About Donna Massengale

Chalk Paint®? Here’s the scoop!

Chalk Paint®? Here’s the scoop!

Chalk Paint®?  What is it? Why use it? How durable is it?  They all are the same, Right???

Annie Sloan developed Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan 27 years ago.  Little did she know what a success or hit it would be world wide.  If you should ever meet her, you will quickly realize that Annie is all about history, color schemes and art.  Painting is second nature to her.  She glows when she is creating.  Her product is her! Timeless, easy going and laid back.  So you ask yourself, what is it? Why use it? So here you go. Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan is a water based paint that is non toxic, pigmented with pure pigments, adheres to most surfaces without priming or sanding, dries quickly and most of all, you can achieve any finished look with a few simply techniques.


Kitchen Cabinets

Not a day goes by that someone either calls or stops in the store and asked about the durability of Chalk Paint®.  “Can I use it on my kitchen cabinets?” “How long will the cabinets last?” “I want to do my kitchen table but my kids use it everyday. Will it hold up?” This is just some of the questions that we get asked all the time.  Of course, it is durable.  We would not sell a product that we ourselves do not believe in.  But more so than that, we use the product on our personal décor`.


Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan Old Ochre on Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are a huge investment and most are not made of hardwood anymore.  Take a hard look at your existing cabinets and you will probably fine oak, cherry, walnut or pine.  The point is – SOLID.  They just need a little TLC and some paint.  But don’t fool yourself.  Not all paints are alike.  Most paints, to adhere to your surface, need to be sanded, primed and then painted.  Not with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.  Give those cabinets a little cleaning to get that grease build-up off and start painting. We will show you how to do everything from start to finish.   Graphite on the kitchen island pictured above.  Beautiful color combination.



Table Tops

Table top

Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan Graphite and Old Ochre

Table tops are just as easy and durable.  Many customers want a urethane finish to their table tops.  They feel the urethane will hold up better over time.  Urethane is a good finish and can give you a high sheen but wax is just as durable.  If we use a water based urethane on the table top, we always cover it with a coat of Soft Wax® by Annie Sloan.  Tried and true.  Soft Wax® is your friend.  Always remember, your finish can always be damaged (no matter what it is), but ask yourself, how easy is it to fix my issue.  With Annie’s Soft Wax®, most issues can be fixed with a little added wax and some buffing.  No sanding the finish off and starting over.  Water spots usually evaporate with a little time.  How often does that occur on a urethane surface?

Kids will be kids.  So pick the product that is hard to damage and easy to repair if needed. This oak dining room set was from  1983. Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan Graphite on the top of the table and chairs and Old Ochre on the bottom of the table. A SOLID piece of furniture, just needed a little color update.

So don’t be afraid to use a little color to update the look.  Beware of knock-off paints.  Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan is the original and only true Chalk Paint®. Stop in anytime at our Studio located in Chickamauga. We love to share our work and help you with yours. Happy Painting! Now what are you waiting for?

Chalk Paint® Making Old New Again

Chalk Paint® Making Old New Again

As we enter our 4th year of selling Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan, I cannot help but think about how much joy we have had learning about the paint and all that it can do. On top of the many workshops we have had the pleasure of attending, Chalk Paint® has given us a tremendous opportunity to train hundreds of other people as well.

A day does not go by that we are not able to share the beauty and ease of a Chalk Paint® transformation. From furniture, lamps, cabinets, fabric and so much more, we are transforming the “old” back to “new.”

Everyday we hear, “I have a piece of furniture that is in storage, my basement, or grandmother’s house. I would love to use it, but it just doesn’t go.” The sad fact is that most pieces in storage are just that – stored pieces of history! Most of these hidden charms are built sturdier than the new pieces that you can buy today. Solid wood is becoming a thing of the past.

Today’s furniture is mostly pressed wood with a veneer top, and we just don’t care for it. Give me an old piece any day of the week.

Before/After Gallery (click images to enlarge)

Endless Opportunities With Annie Sloan

Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan is the answer to most of your furniture restoration projects.  It is easy to use with very little prep, if any. No sanding, no priming, and a project can be done inside your home with easy clean up.  Whatever your decorating style, we can help!

Any look can be achieved with Chalk Paint® – rustic, modern, distressed, smooth, liming, and wood grain just to name a few. Look at the ageless style and design of the china cabinet and buffet pictured above.  A little love with Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax® makes a marvelous difference.

These pieces now have a useful purpose in their home, and they remain family heirlooms. Their days in storage are over. Who knows what they will want to do with it in 20 years, but one thing is for sure, it will last another 100 years or more.

The old saying, “Out with old and in with new,” is no longer relevant with Chalk Paint®.  Our new motto is “Making Old New Again with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.”

Spring Time & New Arrivals

Spring Time & New Arrivals

Wow, what a busy winter we have had. Sorry we have not added much over the last few months. We were extremely busy with the holidays and the beginning of our second store. We are so happy that Sophie’s in East Brainerd is finally opened. We are starting our 4th week and it is starting to sink in – WE HAVE REALLY DONE THIS! The store is beautiful and customers are loving the Chalk Paint® Area. Annie Sloan Paint Classes are going strong in the new facility. More room to move about and great lighting. If you haven’t stopped in yet, come on over and let us know what you think.

