Weekend project: Annie Sloan Chalk Painted Jenny Lind table

this color is magic

this color is magic

So I recently visited Laconia where (supposedly) there existed a stockist for Annie Sloan chalk paint. Well, that storefront was dark and empty, but it also just happened to be right next to the Laconia Antiques Center and I convinced my husband that there was no sense wasting the trip. We usually find interesting stuff in there, though most things seem a tad on the pricey side.

I’d just about declared the trip a wash when I spotted what looked like Jenny Lind spindles mixed in with the furniture on the second floor (I’ve been looking for a JL bed frame in any size bigger than twin). She looked like one of the robots from War of the Worlds with her long, knobby legs and big feet. Her drawer was sagging on one side, but that seemed an easy fix. And she was $24. The shop owner let us know she’s a local gal from an estate near Lake Winnipesaukee. We brought her home.

I cleaned her up and waited a few days while I tried to decide if she was going to look best in yellow or blue. I had a small container of  ASCP in Arles, which looks more mustardy on the official color chart than I tend to like, but in person it strikes me as more of a buttery yellow. Even still, Aubusson Blue is in complete and shameless possession of my heart, so I hesitated to settle on yellow, but I started with a base coat of Arles and figured “hey, I can paint over it in 20 minutes.” amirite ;) ??

Those spindles. I am in no rush to refinish a Jenny Lind bed anytime soon.

Typically Annie Sloan paint is the only chalk paint I’ve used that really can get by on one coat, but Arles was not covering the natural walnut color of this table. I managed a streaky base coat using about 3 of the 4 ounces in the sample–which is a lot for a small table. I let it dry overnight and started in the next day with Aubusson Blue, which behaved wonderfully and coated the table top and legs with little to no transparency. Once dry, I sanded the top down to a chalkboard-smooth finish without revealing the yellow. Then I sanded and scraped the edges and usual wear spots until both Arles and the natural wood peeked through.

those legs killed an entire sanding sponge

those legs killed an entire sanding sponge

Then, another evening of admiring the color and wondering “too distressed?” and “not distressed enough?” I touched up the top in a place that would not have naturally worn down over time and let her dry overnight.

Saturday afternoon she got the full wax treatment–clear and dark. I LOVE how she turned out–sort of like a willowy blue robot. Aubusson remains (for now) my favorite color.



Arles making an appearance


This blog is getting a long overdue overhaul and I have deleted most if not all info related to fine art and my writing career. If you’re interested, you can find me at my long-awaited professional website, http://www.megcowen.com.

I am slowly putting my side design business back together and, since I no longer live on Patterson Road, have changed my name from Patterson Crow to Prussianblu (my favorite color). My focus will range from all my usual interests of watercolor prints, to jewelry and interior design. Now that I have (a little) more space and a shed stocked with some power tools (!) I can spend more time doing two of my most favorite things–building furniture and refurbishing old cast-offs into beautiful, vintage heirlooms. I’ll be using this blog as a gallery of projects, how-to’s and long-winded discussions about my process. Please check back soon, and have a lovely summer!



Blood type > Curry

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Having lunch at a new Nepali restaurant this weekend seems to have kicked my cravings for savory, warm spices. My husband and I could eat just about any curry–whether Thai, Indian, or Nepali–by the bowlful. However, not everyone is so willing to venture beyond meat n’ potato valley (every family has at least one) But lo, here is a way to warm them up with curry spices and they’ll never know it–unless you tell them, but wait until they’ve downed the first bowl!

My Potato and Leek Soup is super easy and requires just a handful of ingredients. The only thing you may not have in your kitchen that I highly recommend (especially if you and your family like soup) is an immersion stick blender. From my own experience, they’re far more convenient than a traditional blender–less expensive and cleanup takes all of ten seconds. You can also serve this soup chunky, but oh, man, is it like velvet when it’s puree’d!

I made a pot of this for dinner last night and it didn’t make it past today’s lunch…it’s veddy, veddy guud :)  Enjoy!

Curried Potato and Leek Soup


4 gold potatoes, chopped in small cubes

3 leeks, finely chopped

32 oz. reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/4 c. light cream or milk

1 teaspoon each of:

salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, dill, cumin, curry powder (I tend to double the curry powder, but start here and add more during blending if you’d like)

In a medium stockpot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add leeks, salt, pepper and garlic powder and cook 5-7 minutes until soft.

