Saturday, January 25, 2014

Not a total Betty, but a vast improvement...

So I have, unfortunately, been forced to rejoined the human, American "work to live," lifestyle.  I was, however, completely blessed enough to get a job with the best company I have ever worked for, which is LOEWS hotels (the hotel brand, not hardware store {although I'm sure they are great as well}).  It really is a place that values its employees and is SMART enough to play upon their employees talents (a hard concept to grasp, right).  Anyways, I moved to the lovely (cough) area of South Beach to work at the incredible LOEWS MIAMI BEACH (no cough).  So, I moved down the night before I had to work... these are the photos of my apartment when I first got here and the area as it is now.

Living Room
Before ... not quite the fabulous 305 life from the movies.  Please notice that there is no cover on the light switch.

After... I am obsessed with Moroccan prints and French Countryside pieces.  Pictures of my travels served as a great collage in the room.  The  painting on the bottom right is of Paris,  left to me when my grandfather died.  He was stationed there as an air force pilot during WWII.  The blank canvas' over the couch are there for me to get inspiration to paint.  The multicolored pillows are from Morocco... at Epcot.  Blue vase is from India (&HomeGoods) and the flowers from my beautiful best friend, Pri, for my 29th birthday.

The books on the shelf were collected all over Europe at the various art museums I went to.  Also, a few recipe books, a book on wine & my favorite, 'Catcher in the Rye."  The map of the world, doesn't quite go with the room, but I like to keep my eye on the prize, and remember traveling the world is what I am destined to do.  I also added a french style plate on the light switch.
Candles are an important part of my apartments.  I need an apartment to smell and look homey.  Clearly, baked goods scents are my candle of choice.

Sunroom Entrance  
Before... The clothes on the French doors leading to the sunroom served as blinds, when I had none.  Living on the first floor, it is not ok to take showers with the windows wide open.  I clearly brought only the essentials for the first week of work... clothes and art.

After... Now the clothes dry up on the doors.  I was giving the amazing silver chair & art on the wall when my bestie, Christina, moved to San Fran.  I also keep all my workout gear in the corner, including a stepper, weights and yoga mat.  My hats are hanging on candle holders that are nailed into the wall.  My other bestie, Niki, stole the captain's hat for me.
After... yay for blinds!

Before... My landlord had just redone the kitchen.  Please note that there is no oven, because I sure did not before I signed the lease.  I was told, from the first day, to NOT drink the water in Miami, hence the Zephyrhills bottle.

After... I bought the largest oven I could at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Because of my dear friend, Nikey, I got a wine rack and it is fully stocked!  The olive oil dispenser is from Rome from my GA, Lauren.  I have a little bowl from Japan (in Epcot) of sea salt, although I typically do not cook too much at home (working in banquets, we are always fed).  I love the look of citrus in the kitchen.  I have a lot of glasses and plates, but honestly I could live with one plate and one glass.

I love magnets.

Sitting area
Before... The table was left by my landlord.  The bench has storage in it.  Although, paint and all sorts of other things from my landlord are housed in one of them.  The fish in the open area that leads to the sunroom was named "Vincent."  I bought him when I started talking to myself, without internet or cable.  Poor guy lived about 1 month.

After... Still working on how to have the art on the wall look decent.  2 pieces are from Christina, along with my new vision board, visible from my couch and chair and one of my favorite paintings I have ever done, which was inspired the first time I came to Miami Beach.  

After... I have had time to mourn the death of Vincent (Van Gogh) and now have  a new hydroponic fish tank (growing basil on top of it) and Vincent's (and before him, Humphrey Bogart's) old tank.  (Jon) Snow and (Robert) Stark are the newest members to my household.  The tank makes a really soothing noise right next to my pillows at night.

Before... Angie (my landlord) ripped out the closet unit because it was not using the space efficiently and told me that if I  picked out one I liked and installed it, she would just take it off the rent.  So (see below) I picked out one at IKEA.  I knew exactly what I wanted and it still managed to take me 3 1/2 hours to get out of there...worst experience ever!  Since I wanted to make the apartment look better, I chose mirrored doors.  I have a LOT of clothes, so lots of racks and drawers were necessary.  This and the bench is the ONLY storage area in the apartment.  You can also see, in the mirror, that I have a portrait of my grandmother hanging up.  She's my guardian angel. 


