made of (boo) particle board. Looking at the bottom, the particle board was swelled up with water damage. In the past I would have taken it, feeling bad for the gal because she didn’t want it either, but I turned that piece down.

So I loaded up a copper boiler with that beautiful green patina, 2 tubs of old jars, which I have big plans for, an old smallish farm table. She was so nice and was helping me load stuff too. We settled up what I owed her, then she says, “Could you use the drawers? I think my boys will just burn this desk anyway…. ” Sure, I can take free stuff, at least there were drawer handles that I could possibly reuse.

I got back to the shop yesterday and its funny, sometimes creativity speaks to me. In this case these drawers told me to repurpose them. Ok, I’ve seen that before. I did buy some new spray paint called satin lagoon that is this gorgeous teal. I primed and spray painted the two 10 inch wide drawers, the whole drawer inside and out and the really wide one, I just did the face plate. I added some word art to all, which I have been struggling with, distressed them, which makes any blunders in the word art disappear. I added a little ribbon to where the drawer pulls were. They will make nice little storage somewhere. The nicest part was the drawers were REAL wood, none of that particle board garbage!

repurposed drawers

This project was easy and free!!

Repurposed drawer

The other desk drawer was a very wide and big one. I didn’t think anyone would like that for a storage piece. I already painted it. So I cut the front plate off…


So I asked my son to get the saw for me and he grabs me a reciprocating saw… overkill, leave it to a guy!!


Just cut along the edges, there were no nails or staples, so easy cutting. Then flip it over to cut the bottom edge. Then I got to use my new rubber mallet, gave the back plate a WHAP, and the plate went flying. (it’s being distressed anyway) Maybe just see that it lands somewhere it doesn’t break.


Now there is a really nice wall sign that has the beveled edges and everything! For free!!


It was a simple project with 3 pieces I can sell in my shop that didn’t take $ or much effort!      Happy junking!


Falling behind (on blog, that is)

It seems there are more weeks between posts every time I look than the time before. I guess that can be a good and a bad thing. Busy enough at the store that I can’t find time to write, but too busy to write and people lose interest because there is no new content. I am part time at the clinic now, so I shouldn’t complain.

My store is plump full of decor, I have 10 vendors that are successful selling their inventory. My store room also is full of goodies waiting to be painted. The outside is a pretty typical junk store, old bikes with wire baskets full of geraniums, an old wringer wash tub with a potted flower. I think our location is ideal for a small town, but people still have trouble finding it at first.

I watch Facebook like a hawk, still giddy that the “likes” are on the rise, almost 800 now. Twitter seems foreign to me, so I don’t do it, which is ok because I don’t think anyone else does that much around here either.

Being open every other week Thursday through Saturday is new to me. It hasn’t been super successful yet, so weighing in on that. If I’m off from clinic to spend time working on the projects at the store, I may as well be open! I have people stop in at all times anyway. If my big blue Ford is outside, come in!! I did buy a truck a few weeks ago, which makes sense for all the hauling I do. And its a pretty one!!

A surprising sideline that popped up and is keeping me busy and the extra money is handy is the custom work I do. I have had several jobs of customers bringing in their own pieces and I paint them. It is a little more nerve wracking to work on THEIR piece, so far so good!

I’ve ordered my second batch of business cards and have went through several hundred price tags. Obviously things are selling and people are visiting. I think it’s going well. My hubby is interested in the financials. Cutting down hours as an RN is taking a considerable pay cut. I have to work many more hours at Tattered to make the same money as the clinic. I have somewhat a sense of calm now working either 2 or 3 days a week punching a time clock. I didn’t give up that skill and we still have health insurance. When I first started Tattered, I asked one of my mentors in a similar store about the money and she told me the money she makes goes right back into her store, they live off her husband’s income. Right now, I would say I definately put money back into the store with the rent and the junking trips, but, I always have cash to give to my boys that seem to always have their hands out for gas money, lunch or some sport thing. So, there is some money for the Nelson family. Just never seems to find it’s way into the checkbook! I know I have to be more of a negotiator when I go picking. I guess I don’t want to come off as a cheap skate and get a bad reputation. I am getting better at saying no. People approach me with things they want to sell. I first look at if I like it, if it will sell and if I can make a profit. I feel bad saying no, but it is a business. No one has ever gotten mad for me saying no either. So far.

Writing is like exercising. I kinda dread it, but once I’m done, I feel good and glad I did. Now… why can’t I get back on that treadmill!??


Meanwhile, here at Tattered….

It’s been exactly one month since the last update post. Time has past enough to give another update.

Next Monday I will be part time at the clinic so I can devote more time to the store. I seems to me that it is not really happening! I have always worked for someone else and full time. I started working when I was 15. I took some time off after my second son was born. I tried to be a stay at home Mom, but it wasn’t for me. I really give credit to those Moms and Dads out there. If I would have had computers and blogs and Facebook back then, I maybe could have handled it. It won’t be that I will have all this extra time on my hands. just that I won’t have to go at maximum overdrive mode.

The weekends open have been successful.  The store seems to sell about have of the inventory by noon on Saturday. Ideally, we will have replacements to pull from back room instead of it being a first come first serve situation. There is always things to work on waiting in the back room. I have accommodated several customers that have asked about certain pieces they had in mind. Often I show pieces that are waiting to be fixed up and it seems to be just what they are looking for, so I get to sell it. I have also did custom work for a few where they have brought in their piece and painted to their request.

