Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scraps of Fabric

Yesterday I was in the mood for a project after spending 4 hours on Sunday afternoon cleaning/organizing/purging the attic and filling 5 bags with stuff to toss.

I barely made a dent in 16 years of accumulated odd bits, but I felt I needed a reward for all my hard work.

I saw this cute wreathe on Butterfly & Bungalow and wondered what it would look like in a rainbow of colors.

I knew there was only one way to find out.

After tossing 5 bags of stuff , I thought it was pretty silly to go out to buy more stuff so for the rest of the summer, before I begin a project, this question has to be answered YES - 

Do I have the materials on hand?

I gathered odd bits of fabric and located a metal heart shape I found when I was cleaning out my creative space.

Another criteria for projects is that they are "tailored to me" instead of exact replicas of ideas I see on blogs or Pinterest.

I looked at the steps for the bow wreathe, but her wreathe had 3 rings and I only had 1 heart so instead of bows I tore the fabric into strips 1" x 5" strips.

I tied a few on and thought they looked about right so I just kept going.

This was a perfect project for someone like me with a short attention span.

I completed about 3 inches and went to work in the garden.

Each time I switched a laundry load, I tied on a few more inches.

Altogether, it took me about 2 hours.

And then came the big question - okay, what am I going to do with the heart?

This morning, I decided it was time for a new vignette on my hallway cabinet.

A few old quilts in a wire basket form a base to hold the heart.

I threw in an old doorknob for no other reason than the fact that I like it.

My heart doesn't look anything like the wreathe that inspired it, but I like it and that works for me.

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I am joining in at the following parties

Lavender Garden Cottage - Cottage Style Party

The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday

Cedar Hill Ranch - The Scoop

A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Tuesday's Treasures

Elizabeth and Co. - Be Inspired

Boogieboard Cottage - Masterpiece Monday

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finally - an old ladder . . .

The weather has been strange for July - cool yet muggy - and I have been loathe to do much.

Yesterday, after 2 hours of tennis, I wanted to just sit and read, but I forced myself to get up and do something productive.

I painted my old coal bucket red.

I have been planning to paint it for about 3 weeks - lazy me!

I added some dried statice to the bucket and set it out to add a bit of red to this corner of the garden.

After that major accomplishment, I talked Steve into going to the nursery with me and we stopped at a new second hand store with a great name - ROTATIONS.

I found an old weathered ladder.

I know I am probably the last person in blogland to finally buy a ladder for decoration, but there were 2 main factors keeping me from buying a ladder.

#1- I am cheap

 #2 - cheap ladders are not common in my area - I saw one for $800.

I couldn't buy the ladder because we were in Steve's sports car, but this morning, I went and forked over $15 for a broken ladder.

Another reason I have never bought a ladder is that we have a small house and no place to showcase a fun old ladder.

This is the area between our house and the garage and it has the ugly structure to hold the water heater.

If it was up to me, we would build a 2 car garage (with a studio on top) and put the water heater in the garage.

But, it is up to the Coastal Commission who has declared that we cannot build a 2 car garage unless it is 20 feet back from the street which would mean building the garage in the entry.

So, I put up with the water heater and have disguised it with an old red baker's rack.

I want the baker's rack moved to the side of the house to hold gardening supplies and the ladder is the perfect solution for what to put in place of the rack.

I slapped on a little green paint here and there, added buckets, flowers and the same old birdhouses that had been on the baker's rack.

Once the area was spiffed up, I got Steve to help me put the baker's rack on the side of the house.

It made it to a side of the house, but not the side I originally planned.

When we walked past the dining room, we set it in the alcove and I knew then that I would have to find something else to hold my garden tools.

The baker's rack is now both useful and decorative holding things I use around the garden.

Since I began blogging, I have wanted:

a weathered ladder - got it

a weathered door - still waiting

a weathered window - got it

2 out of 3 isn't bad.

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I am sharing at the these fun parties

The Dedicated House - Anything Blue Friday

Fishtail Cottage - Cottage Garden Party

Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup Thursday

Ivy and Elephants - What's It Wednesday

French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday

The Charm of Home - Home Sweet Home

Rooted in Thyme  - Sweet and Simple Fridays 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

He Paints Memories

Life with an artist has its ups (a home filled with beautiful art) and downs (empty walls when he has shows going on at 3 different locations) and it also brings joy.

