Chalk Mercantile

antique, vintage, handmade, local (860) 345-0660
April 16th, 2014 by Jayne

Higganum/Haddam Happenings

Beginning tomorrow night is the Haddam Historical Society Book Series #1
April 17, 7 p.m., Brainerd Memorial Library: Yale University historian and dean Allegra di Bonaventura will discuss her new book For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England, which details the story and history of one of Connecticut’s best-known diaries, that of New London’s Joshua Hempstead, and the enslaved man, Adam Jackson, who was a major part of that diary. Dr. di Bonaventura’s book has been widely acclaimed.



I’m really looking forward to this, hope to see you there!


March 29th, 2014 by Jayne

What’s new at Chalk

An antique kitchen scale with loads of character!
A wonderful creamy white vintage bookcase.
A child’s vintage toy typewriter.
An old zinc milk can.  These are just a few of the new things at Chalk.
Until next time!


March 27th, 2014 by Jayne

A wool bunny named Ricky

While sofa-bound with one of the worst colds I’ve had in years I got really sick of watching Netflix.  I felt lousy so painting any furniture was out of the question.  So I worked on a quilt and finished the quilting part and then moved onto a bunny I had just bought the pattern for.  It calls for wool felt, I don’t have any but I do have quite a nice collection of vintage wool fabric.  I threw some in the wash on hot and then dried on high and made myself some felted wool.

I’ve never done this before and desperation drove me to it but I LOVE working with felted wool!  It looks beautiful and doesn’t fray.  Here’s my bunny Ricky.  I showed it to my husband Rick and said that this is what he would look like if he was a wool rabbit.



The pattern I used is from Posie: Rosy Little Things click here to see it and I encourage you to look at her other patterns and kits, they are wonderful! I still have to make the little boots and outfit, a good project to get through a cold with.

Have a wonderful day!


March 24th, 2014 by Jayne

One step paint workshop

There are two open spots in this Sunday’s, March 30th, 10am – 1pm Amy Howard One Step Paint The Basics Class.  Have some pieces that need sprucing up for Spring?  This class will teach you all the basics so you can refresh and renew!  For details please click here.

Have a wonderful day!


March 24th, 2014 by Jayne

A guest post with a lovely and delicious recipe

 I am delighted to welcome and introduce Anne Farrow who wrote the following article. She’s a veteran journalist and co-author of Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery.    Anne is working on a new book about slavery and New England memory, based on the log of an 18th century New London slave ship.  Please enjoy the following guest post from Anne!

Renaissance Herb Tart

Since girlhood, I have loved reading about the Elizabethans. Multiple biographies and novels about Elizabeth the First, Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary, Lady Jane Grey, Henry the Eighth, the English Reformation and Henry’s dissolution of the Roman Catholic monasteries have added fire to my interest but not slaked it.

I love, and have loved, the drama, the danger, the gowns encrusted with pearls, the music and the politics of that pivotal era in English history. No detail is too small to interest me. In a small book on Elizabeth I by Sir Roy Strong, I learned that the Virgin Queen had beautiful hands and that in later life her teeth were black from eating sugar.

When I noticed a book on Elizabethan food at Haddam’s Brainerd Memorial Library, I borrowed it again and again, finally buying a copy this spring on Amazon. Francine Segan’s  Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook  (published by Random House in 2003) is a history book, a cookbook, and a cultural foray, all in one. I learned , among many other delectable tidbits, that the English “kickshaws” were the “quelque chose” of France, or, as we  call them today, appetizers or “befores.”

On a mild March Thursday when I saw irises poking up through the frozen earth in my side gardens, I decided to make Segan’s interpretation of an Elizabethan vegetable pie: Lots of wilted greens, chopped herbs, some onion and fresh ginger, a bit of cheese and some currants, baked in a savory crust. I served the pie with a few slices of grilled chicken, a hunk of Irish soda bread, and a glass of red wine.

Reader, my husband was happy.

Here is the Herb Tart from Shakespeare’s Kitchen, and I followed the instructions exactly except for two things: I used frozen pie dough instead of making my own; and for the half cup of currants I substituted raisins.  I also used my largest stainless steel sauté pan, one with deep sides.

Herb Tart

Serves 6

Prepared or homemade crust sufficient for a 9-inch pie

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1 ½ pounds assorted baby greens, finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped assorted herbs (such as flat-leaf parsley, mint, thyme, and basil)

1 cup grated semi-soft cheese

1 large egg, beaten

½ cup currants

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly milled black pepper

  • Roll out the prepared or homemade dough 1/8 inch thick on a floured work surface. Press the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate the crust for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the crust for five minutes.
  • Place the onions and olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Raise the burner to high heat, add the greens and herbs, and cook for 1 minute, or until just wilted. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese, egg, currants, and sugar, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.



March 20th, 2014 by Jayne

What’s new at Chalk and welcome Spring!

A huge ironstone pot.photogiantpot2
Vaseline glass candlesticks.
A sweet soft blue vintage child’s rocker.
Ironstone with a touch of gold.
An unusual jewelry box.
Hand painted Easter eggs from Poland.
An Easter basket by Longaberger.
A pair of beautiful antique side chairs with cane seats.
Happy first day of Spring to all!


