Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Artful Expression in our row-home

We express ourselves artfully everyday. Revealing our natural creativity, which is only limited by our own imaginations. We oftentimes display it in subtle ways, the way we wrap a scarf, or arrange a bouquet of flowers. The way we choose to feather our nests for a desired look. Combining talent and items that aesthetically express our personalities intrinsically. But sometimes when achieving a new look we must elevate our comfort level and relax enough to dismiss our fears of what other people may perceive.

"This world is but a canvas to our imagination."
~Henry David Thoreau~

Todays post invites you back inside our row-home for a share of some of my own artful expression. I've approached our interior design with a more textural feel than overall prints. But animal prints do appear. I prefer geometric patterns and I've hand painted a Harlequin pattern throughout our home along with hand painted Black olive branches. They appear in almost every room and very well may be my signature expression. 

I am an artist who paints murals and does faux painting, besides writing poetry. I mix my own paint colors and make glazes to accomplish my intended expression for clients as well as myself.

In our Dining room my hand painted armoire offers an abundance of storage space for dishes, glasses and linens all used in entertaining. It is set against our checkerboard wall that was faux painted by me on 24x24 inch Kraft paper which we crafted into a wallpaper that extends into the kitchen. John was responsible for hanging all my 24x24 pieces and I think at the time of gluing and applying them onto the wall I was John's least favorite person! For you see Kraft paper has a mind of it own and when wet it stretches. Who knew! My intention in creating handmade wallpaper was to correct our old homes plaster walls multitute of sins from settlement and hopefully disguise fine cracks. It did - but oh my what a labor intensive ordeal!

We purchased this armoire unfinished, it is Red Oak as is our almost 90 year old hardwood floors. I love oaks open surface grain and for this armoire I made up two different glaze stains for the overall pickling/liming of the piece and then overlaid a taupe/grayish glaze/stain on top for the Harlequin pattern. 

Then I painted my art of Black olives, in my imagination I (wish to) reside/retire one day in Tuscany. This photo shows an up close look at the upper olives...

Photo of the lower Black olive branch on the drawer, After curing my paints for at least 30 days I waxed the entire armoire 3 times with satin/clear Bri-wax.

A closeup of the armoire's side and of our metal chairs we use at our table as extra sitting. John welded together broken pieces of iron found in his Dad's basement. Who, to his final days could not remember how they ended up there! I faux painted them and we covered the seats with (sigh) Mongolian Lamb seat covers. Perhaps originally lawn chairs they intrigue us and seat guests.

Hanging on the checkerboard wall is my 2014 Christmas gift from John. A one of a kind Papier Mâché Creole Angel house created by Doré of Burlap Luxe. I love shadows at play and this captures them in a hauntingly beautiful way. I swear I've spent my life chasing the beauty of shadows as they dance and play and spark my imagination. On the very day Doré listed this amazing piece I had purchased a piece of jewelry and honestly was broke. So I showed it to John who was instantly captivated by the New Orleans charm and the shingles on the roof and said want it? Merry Christmas... Some art is meant to reside with us in our hearts and home.

Just thought I'd share my nearly 5 foot high (if you stretch out each branch) curly Willow branches in our Demi-John. I love the wildness of the branches as they add an organic layer against the Japanese wallpaper of hand applied leaves. Our little wine corner in the Dining room... I so wish I could magically say poof and turn it into an actual wine cellar. Ahhhhh the allure of dreams.

I've recently fell in love with all of Villabarnes hand cut metal shapes. On our antique olive oil jar we added one of Rosemary's very creative metal cut outs. We strung the handcut tag with triple wrapped picture frame wire. Always adding those industrial chic touches to our home we think the wire looks cool. 

Our antique Olive oil jar has an up light in it and it sits left to our 300 year old Buddha.  John drilled through it to wire for the light, which adds a romantic warm glow. In future posts I will share many more of Rosemary's creative cutouts made from salvaged metal and where I've placed them which add interest and curiosity to our home.

Up in our Bedroom you'll find my hand painted armoire with a Harlequin pattern and Fleur-de-Lis. This piece is a Pine piece and didn't have the beauty of the open Red Oak armoire downstairs. But no problem, to achieve the same effect I've always appreciated a challenge. After all I pride myself in my faux painting and ability to make art.

I first painted the entire armoire cottage White. Next step I mixed up a taupe/grayish color to paint the Harlequin pattern on. Then I mixed a glaze/stain the color hue of natural Red Oak to do a paint technique to "fingers crossed" look/resemble the grain showing through like the armoire in our Dining room.  Closeup photo of the side.

