Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!

It's Christmas Eve, and I'm almost ready for Jim's brother and sister to arrive.  This is the first year they've come to our house for Christmas, so I feel a little pressure to get everything right. I want to make it special and beautiful.

Small Moments:  Christmas 2014
Counting down to Christmas... It's Christmas Eve!
I got this Christmas Advent calendar several years ago, and I still love it. The bubble is magnetic, and magnifies the date. Goes perfectly with my rustic, vintage Christmas decor.

Small Moments: Christmas 2014
There's always one gift that won't fit under the tree...
All the presents are wrapped... Well, almost all of them... Jim still hasn't wrapped his gift for me.

Small Moments: Christmas 2014
Christmas cookies...
You just can't have Christmas without some Christmas Cookies!  I didn't make any this year, but hopefully these Belgium cookies will suffice.

Small Moments:  Christmas 2014
The table is set...
Okay, I'l admit it.  These are not the plates we'll be having our dinner on.  But they can be used for the cookies and snacks.  I guess I'm as ready as I'm going to be...  Hope you're ready!

Small Moments:  Christmas 2014
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I hope your holidays are filled with love, 
friendship and many blessings!

May you have a blessed Christmas.

The Christmas Tree is Decorated!

Many years ago, I used to get a real tree. I still love the smell of real ones, but I know my limitations. We have a super small house, and when I got to a tree farm to pick out a tree, I never end up picking a small tree... Oh, it looks small at the farm, but it would inevitably turn out to be HUGE when it came to getting it into the house.

Small Moments with Loribeth Christmas Tree
Our Christmas Tree 2014
So for our first Christmas together, we bought this small Christmas tree that's the perfect size for our little house. And, every year since we got it, I have decorated it pretty much the same way. It's kind of hard to change it up when the shape of the tree never changed and you always use the same ornaments.  However, that changed this year...

Small Moments with Loribeth Christmas Ornament
One of the new vintage inspired glass ornaments
Last year, after Christmas, I bought my first item ever off the Home Shopping Network. I found a box of vintage inspired glass ornaments on their site that I had to have. They were so beautiful, and just spoke to me. I honestly could not wait for Christmas to get here so I could hang them on the tree.

Small Moments with Loribeth Christmas Ornament
One of my friends said this one looks like an old-time parfum bottle,
which is exactly what I thought too!
Now, Jim was less than thrilled that I bought them, because he thought we had enough ornaments. He was right, of course. We did have enough ornaments.  But I have to say, the joy I experienced while hanging these ornaments made them completely worth it.

Small Moments with Loribeth Christmas Ornament
This one reminds me of the genie bottle from "I dream of Jeannie"
 A lot of our old ornaments didn't find their way onto the tree this year, and in some ways that's kind of sad. I can't help but think about that story about how the Christmas felt sad after all its ornaments were removed, until it realized one ornament had been forgotten.  And I wonder if the ornaments that were left in the storage box this year feel sad that they weren't chosen to decorate the tree. Of course, they're being donated to a local charity, so who knows, they might get used and maybe they'll bring joy to some other family.

Small Moments with Loribeth Christmas Ornament
Love the warm vintage look of these. 
For now, I'm just going to admire our lovely tree with the presents all wrapped underneath it. Soon we'll have family over and the presents will be unwrapped, Maybe I should get some of those pine scented candles... hmmm...

Small Moments with Loribeth Christmas Tree 2014
Christmas 2014
Do you have any special ornaments that you love?

Off-Center Window in the Bedroom

I don't know if you have a husband who is a hunter, but I do. I didn't know that when I met him, but last year he started going hunting with my dad way up north in the Upper Peninsula. Last year, while he was gone, I repainted the kitchen and kitchen cabinets.  This year, I redecorated our bedroom. He gets to have his fun, and I get to have mine!

Master Bedroom with Tia on the Bed
Tia likes the new bedroom decor!
Since I moved into Jim's house back in 2009, I have been at a loss what to do to make our bedroom feel like a retreat. Our bedroom is small. So small, that there is only one place that our queen size bed will fit. Unfortunately, the wall where it has to go has one off-center window. 

The off-center window has always bothered me. I mean, what was the builder thinking when he put a single window off center on the wall. It's not like centering it would have ruined the look of the house from the outside. Anyway, I've tried to camouflage it with curtains, but have never really been happy with the results. As you can see, it really closed the room in and made it feel dark.

