Art Meets Vintage

IMG_20190420_142954633_HDRThere is a truly unique gallery in town, and I’m proud to say that I’m a part of it.

I’d like to tell you about Art Meets Vintage. Located above the Glass Array at 501 N. Kingshighway in Saint Charles, this shop opened just last October and is the brain-child of owner Gregory Dierlam. He is such a nice guy with a tremendous sense of style. I’m excited and flattered to be a contributing artist.

I would encourage any of you traveling or living in Saint Charles to check out his gallery, where you can find original, handmade and uniquely upcycled art of all kinds. If you are looking for statement pieces of furniture, sculpture, home décor, jewelry, and wearables, you can find it here. Each piece has a bold, modern, artsy edge and is a reflection of the unique style of each participating artist.

As you know, I’ve been looking for the right place to locally feature my unique artistic style–a venue which seems undaunted by my experimentation with all forms of media owned by creatives who are happy to market my art as a whole. At Art Meets Vintage, I feature kumihimo jewelry pieces and some of my high-end jewelry with original lampwork and ceramic beads, Kanzashi flowers, silk-under-glass platters, digital and silk prints and paintings, and upcycled furniture painted with original and silk designs.

 

I’ve included pictures of the featured art here, but I encourage you to check out Art Meets Vintage in Saint Charles in person, since the featured art changes often, and new artists are being added. You will be glad you visited–either to snatch up that “have to have” item or simply to glean a little creative inspiration.

 

If you stop by on a Saturday, you’re likely to run into Gregory. He’ll be happy to show you around and give you more info about his participating artists.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

 

Historic Frenchtown House Tours

 

I have been slowly working on my Frenchtown quilt project.

I mentioned in an earlier blog about the fact that we have volunteered our home as one of the 13 homes featured on the Historic Frenchtown House Tour. As a member of the Historic Frenchtown Association, I am also putting together a brochure and map of the homes and businesses participating in this event.

That motivated me to push the quilt project ahead. As a result, I’ve been busily painting watercolors/gouache illustrations of those homes specifically to be included in the brochure (and later incorporated into my quilt.)

Joe and I are ecstatic to be able to feature our new, old home in the tour. I am especially tickled that I can feature my illustrations in the brochure and perhaps generate a sizeable amount of interest in the tour, which I anticipate will be the biggest fundraising event for our community organization.

There really are a variety of homes from all eras participating in this tour with a rich history to share for each. The Sacred Heart Academy alone has a 200 year history and wealth of information regarding its founder, Saint Rose Phillipine Duschene. The academy tour will include the expansive convent/school complex and the shrine, where Mother Duschene is interred.

Docents will be at each location to greet you and answer your questions. A map will be included in the brochure to give the most efficient route to see each home.

The tour is being held Sunday, June 2, 2019 from 12 P.M. to 4 P.M. Tickets are $18 for tourgoers (ages 13 and over) or $20 the day of the tour.

You can purchase tickets online by clicking this link: $$TICKETS$$

If you need a hard copy ticket or don’t wish to buy online, no worries. Tickets are available at two locations in Saint Charles:

Grass Valley Roots; 903 N. Second Street; Saint Charles, MO

and

Butterfly and Moon; 814 S. Main Street; Saint Charles, MO

I can’t wait! Hope you can come!

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

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Antique Doilies as Framed Art

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Top: My mom’s doily. Bottom: Two of my doilies.

I’m a crocheter. As a young girl, I was fascinated by my mother’s skilled handiwork in the needle arts. Unfortunately, she died when I was young, and so I never had the opportunity to learn from her.

My husband taught me to crochet 20 years ago when I was laid up with a broken ankle. Since then, I have strived to mimic my mom’s skill and style, learning first basic stitches, and eventually learning to read patterns.

Three years ago, I reunited with my mother’s cousin, who had kept a couple of my mother’s doilies and gave them to me. Since I didn’t have much that she had made, I considered them truly precious. And I determined to frame these pieces as works of art.

A lot of us have old doilies and afghans we may have kept that were created by our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. Not many people decorate their tabletops and backs of sofas with them anymore, but they still want to feature them in their home as a point of sentimental pride. Most are at a loss to determine how they want to display these beautiful heirloom pieces.

 

I decided to feature both my and my mom’s doilies much the same way I often frame my silk wall hangings. Essentially, I purchase pre-stretched art canvas at local craft stores and stretch cotton fleece and vintage cotton quilting fabric over the front, sides, and back stretcher bars of the canvas. I miter and clip the corner folds, like I’m wrapping a present and adequately staple the fabrics to the stretcher bars. I tack the doily at crucial hanging points in the doily to provide support and keep the doily from buckling. Then, I screw in Ook hook loops and stretch picture hanging wire along the upper back of the canvas. It is then ready to hang.

