Temporary Cover for the Electrical Panel

My little old house has an electrical panel at the front door.  It also has a wooden box on the adjacent wall hiding some ugly old electrical circuit. Not only that, but the drywall on the wall underneath the panel was cut away when the previous owner upgraded the panel.  I didn't realize until I moved in, but the drywall had just been propped back in place with a couple of screws.  Since the electrical is being worked on again thanks to my renos, I've taken that piece of drywall out.  So my challenge is to find a solution that covers both those ugly boxes and the missing drywall...

Irises are Easy

This is an old post I decided to dredge up for this week's Paint Party Friday and Sunday Sketches.  Hope you don't mind!!!

During the long weekend, I finally got my fingers in the dirt of my garden.  I was reminded of all the beautiful gardens I've had in my life and it started me on another flower painting week...

Watercolour on paper 6x9

and because I was so successful at depicting the flower of my choice,  I did a second, larger painting:

Watercolour on paper 9 x 11.5

And another one...
Watercolour on canvas paper 9 x 12

Can't wait until things are blooming & I can paint from life instead of memory.

Have a great weekend!

Linking to:  

Paint Party Friday     

And now for something completely different

I love flowers, I guess that's pretty obvious from all the flowers I keep painting.  And since I haven't been able to figure out how to achieve depth in my artwork, I've given up trying and decided to just paint and not worry about it anymore...

With that in mind, I painted this abstract:

Again, it wasn't the look I was trying to achieve... :P  but I really like the result and I'm not tempted to "fix" it yet either.    Guess that means it's a success!  lol

Have a great week!            

Linking to:  Paint Party Friday

A Little Piece of Paradise

Here is a series of photos showing the scenery of this beautiful area where I live.  My town is situated in a valley between two mountain ranges - to the east is the Rocky Mountains and to the west are the Purcells.   Enjoy!

I love how these pretty flowers grow
in little bouquets all over the
local hills.
The flowers are Balsamroot.
A wider view of the little bouquets.  That's the
Purcell Mountain range in the distance.
This reminds me of the Sound of Music...
Dancing in the wildflowers :)
then a swim in the creek
hurry up already!
More wildflowers

A babbling brook

a closer view...

can't get enough of how fresh this looks :)

Old growth trees

leaves just emerging from a very long winter

My favourite place, only a few paces away from the large creek yet a hush fell over as I entered this shady glen.  
And because I didn't show you our Rocky Mountain view,
here is a photo from some time ago.

Hope you enjoyed my little piece of paradise.  Have a happy week!

The Cottage

I started painting this picture yesterday.  I've been working on it off and on, waiting for paint to dry and trying to get the shadows and flowers to look right.  I don't know...  It looks really paint-by-numberish to me and I haven't been able to figure out yet what it is that I need to do to improve it.

The cottage has changed colours four times, the garden has changed shape and I added the trellised vine when I was having trouble with the depth of the cottage!  I sure wish I could get away from this one-dimensional look that I always seem to have going...

Oh well, guess I'll figure it out with more practice.  Meanwhile, I do love all the paintings I'm creating and that's all that matters, isn't it? 

When the paint dries...

It happened again! So much trouble with a seemingly simple image - ahhhh!  I found this photograph of a beautiful garden of poppies and had the idea to blur the image with the Picasa toolbox.  I thought this would be an excellent way to create an abstract of the picture.  I began with great enthusiasm, but the colours I thought would work turned out to be HORRIBLY WRONG.  I so hated the look of it at the end that I tried mixing nicer colours and applying them over the top of what I had painted.   OK, that didn't work, the whole thing began to look like a nightmarish mess.

Time for a new approach.  Bring on my favourite colours and smear them all over the top.  It made me smile to do it (I kept thinking about Farrah and the body painted wall! lol).  It took me several tries but I managed to achieve an image that I loved.  Behold my latest masterpiece:

It's a bit shiny cause the paint is still wet in places.  I love the intensity of the colours. There is so much paint on this canvas.  Maybe someday I'll get most of my paintings to look right during my first attempt...

Update  May 21/11:  When the paint dried, the colours faded right away and I was left with a mere shadow of the beauty I thought I had achieved.  (An artist friend had suggested I use linseed oil with my acrylics but either I'm doing it wrong or it just doesn't work with the paint I'm using...)  So I began adding more vibrant colours over the top of what was there - so sad to have lost the look that I really loved :(.  Another painting with multiple layers of paint!!  However, I also love the new version:


And since the new image makes me think of a map of the Mediterranean (the blue being Italy), I've called this painting Mediterranean Mood.


Mudroom/ Laundry Room Makeover Part 1

I've been going through my house for the last 8 months, ever since I first moved in, adding storage spaces and eliminating cupboards installed in odd or inconvenient places and other things that made no sense to me.

My mudroom doubles as a laundry room.  It's a long, narrow porch with doorways to the kitchen and the backyard that connects to a bathroom through a 4'x7' space that once was a storage room.

Both the bathroom and the storage room used to have doorways directly opening into my kitchen.  During my kitchen reno, I had both doorways closed off and now the bathroom door faces the storage room.  It has reduced the storage space, but I prefer this layout to having a bathroom directly off the kitchen.

