Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

All in good fun...

How was your weekend?  Did you work?  Do anything fun?  Take care of your soul?  All three?  Gold star for you!  I guess I get a gold star, too...

On Friday, I did a little more work on the (apparently) never-ending mural at Unity of the Valley:
Baby bear looks to see what mama's watching

From way over in the forest, they're observing the race between the tortoise and the hare.  (Scroll through older posts, if you want to see more of this ongoing mural project)

A mural full of playful animals wouldn't be complete without otters!

These two hang out with a pair of playful dolphins.  I think a squid is next.
On Saturday, I went to a mini spiritual retreat.  It was held at a private home about a half an hour from here, and most of our day was spent within a few feet of this gorgeous pool:
Walking out to the pool, I looked to the right, to see this beautifully designed waterfall, which levels out for a few feet before the pool, creating a birdbath easily viewed from the screen porch.

My inner three year old went straight for the big rocks, placed at the perfect distance for hopping across the pool.  To my surprise, I realized there were stairs down into the water to my left!  This could only mean...

It's a swimming pool!!!  This view is from the bottom end looking back toward the steps, and the waterfall, which is partly obscured by the screen porch.  Yes, the maintenance is a bit more involved than a regular pool, and yes, there are other things my darling home needs first, and no, I don't have a sloped property for siting a waterfall, but I WANT THIS!!!
On Sunday, I meant to work on the cover art for 365 Being, but I had new colored pencils to test, and oil pastels to try, neither of which I have used since high school, so mostly I ignored both work and housekeeping, and just had fun:
I never liked working with colored pencils in school.  When a friend brought Prisma Colors to an open studio gathering, and I saw how rich the colors were, I knew I had to try them.  This may be my new favorite medium!  These are the soft ones.  They may make several varieties, but the selections at my nearest supplier were soft, hard and water soluble.  If all you ever tried were hard, and you didn't like them, try the soft ones! 

I'm not sure I've ever really drawn anything with oil pastels.  I did buy a very inexpensive set (the whole array cost less than three Prisma Color pencils), so I probably haven't given them a fair shake.  I don't dislike them, but I don't know if Ill use them much, mostly because they tend to smudge and smear, and I'm not really good at keeping things tidy when I'm playing.  Still, for less than five bucks, they were waaay more fun than my childhood crayons!  If you like to color, you might want to try these!
So that was my weekend: some work, some play, some spirit time.  The best part?  You might have noticed...they're all pretty much the same.  Do I know how amazingly fortunate I am?  You betcha!  Do I wish this kind of contentment for every one of you?  To the bottom of my bottomless heart, I do!

If you have questions or comments, you can leave them below by clicking on the word "comment", or feel free to email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.

If you would like to see what other styles of murals I paint, and what other decorating services I offer, pop on over to the website, at theartofthehome.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sorry, can't hear you, I'm in the bathroom...again.

Pretty little details around a bathroom window.

It's a good thing I have big exciting stuff happening this summer, like the birth of a new magazine, because otherwise, this would go down as the summer of garage doors and bathrooms. Have I painted anything else? Scroll down and check. Oh, never mind! There was a pink bat and blue llamas. Whew! For a minute there, I was worried things were getting strange.

These pieces inspired the style of the painted detail in this bathroom.

Todays bathroom paint job was a repaint of one that I did for the first time, about seven years ago. Just details. They did some work on the ceiling, and after that, the walls needed fresh paint, so Shirley gave them a couple of coats of off-white, and had me come back to add pretties. Last time, it was little pink rosebuds. This time, she had some French/Belgian themed accessories, inspired by a trip taken to Paris several years back, along with adorable cut-work bath mats she bought in a shop there. She went to Paris, fell in love with a leather jacket and a beautiful white sweater, but came home with bath mats. That's a bit sad, but the bathmats are way-much nicer than anything we have here, at least.  It apparently had something to do with a frugal husband tagging along, so put that on the Things Not to Take to France list, dear hearts!

