Traveling France – Case of the traveling luggage

Traveling France – Case of the traveling luggage

Landing and meeting Neadeen at the Paris airport was a breeze.  Going through customs, claim luggage and she was standing right outside my exit – perfect.  Well maybe too perfect of a start.

Relaxing before the train ride

Relaxing before the train ride

We begin to wander looking for a restroom because we had more than enough time to kill before catching the TGV train to Aix.  Taking our time there, we meander to the train station area.  Okay, looking at all those machines, how do we know which one we need to use that will give us our tickets that have been reserved and paid for.  We stand contemplating the machine for a lengthy time and finally an American man walks over and gets us started.  Okay, on a roll now.  Little did we know, but he had stood back behind us to see if we were able to obtain our tickets.  He came back and once again helped us and finally the tickets are in our hand!  His suggestion was to validate our tickets before the 15 minute boarding time.  WooHoo, that means time to relax and have a cup of coffee.

TGV Machine

TGV Machine

Half an hour before we are to depart, we head out to find where to validate the tickets.  Down another level, but the escalator is broken.  Yikes!  The elevator is found with a long line waiting.  Patiently we wait our turn and make it to the lower level.  Validate the tickets and decide to wait to see the platform number listed.  Nothing posted, so I run up the stairs and wait for it to be posted.  Oh NO!  It’s on the other side of the tracks!  We have to go back up a level (no escalator in sight) and the line is way to long for a 15 minute window.  Only option is to pull the luggage up via the stairs – never mind that we each have a 50 lb piece and another one weighing close to that!  Figuring I would try to handle the two large pieces, I try to drag them up – nope, stopped dead in my tracks.  Grabbing the two smaller ones I tug them up to the half way point and walk back down.  Neadeen is laughing hystarically.  So hard she cannot get up the stairs.  I’m thinking, “Oh, no we will miss the train!”  Come to find out, two men on another train were watching us and laughing like crazy making her crack up.  We giggle over that and are still as we make our way to the platform.  What?  Now we need to go all the way to the far end to get on the car needed!  Neadeen was wishing we could be like Harry Potter and walk right on through the posts! Trucking down farther, we are still laughing as we board the train.  Just make it into the doors before they shut and see there is absolutely no place for the luggage.  All the space is taken up!

Harry Potter?

Harry Potter?

Still laughing everyone in the car is watching (two French men included) as we manage to get all four pieces up onto seats!  Whew, down we sit.  This isn’t the best picture and one piece still isn’t up there yet.

Piled luggage

We get off in Aix En Provence trying to figure out the signs to point us to get the bus into town.  We meet up with four others doing the same thing.  Of course we have to go up the elevator, down on the other side.  Then back up again but wait down again!  Oops, wrong side of the terminal.  So back up and down,  Walk and bit and go back up and down again!  Not a prob but forgot to mention, the elevator on this last part was not working.  Another episode of this time sliding the luggage down a long flight of stairs.  The bus arrives within minutes so all is good!  Dumping us out at a point of Aix of who knows where is the next hurdle!  We finally ask a young gal to help us and she walks with us a bit to make sure we find our way.

I promise to take a photo tomorrow of the place that Google maps had been taking us to.  You guessed it, the wrong place.  I’ll talk more on that tomorrow because you have got to see a photo to understand the humor in this move!

Finally arrive at the right address, insert key and whoopee – in we are!  But in the dark!  Drat, where is that flashlight when you need it – ah, no worries there is a light switch.  With light, we see an added bonus of, yep, you guessed it an “elevator” to the third floor!  As the door opens up, we almost double over with laughter again!  It’s big enough for one person or the two largest pieces of luggage.  Brilliant plan but the elevator won’t move!  Hey, we know what to do,  struggle up the stairs with the other two pieces and push the elevator button from the third floor!  Walla – worked like a charm.  After much more ado, we finally get all the locks open and in we are!

Chest to chest we can both fit in here!

Chest to chest we can both fit in here!

From laughing so hard, we do a frantic search for the bathroom.  Oh, no, we cannot locate it and we continue laughing!  Worried we were going to have to do the unthinkable, Neadeen discovers it – the last door to be opened!  Was bringing the heavy luggage worth it – oh, yeah, baby.  We are here for three weeks and it’s awesome.

Someone must have had karma and knew beers were going to be needed!  Don’t know why they were in the fridge, but blessed be the one that put them there!  We will gladly replace them and add extras!  We eat some yummy pizza from across the street and must call it a day – a splendid day at that.  Anytime you can laugh you way through 10 hours is glorious!

