Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Never Enough Time in the Day...

Well, friends, today has come and gone, and I have not finished what I had intended to do today.  Some days are like that...I have learned to just roll with it.  I did get to sew a little, but it does tend to slow down a project when you are trying to document every step with a camera...and then, there is the editing.  It's all fun, just takes more time than I had imagined...So, since I do not have pics of my appliance cover sewing project to show you yet, I decided to post some more pictures of other pieces of furniture that will stay in the newly redecorated space.  Stay tuned!  I will try to post pics of the sewing project tomorrow.

This is one of my most treasured pieces!  The church pew was built by my great-grandfather in Shelby County, Alabama when my mother was young.  I have been trying to research exactly when it was built, but the people who knew the details are now gone.  My mother told me that the pews were in the church on the day of the very first service, and she could remember it because it was on her nineteenth birthday.  There is a question about whether or not this was the first church to use them.  Some say that they thought they had been originally built for a neighboring church, who then passed them on to our church, but memories are fuzzy.  Mama was born in 1937, so what we do know for sure is that they were in Simmsville Bible Chapel in 1956...I guess they are not quite old enough to be "antiques", so we'll go with "vintage", and "well loved"!  We use ours for spectator seating alongside our pool table.

Rustic church pew with a touch of sparkle!

And, here is a pretty little blue side table that I spray painted.  It has been moved all over the house for years.  It started out as a stained wood, then it was black, and now it's blue.  I'm sure it will move around several more times before it finds it's perfect place in the living room. 


Tropical Oasis

I am floating another idea around in my head...thinking it's totally outrageous, but it wouldn't be the first time!  I have a crystal chandelier that I'm thinking about painting this same blue!!!  It's black now...Before I totally scare people to death, I should tell you that it was a thrift store find.  One of those wonderful lucky finds that I just happened to score...It was that brassy gold color (that I do not care for at all), and I painted it black...  So, I'm thinking it needs to change, and change in a big way...

I need to go get more spray paint!  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow and Story Boards

Yes, the "coastal" South has been shut down.  I walked outside yesterday morning with my nephew to make snowballs, and it was just ice masquerading as snow!  What a disappointment for him, as he is five and from Colombia, South America, where they are very near the equator and always hot.  It was going to be a treat for him to throw a snowball and make a snow angel...Oh well, Mother Nature had other ideas.  I can now see the thawing ice dripping from the house as it melts in the sunshine...a welcomed site indeed!  I am not complaining in any way though, as we have had a warm fire going and plenty of food. Some folks spent days stuck on the roads.  So, I am very thankful for where we were during this strange weather.  

Ice covered patio and back yard, as viewed through screened porch

Being stuck inside has given me time to work on some of my decorating projects, and I've tried to document as much as possible in order to eventually share it here on the blog.  As I worked, and further planned the total project in my mind, I realized just how important a "story board" is in the process, especially when out and about shopping.  I thought I would share some story board thoughts and ideas with you today.

First, what is a "story board"?  It is simply a tool that is used in decorating that provides a snapshot of the total look of a room or project.  It can be very simple, just pictures and color swatches on a flat piece of poster board, or very elaborate.  You can cut inspiration pictures from magazines and catalogs, take photographs and print them, get fabric and paint swatches ...It just needs to be representative of the total overall feel of the project.  Anyone should be able to look at it and in a glance get the mental picture of exactly what it will look like.  You do not have to stick to this board exactly...nothing is ever in concrete (except when working with concrete!) when decorating.  Sometimes changes occur that are unavoidable, other times we just change our minds...It should simply serve as a guide or decorating map.

When I make a story board, It looks something like this:
I use swatches, and small 3-dimensional items that are representative of a material or item(s) that will be found in the space.  Here, I am showing it all served up on a white ironstone platter (I have an extensive collection of over 300 pieces that we use daily...will share in another post!), with a vintage shoe mold to represent well worn wood that is prevalent in my home, a silver spoon because I love silver, an orange (that rug!) and a piece of burlap woven through a rhinestone encrusted belt buckle.  The rhinestones represent my love for a bit of sparkle in each room, and I love the way the fancy rhinestones play against the rustic burlap, which is also found in the new space.  I've placed the platter atop a little blue table which will stay.  This gives a visual picture of what the space will look and feel like once it's all pulled together.

