Friday, July 29, 2011

FUNKY FARMHOUSE FABRICS...

In my last post I shared with you the color evolution of the farmhouse living room and how it came to be. I thought you might want a further sneak peek at some of the fabrics that are going to make their way into the room as well as sofa swatches.I spent a delightful day, yes, I said a whole DAY, well almost a day, in the fabric store matching fabrics and getting a feel for the direction I wanted to go with the room. I seem to be on a lucky streak because the remnant table was full of frugal choices. I took one of the curtain valances and a sofa pillow cover from each sofa with me and matched away.

First I found a super soft stripe fabric that has both the light and dark greens of the curtains as well as a stripe of each sofa color. A swatch of Dupioni silk in a lighter brown color and a deep chocolate nubby fabric were also perfect for pillows! Everything was going a bit dark so I added a quilted ivory fabric to lighten things back up.
I chose a vivid apple green and a sunshine yellow to update the curtains and to use as welting on the ivory pillows. I have a little something extra in mind for those ivory pillows. I also chose some gimp to use on the curtains. A piece of indoor/outdoor brownish-goldish canvas will be durable enough for a tufted ottoman top, project tutorial coming soon!Still wanting to bring the vintage vibe into a more modern feel I chose a dark green silk with a bold lighter green flower and leaf print on it for more still more pillows. I love pillows! They are an easy way to accent a room and bring in color without breaking the bank if you make them yourself.

I purchased a pillow pattern that had some interesting shaped patterns to use, Simplicity 5605. This pattern has that country charm and quilt like feel but will have a sophisticated look with the more modern fabrics. I am trying to find a balance between the old and the new to create a cohesive look.
I was feeling a little unsure of my choices so I sent a photo of the fabric stack via text to my best friend Pam to ask her what she thought of the color combo. Here is what she had to say, " I like it...it has cool, crisp feel...like fresh veggies." Stamp of approval, farm fresh!
I gathered up my goodies and practically skipped to the checkout counter without busting the budget! I have all the pillows cut out and ready to sew. I want to see if my grandmothers sewing machine still works and if it does I want the make them on that at the farm. If not I will sew them at home.

Today I am off to see if I can hunt up some lamps, side tables and chairs, wish me luck!

It seems like flea marketing and sewing are my big weekend plans. I would love to hear what you are doing. Have a beauty filled weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FARM...

Design should do the same thing in everyday life that art does when encountered: amaze us, scare us or delight us, but certainly open us to new worlds within our daily existence.


Aaron Betsky, Curator of Architecture, Design and Digital Projects, SFMOMA

A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...or at least to decorating it. When I began to dream of updating the 1970's vibe of the farmhouse I had envisioned a Pottery Barn modern meets rustic kind of decor. I knew I would literally be starting from scratch and be on a meager budget. So, while I was contemplating how to get "the look" for less I was continuing to sort and inventory what was already available.

While cleaning out the storage shed I came across an old box full of vintage pleated drapes in various patterns and colors. Hmmm, too floral and funky to be Pottery Barn, so back on the shelf they went as I thought I might use the fabric for some art project in the future. Little did I know that one particular pattern and color scheme would become a huge part of the design for the farmhouse living room...

One major budget buster was the need to replace the sad sagging 70's sofa and side chairs. Handy Hubby and I went sofa shopping and came home with an empty truck, no luck. Small room, even smaller budget, and specific seating needs limited our choices. Not wanting to sacrifice style I decided it was OK to watch TV across our knee caps a little longer, I mean we could just rest our chin on them right? I exaggerate, it really was not that bad, but, I really did want to replace the furniture that bad!

The decorating course was set when I received a " hand-me-up ". Most of the time people receive " hand-me-downs ", the older generation handing down to the younger, in my case it was in the reverse, the younger handing something up to me...a sofa!

Long story short, it was the great sofa switch: Darling Daughter got married and bought new sofa, Daughter-in-law adored Darling Daughters vintage sofa and was gifted with it, Daughter-in-law was about to call donation place to pick up Todd Oldham sofa but then thought of me. Score! My first " hand-me-up "! Free! Even though it is more modern in style that I personally prefer the warm honey tone is very neutral and would work well with what I had in mind.

