Monday, August 29, 2016

A Mermaid Baby Shower

One of my sweet co worker's at Starbuck's is having a baby girl. I asked if I could host a baby shower with her mom. When the guest list grew to almost 90, we decided to have it at a country club, instead of my home. Now, all the food and decorations had to be transported to the new venue. Thanks to dear friends, we were able to get everything there and put into place. I had difficulty finding mermaid stuff, so I stenciled mermaids, fish, starfish and sea shells onto dollies and stuck them onto strings, that hung from an existing valance. I put a blue plastic table cloth over the valance,  (which was rust and gold) and draped it with tulle.  

Now the new mommy loves mermaids, however is not a fan of Disney's Ariel. So, when I went on line to find mermaid "stuff", my choices were small. Everything mermaid goes back to Ariel! I got out my paint brushes and stencils and started to paint.
The above table is the "message in a bottle" table. The clam shell is filled with pre rolled papers, tied with twine. The sign says "Leave a message in a bottle", next to a very pregnant mermaid. The pens for all the tables were rubber "squid" legs! I found them at Party City for $1.98!

I needed to do this on a budget, so the painting worked out great. The decorations were tied together with strings of pearls, melted marbles, sea shells and old candle sticks. I found old netting from my husband's duck hunting days and used plastic table cloths to hide unsightly pictures on the walls or the valance on the top of the 'sign in table'. Blue tulle was on sale for 4 yards for $4.00! The blue runners were $4.99 for 10 yards. 

The "mommy to be" is an amazing baker, so she made a beautiful cake. We had 14 table scapes to decorate, so I put them together (on my living room floor) then put each one into it's own garbage bag so when we arrived at the venue, we could just put them on their own individual table.

I purchased "bubbles" for each table, so everyone enjoyed blowing bubbles, especially the children.
They were .49 cents a bottle.

I was amazed at how much stuff I had in my house that looked like it had been 
dug up from under the sea!

This was the dessert table. Aside from her amazing cake (with a mermaid tail coming up out of the top) there were cookies, chocolate mint popcorn, fruit skewers with fruit dip and the cutest pretzels dipped in blue candy coating with gold fishes stuck into it!

This was the icing on the cake! I painted a 4x4 foot board (from Home Depot, $8.00) of a mermaid, and had my husband cut out the head so people could take pictures. The bottom is an old drop cloth with shells, marbles, a rubber fish and more of the blue table runner/ sparkly mesh stuff. 

The shower came off without a hitch. We had chili, plenty of side dishes, lot's of fruit and veggies and even a platter with "shark teeth" cut out of cheese(s). 
Everyone had a great time, including the hosts, which is often the hardest part!

Now we just wait for the arrival of the baby mermaid, due in November.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

 Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I just finished using Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint for the first time. I painted the top of an old coffee table, in my family room with a color from ASCP called "Old Ochre".  Once again, I didn't want to spend money $$$$$$ on a (new) table, so after researching online I found a local distributer for all the colors I could possibly need.

 The steps were easy. 
Although they say it adheres to surfaces without sanding, I still did a light sanding, using a fine sandpaper. My past experiences made me do it. However, it was a very light and fast sanding, just to give the surface a little "tooth", as they say.

The table appeared very dated.

I applied the paint with an old (used) Purdy brush, (from Sherwin Williams or Home Depot)   following the grain of the wood. It drys very fast ~ so within two hours I applied a second coat.  Follow the directions on the can. 

I am very pleased with how it turned out. 
The hardest part (and what took the longest) was deciding  what color to use.


Next step was to sand down areas (using the fine sandpaper) to achieve a distressed look.  

Third step was to apply a light glaze so it wasn't so bright. My glaze is by "Valspar", but any glaze will work. I added several tablespoons of dark brown, acrylic paint (ratio of about 1 tablespoon of acrylic paint to 15 tablespoons of glaze) and mixed well. This solution should be very glazy and when applied ~ is almost sheer. You can always add another coat after the first dries, if you think it's not dark enough.  I applied the glaze using a piece of an old t-shirt. Wet the t-shirt first and squeeze out all the water. Again, follow the grain using long, even strokes. I started at one end and slid the rag the entire length of the table. 

above photo is the after...
below photo is the before...

The final step was the sealing of the table. A VERY important and necessary step.

 I did not choose to use the Annie Sloan Wax for the top and final coat.  The top of this table gets a LOT of abuse. We toss down the TV clicker, computers, plates and glasses (never thinking to use a coaster...) and after a little research I discovered that wax isn't always the best choice. I opted to use a product called "General Finishes High Performance". I used the WATER BASED, Satin. (Purchased through Amazon) I applied the top coat using a foam brush in the same direction as the grain. Follow the directions on the can. I applied about 4 coats. The Chalk Paint sucks this in pretty fast and I was looking for a soft "wax like" sheen. I figured I couldn't put on too many coats so each coat enhanced the finish a little more.  

Loving it!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I left you a present.