There are a couple more of these corner details in the room, keeping the focus on the window, but carrying the decoration to other walls.
I riffled through a few books of ornamentation, and pulled together an idea for lines and scrolls, to surround the window, and accent a few corners. I painted three samples. Solid black was too stark. Tan scrolls with fine black line work was better, but the black was still to jarring. Finally, I tried doing the pattern in shades of light brown and bone. Just right! Though she wanted black and white to dominate, there is a lot of oak in the trim and cabinets, so this palette helped settle that into the design of the room. Shirley is pleased, and I'm on to my next project...

Yup, another bathroom.  Actually, I do get to spend tomorrow working on the mural at Unity of the Valley, adding a lizard, sea otter, and maybe a grizzly bear, to the bat, llamas, and other previously painted residents of that technicolor landscape.  So, animals Monday, then yet another bathroom on Thursday, if things go as scheduled...(it could happen).  Do check back!

You can also check out my portfolio, which I promise does include something other than bathrooms, garage doors, and improbable animals, at theartofthehome.com

Can I answer any questions?  clarify a process, or advise on a product?  Don't hesitate to ask, in the comments below, or by emailing me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Live with what you love. Change what you don't.

With a little paint, you really can transform anything.  Somehow, I missed taking a before shot of last week's bathroom vanity project (oh, big surprise...sigh), but I know all my American readers have seen it.  The basic "builder oak" model installed in just about every home in the last thirty years.  For those of you who don't live in the US, I'm pretty sure you can google "Home Depot oak bathroom vanity" and get a jillion shots that all look about identical.  Nothing wrong with oak, but it's so common anymore that it's no more exciting than off-white paint.  Yawn.  My client, Jean, asked me if I could paint the vanity something like the finish on the mirror that hangs above it...

The finish, actually the two finishes, on this mirror inspired the paint finish on the vanity below it.
Someday, sooner than later, DM will invest in some photography lessons, to learn to shoot better photos of these tricky spots.  I'm sure investing in a fancier camera and lights would help. Ah, well, imagination, Dearhearts, imagination, please...

Metallic silver, champagne, warm gold, and bronze, over a red oxide base, overglazed with umber.  The panels are sponged in two of the metallics, the edges, rails and stiles brushed in four of them.  This photo is pretty accurate, though in the room, the contrast between the doors and the cabinet box appears a little softer.  Jean is shopping for new pulls, so we left the original shiny brass ones off.

The other project I featured in last Thursday's post was Jean's curio cabinet.  In this case, I used more paint stripper than paint.  I took most of the "shabby chic" style paint job off, then rubbed in a black antiquing glaze, and my usual umber glaze.  On the top, I used a little of McKlosky's lime wash with the glazes, to instantly gray the wood. 
this was the inspiration...
this was the before shot...

...and here's the finished piece.
Like I said last week, it was a perfectly sweet piece to begin with.  The white worked well with the pottery inside, but it didn't work with the room, so it had it's orders: Change or go. Change is so much more fun!  Don't be afraid to try it. 

Painted finishes can be added to, or removed and altered.  And if it's never been painted?  Well, just because it's wood, doesn't mean it's good, even if it's vintage or antique.  If you are worried about mucking up something valuable by painting it, find out if it's rare.  Very few things produced since the late 1800's are, and a dealer of fine antiques can easily tell you if you have something of significant value, if you can't figure it out yourself, with a quick cruise through craigslist or ebay.  If you're living with a piece you don't love, why not change?  Life is better in a home as unique as you are! 

Questions or comments can be left below, or email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.  Really, if you want more detail on the techniques mentioned above, I don't mind sharing.

