Thursday, November 29, 2012

Decking the Halls

Yay! My favorite time of year...the time of year when glitter everywhere  is welcomed and not ostracized! I love decorating for Christmas ( and glitter) and here's what I've done in my own home so far.
 I try to do something different every year at Christmas time with my decor, which has given me a attic crammed  full of Christamas 'stuff'. I organize my ornaments in boxes by colors, and this year I pulled out the pink and purple ones for the sunroom tree. This skinny tree is what I usually call the "Girls' Tree", and I mix in a lot of their hand made and sentimental value ornaments. Of course we had to add in purple and pink lights!

 I really don't like tree skirts much at all, so I use hat boxes and gift wrapped empty boxes nestled around the base of the tree instead.  I have had those hatboxes for many years and they are a great way to store the really breakable 'priceless' ornaments.

Last year I made this ribbon light garland by just tying on lengths of several fabrics directly onto a strand of lights. Thank you Pinterest! That was a super easy and fun project and as I recall all of us girls worked on it during a Law & Order episode.

 I have to talk about the mantle, because I am in love with it! This area of my house gives me fits and I am constantly fiddling with it.  I'm trying not to buy any new Christmas stuff this year, since, you know...I have that attic full of stuff...but I really wanted something dramatic for the mantle.  The other day I went on a consultation and my client had a garbage can sitting on her curb full of Red Dogwood sticks. Hello! DRAMATIC RED STICKS!!!! I like to think that God gave me those! God and Lola Underwood and the Law of Attraction !

 I think they look great in the clear glass vases with sparkley, multi colored vase fillers.  I added the mod stars and the sweet reindeer and  sprinkled over the whole thing with fake snow.

 (pssst! they have these star ornaments at Big Lots in a box for 4 bucks! Run!)

The pink glitter trees have a new home this year next to the cake stand full of vintage ornaments.  In my former married life, I spent every Saturday morning garage sale-ing ...I have a TON of vintage ornaments. These itty bitty ones are my faves.  I added in a few disco balls...because we have disco balls

 This is my AWESOME new chandelier, which was another God gift.  I really wanted a chandelier just like this one for a very long time. I saw the original Calvin Klein design  in a client's home and just swooned. After searching high and low and online, for like THREE YEARS,   I had about given up on finding an affordable version, when I spotted this clearanc-ed out, floor model at Lowe's for...would you believe 50 dollars?  It's hung extra low over my table, which will probably make my brother nuts...if he ever comes to visit me!
Just to keep with my "I"m kind of a cheapskate" theme...I have to mention that the monofilament used to tie these silver snowflakes on was donated to me by a client who was cleaning out her craft room. "Can you use this fishing line for anything?" 

 You might wonder what Buddah has to do with Christmas. Well, Jesus was a Buddah. So there you go. Yes he does make sense there.

 Last weekend I went to an upcycled craft store in St. Louis. After digging through piles of old greeting cards, I found this cute little guy from the early 60s. LOVE!!!!

Not only do I have a zillion vintage ornaments ( from garage sales) I also have a zillion strands of beaded garlands (from various places,including garage sales). I shoved a bunch of them inside the glass cloche and I rather like it and it adds a fun shot of festive to the otherwise black and white vignette.

 Sometimes I make stuff to sell and then I can't let it go. I love love love the glittered peace sign and it keeps my crackled blue kitchen hutch from looking too shabby. 
 I told you I have beaucoups of ornaments! they are on the snack bar with a groovy santa/chef that I've had for years. He cracks me up, I love him.

Stay tuned, for this weekend...the living room gets the Holiday treatment! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas Open House....and how I design paintings

It's hard to believe the Holiday Season is upon us.  Christmas just keeps getting closer and closer to Halloween it seems!

I've been busy preparing for the 2nd annual "The Perfect Pair"  pre-holiday shopping extravaganza!  If you attended last year, and you plan on going this year, you will be amazed at how much more stuff there is to fancy up your home.
Wanda and her team of artists have been packing the showroom full of funky furniture creations and now there are several vendors with products for sale year round. This year there will be  cupcakes, jewelry, the ever popular lazy susans, goat milk soaps, my paintings and a bunch of other unique gift items! There's also a huge warehouse full of vintage furniture that you purchase to create something fun of your own.