Enlarged closeup up of my Fleur-di-Lis art I painted, it's actual measurement is only 3 inches high. It was directly painted atop the Harlequin and reflects the layering of it.

Oftentimes I will personalize the inside doors as a unexpected surprise detail. The walls in our master are faux painted in a calming Green in what I call my faux Rain finish. My mind never shuts up so it is important to me to have a soothing bedroom as inspirational thoughts and ideas follow me 24/7.

John as an artful expression a few years ago built me this Dracula Castle as a gift. I am fascinated by Vampire stories and actually I'm currently writing a short story/fable about a young college student who becomes a Vampire. One day when finished I will share it on my blog. But I warn you in advance its different from any of my normal/other shared poetry. To me the fable is passionate and erotic.

John purchased plans for the Dracula Castle on etsy and then decided the size, turrets, roof and floor architectural design were not what he envisioned. So he redesigned his own plans. Yes, John too is very artistic. He printed it onto canvas and assembled the Castle in canvas, cardboard, foam-core and wood. It is displayed in our built-in bookcase in our sitting/reading room. Inside Amber fairy battery operated lights let us use this as a nightlight, OK perhaps a scary fantasy driven nightlight but indeed one we adore.

John gifted me with the handmade fully articulated Vampire and hand carved coffin made in England for the castle.

Close up inside the Dracula castle. The mice are my personal touch! Vera ... Mice ... Really? !!!

Staying in the sitting/reading room John printed onto canvas a Lamb photo I found and fell in love from Google images to help us celebrate Springtime. The Papier Mâché and plaster technique Believe banner was created for me by Méa of Méa's Vintage in Germany. Believe is one of the most magical words I know, it resonates in my soul.
For a moment just conjure up what the word truly means. 

One of my most precious Springtime childhood memories involves going to my Aunt Vicky's (Mom's sister) and Uncle Otto's home. They raised Sheep, Sheep usually mate in the Fall and Lambs are born in Spring. When the new Lamb's were born I would pester, seriously torment my Mom to drive my Brother and I over to play with the baby Lambs. I can be very convincing,,, My brother Mike would tire before me with playing outside and go indoors to build with his Lincoln Logs. I would feed the Lambs with a baby bottle and play for hours on end until I was dragged inside.

I remember Aunt Vicky always baking pies when we would visit and the smell of freshly baked pie cooling on the countertop was enticing enough to get me away from the baby Lambs.

Méa's Believe banner is art that will constantly move about in our house and always remind me to just believe. The i is enhanced with an Rhinestone. I adore bling. Do you like me hold special words near and dear? 

Meet Curly Lambeau. I asked Penny White of Angelsdoor to please create a Lamb for me for this Spring. Penny in an email asked me if I had a name picked out, after Penny had sent me a photo of my little Lamb headed to dwell in Philly. I replied no - but tonight I will go to bed and dream of his name.

Which I did, awaking in the morning feeling all cute and clever over coffee I googled Curly Lambeau. Guess what??? Over my morning Nespresso Cappuccino which I truthfully almost choked on, I discovered I'm not so clever! There was an Earl Louis "Curly" Lambeau. Founder, player and the first coach of the Green Bay Packers. Regardless, I've keep the name. 

When I first saw Penny's little Lamb I was instantly smitten. To me he reminded me of my Mongolian Lamb pillows that add warmth and beauty throughout our row-home and brought back endearing childhood memories. Isn't that what oftentimes art is meant to convey? Recalling and triggering emotions in life we treasure most.

On our oval coffee table John cut out and I hand painted a Harlequin pattern in the same colors and glaze/stains as used in all our rooms and yes it truly is a signature expression in our home. The cross is a huge vintage piece purchased off etsy and pickled by me.

The eggs are faux and real quail eggs blown out. I chose not to do a lot of Spring/Easter decorating this year. I've keep it simple but in my next post I will share more of myself and it will be my Easter post.

Currently in our guest room Cheetah and Zebra mingle and play,
in hopes that our guests will have a fun and a relaxing stay.

I've learned long ago to never take my decorating style or myself too seriously and I always try to introduce the unexpected in accessories but remain true to what delights me. Trends come and go but classic's endure.

I'll be back in two weeks. I'm working on my Easter post. Hope you enjoy my poetry of Artful expression and underneath it I've included links to the artists I've shown in this post. Their artwork compliments and graces our home and their talent truly speaks to my soul. I feel enriched in the knowledge that these incredibly gifted artists I can consider friends. 

