Saturday, July 04, 2015

A New Summer Project and A Craftsy Sale for the Holiday Weekend

Popping in this 4th of July. It is a rainy sleepy day here. Not the best day for outdoor picnics and gardening. 

First off, I want to share an article that was in the Houston Chronicle about decorating with Red White and Blue all year round. The writer interviewed me because she loved my book. How cool! Check it out here. Here is one of the photos from the article which is Red White and Blue themed from my newest book Crafting a Colorful Home. The new photo in my header above is also from my new book. Both photos by the talented Rikki Snyder. For you all on the 4th of July. Boom Boom! 

Photo by Rikki Snyder from Crafting a Colorful Home

I have been meaning to show you all my new summer project that I will be working on. A couple years ago, I found this chair at a junk store. My original idea was to make a slipcover for it out of one of my fabric designs that I have on Spoonflower. I wanted to get it done for my latest book Crafting A Colorful Home.



Sometimes plans don't happen and I am okay with that. Sometimes it takes me a few years to make an idea gel and actually come to life. 


So this summer it is for this chair. I have the fabric and I am going to print it myself and then embroider the fabric. I will be sewing a slipcover out of said printed and embroidered linen fabric. I have never made a slipcover for a chair before. My last experience with slipcovers was in the 1980's when I made 13 cushions for my grandmother's wicker set. 


I must say, I have felt a bit timid about making slipcovers - always preferring to pay someone to do it for me. But since I don't have the funds, I'm going to do it myself. It could take a year, considering I am printing and embroidering the fabric. But it is going to happen eventually. 


I feel like I can do it because I have been watching a fantastic Craftsy class called Custom Fit Slipcovers with Cherie Killilea. I've watched Custom Fit Slipcovers a couple times now and I think I can do it. Kind of excited to give it a try. Whenever I get the embroidery done. 


Here is a photo of draping the pattern for the back of the chair. 




This photo shows making the pattern for the cushion of the chair. 




My plan is to print both of these pieces and then embroider them while I am sitting at the Farmers Markets this summer. Maybe I will get to the printing today! I hope so. I can't wait to dig into this project and see how pretty my slipcovered chair comes out. Long range project for sure. 


This weekend, Craftsy is having a sale for all their classes. $19.99 for any class. Check out my Stitch It With Wool: Crewel Embroidery or perhaps the Custom Fit Slipcovers class. Use the following link to receive the sale price on any Craftsy Class you buy. (I will get a small percentage of the sale and you will help keep this little old farm running.)

http://www.craftsy.com/ext/KristinNicholas_holiday


Have a Happy Creative 4th of July fellow Americans! Good weekend to all of you.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Planting and Plants and Bugs

Like I said the other day, I've been in high gear planting mode. I am so late with my garden this year. Our tiller was broken and by the time it was fixed, it wasn't strong enough to go through all the weeds. I got a local guy with a tractor with big old attached tiller on the back and now my garden is ready to rock and roll. Here's what it looks like - pristine brown soil.


Yesterday I moved a large pile of manure which was last year's birthday gift to me from The Farmer. It has been sitting in the middle of the lawn for months. Bucket by bucket, it is slowly going away and moving into the garden. 


I made some manure stripes down the soil and tonight I will continue the planting. Always thinking about patterns!


The manure was full of gray grubs which I picked out and fed to the chickens. They were overjoyed with the delicious snacks I gave them - if chickens could be happy, these would have been shouting for joy. Here is a little video - not for the squeamish. 

video


I know it is gross but I find things like this pretty interesting - and for a woman who is way past 5 decades that is a good thing. I did a little research and in deed the grubs were Japanese beetle grubs. Here's an up close of them squirming. I think it could be some kind of textile pattern too. I know my neighbor Alicia could do a killer painting off of this photo. 


I surmised that they were Japanese Beetle grubs because I found 2 beetles that hadn't emerged yet from pile to fly around. 


The beetles on the backside look similar to the grubs. 


If you want to learn more about the lifecycle of a Japanese beetle, I found this article from Cornell really interesting. There is a quite beautiful illustration too of the life cycle which I have shared below. 

Illustration by K. English, NYS IPM via web link above from Cornell

I'm sure I'll lose some readers over this post but oh well. Sometimes I find the most interesting things when I am going about my daily repetitive life. It is so awesome to have a space like this blog to share things I find fascinating with you all. Just so you know - the grubs were towards the top of the manure - probably getting ready to emerge. Down below the pile is where all the worms are - I call them red wrigglers - they are very thin and not very long. The compost is very wet where they work it. I guess that is another blog post. 


