Fresh Ideas


For about the past nine months I have had a lot of time to think about projects, new ventures and the like. I have had this time due to the fact that I have been laid up for a good part of it recuperating from 2 surgeries. The first one was from a torn muscle in my knee. That began on Memorial Day of last year culminating in surgery to repair it in August. I was able to work sporadically during this time. After 6 weeks of recuperation I went back to work full time only to develop an even larger tear (tears) in a muscle in my hip. Surgery was 2 weeks later and I am finishing up a 3-6 month recuperation from that. Hopefully I will be back to full time in a few weeks.

The knee was a relatively easy fix but the hip has been quite an ordeal. It has given me time to re-evaluate some things.

I have missed coming here and sharing thoughts, ideas, projects and recipes. So I am adding that back into my life. I will continue my painting business, allowing it to naturally slow down. Thinking over the past 2 years with design elements changing course the main thrust of the business has been painted furniture and doing faux metallic ceilings. The ceilings, by the way, fit in quite well with the current design trend. There is always a call for murals now and again seeing as they are customized to the needs of a client. I say this knowing that I am in the beginning stages of a large project where creating a Tuscan look in a kitchen is one part of it. Hoping to post on that as the project progresses.

A couple of years ago I picked up knitting in order to keep my hands busy while quitting smoking. It helped tremendously! It will be 4 years this summer. It can be done! The thing with knitting is that for the most part you need to stay focused and there is a lot of counting involved so your mind isn’t dwelling on things.

I have come a long way with the knitting and feel like I am on a journey with it. I started off with the basics….hats, gloves, scarves. I also had some disasters trying projects that I just wasn’t ready for. But like I said, it is a journey. I now sell knitted items in my etsy shop (dcartwork.etsy.com). Also, something that I am a little proud of, I started creating my own patterns and have them for sale as well. They are also on ravelry.com and craftsy.com. The patterns are geared toward beginners for now but I look forward to when I am able to create some more elaborate pieces.

My goal here is to share ideas etc. I do mean share – I would love to see some of what you are up to. I have a few projects in mind to finish and showcase here. Like the velvet chair I started pulling apart in order to recover and update it. It felt daunting at the time when I pulled some fabric off only to find a gazillion (is that even a word) staples. I now have a plan in mind to deal with that.
Here is a before and after shot of dining room chairs that I painted for a client:

I also came up with new recipes to pass along as well. Well, one isn’t really new to us but I think you will love it.

I hope you all have stayed safe with the crazy weather that has been happening across the country. We have been lucky right here but there sure has been issues around us.

Have a good day!
Doris

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A Painted Table

I don’t know if you remember the table that has been mostly covered up with tablecloths……well they are now a set. Over the past few days my home has smelled of fresh paint and wax. Love it!
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This table I had gotten years ago at Crate and Barrel outlet. Have always loved the charm of it, but it still didn’t seem to quite fit in. Now, after all this time, and a little paint, it feels right at home.

It is not unusual for me to take my sweet time when it comes to making decisions for my own home. Working with clients and guiding them through decision making comes easy for me. Actually, over the years I have heard this numerous times from interior designers. Maybe it’s just because there are so many good ideas to choose from!
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After a good cleaning and sanding, I applied one coat of a latex primer (Kilz) and 2 coats of an interior latex paint. (I used Pittsburgh Paints and it is an off white called Milk Paint). I sanded in between coats but I still had brush marks remaining. Right or wrong, this has never bothered me, I like the way glazes work with them.
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Once the wax has had a chance to dry, I give it at least an hour (it should lose it’s sheen), it gets buffed. I have found the best material for buffing is old tshirts. Ordinarily I prefer to buff in a circular motion, however, the Anne Sloan wax is a bit softer and I found rubbing with the grain works best with it.

The top I gave an extra coat of clear wax and buffed again. This helps protect the surface all the more. Also what I have found is that it moves the glaze a little bit and therefore you can even it out a little more where needed. Let it dry and buff again. And you’re done!
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A little word of caution here: if you notice in the picture I have the floor taped off around the legs and sheets of white paper pulled through them in lieu of drop cloths. I advise only doing it this way if you have alot of painting experience and you are a clean painter. I wasn’t able to lift the table, therefore I approached it this way. Ideally? Lift the legs onto pieces of 2x4s that are sitting on top of a large dropcloth.

Once the paint has thoroughly dried I applied a wax glaze mix. This is the same paint and wax glaze mix that I used on the chairs.

A Watercolorist Friend

Hello there! Hope you are all enjoying beautiful weather the way that we here in Illinois are!