(Country Living)

Fast forward a few days and Handy Hubby and I are browsing an estate sale. Deep in the recesses of the twisting house (very bizarre lay out) I spy a small sofa that is almost the same honey tone of the " hand-me-up " and it has the same lines. A pregnant lady was giving it a test and seemed very taken with it and I was wishing we had gotten there sooner. The next morning I woke up still thinking about that sofa and convinced Handy Hubby to just go back and see if it was still there, it was the last day of the sale and I knew it would be discounted.

Another score! The sofa was still there, deeply discounted, and here is the best part...we needed a hide-a-bed for extra sleeping in the two bedroom farm house...I lifted up the cushion to inspect the sofa...and it was a hide-a-bed!!! This sofa still had the tags on it, dated 1982, and was NEVER USED! We got it for $105.00. We found out from one of the estate heirs that the lady who lived there was an heir of John Deere. She had one of the best collections of original art works I had ever seen, wish and I could have scored some of those but the discount was not nearly as deep.

Now that the sofas are settled we need two side chairs, still looking for those. I turned my thoughts to window coverings. I always seem to need a tactile inspiration piece to jump start a room decor and two honey toned sofas were not it. A little buzzing in the back of my brain kept my thoughts returning to that box of drapes, maybe, just maybe...so I dug them back out. Yes, the buzzing was correct, in two funky floral pair there is that same honey tone as the sofas, along with Fresh Apple Green...
Spent Poppy... Wildflower Yellow...Farm Fresh Egg... Rusty Objects...Dusky Pine Cone...Fallen Leaf... Silver Leaf Maple... Summer Daisy... Mottled Native Stone...Fuzzy Weed... Golden Hay...Chocolate Weed...Dark Shady Green...Dandelion Wishes...Twisted Vine...And Whisper White...(Hey, I think I just invented my own paint chip line!)

Yes, a funny thing did happen on the way to the farm, or, to decorating it at least...that 1970's style and color palette is getting a new twist. Handy Hubby said the drapes look too old school but I have asked him to trust me to make them fresh modern cool. I have begun the remake on them by giving them a good laundering and removing the pleats, more to come on these after I get all the sewing done.
I have pulled two colors from them for paint colors in the room, Farm Fresh Egg (a creamy off white color) and Summer Daisy (a crisp true white). I may not end up with Pottery Barn style but I am amazed, delighted, and even a little afraid of the color palette all of which are opening up a new world of possibilities.

I would love to hear what you are up to and
I hope you all enjoy a bliss filled weekend!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

DO YOU HAVE A LOVEY?

(Not our lovey but a close representation)

My tiny not quite two yet granddaughter has a " lovey". It is one of those little blankets with a stuffed animal head. Hers is a soft plush pink elephant named Ellie. She literally takes it with her everywhere she goes. Recently Ellie got lost. My son and daughter-in-law tried in vain to track her down to stay the puddle of crocodile tears that were unceasing. They even went as far as to buy a new friend, Ellie's are no longer available, a sweet little bunny named Honey. This did not go over well.

After days of misery and wondering if they needed to start posting fliers of " Have you seen this Elephant?", in desperation, my son set off to every place they had gone on the day that Ellie went missing. He said, " Mom, do you know what is like for a grown man to walk into businesses and ask if they have a pink elephant lovey? Do you know the strange looks you get? The things you do for love!"

Finally, at his last stop, a grinning waitress pulled Ellie from behind the checkout counter with a flourish. My son said he snatched Ellie from her and hugged her to his chest on impulse of relief, and in an instant realized what he had done, in public...hugged...a pink elephant lovey! He said after trying to stammer an explanation to the highly amused waitress he just gave up and left. His reward was one very happy little girl who saw her daddy as her hero. Sometimes only the original will do!

I have a Lovey in my life too, (Fabric Photo Memories), only she is my new blog friend! I have long admired her work and quietly cruised her blog with nary a comment until recently. I am as happy to have found a new friend as my little granddaughter was to be reunited with her Ellie.
(Photo used with permission)

Lovey is the author of a wonderful new craft book, Fabric Photo Memories by Lovey. But wait! Don't order yet because she is having a BOOK SALE, visit this post for all the details!
(Photo used with permission)

Not only did Lovey write the book but she did the layout, the photography, and got it published! I see this Lovey as my hero, an artist who is sharing not only her passion but her heritage through her art and writing.

