Friday, August 29, 2008

makes me want to a good way...

some of the hats Blaze collected - photo from her blog

Remember my little friend Audrey? She's four and has leukemia. And do you remember Etsy artist BlazeDanielle? I just featured her sweet children's illustrations and artwork recently. Well, you have to look at what Blaze did for Audrey. Check out Blaze's blog (which is sooo lovely) for the details! In a nutshell, Blaze contacted several other Etsy artists and offered to trade one of her prints for one of their handmade hats. She collected TWENTY handmade, unique hats, just Audrey's size, and sent them all to her in the mail this week. Audrey was in the hospital when she received them and it totally made her day. She had so much fun trying on each and every hat.

purple night by Blazedanielle

I have to say, this not only made me so glad I featured Blaze's work recently, it made me wish I had given her an even longer and more glowing recommendation! This kind of thing just makes me want to cry; the sweetness and generousity she showed is wonderful...and she did it so creatively. Thank you Blaze!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

sick kids...and retail therapy

Sometimes the best-laid plans...well, you know...they go pear-shaped, as my British friend Jane likes to say. I had intended to post yesterday...then first thing today...but you know, when your kid gets sick, everything else takes a back seat. It's nothing too serious - she got her immunizations yesterday and is having quite a fever in reaction to them - and she's still quite miserable. But to show you her personality - here she is, bundled up on the couch (because she's freezing), she was feeling miserable - but the minute I whipped out the camera, she whipped out her cheesy grin. Future Performers Unite!

On a different note, here's another tidbit from my vacation last week. While we were staying at Black Butte Ranch, we took a trip into the cute little Western-style town of Sisters, Oregon for some shopping and lunch. There are a lot of little antique stores, gift shops and art galleries in the town. Most of the shops have quite a country vibe to them...I appreciate bits and pieces of what they sell, but the overall style is not quite up my alley. Even though I've shopped in this town the last five summers in a row, I made a discovery this trip that made me SO happy - I discovered the cutest little shop called Wisteria Chic. They sell new and vintage items from textile designers. The owner, Debbi, has great taste! She sells a little bit of everything - really fun fabrics with a modern and whimsical flair; homemade throw pillows out of these fabrics (made by the store owner herself!) fun trims and ribbons; cute gift items, sweet aprons and all kinds of items for kids and the home. Here are a few things I picked up:

Handmade pillow cover w/ down insert, made by Debbi (owner of Wisteria Chic) - $28

raw silk pillow w/ beadwork...50% making it $14.95 - when the owner heard me trying to convince my husband, she said she'd sell it to me for $10 'cause it was the last one! Who can pass that up?

and then a few random items...The Preschooler's Busy Book which is 365 crafty ideas to keep your little ones busy, using mostly items you find around your house. And then, two large sheets of paper I'm really excited is covered with chairs (!) in light orange/pink, the other is covered with chandeliers (on the aqua background). Both have a hand-drawn look and I'm planning to either frame them, or use them to back the built-in cupboards in my dining room.

Woohoo! There's nothing like a little retail therapy - especially when you're on vacation! I highly recommend you check out Wisteria Chic next time you're in the quaint little town of Sisters, Oregon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

vacationing with art

Ohmygoodness it's been a long time, friends! By far, this has been the longest break I've taken from my blog since I started it January 1. Does anybody still read this blog, I ask? I hope I haven't lost too many of you! I know I said I'd be gone a week or so...I guess that explains the 10 days I didn't blog. In all honesty, we returned home from Black Butte Ranch last Friday, but my husband had vacation through Monday, so I did too! Thanks for all your well-wishes on my vacation. It was just lovely and a little difficult to come back to real life.

One of the few contemporary-styled paintings in the home - this one's probably 4' square. It's the simplest, but probably my favorite.

So, as is my custom, I either forgot to take pictures of things, or my memory card was full, or I didn't have my camera with me, or (fill in the blanks with some other nonsense) which kept me from getting pics for the blog. But I did manage to take a few that I thought you art-lovers might appreciate.

This was my next favorite, due to its scale and drama as much as the subject matter. This painting of white birch trees is probably 7' - 9' tall and hangs above the staircase. Good thing there are vaulted ceilings in the home for this guy!

We rent the same house every year from a nice couple that my in-laws have known for years. The husband is an orthodontist by day, artist by night. (Actually, I don't really know what time of day he creates his artwork, it just sounded more dramatic that way.) Anyway, the house is FULL of this doctor's original artwork. It is just stunning. Many of the pieces have an outdoors/sporting theme (which is appropriate, considering the purpose of the house). He paints with watercolors and acrylics and is even a sculptor. Oh my word. As you can imagine, I was quite in heaven, wandering around and looking for his signature on the pieces on the walls. Every picture in this post is a piece of the owner's own original art (his name is Don Griffith, by the way).

