Follow along, It'll be fun!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hand painted Owl Chalk Box

This is my newest little pet project. I found this cute owl clipart for inspiration. I wrapped a chalk box in canvas and painted it black, then I painted the cute little owl on the front.

I googled "painted box" images for inspiration and found this great website Boxed art project
You may want to check it out to see what they are doing in Canterbury City. What a fun project!

I will definitely be painting more chalk boxes.

This reminds me of another project that I did a while back. I offered step by step instructions on my old blog "Art Spectrum". I may reintroduce it on my new blog, just for fun!

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The winner of My First Giveaway is...

Nancy from All Strung Out

Chosen by random number:


Timestamp: 2009-06-28 16:06:21 UTC by

One Custom Pet Portrait!
Congratulations Nancy!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Isn't she lovely!

This morning I took some pictures of our newest creation. This lovely chalkboard is set in a very pale pink wooden frame.
As I snapped away under the crepe myrtle tree, I managed to get some nice shots showing some of the detail.
I don't know what I like capturing more, the chalkboard or my garden. I love my crepe myrtle tree. I planted it about two years ago. It was just a twig. Now it is actually starting to look like a real tree. I love when it blooms, it looks so pretty.

Sadly, just after I took the picture above, a big wind came along and knocked over my lovely pink framed chalkboard. Yes, there was some damage; however, hubby is doing his magic. He sanded it, repainted it white and will sand it again to give it a distressed look. From pretty ballerina chalkboard to shabby chic chalkboard!

Wow, this is my second post today! Don't forget to check out my post below about my trip to Ikea. I think it's the longest post I have ever written!
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A trip to Ikea

I don't know why but sometimes I just need to go to Ikea. What is it about Ikea that makes me feel relaxed. It's like a mini vacation.
For those of you who have never experienced Ikea, it is a giant furniture warehouse/showroom/import store and I believe it is a Swedish based company. It is not the highest quality furniture(most pieces are made from pressboard) or the most attractive but it is economical, trendy, and space efficient. It's great for dorm room decorating, children's rooms and people on a tight budget with limited space!

My mother and I discovered it many years ago on Long Island. When we moved to Florida, there was no Ikea. Few years ago the giant Swedish furniture warehouse decided to grace Central Floridians with their presence.
When you go to Ikea plan to be there for a while. You will enter on one side of the warehouse and begin your journey. You go up the escalator and begin following the arrows. As you wind around the showroom you encounter lovely little vignettes of kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. If you are paying close attention you will also notice that there are entire showrooms devoted to complete living spaces. For example, you will walk through a 537 sq ft living space, complete with kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom. How do they squeeze all of that stuff into such a small space and make you actually feel like you want to lived there!?(think vertical space) There is even a 250 sq ft space complete with bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. I guess that would be considered a luxury apartment in Manhattan or maybe Sweden!
As you wind around to the end of your upstairs journey you smell the lovely aroma of Swedish meatballs. Yes, there is a cafeteria at the end of the road! Aren't you hungry? I hear they serve free breakfast Monday thru Friday, from 9:30 to 10, so get there early. They serve eggs, bacon and hashbrowns!

After you stop in for a bite to eat(we didn't) you go back downstairs. In order to reach the exit you must walk through the accessory portion of the warehouse. This is where you can find, lamps, dishes, artwork, rugs, towels, curtains, bedding, mirrors, baskets.... It 's a giant import store! At the end of this road you will reach the warehouse, where all of the lovely furniture displayed in the showroom above, is packaged in large cardboard boxes, ready for you to pull off the shelves, ring up yourself, at the self checkout and load into your car, to take home and spend hours assembling. Ah -but before you leave, Wouldn't you love a nice warm cinnamon bun? It smells so good you just have to have one!(We didn't)

The person that designed this place is a genius! There aren't too many retail stores that you would walk into and voluntarily relinquish one to two hours of your time just to browse and maybe pick up a five dollar lamp and a cinnamon bun.

I always see things that I want to come back and get, but once I leave, I forget what I saw. So this time I took my camera. Here are some of the things that I spotted on my journey.

I like this collection of casual white furniture. The low console with the baskets would look nice in the familyroom with our flat screen tv on top. The low coffee table was interesting, with a giant shadow box drawer, that pulls out, to display artifacts or pictures. I also, like the wood tables, only $99 each. Two or three of these against the wall in my dining room would be a great place to store and display chalkboards!
I also saw some great storage pieces for my art studio. All very reasonably priced. I even like the folding barstool. Only $24 each. I need three!!

Here's a great example of using vertical space. This narrow storage unit would be perfect for a small narrow bathroom. The drawers open on an angle and act as narrow deep bins, great for storing shoes, toiletries etc... $99 each! The small dresser is great for a little boys room. The colors are neutral and slats, to pull the drawer open are a unique design and safe.
Here are some odds and ends that caught my eye. The headboard is pretty but I know I can paint that on the wall with cast shadows and make you believe it's really there:). They sell fabric and frames to make your own wall art. I love that giant bin on casters but they weren't selling that. How I would love to roll that around the house picking up laundry. I might even be able to get the kids to do it.(Yeah, who am I kidding? They would throw each other in there and zoom each other around the house) And the wooden lazy susans would be perfect for setting up circle painting parties
I love baskets for organizing, too! Those little ones at the top would look great in any room. And I like the one that looks like steps, to hang on the wall, for mail sorting.

