Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Any ideas?

I am rather enamored with this vintage rick-rack trim that my mother in-law gave me.
Several years ago, she gifted a trove of vintage patterns, craft fabric, trim, ribbon and other notions.

I feel like doing something with them, but what?
It is not as though I am at a loss for activities but these are so fun I want to use them.
I don't want to trim pillows and there is not enough to trim drapes.

I thought about a lampshade.
Putting it out there for you folks, who are so creative...
Any ideas?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Orange you glad

Did you ever feel as though you needed permission to like something?
Those of us who are not always confident in our likes and dislikes, may have felt that way a time or two.

I suppose it just comes with maturity.

However Pantone's endorsement of orange, or Tangerine Tango, might just be a color story I will never forget for it's validation of my second favorite color.

It happens to be besties with my ultimate favorite, pink.

Ah youth!

I really love the combination of orange and pink. I view it as the ultimate in "girliness" without looking too shy.

Personally, I was happy embrace Tangerine Tango even without Pantone's help.

This week my very pale pink living room with its rust velvet Brno chairs will get another tiny infusion of orange in the lacquer tray from West Elm in the first photo.

It will replace the Chinese baby hat here

Friday, January 27, 2012

Etsy artist spotlight : Tracey Kafka

The name, Tracey Kafka, is a familiar one to some of us who constantly comb Etsy for art we feel we must have. Her art has been featured recently by The Pink Pagoda and Better Home and Gardens as well as HGTV.
I admire the thick impasto technique that, for me, adds a lusciousness to already enticing color. I do not mean to imply that it reminds me of food yet the words ambrosial and delicious seem to fit the paintings that tempt me the most. Kafka's pieces are all untitled. "I want the viewer to experience their own individual perception of my work".

She was kind enough to tell us a little more.

1. Why do you like to paint abstracts as opposed to representational art?

  Abstract painting for me, is the freedom to create and explore line, shape, form and color.   I am able to paint without boundaries or the constraints of trying to capture a definite image.  Therefore I never really know what the painting is going to look like, I try to let it evolve in a very natural process.

2. What kind of art do you buy/own?
  Well...the art that I have in my house is mostly mine.  I have a painting from my Mother that is very special to me and a few black and white photos of Dublin that are memorable to me and my husband  (who is from Ireland).

3. Have you ever created a piece that you cannot part with?

As of yet, no.     My feeling on this is:  I went to art school to have a career as an artist, so as much as I may love a painting, it is just as important for me to let it go and hopefully have someone else enjoy it as much as I do. The paintings that I love, I have professionally photographed and made into Giclee prints.

4. Who is your favorite or most inspiring artist in history?

 I will say without hesitation, Richard Diebenkorn.  I have his book, The Art of Richard Diebenkorn  that I have looked through thousands of times and is covered in paint.  When I need inspiration or I am in a rut it is my go to... and never fails me.

5. Have sites like Etsy and Pinterest greatly affected interest in your art?

ABSOLUTELY!!!  In the best possible way.  Pinterest is new to me and just recently joined.  I came across it via my etsy stats and noticed people pinning my work.  Etsy has been an amazing place to show my work.  For one, it is great to be able to paint, have it be seen and purchased. Although, I will say at first I did get frustrated, I joined Etsy in January 2010 and did not have my first sale until September.  A few more sales trickled in over the next few months and as of December of 2010 I have sold every month and sales have increased every month.  There is a bit of a learning curve with Etsy and what works best for you, how often to renew work, promoting your work, photographing work (still a big learning curve for me), pricing and the cost of shipping.  The beauty of Etsy is the global audience, you never know who is looking, or is going to purchase your work.  I have had a few amazing opportunities come my way:  I had a  Giclee print featured in Better Homes and Gardens in the July 2011 issue, Emily Henderson who has a show, Secrets from a Stylist on HGTV purchased a painting from me to use in her show, have done several commission paintings and I signed a contract with PI Creative Art to do large limited edition prints of a few select pieces.  Overall, I could not be happier the way my shop is progressing and over the next few years, I look forward to pursuing my career as an artist full time.

