Archive for Design

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 www.glintlit.com

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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 www.glintlit.com

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 www.Glintlit.com

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!

LONI’S CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

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.

Tentative Tuscan Tiles – Part Two – The Finished Floor

We are. Prouder than peacocks. Tiling the floor was about as easy as swimming the English Channel – and it took longer. But . . . there’s an upside. We are fond FOND! of the result.
Would it look like this if we had a professional do it? Not a chance, because when I changed my mind halfway through I wouldn’t have had the nerve to tell the big burly tile-laying guy who just wants to go home and catch Monday night football that I wanted something different (and besides he would have doubled the price on me). But I have to see it all laid out before I know if I’m going to like it or not. Conceptualizing just doesn’t cut it.
Here goes. The amazing adventures of people formerly terrified of tiling floors.
Step 1: Lay the backerboard. It’s awkward. It’s heavy. It’ll keep the tiles from cracking. It’s worth it.

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Cut it to size with a carbide scorer. (it’s a sharp double-edged knife for cutting concrete thingagummies like this.)
Mortar up the floor. More gray goop. It’s called thinset. Think mud pies.

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Lay the backerboard down. Yes! So glad to ditch the thing. (Don’t drop it. Lay it down gently. Then celebrate.)
Screw it down.

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Step 2: Apply fiberglass tape over the seams. The books say this is optional for the floor but it would make it more stable. Stable is good, especially when you come from a family of giants.
We laid the tape.Then we mortared on top of it.
Step 3: Measure. Or not.
Everything we read said to measure and mark with a chalk line. We did this. I’m sure it’s a good idea, but it didn’t work. For us. What the tape measure said was square may have been square in an alternate reality, but the idea was for it to LOOK square.
We gave the tape measure a retirement party (another good excuse to make a cake) and then laid out the tiles by eye. YOU of course should measure. The books say so.
We arranged the tiles until we found something we liked. This is the fun part. Really. When necessary we cut the tiles to fit with a tile cutter
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When we found a design we liked we spaced them with these little white crosses called, you guessed it,”spacers”.
Actually I DIDN’T guess it. I had to check the bag in order to tell you what they’re called. (So much for my literature degree.)Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Step 4; Take the tiles up and mortar.
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Step 5: Lay the tiles back down and insert the the little white crosses again. Allow it to dry. Remove crosses and grout.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Note the inspector.

Step 6: Wipe off excess. Wait 2 hours and wipe off gritty residue. We did this three times. The stuff is persistent.
Step 7: Promenade barefoot.
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So OK, it’s only the kitchen floor, but tiles can last thousands of years. It represents stability, solidity, foreverness. It’s an echo of the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans. It’s walking into Byzantium . . .
Proud. Happy. Happy and proud. We DID this! Hah! The other rooms are in for a rude awakening. There’s the laundry room, the dining room, the hall, the stairs, ooooh, lots of places yet to tile.

A www.Glintlit.com Production

Decadent Decoupaged Cabinetry

Step 1 (optional) – We unscrewed the cabinet door from the frame – and the knobs from the cabinet door – just to make the decoupage easier. This isn’t necessary – just easier. Unless you’re allergic to screwdrivers.
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Step 2: Clean it, of course, and spray paint the whole thing. We used white, although the camera insists it’s ivory.

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Step 3: Choose what papers you want to use. We’re using black and white tissue papers (some with silent film pictures on it) and a favorite chocolate cake recipe. Yes, this is a dangerous thing to do if you like cake.

Decoupage is fabulous. You can decoupage ANYTHING even vaguely like paper; handmade papers, tissue papers (which gets translucent, very cool effect), scrapbook paper, magazine and newspaper clippings, photographs, your kids report cards, fall leaves, dried flowers (flat ones), love letters, coupons, subpoenas . . .

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Step 4: Spread the decoupage over the surface. Place a paper down and smooth it until the wrinkles are out. You should use a brayer (which is like a little rolling pin), but if you’re thorough and patient your fingers will work.
When all the paper is down, slather decoupage all over the top. Let it dry several hours. Do it again. And again. Ten times, in fact. This is the KITCHEN.  It gets rough in the kitchen and the more decoupage layers that goes on, the better it’s protected – but when you DO put lots of coats on, you’ll be amazed how nice it still looks ten years from now. (Yes, we know this from experience. Decoupaging forever!).
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting(The glare in the middle is from the camera’s flash. Grrr.)

Step 5: Spray or brush on a polyurethane sealant. Screw on the knobs. Done!

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Here it is in detail. More suggestive than intended (‘suggestive’ wasn’t intended at ALL) but you know what they say about chocolate.

Now we get to do 14 more cabinet doors.  We’re doing a chocolate cake theme. One fabulous recipe per cabinet door.

FLUFFY FATTENING CHOCOLATE CAKE

1/3 cup cocoa ,  1/2 cup boiling water,   2/3 cup shortening 1 3/4 cups sugar,  1 tsp. vanilla extract,  2 eggs2 1/4 cups cake flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt1/3 cup buttermilkHeat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch pans. In a small bowl, stir together cocoa and water until smotth; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat shortening, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour baking soda and salt; add to shortening mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in cocoa mixture; beat well.

Pour batter into pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove pans to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened, 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract. In a small bowl, beat butter. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk; beat to spreading consistency (more milk will probably be needed). Blend in vanilla. Spread on cake.
Now here’s the clincher. Eat ONE piece. And good luck.

