Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I fervently wish us all a good 2009, whatever it may bring! I want to thank everyone who has stopped by this past year, whether you posted a comment or not I appreciate all of you here at my humble little blog.

I have been in the midst of a major re-do of my studio since the day after Christmas. I will have to share pictures later because right now my memory card reader for my camera is packed away from our Christmas trip and with everything out of my studio and strewn throughout the house I have no idea where it is. ;-)

I know I've posted studio pictures before. It seems to have become a habit, a major re-organizing of my space about once a least according to Mr. Shabby. But this isn't simply a re-organization. I know that my re-organizations were simply attempts to fool myself into thinking I had a nice new studio. But my heart always knew they weren't what I really wanted. This is renewal! :-)

I dreamed of color and carpet and molding. I dreamed of a pretty, pretty studio but functional and practical as well. And affordable. So I saved my money for things like paint and carpet and wood for Mr. Shabby to build me work counters. And then with all the details I knew I wanted to practice my 3 R's. Recycle, re-use and re-purpose. So I've been "shopping" my house and basement and have been amazed at what I've turned up that I can use.

So far we have the walls painted, molding cut and primed, doors painted and frames primed. We have argued out...erm.... discussed... the details of the works counters and tomorrow we go to buy wood and carpet. My computer room, my dining room, my hallway, all look like someone upended a room full of "stuff" into them in a jumbled piles. I can't wait to get my room back together. I'll share pics as soon as I can find that darn card reader. ;-)

Happy, Happy to all and God bless us every one.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Now it is time to do for one's self

To everyone who takes a moment to stop by I want to wish you the very best of holidays. I am taking a Christmas break to spend with friends and family, my loved ones, to cherish our time together and bask in warmth and laughter. A time of rejuvenation of body and soul so that I can be refreshed and ready for what the new year brings forth. However you celebrate this time of year I wish the saem for each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart. The image above is our last TGIF free image of 2008. I hope you can use it and enjoy.

I am putting my Etsy stores on vacation until Dec. 27. Anyone can still purchase from my online store during this time, but orders will not ship until Dec. 29. I will be offline and not be available for emails from Dec. 21 until Dec 26.

Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays one and all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Studio Time- Old Techniques and New

Oh my, but it has been a long time since I attempted a painting and here in the space of about a week and a half I actually started and finished two! They are totally different from anything I've painted in the past. I'm rusty I admit, but for someone who gave up painting a few years back after suffering some serious painting burnout (some of you have read about that) I will say that I'm okay with what I did. I've embraced my mistakes! :-)

Both paintings were an exploration. An exploration of a new medium, Caran' D'Arche watercolor crayons, recommended to me by my sweet and lovely friend Pam Carricker (I love them Pam!). And an exploration of my feelings for painting again. So both paintings have a bit of the personal in their messages which is also something new for me when it comes to painting.

I enjoyed playing withthe backgrounds and incorporated some techniques I've used in the past with some new techniques I've learned since embarking into the world of mixed media.

My first attempt I titled "Voice", as in trying to find one.

My second painting I titled "Embrace the Process" and mixed in some stencilling,collage and stamping which I really enjoyed.

I've also been exploring a truly new medium, polymer clay, and I have found I like it and can see uses for incorporating into my artwork. I love boxes and I discovered that clay mosaics and box lids are a perfect marriage. So here are some of my most recent boxes and a tin bird house where I covered the roof in embossed clay.

This particular clay mosaic piece I did an image transfer on the clay before I baked it. Way cool!

On this little box lid I used beads in place of grout for my clay tiles.

I hope you've enjoyed my humble offerings.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Messy, messy, messy!

Some of you have heard me talk about my shabby cottage where I live with Mr. Shabby, a Dalmation named Cleo and a salvaged kitty named Gracie. I recently had a conversation with a new online friend who also shares the joy of owning an old house. But really, joy is not always the correct word to use in describing living in an old house. Maybe if you have a lot of money and can hire people to do all the refurbishing an old house needs, it's not so bad. But when you live on a shoestring budget you can fall out of love with an old house as quickly as you fell in love with it in the first place.

And when you are married to a wonderfully skilled woodworker, you are usually the last to get his services. Add on top of that a woodworker who is, shall we say, not quick as a bunny, when it comes to getting things done. I would have to cast him in the role of the tortoise, if I were casting a play called The Hare and the Tortoise. ;-) Yet we all know how that story ended. And around here

So I think that 7 long years of long suffering patience, as I grow a bit more long in the tooth each year (do you see the theme developing here?)are finally seeing results. I do believe it is that time in the race when the tortoise starts to pull ahead of the hare on his way to the finish line. Of course, I don't say that too loud, I don't want to anger the DIY gods with any presumptions on my part. But I am actually seeing work begun on my kitchen!

Okay be warned, these pictures are pretty horrifying but you have to see some of the before so that when I have the after pictures you will understand my jubilation, the fireworks and the parade.