It's time to replace the couches in my family room. We bought them a couple of years before I started home schooling our two boys. That was the second grade for our youngest and he is now 30 years old. I would say they need to be replaced. I've decided I hate shopping for furniture even more than I hate shopping for clothes. I have spent 3 weeks now, driving from store to store, trying to find what does not exist. There are NO comfortable, inviting, soft, durable, (not too expensive) dark tannish colored couches. I'm about to give up. 

On the bright side, I painted this pup from a picture I took on vacation. While his owner was explaining (to my sis) how to get where we were heading to, I started snapping pictures of his adorable, albeit guilty looking, little dog. 
I named the painting "I left you a present." or maybe 
"I'm glad you're home, someone made a real mess."

I think I'm going to do a large bear next. Here is my first pencil sketch of bear #1.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

 Here Kitty Kitty...

One of my friends from work has an adorable kitty. I painted him for her this weekend. It makes me want a cat again! He has the most beautiful jade green eyes. 
I had such issues with the grey shadows on his face and under his eyes. Instead of looking like shadows, it just made his face look dirty. 
More practice required...

It was so much fun though!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Linen Bedroom ~ The Project Continues...

The bedroom is almost complete. Gone are the dark gold walls and rust colored duvet. Now the walls are Sherwin Williams "Natural Linen" and the new duvet is beige linen from Ikea. 

I purchased the tiny pillow from "Tuesday Mornings" ($ 9.99) and the blue embroidered rectangle pillows ($19.99) from "Home Goods".   

I made the three European Shams in the background. They are ivory on one side and blue linen flowers on the reverse side. Shown above is one of the options for "mixing it up" to get somewhat of a color change.

The window seat area behind the bed has always been ignored. It's a difficult area to work with because the pillows are so high that they hide anything low. The very tall candlesticks and the  tall bird house, fill the space nicely. I think the chandelier adds a bit of romance!

Lastly I purchased the ivory light weight quilt for the base of the bed. It ties in the ivory and finishes off the look. I'm no decorator, but I love the way it turned out. 
By the way, I have NEVER had a more comfortable duvet ever. It is light weight and very cool (or warm) depending on the temperature. I bought the cheapest filler for the duvet that Ikea offered, around $39.00. It's perfect. I wanted a new, "non color" room in natural fabrics. 
I love it.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

A new project.

I've been redoing my bedroom and bathroom. Geeez what a project this has become. I repainted the bedroom "Natural Linen" from Sherwin Williams. It is no longer dark gold but now very light and feeling "cooler". The bathroom has gone to "Universal Grey" also from the dark gold color. In order to save more money, I had two very inexpensive framed prints in the bathroom that I covered with old book pages and painted. I added cardboard, tissue paper and doilies.  I grunge them both up with a black stabilo pencil and layered stencils. When I finished painting the birds I put them back (under glass) and put the frames back on. They work in the bathroom (water  closet) and I don't have to buy new pictures. Yeah! A savings! I'm now onto making pillows for the bed.

It's been quite a while since I blogged. My computer continues to give me grief since Apple changed to the new "Photos" instead of "IPhotos". It's hit or miss on getting my pictures uploaded into "files". 

Sorry this is so boring today.
I'm trying to get back into the blog.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Casualty.

To most people, breaking a bulb at Christmas is part of the process.
However, this was no ordinary bulb. I have posted this particular Christmas bulb before...
It's Donald Duck.
Well, it WAS Donald Duck, 55 years ago. His pale yellow, sponge beak dissolved many, 
many years ago, leaving a strange orange line across his face. 
Every year, this bulb has been placed front and center on our Christmas tree. 
Donald had survived so many Christmas's, with young boy's rough hands, many different storage boxes, several very rambunctious dogs, one terrifyingly, mean kitty 
and a spray tree "flocking" that went terribly wrong.

I loved this bulb.

It was Christmas. 
Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Future.

A sad day.

The above photo was of a blog post from 2012.
He was still hanging proud ~ in all his "semi glory".

Think I can get this old "Humpty Dumpty" back together again??


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas has started.

or also known as 

Rum, and eggnog~ one of my Christmas traditions.

We've gone through some incredibly painful Christmas's. With time, things are getting better. 
They're still hard but I see where they ARE getting better. 
In fact, we just had a really, really sweet Thanksgiving.
   One difficulty I have is decorating the house for Christmas. So many memories...

  Then a few years ago I discovered Rum and Eggnog. I'm not a big drinker, 
however one day a year I break out the R&E and I celebrate the holiday. 
I'm alone for most of the decorating, and I'm totally ok with this. 
I actually like it. 
It's a lot of work, decorating a house, but I really want to keep the spirit of Christmas going.
I've begun looking forward to this day, of pulling out box after box of holiday cheer.
It takes several days to finish it all.
Healing of the heart takes a really long time. 
We love, work, cope, grow, celebrate, and continue living. 
Life is good.
Somedays require a little rum and eggnog.

Happy start of the Christmas holidays.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Inspired by Ryan Fowler

This week, I bought my husband a Ryan Fowler birthday card.  He does animals, but in a very block color, almost a stencil way.  My husband loved it. He asked it I could paint it for him. Not wanting to copy, I came up with this bear. 
My husband liked him, 
but not as much as the Ryan Fowler...

