Monday, March 29, 2010

An Early Spring Break

We returned last night from a wonderful visit with our daughter in Oklahoma. Ironically we spent 4 days in "tornado alley" without so much as a threat of a tornado only to come home to tornadoes and storms all over the place. Our plane had such a rough landing in Charlotte that they couldn't use the plane for the next flight. Scary!

Now we are safe and sound and it's back to a normal day here...washing clothes,listing etsy items, blogging and pushing towards getting the shop open. Not too much for one day....if you say it fast enough.

Thought I'd share with you a few highlights of the trip before I get cracking with my day...

Our girl works on a ranch in Enville OK.

When we got there on Thursday there were already 8 or 9 foals already on the ground for this season...before we left there were 2 more...only 30 something more to go....

This little one chose to show up at noon on a warm day instead of kid!

He's fancy with 3 white feet and a big blaze....He is a Custom Legend baby.

I managed to get a pic of Crome this time...He was getting ready to go to work and I got to help groom him before his ride up to the breeding lab. He's such a sweetheart.

We spent Saturday afternoon at Ft. Worth Stockyards.

These guys singing on the roof of the tattoo parlor were actually pretty good...Erin calls this part of town Cowboy Myrtle Beach...pretty good analogy I thought.

Headed down to watch the afternoon cattle drive...

 Here they come

And why do they have to tell some people to stand back?

Erin and I...
Sam (son) refuses to have his picture taken...although he is in a few by accident. That's him behind Crome and I have him in some of the baby pics.

The walk over the stockyard

The stockyard

Going down town for supper

 The Cowgirl Museum mural

Time goes by so quickly...I can't believe we are already home. The entire time we continued to plan what we would do next trip out. It's hard sometimes keeping up with a 21 year old!

Have a good week and I will be back here later on with new goodies for the shop.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hand Painted Spring Placemats and Table Runners

Happy Spring! We had a beautiful day on Saturday and I worked outside all day enjoying the sun on my skin...something we haven't felt around here in a very long time. It was a wonderful day.

 While I was pulling out the dead in my herb garden it reminded me of a series of table top pieces I designed about 16 or 17 years ago for Lexington Furniture's Weekend Retreat Collection. It's a beautiful classic pattern that never goes out of style so I decided today to pull it out of retirement and offer it once again on my website for Spring, Summer and Fall  2010.

They can be totally customized with your favorite herbs, with or without sunflowers, in all shapes and sizes. The heart-shaped herb wreath on the placemat is also available as a circular wreath. The possibilities are just endless and that's the beauty of hand painted accessories.

The Ivy pattern was a major design in the 1990's when Waverly introduced the ivy wall paper and fabrics. We actually built the studio with the profits mostly from the Ivy floorcloths and tabletop pieces. I retired the pattern completely in 2001  because I just couldn't bear to paint another one. Now, I look at them with fond memories and too am bringing them out of retirement...for a while. I believe I will update it somewhat if I keep it open.

All the tabletop pieces are created on a #10 weight canvas, primed, hand painted with acrylics, and sealed with 5 coats of acyrlic poly. They are hemmed and cork backed to protect your table top.

For complete ordering information click here to go directly to the ordering page on Free Rein Art and Design.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pay it Forward. Nominate a Kreativ Blogger!

While I was in the barn last night brushing all the loose hairs off my horses, unbeknownst to me, I was being mentioned for The Kreativ Blogger Award by my favorite North Carolina born/Wyoming Cowgirl Artist...the digital art guru...Deb Trotter, Cowboy's Sweetheart.  Thanks for the nomination Deb!

I discovered Deb's blog a few years ago, and found out that we had many things in common. Not only were we both from NC, but she lives and works in one of my most favorite places on earth, Cody,WY. I could move there today and live happily ever after. Snow and all! ...and the one thing that I think is just too funny is that she is crazy about Sam Elliott. So am I, so much that I named our son Sam. And as much as I love, love, love Robert Duvall as Gus in Lonesome Dove, I love Tommy Lee Jones' accent as Capt'n Call better. Nothing sweeter than a really good Southern drawl!

So, in keeping with the blogger's before me, I will give you the background information that Debra Cortese found and included in her blog.