The creativity you express comes from passionate emotion's deep within your soulful heart.
It is difficult sometimes to convey your inner thoughts as you begin to expressively start.

Brushstrokes, poetry, fashion, music, sculptures all are energy of expression that flows in harmony and awareness in your mind's perception.
Almost becoming an obsessive chaotic process as you hold onto your ideas and for me there never is any exception.

Yet the biggest obstacle I've found in acheiving artful expression always has been the dreaded fear of acceptance.
It limits the creative process and honest expression cannot capture your true intended heartfelt essence.

The energizing freedom you feel when you create from within is certainly worth the initial fear and feelings of self doubt.
Satisfaction and pride is the biggest reward for artistically creating in an abundance of energy you joyfully put out.

So please remember to never lose sight of your passionate expressive artistic side ... 
For it truly is where your heart and soul desires to explore and will always reward with inner pride.

© Vera


  1. You have taken my breath away, Vera, with your artistic gifts and the way you've implemented your gifts and abilities throughout your home. Your attention to detail with your gorgeous faux painting and wallpapering is a real tribute to your perseverance in accomplishing your ideas and dreams. I love how you appreciate and incorporate the wonderful creations of others as well.
    I'm in awe of you, Vera!! Your home is magnificent!
    Mary Alice

  2. OMGOSH,Vera. What an amazing post. I love the walls (all of them) in your home. I can only imagine how difficult those checkerboard squares were to get aligned and installed. Wow!

    Your two armoires are both beautiful and you simulated the grain perfectly on the second one.

    I always went to my Uncle's farm and brought a lamb home for a few days/weeks? when it was lambing season. We would feed him with a bottle and I ALWAYS picked the black sheep (how fitting is that!)-

    Wonderful post, Vera. I read every word and you have some amazing and beautiful antique pieces. xo Diana

    ps. You were thinking of ME when you named Curly Lambeau- we have another connection.....lol We go to a special Packer Party hosted in his old house in the Fall of the year. lol

  3. Hi Vera my wonderful friend. I love to see all your creative decorative images throughout your home. Your painting and re loving of all the pieces are beautiful.
    Your heart shows throughout your home. So fun to see your gorgeous creative soul come through your home and your writing. Beautiful. Hugs.

  4. Everything comes together so beautifully, Vera. Thanks for including a part of me in your vignettes. I'm honored to be mentioned among all these creative artists. That includes you. xoxo

  5. Dear Vera, First off I love your home!! Your armoires are amazing and I love seeing your creations in faux designs. When I was in brick and mortar shops, this is all I did for my clients. I know the process and the work involved. You are amazing.
    Love your special touches and the designer gifts John created for you are magnificent.
    You've added the wonderful creations of artists mixing with your own which is stunning.
    Peace, calm and spirit filled is truly your retreat. I love your poetry and this work is very special. It touches my heart for the way I feel about creating. Next to breathing, we must do it!!

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.
    Love to you, CM

  6. Your artistic soul shows in your beautiful pieces of furniture and wallpapered walls.
    Every little detail on every surface in your home shows your passion for the unique... and the one of a kind item that you alone could understand it's worth to your heart.
    Great post, dear Vera. It reveals your inner most personality....your heart, and your passions for the beautiful things that surround you. I enjoyed it.

  7. So many details and artful expressions, Vera. I love artists' homes for this exact reason. There is just so much personality and you can really get a sense of the people who live there. Of course I love Dore's art and I love that John really understands and appreciates your artistic side. I love anything vampires....I am sure I have read and seen any vampire books or movies. Have you read the Historian yet?? Of course you know how much I love my animal prints so I would feel at home in your guest room!

  8. Dearest Vera,
    You home is such a reflection of your inner self.. I love all your personal artwork and your faux painting speaks for itself.
    I just love Dore's Angel house, and Mea's Believe banner. I must go visit Rosemary, I love her cut metal shapes.. Yes, the bling is wonderful.
    Thank you so much for featuring my art along with such talented artists. I am truly honored Vera.
    See you in a few weeks..

  9. Another side of you I never knew...each time I come to your blog I feel a "peeling away" of hidden talents I never knew you had. Your armoirs and walls are so unbelievable...your knowledge of amazing painting techniques, and then the creativeness and unabashed fearlessness...I am in awe. You have to tell me more about the Kraft paper wallpaper. I am so intrigued. Did you know ahead of time that it would work as a wall covering? The harlequin patterns...how did you come to love them so?

