My name is Erika. I'm in love with making art, collecting old things & chasing after my two kiddos. This blog is a peek into my happy accidents & plots of total world domination.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Bye Bye September!

Happy Friday! Can you believe September is over? I always think at the end of September means it's officially Fall and it's time to start thinking about the holidays.  I have a ton of art shows happening this winter, a ton of DIY home and gift projects planned and hosting a Artist Way link up (which starts tomorrow!)
I have had some incredible luck thrifting this week and I can't wait to show them to you but I found out a really funny story.  I saw a big sign at an estate sale that said "Fred and John are not allowed to shop at this estate sale."  I thought to myself well those are common names- but who's Fred and John? So I asked the guy in charge of the door and he said "You don't know who Fred and John are?" His eyes bugged out a little bit and I could tell he thought I was an amateur thrifter. (little does he know ;) )  I shook my head and he explained to me that Fred and John are two tall and really large guys that start fights at estate sales and that that he personally has been hearing Fred and John stories for over 20 years.   He also tells me that they are not allowed at most professionally run estate sales and that I would know them if I saw them.  They also have the cops called on them more times then he can remember.. Fred and John do a lot of pushing and shoving..:) Funny huh? Is it bad that I can't wait to at least see the infamous Fred and John?
What are you up to this weekend? anything fun?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

DIY- Operation Bookshelf

I wanted to find a thrifted bookcase that I could really transform.  I wanted to distress the bookcase and then do some color blocking in the back to make the objects stand out in the suitcase.  Distressing furniture is where you give age to furniture and it looks beat up.    The only part of the process that was a little bit hard is literally waiting for the paint to dry.  I didn't think it would be that hard in finding a bookshelf but it was! I think I went to about 10 thrift stores before I started looking on craigslist.  Since Borders went out of business- they donated all the bookcases to Habitat Humanity which they were $20 bucks at the Habitat Humanity Restore :).   If you are looking for a bookshelf and had a Borders close by you- you may want to check Habitat Humanity.

1.  Bookshelf
2.  Sand Block- Fine or Medium
3.  Candle
4.  Wood Stain- Small- I used a Java color but you can use any color you want.  This adds the old to the bookshelf.
5.  2 sample sizes of orange paint.  I got the sample sizes from Home Depot, but you can use craft paint- because we will put a seal on the top. 
6.  1 quart purple paint- If your wood is already a dark color and don't want to change the wood underneath the top layer of white paint then you don't need a dark color underneath. It doesn't have to be purple- it can be whatever color you want :).
7.  1 quart of white- I picked a white that was tinted orange- sort of like a creamsicle.  I really wanted to do a range of orange for my bookshelf.  But there are million whites- so have fun with picking something you like.
8.  tack rag
9.  old towel or rag that you don't want anymore.
10.  varnish- clear- as matte as you can get.
11.  butter knife/hammer/screwdriver/old chain/wrench- beating supplies for your book shelf :) Just use tools you have around your house.
12. painters tape
**Optional Supplies
13.  Wood Putty- If you want to repair any holes.  No holes? or like the holes? skip this.
14.  1 quart of Primer- If you are painting a dark color on top of the wood then you will need this.  This book shelf was part wood and part board- so primer is important to make an even look.  If you look your wood color and want the original wood color to show through- skip this. 

Are you ready?
Step 1.  Clean your Bookshelf. This one from Borders had all the plastic tags on it indicating the section of books.  Mine was from the 2 year old section. :) I know fitting right? I removed all the plastic/staples.  There were a lot of holes and I filled in the holes with wood putty.  If you don't have any holes or you like the damage already done to your book shelf... then skip the wood putty.  Let your book shelf dry.
Step 2.  Take your sand block and sand your book shelf. Take your time and really sand the crap out of it.
Step 3. Use Tack Cloth and wipe your book shelf. Tack cloth removes all the particles and dust from the shelf.
Step 4.  Prime Your bookshelf. and let it dry.- If you like the color of wood of the book shelf- then just prime the part of the bookshelf you are color blocking.
Step 5.  Tape off the back of your book shelf- for your color blocking.  
Step 5.  Paint the purple paint on your bookshelf. I picked purple because it is the complimentary color for orange. and let it dry.  Skip if you like the color of wood and want to use that color for your base.
 Step 6.  Remove the painters tape.
Step 7.  Take your candle- and rub along the edges of the book shelf.  This makes it easier to peal away the paint.
Step 8.  Paint your bookshelf the white you picked out. let it dry.
 Step 9.  Take your butter knife and scrape the edges- your dark paint will show through.
Step 10.  Beat up your book shelf.  Less if more- so go slow. This adds the wear to the book shelf.
Step 11. Use tack cloth and wipe your book shelf.
 Step 12. Use your old towel and put a little bit on your book shelf and rub it in. Less is more- You can always add more. let it dry.- over night if possible.
Step 13.  Time to do the color blocking. Tape around the edges where you want to do the color blocking.
Step 14.  Paint your color blocking. let it dry.  I wanted a few drips on the white- so don't be afraid to not be perfect.
Step 15.   Varnish. let it dry- over night.
Step 16.  All done! Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done :) and admire your hard work.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DIY - Art Hanging!