There are over 300 sheep here in front of the house. Shearing is Monday, after being delayed twice because of the vast amounts of rain we have been getting. I really hope they stay out of my garden. There is temporary fencing around it and my fingers are crossed. 

Speaking of Plants - I stumbled upon this incredible Stop Motion Video for an iPad App called Plants by Tiny Bop. This really is worth a watch. Incredibly painstakingly hand made. Amazing. I think if I had a small child and owned an iPad, I think these Apps would be a fun way to help a child learn. 

Paper to Plants from Tinybop on Vimeo.

After you watch that, if you have time, here is another video about how the first video was made. Awesome.  



Hope you all have a great 4th. We are busy, busy, busy. After the Farmers Market on Tuesday I am off to Detroit next week for taping Knit and Crochet Now. I get to meet Deborah Norville who is the new host replacing Brett Bara who has just had twins. Then back for a Fabric Printing Class here at the farm on July 18/19. Still spaces available - check it out here

After that, I fear summer will be almost half over! Oh no. 

I wish all of you Americans a Happy 4th of July! Everyone else - happy weekend. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Our Farmhouse Live on YouTube + An IPPY

Check out the video that is now live on Houzz.com's YouTube Channel. You can watch it here below or via this link




If you know anyone who might enjoy seeing our colorful home and critters, PLEASE share it with them. It will be fun to watch the numbers go up as time goes by.

Thanks everyone for helping me spread the colorful word around the world. 

I just found out that my newest book Crafting a Colorful Home has won a Gold Medal from the Independent Publishers Association in the Home and Garden Category! It is called an IPPY. Wow. Thank you Roost Books, my publisher, for entering the book and believing in my work.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pottery Identity

Things are busy here. Summer always is. I'm not complaining - I love to be busy. Sometimes the to do list just doesn't seem to get anything checked off it though. That can be frustrating, can't it? 


Kristin Nicholas Pottery - Photo Rikki Snyder
A couple weeks ago, I announced the new Pottery Shop I set up over on Etsy here on the blog. I assume I will do most of my business on-line. It's all set up now and running and I thank everyone for the orders. You all are fantastic! What support I have. Really - I am so thankful.


Kristin Nicholas Pottery - Photo Rikki Snyder
Even if one thinks setting up an on-line Etsy business is cheap and the way to go, it isn't free. You still need business cards, cards for "identity" and promotion, and thank you cards. And you need the time to set it all up and learn the Etsy program, take the photos for selling, list the items, set up the business cards, etc. It is a big time suck for sure. Nothing is free - you all know that. 


Kristin Nicholas Pottery - Photo Rikki Snyder
I got lucky with my business and identity cards. When Rikki Snyder was here a few weeks ago, we did an impromptu photo shoot so that I could have some images for biz cards, etc. Rikki is such a great stylist and photographer. I cannot believe how beautiful the images came out. I'm including them sprinkled throughout this post. 

(Sorry about the moire wackiness on the linen fabrics - something happens when I reduce the size of the image - I'm not sure why? Does anyone know how to stop this from happening?)



Kristin Nicholas Pottery - Photo Rikki Snyder
As for the business cards, etc. I use an on-line company called Overnight Prints. They do beautiful work, have good customer service, and if they screw up, they re-print once you send them photos of their ooooopsy. I highly recommend them. I use Photoshop for my layouts but you can drop your own photos into their pre-designed templates really easily. 

If you do decide to do your own design, I suggest downloading one of their templates. That way you will have the settings all ready for their press and won't have any mistakes (like not having the photo in CMYK and in RGB instead!).


Their minimum orders are incredibly easy to achieve - I usually go for the 250 to 500 piece per design range but you can order as few as 25 cards. Boy, gone are the bad old days of ordering 1000's of a piece of print to have sitting around for years and years before hitting the recycling bin. 

Here's what I set up and ordered from Overnight Prints. It is so nice to have a colorful piece to pack inside the orders. If you were one of the very first orders, I wasn't quite ready with these swanky cards. Next time! 