Pink and Blue Mason Jars with Chevron - Cover Photo

I am trying to build Tattered’s branding image now. I am excitedly waiting for another draft of a logo. So pumped to unveil it. I am fortunate to have a friend who is a graphic designer who also is a vendor for Tattered. I plan to order custom bags and am in need of more business cards. With the expanded store hours, I should publicize that in the papers. I find that advertising is so expensive, BUT, there are a lot of people who don’t Tweet or use Facebook. So the old fashioned route must be used.

A mentor of mine told me when I first started not to invest so heavily in the store. She said just to recycle grocery bags, use a calculator, never advertise. I have followed that advise. There are times when you have to find your own way too. I bought a cash register because I felt like I was running a rummage sale instead of a brick and mortar store. I put my beautiful merchandise in crinkled up Walmart bags. I just feel cheap and unprofessional. I guess it’s not the image I want to portray. Even though the name is Tattered, it doesn’t actually mean that is how everything has to be.

So I plan to upgrade the image, a more grown up Tattered. I think that is how businesses can be successful though. Never to get stale, keep moving and shifting as needed. I did already upgrade the Facebook page  with an awesome timeline from Leesa Dykstra Designs. She does beautiful work. So much talent. I am working on building the fan base for Facebook. I think for only being open for 5 months, over 600 likes is something to be proud of. So keep the love coming and visit me at Facebook too!

Thanks for your support, please share my pages with your friends. I am hoping to update this site more now that I will be part time at the clinic, YAY!!


Time to get creative!

Repurposed stereo made into a store unit with style

Stand/side bar

Finished a piece that has been hanging around the back room for months. This old Hi-Fi stereo unit was repurposed into a muti-purpose storage unit. The colors turned out well together. Annie Sloan Cocoa with Country Grey. I was disappointed when I opened the grey as it is more of a dark cream color. Unsure if it is a labeling error, or if that is truly the color. It works beautifully with cocoa whatever is it!

We removed the “guts” of the radio and the top lid opens to a nice storage area inside. The problem with these stereos is there is usually some ugly carpet type material in the front for speakers. At Tattered, we have had a lot of success with the galvanized metal look. This piece had the silver panels inserted, but didn’t look right with the brown tones of the cabinet, so I painted the panels bronze. The upside to these pieces are they are usually beautifully detailed and intricate, as well as very affordable and abundant to find at thrift stores. I really like this piece. I know the ones that are good are the pieces I am tempted to keep!

Custom painted night stand

Custom painted night stand

Here is another example of Cocoa with the Country Grey. A customer asked if we had any night stands. This is a really cute little 4 drawer dresser that I picked when it was a lilac shade… not a favorite color for a little boy and his legos. The top was stripped and stained, as well as the original knobs.

It has been fun doing the multi color look, I think I am going to have a blast with color combos.

More recent projects I have had time to finish!

Ripped vinyl seat with past it's prime paint job

Ripped vinyl seat with past it’s prime paint job
Sturdy fabric seat with coordinating color for rest

Sturdy fabric seat with coordinating color for rest of stool

I love metal stools! The industrial look is so hot now. With the updated contemporary colors it is industrial chic at it’s BEST!

Paint completely chipped off seat

Paint completely chipped off seatI got lucky at a recent pick and got 3 metal stools, can’t get enough of them! This one is so sturdy and has the awesome industrial look with the big adjustable seat.

Upcycled shop stoolThe Annie Sloan paint will be tested with this stool! It is done in Aubussen Blue. Pretty enough to pull out of the shop and put around the bar!

Barcelona orange side table I have been having fun experimenting with new colors, here is Barcelona orange with dark wax.

Barcelona Orange with Old White

Barcelona Orange with Old White

Undercoat is the orange with Old White.

I wanted to give you all an update of what I have been up to. Feels so good to get pieces done and to fill up the store again. Of course there is not enough time to get everything done I want to accomplish.

There is hope after all! Five weeks from now, I will reduce my hours at the clinic to part time! That means I can be open at Tattered more and spend more time on the projects and keeping the business running and profitable.

There has been such a hugely positive response to the store. People really seem to like the stuff we have and the building is a draw. It is unique and just a funky place to visit.

Here in Minnesota, winter doesn’t know its spring. There is ANOTHER Sunday/Monday winter storm expecting 6-12 inches of the white stuff with winds of 25-30 mph. I have been patiently waiting to move junk outside on the porch. I know curb appeal is what draws my eye to swing in to shop at a store like mine.

I can’t believe it! I almost forgot to share our biggest pick yet !!!

Biggest pick yet!!

Biggest pick yet!!

This was a great lead! I was contacted to see if we wanted the wood off this old shed. The fellow wanted it moved to use the land for tillable acres. Unfortnuately, there was another shed that was destroyed. This one is great! It is such a sturdy shed, we decided not only we wanted the wood, we wanted the whole building! It took Nate most of last weekend to jack it up and load on the trailer. It was only a few miles from home, so it sits in our small country yard. It really is quite quaint.

There was a lot of garbage in the shed, but did find some old goodies too. It took me 3 hours to clean the shed and sort out what was salvageable. The only critter I came across was one deceased mouse. I was creeped out anyway, cuz there obviously had been a lot of critters living in there, or at least was their outhouse. I said I only saw the one mouse. My poor hubby on the other hand….. As he jacking up the shed, he kicked loose some tin around the bottom. What do you suppose may be under an old shed in April? Well, a homeless skunk would be! He got the last laugh as he sprayed Nate’s boot and ran off. I worked in and out of that shed for 3 hours, lucky for me it was still nap time for PePe La Pew. 

Oh the adventures awaiting me!!!