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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer issue underway. Not so sure about summer...

It seems to have finally decided to warm up, here in Minnesota, but it's still mostly cloudy and rainy.  I might whine louder but I can't go out and play, anyway.  Not until the summer issue of 365 Being is in the hands of the printers.  Here's a few tidbits of the schmorgasbord it's turning into...

We share some of our favorite books, and our featured BEing, Maureen Carlson shares her picks, too...
 We couldn't feature books and not talk about libraries.  We have some really big ones...
 ...and some really tiny ones...
 And speaking of tiny ones... 
They're never too little to learn to color on the walls DM style! I do love my job.  More of this mural, along with oodles of other stuff coming soon in the summer issue of 365 Being.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Free sample of 365 Being!

Hi-ho, Dawn-Marie and Cathy here!
Actually, that's Cat on the left, and DM on the right.

...and we have...

If you haven't read 365 Being yet, here's your chance to do so for FREE, and please would you be so kind as to facebook share this post, or email a link to this blog to everyone you think might like this free issue of 365 Being, or everyone who knows someone else who might like it (which is just about everyone you know)?

Who wouldn't want to receive a free, fun, no-ads magazine?

Okay, so here's the deal...

About this time last year, we got this crazy idea to create a bookazine (an advertising-free magazine on book quality paper, meant to be kept or shared), and by autumn, we were in print (and PDF). We're celebrating our year of insanity with a fabulous freebie:

Our Sampler Issue
in PDF format
is now completely FREE!

It's a smaller issue than our usual, but it's filled with the same full color ideas (and we do mean FULL color) for living a hands-on, heart felt, perfectly imperfect life. Also, like all of our issues, it's free of annoying advertising! All content, all real, all fun! And it's all yours!

You can download it for yourself, send it to friends, zap it off to pen-pals...
click: 365being.com
Give us a try, and if you enjoy it, we would love to have you as a subscriber! You can subscribe in PDF, but print subscribers get a gorgeous coffee table book (so dubbed by several of our readers) and fun little freebies tucked in with every issue. Readers who have seen and loved it first in PDF, and then in print, say it's so surprisingly, deliciously more amazing in print. Okay, that's not the exact thing they said, but all combined, that's the gist of it. Oh, and every issue has a different look than the one before.

We choose a loose theme for each issue, and for our Summer issue (coming out in June), the theme is "For the Love of Books". Polymer clay artist, and author of oodles of books on fun with clay, Maureen Carlson, is our featured artist. (She's shown above, dressed in her story telling garb, holding our Sampler Issue.) Our Artgirl, Faith, tested a project from one of Maureen's books, and we'll show you how to make it, too. You can also read about big, old, beautiful libraries, and the new tiny libraries popping up in front yards across the country. Need to feed the book club (which we might inspire you to start with Barb Gates Schaben's story)? How about a recipe for potato salad with no mayo?

Friends taste-tested this recently, and the ooh's and yum's assured us it was a print-worthy dish. It tastes as fresh as it looks, thanks to lots of veggies, including avocados, and fresh tarragon! We have created several more recipes that feature the fresh herbs of summer, along with a few gardening tips, book reviews and recommendations, and oh, there's so much more in the summer issue, but you get the idea:
It's a whole buncha fresh, fabulous stuff in a beautiful book, for you to enjoy on your porch swing, hammock, patio or poolside.

Subscribe now, so you don't miss it!
(or just download the free sample issue, to see if we're your cup of tea)
click here: 365being.com
Be sure you don't miss a single issue! You can subscribe in PDF, but again, print subscribers not only get a beautiful book to keep or share, they get extra little goodies tucked into each issue... Greeting cards, book marks, paper dolls, art supplies...whatever we think might catch your fancy! We're that kind of fun.

The winter issue had a love dove for subscribers to cut out and color, or to use as a pattern to make a whole flock from all kinds of papers.
So, here's to a great summer, and if our style meshes with yours, we hope you will include 365 Being on your summer reading list. And again, being a small, no-ads publication, we don't have a mega-corporation's advertising budget, so we would really truly and deeply appreciate it if you would share this link through email or facebook (just click the icon under this post!) with anyone and everyone who would not be bothered by receiving it. You just never know who would be delighted by a free sample of our colorfully quirky and charming version of a lifestyle magazine.