How do I use it when I go shopping?  Well, I don't carry the platter and small blue table with me!  Although that is possible, it would be very inconvenient!  I like to put the small bits and pieces into a box (a vintage sewing machine cabinet drawer) that is easy to carry around as I shop.  When I am shopping for throw pillows, or decorative accessories, it's easy to look at the new possibilities with the story board items in front of you.  You can see at a glance whether or not it will work.  No more taking something home only to find out that it needs to go back because it's just not the right color or feel.  It saves much time and makes life so much easier, and fun...and, oh,  just smile when other shoppers look all impressed with you and your smartness as they wonder if their purchase will work.

Pictured below is my story box.   Instead of my platter, I've included a small butter pat;  I've also included one of the cupcake/muffin paper cups in blue to remind me of the fun whimsical element that I always like to include in my rooms.

I usually leave my story box in my car for a couple of months, because you never know when you will be out doing something totally unrelated, and you just run across something and wonder...hmmm".  Now, you don't have to wonder...just run to the car and grab your story board (or box!) and check it out.  

Now, in this age of technology, you can also create a story board online on Pinterest.   If you are an i-Pad user, this is a very convenient way to do one and always have it with you.  I am a Pinterest lover, and have many boards.  I do have a decorating story board there, and it comes in handy for other things...but for me, I still like to be able to feel and touch the items in front of me, so my story box will still be part of my decorating process. 

Now, go make yourself a story board...just for fun!  Maybe it will stir up something inside that makes you want to redecorate.  Let me hear from you with questions or comments!  I would love to hear about your story boards.

Tomorrow I will share my kitchen appliance covers...I've been busy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Pretty Southern Living Magazine Room

This is just so pretty, I had to share.  I love the pops of color and the mix of furniture styles.  Very much me.  

Thank you Southern Living for sharing.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Well, I spent the day photographing and thinking about what to keep, what goes, and what can be given a new look.  To refresh your memory, here is a quick snapshot of my new color scheme and look.

So far, these are keepers...in addition to the painting that I showed in the last post.  If you missed it, you can see it here: Yesterday's post

I LOVE my wooden boxes and they make great storage bins.  They are currently stacked in the kitchen area, so I have in them a huge stash of decorative cocktail napkins, clear plastic drink cups for parties, seasonal serving pieces, and in the one with two drawers, I keep kitchen utensils that I use frequently, because it's easy to get to them.  The patina of the old worn wood adds a warmth to a room that's hard to imitate.  And, the warmth of the wood will ground the room when all of the bright colors are added.  I do think that I will remove the cloche on top and add another box...I like odd numbers, and this even number is bothering me!

Next, my silver plated pieces.  I can never get enough of these mismatched platters, cups, pitchers or whatever I can find.  It doesn't have to be "good" sterling, as it's the sparkle and white metal color that I'm after.  I love the way it goes with the worn old wood on the boxes.  Each makes the other more special!  I will always be on the lookout for more, and I think it works with my new color scheme, so they will stay.

This lamp is one that I painted just before Christmas...It was black, and I decided to just spray paint it to get more color in the room for the holidays.  My old look had a lot of black.  The old color scheme was a more earthy and Pottery Barnish looking, with lots of naturals and well, black.  I still love that look, but I just need more color this time around.  Bright color.  The blue is found in the fabric(s) that I picked and shared earlier.   
The owl will stick around until spring, when I will switch him out with a bunny or some other springy thing...maybe a baby chicken?  I have lots of "props" in storage...I'll see what I can find when I see green starting to peek up outside.

The turquoise throw is another piece that I purchased just before Christmas.  It's a perfect match with my fabrics, so it needs to stay.

