Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Those Terrible Steps

When I bought this house the steps looked like this. Sure it doesn't look awful but what you are missing, is the kitty pee pee smell. Apparently the former owner had a cat that expressed his anger by peeing on these wooden steps with a runner down the middle. And you know, I don't recall smelling a thing until the day I moved in. They must have really sprayed that carpet with some very powerful deodorizer. But pee or no pee I was planning on ripping off the carpet and stripping the steps to their natural wood finish. So my brother helped me by pulling up the carpet and what was underneath was just a mess. There was layers and layers of stain and paint, glue and tacks - LOTS of tacks and nails. From this picture you can see the work I've done on the bottom 6 steps - stripping, sanding, tack and nail removal. And after all this work, I have to say these steps were ugly - there wasn't going to be any beautiful wood coming through. There were too many tack holes and the wood not pretty. So the task was set aside. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted but Plan A was definitely out. So the stairs have been left in this in between state. Yes I'm sure kitty is sitting there thinking, "What's up lady, these are nasty."
I had a couple of ideas buzzing in my head - but wasn't sure. Then like a gift from above I was looking at the MadeByGirl blog and I saw my entrance stairs and I had my answer. Voila.

photo is from the stylist Lucyina Moodie

It's still a fairly big project and right now I'm prepping the steps for paint. I'm not sure I'll try doing the runner myself or hire someone. I'm really like the sisal runner but need to check prices. I realize it may not go so well with the formal look of the black and white marble tile, but then, that' s another project one day. I just can't wait to get it done! Thank you Jennifer!!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lilac Inspiration

I confess, I've always wanted to write one of those inspiration books. You know, the one you have by your bed or on the back of the toilet. The one that changes your blue day to a sunny happy one. But now that I think about it, the authors who have inspired me most to keep my chin up and try it again are ones that have gone through a great deal of pain themselves.
Does Life Equal Pain? Is that the only and best way to grow?
Today was hard. Between sales calls I cried in my car and talked to friends. (Thank God for my friends.) And I'm at a place where there is really nothing can do or should do. I just have to wait it out. And truly it's like waiting for a storm to pass. I'm tense with anticipation for the next clap of thunder - never really knowing when it will hit. And I know there are plenty of folks out there in this cyber world going through harder stuff than I am. But it's all hard and we all need inspiration or just a drop of hope, a promise. Here it is.I always find hope in flowers. I walked in my little spring yard - all I had was wild honey suckle - but it smelled delicious. My neighbor has a lilac bush and I snapped off a piece for my bedside vase. It's a little bit, just a reminder. And every time you start to worry smell the flowers you collected.
Inhale the beautiful fragrance, exhale thanks.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Abandoning Ship

Earlier this year, I started this blog because I was seeking anonymity because my boss was "visiting" my blog at least once a day. For the last few months, I tried to barrel through at my old blog and just keep posting in spite of my fears. But it hasn't worked out so well. Soon, I found that I was over thinking, over editing anything I posted. I was writing with her in mind, and I didn't enjoy blogging, it wasn't fun anymore. So from now on this is THE blog. And I'm a bit sad to say good bye to my first blog, my original blog, my blog of 3.5 years. I just have to let it go. It may take me a bit to build the momentum and enthusiasm I had with my former blog, but I hope that I am able to encourage, inspire and paint as before. It's a building process. Maybe this blog will be better. With every new beginning there is hope.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

So Close to Finished

I still have the floor to paint and windows and window treatments to make. But these pictures show you the portion of the kitchen that is completed. It's been a long road. And I'm going to take a break from working on the house so I can do some watercolor painting, blogging, writing and cooking. It's so much more pleasant to cook in a kitchen you like being in.
And a HUGE BIG THANKS to my brothers -
both who did the work to make my kitchen lovely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kitchen Transformation -

Before......... and the next step - not quite an "after" picture yet. I want to change the counter tops to a butcher block wood and a plain white tile back splash. But for now, i just needed some encouragement. It seems to be taking forever. I didn't realize what an impatient person I've become - this house is going to teach me that's for sure.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Creating and the Day Job

When I got home from work yesterday evening, I found the new Anthropology catalog in my mail box. Quickly I put everything away, changed into warm lounge clothes, boiled hot water for some tea and finally, HAPPILY, sat down to devour those beautiful pages of great clothes and furniture, accessories and styling that makes me want to cry because it's so DANG creative and interesting. I save these catalogs because they are works of art. I'm overwhelmed with inspiration and wanting to try my hand at making these things and growing in new directions as an artist. I want to run upstairs to my studio and work the night away - not sleeping - just painting! making! creating! But I close the catalog because I have things to do - paper work for my day job, laundry because I wear clothes, food to prepare because I'm hungry, working out because I'm getting fat, returning e-mails, wiping up cat puke, painting the second coat of paint in the hall... So much to do and yet I'm rarely doing the thing that makes my heart beat and sing - create. WATERCOLOR!

Even this morning, as I'm writing this I feel the pressure of the day's duty's on me already. I'm constantly at work in my head trying to figure out how to manage life's requirements and my passion. To have only days filled with art stuck in a studio is not what I want either. The outside provides so much energy and inspiration. So how to do it? Here is my list that I'm working on.

1. Get to bed at a decent hour - so you can wake up earlier. I'm a morning person so my best work and creative energy comes at this time. I like to write, paint and plan my day during these morning hours.
2. Make a to do list and get the days' priorities done first. DO IT. If you don't do everything - fine, put it on the next day. Eventually you will get it done.
3. Plan exercise - not so much for looks but for a mental and spiritual uplift - afternoons are best for me because I tend to drag and this is a good boost.
4. Don't forsake your friends for art. There's nothing worse you can do than to isolate yourself. You need people. At least once a week meet a friend for lunch or tea.
5. Plan creating time - so far I've not been good at this. But this needs to happen. I plan everything else, but not this and maybe because I think this time needs to be spontaneous. That needs to change!!!
6. Finally don't try to make it all yourself. As a creative person I see so many things that I feel I can make myself. I can do a lot of things but when I spread my creative self too thin I become a master of nothing and a jack of mediocre crafts. Find out what you want to really be exceptional at - one or two areas - and dive in. Don't try to make all the curtains in your house when you could use that time painting magnificent paintings. This is where I fail the most. I think I'm saving money - but really I'm just increasing my frustration with my life. So I really need to think through certain projects and be reasonable and honest with what I really can manage.

This is a huge reminder to me and I hope this helps others too. Life is so beautiful and short and it really pains me to think that beautiful art, stories, crafts and ideas are just never going to be completed and given to the world by the working artists because we have to fold the towels and unload the dishwasher. NO!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

La la laaa deee da la dee da laaaaaa

This is what I was humming while I did this on a page of a really old dictionary. The actual page of the dictionary is a pretty creamy white - nicely aged looking. But on this scan it looks rather yellow. What to do? I might do a series and frame them... we'll see.