Want my help altering your furnishings?  My portfolio and the information on how to hire me can be found at theartofthehome.com.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Designer addictions

I'm having fun this week, doing a bunch of small projects for Jean and Joanne.  They live almost next door to each other, in nearly identical twin homes.  Their decorating tastes are similar enough that they can spot ideas for each other, but different enough that their friendship is not threatened by 50% Off sales on one of a kind items.  They share a rather pronounced fondness for shopping, wine in the evenings, and (this week anyway) my services.  I no sooner start one thing, than one of them comes up with another project.  Not sure when I'll get everything done, some in the coming weeks, and some next winter, but here's a peek at a couple that will be finished in time for Monday's blog post...

These doors are for the bathroom vanity, which was the initial project.  They are finished with several different metallics, to coordinate with the big fancy mirror that hangs above.  They still need their umber glaze, before I re-install them.

This perfectly sweet little whitewashed cabinet holds Jean's collection of McCoy pottery.  It compliments the pottery, but doesn't really coordinate with the room it inhabits.

 I spent a few hours today, half-stripping the paint finish, and tomorrow I'll use a gray-brown stain to give it a weathered appearance.  Kind of like this column...

The finish on this dummy column inspired the finish on the curio cabinet above. As soon as that's done, my next project is to figure out what to paint above or between a pair of these, to add interest to a long, blank wall.
Jean and Joanne are keeping me pretty well to themselves, but I do have a few lag days while other contractors finish tiling and priming, so if you have a small project to be done in the next two weeks, speak up now, or wait until later in August, when they're bound to come down off of their decorating high.

You can peruse my portfolio at theartofthehome.com, if you like, and contact me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.  If you are working on projects of your own, and think I might know something useful, please don't hesitate to ask.  I get to try lots of techniques and products, and I'm always happy to share whatever I know.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This one's been chillin' for 35 years...

One of the nice things about being the youngest in a large-ish family, was having a much older sister who went off to the Big City (Portland Oregon), to college.  When I was eleven, I got to spend a week with her, sitting in on her classes, meeting her friends, and being (for just about the first time ever) treated more like a friend than a booger-picker...which I was NOT.  Ever.  It was my first real adventure, and if I keep thinking about how really wonderful it was, for lots of reasons more obvious now than then, I'll cry and short out the keyboard, so enough about that. 
Kabsa, summer style.

Cool chick that she was, she had a Middle Eastern boyfriend, and cool guy that he was, he actually cooked.  He made us a lamb and rice dish called kabsa, that introduced me to cinnamon and nutmeg in savory dishes.  It was served with a salad of coarse chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  This weekend, wanting to serve tabbouleh (bulgur wheat salad) at a gathering that included someone with gluten issues, the thought of substituting rice triggered the childhood memory.

Kabsa is a warm dish, but with temperatures in the nineties, with icky-sticky humidity, I wanted a main dish salad.  I sort of crossed my memory of kabsa with tabbouleh, and tweaked it a bit to get this:

Summer Kabsa

At least four hours before serving time (because this dish needs time to cook and chill), start the Rice:
Cook 2 c. brown rice in
3 3/4 c vegetable broth, (water is okay, but not as tasty)
Into which you have dumped
2 tablespoons cinnamon,
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
(bay leaf and cardamom are also traditional in this mix, if you want even more flavor)

I bring the rice, spices and liquid to a full boil, drop the flame to barely there, pop on the lid, and leave it alone for 45 minutes.  Once cooked, dump the rice into a large bowl, and let it cool to room temperature.  The seldom used punch bowl is large enough to hold everything, with room to mix, and everyone commented on how pretty it looked as a salad bowl.

While the rice cooks, prepare the meat.  Since not all Americans like lamb, and since it's a little greasier than I like in a cold dish, I used beef.  Traditional kabsa uses lamb, chicken, camel, shrimp, or beef, so take your pick.  They don't sell camel at a grocery near me, but I'm sure all the others would be equally as good.

Just 1 1/3 pounds of beef was enough for the generous 8 servings this makes, but if you have carnivores in the crowd, 2 pounds won't overcrowd the other ingredients.

