Monday, December 30, 2013

We've Got Winter

In the morning.

                                                                   Throughout the day.

At sunset.

All 9 hours of our daylight this time of year, we've got winter.  

We've got icicles too.  

Peek-a-boo winter, I see you.  

Hope this end of the year finds you well-fed and warm as the New Year approaches.  Happy New Year wishes to all of you from our little frozen corner of the world!  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Living In The Moment (and FARRAGOZ Art Course Winner)

I took these pictures while I was on the phone with a friend.  Don't worry, I told her there was a bright red cardinal right outside my window.  She knows me well enough to know I was reaching for my camera as we discussed how pretty our neighborhood was looking with its fresh dusting of white.

Holding my breath, I zoomed in on this red beauty, fearful he would flee before I captured the loveliness of his color.  My friend on the phone had just spent her first night in her new home just a mere half mile from us and was telling me how happy she was to have it snow on their first day there. She said her woods were so beautiful, she felt as though she was living inside a "Barbie Princess Fairy Tale" in her new place.

Hearing her say that made me smile.  Her happiness and gratitude for waking up to a beautiful sight in her new home was heartfelt.  She was living in the moment, in this normally hurried-up world and I felt her joy.


Thanks to all who entered my recent Farragoz Art Course Giveaway (valued at $150.00) hoping to win and see your name announced.  Before I announce the lucky winner though, I have a bit of a consolation for the others. Farragoz has agreed to discount their price for the next 7 days and offer their course for a mere $99! Any one of my readers is eligible, but you must email me directly at: to let me know before December 18, 2013 and I will pass the information on to Farragoz.

And the lucky winner is:  
    Marcelle La Cour            
 Congratulations Marcelle you will be receiving an email shortly!  

Monday, December 2, 2013


'Tis the season for a giveaway and I am so excited to be able to offer a gift (valued at $150.00) to one of my followers!  The gift is the online FARRAGOZ Furniture Painting Course that I myself have been enrolled in.

In this class, you will be given all the information needed for you to complete five (5) projects at
your leisure (the class runs 12 months) and you will be assigned an instructor that will personally guide you through each project.  You will learn the art of patina, and how to create beautiful pieces like those of craftsmen from previous centuries, using age old recipes and techniques.  No expensive branded products are used.  In fact, you will learn to make all of your paints, oil stains and decorative moldings on a shoestring budget using only materials from your grocer, hardware and art supply store!    

Here are the Farragoz versions of what you will be making:  An over-the-mantle trumeau mirror.

A clock face.

A display case.

A Byzantine icon of the Archangel Michael.

And a decorative plaque with angels.  (This is the next project I will be making.)

The first project that I completed was a Byzantine icon of the Archangel Michael.  

After that, I was able to apply the techniques and paint recipes I learned, to experiment and make my own version of Christ as a Child.

My second project was the clock face, which I decided to make into the table you see below.

I was offered this course in exchange for reviewing and sharing blog posts of my progress along the way, and I have found myself developing a real passion for it.  It is highly addictive to build your skill set with each new project that you complete, to the point where you begin to feel like a true artisan!  Once you learn the techniques of how to achieve the look of authentically aged patina, your ability to reapply them becomes virtually unlimited.  If you want to learn more about the course before you enter the giveaway, you can click on the link found here.

In order to be eligible to win, please make sure you are a follower of my blog.  This giveaway will run for 7 days and to enter, simply follow the instructions given below.  I will be announcing the winner in my next post so please stay tuned to find out if your name is announced!  Good luck to all!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

FARRAGOZ: The Art of Patina - Module 2

Recently I was offered a 12-month online course given by Farragoz, in exchange for reviewing and blogging about my progress along the way. Today I am sharing my second completed project, a clock face, that I ended up making into a table.   To achieve an authentic aged patina, you learn to make all of the oil stains and paints using inexpensive and common household ingredients.  For example, the gold paint I used in my clock face project called for the yolk of an egg!  

