May 17, 2012


MiMi, our new puppy. She is a Bichon-Poo or Poochon and is just nine weeks old. Mr. Darcy is happy to have a new playmate and we are in love with her. Right now, they are both sleeping under my chair.
Yes, we have become "those" people that have many animals. They give us so much joy! I really think that May or June is a fine time to get a puppy, at least here in the northeast. The weather is better and it is easier to bring them outside as often as necessary. MiMi is doing very well with her training and likes playing in the yard with Mr. Darcy. Isn't she adorable?
More on the studio...

This is a picture of the finished studio light that is over the worktable. I made it with an old wire basket and a vintage french cast iron pulley. The wire has been covered in wool crochet (so easy to do) and hung from the ceiling with a hook. It was fun to put together and very easy to wire. I chose a socket with a pull chain.  I am currently using a vintage style Edison light bulb, but I will need to change it to something a bit brighter.What do you think of it?
The stool slipcovers are finished and I love the way they turned out. The fabric was given to me by my daughter Lauren, a while ago. It is a red canvas, much prettier in person. I pre-washed the fabric, because I know they will get dirty. Since I already had the stools, the only expense was the piping I bought. There is a pillow slipped underneath each cover and that has made them more comfortable and soft. The studio is now fully functional and I love being in here! What projects are you working on?

April 27, 2012

Old lace...

Doilies and lace trims that were added to my collection this week. I also found this delightful cabinet card from this Etsy seller. Do you see that she is wearing fingerless gloves? So adorable and chic. Her brother is very handsome as well. Lately, I have been drawn to these vintage photos. Child subjects are particularly interesting to me. I have a number of old baby ones, and maybe it is the unpredictable expressions and poses I love. Do any of you collect these old vintage photos? How do you display them? Right now, quite a few are displayed in my studio, but there are also some throughout the house that are part of my cloche ephemera.
I am getting ready to visit my son, daughter-in-law and grandson in Charleston. Master Eli will turn one year old, very soon! We are missing him so much. The weather is so nice there, I am looking forward to getting my vitamin D the old fashioned way, and not in pill form! The sun has been scarce around here. Eli is a real beach lover and we will be spending our time on Kiawah Island while we are there.
When I get back, I will be putting the finishing touches on the studio and getting back to work, finally.
I hope you have a fantastic weekend!! Hugs...

April 12, 2012

Working on...

Finishing the studio, an endless project it seems. I am enjoying it though. Shelves and pegboard have been put up, the pegboard is wonderful for all the tools, glues, little things that I use all the time. Very handy. Mr. B. put a nice frame around it and I love the black background. My tole, hand painted basket looks so pretty there, a good place to stash my current magazines. The worktable has been used many times already and the size is just right.

The shelves are a nice place for my large storage jars, holding ephemera, zippers, wire, lace, threads, etc. Miss Annabelle keeps an eye on everything. Beneath here, will be my cozy chair and ottoman. If I ever get to the reupholstering of it,  that is. There is another long shelf that I will put up over the desk's inspiration board. I was lucky to find a deal on eBay for the vintage styled cast iron brackets, I needed twelve of them. Mr B. is also building an open cupboard, about twenty-eight inches high by thirty-eight inches wide, with three shelves and a row of drawers, just eight inches wide. It will hold the bits and bobs needed at the sewing table. The cupboard will be installed just above the pin board over the sewing table. I found this photo and this photo on pinterest and we went from there to customize it.

The closet is now housing my paints, hung from an inexpensive shoe bag, organized my color and type. I was amazed at how much paint I really much of everything I have! The ribbon is hanging next to it on a pants hanger. I wish I could say this was all of it, but I have also filled a drawer with the various other ribbons. Anyway, the hanger idea works well and I will get more of them. Do you see the measuring stick hanging next to it with a pair of scissors?

 This fan was found in my daughter's old barn and she gave it to me. It was filthy and green, but it worked smoothly and quietly. I took it completely apart and cleaned it well. I then painted the base red (I know you are surprised), and the cage matte black. The blades were in good condition so I left them aluminum. It is a perfect addition to the room and I like that it can hang on the wall, or pegboard if I want it to. The old cast iron mailbox found a home on the wall next to the closet.

I have also finished making the elephant for a local charity UNYFEAT (Upstate New York Families for Effective Autism Treatment) event. A cause that is very important to me. It will be in the silent auction. He is a charmer, his name is Peanuts.
At Easter I experimented with natural dyes for my organic brown eggs, the green needed a little help.
The leftover beet, red cabbage and blueberry dyes were used to color some washed linen. I was happy with the result and really surprised at how dark the blueberry stained the cloth, a beautiful shade of purple. I'll share the cloth later.

