Friday, March 7, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
The Simple Life
It’s March and Monday in Umbria Italy, presently the day is bright and sunny. I’m going to give you some feel good homework for the week. I love lists and I love to check things off my list. Last week I had 27 things to do on my list. I actually accomplished 17 of those. It was a joy to check 17 boxes off.
Friday, February 28, 2014
I want to ask you to take a deep breath before you continue on, now try not to judge me on the hideousness, the profoundly abusive, ugliness of the before shot my linoleum floors. If it hurts you to look at for a moment on the Internet, think what it has done to me and my family, all these years. O.k I’m being silly…kind of.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
|Sette Design power|
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I can paint flowers freehand all over a wall in a couple of hours, but I will not confess how long it took me to get the Social Media icons on this Diario di Design. Lucky for me, I don't really know long it took, I'm pretty sure there were naps and cappuccinos involved and insecurity and days if not weeks passing by.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
The Simple Life
Here in Umbria if you don’t like the weather wait 20 minutes. That’s what they say I think in the Northeast of America too. We do not say that in California, so it pisses me off. I’m always getting fooled.
This week in Umbria Spring has sprung with glorious green fields and pink and white budding fruit trees, Mimosa galore puffy and brilliant, shocking yellow. The birds are going crazy, chatting away, they have so much to sing about. We all have so much to sing about!
Monday, February 17, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
The Simple Life
Want to make your life easier? I know is that a trick question?
This last week I created this Vanilla Raisin Brown Bread and believe me it has changed my life. I’m a single Mom and I work for myself, so it becomes pertinent to have easy snacks for school, something quick to grab to give me enough energy to keep painting a ceiling or having something around incase “someone”(tall, big BF) wants a midnight “mirenda”.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Valentines is just around the corner. I love to make valentines for the ones I love. In America it can be a message of love for anyone who might be important to you. In Italy Valentines is viewed as something you do just for the “one” you love, not your mother or child or best friend.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The Simple Life
I have a friend and mentor who is a master painter, she recently gave me all these gorgeous paintbrushes. She is in her 80’s and is still going strong with a passion and love of life that is not found often.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
|summer in Italy|
Soon it will be SUMMER
It will be so hot that you will walk around barefoot.
The streets will be empty because you could fry an egg on the pavement. YOU WILL SEARCH FOR SHADE.
The idea of turning on the oven will disgust you.
You might decide to eat only ice cream for dinner.
Imagine, you will come home from work and instantly want to take all your clothes off and pour yourself a cool cocktail.
You will be so suffocating hot that you will look forward to winter, to see your breath in the air and wrap your hands around a mug of hot chocolate smothered in whipped cream.
You will be begging for the cold blue air of Winter and think it will never arrive.
Well guess what it has arrived!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
I love the idea of architectural elements lying around in interiors and in the garden. Rome is full of them with ancient Rome present in daily life. You might be walking down the street and come across a dirt space and a huge Roman head or column just there – gorgeous and shocking.
I once drove over the boarder to Mexico from California with girlfriends to go shopping and what did I come back with but a huge concrete ball. I kept it for years lying around my various apartments. I wish I still had it now here in Italy. If you put a piece architecture in your space it makes the space look interesting instantly. Corbels, columns, architraves, pieces of stairs, a newel or chunk of a banister, capitals, arches, leave them on a beautiful floor or lean them up against a wall, put a bowl of floating flowers and candles and there you have a scene of tranquility and antiquity.
If these Corbels were for me I would have painted them a great color like sapphire blue or ruby red. In San Francisco I had a pair that were attached as a true architectural support under a square archway and I painted them a chalky rich pink. Man did they look great! In this situation I must do what the client wants alas.
There were previously messed up in an electrical fire blacken with smoke, but no real damage done. They are made out of terra cotta.
|Corbels before shot|
I painted them taupe in acrylic and then dry brushed over them in oil color (raw umber).
The project took a few days for drying time, but the actually working time was minimal. It was fun because it was such a quick transformation.
|Corbels as book supports|
I am wishing a Happy Sunday to all my lovely readers around the world.
I'm linking with these fun parties:
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I just go crazy for a cappuccino in a jar. Then I can take it to the job site or move it around my big Gothic apartment. If I get a phone call or distracted I can just close the lid and come back to it.
Also above splendid is:
The fog in deep and riding on our bikes with our bike lights glowing in the grayness.
|this is not me, but I wish my bike was this red|
Sleeping with a hot water bottle at the bottom of my bed.
A tower of blood red oranges on our kitchen counter.
Going for a run with my black gloves and cashmere hat on.
Having a moment to freely put down some ideas.
|coffee, charcoal pencil and a paint brush - heaven|
|can you see the sideways hidden heart?|
Friday, January 10, 2014
Now that it is the new year doesn’t it make you want to clear everything out and start fresh? Here is a job I did recently that is a good example of new beginnings.
Sometimes it is hard to paint over the dark wood especially in a library setting.
Here is the before shot.
First I painted the ceiling an antique rose. I believe that painting the ceiling a color is way hip, especially here in Italy where the ceilings are often so high that it makes the space seem empty and cold. Color above right away makes the space glow with warmth.
