Monday, July 18, 2011

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." ~ Pablo Picasso

there are no borders

Years back, there was a t.v. show on called My Two Dads.  It was about a girl who, when her mother died, was left in the care of her mom's 2 old flames who, consequently became fathers to the child.   One father was an accountant or some kind of financial whiz while the other was an artist.  The artist was depicted as somewhat irresponsible and a free spirit. Being financially successful didn't matter to him, because he had so much joy in creating.

I was very caught up in that imagery - the joy of creating.  For most of my life, I didn't see myself as an artist.  An artist was someone who was born with natural skill - they could draw or sculpt or design without any help or instructions.  Paintings just flowed from their brush without any effort.  They were creative geniuses.

I also had the idea that being an artist wasn't the way to make a living.  Their income, at best, was minimal.  They were flighty. They were rebellious to social norms.  They were...different.

Yet the idea of being an artist intrigued me.

I wanted to be different.   I didn't want to be tied down to a 9-5 job the mundane.  I wanted to be free to create at will.

The problem was, as I grew older, I couldn't see how to do that.  I didn't think I really possessed any skills that qualified me to be an artist. 

But, then one day I realized that art is what comes from your heart.  You don't have to be flighty; rebellious; regarded as a creative genius or anything else. An artist is one who says so.  Who says to the world,

"I am an artist."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Writing a Blog Post

Have you ever gone into a blog and noticed the writing format?  How sometimes it's left justified like this paragraph.  Or other times it is centered like the paragraph below.  

How do you decide which way to go with your blog?  It's a personal choice, like everything else, but this is one of those things I agonize over when I'm blogging. 

I can't make up my mind.

On the one hand, I've read that it's easier for the reader if you format your posts so that they are left justified, but it's okay to center the title.  Or maybe center a sentence in the middle to draw attention to the reader.  Like this - 

Read  This!

Did you notice that I also made my text bigger?   Some bloggers will make a word in their sentences smaller, too,  just to make a point.

This was going through my head today because I'm taking a course called Build a Blog You Truly Love  ( you may have noticed the link in the right margin).  Consequently,  I'm noticing a lot of things that other bloggers do in their posts to create personality.

Especially how they change the way it comes across just by how they use punctuation, font size and paragraph formatting.

Some bloggers will always sometimes cross out words.  Why?  To add personality?  To make it more creative?  Or because they really made a mistake and don't want to hit delete several times, but prefer to just highlight and hit the cross-through tab?

Some bloggers write everything double spaced.

Every new sentence starts on a new line.

Absolutely no more than one sentence is ever written on the same line.

For fun, they'll center the lines, too.

Keeping them double spaced.

Makes it look a little like poetry.

How about those bloggers who write with periods where they are grammatically incorrect to make a point.  Kinda. Like. This.

Or other bloggers will use words like lurve in their post.  The first time I saw lurve, I couldn't figure out what I was reading.  You lurve?  What's a lurve?  Then I got it.  They meant love.  They are just putting some kind of southern drawl on the word lurve....lurrrrve.  Luuuuuuuuurve.  Or maybe it's not a southern drawl.  I'm not sure.  I never "heard" the word "lurve" before until blogging.  I don't lurve.  I love.  I like the the word love. Lurve is, well....lurve!

The funny thing about blogging though is that once you start to notice stuff like this, then you find yourself thinking that way, too.  I saw something the other day and in my head, heard myself think, "Oh I lurve that!"

Whoa, back up!  Did I just replace love with lurve?

I never say "lurve" in real life.  Okay, what I mean to say is that I never say it outside Blogger Land.  And, for the record, this post is the first time I've said it in Blogger Land.

What I do say in real life that I very rarely say in Blogger Land is "ya'll."  I have been living in Virginia since I was 16 (some 30+ years now) and at some point and time my word for the plural "you," became "ya'll."  But, for whatever reason, I struggle saying that in my writing. 

I also tend to slur my words a bit in real life, especially if there is an "r" in the word.  I didn't know this until my oldest son thought he'd be cute and played back a VM that I left on his cell phone. I was horrified to say the least, but most people are shocked when they hear their own voice, so I've learned to live with that one. Sorta. When you think about it, though, my slurred "r" kinda makes lurrrrrve a good fit for me. 

There's really not a specific point to this post, kinda like Seinfeld.  I'm just thinking out loud.  Trying to find my authentic voice and personality in my writing.  Don't judge me by this post as I'm not there, yet.  Actually, do me a favor and don't judge me at all, k?  