You can check out my Pottery Shop here over on Etsy


You may notice that I just added Google AdSense to my blog. I'm giving it a try to see if it helps me earn any extra money. If it is not much, I will delete it. So far the ads I have seen haven't been too ugly or bad. Time will tell. Hope you all understand that this is a farm and a business and we have to earn money in a mess of different ways. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lucy and Terri's Farmhouse

A few months ago, photographer Rikki Snyder was in our area and we got together for breakfast. We were talking biz, photography, publicity, etc - all the stuff you talk about if you are doing what we do being self-employed people trying to make a go of it. Rikki volunteered to help me with the video shoot at our farmhouse. Since she would be traveling here to help me out, I thought it would be good to find her another photography gig in the form of a home to feature on Houzz at the same time.

Photo by Rikki Snyder
I don't know lots of people's homes around here. Folks in New England tend to stick to themselves. In NJ where I grew up, it wasn't odd for someone to stop by and visit. Here in New England, that isn't actually done - without an invitation. At least that's how I see it.

The kitchen table set with Lucy's pottery - photo by Rikki Snyder
Sometimes you have to break the rules. Rikki and I stopped by unannounced at our friends Lucy and Terri's house. Terri is a delivery room nurse who helps us out on the farm sometimes with lambing. Lucy is a potter. I knew their home was nicely done and included many special handmade touches. I also knew that Lucy had a killer pottery studio which would photograph beautifully. This winter, Rikki and I dropped by at Lucy's studio door unannounced and we approached her with the idea of having their house photographed by Rikki for Houzz - just like our house was in 2012. 

Terri and Lucy's charming home is now live here on Houzz.

The porch with one of Lucy's vases - photo by Rikki Snyder

You will love all the handmade touches they have added. Take the time to read how the kitchen was transformed. These women are clever DIY-ers, gardeners, and chicken farmers. Their home is warm and inviting, not pretentious nor overdone - just what a New England farmhouse should be. 

Here is a photo of Rikki and Lucy after the pottery demonstration Lucy did for Rikki's camera. What a great creative day for all of us. 


Enjoy everyone. I know Rikki and I enjoyed our day documenting their splendid warm and welcoming home. I've put the slide show below if you don't have time to pop over to Houzz.

Check out Lucy's pottery here. She makes beautiful dishes, serving pieces, and foodie related pottery. She also makes stunning cremation urns for loved ones which are available in her Etsy shop. Her work is impeccable. I love her green glaze and have a few pieces myself.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lights, Camera, Action - Houzz TV Comes to Leyden Glen Farm

In January, I got an email from a man named Rick. "Hey Kristin. I work for Houzz. We are starting a TV section on our website. Would you be interested in us coming to your place to shoot a video?" Evidently the story about our brightly colored and creatively decorated farmhouse that came out on the Houzz.com website way back in September 2012 has been very popular with their readers. 

Discussion happened over the dinner table. We all decided that HouzzTV sounded like a good opportunity for our little sheep farm and my creative business. I responded to Rick - and we talked about a date. We decided upon the beginning of May and then I promptly forgot about it. Sometimes things like this crash and burn and never happen. Best to not worry about it and see if it will happen as the date gets closer. 

Well, it did happen. On May 13, Rick Spence and 3 crew members arrived bright and early at the farm. The plan was to make a video about our farmhouse, our family, and how I decorated our place with all the patterns and colors. It took two days and hours and hours of filming. I took some photos (when I remembered) and they are below. 

If you had ever asked me if this all could have happened here at our little farm, I never in a million years would have thought that this kind of opportunity would arise. The video is live now over on the HOUZZ.COM website. Next week it will be posted to YouTube. I will then ask you all to share it with your friends and family. (Waiting til it is on YouTube will help me monitor the numbers of views). 

Hop on over here to the Houzz.com website to check it out. You may have to scroll down a bit to look for the VIDEO link. We're all in it - me, Julia and Mark. It is pretty cool, I must say.

More photos and filming story at the farm continues below.......

It was a beautiful day. 



Rick arrived with 3 other men from California. Rick had promised me a good professional job and I trusted him. You may remember his name if you are a fan of HGTV. He was the Host of a show called Curb Appeal several years ago. To say that he was a great guy would be an understatement. 

It's always a tad bit uncomfortable when you are meeting and greeting people you don't know early in the a.m. and knowing (or not knowing) what to expect. There was a videographer named Danny, a sound engineer (whose name I cannot quite remember), and Alex who was a TimeLapse photographer and DRONE camera specialist. Yes, you read it correctly - DRONE. 

