Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year!

Everyone wants to do something festive on New Year's Eve -- what's more festive than watching two people get married and then toasting them all night?

Just before Christmas I met a bride-to-be who was putting the final touches on her New Year's Eve wedding.  She was planning a party with her bridesmaids and wanted me to paint the wine glasses with each girl's initial and some whimsical icy-blue polka dots that matched their gowns.

You don't have to be planning a wedding to enjoy painting some wine glasses.  They are a great gift for the wine-lover in your family, or a teriffic hostess gift.  But you may be tempted to keep them for yourself.  I'm planning to paint some for our home.

These are basic white wine glasses, purchased at K-mart (by Jacklyn Smith $8 for a set of four). 

My local sign shop made a stencil of each initial.  Cut from vinyl, the paper easily stuck to the glass and fit nicely onto the curved surface of the glass.  Don't you love the quirky "Gigi" font? 

Krylon makes a variety of spray products for any DIY project.  Have you seen them?  There 's fabulous metallic paint (love the gold for the holidays), as well as textured stone, hammered metal, paint for plastic and sooo much more.   I used Frosted Glass in Pearl Grey to give the initials an etched look.  PermEnamel makes teriffic glass paint.  And what luck - the Cape Cod Grey color matched the bridesmaid dresses perfectly!

But how to spray paint the initials without getting anything on the rest of the glass?    A little tape and a peek-a-boo window cut into an office folder solved that problem.

I secured the edges of the vinyl stencil

then made a mask out of an office folder

With a spritz or two of paint, the glasses were set aside to dry

Peel off the stencil and admire

A small round brush made the whimical polka dots.  Tied with a pretty bow, these glasses were dressed up and ready for the party!

a sheer ribbon tied on the stem is sooo girly!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Lorenzo Lotto - ca 1527
One Solitary Life

Here is a man
who was born of Jewish parents,
The child of a peasant woman.
He never wrote a book.
He never held office.
He never went to college.
He never put foot inside a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles
 from the place he was born.
He never did one of the things that
usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials
But himself.............

While still a young man,
the tide of popular opinion
turned against him.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied him.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
His executioners gambled for
the only piece of property
he had on earth...his coat.
When he was dead,
he was taken down
and laid in a borrowed grave
through the pity of a friend.

Twenty wide centuries
have come and gone,
and he is the centerpiece
of the human race and the
leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark
when I say that all the armies
that ever marched,
and all the navies
that were ever built....
have not effected the life of man
upon earth
as powerfully at that
One Solitary Life.

(Adapted from Dr. James Allan Francis "The Real Jesus and Other Sermons" @1926)

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Detour Around Town: Wrap it Up, I'll take it!

Days spent with girlfriends are such a rare treat, which is why I was thrilled to spend an afternoon with two of my Book Club friends recently, as we prowled the local Potters Market.  The three day event was huge -- over 130 potters filling 12,000 sqft with all sorts of hand crafted pottery. 

It was a feast for the eyes.  We roamed the aisles enjoying it all - sculpture, cachepots and teapots, lamps, tiles, bowls and serving dishes, ornaments and jewelry.  Everywhere I looked there was something to admire and tempt me.  (Oh, how that green serving platter called my name!)  But I resisted, focusing instead on finding a hostess gift for an upcoming holiday party.

When I saw these cat bowls, I knew I'd found the gift.  Our hostess has two cats and just adopted a black and white kitten who now rules her home.   Her kitties will be dining fashionably with these cute bowls, but she easily could use them for breakfast cereal instead!

Uh-oh.  I didn't have a box to wrap them in, nor a sturdy gift bag. There was no tissue paper, nor any packing peanuts.  Time to improvise.

A cardboard cake disc wrapped with gift paper made a strong base 

and candy cushioned the bowls for stacking
a bit of cellophane and ribbon held things together

..and a hand painted tag finished the job

Off to the party......


Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Friezing!

The month of December always is busy
as people scramble
 to get their homes ready for the holidays. 
Large  projects will wait until the New Year,
but right smaller ones are plentiful.


One of  this week's projects.
I was in a bathroom re-working an impressive wallpaper frieze
so that it went with the new decor. 
This is Lincrusta,
a deeply embossed wallpaper made from linoleum.  

Before - isn't this wonderful?

