Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thrifty Thursday

I was looking for a tray in a local thrift store, any color because I was planning on painting it. I never see good trays.
I did come a way with a few goodies on the cheap.
The blue and white bowl is most likely on its way to my bedroom which is pale blue and white.

It definitely needs an infusion of Chinese blue and white porcelain.

These fetching little things are staying close by in the kitchen. I use little bowls like this for condiments regularly.

I got two of these hammered brass vases.

I like the repetition of the orb theme in different textures.
I believe everything was under $10 bucks combined.
I just wish they had a tray!
Do you like hunting for goodies in thrift stores?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pretty paperwork

Maybe you have already seen this free printable monogram but I thought I would pass it on. 
In my efforts to stay on top of the piles of paper in my life, I have created binders with folders to keep things organized. The thing is that they need to be out in view quite often.

I commandeered this binder from my son, who was just accepted into his college of choice yesterday which is no small feat for him. I digress, my point is that this binder has seen better days so I was thrilled to add this sheet so that I am not embarrassed to have it lying around.

On another note, project side table aka my January goal has hit a snag. I am hoping to have it sorted out by tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Craigslist for dummies

I got a great response to last week's post  "Craigslist fun" where I said mean things about items posted locally. I have more mean things to share. Craigslist for dummies, meaning if you are looking at the Fredericksburg, Virginia Craigslist you are dumb.
Lucky for you, I am dumb.
Here's how flushed away an hour of my life looking for a fantastic brass and glass coffee table.

Hand restored? To what? Its non-original F-ugly color apparently.

Second floor suite 208, I was in that psychiatrist's office. Birds are gone though.
Honestly the chair is not awful but it is not MCM either.

 I have no idea what makes the lister think these are French. Maybe they smell funny.

I was starting to feel guilty about saying so many snarky things and figured I would end on a nice note. I found this metal daybed that looked like it could be romantically styled with linen or toile.

Two things about the listing stopped me in my tracks. Was it too much to ask to tidy up that 20 square feet? I mean really...if you are going to virtually invite the whole world in to your little corner of squalor, at least put on a show of decency.
The second part was that in the text of the listing, they graciously offer the nasty stained box spring and an even nastier mattress that they did not photograph, but they assure buyers that it is totally gross.

OK here it is the really good thing!

$300 bucks HERE and they didn't turn it into a kegeratoror or offer anything weird as a bonus.
Wish I had a spot for it

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Horchow and me

Horchow and me


A couple of my paintings are paired with items from

How did I not know how to do this before? I am addicted.

Friday, January 25, 2013

inspiration boards

I have been struggling with photographing my paintings in vignettes or larger room settings. In the places with ligh,t there is no good wall or furniture space. The places with space have either bad light or something undesirable in the way, like a stair railing.

I have been playing with inspiration boards and using items from everyday catalogs or 1st dibs. This took forever but I am sure to get faster and make less obvious choices for the items involved.

The first one is using the very feminine and floral "In the future I" paired with sleeker items from CB2.

It was my first attempt and it shows.

Next I used "Walking King Street" with more feminine but colorful items from Wisteria.

I liked the items I chose here but I also felt like it was too many goodies in one basket, y'know?

This was my final, more restrained attempt. 

What is your favorite way to visually group items?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Block printing tutorial

I bought this vintage middle eastern block about a year and a half ago and have been dying to use it.
I finally found a worthy project. It involved printing a yard of cotton twill as a part of another project that I promised soon.

To start you need to measure your block and see how that translates to a pattern that works.

I marked off the spacing I wanted for the first row and then offset that by half for the second row. It is a good idea to get this spacing figured out by printing on paper first.

For the "ink" I used red oxide heavy body acrylic paint and a bit of fabric medium. I mixed it and rolled it out on an old palette but it is properly done on a piece of glass. The roller thingy you see is called a brayer. It is a hard rubber roller and I have had it since college. Many times, over the years I have been tempted to pitch the brayer but the memory of its unusual expense at the college art supply and the two stinkin' times I used it had me holding on and I am glad I did.
It is important roll a layer out so that it goes on you block evenly.

It took me some time to get the feel of how much to ink the block. I was using too little at first. Then, about halfway through, the block got a bit gloppy.

