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, September 30, 2010

If a blind woman is the only one to see the clock, what day is it?

It's a real question, and one that only my mother knows the answer to.  You see, I do not know for sure if I was born on September 30th or October 1st, though my birth certificate says October 1st.  My mom says it was the stroke of midnight, and the doctors forgot to look at the clock, as they were too busy looking at my club foot (and I forgive them their slip, if that's what it was, as the repair to my ankle is the best that many doctors have ever seen...thanks guys).  Mom says they told her she could choose, and since my oldest brother Ramon Jr. was born on the 30th, she chose the 1st, to give me my own birthday.

Do I know how to party, or what?  Apparently, I learned the "always snag a reserve bottle" trick by my first birthday.

That was the sentence that made me question the story.  Just check the family albums...every childhood birthday shows a two-tier cake, with my candles on one level, and "Tad's" on the other, and both of us standing behind it.  Furthermore, my sister pointed out that Mom was blind without her glasses back then, and would not have been wearing them in the delivery room, so she could not have seen the clock.  Then, from somewhere in my memory banks, comes a story of several false alarms the week before I was born, and something about maternity insurance not kicking in until October 1st.  Hmmmmm...

So, that's my entry into the world...my life begins with a very fishy story, possible insurance fraud, and the theory that time is relative (to the occasion).  If I was inclined to blame life's disappointments on birth trauma, I think I could get a lot of mileage out of this added bonus material.  As it is, I've decided it's a good excuse to celebrate my birthday twice!

Nature puts out unrivaled party decor. 

'Kinley rode along to check out the fall colors today.  I'm seriously not sure I should be allowed to drive this time of year, as the sumac and alders, like these chokecherries are extremely distracting in their crimson and gold splendor.  Talk about A.D.D. !  Oh, look....!

I'm celebrating today already.  Thanks to all who sent cards and emails!  I just opened a box from my friend Roberta, who lives in Chicago.  The box itself is a gorgeous designer thing, and unbeknownst to her, I actually have a thing for gorgeous gift boxes.  Inside was a beautiful meditation drum with CD and instruction book, which is perfect, as I've been meaning to check out this increasingly popular form of meditation and celebration.  Also in the box was a book, The Creative Entrepreneur, A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real, which I am dying to curl up with and enjoy.  Alas, not today, as a few of my girlfriends are having a party for me this evening.  I have been promised chocolate cake and sex on the beach.  The latter is a drink, the former is probably the name of a drink too, but I'm pretty sure I'm getting the solid kind with candles.

Tomorrow, I have to return to the "scene of the grime", and finish grouting the china mosaic fireplace.  I absolutely do not mind spending my birthday there, as my client Jodi is working with me on it, which makes it really fun.  Besides, not only is the project coming out gorgeous, which makes any job fun, but Jodi has promised me something yummy for lunch, and has stroked my vanity, insisting she thought I was about 10 years younger than I am.  Who better to spend the day with???.

So, no work photos until next week.  Aside from the fireplace, my focus this week has been finishing the website (getting very close), and working on some marketing things.  For this, I had to have head shots done, which was surprisingly painless, and the previews I saw were pretty good, considering Toni (frontporchphotos.com) did have to bully me a fair bit, and tell me to shut up more than once.  Sheesh, talk about tough love.  Gentler love was earlier in the week, when one of my young students, Kadence, insisted on drawing a portrait of me.  I always say learning to draw is about learning to see.  I think I like what she sees...

Thank you, Precious.  It's my favorite present.

So, Happy Birthday to Dona, Heather, Teri and Tad, and A Very Merry Unbirthday to all the rest of you!

p.s.  to those who know the birthday/dog curse...McKinley is healthier today than he was last year, so no worries.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creative Connections

The Creative Connection Event, the conference I attended last week, was wonderful.  I was a volunteer on Thursday schlepping boxes of books, and roving the Handmade Market, offering booth sitting and errand running to vendors.   On Saturday, I attended Breakfast With the Editors, a jewelery making class (I made something really tiny, no small feat for a mural painter, and made a fabulous new friend), and in the afternoon, attended a panel discussion where I learned a huge amount about Internet marketing and etail.  I met dozens of artists whose work I have been admiring in magazines for several years, and many not-yet-published ones like me.  I also got to meet and chat with Jo Packham, former president of Chapelle publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief of Where Women Create Magazine, and the soon to launch Where Women Cook Magazine.  I am looking forward to November, when she has promised me a somewhat longer conversation.  She has snapshots of Belle's Kitchen (May 16 blog entry). :))))

One of the artists I met is Kay Foley of Ampersand Cards  http://www.ampersandcards.com/.  She is the only vendor who took advantage of my volunteer service, with a request for a cup of ice.  I bought two of her cards, because I love her wit and style, and then won two of her books in a prize drawing Saturday evening...easily a ten-fold return, I think.

