Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Latest Artwork and Vintage-Inspired Home Updates (Picture Heavy)

In an effort to get back to normal life, I have been working hard at the office and at home to stay busy. I find that during times of stress, if I keep myself occupied with job tasks and creative activities, I feel better. I would love to get back to the gym again but I know that I have to pace myself. I cannot have too much on my plate so I will just take things as they go.

Nevertheless, I have made a few houseware purchases at my local Home Goods store, converted a plain table lamp and a simple bud vase into mid-century inspired pieces, and have completed an array of atomic-inspired paintings for the house.

So, let's start with the housewares! Here is a tall, orange ceramic vase I found at Home Goods for $19.99 USD. It stands about two feet (24 inches) tall:
I also found another amazing starburst mirror at Home Goods! I found my first one there in February. This one is slightly bigger in diameter and boasts silver-toned facets. It retailed for $49.99 USD:
Now, here is an orange ceramic bud vase I found at my local Michaels Craft store. It was plain orange and it cost about $4.99 USD. I decorated it with DecoColor Paint pens in aqua blue and gold.
This lamp used to stand on a side table in my guest bedroom.

The base was white and the shade was an off-white cream shade. I think I bought it about 5 years ago. I painted the shade with a blend of clear mixing medium and antique white acrylic paint. When the shade was dry, I applied gold acrylic paint using a damp sponge. I then applied another coat of the paint mix and when it was dry, I applied another round of gold paint. Using a gold DecoColor paint pen, I drew on simulated string on the top and bottom of the shade.

As for the base,  I painted two coats of orange acrylic paint. I let it dry and then applied a clear varnish mixed with 1960s vintage, square gold glitter. 

Now, here are the new paintings! This large canvas is located in my foyer. I wanted bright, primary colors:

Here are two 8x10 atomic cat paintings I did using acrylic paint and paint pens. I found inspiration in a 1950s carved wood set of cats that were listed on Esty:

This is one of two matching 4x5 canvases. Again, I used a blend of acrylic and paint pen:
Here is how the above 4x5 set looks paired with the atomic cats. The paintings are in my den/living room area:
This next painting was inspired by a 1950s, atomic-era tablecloth I saw listed on Etsy. I added orange to make the muted colors pop. Again, I used both acrylic paint and DecoColor paint pens:
Back in February, I purchased a set of plain wood shadow boxes. Until a week ago, they were sitting unfinished in my basement. I was not sure what to do with them or what colors to use and then an idea came to me, go pink! I have pink tones in my upstairs foyer/hallway. I also have a pink diamond and black starburst table runner I made using vintage fabric.

I painted the shadow boxes with two tones of pink acrylic paint and I also used gold paint along with black and gold paint pens.  I painted two pink diamonds with starbursts on two matching 8x10 canvases. Here is the result:
Inside the shadow boxes, I placed vintage blown glass figurines. One is a whale and the other is a mouse, both from Norway.

So, there you have it! The latest updates to my slowly transforming vintage abode. The process is taking time (going from modern to vintage that is) but it is worth it!

What home decor updates have you gals done recently! I would love to know!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Honoring My Aunt, Julia "Jean" Herrmann

I would like to share with you all my celebration for my late aunt, Julia "Jean" Cunnginham Herrmann. My aunt meant a lot to me and her passing has really hit me hard. Despite my sadness, I would like to honor and rejoice in the life she lived.

My Auntie Jean was born in 1947 in Dublin, Ireland. She came to the United States in the 1960s and met my uncle John, a Baltimore, MD police officer. They fell in love, got married, and had two sons, Erik and Neill. Auntie Jean became a citizen of the US in 1972. After my uncle left the Baltimore Police Department, he became a federal agent and as a result, my aunt and her family got to live in several locations like Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

During these years, Auntie Jean was a devoted mother, loving wife, and a professional working full time. She worked for a small regional airline, Henson, and then went on to receive a college degree from Salisbury State University. Auntie Jean eventually went on to work for the office of the President for the University. Despite my aunt's busy career, she always made time for her family. Family came first, no matter what.