The only option for my bed, unless I wanted a twin bed, was to squeeze it in between the walls of the sunroom.  This is the only picture, which is "after," because there was NOTHING in this room before.  It is the same length as my apartment but 60 1/2 inches wide (my bed is 60" exactly).  I drilled the holes for my lights myself, with a cement drill bit.  I really want a padded headboard, but it is one the wish list for now.  The turtle painting on my wall is my favorite piece of art I have ever created.  At night, especially with my new fish tank, it feels like I'm sleeping in the ocean :)

This is the other side of the sunroom, looking from my bed. Right now it is a bit of a cluster, but my vision is to have a vanity/desk in here.  I have to go to lowes (hardware) to get the other set of blinds. They have to be special ordered, but right now, a blue lace drape will have to do.  I have the jewelry frame I made on the wall, along with my mirror and plants.

For now, that is my little apartment.  100 year old building and still kicking!  (wish these were travel pictures)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Change of Course: Getting Under Way!

Change of Course: Getting Under Way!: Follow yacht-builder, sailor and author Glenn Henderson as he journeys from Florida to Costa Rica aboard his new sailboat! This blog will...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Daddy's birthday

So my father is one of the most difficult people ever to shop for, because if he ever needs or wants anything, he just buys it for himself.  He is also a very practical man that doesn't like watches, doesn't wear ties anymore, and will wear shoes until they have holes, even though he could easily afford new ones.  
There is a basic formula that has seemed to work throughout the years.  It is "buy gator shit."  He went to the University of Florida for undergrad and a year of his masters (he was offered a job before he finished his masters and has been with the company ever since).  So he literally has all the artwork, memorabilia, and polos that UF has to offer.  We are always trying to buy him something different and end up resorting to the UF formula.  This year, I decided to make him some things. 

I know this isn't the most beautiful thing in the world, but in my defense I had drank a lot of wine while doing it.  I made it at a "paint your own" pottery place called All Fired Up in Winter Park because I had some expiring Groupons.  Now, this glorious place not only ALWAYS has a groupon but there is no time limit and there is a BYOB rule.  They have it figured out, drunk people spend more money than sober people.  

A spoon holder thingy for the stove.   He calls himself "Chef Pierre," when cooking.

Then I found a great set of beer glasses for the appropriate beer type at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I bought some glass acrylic paint in, surprise surprise, gator colors to personalize them for him.  

Finished product!

I also spent the time to go to Whole foods and have the beer guy there and built a 6 pack of each beer so he could use the glasses... of course he likes his beer cold and didn't end up using the dang glasses...  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Upgraded Holder for my Jewels

So I upgraded my previous Jewelry Holder, which I would like to point out was made over 2 1/2 years ago.... 

Michael's had 50% off all frames & I became helpless!  Granted, I just moved and when I realized I could not put that lovely poster frame jewelry holder ANYWHERE that could be hidden, I had already kinda decided in my head it needed a facelift, or something. I mean I attached it with wire and didn't even think to know the MAJESTY of a big & tough staple gun yet(from Home Depot, not that elementary school wussy shit).  Here is the Jewelry Holder 2.0.

1.0, You were great.  It's me, not you.

I saw a design show one time in which the designer, Martyn Lawerence-Bullard redesigned a living room space using high heels & purses as part of the "art," in the room on the bookshelf.  Now, the "living room,"  was part of a $20 million apartment in NYC, the bookshelf was a custom piece and the "shoes," were Jimmy Choo spattered with gold paint.  Clearly, I am on a different budget PLANET.

Regardless, I decided with all my jewels, I could kill 2 mosquitos with one swatter (I don't like hurting animals and don't consider mosquitos living things...more like demons).  

"I will make an efficient way to see all my jewelry & make it blend in as art to the rest of my wall decor."

Frame (whatever size you need, mine was 2'x3')
Poultry Wire (make sure the width is at least as long as the frame)
Wire cutters
Staple Gun
1/2" staples
Straight Wire
S Hooks (I used 1 1/2")

The Poultry Wire adds a nice geometric pattern to the wire where there is not anything in front of it.  The wire (teeny tiny little rectangles) I used before ended up looking really busy and not as "luxurious."  

First, put a towel or something down, if you have hard floors, so you do not scratch the frame.  Roll out the Poultry Wire and temporarily mount it to the frame with the straight wire you bought.  Cut off the excess, making sure to leave room for error.

Keep in mind, if there is a long line in the PW like there was in mine, line it up so it is in the middle of the frame and temporarily attach it.  You will need to pull it and manipulate it the whole time pretty much to get it right.  If you aren't a Type A psychopath, you can just attach it where your little heart sees fit.  

The temporary attaching phase.

Once the PW is exactly where you want it, get your staple out and get to work!  Keep the wire on the whole time, so the PW stays in place until the whole thing is securely fastened down.  Remember, don't be too impulsive with the gun... staples are a real pain in the ass to get out of it is off in the slightest. 

Some of the staples were already there...I did go a little nuts with my new staple gun though.