Off-Center Window
My attempt to hide the off-center window
Embracing the off-center window seemed like the best thing to do in this situation. All over the internet, I found pictures of camouflaging the off-center windows, but not one of how to decorate without trying to camouflage it. Personally, I'm thrilled with how it turned out. It gave me space for some great art above the bed, which I couldn't have done with curtains. Jasper seems to like it too.

Off-center Window
Embracing the off-center window.
Since I decided to embrace the off-center window rather than trying to hid it, I decided to wallpaper the wall behind the bed to give it some texture. The wall had to be special if I wasn't going to hide it. But I didn't want a feature wall, I still wanted it to blend in, so it was painted the color of the rest of the room. I used the paintable, beadboard wallpaper that I used on my kitchen cabinet doors. 

The paint color was one thing that definitely had to change in the room. I don't know what the old color was, but it had a yellow tinge to it that made me think of nicotine stains, and it always felt dirty to me. Painting the walls Valspar's Pantone White Asparagus freshed up the room. Even though the new color was similar to the old color, it looks clean, and clean always feels brighter.

Small Moments wallpaper
Wallpapering and painting behind the bed.
The other thing that had to go was the nightstands. Our old nightstands were so big, the drawers had to face in towards the bed in order for them to fit on both sides of the bed. For $50, I found great vintage pair of end tables on Craigslist. I bought two Allen and Roth storage boxes for the bottom shelves of them that work like drawers.  The new nightstands take up a lot less space, and the legs make it feel less crowded. Surprisingly, we actually have more room for more of our stuff than we had on the old ones, which is kind of an added bonus.

Old and new nightstands
Old nightstands, Craigslist end tables, and New nightstands in place
The window coverings are from Lowe's. They're actually the same curtains I have in our living room, except in the dark brown color. I used full-size flat sheets to line the curtains so they would darken the room. The roman shades were on clearance, and I got them for less than $5 a piece. I love the dark color with the curtains. When both the curtains and the shades are closed, not a bit of light gets in the room, which lets us sleep in if want.

Finished product
Curtain rods, draperies and roman shades
The curtain rods were quite an odyssey. I was originally going to go with white rods, but the ones I bought were warped, so I took them back. Then I got the idea I wanted dark rods, so I bought some 28" adjustable oil rubbed bronze rods. The grommets kept catching on them where the two poles connected, so I sent them back. Then I bought some 36" bronze ones that turned out to be black when they arrived, so I sent those back.  Finally, I bought some 1.25" diameter 36" wood dowels, some unfinished finials and some brackets, stained them, and made my own curtain rods. I was much happier with them than I was with any of the ready-made rods.

I've been focusing on the bed side of the room, so here are some pictures of the rest of the room. 

Another view of the master bedroom
Walking in from the hallway.
The Armoire
The armoire
Redecorated and beautiful
Looking at the bed while standing in front of the armoire
Small Master Bedroom
The curtains in the picture are covering my closet.
Small master bedroom
Another view from the window side. Jasper doesn't even move.
Dresser with new hardware
Our large dresser.
I was going to paint the furniture a creamy white, but once I got everything else paint, the new curtains hung and the new bedding on the bed, I decided I liked the look of the wood. The curtains have dark brown leaves on them, and the stained wood gave the room a very nature-like feeling. Not only that, but it is now a cream and brown bedroom. It needed some contrast to make it come alive.

New hardware for the dresser
New hardware.
There's another change I made. I switched out all the hardware on the dresser and armoire. The old one rattled and clanked every time the drawers were opened and closed, which is annoying when one of you is trying to sleep! It's not a huge difference in the look... Although, I do think it makes the furniture look less mission style and makes it look a little more elegant. Regardless, it does make it a lot quieter, and that was my real goal!

Cozy Master Bedroom
The new bedding really tied the whole thing together. 
I am so happy with how it turned out. I'm loving how bright the room is and how much larger it feels. It truly is amazing what new window covering, new bedding and fresh paint will do to a room.

Here's a side by side of the before and after...

Before and After The Bedroom is done!
From drab to fab!
I don't know... Looking at the before, the room kind of looked like your standard hotel room, nothing to write home about.  Now it looks and feels like a retreat. Even if it is as small as it was before, it feels bigger, airier and fresh.

Would you ever embrace an off-center window or would you try to hide it?  Do you have an architectural detail in your bedroom that makes you scratch your head and wonder what the builder was thinking? 

Before and After: Dining Chairs

Although I love, love, loved the white chairs with our "haunted" dining table, they really were too large for our small dining area in the kitchen. They just simply took up too much space.  So, I've had my eye out looking for some mahogany chairs to go with our beautiful mahogany table. 

Dining table with white chairs
My beautiful table with my heavy white chairs. 

