Monday, October 29, 2018

Twenty-two Gifts

In my last post I told you all about the art retreat I went to in Vermont earlier this month.  What I didn't show you were the gifts I made everyone.  We could bring a simple gift or just give "calling cards", whatever we chose. Typically several women make some pretty fun and creative gifts.  I labored over this decision for too long and wanted to make something that reflected my skills and interests.  The decision was made, I had a plan and bought linen napkins to embellish.  I'd make a set of two for everyone.  My plan was to dye them using the Cyanotype method (sun prints) you may have seen me do previously.  Something like this idea.
The more I thought about it I realized that the process would take too long for the amount of time I had left.  So I had to come up with Plan B.  I already had purchased 44 napkins.  I decided to embroider Fall designs on each set using this fun embroidery book I bought in Japan.  
You may remember that I used it to make some pretty coasters for a friend's birthday while I lived in Japan.  This is how they turned out.
So, I got to work! Now, so you don't think I'm TOTALLY nuts, the second napkins had a simple word stitched on it: Blessed, Grateful, Gather, Thankful.  They are perfect for Fall dinners for two.  

Other attendees made some sweet gifts too. Several gave out packs of ephemera to use in our art for the week. One woman picked flowers out of her garden and brought a large bouquet for EACH of us. It was full of dahlias, zinnias, cosmos and forget me nots. Here is a sweet paper clay doll that was made for everyone.  
I didn't get a photo of every gift, but when you get creative women together, it's bound to be good!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Vermont Art Retreat

For years I've been wanting to attend "Meleen and Charlotte's Vermont Getaway" in Arlington, Vermont.  It's an art retreat that happens twice a year with several attendees from all over the country. Many have attended several times so sweet relationships have been built over the years.  I had a few of these ladies as Instagram friends, but we had never met in person.  I managed to make it happen this year and during October seemed the ideal time to visit Vermont.  It was a rainy week, which gave it a subtle, moody feel all it's own.  We managed to have one afternoon of sunshine, so any photos you see were during Friday afternoon.
 I flew in on Wednesday, because you can't get to Vermont by noon from Texas, just so you know.  A sweet friend picked two of us up at the airport in Albany, New York, and drove us into Vermont.  They were much obliged to stop and let me get out in the rain to take pictures of the covered bridges.
Warm Brook Barn is a lovely spot where the retreat is held. There are two houses and a new event barn. It is filled with beautiful antiques and warm hospitality. Meleen is the most generous and gracious hostess who served us delicious meals three times a day. She uses her vintage china, silver and antique serving pieces.  
We all bring a gift for each other.  Some are simple, others are extravagant. Robin brings a bouquet of flowers for EVERY participant from her abundant garden in Massachusetts. I'd love to see the garden in person. They included Dahlias, zinnias, forget me nots and cosmos.  

Delicious soup and salad for lunch.  
Breakfast was steel cut oats, fresh fruit, yogurt and cinnamon rolls.  
 Swag bags met us in the barn workroom.
I only took a picture of Becca's embroidery at it's beginning stages.  
The variety and creativity that everyone used on theirs was fun to see. 

Our Friday morning session with Rebecca Sower was acrylic painting using the flower bouquets as inspiration. Everyone struggled as almost all of us were new to painting. With Rebecca's patient help, many of us actually liked the final products. As with anything, practice makes perfect. You can see how different everyone's turned out.  I definitely have my favorites.  
 Friday afternoon we headed out for a field trip to Studio Hill Farm. 
This little building at the top of the hill was the owner's grandfather's studio. 
It still held old drawing tables and a rustic stone fireplace.

As you can tell, the sheep were highly entertaining.  
 Studio Hill has an Airbnb that is very popular in case you're interested in heading to Vermont.

I met Lauri who lives in the Kansas City area.  She and I have an unbelievable number of things in common.  It was so fun to discover the similarities. We will definitely be connecting again when I move back in the area.  

Saturday morning we went to town to visit area tag sales. We went to the Dorset Church sale which was very fun and crowded. I bought two small copper skillets for $15, and this pretty little pin for .25.

Later in the afternoon we dyed a bunch of things in the indigo dye pot.  
The sun came out and gave us quite a show with this gorgeous rainbow. It was actually a double rainbow, but you can't see it in these photos.  

We had another session Saturday where we drew landscapes with pastels. You'll notice that there is no picture of my piece. For good reason. We finished up on Sunday morning. There were lots of hugs and goodbyes. On the way back to Albany we stopped by Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center. Which is huge and fabulous, by the way. This is getting too long, so I'll show you next time what I made for everyone.  They loved them.  

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Painting Changes Things

I traveled to Kansas City for two weeks to get started on the house remodeling.  It may not have been the first thing that should've been done, but I had the main floor painted.  My painter's week of availability was the last week of July/first of August.  I was anxious to get the wall colors changed.  So, up I went.  

First are some "before pictures" of the house.  This a screen shot off of Zillow and shows it partially furnished from the previous owners.  
Here is a tighter picture of it empty. I obviously don't have a wide angle lens.
Here is the painted version.  The walls are painted Sherwin Williams Creamy and the fireplace was painted SW Anchors Aweigh.  The floors will be wood and probably a chandelier will replace the ceiling fan.  

Same for the dining room.  
Sorry for the different angle.  The chandelier will be changed as well. 
Here is a different angle with the painter's tape yet to be removed. I didn't really want the trim to be a different color than the walls, but I had difficulty identifying the trim color and not enough time to figure it out before the painters arrived.  I went with Creamy on the main floor except for our bedroom. 
Here is the entry staircase "before". This first photo is very old.  
You can barely see a brass chandelier at the top of the photo.  
 This current chandelier is bronze.  But I recently noticed that the chain and cap are brass.  

"After" These aren't from the same angles, but you can see the color change. 
It is a very dark area and I think the SW Creamy white will help a lot.  

The door straight ahead leads to the Master Bedroom.  I will have the wallpaper removed and painted or re-wallpapered.  The room on the right is the library.  It is the same color as the other rooms.  It looks blue because of the northern exposure.  It was a gold color as shown in the Zillow photo below and is now also Creamy white. Evidently I never took an after photo. 
The Master Bedroom was dark brown, much like our bedroom in California.  I was very tired of that color and never picked it in the first place.  So this time we went with a gray/blue/green color.  It is SW Silver Strand.  
Again, I lack a wide angle lens. I think you can see the improvement though.  
Much better, don't you think? 
So, there you have some progress pictures.  I met with two contractors and am waiting on their bids then we will start making decisions and picking out surfaces and fixtures for the kitchen and the Master Bathroom.  I'll keep you posted! Any advice you can give to me since I'm new at renovations will be much appreciated.  


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