…q&a’s

Hi Folks! Here’s our weekly Q&A. Some of you that may be new to Blue Egg Brown Nest may want to look at my YouTube Tutorials or past posts from more detailed information. There’s a ton of content on here if I do say so myself!

How did your husband open the trunk? My grandfather’s old WW2 trunk is in my basement, my dad tried to open it with the key and the key broke off in it.

I must say, this is the second trunk that I’ve purchased that was locked without a key. They must have made them super dooper back then because getting into one is not easy. Here’s what DH says he did to open, “I used a flat head screw driver and a pry bar to bend the inner lip of the lock just enough to get a screw driver inside and rotate it around the circle to get it open”. Good luck! Tell me if you find any treasure 🙂

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When painting and using the wax, do I have to buy all the different Annie Sloan brushes? Or are there some less expensive ones I can use? Also, with the wax, I know in your tutorials you say to use the different brushes for the different color waxes, do I have to do that? Just trying to save myself some money.

I totally understand. If you plan on doing alot of painting, invest in at least one good ASCP oval brush – a large one. This will cut down on paint lines & make the surface areas go quickly. You can get away with a small, cheap brush for detailed work (make sure bristles do not fall out!), and a rag for the waxing processes. You will need separate rags for clear and one for dark. Do not mix these.

Also, the counter top of the hutch that I am going to keep natural looking…does Annie Sloan make a stain? Or can I use the dark wax without a paint? Is that something I can apply straight to wood?

She does not make a stain that I know of. But, if you are after a stain simply go to your hardware store and buy a few of the tiny cans, experiment with the color on the back of your hutch. Then you want to use a clean, small rag and move with the grain of the wood all the way through. Go lightly and if you need to do a second coat you can. The dark wax is not meant as a stain so I would not use it as such. It is used for your detail work to make the piece looked aged.

I know that you said you use uship to ship your pieces, but do you get a quote before you sell a piece; or, do you wait until after you sell a piece to get a quote so that you know where it is being shipped. For example, if you posted something on ebay, you need to put a shipping cost, so do you get a quote for shipping before you post?

So, this is what I do about shipping items posted on Etsy or the like. I write that the client has to “convo” me for shipping. This is a must. Do not let them buy & pay before you figure out shipping because if you can’t find a low enough shipping price they may not be able to afford it and may change their minds and you have to do a refund. It’s a real pain. If you use USHIP, then you post the item for shipping and wait for bids. Then as I received bids I would tell clients what I was getting. I set it all up and if we found an agreeable price & date to ship then they would pay for the piece & shipping via me. It’s rather complicated.

I am not sure how much distressing I want on my chairs, can repaint over them once I have applied the wax?

Yes!

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A few months ago I painted my kitchen table AS Ochre & put several coats of wax to waterproof but recently I spread out a newspaper on it to do a messy flower arrangement & the ink got on the table & would not wipe off. I had to use Barkeepers Friend & wet paper towel to scrub it off. Why did this happen & what can I do to make sure I don’t get stains like this again?

Uggg. Was your piece completely dry & wax dry? That seems strange to me as I’ve never had that happen on any of my painted surfaces. Newsprint does bleed in general, but I would think you would be able to wipe off.

I am starting the process of painting my kitchen cabinets with Old White, and I have read in a few places that I could use the Annie Sloan Lacquer instead of the clear wax. What is your opinion on that?

I’ve never used the lacquer! Anyone have experience? I need to get on that, I guess. Didn’t know she had one. eek!

I just wanted to ask you where it is that you find all your pieces from? I find that it is really hard to find the right piece for the right price.

Everywhere! Start with your friends/family/community and then move onto Craigslist, yard sales, estate sales, Goodwill, the side of the road, etc!

I noticed you did not tape off the glass on the china hutch.  Will the paint easily come off without doing that?  I spend lots of extra time taping off mirrors etc…….am I wasting my time?

I never tape unless it’s to tape of a leather inlay or the like. Otherwise, I never tape glass or mirror. I scrape the paint off afterwards with a blade. You will save yourself alot of heartache.

I was wondering about how much paint and wax do you use when you do a large dresser or buffet?

Large? I’d say about a half a can of paint and half a can of clear wax.

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Have you ever or heard of anyone trying waxing on a previously painted item not done in chalk paint? I like the color of my desk but doing a dark wax would make it look incredible.

Totally! Go for it and play. There are no rules in painting.

How would a waxed dining table hold up with washing it clean several times a day from meals and projects? Does it need to be continually re-waxed?

It will wear and tear like any used surface, but you will be surprised how well it holds up. I’d say I’ll refresh my nightstands maybe in 6 years or so if I’m not happy how it’s wearing. But, it’s the shabby look so a bit of wear will look well.

