Guest Post by Gregory LeFever – Refurbishing a Radio Cabinet

I have asked Gregory LeFever, a friend and favorite customer of The Purple Pear to share the details of his most recent Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan makeover project with us.  Greg is a very gifted writer and editor and also loves to work with his hands to create beautiful pieces with Chalk Paint®, so he couldn’t be better suited to write this guest post for us!

LeFinials Banner

Greg shares his talents on his blog, Le Finials and has just opened a new Etsy shop where he is selling his exquisite hand crafted finials!  We have been fortunate enough to have a few of these unique pieces at The Purple Pear.  Greg has a gift for choosing the most inspiring color combinations and with great attention to detail, he ages these pieces to historic perfection.



Now, I will let Greg share in his words the details of his latest furniture makeover project, this delightful little radio cabinet.  Thank you, Greg!



Refurbishing a Radio Cabinet


I found the old radio cabinet in a local antiques mall and was immediately attracted to its French lines, with cabriole legs and trim pieces. Someone had already “countrified” it by painting it stark white and sanding the edges. The little cabinet just shouted potential.


Using Annie Sloan Old White, I repainted the entire piece with chalk paint, toning down the original white to an eggshell shade. Then I selected the panels for painting with Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue, which is a color of chalk paint Phyllis at The Purple Pear had steered me toward. In my only departure from Annie Sloan paints, I lightly painted the two trim embellishments with regular gold acrylic paint I had in the workshop.


The result of the Old White and Duck Egg Blue was a great improvement over the original white. Next came the trickiest step, but also the one with the greatest potential reward – the waxing.


First I rubbed on a layer of Annie Sloan Clear Wax, working it well into the chalk paint and creating a richer tone of both the white and blue. Then – very, very delicately – I rubbed on some Annie Sloan Dark Wax, wiping most of it off immediately after applying it. I knew I wanted the cabinet to have an aged effect, but I wanted it to be aged realistically. Applying the dark wax cautiously enabled me to achieve the effect I was seeking. In places where the dark wax seemed too heavy, I immediately rubbed it away by using a cloth with clear wax until I got the effect I wanted.

Further distressing the piece with sandpaper and a small chisel also required caution and delicacy. For years I’ve studied how furniture actually ages, so I removed small amounts of paint only in those spots that realistically would receive high amounts of contact. Aging a piece like this one is definitely a case of “less is more.” A tiny bit of paint chipped away or rubbed with sandpaper goes a long way toward adding visual age to furniture.


Phyllis at The Purple Pear has been a real inspiration in my furniture art. She initially steered me toward the Annie Sloan chalk paints and waxes, and showed me Annie’s wonderful books on technique. Phyllis herself is a master of using the chalk paints and waxes, and the furniture she’s refurbished has tremendous appeal.

Gregory Lefever

Many thanks to Greg for taking the time to share his beautiful Radio Cabient Project with us!  Please take a moment to visit Greg’s Etsy Shop to see more of his wonderful creations!

Phyllis at The Purple Pear




Sharing With:

Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Home

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed

Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch To Yours

 Friday’s Unfolded at Nancherrow



Guest Post by Girl in Pink – Haberdashery Display Table

Hello!  Amanda here, of Girl in Pink.  Phyllis is a dear friend of mine and I find myself constantly drawn to her gorgeous French inspired boutique, The Purple Pear!  During my visits, I always seem to discover one or two unique treasures that resonate with me and eventually give rise to a new project idea!  It recently occurred to me that I might do a guest post now and then for the Purple Pear, to share how my purchases there have stemmed one creative endeavor or another.  Phyllis sweetly obliged, and so here we are!  Thank you, Phyllis!

A little brown Art Deco style table, purchased at a local thrift store needed some tender loving care.  I was rather excited about the glass top, thinking about how much fun I could have finding treasures to display beneath the glass!


It was a visit to the Purple Pear that inspired me to display a collection of antique laces and trims on the table top.  You see, Phyllis offers an amazing selection of antique trims for sale.  Most are from France, and they are all displayed very beautifully on old wooden spools thoughtfully arranged in creative vignettes.  I selected a few that I thought would go nicely with some pieces of lace that I had in my collection at home.


