Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Family Odyssey: Helena

In the last couple of days I finally could do something just to chill out, play and make my hands busy.  I have to admit I love creating like this: starting with a white page, choosing a photo and adding the elements which are somewhere nearby... old tickets, lace, thread, coin, tapes...

This way I keep filling my "Family Odyssey Journal" with new pages - it is not only a way to relax but my contemplation, making connections with my loved ones again - no matter how far from each other we are now. This page is about my grandma, Helena.The photo was taken outside her apartment block in Warsaw about 20 years ago. I loved visiting her and my grandpa - they loved us so much!

Most of the color comes from homemade tea stain, but there is more: some Gelatos, Watercolour Pencils, Archival Ink. You don't need much to express your feelings!

My book is getting bigger and bigger - and this really makes me happy :)
Soon I'll share some more pages, I promise.

Sending warmest hugs!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hopeless backyard makeover - part 1

As some of you already know - we moved.
Last year all our stuff was packed on a truck and taken from our apartment in Warsaw to the rented house in central Ireland. Huge step, great experience and - OMG - the biggest challenge ever.
We moved into modern, medium-sized semi-detached house and hey - it was a huge change - we never had so much space before! It really made me relaxed and more happy than before - finally space for living and working was separated and I could keep my bedroom just as a bedroom not extra storage space. There is a long list of advantages - and of course a similar list of surprises and unexpected circumstances you may name disadvantages (but I think being positive is always a better way!). Of course most of them appeared because we've never rented anything in our life - and we had no idea what are the standards in our "new" country. In the first months we had to learn a lot! :)
But - back to the main topic of the post - makeover!

Together with the house there comes the backyard: in our situation it was a hopeless piece of rocky ground covered with grass - you won't dare to call it a "garden" - no way! There wasn't a single plant in it: tree, shrub, nothing. Hopeless backyard in flesh. There was a special bonus though - shed in the beautiful, melancholic grayish shade you can basically call "weathered wood" and a piece of gray (of course!) wall to match it. Perfect view, right? The possibility of contemplating the structure of the wall and all the nuances of the inspiring color palette are just priceless!

The idea of the makeover came to my head when our friend told me there are some cheap pallets available for collection... that was what I needed! Inexpensive possibility to add some simple decking to our backyard and who knows what else... Uncle Pinterest is full of great ideas how to recycle these underestimated pieces of wood! Without hesitation I ordered a couple of them... and there is one thing I couldn't foresee: they came - all in blue. Of course.
I swallowed a dozen of impolite expressions that came to my mind and started to think: If I'm not lucky enough to get the pallets in nice, natural color I have to find a way to make it work somehow... and that's how we came with the idea of the shabby white. (OK, a bucket of white paint which I found in the shed helped me a bit too). We've started with a simple decking and soon covered it with white paint...

Of course I wanted it to look as old and distressed as possible so our painting wasn't perfect - we've just drybrushed the white on the top of the blue - and the effect wasn't bad at all! Of course it faded a bit later - but hey - we are going for distressed and weathered look, right?

Next step was creating a stand for my flower pots - of course I couldn't plant too much in the ground for 2 reasons: too many stones and rocks just under the surface and (what is more important as I'm not the one who would dig the holes anyway) I'd love to move with my plants if we'd decide to move someplace else.
Andrew made a quick plan and the flower stand was ready! ( Ira the Beagle was an independent consultant who apparently gave him some good tips and ideas...)

My job was painting of course - I took obligatory photo of my splattered crocks and I was ready to play with whites, blues and greens...

In the same time I my mind was  working on my secret plan... but I will tell you more about it in the next makeover blogpost!

In the end of the day we had our decking, flower stand and a couple of extras painted. I can't say I'm 100% happy with the effect but I like it far more than just empty corner and glass door - and I enjoyed that day very much :)
This spring I added flower pots, flower bed and we took out our old chairs and table and it is getting more and more cozy now: flowers are starting to bloom and all that colors simply make me happy!
Here is the effect - view from today:

You may not agree but I think it is better ;) Now I'm really tempted to paint the fence too. Another issue to discuss with the landlord :) Anyway, here is the flower stand in detail...

And opposite corner - small composition visible from my dining room. Still a couple of things missing. (I just couldn't resist and I HAD to get this old radio!)

So we are still miles away from the "gypsy garden" I'd dream of, but  it is definitely a progress and I hope it will get even better in the future. Fingers and toes crossed!

So now let me send you some hugs from my whitewashed, "artistically distressed decking"
and wish you all a great family time full of joy, love and blessings. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sweet Steampunk Nothing - or the Beauty of Artistic Recycling

Question: what's this?
This is a story.
About love, friendship, sharing bad and good moments. About souls who are meant to be together and about connections, exploring life and simply "making it ALL happen".
Story about deep emotions, infinity and hope... about  us, about you.

This is also expression of pure pleasure of creating: finding inspirational, intriguing pieces and re-discovering them, re-assembling, constructing totally new meanings. Using elements which surround us all, finding beauty in them and giving a chance to become something unusual.
Because this piece is a bit unusual, I believe :) I named it "Sweet Steampunk Nothing" - and it is my response to the challenge of creating something suitable for the "St Valentine's" topic in Finnish Paperilla Magazine. As you know I'm not much into fluffy hearts, cherubs and glitter, so I tried to do it "my way" - And I hope I succeeded!

I'm wondering - can you guess what is the main body of the  assemblage made of? I can give you a hint: these parts were together, but in a different configuration and of course they are parts of something much bigger...

I didn't change much the original colours: I loved them as they were - they only needed few small touches of Vintaj Patinas (great, great choice for painting and altering metal!) and I repainted the paper-mache heart which I mounted on the top of the composition.

Here is a view on the details:

Vintage photo in the middle of Mechanicals - Pocket Watch - with a glaze of Glossy Accents

Leaves, Bottle caps and Plate labels in a great company of  light bulbs, wires and cogs

More of metal stuff - I just love how this typewriter key from Mechanicals looks on the piece of wire...

I honestly had great time creating this piece. I have a feeling it is just a beginning...

For your convenience I listed the most important supplies below... but can you guess what is the main body of this project? ;)

Wishing you all a great week :) It's a busy time for us all!