    The 300 year old Buddha..how did you ever find that? Oh, I am so full of questions, I could go on forever. But I applaud you and John in your uniqueness, Your last paragraph resonated with me...my hubby has asked why I am such a "people pleaser". Maybe I am in a way, I feel I am more sensitive than others so I really look for acceptance in a lot of things, my decor, sadly. (This should be an email!). I just want to say your words impacted me as did the glimpses of your beautiful home!

    Jane xx

  10. I really like how you are attracted to the olive branch. I think of the symbol peace, and your home looks very peaceful with the buddah in a special place. You are so creative and artistic. For a second, I thought that was the same armoire from a different angle. xoxo

  11. Oh Vera, this is what I know of you to be, a creative mind, a talent in designs, and an artist in shadow play oh so poetically.
    I am so glad you shared a much bigger picture of who's behind the fine writing, words that are the foreplay to what developes right before us, and your accomplished outcome to what words and a little imagination can accomplish here.

    Love all your featured artist and I so proud to call all of them my blogger friends, and I am so honored that you feel the deepness as I do in creating my art. I am honored that you found such a place of honor for my pieces in your home, I so see how the light captures the creole angel home and how it plays about in your dinning room just so, it could not have gone to a better suited home.

    Now I have to discuss Johns building of his gifting to you! ( Draculas) castle....oh my, it's a favorite of mine....now why have you not removed the coffin for the staging and put on a the atical production on its stage. It's the best thing I have ever seen in this scale in a home of art. You could do black swan ballet, or a haunting nightmare on elm street, but not elm your street or a Beatle Juice kind of opera production. Exactly what is this made of, and plans? And the inside texture to the walls, arches, flooring? Is this a kit? I so want one, I need to paper mâché one! It's just amazing like everything else in your row home.

    The grange like sleigh bed invites me to stay the night, can I please? Pretty Please?? It's layers of bedding is softly aged with perfect beauty all the right kind of rightness :)

    As for the faux wall paper checkerboard wall pattern I thought it was just painted to the wall, the paper adds so much demention to the layered walls, and if stretching or flaws took place in the hanging of it? Oh well, I would embrace and welcome it adding again every bit an artistic edge to its design, not perfect, but not imperfect.
    Really I once wanted all the checkerboard flooring, and Harlequin patterns in my home, I too have done this work for years in model homes and clients along with faux painting and always meant to repeat this work in my home, I can see myself still doing it, in fact so much so I will do them in the aged tinted grey's and tree bark beiges fogging them into the walls as if they had been there and
    aging for a 100 years.

    You live life like in a art studio kind of way, know wonder your head is going 24/7.

    Thank you beautiful for showing the side of you know one could have imagined in a million years...Authentically you.

    See you soon,
    Talk to you soon.

    You are inspiring me, really inspiring me :))



  12. Well, this was a difficult post for me to read because my eyes did not want to focus on words. My brain kept telling my eyes to go back and look at the beautiful harlequin painted pieces.

    Your words are beautiful, but those harlequin pieces are stunning. You have made me think about doing something like this on a piece in the living room.

    Thanks for this great post!

  13. I shall meditate on the word Believe. Great , inspirational writing Vera.

  14. My dear, dear friend!

    I am in a rush here, going to work in just a few minutes, but what a TREAT to see more of your artful space. You know I love harlequin printing, and that armoire is divine. Penny's art work graces your home as it does mine, and Doré's outstanding detailed work gives that old-world feel. How gorgeous it is to admire and have aged pieces in the house....how I wish society would value aged people as such!!!!!

    Sending you a hug and a smile on this 60+ warm day! LOVE! Anita

  15. So many beautiful things to see, Vera. What joy it must be, two artists creating together in the same home.

    My husband is artistic (he made handmade collector quality smoking pipes for years), but we've spent so much time building buildings in the past 8 years that art has taken a back seat. Now he is back lost in programming again. Multi-talented and always going in multiple directions!

    I love all you share, dear Vera.

    Sending hugs,

  16. What a great post, Vera, your home is just amazing! I am in love with your painted armories, especially the fleur de lis one, tres chic! Your creativity really shines in your home, and I also love the fact that you have so many one of a kind pieces from other artisans. I love Rosemary's work, too! That little lamb is just darling! I grew up on a farm, and we had a pet lamb when I was little. So cute! I'll come visit you in Tuscany, and you can come and visit me in the French countryside, tee, hee! Have a great day!

