Friday, February 29

Friday - whew,

What a week. No it was not the Blogger's Honeymoon that caused me to blog so much that first week, it was the fact that I had not started all these projects and a challenge to myself. Also, I made a run to the library and got a stack of books and I also this past week joined the Biggest Loser online club.

I somehow, unbeknownst to me, ended up with a really hardcore group of exercisers that are really into this stuff and sponsoring a challenge that I joined. We even had to publicly post our measurements added up and our weight (ouch!). It is what I need but the day is being devoted to hours of exercise (much like the people on the show). Ugh, I am sore, tired and not getting all the chocolate/cocoa and lattes that I love to have. Horrors,
I almost absent mindedly popped a chocolate clay rose into my mouth as I was putting up my Valentine's display. Caught myself in time though. That would have taken another hour trudging on the treadmill to work off.

Project update:

Today, when the dogs were taking their nap, I primed my plant stand in the back yard. I also, today, spotted a good color candidate on someone's garage door. They had just painted it and what a wonderful green shade it is. I also saw a blue that I found in a Painting Cottage Scenes on Shovels chapter of a decorative art book and what a blue it is - gorgeous. These are some choices but I also keep dallying back to simple shabby chic white.

I will photograph that garage door, surreptiously while no one is watching (I have to get out of my car to do this and this has attracted the attention before of an overzealous security guard on duty) and I will take that photo and have the paint guy/gal at the Depot match it. I will scan the shovel painting and have that matched too. These colors are ones to keep on hand, plus I can decide which one to use.

Well, my project is done and it is time to yet again go exercise.

Tuesday, February 26

Project update/Dog emergency

Did not end up even getting to furniture project. Had to rush my doggie to the vet. She is ok now, but am I glad I had all systems on go...

I always have a checklist for what must be done and always in place for a dog emergency. These things must be ready at all times.

1. Always have gas in the car.
2. Always have the ole credit card around.
3. Always have cell phone batteries charged up.
4. Know the emergency procedure, such as calling vet's office to know if I should keep driving or pull over and start dog cpr, and to let them know of what the incoming emergency is.

Whew. My dog still has some test results but it may have just been a nosebleed. She was doing one of those backward sneezes for a long time and as I checked on her I saw blood coming out of (what I thought) was her mouth.

Eeek. Scary situation. And could not reach Hubby or Sis. Finally did as the tech came out and asked me if I used any rat poison. I said no, we do not own rat poison. Yet I was told to check on the other dogs as the symptoms were showing as poisoning. I actually was quite calm as I drove home and ran in to check for more bleeding noses. The littlest dog appeared to have labored breathing and by then Sis and Hubby had come home and we rushed the littlest dog back up to the vet. She was fine and all were ok. Was not rat poisoning after all.

Goodness, what a circus and some totally shot nerves. Whew! am I glad though I have that emergency plan in place. I only need to make sure it includes some dressing options: I, of course, ditched any attempts at makeup, but in the commotion managed to run out of the house without keys, shoes or a bra (grabbed a sweatshirt though).

Anyway, back to furniture project challenge. I am getting the first series of sandings in. On a huge piece of furniture this sounds easier than it is and of not too much accomplishment - but it is. I am a stickler for sanding the underbelly and other hidden areas. No slap, sand and dash for me. I am using medium grade sandpaper and doing this as a start by hand and not the power sander.

And great news: I heard from my Easter Basket Swap buddy! She is from Australia. An awesome Aussie (sorry just could not resist that - love those Aussies). I think she has a blog but am not sure and she loves things from Micheals - yes - a fun basket to produce for her.

An odd footnote: my comments on other blogs keep coming up as 'anonymous'. How sort of creepy is that? Still need to learn some simple computer things such as putting my name on a comment.

Monday, February 25

A Furniture Project

I have had a super busy weekend, whew, but it is Monday morning and I need to get to work on my furniture project. I am repainting my huge plant stand. I have washed it and need to go from there but have a case of furniture repainter's/repurposer's block. I just need to decide on a color.

I guess when we are in doubt we do the Shabby Chic color of white. That is so refreshing a dark dingy brown wood to a bright and light white!

Friday, February 22

Blogland & Projects

Well, I got one project, The Queen of Hearts done.

These blog swaps are a lot of fun!

I love the way I have done more, learned more in two weeks of having a blog that would have taken months for me to complete in blogless land. I am even learning computer skills, photography, the list goes on. It is amazing.