Blessed be the beer  providers!

Blessed be the beer
providers!

Don’t forget to “like” my fb artist to laugh with us through our journey from France!

Quite a switch from my normal blogs about furniture painting and mixed media art?  lol

Until tomorrow – Goodnight from Aix En Provence, France.

 

Maison Blanche Furniture Paint to the Rescue!

Maison Blanche Furniture Paint to the rescue!

This mirror was glorious in its day a decade ago.  I have a few of them myself, but this one was a find on a local garage sale site.  It’s heavy and has a wonderful quality mirror in it.  Definitely not ready for the junkyard!  Look what a few layers of furniture paint can do to home decor besides updating furniture!

Furniture paint revives a dated mirror

Furniture paint revives a dated mirror

Those clunky old gold frames are so ready to be renewed.  What better way than to use Maison Blanche furniture paint?  This mirror really is fabulous but not in gold!  The first step was to give it a good cleaning with TSP.  It was also a beautiful day to photograph outside and capture the wonderful blue sky in Texas.

 

 

Frame first layer is Silver Mink

Frame first layer is Silver Mink

This frame begged for layering to enhance the very ornate detail it has.  The color family that was aimed for was in the grays so the first layer down was Silver Mink.  When you have a surface this ornate that has so many crevices, don’t use a pristine brush!  This multi-purpose round work great and is very reasonably priced.

 

 

A layer of Confederate Gray was added and wiped back.

A layer of Confederate Gray was added and wiped back.

After the Silver Mink was dry a layer of Confederate Gray was applied.  While it was still wet, it was wiped back to reveal some of the Silver Mink.  This accents the high points of the mirrors detail and deepens the crevice area.

 

 

 

 

Glaze using Translucide and Wrought Iron.

Glaze using Translucide and Wrought Iron.

Last a glaze of Wrought Iron + Translucide was applied.  Don’t you love how the detail in this frame now stands out?

 

 

 

 

 

New Look - New Home

New Look – New Home

Please feel free to share my blogs.  Follow me on Facebook where I keep my artwork posted. Pinterest is always fun and my website is full of information on the Maison Blanche Furniture Paint

Furniture Paint Giveaway!

How about a Furniture Paint Giveaway!  Possibility of receiving 2 sample 4 oz jars of Maison Blanche Vintage Furniture Paint plus an additional surprise in the shipment!

Two 4 oz jars of Sample paint will be given away Sept. 3

Two 4 oz jars of Sample paint will be given away Sept. 3

Go to my facebook artist page to have your name entered.  This will give many of you a possibility of giving Maison Blanche furniture paint a try.  There are so many possibilities for painting furniture with this paint.  Each sample jar will complete a small furniture sample.  How awesome no priming and no stripping sound?  Yep, that’s right, to begin to repurpose your furniture the only prep is to be certain it is clean.  My artist page is also full of tips and ideas for you.  Check out the YouTube videos I have available.

 

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME! Two 4 oz. samples jars of Maison Blanche Paint + a surprise will be given away. To enter –
like and share my artist page then leave a comment to have your name included. I will draw the name on Tuesday, September 3rd at 6:00. So please LIKE, SHARE and LEAVE A COMMENT!  You must LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT or your name will not be included.

Check out my website for all the fabulous colors and mediums available for updating and painting furniture!

Barbara

 

Painted Kitchen Cabinets!

The painted kitchen cabinets get the most comments in my home.  Everyone oh’s and ah’s when they see them and were easy and fun to do.  Two years later, I still love them and so do others when they see them.

metallic painted kitchen cabinets

metallic painted kitchen cabinets

first cabinet doors were primed

first cabinet doors were primed

Because I was not using one of the many paints that have a chalk base in them, the cabinets had to be primed.  There are several companies out there that provide a great primer for this.  Two from the top of my head are Faux Effects and Modern Masters.  All the doors were removed along with the hardware.  I find it easy and faster to not work around them!  The white primer was placed on both sides of the doors and the cabinet framework.  Allow this to dry for at least 24 hours to allow for proper curing.

 

1st layer of metallic paint was green

1st layer of metallic paint was green

The first layer of a metallic green paint (I used a green that leaned to the gray hue) was placed on both the framework, drawer fronts and cabinet doors.  I chose to do the back of the doors but was not too concerned about the process I used – meaning I wanted them darker since they will be closed most of the time.  Using a large chip brush is the easiest way to “get” the paint on.  Neatness isn’t part of this process!  You just want to make sure you have good (opaque) coverage at this point.