I found it easiest to match up the line in my Stanley staple gun to the PW in order to make it straight every time! #typeA


When everything is COMPLETELY securely fastened, take your wire cutters and cut off excess as well as jagged pieces that will stab you.  And believe me they will.  That way when you take it down in a year or more, you won't remember the hard way you were over eager to hang it up.

Once you have secured all the PW, take the wire off! 

 It is now ready to be mounted and jewels to be adorned on it!  Use the S Hooks to hold up necklaces, bracelets, hoops (bigger the hoop, bigger the HOOOOOO)  and rings!

Marvel at your creation...again!

Monday, July 8, 2013

i like turtles.

Ever since I was little, I have genuinely loved turtles.  Being a privileged Florida girl, I was able to spend my summers at Anna Maria Island, at the time that the sea turtle eggs were hatching, and on more than one occasion was able to help in the effort to save the baby turtles when they hatched.  A quick lesson for non-beach living people, when turtles hatch they follow the moon to the sea.  Well, with modern (and quite selfish) technology and humans insistence to take over everything beautiful on this earth, the turtles now have started going towards beach house lights and headlights on car, which inevitably kills off a large amount of the beautiful Loggerhead turtle babies, an endangered species.  Luckily, the people living on the Gulf beach want to be part of the effort to protect this precious species, and now turn off all artificial lights during the nesting through the hatching period. Holding baby Loggerhead turtles in my hands started a lifelong love affair with sea turtles.  

Ok, earth-loving tree hugger rant over.  

We only have one earth, and humans are destroying it.  

Ok, now I'm done.

  There is a photo I have been obsessed with since I was in high school, which I always have wanted to blow up and put as art in my room.  Being that the photo is really tiny and being the expert (self proclaimed) photography guru I am, I know that due to the small amount of pixelation with this photo, it will come out quite grainy and not the majesty that it is.

As anyone who follows my blog (hopefully more people than just me), you should know when it comes to painting, I am really REALLY Type A and a lot of the joy of the hobby is lost with me trying to perfectly duplicate images I see (i.e. the chandelier piece), so I attempted to remedy this problem by letting Stella take over.  Aka drunk me.  Bring on da Chianti, y'all.

Let the journey of the large canvas begin (2'x3')

Now, we all know that after seeing my first Van Gogh painting in the flesh last summer in London, I fell completely head over heels for his style.  Although, Starry Night is incredible and I can appreciate that it is the piece that speaks to most people, "A Wheat field with Cypresses," took my breath away.  Apparently my favorite time period for Van Gogh  was his mental asylum stuff, reaffirming that I feel "mentally nuts," people produce the best art.    Anyways, 
I stood there just admiring the strokes, the colors, the whimsical nature of how something so seemingly plain could be captured with its true beauty.  Maybe that's another reason for my love affair with this tortured ginger... his love of nature and everyday life.  After seeing this masterpiece, I needed to not only go back, but also break a cardinal rule of art and take a photo of it.  I had to be sneaky and don't worry, I would never use a flash.  Clearly, the pictures came out wonderfully.  

In December, I was blessed enough to be able to go back to Europe and visited Amsterdam, one of the must see places for Van Gogh fanatics.  They have an incredible "My Dream," exhibition going on that uses technology to peel off layers of the pieces and show the breath taking colors that Van Gogh actually used.  This is all computer imaged, no pieces were harmed in the making of this exhibition.  I give you "A Wheat field with Cypresses," at its most radiant.

Ok, so the point of all this is that I have been wanting to employ some of Van Gogh's genius to my pieces.  To do this I needed to get to the right level of what I like to call, "Van Gogh drunk."  I did a lot of field research in this department.  I'm quite dedicated to my endeavors.  For the record, it is a thin line between inspirational zone and falling asleep in your bed, with your paint clothes on.

Looks like a smurf's vagina.  Not that I have seen one.

I also love watching, "Deadliest Catch," while painting.  Which, I know, is bizarre. 

Blending my preschool oils that dilute with water.

My little turtles!

Betsey got caught in the crossfire or my blue painting.

Always sacrifices to be made.  It's a process.
My tools.
Inspiration for the striations on the turtle's back.

Briefly put up, to avoid being destroyed, as I frequently host a toddler.

Painting the movement of the turtles was really where I wanted the piece to shine.  I will never stop being jealous of how graceful flying through aquamarine water looks.

Hm, which way should be considered, "up?"

I wanted to show the air bubbles, another one of my favorite things to watch in water, so instead of painting them, I used Swarovski  crystals in lime, yellow, light blue and white in 3 different sizes.  Photos of it don't do it justice, for in the sunlight, it sparkles! 

"A mermaid's view."