Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pop Art Seat Cushion

My craft room was crying out for some fun in the decor department. After all, what happens in that room is fun, am I right?

It was starting to feel a little too suave and debonair for its own good :) I mean, French-inspired stencil on the wall, pink ghost chair, hammered silver lamp and antique mirror...come on, now!

It was time to ratchet-up the whimsy factor...add some color, take a detour from the sophistication.

This chair came with a very generic white cushion. It looked like a blank canvas/invitation to me. (And the worst that could happen in the event of a project-fail would be to order a replacement generic white cushion.)

So I got busy with my sketch pad, color chips and paint brushes. And here is what I came up with!

I wish I had a natural artistic gift, but this is the extent of my talents to date (still honing my skills, for sure.) Overall, I love how it turned out, though! It is colorful and fun, and the mix of acrylic paint with fabric medium should hold up well under my busy buns. Also, it is hiding behind the craft table, so all of that splashy color can't scream at you as you walk into the room. Sneaky, huh?

I also want to show you my latest acquisition from a local artisans market. This hand-crafted little wooden number had me at "mermaid". Seriously, how could I leave without buying it? I found the perfect spot for it in the craft room and plan to add a storage piece beneath it. The crafter had other mermaid pieces and lots of fun art with owls and assorted critters. Her business is Whimsy Creations and you can find her on Facebook.

Ok, so now I'm going to put my artsy butt on that cushion and get busy creating some more shmancy stuff :)

Sharing with Elizabeth & Co, Ivy and Elephants, My Paper Craze, DIY by Design, The Dedicated House, Average But Inspired, The Well-Groomed Home, Share Your Cup Thursday, Nancherrow, Redoux Interiors, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, Simple Details, Jennifer Rizzo, Pieced Pastimes, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Amaze Me Monday, Between Naps on the Porch, Domestically Speaking, A Stroll Thru Life, Cozy Little House, Confessions of a Plate Addict, Coastal Charm,

Monday, July 21, 2014

Crunchy Asian Sesame Salad

My husband is a great cook, and he enjoys doing it. Me...not so much.

The only problem is in the meals my hubby likes to cook, and eat. His favorites are all manly dishes that pair well with a sudsy brew and clog your arteries. Brats, pulled pork, hot wings...you get the idea.

As for me, I'm more of a rabbit-food lover.

(Don't give me any awards for healthy-eating, though, because I also have a problematic love of simple carbs and sugary beverages.) But when I do decide to prepare a meal, every eon or so, I prefer to cook light.

This weekend, I concocted a delicious salad by combining pieces and parts of a couple of different recipes and adding my own twist. It turned out really well, and even the household short-rib lover enjoyed it!

Here is my version of a Crunchy Asian Sesame Salad.

Shredded Cabbage
1/4 C Cilantro
1 Pkg Oriental Ramen Noodle Soup Mix (uncooked)
3/4 C Peanuts
4 Scallions, Chopped
Grilled Chicken (Optional)
3 Tbsp Butter or Oil
2 Tbsp Sesame Seed

1/4 C Sugar
1/4 C Vinegar
1 Tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Soy Sauce

Toss cabbage (I used about 3/4 bag of a pre-packaged mix) with romaine (also about 3/4 bag of a pre-packaged salad mix), scallions and cilantro. I also added 6 oz. pre-packaged grilled chicken, diced. (Notice all of the "pre-packaged" items...I told you that I don't cook much! Of course, you can always use fresh and that would be even better!)

Melt butter or oil in pan. Stir in ramen noodles (crushed), ramen seasoning and sesame seed. Brown for about 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Mix dressing ingredients. Add peanuts, ramen mixture and dressing to salad. Toss well and enjoy!

Sharing with: A Stroll Thru Life, Domestically Speaking, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, Cozy Little House, Upcycled Treasures, Ivy and Elephants, Lamberts Lately, , Paper & Fox, DIY by Design, Well Groomed Home, Nancherrow, Shabby Art Boutique, French Country Cottage

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cupboard Door Table (and my near-miss attempt at chalk painting)

Tada!! Here is the antique cupboard door-turned coffee table that my Renaissance Merman assembled for me over the weekend.

He is much more adept at using power tools than I am, and when not golfing or watching sports on tv, he's a very willing handyman - yea!

