Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Write Stuff

Early this year I added a new product to my line - writing lap desks. I thought they would be perfect for laptop computers, looking at magazines or writing a letter.

Leaping Stag


Woman with Dog

French Floral
The desks have been very well received, and many people have told me that they have been hung on their walls, put on top of dressers or placed on a fireplace mantel. So I was very excited to get this email yesterday and to know that the lap desks are both pretty and functional.

"Robin, I wanted to share with you, my husband and I love the laptop trays I bought from you. We are using them right now! He thinks they are just beautiful. Of course, I love all your pieces. Even my son's girlfriend remembered a box of yours I purchased for a friend last year. Thank you Robin for sharing your talent with all of us!!! Happy New Year."

It is so rewarding and inspiring to hear how people are using the items I create. It's definitely the right stuff.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grape Hod

I wanted to share with you a project I just completed for a very special client Mindy. She contacted me and wanted to know if I would add one of my deer designs to a grape hod that she had purchased. The grape hod is a Christmas gift for her mother in Wisconsin. I told her I had admired the grape hods that I have seen in Gorsuch stores and catalogs. So of course, I said yes.

The finished project- Grape Hod with Stag Design

The before pictures of the front and back.

When I first saw the piece, I was a little taken back because it's very large (26" by 23") and had a distressed finish that was not conducive to a flat decoupage surface. Nonetheless, I could hardly wait to get started.

After trying out many different designs, I finally decided an oval collage image of a stag surrounded by leaves. My first thought was to remove the distressed finish, but after discussing it with Mindy, we decided to keep the finish. I am so glad we did. Thanks so much Mindy, this was a great project. I sure hope your mother likes it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pot Rack Panache

For the past month I have had a show or event every weekend. Now I will begin working on all the special Christmas orders that will be sent around the country. In the midst of making a list and checking it twice, I did find time for a quick kitchen project.

My mother recently purchased a beautiful white distressed round pot rack from Sandi Vandel of Vandel Antiques in Littleton, CO. Once she got it home, she decided it did not work in her kitchen. So being a thoughtful daughter, I volunteered to take it off her hands. Although I do not have an extensive collection of copper pots to hang from the rack, I was confident I would come up with something. It did not take long and I decided to hang tea cups from my red transferware collection. I then added a vintage-looking ceramic hen in the middle of the rack.

I know someday it will be filled with a collection of copper pots, but for now I love how it looks. Well, that's enough procrastinating for me, it's time to get back to the studio.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rue de Noel 2009 December 4th & 5th

The Rue de Noel Paris Street Holiday Market is underway at Aspen Grove in Littleton, CO located at 7301 S. Santa Fe Drive. The indoor Paris Market runs through Saturday from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm. There are more than 50 booths filled with original artwork, vintage finds and Christmas decorations. If you get a chance, please do stop by.

A few of my decoupage canvases

Amy Smith has an absolutely beautiful booth
filled with the most amazing treasures. She also
has her artwork and vintage finds at The Barn
in Castle Rock, CO.

One of my vintage finds, an Italian holy
water font, simply beautiful

A wooden angel I found in Amy's booth. Perfect
for Christmas.

This is my last show of 2009, but I will be busy creating many beautiful custom orders the next few weeks. A few of the projects will be featured here, so please do check back. Hope to see you at the Rue de Noel.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

L'Esprit de Noel 2009

Sunday is the last day of the 2009 L'Esprit de Noel Holiday Home Tour and Boutique at Lowry. Hours are 10-4:30 and the boutique is located at 350 Quebec Street. A portion of sales will go to the Central City Opera Guild. Hope to see you there.

Some of my Tissue Box Cover Designs

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas in Colorado

The annual Christmas in Colorado Holiday Show is this upcoming Friday and Saturday at the historic Grant Humphreys Mansion at 770 Pennsylvania Street in downtown Denver. More than 40 artisans will be selling their unique wares throughout the rooms of this Denver landmark. Once inside, don't forget to look for the beautiful stained glass windows, the grand staircase, a bowling alley and a small stage in the basement. The show hours are November 13th 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and November 14th 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Here is a sneak peak at a few of my latest items made specially for the show. Hope to see you there.

Cardinals on Tissue Box Cover

Father Christmas Canvas

Chicken Family Tissue Box Cover

Bird on Branch Round Box

*Photo by Dian McGown. Additional information on the Grant Humphreys Mansion from the Colorado Historical Society:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Gem Named Ruby

Just a few weeks ago, my 98-year old grandmother fell and broke her hip. She is now in rehab and having a very hard time. She will not be able to go back to her room in the assisted living home, but instead will to be transferred to a nursing home next week. Although she is 98, her mind is as sharp as a tack, her body is just getting weaker.