 

add additional color layers on cabinets

add additional color layers on cabinets

The next step was to apply a “dry brush” to almost streak on some of a metallic bronze tone to the cabinet framework and back of the cabinet doors.  The look was easily achieved using a 3″ chip brush.  Believe me, the neatness approach is not what you want to do!  You will loose the look and depth.

Again, “dry brush” or streak look metallic dark brown as applied using another 3″ chip brush.  Again, neatness doesn’t work.

Once these layers were dry, a somewhat heavy streak/dry brush was applied with the green again.  Care was not taken to be certain that too much was applied because it very easily is broken up by applying one of the previous colors to break up any areas if necessary.  My choice was to keep these cabinets more into the green value but these colors could easily be applied to have any of the other colors dominant.

Because a metallic paint was used, it’s important to be certain you use a varnish that is made to be applied over metallics.  My entire goal was to add some reflective quality to my kitchen and I didn’t want to loose that at this stage!  I sent my husband to pick up a gallon for me and got quite a humorous comment from him.  When he was told the price, he asked where the rest of the case was!  But, seriously, like in most situations, products are made to work with each other for a reason and using proper vanish is worth it’s value.  Two coats were applied for extra hardness because I am one that continuously wipes down my cabinets.

Hardware was applied and cabinet pulls were put on which also gave these cabinets a finished look.  One word of caution – the bronze in these cabinets did limit the choice of hardware.

The length of time for all my doors, drawers and frame (42 in all and many of them quite tall) only took me 3 days from start to finish.  That includes the 24 hour drying time for the primer, rehanging the doors and putting on the new handles.

You, too, can easily have your kitchen cabinets painted.  It’s a fast, easy with not much physical labor and your kitchen is updated and looking refreshed.

I love the finished look and next my walls were textured and repainted.  I’d love some feedback on what you think of the before and after results.  These pictures show only a corner of my kitchen that have cabinets.

Please visit my website, Pinterest and feel free to share my blog.  Join me on my Facebook Page to follow my art.

Barbara

Before Kitchen Cabinets

BEFORE Kitchen Cabinets

metallic painted kitchen cabinets

AFTER painted kitchen cabinets

Artists Beware of Scams

Artists beware of scams – this recently happened to Linnea Hoover.  Take time to read it because it’s very good information to have!

A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail from someone interested in a picture I had done called Albi Equi. This happens sometimes, so I do what I normally do, tell them what the picture is priced at and wait and see if they are still interested. The person responded that they were indeed interested, and they wanted to know what had inspired the picture. Mentally I’m thinking that this seems pretty legitimate. If they were a scam they wouldn’t care what had inspired me, right? I tell the client I take checks and credit cards, and tell them who to make it out to, and where to send it. That is when it started getting hinky. The person responded and said that FedEx doesn’t deliver to PO Boxes and they would like my home address instead– I work from home. She said she was from New Jersey, but that her husband works in New York and he has his secretary handle his checks, so I will be receiving a check from the secretary. I’m thinking odd, but ok I can give them that.

Important aside: If you receive a fraudulent check through the United States postal service, the person scamming you has committed a federal offense.

At this point I’m working on getting my large commission piece done, and getting out of the house. So my first day on the road to Arizona, the check comes, and I give my permission for my Dad to sign it. I guess that is something that you can do. And he tells me that the check is for more than twice the amount I had quoted the picture. This sends up big warning flags to my Mom and me.  If you have read the Road Trip post you know my Mom went on my trip to Scottsdale, Arizona with me. We think this is getting a little weird, and at this point, we think it is a scam, but I’m still holding out hope it isn’t, because I keep thinking how much ink I could buy if I sell that picture.

So I tell my Dad to go to the bank and talk with a family friend who works there and see what we can do, because if this is a scam I really don’t want to get in trouble. So my Dad talks to the bank while I’m sitting on pins and needles on my way through Oregon.  The bank tells my Dad the check looks a little hinky. There isn’t any contact information for the bank it was issued from, but they can put a hold on it until the check has cleared, so we won’t receive any money before then. After that we informed the buyer of what we had done, and she said that was fine.

