Monday, April 30, 2012

One and a bit

"Royals furled" 32 x 36 on cotton by Kerry Steele
This is an abstract that I finished this weekend. It is on clear primed canvas and there is about a two inch margin on all sides where the fabric color and texture are visible. The muddy looking spot on the bottom left is a spot I readied and later signed.

Yesterday I started sketching out a figure on my raw silk canvas.
preliminary lines for painting
The raw silk is gray and it is a basket weave. I was not expecting such a loose weave when I ordered it and had to double it and use coat after coat of clear gesso. The result is somewhat like trying to paint on a sidewalk, there is a lot of  "tooth".
My intention is to paint a version of this style nude that my grandmother painted.
I hope this painting on raw silk works out. Other fabrics and tonal paintings are on my list to do soon.

Friday's field trip

My new pal, Nancy, from Powell-Brower Home and I had a fun outing last Friday. She posted about it today.
 I brought a camera but for some reason...
 never got a chance to snap a photo.
Luckily, Nancy got a few shots in.
We saw tons of great art and chatted with artists and lounged in their studios. FUN!
Head on over and check it out.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sneakity peek at...

My PJs.... I mean my new desk with my grandmother's oversized Blanc de Chine lamp (amazeballs), and my Le Lac real life pin board (double fun), my need for a new camera...sad.

In all seriousness, I am majorly in love with my Chinese red library, even if it is not trendy. I bought the eBay vanity that I mentioned yesterday at a discount and I am really happy with the scale of it in this 11' 6" x 11' 8" room.
 This desk has been just a crumb in the  f-ing craziness adventure that is my weekend. 
My 15 year old's birthday was messed up thanks to nutso parents. I have three works of art that I need to have done by tomorrow night-ish and only one is stirring my creative juices.  K, its yours.
And I hope I am not so tapped out that I fail in spectacular fashion or even pathetic fashion.

I stole a chair from my dining room to sit on and I have not hung a single one of those architectural prints or family documents yet but I am digging the coziness compared to the yucky bar-thingy in my kitchen that was my desk.
I am off to a few hours and then painty, painty....
Stay tuned for daytime photos...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Three things

I layered this ancient mirror that my grandmother used as a daily makeup mirror over my guest bath wall-o-mirror to make it a little more girly and welcoming.
My husband hates it. My son said "uh.... why is there a mirror on a mirror? huh huh..........huh"

What do you think?

Apparently, anything I would want for an outdoor cushion is unavailable for less than a gagillion dollars for four chair cushions, a settee and gliders plus throws. My solution is to scoop up every cheapie outdoor cushion that works for me and recover them in this fab Greek key outdoor fabric I got for about $9 a yard from Hooray for Orange and Blue!

Poorly lit, but I am so excited to hang these and more in the library. One of the framed items is a hospital bill for my father in-law's birth. In 1929, two weeks in the hospital was standard and cost $74.50. Another is an invention by my husband's grandfather and the patent certificate.
I have the bill from my own birth in the 1960s but it is not so beautifully handwritten. Maybe I'll frame it too.

Would you frame and hang such things or do you only like purely decorative items?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My naked library

Before I show you my painted room let me tell you that I had a few comments on yesterday's post telling me about 7 coat painting nightmares and my last red room was one of those stories too.

We began with a tinted primer but it was so lightly tinted that I was scared.

The paint was decidedly orange when wet and for some reason my husband was expecting the same color as our living room in our old house. *sigh* Why don't they listen when we talk?

The first coat was really promising. Other red paints are so transparent that they appear hot pink until about the third coat and then it still is not even.

I am pleased to say that spending $50 bucks (or $35 on sale) is well worth it to have to only put on two coats. There were a few touch up spots near the ceiling that I painted this morning after the two coats of red.

The color is a bit brighter and orange than it appears on my computer.
Clearly, I have work to do. The switchplates are still missing and there is the tiny matter about books in a library. We have no bookshelves yet and are undecided about what to do. My husband would like to build them but has no time.
Also I need to get rid of those awful mini blinds. I will use a shade I bought and the gold silk curtains, reworked somehow, from our old house and layer an oriental rug over the wall-to-wall even though I would rather see it disappear.

