Tuesday, October 30, 2012

$50 giveaway!

I recently had the opportunity to browse Novica and choose one of their handmade products and also offer one of my readers a $50 gift card to find their own treasure.

Poppies box HERE
I had a hard time even choosing a category to select my item. I have a thing for trinket boxes and decided to start there, ultimately selecting the "nautilus" soapstone box.
It arrived beautifully wrapped.

Inside, was also a card from the artist who obviously put a great deal of work into his craft.
A section of their mission statement is:
 "We want you to know about who you're buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it."
It really is remarkable to have a note from the human being who created an item that you have purchased, a far cry from the big box stores that many of us frequent.

To enter the giveaway just browse the Novica site and leave me a comment with a favorite item.
You might like to start with one of these items.

The giveaway ends Tuesday, November 6 at noon EST

Monday, October 29, 2012

An old friend

I was just 16 years old the last time I visited the family farm in Maryland. The house was built in 1855 and passed down through the family to John and Ellen my second cousins once removed (?). John's mother, whom I have always called Aunt Betty has lived there her entire 92 years. She lives in a cottage behind the main house.

My grandfather spent a large part of his childhood here playing with his cousins and learning from his uncles.

I should mention that my Aunt Betty is not an old lady. We walked through the fields and down to the riverbank and I could barely keep up with her.

The water is surprisingly clear and provides much of the water for the D.C. metro and Baltimore area.

The property is a trove of history and even its trees are important. This enormous stump was once the largest Kentucky coffee tree in the world.

I spent some time here as a child and the scale of my memory proved much smaller as an adult. The simple farmhouse built by Quakers loomed as a grand palace in my recollection.

I was terrified of the "old lady in the parlor" as a child. The portrait is one by famed American artist Charles Willson Peale of his sister in-law, Deborah Moore Jackson. The original hung in the parlor until the 1970s, what you see is a copy.
The tiny photo below is of my Great, great grandfather Earnest who was born in 1860.

I am particularly fascinated by his wife, Maria Rust, who was born in Leesburg, Virginia at the beginning of the Civil War. The Rust family was a prominent Virginia family. Her father was a colonel and her uncle was General Armistead Rust, yet in her adult life she found herself (and her sister)  marrying into a Northern, Quaker family.

As a child I was fascinated by the library room which was far different than in my memory but nevertheless pretty cool.

Me in the library
Dutch door to kitchen

Even though the kitchen has been redone since my last visit, I was thrilled to see how many old elements they left untouched.

I was mad at myself for not taking better pictures of the dining room or at least more of them. The light fixture alone was worth its own photo.

It was a glorious Fall afternoon and we took a walk to the family cemetery too.

I knew many of the names from books on my family's history.

I met a few other distant cousins who visited that day too.
Seeing the place through adult eyes was a real treat for me and felt much like reconnecting with an old pal. My cousins were so kind to let us poke around their home and ask a million questions.

I will very likely be without power by the time anyone is reading this. I'll be back as soon as humanly possible. If you too are in the path of Sandy... be safe!
I hope to do another art term next Monday.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New work

Painting on paper-sold in less than 3 hours

Here's a sample of what I have been up to. Lots of paintings on paper and a few on canvas.
Some are in my Etsy shop and some are not but are still available.

"Mater Tua" 18 x 20 acrylic on canvas by Kerry Steele
"Walking King Street" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas by Kerry Steele
painting on paper #26
painting on paper #25
Oh, if I happen not to post for awhile, blame Sandy. I fully expect to lose power from this hurricane. We'll see.

Friday, October 26, 2012

comfort color

Maybe this is all a little over-the-top, feminine but its working for me at the moment.

A blustery, rainy weekend ahead has me craving my comfort color...pink.

What's your comfort color.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Goodies from the glossies

Ok, I know y'all get catalogs just like me so there is nothing profound here just some fave pics. This time of year they really start piling up around my house. Usually they go untouched but I have seen a few things that I like.

This tray from Wisteria is HUGE, almost a yard long and a bit more than 18 inches wide. It would make a great base for a stunning holiday centerpiece or sideboard decoration. Piled high with greens, pinecones and fruit, it would be amazing.

I want this car from RH so bad!

Maybe this one

Too bad that I am not 3 years old. Wait I have a three year old! Alas, we are toy minimalists and my husband would kill me for dropping $300 on one toy. Pout.

These cashmere hand warmers from RH are a deal at $18 for a pair and I think I know someone who would like them for X-mas.

Have you looked at any glossy paper catalogs in preparation for the holidays?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recent aquisitions

Moulins Faience

I have recently received a few gifts that I thought I would show you.
The petite bowl above is a bit of Moulins Faience that my mother brought back from her trip to France.
I will never have enough of this Provencal pottery. The simple, French country motifs have long been a favorite of mine.
She also got these lovely antique linen cocktail squares at a Paris flea market.

They need to be pressed again but the pale gray detail is lovely.

Another exciting treat was these two charming paintings from Sally Kelly.

I doubt that these spots will be their permanent home but they represent a dreamy place to be in my book.

The only thing I bought was this bracelet from the Etsy seller, O my heart.

I love bracelets but have freakishly small wrists and was able to have this made smaller to fit.

What goodies have you been given recently?
P.S. If have not already seen my guest post and giveaway on The Pink Pagoda yesterday, please check it out. I am so amazed at all of the lovely comments so far.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cool art term Monday- scumbling

Scumbling is much more than a fun word to say, it is a useful technique in both drawing and painting.
It refers to a sort of dry brush or scribble technique that aids in natural looking shading.

Scumbling is best done with a firm or coarse brush. The paint is scrubbed in, often over another layer in a different color.
It might seem like a new-fangled thing but in fact, Rembrandt often employed this technique.

Scumbling creates fantastic atmosphere, texture and light variations.

If you are interested this is a video illustrating the technique.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My blue heaven

Bear with me, this IS about design.
Yesterday I had to have a minor procedure at the hospital with sedation. My idea of "sedation" is feeling a little loopy and possibly calling the doctor "Dude". Their idea of "sedation" is out cold, drooling, waking up in a different room. I had the most beautiful dreams and put together a plethora of visually gorgeous and informative blog posts for you....well, they seemed really cool when I woke and tried to tell the bewildered nurse about them. The only thing that came out of my mouth was gibberish. Good thing, what dweeb tells a nurse about her design blog? Uh... apparently me.

Truly, the only thing I remember was dreaming of beautiful blue rooms with saturated azure fabrics.

I am pretty sure I was wearing something like this and not a funny smelly hospital gown.

The blues were all vivid.

It was quite like flipping through a life sized magazine that I could jump into if I wanted. Trippy, really.

It all served to remind me that I really like blue. I have always liked the bolder variety of blue but oddly, have very little in my house.

I am thinking it has to happen in the form of decorative accessories.

What color have you been dreaming of incorporating?