Add potatoes, thyme, dill, cumin and curry powder. Toss until coated and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add chicken broth to pot and raise heat slightly, bringing to a low boil. Cover and simmer 15-20 mins or until potatoes are soft.

Remove from heat and puree with immersion blender. Add cream and blend again.

Told you it was easy. Serve and enjoy–especially scrumptious with blue corn chips!

Curious creatures and apple picking

It’s not unusual to walk out my door and run into an insect I’ve never seen before (sounds like a nightmare, right?). Although I was tempted to pick this guy off the ground and let him shimmy up my arm, I’m glad I abstained–avoiding a potential rash.

American Dagger Moth Caterpillar

American Dagger Moth Caterpillar

So we spent the afternoon picking apples in Alexandria and enjoying a view of Mt. Cardigan–something we’d normally do on the standard long-autumn-weekend escape to either Maine or Vermont.

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Then we drove home and had to remind ourselves that “oh, yeah, we live here now.”

weekly dose of fiber porn

And I could joke about blue movies with this one, heh.

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This bit of luscious is from Sundara Yarn. On the right is their Fingering Merino in “Spanish Tile” (shamelessly admitting the name is what did me in). It seems this is only sold as part of one of their yarn subscriptions–I happened to score this skein on ebay. It’s going to be a shawlette, I think, or at 492 yds, another one-skein wonder. On the left is Merino Sport in one of their Lakes and Rivers limited batches. Oh so soft and springy and turning into a pair of mitts right now.

Their email communication and shipping are top notch (if a little spendy with USPS priority being your only option). Because it’s such a tiny company it seems that there’s frequent turnover of colorways and I’m assuming I should enjoy this yarn I have because once it’s gone, it’s toast. On the other hand, I’d venture to guess I could find a new love within a few clicks.

In the Round

Needless to say, it has been a rough year of moving and packing and unpacking and waiting patiently while our furniture floated in limbo a few states away.

To make an agonizingly long, squirmy story short–I’ve left the Nutmeg for the White Mountains. I’ve had to call my local police because there were three horses in my yard the day I moved in. I have a rooster neighbor who (by the grace of a higher power) likes to get up late. I have photographic proof, because I’m disgusting, that a bear does not shit in the woods, but in my front yard. And I can tell you, he eats better than I do.

How fitting is it, then, that my need to make something manifested back into knitting in the round? For the past two years I’ve wished I could master double pointed needles and knit myself some small tube-like things. Like fingerless gloves, since my hands are always cold but I can’t stand doing things, like write or drive, while wearing mittens or fingered gloves. Interestingly enough, one can’t knit in a perfect circle. What looks like a tube is really a tightly-twisted corkscrew. A great metaphor for post-May 2013, which has been a constant incline with an equally constant turn, spin, monkey-wrench. So today, one month after completing my first glove on a set of DPNs, I’ve finished one half of my first self-designed pair. This reminds me that when it comes to art, I can be overly tenacious in building up my own skills (while being underwhelmingly tenacious when it comes to things as simple as vacuuming or putting on deodorant).

It is also nice to see my sewing machine again, and I’m reminded of how much I loved having my own tiny business and how much I loved being told by a few people that they got pleasure from looking at something I made, and can I make more? The business might be revived–with a new name of course. I cannot be Patterson Crow if I no longer live on Patterson Road, can I? We shall see. For now, I’m happy taking what is essentially a big ball of string and making it into something useful. No idle hands in this place.

not my design, but I like them

not my design, but I like them

Big Poetry Giveaway 2014–Winners

Phew, April is over! So much reading and writing and house staging these past few weeks. It was a treat to have my husband come down to visit for the weekend, so for a few days I forgot it was May. Making good on my giveaway now.

Originally I was planning to give two random winners either a copy of Sharon Old’s Blood, Tin, Straw or my chapbook If Tigers Do Not Come. Since I’m sure most of y’all were gunning for S.O. I’m going to give each winner both a copy of my chapbook and a famous-poet book.

The random number genie chose posts 6 and 12, so congrats to:

Allyson, who gets Sharon Olds and my little bookeroo

and Karen who will also receive said bookeroo as well as Fire Is Favorable to the Dreamer by Susan Terris


Thank you to all who visited my blog this month. It’s nice to have people find me through poetry-related searches and not just “my Birkenstocks stink real bad.” :)