Lovey is a vintage girl like me and she makes amazing Fabric Photo Collages using images of African American Women from the ~early 1700's- early 1900's~.
(Photo used with permission)

Her creations have been featured in national magazines as well as on many websites and blogs. While you can certainly learn her tips and techniques in her new book sometimes only an original will do and she just opened an Etsy shop, LoveyJ, where you can purchase her creations.
(Photo used with permission)

I know I am going to treasure her friendship just as much as my little granddaughter treasurers her lovey, Ellie. I hope you too will enjoy visiting with Lovey and viewing her art.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

WHERE BLOGGERS CREATE 2011 - ROOM TO GROW...

"Some people were born to make the world more beautiful."

-Hallmark-
Welcome to the 3rd annual Where Bloggers Create 2011 blog party! A huge "Thank You" goes out to our hostess, the lovely and talented (and my personal blog fairy god mother who magically designed this blog!) Karen of My Dessert Cottage. I have been eagerly awaiting this party all year long! This is the debut of my newest studio space and I am thrilled to share it with you all. I have given some snippets and sneak peeks but in this post you are getting the whole enchilada!

For those of you who may be new visitors, I am Sandy, Miss Sandy to my nearest and dearest, I am a mixed-media artist and free lance writer. I am blissfully wed to my high school sweet heart who is known on this blog as Handy Hubby. I have two grown children, a son and a daughter, both of whom are married. My son has blessed me with two delightful grandchildren. I can't remember a time when I was not
making something from early childhood finger painting to macaroni necklaces to stepping into the mixed-media arena a few years ago with a little bit of everything in between.

Even though I have been in the space for a little over a year now it is still very much a work in progress. It has come a long way from the Project Run Away and Creamy Dreamy beginnings! I have totally recovered from my angst at being tossed into a new space.

I never in a million years thought I would say this, but I did not have enough "stuff" to fill it up! Seriously, I think this gives me permission for
a little flea market therapy don't you? I spent a lot of time reading that fortune cookie message at the top of this post while trying to accomplish this studio space on a less than shoe string budget, a lot of hands on hard work, and maintaining the course. Today really is a celebration, I have obtained my goal of a sentimental feminine fusion of fun and function where I can, to quote Nina Bagley, "Walk the earth, stepping beauty into everything you (I) do."

Welcome to the creative space at Quill Cottage...
(Click on any photo to enlarge for better viewing)
(Collage I learned to make from Lisa in a Mary Green online class)

Here is the view from the hall...
And here is the full view from the doorway. I converted an old iron crib into a settee. It is dressed in flea market find pillows and I made the other bedding from old pieces of cottons and laces. I have basket storage underneath and a step stool because I am vertically challenged...
Each side of the settee is flanked by a coffee filter topiary. I made these from two old lamps, two round garden vine frames, a couple of old planters, and coffee filters...
Behind each planter is an old porch pillar that a friend gave me after a remodel. Each sports a door knob hanger with a collection of empty frames and interesting tidbits...
Baby, who threw a complete hissy fit last year because she could not attend Karen's party, is quite content to be the keeper of my quote journal and cuddle up in the corner of the settee...
I married a small garden trellis with a piece of weld wire to make a storage canopy over the settee. See those empty baskets? Those need some stuff in them! I told you I did not have enough stuff in there...
I keep bits and pieces of collage materials in the vintage hat boxes...
To the right of the settee is a little nook of a wall next to the main work space...
I don't know if you noticed it or not but there is a black divided tray on the work surface. This is one of my little collection obsessions, small pieces of nature that bring me so much inspiration and find their way into my work. I have been collecting these little specimens for quite some time with a special project in mind...
Back to the little nook of a wall...This is a drawer from an old trunk married with an old clock. It makes my husband nuts that the clock has no hands and is upside down. I told him that time has no meaning nor makes no sense when one is creating, it literally ceases to exist when one is immersed in the realms of creative activity...
Below is a little shabby holder filled with various ribbons and laces. A piece of my fabric artwork, "Cottage Beale" (the name of the girl in the photo) hangs here too...
(Fabric collage technique I learned from a KC Willis DVD series)

