02 Sep

More DIY

Painting my daughter’s room was a fun and satisfying new-home project. In reality though, the vast majority of home improvement projects are much more mundane. We bought a 1952 cosmetic fixer-upper. As more rooms better reflect my vision for the house, I’ll post before and after pictures.

But for now, know that while this house is structurally sound, just about everything else about it needs attention. And even though we’ve set up house in about 10 places over the last 20 years, this is the first one that has actually brought me to tears. It’s kicking my butt like no home ever has. I think that the difference with this house is that for the first time ever, we own it. Every other place my husband and I have lived in has been a rental, and therefore we’ve just put up with their idiosyncracies knowing we’d be moving on sooner rather than later. This time, if I don’t like something, I can (and should) actually change it to work with our lifestyle. That means that my project list is essentially never-ending. Ah, the joys of home ownership. Most people have already learned this lesson, but it’s new to me.

Closet WIP

Right now I’m sorting out how and where I store things. Part of that is making use of the massive closet in the laundry room. Large as it is though, it didn’t have any permanent shelving. Given it’s location, I decided that it needed deep, sturdy, built-in shelves to store linens and kitchen overflow. I’m crafty, and have watched my parents dive into home DIY for years, so I was pretty confident that with a little guidance, I could construct the shelves rather than buy something pre-made or hire a carpenter. My mom came for two days and together we made use of lots of power tools. Another day of painting on my own, and voilá, a functional closet!

Closet done

It ends up that duvets are incredibly bulky, and not all the things I wanted to store in it actually fit, but this is such a huge improvement. Since building the shelving, we’ve removed a cabinet and extra appliances from the room, so now there’s room to remove wallpaper, paint the room and add in more storage (probably from IKEA). But that’s a project for another time as I’ve shifted my attention to the yard…

28 Aug

She Only Wanted One Thing

When we bought our house (our very first!), we asked the kids what they wanted in their rooms. The girl had only one request. She wanted to paint a scene on the walls. All the walls. And the ceiling. It’s only paint, so why not?!

K Mural drawing

Before the moving truck arrived, she and I spent some time looking at murals on Pinterest, sketching, and refining our sketches. The drawings above are the final concepts for the room.

 

K mural sketch

When we arrived at our new house, we jumped right into the room transformation. It was going to be much easier without any furniture in the room, and it was by far the most fun of the bajillion projects the house has in store for all of us. Using our sketches as a guide, I drew directly on the walls. By the way, my mom and step-dad, AKA Team Deco-Reno, had previously stripped the room of wallpaper, primed the walls, and painted the trim so the room was mural-ready.

 

K Mural paint

Next, we went to the hardware store to buy paint. We cleaned the closest one out of flat interior base in quart size and had to get the rest of our colors at another store! I would have liked to get tester pots, but those only came in satin finish. Oh well, we have more projects up our sleeves for the leftover paint.

 

K Mural WIP

The girl helped paint for the first two days. Then, she got bored and handed the more tedious work to me. That’s OK, I went faster on my own and could better control the quality. She was an awesome cheerleader though — frequently telling me how much she loved the mural.

 

K Mural dunes

The first finished wall was the desert.

 

K mural w K

Now the desert is partially covered by cubby storage. We made a trip to IKEA to get closet storage, a book case (with an eye on still being able to view as much mural as possible), and a rug.

 

K Mural forest

There’s a whole lot going on in the room now, with everything moved in, but it works for her, and I think the mural actually grounds her stuff in an odd way.

 

K mural pond

The mural took six days to paint and on the seventh day we ripped up the carpet a hour before the moving truck arrived. It was so worth it as the floor, while scuffed and worn, is in essentially good shape and looks so much better than the tired carpet that was there before. We hung just a few favorite things on the wall, to include the girl’s oil pastel of our beloved cat, Madison.

 

 

K Mural mountain

The closet is “behind” the waterfall, because waterfalls should always have secret chambers behind them. The finishing touches in the room were to paint the faceplates to match the mural and to change the closet doorknobs to pretty blue glass ones.

 

Mural ceilingFinally, painting four walls wasn’t quite enough. The girl’s concept included a “swirly night sky” on the ceiling. We tried a graphic solution like the clouds, but in the end preferred a more Van Gogh-esque style.

Just for fun, the photo below is how the room looked when we first viewed the house and made our offer to buy it.

K Mural before

 

12 Jul

Homefront & Downrange Wrap Up

Friday was the last day of my co-exhibit at the Arts Council of Moore County in North Carolina. I packed up all my artwork and brought it home to get packed again, with all our household goods and moved to our new home in Portland, Oregon. It was wonderful show, and so much more than I could have dreamed up myself. I am thankful for the vision and dedicated work of director Chris Dunn and friend Nanette Zeller. The exhibit was a real community effort. Below is a short video by local videographers Brady and Laura Beck which shows the artwork and the festivities from the opening weekend of the show. Enjoy!

 

PS: the blog will be on hiatus while we move. Hopefully more regularly postings will resume mid-August (brace for house before and afters!).

29 Jun

A Quick Family Vacation

After I returned from my trip to North Carolina for Homefront & Downrange, our family went to California to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday. A great time was had by all.