They all checked our home out and Rick came up with a plan. First off, I was interviewed for 2 hours in the living room. (As opposed to still photography, there are a lot of lights needed for the camera. It is fascinating to watch this kind of production happen.)

Rick was very professional - as was his team. He sat on the couch and fed me questions. I answered them. After the interview, they filmed and filmed and filmed more. 

It was a gorgeous day - with high billowing puffy clouds. Alex set up his camera in a bunch of different windows and did time lapse photos. They explained to me that they are very effective in video (and they were right). The camera is set to automatically take photos every 5 to 10 seconds for about a half hour. You can learn more about that here over on YouTube. The result is beautiful and the still photos can be incorporated into a video. 



After lunch, Rick asked Mark if he would mind having the dogs work the sheep. This was the first time the drone camera was used and I could not wait to see it work. Here are the three men watching the drone and hoping for the best with the sheep and dogs. 



Here is Alex flying the drone. 



Alex used an iPad mini attached to something that looked like joy sticks from a gaming console. I am not really clear how it all worked but the thing lifted off the ground and began flying around. It has 4 propellers on it and works similar to a helicopter. Alex flew it around using the joy sticks to move it different places all the while watching the iPad to see what he was getting. 

Here is a close-up of the Drone Camera sitting on the couch. This gives you an idea of the size of it. About the same size as Vera the cat. 



Amazing, huh? Nessie (our older collie) was the dog moving the sheep and she got tired so we stopped. We all ran back in the house and they downloaded it onto Rick's computer. 



The footage was okay but it was decided to try Kate work the sheep the next day. In the video, you will see both Border Collies Ness and Kate and Winston our Great Pyrenees Guard Dog. 

Here are some more photos of Alex flying the drone down our little road. Before lift off.



Action shots of the drone camera. Pretty cool, huh? 






Alex worked so hard - filming all kinds of angles all day long. He took hours of drone footage and very little was used. It certainly did add to the feeling of the video. And he had a fantastic time doing it. So very fun. 


Mark was interviewed outdoors. Rick told me he did a great job. Then late in the day, when Julia came home from school it was her turn. They put a mike on her and we fixed her hair and threw on a pretty pink sweater. She did a great job and you can see her in the video. 




She was a bit shy and tongue tied but she is 16 years old. It's not every day that a farm kid has this kind of experience.



Thank you Julia and Mark for putting up with my craziness. 



Three cats watched all the action from the kitchen island. 



The next day, it was all about the house. We began with another interview of me talking about the way I decorated our home off camera. It took about 45 minutes and I was not filmed. 

Next up, it was the farmhouse's turn for glory. Fortunately, my photographer friend Rikki Snyder had volunteered to come for the day. She and I styled each room, moving the clutter and making the house presentable for the world. Danny filmed many angles as we moved on to the next room, getting it presentable. 



Our house isn't very big and it is a real place with real people living in it. Any occasion like this takes an inordinate amount of work to stage it for the camera. To say I was exhausted at the end of each day would be an understatement. 

The results are really good and it was totally worth the work and disturbance to our daily lives. Now for the world to discover our beautiful little place in this little corner of Western Massachusetts I hope you enjoy watching and listening to the video. And thank you Houzz!

Here's the link to the video. Next week, I'll give you the link to Houzz's YouTube channel so you can help me spread the word.  Have a great day everyone! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Winner, Taproot, + Mr. Turner

Wow everyone! Thank you so much for all the positive, kind and encouraging comments you left on my last post. The Farmer and I read through them all - I cannot thank you enough for your enthusiasm. It is so great that so many of you who read faithfully do not have me pigeonholed into the knitter only world. 

I think one of the frustrating things for me - which I touched on the other day - is that publishers and corporations - only see me as having one skill or talent. It will take a long time to beat that and I do not know if I ever will. I am just going to carry on doing what I want art and design wise as long as I can afford to do that. And I mean afford that financially. Creatively is not a problem but financially may be. (Anyone want to come to a class at the farm?) I've got some plans for future products and I have some very positive things in the works that should help me with that. I will be selling things via the internet because I am not interested in getting into the wholesale world. 

In the fall, when most of the retail dollars are spent, I will probably do some "house shows" if I can find friendly, drivable locations with a demographic that has money and likes to spend it on handmade things. I'll talk more about that later this summer. Where we live is the least affluent counties in Massachusetts. I do not expect to be able to peddle my pots here because folks just don't have the income to purchase them.