One of these days, I'm going to plan a project from inception and then execute it all the way to completion without wondering how it ended up not looking as I had planned. Yep, this is another one of my brilliant ideas that turned out differently than my original vision. I began the search for the perfect door...of course there were certain factors to consider. Like size, price, and that I wanted it done "yesterday". So here is the one I ended up with.

Do you think I could remember to take a picture of it in its original state so that you could see where it started? (Ummmm, nope.) It had layers of sky-blue and lemon-yellow paint, which if I were into pastels would have been really awesome, but that's not so much my "thing"........ Here it is with one coat of some chalk paint that I had on hand (thinking I would create one of those masterpieces that I've seen all over the web?)

OK, this is where things start to veer off of the vision. You see, I really do love all of those beautiful chalk-painted projects that talented people everywhere are creating! But then my "gut" spoke up and said "Julie, this isn't your look. You're an eclectic, but shiny-paint girl." So in the end, I went with what I know works for me. And here, in all its glory, is my version of a vintage painted table.

Even after sanding with the power sander (I did that part myself - yea, me!) there is a lot of chippy paint layered under the coats of black. But I don't mind, because I still wanted the door to look old (otherwise I would have bought a smooth new door.) And I chose not to sand off any painted edges to give it a worn look because, honestly, I didn't want it to look too rustic.

These legs were simply unfinished table legs and metal brackets purchased at Lowe's. The tricky part was finding the correct height (I really wanted chunkier legs, but they were all too short, darn it!) These actually coordinate well with my little green side table, though, so all is well I guess.

And who says that a vintage door table can't be dressed up with a touch of metallic gold? This I did by just brushing liquid leaf onto the bottoms of the legs, and I dabbed a little on the latch, too. I quickly tried to wipe some off of the latch because I did want that to retain its aged look (but believe me, this liquid leaf dries fast! Not much time to second guess your choices there.)

The basket was one I had picked up at a tag sale a couple of years ago. It had always held the dozens (and dozens) of pairs of my daughter's old pointe shoes in her bedroom. But I think it has found a new life as the perfect storage spot for cozy blankets and pillows out here.

The only thing left to do now is curl up on the sofa with a summery snack and a good book. Ahhhhh......

Sharing with Ivy and Elephants, Lamberts Lately, Paper and Fox, The Dedicated House, Life in Velvet, Revisionary Life, Share Your Cup Thursday, From My Front Porch to Yours, Shabby Art Boutique, Redoux Interiors, French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, The Charm of Home, Natasha in Oz, Pieced Pastimes, Rustic and Refined

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Art of Dabbling

I'm a putterer. I may even be incapable of finishing an entire room before becoming distracted inspired by the beckoning of another room.

I've tried to stay the course...I got really, really close with my sun porch (see it here.)

But it still needs a coffee table and a few more accessories...

...and with my family room (see it here.)

I think it could still use a big round ottoman in front of the sofa, with a pretty tray topped with books and designer tchotchkes.

I've tried to point the finger, place the blame.

- "I don't have enough money for new furniture."

- "No one ever sees that room anyway."

- "I need to take a trip instead."

Truth, though? I may secretly like to work this way. I try to convince myself that I'm an artist who dabbles, and my rooms evolve in perfect layers.

Sadly, it's one of the things that drives Renaissance Merman wacko!! He sees absolutely no good reason to leave projects unfinished. For the most part, he is a "closer". Start a project - finish it. (Although we won't mention the half demo'd basement he ripped into last winter...ahem.)

Anyway, I've made a little more progress in the craft room. I found this lamp at Pier 1. I think it's glamorous with its hammered silver base and peacock-blue shade.

And I gave a garage sale wall plaque a makeover with some glossy white paint. See how its design echoes the stencil that I used? (Happy accident.)

The pink ghost chair was purchased from StackChairs4Less.com. It's feminine and trendy, and I love the way it contrasts with the masculinity and patina of this table-turned-desk. (This was a cast-off from my in-laws and in rough shape, so not too precious for craft projects involving paint, glue, etc.)

The magazine rack was found at a flea market and started out black. A little gold spray paint elevated it from dull to pretty.

Aren't these little jars amazing? Yes, they were another garage sale find. I keep some of the tools of my trade in them and on a small silver tray. I think all of the vintage jewelry and jeweled ribbons are too pretty to store away while they wait to be used in projects.

