I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Baby Oh Baby!

After receiving permission from my PT to branch out a little,
I decided to make a foray to Hobby Lobby for some Christmas ornaments.
That little trek did me in for the rest of the day and most of this one. 
I spent this day just lounging around and crocheting.
Above is the day's turn out.
Baby caps are my latest obsession.
I am trying to figure my sizes....
there's lots of difference in a baby's little head and that of a toddler. 
This is the smallest...about a 14-15" circumference.
(I had forgotten how fun pom poms are to make!)
The bigger the better!!

Fun little cap with a multi-colored band and flower topper.
I need a model...this picture doesn't actually do the little cap justice!
The "hubster's" favorite...a baby maroon and white...as in Mississippi State colors.
Go, Bulldogs! 
A Christmas cap...soft white, bright green, red and hot pink.
Tri-colored flower with green pom pom center!
I didn't use baby yarn...which I think is so soft and wonderful for little ones...
but with a toss in the dryer on no heat and with one dryer sheet, they soften up considerably.
I am not sure how many stitches I've crocheted since June 8, but it must be up in the millions.
(And despite what you've heard, I AM trying to stay cheerful during this trial...but "it ain't easy".)

Can NOT wait to be up and out again,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Re-models That Pay!

As I was reading through October 2012 Money magazine, something caught my eye. I'd like to share it with you. It was one of those expanded advertisements by Chase Credit Cards. In it, a graph (I love graphs!) showed the investment return on certain re-modeling projects around the home.

Let me preface this post with saying that the graph comes from Remodeling Magazine. So the source may have a vested interest in these statements. Also, I read Money magazine with very open eyes...they are the ones who when giving advice to people who are looking for jobs give such advice as "You should dress as well as your superiors and better than your peers if you want to stand out." (Kathi Burns, author of 18 Essential Elements for Women and The Effortless Guide to Men's Style.) Then she lets the hammer down and suggests a handbag by Kenneth Cole for $150, pumps for $200, and a sheath dress suit for $250. The total of those three items is more than the total of half the clothes in my closet. I assume she is speaking to upper level management in the corporate world and not those of us who slug it out in the real world.

Those are my disclaimers.
 However, I did find the graph below rather sensible and interesting.
Several years ago, I requested that our bathroom be remodeled. It was enshrined in Hunter green "marble"...full shower, whirlpool tub with surround, and double vanity. Horrors! I had lived with it for 13 years and thought "enough was enough". The hubster gave me X dollars to spend (" and not one cent over").
 I began the treasure hunt of my life. (That's what living on two teachers' salaries does to you.)

Back to the above graph, do you see a bathroom remodel's return? 
Almost as much as a major kitchen remodel.
I say all that to say this...even in tough economic times, it can be done.
 I went to the high end bath shops and really looked at what I "wanted"...
NOT what I could pay for in that particular store.
Then I went online...I shopped other stores and considered shipping and freight.
THEN I went straight to Ebay and found exactly what I had seen in the store and only searched for
Buy It Now options with NO shipping.
 (Make sure the seller has excellent ratings.)

Long story short...we did our own painting, we bought undermount porcelain sinks (which saved us a lot)
and did not reconfigure the plumbing.
We got skilled but reasonably priced plumbers, etc. and I ended up several hundred dollars UNDER budget. Enough to buy nice lighting, towels, cabinet hardware and fixtures. 

It can be done.
 It's much easier to have lots of money, but it's not nearly as satisfying.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Laurie Is Correct

One thing I've really "zoned" in on recently is a particular look I LIKE and one that I do NOT like. As far as this "stage" in my life...I am becoming more and more restless in a room filled with clutter.
I call it "visual clutter."
My eye needs space to rest and guess what? So does yours! 

Sit in different chairs (or sofas or beds) in your rooms and check this out. Are there "things" on every surface? (Including walls.) Move about and see the room from different vantage points. Is one vantage point more pleasing than another? Why?

I have arrived at this conclusion....we all have too much stuff to just fill space.