I’ve become a bit of an information addict, I couldn’t do this without a little background research. I quickly found reference to the original ‘Kreativ Blogger’ post and requirements for nominated Kreativ Bloggers. I believe they have been edited and abbreviated over time and cyberspace. 

Kreativ Blogger originated in May 2008 in a post by Huldas Verden as noted by Clay Garden author in this April 2009 post:
“Finally I found that it was started in Norway by a blogger named Huldas Verden.”

When the Clay Garden post was written in April 2009, the author’s Google search came up with 712 entries for Kreativ Blogger.
When I searched today, Feb 28, 2010 for ‘Kreative Blogger’ awards, Google comes up with 23,200,000 entries! Hence, the power of blogging!

Here are the requirements that I found, and am passing on to 7 fellow Kreativ Bloggers (names and links to blogs at the end of this post):

The Kreativ Blogger award comes with the following requirements:

1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

Seven Things You May Find Interesting About Me 
1. I live in the same town I was born in and only 2 miles from my parents' home where I grew up. We, (my husband and son), my parents, my siblings and their children  have Sunday dinner (here lunch is dinner and dinner is supper) together at my parent's home each week. Our daughter now lives in Oklahoma and says she misses Sunday dinner with us and wonders each week what Momaw has cooked.

2. Our 2 barn cats follow me back to the house every morning to share a can of Friskie's and then sleep all day in the patches of sun peeping through the windows.  I let them out just before my husband gets home from work. On the weekends I have to sneak them in after hubby goes about his day...they know to lay low.

3.  I don't start anything creative until I get my "chores" done. If I do, I will never get anything done in the house, yard or barn and then will feel stressed and resentful that I have to do the domestic stuff. I also don't have scheduled business hours but I work in the studio usually 6 days a week for as long as it takes to get to a point in my projects that I am happy with.

 4. I once opened a beautiful gallery and moved my studio from our farm into town. After a while I discovered I wasn't inspired to paint, nor did I have the time. I made the heart wrenching decision to close it up and come back home. Good move both ways. Learned lots!

5. I took a break from painting full time from 2005-2009 to homeschool our son. During this time I taught art to about 30 students (mostly homeschooled). People will spend money on their children even in a recession.
6.  For 3 years while Sam was homeschooled we volunteered with the NC Zoo's Wildlife Rehab Center. I gained a wealth of knowledge there and even wondered several times if I had missed my calling. My favorite area to work in was the aviary nursery in the spring and summer. I loved taking care of the orphaned and injured baby birds, especially the blue jays. They were the sweetest...robins the meanest and starlings the most annoying. My most memorable experiences there were catching up raptors (hawks and owls of all kinds) and force feeding the (educational) king snake it's weekly mouse.

7.  And lastly, ...I grew up in a haunted house. I know, some of you don't believe me. I dare you to spend the night there. The house we built here on our farm too, has had it's share of "sightings" which could be a post all it's own. I even saw a "ghost party" in an old cabin we stayed in for a week in Wyoming. I should really write about that one!

 And the Nominees Are:
Amber Jean Sculpting a Creative Life
Bella Dreams
Junk Sophisticate
Lone Wolf Cowgirl Art
Notes From the Rookery
The Lucky Star Gallery
The Mares Tales

This was hard for me to narrow down to only 7 You guys and gals rock! I hope you will pay it forward.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Collecting Vintage Souveniers

Last week I received a little box in the mail from Cactus Creek's Etsy Shop. (Thank you Fancy!)...I recently found something else to add to my souvenir collection. This is another collection I never really intended to start...these things just happen. Like my bottle collection, my pitcher collection and from the look of my tack saddle collection. It seems if you have one or two items people will see that you "collect" them and begin to give you more of these to add to your "collection." Yes, someone gave me a saddle, not counting the one my husband gave me.

But, my souvenirs, are genuinely my choices. I began buying up old vintage 1940's - 70's souvenirs several years ago...things that had special significance to me...places I had been, places I'd like to live or they just seemed to have my name of them for some odd reason and I scooped them up.

I added the new cup and saucer to other small souvenirs and toys
(another collection that just happened)

A few of my favorite souvenirs....

Found this at a local thrift store for $6

 The yellow pennant is vintage 1940 or earlier. It's a nice soft flannel and still in great condition. 
The red is felt and too in good shape. Ebay $4 and $1. They are enjoyable to look at while I'm doing laundry!