She has been called Ruby her whole life, but her given name is Robina. Born in Scotland, her family moved to Canada and then to the United States. She still has the small flag she received when passing her United States Citizen test.

Ruby (right) and her sister Martha

My sisters and I were to call her "Nana" (we were never to call her grandmother, after all, that was a name for old people she would say).

Having been very healthy, she lived on her own until she was 94. She would tend to her roses, paint beautiful oil paintings, make her own clothes, knit dramatic scarves and eat healthy homemade meals. As I sat beside her as the representatives from the nursing home interviewed her, I could not help but think of all I had learned from her. She taught me about God and the importance of having a personal relationship with Him. She also taught me about art, how to cook, knit and sew. Throughout her life, she has loved stylish clothes, singing, playing the piano, redecorating her house, politics, music and beautiful things. I would like to share with you a few pictures she has painted.

Ruby would paint in her kitchen because that is where she said the light was light best. When we moved her out of her condo, I found paint brushes, tubes of paint and little paint mixing bowls throughout the kitchen. There were daubs of different color paint here and there on the cupbards, the floor and counters. Now, when my husband lets me know that I have manged to get paint on almost all of our glasses and cups, I tell him it's Nana's fault. Afer all, she is the one who showed me how to live as an artist.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hopeless Romantic

I must be a hopeless romantic. Lately, I have been collecting and creating artwork of couples. I love the couple in the frame, very romantic and to be honest, the original artwork was so damaged that at times I was hopeless that I would be able to make the necessary repairs. But I wanted the picture to work, so I worked and worked on it and am so happy with the results.

The second picture shows a number of combined old pieces of artwork that I combined to create the romantic couple collage on a wooden cigar box. I think it's very romantic.

I am wondering if this obsession with romantic couples is because I need to have a Pride and Prejudice fix (the A&E version) or maybe it is because our 20th wedding anniversary is next year, or maybe I am truly a hopeless romantic. I hope so.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Little Shopping Spree

Many of my posts about the Paris Street Market in Littleton, CO have been about my booth display, people I have met and my new designs. Well, for this post about the Market, I decided to show you what treasures I found for myself when I went on a little shopping spree. Below are pictures of my great finds. ( I really must get out of my booth more often)

Great matching pillows, a beautiful vintage handmade ivory blanket with crocheted roses, a very old box with a painting of a woman and a dog and my favorite item of the day was the necklace.

The box has cracked down the front, but I think it still is a great find, such a sweet picture. The necklace was created by one of my favorite local artist who redesigns vintage jewelery.
I bought a pair of these pillows complete with down-inserts. I love the ball fringe made from the matching pillow fabric.

This is the back of the pillow, I hope you can see the detail.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just a Hare

This blog post is just about hares and rabbits. I have many clients who collect rabbit art and one of them is attending my show at The Paris Street Market Saturday, October 3rd. She wanted a sneak peak of the rabbit canvas art I will have on hand. The above picture shows Rabbits on canvas sizes from 5 by 7 inches up to 11 by 14 inches. All images are from my antique ephemera collection. I also have a few more pictures below.

Rabbit with carrots on 8 by 10 inch canvas

Grouping of 5 by 7 Rabbit canvases
The October 3rd Paris Street Market is the last one until next May. Please stop by and say hello.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big Ideas

Usually this time of year until year-end, my business completely takes over my life and the lives of my family. Thankfully, due to my clients and stores, this is true again this year. Thank you all! So, I decided to clear out space in my studio for a clutter-free desk loaded with paper, rulers, colored pencils and no computer. My big idea was that I could sit and work on organizing my notes, keep up with paperwork, make plans and come up with new ideas. Ideas are always important, but sometimes are not given the time they deserve. So as a reminder, I decoupaged large wooden letters spelling out "IDEAS", added small vintage plastic birds, hung one of my favorite new canvas designs underneath and completed the space with a pair of beautiful antique french sconces my sister just gave to me. It's a great little space to sit and think about big ideas.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cottage Fever

Recently, my sister and I spent most of a Friday shopping at The Barn - a store in Castle Rock, CO filled with fabulous antiques, western art, French-styled furniture, vintage finds and many Cottage collections. And yes, it is an old barn. Well, our outing obviously left an impression on me because everything I created over the next few days had a light background and roses. It was time well spent. Below are a few of my new cottage creations. You might say I came down with cottage fever over the weekend.

My Cottage Accessories include plaques, signs, a door hanger, tissue holders and a picture of a ballerina with a wreath of roses around her waist.