I began asking myself this question..."Is this item really necessary? Does it have a purpose? Or is it strictly aesthetic?" There is nothing wrong with having something pretty displayed just because...but when every surface is covered with pretties "just because"..your home becomes a museum and not very liveable.

Enter Laurie Smith and her first book, Discovering Home with Laurie Smith.
You remember Laurie from TLC's Trading Spaces.
By far, she was the most talented designer on the program, and this book which takes the reader through her renovation of a mid century home in Jackson, Mississippi is proof of that.
One statement that she made has really made me stop and think.
Here it is...
This statement seems like a paradox to my statement above concerning your home being liveable rather than museum-like. After all a curator is in charge of a museum or a collection of things.
Examine the statement more closely.
She is making the point about furniture, not necessarily "collectibles". (But it could apply to collectibles.)
Furniture (and collectibles) should be the best quality and most pleasing you can afford.
So much of today's furniture is particle board...
fine for a college dorm maybe, but NOT fine for the long haul.
Smith advises "waiting" on the right piece. She covers a table with a floorlength cloth until she can find the right chest in her living room...
uh, oh....WAITING?!
That word seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur.
We live in such a fast paced world that we expect to have a room furnished and lovely in a matter of days, certainly NOT months.
I have found that purchasing something for the sake of filling space almost always results in becoming bored with that piece because it really wasn't EXACTLY what I wanted.

Times change and so do tastes. Updating is easier to do today.
But if a room is curated with good pieces that don't go out of style over time AND THAT SERVE A PURPOSE...you will find yourself more at ease and more satisfied with your choices.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sometimes Old is Better

Every once in awhile, something about decorating just clicks with me. It's like the light bulbs you see go off over someone's head in a cartoon.

While straightening up in my guest bathroom the other day, I had one of those moments. To the right of the double vanity in the room is a small wall. It needed some art and I had bought two inexpensive prints several years ago. They filled in the void but they were never exactly what I wanted.

Recently, I was given two very old oriental prints and promptly cleaned the glass and the frames and popped on a price tag. While I was cleaning the bathroom, it occurred to me that the colors in the two oriental prints were perfect for this  area!
Home they came and settled into their new space quite nicely.
I like to mix new and old.
Updating certain elements of a room
and then introducing something with some wear and tear
always makes a room feel homey.
This rather new apothecary jar is filled with sea glass that catches the light and matches the colors in the oriental prints.
Notice, how the jar is set on a lacy vintage glass square.
Again, using the old with the new.
In another bath, I use brushed nickel fixtures, new pottery and have added new "spa" towels.
 A very old picture with wavy glass tops off the tub area, thus adding something "old".
I won these beautiful needlepoint pictures (dated 1943 on back) on Ebay.
These are also in the same bath. You can see the nickel outlet below them.
On the flip side of this coin, sometimes I take very new frames and mats and make them look "older".
In the picture above, I painted the frame with spray automotive paint (dark bronze), popped out the picture and the mat. I covered the mat with tissue paper and painted the white scrolls.
I found a free vintage print online and put it in.
This toned down the gold frame and the very new looking mat.
I say, sometimes, old IS better!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Old Granny Is Finished...No, Not Me!!

It's complete!
My scrap Granny Square afghan is finished.
At least I've accomplished something during this summer.
I am trying to get pictures from all angles...which is your favorite square?
Lots of yarn "used up" on this!
I scattered some loomed and crocheted yarn flowers throughout...
This was one of my favorite squares.
After crocheting an "X" double crochet border, I finished it with a simple chain border.
I also added fun yarns...to jazz it up a little.
Some of the yarn was stiff, so I popped the afghan in a cool dryer with a few dryer sheets for 5 minutes.
That made it nice and  soft.
After yesterday's post about how I LOVE neutrals, this seems like an
odd twist...look at all that color (a riot)..
the afghan matches NOTHING in my house...
Oh, well, it's still fun and it will be warm and snuggly this winter.

Why don't you try one?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What Kind of Colors Do You Like?

