Saturday, 19 November 2011

New Stock & Stockings!

Big apologies for being quiet on the blogging front. The shop has been very busy and lots of stock deliveries etc etc!!! Anyway, let me show you what's new at Rustiques:

These delicate gold filigree tea-light holders are very sweet and would look fabulous on a festive table.
Treat your senses with this tuberose scented candle.  They come in a lovely embroidered linen bag. A great gift with a wonderful fragrance.

Another fabulous shabby chic wall unit, this time in cream.

Toy soldier candles, definitely too nice to burn!
 Cosy cotton throws with reindeer motif, just what you need to snuggle up on the sofa with!
And the brown version is just as cute.

It's not all about Christmas at Rustiques, these hooks are fun and just a little bit different.

You may notice a recurring theme in the stock.....that of stags & antlers! I just love them and I'm always impressed with the massive variety & styles of accessories out there! These chrome antlers are mounted on a shield with tartan, very stylish. I know they're a bit like Marmite, love them or hate them!

 Well if the antlers are not to your taste then maybe the co-ordinating mirror is......
That's all for now folks, and I promise to be more blogger active!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Paintery People!

Two workshops held this week, so it's been kinda busy but great fun!  It was the usual Shabby Chic Paint Techniques with Annie Sloan chalk paint. We also cover some decorative skills which can be applied to enhance the piece of furniture that you are painting. The workshop is ultimately about gaining confidence with the paint AND the waxes, which can be more daunting that the actual paint itself!

I hope that by gaining skills with the all the different media it can open your eyes to the possibilities of transforming even the most mundane piece of furniture. You will suddenly see panelling that would benefit from a swipe of dark wax, a bit of detailing that can be enhanced by a hint of gold leaf, a little corner that could take a cute butterfly decoupage, a door that could take merest image of a damask stencil....your mind will see old furniture in a completely different light! Well I hope it does after the workshop!
What is great to see is everyone using the same materials but getting varying results. It is the beauty of the Annie Sloan paint. I learn new things at each workshop as techniques are given individual interpretation. Above is the team from the workshop held at The Sew Room . A HUGE thank you to Anne for allowing me to make a mess of her lovely workspace in her fab new shop and for all her help. She managed to "Sloan" some stencils in between washing all the brushes!
At todays workshop I had a "guest presenter" in the shape of George Crichton. George is a painter and decorator to trade and is embracing the possibilities of the Annie Sloan paint.  He transformed a kitchen door over the course of the workshop.  George offers a traditional painting and decorating service but is happy to quote for kitchen transformations or to paint a large piece of furniture which you may be too apprehensive to tackle yourself!            
All in all it's been a busy week with lots of enthusiastic paintery-types now let loose in the Aberdeenshire area!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Due To Popular Demand!

I have been holding off in putting the festive stock out BUT due to customer demand I have conceded and here is a small taster in all it's sparkly, Christmassy glory!
 Birds are a bit of a recurring theme in the shop, from penguins to sparrows, I have even had a visit from a real robin which flew in one Saturday afternoon!  These chrome & white penguins are quite contemporary and not overly festive.
These little felt fellas have been desperate to get out since they arrived weeks ago! They are finally free to roam around the shop!

Introducing Bruce the Moose! he's proving to be very popular and doesn't look quite as menacing as this photo shows him to be!                              Pretty little vintage style decoupage decorations, very nostalgic, like old school paper scraps.
Not so much a Christmas decoration as just a beautiful ornament. This "Resting Fairy" is incredibly sweet and I'm sure she's keeping an eye on the penguins!                                                          Silver Poinsettia tea-lights and candles, lovely gifts and almost too pretty to burn!
I have a range of Wax Lyrical candles and perfume lamp burners, all beautifully presented and scented! Sparling Snowflower is a gorgeous white range with a delicate fragrance.

There's so much more in the shop to see and I will post more pictures of the Christmas stock as it arrives!
For a non-festive update, I am really pleased with this shot of colour in the shop, it's very easy on the eye!

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Sew Room...So Inspiring!

Exciting news......My very lovely, creative and talented cousin Anne, has opened a shop in Alford called The Sew Room! A great new concept in creativity! At The Sew Room you will find wonderful fabrics, trims, kits, gifts and the most important thing of all, expertise!
Anne is there to offer advice, tuition and regularly runs workshops.  If you need a bit of one to one guidance on a project you can book a slot with Anne and she will guide you step at a time until you are confident with your skills. 