Last year, I created a whole bunch of huge paintings.
This year, I'm keeping it small.
I think this time of year is all about gift giving, not big time decorating. So I've designed a fun little 'collection' that is all about inspiring words, sparkle and of course my favorite 'black and white'. (and pink...)

Awhile back I saw a photo of the way Kelly Wearstler works. She creates inspiration 'trays' instead of boards. I realized that I work in this way too. I start with a canvas and a general idea. After the canvas has had it's background textures applied, I start piling on the 'stuff' that I want to use on it: papers I like, glitter, broken jewelery, certain colors...whatever!

This way I can see how ideas and colors are going to work together and it helps me streamline my design.  Also I can move elements around and get a feel for where they should live permanently.

These are the infant canvases I am working on today.
I also find that photographing my work in progress really helps me figure out what's going right or wrong.
For example with the 'think/believe' set...I feel like the two polka dotted circles look like a child's car so I'm going to have to re-think that concept!

I've also never done 'seasonal' canvases before so creating winter themed work is a new one for me. I'm really excited and I hope if you are local that you can attend this year's show!

The Perfect Pair Antiques and Salon
November 16 & 17, 2012
10 am to 4 pm

Located at : 266 N. State Rt. 121
Warrensburg IL


Here are some photos of the completed paintings from this show

Monday, October 22, 2012

Master Bedroom

I've never shown my master bedroom before, mainly because I feel like it is missing something.  When I was still married, I had cocoa brown venetian plaster and purple and wine colored bedding. It was all very dark and dramatic but after a friend of mine informed me that I was morally obligated to change the bedroom COMPLETELY after divorce...I picked out things I liked, just for me. The new bedding is a start. My mother made this amazing subway tile quilt for me out of 16 different fabrics that I selected. 

This is one of my paintings, it's my favorite I think. I had it for sale in a boutique  for awhile, but I retrieved it because I missed it. I based the whole painting on this little guy I found in Smithsonian magazine.  He inspired me..he seems so happy and ready for the weekend! (as am I!) So the painting is entitled "TGIF".

This silhouette painting was created by my friend Mark Koch. I've know Mark since grade school and he has always been an incredible artist.   His work is crisp and flawless. He made this painting for me a couple of years ago and I absolutely love it.  I love his funky and slightly unsettling style...see more of his work here

I just found that the name of this painting is "Sisters". How perfect is that? (I have 4 daughters.)  Speaking of daughters, one of mine says my bedroom looks like it belongs to a 12 year old. I don't care, I like what I like.

Seeing photos of my room, really makes me want to add something to the wall behind my bed.
I am thinking something like this...  (by Kristin F. Davis) !

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Embracing Gray

It seems like about once a year a new client comes into my life who says to me "Just do whatever YOU think is best..." and then they give me a whole bunch of projects and I do whatever I think is best. These kinds of projects are when I just LOVE my job and I feel like the most blessed person on the planet.

This year, it is J and M   who have given me carte blanche all over their beautiful new home. Most of the projects I have done for them, have been in their black/gray/chrome and MODERN lower level. I have been DYING to do some gray projects after nearly 15 years of beige.... so I was so happy and excited the first time I saw their swanky lower level with it's gray floor tiles and incredible bar area with the chrome pressed tin ceiling!

Here are some of the  gray based projects I have completed. 

In the above shown bar area, I created a finish I call 'Rough Linen' to flank either side of the bar. This finish had to coordinate with the modern lighting, as well as the unusual chrome ceiling. I wanted the walls to whisper, not shout, so I created a silver/gray textured finish that was topped off with rough cut Mica flakes. This is a great transitional finish that would work with just about any style of decor. It's a great mix of rough and tumble and sparkle.

Across the room, in the Poker area...I transformed a 'preppy' cherry wood poker table set complete with leather and studded library style chairs.  Ta Da! 

Using animal skin textures, I created a modern finish for the table top, which was overglazed with silver. The entire set was painted black and the studs were changed from bronze to hologram silver using foils. I am really proud of this finished result and the clients loved it too.  All they need to do is change the casters from brass to chrome and the transformation will be complete! (yes, they plan to do that).