I would like to introduce you to a new friend that came into my life a couple of years ago. We met at an Artist Reception, I with an oil painted portrait and Loretta with her floral watercolor. We just seemed to hit it off, and, as happens, we are very supportive of each other.

When I asked Loretta if she would be interested in a post she was all for it. I will let her, Loretta Hamilton, speak for herself and introduce you to her style.

This is “Otis the Ostrich”…
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Since spring is here…finally…this seems to go hand in hand with getting our creative juices flowing! So here is something to inspire you if you’re interested in watercolor painting. I have just started to switch from painting florals (which I love) to painting birds and animals (which I love also…but just haven’t tried painting much). But now that I’m into it, I find it to be lots of fun. So what could be better than the quirky face of an ostrich for starters?!

I always suggest that when using watercolors for the first time, it is best to purchase a few very good items. Getting the best quality paper and the best brand watercolor paints (you really only need yellow, red and blue) and one or two really good brushes makes all the difference between success and failure.

For this painting, I used Lowell Cornell brushes #26 and #14; and a Kolinsky Sable #6 and #4. I used a variety of colors that I have on my palette, including Vertider Blue, Indigo, Burnt Sienna, Mineral Violet, Permanent Magenta and Quinacradone Burnt Orange. But you can always use your primary color paints to mix a variety of these types of shades for a fraction of the cost. I also use Arches 300# watercolor paper…I like the blocks the best. The Arches 140# paper is also fine.

Step 1: I usually use a photo reference for my paintings. If you decide to do that as well, I suggest using a good photo that highlights your subject with the proper lighting and clarity. Don’t forget that you can use artistic license and if there is something you’d like to change within the composition…do it. You’re the artist…you get to decide! Once you have your photo reference, lightly pencil sketch the subject onto your watercolor paper which is what I did here…
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Step 2: I usually mask my whites so that I can save them as the painting develops (remember, no use of white paint in watercolors!). I use commercial liquid masking available at most art supply stores and apply with a colour shaper, flat or pointed tip. And I always start with painting the eyes. If the eyes don’t turn out right, the rest of the painting will not be good. So here I painted the eyes first and I thought they looked OK and continued on…
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Step 3: I painted the beak next, and the nostrils…I started applying color lightly, and then darkened the areas where I saw shadows. (The nostrils are very dark and require many applications. Black is not used in watercolor and even the grey w/c paint is pretty flat, so I mix my own darks.) Then I started painting the layers of feathers, letting each layer dry thoroughly in between applications (and I’m very impatient, so I have to work really hard at the “waiting game”). I also applied clear water in long feathery strokes outside of the bird’s head so that when I added pigment, it ran into the water strokes and carried color into those wisps of hair. Holding the paper at an angle to let the water flow into the waterways is a great way to accomplish this…
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Step 4: I finished up on all of the feathers and continued to layer more paint in the shadows…especially the feathers around the “eye lids”. I also continued to paint the neck and layered a bit of other color into areas here and there, using a touch of Permanent Magenta for highlights…
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Step 5: I removed the masking and softened the edges around the white areas with a wet #4 brush. As I examined my almost-finished project, I decided I didn’t like how light the area around the beak on the bird’s right side was…so I darkened it a tad. I also splattered a bit of paint around for added whimsy…looks like the ostrich has kicked up a little dust…
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Step 6: Here’s the finished product…time to let it completely dry before mounting…maybe time for a glass of mint iced tea as well…
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Hope you enjoyed these steps to painting “Otis”!

Loretta

…..Thank you, Loretta! Hope to see you again at an upcoming show!

Have a great day!
Doris

Loretta J. Hamilton
https://lorettasgallery.artspan.com

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2014 Cavalcade Of Homes

Hello there!

I have been given the good fortune of receiving permission to report here not only my work in the Cavalcade of Homes, but also to follow along with the construction phase of the 2 models that King’s Court Builders is having in the Cavalcade. I just love this. I love being a part of the great team that is pulling all of this together. I walked the models for the first time the other day with Pete Stefani, President of King’s Court Builders, Joelle Tilche, Director of Sales and Marketing, and Maria Hildebrand, Interior Designer on the project. There is just something about the construction phase that inspires me. My hope is to be able to convey not only the excitement of putting cavalcade models together, but also all of the hard work that everyone puts into it. And believe me it takes quite an effort to pull this off. A strong healthy challenge! Not only for myself, but also for the carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, painters and whomever else I have left out. My part physically is secondary to the workings of it all.
http://www.cavalcadeofhomes.com

Weather permitting I will be stopping and taking the first photos today and posting within the next day or two. I also have another friend to introduce you to. And wait until you see her creations!

Have a great day everyone!
Doris

What To Do……

Good morning! Wishing it was a sunny one here, but at least there is no snow! And it should get near 50 degrees today.

