Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Mantel

This Fall's mantel was totally inspired by an e-reader who has become a very special e-friend.  She created velvet pumpkins and velvet acorns which she generously shared with me.  I was thrilled when I opened the package she sent and these wonderful velvet pumpkins and acorns spilled out. When you see them in the images notice that she used real acorn caps and pumpkin stems.  They mixed perfectly with items I had and were the inspiration for this year's mantel.  

This first image is a view of the whole family room mantel.

Next, a closer look of the mantel.

I love using feathers.  I placed them in a pewter vase.  A crackled plaster mirror is a backdrop.  The reflection in the mirror is my bookcase on the opposite wall.  Notice the pumpkin under the cloche and the acorns cascading down the animal print books.

Vintage metal frames lean against the iron grate.  The acorns top twisted pewter candlesticks. I always use vintage books as risers.

This covered bottle is the perfect Fall accessory.

I put the Santos on the mantel because he was the perfect height and color.

Notice the stack of mini leather books supporting the pumpkin under the cloche.

I have several of these brass birds.  More acorns tumble from pewter cups. My small nest and egg fit perfectly in the other cup.   A large brass mirror completes the vignette.

I think that this is the only time of year that my ugly cedar mantel works for me.

I'd love to see what you've done for Fall.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Loel Barr Fine Art

My long-time friend Annie, AKA Loel Barr, is a talented and versatile artist whose creativity always amazes me.  We've been friends since our children were in pre-school.  Those same children are now adults with children of their own.  During all that time she has been producing impressive artwork.  She is always creating and experimenting.  Her work includes painting, drawing, collage, assemblages, photography, and mixed media.
She lives in upstate New York where she not only creates but is also an integral part of the art community.  Currently her art experiment is pencil drawings of clothing from of all places thrift stores. They are meticulously rendered in graphite and offer another example of how she can make something ordinary into extraordinary art.

Her current art experiment is being shown until Sept. 30, 2012 at :
The Doghouse Gallery, 429 Phillips Road, Saugerties, NY.

Below are some examples from that collection.

Many Miles  Pencil Drawing by Loel Barr

Once Loved Pencil Drawing by Loel Barr

So Pretty  Pencil Drawing by Loel Barr

Originals and prints are available for sale. 
To contact her with questions and pricing please click here.

 "Best known for her mixed media work, the career illustrator has been recognized for a richly-varied assortment of paintings whose style and mood shifts from the expressive to the impressionistic with a good dollop of surreal whimsey along the way."  Woodstock Times, Sept. 6, 2012.

"...the meticulous graphite drawings of used clothing-. . .poignant castoffs of past lives, among the most intimate possessions of people who will forever remain unknown."
Ulster Publishing Almanac Sept. 6, 2012

Ms Barr described her graphite drawings to the Ulster Publishing Almanac as ". . .the way disparate items from disparate people are all gathered together mingling with each other. 

I had to include some other examples of her talent, creativity, and versatility.

Manipulated Art

Untitled by Loel Barr

Encaustic on Paper
If you would like to see more examples of her work please visit her Facebook page.  Make sure you "like" her so you don't miss any of her art updates.
Link to Facebook page for Loel Barr Fine Art:

If you live in the Saugerties New York area, please visit the gallery to see her work and meet her.
She's fun and charming too.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Bargain That Wasn't A Bargain

For a while now I have been coveting tall planters, but tall planters are not in my price range.
 I especially loved the ones in the image below.

Well as my Mom always tells me, if you're patient you'll find what you want at a price you're willing to pay.  And of course I did.  I found a tall planter on clearance for $10.  But, there's always a but.  I wanted a sphere to rest on top of it and let's just say I'm not sharing the price because it wasn't a bargain and I didn't want to wait.  So, I bought it, placed it on the planter, and filled it with Fall decor.

I rested the sphere on a coffee sack so it wouldn't scratch the planter.  I put a mum in first and used a second coffee sack to cover the pot.  Then I filled in with gourds and pyracantha berries and stems.  Here's a closer look.

I placed it next to the french doors to the garage.

I think the color matches the shutters perfectly.

Here's what the garage looks like from the street.
 I still have my fig plant but it soon will have to come inside for the colder weather.

I'm really happy with the arrangement.  I was thinking I could justify the purchase by adding the price of the sphere to the price of the planter and then divide that in half.  The other way to look at is that I rarely splurge on something and who doesn't deserve a splurge once in a while.  Or, what I finally settled on is not even offering an excuse and enjoying the result.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Houndstooth Pumpkins

I just love Fall.  The weather is perfect.  
The earthy colors are a welcome change from the summer brights.  Fall decor is fun too.
I've been so impressed with all the Fall decor I'm seeing on blogs.   My only creation so far has been the pumpkins that I covered in what else but a geometric--- houndstooth.

This is the basket of them for sale at the store.

I've decided that I'm too impatient to take photos of every step so I know you talented peeps will know what I mean without photos.

