Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Attic Treasures

Oh....my.....goodness!!!  What a day!  Monday's are my hunt and gather days.  Where I take the entire day and just get lost and find little places with goodies that I want to use as displays in the store or my now not-so-secret finds!

Today was an adventure to say the least.  I went out with my brother who's here from Chicago and LOVES American Picker on the History Channel.  I thought I'd show him what a great little picker I am as well!!  Off we were with a cooler of cold drinks in the car, armed with a map and a credit card (or two).  Three stores later and only $75 in purchases I was beginning to get depressed.  However, don't despair!!  The last store was the charm, but boy did we work for it.

Little did I know that this store that we've shopped at before has an attic.  Hmmm, it's Florida, it's summer and it's an attic.  It was as bad as you could imagine, perhaps even worse.  There wasn't a breath of air to be had.  Just walking up the steps brought sweat to the brow and trickling down those places that make you really uncomfortable.

Apparently, this was the place things were sent that just weren't perfect enough.  To whom?  I don't know because I found some pretty darn perfect stuff.  Two of the coolest Radio Flyer snow sleds for $15 each!!  Just gorgeous and perfect for our Christmas displays.  Old, broken, paint-chipped windows, a gorgeous old radio cabinet, a set of Christmas porcelain for our Christmas table-scape and too many little things to mention.

By the time we carried them down the three flights of stairs we were soaked, exhausted but elated with visions of holiday displays and projects for our Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Who says that imperfect isn't perfect?!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I've talked about my 'finds' and my 'treasures'.  Below is a picture of a tired French table.  I found this on one of my hunting trips.  It was a little worse for wear but it spoke to me.  Seriously, I knew there was something beautiful just waiting to happen to this table. And I knew that the answer was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Now look at what a little Annie Sloan Paris Grey, Old White, a little distressing (using Clear and Dark wax) and some gold leaf will do!  Doesn't it look like it came out of some French Chateau?

This is also for sale at the store, Robyn Story Designs and Boutique.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Such Beauty!

Such beautiful results using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Just look at what one of our customer's just finished.  These are actually for sale, you can find them on ETSY.COM or simply admire them on our blog!

Michelle used that gorgeous color - Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue with a base of Graphite she then distressed and finished with the dark wax.  Simply yummy!

Paris Grey and Old White with dark wax hugging all the crevices.  Look at this detail....


Isn't it just so, one thing always lends itself to another?!  We transformed our warehouse to our Workshops for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint but then I wanted to do something special in my store as well.  I want everyone to come in and gather information, see examples of finishes and be able to touch and feel the paint.  So, that meant I had to transform another space!!  You know me, I loooove a project!!

My poor staff...but they know me and they know I'm happiest when my customers can come in and find something new and exciting in the store on each visit.  Holy tomatoes! I just want to share it all with everyone so again we got busy.  I wish I had a before picture but I was too excited to make the changes and forgot to take a photo.  So instead I'll tell you that this room was filled, top to bottom, with display shelves filled with beautiful home accessories and trinkets as well as fabulous florals, gorgeous lamps, gourmet food and just a little something for everyone.  Where am I going to put it all????  Space is always a precious commodity here, but we managed to absorb it all in the store.  This was awesome because it allowed me to design my "Annie Room".

I had a vision of making this like a mini workshop where I could host small demonstrations and pique everyone's interest.  Below is the "after" picture.  I think my mission was accomplished.  What do you think??

Friday, May 27, 2011


We have announced our new Workshop dates for the summer.  Take a look at the dates below and come join us one of these days!!  It's a great day full of fun.  Learn 6 different techniques, meet a bunch of great people, have some yummy treats and leave with an abundance of knowledge to take home to transform any piece of furniture, a wall or a candlestick - because we all know Annie Sloan Chalk Paint goes over any surface!!

Saturday, June 11
Thursday, June 16

Saturday, July 16
Thursday, July 28

Saturday, August 20
Thursday, August 25

Class times are 10 - 4 and we always have 45 minutes to 1 hour left at the end for you to dig in and play with all 24 pots of color!

Call us at the store 813-931-9307 or email us rstorydesigns@aol.com 

OMG, Incredible CHALK PAINT Makeovers!

Oh my goodness!!  I just love opening my email and finding pictures of everyone's projects!  We had a lovely couple stop by the store two weeks ago after hearing that we were stockists for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  They were a little skeptical at first.  They are both artists that have worked on furniture for years, mostly using Milk Paint and could not believe that NO PREP is necessary.  We promised them that once they tried this paint they'd never look back.!   Like the rest of us - they're hooked!