A few others you might want to check out:
http://www.barnbarnbaby.com/  nice gal from just norh of where I grew up
http://www.glassgardenbeads.com/  from near here.  Nice selection
http://www.simplyposhdesigns.com/ lovely tattered treasures

Back to real life, I've spent the week doing paperwork, turning an overabundance of garden veggies (gifted by friends, as I only grow mint and ditch lilies) into soup and spaghetti sauce, doing a few small studio projects, playing art teacher to two of the art girls, working on the staircase, and a bit of mirror mosaic.  Later today, I get to start a china mosaic fireplace surround.  It will actually be a mixed-media job, with bits of interesting wood and metal salvage mixed in with the broken teacups and plates.  Should be fun, as my client has a quirky, kind of dark romantic sense of style.  It might be finished before next week's post.

Here are a couple of shots of my staircase, where I am in the process of replacing the crumbling rubber treads with varnished fabric ones.  Floor cloths for the stairs, basically.  Couldn't find an affordable runner that knocked my socks off, didn't really want to paint, in case a future owner wanted to restore the natural finish, and couldn't bear the thought of stripping and refinishing the treads myself, so this was my solution.  The only problem is the upholstery tacks...I really stink at pounding nails.  I'm great with a circular saw, a jigsaw, a drill, a screw gun, but it takes a major effort for me to get a nail into anything without bending it, and there are a lot of nails in these.  I'll finish by Christmas, I'm sure.

My favorite Jacobean floral vine, glued onto my signature leopard print, with a painted border between.  The varnish dulled the raspberry tones a bit, but just as well, to give it a bit more age, to blend with the slightly worn finish of the stairs.
Across from the staircase, this radiator was a flat off-white, but a lick of black enamel and a bit of gold to highlight the raised detail is much prettier, and balances with the dark wood stairs.  I replaced the flimsy metal topper with a mantle built of an old headboard laid flat beneath a dresser-top mirror frame.  Tonight, I filled the empty mirror space with broken mirror, mosaic fashion, and will show a photo of it in the near future, once I've had a chance to grout it. 

I'm off to bed, but before I go, a reminder about the Autumn Gathering of Goddesses!  I still have tickets to sell.  Scroll down to the end of the last entry to get all the info.  With six mini-workshops and some great gifts to take home, it is easily worth twice the ticket price.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Holy rollin' billboard, Batman!

One would think that having owned a sign shop for eleven years, and then having been in the wall painting business for 12 years since then, that I would have gotten around to lettering my work van long before this.  It's a little looser than I would have done a few years back, but I'm a little looser about a lot of things, now.  I've had a habit of waiting until I can do a thing perfectly before I do it at all, and perfection usually takes more time than I have, so consequently I miss out on a lot.  There are so many things I want to do in this lifetime, and I've spent most of the first half (or so) of mine, waiting for the perfect time or situation, which never seems to come.  I've heard it said that perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse.  I choose to treat myself much better these days.

Yeah, that's the new website is listed on the van.  I guess I better get it finished and launched!  Hmmm...probably time to give up on perfecting it and just hit the go button.

I really think Mango Lace should be a dealer option

Owning a vehicle with 174,000 miles on it definitely frees a person up to do slightly less ordinary things.  I just painted this on Sunday and Monday, and already people are stopping me in parking lots to ask how I got the lace effect.  Answer:  A can of Krylon, a yard of lace fabric, and a very light touch.  Hopefully people will begin stopping me to ask about the decorating services listed on the side!

What a hodge-podge week it's been.  I turned three concrete statues to marble...
...zipped up to St. John's to pop a cross above the door to the sacristy...
...lettered the van, patched some small statues, worked a bit more on the staircase here at Belle, and built a mantle for the foyer radiator tonight.  I expect to have photos of Belle's progress next Thursday.

The other thing I worked on this week is helping plan a special event being hosted by my women in business group, Keystone Women's Circle...