And now - generated by Random Number Generator - the winner of the Happy House..... The winner is Annie and I have contacted her via her email address. I wish I had enough time to make you all a Happy House. Seriously I do.

Thank you to Taproot Magazine for featuring my "Fabric Hanging Lanterns" in their newest issue called Wild. Do you know Taproot? It is a small independent magazine edited by Amanda Blake Soule, author of many books and of the blog Soulemama. I have subscribed for quite a while. It has an interesting, non-mainstream vibe to it which I enjoy. There are essays, recipes, projects, and art. No advertising either. What a nice mix and so happy to have been included on the pages with all the other talented folks who write, do art, and photograph for Taproot. In this issue, I especially enjoyed the article about gathering things to eat from the wild, including sumac berries. I have that on my list to do this fall. 

Isn't this illustrated cover beautiful? It is by artist Phoebe Wahl. An aside, today I saw a mother doe with her just born fawn. I didn't have my camera with me. Darn. 



I watched the British film Mr. Turner the other day. It is about Britain's most famous landscape painter JMW Turner. There was one scene that was amazing - the salon at the Royal Academy where all the member painters showed their work. Astounding. No photos to sell off of - buyers had to come to see the work. I found a video that explained it here. I have embedded it below. Worth a watch - the whole movie is. Makes one think - especially about fame in the world before social media and aging. I want to watch it again because I was sewing and missed some visuals. 




Just so you know - Mr. Turner isn't a very upbeat movie but it is beautifully filmed, written and acted. But it made me think a lot. 


That's it for today - again - thank you everyone!!!!! Farmer's Market tomorrow in Northampton. It is supposed to rain and thunder. UGH. No fun. But sometimes the weatherperson is wrong. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Peonies, Politics, Pigeonholes, Pots, + A Giveaway



Yes it is finally peony season at the farm and it is glorious. I love this time of year in the garden. If I can, I head out with my clippers every morning and collect some new blossoms. The smell! The flounciness! (is that a word?)! The overabundance of petals. Remarkable.

In a few short weeks time, I'm heading out to Detroit to tape the next season of Knit and Crochet Now. There's big news on the show. Brett Bara, the host and owner of Brooklyn Craft Company, has retired her position - she is now busy with twin baby girls! Congrats Brett! She is being replaced by Deborah Norville (of tv fame). You can read about it here

Last Saturday I taught an all day class at the stunning fuchsia walled Stitch House - a knitting and sewing store in Dorchester, MA, a neighborhood in Boston. It was my first time there and it was a fantastic day. I taught 2 classes - a morning and afternoon class. I had some awesome students who did both embroidery on knits and steeking. And Annissa Essaibi-George, the owner of Stitch House is running for Boston City Council. I'm impressed - owner of a yarn store and a politician. Can only mean good things for knitting and sewing in Boston if Annissa gets elected. Great store space -- worth a trip and incredibly lovely employees - thanks all! Visit if you can folks - you won't be disappointed. Close to the JFK Library for family trips (and yarn store visits for mamas). 

Tomorrow is World Wide Knit In Public Day. Check it out here

So, now for the wacky title to this post. DId you know that post titles are a big thing in the blog writing world. They say the title of your post is paramount to "opens." Crazy huh? I usually just throw my hands up in despair and write something, anything. It is sometimes all I can do to write a post. 



I've already talked about the Peonies. Here is another photo of some more in case the first wasn't enough. 

Politics - Annissa Essaibi-George was that part of the discussion. 

Now for the Pigeonholes. For years, I have been known as the knitter, the knitter who does color, etc. It's a good thing to be known for something and I do not take this for granted. As my friend Candi says "But Kristin - there is so much more to you. I know that but the world doesn't." 

Here is the thing - I do not even think of myself as "the knitter." I think of myself as a person who is..... a mom, artistic wife of a farmer and assistant to all things sheep and farm related, creative, curious, interested in textiles and all kinds of textile arts (knitting, crochet, embroidery, sewing), loves color, likes to make things using all kinds of techniques including painting, ceramics, gardening, furniture restoration, interior decorating, and more. My interests go so beyond knitting.... How's that for coming clean? 