March 13th, 2014 by Jayne

Cloth napkin with mitered corners tutorial

I lifted this tutorial from my other, sadly neglected, blog Daisey Jayne. Here’s a step by step tutorial that I put together to make cloth napkins with  beautiful mitered corners.  Once you learn this you’ll never go back to those chunky, awkward folded corners! What a relief!!

Gather some cotton or linen fabric.  I cut four 17″ squares to make 16″ square napkins so be sure to buy enough fabric for as many as you’d like to make.

cloth napkin tutorial

I cut my fabric square 17″ for a 16″ square napkin.

17" square of cotton fabric

Now iron a 1″ hem all around.

Iron 1" hem all around

Open up the 1″ hem and draw a line from crease to crease as in the below picture.

draw line from crease to crease

Do this for all four corners and then cut corners off on line.

cut off each corner on drawn line

Next up, fold fabric to line up with previously ironed creases as in next photo.

lining up creases

Now fold over edge 1/2″ to meet inside crease and iron, repeat this for all four sides, see next photo.

forming mitered corners


Now fold over again 1/2″ to form the final hem and mitered corners.

formed hem and corners

Now sew as close to edge as possible, I sewed  1/8″ away from the edge.  Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

finished edge

finished edge

Done!  These are quick and fun to sew and would make such a wonderful gift.

ta da!

finished napkin!  Give it a try and let me know how it goes.



March 11th, 2014 by Jayne

Ooh la la! A French nightstand, before and after

I fell in love with this French style nightstand and it’s matching 12 drawer dresser at first sight.  Beautifully made, all solid wood, cast hardware and just gorgeous lines. These pieces weigh a ton!

My vision for this set (haven’t started the dresser but that’s next) is to paint them in a beautiful grey and add some gold leaf.  I picked Amy Howard One Step Paint in Atelier and used her Gold Leaf.

Here’s a before photo.  The nightstand had it’s original avocado greenish paint.

Here’s a detail of the drawer, the hardware is cast not pressed and look how the accent moulding is attached with fine nails.
photodetail nightstand
After two coats of Atelier I begin to apply the Gold Leaf.
photoapplying gold leaf
After giving the brass hardware a good cleaning I begin to apply a bit of Gold Leaf.
Here’s a shot of the Gold Leaf in it’s raw, bright state before I knock it down with some fine steel wool and Amy Howard light and dark wax.
After light and dark wax and my favorite Amy Howard Dust of Ages this nightstand is done!
I just love the shape of this piece.
One of the techniques in the upcoming One Step, The Basics workshop will be gold leaf.  To find out more about this class please click, here.
Until next time,


March 2nd, 2014 by Jayne

One Step Paint, The Basics workshop, what a fantastic day!

We had our very first Amy Howard One Step Paint, The Basics workshop yesterday.  Thank you to my absolutely lovely and talented student!  We had a blast and learned a lot.  It was nonstop for three hours and these ladies are all super talented and have a keen eye!

Thanks for making my day fabulous!

Here we are painting, look at that focus…
Samples of Amy Howard One Step Paint,gold Leaf, waxes and of course Dust of Ages!
The next Amy Howard One Step Paint, The Basics workshop will be held on Sunday, March 30th, 10am – 1pm.  Click here for details.  Thank you again to all my students, you made teaching the class an absolute delight!
Until next time,



February 26th, 2014 by Jayne

A Before (sort of) and After

I recently finished a table for some favorite customers of mine.  This couple LOVE color and rich texture.  They found the perfectly shaped table in my shop but it was all wrong color wise.

The table was built back in the 60′s by Ethan Allen in solid maple.  It was still sporting it’s original (dated) finish when I found it.  I painted it with a coat of dark grey and on top of that a coat of Luxe Grey followed by a Ralph Lauren stencil in Ballet White.  Well that color combination did not resonate with my clients one bit!  We looked through my Amy Howard One Step Paint samples and decided on Chinese Red for the legs and skirt, Black for the top and three leaves and Rugo for the stencil.  This paint line is incredibly flexible!  From subtle to vibrant in the stroke of a brush with some fearlessness thrown in!

Naturally  sadly I forgot to take pictures of the table in it’s original finish.  But I found a shot of a table with a similar finish from the web.



First up a can of Amy Howard One Step paint in Chinese Red, you can see the grey/white painted finish also in this shot.

Let the painting begin, here the legs  are done.   The Chinese Red looks really fuschia in this shot but it’s not!
Here the legs and top are done.  Yes, I’m still painting in my dining room!
And here the table is finished and in it’s new home!  I just love how it looks with the black chairs.
The table has taken on a whole new personality, dynamic and vibrant!
The above photo is a detail of the table top.  Amy Howard One Step paint has an amazing range of colors that allow me to create the stunning contrast of Rugo and Black or the subtle and soft look of Luxe Grey and Ballet White in the next photo.

This Saturday is the first One Step Basics class and it’s full.  I’m really looking forward to teaching!  I’ve scheduled the next One Step Basics for March 30th, please click here for the details.  There are still spots open for the Silk Ribbon Embroidery class on March 15th, for the details click here.

Here’s a photo of the silk ribbon piece that I will be teaching.