Saturday, August 13, 2011



the winner is Pamela Kaiser!!!

Email me at to CLAIM your giveaway!  Choose from any combination of the 24 color samples!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

About me!

After winding on the coast on Highway 1 today, I'm happy to be home on still ground!   I might still be moving (you ever feel that way after you get off a long plane ride?) We had a wonderful day at the beach.  It was much needed.  We even stopped at Parkside Cafe on the way back for some chocolate malts and fries, I highly recommend it!  A perfect summer day, complete with an 8 year old that asked, "Are we there yet?" at least 6 times.  Sigh.

Since I have so many new blogger friends that apparently like contests (!), I wanted to tell you a little about myself.  I am Tami Fandrei, the sole owner and work'a'bee of Patina Decorative Finishes. While I have a 15 year old apprentice, I will never have employees because I'm a perfectionist.  I have been a military spouse for the better part of 19 years.  We have been in Northern California since 2000, prior to that 5 years in Okinawa, Japan and before that, all over the US.

In 2002, my friend asked me to help her paint.  We were both pregnant and now that I realize it, neither of us should have been painting up on ladders.  Long story short, my obvious love for painting was evident and she encouraged me to pursue it as a career.  Throughout the years following it, I took many courses to expand upon my skills.   I loved what I was doing.  I remember being elbow deep in one of my early cabinet jobs, 5 weeks into it (client kept making changes) and thinking, "Is this really for me?" And then I finished, stepped back, and soaked in the joy from my client.  What a feeling.

Then, tragedy struck our family in 2007 with the illness of our middle child.  My focus had to change in ways that I never dreamed I would endure.  For, I had to learn to be a nurse.  I had to learn to push needles into my child and for the record, I am a trypanophobic (fear of need to google), er, well, was for most of my life, I had to endure the sight of blood (used to make me queasy).  My business was put on hold, I kept up my insurance and continued paying for my business licenses, but my job turned into a bedside one in the hospital, supporting her and what she was enduring.  We were desperate for treatment because her illness was undiagnosed and nobody had answers for us.  I flew all over the country with her, desperate for help and understanding.  We were blessed that we could survive on one salary, a luxury for most families.  I missed painting desperately, though.

It was in 2008 that I realized it was the perfect time to study for and take the exam to get my contractor's license.  I was sitting in a "ched", chair by day, 2 ft. wide bed by night, all day long and the days blended together and dragged on.  And on.  I needed a different focus, something for me.  We made it out of the hospital a few days before my contractor's exam day, but I'll never forget leaving the house at 7 a.m. a wreck because it was the first time I left my husband to manage turning off her TPN (another word for IV food when you can't eat), setting up her IV fluids for the day and give all of her morning medications.  She was also on many medications at the time and I found it so hard to let go of the worry as you are not allowed to bring cell phones into your exam!  I will admit, as I walked in, all worry slipped and I scanned the room, for I realized I was the only woman there in the entire sea of contractor applicants.  AND, I knew for once in those two years, I was doing something for me.  All thoughts slipped away.  I passed...little old me and a sea of men.  As I drove away with my paperwork, I realized it was the only good news to celebrate that I'd had in a very long time.  And we discovered that hubby could also moonlight as a nurse!  We were back in the hospital not too long after that as her condition worsened and she was unable to even stand anymore, bound to bed for 4 months with pain and agony.  I got my contractor's license in the nick of time.

Fast forward a few years, we're the lucky ones.  She's in a medically induced remission, future uncertain but looking bright from where I'm sitting.  I am back working, doing what I love and about 3 months ago, I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  It was by pure grace that I found out about it when I did.  My first thought was, "NO PRIMING? Whaaaaaat?  Impossible."  I jumped into it head first.  My perspective is different than it was four years ago.  Life is too precious to not go for your dreams.

I made my initial investment, which was big when you factor in a one income household.  About 3 weeks later, just a few days before my first order arrived, I received a check out of the blue in the mail from our previous insurance company.  It seems that someone blew them out of the water for denying home nursing and they were making payoffs in hopes to avoid court proceedings.  In early 2008, we appealed for home nursing so that we could get her out of the hospital and home, but we were denied, but went home anyway and I became her full time nurse.  The dollar amount was just $20 away from my initial 4 figure Annie Sloan Chalk Paint order.  I call that a sign.  And a gift.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Do What You Love, Love What You Do!

I stole this quote from my wonderful Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockist, Vicki Shoemaker of 3 Oaks Studio!  "Do what you love and love what you do."  Why do I love what I do?  Let me count the ways:

1. I get to work in my pajamas.

2. I can make my own hours.  While I realize I can do this, I've also recognized lately that I've been burning the candle at both ends and in between.  Forgive me, family, I'm working on this.

3. I meet the MOST amazing and FANTASTICALLY (is that a word?) creative people.  Yesterday, an artist from St. Helena called me asking me about my paint as he's going to "cottage" up some walls with it and plaster.  And, I was SO intrigued, I may need to do my own set of sample boards.  When I asked if he was a plaster or painting contractor, he replied, "Neither, I like to blaze trails." DUDE, me, TOO!  (I am NOT affiliated with this guy, in case you are wondering...I'm a law abiding licensed painting contractor and would never suggest using anyone who isn't in your home.  But, I still think he has a cool factor.)

4. The customers I've worked for in the past two months have touched my life.  They remind me to laugh, to appreciate creativity, to slow down and enjoy the good things in life and most of all, one special customer of mine encourages me, tells me I'm going to do big things, and believes in me and that inspires me so much.

5. I get to make my kids' lunch.  Sometimes that involves opening up a can of Spaghettios...don't be a hater, it happens and if you don't buy that junk for your kids, you are missing out on a meal that takes exactly 1 minute 30 seconds from the time you open the can, pour in a bowl, microwave (OH, the HORROR!) and serve with a smile.  And, it has vitamins (even if they are the fake kind).

6. I get to paint with the most amazing paint on earth...Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!  If you've never heard of it, get out from under your rock!  I no longer spend oodles of cash on primer and TSP, not to mention countless hours of priming (GAH...that stuff stinks...and I'm talkin' ODOR, people).  ASCP is forgiving, if you drip, it sands right out.  No brush strokes.  Beginners can use it, just ask my 15 year old apprentice painter.  She'll have HER contractor's license in 8 years!  (probably not, but a girl can dream, right?).  I get to paint with something that doesn't have any odor, dries fast, and makes my life super happy!

7.  I get to take my three kids, each with a friend, to the beach tomorrow.  On a Thursday.  Because I can!

8.  My garage is full of treasures.  Things to paint, things painted, vintage finds, etc.  My husband can no longer park his convertible in our 3 car garage.  I don't THINK he's visited a divorce attorney yet, but it's not a source of happiness like it is for me!

9. more.  I don't spend any money on manicures.  I already have plenty of Graphite, Primer Red, Antibes Green (just to mention my work from today) stuck in my cuticles.  Why bother? 

And now...for what you've all been waiting for.  It's a giveaway!!!!!!!!!

We all love giveaways.  I'm giving away THREE (you READ that right, THREE!) Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Samples in the colors of your choice, shipped to you for free (no gimmicks here!)  Each item below gives you (1) entry into the contest and the winner will be chosen randomly.  All you have to do is:

1. Like Patina Decorative Finishes on Facebook
2. Become a Follower of my Blog
3. Repost this contest on your Facebook wall
4. Repost this contest on your blog

HURRY...contest ends on Friday, August 12th at midnight Cali time!

Leave me a comment here on what your favorite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint color is! :-)  (I'll throw in another entry cuz I'm nice like that!)