Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You make me happy...when skies are gray...


You know, I have to permanently strike from my vocab the words "I will never do...."because 1. I used to swear I would never do pink and now I love it and
2. that I would always be loyal to and never sick of red and now it makes me wanna barf and
3. that I would always hate gray and now I'm obsessed.

Cause those aren't such tasty words and I've been eating a lot of them lately. I am crazy in love with gray.
Another thing I'm crazy in love with is the website pintrest. You have to be 'invited' to join
( which makes me special!!! HA HA) but you can type in things like 'kick ass dining room' and you will actually get 1000s of photos to thumb through. (Relevancy google, that's all we ask!!!)
But the downside is, original sources are iffy. Who knows who designed or photographed most of this stuff? Another downside to pintrest is the lack of sleep I've been experiencing since being accepted into this secret inner world of people who like to collect photographs of cool looking stuff.

So if you want to know my simple rules for using gray here they are:
1. For the love of Mike, add a dash of something warm or else you will be constantly looking for your sweater.

2.if you can't ( or don't want to) add something warm, add something fun.

3. Avoid colors like 'garage floor' and 'battleship' and 'the economy'.
consider 'greige'...'s warmer and less depressed.

4. Realize that gray is kind of trendy, but hopefully this 'trend' will last at least as long as blue and brown has, which has been like, forever.

5. Add some movement or pattern on the walls. A faux finish will do the trick!

or a stencil ( we never say the 'wallpaper' word around here)

or some hand painting.

6. Go girly with it! Pink and/ or ruffles keep gray from being too serious.
to see the world's most adorable pink and gray nursery, visit pink sugar photography's blog.

7. Anchor it with a dark floor.

8. Choose carefully. Gray is one of those colors that can be pinkish, purplish, greenish....make use of Sherwin Williams AWESOME color to go program and try out a few 5 dollar sample quarts before you commit.
For more help, look to House Beautiful and their ongoing commitment to great color by clicking here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Benjamin Moore Bermuda Blue

via lonny mag
via housebeautiful

via flickr

Above are three rooms painted in Benjamin Moore's Bermuda Blue, which turns out to be pretty much the exact color of blue painter's tape.

I had a designer/client once request that I paint a dining room the color of blue painter's tape. Once I had picked my jaw up off the floor, I listened to her request and realized she had a pretty nifty idea. Our blue turned out to be Ben Moore's Bermuda Blue, with a gold and silver glaze over top, which toned the blue down considerably. I did a google search to see if I could find photos of rooms painted this color and found three. It's not a color for the color weary, to be certain.

If you are following, you will get the directions to create this look. It's a fairly simple textile type technique with raised designs with gold and silver leaf and Swarovski crystals.

If you are a new follower, you must also email me at with the word 'recipe' in the subject line.

Here's a close up showing the raised designs. (Remember my computer got fried and I lost
most of the photos for my book. I wish I had an even up closier up close, but this is all we've got.)

The wide shot of the room shows the coordinating faux finish on the ceiling, which was created with several layers of Lusterstone, a product by Faux Effects International, that creates velvet looking finishes.

Decorative finishes always look crappy with flash photography. This finish is really cool in that it kind of changes colors as you walk around the room, which of course cannot be picked up in the photos. I think this is one of the prettiest dining rooms I have ever created, and hey it's not red!!!! I think red dining rooms need to go bye bye for awhile.

Raspberry Lemonade Martini

I've got to be honest, had an odd week. I guess with any profession in which you deal with people, you find out how stange and tedious people can be.

I did have a great afternoon with one of my clients in which I was doing the usual 'waiting for paint to dry' routine, when she whipped out her blender and mixed up a batch of Raspberry Lemonade Martinis. Sweet, eh? Love those clients who see you as a person and not just a worker.

A person in need of a Martini! Ha!