6. What advice would you give a current art student?
My advice would be, I know this sounds cliche...Don't wait for someone to discover you or something to happen.  There are many avenues and opportunities to pursue but you have to put the time into finding them and what works best for you.  And that learning the business side of art is every bit as important as creating the work.

I asked Tracey to add anything else about her life and interests and this is what she had to add.
  I am an artist, a wife and a mom.  I split my time between my family, painting and work, which doesn't always leave me a lot of time to paint.  I have been painting and selling my work since 1998 and their have been many ups and downs, periods of time that I did not paint and times when I wanted to pack my paints up and never look at them again.  What has stopped me from doing this is the love and passion I have for painting, it is something that I want and need to do, if I am not painting, I'm thinking about painting.  Several years back, I was invited to join an  Artist Co-Op, Elm City Artists, an amazing group of people!  This was the beginning of me selling my work on a consistent basis.  Due to the birth of my daughter and time constraints I had to leave Elm City Artists and stopped painting for a while.  Once my daughter was a bit older I got back to painting and a friend told me about Etsy and I realized that I have this amazing opportunity to pursue my career.  So, many years after graduating, I am working at what I love to do and soon will be able to do this full time, it has been worth the wait!  None of this would be possible without the support of my family: my husband Shane, who asks every time I sell a painting can I retire...my daughter Isla, who loves every painting I do and when I tell her I sold a painting, tells me she is proud of me (she is 3, out of the mouths of babes)... my mother Donna (who passed away 5 years ago...never doubted my decision to go to art school), my father Frank (who is my sounding board when things are good and not so good) and my best friend/sister Kiersten (she is the one who told me about Etsy).  So...I look forward to the day when someone asks, what do you do and I say I am a full time artist, its just around the corner!

You can find Tracey's shop here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The art of David Mode Payne

AD 1987 Mrs. Reginald B. Lanier's music room
Last weekend in a fit of late night boredom, I traipsed down to my basement in search of a particular magazine and, as usual, got side tracked.
My collection of 1980's Architectural Digests certainly bore fruit.
The author of the article Portraits in Style, Michael M. Thomas introduced me to the interiors painted by David Mode Payne (1907-1985).
Mrs. Lanier's Library
The homes are those of wealthy Newport, Rhode Island residents and New York society mostly.
Thomas insists that this sort was comfortable with their wealth, "This was, by and large, not a flamboyant society craving to be portrayed by a Sargent or a Boldini. Its life was essentially closed off from general attention, fortified by walls of privilege and discretion." 
Lanier Morning room
Mr. and Mrs. William Wood Prince's drawing room
Payne recorded a veritable "Who's who" of elites of the 20th century's homes. The article in AD compares him to Edith Wharton's  Walter Gay.
The entrance hall at Beaulieu, the home of the late Wiley T. Buchanan
I found it terribly amusing and ironic that the author's assertion that this high style of the wealthy was never meant to be ostentatious but the text of his article is a bit overdone. He uses words like refulgent and parvenus.
It illustrates a point beyond interiors and shows that social class held more weight and writing was far less casual even as recently as the 1980s.
Home of Mrs. Lila Tyng
The interiors, on the contrary, give us proof that classics are classics.
I would love to have any one of the items in the above room. Note the chinoiserie wallcovering.

All images (except the final image) are scanned from Architectural Digest April 1987

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mystery solved

Well, I moved in 13 months ago but my books and magazines are still boxed. It doesn't stop me from rifling through them once in awhile. This is mostly because the library is still not built. It is a huge project that my husband insists on doing himself. When he is going to do this is not the mystery that I solved. 
It is the fabric over my sliding glass door.

I just found a special BH & G "Window and Wall ideas" from 2005 and the first image was in a spread featuring Washington D.C. designer Stan Kelly.
The fabric is Robert Allen toile on linen on his window and mine.
The annoying part is that I bought it at a local retailer of discount decorator fabrics called Fabrics Unlimited and they are funny about telling you the manufacturer of some fabric sbut not all, go figure.
Don't get me wrong, I've gotten some great deals there, like the fabric for these chairs for $3. 20 a yard!

It just bugs when they are secretive about some fabrics and others have the name right on the selvage. They even had the fabric content wrong. It was listed as cotton but I knew it was linen. 
Anyway, I just had to have it,  at $20 a yard I suppose it was a bargain.