This creative quirk was brought to you by . . . www.glintlit.com

Piranesi’s Utopia OR The Grandfather of Surrealism Etches a Brave Old World

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (the Italians have such musical names!) labored his whole life to build a new Rome upon and among the stones of the old Rome.  The concept for the most part stayed on paper but . . .

Piranesi was an architectural artist, born near Venice in 1720 (nothing much seemed to be happening that year), but by the time he died in 1778 (the American Revolution was in full swing) he had helped usher in Neoclassicism.  That may sound a little dull but it meant he was a catalyst for a visionary new world.  His grand dreams pretty much fell on deaf ears, but in the wake of his attempt he left us with the most amazing etchings and a new way of thinking. 

Those etchings did, in effect, change the world, not so much how people lived but how people saw, felt, and even dreamed.  They were the stepping stones to new imaginative heights.  His prison staircases prefigured Escher’s staircases .  He served as an impetus for Surrealistic movement.  He presented strange perspectives of renewed ruins and passive “modern”  figures peopling the debris of the ancient Roman world.  His series on prisons, subterranean caverns with endless stairways and enormous arches, are the most famous, but my personal favorite is “The Ancient Intersection of Via Appea and Via Ardeatina”.  It looks as if the antiquities section of the world’s museums had been raided and the booty piled one on top the other to tower over the streets.  A grand history left to decay as tiny people gape and point and go about their daily lives.  In Piranesi’s time, anyone wandering around Italy would have seen isolated instances of this; the rocks of ancient civilization left to the vines and moss.  We have virtuously sterilized what we can in museums to protect it all, but Piranesi has embedded the romance of it in our consciousness (even if we’ve never laid eyes on his etchings before) because surrealism took his fantasies and sprouted them with new distorted dreams.   Marc Chagall, Man Ray, Max Ernest,  Yves Tanguy, Rene Magritte, and Salvador Dali, all owe a debt to Piranesi for opening the collective unconscious to the surreal.

People who spend their lives to fulfill a vision of a better world are fascinating.  Whether those strivings are actually reached isn’t as important as the fact that portions of humanity are capable of thinking far bigger than themselves.  And I’ve come to believe that the expense of human energy is never left unrewarded.  If, as so often happens, the world precludes the vision from becoming envisioned, the effort itself leaves resonances that change the world.  Sometimes even beyond that imagined in the initial dream.   

As it turned out, Piranesi’s dream to change the world’s architecture was far too small.  Instead he changed the world’s mind. 

The Imaginary Kitchen Fireplace

 


We’re going to show off an old project. This is the “fireplace” we tiled behind the stove. Mirrored diamond-shaped bits of glass in red and gold from an after Christmas sale are the flames. Bits of broken plates in shades of brown are the logs. The arch is made of broken plates in ivory and green. We grouted it all in a cinnamon brown and left it rough, liking the rustic look.
If you’ve never broken a plate on purpose, we highly recommend it. Gosh darn fun. Imagine it’s your mother-in-law or an ex-somebody-or-other (although my ex is great) or the neighbor next door who keeps complaining about you breaking plates . . .

Cackling Crackled Trim

This week we’re crackling trim and yes, the house is probably laughing at us. We paint old trim to make it look . . . old. Go figure.

STEP 1: Gold paint. We used two coats.
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This is an illustration of The Midas Effect – too much gold is a bad thing. So OK, it looks bearable in the daylight. At night it looks like it belongs in King Tut’s tomb – perfectly acceptable decorating if you’re a dead pharaoh, but most of us aren’t.

STEP 2: Brush on crackle goop, a.k.a. “Behr’s Crackle”. (Other companies make a similar product).
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Scowl of concentration not required for correct application of product.

STEP 3: Apply black paint THICKLY – it crackles better. Admittedly this is difficult when the surface is vertical. Be prepared for drips. Do not rebrush or apply a second coat. Crackle is very tempermental about that sort of treatment and will refuse to crackle.
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This looks awful so wear blinders until it’s dry.

Step 4. Finished!
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Old. Crackled. Fun. Yet in the week it took to do this, I’m sure I  heard a light cackling coming from this room just before dawn . . .
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The curtain tie is just a sample of all the pretty beaded curtain ties we have at www.glintlit.com.

Skin Diary by Stephen Irwin

The Speed Art Museum in Lousville, KY has an amazing installation art.  Skin Diary by Stephen Irwin (no, not the sorely lamented crocodile guy).  Walking into the room one feels as if one has fallen, very gently, through a wormhole and entered a negative universe on the other side.  The walls are white.  The Japanese Sekishu paper hung in a line all around the room is soft, delicate, and white.  The ink seeping through the paper in various spots is in purple shades occasionally verging on black.  It looks eerily like the pictures of galaxies taken from space, lovely but . .

personally I hate horror movies and those bruises on that beautiful white paper has the same effect on me as the shadows found only in the creepiest horror films. 

But it was quiet and only a whisper of air barely undulated the paper in a slow random wave.  There’s a place to sit in the center and whether one will or no, breathing slows and something not quite peace, but a mirror image of it, rolls over and around.

I was at the museum a few weeks ago and I still can’t get that room out of my mind.  And sometimes I think I want to. It borders on disturbing.  The beauty of it makes it even more disturbing.

There’s a picture of the room at www.speedmuseum.org/exhibitions.html but like most pictures of this type of art, it can’t begin to do it justice.

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