Don’t think we have let the Chickamauga location go. We are fully decorated for Spring and Sophie’s Garden will be opened with plants galore in a few weeks. Many have already come in looking for our gorgeous geraniums. A little too early for us. The last frost is suppose to be around April 14th. So come on April, we am ready for color and aromatic smells.

We were looking at the containers in the garden and some are really ready for a make-over. In the past, we would have just thrown them away and bought new. Not now, we are going to re-style them with Chalk Paint® Decorative paint by Annie Sloan and some Artisan Enhancements Fine Stone and VP Antico. Stop in over the next  few weeks to check out what we are doing with them. We will be offering several classes over the next several weeks to teach you how to re-style your old pots and planters or how to make new ones look like they have been in a Victorian garden for years.

Clay has been very busy doing custom work in the new location. The picture above is a lovely Bassett dresser converted to a buffet. This was completed with a custom mix of Chalk Paint® By Annie Sloan French Linen and Versailles. Lightly distressed and finished with soft wax clear and dark by Annie Sloan. This was a family heirloom that now has a new purpose. This color mixture is so nice, we are going to do a Thomasville buffet of our own in it. We will show you the results soon.

We would love to see what you have been doing over the winter. Share your photos with us and we will post to our Facebook and Pinterest accounts for others to see and get inspiration from. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Google +.

Until next time, happy planting and painting!

Annie Sloan & Artisan Enhancements

Annie Sloan & Artisan Enhancements

Wow! Have we been busy this past month. Clay and I have been to Atlanta to train on a new product that we now carry in the store. Artisan Enhancements!  As everyone knows, we truly believe that Annie Slaon Chalk Paint® is best paint in the world. It’s versatility , dependability and durability  cannot be surpassed with any other paint in the market. Artisan Enhancements is not a replacement for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® but a complimentary product that can be used with her paints.

Artisan Enhancements are extremely versatile.  My favorite is the fine stone. It is gorgeous alone or tinted with Annie’s paint. Perfect medium to be pushed through stencils to create an old world look. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® is great for furniture restoration and is probable best known for that, but in reality is so much more and so is Artisan Enhancements. Clay just finished a beautiful canvas piece using Annie Slaon Chalk Paint® Provence, AE fine stone pushed through a stencil, AE crackle tex painted with Chalk Paint® Old White and chipped with a natural sea sponge. He added AE gold foil and finished with AE scumble tinted with Chalk Paint® Graphite/Coco mixture.  He has named his art creation “A Cloudy Day”. I know this sounds like a lot but it is easy to create and a great project for a cold day or sign up for a class in November.

"A Cloudy Day"

“A Cloudy Day”

Now for those of you that don’t like to wax. AE has a clear finish that is water based and made with soya. It is organic and virtually no odor. So what is stopping you, stop by the store and check out all of the new products.

Speaking of new. Burgundy is now available and on our shelf. Very rich and perfect for the upcoming holidays. Several samples now available in the store.

Until next time, happy painting.

Exciting New Products

Exciting New Products

July has been a very busy month here at Sophie’s. Clay and I spent several days in Atlanta  searching for new products and we are so excited with our finds.  In our little neck of the woods it is very hot! I normally don’t wish time away, but I am really looking forward to the fall. As the weather changes, so will the look of our store. Fall colors will start to emerge and the smell of fall scents will welcome you to our home away from home-Sophie’s.

For now, the temperatures are scorching and the humidity is high but the inside of our store is a cool 68 degrees. A great time to come and shop our new lines arriving daily. We are happy to announce  that we are adding two new jewelry lines.

jilzara™is the first. It is premium clay beads. Each jilzara™ Clay beads a true work of art, designed by Jill Manzara and carefully constructed by skilled artisans.  “Layers of polymer clay combine gorgeous hues and intricate designs which meld together while baking  in an oven. Each delicate hand rolled bead is lovingly strung to create breath taking treasures for your delight. ” These beautiful clay beads are available now.

Lotti-dotties-magnetic-jewelry-sophies-fine-gifts-chickamauga-gaLotti Dottie’s ™ is the second new line of jewelry we are so excited about. It is suburb fashion created using interchangeable  magnets called dotties. It is the jewelry that allows you to express yourself in a charming way. We will offer existing dotties as well as all of the new ones that were showcased in Atlanta. From Aztec, to Modern, to Bling, to Lattice, Sun Burst, Nest, and Pearl, we will offer it all.  This wonderful collection will be arriving later this week.  A must see and a must have for Christmas!

Away from jewelry, we found CARSTERS!  The absorbent coaster for your car. No more messy drips in your vehicle. These adorable coasters come in many different designs including collegiate. We happy to offer Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. More available upon request. These are a must have. What’s best is that they are sold in a set of two for only $5.99.  Available now!

We have so much more to tell you about. Watch weekly for new blogs about changes in the store and the new merchandise arriving weekly.  We love our store and are so passionate about the products we bring in. As you visit us, we hope our passion will shine.


