Chardin and Stillness

Chardin‘s only child committed suicide.  The great still life painter had lavished a classical artistic education on his son,  (Chardin hadn’t received such an education himself, but had longed for it).  The boy had tried, struggled not very diligently, started many paintings, finished few, and at the age of 41 threw himself into a canal in Venice.  Chardin was 72.

So there’s a horrofic irony in the still lifes that Chardin had spent his whole life painting.  Arranged in softly arresting forms; pots, pitchers, fruit, and more often than not, dead game or fish; a rabbit, or a bird, draped carelessly among the mix or hung from a wall.  Recently killed, an opaque eye or a limp paw unsettles the otherwise peaceful scene. 

 Chardin’s paintings give new meaning to the gently oxymoronic term “still life”.  The objects are excessively still, the game completely lifeless, the painted scene could only be in a room where no people are or have been within the hour; that solemn limbo time between the morning hunt and preparations for the midday meal; after death but before the participation in life.  Chardin captured it unerringly time and time again.

And those seven years after his son had died and he lived on?  I’ve wondered a little, vaguely, and not until now giving the question a form, whether those years were those still lifes, taking the form of his own . . .


Easy Etched Window Edge

 We’re etching the edges of the windows all over the house with our personal symbols. A dragonfly is mine, befitting a slightly over energized person. Paige with the vibrant personality has the butterfly. And Ryan, a summery sort of guy with regular sparks of enthusiasm has the firefly.

Etching is easy! But beware the flashing neon danger lights ahead.
Step 1: Clean the glass. Position the stencil. This is a special blue stencil for etching. Available at crafts stores; Michaels or Hobby Lobby. (A custom stencil can be made, too, but that’ll be for a future blog.)

Tape stencilStep 2: Tape stencil, blue side down with masking tape or even packing tape (anything sticky washes off)

Step 3. Use a popsicle stick and firmly rub all over. The stencil lightens as blue film adheres to the glass.

Popsicle stick
Step 4: Remove the tape and the clear top sheet. Toss. (No, not with joy – you’re not done yet.) Toss in the garbage. Retape the edges.

Step 5: Here it is. Flashing neon danger sign. The manufacturer declines any liability which means if you don’t don a space suit and seal yourself in a bubble you’ll be permanently disfigured, more than likely blind, and forget about having children.

It’s not that bad. Just remember to wear gloves and goggles, be near a water source and a phone (Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222), and prepare a container of egg whites (in case someone swallows it).

Step 6: Now that we’re comfortable, let’s begin. We used Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream. It’s thick so we can do vertically placed windows and it won’t slide off (much). Spread it all over the stencil with a brush thickly. Whatever glass the cream comes in contact with will be etched so stay inside the borders.

Spreading cream - not edible!

Step 7: Wait one minute and wash off etching cream wtih lots of water. The stencil and tape will come up, too. Clean it all with a glass cleaner.

Blurry dragonfly picture
There! The camera had trouble with this.  I took about 30 pictures but it still looks a little blurry from here.  The real life version isn’t.   Now we get to do all the other windows!  Each one will get a different styled etched insect (like we don’t have enough in this house in the woods already!) And then there’s mirrors.   Haven’t decided what to etch on those yet . . .

We really like details.  They can be so charming. 

Mermaid Musings

Mermaid tales are ancient and lovely myths first blooming 3000 years ago among the Assyrians. 

The goddess Atargatis fell in love with a shepherd and . . . in the process, killed him.  Proving once and for all and early in our civilization that “love hurts”.

Horrified, she tried to take the form of a fish but because of her divinity the magic warped wrong and the result was half human and half fish.  The earliest pictures of this showed poor Atargatis with the head and the arms of a woman and the rest fishy.  Luckily for her image, subsequent tales made her more beautiful – so much so that later, the Greeks mixed the story up with Aphrodite and, of course, the Sirens, those famous sea creatures that lure men to their deaths – like Atargatis’ hapless shepherd.

