Friday, September 30, 2011

Hittin' The Road With My Little Painting and Going Over To The Friday Paint Party

I'm going over to participate in the Friday Paint Party.  I wanted to share a little paint project from this last weekend.  Of course, I just can't show you the painting, there is a story to tell as well!  So here goes.....

I was to attend a good guy friend's birthday party who has everything in the world and needs nothing.  What to do for a gift? Something more than a bottle of wine.  Wine is so, well, average. It's become so impersonal.  Everyone brings wine.  But he does love his vino.   How about a super nice bottle wrapped nicely with a little bit of 'artwork' attached?!! 

I have been toying around with a new process in the studio. I decided to experiment with this process using a cool, vintage image of him that he recently posted on his Facebook page. This is an image of him many years back on a mule in Haiti. Yes.  It is kinda humorous.  My friend has a good sense of humor.  There were the expected Facebook jibs and jabs.  My friend even jump in and participated in a little poking fun at himself! He said something about posting it so he could remember that he once did have hair! It was not your average image, so I wanted to use it.

I took the image and placed it into PhotoShop and altered a few things, including the exposure and shadows. 

I then printed the image onto high grade watercolor paper and added a little color into the sky, ground and saddle using watered down acrylic paint.

I use a deckle scissor to trim the edges to give it a little flair.  Added to a fine bottle of wine. TADA!  Now that is a thoughtful gift for someone who has everything. 

As I am writing this blog post, his Facebook status update reads: Enjoying a glass of wine with friends.  I wonder if he is drinking my bottle of wine?   A girl can dream.

-The End-
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Keeping It Simple

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ten Minute Guest Bath Sprucing Has Me Smiling Pretty

I stopped off at Homegoods yesterday for a new kitchen sink rug.  Didn't find one that I liked.  How to salvage the trip?  Standing there I remembered that my little guest half bath had been looking a little drab lately and needed a little spruce up.  Everyone who visits uses this room. I needed to do something about it. The image below is the before shot.  I am starting with a beautiful cabinet with faucets that I adore.  But, come one people, dinner napkins for drying hands?  Oh, and that soap....yep, it would be empty.  Bad hostess here.  Maybe this is why I have not been asking people over lately.

I didn't need much, just fresh hand towels, appropriate hand paper towels and a fresh bottle of nice hand soap.  Well, I'm at Homegoods.  Could there be a better place to find everything for this quick change?  I found everything that I needed.  I concentrated making the choices in the neutral tones since I know I will be adding a pumpkin or two for Thanksgiving and some kind of Christmas accent in December.  I also made sure to check the clearance shelves first.  Pay dirt.  Found these neat brown Leopard print towels, goes with everything and paper hand towels with Paris style script on them.  Add in a nice little bottle of coconut-vanilla scented hand soap with a neato brown and beige print on the label.  Done for less then 15 bucks. 

Once I got the stuff home, I also wanted to add a fragrant candle.  I found this little glass jar with a lemongrass scented candle that had burnt down a little too far.  Nothing is lost here.  I got my papers out for a candle spruce up.  Cut a strip of scrap paper to fit the jar and simply taped the seams together in the back.  No need to fuss. No one is going to turn my candle around to see that! If they do, they deserve the shock. I challenge them to walk out of this bathroom with their poker face intact!!  I then added a little strip of paper that has script on it to add a little interest and pair well with the paper hand towels.  Finally, I tied off a piece of jute for texture.   

This all took me about 10 minutes and gave the room a little lift.
What took me so long?  Oh, that's right.  I'm busy.  Just like you, I bite off too much, work too hard on my blog, bust my butt raising teenagers, attempt to be the best wife possible and am attempting to resurrect my art career.  That would be why.  Silly me. 

With the seasons changing its a great time to address those little things.  Sometimes, it's just a little 10 minute guest bath spruce up.  It really is that simple.  Do you have a little project that you can tackle that will give you a little lift?  Such a simple way to put a smile on your face.  Try it.

-The End-

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Homeless Finch Awarded The Versatile Blogger Award

Cool vintage skates I own.
The Homeless Finch has been going through some growing pains in the last month.  After coming off of summer vacation, I have really been thinking a lot about the direction of my blog and trying to develop some goals.  I have noticed while looking back over all my posts, that I really enjoy writing more than just tutorials, or project reveals.  I seem to really love using this platform to address my 'ponderings' on life as a studio artist, wife a friend and mother of two teenagers. 

For me it isn't just about art, decor, paint or gardening. It's about living.  It's about thinking about how we treat others, the choices we make, our goals and our dreams.  It's about sharing with the reader some truths that I have come to know at the not so ripe age of 47.

So when I opened my email yesterday from Deb Owen of Twice Nice, I was totally taken back.  Deb highlighted The Homeless Finch as one of her Top 15 Versatile Blogs!!  What an honor!!  "Versatile Blogger."  Wow.  I am super touched by this, even if it is the opinion of one person.  It matters.  On top of it, I am on a list with some pretty impressive bloggers.  If you want to take a look click here

Being a recipient of this award, there are three rules one must follow according to Deb.  They are

1.  Thank the person who awarded you. (Duh, easy)
2.  Tell 7 things about yourself that your readers may not know. (Yikes! okay...will attempt this.)
3.  Award 15 bloggers with this award.  (Not going to do.  Not because I don't have 15 favs, but because it feels a little chain letter-ish to me.  I have a rule never to engage in chain letters.)