Here is a before shot of the bathroom and storage space doorways:

Narrow doorway to the pantry/storage area

closed door leads to really old, ugly bathroom...
(to see the reno'd kitchen, click here:
Kitchen Reno Almost Done! )

This is how the mudroom looked last fall:

Since that time, I had the window replaced with a double pane slider.  I also bought, assembled and installed a base cabinet and a laminate top to give me storage and to give me a place to install a laundry tub (a future consideration!).  My first step was to get rid of the pantry cabinet and a laminated cupboard (you can see it in one of the kitchen photos - it's hanging on the wall through the door to the storage room) both of which were in rough shape.  I saved the doors to use as shelves in  the basement and then I painted the walls and the ceiling.  The walls are Benjamin Moore Sundial.  I painted the ceiling pale blue, a few shades lighter than BM Mont Saint Anne (the paint was all left over from projects in my last house).  

I found a ClosetMaid closet organizer on sale for $59 but it was designed for a minimum width of 5'.  It had all the components I wanted, though, a tower and several rods so I bought it anyway.  It needed to be modified for the 49.5" width of the cubby where I wanted to install the organizer.  I had just bought my first set of power tools and cutting the rods down to the size I needed gave me a chance to use my brand new cordless Makita reciprocating saw!!  (Now I know why guys like tools so much.)

The tower gives me a ton of space to store the things I had stored in my spare room closet - my sewing box and various ironing supplies, some sports equipment and some frequently used tools.  I will install an ironing board holder when I get the washer and dryer moved.  Then everything will be handy. I added a shelf to run across the top of the tower and over the top rod (another left-over from my last house).

The base cabinet will eventually house my
HUGE Ikea laundry tub and the washer and dryer
will be stacked at the side of it.  I hung an Ikea
hat rack above it so I'll be able to hang hand washables up to
drip dry over the sink.

I was a bit intimidated to use the reciprocating saw for the first time, but I got over that pretty quickly!  I'm so happy that I could do this myself and that I love the way it looks.

Paper recycling fits neatly on  the bottom.

Crafting supplies are in the coloured boxes.  My sewing kit and tools are now easy to get at and I have a little footstool as well, to help me reach the upper shelves.

Total budget to date:  $248 plus taxes - $59 for closet organizer,$29 for hat rack, $150 for sink cabinet, $10 for window treatment, laminate countertop $0 (leftover piece from kitchen reno).

This was the very first time I have ever built/assembled anything or used power tools and I have to say that once I got into the swing of things, it really wasn't as difficult to do as I had thought it would be!

I'm so thrilled with the way this worked out.  I love it when I walk into a space and feel good right away and this new mudroom makes me smile.

See also:  Pantry Update (the entrance to my mudroom/laundryroom) and Crates (another area in my mudroom/laundryroom) or just click on Mudroom/Laundry Room for a quick tour.

The Pansy

You'd think a simple picture would be really easy to paint.  Just duplicate the lines and fill in the colour and there ya go!  but OH NO, there's always a twist to it.

I started with a very simple photo of a beautiful pansy:
Gorgeous, don't you think?  It was taken by a photographer named Michael Mancil. 

Anyhow, This looked really simple to me.  A lot of yellow, some dashes, some shading and I would have a beautiful painting.  NOT!  I can't believe how much I struggled with this painting.

I began with the plan to have just the main flower on a white background.  I didn't like it.  The white background didn't do the yellow justice, so I added turquoise.  It still looked weird, so I added the back of the flower and the stem with some leaves.  That looked better but my main pansy still looked wrong:

The top of the flower didn't look right to me.  I tried shading, painting it out, painting it back in, adding contours, taking contours out.  Nothing worked.  Finally, I hung it up and walked away.  When I came back to it, I decided to add some more shading:

OK, now we're getting somewhere!  The top of the flower still looks weird - lose it!!  Here is the final version with the top petal painted out and mega turquoise paint added:

Now I'm happy.

(Still a little too one-dimensional but I'll figure that one out as I go along.)

A Field of Sunflowers

I've had a picture in my desk caddy for quite a while.  It's something I came across while surfing the 'net and fell in love with.  I have no idea where I got it from, but I love the picture

I absolutely love sunflowers so I decided to try my hand at painting this image.  I started out great with the sky, the tree and the barn.  I took artistic licence with the distant trees in the center of the photo but once I got to the field of sunflowers - omg, what to do!  I could not get my brushstrokes fine enough to accurately depict this photo... :P

In desperation, I began looking for some tool to help me create some semblance of petals.  I chose a q-tip.  It gave the painting a kitchy kind of look, so I went with it.  I couldn't get the orangey sky quite right so I painted it out, giving my painting a blue sky with clouds. 

Sheesh, what a mess!  I got rid of the tree in front of the barn, my depiction of it looked odd to me.  I kept working on the petals with different shades of yellow and with some white.  Then I added some highlights and stems.  I was at it off and on for a couple of days, trying to find a way to give the petals better definition but I still couldn't achieve quite the look I wanted.  

When all is said and done, I'm happy with the end result although it's a far cry from what I was trying for!!

$20 Makeover - Ikea Stranda Wardrobe

I am in love with Contact Paper (shelf paper) - self-adhesive but can still be re-positioned and removed without leaving a mess behind.  I found this beautiful striped pattern at Superstore for $1.84 a roll.


Inspired by a Poppy

I just created my very favourite painting so far.  It was painted from a clipping I took years ago from an old Country Living magazine.  In fact, it was on the back of the clipping I had taken!  Now that I am moving ahead in my new passion, this painting has become my signature image.  Here it is in all its glory:

And here is a picture of the clipping:


It's funny how something you hang onto for years and years can become the trigger for an entirely different purpose than the one you originally intended.

Gotta love how life works out.

Have a wonderful day!

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