Cut the beef in strips about 1/2 inch x 1/4 inch x 2 inches long, more or less.  Toss in a glass bowl with
1/4 c. cider vinegar or white wine
1/4 c lemon juice
scant 1 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
1 T chopped garlic
allow to marinate, covered and refrigerated, while rice cooks and cools, then...

Saute beef in about 3 tablespoons of hot olive oil.  I do it in two batches, so it caramelizes a bit, rather than sweating and turning grayish.  I'm not a patient cook, but it only takes a couple of extra minutes.  As soon as the second batch is done, dump in the remaining marinade, and let simmer down a few minutes, until thick.  Dump this all on top of the rice.

While that starts to cool, chop and add the veggies:
8 green onions, trimmed, outer leaf removed, chopped
1 medium cucumber chopped coarse
1 colorful bell pepper, matchsticked, or (cuter) 1 8oz bag of small sweet multi colored peppers, seeded and cut in rings. 
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (do halve, as it adds the juice to the mix)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint (this is about six mature stalks worth of leaves)

Note:  If you are a serious salad person, you may want to double the veggies.

dress this with
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
Lots of fresh ground black pepper

Stir everything together thoroughly.  You can eat it at room temperature, but the flavors will blend better if you chill for at least an hour, two gets it properly cold, and overnight is really lovely.

Now, if you'll excuse me, while you enjoy your yummy supper salad, I'm gonna go write a letter to my big sister and thank her for a really great week, since I'm sure I never got around to sending a thank you card, back then.  Thirty-five years later, this still falls in the "better late than never" category, right?  Actually, though "Cat the Correspondent", a.k.a. my business partner in the (soon to debut) magazine 365 Being, will shake her head, I think I'll facebook this post to Robin's honey of a husband ( A Jersey guy who cooks), and ask him to be sure she sees it.  I know, I know, Cat,  it's not as good as snail mail, but I still have to send the webmaster the draft of the new art, and really, after 35 years, I don't think she remembers if I thanked her. 

When not feeding my friends, writing blog posts, working on the magazine  bookazine, and arguing with my big sister about who was the spoiled one, I create unique environments for lovely people.  You can check out my portfolio at theartofthehome.com.

Questions or comments can be left below, or email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Can you smell the cedar?

Whew!  Finished.  This is a home in the country, just outside of Belle Plaine.  The interior has a traditional feel, with western accents, and a back deck overlooking their horse pasture and barns.  This time, though, my job wasn't inside (who needs a mural, with such beautiful views from every window?).  This time my job was woodgraining the front entry and garage doors. 

A pretty country home, with new "cedar" doors.
What?  Didn't I do this a couple of weeks ago?  Nope, that was a different garage door, in a dark mahogany finish and large swirled grain (which I would love to show you, but for some reason, the photos won't download properly, grrr).  Apparently, this is the summer of garage doors, and this week's order was for something to match the stone on the foundation.  One look at the side view of the house told me not only to match the stone, but to also match the cedar deck on the back.

A typical cedar garage door...except it's not cedar.  You can make any wood grain you like with paint.   
These doors had a fine grain on the rails and stiles (those are the crosspieces that frame the panels), and a different, more oak-like texture on the panels.  I worked with what was there on the former, and mostly ignored the grain on the latter.  I had Paul Romleski, from Buckets of Color, paint me a base coat, of Benjamin Moore's Venetian Gold.  I'm sure that in the right setting it's gorgeous, but when I arrived, everyone was pretty worried about the "Putrid Pumpkin" (no, they still aren't offering me the job of naming paint colors).  The base coat color always worries people. 

Front door and sidelights also faux finished to look like cedar.
I spent about an hour custom mixing the top coat (in deep tone base of the same paint as the base color) and testing, and though originally I had intended to use a single color, I ended up using three.  Why do the simple thing, when I can layer on those divine little details?  And why stop there?  Once I got the grain going, I glanced at their cedar deck chairs, and knew it needed knots. 

