Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Favorite color for the garden :Acid Yellow

I'm in the mood for a party! We have had the grossest late Winter/early Spring ...YUCK! I just want sunshine and cocktails,baby!    I am getting ready for a Graduation party, and I am in the process of foof'ing up the back patio. Today I found YARD FLAMINGOS on sale for 7 bucks for TWO! (at Rural King). Woo hoo! I've had my eye on them for a long time.

   I think a garden should be an extension of the home it's attached to...so naturally I would have to funky/retro garden.  My garden is pretty shady, so I like to use YELLOW and WHITE to bring spots of color to an otherwise mostly green space. I am really loving Acid Yellow this year. How fun are these vintage chairs available at The Perfect Pair Antiques and Salon ( in Warrensburg, IL) . I bet you thought you knew what liquid sunshine was? Wrong! It's hot yellow paint.

 I am crazy about this hot yellow door! It makes me rethink my jade green door. Hmm....

How about this yellow trellis? Even something plain and simple becomes fab when painted a jazzy color! 

I can't wait to pick out something in my garden to paint bright yellow! I like 'Yellow Flash' by Behr (shown below, darkest color.) (original source unknown) 

Monday, April 22, 2013

New counter top LOVE and kitchen remodeling progress

My oldest daughter is graduating in May and there WILL be a party!  In between teaching her various self defense techniques and crying in my tea wondering where the time has gone....I have been 'remodeling' my kitchen.

Ah...my kitchen. The smallest 4x6 patch of real estate in town.  My house was built in 1954, when people didn't live in their kitchens ( I guess...) and it is T I N Y.  Sometime in the 80s some wise homeowner knocked out a wall and at least created the illusion of space....Anyway....none of that is important except to say that I was HATING my kitchen and something really had to change. 

I knew I had to repaint my cabinets, they were looking a little worse for the wear and they were super dark (blech!)  so I decided to paint the uppers off white and the lowers powder blue. Since my cabinets would now be light, my counter top would have to be dark!   

Fearing nothing, I started applying a Lusterstone finish right over the existing counter top.( I am a trained applicator of the following products, so I won't be giving ALL my secrets away).  I just sponged and swirled and trowelled 3 shades : Ebony, Moonstone Gray and Snowflake White. I wanted the finish to have some movement, but not be spongy looking. I ended up with this Lava looking color. Sweet!!!

I added in some mother of pearl mica flakes, mirror chips and some iridescent glitter. (Cause I'm the glitter Queen)
Finally, I applied 2 coats of resin, letting each one dry overnight.
Here's the final look! I am looooooving it!!!!

I painted the walls Sherwin Williams Antique White and added this nifty new valance whipped up by my mom.

My children are wondering when in the heck we are getting the cabinet doors put back on....I have this terrible habit of starting a project and then getting distracted by some life sized  shiny object (like work, or taxes...)   As nothing is as productive as the last minute, I imagine they will be getting hung back up a few hours before the graduation party!

I almost forgot to show y'all....I painted my grandmother's buffet hot pink! After agonizing about what color to paint it, I decided I desperately needed a shot of crazy color, because my walls and floor are going to be all off white.

I chose Sherwin Williams 'Dragon Fruit' and added some fun turquoise knobs. (Some of the original knobs were missing.)   I set up this little breakfast bar, which extends the area of the kitchen. )
I love my kitchen now! Can't wait for the party!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I do a lot of cabinet jobs. When I am painting or staining doors, I set them out on 2 parallel 2x4s. One day a client commented that my 2x4s looked like some cool art installation,what with all the streaks of various paints and stains on them.  It gave me an idea....
I've been sitting on this idea for a long time, but the perfect situation presented itself last week.
One of my clients has   accepted a transfer to another state (sadly, boo hoo!) . They have a very large, very beautiful home  in a very depressed real estate market. They enlisted my help to get their house in tip top shape for selling.
I noticed they have 2 alcoves on either side of their front door that were obviously designed to house some kind of artwork, but have been sitting empty as long as I've known them. 
"How about just some vertical strips of art for in there", I suggested. "Nothing too elaborate or pricey. Just a little kapow..."
"Where are we going to find that?"

"I'll make them."
"Well....You go, girl."

(I assure you, these pieces ARE centered within their alcoves.)

I found my local Big Box store has thin maple boards that come in pre- cut lengths, these were perfect for my purposes. Thick enough to screw in a  hook for hanging, but not so heavy to require heavy duty holes in the wall.

Sometimes our homes become kind of 'schizophrenic', especially if there have been a lot of moves in our pasts.  This particular client has moved many many times from a ranch in Texas to a more stately home in the deep South...to the flat lands of Illinois.  I wanted to tie in all of her things which range from Tuscan to Texas Ranch...  and have them work together, so I just pulled colors from the adjoining rooms. I used only stripes of color and texture to create a truly 'transitional' piece of work.

Two years ago,I had the opportunity to change their built in book cases from a HIDEOUS yellow (SW Harvester. Sorry SW, that color is gross)  to a distressed and textured 'salvaged' look.  This built in faces the front door. The counter top sections were plain off white Formica. (egads!) I applied a crackled copper finish to those areas, so I knew I wanted to use the same copper plaster in the paintings.

Because I was working with Maple, I wanted to use the grain of the wood for some of my stripes. I started out by just painting on bands of gel stains in different colors.  After that was dry, I taped off areas for some heavy duty crackle paste. I added in copper plaster and areas of copper and silver foils and a tiny bit of a teal metallic. (I won't give away all my tricks!) 
Lastly I taped off some stripes and applied tiny gold beads and bronze mica flakes.  I have to have texture in my work. I could never sell something flat, I would just feel so WRONG.

Now that the pieces are installed, the client has ordered 3 more. HUGE ones for the stairwell wall.
Yay! (Here they are on the studio floor, in progress.)

UPDATE!!!! Here are the 3 additional 'Totems' installed !

**I wanted to share some other work I have done in this home.
These 3 armoirs were a pickled oak finish before I got hold of them.  Using Modello stencil stickers and four different colors of gel stains,  I created a faux, inlaid wood look which took a million years but looks like a million bucks. I am really proud of this project, it has to be one of my favorite furniture transformations.The clients were so happy too they overpaid me.

Here's an upclose of the completed door fronts.