What color is the hutch and vanity? And is Graphite a chalk paint from Annie Sloan?

The vanity & hutch that I’m working on are in French Linen. Yes, ASCP makes Graphite.

Will you please let us know how the waxing goes with Graphite? I’ve done many pieces- and, though I love the color- the wax seems to enhance any strokes/imperfections-and even with AnnieSloan cheesecloth-I see white residue. 

Yes, waxing a Graphite piece is a bit tedious. Make sure you use a rag that does not shed or is not cotton. You will see white flecks. You may want to use a wax brush when using Graphite. I also end up doing lots of touch ups.

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…Building a Business: Pricing

Pricing is not easy and if you’ve asked anyone in a creative business they will probably tell you the same thing. How can you put a price on something so personal? How do you know what the market can bear? If you are starting out, what are people willing to pay? Do I include my time-spent initally? Materials? Cost?

What I never fully understood about business and furniture in particular before starting Blue Egg Brown Nest, was that there was a major cost involved with each project I was to work on.

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I had to spend time finding a piece, pay for the piece, pay for materials (paint, brushes, rags, space, wax, dark wax), pay to have it moved to my home, and spend the time completing and marketing the finished product. Whew! So sorry, dear friends, about not being able to give pieces away for free – that would mean at least $200/$300 out of my pocket for cost and probably more than that depending on the piece. Did. Not. Understand. That. At. First.

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I think if I was going to offer a bit of advice on the subject of pricing, the best strategy for me is to shop. Go out there and find items that are similar to yours online and in stores. Check out Etsy and markets and even retail. What is your product going for?

Second, how well do people know you. That does have alot to do with it because people want to know that you have a quality product and good reputation so that they will feel comfortable about paying the price you ask. This is getting a bit more easy with sites like Etsy because you can post images and do a bio – your marketing will be what catches the buyer’s eye and convinces them that you are quality.

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Standards. Like in dating, people will rise to the standard that you set. This means that you don’t want to give away your product for next to nothing. Buyers want to feel as though they’ve purchased something of value. I don’t know about you, but I treat the my Tori Burch handbag much nicer than the little clutch I bought from Old Navy. Same thing. I feel like you need to add value to your items by setting a price that exudes quality. Of course, it’s a fine line because you need to be realistic. Once you are more well-known for your craft you can adjust your prices accordingly. For example, when I first started out, I did not factor in my time spent. I didn’t feel like I had the right to do that. Now I feel as though if I am taking away time from my family and working really hard, then I should factor that in. Pricing is fluid and you may find yourself adjusting from year to year. Just don’t do too much or your client will get mad at you.

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Play. If you have a one-of-a-kind, amazing creation/piece/project that you’ve completed, play with pricing it high and let it sit. The higher you price pieces, the less inquiries you will get. BUT, it just takes that one perfect fit and it’s worth the wait if you have the space to hold your piece. Then price pieces that are a bit easier for you to create at a lower number. Things may sell quicker if you price lower, but that does mean you will have to work harder and faster to keep up with demand. This may be okay for some. For me, I want to also have time for my family & for myself and, frankly, I don’t want to work like a dog.

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As my DT (dear therapist) says, it’s all about balance. If you are looking to make a real profit, you will need to work hard and spend alot of time. If you are doing it out of enjoyment, then you can play a bit more with pricing. Just please make sure that you factor in YOUR own costs and recoop then. Otherwise, the process if going to become very frustrating. At the end of the day it is not about the profit and if it is, you probably shouldn’t be doing something so personal & creative to make your money. Have integrity in what you are doing by respecting it’s value. You many not become rich, but you will feel good about carrying on to your next piece and building your business.

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…stifel & capra

I’m happy to announce today that I will be selling a few pieces at Stifel & Capra in Falls Church. Dear Teresa & her sweet, spice-making DH Bob have welcomed me into their eclectic, vintage, artsy, hip shop. Yes, it’s the big, white house-shop on the corner of Broad St.

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I did my very first showing at her Holiday Market about 2 years ago. And my dear friend, Liz, bought my first painted piece at the show!

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Of course it was a family affair.

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I know quite a few of you have asked where to get started selling. An indoor/outdoor, holiday or summer craft show is a great way to test the waters.

Come on in and see the shop! Along with lots of treasure, you will find Cece Caldwell Paint available. Colors are a bit different than Annie Sloan, but there is a huge range. It’s also a completely green product, eco-friendly & non-toxic. I’m excited to try them out in the near future and posting. I already picked up some Memphis Blue to experiment with.

P.S. I will still be selling pieces from my website, my Etsy shop, Luckett’s Spring Market & Chartreuse Market Days.…and refinishing custom pieces from my home of course.

P. P. S. Happy Snow Day!