Girls Night Out

Girls Night Out

Girls Night Out downtown Chickamauga, GA!!!!

Tomorrow evening 6-8pm the streets of Chickamauga will be jamming out with live music.  The garden at Sophie’s will be smoking with the food f rom the Big Green Egg. Clay, our Green Egg chef, will be serving up stuffed jalpeno` peppers, baby portobello’s stuffed with cream cheese and smoked cocktailed sausage. The inside of the store will be smoking with sales galore!  It is that time of year again.  Summer Clearance! So what is stoping you?  Head on out to our beautiful town and enjoy and evening that is all about you.

Father’s Day & Summer Time Music

Father’s Day & Summer Time Music

Summer is here and so is Father’s Day. This Sunday to be exact. The temperatures are scorching, afternoon thunder storms are common, and the sounds of music have never been so beautiful. What? Am I crazy? Well maybe a little, but I absolutely love the sound of windchimes. Corinthian Bells® Windchimes to be exact! These bells combine excellence in design with exceptional tone and resonance.  They are acoustically the best chimes on the market, in my opinion. Just ask my husband.  We have a beautiful set on our back deck and they have been singing every night this week. They are the calm in the storm. Need a special gift for Dad? Stop in at Sophie’s and check out our superb selection of Corinthian Bells® Windchimes. We just received a new shipment today. All sizes and colors are in stock. It is the gift that will keep on giving for years to come.

Bells and music are not your thing? That okay! How about an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® 101 class. Great gift for dad. He will love all the different techniques and skills jammed packed into a four hour class of fun and adventure. Better yet, give your dad four hours of your time and take the class with him. Memories will be created that will put a smile on dad’s face and a lasting memory for you!

Happy Father’s Day from all the staff at Sophie’s! #fathersday #corinthianbells #windchimes #anniesloan #chalkpaint #sophies #chickamauga


May! A Month in Review

May! A Month in Review

Spring Time! Flowers! Mother’s Day! New Orleans! Graduation!

Wow! The last day of May.  How time flies.  When looking back, this month has been such a busy one with tremendous rewards. Spring Time came in with a bang.  We had flowers galore.  The garden was blooming everywhere. Hanging baskets, potted baskets, and custom planters kept us busy through Mother’s Day.

Speaking of Mother’s Day, Vera Bradley was a huge hit.  Flower Shower took the prize for the favorite pattern.  We are so thankful for all the support given to us by our customers.

Mid month came around and  Clay and I  had the privilege of traveling to New Orleans for the Annie Sloan Unfolded annual conference.  We met all of the Annie Sloan Unfolded team (our distributors for the states) and Annie Sloan and her family.  Annie proved to be the down home friendly individual portrayed in all of her videos.  She is a grandmother now, and , of course, we all got to meet Willow. There was a gleam in her eyes whenever she was around.

The conference was full of information to help us make your experience with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan the best ever.  Lets face it, your experience with her product is all that counts. She strives to make the best product on the market and in our personal opinion, it is!

The Unfolded team is moving forward to expand the knowledge of Chalk Paint®.  The paint is so versatile and incredibly durable. Be sure to check out our Chalk Paint® 101 class under the events tab.  Starting next month, we will be offering more advanced classes and bring your own piece classes.  We will work side by side the unfolded team to increase awareness of this wonderful product.

On the other side of the New Orleans trip, we got to eat some wonderful seafood and enjoy some great entertainment.  A big “THANK YOU” to the Annie Sloan Unfolded team for a great time.

The month has come to an end and so has high school for a great number of young adults in our area.  Congratulations to all of the senior class from Gordon Lee, Lafayette, Rossville, Lakeview and Ringgold.  We have had the honor of meeting many of you through our store and we wish you the best.

Kitchen Make-over using Chalk Paint®

Kitchen Make-over using Chalk Paint®

While mom and I were busy in the store with all the Mother’s Day activities,  Clay was busy completing a kitchen make-over. The customer choose a wonderful color combination of Old Ochre and Graphite (made more black with Aubuson Blue).  As you can see the Old Ochre  added a rich brightness to the room and the contrasting island in Graphite made it stand out as distinct feature.  The beautiful granite counter tops now pop with both decorative paint colors. #more than paint #Annie Sloan #chalk paint®

Mothers Day & Garden Time in Chickamauga

Mothers Day & Garden Time in Chickamauga

Mothers Day is just around the corner, Sunday to be exact.  What better way to say I love you or to show your appreciation then with a beautiful hanging basket or custom planted flower arrangement. Our flowers are healthy and loved and it shows!

We specialize in Pamela Crawford Planters.  We offer post planters, tiered planters and window box planters.

The Pamela Crawford collections creates a magnificent show of foliage and blooms from spring to the first frost. After 3 weeks, your neighbors and friends will be asking, “how did you plant that? They are gorgeous”.

If Pamela Crawford is not your style, that’s okay, we will gladly plant any container that you want. So stop on by Sophie’s and enjoy the garden time in downtown Chickamauga.