There is though another tale of Atargatis that the young man impregnated her and in shame she flung herself into the sea and again human female/fish.  The child grew up to become Semiramus, queen of the Assyrians.

There is a blue then green then black poem by Adrienne Rich   “Diving into the Wreck” which is achingly lovely. Disturbing. Perfect.

Thus the origins of the name for the Glintlit’s Mermaid Blue Collection.

Rusty Rear Retreat

Here we go again, making something older and better. Lots of things are like that; cheese (sometimes), certain wine, and women.
And yes, the above paragraph was written with false bravado after
finding a grey hair. Ok, three. Older. Better. You bet.
We took the wooden back door and bathed it in a patina of . . . rust. For all anybody would know, it’s about to crumble into metallic flakes of decaying tetanus riddled iron. Just what we wanted. Really (Cross my heart and hope to die. Of old age.) We tried three different painting techniques before we settled on this one.
Recipe to Riddle the Rear Door with Rust
1. Paint it black. Two coats, of course.
2. Assemble rusting ingredients. We did it from a kit from Michael‘s this first time, but it’s not necessary. All the ingredients are readily available. Use acrylic craft paint.
rusting ingredients

3. Dip a sponge in brown paint and pat all over.
Patting all over

4.Dip sponge in sand.SandYou won’t need this much. Pat alternately in brown paint and sand, dabbing randomly.5. Damp sponge and dip in yellow paint and pat randomly.Pat6. Put 1Tbsp of dark red paint with 3 Tbsp. water in a little spray bottle. Shake well and spray. Pat the drips with a sponge.
7. Do the same with very dark brown paint.
Spray 8. Done. The result is gritty. Forget scrubbing to clean it. Just use one of those feather dusters.And done!This recipe is straight from Freebird’s blog.
DEATH by Chocolate (is there any better way to die?)
Ingredients: 1 devils food cake mix, prepared and cooled
1 can Hershey syrup
1 (10 oz) Cool Whip
2 packages instant chocolate pudding prepared accordingly
5 Skor or Heath candy bars (or favorite candy), chopped.
Bake cake. Poke holes in cake. Pour Hershey syrup all over the cake. Pour chocolate pudding on top. Spread cool whip over the top of the pudding. Sprinkle with your choice of candy. Cool. Eat. A lot.
Easy Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients: 6 T. oleo 1 1/2 C sugar 6 T milk 1/2 C choc chips Directions: Bring oleo, milk and sugar to rolling boil. Boil 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in choc. chips. Stir until melted. Pour over cake.
 Brought to you by your friendly and fatter neighborhood decorator at

2007 Treasures To Be

So many things planned for 2007. We’ll be introducing, all hail with flashing marquee lights . . . etched glassware, paper mache bowls, boxes, even wastepaper baskets glinted and bewired (this is not your kids paper mache) (unless they’re paper mache prodigies who want to work for us!) and a whole new Glintlit subdivision, Glintlit Publications; handmade greeting cards, more bookmarks and books, and if it works out (we’ll know by summer, designing and testing the prototype now) a Glintlit planner.

I personally will be adding a gallery of my cozy little snake paintings, an obsession that’s slithering it’s way onto the canvas.

AND new blogs are in the works on our adventures in nutrition, literary retreats and current cultural events in Cincinnati!

2007 is dawning soon, tomorrow!, in iridescent shades, streaked, striped, and shimmering with promise.  We’re looking forward to it all with an irritating complacency . . .

The above Resolutions and Reflections brought to you by

Save the Cow Shoe Shelf

Shelf for shoes – leatherized and burnished with red-gold metallic leaf.

We’re still in the kitchen. It’s where we keep shoes, near the back door, where we put them on.It propitiates our natural (and well-developped) sense of laziness.

PART ONE: Leatherizing

Step 1: Find an old bookshelf. Dents are good. Have you ever met a perfect cow? (No mother-in-law jokes permitted).

Paint the whole thing burgundy. Let it dry.

The inside of two shelves are already completely “leatherized” in this picture.
Step 2: Paint a large section brown.