1.  You'll need some styrofoam pumpkins.   I found out the hard way that I should purchase white pumpkins.  When you try to cover orange ones the orange shows through.  So, if you have orange pumpkins step one is to paint them white.

2.  I used houndstooth tissue paper.  I think it works better than wrapping paper because its thinner.  But, you have to be careful with tearing.  If you do tear it just cover the tear with another strip of tissue paper.  No problem.  I cut small strips about 1 inch wide by two or three inches long.  You could make the strips larger if  you have a large pumpkin.

3.  After your paint dries. coat the pumpkin in sections with Mod Podge and apply the strips.  Work your way around the pumpkin and over lap the strips.  I used my fingernail to tuck the strips around the stem.

It was really pretty easy and I haven't seen anything quite like it.

I'd like to share a few Fall decor ideas I'd like to use.

 This vignette with the silver plate, camera, old window, urn, and pumpkins contains a cohesive mix of some my favorite accessories.


 This totally different mantelscape also appeals to me.  It's lovely in an eerie spooky way.


Topiaries always work for me.  How about a pumpkin variation.


Here's to recycling leaves when they don't have to be raked up and placed in a bag.
(These are probably faux.)

Here are some actual topiaries with gourds around the base.  Did you notice the row of pumpkins on the transom?   Love it.


I know I'm overurning it but I do love urns, especially surrounded by mounds of white pumpkins.
Sorry, but unknown source.

Thanks for stopping by.  Please share some of your Fall inspirations.


Monday, September 17, 2012

September Stylish Patina Barn Sale

I wanted to share some of the vintage items I'll have for sale this month.  I've also followed the lead of all the retail stores and added some Fall/Halloween decor to the mix.

This ladies writing desk was too pretty to paint.  I believe it originally came from Ballard Designs.  I paired it with this Italian caned back chair with a lovely linen seat.  I think it would make a great bill paying/paper work area in a kitchen or bedroom.

This vanity bench was one of my furniture transformations.  How I did it and what it looked like originally will be in another post.

I painted this vintage drum table a soft gray and then distressed it.  This would work as a side table with a ton of storage inside.  I could see it with a fun lamp on it.

I've been selling these wire cloches in the store and am finally getting around to making one into pendant lighting.  How to on this and the burlap cording in a future post.  I added an Edison bulb to add some interest.

I'll be selling my Woodstock typewriter this sale.  The hoarder in me decided to let it go.

I'm also selling my bug chart.  It looks so Halloween--had to do it.

I just purchased this fabulous clock.  Another perfect Fall back drop.

I have more of those ever popular vintage cameras.

I always love to purchase clock faces.
 If you add a ribbon they become tree ornaments for the holiday.

Votives surrounded by pumpkins and pine cones in an old cash drawer.

I always love antlers any time of year.

Can't forget the birds.

Sheet music and stand which could be used to hold a photo.

Bar ware  is always popular.

Urns and Skulls

This vintage pendant light is re-wired and it's suspended in a vintage frame.

Here is a nice selection of vintage mirrors.

You know how I love houndstooth.  I've decorated some pumpkins with my favorite geometric.

I hope all you DC area readers with come to our sale and get some Fall decor inspiration.


Sale Dates
Sept. 21,22,23
10am to 5pm

  4051 Stanford Ct, Frederick MD
- We are right off Rt. 15 {coming from Leesburg it's a right / coming from 270 it's a left} turn on to Mountville Rd.
- 1st left onto Winchester Blvd.
- Wind through the industrial park
- Turn right into the horse farm at Stanford Ct!  You'll see our sign at the end of the road.
*** Stanford Ct is a new road so most GPS's don't find it so use a phone mapping system or print directions from Google before you leave.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How I Use Spheres in My Designs Part Two

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I didn't realize how often I use spheres in the vignettes in my home until I consciously looked for them.  I found so many examples that I actually had to break it down into two posts.  I bet after I publish these I'll find even more examples.  If you missed part one, go here.

In the first post I suggested ways to use different kinds of orbs in groups in containers, on pedestals, or singly.  I also like to use them on shelves mixed with other items and in urns or trophies.
In my kitchen I have this cupboard that I styled using leather books, architectural elements, spheres, and interesting vintage collectibles.

On the top shelf there are two cement orbs on pedestals.  On the other shelves interspersed with books are seed covered orbs and some French orbs covered in old iron nails.  They weigh a ton but someone thought to leave a flat surface so they don't roll all over.

French Iron Orbs, Leather Books, Metal Laurel Wreath

Vintage Books, Seed Ball
I like to place spheres in urns also.  In my laundry room I have a ceramic urn.
  I placed a holiday mercury glass orb inside it.

There's another orb peeking around the corner on the book stacks too.

I placed a freeze-dried boxwood sphere inside a pewter champagne bucket.  I actually have two of these and when I'm not using one of them on my capitol and ledger book, I place the pair on the table as centerpieces.

If you've been following my blog for a while you've seen the urns and trophies on my bedroom dresser.  I filled them with small globes and placed them beneath my framed print of Paris.

What design elements do you use frequently?  Please share.  I love to hear from you.