The plan was to lighten the colors using grey and silver,
and add some sparkle, too. 
But first it had to be painted to match the wood trim.

Let's begin with a blank canvas

Then add some silver highlights

Rather than use silver leaf,
which would have been messy and time consuming,
I opted for a jar of Silver Leaf paint found at the craft store. 
The silver paint highlighted the edges of the design. 
Next, a grey glaze went over everything
giving it an aged effect. 

Overall it looked like a wonderfully aged tin ceiling. 
But we weren't finished quite yet. 

The client wanted the bathroom to sparkle like snowflakes!
 A sprinkling of Swarovski crystals was added to the design. 
With the large mirror and crystal accessories,
 the frieze positively shimmered,
and the entire bathroom looked wonderful.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Looking Up

Ceilings often get neglected. We spend a lot of time and energy selecting the perfect paint color for our walls, but we often forget to consider the ceilings…and they comprise a large portion of our room’s real estate!  While WHITE always has been the safest and therefore the preferred color for a ceiling, it may be time to re-think that idea.

Ceilings offer a unique opportunity for self-expression. Adding a color, even a whisper of color, will change the entire mood of the room. 

But this ceiling isn't whispering, is it? 

With vibrant green, turquoise and bronze swirling like a wild sky, this ceiling was definitely fun to paint. Because the walls are so colorful, the ceiling needed drama for balance. But what gives this space its sophistication are the designer's carefully planned window treatments. The tailored design of the cornice boards is a perfect marriage with the bold color in the room.


Here's another ceiling.  It's a bit more understated, but still quite artistic.

First, the BEFORE:

The ceiling was the predominant feature in this room, but its color was lackluster.  Builders often choose greyed-white for their ceilings, a color that is much too cold and lifeless for this sunny room.

See how a little paint elevates the room?  Bringing the yellow color onto the ceiling makes the room feel warm and cozy.  The decorative painting is simply icing on the cake!

Want to test the water with a little ceiling color, but hesitate to try it in a public area of your home like a kitchen or dining room?   Then, why not begin your color adventure in a small bathroom, like this.   It's a great place to start.    

 Who says you can't paint a small room black!

I often recommend that my clients paint their ceilings - if only to change a grey-white white into a creamy, soft white. 

But remember these things:

  •  Keep the primary ceiling areas of the home simple.
  •  Pay attention to the room’s lighting, both natural and   artificial.
  • Paint color on the ceiling will look darker than if it were on the wall.
  • Repeat the ceiling color elsewhere in the room for balance


Sunday, November 28, 2010

A School Project: Painted Table

It's always a treat when asked to help with a fund-raising event. Recently one of my clients asked if I would be willing the paint a table for an auction at her son's school.  
 Another Mom woulddonate the table, so all I needed was a design.

Because this was a boy's academy,
there'd be no frills, nothing cute or girly,
no polka dots,
no squiggles,
no bling. 
Oh dear! 
Plus the table had to have broad appeal
for the parents who'd be bidding on it. 

Inspiration came from a school T-shirt
bearing the logo and a collage of words associated with the school.

Further inspiration came from Jami at Freckled Laundry,
who shared her tutorial on painting zinc. 
Check it out! 
You'll be eager to try out her technique.   
 This little table seemed like a good place to start.

I sprayed the table black

Added some nail head trim

Brushed on three shades of silver

and blended, blended , blended

The lettering template is peeled away
 Hugh, from The Mad Stencilist
 is a great resource for lettering templates. 
Take some time to explore his web-site and you'll want to find a place in your home for some lettering!   
 He took the image of school logo and the word collage and adjusted the scale to fit the table top perfectly. 
 Perfect lettering every time. 
What a lifesaver his business is!

I delivered the table to my client, then crossed my fingers that it would be a success at the school auction. 
Did the table make the grade?  
I'll let you know.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Powder Rooms - Bold Baths

Let's turn up the volume and enjoy some bold baths.  There is nothing subtle about these rooms. They command attention!

Recently, I read about color trends for the new year and it looks as if metallics are still going to be big - both in fashion and decor.  Good news, as so many of my clients ask for walls with a shimmer.  Let me share two bold, but elegant examples with you.

This bold purple bath is attached to a honey colored master bedroom accented with deep purple.
  These two color families, yellow and purple, are opposite one another on the color wheel.
Pairing such combinations always creates a dynamic color scheme.

