More Color in My Life

Lately, I’ve decided that I need more color in my life!  I’ve always taken a fairly conservative approach to color in decorating. But my daughter-in-law, Karlin, has used bright colors in a marvelous way to decorate. I love what she has done in her house and so I took a plunge into the color world.

One room in the house was begging to be spruced up. It had always been a boy’s room which is not surprising since we have three sons. But boys have grown and are not in that room anymore. Did I really need to keep a boring dark brown comforter on the bed and a desk in the corner for doing homework. It think not! This could become a room that I could enjoy viewing each time I walked to my bedroom and one that could be a cheerful guest room. But where to start?

You may be thinking that this would be a no brainer for me since I enjoy being creative. If you think about it, however, I tend to focus on making small things: jewelry, doilies, art journal pages, handbags. Large projects still seem unapproachable. In fact, over a year ago, I had purchased a large canvas to make myself branch out a bit. But that 24×36 inch canvas sat unwrapped in my studio. It stared at me each time I went in there.  It mocked me. I came to affectionately refer to it as the Big, Scary Canvas and tried to ignore it. So, when it came to redecorating a room, I froze for a bit. Then I decided to roam around TJMaxx/Home Goods.

Now that store is one to get the creative juices flowing! I really didn’t want to spend much money on this project, so I was thrilled when I found a spread for $30 that I liked.DSC_6909 2

That spread would be the basis for the decorating! I got a few other things: a lamp, bedside table and a few pillows. Soon, I had the room looking spiffy. It was so cheerful and happy that it made me want to tackle the Big, Scary Canvas. My thinking was to just throw some paint onto the background and then go from there.

My intent all along was to cover it with flowers. Blue skies in paintings have become a bit boring to me. So, why not make a yellow sky? Trying to use colors from my paint stash that would match the spread, I took a wide brush, blew caution in to the wind and slathered paint on that intimidating thing!20140613_201545 3

Huh! I liked the background! It was tempting to just hang it as it was. After all, I’ve seen artwork like that in hotel rooms and doctor offices. When I posted a photo of the background on facebook, my sweet friends got excited over the background too. Several, including my hubby and son, said it looked like a sunset over a pond. That would make a lovely painting. One person even suggested lily pads and frogs. I’ll admit that for a bit I was rethinking my original plan. Flowers kept calling out to me, so on I went.DSC_6845

At first I drew my flowers. I was conflicted between the desire to just paint without planning and to carefully draw out each detail. So, the first three flowers were drawn first in pencil.DSC_6853 2

Soon I tired of drawing. I wonder what would happen if I just painted? A flower explosion, that’s what!DSC_6863 2

A lady bug still needs to be added to the painting and I should sign it, but I couldn’t wait to hang it in the new, improved room.DSC_6866 3 4

Now, I’m really happy with the room! But creativity does seem to spawn more creativity. Even though I loved the little church painting that I bought from a talented artist at a local craft show, it was too small for the space I had placed it. There were beautiful mirrors that I had contemplated purchasing for the room, but I wondered if I could get one to decorate. Off to ACMoore! And there I found a large mirror with a frame of unfinished wood. Now for more color.DSC_6875

This lovely color is called Ripe Tomato. Hmmm, it looked sort of pinkish orange but I suppose it is hard to come up with names for paint. It also seems difficult to photograph the color correctly. In fact, all the colors in that room tend to confuse my camera. So, I’ve edited and corrected, but the real colors look even better! I added a light green with a stamp and then distressed it so it looked more antique.DSC_6878 3

Laser cut wood items at Michaels slipped into my basket even though I didn’t know what I would do with them. They almost jumped onto the mirror frame. DSC_6886 2

Finally, I wanted to add words to the mirror. What a perfect time to contemplate and get our thinking straight when gazing in a mirror. DSC_6896 3 DSC_6893 3

I found out that photographing a mirror is pretty challenging. Where could I put it to take a shot with a beautiful reflection? My garden!DSC_6899 2

Finally, I hung it in the pretty, fresh room.DSC_6904 3

I’m now wishing that I had done this decorating in my bedroom! My sweet hubby said that I’ll just have to do that one next. Only problem is that I used all my favorite colors in the guest room. But being the fixer that he is, he had a solution to that one too. “Just pick new favorite colors!” Sounds good to me!Handpainted Mirror with Inspirational Words.

