Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our Guest Bedroom

Since it is such a beautiful, spring morning, I went in to the guest bedroom, and opened the windows to let in fresh air. It is especially pretty in the mornings, as it gets Eastern light. The curtains are auburgene, and completely block the light, but the valences (which need to be adjusted in this photo), are trimmed with crystal beads, that act as prisms, bouncing light all over the fireflies. I decided since the lighting was so good, to photograph it and share it... Here's my secret husband uses this room more than our bedroom (we snore), but we do start out together, as reading in bed is our favorite way to go to sleep. Usually, one of us bales right after the snoring commences.....The "puff" at the end of the bed is for when the nights get's about time to store it away. I had it covered with a duvet cover, but it made it too heavy, as the duvet under it is covered already.

Many of you know that in another life, I was a photographer...I specialized in hand-painted, black-and-white photography...literally painted them with special oil paints. The photograph is "porch feet", as I was photographing a lovely, young girl, and was drawn to the position of her feet, along with the dress draping so well (and, no, I do not have a foot fetish..shoe fetish, yes)..
I love the doors in our was a spec house, not even halfway finished, but I could tell that the builder was "upgrading" hollow-core doors here, and I loved the way he framed them...I was in time to select my hardware, which is oil-rubbed bronze, and I do love the curve of the levers..(so does our Gussie, who is able to open them-she also can open pocket doors)...

The angel on the bedside table was the infamous musical angel that belonged to our dear, departed, Aunt Lily...she reaches out to us through it (really). Today is our 27th anniversary, and when I walked into the room, it begain to play...the only other time was the night before her plays "sleep in heavenly peace" from Silent Night. Thank you, dear, sweet Lily.

We have "pillowtops" over the mattress, which gives it a bit of a "lumpy, dippy" feeling in the photo, but snuggling into it is heavenly. I made the pillows, along with the duvet cover. I found the fabric years ago at a shop that was going out of business. I had no idea when I bought it (along with the stripe) what I would do with it, but the fern pattern is so lovely-and it was on sale at $10 a yard...I bought all that she had!

Double-click on the bird pillow, and you will see that I sewed crystals on it...notice the one in it's beak...You don't have to be obsessive-compulsive to be a designer, but it helps..
I found this mirror at a garage sale...$ husband thought I should sand it and refinish it, but I love the patina of give such character...I often wonder what it has reflected over the years....

This is my in-laws wedding portrait...circa 1944........

This is a detail of the doorchest, topped with photos..They are of my mother-in-law, who came from such a beautiful family. That's her wedding portrait...she was a high-fashion modle in New York City, and married my father-in-law on Park Avenue...He was a hair dresser in a very "chi-chi salon"...The man is my late brother-in-law...he looks so happy in this photo, but was a tortured soul..poor man.

This side is my husband's grandmother, "Marm", and his grandparents are in the round photo..the smaller photo is of his parents..on their first date...taken in Central Park...The little carving is of kangaroos,...when you take the top of, there are little, teeny,tiny boxing gloves inside..I gave it to my husband for our anniversary...thought it was funny.

I do rotate photos in the house, but these are a permanent display..they just belong to the room.

This table was from go old "TJ Maxx", and I (again) love the aged patina. The space on that side of the bed is small, so this is fine...I have a standing, antique lamp (when my husband looked at these photos, he commented that the lamps seemed to small, but I like the standing one.)..The little chest I tucked in contains baubles and trims I've collected over the years. I truly believe our homes reflect who we are, and I've done dozens of client's bedrooms that are opulent, "over the top", but we prefer quiet, soothing, simple, and charming...I think it's one of the loveliest rooms in which to awaken on a sunny morning..lying there, watching the "fireflies"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Editing is Everything