Good Morning!
I awoke to a great surprise.
My computer is acting like its supposed to!
It's in a very frisky mood today,
so I thought I'd better post right this second before it changes back into its normal cranky self.
With all the world's madness this week, I thought I'd take you on a "mind" trip today.
Sister Leslie (no she's not a nun...she's my sibling) gave me this book to ponder while recouping...
Published by Country Living, which is one of my all time favorite magazines, its author is Kate Butcher.
Let me explain how Ms. Butcher brought this book together and why it's so helpful to us amateurs.
She divided the contents on the subject "color"  into chapters.
 She named the chapters by using certain aspects of nature 
and then assigned certain colors (or their derivatives)
to each division.
As seen above, there are 5 chapters devoted to color use.
After flipping through the book (and not reading anything..I did that later),
I decided the example chapter that made me feel most at ease and most at home was....
Slate & Stone.
Now, I am the most surprised of all! These are mostly neutrals, as pictured below.
And the most surprising thing is that there is not one green swatch in them all...
Before, looking at the pictures, I "felt" I would like this chapter the LEAST, certainly not the MOST!

Here's the procedure I followed in making good use of this book.
I first read enough text to see what was going on...
then I began looking at the pictures of rooms in each chapter....
I quickly found that one chapter appealed to me the most... (slate & stone)
then I began REALLY studying the pictures to see what they had in common.
Even though I am not a huge "user" of white...I really gravitated toward these rooms.
A very "comfy" vibe emanates from these neutral checks.
And the hint of color comes from the salmon amaryllis.
Above, touches of color come from very subtle wall color and accessories.
And I found the above rooms very appealing, as opposed to the pictures of the rooms below.
Textures abound as do deep dark colors.
See the difference?
Mostly it's the lack of  much color on the walls 
and the repetitive use of color in the form of varying textures and shapes.
 Before you bombard me with all the reasons to love dark rooms, let me say this...
I don't see well and dark rooms confuse me.
They make me feel, not cozy as everyone says,
but rather claustrophobic.
A color riot makes me nervous.
The look is lovely, as long as I don't have to live there.

My love of color (or lack thereof) has evolved over the years.
Even though I like punches of color here and there,
 I find myself most rested and at ease
in a room that has lots of texture, but not too much overpowering color.
Texture has become a mainstay in my decorating arsenal.
(Truthfully, I liked individual parts of each chapter...
but I've decided I'm Slate and Stone kind of girl!)
If you are able to find it, I would recommend this book...
especially if you have a difficult time choosing colors.
(Which BTW, I do! Now I know why...)
Have a productive weekend,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mod Podge a Pumpkin Candle Holder

When you are in need of a gift and have just a little time to spare,
here's one that's fun and reasonably priced.
I found the glass bowl/candle holder, matches and candle at $ Tree...
I  Mod Podged orange tissue paper strips lengthwise over the glass.
Then I Mod Podged green twine around the top and added two burlap leaves..
MP is still wet in the picture...I also dabbed it around the leaves to prevent more fraying.
It lights up nicely.
(Light bulb: a baby food jar would be cute done this way! Maybe use a battery tea light!)
I used some scrapbook paper to cover the candle and matchbox!
Added some candy pumpkins and wrapped appropriately...
cute little happy!
 (Of course, a more expensive candle would be..well....more expensive!)
Now, I know you know somebody who needs a little pick me up!

No excuses,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Want THIS!! Porch Bed

With the cooler temperatures "hanging around" for a few days,
I thought it would be fun to help you perk up your porch!
I have a dear friend whose husband has turned a hobby into a business.
He makes porch swings...but not just ANY porch swing!
This beautiful swing is actually a "swing bed"!
It accommodates a twin size mattress and has been widely featured
in the southeast!
Now, here's a Christmas present for the family!
His charge includes the hardware for hanging,
and if you aren't too far away, he even delivers!
Stain and paint colors are at your direction!
You add your mattress and pillows. Imagine taking a nap on this!
If you are interested, email me and I will get you in touch with him!