But the thing is, I really do feel like the world only wants me to be the knitter. I know I have done it to myself. As a career, I fell into the world of the yarn biz and it supported me and my family for years. But as a person, I always did and made other colorful things for fun and passion. And as usually does happen, and did happen for me - knitting became a job. Not a dreadful job but a job itself. And sometimes a slog. For sixteen years, I had to come up with collections season after season. It got old to say the least. I cannot think of going back to doing that again - even though I love love love the business and all the fabulous people and knitters I have met and worked with. 

Once I left the corporate yarn biz, I began to look for other opportunities. I co-wrote a knitting book. (It was an easy place to start.) I tried to move beyond knitting with an embroidery book for kids. It didn't do well for the publisher. Was it my fault? No - but when your numbers don't deliver sales, it makes other publishers nervous. I wrote another book on embroidery. It did relatively okay. And then I went back to the knitting because the publisher of the embroidery book wanted me to do a knitting book. Two more books on knitting. My book - Color By Kristin - I feel was my knitted magnum opus. Once I finished that book, I felt I had nothing much more to say to the knitting world in print. Yes, I wrote another knitting book but that book was an off-shoot of a failed book proposal to write a book about sunflowers, gardening, and crafting. No publisher wanted that book because I wasn't known for gardening. But sunflowers that were knit and crocheted? That would be okay from Kristin.

You all know Barbara G. Walker, right? Barbara is the author of some of the most astoundingly useful and popular knitting books in the English language. She wrote many, many knitting books. And then she disappeared from the knitting scene - for many, many years. She began writing on feminism and sacred objects. Did her knitting followers follow her? I very much doubt it. 

I talk about this with my friends frequently. These friends happen to be involved in knitting and the knitting business and they are about the same age as I am. We look around at all the "popular" knitters now and just marvel at the whole internet charged world of Ravelry, fiber festivals, and more. It is astounding how the knitting world has changed - how an on-line presence can morph into overnight success (although I doubt very much it was overnight success - there is always gobs of hard work to go along with it). How this whole on-line thing is changing the world of yarn and yarn stores and the typical, longtime traditional way that yarn is and has been sold for eons is astounding. 

I frequently joke (only half-joking) with my friends that we need to wait another twenty years until we are in. Seriously - look at Barbara Walker - she is all over the place again. Go Barbara! You definitely deserve the fan worship and accolades.

I have seriously digressed.... sorry about that folks. 

I have always followed my passions in life and in my art. Sometimes my passions turn into books and sometimes they don't. My most recent book Crafting A Colorful Home is about all my passions rolled into one. I think it is another magnum opus book for me. I cannot think of doing another one like it because I think I said it all. One reviewer on Amazon said the following: Nice book if you like painting. (I do get a kick out of reading the different reviews.) She was probably a knitter upset that I wasn't filling a book with knitting. (You know that is my responsibility to the world to only do knitting.) Oh well. I gave up long ago trying to make all people happy. It is not possible.  

(Crafting A Colorful Home is in its second printing. Books just arrived. I am still offering free shipping, illustrated bookplates, and postcards. Check it out here.)

Where am I going with all this rambling...... Here's the thing. For the past half a year or so, I have been doing everything else but not a lot of knitting. I have been helping on our farm. I have been taking care of my family. I have been cleaning my house, raising chicks, feeding animals, thinking about my garden (note - thinking - not doing). I have been teaching classes here at the farm on Fabric Printing - the reason for the cleaning (UPCOMING CLASS JULY 18/19 - STILL 3 SPACES AVAILABLE! CHECK IT OUT HERE. DON'T WANT TO DO PAYPAL - I CAN TAKE A CHECK OR CREDIT CARD. EMAIL FOR DETAILS.) I have been stitching and doing lots of crewel embroidery. I have been doing oil paintings. I have been making pottery and painting ceramics. I have been painting lampshades. 



There are some exciting things coming down the pike here at the farm. I do not know where they will all lead. It will be fun to see. Will they turn into anything? I don't know. I am reacting to things as they happen. Do I have a grand plan? Yes, in my head I do but I do not tell anyone about it for fear it will not happen. 

But.... I will begin today here today. What a lot of reading you had to do to get here...... I want to introduce you all to my new Etsy Shop called Colorful Pottery. Hop on over and check it out. Here is what my pottery looks like. Will it be a success? Who knows. Time will tell. 


Photo by Rikki Snyder
To kick off my new Pottery Sales Site on Etsy - I'm doing a giveaway here on my blog for you all - my fabulous, loyal, comeback readers. I treasure you all so much. Many of you have been here since the beginning back in 2006. It really is amazing to think that.... 
a) I have written something here on since then - in fact over 1700 posts...... 
b) that you all read it. 
I think it is one of the most remarkable things about the internet - that I can write what I want, no one edits me and tells me I am all wrong, and that I reach all the way around the world. Amazing. Thank you all for reading!