Highlights include the Museum of Tech and Innovation in San Jose, where we tried to build an internet,

SF 10

 

 

Crack codes (too easy, but fun nonetheless as you had to crack the first, to get the second, to get the third),SF 09

 

and picked locks. The kids agreed that it would be much harder to pick a lock that you can’t see into and that isn’t super sized.SF 08

 

We also went to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. I really enjoyed it. Currently, A Common Thread is one of the exhibits. The mix of techniques and artists were exactly the types that appeal to me, so I was engrossed. Some of my favorite works are by Joetta Maue, Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Jeana Eva Klein, and Rebecca Ringquist. Take the time to click the links and look at their work. There was also a small collection and a video of “Kawandi” inspired quilts by Margaret Fabrizio that intrigued me as in as they have a very peculiar way of contracting the quilts, with lots of scraps as “batting.”SF 07

 

Part of the family gathering was at beautiful China Camp State Park, SF 05

where I found the mother load of beach glass!SF 06

 

My son had his hands full too — catching crabs.SF 04

 

My daughter preferred to get her hands wet back at our hotel, communing with the koi.SF 03

 

The kids chose Alcatraz as our touristy destination. They loved it!SF 02

 

I have to admit, it’s kind of an amazing place.SF 01

26 Jun

Figure Friday

It’s good to know that I can miss almost a month of figure drawing sessions and still be able to make a decent drawing.

Figure Drawing 6.25a Figure Drawing 6.25b Figure Drawing 6.25c

12 Jun

New House Progress

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything about our new house. There’s been no real progress on the bathroom with the yellow sink, but that’s only because it’s not as high a priority as other, more practical things, like replacing locks on exterior doors, and painting as many walls as possible before the furniture arrives.

Remember this wallpapery entry hall?

Entry before

 

Thanks to Team Deco-Reno, it now looks like this:

Entry painted 2

There’s plans for a fun new door, but for now I’m very happy with it’s fresh, bright look.

Similarly, here’s what the Master Bedroom looked like when we first viewed the house (staging is for wimps).

MBR before

 

And here it is all de-wallpapered and move-in ready:

MBR Painted

 

I can’t wait to see it with all of our things, but that’s still a month and a half away.

 

It’s tough being on the other side of the country from all this nesting preparation, but my mom and I have been entertaining each other, and staying on the same page aesthetically, via text and Pinterest. My recent messages look like this:Downstairs bath colors Upper Bath inspiration Upper BR colorsIt’s pretty fun while I wait to actually get into the house.

 

10 Jun

Knit Night

On Instagram I’ve been posting places you can knit — just for fun (#placesyoucanknit). I enjoy knitting as bring along hobby to keep my hands busy. Here’s a few fun places I’ve been knitting recently:

Knitting beach

At the beach (yes, I know that’s crochet, not knitting, but it still counts)

 

knitting car

In the car.

 

Knitting with cat

With the cat (especially nice when the colors match)

 

knitting Weymouth

In my room at the historic Weymouth Center where I stayed while setting up my Homefront & Downrange show.

 

Knitting bassAt my daughter’s bass lesson.

Where do you knit (or sew, or crochet, or doodle)?

 

08 Jun

Half Light

While I was setting up and celebrating Homefront & Downrange in North Carolina, my friends and co-conspirators Natalya Aikens and Vivien Zepf were setting up a group show of our work, plus that of two more in the circle, Robin Ferrier and Deborah Boschert.

The Gloaming is a presentation of contemporary art, inspired by the magical time betwixt day and night, eliciting myriad transitions. The art is manifested in fiber-based media, from cloth to paper and plastic, in sizes large and small.

The five artists in this group show hail from across the United States. We initially came to know one another through artist groups on the internet; later, more personal conversations ensued and friendships were born. This is the group’s first collaborative exhibition though individually, each artist has shown work in juried art exhibitions and been published.

We each included one larger piece and one 12″ x 12″ piece, all inspired by the colors of the gloaming — that period just as the sun sets when glowing gold mixes with twilight blue. My piece was inspired by the prominent transition in my life right now, my husband’s retirement from the Army. When I started the piece it was loosely based on a flag, with the structure of the stripes going dark in deep blues, purples and greens. The straight stripes was contrasted with an exuberant field of oranges and golds representing the possibilities awaiting in the next day. I was nearly finished when I decided that it was boring me and what I really wanted to do was to work on an improvisational scrap piece that was waiting for me to take a break from artworks with deadlines and purposes.

Half Light Medallion web

 

Half Light Medallion, by Kristin La Flamme 2015

So I changed course, and started fresh. I dumped out all my scraps in Gloaming colors and proceeded to make a new piece, starting from the center out in a Medallion Quilt style. While this one is conceptually further from my original intent, it still retains a bit of structure in the center, which dissolves into scrappy chaos, and then a casual twilight of spiky challenges next to peaceful star-filled spaces.It’s a little bit landscape, and a little bit reflection on transitions. Mostly it was a whole lot of fun to make as I figured it out as I went along.

If you are within visiting distance of Larchmont, NY, please come and see all our pieces on view from now until June 30th. Vivien and Natalya will be giving an artist’s talk on the 14th from 2-4pm. Please come.

June 2nd – 30th, 2015
Etui Fiber Arts
2106 Boston Post Road
Larchmont, NY