Thursday, April 17, 2014

There's been a recent flurry of activity, as a group of volunteers hustled
 to re-design the Children's Wing at church. 

Many hands do make light the work! 
We went from this:

 To this - in no time!

We painted a colorful Main Street mural,
with each classroom door being a different storefront.
The parents seem to like it as much as the children!
We planned the mural with help of
What a great service he provides!  Check it out!
We included a Movie Theater
with a child-sized usher.

 A Fire Station


There's a music shop.

A Pizza Shop with delivery service.

 And rounding out our Main Street is a Pet Shop, Ice Cream Parlor & Toy Store.
These classrooms serve little ones from infancy to 3rd grade.
The "JAM (Jesus and Me)  MINISTRY" is inspired by Luke 2:52
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[and in favor with God and man."


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Salvage Chic

It takes confidence and boldness to eschew trends
 and create a home that is as unique and interesting as its owner.

One of my clients artfully mixes the textures of an urban loft
with the elegance of antiques and a dash of theater.
What would you do with a pair of doors like this?
Why, use one for the closet, of course!
And the other as the room's entry door.
Which is where I come in.
Several years ago, this room was the master bedroom.
At the time, I helped take away the newness of the space
by dirtying the walls and crackling the wood trim for a worn, vintage effect.
Now the doorway was being rebuilt to accommodate
 this amazing door and repairs to the wall were needed.
1-2-3 good as new

Then it was on to the new master suite.
Let's embellish the vines painted previously by young student.
Then add some fun to the master bath.
(yes, that is a zinc sink)
But there's no real GAS LINE.

.....And around the corner is an electrical box,
that is really just a metal plate painted to look rusty,
and some HIGH VOLTAGE lettering!

 I couldn't be this adventurous in my home.
What about you?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Alphabet Sign

OK, I confess - I enjoy winter.
And we've had a healthy dose of it this season. 
Today, with temperatures soaring to 12 degrees F, it feels absolutely balmy outdoors!
Of course it's easy to love snowy days
 when you have the luxury of a warm home and the freedom to work there. 
 I don't take that blessing lightly.
Still, when you've grown up in Buffalo, you develop a certain hardiness
and sense of adventure about the season.
So on these blustery days,
 I've worked on a few projects, some for my clients and some for me.
Here's one I did today -- for me!
First, let me thank Susie Harris for the inspiration.

Ever since I saw her Alphabet Sign painted like old typewriter keys,
I wanted to try my hand at one.
If you haven't seen Susie's artwork, don't waste a moment.
Hop over and visit her blog.  You won't be disappointed.

To paint my Alphabet,
 I re-cycled one of my old paintings.

Removed from the frame, I primed over the flowers,

then "tempered" the canvas by painting it in ochre
and dirtying it up with diluted raw umber.

Note:  A toned background makes any painting more interesting
 than simply beginning to paint on a white canvas.

Using sophisticated tools ( ha!), I traced enough circles to fill the canvas

and painted them black.

At the computer I printed out the alphabet and traced them onto the circles.
A 200+ size font gave me the right sized letters.

The letters were loosely painted with a flat brush,
and with a quick swoosh-y brushstroke  the highlights were added.
Using a dry chip-y old 3" brush,
I tickled over the canvas with black paint to make things look old.

The canvas filled a spot in my favorite reading corner,
keeping company with an old door snagged at my favorite junk-shop.
Its weathered orange and yellow paint fits right in!
How perfect.

It's a very good day!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Outdated to Updated


Sometimes a piece of furniture is too good to get rid of, but it's just dated. 
 That described this occasional table my client wanted to use in her family room.

The floral motif was too "country,"
and the orange color didn't go with any of her current wood finishes.
It just didn't fit in anymore.

But the floral motif was carved into the furniture, so it simply couldn't be removed.
Instead, the flower would have to be camouflaged.
An on-lay would solve that problem.
But not this one - it's too flower-y.
This one was much better.
Wood on-lays come in a variety sizes and shapes ranging from simple to over-the top,
and of course the prices vary accordingly! 
You can find on-lays at your lumber store, or a store like Home Depot.
Changing the color to black was a good decision.

