…building a business: never say never

I think something that has helped me in my creative business endeavors is an attitude of never say never. It is much easier to see the world in black and white, isn’t it?

Like, I believe in this, I do not believe in that.

The world is supposed to work like this and if it doesn’t then I will dig my heels in and be cranky about it.

People should behave this way and if they don’t I will shame them or withhold until they change.

I think this limited attitude with strict ideas makes us feel more safe. Or tries to make us safe. But, what in this world stays the same? Is so concrete? Certainly not nature – the ocean, the trees, the wind, the clouds. What can those teach us about life and God?

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The world is much more grey.

I think if we do not put constraints on ourselves we will be more open to what naturally comes our way. When I first started out, I thought to myself, I definitely want to open up a retail shop. I also thought, I am way to timid to paint other people’s furniture, I will never refinish as part of my business. Things change. Life changes. Home changes. Our minds change.

And that is just fine.

Be compassionate towards yourself. Don’t put borders on your potential by saying things are black and white. I think if we are open then we can more easily bend to wonderful things coming our way as well as things that we may need to turn down. I have turned down many opportunities since starting my business. I used to think I would jump at the chance. Thank goodness some inner voice told me that I was worth taking some time to consider what I really wanted.

This same attitude lets me consider what is to come. I am not sure if I will ever want to have a shop. I do not know if I will ever open a studio or be a vendor in someone else’s space. But, I will always want to keep my options open. This is what I want right now, but maybe in a year or two I will be interested in doing things a different way. Maybe I will want to use new paints or new colors. Maybe I will learn a new technique or meet another artist that makes me grow. Maybe I will stop all together and take up knitting.

How can I say never when I do not know what is to come and how I will feel?

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…blue egg q&a’s

Here are your Q&A’s! Got questions? Email me at: cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

Just a quick question re sanding. I watched your tutorials a while back and seem to remember the only sanding you doing was to distress? Is this correct or do you also sand down to ‘smooth it out’ in between layers? I’ve been on a day course and also spoken to a couple of other painters and they seem to sand down after the second and third layer, and then distress. Just wondering what you do and what your point of view is on this?

I primarily sand to distress. If I find that the paint lines seem a little thick then, yes, I will sand down a table top or dresser surface. Be careful, though. You don’t want your refinished pieces to look too “pretty” or manufactured. I want my pieces to look like then were cared for by a person and not a machine.

I would like to find out the dimensions of the Hide & Seek TV Screen With wood framing case. Do you have any photos of the TV screen with wood framing case to share? 

Due to my heavy work load, I am not making the Screen at this time. Check back!

Small Room Design

I began with my own furniture then hoping to start up a business if I am of course any good. So far I have only painted a side unit, I decided to paint it using ASCP in Graphite, which I later found out is the hardest colour to work with. So for me as a beginner, I obviously struggled. Firstly, the first coat went on fine, however, I wanted a second coat as there was a lot of wood still showing, when I began the second coat (the first was dry) the first coat sort of came off too, showing more wood. This has left me confused?. I’m not sure if it was my brush (only a cheap one from a home décor store), if it was because the paint was too thick to use for a second coat, or if I just cannot paint! 

Don’t get frustrated. A few questions – is the piece real wood? Could it be laminate with a shiny stain or poly? This is the only time that ASCP has not applied for me. If real wood, you should be in the clear. Yes, Graphite is a really finicky color also with most of the very dark colors. However, it should not come off. Are you letting it dry sufficiently? Yes, you can paint! You just need the right piece!

I just had a question for you – When you ship using Uship do you package the items yourself or does Uship do it?  I’ve seen online about blanket wrapped but am a little worried it’s not protected enough? Is this what you use?  I want to open an Etsy store but have no idea on how to handle shipping affordably for my customers.   Also, how do you weigh your pieces from home to get an accurate quote? 

I’ve said it before, shipping is a bear! But, it is possible with patience and the right shipper. Yes, I use USHIP and if shipping furniture I always choose the white glove and blanket wrap option. It is more expensive for the client, but peace of mind comes at a cost. I do not wrap anything myself. I estimate a weight.

I have painted my old kitchen table and chairs with ASCP in Old White and there is a bunch of really wonderful detail in both the chairs and the table legs.  I would really, REALLY like to brush some dark wax onto/into these details and I am scared to death. I have watched and re-watched all of your YOU TUBE videos, particlarly the ones speaking to dark wax  application and I know that being scared is silly….I just  don’t want to end up with muddy looking chairs. I DO want the detail to show up better. I think it will look odd if I only put the dark wax on the parts of the chairs that are carved and leave the other  areas of the chairs clean white.