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The back of my framed piece. You can see it doesn’t really take much to tack the doily down to the canvas. It can be removed at any time for care and re-tacked.

Several people have come into my home and asked me if they could steal my idea. I’m not sure it’s an original idea, but I thought I’d share it on my blog. Steal away!

Now it’s time for you to reach into that old cedar chest or dresser drawer and grab those beautiful doilies and put them on display in your home!

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

Creating a Headboard From an Old Door

For months we focused on downsizing and moving out of our old home. We sold and donated lots of furniture believing we were going to live full-time in our RV. We put many items of sentimental value in storage. Maybe one could argue that we didn’t downsize enough, but we really got rid of a lot of stuff.

Despite our years of planning and preparation, we changed our minds. We bought a new home and faced a dilemma. We didn’t have enough furniture to fill the house!

We sold our king-sized bed to our old neighbors, along with all the old bedroom furniture. Our new home had a huge bedroom space. But we had nothing to sleep in–no bed, no bureaus, no nightstands–nada.

Although large, the problem with the layout of our new bedroom is that we wanted to keep the bed’s headboard up against the dormered wall. We were sure we wanted a new king-sized bed, but we couldn’t find a headboard that was short enough for the bed we wanted. The wall curved in at 48″. Most king headboards–even the short ones–were at least 52″ in height.

I wanted a shabby chic feel to the bedroom ensemble we purchased. The most important consideration for us at our age was the size of the bed and quality of the mattress. We found Broyhill mattresses which were really split twins on a king metal frame. These beds had the memory foam mattress, gel cooling systems, and the remote control reclining and snore feature.

Then I got the idea to use an old door for the headboard. We could adjust the headboard to whatever height we wanted by using 2″x 4″s cut to the length we needed.

One of the nice things about Frenchtown is that it has a plethora of antique shops with old doors. I found a shop a block down the street which had a (dare I say) crusty old door with the veneer peeling off. I do not exaggerate when I say it was crusty. But I wanted it anyway, because I thought it would be perfect. It measured 80″ in height, a standard height for doors, which is coincidentally the same width as a king-sized bed.

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Shown here is the door, puttied, restored, and reveneered in spots. Joe measured and attached 2″x4″s to get the bed to the right height.

I painted the door antique white. I purposely picked an asymmetrical door when standing on its side. I wanted people to know that this used to be a door. I didn’t want it to look new or like a factory-made headboard. I really wanted a look that was a bit more shabby than chic.

Painting: If this was a high end piece of furniture, I would have primed it first. However, I planned to eventually sand the chalk paint down to allow some of the wood and rough spots through. I painted it with General Finishes Antique White Chalk Paint. I chose not to use poly coat, because in this case, the poly coat would have yellowed the off-white paint color. After the paint dried, I sanded down the corners to give it a slightly distressed look. Finally, I painted “Hers” and “His” in acrylics for our corresponding sides of the bed. (We’ve always slept on the same side of the bed for over 35 years.)

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Here is the finished door. (Notice my side of the bed is the bigger side.)

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You can see the finished headboard fits perfectly under the roof dormer.

Of course, you can do this type of project and design it to fit your own unique design needs and bed size. There are old doors aplenty here in Frenchtown (probably at a substantially lower price than I paid for this one.)  But it might be something to consider if you’re looking for a specific style of headboard and are tired of the MDF junk currently available at even the high-end the furniture stores.

My headboard project is just one of the many furniture upcycling projects I’ve gotten into since we moved here. I’m proud to share it with you. If you like this idea, feel free to steal it and make it your own!

I’ll feature more on the other furniture projects in a later blog.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

 

 

 

Our Historic Home and the Frenchtown Quilt

IMG_20180801_105622184If you read my last blog entry, you know that we sold our home in Saint Peters and bought a historic home on Third Street in Saint Charles. This area, located North of Main Street, is known by the locals as “Frenchtown.” Originally established by French colonials, other European immigrants began settling the area around the mid-1800s.

Our home was built by a German immigrant named John Borgmeier in 1852. Even though he was German, the architectural style of this home is still considered French Colonial. Like other houses in Frenchtown of this style, there is a distinct symmetry to the home. It has 6 doors and too many windows to count, but I find it adorable. A friend of mine told me “It looks like a doll’s house.”

The architecture of the home has changed throughout its 166 year history. After the World War II housing shortage, it was turned into a quadruplex. Believe it or not, our backyard neighbor actually lived in a couple of these obviously cramped apartments many years ago.