It was exciting to see it in a magazine even if it is a 7 year old magazine.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Friday trip

On Friday morning I had the urge to purge ... my closet. 
I also thought of a few other things that I was on the hunt for and a quick trip to neighborhood stores turned into a minor trek to Ikea.

 Ikea is about 40 minutes away without traffic.
So, armed with my camera and lollipops (they buy a lot of 2 year old time) I headed out.
 It must have been the blue words and yellow arrows that confused me. It's not like I've never been there before but I went the wrong way. Not only did I skip the second floor showroom but I grabbed a weird and totally wonky wheeled cart.
The plan was to look at and feel a LACK side table to guess whether it could be painted.
I also wanted storage solutions--remember the urge to purge.
In all of my brain dead, seriously dumbass stupor, I forgot my camera until I got to lighting.
The saving thought was that I needed to run a few options by my husband.
Right about here I stopped idiot drooling and woke up.

I liked this pendant but have concerns about keeping it clean.

Love but not enough light for my kitchen table.
I looked at so many things and went away with thoughts on...
these ready made linen curtains that would work in my bedroom for $50 a pair.
Interesting aside-- for us "hang 'em high drapery snobs" Ikea  finishes the tops of all curtains (most bottom out at 98 inches) but leaves the bottoms undone. Also for the non-sewing folks they include iron-in hem tape.
Still a tad short for those that prefer a proper 4 inch doubled hem, but it beats the crap out of useless 84 inch curtains.
I also found many lighting ideas that need to be revisited with the hubster in tow.

I recalled O'verlays but could not recall which items they were compatible with.
Double DUH!

It was rather tiring.

But here is what I came home with.

An array of containers to liberate my closet from "dreaded droop" or my name for stacks of clothing and unmentionables that begin to slide about after a week or two and appear droopy.

Tell me this candlestick isn't groovy! I just wish it were orange.

This huge 21 x 21 frame. I used it to frame a vintage Vera scarf.
It was meant for the 2 year old's room but it has become a happy welcome when coming in the garage entrance.
I have another scarf I would like to frame too.
Ikea has frames and then there are real Ikea frames. The former are suited for and displayed in store as a great way to frame giant kid art. The latter are more on par with something you might buy at Bed,Bath and Beyond.
My 21 x 21 frame was only eight bucks but I wanted to make sure I liked it before I went hog wild.

I bought these for the 14 year old girl's room. Two windows at $14.99 each. Yay!
 I neglected to buy hardware there. 
Here is the one very smart purchase.... drumroll...
Somehow in the midst of all that yellow and blue signage I missed the kid area that I promised my little miss.
In my drooling search for LACK tables in the warehouse before the checkouts I saw this cutie for $14.99!!!!!
Santa should be so smart. 
She hasn't stopped playing with it but to sleep or eat.
Bonus for me, it folds flat in literally 2 seconds so I can stash it when I want to be all cool,  like I don't have kid stuff in my house.
I think I am headed back today.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Curtains on the brain

I am always thinking about curtains. I mean, really hardly a day goes by that i don't ponder what would look best or better here or there in my house. Sometimes I "fix" other people's drapes in my head.
It's a problem I know.
Let's take a closer look at this affliction.

Curtains with inverted pleats (as seen above) are something I would love to have but they require 3 times the width to make one panel. 

That equals beautiful fullness and a price tag to match.
They remind me of old-fashioned couture dresses.

Adding some great trim like this would be even more fabulous.

These have a Parisian or French pleat that is much like a standard pinch pleat but joined at the top rather than the center.

Standard pinch pleats are fine but lately they bore me.
All types I have talked about so far can go on rings or a traverse rod. There are also decorative traverse rods that are made to look like rings and function like a traverse.

This smocked top is so girly and brigs a lot of attention to the top of the curtain.

These rod pocket panels are the least expensive and easy to make. The photo illustrates how they are constructed but they really don't have to look that crappy.

Tab tops are my least favorite.

Or maybe grommet tops are. Either way I don't like either.
They just don't seem tailored enough.

I have been dreaming of white linen panels just like this on rods just like this in my blue bedroom.
That means I need to get out the sewing machine, take a few deep breaths and get it done.

Do you have a favorite?