I like the way the room is taking shape so far. The plans are to infuse more color, pattern and vintage goodness in here.

But I'm not rushing to finish it. And the entryway could use a facelift about now...... ;)

Sharing with Ivy and Elephants, DIY by Design, Nancherrow, Lamberts Lately, From My Front Porch to Yours, Life in Velvet, Revisionary Life, Share Your Cup Thursday, Paper & Fox, A Delightsome Life, Pieced Pastimes

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Let's Talk Shop

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a fellow blogger, personal friend, and inspirational woman. Dana Havens of Chocolate and Sunshine has graciously invited me to participate in a blog tour, and I am delighted!

Dana and I met at Bloggy Bootcamp St. Louis this Spring. I was immediately drawn to her infectiously positive and friendly personality. She is just the kind of person you want to have in your "tribe" because she is ambitious, generous and fun! She and I also connect through our love of all things "home decor". We both have a perpetual list of project ideas and DIY's, and we follow the same designers. I guess you could say we are kindred spirits.

I urge you to visit Dana's blog, Chocolate and Sunshine, for amazing projects (like the upcycled credenza pictured above), recipes, events and "sunshine"! You won't be disappointed.

And now, for the question and answer portion of this blog tour...

1) What am I working on?

One of the main reasons I began blogging was to reclaim an important part of myself that I had allowed to get lost over the course of many years and many life circumstances. You see, I have a Bachelor's degree in Interior Design and worked in that industry for almost 18 years. Then, one thing led to another (which I am solely responsible for allowing) and I settled for mediocre jobs and forgot my potential. At some point, I stumbled upon my first blog and began to follow more and more women out there who were creating beautiful homes and family lives. After a long period of soul searching, I challenged myself to dig deep, lose the fears and negative self-talk and make myself proud once again. That's when Renaissance Mermaid was born.

So, in answer to the question, I'm always working on multiple projects. No room in my house is safe from receiving it's next facelift (just ask my family, haha.) I'm also busy helping my daughter plan her wedding, serving on the corporation board of my college sorority, and am in active service to Al-Anon (the family branch of AA...which has drastically changed my life for the better.) Add a full-time job to the mix, and this lady has a lot on her plate!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

We're all unique with our own story to tell, and we all have gifts to give. As a person, I've undergone an important transformation over the past few years, and I plan to share some of what I've learned here as time goes on. If you are kind enough to follow along with my blog, I hope to be able to impart some experience and wisdom (definitely gained the hard way...believe me.)

3) How do I write/create what I do?

The writing process is natural and intrinsic for me. I have always enjoyed putting my thoughts on paper. Creatively, I struggle a little more because I constantly compare myself to others out there, and I also feel the pressure of having had a former design career. The expectations (whether my own or those of others) are always looming in the back of my mind. After being away from that business for so many years (about 13 to be exact) I have lost so much of my creative mindset (use it or lose it, you know?) I want desperately to bring that part of myself back. It's a true journey, and I'm working at re-learning and applying what I set aside for so long and at elevating my design style to where it can be once again.

4) How does my writing/creating process work?

I'd like to report that there is a method to my madness, but alas, I am currently flying by the seat of my pants. Sometimes the stars align and I complete a room or project and am able to write a professional-looking post. Usually, though, I make it up as I go (yikes!...brutal honesty.)

After the wedding, I hope to really get more organized at blogging. There are SO many improvements I want to make here (right now Renaissance Mermaid is pretty "bare bones".) At that point I plan to be much more methodical about this and treat it as the job I dream of it becoming.

As part of this tour, I am asked to introduce three bloggers for my readers to discover, and share their blogging awesomeness. However, I have decided to cheat take a liberty here and share some of the blogs that I read religiously and aspire to emulate. So, in no particular order, here are my current faves...

French Kiss Life - a chic and liberalizing life coach for women

Thistlewood Farm - hands-down best storyteller on the web, and gorgeous interiors

Simple Details - I just love her style...enough said

The Little Black Door - down-to-earth, funny and a knock-out home

French Country Cottage - for the romantic in all of us

Simply Modern Home - great interior design inspiration

A few more that I regularly enjoy are: Dimples & Tangles, Little Green Notebook, The Hunted Interior, Chateau Chic (along with a smattering of others.)

Are there blogs you love that I should be reading?