Heartfelt hugs and Smiles,
Dawn-Marie and Cathy
365 Being

btw:  Perfect Parfait recipe is in the Spring issue.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Peace, love and paint...and dance. Definitely dance.

This week's project was a fun little bedroom mural, for a seven year old sweetie, named Charlie.  She had a hard time deciding between a peace room and a dance room, so designer Codie Donahue (that's a clickable link) asked if I could do a bit of both.  I think it worked out well...

Twirling in and leaping out, the dancers continue around the room.

Details and...

more details.

First, I drew it in with chalk.

Next, my young assistant donned a paint shirt and helped me do a blocking coat of white acrylic.  This keeps the foggy blue wall color from showing through and dulling our bright paint colors.

In another setting, and with a few details tweaked, this could have just been left white.

Then we added color.  Charlie got her mama to paint a few shapes for us.
Here are all the dancers, in order of appearance...

So, last week I wood grained doors, this week I painted technicolor peace dancers, next week I finish the art and design for the summer issue of 365 Being, and the week after, it's a mural of either Venice or the Italian countryside (kinda hoping they pick Venice, since I haven't painted that yet).  If variety is the spice of life, my life is truly well seasoned!  Hope yours is just as much fun!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Messing with perfectly nice paint...

...because that's what I do!

Flat 50's goes rustic, with a bit of elbow grease and some glaze.
My client Alison loves the hand painted furniture of Henredon, and through vigilant craigslist shopping, she's collected some nice pieces.  Her home is traditional, leaning toward French Country, though a bit more streamlined than a lot of my French Country loving clients.  The fact that she's a professional organizer probably explains that, or maybe she's always been this tidy, which is why she's an organizer...hmm, well, suffice it to say, this was not a job where I had to trip over backpacks or step on legos.  Big plus!

First sand...
Another great thing about this project?  Alison wanted more than fit in her budget, so she agreed to help me with all the prep.  This doesn't always go very well, as some clients mean well, but they spend much of the day answering their cell phones, and stopping to run errands, and I still do most of the work at a discount price.  Grrrr.  Not Alison!  She's used to hard work and she keeps her word, so I got out of a whole day of prep and sanding, and most especially, CLEAN UP!  Mega bonus for me!

...then glaze
Alison's house was built in 1958, in a very nice neighborhood.  It's a split level, with the traditional styling of that era, which means it was well built, but nearly devoid of personality.  Over the years, she and her husband have added charm, and recently, they took on the kitchen, replacing the appliances, sink and counters.  Now, Alison doesn't buy cheap crap, and she doesn't waste money, so it didn't make sense to her to replace the sturdy but plain cabinets.  She knew who to call for those.

A bit of extra umber will help hide the fact that the new hinges are just a breath smaller than the old ones.
After a short conversation, we agreed to create a finish similar to one of her rustic painted pieces.  Because we wanted to just sand back the existing finish and add a glaze, I chose to use Benjamin Moore's acrylic D.T.M.  The ultra base, usually used for mixing dark colors, works great as a glaze, and it bonds well to most acrylic paints.  When putting new paint over old without a bonding primer, always do a test first.  Give things a week or two to cure, and try scratching it.  You shouldn't be able to separate the new from the existing.

Silly Robin built her nest in the window box right outside from the kitchen sink.
Alison hit the cabinet cases with the sander to show me how much distressing she wanted, and then I took over and did the doors, while she wiped them clean.  The next day, I mixed a yellowish tan to simulate the yellowing of old oil paint, and an umber to mimic tanin bleed, then alternated brushing and wiping until it looked right.  While I finished the last of the doors, her husband was installing the first ones, and Alison was practically crowing with delight.  Exactly the look she wanted at a fraction of the cost of new.

Hopefully her four eggs will still hatch, since she flies away almost everytime anyone uses the sink.  She was braver on the colder days, and stayed put, so maybe it will be okay.
It's not the right look for everyone, but Alison has been collecting this style of painted furniture for longer than I've known her, which is something like eleven years, so there's not much chance she'll get tired of the cabinet finish anytime soon. 

Painting your cabinets is a great way to get more from your kitchen remodeling budget, as long as the cabinets are well positioned and well built.  You can see examples of other styles of cabinet paint finishes on my website, theartofthehome.com.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Warning: I brake for junk.