Notice the "k"?  That comes from texting.  Isn't it funny how the way we communicate face to face, in blogging and in text starts to intermingle.

That reminds me.  Have you ever tried Fridays fried green bean appetizer?  I love, luuuurve, ahem, think it's really delicious!  Especially the wasabi dip!  Yum.  Not too long ago I discovered Fridays frozen variety at our grocery store and I bought some for dinner the other night.  When I was reading the directions, I noticed it read "Allow green bean fries to stand for a couple of minutes b4 digging in!"  I laughed because using b4  in their directions definitely goes with Fridays hip personality. But, it also shows how our techno desire to communicate quickly is showing up in other venues.

I guess that brings my post full circle for now.  Trying to decide how to write a blog post is all about letting your authentic personality shine forth.

I probably could use some pics in this blog post so that it isn't all text, text text.  I'll have to work on that.

Bye ya'll!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Red, White & Blue Color Schemes

In the spirit of celebrating America's birthday,  
I thought it would be fun to look at some red, white and blue color schemes.

Two Red, White & Blue Living Rooms

Love the spiral stairs and painted floor in this one!

 Love the sofa & red lamp!

 Details like the chalkboard and the floorcloth add personality to this kitchen!

These nautical mirrors mesh so well with this red, white & blue bath!

These simply dressed beds in red, white and blue make a big statement in these otherwise all white bedrooms.

This small outdoor garden space pops with red, white & blue seating!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Playing with the Color Wheel

 "Colour is my daylong obsession, joy and torment." ~ Claude Monet
 This has been my sig line for many years.  I am enthralled by color.  Whether it's man-made or from nature, color is my inspiration.


An ordinary color wheel.  

Let's look at it again...through nature.

Primary Colors (the 3 colors from which all other colors are made)

Red Roses

Yellow Tulips

Blue Water


Secondary Colors (a mix of 2 primary colors)

Orange - a mix of red and yellow

Green Swirl
Green - a mix of yellow and blue

Purple (Violet) - a mix of blue and red

Tertiaries - a mix of 1 primary and 1 secondary (or basically 3 primaries mixed together)


Alpine blues and greens

Blue Wonder (campunela) alpine
Blue-Purple (Blue-Violet)

Purples at Sunset
Red-Purple (Red-Violet)

Orange, red and yellow tulip, Main Street, Newberry, SC

Yellow Orange Roses

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Look at My Roll-top Desk Painted in Provence!

No, I don't mean that my desk was painted in Provence, France (I wish!)...or that I am in Provence, France (I wish, again!).  What I mean is that this baby was painted with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint called Provence.  I am so in love with this color that I am painting all sorts of things in my home with it. 

I was going to wait until I finished this desk to show it to you, but I am so in love with the color (did I already say that?) that  I decided to show you the "in process" look.  Isn't it amazing!  This was the ugliest looking dreary dark-toned desk and I can't believe how much the paint has already transformed it.  So far only the exterior has been painted in Provence.. The inside hasn't been painted yet and I'm going to do that in another color.  You'll have to wait and see which one!  When all is said and done, this charmer is going into our home library (fancy name for the room that holds our 4 bookcases of homeschooling books) to make mundane tasks like opening the mail or paying bills more inviting!

While I had the paint can out, I quickly brushed some Provence on the roof of this birdhouse.  I'm not done, but, it looks pretty awesome already, if you ask me!

New Finds!

Here are some of my latest finds that I'm going to transform with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - my favorite paint!

This bench will probably be a keeper for my home.  I like the mustardy yellow seat already and even though I'm not normally partial to vinyl, this will hold up easily to my boys.  I'm thinking of painting the wood in Aubusson Blue or Emperor's Silk (a gorgeous red!) to give it a nice French Country look.

My husband found this at the end of a driveway that he was passing in  our neighborhood on his way home.  The sign read "FREE!"  Sounds good to  me!

There is nothing wrong with this table that a little work can't fix.  A leg support under one of the drop down sides is a little wobbly.  Nothing major!  I can't wait to paint it!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My 7yo Painted His Own Chair with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!

My 7yo Painted this Chair with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Wouldn't you know that after writing my earlier post the clear wax arrived this afternoon! lol I easily applied it on my son's chair with the wax brush that Annie Sloan also sells.  Have you seen it?  I'll try to remember and post a picture of that soon. It is so easy to use and gets the wax into every crevice.  After applying the wax, I rubbed it in with a soft cloth.  It really brought out the richness of the paint color. I love it, and as you can see, so does my son! 