These I did with thumb and finger tips, much to the amusement of the clients. They really enjoyed watching it transform over the course of a few days, and were totally pleased with the results, which were far more realistic than they expected. Even I wasn't sure how it would turn out, since unlike on flat surfaces, I don't have nearly as much control on these embossed doors. Took a bit longer with the knots, but they were so worth doing.

This door was heavily embossed in a straight grain, which worked for creating cedar.  I used three colors of paint, yellow ochre, rust, and a deep raw umber.  I brushed it on and rubbed it in with a rag until it had the depth and blend I wanted.  In some cases, I dry brushed a bit of grain detail back on top, then added knots.
It got too dark to finish last night, but this morning went pretty quick, and I finished just in time. As I pulled the tape, the heat and humidity were climbing fast. This is to be expected, as it does this almost every year for Belle Plaine's Bar-B-Que Days weekend. I had to finish early, because arriving along with the sticky heat this afternoon (and the carnival rides) were my friends Luke and Ruby, two Aussie dogs who spend a weekend with me each summer, while their humans vacation without them. I got home with just enough time to build old arthritic Luke a ramp down one side of the back stairs, which he appears to have no intention of using. In fact, after a brief survey of the yard, they both seem pretty content to stay inside, right below the air conditioner. I think they have the right idea.  Hmmm...Do you think the cotton candy vendor delivers?

Ruby, right beside the art table...

...and Luke, as far under my drafting stool as he can possibly be.

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you spend it! If you are working on D-I-Y projects and run into snags, feel free to email me with questions, or leave them in the "comments" below. If I know how to do whatever you're doing, I'll be happy to try to help. dawnmariedelara@gmail.com

If you would like to hire me to turn your plain doors into "wood", check out my website, theartofthehome.com. My portfolio is there, along with all the contact and business info you might need.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Painting by porch light...

Hmmm.  Tonight's blog post is some fabulous faux cedar doors, but it's an outdoor job, and I ran out of daylight before I quite finished, so I have no photos.  Porch light isn't strong enough, except to draw in the mosquitoes, so I'll have to finish in the morning.  I could probably dream up a replacement story, or a yummy recipe, but how about I hit the hay early(ish), and write tonight's post tomorrow afternoon?  Kinda wishin' now that I hadn't drank that iced coffee after dinner...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Don't Fence Me In

When the trail is unbroken, and the map uncharted, just ask yourself, "What would Snicker doodle?"
Yesterday, I was Tenacity Jane.  Brave pioneer who (just about) never gives up.

Today, I received the title of "Boss of Everything, a.k.a.  Little Miss Bossy Pants".

Little.  Ha.

Actually, I think my older brothers gave me that title years ago.  Good thing it came from someone who loves me... then and now.

Why, yes, thank you, I'll take two of those.  "Abundance is mine", sayeth Little Miss Bossy Pants.  That's Missy Sunshine, to you, Bro.

The magazine, 365 Being is coming along beautifully, and so beautifully in fact that it is now a "bookazine".  Actually, it probably always was, but it took us a bit to notice that while it is a quarterly publication, the style and content bring it right up to book quality.  Right now, bringing the publishing costs right down in line with the cover price is our biggest challenge, as we steadfastly refuse to have advertising. 

We're not doing anything like big important journalism here, but when we write about a product we like, we want our readers to know that nobody gave us money to say it.  We want to write what we believe in, without worrying that our ideas about making and doing and being, rather than shopping and buying and conforming, will aggravate a sponsor, whose money would be paying our salaries.  We want to create a beautiful bit of printed deliciousness, for you to savor, uninterrupted by chattering monkeys, wanting to pick your pockets.  I've been informed this is not realistic.