I found this vanity on eBay and think it might work as a desk in there. I am going to look at it on Saturday.

For now I am going to start dragging stuff in there like this chair...

and hanging architectural prints and other goodies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oh no! Paint

That is really me

Today and tomorrow are reserved for painting the library at our house. Finally, my husband has two days off in a row and it was his idea to tackle the project. If it had been my, it wouldn't be happening.
My point is, I am busy but here is a preview.

Screen grab from S-W color visualizer

First let me tell you that this is not my house or my stuff pictured. Y'all know I could not hang that fugly art and I won't even bring up everything else in this travesty of a room. The wall color is what is important here. It is Sherwin-Williams Chinese Red- 0057. Last time I painted a room red my husband and I were dating and I almost got the boot over 5 and a half million coats it took to cover. This time I bought tinted primer and better paint.
I don't get anything from Sherwin-Williams for telling you that many of their products are great. I particularly like their Superpaint because it actually covered maroon in one coat. I was using light blue to cover that vampire blood color!
Today I am using Duration because the Superpaint did not come in Chinese Red. Apparently it is so pigment heavy that only certain formulas can be mixed in that color.

Wish me luck. I hate painting but not as much as my husband does.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quickie DIY inspiration

Several months ago, I purchased a lot of Brunschwig and Fils  iconic "Le Lac" in pieces on eBay. There is no real yardage just large scraps but I got them for a song and it perhaps my favorite fabric ever.

Not familiar? Just more Chinoiserie ? Mais non!
The magic of this fabric lies in its apparent simplicity. The colors are far more complex than one's eye will reveal unless it is closely inspected. As I see it (and I am sure I will miss a shade) there are 2 grays, 4 greens, 2 reds, 3 yellows, 4 browns, 1 lavender, 1 purple, and one creamy white that is above and beyond the background. All of this is hand printed and manages not to be "too much".
Here is what I did with the smallest and most unusable piece from the lot I have.

I bought this bulletin board at Target for 6 and change. I accidentally bought that paint a few months ago for a dollar.
The board is about 16 x 20.

First, I painted the frame with the glossy red paint. There was no need to be super neat since I was covering the cork later.

I had several spools of this black grosgrain that I bought for another project and did not use.

I adore this fabric!! I got so excited that I forgot to take a pic of the beginning of the fabric placement.
Basically, I put a bead of fabric glue along an edge and placed my fabric. The I used pushpins to hold the corners in place and flipped the remainder up and inside out so I could prepare the next lines of glue.
I kept the fabric 1 or two inches too big in every direction. Once all edges were glued and pinned, I grabbed a VERY sharp utility knife to trim up the edges.

um..My camera makes everything look sloppier than it is

I glued two sides of grosgrain ribbon on the long sides, just inside the frame. Next I glued the shorter sides and mitered the corners by cutting a straight square edge and folding it to make perfect 45 degree angle. I used a pushpin to secure it.
I added a sawtooth hanger to the back because it was set up to hang in landscape orientation and  eye hook and wire would not do for a bulletin board.

Here she is on the inside of my pantry door until she gets a real home.
I made this because Kris of La Reportiste had a wonderfully inspiring post on inspiration boards, and clearly, I was inspired.

The point... to use this board as a place to keep all of my samples of paint and fabric currently in use, as an easy to use and pin (in real life) reference. In my early days I kept a book but it got too fat and I think this is far more accessible and inspiring.  I just grab a room and go.

"Spring into Action" the reveal

 I just realized, based on some of the comments that it seems like I did the entire room in two weeks. I absolutely did not. Much was already in place, I just wanted to show the evolution of the room as whole. This project was about framing and/or hanging eleven pictures, moving things around, and adding the little bar for an overall zhush. Sorry about the confusion. Carry on.

It is not modern. It does not have a sassy mix of styles or anything all that clever but I loooooove my dining room. It has a decidedly masculine feeling but I think that is fabulous in a horsey, cigar and brandy sort of way.
Let's take a minute to recap.

The dining room started as a blank canvas.

We painted it a chocolate brown and added this trim to separate the two rooms that share a wall.

I made a huge mess.

I also bought a bunch of prints to frame and had some that were framed but not hung.

This was my inspiration.
Here is my interpretation of that.