I woke up today and thought of actually lugging this huge heavy plant stand outside and priming it. I love reading how other ladies are repurposing and redoing old furniture - just makes ya want to get out the paint brush and go to town with any furniture you have.

Thursday, February 21


I have been working with red. Deep red, crimson red, Cardinal red, glitter icy red, rose red. I have almost completed the red things I will be using for my Queen of Hearts project.

I am making my own hearts and having to color them (crackerbox cardboard) also I am playing again with the fake crepe paper. I take my coffee filter (cone shaped type) and put some red acrylic paint on it. I want some different reds so I have been mixing different nuances of red...a drop more of blue here, a bit more orange for another color red.

Taking the coffee filter, I layered on several different reds, after a quick water wash as the first layer. I painted more red, different reds then waited for it to dry and topped with unthinned coat of red all over it - so several layers give an intense saturation and depth of color.

This is a very effective way to study color theory. I have always disliked the color theory part in art class or books and would blase over it. This way, mixing color and painting my own red hearts instead of purchasing ready made hearts makes color theory real and usable and definitely memorable.

I am going to be picking up crepe paper (a search for it led me to the local party supply store for the streamers) but it is nice to know I can use coffee filters in a pinch.

Wednesday, February 20

'Poor Man's Gesso'

As is wont to happen when I do a project I can get sidetracked. As I started on the preliminaries of my Queen of Hearts project, I decided to make my own cardstock (or could be called 'poor woman's cardstock' - which really my motivation is to both repurpose a cracker box and have more coinage for emptying out the gold leaf aisle at Micheals this week).

While using this crackerbox I realized it needed a basecoat and as most artists I instinctively reached for my trusty bottle of gesso. As I did this I remembered during some research of paper mache a book had called (VOC free) White Latex paint 'The Poor Man's Gesso'. This is from an older book hence the somewhat chauvinistic slant to their namesake of this.

I like it! It is great and I am going to take my gesso bottle and refill with a bit of low voc white latex paint that always seems to be lurking in my garage.

Monday, February 18

A Swap

Getting ready for Easter Basket Swap. This is so exciting as some international bloggers are joining in. Partners are to be assigned this week. Pastels, glitter
and Easter bunnies and chicks. This is also a great chocolate Holiday!

I also want to make a little Queen of Hearts. I have always wanted to interpret this; and I want to use glitter, gold, and chocolate clay hearts.

Lots of chocolate and glitter and fun!

Saturday, February 16

Shopping & Grey Gardens

One thing just leads to another. As I took photos of my dinette area, I noticed the light fixture was just all wrong. I have always longed for a chandelier and there Sis and me were at Home Depot getting some primer for a furniture project and she encouraged me to just get this fantastic chandelier - in fact she bought it. Thanks Sis!

Let's think: a huge, lots of crystal type things on it chandelier in my tinsy dinette area -
I love it. And, what the heck, we also got a tile/plaster looking thing you put
on the ceiling to attach the chandelier. Of course that looks too new and too
glaring plain white, it needs some vintaging.

All my stuff is too old in an unexciting way, as in my husband's bachelor bedroom furniture, or the outdated hutch outdated because it does not
look good outdated or chippy, peeled and shabby.

I need some new old looking stuff. But, I was raised that you just hold onto your furniture forever and forever. Sure that might eventually after decades breed some fine antiques, but I am just not liking that idea for me.

This is the exciting era where we can take thrift shop finds and paint it or even take our Hubby's bachelor days furniture and paint it a darling Robin Egg Blue. In my Mother's time, women just redecorated with an Interior Designer with brand new furniture. To not do so was just so:

Grey Gardens...

That documentary that went behind the doors of some pre-Shabby Chic ladies that seemed so Miss Haversham then, but today would be getting top billing in a decorating magazine. They did have flair that someone noticed though, a European fashion magazine did a fashion spread based on the daughter's costumes she had fashioned.

If only these ladies had started the rampaging trend that is now, then. Their old, homemade, chipped furniture just did not launch any ships off into the stuffy world of home decoration. To be sure, when you have foundation cracks in the wall and well, a grey, untended, weedy garden and other dilapidations quite evident it just does not make one want to imitate the whole style. A thorough decluttering would have not been a bad idea either. You need that everything totally upkept, well cared for, maintained place; then you stick in your chipped pieces that would have years ago been relegated to the junk heap.

