Finally!!! We are officially moved in. It seemed like an eternity. Like a perpetual state of walking up and down stairs with stacks of cardboard boxes. Simply endless.
The weird part was the overlapping. Our lease at the new place started on the 15th and at the old place we were paid through the 30th. So for two weeks we were still making trips back there to get the residual stuff...the stuff that's bound for the attic. And we had to do some patchwork on the walls and some painting because we couldn't leave the place in the state that it was in. We had striped walls in three rooms and around our whole living room and dining room we had a handpainted border that looked like a black and white striped scallop awning. We know for a fact that future tenants wouldn't want to pick up where we left off decor wise, so that meant attacking all the walls with an electric sander and then brushing on a thick coat of primer to cover up any stripe remnants. It was not pleasant and it felt so counterproductive to be doing all this work on a place we were moving out of. So, rule number one, don't paint stripes on your walls unless you own the place or you plan on staying forever. Of course we won't follow that rule because at the top of our current to do list is painting stripes on our new bathroom and kitchen walls! We plan on replicating our exact bathroom from the last place because we liked it so much and the vintage Jersey shore theme is even more fitting now that we live like four blocks from the ocean. The kitchen will once again have the Ritz Bakery theme but we'll be expanding the color palette to include some aqua and tans for a more vintagey feel.
Many aspects of moving are loathsome but for us the challenge that loomed largest was fitting our furniture up the entryway stairs. It's a Victorian home adapted into two separate living spaces so it's anything but "big furniture friendly". We actually had to cut our queen size box spring in half and rebuild it once we got it in the bedroom. And the couch was a battle of epic proportions. Luckily my Dad is a veritable genius when it comes to making things that don't fit, fit. He cut the legs off the couch and then he, Aaron, and my ever helpful brother Walt hoisted it up a ladder and through the second floor window. But that wasn't the end of it. Once inside the apartment we then discovered that it just couldn't possibly make the turn into the living room. So my Dad, with his can-do spirit and a jigsaw cut a four foot segment out of the couch, got it through the doorway and rebuilt the thing once it was in our living room. He's as experienced as one can possibly be in this department. He was a cabinetmaker for years and had to do on the spot furniture surgery on countless deliveries and installations.
Anyway, let's just say that Murphy's Law was in full effect over here. But never once were we disheartened. We are so thrilled about this move and this new place that nothing could mollify our excitement. We now live ten steps from my sister Missy. We can talk window to window...in fact, I'm sharing her WIFI right now and we keep one of her cordless phones in our place and can talk using the intercom function. It's really really great. We go get ice cream together, get dinner, we baby sit her perfect little pup Jack, unwind together at the end of long days, get iced coffees together...I really feel so lucky to be this close. The availability of this apartment was simply meant to be.
So, during the hectic move we made sure to get three rooms painted before the big furniture came in. It was delightful to be able to paint rooms without having to move all sorts of bulky stuff around. In the pic of our carved up couch you can see the antiqued wall finish Aaron did. The room begged for this finish...a straight color would simply not do. And Aaron loves doing wall finishes...well not the actual doing, but he loves the end result. Right now it wouldn't make any sense for me to post pics of the place because we are still living out of boxes and stuff is all over the place. But I'm going to decorate and decorate fast...so photos will be coming soon. The last room we'll do is the kitchen because it requires the most work. The wainscot is a stained wood finish as are the cabinets. These will have to be painted white for sure, we asked our landlord and he gave an A-OK. Right now allthat wood finish in there prevents me from feeling at home. I can't wait to tackle that, but it has to wait because we mustn't forget that we actually have to work to pay for this place. Oh yeah, and the new place is sans dining room but the kitchen is big enough to accommodate our table and chairs. I do love a dining room for dinner parties etc...but this has a real homey feel and there's a cozy casualness when we come home with takeout and eat with Missy and reach to the fridge for soda after soda, Aar in the role of Dan Conner.
So, moving on...or actually before I move on I first must thank all you gals for being such great friends. I've been so negligent on my end and feel so horrible for not keeping in touch. I don't do such a great job at communication when I've got all these balls in the air. Some of you gals are first rate communicators. I hear about all the chaotic stuff going on in your lives and still, you're blogging, emailing, commenting. I envy your juggling skills. So, big thanks to all of you for being so sweet and loyal while I've been absent. It warms the heart. And all the well wishes about our move and me and Aar's 15th anniversary are so very much appreciated. Hugs to you.