There were no prints they just picked up at Target or TJ Maxx, here, people. We're talking original paintings, some of which were easily 4' by 6', like the one above, just stunning in their colors and vibrancy.

Here's the sink he made. That's right. Sculpted by hand to go in the powder room.

This one, also in the powder room, is of a man fly-fishing...

A regal...hawk? (How embarrassing if it's not...oh, well...bird expert I do not pretend to be)

This one features the infamous Black Butte (the one the Ranch is named for)

And this one...a gorgeous eagle in flight (probably a 3'-long painting)...

Anyway, while I might not choose to put every single one of these in my own home, the point is...I've gotten snobby in my old age and prefer original art...oh wait, that's not the point...I mean, the point is, I LOVE to celebrate the individuality and creativity that original artwork showcases. The kind of personality it brings to a home is just amazing. Here we were staying in a vacation rental - and I've never even met the owners of this home - yet I feel that I have a little insight into the artist's personality, interests, and talents.

So I hope to share a little more of my trip with you tomorrow, friends. For now, it's good to be back, and I have...oh, about 513 other blogging friends' posts to catch up on now. Yikes!! And hey, thanks for checking back in after my long absence!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm Off!

Well, folks, this weekend I'm off on vacation to Black Butte Ranch. We go there every year with my husband's family and we have a blast. We wear ourselves out being far more active than we are at home (which is a shame) and doing things like playing golf, playing tennis, and swimming. We stay in a fabulous house (I'll try to remember to take pics!) that up until two years ago was a typical vacation home...not updated since the'70's, full of dark wood paneling and orange printed vinyl (not the cool retro kind, just the old kind). But two years ago, they did a massive renovation and not only increased the home's square footage, but re-did everything...I mean everything. Now there's a wonderful modern kitchen, lovely baths, new furniture...the whole nine yards. Let's just say that getting to decorate a vacation home would be my dream. (Preferably MY vacation home, too, but I'm open!)

Anyway, it's also near the charming little town of Sisters, which we always head into for a morning of shopping. There are some sweet little galleries and gift shops that are always fun to browse. I'll do my best to remember my camera and take pics, but I better not make any promises. It seems like when I do, that's when I forget my camera. This is forest-fire season at Black Butte, though, so we're praying the fires stay away. We've never gone down in August before and it will be hot, hot, hot.

Okay, enough rambling. Basically, I will be in withdrawals without getting to read all those lovely blogs on my sidebar and reading the lovely comments you leave me. All I ask is that you not forget about me over the next week or so!

Hugs to you...
PS - If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome! You might want to read up on my signature interior redesigns featuring lots of before-and-after pics, or perhaps my Friday's Fabulous Finds, featuring artist's handmade works. Or, dialogue with me about decorating in general by reading the post Can redecorating help with the blues? and letting me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

lovely art for your kids

jane and doe by BlazeDanielle

Just a quick check-in...we are getting ready to leave on vacation this weekend and I must admit time has gotten away from me. Has it really been since Monday that I last posted? Yikes! So here's a little tidbit for today, a sweet artist, BlazeDanielle from Etsy, that you need to check out...
pink morning


A dear friend wrote me and said that her nephew is engaged to this artist and she thought I'd like to check out her work. This artist aspires to one day be an illustrator for children's books. Um, hello...why is she not already doing this? Look how charming and sweet her lovely drawings and paintings are! I feel transported to another world just by looking at her artwork. Some children's book editor out there needs to take notice! The following are all from the lovely shop of BlazeDanielle.

purple night
paperdoll (one of 3)

pea princess

I didn't have time to individually link each of these prints, so just be sure to check out BlazeDanielle's lovely shop. Can't you see these prints in a sweet children's bedroom?

Monday, August 11, 2008

tour this living room...before and after...

This was a fun one! Although first, I must apologize, because for some reason I took a total of three - THREE - "before" pictures. Usually I take about ten. I have no idea why I took so few of them, so your imagination will have to fill in some of the gaps. Okay, join me for a leetle tour...

The TV was angled in the corner, right next to the fireplace...stealing that fireplace's thunder. (Must...feature...fireplace...whenever...possible!) White fireplace didn't showcase the beautiful painting all that well, and a cluttered bookcase was on the right.
Now, the TV is at right-angles to the fireplace, so it no longer fights for attention. What does get the attention now is the brick-red fireplace itself, complete with gorgeous painting (which was there before, but somehow it really shows off now.) The bookcase is no longer cluttered, but organized and attractive. The rug is pulled back from the hearth, making the room feel a little less crowded. This client did her homework - she purchased greenery (and other things I recommended) at garage sales and off of Craigslist - making the room more homey (and keeping things thrifty at the same time!).
This is the wall to the right of the fireplace. Before, there was just a couch here. Now, it's home to the TV, a comfy chair, and some strategically placed greenery to soften the edges of the large TV.
We removed the octagonal table from the room (which was broken and had to be covered with a cloth anyway) and pretty much moved everything on this wall elsewhere so we could relocate the couch here.

