Monday, December 31, 2012

Year end review

You probably have a never ending to-do list, like me, but once in awhile its good to take stock of things already accomplished. Looking at the list of things actually crossed off as done, as well as things we had not intended to do, but surprised ourselves with, are truly satisfying.
I have not stopped appreciating this surprising year since it started. I pulled things out of my hat that I never would have considered a few short years ago.

Last year I began painting again and as an exercise in humility posted a painting on my blog and offered a few in my Etsy shop that I originally started to sell vintage finds.
I thought it would be kind of cool if I could sell a couple of paintings.

The morning of March 13th, I was sleepily browsing through my normal list of blogs, clicked on The Pink Pagoda, scrolled down ignoring the text and spit out my coffee all over the screen.

I laughed out loud in disbelief.  Jennifer's post was charming and the eye-opener I needed to instill a little confidence in myself. I still had a tough row to hoe to convince my family that my painting was a good idea.
I joined a local art association and entered work in juried shows.

Starting with "Figure 2" above, many were accepted, much to my surprise.
My blog life started to fill up too.
Linda of My Crafty Home Life  led a few of us in  Spring into Action, a series that nudged the procrastinators to finish something up. I chose a framing project to put the finishing touch on my dining room.

From this, Nancy of Powell-Brower Home and I became pals and even went on a field trip or two. She is so much fun and the connection was one of those surprise benefits of blogging that I never counted on.

I got rather sick in May but made up for things in June. Brisk painting sales and a few commissions led me to launch my website,

I also paid a visit to Loi Thai at  his Bethesda shop, Tone on Tone. I posted about it HERE.

There were a few missteps.

Like this tongue in cheek tutorial of flower arranging. I couldn't get it right to save my life.

Then there was the Paint a rug party that still makes me wince when I think about it.

I think I should stick to stretching canvases and

I had tons of fun designing fabrics on Spoonflower.

I was even more surprised when a few people bought them, LOL! 

That leads me to my resolution.  Why am I always so surprised when someone embraces my work? I am very unsure of my taste and talents but if 60 paintings and a few yards of fabric are any indication, I need to keep going and and not question my self so much. A little humility is a good thing but not when it becomes a roadblock to successfully doing what you love.
At the end of the year I also like to look beyond my life, consider the lives of others and the world. It is another chance to be thankful and reach out to others.
I hope you take the time to do that and remember all of the positives in your life.

Have you made a list of the highlights of this year and all of your successes?

Friday, December 28, 2012

If I could stretch my living room

view toward the entryway of my house

I have thought that my formal living room was oddly small since I bought this house. The heyday of the "parlor" is long gone and many suburbanites use the formal room as a giant toybox...gasp. Personally, I love formal spaces and entertaining in them.

Bombe chest flanked by equal windows
Before I show you my desired design let me show you what exists.

view into the dining room
This is the view into the dining room when standing in the center of the room. The pair of Brno chairs are now in my family room.
The dining room is decidedly masculine and completely traditional and I wanted the adjoining living room to be a bride to its groom, so to speak. 

stool from Target recovered with Le Lac in the foreground

I should mention that I prefer furniture to "float" in a room but this room is too small to float the 72" Sheraton sofa.

Here is the current floorplan.

If I just could s-t-r-e-t-c-h it a few feet in each direction...

I could have two Sheraton sofas facing each other, a favorite set up of mine.

Between them would be this coffee table.

I would add a fireplace and keep the mantelpiece fairly simple.

Over the mantel, since I am dreaming, would be a Sally King Benedict painting like this.

Over in the corner would be my Bombe chest acting as a bar.

 Think this.

or this.

My stretched living room is a far cry from its current sate.
Anyone have a magic wand handy?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Festivities, etc.

Panic has subsided and things are getting done. My father's early arrival has become quite the joke, even his wife thought they were leaving a day later.
We are having two surprise guests, surprises to my Dad and Stepmom, but that means tables cannot be entirely set. Ack!