Take a look at their finished projects, simply beautiful!  Thanks for sharing Michelle and Ken!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Nicest People

SOOOO many thanks to Rhonda at Blue Creek Home. She stopped in the store with her cousin a couple of weeks ago and we just had a blast!!  You never know when you're going to meet the nicest people!  Rhonda has her own blog Blue Creek Home filled with all kinds of inspirational ideas and wonderful information.  Upon her return home she blogged about us!!  Imagine our excitement when we went on to check her blog out and found a feature all about us here at Robyn Story Designs.

She has some amazing followers because they've all come to see what we're all about as a result.  So a BIG thank you to Rhonda for introducing all of her followers to us.  And a HUGE thank you to her followers for saying hello and leaving comments on our blog!  We hope that you enjoy reading our entries, we have so much fun writing about what's going on around here.

I am so new to this whole technology 'thing'.  Facebook and Blogging are completely foreign to me, but  I have some great help and am getting better at it.  So I ask for forgiveness that I haven't responded to any of you.  Just know that I am thankful for your interest and hope to continue to fulfill your curiosity!

I hope you've enjoyed reading about and learning all about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, it is so much fun.  I hope that you will take an opportunity to try it - you will be hooked!  Keep checking on Blue Creek Home and Robyn Story Designs blog, there just might be something in it for you......


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ginger's Pieces Using CHALK PAINT

This is what makes it all worthwile.  We just got an amazing note and pictures from one of our new customers in New York.  Take a look at what Ginger had to say:

Good Morning,
Once again, I wanted to thank you for excellent customer service. I have given your name and number to several other DIYers. Thought I would send you a pic of my creation! One is the before and one is clearly the AFTER!
From one thrilled customer,

Secretary Desk meets ANNIE SLOAN CHALK PAINT

A few before and after pictures of a desk that we did here at the store.  It was originally a dark cherry desk full of scratches and bubbled varnish.  It now has a coat of Graphite Chalk Paint, with a coat of Old White.  We then distressed it heavily and used clear wax to finish it.  The interior of the desk is Louis Blue with a coat of clear wax.

Yes, it's for sale at the store Robyn Story Designs and Boutique

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Secrets

People always ask where I find my antique treasures.  I try to find things that are unique and have a sense of nostalgia, but will fit into today's home effortlessly.  That's not always easy but it is always fun to hunt and pick to find just the right thing.  I have a few favorite places that seem to always have what I'm looking for- not that I know what that is most times - however, most Monday's I'm out scouting around for those little places tucked away that most people would just drive by.  If an antique store is too splashy, too organized and too 'pretty', it's just not right for me.  Don't get me wrong, I'll stop and admire but I never find what I'm looking for there.

The places that appeal to me have things piled a mile high, no organization and looking a bit worse for the wear.  Those are the places that talk to me, whose items have a story to share and that I simply have to have.  I'm not afraid to get down and dirty, to dig through the thicket to come out with a treasure.  Of course, there are times that I'm not sure what something is but you know what, that appeals to me even more.  I like to call these things "artifacts" because they used to have a purpose but have been tossed aside.  Though they're not useful in today's society, they're story is too compelling to just throw away.

Several things come to mind.  One of which was an old, long wooden box.  When I opened it there was a variety of cut-outs in graduated sizes.  No tools were included but the box was well worn, well used and I promise you I could feel that it had been someone's treasure because it was so old but looked like it had been taken good care of.   I had to have it.

I bought it and cleaned it up and put it in my store.  Not two days later someone came in and new exactly what it was (an old tool and dye kit - I still have no idea what that means!) and they had to have it.  Apparently their grandfather used to have one just like it and it reminder her of him.  Since it was a lovely wooden box my customer was using it on her family room coffee table as a decoration and reminder.

So you see, all things have value to someone and all things tell a story, and lucky for me, I love a good story.

Happy Hunting,


Friday, May 20, 2011

My Frenzied Friday!

Good grief, today was a busy day at the store and unfortunately we didn't have time to post the blogs that we started.  We received a HUGE shipment of mirrors yesterday and today we spent our time moving things around.  It's really one of my favorite times to be in the store.  I just love when new things arrive and I have to make room for them, changing the vignettes and highlighting all of my new fabulous finds!

I also got a delivery of some antiques that I found while I was out hunting last weekend.  It was like Christmas in our warehouse - I'm not sure my staff would agree - but I LOVE our Fed-Ex and UPS delivery men, I equate them to my personal Santa Claus!