This is so liberating how this new trend came to be. Anything goes, and if it happens to be old, junky, thrift shoppy, flea marketed - that is so much the better. We brag about our junque. If it is new, well then we have these paint techniques to age it up.

And reading some blogs where the ladies repaint their walls, redo furniture just to change the room is to me very exciting. You just don't get stuck in a rut and your home becomes your canvas.

I look at a piece of furniture and see a blank canvas, I look at a blank white wall and see an even bigger blank canvas...for a mural - and if I don't like it all I have to do is repaint it. An easel the size of a wall - or a wall. If only art class had been like this.

I am planning, I picture the Trompe L'Oeil, the chipped furniture, the unframed paintings, the thrift shop finds mixed with my oversized chandelier; all these possibilities makes it all so exciting...and no documentarian will come knocking on my door to film the results.

Friday, February 15


A three tiered white paper mache cake on a real cake stand. I used some chocolate clay hearts, repurposed craft store rose, real rose petals. This is
(for me) utterly fascinating and fun to dress up my plain white cake.

Basic paper mache white cake with various real/repurposed/fake crepe/chocolate clay items on it. Also: some photo editing done
after the picture was taken for a different color scheme.

Basic paper mache white cake with chocolate clay heart, roses cut off Valentine candy boxes and real red rose petals.

With repurposed craft store flower which was cut apart, vintaged, distressed and lightly glittered.
Whew! Spent hours figuring out the picture posting, even with hubby's help it was quite a challenge. But at last some pictures. Now to figure out flckr.
Blogland with pictures is a lot better. And it looks like I got my first comment,
Thanks! I also entered in time in the fantastic Easter Basket Swap, there are even some international swap participants. Blogland is a great place. I have learned so much in just a week.

Picture taking

Tried to post a picture in the text and it appears on the side bar.
Hmmm, I will get this figured out. I will also figure out how my
photos seem to be taken with an old polaroid in a bad light
instead of a fairly new digital camera.

Figuring out how to do Photos

To remedy what is fast becoming a pictureless blog, I need to learn the art of blogography (blog photographs). Taking the pictures turned out to be a challenge as with the digital cameras every little nuance is caught. The camera reveals the pattern of your brush strokes, the evenness of the glitter and even your last minute, in a huge hurry, application of duct tape to make it hold together!

And what is this with the camera making things appear smaller? Huh? With people we appear bigger in film. But my large cookies and huge three tier fake cake appeared downright miniscule.

Oh well, another thing to learn about - photography.

Wednesday, February 13

Chocolate on the Walls

And cookies too

This is a carefully calculated decorating scheme, not some food fight gone awry.

As a child I loved the story of Hansel & Gretel and the idea of a Gingerbread House. Through adulthood, that fascination has remained. I frequent the children's section of the library and look at artists' interpretation of the Gingerbread House in the Hanel & Gretel books.

How to replicate such a house in real life, that has been something I have oft times pondered and realized it would only result in a spat with both my husband and the Building Code Compliance Officer. Putting huge (albeit weatherproofed with varnish) gingerbread cookies on one's home is not very acceptable.

That certainly leaves the inside that I can decorate however I like. And with Chocolate Clay and gingerbread cookies I can do this. Years of working with gingerbread/bread clay (I developed my own recipe) has resulted in the cutest heart shaped cookies that have a wonderful spicy aroma of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg as I include generous amounts of spices in the formula. This is actually a quaint German tradition for holidays. Some cookies can be up to three feet wide - or big enough to put on a real house.

For tomorrow I have meshed a sort of Hansel & Gretel meets Valentine's Day setting. This includes lots of fakes, chocolate clay, gingerbread clay and repurposed, vint-'aged' items.

Now only to plan dinner, which will have to revolve around lean meat/soy meat and veggies. Maybe a splash of wine and a healthy berry dish for dessert with some chocolate shavings. We will have only a few pieces of the chocolate Valentine's candies. We will freeze and give away the rest while we wistfully sit with all the fakes around us!

Tuesday, February 12

Countdown to Valentines

I have the kitchen table covered with several simultaneous projects going on for our celebration of Valentine's Day. Hubby and me had our first date on a Valentine's Day and it is always special.

I love to decorate for this occasion. I am making a bunch of decorations out of papier mache, plaster, spackle, glitter and Chocolate Clay...