Alright, Walt had his prom and graduated. He was so handsome for the prom and he rocked his gold sneakers and mohawk butstill somehow looked classic. He borrowed Missy's 54 Ford Customline and he had a really cool date...super nice girl. Her parents are military and they required Walt to have a sit down chat with Dad before they departed for the evening. With so many kids running amok these days it's almost a breath of fresh air when you come across protective parents. But Walt is a parent's dream...responsible, a leader and an athlete, non drinker/smoker, and talks well with adults. I'm so proud of him. His graduation was huge. It was at The PNC Bank Arts Center, which is where you'd see bands like Aerosmith play. Thousands of people in attendance. So, in the fall he's doing community college before moving on to a university. And for this summer he's playing professional hockey and will be traveling all over the country, all expenses paid. He really landed an exclusive spot. He's no joke when it comes to hockey.
The Silver Bella line up was announced! I can't believe Sally Jean is instructing. Her work is amazing. Just imagine getting to sit down with her to make stuff! And Jenni Bowlin! Love her stuff and I'm a devoted buyer as soon as any new items hit the market. Right now on my work table I have some super sweet rub-ons of hers that I received from Hannah Grey and I'll be putting them to use very soon. These two gals are great additions to event. And then the dream team of gals who recently brought us Postmark L.A. ...which was just too cool... each page was more incredible than the last. It's just such an awesome keepsake for them and us... letting us be a fly on the wall for their creative romp. Isn't "fly on the wall" such a gross term when you think about it? I mean, it works perfectly in context but there must be a better way to say it that doesn't include a disgusting insect that feeds on garbage and feces...please comment me with any replacement ideas.
Anyway, Silver Bella. It's so far in the futurebut I'm already excited. Me and Aar are gonna be vendors again this year, and we'll be so much better stocked with great gifts and stuff since wewon't have to focus our energy on classes and kits. And this time around we'll get to see Omaha. Missy is going once again. We're driving out this time so we won't have to worry about any airline fiascos. Aaron and Missy are both good long distance drivers so we should make it there fast and easy. I can't wait to see everybody. Although we're going there as vendors and it is a working weekend we will still be sure to focus on fun and friends. Can't wait to see Holly, Natasha, who will be trekking all the way from Australia!! Andrea... the list goes on. We're gonna have tons of stuff for sale and hope to have a dynamite looking display...though we know we won't even come close to some of the masters, like Amy Inspire co. and her dazzling array of Sugarville houses that incited gleeful dancing.
This happens to me a lot: I see something online, I purchase something online, and when it arrives in the flesh upon my doorstep, I find that the item is waaaay bigger than I expected. Despite the given measurements and dimensions I seem to imagine objects on a much smaller scale. Maybe it has to do with a subconscious inferiority complex...(I'm only worthy of small things.)...or maybe I'm an idealist and I like to pretend that all the objects I desire are a perfect fit for my tiny apartment. Who knows?...but time and again I'm shocked at the real life hugeness ( relatively huge, of course...compared to my dinky domicile ) of online objects.
That was the case with this MDF trophy cup cut out from www.sayitwithletters.com . They asked me to be a guest designer this month and while awaiting my box of goodies to work with I wondered if they'd send me the little trophy cup I'd been admiring on their site. I imagined the whole thing would be the size of my hand. I thought it would be a cute little craft to do... a simple little ornament. Well when I opened my box of sayitwithletters treasures I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that they did include the trophy cup and that my tiny trophy cup was indeed HUGE (again...don't get the wrong idea...we're speaking relative to my matchbox sized life ). It measures 12" x 11" and is a nice solid 1/2" thick. I've stated before that I love the feel of MDF. It's smooth surface is so pleasing to work with and as a finished product I love the weight of it. Your artwork feels more important when there's a bit of heft to it.
So with my foot tall trophy cup in hand my plans were changed. This was to be my first order of business. I had the finished product in my mind's eye instantly. No shrinking down was necessary. I could use the photo of my little piano girl in her original size, and I could keep the patterned papers at full size.