By now, you're all familiar with my "haunted" dining table--the one I got on Craigslist for $75. Well last February, I found these beauties at the Greater Muskegon Woman's Club's Junk to Jewels Rummage Sale to go with it for another $75.  All four for $75! I just couldn't pass them up.

Mahogany Chairs
Mahogany chairs I got for $75.
The chairs were in excellent shape. What I liked about them is they didn't have any cross braces like the white ones that made them impossible to push all the way in at the ends of the table.

So I brought them home, and it turns out there was nothing wrong with the finish. I thought for sure I'd have to refinish them, but I lucked out. The wood just needed to be cleaned with a little Murphy's Oil Soap, and then I freshened the finish with a little bit of polish.

Mahogany Dining Chair
Look at the detail. Very pretty...dirty, but pretty.
The seats, however, were another story. They were vinyl, they were dirty, and they were hard. Jim and I both agreed they needed more cushion.  And, Jim, being the wonderful husband that he is, decided that I needed a pneumatic stapler to do them. I wasn't sure about it at first, but thank goodness he did, because I don't think my hand would have survived using the the manual stapler!! Now I'm hooked on pneumatic tools!

Jasper the Cat
Jasper decided to help cut the foam. 
At some point someone decided to cover the original upholstery with vinyl. I'm thinking they probably did that in the '60s. The vinyl just ripped right off, no problem at all. The fabric under it came off just as easily. Here's the weird part... The original padding was straw or something like straw. I'm glad we got rid of that, because I can just imagine what my allergies would have been like with that in the seats!!

Mahogany chair
All cleaned up with the new upholstery.
Turns out that the foam for the cushions was the most expensive part. We decided to go with two inch foam for a little added cushion, and we're so glad we did. They are so comfortable! Yes, I used the leftover fabric from when I had my channel back chair upholstered. I just love that fabric, so it worked out well. Plus, since it was leftover, the price was right!

Mahogany chairs
Nice thick, comfy cushions.
I think the hardest part was getting the fabric lined up the same way on all four chairs. If you look closely, I made sure the pattern was centered to match as close to exact as I could get. Of course, unless you look at all four chairs at the same time, you'd never know, but it's that little perfectionist in me coming out.

After: Dining table and chairs
After: Looking like new around the table.
They really do fit around the table so much better, giving us a little more room to move around. Although, now I can see in this picture that the table legs really do need to be refinished... sigh... We have gotten so many compliments on this "set" now.

Okay... now for the kicker... This week, I found five more of these chairs!! When all the leaves are in our table, it will seat eight. So I now have enough matching chairs, plus one!! They are not in as good of shape as these four, but I snatched them up for $10 a piece, $50 total!! They need a little work...some of the joints need to be reglued, and of course, the cushions need to be replaced and re-upholstered. But when they are done, we'll have a complete set.

Exciting news for my Art!

I finally bought a wide-format printer.  Now, as soon as I have all the supplies I need for printing and shipping, I will be able to start making prints as large as 13"x19".  My current prints will not be offered at that size, because they were created for a maximum size of 8"x10", so that means I get to create a lot of new art!  And I'm so excited by this!!!

Here is one of the prints that I have created so far.  I have to decide whether I want this print to be a limited edition, or if I want it to be open stock.  I'm kind of leaning towards limited edition.

Seashells and grass art print All rights reserved
"Seashells and Grass"
©2014 Loribeth Clark

Do you like it?  What do you think?  Limited Edition or Open Stock?   Give me your opinions!!!

I do Landscapes

There. I said it. I've never liked doing portraits. I'm not good at them. Other people think I am, but I'm never satisfied with how they turn out. But that is what most people ask for when they like my work. It doesn't matter that the work they like is landscapes, they will almost always ask, "Do you paint people?"

I love doing landscapes and still lifes, where there is the impression that people have been there. It's not often that I actually include people in my paintings, but when I do, you can't tell who they are. They could be anyone.

Watercolor, Summer in Saugatuck III, ©2013 Loribeth Clark
Summer in Saugatuck III
In this painting, there are people, but because they are impressionistic, they are there, but you can't see who they are. That's the beauty of watercolors. Because the detail in watercolors isn't defined, they lend themselves very well to this. It's also why I love doing them.

I like to think that my art has more universal appeal than portrait art. Anyone can place themselves into one of my paintings and relate to it. With a portrait, it is only meaningful to a hand full of people, and there is nothing wrong with that.  It's just not my style.