I simply wash and thoroughly dried it to continue.

My project will require just a bit less than the one yard and the first three rows of printing were not ideal so I can cut them off. It took me an hour to do one yard but I got much faster and more precise by the end of the run so a larger piece would not be too hard.
My bank account is relieved I did not go for the Robshaw fabric and I still got some hand printed fabric.
I can't wait to try this again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Craigslist fun

I have come to the conclusion that my local Craigslist is 98% useless to me.
Most things I wouldn't even want in my basement. Occasionally there is something nice for a million dollars. 
I moslyt troll the listings hoping for that 2% jackpot. Usually the nicely priced, cool item is something that I do not need so I keep watching and waiting, giggling at the listings.

OK, its mean to laugh at someone that can't spell but there are legions of people that do not know how to spell "MIRROR".

I looked up the word "Antique" and and none of the synonyms were "Gross". I cropped out the enormous dog cage pressed against it.

This one cracks me up every time! Listings for a "sitting" chair, is there any other kind?

5 large? Really? The listing says that it was originally $10,000. I wish them the best of luck with that listing.

If the word "beautiful" is used in the description, I have to look. Its like a car accident. I know I should just keep moving but I look anyway. It is almost always an item that that I would choose a very different adjective to describe.
Call me a snob but I can't help but wonder what this person would call ugly.

How is your Craigslist?

Monday, January 21, 2013

New work

I finished a painting that seemed to take forever, this Saturday.
Its a biggie at 48 x 48 and titled "Brownian motion". The term Brownian motion references particle theory and the random motion of particles when suspended in a liquid or gas. I am kind of physics nerd but it spoke to my method. The painting had a very floral feel, which is OK but I am not in a floral mood. Carefully selected colors were applied in a some what random fashion to take this canvas out of the garden. Once I crossed that threshold, I could be more deliberate with my brush, but it was the randomness that gave it the feel I was looking for.

I also finished this group of  four 12 x 12 canvases that is titled "Swimming through Saturday"

My titles seem very cryptic to others but they generally relate to the mood or intent behind my painting.
Do titles mean anything to you when you look at art?

Friday, January 18, 2013

4 helpful tips for paper clutter

A few days ago I lamented the lack of office space in my house. Someone commented that they would like my tips for containing the paper beast so here is my system.
Number one, on the list is pocket folders. I use separate folders for different paper types. One for receipts for art supplies and invoices, one for commission contracts, etc.
 In theory I have a folder for kids art art and school papers. Here's the thing, because I don't, my system doesn't always work for me. When I had them it worked.
The two essential things to making it work are going through papers each day and putting them in their designated spot and actually having a spot.
I use the folders and then when they get unmanageable purge them of unwanted stuff and stash them in a magazine folder or a wall pocket.
 Number two is our bill system. Our system for bills is a bit different but it works really well. You need a calendar and a "spot" like a drawer that is only for bills or a letter tray that you must not bury with other papers.
 When bills arrive, open them and note the due date with a red marker on  the outside of the original envelope.  Then put the contents back in the opened envelope that the bill came to you in.. Then simply write "BILL" on your calendar two or three days in advance of the due date. For instance, if your bill is due February 1, you write it on the calendar square for January 29th. We pay all but one bill online so two days works for us. If you are mailing your bills it would make sense to give yourself more time.
Our calendar is on the inside of our pantry door, a high traffic place, so don't hide this calendar too well.
On to tip number three.
Near this calendar I have a magnetic dry erase board. I should have bought one three times the size that I did because the goal was to keep papers off the fridge (something I hate) but alas its petite size means my fridge usually looks raggedy with papers.

 It is where we keep a running grocery list. With so many people in our house I can't possibly know when we run out of everything. It is a good place to keep written phone numbers for the neighbors, spare keys and the school calendar. This is another system that really works for us. I only wish it were much bigger.

My last little decluttering tip is not really about all of the paper that falls into our lives but the miscellaneous things that just appear.
For those things I employ trays of every size. Its a good halfway house for those things that you are not ready to put away just yet but can't just leave all over the place. Again, the trick to this working is staying on top of what you do not need and throwing away or putting away.