I went with a more symmetrical arrangement because I had similar frames and my husband can't deal with the haphazard look in my inspiration photo.

In this last photo are all of the prints I framed. The two I had originally hanging on this wall belonged to my grandparents and at the last minute I decided to frame them like the others.

Anyone have a cigar?

I am so glad I did. I think a great-great uncle framed them in the 30s or 40s and gave two to each of his nephews and nieces, including my grandfather. Let's just say they needed a redo.

There was a caption taped to the back of each that I saved and will mount to the backs under acetate to preserve them. I have not done this yet.

You can see that their coming into contact with the wood inside the frame had drastically discolored the edges. It was well worth the added cost to reframe them.
Speaking of cost here is the breakdown...

Open back frames 50% off $9 each                                             7 @$9 = $63
UV glass $7                                                                                    7 @ $7= $49
Mat board $5 with coupon                                                                            $5
Foam board                                                                                                     $4
Miscellaneous hardware                                                                                $10
Total                                                                                                         $131

I dug out a receipt from last year when I had something framed. It hadn't dawned on me yet that I could do this myself. It was a comparable size and frame and I paid $52. The regular price was $139 but with a sale and a coupon it was only $52. What I am saying is that even with a sale and a great coupon, having all seven of these framed would have cost me a minimum of $364!!!!
If that doesn't convince you to do your own framing I don't know what will. Even if you have the store cut the mat if you do the framing you will save.
If you did not see my mat cutting and framing tutorials on video they are HERE
In all, I custom framed seven prints and cut mats for two more and used ready-made frames. Then I hung them all. I moved a few things around and grabbed that antique folding table from another room to set up the little bar table. My dining room is now the first room in my house that I feel is "done". I would like an antique huntboard and hardwood floors but that is so far down the road I don't count it as being undone.

Don't forget to check out all of these other great "Spring into Action" projects
  Suzy – Saved by Suzy
Tiffany – Living Savvy
Cathy – Room Rx
Carrie – Hazardous Design

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


We all have seen something that makes us slap our forehead and say," Why didn't I think of that?!"
Here are a few recent Pinterest finds that had me saying that.

This paper towel holder is on my kitchen redo wishlist. One of my many, many peeves is stuff on the kitchen counter so several times a day I put the roll of paper towels away. Then my husband takes it out again. This is has the possibility to save many a marriage.

I saw this pull out cutting board over a trash can and said , "DUH!!" Why doesn't every kitchen have these? I would hope the board pops out for cleaning.

Hmmmmm. Maybe with different chairs. I was thinking something with a lower back. If it it were possible to find two matching vanity chairs or these...

What cool thing do you wish you thought of?
Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for my final "Spring into Action" project finale.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thanks Meme

My grandmother
Over the weekend I decided to tackle a huge mess in my house. The room that will become our library became a giant closet. It had some unused furniture, art supplies, framing supplies and piles of papers that needed to be filed. My 14 year old and I spent the better part of Saturday filing, organizing and discarding. I am almost done clearing it out to begin painting the walls.

 My grandmother was an artist and art professor. I called her Meme which is the familiar French term for Grandmother, much like calling her "Nana" in English. After my grandfather died 2 1/2 years ago, I found the art supplies (and more) pictured above. I shoved them back in the bag and they were forgotten and put into storage pending our move.
They reappeared Saturday.
Among the collection were tubes of acrylic paint that were still good. These had to be from the 1970s!
There was a tube of "Iridescent White". I was so excited I almost cried. I had been wanting to try "Iridescent White" but the name had me thinking glitter and at $10 a tube I just didn't want to experiment but there it was. I said, "Thanks, Meme." out loud and grabbed a canvas.

I can tell you that the "Iridescent White" is not the gaudy glittery thing I imagined. It is faintly pearlescent and understated. I love it. I added touches of metallic gold where there are yellow gold tones in the painting and just a few pearly accents where there is white. It is so hard to get that to show in a photo. The painting is 18"w x 24"h x 1.5"d.

The title is "Thanks, Meme"

P. S. There is not a good way to post this on Etsy but if you are interested in a painting of mine but wish it were larger I do take those commissions. Just not the ones where you tell me what to paint. :)