Monday, November 30, 2009

Let Heaven and Nature...Decorate!

In the next couple of posts, I'll let you in on a few holiday decorating secrets that I've learned from the pros...yes, all those years of interviewing and observing floral designers and interior designers have filled my head with a plethora of perfectly practical ideas!

If you're on a tight budget (as many of us are this holiday season) then follow this blog for the next few weeks for some easy and affordable decorating advice.

Today's tip: Bring the Great Outdoors In
One of the simplest ways to create a beautiful holiday look is to gather tree branches, big and small and use them to decorate.
Spray paint large branches a crisp white and insert them in heavy duty blocks of floral foam. Then place them in white terra cotta pots or hide them with fake snow (see photo to the left). For a more natural look, just use the branches as they are, with a light dusting of white spray glitter.

I've also made a beautiful hanging sculpture or upside down tree by
bundling tree branches (which were spray painted white) and then adding crystal garlands and icicles (purchased at the dollar store). Hang the grouping upside down and you've got a unique arrangement. (See photo to the right.)

Stay tuned for more fun ideas...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a note to say Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your time with your family and friends.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


UGh! Spent many hours painting, only to find out that the paint on some of the furniture was bad and to top it off, the polywhey semi-gloss I used turned my perfectly lovely dragonfly mirror an awful amber. I'm calling the company on Monday; that shouldn't happen. So, what I did all Friday and Saturday was sand and repaint...not fun, but necessary. I didn't even get a chance to go to all the garage sales lined up for the afternoon. I felt totally unproductive, but there are always roadblocks and usually when you get to the other side, it's smooth sailing.
On a brighter note (actually very bright) I'm painting an adorable table and chairs set in vibrant beachy colors. It's looking great so far and I'm having a little better luck with this set. (Don't you love the lime green on this chair?) I also painted a pine bookcase in the palest of blues and can't wait to see how they all turn out!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One done, five to go!

Wow, I've finished one "Little Sailor" rocking chair! I had so much fun painting it. Traditional navy and red, brightened with a yellow citrus green and polka dots...I love polka dots! I put it on my website this morning, but I'm not publishing it until I get two more pieces done (originally, I wanted to finish everything, but that may not happen before Christmas....and I'm too excited to wait). Here's a sneak peek!
I just bought three pine bookcases and have a great idea for one of them...anyone need bookcases? I can customize them for you or a friend before the holidays!
Okay...I need to go back to writing about color trends. Note: green is going to be big in 2010; at least that's what the color gurus are telling me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Works in Progress

Almost completed a few pieces today...the nautical mirror needs one more coat of sealer and it's ready! The darling little rocking chair is ready for sealer. I found a great non-toxic, earth-friendly furniture sealer. I had to buy online because the only place that carries it is near DC and it was easier just to pay shipping than to fight traffic (gas probably would have cost me as much as shipping, too). It's from a company called Vermont Natural Coatings and it's a polywhey furniture finish/sealer. It's great stuff -- virtually no smell, goes on smoothly and dries to a nice sheen. It's a little on the expensive side, but so far, a little seems to go a long way. I'm heading back this weekend if the rain continues...otherwise, I'll be on the sidelines cheering for Kellen's soccer team and working the concession stands at Broadneck...ah, the life of a soccer mom!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Try Something New

Like my new blog background? Let me know! I'm not sure it's exactly me yet, but it's better than plain old white. Speaking of that, did you know the easiest and most inexpensive way to change the look of your home decor is through paint? Don't be afraid to paint your walls with color and lots of it ... it doesn't have to be bright. It can be subtle, but please, unless you're trying to sell your house, get away from all white walls!!! I'm researching an article on color trends for 2010, so stay posted (and friends in Annapolis, be sure to read the March issue of What's Up Annapolis for all the details).
I've wrapped up work on two of my projects and will be posting them soon on my website. (Of course, I'll give you the website address, but I'm not ready just yet.)
On another note, anyone looking for earth-friendly, non-toxic furniture finish...I've found it! (You can't recycle furniture and then use a toxic polyurethane finish...It would defeat the whole purpose! ) But, before I give them a big plug, I need to try it on my furniture first. If it looks great, I'll let you know. Note: Just because it's water-based doesn't mean that it's earth friendly or non-toxic.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fun Finds!

Ah, the thrill of the hunt...
Driving up to Severna Park in the early hours of Saturday morning, I anticipated a gold mine of treasures waiting for me. A daycare was closing and the thought of all those small tables, chairs and a rocking chair (advertised) had my creative juices up to blender speed. When I got there, however, a big disappointment -- plastic everything and the rocking chair was for a big person and much too nice for me to sand and paint over. I got back in my car, got a cup of joe and decided to make the most of my morning adventures. I saw a sign up ahead -- multi-family yard sale. As I pulled up to the homes, again, I was disappointed. But...but, wait! What was that ahead? Cars stopping and people getting out, some of them carrying items? As I pulled up to the curb, I saw it...a lone round table...just the right size. As it turns out, it wasn't supposed to be for sale, but I ended up getting it, two chairs and two adorable sailboat shaped mirrors!!!
I actually went over my spend limit, but the chances of finding all this in one place are usually slim to none, so I pulled out those dollar bills, packed up my car and went home (well, actually to a soccer game).
I got up this morning...too excited too sleep and sketched about ten different possibilities. I can't wait to paint! I'm thinking, this is how it should be...follow your passion.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Art Space

Far left: Old space--dark and crowded; Left: new space--bright and cheery!

I've got a new space to create my art! I'm using a little corner of my friend's warehouse. She started a new business, To The Trade, and in exchange for using her space, I accept deliveries and answer the phone while she is out on business. It's awesome and much better than my over-crowded garage (my husband is happy, too). Who knows, maybe we'll get a car in there this winter???

I recommend everyone create a space to work for his or her craft no matter where. I actually use the back of my (very long) closet for card-making and scrapbooking. My sis has a whole room dedicated to jewelry making and it's very cool. If you think about it, many people (except, perhaps, those of you in a studio apartment) have spaces they don't use.

Here are some ideas:

Being creative may mean that you have to turn a closet, laundry room or part of another room into an office. The end of a long hallway or a stairway landing (although you can't close a door) could also be an option. In addition, don't forget that space under the stairs.

If you decide to use part of a room for an office, be sure to set up boundaries, says Kanarek, also the author of Home Office Solutions, (Quarry Books, 2001). She suggests using a folding floor screen or large piece of furniture, such as floor to ceiling bookshelves, to divide the room so you can minimize distractions.