So that is what I have been up to...I am hoping to show the finished studio soon, as well as share some new fun projects. Like this one, a free motion pillow made for a cousin's grandchild. It is stitched on linen in navy blue to match his nursery chair. The inspiration is taken from a drawing in a 1910 advertisement for little boys bathing costumes! I am itching to stitch more. What have you been up to??

March 12, 2012

A sneak peek at my new studio space...

If you have wondered where I have been for the past few months, I have been involved in many projects. One very important project, for me was the new studio space I am creating in an upstairs room.
I have made enough progress to show you some of it. The space is eleven feet by thirteen feet, and has a nice large five foot window with wonderful light. Although you will doubt me on that one, since my photos taken with my iPhone are very dark. Anyhow they are not the final pictures and at least you can get an idea of the area and the furniture I have placed in it.

 Here are some "before" photos, taken after my sons furniture was moved out and the back wall stripped of its wallpaper.
Next came the painting, I chose a neutral color, Martha Stewart's potter's clay. It is a warm grayish taupe. The walls and trim were painted in the same color, in a satin finish. I decided that it would be less busy than keeping the white trim. I was right. It is difficult to capture true colors but you will get the feeling for it, I hope.
You can see my pride and joy, super thrifty, craiglist purchased buffet/hutch in pieces. It is solid cherry, very heavy, forty-eight inches wide and seven feet tall. The brand is Temple-Stuart, nicely made with dovetailed drawers, dust trays under the drawers, curved glass, solid brass hardware, etc. I know some of you will cringe, because I painted a nice cherry piece, but trust me Annie Sloan "old white", with waxing and distressing, is so much nicer than the orange '50's stain that was on it. Overall the piece was in excellent shape. Do you want to know how much I paid for it? Fifty dollars. Score. Now here is the finished hutch, with new drawer hardware and hinges painted in black to match. The inside top is painted in Annie Sloan "coco" chalk paint. Which just happened to be two shades darker than my walls! What do you think? Lots of great storage...
To the left of the hutch is my desk, I borrowed the farm table that was in our sun room. It was just the right size at twenty-four inches by sixty inches. There is even a drawer. The table was already painted an off white, but it also received the Annie Sloan "old white" treatment. I decided to use satin polyurethane on the top for added protection. My large iMac screen tucks into the corner, leaving plenty of extra workspace. The inspiration board is made from homasote (1/2 " thick compressed carboard product) cut to measure at Home Depot. I bought the whole four foot by eight foot piece for about thirty dollars, and will use another one over by the sewing table. This one measures thirty-six by forty-eight inches. I can't wait to fill it up. It will have some of the vintage wire  trivets I have, tacked up to it for magnets. Sometimes you just do not want to put a hole into things.
Next is the sewing table...I am in love with it. Mr. B. made a top for my antique sewing treadle base. I have had this in the guest room with a piece of glass on it, for a night table.  He used MDF for the top since I was going to upholster it. My sewing machine fits inside a well so that I am sewing on a level surface. It makes such a difference, my machine runs quieter and I am at a more comfortable height. He left extra space on the left, so that I can access the free arm when I need to. It is upholstered in a Japanese linen/cotton, fine weave called Koseki Sewing Lesson. It was purchased here at Superbuzzy, Inc. and comes in other colorways. Isn't it perfect? You know I had to have my red pops in this room, too.

 I still need to find a good sewing chair, but I tried it out on a new puppy bed for Mr. Darcy. The fabric was a lucky blog giveaway win from Decorology, I was able to get the twenty-six inch pillow also. You can see the puppy isn't sure about it yet, he decided to lay next to it instead of on it!
 Now here are a few pictures of the work table. I created it using  two small bookcases purchased at WalMart for $15 each. They are black laminate, MDF cheapies that you put together yourself, but only if you have completed a PhD. Just kidding, it wasn't that bad. I am just used to Mr. B. handling the construction bit, but he was out of town. Anyway, I was pleased to show him, upon his return, my new work table. No surprise, its top is a thirty-six by eighty inch door, from Home Depot. Twenty -five bucks. Painted in, you guessed it, Annie Sloan's "old white" chalk paint. Again, I used several coats of water based polyurethane for protection. It is counter height and large enough for two adults or several grandchildren to play at. The latter have already decided that this is their favorite room. My many rolling carts fit neatly underneath and beside, great for storage.
The top is cluttered at the moment waiting for the chalkboard paint pegboard to go up, behind the table. Lots of shelving needs to be put up, the closet organized and filled with the fabric, art supplies, and tools stored downstairs. Not to mention a chair and ottoman to reupholster (they will tuck into the other side of the hutch, by the window)! Lighting for over the work table has yet to be installed. My Ott light is happily sitting on the sewing table and is so helpful at night. I suppose I will also need a light next to that reupholstered chair, maybe a floor lamp or plug in sconce to save floor space. Phew, I am tired again...
If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please let me know! I will be back soon with the completed studio, because I am dying to get back to work creating beautiful things, instead of a big mess.