Step 3: Immediately (before it dries) take a plastic bag, crumple it, press it into wet paint and pull it off. Voila! the rich textured look of leather without the misty image of sad cow eyes keeping one awake at night.

Pulling it off
PART 2: Burnishing. I must have been a crow in another life. If it gleams or sparkles, I want it. When in doubt, add glint. It’s our motto. For the house. For the business. For life. (A sure sign that a person finds life amusing is the simple adornment of a glint in the eye.)

Step1: Brush on a thin coat of metallic leaf adhesive.

Step 2: Wait an hour. This lets it become tacky. And it stays tacky for 12 hours. So . . . if you run out of metallic leaf and have to go get some more and while you’re out, you stop at the grocery, go to a girl scout meeting, take your afternoon yoga class, attend a Cirque du Soleil performance (where you contemplate the surreal aspects of your life), get a flat tire (thus erasing the destressing benefits of your yoga class), you still might get back in time to finish burnishing.

Step 3: Apply metallic leaf. It comes in lots of colors; gold, silver, copper, variegated red, variegated green. It’s pretty stuff. I, uh, IT also comes in flake form. We used variegated red leaf for this project. We burnished all the edges of the shelf.Burnishing

Step 4: Brush off the excess leaf with a soft brush. Gently. This creates a small shower of tiny red gold flakes. Magic in motion.

Step 5: Seal it. The sealer can be brushed or sprayed on. Let it dry. Do this 10 times. Metallic leaf is fragile. The more coats of sealant the better.Burnished.

Step 6: Place shoe boxes in starting position. We keep shoes in photo boxes. They’re prettier.

Step 7: Don a too cute pair of shoes and step OUT!

 This fun thing to do brought to you by

Gold and an Abdicated King

The third wiseman had been a king, the ruler of a small kingdom far to the southeast of the Roman Empire.  Many years before, he had abdicated his throne to a son and retired to his payrus scrolls, his correspondence and his preparations.  When the time came and the stars were falling into positions, he had had a long time to consider an appropriate gift.  Feeling it was in inadequate but being the most honorable thing he owned, he chose his own gold crown, the crown he had removed to ready himself for a long journey and his role as witness.  Unwieldly to carry, he melted it down himself, had a box created for it and, with small faith his rheumatic bones would complete the journey, he left to rendezvous with his companions . . .

This, of course, was another Glintlit flight of fancy, and yet, as with anything fictional there may be a small amount of truth lodged in our psyche somewhere. 

Gold.  The history behind it is immense.  The latest is the most fascinating of all.  There’s been research to show that microbes could play a role in the development of gold.  That’s life.  Gold is not entirely the cold, impersonal metal that it’s been maligned to be.  Both frankincense and myrrh come from the resin of trees, the sap that flows like blood through the veins of trees, and now we have life at the birth of gold.  It’s taken us 2000 years to find out just how appropriate the third gift was.

This our tribute to gold . . .

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A little bit of not so trivial trivia brought to you by

Design Dilemmas and Other Tiling Traumas

This is a fluffy article.  If you want to know the nitty-gritty of how to tile, it’s in Tentative Tuscan Tiles a few blogs back. 
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In my dissolute past I quilted. Fascination with the interplay of color and pattern is addictive. Luckily before any lasting damage was done to loved ones (but not before creating a quota of quilts) I managed to break the fatal thread (pun intended) that kept me bound to obsessive behavior.
Unfortunately, my  personality remained and tiling has filled the gap formerly filled by quilts. It’s the same thing; the materials are a little harder, the result is a little more permanent, but to all intents and purposes, we are once again a family at risk.
For the space under the refrigerator, we tiled with brick tiles my friend Sarah found put out with someone’s garbage on the side of the road. Don’t DO that! Message me if you live in Cincinnati. We’ll come and get them. Singing all the way.
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In front of the refrigerator, we used slate of various sizes. This was hard! Because the tiles were different sizes, the edges kept coming up uneven. Finally we centered everything and were left with four corners which were the wrong size for any particular tile.
This is where it got fun. Really. Every problem is an opportunity to be more creative.
And to spend more money.
Using tiny tiles, a quilt style corner was designed.
We like it. Although for these little tiles we didn’t use spacers and we wished we did. Spacers come in skinny sizes, too, and it would have made it more symmetrical. Live and learn. All in all we’re pleased.
One more section of the kitchen to quilt. I mean, tile.
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Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood decorator at