This is the sink side of my kitchen. Pretty isn't it? Well the stuffing coming out of the wall is brand new this weekend as Mr. Shabby pulled old bead board off in order to rewire and move outlets. But that was their insulation 80 years ago. Ewwww. How do you like that sink ladies? Want it? You can have it! I DO NOT use those drawers and the only thing in the cabinets below are some cleaning supplies. But nothing will clean that sink of it's age.

And here is a close up of the space with my color samples from when we first moved in. I have since then changed my color scheme. I mean face it , in 7 years a lot of things change.

If you were around in Oct you saw the picture of this monstrosity sitting in my dining room. It was only to be there a week, two at the most. Let's see, it's now almost the end of Dec. That's my tortoise for you. This is actually going in the ugly hole above. It will be painted and hold my wall oven and other "stuff" .

And here it is, proof positive that there actually is work going on in my long (there's that word again) overdue kitchen renovation. New bead board going up. Since I will have cabinets up to the crown molding here (glass fronted with lights yet...only for decorative pretties since I'm getting to old to climb up to a 10 foot ceiling to get in a cabinet) we're saving money by not putting bead board behind cabinets where it won't be seen. So just some thin skin board.

This is the opposite corner on the same side that got bead board last weekend. This is my fridge corner. Since our ceilings are 10 ft and bead board comes 8 ft we will have some seaming to caulk and then paint will hide that. I'm not sure what to do about my yellow dining room. I'm painting the kitchen pale aqua. Oh gee I really don't want to re-do the dining room.

And since I'm showing you messes. I've been in the studio this week painting

And cutting and gluing and rolling clay. And stamping and inking and more painting.

Fun huh?! I'll actually have some pictures to show you later of completed projects. But it got cleaned up this afternoon and now I'm ready to start a new mess.

Plus there are new things to come. I know I've posted pictures of my studio a couple times since I've been blogging, usually because there was a reorganization going on. But this time there is a studio re-do on the near horizon. I actually had the opportunity to swap to a bigger room but it didn't gain me that much in regards to storage so I decided the only thing to do is a complete make over of the existing room.

So I'm moving to the other side of the room in front of these windows and in the closet. Yes in the closet! LOL There will be a work counter the entire length of this wall and to the left of this in the closet I'm also putting a work counter. Sewing (like I sew!) and storage gets moved to the other side of the room. I'm putting down some commercial grade carpet, painting the old bead board walls pale aqua (yes just like the kitchen), Putting up white trim and painting all window and door frames gloss white. This window wall as you can see doesn't have much wall space and it will be covered first in a thin skin board and then I'm doing a tissue paper treatment over that. I'm hoping to start in Feb. but it depends on Mr. Hare, erm, I mean Mr. Shabby. ;-) So in the end, between the two work counter I'll have almost 15 feet of workspace!! Oh glory be! ;-)

I'm sure glad we're travelling to other homes for Christmas this year! As you see, mine is not
available for Christmas. If I'm lucky, maybe next year my cottage will be a little less shabby. Hmmm, maybe I'll even put up a tree! Well, I won't push it.
Happy Holidays everyone, may yours be merry and bright!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Small Things

I'm a bit too tall and a tad too old to be an elf, but elf I was this week over at the Cottage, what with all the sleigh unloading! So I'm glad that part is over! And now everything in it's place and a place for everything. And I contemplate some time off. Time for me. Time for family. Time for friends. I will close all the shops from Dec. 21 to Dec. 26.

We will go out for a nice dinner with the family (a jeans ban for that evening) and a holiday play. Mr Shabby and I then leave the next day for Raleigh to spend a few warm and delightfully cozy days with Liz and Rick. Then back for traditional Christmas Eve dinner at the folks. Followed by Christmas day. All in all small things but important things. What Christmas should be about, family, friends, warmth, love and much, much laughter. I dearly, from the bottom of my heart wish the same for each and every one of you out there in blogland.

The picture above is your TGIF free image. It makes me think of a silent winter day in the forest when the silence is eloquent. Enjoy dear ones.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finally I think we have everything off the sleigh! I hope so because we told Santa to go, he had other important things to do! This is the last batch of new products.

Paper Mache is so versatile. It is lightweight, affordable and requires no special prep for painting or altering! So please, stop by Shabby Cottage Studio and check out all the new goodies, maybe there is somthing you want to take home with you. Our shipping is reasonable and fast.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I've been offloading more goodies from Santa's sleigh! And I'm not done yet! A few more fun alterable items I hope to get up tomorrow! Plus don't can tell Santa we have Gift Certificates too! :-)

Velvet Leaves have arrived! They have such a wonderful vintage look and feel!

We received a limited supply of two colorways of gorgeous velvet forget me nots, leaf trim in three colors and a ruffled gingham organdy trim in two colorways!

We've restocked Glimmer Mist colors and added a couple new colors. And Mini Misters are just handy dandy tools to have in the studio.

We also now carry 10 colors of Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles and Applicators.

We finally have been able to get in some Memory Glass to go with our frames. We have the 1x3, 1.5" & 2" sizes available. And have you seen the one inch Memory Frames? Perfect for Inchies! We have several inchie collage sheets to choose from too!

This is not everything that came off the sleigh this week, and you can see always see everything in our What's New Category. And don't you know they all make great stocking stuffers!