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, February 28, 2013

Champagne glaze on a wine bar...

How's your week been so far?  I took a break from playing magazine editor/designer to finish a paint job I started last week, that being my business and all.  It was a really satisfying project, but as it was done with metallic glazes, it doesn't photograph easily, so it doesn't look quite like this in person.  The original plan had been to do a classic linen weave or strie finish, but the samples just looked too fussy.  The designer wasn't on hand to make his opinion known, so the homeowner and I opted for a rubbed streaky finish.  The designer was thrilled. (Whew!)

This was formerly a golden oak bar with mallard green tile on top.  There was a matching tiled fireplace and built-in oak entertainment center to the left of this, which I also worked on.  The new counter top is Cambria, with a chiseled edge, and the fireplace got a very subtle beige tile.  The whole thing's a bit less colorful than my usual pallet, but it is lovely. 

What you don't see here are the ten other doors, and three drawers, which go in two floor to ceiling cabinets at the end of the room.  My inner three-year-old would like to make it known that I could have died of beigey boredom, what with five days of prepping, painting, and glazing, but I didn't.  I persevered, I finished (at 9:30 tonight), the cabinets got rave reviews from designer, client, and client's friends, and I'm done painting for the week.  So, tomorrow it's back to work on page layouts for 365 Being, but at least I can do that in my pajamas, and it's a lot more colorful, so it should be at least noon before the inner brat kicks up a fuss.  Honestly, I don't know how you mothers handle real kids!

Have a great weekend, and hopefully Monday's blog post will include the news that the Spring edition of 365 Being has gone to press.  Prayers and positive ju-ju appreciated!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Three Mug Night

Wow.  Do you know how long it takes to put together the graphic design of an entire magazine?  No?  Oh.  I was sort of hoping you did, 'cause apparently I still don't know.  Much work still to do on the spring issue of 365 Being, and back on a paint job tomorrow, so rather than a thoughtful, useful, or witty essay, I'll leave you with this photo from last night (or was it the night before?)...
Guess this explains why I could find no mugs in the kitchen, when I went down for another cup, sometime in the night.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A little fun with dining chairs...

I am in love with this chair.  So in love that I'd like a whole set for my dining room.  In fact, it was one of my inspiration pieces when I designed my dining room...

I may one day have a set of these made.

Then again, I really like this one, which matches the room nicely, but I think a whole set would be a bit too much in the grand scheme of curly-cueness...

One is pretty, but six?  Hmmm...

Hand sculpted plaster rings the upper walls of my dining room.
This one's twigginess goes nicely with the twiggy valances in the adjoining parlor, but it's a bit casual, and for dining the seat would need to be a whole lot more comfortable.  Still, I'd love a pair of these in my garden...

Maybe better for the garden, after all.

The parlour's twiggy valances knock a bit of the starch out of the formal draperies, but the formality of the draperies keeps pace with the dining room's fanciness.
 As a designer, I find the hardest thing about decorating my own home is continually finding delightfully unique furnishings, thus running out of room long before running out of lovely ideas.  I think I have the perfect solution, though...

So many chairs, so little floorspace needed!

Wishing you a perfectly enchanted weekend!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Borrowing Faith

Who is this kid, and what's she doing?  Ahhh, the mystery...

This is Faith.  You know...what you need when the puppet strings tangle for the umpteenth time, and you really just wanna scrap the whole project, but you know you have to finish.  Faith makes it work.  Sometimes it's a good thing that (at least on Mondays) my Faith comes with her own hands and a sweet light heart, and total belief in my ability to figure out anything.  Good thing her mama lets me borrow her, 'cause some days, I need a little extra Faith.

365 Being Spring Issue is coming together, thanks to the help of Faith and many, many others.  365being.com.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sugar buzz or mad passion? Eh, same dif.