Rick found this in Hillsville a few years ago. One of our favorite buying trips every year.

Souvenir collecting is fun because it is relatively inexpensive....heck, it's just cheap or even free. A few ideas  to start your collection are ceramics like you see here....state plates, gas station pottery, or fridge magnets. 

Some paper items would be stamps, postcards or matchbooks or memorabilia  from the circus when it came through your town.

We all  remember and used to buy t-shirts from every concert or music festival we attended in the 70's and 80's...those are now collectible and found on ebay and other online auction sites. Oh, and Harley t-shirts from every stop on the could I not mention those. We have a few left from our younger, wilder days that aren't completely thread bare. These are to be worn and not put away!

You may run across ornaments and snow globes in thrift or antique stores as well as pens and jewelry.
In my first years of collecting anything, I wouldn't buy souvenirs of any kind. I didn't like the fact that there was something printed on the item. Now, I find a lot of them quite charming. 

We've found several souvenirs in the estate items for the shop.... 

A bowl from Bargain Furniture High Point, NC and lots of ash trays

Boxes of travel 1950's - 1970's brochures and maps galore 

 Do you collect souvenirs? Do you make scrapbooks of vacations with your paper souvenirs? I'm thinking of decoupaging a table top or a tray for my screened in porch with some of these vintage brochures. I will be so busy this summer I don't think I will go anywhere far away, but I can dream while I sit on the porch sipping lemonade or sweet tea. Want some for yourself? Give me a holler.

Monday, March 15, 2010

From This to That

No, it's not a parade float....

This is one of the re-styled tables that started as one of the - probably homemade - pieces that I found in the trailer.  They were in the yard sale collection for a few days until they began to show their potential as night stands for the twin beds that I already have ready to go into the shop.

Not a bad little just painted black.

 They have beaded fronts and sides....nice but too plain... for me.

To the beaded sections I decoupaged images of vintage cowboy/cowgirl art tiles

Added a few jewels... to catch a little light.

Came up with a swirl design for the corners on each level...

Had thought I may paint them red until the white transfer paper left a silvery looking swirl over the black paint...

This is the best silver coat...very shiny.

Measured and cut all the fringe by hand...

Added feet so that all the fringe could be the same length...added fringe and nickle studs. 
Any idea what the feet are made from?

The ends from player piano rolls. I found boxes of them in the container but unfortunately some were so old and fragile that they've fallen apart and the only parts savable were the ends...but how perfect they are as feet for re-styling the little night stands.

Top View

And then there were two.

They will be available in the shop at our first open house. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vintage Guitar Catalogs...who knew?

I spent a good deal of time yesterday scanning and photographing old vintage guitar catalogs that I found in a musty smelling box in the container. It was my goal to take out a box each day and do something with the contents. For most of the boxes that has been simple...just sort and stash for the shop. I had no idea it would take soooo long to scan a box of catalogs.

 Full line 1960's Gibson Guitar and Amp Catalog

Galaxy of Stars in same catalog
There are so many cool catalogs and brochures I get sidetracked looking and reading. I'm not a musician but it makes me want to be a collector of these beautiful old instruments...or at least the catalogs. I love the illustrations and too the 1950's and 60's photos.  Some of the duplicates may find their way into frames and then onto a wall or two in our house or studio.

Gibson Folk Instrument  8 page Catalog

Some of them, I've discovered are rare and collectible. I shudder to think that this box could have easily been tossed into a dumpster at some point. The catalog below is really gorgeous.

 1960 full line Gibson Guitar and Amps

interesting photography

There are about 40 pages of products listed this excellent reference

another nice illustration among the photos

I could just go on and on...

And lastly A Story of a Guitar. This was printed for Kay Instrument Company in 1964-65 as best I can tell. It is like new and documented in beautiful sepia tone photos and illustrations. This is a gem of a book...and I have two!

First page....

You can find these four already listed in my etsy shop and I will continue to add until I've got them all in there.

Today, I am adding a really unique RCA Victor TV catalog. The pages are individually removable from the binder so I'm thinking this may have been a salesman's catalog. It's about an inch thick and has great photography...a pretty model in every picture. Be sure to check it out and if you know a collector of any to these items please let them in on the sale.
Anyone know a tip for getting the "old smell" out of paper?  I'm sure there must be something.