Raspberry Lemonade Martini
1 can of Pink Lemonade or Limeade (size does not matter)

Dump can of Lemonade into blender

fill can with Cheap Raspberry Vodka and pour into blender

fill can with water and pour into blender


Rim the edges of Martini glasses with sugar

Garnish with lemon wedge, marishino cherry or mint sprig.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Motif: Interlocking Circles

I've been trying to find the origin of the interlocking circle design....but it shows up just about everywhere. Celtic, Japanese, early American name it. It's fresh and funky again. I like the optical illusion and confusion created from staring at this pattern for too long. The drapes in my living room are avocado green interlocking circles on a metallic brown background and the girls and I have endless debate about whether the pattern is made up of diamonds or circles or leaf shapes formed into "X"s. I have stumbled onto lots this motif lately, here are some of my favorites. I LOVE these printed canvas panels from

Painted ceiling by Anna and Jim Sadler at Surfacerefinements.comThat's decorative artisty, stunningly precise, created by Anna and Jim Sadler. Read more about this married team here at

Mosaic tile flooring from Mission Tile.

Wall tiles from Ann Sacks. Not only do I love the design, I love the color!!!

A few variations on the theme:

In the Elle Decor Showhouse, Palmer Weiss designers. via

I have no idea who designed this room, the photo credit is actually ebay. But me likey!!!!!

Roundabout stencil from Wallovers. If you don't know about Wallovers Stencils and the accompanying toppers they sell for each stencil, you should. If you've ever stenciled a large room with a large stencil, you know how much of a beyotch getting the stencil all the way to the ceiling line can be. The toppers are all adhesive backed too. Sweet!

Yeah. Gorgeous. From Tiffany and Co.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mama's takin us to the zoo tomorrow....

....and we can stay all day!

I am taking my kids to the zoo tomorrow, I think I may be more excited than they are. Their father dates a woman who is an ACTUAL ZOOKEEPER so they got to do some really cool stuff at the Denver zoo last summer, so just going as a plain old visitor is maybe beneath them now. I've always been crazy about the African animals, my favorite being the zebra.
Tomorrow is also the beginning of spring break and we are on hiatus. Not sure how much blogging I will get in this week so I wanted to do something fun 'til we meet again. In honor of my favorite zoo animal, and one of my favorite design's some zebra print eye candy for you. You know there's good zebra print and way way way overkill on the zebra print. I find that just a smidge of zebra will do ya. Here's some visual proof. (and it doesn't have to be black and white either!)
via designer Carlton Varney

designer Krista Ewart





OOOOh OOOh!!! It's chevron-ey Zebra! via

Friday, March 18, 2011

Accessorizing 101...

You ever get one of those 'wild march hares' that just makes you want to get busy. Call it Spring cleaning, call it seeing my own mess with new eyes. Whatever it was I decided to tackle the kitchen hutch that usually is such a big pile of paper and junk and ...well, see for yourself here:

This is the landing spot for mail, school work, permission slips, recipes, coupons etc. Paper is my biggest obstacle, with 4 kids in school and a home based business. My resolution for 2011 was just to get organized, and it is happening by tiny degrees.

So what started this whole project was a trip down Hobby Lobby's 90% off Home Dec. aisle, also known as the 'spray paint aisle'. I scored these two hideous fruits for 2 bucks a piece. The last time I was at Farm & Fleet I picked up a can of yellow Krylon Farm Implement spray paint, which is coincidentally the exact same color as my dining room walls.(which cracks me up) So I knew I could make these 'almost funky' fruits 'funky'.


....and after. (forgive the fuzziness....the project also required a coupla glasses of Moscato)

This cake stand was a gift from my mother. I have never really found the perfect spot for it until now. The porcelain eggs with duck feet are from Pier I (several years ago). The milk carton cream and sugar set are actually from the dollar section at Michael's.

I think displays in the home should be a combination of pretty to look at and useful every day. I do use the water goblets and wine glasses daily, and occasionally the the cream and sugar set, and the egg tray. You'll notice I got rid of all the cookbooks, because seriously people, I never follow a recipe. The only recipe I ever use is the one for beer bread.
The white footed bowl actually holds photographs that come in the mail or home from school or church and need to be placed in albums. I found the wire locker basket at a yard sale years ago and have used them mainly for magazine storage. This display was starting to take on a definite egg theme (dare I say" theme"!)so I loaded the basket up with white plastic Easter eggs which I found for 77 cents a bag. (You can't see the little hand painted bird dish that is next to the egg tray.) I can't really reach the top shelf without standing on a bar stool, so it doesn't bother me that the top shelf is purely decorative.

