Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Week In "The Cottage Life" ~ Part Two

Well, what do they say about the best laid plans? I really did intend to post earlier, but the week I had last week was extremely busy and complicated. For some reason, business really picked up this month...kind of like an explosion. And, although it is something we all pray for in this business, the mad scramble to keep up with inventory can really prove exhausting. Lucky for me that Wayne and I do this together. We share the work, treasure hunting and the total experience, making us very in tune with one another.

We have also had family visiting while we work. All I can say is, they have been very patient and understanding. The pictures below somewhat capture the changes in my shop during this past week:

I was just starting to get the back room set up and the pink striped vanity and chair sold. Luckily, Wayne found and painted this lovely wicker one, from the 1940's.

He also found, rebuilt the bottom of the seat, and painted this lovely settee...Already sold!

Another new lovely addition is this wicker chair is from the 1940's...This chair has six legs!

Wayne also found and painted this lovely old Victorian wicker table...Already sold!

We had this solid iron bench (Victorian) for two days. Every time we get something special like this, it really brings people into the shop...We like that!

Wayne also painted this black chest. It hasn't sold yet, but it's sparking a lot of interest...

...And, here's why. It has this little writing desk inside the top drawer.

We got this Victorian bird cage at the same yard sale we got the Victorian bench. That surely was a sale worth stopping at!

We were able to get our hands on two Jerry Howes paintings. His artwork is incredible. You can just about pick those cherries off the table!

This is the second Jerry Howes painting. Wayne and I just love his work.

Remember this table from the previous post? Here it is all dressed up with the hydrangeas.

This is a close up of the top of this piece.

I love folding the artwork over the side of my pieces.

And, this is a close up of the hydrangea I painted on the bottom shelf.

Yet another view of this piece. I try to make the artwork make sense and look attractive from every angle.

Remember this piece from the previous post? Before starting the artwork, I dry-brush striped and created a dry-brushed doily on the top of the piece and drawer. Here is a picture of the piece in process.

Here it is with all the detail work added to the flowers and vines.

Side view.

Close up of the left top and front.

Here's a close up of the top on the right side.

Hydrangeas, ribbons and vines tumbling down the other side of the piece.

This a view of the top of this piece. I put this piece outside while I tried to figure out where to display it. I never got the chance because it sold immediately.

So, now we are back to needing new inventory. Pictured here, are some of the "wanna-be's" that are next. My focus for this week is the table turned upside down on the vanity, my custom ordered bookcase, and the vanity.

We are having much needed rain on the Cape this week. Since we are not having "beach days", I will be entertaining my customers, while I try to squeeze in some work. Our customers are great! They completely understand my being covered in sanding dust and paint.

Wishing all of you a happy, creative and productive week!

Pieces of Dreams

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Week In "The Cottage Life" ~ Part One

Since I was about 7 years old, it was always my dream to live on Cape Cod and have a business where I could create a little shop offering "sentimental enchantments", (being lovely treasures from yesteryear), unique smalls/ accents (usually something made from something else), and have a place to display and sell what has now become, "Pieces of Dreams" hand painted, chic-tique furniture. All these years later, I'm here, on the Cape, and doing just that.

Although I am very thankful, it's not as easy or glamorous as it looks. Of course, anyone who does something similar knows the lugging, sanding, priming, painting and time involved. I, for one, am usually a complete mess (nice fingernails...what are they?), while all the vacationers are on the beach or getting dressed up to go out to eat and shop. I find the book work to be very tedious and spend long hours during the day being "on", to keep the dynamics of my shop visitors positive and pleasant. I have to constantly worry about getting the right inventory and keep the shop full and looking nice. Since, I don't order my offerings out of a catalogue, I have to hunt it or create it...And here, within these words, we've come full circle...hunting, creating, displaying, decorating, etc....(happy sigh!) I'm doing what I've dreamed of doing!