My First Experience with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

My First 11 Quarts of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!

Here's my first 11 quarts of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  My first impression?  Dreamy colors and awesome creamy textures.  I couldn't wait to try them out! 

I looked through my stash in the basement and picked out a small brass basket.  Next, I had to choose a paint color.  Hmmm, decisions, decisions...  I was torn between Provence and the Duck Egg Blue and went with the latter. Checking the time, I dipped my brush in the paint and, wow - it spread like soft butter - definitely creamy.  In no time at all, I was done.  Only 11 minutes had passed. Nice.

Brass Basket in Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint

Still going with the Duck Egg Blue, I worked on one of our 10 dining room chairs  next.  My 7yo came along and I handed him a brush.  Delighted he pitched in and painted most of one side while I painted the other. How cool is that!  With no fumes I was happy to include him in the experience.

This time around, the paint seemed to be a bit thicker.  However, later I read that if you leave the lid off, the chalk paint becomes like a thick impasto.  (That's what was going on.  I had left the lid off while painting the brass basket.)

To counteract the thickness, I just dipped my brush in some water and began painting.  It began to run, but I knew immediately it was because there was too much water in the brush.  I squeezed it out on a paper towel until it was just damp and then the paint went on like a creamy dream, as before.  After dampening  my son's brush, I drizzled some paint on the paint lid and we loaded our brushes from there.

Forty minutes later we were done.   In that time, I noticed the brass basket had already dried.  I also noticed that the top of the chair (where we had first started painting) was dry to the touch by the time we had finished the whole chair.  To me that is pretty fast drying, compared to the latex paints I'm accustomed to using.  I think it's important to note that the drying didn't interfere with my painting. I had plenty of time to work on each part of the chair with the paint providing plenty of maneuverability.

I checked back an hour later and the chair was completely dry!  No tacky residue, no brush marks.  Just a smooth, flat texture. 

My Duck Egg Blue Dining Chair (1st coat only)

Here's another chair from the same set  to give you an idea of a "before" pic since I forgot to take one!  Notice that the 2nd chair has primer that was painted on it years ago - yes, they've been long overdue for a makeover!

Duck Egg Blue on left - Old Coat of Primer on Right
(just before I did my 2nd coat)

I will say I broke a golden rule and we painted in poor light.  It was getting towards dusk and we were painting in the dining room instead of my brightly lit studio so it wasn't until the next day that I decided it needed a 2nd coat.  Second time around, I didn't need to dampen the brushes and it only took 30 minutes to apply.  I'm really happy with the results so far.  I just want to test the wax on it (coming in the mail) and then need to shop for new fabric. 

Okay, something I want you to see.  Look at the can below.  We hardly used any paint!  Like I said, I just dribbled a bit at a time on the paint lid and we loaded our brushes  from that. Same method for the 2nd coat.  Except for some telltale signs where the paint dripped down the can, you wouldn't even know any paint had been used.  I'm wondering just how many of my 10 dining room chairs I could paint with one quart!

Duck Egg Blue still full after painting brass basket & 2 coats on dining chair!

Another point - this paint is very easy to use and there were no annoying runs or drips (except when I put too much water on my brush).  Also, the brush clean up was a cinch.  Pre-chalk paint, besides the prep work and sanding between coats, cleaning the brushes is probably one of the most dreaded chores of painting.  This time, all I had to do was hold my brushes under a running faucet for a few minutes and they were clean! Holy schmolly, I love that!

My final thoughts on these first 2 projects is that I'm really enjoying Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and absolutely love that it is easy to apply and dries quickly without leaving any brush marks or drips.  It's a wonderful bonus that it didn't have any smell because  I'm chemical sensitive and often get "paint headaches" in my work.  Not this time!  Of course, my favorite part was that  I could include my son in the process which I've hesitated to do with past paint projects.

I also have to throw in a comment about the color - Duck Egg Blue leans more toward a green tint, than a blue, but if you like vintage, cottagey colors like me, you'll love it! 

I know this isn't a full review since I can't comment on the wax yet, but so far so good - I'm very pleased.  I've several more items lined up to paint and I've already ordered more colors.  And, I've already started painting more goodies with the Provence.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

On a Whim

In my last post I mentioned the really awesome pink polka dot silo and barn that I promised myselt that I'd return to one day.