This is a current project for my home.
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I have thought about what to do with these chairs for a long time. Just ask my kids, they will tell you so. My first instinct had always been to recover the fabric and in some way paint the wood part. Besides not only the fact that I could never find just the right fabic for them, I didn’t want to spend money on something that wasn’t really me.

I was searching new blogs and on one of them they showed chairs treated in a manner that I absolutely love. So me! Of course, when I went back to find it, I couldn’t! I do have the materials down right and the treatment, I’m thinking, is easy enough to duplicate. I will be posting on this for a couple of weeks while I play with it. Can’t wait to get started! First thing? Fix that broken leg.
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I will be back in a couple days with the next step – the seats.

Also, upcoming posts to include some recipes that one is nostalgic, and the other is a new addition to my recipe collection. There will be a post on knitting and one on tshirts as well. Fun!

Have a great day everyone!
Doris

Tulip Pillows

Hello there! Besides showing you the results of being inspired by images of flowers, I have a tip for all of you sewers and crafters.
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The new look of colorful and for the most part floral pillows are quite eye catching. I don’t see how a person can not notice them. The majority of what I have seen being current trend is the use of the color of the year, Radiant Orchid. In one way or another I see this repeatedly on pillows, furniture, walls, etc.

Pillows are a simple and effective way to add a splash of color to any room. And simple to make! All you need for 2 19″ pillows is a yard and a quarter of fabric, some paint, and some pillow stuffing and away you go!

I chose straight white fabric because of the final result I have in mind that also includes making slipcovers for my sofa and chair (that will be in upcoming posts). So keep in mind when choosing your fabric what the final look is that you are after. I wanted that pop of color so the paint colors I went with are a middle value blue, a dark green mixed with white, and alizaron crimson mixed with white. If you have never heard of alizaron crimson, it is an artist color that is also available in craft paint. (And looks suspiciously like Radiant Orchid). I added a little more fabric extender than originally called for because I wanted the paint to stay extra soft.

As far as the stuffing goes, this is where the tip comes in. Because of being involved in a last minute project I needed some stuffing, and quick. I realized that I had a couple of bed pillows from the dollar store laying around, and low and behold they were made of the same stuffing that I had been paying at least double for at JoAnne’s fabrics or the craft stores! Check it out, for about $2.00 you can get enough stuffing for 2 pillows!
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All I did for 18″ pillows was to cut out 19″ squares of fabric. You will need four, two for the fronts and two for the backs. I choose to paint pillows before putting them together. You sew the pillows right sides together leaving about a 3″-4″ opening for turning it right side out. Stuff the pillows with enough stuffing to make them plump, and then hand sew the opening that is left. Oila! How easy is that? I have already decided to do a couple on a fabric that has script on it. I love that look. I think I will either paint birds or maybe hydranges on them. Or, I could try a stencil. I will talk you through each step in that post. Right now I want to just get you thinking about it.

So, yes, I do have alot of creative ideas going on in this brain. And yes, oh, the projects I have in mind! I just have to keep reminding myself that they don’t have to all be done this week!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184886997/original-handmade-hand-painted-floral?

I hope you are having a good week!
Doris

Shabby Chic Bud Vases

You may have seen these around, but did you know how easy they are to create? Simple. First of all you need to get yourself to Goodwill. They usually have a good supply and several styles of bud vases and cheap too.

At your favorite art and craft store you can pick out the colors of paint that you want to use. I used white, pastel pink, blue and green. It doesn’t have to be the kind of paint you use on glass, actually it may be better if it isn’t. I used standard craft paint for mine.
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The main thing is to make sure the vases are clean before you paint them. If they really need it rub them with alchohol to remove any residual dirt.

I put 2 coats of paint on mine using a small craft brush (a foam brush would work as well). Once they have dried thoroughly, usually overnight, they are ready for the next step which is sanding.
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A medium grit sandpaper works best. When sanding the vases you don’t have to sand too hard to get the raised surfaces clear of paint. They should look a little rough, that’s part of the charm. Once I had them sanded I took a look at them and decided I wanted to tone the color down a little and give them a little more of a distressed look. I did this by mixing a little of the white paint with a little glaze medium and brush it on. I immediately wiped the glaze down leaving it to sit in the crevices. Let dry overnight. (You don’t have to buy a whole quart of glaze for the distressing, the craft stores sell small bottles of it in the craft paint aisle.)
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You can use them as individual bud vases or you can do as I have done by putting them in a grouping with an assortment of flowers. They would make a nice addition to an Easter arrangement too!
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Have fun!
Doris
https://www.etsy.com/shop/dcartwork