After going through the process of making this clock face, I realize in hindsight it is relatively easy. You are given step by step instructions, including a template and lots of advice and guidance along the way from your own personal instructor.  And like the last project, you simply start out with a plain piece of scrap wood that you learn how to transform into a work of art!  

But before I begin, feast your eyes on the beautiful Farragoz version of this project.

So, below is the scrap piece of wood I used.  It is quite heavy and pressure treated, but simply a piece of scrap wood that I started out with.

After applying several layers paint that I mixed up myself using the Farragoz-supplied recipes, I used carbon paper to transfer the design.  You may notice that my paint is already starting to crackle in places.  That is what you want to happen when you are trying to achieve an authentic aged look.

Painting all the black details does require a steady hand and a fine tip brush, but already, you can see it start coming to life.

And now, using the 'secret' egg yolk recipe, I am able to finish off all those gold details.  

Then onto my favorite part.  Transforming it into an object that portrays an aged surface of what ordinarily requires a great passage of time, or an environment of harsh elements.  

As I mentioned in the beginning, I decided to turn my clock face into a table.  Below is a photo I took of it outside the front of my shop after mounting it on top of an old table base I had.  

I decided a glass top would make it more useful and would help protect its fragile surface too.  Plus I am getting a jump on the holiday season while I show you my completed project.  TA-DAH!

And now a close-up of all the yummy aged details.

Eventually it will get added to a new room I am planning for my shop, as a cozy place to sip coffee or tea and perhaps do a little reading.  For now, I give you my dreamy, out-of-focus version, until which time I manage to find the perfect little spot in my shop.  

I am being provided this course for free, but my opinions of it are my own, and just so you know, my opinions of it are very high!  Perhaps you want to learn more about this course.  To do so, there is a link up at the top of my sidebar that you can click on that describes this course so much better than I ever could.  All I know is that I am thoroughly enjoying myself and very eager to start working on my next project!

Linking up with Marian at Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Feature Friday

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Light of the World

Lately I find myself drawn to the richness of color found within those subtle shifts of hue.    

I seem to be paying more attention to how the light can change the entire mood of an object.  

Since finishing up my first Farragoz project that I shared with you here, I decided to use the techniques I have learned and apply them to a quick little painting that I was able to finish, in between working on my second Farragoz project, a clock face, which I will be sharing with you in a later post.   

But first, I wanted to show you some splashes of color we are still enjoying in our part of the world during our daily walks.  Both of these were taken this past Sunday on Ocean Avenue in Sorrento.  


Now for my quick project.  Below is a framed print on a board I found at a local thrift store for $2 that I ended up using for this makeover.   

I decided to do another painting, using some techniques I have learned from the online course: The Art of Patina given by  I was offered this course in exchange for blogging about my experience along the way.  This time I did a version of the "Light of the World" painting of Christ as a child.   There are 8 layers of paint and stain on my board.  The first 4 layers are the gesso paint that was used as a primer.  The other 4, were oil stains, each in a different color.

A few minutes later, after some tweaking, a much different version began to emerge.  A less blond and a much younger child version seemed to unfold.  

I have decided to share my progress with you even though it may or may not be finished yet.  I will let it set for a while, as I am discovering that tweaking it here and there can really change up the entire mood of a piece. Knowing when to stop is one of my challenges.  One thing that is so much fun about this course, is the ability to apply the techniques you learn to different projects.  Just in case you want to learn more about this course, I have included a link up at the top of my sidebar.  It is highly addictive and very empowering to learn how to make your own paints and oil stains from scratch, and then learn the techniques to apply them to create your own masterpiece.  Who knows, I may even sign this one when I am finished.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Acadia Solitude

Today we savored every bit of Autumn color still left along the park loop road in Acadia.  

Pink granite, stone arches and glowing foliage were all there to welcome us back.

Gathering clouds and faded foliage were plentiful.  

It made us realize how much we had missed it here.  

Counting ourselves lucky to have this treasure close by.    

We were so happy to be back here once again. 

 Acadia reopened today and we were there!  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

In Memory of Ceil

Well into her 80s,  our spunky, adventurous, lovable neighbor came with us one day to haul lobsters, back when we still had our lobster boat, Fearless.  