These works of art are perfect right where they are.  The colors are close enough that they will still work, and the blue bird makes me think of my friend, Jo, who painted it.  I painted the peacock, which was done in non-traditional peacock colors, and the pretty mixed-media tree was painted by an artist from Georgia (Lynn@the Carved Painting.com).
This whimsical fruit and potato basket is in my kitchen area just before you walk into the pantry.  In its previous life, it was a plant stand.  I picked it up at my favorite estate sale (Olde Mobile Estate Sales) for $1!  I love the quirky bent pieces and texture.  I painted it a funky leaf green, that is still perfect for the new color scheme.  That's a good thing, since I don't think I could part with it.  It is so handy to hold produce, and one of my favorite things in the kitchen.

Now, here is a table that I believe I can keep if I work on it...again.  It was white with a layer of dirt, but oh so fine, when I found it at Thrift Town.  It was missing the top, but no worries...we can take care of that, and we did.  My husband and I made the top from reclaimed lumber, which I stained and topped with a round piece of glass.  The glass came from the Olde Mobile Estate Sale... also a steal at $5!  It's the good thick glass too!  Anyway, I painted it black for the old look.  Now, it's time to go bright and happy.  I'm thinking maybe the leaf green like the piece above.  That will be a project for one day when it gets a little warmer.  For now, I will probably just move it to the shop and put another table here temporarily.   The clutter under the table will go too!  I put these little boxes here to hold the remote controls...but, as you can see, they are on top of the table!  Oh well, that's just how that story goes.

What did I actually edit?  Well, that's always the hard part!  I asked myself to think ONLY in terms of whether or not it matches or coordinates with the new look.  Forget about my love for it.  It can always be moved to another more appropriate place in the house if I decide I must keep it.  So, these are the pieces that simply will not work.

This lamp...It's a great vintage piece in it's original finish, and with a perfect patina!  The black silk lampshade is great with it...Looked great with my old look, but doesn't make the cut for the new look.  It will probably go (whenever I have that sale that I keep talking about having).


And, this painting by my friend, Nancy Dean.  I absolutely love him as much as I did the day I purchased him, but the colors and style just are not working in this room anymore.  He will now hang in my gallery at the top of the stairs, with some other wonderful works of art.

So, that is how I edit.  I know it seems like I didn't remove much, but, I am still in the early stages of the process.  As I put things out, some of them will just not feel right, so they will go back into storage, or into another room...that process will go on for weeks, until it feels right.  I must say that I really enjoy the process of moving things around over and over again.  Each time I pick up and really "look" at something, I appreciate it's beauty all over again, and remember why I loved it in the first place.

Editing Accessories

As I sit here and write, it is raining....and snow is in the forecast!  (Stay tuned for that!)  What a perfect day to do inside things.  I plan to start editing my decorative items that are scattered about the living/dining/kitchen area on tables, walls, etc.  I will keep what looks nice with my new color scheme and put away the others...after all, I will probably be changing things again in a few months!  Some pieces I purchased around the holidays, because I sort of knew what direction the color scheme was going as dictated by "That Orange Rug" .  These things will certainly stay.  One such piece is a painting by Suzan Buckner, a very popular artist from Alabama.  I love to support home state artists whenever possible, and it was easy in this case because I absolutely LOVE Suzan's work!  And, this piece is totally ME!  

"Birdhouse" by Suzan Buckner

To view more of Suzan's portfolio and available works for sale, click here http://suzanbuckner.com/collections/14007 

As a side note, I just received notification that one of my favorite publications is due to hit the shelves any day now!  Does anyone else notice the colors on the cover?  Hmmm.

Okay...Time to get to work.  I will be posting pictures tomorrow showing how my editing went.
Everyone have a great day!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Feathering My Nest

While thinking and dreaming of the new color scheme that I'm pulling together in my living space, I remembered some small orange tumblers (depression glass) that my sister-in-law, Marsha, had for sale at an event last year...I don't remember them actually going home with anyone, so I asked her about them while we were visiting a couple of weeks ago.  She still had them, and she could put her hands on them then and there!  We did a little trading, as she remembered a piece of art that I had that she liked.  They went home with me the next day and they are perfect for my new look!  She had four...that just meant that I needed to go on a mission to find more.  I found them on Etsy.  Six more, so now I have ten.  They will be perfect for mimosas or homemade orange sherbet.  Here's a sneak peak.  I can hardly wait to take pictures when I pull the entire look together!