Today was another really stormy day. It became so dark at one point that the light from the window wasn't anywhere light enough and I had to turn on my $25.00 (reworked, repainted) chandelier. 
That's my head on the bottom right, working by candle light...
Ok, so it wasn't candle light, but it was really dark!

Super nice weekend. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I've had the past ten days off from Starbucks, as our store under goes a renovation. 
 I spent the last two of the ten,  painting. 
Sometimes your time off doesn't go as planned, however,
 in hindsight, it has been a marvelous stay~ cation. 
I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Yesterday and today was perfect painting weather. The dark, windy and rainy day made the perfect backdrop for hunkering down in the studio. No desire to go anywhere. 
Besides it was way too stormy to venture out! 

So I've been finishing my Three angels.

 I named them "Dreams", "Wonder" and "Journey". 

I repainted the "Dreams" face, four times. In the light, you can see where her eyes 
were in different places and different sizes, all over her face!
 I'm happier now, however I feel she's not.
So she is named "Dreams" because she looks a little dreamy...
Or maybe a little drugged, I'm not sure. But like I said a few weeks ago, this series is kinda like "Angels Gone Wild". 

"Wonder" looks more "Pensive" than "Wonder". She's missing a frown line between her brows. 
She is my husbands favorite!

"Journey" was the first one finished a few weeks ago and today I added the words and the butterflies.

Next project is a rabbit. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Living a creative life.

Sometimes someone knows you. Knows you well.
My friend sent me a gift in the mail this week. I just finished the audio book and loved it.
I enjoy everything that Elizabeth Gilbert writes and she did a really good job on her latest book, 
"Big Magic".  
It's about living a creative life, a magical life, a life enchanted.
My friend knows that this would become one of my favorites. I've already began underling paragraphs and writing in the margins.
Thank you my dear friend!
You can find her and her wonderful creative self on Facebook under
Backstreet Arts.

Speaking of being creative, my buddies came over this week and we painted.
This is Gagy (a.k.a. Grandma) and the sweet painting she made for her grand daughter.

Such a sweet piece! I'm so proud of you Kim (Gagi) 
for making art and living a creative and magical life!!!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Ability To Appreciate My Own Joy

Today I listened on my IPod, to Elizabeth Gilbert's new book called Big Magic.
I started the book at 7:45 and listened till 3:00, and the end of the book came about. 
It was wonderful and I highly recommend it. Elizabeth Gilbert is also the narrator. 
 It was perfect because I enjoyed her voice as well as the content. "The ability to appreciate my joy" is just one of the many comments that resonated within me. 

The photo above was taken this morning. You can see my ear buds ~ as I was inspired by her writings.
I have now read 3 of her books, Eat, Pray Love, The Signature of All Things, and Big Magic.
I give her double thumbs up. Big Magic is a self help, and 
I need help, 
especially in encouragement with continuing with my painting.

The angel above is part of 3 paintings. I will paint over it soon. I hate the idea of wasting a canvas and I got what I needed out of the painting. 
She looks like an alien. (grin) Serious here! It's alright to think it!
I was painting from a doll photo on Pinterest. Her eyes in the photo, 
were also exaggerated and I wanted to give it a try.

If I won't hang it on the walls of my own home, then I will most likely paint over it. 
Currently I have one (yes ONE) painting on the walls of my home. 

OK, OK, I know, 
I need to reread much of Big Magic.

It's ok!!! As the book says, we create because we need to.

"That's what I decided to do. I decided to just go make stuff."

Thank you Elizabeth, my new best friend.

Happy Sunday evening.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Flying With Paper Wings

Flying With Paper Wings.

 Alright, she is almost done. However, those that know me know, I will overwork this to death. 
The same way I will over think something. It will go on and on and on. 
Then on and on some more...

I DO like the background. 

The above photo shows her with a VERY LONG nose. Actually,   it resembles mine.  :)
Seriously.  (I'm serious here.)
My nose is my grandmother's and my sister Rudi also has a similar nose. Her face also seemed long.
So I shortened the entire face, the nose is shorter, the lips are higher, and the chin was raised almost an inch.

I think, her look now,  is much more feminine. 
I'm thinking here ~ how SWEET it would be to be able to "alter" ourselves in such an easy manner.
I'd certainly shorten my nose, take out the bump on the bridge and erase all my wrinkles!  

This is  the canvas for my next angel. 
My angels are all a little dark. They seem a bit grungy or maybe drug addicted...
It's just I feel that life, is often dark or grungy. So my angels are not pristine.
The real world is not perfect, nor is my art.
Maybe I'll call this series "Angels Gone Wild".
or maybe not...

Looking forward to painting tomorrow.
Please friends, go have some fun. Paint, write, sew, compose, whatever... just create.
Spend some time doing something you've wanted to do for a long time.
Lock yourself up in a quiet space and DO IT!
Something for you.

You will be happy you did.