The first thing I did was paint the trophy white. Even though MDF is fine to glue to directly I like to work on top of flat white acrylic paint because it soaks up Mod Podge a bit and leaves just enough wetness to adhere the papers without any risk of bubbling, wrinkling, or rippling. And plus I wanted the outer edges to be white for when I'd later apply the antique wash. I chose the Silver Damask paper from Daisy D's for the body of the cup because I thought it could sorta resemble etched silver. The arms of the trophy are done in vintage sheet music. And although I'll tie in sheet music with almost anything, in this case it's apropos, because this is a first place trophy for a musical performance. The base of the cup is a paper by Jenni Bowlin studio called Vintage Black Star Dot...again, the pattern is not without meaning...this little girl is a music "star". So with gluing papers to shaped objects I like to lay them on top of the object and go around the edge with my thumbnail and make a precise crease. Then I cut the papers out along the crease and mod podge them to the object. Next I cut out the vintage photo of my little piano playing girl, centered her on the cup, and mod podged her on. I then put a top coat of mod podge over the whole piece and let it dry. Once dry, I applied anice and dirty looking antique wash over the whole thing and made sure to rub it around the white edges so they'd get a parchmenty feel. The crepe paper ruffle trim was next, I glued it on with 3 in 1 craft glue by Beacon. The trim itself is from Birds of a Feather...and when you buy your trim, buy two packs...one to use, the other to keep on your shelf in it's adorable packaging. I then cut out a little oval of creamy paper and with a fine tip marker wrote First Place...glued that to the trophy base and framed it with a tiny chipboard oval from Maya Road, which I first coated with some fine silver glass glitter, also from sayitwithletters.com. Then I drew a scallop border around the little gal and gave it a coat of the silver glass glitter. Since this piece was decidedly colorless I wanted to add one pinch of subtle color and a nice girlie touch, so I selected a pale little bundle of vintage millinery flowers and tied them with a bit of pale gray vintage seam binding...I glued the little bouquet on with 3 in 1 glue. I love the look of this piece now, but I know I'll like it even more when the silver glass glitter begins to tarnish.
Like I said, the trophy cut out was from sayitwithletters.com and coincidentally they are who supply Hannah Grey with theirs. It's a coincidence because not long ago the very first project I chose to do for the HG design team was my Charlotte painting as a "Queen for a Day" plaque using the MDF crown cut out that HG sent me. The sayitwithletters cut outs are fabulous...the woman behind the magic is Deb Damboise and she has some of the coolest stuff ever! You have to stop over at the shop. They do custom shape cut outs!...the possibilities are endless. Go over there and shop, and tell her Jenny sent ya. I say this for your benefit only...I promise I'm not receiving any promotional kick backs. : )
You also gotta check out Jane Dagmi's blog. She's an old friend of ours and she just happens to be the coolest magazine editor there is. She's been at Country Living for years and if you pore over your archives and see an amazingly styled and written spread, odds are, Jane's name is on it. On her blog she recently gave a shout out to her list of favorite Jen's. I'm honored to make her list Jen Paganelli is on there too. We're all friends though me, Aaron, Jane and Jen have never all been together in the same room at the same time, we've done separate hanging out. We have to change that...hopefully at a future Sis Boom event at Jen's house. For the first time ever I missed a Sis Boom event because we were neck deep in moving. So bummed. But we will surely be there next season.
Our favorite little nephew Adam had his 2nd birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. He is the most adorable thing in the world and he had a monster of a good time. Both me and Aar cannot look at a pic of Adam without going "oooooohhhh, ahhhhhhh, sigh, oh jeez, look at him! awwwwwww..." Really, we are incapable. He stops us in our tracks. Love him, love him, love him. We can't thank Jamie and Ann enough for making him. He's equal parts both of them lookswise and verbally...they're both good talkers, and therefore Adam is smart as a whip and armed with an endless vocabulary. It sounds funny to say "thanks for making him" but I really mean it!!
I'm so so happy to see/hear that the lovely Melfie is home and doing great! She has been on our minds nonstop. She is one of the greatest girls ever! I'm so looking forward to spending more time with her at SB! (if she's going...I hope.) I have so many emails to write....so Mel, if you're reading this...know that your on my list and I'll be in your inbox soon.
With all this stuff going on and so much busy work, completion of our website has been on hold for a grossly ridiculous amount of time. Poor Hope, our designer, probably wants to kill us. She has the patience of a saint. We will get on that asap, after we catch our breath over here...so have patience with us. The site will happen!
Alrightyrooskie, this post was waaaaay too long. I hope you ingested it in several sittings. I have to make a habit of blogging shorter and with greater frequency. But who knows...I hope to be a more reliable hostess. I'm working on it. The move is part of my therapy. Seriously, my therapist has been telling me to move for like two years or something. I always said "no, I can't" but I never really had a reason not to. So now I took the plunge and hopefully, along with leaving the old place behind I'll abandon some old bad habits and improve my social life. It's so very necessary. Life can just pass you by if you let it.
OK, so thanks for putting up with me and I hope to be in touch more often. xoxo, Jenny
ps....First thing is first....The Studio is the most important room of our home because that's where we spend most of our time and that is the room that is responsible for generating the income that keeps the roof over our heads. So, as far as decorating, the studio is going to be finished first. I've assembled here a group of some fab work spaces (flickr)...you'll recognize a few.