Today has been one of many stressful days of late...troubles with my health, and troubles with our Gussie Cat's health..Good news..she had dental surgery today, and has come through it just fine....(I know, this is a design blog - or it started out that way, but has become more of a blog about a designer).. Poor Raisenette Funicello Buttafuco is crying right now (he's Gussie's Bubba - that's brother in Southern Speak)..and he wants to go outside and roll around in the grass (fire ants), and or roam our woods...He is declawed (never do that again), so he is bound to the porch and his place under the live oak just beyond the porch. I have to make sure he isn't harmed...I just chased him indoors, explaining to him that I just saw some very large crows, chasing a black cat through the woods, and thought it might have been him..He was hiding behind a tree, but I saw his tail.
For those of you who haven't read before, Miss Gussie went completely blind early in the month, but with meds and a great vet, her retinas reattached, and she can see again. Now, her mouth will be fixed, and hopefully, she can live out the rest of her years pain-free and seeing. She is getting pretty tired of me coming up to her, and waving my hand around in front of her face...just to make sure she can still see.
About Editing....I am taking a short break from editing the living room...I realized that things were "stacking up"....magazines, books, cd's, family photos...all things that enrich my life, but have a way of suddenly becoming clutter...The same with my bedroom, kitchen, and my office is just still out-of-control...
Today, I took the magazines (either design, gardening, birding, cooking, or art), and cut out the articles and photographs that I wanted to save. I put them in binders in sleeves according to catagory. I must have a dozen of these by now, but I can put them in my bookcases in my studio (which have curtains on them), and access what I want when I want.
I have so many precious photographs of my family, friends, pets, and travels, that are beautifully framed, but I find that if I put them all out at once, every horizontal surface in our house would be covered. I put some away, and rotate them about every six months. There are some that are permanently on display, but again, there can just be too much.

I am also editing my thoughts...I find myself lying in bed at night, thought zinging about...about my health, my cats, my family, the recession, the sadness and anger in this world, (not necessarily in that order), and I have to tell myself, that there are things about which I can do something, and others I just have to let go.

I have posted the photograph of our lovely orchid, which is blooming lives in our master bath, as it gets great light there...indirect, but just enough...It also likes the humidity our showers provide. I love the orchid, for it represents beauty and simplicity....Which is how I need to live my life....

Friday, March 19, 2010

(Wo)Man Plans and God Laughs

I have a friend who doesn't like that saying; but, for me, it's just about the irony of life...all kinds of plans, and then, things happen. For me, it's fighting a massive infection...lots of antibiotics and pain pills. Laid too low to even try to blog, or do any of the things I was so excited about doing. For now, I read a bit, and sleep alot..sleep is healing...

The marzipan handbag is one I made for a photoshoot several years ago...I love working with marzipan, and again, have some plans for life seems to be more about planning than doing these days. The frame and clasp on the handbag are gold leafed (real gold leaf is edible)..It just reminds me of spring.

I'll be back with bells on...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Is She Ever Going to Talk About Design Again???

Yes, Virginia, she really is a designer, but she is also a gardener, and SPRING has come to Texas...luring her outdoors. First, she will take down the lights wrapped around the pecan trees (actually, would like to leave them, and light them at night, ala Tavern on The Green in New York City....but, I don't think my neighbors across the street will understand - even though they leave all the outside lights on every night). Then, she will cut back the dead Muley (pronouched "mooly") grass...pull the unwanted things and put in new mulch.

I am switching back to first person now. I am very excited, as my neighbor, Sandy and I have become friends. They started to put in an enclosed, stone garden area..(photos to follow), but ran out of money and ideas as to how to keep the deer out...
So, she and I are going to pool our money and ideas and get a garden going.....soon.
Gardening in Texas is a whole lot different that Wisconsin..(see the photos above)..I would post them with this paragraph, but am still wrestling with issues as to this %&)#@$* computer....

So, I am being called by birdsong, sweet breezes, and my little, yellow gardening wagon. Slapping on the garden hat, gloves, sunscreen, and going outside to play.

I do have some projects planned for the interior of my house, and I have a couple of clients, that are considering some, we are coming out of our houses, saying goodbye to winter, and moving forward...such fun!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's 4:35 in the Morning....

I looked at the clock at 2 am, after waking from a very strange dream. Gussie raised her head (she sleeps next to mine), giving me a quizzical look...I rearranged the pillows, and accidentally knocked Raisenette off the bed...Figured I'd read for awhile-couldn't concentrate...I kept thinking about the "lecture" I gave to a group of high school students earlier in the day, at the request of their art teacher. The subject, "Why I became a photographer"...She and I were in my favorite bookstore (The Dog-Eared Bookstore), in the Art and Photography Section....It's a used bookstore..which I love. We struck up a conversation, and I shared that for twenty years, I was a photographer....anyway, I ended up speaking to seven students (it's a small, Christian Academy). I lay there for an hour or so, thinking about how it went, and decided I may as well get up and write about it....(now, it's 4:42 am).

