Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Treasure Trays

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I've been having great fun with old wooden trays my hubby found. These were originally used for some sort of industrial storage purpose, maybe a product or a tool. He found stacks of them and then didn't have a clue what to do with them.  I cleaned them up, removed all but one divider, hit them lightly with sandpaper and then added color/paint and distressing. I was surprised to discover the sides were made of oak -- folks once used really good materials to craft even their utility trays -- how nice. I was delighted to discover there wasn't a staple to be found anywhere. I hate staples and fear someday our homes will be stapled and hot-glued together.  Good workmanship!!!

So here's how they look cleaned and heavily paint distressed.  The color on this one is apple green and I think it works elegantly paired with  rustic antique tones. This tray is filled with old golf collectibles -- books, golf balls and a trophy used for a vase. I thought it would be a change to arrange something that wasn't a bit more rustic than usual shabby chic fare.

Sooo, I can't make up mind which is my fave color tray. This deep turquoise pops out and is nice, eh?
 Needless to mention, this tray is filled with billiards/pool collectibles. Great for a man cave?

Tennis  or badminton anyone? I think trophies make great vases. That's the lid to an old biscuit tin in back. Any kind of plant arrangement seems to really add to tray decor. 

Same red tray but overflowing with just a few of my hubby's old marbles and a handful of his tops. Interesting that this one doesn't photograph all that well and in person, it's irresistible for the colors and textures. And it's tempting to scoop up a fist full of those marbles and play with them, maybe too tempting?

Same arrangement , different color trays  - I think I find  the dark turquoise richer than the softer aqua.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My personal Mompreneur story: Unmask your hidden talents

How I ended up a mompreneur before it was cool: In the early seventies, my husband opened a retail floor covering store and stationed me on the front desk. I was miserable.
Bored to tears, I started playing with some of the scraps of carpet in my spare time and "The Hooked LOOK" was born.

My crafty escapism started off with simple designs as this little cover reveals; and grew to impressive contemporary full wall-scapes. Yes, you may have seen them in your favorite airport.

I was credited by the Dallas Times Herald as the creator of a new craft and featured in our local city paper. Then - I was selected to be the first artist/craftsperson featured in the Premier Issue of the Dallas Homes and Gardens Magazine. It was so exciting! The feature editor discovered my work at my first ever public  exhibit at Cottonwood Art Show in Richardson, Texas.

From that article, I received a commission to do a massive abstract logo for the decorator of a large bank in Dallas. Many commercial accounts followed. Soon my husband joined my efforts, and together, we developed an art manufacturing company (and closed that floor covering store!). Our contemporary wallhangings were distributed nationally through reps and in permanent showrooms in all of the major home furniture markets, including the World Trade Centers in Dallas, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Las Angeles and conventions in High Point. Our accounts included IRS, Hilton Double Tree hotel chain, Armed Forces Commissaries and many, many exclusive decorator commissions and orders.

Another line of designs were offered direct to the public in highly juried art exhibits through out the nation -- so many that it was necessary to have seven to eight trucks on the road at all times. We were overjoyed to see how very popular our wallscapes were and to meet many celebrities who took more than one home with them.  If you look very close, you can see one of our tree wall hangings on old reruns of the "Three's Company" set!
Alas, earth-tones and contemporary furnishings were replaced with country kitschy, owls and mushrooms. My husband wasn't willing to go there and I had more  little ones at home by then and just wanted to stay home. But all of that work and effort, only good while it lasted, and then,

WOW! I've Never Thought of Painting Clothes: My son was modeling at a Lee Jeans runway show at the Dallas Apparel Mart. The dancers and models were outfitted in Lee Jeans and the wildest painted t-shirts imaginable. I was totally blown away by the possibilities. Though I loved staying home, and being with my kids was my first priority, I needed to contribute financially. I thought I saw a chance to do both.