And, I also mentioned in my last post that Alice & Jay told me about Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.  They had been so enthusiastic about these paints that as soon as I got home from Luckett's, I did a google search for them.  That led me to the Annie Sloan stockist list which led me to a store called On a Whim. Can you imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that On a Whim was the barn with the pink polka dot silo!

Can you believe it? I'd been "that close" to visiting the store and "that close" to getting my hands on the chalk paints.

As I scrolled down the page, I knew for sure that On a Whim was definitely my kind of place.  The shabby painted furniture looked like they could have come right out of my basement studio.  Then, I looked over at the "About Me' and the owner and I have the same first name.  Another amazing coincidence is that her shop's name is On a Whim and my ebay name is Out On a Whimsy.

I knew then and there I had to go back the next day, 3 hour drive or not!  lol  If you ever have the opportunity to go, you must!  I felt like I had walked into my dream store.  The place was filled with all sorts of cottagey treasures. There was also a building next door filled with the most romantic dresses.  You feel like a princess just being in the same space with them.  I wish I had pictures to show you!

I introduced myself to Donna, the owner, and it turns out we have the same middle name, too.  How crazy is that? 

Outside a group of us watched as Celeste gave a demo of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paints. I ended up buying 11 quarts and these pretty treasures, too.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Finally Made It to Luckett's Spring Market 2011!

Last weekend I went to Luckett's Spring Market in Luckett's, Virginia.  It was my first time, although I have heard about it off and on for about 5 years.  This year I marked my calendar and announced I was going.  I only wish I'd gone sooner and am definitely returning next year - most likely as a vendor!

Before I go any farther, let me just say that I didn't take any pictures of the Market or the wonderful Old Luckett's Store or the Beekeeper's Cottage or Design House or all the cool vendors with their really, really cool stuff.  WHY?  Because I'm still new at blogging and I totally forgot to bring my camera!  Live & learn, right?  Arrgh.

But, I can tell you that I met some wonderful people and I can show you some of my newly found treasures.

It took us 3 hours to get there.  We arrived about noon and later heard that traffic was backed up 1 1/2 miles when they opened at 10:00.  Thankfully, we just waltzed right in.

 We headed through some of the Luckett's grounds first and then into the Old Luckett's Store, Beekeeper's Cottage (loved their wonderful red polka dot shutters) and Design House. Talk about treasures galore, oh my!

Outside we meandered in and out of more of the open structures surrounding Luckett's.  There were lots of old windows and wrought iron pieces that I just loved.  Just as the heat of the day was getting to me,  we met Joy.  She was the sweetest thing and invited us to sit in the shade beside her while she rushed seats.  Joy lived down the road and told us that the town of Luckett's was basically what we were looking at.  There was also a school and a fire station and I can't remember what else she said because I was a bit dizzy from the heat of the day.  But, she was so lovely and I could easily have sat there in the shade all afternoon watching her work and getting to know her.

My first purchase of the day were these 2 white cast iron plant stands.  They have movable arms.  I'm thinking of putting candles on them to give them a romantic touch.

Later I came across a pretty green chaise and it was my 2nd purchase of the day.  I bought it from 2 ladies who were from Maryland.  I didn't get their names, but their business tag was still on the chair, called Autumn to May.  I've always wanted a chaise and just love this one.  Although I am going to repaint it and change the fabric.  The green paint is awesome, but the back is silver.  They said it was that way when they found it, so I don't feel bad like I'm going over something they did.  I'll probably paint it all over green and maybe get a pretty pink fabric.

My last purchase of the day was from Alice & Jay who came up from Georgia - a 16 hour drive!  They were so much fun to talk to and had the coolest stuff.  I'm still regretting that I didn't have the money to buy their fabulous fleur de lis lamp stands.  But, I did buy this mega awesome shabby romantic chalkboard.  Not only was it gorgeous, but the homeschooling mom in me had to have it! :)

Alice & Jay told me about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint which I coincidentally found in a delightful store just down the road.  (More to come on my experience with the chalk paint!)

So ended my trip to Luckett's Spring Market.  I had a total blast and can't wait to go back next year!  As we drove home we passed a nearby barn with a yard full of furniture. We turned around to check them out and they had the most adorable polka dot pink silo and the barn had wonderful polka dot window boxes and awnings.  I knew immediately this was my kind of place!  Unfortunately we pulled in just after closing time and so we continued with our 3 hour drive home.  But, I made a mental note that one day I'd return.   Little did I know it would be the very next day!  (more on that later, too!)