I have really wanted to do a fun art hanging above my fire place.  I have been putting it off forever and ever but I finally did it :).  When you hang pieces of art together not in a straight line but by grouping them it's called hanging art work salon style.  I think the best part of hanging artwork salon style is that you can add artwork to it after it's been hung and it also can be a really dramatic piece.

1.  Tape Measure
2.  Painters Tape
3.  Scissors
4.  Picture Hanging Laser- I got mine for 10 bucks at Home Depot but it isn't a requirement but I suggest it if you want a even look. You can also use a tape measure, level, and painters tape.
5.  Nails
6.  Hammer

Step 1. Pick Out the artwork.  Don't be afraid to take chances.  Pick out the artwork you love.  Some of the artwork is mine and the some are things I have bought from art shows or fairs.
Step 2.  Take out your handy tape measure and measure where you want to hang you art.  I measured the length of the mantle and the height to the ceiling.  I wanted the art to be hung about 10 inches from the mantle.
Step 3.  Lay out the artwork on the ground.  If you have a real specific area that you want to place the artwork.  Tape the exact space on the floor with painters tape.  I knew I didn't want enough art to completely fill the space but if you do- just tape the ground with painters tape. 
Step 4.  Try different arrangements.
Step 5.  Once you pick out how you want the art work hung.  It's time to start hanging.   I measured the width of the bottom level of the artwork and wanted to them to be an inch apart.  Time for a little math :)- the width of the mantle and subtract the width of the bottom layer of artwork.  Since I want the artwork to be an inch apart- I subtract by one.  Then divide that number by 2.  So I will have 6 inches on each side of the bottom layer of art.
Step 6. If you don't have a laser pointer you can use painters tape and measure out lines.  Take your first part of art.  Since I decided I wanted the art to be 6 inches from the end of the mantle and 10 inches above the mantle.  I mark the wall with painters tape- to guide the laser pointer. I set up the laser pointer in a level spot and make the cross in that corner.  I go back to the wall and double check the measurements.  This can be time consuming to make it just right- but it's worth it! because the more time you spend preparing the space- the better it will turn out.
Step 7.  Take your first piece of art and since you have your laser with a cross point of the bottom outside corner of the artwork.   Time to measure for your nail.  Measure the height of the artwork.  Flip the artwork over and measure the distance from the top of the art to the hanging point- (like a nail hole or wire or maybe the frame of the art work.)  Subtract the height of your artwork and your hanging point and that is the distance where you want to put your nail.  I know this can be a little tricky but its easier with small work and you will get the hang of it.
Step 8.  Hang your first piece of art on the nail.  Take your laser pointer and switch the vertical line to the other side of the painting. Cut a couple pieces of painters tape so they are an inch wide. Place the painters tape on the right hand side of the art. Remember I wanted to have the artwork to be an inch apart- if you want more room or less room inbetween the art- then this is an easy tip take make it exact.
Step 9.  Take the laser pointer and move it one inch over.  Use the painting you just hung and the painters tape to guide. Once you have the laser in the exact spot.  Double check with a tape measure.  Then repeat Step 8- to hang your art work.
Step 10.  Take your premeasured inch long painters top and put it on the wall on top of one of the paintings.
Step 11. Move the laser pointer so that it runs on the edge of the painting.
Step 12. Hang you art!  See I told you it gets easier once you place a couple of pieces.
Step 13.  Now Repeat until all your art work is hung.   I did one side of the artwork first.  Then repeat on the other side.
 Step 14.  Admire your work.  You worked hard :) and you are awesome!