Here is a quick roundup of my DIYs. So easy!

I got these nutcracker place card holders at Target last year after Xmas. They say 2011 on the base. Is that a ridiculous way to try to get folks to buy a new set each year?
Krylon gold leaf pen to the rescue!

I seriously just crossed it out with a fat swipe of the gold leaf pen.

With that done, I folded napkins that were crisply ironed. As you can see, I have not yet ironed the table cloth. It is one of those things that makes me nuts and I will probably wake up at 5 am , like I have been, worrying about having the time to do it.

Since the plates are a "Willow" pattern, I wanted to echo the Chinoiserie theme just a bit. I had tons of this Greek key ribbon and decided to make these napkin rings.

I made sure the wrong side was out and measured my length, the stapled twice. 

Turn it right side out, seam in and...

slide it over the napkin.
These napkins were monogrammed by hand by my great-grandmother, Jeanne Camille D'escazos.  She grew up in a convent in Paris and was taught by the nuns to sew and sew well.

It is a "B" and "D" for Banigan and D'escazos (her father was Mexican). It is beautiful work.  I wish these sorts of monograms were more widely available today.

This is all I have of my Xmas table, late on Sunday night. Perhaps I'll give y'all the full Monty on Christmas day but no promises. 
Here is my big reveal that has been in the works.

"Rave" by Kerry Steele

This is my latest painting, "Rave" I intend to keep it but one person expressed an interest in having it so who knows. I just wanted a huge painting in that room. It adjoins my dining room so many of us will be staring at it during Christmas dinner.

Random question-Does "Its a wonderful life" make you cry or at least tear up?

 The older I get the harder I cry each time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sale alert!

I can't recall which fab blogger alerted me to the fact that all of the Target/Neiman Marcus items are on clearance for 50% off. I just could not swallow spending 80 smackers on a blouse at Target or a the same on a little girl's dress.

I could spend $30 for a Jason Wu though. I stopped at that and refrained from buying myself anything.
How is Christmas prep coming along for you?
I am in panic mode.
Nails done--check
Gifts purchased--check
Gifts wrapped--halfway
House tidied--notsomuch
Groceries bought--none
Dad arriving a day earlier than he has been saying for a month--CHECK!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Its here!

My Spoonflower swatches arrived yesterday. That means that they are now for sale.
I was able to approve the colors and reject some that still need tweaking.
The photo above is mainly Escher pagoda.

one yard of 54" linen cotton Escher pagoda in baby pink

Garden Folly in Emerald
The Garden Folly pattern is only available in emerald so far. But wait there is more!

These are "Lucky Me" and "Leaf" I am in love with the pink colorway of "Lucky Me"

I think I want to use this fabric in my daughter's room for curtains.

Many of these are based on pencil drawings by me. I love that they still look like pencil. Maybe not for everyone.

detail of "Bouquet"

This pattern is "Bouquet" and is from an abstract floral drawing. This is what one yard would look like. This celadon colorway is my favorite.

Tea caddy
This one is tea caddy and based on a drawing of an antique I own.

As you can see the pattern is fairly large.

These are the silhouette colors available at the moment although I added a hot pink colorway that will be available soon. 

There are two geometrics called "Roofline" that include the same hot pink and coordinate with Escher pagoda in trendy tangerine.

"Roof line" in Hot pink
rejected swatches
I had to reject some of the swatches. The colors were vastly different from my computer and not really pleasing to look at. I will be working on them after the holidays.

They are available for sale in my Spoonflower shop. I cannot stress enough that the more expensive types of fabric that they offer are superior in quality. I love the cotton linen blend and the silk crepe de Chine. The basic cotton is a bit thin but would be fine for a pillow front or other light duty projects.

I would love some input on other colorways and combinations you would like to see. It has been so much fun coming up with these but time consuming. I can't wait to do more.