Since returning from life in Italy I have taken on a big project: convereting a barn to a house...while living in it! It didn't seem like such a bad idea when we moved in in the summertime, but now that the cold and damp is here (we're in the redwoods) I realize just how difficult it is to do simple things, like painting the rooms. The temperature is so low in this barn that the paint takes ages to dry. Just the same it's been a fun creative process, taking an empty shell and getting to decide which part will be the kitchen, which will be the bedrooms and so on. It reminds me so much of building forts in the yard when I was little, making something out of what's at hand: salvage, found objects and hand-me-downs.
My bedroom area was just sort of thrown together when we moved in and I put most of my effort into making the kitchen and office functional. Yesterday while I was having my morning coffee it occurred to me that part of the reason I was feeling so cold in here is that most of the walls are white. That can work in a space filled with sun and natural light. This place is not. I stared at the wall behind my bed trying to decide what color I'd like it to be. I decided that even though it's too cold to paint right now I desperately needed to warm-up that sleeping 'nook' temporarily.
Wooden boxes from Florence, India & Greece; 1940s handpainted silk lampshade:
On the bed: vintage India print spread & vintage chinoiserie pillow; on the wall: 1920s silk brocade spread & my original embroidery art:
Why is it taking me forever to sell amazing things at amazing prices on Craig's List these days? Is it the economy or is it that Santa Cruz has never really embraced great design? My usual customers were 95% of the time from San Francisco but now that I live further afield things have stalled. How will I ever move with all of this stuff??? My mate Dave in London has one word for me: charity. "Ah Dave. Do I have to?"
A signed Campuzano original (he's a turn-of the-to mid-century artist from Bilbao, Spain for goodness sake!!):
Okay, someone needs to come with a big truck and just back it up to my house. Preferrably someone who wants to open a shop! It's all here. Everything you need to go into business...except for the customers! Help!
I just have to share a great thrift find. Lately I've been keeping my eyes peeled for vintage stereo equipment. The kind with soul, usually encased in teak cabinets and weighing about ten times as much as the new stuff. At an auction I picked up a mid century Pioneer tape deck in its original box...!!!... for $3.
I love the way the deck is designed so that the tape cassette is reclining in its little window.
My latest find are a pair of Harmon Kardon speakers found at the Goodwill that I took a gamble on for $12...!!! It paid off. They are the big sound I've been longong for ever since I traded in my major-ly grand floor speakers some years ago for a pair of bookshelf speakers. Oh the regret. But I have been happily redeemed. Oh how that bass rumbles across the floor!
I was listening to Beirut's song Nantes yesterday. Wow, they really do have a lot of instruments. I could hear them all!
These speakers are really a piece of furniture. I love the knubby linen fabric that dresses them (is this photo too dark?):
Okay. I talked myself into it. Time to go cut a rug!
I've finally finished one out of hundreds of projects I have going. I usually complete one phase of a project -- in this case that meant buying and cutting the plywood -- then it sits while I move on to do another phase of another project (they don't call me Gemini for nothin'). I had started stenciling a wall in my living room with one of my original stencil designs, then I decided that the stencil would look nice on the plywood coffee table that I was making. You can purchase the legs at Ikea. This is the result.
It's a great backdrop for objects:
Now, back to painting my bedroom, finishing the music room drapes, refinishing a vintage buffet, hemming my pants, planting a dozen broccoli plants, and.....
I've been busy trying to weed things out around the house. It's tedious doing spring cleaning via Craig's List. Each piece has to be photographed and measured. But where would I be without Craig? I owe you many thanks Mr. Newmark. A glimpse of a few of the many items I'm listing:
Hand-carved table from India...
Desk, that actually extends to a dining table that can easily seat ten...
Chrome chair, French chest...
And so on, and so on. That's not all. I have literally hundreds of items to get photographed and listed on Etsy. I'll be sharing that link here on the blog when it's all together. Grand Opening - Coming Soon!
I saw these sweet little green vintage trays in Drew's Etsy shop (4 for $10) and because I have a tray fetish -- especially vintage trays from Pasadena -- I liked them instantly but didn't think of a use right off. I have enough jewelry trays on the dresser. "Could I use them in the bathroom? No." They kept haunting me over the days and then it hit me. I needed drain trays to go under our miniature succulents. Parfait!
You'll find Drew's Etsy shop, Kitsch Café HERE. Here's a sneak peek at what you'll find there-
If you read this blog even semi-regularly you'll know at least these two things: I suffer migraines and I love Paolo Nutini. Not especially in that order. Well I just came out of a one-week migraine that kept me prisoner in my bed for much of that week. On one of the final days I was lying there in such distress and pain that I proclaimed, "If Paolo Nutini were playing in my garden right now I would not go out. That's how bad I feel." Now on the other hand, if Paolo Nutini came to my bedside and offered me some medicinal marijuana I would probably oblige him. Keep that in mind Paolo.
Back among the living (lots of ghouls and zombies out too), I was rewarded with this lovely oil painting found at a local charity shop for 4 dollars!
Central Park, 19x23:
Okay. Gotta go carve some Jack-o-Lanterns. Have a fun All Hallows Eve! If you're Irish or Scottish - even if you're not - place a candle in a west window to honor the dead. To Marco Yovino, xoxo.