Monday, August 18, 2014

Beach Days: Cannon Beach

The weather has been been so hot here, and to beat the heat, we decided to take a day trip to Cannon Beach.  It's only about an hour or so from our house, and the drive is just over a mountain. Cannon Beach is home to Hay Stack Rock.  It's that big rock in the ocean, it was even in the opening scene for the 80's cult classic The Goonies, which basically means it's famous.  I think what I love most about visiting the Oregon Coast is that it's like walking out of the woods and you emerge right next to the ocean.    

Nora loves the beach, specifically she the sand. She loves to roll around in it, scoop it, pat it, throw it, and of course eat it. This has been one of my favorite memories of the summer, just watching Tim and Nora play in the sand and water together.  Nora would sit in the sand and would say, "Daddy, Sit!" and pat the sand right next to her. I know pretty soon there will be 4 of us, and we will be making new special memories together but I am enjoying the moments of just us 3.  

Leaving the beach was tough, many tears were shed.  I still chuckle when Nora gets in a full tantrum because she is so emotionally involved and throws herself on the ground and refuses to budge. Well she did budge when I promised her an ice cream cone, but we did have some seafood first. yummy! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Winnie

I have been thinking a lot about traveling. It's really odd because when I was pregnant with Nora, all I wanted to do, was stay with in a 5 mile radius of my house. (no joke) With this pregnancy, all I can think about is hopping on a plane or a car and just going some where.  

Having a 2nd kiddo is more than likely make me even more home bound, at least for a little while.   So for now, I can fantasize about taking a road trip. Hitting the highway next to the ocean and tasting the ocean spray.  Oh and the best part of any road trip is pulling over for snow cones and look out points, sounds amazing doesn't it?

This print is in my in my etsy shop. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My DIY Project From Hell. My Side Table Redo, Part 1.

I have been redoing furniture for such a lone time, like super long, since high school.  I love going to the local thrift store or an estate sale just find that hidden gem or that diamond in the rough. I think the best part of buying used furniture, is that you don't feel obligated to just keep it the way that it is, you can change it and make it into whatever you want.

My mother found this beautiful piece of vintage furniture on craigslist, for a great price and she knew I had been looking for a side table for awhile.  We talked about it and I really liked the bones of it, my only concern was that I wanted to make sure it was solid wood.  She went to look at and picked it up for me, and she still talks about how she scored such a great deal on it.

My plan for the side table was to strip the top, the drawers and the intricate wings and then do a stain to really highlight the wood. The rest of the body would be painted and I was leaning towards a bright bee yellow. I started stripping the wood, and something weird was happening, the chemicals for the wood stripper weren't reacting to the wood.  I used my putty knife and started scrapping away the stripper and it looked crazy.  I could see the wood turning this yellowish color, there was a layer of brown underneath that and then this reddish stuff on top of the wood.

Well, guess what? It's veneer wood.  Usually, I steer clear of veneer wood because its a thin coat of fancy looking wood on top of ugly wood, like wood wall paper. The biggest problem with redoing something that is wood veneer is removing the glue. If the piece of furniture was made in the last 50 years, the glue is extremely hard to remove. Even if you remove the wood veneer, there is still the glue to remove and you basically have to heat or wet it and try to scrap it off. Trying to remove the wood veneer and glue with out damaging the wood underneath is a horrible and painful project.  So after hours of cursing at the side table and trying to get the glue off.  I gave up. I was too far into the project to just say, ok strip it and paint it.  

I took a day off and stared at it, and evaluated the damage. There are so many holes, gashes from trying to remove the glue and the wood was totally discolored and not in good shape. The wood looked crazy and now my side table looked even crazier. I was so mad at myself for even starting the project.

I decided to fill in the holes with wood filler and primed it, white. I moved it back into my living room and am taking a break on what to do next. I need a break from this DIY gone wrong. I could always paint it white or multi-color, but I want it to be something I am going to love forever. 

Don't you just hate it, when a project goes wrong? It is the worst! I would love to hear your thoughts on what I should do next, its primed and ready for the next chapter.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

25 Week Bump-Date

I'm 25 weeks pregnant this week, and I feel like I have made it to some sort of milestone because I am over the sickness (fingers crossed).  I also feel like I'm getting around to doing all of my projects. I'm so excited, that some how my motivation has returned. The need to clean is pretty strong but I have to really pace myself especially chasing around my little monster all day, who likes to be involved in all of my projects. I'm not sure how other mom's do it, balancing real home projects while juggling a toddler because it is tough. I can do things while she is sleeping but her nap time is still my nap time or getting something done time.  I hope she never quits napping because I'm not sure how I would get anything done at all during the day.

The 2nd trimester has been a little bit different than the first and now all this baby wants is chocolate and lemonade. In the chocolate category, I will take pretty much any form of chocolate but preferably Oreos.  Oreos are so my kryptonite this pregnancy and if I let myself, I can eat a whole box in a few days. Now I can't help in-visioning and craving frozen Oreos dipped with ice cream.  I've also never been a huge fan of lemons and can't get enough of that either. Its amazing how your taste buds change while pregnant and then go back to regular buds once baby comes.  Now I all I need for pure happiness is a lemonade and big fresh pack of Oreos for pregnancy bliss.