When I was a kid, I loved it when Auntie Jean and the boys came to visit my family. Because most of our family still lived in Ireland and the UK, my auntie's visits were especially wonderful during the holidays. I recall the excitement and joy I felt when I was told my auntie was coming to stay with us! She was always so happy, loving, kind, fun, and just full of energy! She was also an amazing cook. Her Maryland-inspired seafood dishes were out of this world!

In addition, Auntie Jean was a very talented quilter. One Christmas a few years ago, she sent me a beyond gorgeous kitty-themed holiday quilt throw. The detail in every square and stitch is simply stunning. My mother has a queen bed size quilt my Auntie made for her and again the love and attention to detail that went into it cannot be described.

Auntie Jean had a great sense of humor and an beautiful laugh. Without even trying, she was truly the life of the party. Her warm presence, articulate conversation, and gentle voice just made everyone want to be around her.

As I got older, Auntie Jean and Uncle John continued to be a part of family events like graduations, weddings, showers, and visits. I remember several nights Auntie Jean and my mom would stay up late and drink cocktails as they reminisced about their childhood. I can still hear their jubilant cackles of laughter melodically filling the humid summer air as fireflies flickered in the distance.

Whenever Auntie Jean and I talked on the phone, it felt like no time had passed. We just picked up where we left off. In August 2004, Auntie Jean came to Washington DC with my cousin, Ally, and we went to the famous Kennedy Center to see "The Producers." Alan Ruck (from "Ferris Buller's Day Off" and "Spin City") played the part of Mr. Bloom. Auntie Jean paid for our tickets and I then took Ally and Auntie Jean on a museum tour of DC and then out to dinner. After our girls' day out, Auntie Jean and Ally stayed overnight at my house and we stayed up and talked for hours.

 In 2008, Auntie Jean fell ill and after a few doctor visits, it was determined that she had pancreatic cancer. Despite her diagnosis, Auntie Jean was a fighter. She refused to let her cancer win. Auntie Jean was treated at Johns Hopkins University and even participated in a cutting-edge study/medical trial. The results of this study proved to be successful and as a result, Auntie Jean seemed to be getting better. When I saw Auntie Jean in early 2010, she looked great. I was amazed and felt like there was hope.

However, in 2011, Auntie Jean began to experience a few health setbacks. Regardless of this, she was continued to fight. Whenever she and my mother talked on the phone, it was Auntie Jean who was being the strong one. My mother told me that on one of the last calls they shared, Auntie Jean told Mom that she was ready to go but she was worried that she was leaving behind "all these sad people." She went on to say, " I am ready. I need you to be brave. Can you be brave for me?"

After Auntie Jean left the hospital for the last time, she went to her brother's home to receive palliative care. On the 13th of June, at 9:15 pm, Auntie Jean left this earth. My family laid her to rest on June 18th.

Even though I am sad and quite angry cancer took my aunt's life, I am relieved that she is no longer in pain. I want her back. I wish I could make all of this go away like a bad dream I can wake from.

But, I know what I ask, what I plead for, is impossible. But what I can do is celebrate my aunt. I will treasure the gifts of strong femininity and wit she gave me. I will honor her love of family. I will always remember her beautiful skin and big, boundless smile. I will relish her lust for life and never forget who she was as my aunt and my friend.

You live always in my heart,  Auntie Jean. May your journey to eternity be filled with love and light.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Slowly Returning to Normal Life

First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my long abscence. I have been away due to family issues as well as the death of my aunt. This has been a trying time for me and my family. We are getting through things slowly each day and I know in time, we will be ok.

Nevertheless, I am going to be doing some fun posts soon! I recently made some wonderful vintage, mid-century inspired houseware purchases that I am going to share with you all. I also have been working on creating a tiki room in my sunroom. In addition, I am going to do a summer makeup tutorial.

I hope all are well.