With prayer, faith, and much struggle to conquer a new learning curve, I developed a line of ten fashion painting patterns; presented them to MJ Designs and my Painter Friendly Designs by Devonia patterns were soon sold nationwide.

That was a fun, kitchen-table career that allowed me to stay home with my kiddos - the second stage of my  mompreneurism. Before the craft industry began it's tragic crash, my pattern lines swelled to more than ten with more than a thousand designs and were marketed in all of the major craft stores across the nation, including Michaels, MJ Designs, Ambers, Hobby Lobby, Garden Ridge Pottery and many mom and pop stores. I worked very hard at my kitchen table - things always sound easier than they are.

Life was wonderful while the craze lasted and my sons grew to be teenagers.
Occasionally I find a Designs by Devonia pattern packet offered on eBay and I feel a bit nostalgic.

Here's one currently available on eBay.


Maybe it's time I get a REAL job:
Another creative cycle had ended. My kiddos were
nearly out of the nest and I was again looking for something to keep my mind and fingers busy and contribute financially (I was already finding out that older kids are very expensive) - this time I looked outside my home, uncertain I had anything to offer that would benefit any company.

A local adult education facility, Fun/ED, advertised for an art marketing director with heavy experience in publishing, marketing, art and public speaking. I applied and was shocked that the job was mine!

I felt as if I had been dropped to float on a creative cloud. An extra perk, of course, was that I could attend any of the more than 350 classes - FREE! plus as co-ordinator for for all major "happenings", I rubbed elbows with many renowned authors in events hosted by our facility. It was a fast-paced environment aptly named Fun/ED. I wore many hats and though he responsibilities were daunting , I was happily very busy. I couldn't believe I was being paid big $$$'s to do this job while someone else had all the worries. I loved it!

In my spare time, I designed all of the four-color covers for our class catalog, chose the models, set up and oversaw the photo shoots and edited the magazine, placed all advertisements, etc. The classes were presented in a full color magazine form - mine to create from concept to final print sign-off (often at three in the morning). One of my favorite covers is shown at the left- tagged "Unmask Your Hidden Talents!".

Eventually the owners of this private institution, Fun/ED, serving DFW more than twenty years, wanted to retire so another change loomed. I was heartbroken, yet...

I Had Always Yearned To Paint ROSES: Just about the time that Rachel Ashwell's book, Shabby Chic, set a new trend for home decor - eBay was new and exciting! I picked up a paint brush and realized I was right back at my kitchen table. My art began to travel to homes as far, globally, as eBay could reach and I fell in love with the many wonderful customers. This has been a personally rewarding time and I've enjoyed it since 1997 , however,

If you have read this far, you must have noticed a pattern. Life changes - art changes - we change. Once I forced change myself, but most of the time, change was forced upon me. A part of me always feared changes because I liked things just the way they were. I was happy and not eager to change nor did I always trust what the newest open door might offer. Someone recently asked a group if we believed that everything happens for a reason. I don't know the answer. I just know that change is inevitable; yet, by reviewing my own experience, I have to believe if we tap into our hidden talents, change can open new opportunities. It's up to us to explore the possibilities. What's true in a Dallas lifestyle is true anywhere. Sooo tell me your story.

And sooo, while I give this some thought, I bet blogging and writing might be fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

D.I.Y.: Transforming A Gatsby Era Suitcase Into A Coffee Table With Storage

Painting furniture, or something that will serve as furniture is so much fun.

Above is one project - from my husband's shed. I'm not sure what to call it - a steamer trunk? a huge suitcase? but I do know it has loads of style.

I especially love the four bamboo bands that surround it. (Click to enlarge and you can see those bamboo bands better) I hope you can see that the corners are heavily reinforced with leather and I was delighted that the leather straps/handles are still intact and usuable. This very old piece was found in "patched-up" condition, the work of a previous owner.

It was such an extraordinary treasure that I thought about it a long time before painting a design on it. I didn't want to overwhelm the raw appeal it had as found. To enhance, but not to overwhelm or cutesy it up was my goal. I needed a design that was as unique as the trunk and as classic.