Well, there's my trip to Ikea! What are your thoughts about this store, love it? like it? hate it?

Mine is a love/like/hate relationship.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday's Featured Follower!

Today's Friday's Featured Follower is  Kathie @ my net finds!  

Kathie is a great blogger.  She always leave a comment and words of encouragement.  I wish I could be as considerate a blogger as Kathie.  She has also given me two blog awards (one of which I haven't post yet, but I will).  Thank you Kathie!

But the real reason I am featuring Kathie is for her wonderful blog!  She finds so many great things on the internet to share with her readers.  There are recipes, giveaways, etsy favorites, and so much more!

Head on over to Kathie and see what's new!

Happy Friday!
Don't forget to look at the post below to check out the chalkboard party!

Also don't forget to enter my giveaway, a custom pet portrait! The winner will be announced on Sunday!

Chalkboard Party

I had to get in on this party! The Shabby Chic Cottage is a wonderful blog created by Gina and the party is all about chalkboards!

You may have noticed, I like chalkboards:) I love finding old frames and giving them new life by dressing them up with an elegant black chalkboard. I find that it turns any shabby frame into a chic new accessory for the home and it's functional. The blackboard is like the little black dress, perfect for any occasion! In fact, I find chalkboards so fashion forward that I love to take them out on location (usually my front yard garden) and do photo shoots.

Yesterday, I was doing a shoot, in my front yard, with my latest model, a vintage antique white framed chalkboard and I might have gotten a bit carried away.
I discovered a new little spot to take some pictures. This spot was tucked in the corner of my yard. I thought it would be the perfect spot for vintage antique white. With a camera around my neck and chalkboard in hand, I headed to the location. I nestled the chalkboard amongst the ornamental grass, took a step back and crouched down. And then it happened! I saw stars!! I sat on a sprinkler head that was sticking out of the ground. Yes it hurt and I began talking to myself, proclaiming what a fool I was. Just then, a woman, with a stroller, strolled by. So here I am, crouching in the corner of my yard, with a camera around my neck, taking pictures of a chalkboard, talking to myself. She looked back at me several times. God only knows what she was thinking. I guess it doesn't really matter because I did get a nice picture.

Here are some more lovely pictures:





To see more fantastically creative chalkboard ideas head on over to The Shabby Chic Cottage and check out all of the links. I know I will!

If you love chalkboards, but don't feel like making one yourself, you can always buy one framed or unframed in my etsy shop. I also take special orders for custom sized unframed chalkboards!

I hope you'll take a look around my blog. I have chalkboards all over the place:)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chalkboards for Craft show Signage!

I recently completed a custom order for Bridgett at Perideau Designs. She ordered four small unframed chalkboards, 2 5"x7" and 2 4"x6". She put these little chalkboards into beautiful frames and used them as signage, at her very first craft fair last weekend. She was kind enough to share her pictures of her set up. I think it looks fantastic!

If you are looking for beautiful stationery, check out Bridgett's etsy shop Perideau Designs , Stationery for the modern soul!

You can see more detailed photos here

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Faux Slate Walkway step by step

The frame for this chalkboard would be considered faux because it is made out of plastic, to look like an antique gold frame.

I thought this would be a good post to talk about my faux slate walkway, as well. On my old blog, Art Spectrum, I documented the progress of my summer project, last year. I painted my front walkway, using concrete paint, to look like slate. You can see a little bit of it in the picture above and can catch glimpses of it in several of my other pictures, featuring my chalkboards.

Here is a recap of the progress of my work, from last summer.

I started by testing my technique, colors and product on a concrete paver. The product that I used was Folkart Outdoor Opaque, by Plaid.

Starting at the front door, I began to paint in the tile lines. I decided to go with an random tile pattern, for a more formal look. Using a metal right angle ruler, I started plotting my course. I chalked in the lines first, then painted over the chalk. (Funny, chalk was involved in this project too.) I forgot to mention, before doing any painting my husband pressure washed the entire walkway.
Using a variety of browns, blues and a sandstone colored base, I began to mix my colors to create a convincing slate look. Every few tiles I added faux ridges, to further enhance the look.

Each day that I painted, I tried to complete one slab of concrete. I worked early in the morning, before the hot Florida sun started shining on the walkway. I typically worked for about three hours. One hazard was the late afternoon rains. The paint is not supposed to get wet for, I think, 24 hours (It needs curing time). Thankfully, it did not ruin my work. The only thing that is not finished, in the above picture, is the shadow in the grout lines. I came back later to finish that.

Slowly I crept, slab by slab, down the walkway. I didn't work on it every morning and sometimes I went weeks without painting. Summer turned to fall, fall turned to winter, and winter turned to spring. Little by little as time allowed I got it done.