The previous owners took great pains to restore the home’s exterior and completely updated the interior to a single-family, two bedroom home. It has been beautifully updated with all of life’s modern conveniences. They had really done a marvelous job and put in a great deal of work and money into it–for which we are so grateful! They made the home move-in ready for me and Joe.

Not having to pour a lot of work into fixing up this ready-made home left me all kinds of time to focus on my art. I was inspired by the beauty of this home’s architecture, its grand history, and the surrounding Frenchtown neighborhood and its community. That led me to one of my current and ongoing projects, which is my Frenchtown quilt.

The Frenchtown quilt will feature a combination of homes on the Historic homes walk with their current facades and a few of the thriving businesses and cozy homes here in the area. Each square is actually a watercolor I have painted. I will ultimately print those paintings on fabric and sew the squares together. This is definitely an ongoing project and will take some time.

ourhouseMy Home

driftwoodsecretgardenEbeling Tin Shop, Now Known as Driftwood Music and Frenchtown Secret Garden

weekslawlerLawler-Weeks House

workingmenschapel

Working Men’s Chapel, Third Street

I entered a couple of these paintings in the Riverfront Paint Off which was held in Saint Charles last October. I didn’t win anything for the paintings, but I did win a Main Street gift basket in the raffle, which has all kinds of goodies from Main Street and Frenchtown businesses. I absolutely love my cup from Life is Good and my aloe plant from Frenchtown Secret Garden!

Considering that each building is going to be a square in my quilt and that I have to get at least 24 squares to make a decent sized one, it will take some time. But I’ll get there. Perhaps I’ll have it all done and sewn together by the time we have our next Frenchtown House Tour in June. (Yes, my house will be on the tour.)

For now, I promise to keep you better posted on what’s going on in our little town of Frenchtown, Saint Charles, what’s happening down in my basement studio (and Joe’s workshop), and what generally keeps me inspired.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

 

 

The Pros and Cons of the RV Lifestyle

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I have to be honest. I really thought the full-time RVing lifestyle would work for us.

It didn’t. At least not for now.

While we were waiting for our home in St. Peters to sell and close, we did live full time in our RV. We packed up everything, put it in storage, sold it, donated it, and left some larger furniture items for the new homeowners.

What I found was that even with as large of an RV as we had, having Joe work full time and share the working space wasn’t quite meshing for us. True, there are young families that do make that situation work, but the majority of full-timers are either retired or use their RV for their work.

As an artist, I grappled with the challenge of trying to make my projects small. It proved frustrating for–as you know–I need lots of room to work. As sweet as our pad was at Sundermeier RV Park in St. Charles was, there wasn’t space enough to stretch out a silk canvas and paint in the great outdoors. For Joe, who was virtually tied down to his office on wheels, once we were free to travel, moving from spot to spot during the day became very problematic. Check-in and check-out times for spots occurred when he should have been working from his makeshift office at the steering wheel. Frustrated, I found myself waiting for him to finish his day job just so we could venture out into town to enjoy life.

Spreading out in the big wide open spaces of Colorado didn’t seem like a huge possibility either. Our dream of ultimately living on the West Coast–either in an RV Co-op or buying a property and home–was fast becoming just a wild fantasy.

Why? Because we discovered that housing was crazy expensive. For the amount of money we gained selling our home here in Missouri, we might–at best–buy a hovel for the same price -in California or Washington State. Either that or we would be out on the edges of civilization away from all human life and any cell phone signals.

I had no space to work, and I personally didn’t want to live out the rest of my pre-retirement and retirement years being house poor.

We finally decided to buy a home right here. During the two months it took to close on our old home, we searched diligently. In the evenings, when we rode our scooters around Frenchtown, Saint Charles, we really fell in love with the historic ambiance of the city. I loved the feel and especially the people of the city.

The idea of owning a centuries old home fascinated us.

We looked at many, many properties. Finally, we found this beautiful French Colonial home on Third Street which the previous owners had gutted and completely and beautifully updated. This was not the typical house flip. They spent top dollar renovating the property, originally intending to retire there. Unfortunately for them–but fortunately for us–their plans changed.

This 166 year old home had character. It was the right price for us. Both I and Joe could use the entire basement floor for a studio/workshop space. (Joe loves to tinker, too.) Yes, he does bang his head on the basement ceiling from time to time (poor Joe) and there are a lot of stairs. But I find this house and neighborhood charming and truly a place I feel I can call home.

The full-time, work-from-home RV lifestyle didn’t work for us now, but I still hope that we can spend many happy vacation days in the RV before retirement. Then we may just yet full-time it.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

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