After basecoating and antiquing so all of the distressed and aged areas were highlighted, I decided that I would paint botanical roses, in neutral tones, complete with the Latin names in the different areas. On the top, I alternated the direction of the designs so the top would be pleasing from front or back view. Counting the top surface, the sides and ends, there are nine different botanical rose designs. I truly don't want to admit how long that took me to do.
I'm redoing the interior, so that will require even more downtime. Waiting for adhesive to dry - the devil is in the details. And I'm pondering about a base to elevate it so that it might be used for a table. Little stick legs don't appeal to me. Some sort of neat iron frame would be nice though I don't happen to have one. I guess I will have to talk to my hubby about this and rummage around in his sheds to see if inspiration strikes.

In the meantime, since I've already finished most of the interior pieces for lining this, I can either take a break, or continue where I left off on another project. Eventually, most find their way to completion. *Smile* A coffee breaks sounds appealing.....

So much of art or craft work is spent -

w a i t i n g.
PS. My hubby found four wonderful huge wood BUN feet for it! We measured the height and they are perfect!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SIGH - Be Still My Beating Heart: A Killer LINE!?!?!? (Best I've Ever Heard!)

Dallas is a high crime area. Not only do women take self-defense courses, women try to remain always vigilant, always cautious. So what does it take to make women throw caution to the wind and forget everything they ever learned about personal safety? 

Check this story out:

I recently heard the very best line ever! It had me dopey for hours - and then I told my husband.

Here's what happened~I had dashed into a local Dallas grocery store for some milk. 10 min later, a Texas downpour had me aghast. My car was miles across the parking lot. I fidget wondering if I should dash for it.
I'm in shorts, after all, does it really matter if I get soaked?

He: (a warm, masculine voice right behind me) I have an umbrella and if you'll point out your car, I believe I can get you to it dry.

Me: Looking up (seeing the huge umbrella) and then I point - um, there. It's the blue one.

He: Let's go ...

We dash together, reach the car, and he opens the door.
I'm in, dry and grateful. Smiling up my appreciation at this wonderful handsome fellow.

Me: Thank you so much!

He: (right before he closes the door) No problem. Glad to do it...after all, sugar melts....

OMG!!! -SUGAR melts - was that the best line ever?!?!? I was utterly charmed to my toes. Home and in a happy daze, the dopey feeling stays with me until my husband is home from work. I had to tell him, of course I did. Served him right for always taking me for granted, anyway.

Hubby: And if he had been a serial killer, you'd be dead right now.

T h u d.
Awww, I noticed my hubby tucked an umbrella in my car- my true hero!

There you have it. Just one unguarded moment and everything learned is tossed out the window. It may be easier than thought to become the next statistic.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Capture the Natural Beauty & Breathtaking Colors of Fall With An Autumn Bouquet of Roses: Created From Maple Leaves

It's a gorgeous weekend here in Dallas. I hope everyone is enjoying this kind of weather. It fills me with energy. My dear husband is off to Canton First Monday. I hope he does really well there. I would ask him to take photos for us all (me too); however, he never has time. And that's a good thing because it means that he is selling. For him, selling means more money to use to hunt and find more treasures to sell to hunt and find... well, you get the idea.

But back to the weather, the leaves are turning, the leaves are falling...

I loved these roses made from leaves! I made a bouquet and it was easy as can be. I used dental floss to tie them - no clue what kind of leaves I used. I think I mixed kinds. *laughing* I tucked my roses into a burlap bag/vase that I made by dipping a large square of burlap into Petal Porcelain, shaping it around a vase and letting it dry. The next morning that burlap had enough body to stand on it's own; all I needed to do was trim away the edges/corners. Remember Petal Porcelain? It was used to make huge bows out of fabric for baskets? Good product.

A step by step photo tutorial is available here.
Wouldn't leaf roses make a gorgeous swag , wreath, or pumpkin topiary?

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