A Garland of Frankincense and the Hearty King

WARNING:  The is a Glintlit flight of fancy.  For any basis in reality, click on the links. . .

The third wiseman, let’s call him Frank, a progenitor of the Frankish kings, was short, robust, and with a ruddy complexion topped with a thatch of blonde hair.  He was a hearty hale-thee-well fellow whom everybody liked.  Descendants of his race became the Germanic barbarians, but he was relatively cultured (and even more widely traveled) in comparison.  He carried the frankincense like a modern football, much to the disapproval of his traveling companions in light of how valuable the incense was, as valuable as any precious gem of equal weight.  Made from the resin of Boswellia trees in Arabia, India and Ethiopia, it wasn’t called “frankincense” until reintroduced to Europe by the Frankish crusaders a thousand years later. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This expensive incense, presented as a gift at his birth, signified Christ’s upcoming role as a priest.  It smelled sweet and was often burnt in sacrifices in the temples.  By adding salt, the smoke becomes a pure white.  The incense itself, as would have been presented at the nativity, is a gold brown color.

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It’s this color that inspired the name for Glintlit’s Frankincense Christmas Garland.  Warm honey-toned beads of glass, gold-plate and Swarovski crystals create an elegant draped accent for the Christmas tree. 

A not so trivial bit of trivia from

Holy Flaming Refrigerators, Batman!

This should be called Holy Flaming FURRY Refrigerators. Camera trouble.

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This is an old project. The refrigerator was looking a shade shady. Beige. With a patina of rust – an appliance’s equivalent of age spots. Not that I’m admitting age spots are unattractive on people. Aging skin can be lovely in a translucent crepe paper sort of way, but aging appliances don’t have the same effect.

So out danced the decoupage pot. It asked several sheets of scrapbook paper to waltz. The scissors tangoed with magazine clippings and finally the two couples settled down to a nice cozy life on the door of the refrigerator.

We have an attitude that a fireplace belongs here where the refrigerator is.  Kitchens lost a lot of charm 150 years ago when stoves replaced the hearth and fireplaces moved into the living rooms or, ye gads, out of the house altogether.  I know, stoves are infinitely more practical, but gosh darn it, a fireplace belongs here. But, hmmm, if we did THAT there’d be no place for the refrigerator.  We’d have warm milk, bad cheese, rotting tomatoes.  Yuk.

Instead we compromised and decoupaged fireplaces (and an occasional candle) on the refrigerator door. Detail. Thus. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Happily ever after (or at least about five years and counting). . . probably because it was sealed with ten coats of decoupage and a polyurethane varnish. Not recomended by most marital counselors but in this case it worked.

One more cake recipe that, yes, we’re going to decoupage on the cabinets.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about and WANT to know what I’m talking about, it’s in an old blog, Decadent Decoupaged Cabinetry (and if anybody wants to share a chocolate cake recipe we still have a few naked cabinets!)

This has been sent to me by an incredible lady/artist (who has also been an incredible supportive friend) who spends her days painting a mural in Dayton.  Then she goes home to cook fabulous food.  She assures me this is a rich cake.  I’m afraid to make it.  I’ve sworn to myself that if I make a cake I’ll eat only ONE piece.  If it’s too good, it’s too hard!


1 devils food cake mix/ 2eggs/1c chocolate chips/1 package chocolate instant pudding mix/ 1 cup sour cream/ 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)/ 1/2 cup chocolate liquor.  Combine these together. Bake in a well-greased bundt pan at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 min.  When cool dust with confectioners sugar.

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