Then I painted the walls a creamy white that had a tiny hint of pink in it. You can’t really see the pink on the wall, but I could see it in the paint bucket and once the walls dried it gave the effect that the ceiling was reflecting pink onto the walls. Which it was, but I helped it along.
This room really shows the changing light of the day. Under gray skies it has a splendid effect of tones of white and off white. Then with the sun out a blush comes over the space.
|the doors are almost an oyster off white |
(not green tinted) it's the light
I did the Shabby Chic effect on the bookshelves, this way the shelves looked more aged in this antique room.
|the glass is definitely half full|
I painted the bookshelves the same color as the walls only in acrylic paint with a satin finish. I didn’t prime them since I wanted the wood to come through easily. Here there is 4 coats of off-white, one to two coats of polyurethane.
Then I sanded just the edges of the bookshelves, painted on some brown wax, waited a half an hour and rubbed it off with a piece of wool (an old sweater). I left the wood of the desks as it was, touching it up some with Mordente (wood stain) and the white shelves ethereally rise above.
|I love this apricot color tile floor|
|Shabby Chic bookshelf|
|Shabby Chic distressing detail|
This client was going relocate the hat collection and put the books back in, plus some colorful art on the walls.
Isn’t this Italian Library just reeking of a fresh start with hope permeating the air? I love the view of the secret garden ensconced inside our crazy city.
I'm linking with:
Miss Mustard Seed
Miss Mustard Seed
Monday, January 6, 2014
I have a dark little secret and it is dark because this Diario di Design is supposed to be all about light and color and design of course and joy and if you remember 2014 =7 and that means it’s going to be a kick-ass year. I will not be one of those people who write kick-a**. You have no idea how my profanity is in check on these posts.
My secret is I hate the darkness of this time of year.
I count the minutes of light that are arriving. Here in Umbria this is the break down, we are gaining about 1 to 2 minutes of daylight a day. This means that by January 20th we will have found 15 more minutes of “enlightenment”. Right now the sun rises at 7:41 (way late) and sets at 4:50. Any sunset that has a four in front is just wrong.
Yet when I have traveled to places in the world like Ecuador or Indonesia that are close to the equator, it is so strange to have an even 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark all year round. So my dark secret is that I'm a hypocrite, becasue actually I love the changing days and looking forward to the sun rising higher in the sky.
|olive leave and pink roses - bliss|
As of tomorrow school starts again and that means we start waking up at 6:30 a.m.
My solution and it truly helps, is to fill the house with flowers and candles. I try to have the candles lit by the time the girls get to the kitchen table in the morning. Get the coffee on and tea water to boil and then I sometimes even cheat and plug in a space heater for a few minutes.
What are your solutions to get through the dark days?
I love the idea of olives leaves (peace) and roses (love) together. The bright pink roses and slate gray-blue of the olive leaves is a great color combination.
Nature always has the answers for me.
|peace and love all around|
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Hello everyone, Happy New Year!
As promised I am going to show you some wonderful Houseboats outside San Francisco, California. In a little hillside town called Sausalito.
I get all silly headed when I think about living an alternative life. I think my fantasy has to do with something about beating the system. What system, you may ask? Well that is still unclear (I said silly headed), maybe the world of pressure and conservatism, the rat race, paying ridiculously high energy bills (as we do here in Italy). Becoming trapped by a mortgage.
I love loft spaces, organic gardens, solar panels, making your own things, tiny cottages/sheds, big old rambling houses that need love. I go crazy for color and I love white and gray and brown too. I like the idea of living off the grid and then I also want to be able to go to a café and have a good cappuccino, often.
|Houseboats and Mt. Tamalpias|
|Sausalito, Ca Houseboat|
|this one is quite huge, because they are all bigger than they look|
When I went to Design School in Brooklyn I really wanted to move into one of the architectural masterpieces that were burnt out in that ghetto which was then my neighborhood, Clinton Hill. I really wanted to be a squatter, but not a homeless type, more of a well-designed squatter. I was also very scared of the rats I knew would be living in abundance there. I’m not tough. During that time and even now I know in my heart that I would like to own a pink cashmere coat. Do you see my dilemma?
|this houseboat the roof is a deck garden|
I understand that to some our life here in Umbria Italy living in this huge Gothic Palazzo is already a bit alternative. To me having two feet thick stone walls is still weird. Interesting that for me girls it probably normal.
|this guy is even further off the grid, she has to row out|
Do any of you out there know of blogs that seem to be about an alternative life? I love and follow the blog Soule Mama www.soulemama.com. Soule Mama is homesteading in Maine and knits and has a garden and makes honey. She understands the simple life. I also like the Tiny House Blog http://tinyhouseblog.com. I am so impressed with these people who can live big while living small.
|it's a long pretty walk down the dock|
|this lavender paint job is fantastic, |
the color is blinding in it's perfection and hue
My mother lives in a houseboat. I left my mother's house out of this post to respect her privacy. I will say that her space has lots of windows and skylights, it is quite modern and airy. The front door enters into one big room that is the dinning room, kitchen and living room, then the bedrooms are downstairs at water level.
|I love this tiny houseboat full of color|
What is your alternative life fantasy or are you already living it? Interesting that alternative is just a perspective.
Un bacio di Umbria,