Oh, my stars!  I started working on the final featured project for the Spring issue of 365 Being late yesterday afternoon, and next thing I knew, it was nearly 5 in the morning.  Good thing my sister and nephew sent me sustenance!  How loved am I? :) 
Valentine goodies from Robin and Dominic.  Jewelery bits to wear or turn into art, and a box of homemade cookies.  Yes, there were a lot more cookies in the box.  By the time I thought to take a picture, it was sorta too late to put them back.

And the project I spent a cookie-fueled night painting.  What is it?  Not finished, that's what.  :))))  Guess you might have to buy the Spring issue of 365 Being to see what it turns into!  365being.com
All-nighters in the studio are fun, but I've a feeling it's going to be an espresso-fueled afternoon.  I just hope it's not going to be a telemarketer morning, cause I need a couple of hours of shut-eye before I get out the colors and finish this thing.  Yaaawwwwwn.

Monday, February 11, 2013

10 tips to deal with bubbles in a paint finish

I painted and decoupaged this little table several years ago.  It's a perfect little jewel in my closet, though quite often its top is obscured by stacks of t-shirts, or a basket of clean laundry.

A calendar print of a Renoir painting is decoupaged on top, and matching paint colors extend the art across the surface.  A quote by the artist ties nicely to the subject of this painting, and a tassel made from a champagne cork is a subtle reference to both the art and the words, adding a finishing detail to the piece.
I had a visit from a decorating client today, and in the course of catching up on things, she mentioned she and a daughter are painting some small side tables for their music room/parlor. They were having trouble with air bubbles in the finish on the top, and she wondered if I had any tips. Since I get asked this often, I figured it might be worth sharing these tips with all of you, as well.

1.  Be sure the surface is free of dust, which means if you sand or buff between coats, be sure to use a tack cloth or damp rag and dust it off each time.

2.  I don't sand between coats, but I do buff, and what I use will surprise you:  brown paper grocery bags.  Fine sandpaper will usually take off more paint than necessary, whereas brown paper bag  just removes the little bubbles, burrs and boogers.

3.  Thin your paint just a bit, and do three very thin coats, rather than one or two thick ones.  The difference in the smoothness of the finish is worth the extra time.  Not only will you get fewer air bubbles, you will get fewer brush or roller marks.

4.  Use a roller on flat surfaces.  A little firm foam roller usually works best.  Don't over saturate it, and once you have quickly rolled the paint evenly onto the surface, very lightly roll back over it to remove air bubbles.  If any remain, and it's on something like a table top, tap the underside, or try blowing quick puffs of air.  Careful not to overdo this!  Getting dizzy and tipping into your project isn't helpful.

5.  Don't overwork your paint.  If it starts to tack up and lift or get lumpy, just stop.  There is no point in working it further, as it will absolutely not get any better.  Either very quickly wipe it off with a wet rag, or let it dry and sand it smooth, before trying again. 

6.  Remember Plan B.  If you can't get it smooth, you can always turn it into an art piece and intentionally create a lightly textured, perhaps multi-colored surface, maybe even collaging on some interesting papers.  Just keep it smooth enough not to tip a glass, and seal it with PolyCrylic.

7.  Or Plan C...you could also sand it back a bit here and there, rub on some raw umber paint, and create a fashionable distressed finish, or even do a little crackle number.

8.  Or Plan D...doilies and dust cover a multitude of imperfections.

9.  Or Plan E...Low lighting, good wine, and witty conversation will insure no one ever sees your tabletops.

10.  Or Plan F...Though I love it when clients pick up their own paint brushes, if it's worth investing in and it really has to be smoother than you can get it, you can always hire me.  Click over to the website for contact info theartofthehome.com.

It usually takes a little practice to get good at anything, and getting a good paint finish is no different.  Start small, use good quality tools (a Purdy sash brush is my real best friend), and have fun.   Perspective might be your most valuable tool, so remember, it's a paint-worthy table, not a Porsche.  (Though I could have some serious fun with a paintbrush and a Porsche, given the opportunity...)  :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reality Show...