Chateau Grey, Henrietta & Cassis Ticking

Anne also sells finished products many of which are from her own designs and patterns. The Sew Room is also a stockist of the famous Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and has the fab range of fabric too! So you can transform a chair into a co-ordinated masterpiece! In fact EVERYTHING in the shop has been "Annie Sloaned" by Anne! So it's a wonderful showcase for both! Pop over to The Sew Room blog for more information.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Paint Techniques Workshop

To help everyone appreciate the versatility of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I run a workshop which basically demonstrates how to achieve certain finishes.  It's a great opportunity to use the paints and get used to using wax and how you can affect the paint very simply but effectively.
Yesterdays workshop was good fun and all who attended worked very hard, I am a slave-driver don't you know!  Unfortunately, due to my incompetence, the camera didn't store the photos taken over the afternoon, so sorry to all who attended.
Skills learned were how to achieve an aged and textured look, works brilliantly with Antibes or Emperors Silk.

We painted candle sticks using  a cracked-effect which we then waxed, aged and then applied a  little bit of paint-tinted wax.  The results were all great. Everyones came out slightly different. It's a  tricky technique but all managed, no problem!
Applying the wax can be a daunting prospect if you've never done it before so the workshops are an ideal opportunity to gain confidence.

We also managed to do a distressing technique, stencilling , decoupage with a crackle finish AND even a bit of gilding, phew!
I do allow a break for a well deserved coffee and a cake. But only for 20 minutes, lots of painting to be getting on with! 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Stuff and Sense

Rachel Elnaugh
I recently listened to the lovely Rachel Elnaugh at a seminar. The premise of her talk was “Too Much Stuff”, clearly it was on the subject of our culture of mass consumerism and borderline obsession with owning “things”. 
I have to say I completely agree and with the economic downturn, for me as a retailer to exist AND make a living is somewhat contrary! 

My dilemma – sell stuff when the world has too much stuff! I have reconciled this issue by having a firm belief that I can offer for sale a selection of well chosen products which enhance a home, and help reflect the personality of the owner. We work hard and we should feel no guilt in allowing ourselves to be surrounded by things that basically augment our habitat and make us feel good. “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” To quote William Morris. Follow this advice and you won’t go far wrong!

The other aspect to dealing with the “too much stuff” issue is this:   I have realised that the country is awash with brown and orange furniture. Most of it made, with integrity, in the 20th century.  But it doesn't fit in to our 21st century homes. If you see a piece languishing in a charity shop, with the box-set of Friends and a mug tree on top of it. Buy it. Be it a desk, bureau, table, chair, plant stand….they can all be given a new identity and a new life and escape the prospect of entering landfill.  The beauty of being able to transform a rejected furnishing into something much admired  is a huge accomplishment and something which more and more people are embracing. One of my customers, Natalie from Harts and Crafts posted these photos which are case in point! 

Orange pine dresser....

......stunning painted unit!

 I sell the perfect paint (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) to use on furniture and offer advice and tips  along with workshops in paint techniques. I can advise on where to pick up great pieces of  furniture to anyone  new to  vintage sourcing and if it means that local charity stores are doing great business then it’s gotta be good news all round!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Annie Sloan..what a woman!

Last Saturday I attended a stockists course at the Annie Sloan "mothership"! It was a long way to go for me, Aberdeen to Oxford, but it was totally worth it.  I met the great woman herself who's knowledge, enthusiasm and belief in her products was inspiring.  It was also fab to meet other stockists and compare notes! The lovely girls from Home Barn and the talented Jenny from Fair Lilly were great company. Check out their sites and see the wonderful things they produce.

Here we are, beavering away like good students, not a drop of paint was spilled, despite me being the most clumsy person on the planet!  It was a great chance to refine our skills and tips were shared aplenty!  We all left enthused and our passion for painting all fired up, so watch out!

After the workshop there was time to look around Annies lovely shop.  So great to see pieces that I had seen in her books "in the flesh" so to speak!

This cute little bedside has been beautifully painted in Cream and Henrietta.  I was beside myself with excitement when I saw all the Annie Sloan fabrics. Tickings, checks, spots, toile, florals and my particular favourite, chickens!  I immediately had to purchase some to take home and all thoughts of  hand luggage only were swiftly forgotten. I have samples in the form of bunting in the shop so it's easy to see the fabrics together with the paint colours. 

 To have a range, of very reasonably priced, fabrics is very exciting!  Think of the possibilities! I have already made a lampshade, sample board and am working on a curtain and a chair! Phew!

I really liked this appliqued chicken cushion, clever, cute and relatively simple to make.

Finally, so immersed was I in all things Annie Sloan that when I was gazing out of the window on the bus from Oxford to Heathrow, my mind was in paint chart mode......

... I could see Paris Grey with a touch of French Linen, Old White with Greek Blue, Pure with Louis Blue and Olive with Graphite.  Yep, I know it's the most organic paint out there but there's definitely something in the mix!!
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