I took samples of my work..some of my very early work, along with my hand-colored, black-and-white Civil War Reinactment photos (long story), some of my portraits of children (also hand-colored), and some of my more recent, digital work...My digital
camera is dying, and I have a new one..(that's another story)...So there I was, all ready with my "Do what you love" lecture..but, what came out was this:

"During the Viet Nam War, I worked as a volunteer in the amputee ward of an army hospital in Denver. I was a single mom, with a two-year-old little boy, and I lived with my grandparents. I tended bar at nights, went to school part time, and I was at the Veteran's hospital because the only person I knew in Denver was a fellow I had known in high school in Kansas...he had lost both his legs when he stepped on a land mine. In the bed next to him was a young man (I was only in my early twenties, as well), who had lost his legs, and the use of one of his arms. On his bedside table was a Nikon 35mm camera that he had bought on R&R in the Phillipines..not long after that, he was so badly injured. We talked, and he said that I should try shooting some film, as in his condition, it was useless to him.

I bought some film, took my son to the park, and took some photos of him (I still have them). After I put him down for his nap back at my grandparents, I just started wandering about the city, shooting things that caught my attention...All the worries of the world fell away, and I was in my world; a world seen through a lens...There was no more war, no more worries about how I was going to support my son, no pain from a painful divorce..just me and this camera....and so my journey and love affair with photography began.....

I had other "careers" - visual merchandising for twelve years, and then, I started the Civil War photography, then, portraits of mostly children.
I eventually went into interior design, but have always loved photography, and now, with my shiny-new digital camera, and hopefully, a new computer, my love affair continues.

After a time, I bought my own camera and returned his to the young man.......
I found myself in tears today, these fresh faces looking at me as if I were a thousand years old. I told them to find a dream and follow it, and that I was crying because I don't even remember that young man's name...and I wonder what his life has been like. I owe him such a debt of gratitude....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Art in Bloom

While digging out my office - excavating is more like it, I have come across some photos of my "silk flower pillow phase"...I loved these pillows..actually, I found a wonderful, Ralph Lauren twin bedspread for $17.00, and cut it up to make the pillows. Then, being "she who has the most ribbon when she dies, wins", I learned to make these silk flowers. Perhaps, when I get a round tuit, I will put a tutorial on how to make them. My friend had a floral and gift shop, and they did sell quickly.....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So Much to Do....

It's a new dawn, a new day, and the sun is shining...I have finished vacuuming the sofa, and realize that I just need to roll up my sleeves and get moving......
I used to have a cleaning lady, who cleaned places that I didn't even know I had places....right down to putting a fold on the ends of the toilet paper...Boy, do I miss that woman..she also became a good friend.

There's something about ripping the place apart, and putting it back together, the living room, tomorrow, my office, and after that...the entire of you might say, "she's off her rocker, who likes to clean?"...I am not a clean freak, but my head feels full of dust bunnies and chaos...the only way for me to clear that out is to make sense of my home again....
So, off I go! (Okay, now you are thinking, "she's in her manic phase"..sheesh.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Feel as if I am .....

rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic....So much has happened since the holidays - got sick, January disappeared, death in the family, memorial service, blind cat (no longer blind), insurance company blues...that today, I decided ENOUGH! It's time to get back-on-track...which means; finish putting the Christmas decor away (isn't it time?), clean my office - which is chaos-upon-chaos, clean my house, figure out how to use the new MP3IPod I won, along with the new Canon Digital Camera, and just keep putting my life back in order. So, you may not hear from me for a few days.
I have gifts to pack and send to friends and family - we don't do Christmas gifts, but when I see a need, or make something, or find a bargain that I know one of my soulmates would like (at Macy's), I send them may take awhile, but they eventually get there.
Don't get me wrong; when it comes to designing and decorating a client's home, I am the most organized person in the world...I have to be...I keep a notebook, with everything in it pertaining to that client..everything..that way, it doesn't end up where it will never be found, or cross-referenced with another client's stuff...I do believe interior designers have to be's a prerequisite...
So, if I disappear for a few days, it's because I am determined to get back-on-track.