So, here's part one of "The Cottage Life" ~

Here, we find the back bedroom formerly closed last year to the public. We needed it for storage and eventually, the overflow of moving out of the Chatham location. It's really important to have this open for keeping the shopping flow interesting, so as to capture the attention of my visitors. Along with finishing up with some trim painting, I had to get going with my backlog of "wanna-be's". Pictured are some recent inventory projects that are in the brown, ready-to-be-sanded form, as well as some pieces that have been sanded and primed.

These two pieces have already been painted (the yellow one has been striped and taped off for more detail). I had this blue piece in the Chatham house and didn't feel it was necessary to repaint the whole thing all over again, so I gave it a quick sprucing up of dry brushing on the legs, and here it waits for some stripes and artwork.

So, for the past week while no people are in the shop, I've been busy painting the room and base coating some of the primed pieces.

I've picked up some nice bedding at a tag sale and am trying to re-create the pink and green theme in the bedroom I had before. The dresser was done previously, but the matching nightstand, with the drawers and body done opposite of what is on the dresser, was sold. I found this cute little piece and thought it would do the trick as a replacement.

It's painted and shabbied off in this place and that. You can really see how charming the piece is, now that it is no longer brown and scratched...Shabbied, Yes! Scratched, No!

And, here is a table I had that used to be a shade of yellow. When I shabbied this one off, some of the yellow paint and white from the primer show along the "shabby line". I love pink and yellow!

Although it's not quite a bedroom yet, the room is open and sales have improved! Perhaps this week, I can get the bed I painted in here. In the meanwhile, I have placed furniture and wicker around so that it is presentable enough to be open. Now comes the fun of filling it and keeping it that way!

Before I could get all the pictures taken, I sold the Victorian what-not that I had in this corner, so I had to do something make-shift with the chair.
It's the beginning of a whole new week. Let's see what can be accomplished for "part two"!

Wishes of peace and happiness to all,
Pieces of Dreams

Sunday, August 1, 2010

With A Little Paint and Magic Brush, We Have the Solution to the Decorating Problem!

"Summer Time....And the living ain't easy! But, that's how it is when you own a business on Cape Cod within the height of the season. (And, we are thankful for that!) Streams of sunny people visit us at our shops. Some shop friends are new and some are people who care enough to come back year after year, to shop and catch up on "what's new". All in all, it's a "good tired" when we reach the end of the day.

Along with running the shop, I've been working on a custom order for someone with a home in....you guessed it....Chatham. She had a pine blanket chest, previously finished in a dark brown stain with a picture of the Chatham band stand painted on it, along with "Chatham, 1712". Since her room is done in yellow, blue and white, with a hydrangea theme, the dated dark brown just wasn't getting the decorating job done.

Below are pictures of the solution! (Remember to double-click on the pics!)

I apologize for being so bad at not starting my photos at the very beginning. Here we have the piece, which has already been sanded, primed, base coated in the chosen yellow, and striped. As you can see, I am starting to lay out my design with my trusty fan brush and sponge.

My client wanted the a free-form design.

She also wanted the Chatham band stand put back the way it was, along with the lettering. I was lucky enough to find a stencil the exact font and size that was previously on the trunk (probably, because the first decorative artist used the same one). The first band stand design was also free handed, but did not have the flowers and surrounding grasses.

So, here we have the basic design lay out and now we are ready to have some fun!

The above shows the lay out of the ribbon (which, when complete, will match the reverse side fabric of her comforter and window treatments). I've also hand painted the large leaves and added the shading and high light detail.

Here, I've added the vining and shadow leaves, along with the detailing on the ribbon and first of three layers for the hydrangea petals.

Close up of finished design.

More details within a flowing ribbon.

Signed, sealed, but not yet delivered. (Still in the barn workshop.)

I have another project due for the same client. When I deliver that one, her guests will be gone and she says I can take pictures of the pieces I have done for her on site.

Until then, it's back to visiting with shop customers and covering myself with paint, as I work on projects for reopening the back room of my shop.

I wish all of you out there in blog land and wonderful, wonderful week!

Pieces Of Dreams