I painted the pool table to match! And added zebra feet for a little extra punch and sizzle.

***While we are on the topic of painting furniture, I just wanted to let potential clients know that I sand and prime and topcoat everything for a very durable finish. I shudder when I remember an article about a home I worked in, in which I was 'quoted'  as saying that I applied my textures with drywall mud! SHOCK AND HORROR!  I use only high quality proprietary products for the most durable and long lasting finishes. I promise. ***

The walls in this area needed to have some 'oomph'  but also needed to be a background for the main focus of this room, which is having fun!  I designed an overlapping squares application of Venetian Plaster. I tinted the plaster to a pale gray shade and trowelled in on in overlapping squares, leaving a raised ridge on one edge of each square. Once the plaster was dry, I burnished it heavily to put a sheen and carbon stain on the raised ridges. 

I love the type of finish that people can't figure out how it was created! The shiny edges and the cool stone feel of these walls really have people baffled.  Love that!

Funny how some projects clients  asked to 'do something' about a bad color choice in the exercise room. What I ended up doing became quite the production and granted it would have been 100 times easier to just repaint the room, but my clients trusted me to come up with something really exciting for this large, utilitarian room. And they didn't 'hate' the color, there was just too much of it.

While I like to say 'there are no bad colors'  and I do really love this Tiffany Blue  (the original basecoat) ...but 4 walls of it was pretty eye-ball frying and needed toned done considerably. 

After talking with the clients, we came up with this overlapping squares and rectangles idea. I started this project by painting huge squares of a sheer Pearl finish. Working my way from lightest to darkest, I created smaller and smaller rectangles and squares of metallic colors. This took a very long time and miles of tape, but everyone is happy with the end results.  (the trim has now been painted black).  While in the photograph the squares read brown, they are actually varying shades of a warm silver, metallic taupe, pearl and black metallic.

My final 'gray' project in this home is in their daughter's bedroom. I had applied this finish in their prior home, and the daughter requested that I duplicate it.
This is one of my most popular finishes, I call it the Gum Wrapper Finish.
It's layers of silver foil over crushed tissue paper. Yummy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A 'new' room for Nina....

My eldest daughter is going off to college in a matter of mere months. I feel the weight of her impending loss daily. "This is the last October 9th we will spend together for awhile...."  "This is the last Law & Order SVU Pedophiles and Puppies Marathon we will watch together for awhile...."  It seems like just yesterday she was asking "Mommy, was there a recipe for this?". 
In honor of her last several months at home, I am re-doing her room. Just in time for it to become a guest bedroom. Poor Nina. She's so patient.
Most of my house is modern or at least retro. I'm not really 'in' to Shabby,chippy or glazed over with brown. But my daughter LOVES this look. But the girl who loves THIS:  

  (and unicorns)  Also loves THIS:

(That's her trashcan. On a mirrored table from the 70s.)   Hmm....what's a mother to do?  I personally think Shabby Chic can be rather formulaic, and I am wracking my brain for ideas how to make this room HER with a little bit ME too.

This summer I DID manage to get one wall covered with antique book pages. Her room smelled like a library for months.

For this project, find about 3x as many books as you think you will need. I like the fact that we found books that have some drawings in them. Also, many books do not have chapter titles going across the top of the pages, but I found some that do.  I bought them just for the chapter titles. Some of them are hilarious such as : Pirates and Secretaries  and They Dress for Dinner.
  Initially I had read instructions for creating this look that recommended blue painter's tape. WRONG!!! You need double sided tape. Lots and lots of double sided tape. If you use blue painter's tape, half your pages will we sunbathing on the floor in the morning.   I bought a huge roll of double sided tape  at Lowe's that was in the aisle with the shrink wrap window film. It's much cheaper that way and I STILL have some left over. Another piece of advice, while old books are super cool, if the pages are starting to crumble, pass on the book. No tape will adhere to something that brittle.

I didn't use a level line or any 'method' other than working from the bottom up. My BFF Becca helped me with this project and I must say...while I started out adhering the pages in a rather OCD kind of way, she was rather slapping them on which is not only a hilarious role reversal, but funny because I ended up liking the slap dash look better, so that's what we went with.