Having my portrait drawn
Me having my portrait drawn
But still people ask me if I do portraits... There are a lot of fine portrait artists out there... And I know people love having their portraits done. Jim and I even had a pastel portrait done of ourselves when we went on vacation last year with the family. The artist was very kind... She made us look much younger than we are. It was fun. She did it very quickly and is obviously very talented at it.
The Great Portraits
Although, there are a lot of famous, valuable portraits that have been done.  The Mona Lisa, Pinkie, the Blue name a few.  Beautiful portraits that because of their value and historical significance appeal to a lot of people. So much so, that many people buy copies to hang in their own homes.

I'm not really sure what the point of this post is. Except to maybe say that I admire portrait artists. It just isn't the kind of work I love doing myself. It makes me think of a scene from the movie "Titanic" when Jack is drawing Rose's picture.
Rose: I believe you are blushing, Mr. Big Artiste. I can’t imagine Monsieur Monet blushing.Jack: He does landscapes.
Do what you love... I do landscapes.

Moments of Art
Moments of Art
Where you can purchase my landscapes
along with other artwork I've created.

Moving my Art Blog over here

I've decided that it is a bit too much work. So I will be moving my posts from my art blog over here. That means every once in a while you will see a post dedicated completely to one of my art pieces. I'll share my inspiration for it, what my process was, and where you can purchase it if it's for sale.

I hope you'll like this new feature to this blog, and you'll enjoy learning another aspect about me.

Savannah I Watercolor
Savannah I, Watercolor Painting by Loribeth Clark

Throwback Thursday

Very old picture of Loribeth
Me...  February 1984
Don't I look innocent?
Just thought I'd share a very old picture of me.  This was taken at my mom and dad's house before the Sweetheart Swirl. It's been a long time since this picture was taken!

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Art prints for every room in your home!
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I Made a Stool to go with my Chair!

A couple years ago, I bought a little stool at a thrift shop. I intended to recover it, because the fabric on it was awful!  Well, I finally got around to doing it, and I used leftover fabric from my beautiful chair to do it. I just love it now!!

My chair with the stool!
Finished stool with my chair.
I could lie and say I planned for the pattern to match up the way it did, but honestly, that was just a happy accident. I'm thrilled that it does though!

The wood on the stool and the wood on the chair are not the same, but I think the finish color on both are close enough that they look good together.

Close up of stool with Statement Chair
Just little close-up of the two.
When I saw the stool at the thrift shop, I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but for $6, I couldn't walk away from it. It sat in the corner for a long time after I ripped the original fabric off it.  This is what it looked like when I bought it.

How the stool originally looked.
How it looked when I bought it.
Kind of cute. But the fabric was nasty, and who knew how much dirt and crud was under it, so the fabric had to go.

Ripping the fabric from the stool.
Ripping off the fabric.
The finish of the wood looked promising. In fact, other than the sides where all the tacks had been, the finish was perfect.  That's part of the reason I didn't reupholster it before.

The edges are really beat up.
Looking good, but the edge is really beat up.
After I took off the rest of the fabric and pulled all the tacks and staples, I left it like this for a long time...a couple of years actually. I had bought fabric for it, but never bothered to do anything with it. (I'm detecting a pattern of buying fabric for projects, and then not actually using it...hmmm...)

Finished Stool
Close up of it all finished with new fabric.
I thought about reupholstering it when I set it under my chair to get it out of the way, and inspiration struck. I had the extra cushion from when I did our dining chairs, and I had extra fabric from the chair! I also had trim from when I redid the lamp shades.  I had everything I needed, so this was going to be a ZERO DOLLARS project!

Finished Stool with Statement Chair
All finished and looking good!
I don't know if anyone will ever actually use the stool, but I really like how they look together.  What do you think?  Better?  Cute?

Visit my online shop for art that will add beauty
and a touch of vintage nostalgia to your home!

It Snowed a Little Today...

My Car in the Snow
What I came home to...
When I left this morning, there was maybe a couple inches of snow on the ground. It took me a few minutes to clean off my car, and I was on my way.

I spent the day in Grand Rapids, which is about 30 miles from where we live. There was hardly any snow there. But on the way home, the weather changed... At some points during my drive, I couldn't see the car in front of me because the snow was blowing so much.

Then this is what I came home to!  Snow!  UP TO MY KNEES!!!  My little Beetle, which only has 6 inches of clearance off the ground, had to plow through the snow in order to get into our driveway.

As you can see, the snow is VERY deep, almost up to my headlights.

So... I guess, I'm not going anywhere else for a while.

How was your day?

To find beautiful art for every room in your home,
visit my online shop, Moments of Art!