Autumn Gathering of the Goddesses
A different kind of Ladies Night, featuring six mini-sessions

Essential Oil Blending
Hypnosis for stress management
Fall Make-up colors
Home decorating tips and tricks
(feng shui, American style)

It's on Thursday October 7th from 5:15-9:15
starting at Mystic Journey, 109 N. Meridian, Belle Plaine

Refreshments will be served before and after the workshops, and participants will go home with gift bags valued well over the ticket price of $30.

Pre-registration is required, and space is VERY limited, so get a hold of your girlfriends and give me a call or email me.  Seriously, with eight women inviting their clients, and only 30 spots available, we'll fill up quickly.
(952)873-4493   dmquinche@gmail.com

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Warning: I have a Skil Saw, and I Know How to Use It.

Recently my ability to use power tools was raised as a reason why I may never marry again.  I can think of lots of reasons I will avoid that particular institution in the future, but the person who said this honestly thinks that no man worth having would want a woman who owns her own power tools, fixes her own plumbing, and can change a flat tire faster than AAA can send a tow truck.  Alrighty then...My grandmother bought me my first tool kit when I was about eight., my dad let me help re-roof the house when I was ten, and my mom signed me up for seventh grade shop class when I was eleven.  Guess that gives me all the usual suspects to blame in therapy!  ; ) ...ooooh, do you think I can get a discount on the session if I offer to fix those sagging shelves of psychology journals???

Seriously, I think every gal should know how to build things.  It's fun, it's economical, and it's practical.  Below are three of the four paper towel holders I made from salvaged bits, and installed today, at my friend Maureen's art center.  She had those cheap plastic ones that seem to be the only thing you can buy anymore.  You know, the kind that when you have a really big emergency, and you give a yank, the roll pops loose and lands in the pan you left soaking in the sink, resulting in a useless, sodden lump of pulp.  She thought my friend TC might build her some, and he was willing, but I wanted to see how many designs I could come up with that were both easy to reload and trustworthy, and (of course) made of recycled materials.

Design number one:  A simple shelf made of scrap trim and plywood, with end caps of beadboard paneling.  An inverted egg shaped hole supports a section of staircase spindle, whose turnings keep it from sliding out.  Embellished with antique pillowcase lace, attached with old fashioned screen window nails, it matches the vibe of this very cool old boarding house-turned-art retreat.

Design number two was so easy, it almost doesn't count as carpentry.  I had this little shelf, and just had to figure out how to hang the rod, another antique staircase spindle.  Two lengths of silk ribbon, two cup hooks, and four knots, and it works like a charm!

Design number three is everyones favorite.  It's made with two old silver plate forks, a length of scrap 1x3, a left-over piece of dowel, and a fair bit of patience.  Bending the forks exactly the same was trickier than I expected, but worth the effort. 

The only carpentry was rounding the ends of the board, drilling screw holes in the forks, and cutting the dowel to length.  So easy, my art girls could do it, and they are all under the age of nine.

There's nothing wrong with having a man who will do these things for you, if you so desire, but there is much to be said for knowing how to take care of whatever curves life throws at you.  Please support efforts to keep shop classes in our public schools.  These are basic life skills every kid should learn, college-bound techno-whizzes included!

Here are a few shots of Maureen's retail space, including a border I lettered for her last summer.

And here's one of her current pieces, a figure atop a closet full of masks.  Complex in artistry and meaning. 
Remember, click to enlarge, click again for closer detail.

This is the garden entrance to one end of the studio...but I don't know why I'm showing you this, when you can simply go to http://www.maureencarlson.com/ and browse her galleries, see her list of classes, and even take a video tour of her boarding facilities!
Meanwhile, back in Belle Plaine...
This week in art class, Jensen was out with chicken pox, Kadence worked on landscaping in Italian paperclay, and Faith, who has an amazingly long attention span, put the finishing touches on her fairy castle.  I do include drawing lessons in every class, and we learn all kinds of "serious art" stuff, but projects like this are great ways to hone skills and exercise creativity.
This was entirely Faith's design.  My job was to help with engineering and teach construction skills.  The cordless drill, keyhole saw, and x-acto knife all got plenty of use, and yes, my silk flower selection has been somewhat depleted!
Somehow, I don't think learning to use power tools has damaged her femininity in the least.  You go, Babycakes!