No, thanks, I'm not fond of "reality".  "Reality" has more than once said I couldn't have her, couldn't keep her, couldn't hope to afford her.  This is Belle Amie, and there's not much in her history that plays by reality's rule book.
So, no, when well-meaning folks say we need to face reality, I do NOT take their advice.  In fact, I dig my heels in all the harder.  There is not one thing in my life that I got by facing reality.  The closest I ever come to facing reality is to spot "reality" storming toward me, at which point, I turn to Divinity and say, "I don't much care for the looks of this one.  You wanna handle it?"  Sometimes, Divinity pulls the mask off of "reality" and exposes it for the imaginary being that it is. Sometimes, Divinity kicks "reality's" bullying ass right back offa my doorstep, and sometimes Divinity just plucks me right out of the path of "reality", and sets me down someplace totally unexpected.  Every time, Divinity holds up a bottomless jar of  alternate realities, and says, "Choose one."

When bulls fly...
I'm not uninformed, ignorant, nor inexperienced.  I am not unaware of what most people perceive as reality, nor the fact that they are living that truth.  But reality is an individual experience.  I'm all done living other people's limitations.  I have the blessing of having been born in a country that was founded on the very expectation of a better reality, by people who took far bigger risks than I will ever need to, to create a climate in which all things are possible, and the biggest barriers are removed.  Given this, I think "facing reality" is downright unpatriotic.

I know for a fact that I get what I expect to get, which is not always the same as getting what I want.  Sometimes I forget to expect what I want, or I just forget what I want, and I get what I'm worrying about, instead.  I know for a fact that I get what I have the capacity to allow in, and I am continually learning to expand that capacity.
I get what I believe in:
   I believe in Joy. 
      I believe in Grace. 
         I believe in Miracles.

This means that I believe in saying "Yes, thank you!" to a bigger reality than I or anyone can possibly imagine for me. 

If it's not your reality, and not a reality you want, that's okay, just don't drop your horse biscuit reality on my path, cause I'm Tenacity Jane, and I'm wearing my biscuit kickers, and my shiny silver star that says "Boss of Everything".  Or maybe it just says "Little Miss Bossy Pants."  It's kinda hard to read upside down, riding full speed ahead.  Hope to see y'all along the trail!

When I''m not on my bandwagon, inviting y'all to my reality, I paint some purdy nice walls.  And in your home, you're the boss of everything.  You pick it, and I'll paint it.  If you want help choosing a new look, I'll be happy to oblige.  Check out the website, theartofthehome.com.  (...and if it's your first time here, don't worry, I only go all cowgirl every once in a blue moon.)

Comments or questions are always welcome.  You can leave them below, or email me at Dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What color is your pear-a-chute?

I'd love to be the person who makes up names for colors.  I don't think they would ever hire me though.  Did you know there is a beige called "sensible hue"?  I actually refused to use it on a job, just for the name.  Nope, I think the occasional beige is nice, and for certain people, a quiet color palette is perfectly chosen, but I live in the Midwest, where we have entire neighborhoods of dust colored houses.  Cheap houses, expensive houses, money makes no difference.  They all look exactly like their neighbors. THIS IS NOT SENSIBLE.  This is sensory deprivation.

You would think the California-based web designer for our soon-to-debut magazine would know what I meant when I spec'ed "overripe apricot" as our main color.  However, the response I got was "WTH???".  It's just as well I made her a sample, so she can actually scan it, along with several others, for interesting textural backgrounds, which she says she prefers.  Apparently scanning actual apricots is bad for the scanner.
Nope, they wouldn't hire me to name the paint chips, because I would insist on a warning label on all beiges and grays. 
Warning:  This color may cause fatigue, disinterest, and drainage of joy, if not chosen for the pure love of it. 

They also wouldn't hire me, because I would insist on leaving my little naming desk, and wandering down to the mixing room, and breaking nine of the ten dispensers of lamp black colorant, after which I would hold the color matching software designers hostage, until they create a program that can correctly identify the color ingredients in my formulas, NONE OF WHICH ARE BLACK.  (Now you know my blackest fantasy!)