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Weekend in a List

10 episodes of Grey's Anatomy watched- they are all on Netflix.  I think I am on the McDreamy team.
5 cups of coffee drank
4 puppy walks.. They did a good job.. for the most part, but they do love to chase after bicycles.  I just love going for walks in the fall- and hearing the crunch of leaves.
3 estate sales visited and found lots of amazing things.  I so scored and am going to do a little photo shoot later this week.  I think my thrifting luck may be turning.
3 episodes of Glee- also on Netflix :)
2 pairs of socks worn- I still can't believe it's already Fall weather.  I did miss wearing socks but I think that's the Oregon in me.
1 book case thrifted- yahoo! I can't even tell you how many places I went to before I found even 1. I am doing a DIY makeover.
1 typewriter thrifted- now I have 6 yikes!  I think this might be last one because 6 is a bit much. Don't you think?

What did you do this weekend? My weekend was filled with some thrifting, DIY projects and lots of Netflix :)  Oh and the dessert in the photo was so perfectly delicious- it was like a biscuit with strawberry- I gobbled up every little crumb.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Hello!  This week has been such a whirl wind and have a little bit of bad luck this week.  First I was taking the dogs for their morning walk and I am not sure what it is- but they don't like the postman.  Sometimes the postman does throw treats at them but sadly they will never have love for the postman.  The Postman told me he is only allowed to throw treats if the dog is barking.  I was taking them for a walk and they saw the postman and started barking and pulling the leash ..and then my keys fell into water grate. :( So what do I do? I put the dogs back in the house and I grab a ski pole and put on my rain boots.  I feel very Macgyver at this point.   I open the grate and measure how deep the water is with the ski pole.  There is a ladder on the side going down into the water and I climb down and measure the water- maybe it's a foot deep. Then I start thinking- don't rats and crocodiles live in the sewers? Since I live in Oregon and I don't think Oregon has crocodiles because it gets so cold here.. so maybe the crocodiles can't survive in the sewers... but we do have bears.   Could I knock a bear unconscious with my ski pole?  Thankfully there is construction work being done in my neighbor hood and they saw me go down grate with a ski pole.   So they go down the grate for me and rescue my keys. :) I'm sure a bear would go eat the construction worker first, since they wear bright orange.   Also I have been running all over town trying to find a thrifted book shelf- I would think it would be an easy find but I went to 7 thrift stores- and I only found 1- made of plastic.  Is there a book shelf shortage? Lastly there is construction going on in my neighborhood- lots of construction!  I guess there was a recall on siding? I know bad luck comes in 3's so.. maybe I will find that book shelf soon and it was a tiny bit of good luck that the construction workers saved the day by rescuing my keys.

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

P-P-P-P Pattern Inspiration!

I have been so inspired by big bold patterns lately and they have been popping up in my sketches and drawings.  
I just want to drown myself in Houndstooth.  I already bought shoes in houndstooth and now it's showing up in my art work. I just love it- I can't get enough.
Vintage Wallpaper- I love the traditional wallpaper  I was gifted a special stack of vintage wallpaper and the balance and the colors are amazing!
Chevron or the zigzag!  Seriously so much energy in this pattern.
Florals.   Isn't it gorgeous?
My ever love for stripes.  What's inspiring you lately?

PS- Photos courtesy of pinterest.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The A-Z of Erika

I just couldn't resist doing an A-Z of me.