Now that I am no longer working, I am more of a participant in Steve Cook Studio and a recent experience made me realize something about his art.

Steve's art evokes memories for people - and he feels pretty good when someone walks away happy.

Last week a family from out of town called and wanted to come by the studio (our home) to look at paintings.

They purchased "Memorial Day" for their home in Fresno and as the wife took care of the payment, the husband shared with me why he had chosen the particular painting.

He grew up in Ventura and wanted a painting of his home town and the painting of the Ventura Pier evoked wonderful memories.

 Every 4th of July they would drive over from Fresno and take his mother, now deceased, to the pier to watch the fireworks.

When they look at the painting they think of his mother.

"Wedding Tree" was a commission by a young woman who wanted to give her brother and his new bride a special wedding present.

She asked Steve to paint the site of their wedding - Firestone Vineyard in Los Olivos.

"Pasture Buddies" was inspired by a drive through the roads of Los Olivos on a winery tour.

The painting was hanging on the wall in our dining room when a group of LA art patrons came for a tour of Steve's studio.

One of the women saw it and said she had to buy it because her father had been a Texas rancher and the painting reminded her of him.

Steve painted "Avalon" in the winter, posted it on facebook and within 2 hours it was sold.

Anne, who bought the painting, was born on Catalina Island and loves having a reminder of the island where she grew up.

I love to experience the reaction of someone seeing their painting for the first time.

"Coco on the Beach" was a recent commission for a neighbor's 40th birthday. 

We happened to be at the house when Michelle came home from a business trip and saw her birthday present hanging on the wall.

"Zephyr" was commissioned by friends who had lost their dog and wanted a memory of him.

When Heather saw the painting, she burst into tears - good tears - and Steve shed a few himself.

When they left, Steve commented that Heather's reaction was one of the most satisfying experiences of his art career.

"Silver Strand Afternoon" was recently purchased by another artist.

She has been looking at the painting for several years convinced that the person in the painting is her.

It might be, it might not be, but she doesn't care - it evokes special memories.

"Uncle's Fishes" is not the typical subject matter for Steve, but our friends Tom and Leslie commissioned the painting as a gift for Tom's uncle to commemorate a good day of fishing.

"Jennifer's House" was commissioned by a friend who realizes that she will not stay in the house forever and wants a memory of the home where she raised her children.

Two Tree Hill is a Ventura landmark and is the most frequent request from both people who live in town and those who have moved away and want a memory.

"June Lake 1958" was commissioned by neighbors who met, married and now have a mountain house in June Lake.

They came across an old postcard and asked Steve if he could paint the scene.

Steve contacted the photographer listed on the postcard for permission and not only did he agree, he sent Steve a large copy of the photo.

"Walderston" is a painting of the village where we lived for our first year in Jamaica and it will NEVER be sold (in my lifetime) despite the offers that have been made.

And we will hold onto "La Casita" - our house on the Caribbean Sea in Port Maria, Jamaica and our home when JP was born.

 "The Descendants" is another painting that will never be sold.

Steve took the photo as he walked behind KC, JP and me on the beach at Hanalei Bay last Christmas.

And now, that wonderful vacation memory hangs over our bed.

There are several very special "memory" paintings in our home that were not created by Steve.

In May, the staff of DATA threw a surprise retirement party for me.

I was already in tears after listening to the entire mariachi band play Las Golondrias ( a song for transitions in life), which they learned just for me, when they presented me with a gift.

The staff had commissioned my dear friend Wendy Lefkowitz, to paint a watercolor of the school where I taught for 24 years.

 The memory hangs in our hallway.

This little corner of the living room is a tribute to Steve's mentors.

An original John Comer painting was my gift to Steve on his 60th birthday.

The painting is of Refugio Beach which is a favorite camping spot for our family, but also the site of the workshop where Steve studied with John Comer.

This Ken Auster painting was a study Ken did at a workshop in Taos, New Mexico.

Steve purchased the painting at the end of the workshop as a reminder of the great time we had at Donner Ranch.

Steve is working on a new painting.

On a bike ride on the pier Steve snapped a photo of a father and son fishing.

