Outside Inside

Part 2

Welcome to my home

First this beauty was in the front porch but I decided the front step needed something.
My white and gray kitchen definitely needs a shot of colour. Some might think the vase needs to be larger, but I love the top heavy, difficult to contain appearance of the greenery.

My IKEA bowl makes a nice resting place and Carolyn Honey Harrison's painting provides the perfect backdrop. Needless to say the flowers are not from my garden this time of year in Newfoundland. They're recycled year after year and might appear anywhere.

A few rose hips that were left on the bushes makes a nice accent with my white candles. I was one short as you can see. This will be rectified eventually.

This one makes a great addition to the lovely birch tabletop my handyman husband made . We re-design furniture too by adding new parts!

You will have to imagine the music, apple cider and good cheer.
Look around you with new eyes. There are Christmas decorations waiting to be found.

Re-post from Painting On -  December 2009
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Natural Christmas decorations

When you love pattern and decoration as much as I do, the Christmas season leads to great temptation to consume. If I wasn't constantly telling myself you don't need that, I could drop hundreds of dollars every time I go shopping . It seems that even supermarkets have become places of temptation for me.

I look at older decorations I've gathered over the years and reuse them in new ways. I move things to a different place each year so they appears new. I've also begun to look around me and come up with new ways to use things for decoration. My back garden is a treasure trove of colours and textures for Christmas. Gather....

Lots of spiky broom

Mugo pine, dried Goat's beard and dried branches of Spirea

Cotoneaster, boxwood and yellow cedar

One artificial Amaryllis will never let you down.

Rhododendron leaves and Goat's beard stalks

Looks impressive. So many ways you can go. Cut, arrange, rearrange, stand back, arrange some more, look for the perfect spot in the house that needs to say welcome. Place your creation and look on with satisfaction. Part II tomorrow....
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Do you love your laundry room?

Laundry is not my favourite activity so I think it is important to make it as enjoyable as possible. For me that means an inviting environment and there's nothing cleaner, crisper and more inviting than a blue gray colour scheme with white trim. Benjamin Moore's Gray Wisp is my answer.

The fact that I can dream up designs and my husband can produce them makes it very convenient and cost effective when it comes time to renovate.

Functionality and storage is a must . Under the counter is a recycling center, one bin each for paper, plastics and glass. Above the washer and dryer is storage for cloth napkins, and light bulbs. Of course, art is a must to set the tone for every room. Some people think it's insulting to hang "good art" in functional rooms. Not me. I spend a lot of time in this room and you can view it from my hall because there isn't a door. It has to be clean and inviting and art invites .
Across from the washer and dryer is my broom closet, gift wrapping center in the drawers and upper storage for cleaning products. To the left of the broom closet is storage for the vacuum cleaner and a place to hang at least five pieces of clothing to dry.

A tiny powder room is directly across from the recycling center. It continues the theme set in the laundry room. The glass mosaic tiles are iridescent and my big splurge for the renovation.

This mirror began life with a stenciled wooden frame. It was updated by covering it with a handmade paper and then adding four coats of Liquitex acrylic gloss medium and varnish.

And of course you need something to look at when nature calls! I created this landscape collage with various papers and acrylic medium to remind me of my summer house when I wasn't there.

....And that is my laundry room and it makes laundry enjoyable.
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Pillow talk

When I want a new look in my physical space focusing on smaller items to change makes it very cost effective. Pillows are small works of art that add new life to any room . They provide a way to be wild and wanton, to add splashes of colour and pattern that would overwhelm if you added them to your walls. They allow you to add your own personal touches to an environment and if your are "handy" you can have something new on a budget by recovering your old pillows.

A little history

The pillow has a long history that extends back to the Mesopotamian city state era (7000 BCE) but it was the Egyptians that put pillows on the map so to speak. They considered the head to be sacred and pillows were lavished with decorations fitting the job of holding this important body part. Pillows were also a status symbol in Ancient Egypt.

As sophisticated dyes and sewing techniques came into use pillow design became an art form and they were prized commodities first in China and Persia and later in Medieval Europe. With the industrial revolution and the mass production of materials, pillows became more accessible to the average person.

Pillows are not always those soft, fluffy things that the word might conjure up for us. Traditional Chinese pillows are often hard boxes made of stone, wood or metal because it was believed that soft pillows robbed one's body of energy and vitality. In medieval Japan, noblewomen had elaborate hairdos that required customized pillows. To protect the fancy hairdos pillows were constructed of wood that cushioned the back of the neck and let the hair hang free. Not orthopedic consults in those days! Until the 18th century it was believed that sleeping was best accomplished sitting up so bolsters and pillows were a necessity for good health.

We are familiar with feathers, fiberfill or foam but there's more variety out there. Traditional fillings were straw, feathers or down. In Asia buckwheat is a common filling and the pillows are smaller, while in India cotton is used . Then there are pillows that are filled with lavender, herbs etc. that are touted to improve your well being.

Some people like their pillows on the funny side. Check these out.

Then there are pillows from different countries and antique pillows too rich for my pocketbook or any practical use.

My walls and furniture are usually neutral, unassuming colours so I express my wild side with pillows.

modern, geometric in satin


dainty crochet raffia , graphic linen

crewel work with circles

satin, linen and shag, spring yellow and green

cut velvet and plaid satin in my favourite colour

They lift me up, inspire the use of texture in my art work, support my back, provide a topic for conversation, add a little luxury...

Are there pillows in your life?
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Something new

Welcome to my new blog. If you already know me as a visual artist I'm changing hats to highlight my second career in interior design. If you want:
  • to know what's current in the world of home decor
  • to spruce up your existing decorating scheme on a budget
  • to take sneak peeks into different homes
  • to engage in interesting discussions about home decor
stay tuned.
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