I purchased just a half yard of each of these exquisite antique French trims.  However, when I paired them with my laces at home, I decided the brown trim didn’t quite work.  It now sits amongst my treasures in my creative workspace, ready to inspire another project!


The table itself I painted in Old Violet Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan.  I used Artisan Enhancements Foil Size to add a Pewter colored foil treatment accentuating the carved details along the table top.  All of these products are also available at the Purple Pear!


In America, the word Haberdashery refers to a shop selling menswear, however in England it is a shop that sells all sorts of ribbons, trims and buttons.  All the while I was working on this little table makeover, I imagined it as a small display piece in an old Haberdashery shop where customers could view the selection of trims under glass and point to the one that they wished to purchase a length of for their sewing projects.


Fabricating a history for a furniture piece during the makeover is often part of the creative process for me.  It usually points me towards a name for the piece as well!


The Purple Pear in many ways reminds me of a Haberdashery shop, or Mercerie as they would call it in France.  Not only does Phyllis carry a selection of gorgeous antique French trims, but also beautiful glass compotes filled with delicate old buttons, and stacks of amazing antique textiles.  All this in addition to the lovely home décor books, Chalk Paint®, Artisan Enhancements products, Royal Design Stencils and Do it Yourself Chic furniture appliques makes The Purple Pear an ideal place to visit for creative inspiration!

Thank you Phyllis, for encouraging and supporting the creativity of your customers with your thoughtfully displayed treasures and all of the necessary elements to create beautiful things!

And, thank you for allowing me to share my latest Purple Pear inspired project here on your blog!

Best Wishes and Blessings,


Girl in Pink


Sharing With:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Home

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed

Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch To Yours

 Friday’s Unfolded at Nancherrow



Lollia Gift Basket Giveaway at The Purple Pear!


We are having an in-store giveaway here at The Purple Pear!  To enter, just stop by anytime during our regular store hours between now and Saturday, May 24th!  No purchase necessary.

2014-05-06 001

Included in the giveaway are four beautifully packaged, fragrant products from the Lollia Wish line.


The Wish fragrance features a delightful bouquet of sugarcane, vanilla bean and jasmine.


 Included in this giveaway is a Lollia Wish candle, bath salts, shower gel and luxurious lotion in a lovely vintage gold box.

The winner will be announced on Saturday, May 24th and may collect their prize here at the store at their earliest convenience.

If you are local, please stop in and enter our drawing!  If not, visit us on Facebook where we are having another giveaway especially for our Facebook friends!

Happy spring to you!  Thank you for your visit!




More Inspiration for Creating with Vintage Trims


Antique Ribbons, trims, adornments, embellishments.


Bundles and bobbins and spools wound with lengths of color, pattern and texture.


Timeless little treasures to gather, to savor and to inspire creativity.

2014-04-02 001

A couple of weeks ago I shared this denim vest, refashioned with vintage trims and textiles.  If you would like to read more about it, you can find the blog post here.

I recently finished another project using vintage trims, but in a very different style.


This sweet little baby dress started out simple and white.  Using a washing machine fabric dye, I was able to achieve this beautiful and vibrant teal blue color.  At the same time, I dyed a selection of vintage laces and trims to match.


I sewed each piece of trim on by hand.  Another fashion re-fashion using antique embellishments!  This is such a fun way to add uniqueness and charm to a garment!


Many creative and talented individuals are using antique ribbons and trims in inspiring ways.  Here are just a few from my Pinterest board where I have been collecting ideas!


via Pinterest


via Pinterest


via Pinterest


If you live in or near Portland, Oregon, I hope you will come by and visit the Purple Pear and explore our selection of antique textiles and trims.

Please be sure to join me on Facebook for more information and inspiration from the Purple Pear!  Thank you!