Here's what I have for you today. One lucky winner will have their choice of a Happy House from my new shop. (Don't worry, if your color choice is sold out, I will make you another one.)
Here's how you enter......

Just leave a comment in the comments section. Any kind of comment relating to today's post. 

Contest is over - but I will still enjoy your comments. 

The winner was Annie and I have notified her by email.
Contest ends Sunday evening June 14th at 11:59 p.m. 
As always, please leave an easy way to get a hold of you - email, blogger id, FB name, or RAV id. 
P.S. A blogger id is only good if you have a way to get a hold of you on Blogger - like an email or an actual blog. If you have no i.d. on your account, I won't be able to contact you. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Green Room - My Tile Inspired Faux Wallpaper

Photo by Rikki Snyder via Houzz.com

Several years ago, before the world really caught on to the internet, there were shelter magazines. Remember them? Back in 2003, I had contacted Country Home, one of my favorite decorating magazines about the way I had decorated our 1751 farmhouse with hand-painted decorations. They fell in love with our home and set up a date for a photo shoot. Shortly before the shoot, I decided to act upon an idea I had been dreaming of for a long-time - a faux wallpaper treatment in our "green room."

If I were to do this treatment now - in the days of popular DIY culture and "show everyone everything you make and do on Instagram" I would have better photos. But I don't - I have the ones I shot on a film camera in 2003 as I was working on my wall treatment. I just stumbled upon them when I was cleaning things up here before my class in May and thought you all might be interested. Apologies for the lack than stellar photos. 

I have always loved wallpaper. My tastes go towards very expensive ones made with several screens. Like these. They are beyond my budget. What's a girl to do but paint it herself. The room was already painted a mossy green. 


I began with one of my favorite source books for pattern ideas - Auguste Racinet's Sourcebook of Historic Ornament. I paged through all the incredible historic designs and settled upon a motif which looked to me like it came from the gorgeous marble tile floors in Venice, Italy. (I have a very beat up paperback version of this book printed by Dover Publications a long time ago. It looks to have been re-done by Taschen here.) 


From this illustration, I designed my own wallpaper design. Instead of printing it, I thought it would be easiest to make cardboard templates to trace around. This would give me repeating shapes that were all the same size (as opposed to my mural in the dining room which was painted freehand). I drew out the designs on graph paper. I traced the designs onto some Fedex cardboard envelopes because they were in the closet and handy. As you can see in the photo below, I simplified the tile inspiration pattern quite a bit. 


I began at the corner of the room. Using a long level, I drew a plumb line so that my cross motif would be straight all the way down the wall. Using a plain old pencil, I traced around the cross (former Fedex envelope) template. With red acrylic paint, I painted all the crosses. 



Next up was the square shape that had projecting triangles. The little triangles fit right inside the the pointy end of the crosses so it made alignment quite easy. For this motif placement and all the remaining motifs, I just eyeballed their placement. Once again, I traced around the shape and then filled them in with an apricot color acrylic paint that I mixed. 


The next part of the design was the circle motif that went over the square. I decided to alternate the colors between turquoise and butter yellow. 


Lastly I added the triangled cross motif on top of each circle. I do not have an in-progress shot of that step. 

Once all the colors were painted, I outlined each motif using a large "liner brush" with black acrylic paint. I love using liner brushes because you can vary the pressure on the brush and make a line that has variations in it. 

Here is the finished "wallpaper."



Here you can see it once I got some artwork and accessories placed. 


Here are two more photos by Rikki Snyder as the "Green Room" looks now. 




I still am very happy with the way this project turned out and I have no plans to change it. I love the warm and rich colors. In the winter, when we use this room most, it is so cosy and enveloping. I know this is because of the colors I used, the design, the fabrics used on the furniture and the collection of books that is on one of the walls. The woodstove doesn't hurt either! 

You can find many DIY projects - from painting, printing, fabric, knitting, embroidery, and more - in my book Crafting a Colorful Home. It is available signed on my website here. I am still offering FREE SHIPPING, a free Kristin illustrated bookplate and a set of postcards all free when you order from me.  

To see more of our colorful farmhouse, check it out on the Houzz.com website here