Notice the little pop of turquoise that has also shown up!  I will only use colors that appear in the fabric swatches that I shared in yesterday's post, That Orange Rug.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

That Orange Rug!

Well, I'm at it again...things don't stay the same around my house very long.  I guess I'm restless that way...

This new redecorating venture started when we were getting the house ready for the Christmas Tour of Homes that our local Kiwanis Club does each year.  I had redecorated our bedroom and was tossing things out when my husband caught me rolling up the orange rug to take out...Oh no.  He started asking questions..."How long have we had that rug?"..."There's nothing wrong with it. Tell me again why you need to throw it out."..."Didn't we have it special made at the carpet store?"...Okay, do you get the picture?  I'm sure many other wives out there have had the same conversation with their other half.  They just don't get it. The orange rug was great in our bedroom with citrus colors, but it just doesn't work with the new soft ocean blues and mermaids.  It needs something more natural, like jute. So, to appease hubby, I decided to just switch out the bedroom rug with the jute rug in the living room....for now.  I would figure out the orange rug problem later. 


Note:  I made the orange rug work for Christmas by using oranges as part of my theme!

And, I should mention, I do have lots of color in  my home, so  the  orange isn't  as big a problem as it may seem to some. Being an artist of funky crazy artwork and a collector of other funky  artwork, orange does make a frequent appearance,   I   think  it's   actually nice  to  have   pops of bright, unexpected color in your home.  It makes a space happy!

Now, let me share with you how I decided to deal with the orange rug in a more permanent way in the living room.  I first had to put together a plan using the "givens", or those things that would be too costly to change.  My floors are a brown stained concrete, the walls are a wonderful freshly painted green, and the recently purchased furniture is Flexsteel cognac brown leather. The space is trimmed out in white woodwork.  These things will not change, so they are my "givens".

Sherwin-Williams Hearts of Palm

Kemiko floor stain

Flexsteel sofa

Since my "living room" is actually part of an open concept space, I will carry the entire new color scheme throughout the space that includes kitchen and dining area, and pool table/game area. I will figure out ways to "sprinkle" the colors around so that I have a cohesive,  flowing look. 

Now that I've determined the colors that must be included, I can begin my search for fabrics to pull it all together.  Okay...I'm looking for green, brown, and                                                                               ORANGE...

Shopping...shopping...shopping.  Swatches...more shopping.  Swatches are very important when trying to make these decisions.  Depending on the price per yard of the fabric(s) chosen, this can quickly turn into an investment.  I have a chair to recover and it requires about eight yards, as per my upholsterer...I picked up this antique French chair with ottoman a few months back, and I've been thinking about what I wanted to do with it.  I've decided to recover it while I'm in the redecorating mood.  It will be "my" chair for tv watching.  It's more feminine than anything else that I have in the house, but that's okay.  I will make it work by coordinating the colors and fabrics with the rest of the space.  I have a very eclectic personal style anyway, so it should work...I believe that our homes should be a reflection of who we are.  (I will show pictures of the chair in it's current state and as it's being recovered later.)  I also need yardage for throw pillows, a table runner, and some appliance covers.  That will give me opportunities to scatter the colors into the kitchen and dining area.  

Note:  As you follow along my journey with me, I will show how to make the little appliance covers.

I will probably end up painting my dining chairs and table also.  They are currently black, which was great with my old look...but, things are achanging!  One thing always leads to another, but I love staying busy and making things pretty, so it's all fun to me.

Okay, back to the swatches...These are the ones I've settled on:
Primary print fabric includes my brown, green, orange and some other colors that can now be used!

Small scale print that coordinates nicely...

I've picked this natural colored linen to use for pillow backs, and the back and sides of the French chair and ottoman.  This will help pull the colors back down and ground them so that the pieces are not so "loud".

Okay, to wrap up today, can you now see how the orange rug is going to look like it was purchased for the space?  I will post pictures and instructions as I work on the space...

My husband will be happy!  I've made the orange rug work!