Sharing With:

 Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Home

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground

 Friday’s Unfolded at Nancherrow


Chinoiserie and a Custom Chalk Paint® Pink


Some time ago, I passed by a most beautiful piece of furniture in a marketing display.  The color captivated me more than anything else.  A rich, vibrant, majestic pink perfectly accented with gold hardware.  It was very similar to this piece that I recently came across on Pinterest, here.  I knew I had to try to recreate the color using Chalk Paint®.   Approximately 1 part Emperor’s Silk to 1 part Old White produced this wonderful, rich pink color I was hoping for.


A sweet little 1930’s bedroom rocker seemed the ideal candidate for my custom pink mix.


After giving the chair a couple of coats of paint and allowing it to dry, I finished it off with Annie Sloan’s soft Clear Wax.  Then, it was time for a little embellishing!


I carry a wonderful line of furniture appliques in my shop that are so fun for adding a bit more character to a makeover project.  The little wreath was just what was needed  for the chair back.  I applied a gold leaf to it using Artisan Enhancement’s Leaf and Foil Size medium.


Now that my chair was the vibrant pink I had been dreaming of and even had a little gold embellishment, it was time to find the perfect fabric to finish it off!


Chinoiserie, a fabric popular in the 18th century and made fashionable with Rococo décor, depicts whimsical scenery of an imaginary China.  I have always loved this type of fabric and have acquired a bit of a collection.  This piece that seemed so perfect for the painted rocker is most likely from the 1930’s.  Using vintage textiles in creative projects is very rewarding.  It’s a bit like bringing a piece of history back to life!  I enjoy carrying a variety of antique textiles and trims in my shop to offer to my customers for their own creative endeavors!

2014-04-02 0011

So there you have it, an inspired custom Chalk Paint® color and a wonderful vintage textile came together to make an ordinary little rocking chair something exquisite.

I hope that you will take some time to be creative today, and that I may have inspired you to consider vintage textiles for your next upholstery or craft project!

I sincerely thank you for your visit!



Sharing With:

Inspire me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life

 Before and After Wednesday at The Decorated House

Wow us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Home

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed

Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch To Yours

Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground

Fashion Refashion and the Art of Embellishment

My passion and enthusiasm for antique textiles and trims has always coincided with a desire to find creative ways to use and enjoy them. DSC_0146 I will always collect these items and continue to offer a selection in my store. The ways in which they might be given a new life through artistic expression are endless.  In this post I will explore some ideas and inspiration for incorporating antique textiles and trims into fashion…another topic that I am passionate about! DSC_1128

This denim vest has been a labor of love for two years now.  The collected embellishments have all been intricately sewn on by hand, with a few French knots added here and there.  I have incorporated pieces of antique crazy quilts, bits of lace and trims…each a timeless treasure from a bygone era. DSC_0008 I especially love fragments of fabric that are tattered and worn. DSC_1125 Each piece has a unique story to tell. DSC_1124 Taking small pieces of history and handiwork and interweaving them into a wearable work of art is a most satisfying endeavor. 2014-04-02 001 Pinterest is an amazing resource for inspiration when it comes to fashion and embellishment.  Here are a few beautiful examples that I have discovered during my explorations there. 24c9b22b72d16b8fb4885839f70863d9 Pinterest be4752b7e2385c50d120bea7a37bce6a Pinterest c84ee59978ab85c49ad25f26b9457d2d Pinterest 77585edb620979fb8e1a59c5c29db261 Pinterest The name “Fashion Refashion” refers to the idea of taking an article of clothing and restyling it by making creative alterations.  My hope is that this post has inspired you in some way to look at antique textiles and trims in a new light.  The next time you come across a beautiful piece of old trim or a tattered corner of an antique quilt, consider how it might be incorporated into a wearable work of art. DSC_0254 Thank you for your visit.  Let’s stay connected.  I would love for you to join me on Facebook! Have a wonderful week! Phyllis at The Purple Pear

Sharing With:

What’s it Wednesday at Elephants and Ivy

Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground


Would you like to go to Paris?