Chocolate Clay

I have not known long about this but I do remember the day I made this discovery. Alas, happening upon something that combines my love of sculpting along with food which ends up being food as art. This clay has that heady deep chocolate aroma... It really truly is a dream to work with.

Several recipes abound for this but it is basically taking your bittersweet bar chocolate and melting it with corn syrup. You knead it, work with it and form all sorts of yummy concoctions that look good enough to eat.

Due to strict dieting I have a whole fascination of having fake food around the house. To eat this or that delectable is a question that does not even come up yet you get the sweetened atmosphere that having desserts around creates.

Back to my kitchen where I have chocolate sitting out ready to be molded, plaster setting up and newspapers shredded for that fake cake.
A great big messy project!

Monday, February 11

Food as Art

Once one starts to do some color theory you tend to wax on about all sorts of color discoveries and sometimes from the most mundane source.

I have always thought food in and of itself is beautiful. The fact that it can both set an ambience and act as decoration is evident in the way so many mags have food as part of the photo layout. This makes cooking all the more fun as a color study.

Country Breakfast...

Each weekend my hubby and me have a country style breakfast (meaning large). This is both fun and of use. If we are going off for the day it is great to have a solid breakfast - that way one need only stop off and eat later in the day.

The menu varies, but usually we do something as a side to our standard turkey/soy bacon and eggs fare. This past summer it was biscuits and I became an expert in biscuits (the scratch kind). Mmmm, slathered in blackberry jam and butter melted and drizzled. But I linger too much on the food description.

Lately, we have been cooking waffles. I wanted to health it up a bit and made whole grain waffles (from scratch - I rarely use a mix). I added a lot of blueberries (this is a super food). Many recipes have you leave out the juice, not me, I make sure it goes in the batter. When it is stirred you have the most beautiful blue shade of blueberry batter! (Picture to be included when I figure this out).

For such fantastic waffles I must have a good syrup. To my dismay I read the contents of my favorite syrups we buy. They all had corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup listed as ingredients.

My hubby, a Cajun whose family business was a grocery store, knows his food. He quickly remedied the situation by getting some Steen's cane syrup. Ah, this tastes wonderful. Not anything added. The Cajuns are very serious about their food. Pure cane syrup. It even pours a nice thick, gooey pour. Not any of that thinned out high fructose, low flavor, corn syrup.

Well I had to umph this up a bit. Which, for me, usually includes something with berries. I took some raspberry jam (with the seeds - another super food) and mixed it with my Steen's syrup. Oh, the color was a deep, molassy, rich burgundy.

Recipe: Two Tablespoons Steen's syrup and 1 tablespoon berry jam. Blend and pour into your syrup dish. I have a pic of that too.

Anyway, that and soy bacon and eggs made for a great breakfast and a quick color study. If I sound a bit too enthusiastic about food that is because I diet rigoursly during the week. This makes any food occasion very exciting and the holidays absolutely thrilling.


I got in a good bit of painting yesterday, I am practicing on an old cardboard box (pre-recycled). I have some furniture I want to paint and this is the best practice method I have found.

To practice on an easily controlled piece of paper is just not the same as the reality of painting not so easily controlled furniture.

But it is fun practice. I got out some old latex paint and brushed that on, and am doing some more detailed painting with some Folk Art acrylics. I ran up to the craft store and got some floral colors: Lavender, Lilac and Teal. Great cottage garden and beach cottage colors.

The teal is the real beauty. I can just imagine...We have a drab, brown standard aquarium issue piece of furntiure you set your aquarium on. This aquarium sure could use some beach cottage shabby teal/tourquoise treatment. The water stand nearby could also do with some fantastic shell applications on it.

On my jaunt to the library I picked up a book "Shell Chic" by Marlene Marshall. The cover has the cutest photo of a little baby standing tiptoe looking into a shell covered vintage tub. Lots of fantastic projects including instructions for an octopus chandelier. It is one of those projects that starts off with chicken wire. You know you are in for some major craft fun with that! Get your gloves on and clear the decks.

Hmmm, what a fun summer project...

Saturday, February 9


it worked! This was much easier than I had thought it would be.

My first post and am I really

in blogland? I have zilch computer skills and finally went ahead and created a blog (I think). I have visited the creative/artistic blogs for quite some time and love all things bloggy.

I think a great way to get started is to get into a swap. And to challenge myself with any projects I might be working on by posting pics.

I love blogland - it is a beautiful place and am glad I am finally here.