Let me be clear – you do not need to dark wax! IF you want an aged look then lightly brush on the dark wax on the edges and go behind the brush with fine steel wool to smooth out. It will show up more on Old White so apply sparingly. You can always do a sample on the bottom of a chair and if you hate it then don’t do it! Typically, I do not dark wax on light pieces for clients (only for myself).

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Again, big props to you and many thanks for all you do for humanity. You seem like such a kind, giving and level-headed young woman.  Lets be friends, ok?

Yes! I would love to be best friends 🙂

I’ve had surgery and been in bed watching videos on how to paint furniture.  I found you and love your style.  I have a large oval table oak petastal table Im going to attempt to white wash with the chalk paint like you did.  I love your dining room cream chairs.  Can you tell me where you got them?  I looked on Restoration hardware site and they didn’t have them. Desperately want chairs just like yours.

Overstock! Sounds like you may need a little retail therapy while you are healing. I give you permission 🙂

I have a table like this that I want to paint and give that Restoration Hardware washed type look. What paint colors do you suggest to achieve this on this type piece.  Didn’t know if I should paint the old white color and then dry brush maybe some French linen on it then a wax or what?  Also this is gonna really be a highly used table so do you suggest a poly type finish on the top?  If I do that then I don’t need to put a wax on top do I?

You need an oak table to do the Restoration Hardware/Weathered-wood look. If you do not have oak the paint will not seep into the lines and give this affect. It will simply look like rubbed off paint. Consider distressing the surface. You can do one coat of a color and then a top coat. Once you sand you will see the bottom coat come through.

I noticed you have some items in your home painted black, Did you use chalk paint to get this finish?

Yes. Graphite. It is not a true black, but it is a rich, dark blackish color. Lovely.

Is there a magazine that will have pictures of your photo shoot? Will you be posting any?

My next publication will be in a design magazine. I will show pictures as soon as I am allowed to!

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My problem is I have an old desk. Old in that it is probably from the 60’s or 70’s and yet not old enough to be charming. It was my MIL’s and I am loaning it to my sister. I was thinking that I could spruce it up with some paint but I am new to Annie Sloan paint and am nervous about attempting it. What should I  do with the old metal pulls, which are very dark. Do I paint them as well? Sadly one is missing so I plan to put a different one on the top center drawer because I have been all over the Internet and cannot locate one to match. [I have found similar ones but they have two screws and mine have one hole/screw from which the handle drops down. There is a tiny hole and brad in the bottom to keep it straight.]  Have you ever been successful in matching hardware if any are missing?

Since you are missing some hardware, I would recommend taking it all off, painting the piece and then putting on new hardware. It is tricky to match old hardware. Van Dyke’s is a great resource for all hardware. Or I love the look of clear glass. I’m sure you will make it charming!

I have another question, (sorry, I’m starting to sound like a 2 year old with all these questions), If I’m not mistaken I think that you said something about hinges that your husband is working on. Would you please elaborate, what type of hinges, for what are they used, are they available yet?

DH builds custom hinges for the Hide & Seek TV Screens when available.

Can you tell me the refinishing process you used on the chair you show in the top picture here(with the bunny pillow)?  I have the exact same chairs in my dining room!

This chair I refinished with milk paint and basic stain until I achieved the color I wanted.

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…after the chaos

After Christmas, guests, presents, food, wrapping paper, colds, cards, parties, lights all I want is to throw everything out the window and clean. Embarrassingly, that is kinda what we do. We thank our tree for sharing its life with our family and then it is thrown out the window. Actually, it is dragged through the French doors and tossed over the balcony. Better this way then dragged through the house trailing buckets full of needles.

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Hopefully it will make it to the front of the house to be picked up by Recycling before Spring.

I then start the maddness of vacuuming, mopping, Windexing, furniture polishing and even get a little motivated to make some changes in my decorating around the house. I love changing things up. I used to move my furniture around every Saturday as a kid. A bit crazy, I know. But, if you are like me then it’s perfectly normal and can be inspiring to update your space. Yes?

So, I left everything in the closest that I took down to replace with Christmas decor. I didn’t want any more stuff out.

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Dough bowl. Large. Simple. Statement. I have 4 and I heart them all.

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Colored books perfectly tame in their vintage, rusted locker basket.

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And the foyer table with an urn and an orange cat. Tomorrow I may milk paint this table white. If I do I will do a tutorial since you’ve asked about how to apply milk paint. For now, it’s purrrrrfect.