“The Plucky Maidens invite you to shop, explore, laugh, and wander the streets of Paris for 5 days and 4 nights.”  There are two dates from which to choose: May 15th – 19th or May 22nd – 26th.  Group activities as well as free time are planned each day.  “Four nights accommodation and breakfast at the lovely and centrally located Villa Montparnasse”.  One can book a double (2 twin beds) or a single (double bed) room.


The first time I went to Paris I was beyond rationally happy.  I was giddy…the entire time!  My husband was busy traveling constantly with his job, so I decided, rather WE decided I would go to Paris for two weeks ALONE.  As scared as I was to travel to a country not speaking much beyond “bonjour”, “merci”, and “au revoir” I could not be stopped.  I was excited beyond anything you could possible imagine!


Flash forward many years later, I am still madly in love with France and especially Paris.  Everything you have ever read that gives glowing reports about the style, beauty, culture, cuisine, art, intellect, and refinement is all there.  Once you go and return, you will be planning your next trip on the plane ride home.  It is that magical, captivating, and addictive!


You will be treated to breakfast in the mornings and of the many events unfolding each day will keep you excited the minute you step out of bed.


You will be exploring flea markets to Port de Vanves, junk shops, brocantes, and other venues.


You will be treated to a traditional French picnic in the beautiful and breathtaking Luxembourg Gardens.


There will be time to relax in between the astounding beauty and the fascinating shopping!



The Shakespeare Bookstore across the Seine from Notre Dame is not to be missed, but don’t take photos inside.  I only realized this after I took this and quickly put my camera away!




A trip to Paris is life changing.  The first time is the most memorable, but after you experience this you will want to go again and again even if you can only vicariously get there through memories, books, keepsakes, and photos.  And Pam and Julia will make you feel nurtured, spoiled, and indulged.  Where in the world can you get that kind of mothering and caring?  I recommend going for it!!!


For more information visit

An Elegant Buffet Transformation


Susan Jones, a sweet customer of the Purple Pear who attended one of our Chalk Paint® workshops has been kind enough to share the details of a very lovely buffet makeover that she completed last year, along with her wonderful photos of the process.  Thank you, Susan for allowing me to share your beautiful work of art on The Purple Pear blog!


Susan was fortunate enough to come across this lovely oak buffet at a local thrift shop.  She spent a great deal of time and effort breathing new life into it!  Here is her story…


She started by sanding and staining the top of the buffet.  For the stain, she chose General Gel brand in Brown Mahogany and used 5 coats to get the dark color she wanted.  She then painted the interior with Emperor’s Silk and waxed using a mixture of Annie Sloan Clear Wax and Mineral Spirits.  The exterior was painted in Chateau Grey with the detailed woodwork accented in Country Grey.  Two coats of paint was all that was needed to get proper coverage for this piece.


Susan created her own stencil using her Silhouette machine to create a design on the raised panels.  This was also painted in Country Grey, then lightly distressed.


She then applied clear wax all over the painted areas of the buffet.  Next, she sanded the edges with 220 grit sandpaper to give it a distressed, age-worn look.  After distressing, she applied another coat of wax with a mixture of both Dark and Clear.


Very nicely done, Susan!  Thank you for the detailed description of your color choices and processes used to achieve this beautiful finish.  It is my pleasure to share your work here!



Sharing at Miss Mustard Seed’s Blog for Furniture Feature Friday

An English Yellow Transformation


I found this chest of drawers at a summer sale sometime in June. It was a piece that was built by an older (my age!) man’s father. I am guessing the father was quite a meticulous person as everything seemed to line up and fit perfectly. I have to admire this kind of precision. Ordinarily, I would pass a piece like this because I tend to search for curvy lines or embellishments, but something in me admired the way it was solidly built, not to mention the sentiment of a man who seemed to get everything right. Actually, it was a piece my own dear father could have built. It also had great hardware.


This purchase was also around the same time that I received Annie Sloan’s newest color in my store, English Yellow. Now I have to admit, my personal color palette does not include this color. I just have never been a “yellow” kind of person. I think part of this is due to my more introverted nature. I never want to embrace a color that stands out too much for my wardrobe or my home. All that aside, I am also one to embrace a change and a new idea.