Why no black?  Because about nine out of ten times, colors muted with black are not as happy in shadowy corners and shady rooms, as colors muted with umber, or their complimentary color (that's the one straight across from it on the color wheel).  Once in awhile, a Seattle-Foggy-Day color is exactly the mood a client wants to create, so lamp black goes in.  Most times, shown the difference, folks opt out of the black-shaded one.

See that area just a little below and to the right of center?  Lower.  Yup, there.  Isn't that gorgeous?  It's what I meant when I gave our webmaster the request for bruised raspberry, as an accent color, but perhaps there was a better name for it.  However, it probably wouldn't have been fair to expect her to know what I intended, if I had named it Sensible Hue.  She doesn't know me well enough, yet.
And finally, they wouldn't hire me, because I would be trying to figure out how to create colors that would roll on in interesting fadey-blends, which would have names like Soggy Moss, Overripe Apricot, and Bruised Raspberry.  Oh, well.  Those of you who want such colors know where to find me, assuming I'm not arrested by the color police, by the time you read this, or on the lamb...oh, now that would be a great color name for a pearly, interesting beigey-blend, "On the Lamb".  That one I would not refuse to use!

Life is too short to play it safe with color!  Paint juicy, unless pearl-tones really make you deliciously happy.  If you have questions or comments, you can leave them below, or email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.

If you want to hire me to do an on-site color consultation, information for that is on my website at theartofthehome.com

Monday, July 2, 2012

Life, liberty, and the joy of air conditioning...

It's been quite a week, here in Lake Wobegone...Oh, wait, that's some other writer's line.  Try that again...It's been a typical summer week, here on the beautiful prairie.  The temperatures have hit the upper 90's with the heat index far enough over 100 to cause advisories to be issued.  My van had it's annual summer breakdown, this week, but I was able (after phoning my mechanic for advice) to limp it home... at 35 miles per hour, at 3 p.m., on the Friday of a holiday weekend.  Better than waiting alongside the freeway for a tow truck, but with my paint job, I'm not exactly incognito.  Just enjoying the scenery folks...uurrrrgh.

I had planned to take Faithie outside for drawing lessons in the garden today, but with a heat advisory in effect, we decided to substitue house plants and play it cool...very cool.
Here at Belle Ami, I finally got the big AC in the staircase window this evening. A BIG thanks to my art student's father, who stopped by to give me a hand, shortly after I requested his wife's permission to feature this photo of Artgirl, Faithie doing today's drawing assignment.

This mural's still not anywhere close to fully populated, but llamas and a bat took up residence this week.
Almost as cute as Faithie, is the pink bat and blue llamas I added to the never-ending mural at Unity of the Valley.  Yes a bat.  As both the artist, and the daughter of a forester, I'll not be perpetuating any scary-animal nonsense.  I know some people would prefer I stick to the cute and cuddly, but every animal is vital, and painting them in blazing techni-color is nonsensical enough to knock the stuffing right outta scary.  Besides, I think bats, at least the ones we have here, are really cute.  (Yes, not only am I the lady who moves turtles off of the highway, I'm the neighborhood bat catcher, when one accidentally wanders into a house.)
Somebody has to live in the cave below the waterfall.

Little llama with it's mama.

I hope you have happy plans for the Fourth of July, or more properly, Independence Day.  My little town of Belle Plaine has its summer celebration and fireworks in a few weeks, so it's pretty quiet around here over the holiday.  That's fine with me.  With temperatures this high, I'm looking forward to celebrating my freedom with a good book (#3 in the 100 Cupboards Series, if the library gets it in tomorrow) and about a gallon of iced spice tea, in air conditioned comfort.  Yeah, I know, wild party girl, I am. 

So, that's all the news from Belle Plaine, aka Beautiful Prairie, aka Dust Encrusted Flatland, where the women are sassy, the men are occasionally handy, and the kids are just dang adorable.  If you're on the road this holiday week, tune into National Public Radio, where you just might catch a little Garrison Keillor, whose lines I've borrowed (and mangled enough to avoid copyright issues) in this post.  Sing me out folks..."this land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Island, from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters..."