It has been a year since I began this project and I still have one more slab to go. It's the one that turns the corner to the driveway, so it doesn't look that incomplete. I only work this slow on my own projects. When I'm working for a client, I work until I'm done:).

One year later!

I had many projects that I worked on this past year, most at my children's school. I took a little break from my mural business, in order to get these other projects done. I am starting to get my mural business moving again. In order to jump start my business, I am offering my services at a discounted rate. If you know of anybody in the Central Florida area, who is looking for a good mural and faux artist, please direct them to my website, and

A final note on the slate walkway. It has been a year since beginning this project. The walkway has been through the strong Florida sun and heavy rains(sometimes even hurricane conditions). I'm happy to say, It has held up beautifully! No fading or chipping. My husband even pressure washed it, on the highest setting, to test it and the paint didn't budge!
It says on the paint bottle, UV and weather resistant. Permanent outdoors. Waterbase, nontoxic. Satin sheen. Self sealing.
I will attest to all of these claims!

See more great ideas at Amy's Round Robin

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The neighbors are starting to talk!

As I was clicking away, taking pictures of my lastest chalkboards and frames, I had this strange feeling that I was being watched. Were the neighbors watching? They must think I'm crazy, taking pictures of chalkboards and frames in my garden, while wearing a towel on my head (having just washed my hair). What must they think of me? Do I really care? Of course not! Ready to turn around and greet them with a big smile and a "Lovely Morning!" I heard a strange noise...
I turned around to find two very friendly neighbors!
We spent some time together snacking on some bread and having a duck shoot! The kids got a real kick out of our two new friends!

Wildlife in the Burbs!
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday's Featured Follower!

Friday's Featured Follower is Hayley from When I Grow Up.  
I have been friends with Hayley for eleven years.  No, we haven't been blogging that long.  We became friends when we were just beginning our families.  Friendships are a blessing. 
I encourage you to go over to Hayley's blog to learn more about her story.  Begin with her post The day I felt Complete.  Spend a day with her family at the beach.  Witness a beautiful sunset. See how we spent a fantastic day with our friends.  Follow the sunshine!

Before you leave, light a candle for their sunshine and grab a "Delivering Kindness because of Heller" button (both can be found on the side bar).

Enjoy your trip to When I grow Up!

Tell Hayley I said "Hi"

Be on the look out for next Friday's Featured Follower.   If you follow this blog, it may be you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Starting Over

I have been working on putting together an online portfolio of my teaching career. (Here are some examples of middle school and high school student artwork. Chalk pastel is a great medium for beginning students.) Here's a link to view my teaching portfolio blog
Student Artwork

Before becoming a mom, I received my B.A in Fine Art, and M.S. in Education. I was an elementary and high school art teacher for five years. After I had my first son, hubby and I decided that I would stay home to raise the children. I have loved every minute of it. And although I have been home, I have not let the grass grow under my feet. For the last eleven years, I have worked as a freelance artist and have volunteered my time in my children's school. I have done murals, sold many paintings, and created several projects for the Spring Arts Festival. Examples of my work can be seen on my other blogs, and

Group Art Projects-Circle Paintings

Abstract Paintings

A few months ago hubby lost his job, due to the bad economy. We were planning on opening a bagel shop and for three months we worked tirelessly, putting together a great business plan. A few weeks ago we presented our plan to the banks and were told that SBA 7(a) loans rarely give money to start-up businesses. And in this economy there was no chance of getting that loan. We learned an age old lesson, "It takes money to make money." We have temporarily put this dream on hold.
Now hubby is looking for a job. I am, also, gathering all of my resources to apply for an art teaching position(if one should arise). I love teaching and art and being a mom. I am hoping that I can put all three together.

We are also still very excited about our chalkboard business on We are selling our chalkboards and having fun working on it together!

We are hopeful that hubby can find a chef job soon and I can find a teaching job.

These are uncertain times. I'm not sure what the future will bring. I can only imagine that it will all turn out ok.

We are starting over, just as this blog is all about chalking it up and starting over.

for sale on etsy

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Custom Pet Portrait Giveaway!!

I seem to be drawn to animals, as subjects, when working in pastels. I love to capture the essence of their souls, at least as they appear to me. I work from a photo and try not to labor over the exactness of every angle. When I work like this, without the self-imposed pressure, everything seems to fall into place.

For my very first giveaway on Chalk it Up! I am offering one 8"x10" custom pet portrait from your best pet photo. This portrait is for one pet only. This is a $50 value!!

If you can't wait for the giveaway, you can order your pet portrait on my etsy shop. I have one offer listed, as I am only taking one order at a time.

To enter my very first giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment. If you become a follower leave a second comment stating that you've done so and you will be entered twice!!
1. One comment= one chance to win
2.Two comments=two chances to win

Start looking for your best pet photo and enter to win!
I will announce the winner two weeks from today:) Sunday June 28th!

Good Luck!!
Have a Great Sunday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's Saturday!

What to do?

What would you do?
I found these cute polaroid frames on I found this site on someone else's blog. I wish I could remember who, to give credit.
Anyway, I better get out to the garage sales to find some great treasures!