And, hey, who doesn’t turn their eye toward this luxuriant yellow? Saturated yellow with a saturated green, it doesn’t get any better than that.


So I embraced the new English Yellow and painted my new solidly built piece of furniture on a very, beastly hot day a few weeks later in July. A few weeks later I was off to France with my husband and then a week after that our three grandchildren arrived for three weeks to stay with us in Portland. The yellow piece languished waiting to be finished. I had originally intended to use one of Royal Designs Studio Stencils. In fact, I had slipped the stencil in one of the drawers. It was “Small Scrollallover”, a really great furniture stencil.


Last week one of my customers asked me how I intended to finish my English Yellow piece and I told her I was going to stencil it in Pure White. She suggested Graphite. I said, “What a great idea!” I painted the hardware in Graphite and added dark wax as well to these.


But yikes, I hate the color of my store!! Funny, but when we were doing all the work inside, I was so strung out on decisions and stress that I mistakenly decided to try and match the tiles that were already in place, the yellow being the more predominant color than it is in this photo. I know the color it should be, but getting the time to change it is a bit of a stretch. Anyone up for a painting party before the rain starts? I will swing for the wine!! I am thinking of a lighter version of Graphite!

Exploring colors


Today was a full day of exploring color and combinations of colors, just the kind of day I love to have in my shop. I started color consulting by appointment and it has worked out very well. These three colors were created to match a customer’s fabrics and rugs and furnishings.


This woman was from Montana visiting Portland with her husband for an event that he was attending. She came into the shop wanting to layer a few colors and also explore some ideas for her kitchen cabinets. This sample piece we painted was layered with Duck Egg Blue and covered with Old Ochre, a color that looks beautiful with dark wax accents.


Then I had a surprise visit from a very talented painter that was going to paint a monochromatic design on my workshop area wall for me. We had discussed colors and designs several times and when she was ready to paint I decided to have her paint on a board that I could carry with me to shows as well as move around for store display. I was so thrilled to have her bring the final piece by this afternoon. I loved her use of the Chalk Paint® and the exquisite beauty of her design.


When I was in Paris six weeks ago I found myself taking numerous photos of painted doors. This reminded me of one of my favorite Annie Sloan colors, Aubusson Blue. I will be painting a piece soon in my shop using the amazing color with two color wash variations.


I think we all love before and after photos. I had this cabinet in Mendocino in my workspace in a little house in our backyard. When we recently sold the house and moved everything to Portland I finally had a chance to re-paint this piece and have a space for my collection of fabrics, trims, and buttons.


When my grandchildren were here two weeks ago, one of my grandsons helped me paint the piece Louis Blue. I then went over it with a wash of Old Violet and Duck Egg Blue.


This morning during the furniture painting workshop, we had the best time playing with Emperor’s Silk as well as Florence and French Linen. There is always so much enthusiasm in these workshops and the heightened chatter as the morning wears on always makes me feel as if we women are there as much for support and friendship as we are there for honoring our creative yearnings.


One woman decided to paint her chair Florence and add some dark wax and distressing too.



She had never worked with the Chalk Paint® before, but when she was done she felt she had joined the group of confident achievers, ready to tackle another project and some other amazing colors!


Another student decided the Emperor’s Silk was her chosen color, but she wanted to apply dark wax after she had applied the clear wax. The result was a beautiful, rich nearly oxblood Chinese red. Very beautiful! And she walked in saying she was really not a very good painter. When she was done she was ready to paint the rest of her dining room set!


My friend, Wendy a woman of immense talent and taste and an interior designer as well, painted her beautiful table in Emperor’s Silk and then covered it with French Linen. She distressed it back in certain areas to expose the red underneath and it was stunning. I told her I needed to try her combination because I had not yet done this and the result was elegant, timeless, and sophisticated.


Now the next two days I will be home sorting through our books and boxes that we moved from our home in Mendocino. It is slowly taking shape and soon I will be posting newly painted furniture that we did for our home decor “remodel”.