Do anything fun today?  I spent most of the day making up recipes with Cat for the Spring issue of 365 Being (just about ready to put the whole thing together), and ended the day with a two hour flamenco dance workshop.  My feet do not love me right now.  They'll get over it.  My heart is very happy. 

Cat's first encounter with secret raspberry sauce.   Wow!  By the time we got this far, we had run out of clean spoons for testing, but it's not like we were feeding it to anyone else, and our fingers were clean.  We know because we had just licked secret lemon caper sauce off of them. :)

I don't think Cat is going to let me test recipes in her kitchen anymore.  In order to reduce the sauce by half, one is not supposed to boil a large quantity of it over into the burner.  I don't think Food Network is probably going to invite me to test them in their kitchens either.
We vowed to keep it real with this publication, so while we aim for excellence, we loudly proclaim that perfectly imperfect is perfectly fine.  Relax the expectations, and everything gets a whole lot more fun... unless you're the one cleaning the stove.  Sorry Cat.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love Letters

I'd have loved getting this kit when I was a kid! Its former owner used up all the jewels, feathers and bows, but there's still plenty of hearts for a whole passel of Valentines.

I wrote a love letter yesterday.  Enjoyed it so much, I think I'll write several more between now and Valentine's Day.  No, darling friends, I am not dating.  I am solidly in love with my life, and when I'm not painting walls, the bookazine is my all-consuming passion.  Not all love notes are romantic, you know.  And not all love notes are planned.

I was intending to spend a couple of hours Sunday evening moodling with my art journals, and decided to go change into jammies and slippers, so I could go from journalling, to watching Downton Abbey (Masterpiece on PBS, if you are one of the few who hasn't been hooked), and then straight to bed.  I don't know where the train of thought started, but as I was pulling on my ocelot slipper boots (very near and dear, as you know by now if you even occasionally read this blog), I found myself in a conversation with my oldest brother, Ramon.  The exact words have faded as quickly as any dream, but it was something about getting older, and we probably ought to touch base a bit more often.  Just because I talk aloud when nobody is present doesn't mean I'm talking to myself.

Ramon and I have very different views of the world, and for personal reasons he chose to disengage from most of our family.  He never said "good bye" to me, he just didn't answer letters.  Of course, he never had answered them, so it took a few years to figure he probably was intentionally out of contact.  I let it go.  I knew where he was living, occasionally heard from others who had visited with him or had heard news of him, and I had him where I'd always had him, tucked safely in my heart.

Ramon was exactly six when I was born, and family lore has it that after a week, he asked if he could return his birthday present.  I guess at some point he must have gotten over the disappointment of getting a sister instead of a BB gun, because he became Super-Brother for many years.  I've another brother, Jesse, who's closer in age, and he and I played together more, shared art supplies, did our homework together, shared friends a bit, even.  Jess and I were friends.  Ramon Big Brothered me.  He piggy backed me around the house when my leg was in a cast (though I could perfectly well walk).  He took me to art class and the park on the "pumper seat" of his bicycle.  He tried to boss me around when our parents weren't home (which no, was not usually very successful).  He let me move to Montana with him and his young family when I was first leaving the nest.  He chased off guys before I knew they were on the doorstep, according to Mama.

I've a heart full of memories of him dancing like a wild one in his logging boots, leaping on a friend's horse to chase down her escaped cow, (though I'm pretty sure Daisy May could have been chased down by a toddler on a tricycle), rolling his eyes at my teenage taste (or lack of it) in music...so many snapshots and clips, that he could never be forgotten.

It's easy to let time slip by, but I figure twenty years is probably long past long enough to wait for his reply to the last letter.  So, instead of journalling, I sat down and wrote my big brother a letter about what I've been up to, asked a bit about his life, tucked in a few photos, and addressed the envelope.  Last I heard, he's still in the same area, and it's the sort of place, if he's within fifty miles, someone will see he gets it.  We're getting older, and memory gets lost, and sometimes letters do, and what if he's been waiting for my reply to his last one?  Or maybe he lost track of time, too.  Have you?  It's a good month for love letters.