Imagine the memories that this painting would evoke for both the little boy and the father.

Perhaps when he shows the painting, many different fathers or sons will think it is them and memories will flood back of a father/son day of fishing.

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I am joining in at

Lavender Garden Cottage - Cottage Style Party

Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays

The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Looking for love . . .

Yesterday was a difficult day made incredibly easier by good friends and the kind people who left sweet words on my post.

The outpouring of love combined with a post titled Hearts written by Francis at By Surprise made me go "looking for love" in my surroundings.

It is obvious that I adore hearts from the heart and hand display in my living room.

But, my eyes were hunting for less obvious evidence of my heart addiction.

I found - 

a simple heart photo album,

hearts with flowers and hearts that are flowers,

hearts I made, 

hearts shaped of metal,

 and hearts in the garden.

Too many hearts?

There are even more hearts I didn't photograph!

They make me happy and there can never be too much love.

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I am sharing my love at 

My Romantic Home - Show and Tell Friday

The Charm of Home - Home Sweet Home

French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday

It's Overflowing - Share Your Creativity

Be Different . . .  Act Normal - Show and Tell Saturday

Friday, July 19, 2013

An Unusual Walk

Steve and I headed out on our beach walk this morning, as usual.

But, there was nothing usual about it.

I had no  bags in my pocket and Steve had no treats in his.

I did not go to the little red box to grab a colorful bandana.

And, our precious Dorje was not with us - after 14 years, her legs just gave out.

She came to live with us when she was 1 year old (JP took off on a road trip) and changed our lives for ever.

 She never resented JP for giving her to us.

Yesterday, JP carried her to the vet much like he carried her home the day he found her in a box at Whole Foods in Berkeley his last year of college.

 Friends have brought flowers and cards recounting funny stories about Dorje's antics.

No one mentioned the time Dorje ate 7 pounds, all 7 pounds, of See's chocolate, but the time she devoured a jar of peanut butter was mentioned.

 This morning we found a book sitting on our porch.

We plan to sit around the fire pit tonight and read some of the stories.

Our walk was difficult- people greeted us asking where Dorje was.

Others greeted us with hugs since the word was out that the matriarch of "doggie play group" would not be joining the other dogs for sunset anymore.

We have never lost a dog before because Dorje was the first dog for both Steve and me.

We will remember her as she looked in Steve's painting, Happy Dog, doing what she loved more than anything - running on the beach.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

By jove, I think I've got it . . .

Two weeks ago, I finally bought a vintage window.

You might wonder why I am behind the times, but living in an art gallery means NO wall space for anything except paintings (I'm not complaining).

I realized that outdoors was the only place for my window and created a sweet little vignette.

Only to have this happen.

I wrote here about my solution, but I was not satisfied with the result and have been doing a lot of thinking about what I should do.

This red table was my final solution.

Our red enamel topped table has made the rounds in all of our homes for nearly 40 years after Steve found it in my parents' garage.

The last use of the table was in Steve's studio in an attempt to find a creative space for me.

Things did not work out - Steve earns his living as an artist and needs all the space he can get without bumping into me and my amateur efforts.

The table has been sitting outside by the fire pit since April and it has moved weekly in my attempt to find the right home.

Yesterday, I moved things around and 

by jove, I think I've got it.

Steve hung the window on some heavy hooks and white chain (to blend into the walls) above the table.

The pot of flowers, little red ladder and old screen are still part of the vignette.

I added some new elements -

a little red wagon languishing in the attic will hopefully age gracefully in the sun and wind,

a burlap banner with the letters just colored in with marker, 

a bucket of flowers gathered on our morning walk.

I am pleased with the results looking into the house.

I like the view as I sit on my garden bench and look across the yard.

But, my favorite view is sitting here on the window seat looking out the door.

I wish I could include sound in my post - the wind gently blows the window making the red metal heart knock against the window in a subtle little, clink, clink, clink.

Simple elements . . . simple changes . . . simple pleasures.

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I am joining these parties

Jennifer Rizzo - Fabulously Creative Friday Linky Party

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup Thursday

Elizabeth and Co. - Be Inspired

Lavender Garden Cottage - Cottage Style Party

Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays 

Cozy Little House - Tweak It Tuesday

Our Home Away From Home - Tuesdays At Our Home