As an important aside to other artists: Make sure you put a hold on all checks you receive from people you don’t know or don’t know well. A common misconception that people make is that when you get a check from someone and you take it to the bank, you automatically have that money. This is not true, it can take up to 10 days for a check to clear both your banks and for you to actually physically posses that money. So if a check bounces or is fraudulent, and you spent that money, then you just spent money that didn’t exist.

The next day I got an email from our “buyer” saying that her husband would really like us to send the difference of the check as soon as possible, and that she had looked up different places where I could do a wire transfer, and I should send it to her husband’s secretary who now miraculously is in Illinois. If you have kept up so far, you now know that our client lives in New Jersey. Her husband and his secretary work in New York, but the secretary lives in Illinois.

At this point I’m in Southern California, and I’m just really thankful we didn’t send out the picture or the check. My parents advise me not to respond to this email, so I don’t. Later that day when we decide to head out of California from where we where resting, I get a text message on my phone from the buyer asking if I had gotten her earlier email. I do not respond and mentally make a note to myself to look up the area code of the phone number when I get home. When I do have time to check, the area code was from somewhere is Califonia. So to recap, The woman is from New Jersey, with a phone number in California. Her husband works in New York with his secretary, and she wants me to send the money through a wire transfer to the secretary who lives in Illinois. I don’t respond to the text message, and find out later when I get home I got an email saying the same thing as the text message.

Now I’m so sure it’s a scam it isn’t even funny, and I’m waiting for this to escalate and for the woman to demand her money back. I’ve finally arrived in Scottsdale and decide not to worry about it anymore.  There isn’t much I can do until I get home anyway. So I drop off the artwork and have a great visit with the people who run the Buffalo Collection, drop off the rental truck and fly home that very evening.

When I get home, I take part of a day to recoup, at this point I’m pretty positive someone on the plane has given me their cold. I think I’m going to invest in face masks for plane rides from now on. Does anyone know if they actually work? So I took part of the day to recoup, and then I call my bank to find out what is going on, and they tell me that the check is a fraud. I asked for some advice on whether or not I should file a police report, and they lady at the bank said why not. It can’t hurt anything.

I decided to look up how I should file a police report from home, so that’s what I end up doing. This may vary from place to place, so I would look up for your area what you should do if you are unfortunate enough to ever need to file a police report. The website for Monroe, Washington’s police department said that I should dial 911 and when asked what my emergency was immediately respond that is was not an emergency. Unless of course you as the reader do have an emergency then by all means tell them what it is. I, however, do not have an emergency and told them so. They then asked the purpose of my call, and I said something to the effect of “I would like to report that someone has tried to defraud me.” They asked if the person was someone I knew. I said no. They asked if the person succeeded, and I said no. They asked for a general account of what occurred and then took my information and informed me that an officer would call to take my statement later that afternoon. An officer did indeed call, and got a little more in-depth account of what had happened, and then told me an officer would stop by my home for my statement. He also asked if I had access to the check or if the bank would give it to the officer. I told him I didn’t know but that I would go and speak with the bank.

I head out again, I’m still feeling a little under the weather, but I’m pretty excited to get this taken care of and out of the way. When I get to the bank, the teller tells me they have sent the original check on ahead but they have a copy I can give to the officer. When I get home I get all of my email dialogue with the scammer, along with the number they texted me from, and the check.

When the officer arrived he was very friendly, took my statement, took the evidence and told me a little about what would happen. Sadly it probably won’t be a lot, but they always hope that the scammers will screw up somewhere, and that any evidence they have previously collected will be useful. The problem is that this person is probably not in my state, and there isn’t a lot the police can do to track them. And even if my police department could track them, they would have no jurisdiction because the crime did not happen in the State of Washington. So my advice to other artists is always be careful with your art, try and make the best decisions you can with the information you have. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

I would like to send a special thank you to my bank for all of their help, and to the Monroe Police department for their wonderful response time and kindness. To the other artists out their reading this, I know this may not seem like a lot to other people, but we work just as hard at our jobs as other people do. I don’t want to see anyone take advantage of you because you don’t know your rights. If you put a hold on a check, you don’t need to send your art out until the check has cleared, you haven’t received any money at this point, you are only protecting yourself.

Note: We were never contacted again by the scammer after the last e-mail asking if we had received the previous e-mail.

http://linneahooverartist.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/scam-aimed-at-artists-beware/

Thank you, Linnea!

Feel free to share my blogs, follow me on my Facebook artist page and Pinterest!

Barbara