Cottage Sign.

A plaque for the Powder Room door.

Beautiful French Roses on a Tissue Box Cover.

You never know just what might inspire you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Secret Garden

"There's a secret garden she hides ... she'll let you in her heart, if you've got a hammer and a vise, but into her secret garden, don't think twice"

Those are lyrics from Bruce Springsteen's "Secret Garden". I am sure our meanings are different but my secret garden is just as hard to get into. On the southwest side of our home, there is a small area that is completely enclosed. It cannot be seen even if you are in our backyard. However, you might wonder what is behind the large gate.

Sometimes I like to refer to my secret garden as my European-styled courtyard and it's just about the perfect size garden to take care of. And no, the rest of my yard is not as well kept. I believe the previous owners used the area for a dog run, but they did build a small raised garden bed. Every summer we have added something new to the "Secret Garden" and it is now my family's favorite outside place. Take a look...

Secret garden lamb statue.

Another view.
This summer we built a small patio area just large enough to hold my antique black wrought-iron and glass table with four matching chairs. The patio area sits under an aspen tree and it's a great place to eat dinner. It still needs a little work, so maybe by next summer it will be ready for pictures. I hope you enjoyed your visit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"A" is for Absoutely Perfect

Late last Friday evening, I was trying to think of what I could bring for an absolutely perfect hostess gift (that I needed the next day). I did not want to bring a bottle of wine or food, I wanted my gift to be more personal. Never setting foot in their home before did not help my quest. In my studio I had a few hundred tissue box holders, trays and boxes to choose from, but did not have a clue what would work in their home. Then it hit me. I could make something with their family name initial "A". At midnight, I decided to make a paperweight. While the initial part was easy, I had to design the background and choose a style and color. I remembered that the hostess had once worn a beautiful brown and white jacket. So, I decided brown would be a safe bet. I then took one of my antique French floral images and changed the colors to shades of brown and added a chocolate colored "A". She absolutely loved it and it was absolutely the perfect gift.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Keep it Simple"

Every time we have friends over for dinner, my husband says "let's keep it simple". This is because I tend to go overboard cleaning the house, planning the food, worrying about everything being ready at the correct time. After 19 years of marriage, he knows my routine. So, when we had friends over recently, I did spend the day cleaning and worrying. However, I did find some time to rearrange our entryway. And I think I kept it simple and beautiful.

I did not buy anything new, just moved some of items from around the house. I love to dress up simple old wooden tables. This one is my favorite because it is such a great shade of red.

The tole tray is an old painting on top of an oil lid of all things, the matching silver candlesticks were purchased by a friend on a trip to France, the bust of the woman was a great Hobby Lobby find, the canvas is one of my new designs and the crown hook was a recent gift. And of course, we have a few Pug accessories here and there.
I did find some time that day to make strawberry soup for dessert. It's a simple, fun summertime recipe from the July/August issue of Victoria Magazine. The recipe called for bowls, but I liked the vintage sundae cups instead.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Soup
3 cups hulled, sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup peach nectar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the strawberries, sugar, and mint. Pulse to roughly chop. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the peach nectar and vinegar. Refrigerate soup until chilled, about 1 hour.
2. Spoon chilled strawberry soup into bowls, and top each with with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Paris Street Market August 2009

Summer in Colorado is not predictable; after almost a week of rain, vendors and shoppers alike at the Paris Street Market, were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful, sunny day! Thank you to all who visited me - I enjoy talking with each one of you and I hope my little creation finds itself in the perfect spot to brighten your home.

A table full of my decoupage creations.

A Paris-themed display was a hit at the Market.
Early into the morning a woman came into my booth, she seemed familiar to me, though I could not recall if I knew her. As she shopped I could not help but notice the charming pink flats she wore and crochet purse she carried. As I was admiring them, it dawned on me-I had recently viewed her picture on a blog I found; I asked her if she “blogs” and it opened the door to a great little chat. The “blogger” is Jeanne Oliver and she has a fun and charming blog She is also featured in Tara Frey's new book, "Blogging for Bliss". We talked for a bit and she shared some valuable information with me on the importance of blogging and the benefits in having an Etsy shop (number one priority for me this week-create an Etsy shop). I was so happy to meet Jeanne face-to-face; it was definitely a highlight of my Saturday!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Paris Street Market August 1st

The next Paris Street Market is just hours away on August 1st from 8:00 to 3:00 rain or shine! (and yes, I am still up at midnight finishing up some last minute items) Come and see my latest Parisian decoupage creations. I am in booth #20 and don't forget to mention that you are a blog reader for a 10% discount. Hope to see you there!