Blenheim Palace and Saint Nicholas Church: England 4

We’ve been home for a bit, but I love looking at my photos of our Europe trip! There are still so many things to tell you all about. We were blessed to have a long weekend in the beautiful Cotswolds because we happened to be there on Bank Holiday, so Matt had the day off from work. There are endless things to do in this part of England, but we chose to visit the place where Winston Churchill was born, Blenheim Palace. This beautiful place is currently the home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough. But originally, the land and money was given to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, after his triumphant victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. It took me a bit to figure this all out! I kept thinking that Blenheim must be the family name. Or that the family’s last name was Marlborough. But the Churchill family has lived here since the construction of the palace. And what a palace it is!DSC_4939 3 I’m sure the palace would have become well known just because of how gorgeous it is, but it is famous for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill. His family did not live in the palace but was related to the ones that did. While his mother was visiting there, she gave birth to Winston. Here is the birth room.DSC_4799 2 Several rooms of the building were dedicated to information about Winston Churchill’s life. Even though all the political accomplishments were amazing, I was fascinated by the fact that Mr. Churchill was an artist. They had a case full of his paintings.DSC_4797 What beautiful work! And I loved the quote from him, “Armed with a paint-box, one cannot be bored, one cannot be left at a loose end, one cannot ‘have several days on one’s hands.'” And this one that was displayed there, “When I die and go to heaven, I want to spend the first million years painting – so I can get to the bottom of the subject.” DSC_4796  After learning about what a fascinating man Winston Churchill was, we toured the rooms that are open to the public. At first the rooms were gilded and decorated with huge paintings and tapestries. DSC_4831DSC_4848 2 This room even displayed the gilded cradle in which the Duchesses of Marlborough rocked their babies.DSC_4846 2 But then the rooms became less opulent. The dukes ran out of money before they could gild these rooms. Personally, I thought they were gorgeous as is!DSC_4868 2 DSC_4858 2Having enough money to support a palace has always been a challenge for the Dukes of Marlborough. The first duchess, Sarah, constantly watched over the building of the palace to make sure the architect was not overspending. And throughout the years, each duke had problems financing the estate. Finally in 1896, Charles, the 9th Duke of Marlborough, saved the palace by marrying a rich, American heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt. She is pictured in the large painting in the photo with her two sons, an heir and a spare. DSC_4819 2 We were able to enjoy the grounds of the palace and also the jousting that took place that day.DSC_4928 2DSC_4910 2 Touring Blenheim Palace filled the day. As we ate dinner that evening, I was surprised how good the fire felt in May! I couldn’t imagine wanting a fire at home in May. We had enjoyed the free day, but the next one Matt had to go back to work. What would I find to do? Since I didn’t have a car, I decided to venture forth by walking. It was such a beautiful place there in the Cotswolds. Our B&B was near the towns of Lower Oddington and Upper Oddington. I was told that there was an interesting church in Lower Oddington about 1.5 miles away so I put on my rain jacket and headed out to find St. Nicholas church.DSC_5105 2 As I approached the front door, it seemed a bit spooky to me. I’m not sure why. But I was all alone and had to force myself to go inside the building. It almost seemed that I could feel all the history around me. This church was originally built in the 11th century by the Normans. So old!DSC_5060 Hundreds of years of people had come to this place in search of God. Did they find Him? Since most people could not read then, stories were told with paintings. In the 1300s a large Doomsday depiction was painted to cover one entire wall of the church but was then whitewashed in the 1600s. Through the years, people forgot it was even there. In 1912, the white wash was removed and the painting rediscovered.DSC_5229 2 It shows Jesus as the king with the earth under his feet. On one side of him, people are shown in heaven. The other side shows the fate of those that reject Jesus as Lord. I must admit that this large painting was quite startling to have greet me as I entered the church. But I ventured farther in and explored some more. DSC_5033 2 DSC_5031 2 DSC_5052 2 DSC_5057 2 DSC_5041 DSC_5236 2 DSC_5246 2 DSC_5102 2 The church was so interesting! But I was glad to get out and back in the beautiful countryside again. DSC_5071DSC_5085 Later that evening, I had to take Matt back to the church to show him such an amazingly old and fascinating place. Of course there was a geocache just on the other side of the church fence.DSC_5109 2 We sure did love the Cotswolds but our time there was over. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

Here is the previous post about England! Golden Cotswolds: England 3