Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hopeless backyard makeover - part 1

As some of you already know - we moved.
Last year all our stuff was packed on a truck and taken from our apartment in Warsaw to the rented house in central Ireland. Huge step, great experience and - OMG - the biggest challenge ever.
We moved into modern, medium-sized semi-detached house and hey - it was a huge change - we never had so much space before! It really made me relaxed and more happy than before - finally space for living and working was separated and I could keep my bedroom just as a bedroom not extra storage space. There is a long list of advantages - and of course a similar list of surprises and unexpected circumstances you may name disadvantages (but I think being positive is always a better way!). Of course most of them appeared because we've never rented anything in our life - and we had no idea what are the standards in our "new" country. In the first months we had to learn a lot! :)
But - back to the main topic of the post - makeover!

Together with the house there comes the backyard: in our situation it was a hopeless piece of rocky ground covered with grass - you won't dare to call it a "garden" - no way! There wasn't a single plant in it: tree, shrub, nothing. Hopeless backyard in flesh. There was a special bonus though - shed in the beautiful, melancholic grayish shade you can basically call "weathered wood" and a piece of gray (of course!) wall to match it. Perfect view, right? The possibility of contemplating the structure of the wall and all the nuances of the inspiring color palette are just priceless!

The idea of the makeover came to my head when our friend told me there are some cheap pallets available for collection... that was what I needed! Inexpensive possibility to add some simple decking to our backyard and who knows what else... Uncle Pinterest is full of great ideas how to recycle these underestimated pieces of wood! Without hesitation I ordered a couple of them... and there is one thing I couldn't foresee: they came - all in blue. Of course.
I swallowed a dozen of impolite expressions that came to my mind and started to think: If I'm not lucky enough to get the pallets in nice, natural color I have to find a way to make it work somehow... and that's how we came with the idea of the shabby white. (OK, a bucket of white paint which I found in the shed helped me a bit too). We've started with a simple decking and soon covered it with white paint...

Of course I wanted it to look as old and distressed as possible so our painting wasn't perfect - we've just drybrushed the white on the top of the blue - and the effect wasn't bad at all! Of course it faded a bit later - but hey - we are going for distressed and weathered look, right?

Next step was creating a stand for my flower pots - of course I couldn't plant too much in the ground for 2 reasons: too many stones and rocks just under the surface and (what is more important as I'm not the one who would dig the holes anyway) I'd love to move with my plants if we'd decide to move someplace else.
Andrew made a quick plan and the flower stand was ready! ( Ira the Beagle was an independent consultant who apparently gave him some good tips and ideas...)

My job was painting of course - I took obligatory photo of my splattered crocks and I was ready to play with whites, blues and greens...

In the same time I my mind was  working on my secret plan... but I will tell you more about it in the next makeover blogpost!

In the end of the day we had our decking, flower stand and a couple of extras painted. I can't say I'm 100% happy with the effect but I like it far more than just empty corner and glass door - and I enjoyed that day very much :)
This spring I added flower pots, flower bed and we took out our old chairs and table and it is getting more and more cozy now: flowers are starting to bloom and all that colors simply make me happy!
Here is the effect - view from today:

You may not agree but I think it is better ;) Now I'm really tempted to paint the fence too. Another issue to discuss with the landlord :) Anyway, here is the flower stand in detail...

And opposite corner - small composition visible from my dining room. Still a couple of things missing. (I just couldn't resist and I HAD to get this old radio!)

So we are still miles away from the "gypsy garden" I'd dream of, but  it is definitely a progress and I hope it will get even better in the future. Fingers and toes crossed!

So now let me send you some hugs from my whitewashed, "artistically distressed decking"
and wish you all a great family time full of joy, love and blessings. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sweet Steampunk Nothing - or the Beauty of Artistic Recycling

Question: what's this?
This is a story.
About love, friendship, sharing bad and good moments. About souls who are meant to be together and about connections, exploring life and simply "making it ALL happen".
Story about deep emotions, infinity and hope... about  us, about you.

This is also expression of pure pleasure of creating: finding inspirational, intriguing pieces and re-discovering them, re-assembling, constructing totally new meanings. Using elements which surround us all, finding beauty in them and giving a chance to become something unusual.
Because this piece is a bit unusual, I believe :) I named it "Sweet Steampunk Nothing" - and it is my response to the challenge of creating something suitable for the "St Valentine's" topic in Finnish Paperilla Magazine. As you know I'm not much into fluffy hearts, cherubs and glitter, so I tried to do it "my way" - And I hope I succeeded!

I'm wondering - can you guess what is the main body of the  assemblage made of? I can give you a hint: these parts were together, but in a different configuration and of course they are parts of something much bigger...

I didn't change much the original colours: I loved them as they were - they only needed few small touches of Vintaj Patinas (great, great choice for painting and altering metal!) and I repainted the paper-mache heart which I mounted on the top of the composition.

Here is a view on the details:

Vintage photo in the middle of Mechanicals - Pocket Watch - with a glaze of Glossy Accents

Leaves, Bottle caps and Plate labels in a great company of  light bulbs, wires and cogs

More of metal stuff - I just love how this typewriter key from Mechanicals looks on the piece of wire...

I honestly had great time creating this piece. I have a feeling it is just a beginning...

For your convenience I listed the most important supplies below... but can you guess what is the main body of this project? ;)

Wishing you all a great week :) It's a busy time for us all!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lost (a bit)...

... this is how I feel today. Having some ups and downs, as always ;)

Old project, never shown on the blog - mostly older Prima collections. Love it.

hugs from my side of the world!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In My Head...

Hello friends!
What's in my head? A wild whirlwind of moments, emotions, travel experiences, interactions with people I meet and - always - a constant flow of inspirations and ideas. My head never stops. :)
Which leads me to the collage on canvas I'd like to show you today.

Once upon a time I created a collage like that - it was - and still is - very personal for me for many reasons and I'm feeling very grateful that so many of you are inspired by it. That's why I thought of sharing this idea in my new class.
I called this class "Daydreamer" and you can read its decription here. I will be teaching it May 31st at Art From The Heart in Harrogate, UK - read more. Will you join me to create some collage portrait with wind in our hair? :)

The idea is to take a very simple photograph and turn it into something extremely decorative with some personal message hidden in between all the layers.

I got carried away with black gesso this time. And I mean A LOT of it. ;)
I just love creating all sorts of Art Deco-ish textures with gel medium and my beloved texture tools. And of course I wouldn't be me if I didn't create completely new worlds with all sorts of embellishments - lace and both found objects and the ones of my own design.
To add all the colors I usually mix Primary Elements Artist Pigments with water and just spray my heart out. Plus some lovely Silks to add final touches here and there.
If you're curious, here's the list of some of the products I used:

I hope you like my portrait collage and feel tempted to create your own with me. :)
Lots of Springtime hugs, Friends!