Up above is another piece of my artwork, one of a series of five handmade shoes and boxes, a single ballet slipper...
A collection of hands...
And beside that one of my favorite pieces I have ever made, "Dream"...
To the left of the settee is a small dresser that my daughter in law gave me, I added a couple of porch posts from our remodel and a couple of shelves, this is where I stash all my ribbons, well almost all...
Here I am, forever encapsulated behind a sheet of glass at age 11 3/4, it felt like magic to sit before a real artist for this portrait...
Where are my Southern manners? Would you care for a cup of tea while we continue the tour?
Below sits a few pretties...
The bust below is wearing an old paste jewel necklace that belonged to my paternal grandmother...
The lampshade is dressed in a wee crinoline...
That billowed out the skirt of one of my dresses at age 2...
My one and only attempt at art doll making, Miss Clara Scarlett...
A tray full of artistic treats...
The wee bonnet on the post above the lamp was also mine...
The bottom two drawers hold trims, tassels, and scraps of ribbons and laces...
The top drawer is filled with larger lengths of laces and ribbons...
To the left as you enter the door is the supply closet wall...
A tiny table, beautiful boxes (all empty! I need more stuff!), and a button cubby with buttons sorted by color in little jars...
Behind the door, still more storage (more empty little boxes), the shelving were two wooden crates that I sliced down and put backs covered in old book pages, perfect size for small storage items...The closet is full of supplies in various labeled containers...
Inez, is keeping watch over all those fabric scraps...
Not everything in here is practical, there is a little bit of pretty too...
To the right of the door is my sewing station...
It sits beside a dividing piece of furniture that I designed and Handy Hubby helped me build out of scraps and salvage pieces...
This is one of my favorite new additions, the candle spools. These are frequently used threads in my work and this makes them so handy to just grab when I need them...
These are super simple to make!
You will need:

*Candle holders of your choice
*Corks that fit the size of your candle holder
*Bamboo Skewers
*Black craft paint
*Wire cutter
*Spools of thread


Instructions:

Place cork in candle holder, you want to make sure there is a tight fit, if not add a little hot glue to secure.

Insert the pointed end of a bamboo skewer into the cork and place your thread spools onto the skewer.

Determine how many spools you want on each holder and trim skewer with a wire cutter leaving a small tip at the top to extend out of the top thread spool to resemble a wick.

Once trimmed to desired size, remove spools, using a little black craft paint, paint the top inch of the skewer to look like a burnt wick.

Once dry replace the spools and enjoy a handy and stylish thread holder!

Now, back to the tour! A banner I made hangs above the outer window area...
(Banner from Beth and Karla's Romantic Gothic Ghosts online class)

I love this little black bird peeking through the glass...
A wire basket of sewing keepsakes...
(Button gifts from Vee and old wooden lace bobbins from Lili)

Above the sewing machine in baskets I store colored spools of thread, embroidery and needlework supplies, as well as sewing machine accessories and such. My gathering basket with dried flowers from my grandmothers garden rest there too..
See those little black boxes? The bottom one is the prefect size for storing patterns and the top one...
Holds more spools of candy colored ribbons...
TUTORIAL:

To make this small ribbon spool holder you use a piece of all thread rod, purchased at the hardware store, drill holes the size of the all thread rod, cut rod to extend a little longer that the width of the box top and bottom, secure one end with a hex nut, also purchased at the hardware store, thread through one hole and place spools onto rod, thread rod through other end and secure with second nut. Repeat process with the second rod.