A. Age: 32- shhh I don't say it very often.
B. Bed Size: Queen
C. Chore you hate: Putting away laundry. I can fold but I hate putting things back.
D.  Dogs: I have two darling little pug monsters. Winston and Yoda and I often wonder if they are planning on taking over the world.
E.  Essential start to your day::  Coffee and Checking emails- a must!
F.  Favorite Color: Mustard Yellow and that retro turquoise.
G.  Gold or Silver: Gold! I think I am a little allergic to silver.
H.  Height: 5'5
I.  Instruments you play: Piano and Flute. I played Flute in high school before all the American Pie movies :) Don't judge me.
J.  Job Title: Oil painting blogger. I also do the books for a couple of tech start ups. 
K.  Kids:  I have 2 puppy children- who do like to be held like babies.
L.  Live: Born and raised in Portland, Oregon.
M.  Mother's Name: Vilma
N.  Nicknames: Some people call me E. 
O.  Overnight hospital stays: Nope
P.  Pet Peeves: When my hubs pretends he is listening to me :).
Q.  Quote from a Movie“Close you eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, there's no place like home.”- the Wizard of Oz
R.  Right handed or Left handed.  I am a righty all the way!  This is random but I can only snap my fingers with my right hand. Left doesn't work.
S.  Siblings: 2 older sisters... even though they try to convince people they are the younger sister.
T.  Time to wake up: 7:00 am.
U.  Underwear: Stripes
V.  Vegetables you hate: Lima Beans.. I got one stuck in my nose when I was 4. I can't even look at one.
W.  What makes you run late: Myself. or I should really blame television.
X.  X-rays you have: just dental.  I did do one of those head scans at the dentist and that freaked me out a little.
Y.  Yummy food that you make: I make a mean grilled cheese.  Want to have a grilled cheese eating contest?
Z.  Zoo animals: I love the elephants and giraffes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

They say it's your birthday.

My birthday was a couple of days ago and I had such the perfect birthday I am not one for having parties for me, but I love going on fun little dates through out the day with old friends, family, and of course my hubs. Here are a few snaps through out my special day.
 Thrifting was completely on the agenda.
I really wanted to take home this gumball machine but the hubs would kill me if I brought this home.  I know he would view this treasure as junk but maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas.
No birthday is complete with out a little dessert.
Cheesecake with fresh berries. Yes I pigged it up and it was soooo goood!
I did share a bite or two.
I found a globe while thrifting and took a few snaps with my new mini instax.  It was a really special birthday and am so lucky to have such great family and friends in my little life.
Happy Monday :) Let the Mustache be with you!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall is Here! Fall is Here!

It has really cooled off this week and I can see the changes in the trees and the rains have started.  I always think fall smells a little a different- that crisp smell- that hint that Christmas is right around the corner.  I do love summer time, but I think my new favorite season is fall and we are getting ready for the holidays.
Coffee Season. I am slightly addicted to delicious, dreamy coffee. I know I don't really need an excuse for a coffee beverage, but fall I think is when coffee tastes especially perfect. 
Fall is also soup season!  Don't you just love a big bowl of heart filled goodness?
I love being cooped up in the studio especially during fall.  It seems like I always get my best ideas in the fall time- or at least they seem like good ideas :).
 Fine... I will admit it- I am super excited to carve the pumpkin.  I have started crafting detailed plans of the surgery of mr. pumpkin. :) I can't wait!

What are you looking forward in fall?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things I Wish I Would Have Known When I Started Blogging

I've had this blog for a couple of years but didn't really start blogging on a regular basis until maybe about a year ago.  The main reasons why I started blogging was to keep track of my artistic journey through the art world, learn a little more about me and meet some new friends.  I have learned a lot about social media and am still discovering where I fit into it.  I started thinking that if I could go back in time and give myself a few tips on blogging what would they be.
1.  Be Yourself and Find Your Voice.  I remember that when I first started blogging and I would put a lot of thought into a blog post and I would out think myself. Blogging is a growing experience and just doing it on a regular bases you will naturally grow and find your voice and then you will figure out the things that you want to talk about.  Content is the most important thing about blogging- but it's even more important to learn how to deliver that content.. but be unique and talk from your perspective. 
2.  Stick to 1 subject per blog post. When I first started blogging I would talking about my whole day sort of like a journal post- but it's a lot easier talking about 1 subject per post and it's easier for people to get to know you.  So if you want to talk about lots of different things then do multiple posts- its just that easy.
3.  Make it easier for people to find you and easier for people to connect with you.   Even if you don't want to fill out your profile- fill out your URL and email address.  If you follow blogs with Google friend connect- click on your icon and you can add your URL to it.  When you leave a comment fill out all the sections- you never know who is going to connect with your comment.  I know when I read my favorite blogs I will click on other people's comments because if they enjoyed that post as much as me, we probably will have something in common.    
4.  It's ok to step out of your comfort zone.  I know that I am pretty shy person in meeting new people but I have to allow myself to be open to meeting new people. I think one of the hardest thing for me when I first started blogging is that blogging can feel like you are talking to the void.  Eventually know that people talk back, but sometimes you have to talk to them first :).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blue or Yellow