So here is my thank you.........
for the huge compliment!!! and

Here are my 7 little known facts:

Roosters in my cupboard.

1. I am one of four siblings and the only one with my grandfather's dark, olive complexion.  The rest are white as snow. (Made for an interesting childhood)

Pine bench my hubby gave me

2.  I am a pretty serious political junkie.  Just don't talk about it on my blog.  Like to keep that separate.

Master Bedroom Reveal image.

3.  I have a lead foot in the car and prefer driving sports cars.  So much so that I do not own the SUV that many woman own for toting home kids and yard sale finds.

A little something sitting on my Hall Tree.

4.  I was seriously bullied by girls in high school, something that has carried pretty much throughout my adult life.  Haven't had the strongest track record picking good girlfriends.  In a good spot with the ones I have now... I think!  I also do not hang with a lot of woman.  Clicky women and me don't mix!!

Woodsy getting a upgrade.

6.  I have Hashimoto's Disease, which is a fancy name for a Thyroid condition. 

Two of the finches in my aviary. Tux and Seedo.

7.  I do not own a single designer handbag.  I would rather switch out my bag three times a year for something cheap and trendy.

Chest of drawers reveal image.

So there you have it...little known facts, that now are out there on the Internet. (nervous giggle) 

Do you have anyone in your life, even a casual friendship with another blogger that you appreciate?  Have you thanked them lately, or let them know how much they mean to you? No?  Well, get to it.  Life is short and nothing beats an honest to goodness compliment!

-The End-

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Photog in The Family...Helping Kids Find Their Passions

In my blog post, Back From Paris, But Not Quite Back, I shared with you some images of our family trip to Paris this past summer.  One image in particular that I shared was taken by my 14 year old daughter on a day in Luxembourg Gardens.  I had allowed her to use my Nikon 3100 camera.  Quite frankly, I had grown weary telling her no, under her constant requests.  Little did I know what a blessing that acquiescence would bring.  
Image taken by my daughter in Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France.
As I loaded the images from the day on to my laptop back at the hotel, I was stunned at her images.  I have never taught her a thing about photography.  She has never had one lesson, and yet her natural compositional abilities could not go unnoticed.  I scrolled back in my mind and thought about all the hours she has spent recording videos and editing images for her Facebook page.  Could it be that she might have a special ability in this area?  What a revelation.

An excited teen on her birthday.
So, in response, for her 14th birthday just a few weeks back, I gave her a Nikon Coolpix P500. She has been begging me for a good camera for a long time and for some reason, until that moment in Paris, I didn't understand.  I'm an artist.  How did I miss that one?  Well, she is only 14.  So it didn't go too long.  The Coolpix P500 is an awesome piece of equipment.  She is super responsible, so I knew I could make the investment in a decent camera for her to start using.  My mother's father use say, "It's all about the tools."  I agree.  Tools matter.

She has been happily snapping images, uploading them and editing them.  Where she goes, so goes her camera.  A few days ago, I looked out front in the late afternoon to see her doing this....
Yep.  That is my daughter laying in the middle of the street in front of our house!  I freaked out and ran out only to realize that she had a photo shoot of her brother set up and was trying to capture an image of him that she thought might be neat.   My teenage son is a musician and is always looking for images to use on his musician/artist page online.  It was late in the afternoon. The traffic increases from neighbors returning from work.  It made me a nervous wreck! She insisted that it was the perfect time of day for naturally lighting what she wanted to capture.  Yikes!

With no editing, this is the image she came up with from a photo shoot that took about 15 minutes to complete. Even though, for me, it felt like hours seeing her lying in the street.
Pretty awesome, right?!!  She 'saw' this through her camera lens.   This raw image rocks my world in so many ways.  It is not only compositionally interesting, but the back-lit landscape and angle of the shot tells a story.  Magic.  You can't teach this.  You just can't. 

Parenting is such a tough job.  We all do the best job we can.  I have always thought that one of the most important gifts we can give our kids is to help them discover their passions.  After all, what is life without our passions? 

-The End-

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Hits Florida And My Front Door Too!

 You guys in the north got it made.  Yep. That's right. I have sat back and read your blogs about the cooler temps and the special little 'snap' in the air invading your regions. Meanwhile, living in South Florida, we are still talking hot!  No 'snap' here, but the snapping of my fingers as I call my doggies in from the backyard from the coolness of my air conditioned home.  (I often wonder how people lived here back before air conditioning.)

Don't feel too sorry for me though.  I'm a native to this area, so cooling temps don't mean seasonal changes for me. The wind and the change in the direction of the sun against my house spell seasonal change.  The winds shift off the ocean during this time coming from the northeast and the sun shifts and starts to bake the opposite side of my house.  This is when it is time to get the autumn decorations out and start the enjoy the breezes.

