Engaged in Rapt Contemplation

Is it too late to say that I’m thankful to you who come by and read TPH?  Thanksgiving just came and went here at TPH.  But I hope it was a lovely one for you all!  I did a little cooking in partnership with Whole Foods to celebrate in a nontraditional way with a portion of our family.  More on that later…

Speaking of nontraditions:  do you feel like your life is an experiment from the norm?  Ours has been one ever since our first child was born.  And now there is a new experiment brewing over here at TPH that consumes my waking moments.  I’m cooking, but I’m thinking about it.  I’m driving, but I’m thinking about it.  Rapt contemplation! 

Our latest experiment to afford me more painting time is, uh, not faring so well.  And the need is becoming so needy and huge that it hurts me.  Just when I’ve convinced myself that I am being selfish, I realize that this need is about as vital to me as breathing and sleeping.  So I am devising a new way to fit it in around our life.  A new experiment to try at least. 

One way is blogging less, which I’ve been doing anyway to accommodate homeschool, “hotel” management, and occasional gallivanting.  So I’m contemplating what to do.  I love blogging and it is satisfying, but it steals time from painting.  So maybe I’ll ease up and post once a week, twice?  Not sure.  In the meantime, I have lots upcoming to share…horrible timing and all now that it is officially Christmastime and I hardly have time to pluck my eyebrows these days.  But stay tuned!

The new experiment goes into action in early 2011.  I’m excited.  Nervous.  Thankful for the support of my family.  I’m thankful that I married a man who is willing to be a little nontrad with me.  It’s definitely not always easy, but it is natural for me.  Thankful.  So there you go, the Thanksgiving post you should have had last week.

Do you have any experiments in the lab these days?

A Homegirl’s Dream Come True

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You know who these two talented gorgeous people are, right?  Kevin and Layla are shooting the cottage for a 2011 issue of Cottages & Bungalows magazine!  I’m showing restraint by not adding one thousand exclamation points on that last sentence.  For girls like me who adore playing house, it is a dream come true to make it into a magazine.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I am so happy to know all the styling and photos are being done by a true professional.  No monkey business ’round here, people.  See?

I can’t wait to see the final product–I know it will be beautiful!

Remember Kevin and Layla’s house was in Cottages & Bungalows earlier this year–totally styled and shot by them.  Talented, those two.

Thank you!  Now I commence a happy dance.

Ranch to Cottage?

There are a lot of people out there wanting to redo their ugly ranches!  My, the google searches that land people on my blog!  I do have a soft spot for the ugly ranch and especially for the reclaimed ranch.  Now, beautiful specimens of exquisite mid-century design shouldn’t be touched in my book or altered to French Country by any means.  But the basic red brick box rancher that dots the American landscape, well, that is just a blank slate waiting for any kind of transformation.

The cottage, sick of it yet, I was thinking today has some elements that could be interpreted into a nice ranch redo.  It was basically a box–and still is.  Remember the beforsies?  It was Alpine-Tudor-Something Scary.

While we could have done anything on the facade since the original was rotted and had to be removed, well, we went back with Alpine-Tudor-Something Sweet.  It is a pressed board manufactured by the Hardi folks.  Instead of the white body, we painted the trim white for a fresher look.  Paint your brick ranch house and it could look just like this with painted crisp white trim–but don’t add the batten on top of the brick.

For more cottage charm, we added board-and-batten wood stained shutters on the front windows–stained the same as the new added entry (the only major structural change beside the screen porch to the original box).  Stone-based posts and patio tie in with the existing stone chimney and meandering wall–wahla, instant mountain cottage charm.  The front windows also have just the top mullions.   (Ah, sweet baby landscaping the day it was installed by my recovered chemo patient–what a milestone!)

Then the icing on the cake, a serene blue front door.

How easy this could be interpreted for a plain-jane rancher.  And, I’m sorry…I cannot offer any help on paint colors here–it would take me years of digging through notes.  Forgive me!  But couldn’t you just imagine all the fun color combinations?

The chica and I spent a marathon day at the cottage yesterday installing the new bedside tables, remember?  And guess who didn’t get a photo!  But they look amazing, really just perfect.  The day was just that busy.  We also did some major successful thrifting (more on that later) and fluffing around the place.  Something special is a-going on…

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And, oh, my, thank you so much for all the music suggestions!  My ipod is so excited.

Buy Art

Did you get this invitation in your inbox?  Sounds like a fun date night to me–original art, cocktails, bites, a 20% discount card to West Elm, and an opportunity to contribute to the scholarship fund at Savannah College of Art and Design.

A friend and I were talking recently about why it is so popular to decorate with prints when it is so easy it is to find wonderful original art.  Art is so personal and really sets a room apart from the rest.  It isn’t very interesting when the only difference between Mia’s and Lucy’s living rooms is that Mia’s Keep Calm and Carry On poster is blue hanging above her white Karlstad IKEA sofa and Lucy’s Keep Calm and Carry On poster is pink hanging above her white Karlstad IKEA sofa.  There are so many ways to procure unique art by the hands of an artist–even if you don’t have the budget for a big time curated gallery.  Try:

  • Student art shows, like SCAD’s at West Elm, or the art department at your local university
  • Blogs, Etsy, Ebay, Craigslist, duh
  • Antique malls and consignment shops
  • Garage sales
  • Your kids!  See here and here.

Believe me, you can find something big, bold, and beautiful to put on that blank wall of yours and not have to buy that Audrey Hepburn print at IKEA to fill it.  Make an adventurous day of it treasure hunting for the right piece.  Paint with your kids or other little people in your life.  And, then, not only will the art be fabulously unique but it will also have a story behind it, too.

I jokingly asked my friend if she had heard of the famous Lee Reynolds.  I think every one of my friends had one of “his” paintings in their houses.  I think our parents couldn’t purchase a sofa at Haverty’s without buying a Reynolds to go with it.  Know of your own Reynolds?  Go here to get the scoop on the “man” behind the sofa paintings.

Tenderly I encourage you to please…

Hey, Mr. DeeJay

I need some new music, peeps.  I’m listening to the same tunes over and over and over again while I paint.  I need something to get me fired, hot, giddy, drunk, irrational, swoony, revved.  Push.  My.  Buttons.  Yeah, I have a man, but he works all day.  Awesome painting doesn’t happen in silence.

Please tell me you have some stellar recommendations for me.  You get major brownie points from me if you leave a comment with your music picks.

Electronica rockabilly classical bluegrass standards house burlesque classic country rap hipster indie punk trance popster folk funk Euro whimsical Broadway disco swing rock bossa nova gospel…I like it all.

In the meantime, give this Johnny Cash cover by The Secret Sisters featuring Jack White a listen.  You are wearing a floral dress and red lipstick, sweaty, standing by a cotton field.

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