She was always so proud of this moment and I think this one of her, may be my favorite.

Or maybe it is this one.

I remember how much fun she had showing these pictures to her friends and family. I can still hear the laughter and excitement in her voice as she related the story of that day.  She told how we made sure she wore a tightly wrapped life jacket and had even put a whistle on it for her, just in case she got lost!  

Thanks Ceil, for all the memories.  The pleasure was all ours and we will never forget you. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

FARRAGOZ: Learning the Art of Patina - Module 1

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to take an online course for free, in exchange for blogging about it. The course, created by Farragoz, teaches techniques for achieving the look of aged patina that is found on centuries old objects and artifacts. I have just completed the first of 5 projects I will be making during this 12 month course. My first project was to make a Byzantine icon of the Archangel Michael.

The Farragoz version shown below is truly an exquisite work of art.

You are asked to create your own version of this project by following the easy step-by-step instructions and video they provide. You are also assigned your own personal online instructor that is with you each step of the way. I must tell you, by the time I completed my first step of using a jigsaw to cut my wood down to the proper size, I was already feeling pretty empowered. The subsequent instructions had me making my own gesso, casein paint and oil stains, and before I knew it I was learning how to build up layers of them to get the result I was trying to achieve, but not entirely without making a few mistakes that turned out to be invaluable. My first few layers of gesso paint, upon drying overnight, sprouted huge cracks and when accidentally bumped, crumbled into nothingness. My instructor was reassuring and encouraging, and my second attempt was much better.   Now I was ready to begin the process of layering oil stains and applying techniques I learned along the way, which brought me to the version you see below.

Now on to the fun part -- it was time for me to give my project a sense of history.  Tania, my instructor provided such valuable guidance and support all along each phase of my project.  She forewarned me that the steps of aging may make me cringe, but encouraged me to come up with a story explaining the history of my piece and what it may have endured that would go along with how I chose to distress it.  So before I show you my completed project, my imagination has run a little wild, and I hope you bear with me in spite of it.

Perched high above the sea, on the edge of a rocky cliff-side path . . .

There sits an old stone Inn that is left vacant most of the year.   Only recently there has been talk that this former Inn has changed ownership and is being converted into a private residence.

The South wing of this commanding structure overlooks a beautiful sand beach.

The structure itself faces out to the sea, but directly below, you will catch the sight of vast jagged outcroppings and treacherous terrain.

Just inside a dimly lit room perched high above the ocean is a long forgotten object.  If you were able to peer inside this window you would catch sight of it resting upon an old, dusty settee, quietly awaiting discovery.

So go ahead and peek right in there.  You will see it right away.

By the look of this piece, it must have endured exposure to the elements of this harsh terrain.  Did it suffer a fall from a sudden wind during an outdoor art exhibit this former Inn was famous for? Or perhaps extreme temperature fluctuations caused the cracking and flaking you see in its surface.  Here, take my binoculars and get a better look of it.  I know, the window is a bit cloudy, but I want you to see it up close.

Yes of course! A summer wind must have swept it up high into the air before it began its slow spiral to the rocks and salt water down below.  Thought to be completely ruined, no one bothered to wipe away the bits of seaweed that will forever stain its surface.  It got stowed away, instead of discarded.  Still, someone remembers it is there, stored high above the ocean in a dimly lit room.   Someone who will never again return for it, still believing it was completely ruined.


As you can probably tell, I had fun.  I may have never told you before, but attending art school was something I had always wanted to do way back, when I was much younger.  This online course is truly fulfilling my dream of what it would have been like.  I do not know how I got so lucky to be selected for this experience, but I can tell you I am savoring every minute of it!

I encourage anyone, who may want to learn more about this course, to visit the Farragoz website by clicking the link found here.  I have also included a link on my sidebar to make it easy to find information of how to sign up for this course.   

(And isn't it rather sneaky of me to include images from a recent trip we made to York, Maine for the purpose of illustrating my story.)