What are your systems?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Confessions of an Etsy artist

People ask why I paint and what I hope to gain by it. 
I am not big on posting personal stuff here and I am still going to keep the nitty-gritty to myself but this is more personal than my average post.

Let's start with why I paint. I have been reading Seth Grodin books and thinking about marketing lately.
What!!? Market art work? 
Yes. I don't paint all of this to jam my basement full and keep it "pure" or "for art's sake".
That does not mean, however, that I paint for targeted sales. 
I have been told that if, as an artist, you do not create a cohesive body of work people will be confused and no one will take you seriously. So what. I don't always take myself seriously. I am OK with making my own rules and if it works... cool... if
I truly love to share my art. Really!
 I love it when someone thinks enough of it to spend hundreds of dollars to own it. I would be lying if I said that I do not feel validated by that. Also, I sell small works on paper for $15/$25 which is a far cry from my standard per square inch price this year. I just want people that love what I do to be able to have it. There is so much more in it for me than the money, but the money is key to continuing.

I paint for many reasons and lately it is a therapy of sorts. (personal alert!!)

I started painting (again after about 12 years) out of joy and contentment and, in my opinion, experienced happiness 10 fold by sharing it with others here, on Pinterest and Facebook and not to mention the flood of attention from other blogs.
The past few months have been trying, to say the least, and it has taken an enormous and visible toll on my health. I don't want to go into details but frankly, I look like shit and I am pissed off most of the time, but oddly, I can still laugh a lot.
and paint I must or... I don't know...

its fun to paint, 
so I do,
 and I don't think that by selling this work I am selling out.
I have no clue about watercolor technique so I  have simply been playing to see what I get. All of these images are my watercolor stress relievers.
None of these will appear for sale.

Any tips on dealing with stress? I totally wanted to say getting rid of stepkids, LOL!
Sorry about the TMI.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I have a plan

I have a plan to fulfill my January goal with the supplies shown here. I have all but one item needed for the project so my husband is on board.
The leg and bracket are items that I have had for 15 years waiting, procrastinating and unable to decide on the best use.
It will be my first pin to Linda's group Pinterest board " Project Procrastination...Finish the unfinished"
The irony is that it took me two weeks to get around to pinning this. Stay tuned and I promise to have a full how-to on this project in a few days.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Office space

One constant in my adult life, has been the battle against paper clutter. The danger in tucking them away is, for me, completely and totally forgetting about important papers.
I had plans for complete and total organization in this department with the addition of built-in cabinets and shelves in my library. The arrival of an additional teenager put those plans on hold, at least for the next 155 days. Yes, am counting down until the room  (and my life) is mine again.
The plans change in my slightly every time I see great office spaces.

I have always wanted a Wassily chair.

I need some serious storage too.

So many spaces, while appealing, seem unrealistic in terms of storage and work space.

This cute little nook is more like what I am working with now. It involves lots of juggling piles of papers with no real place to put them.

my desk in the entryway
How do you keep the paper clutter in check?

Friday, January 11, 2013

A little weekend inspiration

I hope your weekend is as warm and sunny as mine is forecast to be. We are set to have a very un-January like 70 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. I am thrilled as I have been trying to figure out how we could possibly move further south.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

4 Favortite Chinoiserie fabrics

I am obsessing over fabric...again.
When the teens don't clean their rooms, complete their chores satisfactorily or otherwise make me crazy, I daydream about stuff I want.
Chinoiserie goodies of all sorts top my list. I thought I would round up my favorite Chinoiserie fabrics for some daydreaming fodder.
Let's start with an icon that is my #1 favorite of all fabrics anywhere.

Brunschwig and Fils Le Lac tops them all and it comes in other colorways like this swanky blue.

Don't even get me started on how fantastic David Hicks' Vase is.

That pink one is calling me.

Chiang mai, it has dragons, flowers, and porcelain. What could be better?

The last is "Tea house" from Thibaut.

I really love this fabric and think the black or brown colorways are the nicest. I considered using it for my living room curtains but went a simpler route instead.

Thibaut house some other wonderful Chinoiserie fabrics and wallpaper in their Tea House collection like "lanterns" and "meridian" that are worth a look.

What would you add to my list?