I finished my front door Florida Autumn update and wanted to give you a little peek at the results.  I try to make these transitions simple.  Not looking for extra work or projects for this type of thing.  I also don't want to change some of the Florida elements, like the Adirondack chair, or the garden elements.  So here is what my front door area looked like before I got started.

I showed you the wreath that I put on my front door last week in my blog post, September And My New Front Door Wreath.  Using the colors in the wreath, I set out to find a fresh door mat and some fabric to recover the pillow on the Adirondack chair.  I also wanted to pick up some fresh plants for my three tiered planter and large pot to the left of the door.  I was thinking yellows and oranges.  I was also thinking, "What's gonna make it in the 'horrible where-the-heck-are-the-cooler-temperatures Florida heat' over the next two months?!"

I found the perfect fabric, totally color matching the wreath, on sale at Joann's and decided to buy enough to do my favorite kind of pillow cover that I call The Envelop Wrap.  Why my fav?  Well, it's no sew, quick and easy.

I place the pillow on top of the fabric laying wrong side up on the floor on the diagonal.  In other words, the fabric is in like a diamond and the pillow is a square on top of the diamond.  Hopefully you get this, because I didn't take pics of that part.  Then I just bring the four corners of the fabric up to the center front of the pillow, tied them together and tuck the ends inside the folds of the fabric.  I finished off the pillow with a raffia bow.  Done, perfect.  This pillow sees another two months of use on my front door area with very little effort. 

My three tiered planter with water-garden is in pretty good shape.  It's been hot here, but we have had a lot of rain this summer, so things are pretty green.  The middle tier was a little leggy due to the amount of rain, so I decided just to pop a few little, inexpensive beach daisy plants to add a little yellow.

The big pot to the left of my door has Purslane spilling over the side and has gotten a little leggy. But, I kinda like the look and the deep autumn burgundy of the stems actually highlight the burgundy sunflowers in the wreath at the door.  Happy accident!  I just needed a little sprucing and while at AC Moore, I noticed this neat grapevine cone/cloche and grabbed it up with this harvest pumpkin sign and a little orange accent bough.  Added it to the mix, and helped the Purslane and Lariope plants to merge from the confines of the cone. 

The front door mat and the fresh house flag greet anyone who visits.  I popped a little black grapevine pumpkin down on the arm of the Adirondack chair.  I realize that it isn't October and I am not wanting to bring out Halloween yet, but I liked it there.  So it stays.

In a pretty short time, with very little money spent, I have a nice autumn themed front door area.  A little 'change of seasons' Florida-style. 

-The End-
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's On My Desk? You Asked?

I just found this fun little place in the blogosphere.  Julia at The Stamping Ground has a midweek party called What's On Your Desk Wednesday which asks bloggers to show their stuff.  Not just any stuff either.  It is a request for images of our desks in the raw. No staging allowed!  I wasn't planning on writing a blog post today, but after taking a look around at the organized mess, I thought, "What the heck?! I'll do this!"  After all, it's kinda a good barometer of what The Homeless Finch is up to this week. 
My desk is a big round table in the middle of my studio space.  I don't go very far without the Internet.  I must be connected in at all times. Notice the screen is on Facebook.  What the heck is going on with Facebook today?! They changed the formatting and it's got everyone in an uproar.  It has actually taken studio time from me today. Sick, I know!  But truth.

On the other side of my table are these little 5 x 5 canvases.  I like to keep 5 x 5s out for working through ideas for larger paintings.  Sometimes I just use them to test out a glaze color that I've mixed before using it on a painting. 

If you look closely at this images, you can see my Homeless Finch brainstorming ideas notes to the left starting out with a note about making an Autumn banner.  Guess I better get on that one!  The little note peaking out from the right, just under that bag that happens to be from Jerry's Artarama, is the list of people who have been making repairs on the house, an electrician, flooring guy and a tree trimmer.  Never ending needs when taking care of one's property.  The Jerry's bag has some new mix media paper that I picked up for a project merging Photoshop techniques with paint.  I am totally excited about this project.
Took out some of my drawing supplies because as I mentioned in my post, It's A Little Sketchy Around Here, that I am wanting to sketch more.  Haven't opened them yet.  Hopefully tomorrow's morning studio time will be a still life of some sort so I have something for the Blue Chair Diary's Sunday Sketches Party.

To the left of my computer is this stack of kitchen books with my handy lime green tape measure and one of several pair of reading glasses that I own.  When I hit my mid 40s, I went totally blind.  No, just kidding.  I just lost my close up eyesight like everyone else does.  It just seems that bad sometimes as I stammer around the house, digging in my purse and scouring drawers for a pair.  Couldn't look through these kitchen books that I have owned for many years without the specs!  Oh well....."it" happens.

So, there you have it....The Homeless Finch desk for today.  You can barely see that cup of coffee or the ever present iPhone off to the right, but hey...I girls gotta have some secrets. (wink)

-The End-
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