Now the couch is on this wall, under the window. This end features an end table I had the homeowner paint in the same color red as the fireplace.


Here's the revamped bookcase at the other end of the couch.


the wall opposite the fireplace...a nice arrangement of photos, but appear to be floating as they are not grounded by furniture...


This table the homeowner bought off Craigslist is the perfect entryway, it seats eight when all the leaves are unfolded! I love furniture that does double-duty, especially in small homes. This was a great find - a beautiful antique, too, by the way - only $75.


The homeowner's second end-table, also repainted red, now houses the DVD player next to the TV.

Hope you enjoyed this "leetle tour" of one of my latest redesigns, friend! If you'd like to see more like these, read here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday's Fab Finds

handpainted pale aqua necklace

butterflies and pearls necklace

handpainted pink rose necklace

Aren't these necklaces pretty? They are the work of Etsy seller ArtbyLynda. She handpaints each of these and then sells them for very reasonable prices. You know I love that! They are just so feminine and lovely and no two are alike. These would make a great gift, too.

Linocut Linoleum Blue Green Chair print
Linocut linoleum orange chair print

linocut linoleum pink antique chair print

linocut linoleum antique maroon chair print

Have I featured Rainy Prints before? I'm sure I have, but couldn't find the feature. These may look familiar to you. I own the maroon chair print - here it is in my dining room:

Anyway, I love these prints from Rainy Prints. She hand-cuts linoleum into a fabulous image (surprisingly, I chose her chairs as my favorites) and then stamps the image onto paper. I LOVE mine, and now that she's printed more in other colors and styles, I'm verrry tempted to add to my collection of one.


"this empty house"


These digital collage prints are from Etsy artist JenMcCleary. I love their dreamy quality...sort of unusual and fantastic. They're photographs but they look like paintings to me.

Betty print

espresso family print

retro mixer pups

This is a retro kitchen series of photographic prints by Etsy seller Artsy. Oh my word, these brought huge smiles to my face. I am (some day) going to really repaint my kitchen and these would look so cute in there. You can buy all three of these as a set. Artsy is an extremely talented artist who creates imaginative sculptures out of old retro accessories. I love this kind of quirky but cute originality!

I'm off to do another interior redesign today, and have a few next week too, so stay tuned for more before-and-after photos! (Want to know what I'm talking about? Read here.) Can't wait to share them with you. I'll see you back here on Monday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ode to the Chair

Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality (a fabulous blog by the way) is hosting a fun blog party. Basically, we all show off our Favorite Thrifty Find Ever and run around (a cyber-run, of course) checking out everyone else's finds, too. You know I ADORE garage sales, so this is right up my alley. The only hard part about this was choosing just one item! I was tempted to throw in a few other things too, but then...where to stop? So here, ladies and gents, is the one...the only...$15 Dollar Aqua Chair!!!
It's's's was $15. What more can I say?

(It turns out, a lot more. The following is a blog post I wrote last November inspired by my Aqua Chair - back when the only people who read my blog were my mom, and maybe, oh, one friend. So, I figured I could get away with reproducing it here, just this once! )

Those who know me well know the love-hate relationship I have with chairs. Or should I say…the unadulterated love I have for chairs, and the subsequent hate my husband has for them? Not because of some strange jealousy of the objects, but rather an aversion to the sheer numbers of them I have brought home over the years. Nearly always from garage sales, mind you…I’m not exactly spending hundreds of dollars on these things (I say somewhat defensively). This addiction to The Chair led to my husband proclaiming a few years back, “No more chairs. If you buy another chair, you have to get rid of an old one.” Or this is what he claims to have said. What I HEARD him say was, “…buy another chair”. So the acquisition of chairs has continued.

Orange chair silhouette collage on canvas, by Anne Harwell (one of my favorite artists)

Last summer I bought a beautiful one from my next door neighbor for $15 and didn’t even have to try to cram it into the trunk of my Toyota Camry – I was able to just pick it up and lug it next door. The upholstery is uninspiring – yet inoffensive – beige, but the woodwork is a pale aqua. The chair has great form – which is what always sucks me in, regardless of the paint job or state of the upholstery – and the color is now trendy for the second time in the chair's history. It's actually super-sturdy and equally day, my dream is to have it reupholstered.

Retro Gothic Iron Chair print by Anne Harwell

Ah, New Aqua Chair – I love you today, but let’s be realistic – today you’re my favorite treasure, tomorrow you’re in the basement. It’s where all my chairs inevitably end up. Some make it back into the furniture cycle at a later date…others just head straight for my next garage sale. So here’s to you, Aqua Chair – may your stay in the living room be long and your time in the basement short; and should you ever find yourself out of the house, may it be at the reupholsterer’s instead of out on the sidewalk with a “Free” sign!