A Design Story: 'Tis the Season


Black Friday: The official kick-off to the Christmas Season! There will be leftovers for dinner... and lunch... and breakfast. Who has time to cook with all the shopping and decorating? For that matter, who wants to? The Thanksgiving holiday finds most of us in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, and finally eating. But today? Today is about hustle and bustle, shop and ship, wrap and pack. These are just a few of the things I'm sure you have on your to-do list this season.

We have those lists too. But because we are a retail location we get started earlier than most. We had to get our decorating done prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, and truth be told, we loved getting into the Christmas spirit early. Our goal this year, as with many in our current economy, is to celebrate and decorate in style while keeping our costs minimal. We love a good challenge!

So we pulled out the tree and garlands and got to work. First we needed direction.

The Theme: 

The brainstorm (a little insight into our inspiration):

  • Many of our clients are interested in Chalk Paint™.
  • The front area of our studio is dedicated to "All Things Annie".
  • Most of our painted furniture pieces and accessories that feature Chalk Paint are showcased in this area, therefore keeping our tree in the windows at the front of the shop meant having a Chalk Paint theme.
  • Chalk Paint is largely about repurposing and resurrecting... OK, now we're talking! I see a plan formulating...

The Plan: 

We had unused 1/8" hardboard that we cut into 3"and 4" squares and diamond shapes. We found old snowflakes that we were able to use for our tree topper and in the creation of our custom ornaments. We painted the handles on our shop brushes and printed oversized gift certificates made out to "my multi-talented mom", "my creative cutie", "my handy husband", and "my glitzy grandma" to name a few. We gathered supplies from around the store (and property) like paint stir sticks, picture frames, and branches from the over grown bushes outside to fill out our tree. And finally, we printed oversized hands from Annie's logo on photo paper and cut them out.

We painted the ornaments with all the colors in the Chalk Paint line. With some of the ornaments we broke out the gilding wax, some were stenciled with Wood Icing. Our crackled ornaments were coated with Fissure size for a large crackle and others got the Annie Sloan craqueleur topcoat. Lastly, some were embellished with hand painted words: love, peace, joy, merry, etc.

Ornaments: Wood Icing snowflake impression, hand painted words, Annie Sloan's craqueleur topcoat, Wood Icing embossed snowflake.

And then, we trimmed the tree! What fun to see your brainstorm come to life! Stick some branches here, hang a brush there, tie a ribbon here, stuff a gift certificate there, nestle a frame here, shove a stir stick there.

"Oh handsome hunk! You shouldn't have!!"

The finished product!

I think Christmas trees are difficult to photograph - but I can't very well write an entire design story about our tree and not show you the finished product... that wouldn't be nice.

Under our tree we stocked it full of gift giving ideas: workshops, Chalk Paint, brushes, books, etc.

And that's it, our Christmas tree design story. There's just something about digging down deep and creating something from "nothing". Anyone can spend money and decorate with new things, but we have great satisfaction and joy knowing we repurposed what we have and that we were resourceful in decorating our studio tree.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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  • Kim Smith