I am covered in paint! Since I promised the hubs that I would take a couple days off from oil painting- and do some re-painting of our little home. I started painting the walls in our living room and then realized that I should repaint the ceiling. I have paint all over my shirt.. shorts.. hair.. feet.. finger nails. .. everywhere! One of my little pug monsters got covered in paint.
Not sure how he did it, but I turned and looked at him and his snout was covered in white paint. So he got a bubble bath- so I could make sure I got all the paint out of his wrinkles. :)  He is such a little princess. I got a few paint samples because I really want to do a fun accent wall- but I can't decide on the color.
What do you think? Should I go with toothpaste, light blue, or mustard yellow?  :)  I threw my coffee in there because it's pumpkin spice latte season.. YUM!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Art is Important.

Happy Monday! Did you have a nice weekend? The hubs and I had such a nice weekend of just running errands and getting ready for the busy week ahead.  I promised the hubs that I would start working on reorganizing a few of our home and work spaces and you know what that means.. redecorating! I am going to be repainting spaces and wanted to create more space dedicated to art..  Art is so important and I started thinking about why art is important.
1.  Art is important in documenting and capturing a little slice life.  I am a realism painter because I really feel strongly about capturing life now and I am in love with the idea of capturing something in that moment. I think some of the most interesting art pieces through out history are the ones documenting the world.  A little glimpse into the past through the eyes of an artist.  If you look at some of Picasso paintings- he loved the ladies and he loved his dachshunds and you could really see yourself in that world.  I always imagined his life of a messy decadence. 
2.  Art is important because captures magic, imagination, and wonder.  As I have gotten older- I have realized how important those qualities are and as you get older how much harder it is to hold onto those qualities.  I recently found some of my old drawings when I was a kid and they were full of rainbows and pirates.  I was always told there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but I remember thinking that if I could never find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow- I am sure a pirate could find that pot of gold. :) I just love remembering that pure magic.  I try to squeeze little bits of that dust into my paintings now but it's something I chase after.
3.  Art is important because it can be a true expression. There are so many different types of art.. fine art. designed art.. performance art.. commercial art.. and many many more.. Art is a great way of communication and I know sometimes it can be difficult to express oneself but sometimes you can just clear everything out of ones mind and just make.  The art of making things- is such an amazing thing!  I know growing up and pretty much my whole life- I always have a safe place with my artwork.  It's a place that I can go and just be me and say whatever I want to say.. yell as loud as I want to yell.. make whatever I want to make... just being free...

What do you think? Why do you think art is important?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vegas From Day to Night.

Happy Friday! This week went by so quickly.. coming back into town and it's already time to get ready for fall.  When I think of fall, it makes me think of coffee and soup season :) This weekend I have so much work to do- and I am shutting the door to my studio and am hoping a lot of work gets done.  You never know what can happen in the studio.  I wanted to show you some of my Vegas pics before I head to the studio!
One thing I do love about visiting Las Vegas is that have mini replicas of everything.  You can go to Paris and see the mini Elfie Tower.. or go to Rome and see a mini Treve Fountain and even go inside a Pyramid. I do love all the different themes in Vegas. Here goes! Vegas Day to Night.. and I also included links of me visiting some of the real life places of these famous places.
Inside the Bellagio. isn't it dreamy? I always love how they decorate the hotel.
I think this one with the hanging umbrellas is from the Wynn- but it made me want to think about some ceiling hangage for my house.
This one is a mini of the Trevi fountain in Rome, Italy.  It made me remember when I put a coin over my shoulder and made a wish.  I always wish for the same wish every time and if you watch the video here- just click on the short 10 second video.
Time for the night photos :) I had a lot of fun taking night photos and am still learning with the shutter/flush and stay very very still.
I love Paris- and we had dinner at the Paris one night and it was scrumptious.  Here is me visiting the real Elfie Tower.
Bellagio Fountains.
Martini anyone? This was a yummy pear martini and the hubs had a side car meets Christmas.  They were both extremely delicious.  I would love one these puppies right now! What are you up to this weekend?
© Erika Lee Sears