Don't let the piece below fool you it is not nor never was an antique sewing machine! I bought the base with a board top at a flea market and covered the top with old pattern pieces. I found the sewing drawers at an antiques shop and screwed them underneath. I found the sewing machine cover at a vintage linen shop here in town and altered it a bit with some trim for added height and old pattern papers to cover up some damage to the ends of the wood (Sewing Table Tutorial)...
Lift that baby off and you have a high tech sister to the old treadle machine...
I love my light, a flea market find, with flower petal globes I found on Ebay. I made the collage medallion from an old picture frame...
This is a side view of the divider...
The old revamped child's trunk holds wallpaper and my looms and a few yarns...
An old garden rake I found at the farm holds artwork from a few fellow artists and a pair of irresistible I had to buy them for old time memories sake roller skates...
(Lace Ditty Bag, altered domino and tag by Beth, Fabric pocket by Diane, and sweet tags filled with the most delicious trims by Sonya)

This is my little work cube...
Here is where the hi tech action happens...
A pair of hand sculpted birds I made a few years ago...
A shelf full of pretties...
The little jewelry box is one I converted into an ink pad storage cupboard, the tiny drawers hold mini alphabet stamps...
This little boot and box is another from my handmade shoe series...
Down below the drape of vintage table cloth lace is more hidden storage, lots of vintage ephemera...Here is the other side of my work station...
I adore this long counter, I can spread a mess alllllll the way across it, and I do too!
My window treatments are handmade of collage style vintage and new fabrics and laces. I added some fun tidbits above on the window trim, things that make me smile...
This is a favorite new addition, a ribbon roll holder "lamp"...
This was one of those times when I let the idea fly, and I love the result, pretty and practical...
My paternal grandmothers necklaces grace the shade and an old bottle serves as a finial...
This is a full view of the back wall...
In the work cubby I used the left over side of the iron baby bed, some old garden fencing, and a shelf turned up side down to make and inspiration rail...
Lots of pretties on here, you might even see something that you made...
(Tag book by Diane)(Swap box from Lili)

This is the business side of it all, paints, glues, glitter, beads, and tools...
I adore how handy my glue brushes are...
Up above more supplies and special items, my children's baby shoes and painting by my daughter...'
A sweet flea market find...
If you look carefully you will see three more tiny shoes and boxes in my series...
The other end of the counter also has a work area for a friend to join me. Want to come and play? Actually the space is designed in such a way that I can easily remove the settee and set up 2 more 4 foot work stations and another in front of the closet area, remove the sewing machine from its station and can easily host 5 to 6 friends..
More goodies...
The final shoe and box in my series...
These little "shelves" were old sewing machine drawer frames, I cut foam core and covered it with a map paper to make shelves to hold smalls. (and I need more stuff to put on them!)...
A pink mermaid playing with pearls...
A bitty ballerina swinging above the work station...
This is where all my instant ancestors live, kind of crowded in there...
A left over piece of wire from the trellis canopy...
A pocket book full of wishes...
Battered books to collage from...
My version of a sewing bird...
It seems we have run out of time...
I have shown you most of what there is to be seen of my work in progress. Remember that studios don't happen over night.

In my case it has taken years to get to this full space. I started out on a TV tray, moved to a card table with all my supplies stored under the bed in plastic bins. I thought I hit the big time when I got a cupboard for supplies and commandeered the dining table but my family had to eat off of the TV trays!

I then moved to a storage building in our yard but in the winter my paints and glues froze and in the summer everything threatened to melt into a puddle despite the little heater air conditioner chugging away. I was secluded from family life and having young children at the time I could not spend much creative time there without keeping a watchful eye on them so my creativity went fallow for a few years.

In the blink of an eye my children were suddenly grown, my son married and made a home of his own with his bride and I found myself left with a spare room which I turned into a guest room that was rarely ever used. One day I sat in that beautifully appoint yet seldom used room and allowed myself to dream again of a creative space. I approached Handy Hubby with my crazy idea of forgetting about guests and building a small dream space to revive my creativity and he agreed. My Mid-summers blue studio was born.

Fast forward a few years, my daughter moved out on her own and we had another vacant room, Handy Hubby expressed his desire to have a real office so I was tossed out of my little blue studio into the space that you are viewing now. This dream was literally years in the making but lack of space, lack of storage, even lack of time never dampened the dream of a creative haven to make and share art in. I wholly encourage you to give yourself time and room to grow and watch your own dream bloom into being.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour and gathered an idea or two. I look forward to a return visit to you!

I hope each and every one of you enjoy a delight filled weekend!
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