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

Friday, October 29, 2010

Zen and the Art of Cat Herding

Did you miss me?  I missed blogging.  My computer was "on vacation".  That's what they say when they go to the Betty Ford of computer places, right?  Mine needed some serious detoxing, but now she's back, and feeling much perkier.  Can't say as she looks any younger, but she's healthy, and much less moody, so perhaps we can finish the new website in the next few days, get some work done on the decorating book, and maybe up the blog frequency.  One step at a time, of course.

I had some non-cyber adventures while disconnected from the net world.  I've been on a spiritual quest to become a bit more, well, zen.  To go joyfully with the flow, in cooperation with the universe.  Not drowsily calm (even I can't imagine me at anything less than low bounce, and I can imagine almost anything), but not so jerked around by outside forces.  "Be still and know..." and all that.  My friends Ben, Zack and Joey had some fun giving me a midterm test in this course.

These three furballs, one of whom dodged the camera, belong to my friend Beth, who trusts me to feed them and tuck them in for the night when she travels.  This time, they made me work to deserve her trust.  Beth adopts cats, and lets them live in their preferred environment.  These three prefer to be outdoor cats, and so they have the roam of the countryside by day, but at night, she likes them tucked into their cathouse, safe from coyotes and teenage drivers.  The last time I did this was in the winter, when the kitties liked to be inside their heated home, and were already waiting when I arrived to feed them and lock the gate.

Early autumn is a different story.

They came up and hung out, not admitting to remembering me, but finally allowing me to pet them.

They even showed how little the presence of a near-stranger concerned them.

They came running enthusiastically, when I suggested dinner.

Knowing how inferior human brains are, they made sure I knew where to find the human door.

But, no thank you, they weren't particularly hungry, sleepy, nor interested in discussing interior decorating.

In fact, they thought it a lovely evening to sit out and listen to the symphony of buzzing mosquitoes, and quite enjoyed the percussion my slaps added to the drone.

This was one of the more polite suggestions made, as I grew increasingly frustrated with my job as herder of cats. 

Eventually, after going through my repertoire of preschool teacher up-speak, most of my repertoire of sailor speak, and some undignified begging, I laid on my back in the grass and decided to talk to any angels, gods or passing sprites.  I had promised Beth to tuck them in, and though I had friends waiting at a party, I couldn't just give up.  But, in case you haven't guessed this, I'm not a cat person.  I like them fine, but I've never owned one, and the one time I tried, I discovered that a person can be allergic to specific cats.  VERY allergic. ( Powder lives indoors at Beth's now.)

Then came the voice of reason/angel/sprite/God.  The answer?  "You can't force cooperation from someone who doesn't see a benefit for themselves, even if you see it clearly.  Give them something they want."  Good thing I'm a dog person, and a very good dog person, at that.  Since my dog eats homemade food, there is always fresh boiled chicken in my fridge, so just a quick trip back to town, and I had kitties eating out of the palm of my hand...all the way in through the gate.  

They say they would have gone in on their own, had I left them, and I can let them have the last word.  I'm feeling very zen, after all!  :) 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Exactly Do I Do For a Living?

Tonight I participated in a ladies night event here in Belle Plaine, The Autumn Gathering of the Goddesses.  It was put on by Keystone Women's Circle, a group of female businesses owners, of which I am a founding member.  We are all dedicated to doing business in a way that supports our communities, expresses our authentic gifts, and respects the planet.  We have joined together to help each other promote and grow our businesses, like a mini-Chamber of Commerce for cool chicks.

Tonight's event was a huge success, and went amazingly smooth, especially considering it's our first one of this kind.  The hardest thing for me, aside from fitting my six presentations into their 25 minute time slots, and getting each group out my front door and headed around the corner to the next location on time, was explaining to people exactly what it is that I do.  Take this past week, for example, and tell me how to describe it in a sentence...

Along with having two art students on Monday,  making programs and presenters name tags and hand-painted personalized wine glasses for every participant in tonight's event, I tricked out one pick-up in girly swirls:

I think Sherry is pretty happy with it, judging by the look on her face!

Photographed a cabinet job I did a few years back:

"McKenzie finish" is a blend of cream with ochre and umber streaks.  It is named for a certain collectors china that it coordinates with.

This end cabinet was stock, until I added the crown (salvaged from an old dresser mirror frame - dresser and mirror both long lost), and the wood appliques at the hinges.  The idea was to make it look like this kitchen was made up of custom cabinets built in around an old posh hotel ice box, instead of '80s builder oak.  As you might imagine from the acid green wall color, this client has a bold sense of personal style, which makes her great fun to work with.   The close-up below shows the black-rub over peacock blue finish. 

and did a chip-china/mixed media mosaic for the same client on a fireplace:

The client, Jodi, worked with me on this, which really contributed to the final look, and the fact that it only took four days, and not six or seven.  Most china mosaic is very sweet, but this, with all sorts of interesting bits of iron, glass and mirror, and cocoa brown grout is a little more edgy, which perfectly suits the quirky, dark romantic style of this home and it's owner.

I guess what I do for a living is help clients express their creative imaginings in whatever way best suits them.  Perhaps I'll have to change my business card to read "artistic translator". 

For tonight, I'm going to sign off of here, go put my feet up, enjoy my sparkly clean house and the contented exhaustion of having successfully pulled off tonight's event.  I'm fairly certain that after four straight hours of presenting,  I will have no voice when I awake in the morning, but hey, I don't meet with my newest client until noon, so no worry!