And sanding it lightly to distress the table
made it even better. 

We all have pieces of furniture that would benefit from a re-design.
Before you decide to get rid of them,
think about the possibilities that some paint may make.
You may discover that you love your furniture again.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chic Niche

for rent - Tours, France

You might think that if you lived in an impressively large enough home,
 all your design problems magically would disappear.  

They wouldn't. 
Grand homes have design dilemmas just like any other home.
Here's how a dear friend, and designer, Miss Debbie, 
brilliantly solved a problem for one of her clients.
Maybe you've seen this quirky, little feature.... 
The Niche.
for Sale - Dallas TX
Whatever can you do with it?
It's too shallow for a vase.
It's oddly shaped for a painting.
It's too high for watering live plants.
Nothing ever looks quite right.

Evolution of Style 4-13-2011
With careful thought and planning,
a useless niche transformed into a faux window!
The niche was trimmed to match the wood in the foyer
and matching doors were built.
But the real statement is made by the wrought-iron scroll work.
 I painted the glass to look like antique mirror,
which completes the window effect.
The conceit works because this faux window
adjoins a real one above the entry door.
You can see it in the reflection.
Now this niche is so well integrated into the room,
it enhances the d├ęcor, not detracts from it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

All in the Family!

I'm so excited to share these photos with you
 because MY SISTER painted this adorable table and chairs. 
Didn't she do a great job? 

My sister is an inveterate "curb-side shopper." 

She finds her treasures while walking her dog,
and then races home to get the truck
in order to snag the prize before anyone else does.
She has quite the knack for finding wonderful furniture this way!

This cute fabric inspired her color scheme.
She has just begun to dive into the world of painted furniture,
and I'm delighted to cheer her on.
I wish we lived near each other so we could 'play with paint' together!

Now she faces the challenge of deciding to keep the furniture,
or to find it a new home!

Here's hoping the New Year finds her painting more furniture.

And that's my hope for you, too.
Paint something - whether large or small -
and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment,
knowing you have something that is uniquely yours.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!

There was time for one quick painting project yesterday
....and this one was for our house.

Months ago I painted a pair of bookcases in our den dark olive green
 -- a lovely change from their previous golden oak.  
I had hoped to replace the clear glass in the doors with vintage, seeded glass,
 but given the cost, it seemed a frivolous thing to do.
Click to see how spray paint can turn clear glass into vintage mirror.
I was thrilled with the improvement!
 No more looking at the messiness that quickly accumulates on the shelves.

With this project quickly finished,
there was time to make one more batch of cookies,
 using a recipe shared by a friend, Miss Niki,
for the best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

If you love your cookies melt-in-your-mouth-moist,
then this is a recipe for you. 
The key is to let the dough rest for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. 
 This allows the gluten in the flour to relax and not make your cookies hard.  
 Don't ask me how or why, I just know it works.

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package  Ghiardelli bittersweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1 package Ghiardelli semi-sweet chocolate baking chips
  • sea salt for sprinkling

1. Sift the flours, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl and set aside
2. Using electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended.  Add the vanilla extract.  Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.  Stir in the chocolate baking chips until evenly distributed through the dough.
3.  Cover the dough by pressing  plastic wrap against it.  Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
4.  When ready to bake, let the dough come to room temperature so you can scoop it.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line or grease your baking sheets.  Scoop dough and place on baking sheet.
I use an ice cream scoop - about 2 Tablespoons worth for each cookie, but you can make the cookies larger if you wish.  Don't press the dough down -- let it stay the way it is.  Sprinkle the cookies lightly with sea salt.
5.  Bake 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies, or 18-20 minutes for the larger ones.
6.  Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet, then move them to another surface to cool.

Can freeze these for up to 2 months, but they won't last that long!


....and Merry Christmas to all!

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