The baby has started kicking a lot and I can now sit back and see my shirt move, as he does his ninja moves. During Nora's pregnancy, I was extremely uncreative and I hated and dreaded going into my studio.  But for some reason this pregnancy, in typical Erika fashion, I can't keep up with my ideas and my little idea notebooks are just filling up with all of my thoughts and plans. I know it's not a bad thing but it's hard to do it all and I love making my ideas come alive.

Monday, July 28, 2014

6 insider tips on buying art

I am a huge sucker for a real-life painting. I just love going to an art show or the museum and strolling along through all of the paintings. There is something so special and magical about an an original piece of art that it's almost as if the artist was able to freeze time and capture a moment, an emotion, a movement, a feeling or even just the energy in the air. Art is something that lives within its materials and only an artist can make it come alive. It's looking at the layers of simplicity and complexity for the hidden meaning behind the layers of paint. It's watching a sculpture stare back at you almost like it's living and breathing. When it comes to sculptures, I just want to reach out and touch them.. or maybe I should say poke them!

The best thing about buying art is that I will have it forever and I can enjoy it as much as I want. I have collected a lot of art throughout the years and each one I truly still love looking at and that I could never part with.

There are so many online resources to buy art, such as Etsy, Bigcartel, and Society 6, that have made it way more accessible for artists to show their artwork on a larger scale. I know I have spent many late nights browsing the Internet just looking at art, but there are a lot and these inside tips may help you find even more incredible art that is meant for you.

Sometimes buying real art can be really intimidating and pretty expensive, but here are a few inside tips that I have discovered in buying a real art piece, and sometimes for a great price. It's a little against the rules for me to be revealing these secrets because I am an artist and it's extremely difficult for artists to make any sort of anything on their artwork, hence the phrase, "Starving artists." However, knowing these secrets makes me excited to buy artwork and want to see even more art.

1.  Art auctions. I have donated art to auctions and I know a lot of artists that will donate work to a good cause. Auctions are also a great way for an artist, especially an up and coming one, to get exposure. The best things about an auction, particularly a silent one, is that the prices start low and gradually increase. It's a great way to buy something for a good cause and typically a little less than retail price. If you are too far away for an auction, most auctions will have a online preview and then the out-of-towners can call-in before the auction or even during and make a bid.

2. Art Walks. An art-walk is usually a street that is dedicated for an evening of showing local artists and are loads of fun. We have several in my town and most big cities and little cities have them. They're often easy to find. Just, "Google," art-walk and your city's name. When I first started showing my work, I did art-walks because it was extremely inexpensive to show up and set up. This is a great way to actually meet a lot of artists and see a lot of art in a small area. There are some artists that solely make their living off of art-walks and markets. If you are looking for real artwork for your home, these are the best way to get art or get inspired for artwork in your space.

3. Open Studios or Studio Sales. What I love most about walking into an artist studio is getting a peek into their mind and their creative process. The amount of energy one feels in a studio or workspace is exhilarating. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it. If you are any sort of creative, I promise that by going to an open studio you will leave being inspired. Most cities have open studio tours, where the artist has to apply to get into and then on a certain weekend out of the year, there is a big group of artists opening their studios. I have discovered the most fun open studios are the ones that are hosted in artists buildings and have annual art shows were you go from room to room visiting artists. This is a great chance to buy smaller scale work like drawings, sketches and experimental work.  

4. Layaway/make payments. Have you ever truly fallen in love with something that was too expensive?  I certainly have, like all the time! Or have you seen a really large painting that you just had to have for your living room and it was totally outside of your budget? Well, guess what? Most artists accept payments, especially for large work. Not everyone can afford to drop $1,000 dollars on a piece of art, but what artists do to make their work more accessible is to work out a payment plan. It's really up to the artist if they do accept payments, but most work something out and most of the time they will let you know if they are doing a studio sale.  

5. Christmas Group Shows. My personal favorite is Christmas Art Shows. There are lots of art galleries that gear-up for the holiday season and they want to provide affordable artwork or smaller reasonably priced work for special holiday gifts.  Most galleries will do sneak-peeks, previews and post teasers on Facebook to get art lovers ready for the show. Some galleries even will do a special online gallery that you can buy the off the website that you can avoid the big holiday crowds.

6. Commissioned Art Work. If you love an artist's (cough-cough, like me?) artwork, and want something, it can be just as easy as contacting them directly for the price of commissioned artwork.   Most artists charge per square inch or have set prices on sizes and you can get something that is unique that is meant just for you. You can also figure out what's in your budget and what you can afford because even if you can't buy that 3-foot-by-3 foot painting maybe you can afford a smaller work.

PS This print in the photo above is now available in my etsy shop!