The sun is shining, and I may take an hour for a walk...

Be blessed today and all days.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Won!

Yesterday, I opened my mailbox, and there they were...two of the most wonderful, hand-painted coasters from dear, sweet wonderful Angie, from ranchdressing:cowgirlstyleblogspot. Okay, everyone stop can go to blogs that I follow, and click on it...remember, I am the one who is so totally computer impaired. I love them...and it's amazing how well they go with my floorcloths that I hand-paint. In fact, before I started blogging...long before, I was Googling "hand-painted floorcloths", just to see what was out there, and I have to tell you it runs the gamut from horrible to mundane, to very few good ones...Angie's caught my eye, and I admired them greatly (still do)...It was much later that I began blogging, and Angie and I have followed one another. She's brilliant, and she's working on a new endeavor..check her out...Anyway, I love them, and they are on my kitchen butcher-block island for all to see and admire... Thanks Angie, I treasure them.

Life is falling back into place a bit. My cat can see, I have catastrophic short-term health insurance (no intentional play on words with the cat and catastrophic, just happened that way) fact, it didn't kick in until midnight last night, so I hunkered down in the house. I just knew that if I went out of the house before the "witching hour", I would get into a terrible accident...jaws of life kind..and we would lose our home (no raving paranoia there?)...So, then, I went out to feed the deer that evening, and tripped over a rock, nearly falling (envisioning a severe brain injury), then, I was cooking linguini and clam sauce for dinner, and I knocked over a lovely, glass bottle, that holds/held our dishwashing liquid, which shattered, glass and liquid soap everywhere (we have granite countertops, which are pretty, but not glass-friendly)...My husband insisted on cleaning it up, as he was sure I would sever and artery, and bleed out on the kitchen floor...Finally, I just went to bed with a good book.

A friend of mine called me last Saturday and was all excited, as she'd been to Ben Moore paints, and was talking to the paint guy, telling him she has a friend (me), who paints floorcloths, and often goes to the "whoops" section (mistakes in mixing colors), and buys quarts of paint for a dollar (sometimes, gallons for $5). He told her that I was welcome to all their leftovers and mistakes...I was dealing with a blind cat, and no insurance, so haven't gotten there yet. Today is that day...I love free anything, especially paint. I have to be careful, however, as when I left our home in Wisconsin, I had a basement - full of leftover paint....hundreds of cannot throw paint cans containing liquid paint in the garbage...(I was informed of this by my garbage man, even when I would meet him at the end of the driveway, with a cup of coffee and freshly-baked apple turnovers). What you have to do is buy kitty litter, and pour it in the cans, and stir it up, so it will absorb the paint and dry...just so you know...sheesh!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Ides of March.....Actually, February Ides...

are upon us....March comes in like a lamb...etc.
With all the Gussie drama, I didn't have a chance to post photos of our SNOW, yes, snow in the Hill Country...Texas, that is, land of cacti, big pickup trucks, rocks, heat, and no snow....That said, last week, we got whomped on...three inches of the white stuff. Since we moved here from Wisconsin four years ago to get away from the snow, we weren't nearly as impressed as those young children, shrieking, throwing snowballs, building snowmen...We laughed as a reporter was showing off her snowperson, and the eyeball fell out on camera...I mean, this was heady stuff. So, I grabbed my camera and tromped down the road. But before doing that, I looked out back, and there were some very confused deer, who come here regularly to be fed. They were confused. The snow was too deep just to dump the corn, so I got some "Totes" lids from the garage, and put the corn out on that...They were afraid of the scent of plastic (who isn't), and ran away. I went out, scraped the snow away with the Tote lids, and left it you can see, they sucumbed.

Since my computer is hobbling along, and things are just getting worse, I cannot put the images in order (so when is she actually going to get this all fixed, you ask, soon, come soon = now, the latest crisis is health insurance-I suddenly have none, due to a very strange reason...can't share that right now)...anyway, the next day the sun is shining, and that's when the deer came back - they are here every day...out back, looking wistful...Best go feed them.