We also managed to get a few more painting projects completed (pictures to come of these as well!).  The store is looking so awesome.  That sounds so boastful doesn't it?  I don't mean it to, I'm just so proud of all the things my staff and I can get accomplished in a day! 

So, I will leave you with a promise to upload some fabulous pictures of some of my favorite new finds and new Chalk Paint projects this weekend.  Of course, I'll be at the store tomorrow so if you're in the neighborhood, come and see them for yourself and have a cup of coffee with me!!  Robyn

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Completed Annie Sloan Workshop Studio

I came home from New Orleans in February, after a whirlwind trip meeting Annie Sloan and all the other stockists, so excited about all the possibilities and opportunities.  If I told you I haven't slept yet, I am not kidding you.  So much to do, so many thoughts, so many ideas .... where do I start first?!  I knew right away that this paint was going to consume my thoughts and my imagination.  When I walked through the entrance to my store (Robyn Story Designs), I saw things in color - Chalk Paint colors!  I also knew that I couldn't wait to share this with my staff and all my loyal customers, as well as all the wonderful people that this paint has yet to bring to our boutique.

First thing to do, transform a space in our warehouse to hold workshops.  That sounds easy...NOT.  Oh my goodness, I learned more about air-conditioning installation than I ever cared to know about.  That was first order of business.  It's hot here in Florida!! (For those of you not "in the know", we have three warehouses full of goodies in addition to our 4500 sq. ft. boutique and design center.  We transformed ONE of them and we will still have our Untold Story Sales - so no worries!)

My staff and I got down and dirty and emptied every shelf and every nook and cranny.  We removed industrial shelves, removed floral stock from the walls, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls,  bought all the necessary class supplies and just transformed the space.  Now, when you walk in it's a true inspiration for creativity.  We all got busy making samples of all the different finishes that can be achieved with all 24 colors and all the techniques as shown in Annie Sloan's Quick and Easy Paint Transformation book.  We then accessorized the walls with this 'art work'.  It's just fabulous in there and it has become my little haven.  A place I feel I can create and just 'be'.  We all need a place like that, don't you think?

So here it is, the before and the after of our Workshop.  We will be hosting these classes on a regular basis so be sure to check back for our calendar of events.  We have plans to do floral workshops, table-scapes, Mommy and Me workshops, Household Hint workshops, Visiting Artist Series....do you have an idea?  Let us know, we LOVE feedback.

Look at all this stuff!!

After - just waiting for our workshops to begin

Our class chair that we re-did - Annie Style

First coat - Primer Red

Second coat - Old Ochre

We then reupholstered with silk linen!  Fabulous!

We want to host workshops that will encourage everyone to create their own beauty, one story at a time!  


Just sharing some pictures of our First Ever Series of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Workshops!  We all had so much fun.  Thanks to Anne Skougard for coming down to Tampa and helping us host our first series.  Great information, great participation and just a wonderful time.

Class Photo!

ANNIE SLOAN Workshop Day Two

Day Two of our Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Workshop!  New group of participants and just as much fun!!

Anne Skougard and Robyn prepping for class

Amy in deep thought on how she's going to transform the kitchens in her investment properties!

Taking notes.....

Our Workshop Team
Alberto, Scott, Lori and Robyn

Sangria anyone?!?

This says it all......

Thank you Teresa! 

ANNIE SLOAN Workshop Day Three

Our third day of our Annie Sloan Workshops...whew, this has been quite a ride so far!!!  We even had Oley, a service dog, who visits our store regularly with Dory (his master) a fabulous textile designer!!  

We had our first husband and wife team!

Dory and her 'helper' Oley

Scott hamming it up!

Isn't this a yummy color?  

ANNIE SLOAN Workshop Day Four

What a whirlwind!!!  We have had such a fabulous time at our workshops!  Everyone comes and falls in love with the magic that is Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.  We hosted our first Saturday class and had participants come from Lakeland, Sarasota and Wildwood - not 'just right around the corner'.  I want to Thank EACH and EVERY ONE of our class participants - we couldn't do this without you!!  I hope you enjoyed your time with us as much as we enjoyed having you.  Each person had such great comments and asked smart questions.  The best thing??  The more we host our workshops, the more we all learn!  We will be posting a calendar of dates for upcoming workshops very soon, please keep checking back with us.

Take a look at our latest workshop pictures, perhaps you'll recognize someone you know!  Keep your comments coming and please share with your friends.  Hope to see you soon!  Robyn

One of our class participants, CeCe, experimenting with the Chalk Paint at the end of the workshop

 Kathy happy to be achieving the Crackle finish!!

Our Saturday Class