This guest bath began with walls deep terra cotta walls. 
Opaque gold was brushed across the surface,
 followed by a dark stain -- the perfect background for my client's tapestry-like fabric and stunning black towels.  

Color and texture combine
to make a very stylish bath with vintage charm. 
The walls feature layers of cracked stucco in colors that mimic the framed map. 
But it's the dashing red wall that offers the excitement.

This little bath was designed for children, but grown-ups like it, too. 
 Because the room was small, we   opted to paint everything crisp, clean white to match the tub and tile.  It's the bright lady bug rug and the whimsical painting that brings a smile and makes this room memorable.  

Here's another bath designed for a child. 
 This time it's a young outdoorsman. 
 His bath was painted to look like a rustic cabin,
 just like the one he visited with his grandfather.  
The lower half of the room was traditional white and black tile, so the bold paint scheme doesn't overwhelm the room.

Regardless of your preferences - bold and sassy, or understated and calm, there's a style for your bath that will be uniquely yours.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Powder Rooms - stylish and neutral

Powder rooms come in a variety of styles,
from fun to fancy. 
These little gems are a great place
to let your imagination take flight. 
Some people go for the bold,
 while others prefer more subtle color.

Here's proof that a neutral color scheme 
doesn't mean dull or boring. 
Let's look at some powder rooms and see some possibilities.

When I first saw this powder room,
the paneled molding gave the it a formal library look,
but the stark white walls were too harsh. 
By adding a light cafe-au-lait glaze all the way around,
the room gained personality. 
Of course the Venetian mirror
and the silk window valance
 certainly did more than their part! 

These walls are lightly textured
with champagne colored fresco that feels like suede.
Though the walls may be neutral, 
I painted the ceiling  dark chocolate 
for a dash of excitement. 
Would you enjoy a painted ceiling in your powder room?

Also neutral, this bath shows off a vintage wallpaper effect. 
Yes, it did take while to apply the stencil design,
but once it was in place, the fun began.  
In order to make the walls look old and tea-stained,
I rubbed on dark brown glaze,
then spattered the wall with flecks of black paint
and scratched the surface with a dry brush. 
Instant "old"!

Not all neutral rooms are beige. 
This one is grey! 
The homeowner disliked the grey ceramic tile on the floor,
but replacing it wasn't practical. 
So instead of fighting against the color,
 I suggested we work with it. 
We decided on walls that were heavily textured
and looked like like old stone,
 mixing grey, charcoal and brown colors. 
The ceiling was painted charcoal for drama. 
And suddenly the grey tile looked like
 it was an integral part of the room.

So for those who enjoy a neutral color scheme,
don't be intimidated by your flamboyantly colorful sisters.
By mixing patterns and textures within your color palette
 your rooms can be equally exciting and stylish.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Add Some Architecture

Versailles - Galerie des Glaces/Hall of Mirrors

 Ah, for the good ol' days when homes had architectural details!

But what we lack today
 can be added by a skilled carpenter, a handy husband,
 or a determined woman with a mitre saw and a nail gun.

Humble or grand, it's always fun to see
 how a little bit of trim molding
can make a big statement in any room.

By the time I arrived at this home,
many months of kitchen renovation had been completed.
 All that remained was one final item to be finished
-- this entablature on the breakfast island.  
Built of wood by a talented craftsman,
 the designer asked me to make it look like
the limestone tile used behind the stove. 



Another example of adding some architectural interest to a room is found this bathroom. 
The lady of the house wanted to create a restful and soothing spot
where she could relax at the end of the day. 
First the walls were painted a butterscotch color to show off the tile. 
 Two columns were added at either end of the tub, followed by crown molding. 
The columns looked very plain until I painted them with a soft marble effect.



Here is a project currently in progress. 
Open floor plans are great for entertaining,
but how to define the spaces?
 This long wall linked kitchen to living room. 
But where did one room start and the other room end?
 With the addition of molding,
the areas are now separate, and more interesting.

we're testing paint colors

This family room benefited from
 the talent and skill of Greg,
a wonderful carpenter I'm always glad to recommend. 
What began as an empty box of a room
 now has personality plus. 
Using ready-made cabinets,
Greg added crown, onlays, columns and rope moldings
 to make this very special, one-of a kind entertainment center. 

I had the easy part - lightly antique the cabinets to go with the client's shabby-chic decor.


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