You know that Christmas song that goes "It's the most wonderful time of the year"?  I've been singing it all day.  (What was that?  Now it's stuck in your head?  Sorry 'bout that.)  No, it's not snowing again, here in Minnesota.  I think the sleet on Saturday really might have been the end of that nonsense.  It's spring, and while I do love spring for all the usual reasons, I really love it because...

It's Junk Season!  There are finds popping up on curbs everywhere!  Look what I got today:
These old radio cabinets are the best for repurposing.  Never mind the chipped veneer or the scratches!  With a bit of paint and a little restyling, it could be an elegant liquor cabinet or display niche.  With a lot of paint and all kinds of other stuff, it could be a cool mixed media art piece.  I have one in my kitchen converted to a bookcase (the front opening is much larger than this one), and one in my dining room that I want to turn into a puppet theater.  This one might become a doll house.  Maybe Madame Lucie (click her name or read the last post to meet her) would like to live in it.  Or maybe I need it for linens, or it could hold the printer and fax in the office, or...

 You don't quite get the excitement?  Oh, well.  The resident rabbit wasn't too impressed with my fab find, either.  She tried to keep an eye on me while I unloaded it from the van, but the warm sun was too much for her.  Just looking at her is making me yawn, so I must be over my rapture enough to get some sleep.  Perhaps I"ll dream up even more ideas for things to create from obsolete technology.

Have a great week filled with your favorite treasures! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Introducing Madame Lucie Bonnard...

A.K.A.  Miss Lucy Bond, a mouse of indeterminate age and uncommon courage.

I launched a new website today, and another sort of sideline business, if one can call travelling with a mouse a business.  As many of my friends know, I am attending a class in southern France this summer.  As part of the class, I had a homework assignment to write a short couple of paragraphs.  As many of my friends, as well as my readers here know, I have a very bad habit of turning simple projects into full-blown hikes through the brambles.  This little assignment was no exception. 

Rather than retell the story here though, can I convince you to click over to Lucie's brand new website?  Her story is there, along with her plan to help pay her way.  Of course she needs no airfare, but she wants to see more sights than my frugal budget will probably cover, so she has an offer for you.  Read her story, and see if you want in on the fun!

click here:  Postcards From Lucie

Monday, May 6, 2013

Something fun is in the works...

No blog post tonight.  I'm getting ready to launch something new online, most likely tomorrow or Wednesday, so check back to see what I'm up to, and meet my newest friend!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Merry Pranksters Indeed!

So, did you celebrate May Day?  I had planned to bring back my childhood tradition of delivering May baskets, but it's a good thing I had intended to use bedding plants instead of my traditional dandelion and Johnny jump-ups bouquets, because this is what our weather looked like here...

May Day Farmer's Market Opener.  The May showers were a little more, um, solid than usual.

I didn't get a chance to check out opening day of our local Farmer's Market, but since the market manager is Lisa Fahey, and since Lisa is also the photographer for the book I was supposed to be finishing illustrations for, I think I'm forgiven for not attending.  And yes, as of 5 o'clock this morning, after one last all-nighter, I did finish all 34 pages plus covers!  Wa-Hoo!!!  Can't show you the pages yet, but here's the aftermath of that party...

You know it was a great party when there are things hanging from the lamps and the floor is covered with confetti.  Two audio book mysteries, a full pot of coffee, and two kinds of paint and three kinds of glue...I am such a party animal.
 I did have to run a couple of errands up the highway yesterday, so I stopped at Pearson Greenhouse (pearsongreenhouse.com or scroll back a few weeks on this blog for some photos) to get some basil and violas to fill those May baskets.  I thought about asking for dandelions, but decided they don't know me well enough for that, yet. 

May basket with violas and purple basil.  Directions for these are in the spring issue of 365being.  365being.com

In proper May Day fashion, I left a basket for Cat on her door, rang and ran.  Sadly, I didn't get a fair test to see if I'm still fast enough at this.  She happened to be walking through the kitchen as I made my sneaky dash to her door, so she spotted me out the window.  Sigh.  In an apparent effort to show me how it's done, a pair of pink plastic flamingos appeared in my front yard a few hours later.  I'm sure I'd have caught her if I hadn't been so intently and virtuously focused on finishing her illustrations. 

Whatever your plans, here's wishing you sunshine and good friends to enjoy it with this weekend!