  17. Vera, thank you so much for posting my artwork in here :) I am so honoured :)))
    And all the other works to see, I did not know, you were doing this - so you and John too are celebrating creativity in your life - from all of your heart. Oh, and I wished, Rosemary had a shop in Germany - this sign is soooooooooooo beautiful!
    Yes, there has been such a lot to see here - and I am not finished, have to visit you a few times, I guess :)))
    So thank you, I hug you, your friend Méa

  18. wow...this is a great post, Vera. I love every word, every photo and am so glad you shared all this. Your walls are amazing and both chests are stunning. Your art work is such a blessing. I would LOVE to tour your home in person...so many one-of-a-kind treasures.......xoxo

  19. Kraft paper as wallpaper - how brilliant!! You are beyond talented in so many ways, Vera. Each time I visit, I feel inspired. Especially after the tours of your lovely home.
    Warm greetings!!

  20. Perhaps we were separated at birth??? :) As I read this beautiful post, I tried to remember all the things that struck a chord with me...things I love too. Your artistic ability is amazing! Would you please come to Texas and paint a few things for me? :) LOVE the harlequin pattern more than I can say...the fleur de lis, any kind of bling, zebra and cheetah, the olive branch and focusing on beautiful words. I think "Believe" encompasses so many areas of our lives. I could spend a week in that guest room I'm sure! The little lamb is adorable and I love the angel house. New Orleans and the people of Louisiana hold a special place in my heart! The buddha is amazing! Every little unique touch is a reflection of you and I'm sure, John. LOVE your home!

    Just let me know when you'll arrive in Texas ~

  21. Dear Vera,
    Thank you so much for visiting again.. Sorry it took me so long to get here.. The needles are flying again, and a few days ago I finished a bas relief for the Easter season..
    I tracked Dixie just now and it read.. .Out for delivery! So I hope she will arrive today...
    Love and blessings,

  22. Love how you add your creative touch to every single space! The angel house is my favorite. Your home is a treat in itself!

  23. I love seeing more of your row home, Vera. It truly is an expression of your and John's artistic talents. I think I've said this before, but something I admire most about your home is that it's unique. A reflection of who you are as a couple, and as individuals. I had to scroll through several times to take in all the photos. I adore how you combine sophistication with whimsy. That part of you who won't take herself too seriously. I LOVE that! So many things you wrote resonate with me this morning, but these words: "But sometimes when achieving a new look we must elevate our comfort level and relax enough to dismiss our fears of what other people may perceive" are profound. Relax, dismiss our fears of what other people may perceive, and create; this is a place in my own life where I've chosen to settle. What matters to me now is: do I (CAPITAL BOLD "I" love it? Thank you, dear Vera. Now I must read through one more time. Or maybe two. :) XO ~ Nancy

  24. Coming here to visit is like a vacation for my eyes Vera. I always leave feeling full up with beauty! Thanks for sharing your talents with the world.
    I am crazy in love with your sweet lambs! The canvas and the one from Angel's door.
    hugs from me...

  25. Darling Vera! HELLO! How are you? Thank you for coming by to visit my announcement on my post. I am going to have fun designing this book that will be for me, something to hold in my hands with my own photos (heaven help me!) and as a memoir of this wonderful time and memory-maker. I will keep updating as the months go by! LOVE TO YOU!

  26. I love the way you've used your creativity to make your home so inviting and pretty.

  27. Dear Vera,
    Come help me... Point! . You asked if that was a stained black patio. No, don't have one.. I do have a covered patio but it does not show in the photo.
    I wonder what it is that you see.
    Thank you so much for all your kind comments... I am pleased with my doors, not perfect, but life is not perfect, so that's ok.. And the fence.. I am so glad it is finished.. Makes it nice for Zoe and Jasper, because the back yard to so large, this way I can keep an I on them out the kitchen window, and don't have to worry about the bun bun's eating my grass anymore.. They can munch on the bushes on the other side of the fence.
    Have a wonderful week.

  28. Coming by to wish you a great St. Patrick's Day. :)

  29. Good morning Vera,
    Oh I am so happy you enjoyed her... Juliet was a joy to work on. Thank you so much!

  30. Vera, your home is always such a visual feast for the eyes!! I love your creativity, your talent, and the meaningful, heartfelt choices that each item represents! And that lamb is just precious! :)

  31. Hi Vera,

    I just discovered your blog as I was visiting Celeste's blog this morning. Your home is so pretty and artistically beautiful. I am adding you to my Blog List and plan to visit you often. I look forward to getting to know you!

    Jan ♥

  32. DearVera,
    Thank you so much for your visit.. How very kind of you... You know, I think you are right.. There may be a little Harry Potter magic mixed in.
    So happy you enjoyed meeting Mea
    blessings dear friend