I bought Nina an  awesome antique sleigh bed, last November. But it's red. And it needs to be pink.  Since I am the most 'distracted by shiny objects' person you could care to meet, it has been sitting  in the garage untouched since I bought it.(Right next to her piano). This Bombay chest has the look I am going for with the bed, the existing dresser and the new 'antique' dresser and mirror. I was sooo going to jump on the chalk paint craze, then I found out that it's a ton of work. Like a ton more than painting furniture is anyway. I think I'll stick with what I know. 

Anyway, I have a lot to do.
I really need to find some awesome ruffled curtains that don't remind me of  THIS:

 Gah!  I think these will do.

I snapped this photo of a wig shop window when I was in LA this summer. I would really love to have this printed on canvas.  I think it sums up Nina so well, a bit  Marie Antoinette, a bit retro scary movie, a bit long luxurious brunette hair, a bit of family history....

I think I've got we need....old books , antique pink dresser, Shabby Chic bedding, ruffles that won't give me flashbacks, a little bit of disco, a little bit of Seedy Underworld, a couple of loyal dogs thrown in the mix and Voila!
We agree!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Black and White Halloween Style

Happy Haloween! It's official, I've gotten out the decorations.  I usually have to sit on my hands waiting for the first of October because I don't want to have my Halloween stuff out longer than my Christmas stuff (it seems like an insult to Jesus.)

This year I decided to keep with the black and white theme in my house for my Halloween decor.   

I found this awesome banner at Target for 4 bucks!  I love it and it adds so much charachter to the sun room!

 OOOH!!!! AHHHH! 'Farkles! I love anything sparkely! 

You might also notice my butterfly explosion. I made this out of black construction paper and straight pins.  All I did was print out a page of 'butterfly silhouettes' that I found on google, this was my template for my butterflies.

  I cut out multiples of each butterfly out of plain old black construction paper  and nailed them to the wall with a straight pin. Each butterfly is 'hovering' away from the wall at the end of the pin. That way, they cast a shadow and look like they are in flight.

This was a quick and easy project, I cut out the butterflies while watching TV and spent about 20 minutes nailing them to the wall. I traced around a large dinner plate onto the wall and used that as a guide for placement. All the butterflies 'fly' out from that circular center point. One of my daughters really wants me to swap these out for bats, but I think the black butterflies are 'creepy' enough.

These black and white striped lantern lights were my one 'splurge' this year. Only 14.00 at Target, I'm sure they will stay up year round. I hope to snag some more when Halloween goes on Clearance! (they also have purple disco ball/lights that I am dying for!!!!)

 Have I ever mentioned this "Thank you for your patronage" sign that was in my shop when I bought it? I love it so much it's ridiculous.

My dining room sets the stage for my entire house. It's my favorite room and the most 'me'.  It's the room with the black and white striped table, sitting center stage.   I started 'merchandising' my gray hutch  with this fun "I Married a Dead Man" paperback book that I've had for ages, and added my black hand ring holder and a funky gray pumpkin.

A few clear glass vessels of  dollar store spider rings adds a lot of punch for little bucks.

I swapped out some of my photos for vintage Halloween images, like this fun witch!

I like fun little surprises tucked here and there. In the guest bath, glass pumpkins dance around  the vessel sink. Everyone loves this and wants to know where I got the pumpkins. They are originally from a home decor party and came with a tall vase, which has been broken for year. I don't know why, but the pumpkins just seem perfect for the koi pond sink. 

Not everything has to scream "HALLOWEEN" though... like this little glittered pumpkin on a grey cheveron'd chair.  I have several of these glittered pumpkins that I picked up at the Dollar Store a few years ago. They were originally orange, but a coat of silver spray paint really dressed them up. I was given this chair for free from jobsite where I was painting. A coat of hammered pewter spray paint and a fresh new seat cover jazzed it up and gave it some personality!

I'm not the type of person to , nor am I in the position to run out and buy a bunch of stuff when I'm decorating. I have to use what I have, re-purpose things and hunt for bargains. But that's what leads to the 'accumulated' look that I'm so fond of!  
Happy Halloween!