I decided to organize the two junk drawers too. Target carries a 'junk drawer organization set' for just seven dollars.

My personal accessorizing rules are this as applied to this project.
1. Have an even mix of purely decorative objects and things you actually use.
2. Mix in a lot of white with small pops of color (the cake stand, funky fruits and pencil cup)
3. Create balance by repeating a color or 'theme' (eggs and chartreuse color)
4. Add something with a sense of humor or sense of whimsy. I love the duck feet eggs and although they are Easter decorations, I leave them out until Christmas.
5. Less is more. You don't need a bunch of stuff just to fill it up.Seriously, people... less really is more. Step away from the silk florals, okay!!! Use simple, white objects for filler, if you need a few things to beef it up. Use spray paint or items from discount stores if you have no budget. (cream/sugar set cost 2 dollars, simple white candy dish was 4 dollars at TJ Maxx)
6. Create a circular shape or a triangular shape when placing objects. This draws the eye from item to item and creates excitement.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Become a follower.....Get free faux recipes! (copper crackle recipe)

Punch & Sizzle

Punch & Sizzle

A few years ago, I wrote a book featuring 20 of my 'best' finishes. I was putting on the finishing touches and finessing the look and feel computer got fried and I lost much of the content of this book.( Very Long Story)
I've had oodles of requests for information about it. I'm not sure I will get it pulled together while these finishes are still relevant, so I'm offering a special deal just for followers!
You must do these two things
1. Become a follower of my blog
2. Email me at with the word 'recipe' in the subject line. If you are already a follower, just send me the email.

First up is the Crackled Copper finish for tabletops and countertops. I have applied this finish to the cashwrap in my own studio, several dining tables and an entire kitchen (countertops)

You have seen copper top tables in high end furniture stores. My design is based on a table that I spied at Arhaus.

Be sure and let me know if you have a design/style blog too!
Happy Painting!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Brownies! Oh wait, no, Doilies!

I'm working in this fabulous house again. Last time I was there, I created this dining room. I learned this doily inspired technique from Liz Herrmann, of Elizabeth Designs, in the Appetite for Design Class I took this fall. This ranks up there as one of my all time favorite projects. There are four archways with the stenciled designs, and the sideswalls have a stone/strie effect which is painted pewter and gold. It's scrumptious, even more-so in real life.
I also created this bathroom for a teenaged girl, who has to be the most popular girl EVER because EVERYONE wants a bathroom just like this. I am not kidding, it has to be the most requested thing I've ever done. But since I don't do repeats, it's a one and only! I wish I knew where that awesome shower curtain was from. It was a challenge to design a wall finish to complement it, but I think we succeeded. You can't tell from the photo, but the wall finish is covered in glitter.
Yes, actual doilies were used in both of those projects (along with a ton of stencils in a variety of sizes. My favorite....the 3 piece, She Bang set, from Faux Design Studio)

So, doilies. Not usually something that conjures up good design, are they? When I think doilies, I think of brownies sprinkled with powdered sugar.
But if you are going to do brownies sprinkled with powdered sugar, why not do them like THESE!!! Oh my hilarious. Here's the link on how to make your own,
from Nicole at I love love love love LOVE her blog!


Here's a contemporary twist on about sewing them together to make a table runner? I love this idea and am just sick that I got rid of a slew of them in the last garage sale. Directions are here. (pssst! She has really great DIY projects, she also shows how to make that wire basket light fixture!)

Have you seen that project that has been circulating the net about how to make your own string ball light fixture, which involves a giant bouncy ball, yarn, liquid starch and patience?'s a doily version that is just amazing. via

I know Melissa Leo got panned a lot for this outfit, but I think it's really pretty and appropriate for a woman of her age who is clearly at least half nuts. I love Melissa Leo, please do not get me wrong. I myself am a woman who is at least half nuts,so we are like this, me and Melissa. Good dress Missy!
via gettyimages
Even Lady Gaga has horned in on this 'mini trend'....but the photo is so NSFW.