Holy Paintbrushes, Batman!

I’m kinda bursting with glee. Like, I’m wiggling around in my seat right now, can’t sit still, can’t quite keep the happy from sizzling and jiving from the ends of my bedhead hair right down to my toes and out into my ratty slippers…it’s really, really good that you can’t see me right now.

Remember last week I told you about delivering that pretty, switched-up trompe l’oeil chair?



<—–You know, this one?




And here it is in its new home! Leah Chair 2 Leah Chair 3

Love this…don’t often get to see my pieces in their new context, so this is especially gratifying! And could you just die over the adorable lavender room??


Anyway, about two seconds after I passed the chair into the client’s waiting hands, she started asking about a handpainted kitchen table, and stools to go around it. I think I managed to contain the jolt of excitement and answer with calm, professional competence, but it’s good I was wearing sunglasses, ’cause my eyes may have looked a little crazy.

So we’ve been emailing back and forth. A LOT. Nailed down a design which is just going to be all kinds of awesome.

Pedastal and table top


<——one of these




Round scoop seat stool



<——with 4 of these




Soooooo….yesterday marked a new adventure for me in my paintiness, and a bunch of firsts all in one: first big sale, first repeat customer, first kitchen set, most ambitious, all-encompassing design. Don’t wanna give too much away about that yet, but think travel theme, iconic landmarks both local and international….yeah. So, so cool.


My husband is happy about this for a wholly different reason: he finally has my buy-in and commitment to helping clean out the garage–which I would normally attempt to avoid by any means up to and including faking a seizure–just so I have the proper space to work on this piece. So I see an official, organized, dedicated workspace in my future that is NOT in my dining room. More happy sizzly wiggles. Bring it on, 2013, I like your style!


Brand new listings!


Yay! I have two new pieces to share with you! I have high hopes for these two…I’d love to hear what you think about them!

The first was inspired by my Undersea Adventure chair.

Hand painted dining chair

This has been my most talked about, most eye-catching piece to date, and I wanted to see if it could be adapted into a footstool form that’s more budget-friendly, without losing the whimsy and uniqueness of the original.

Here’s the result!

Let me set the scene for you: an old boat lies partially buried on the sea floor, which is dotted with vibrant purple coral reefs teeming with vivid plant life, anemones, and tropical fish.









As the water deepens and darkens, we find two hammerheard sharks ominously circling… da-dun…da-dun…

As in the original chair, a first name can be hand-lettered onto the prow of the boat (suitably weathered looking, of course), for that extra personal touch!

Check out my Etsy listing for pricing and other little details!





My second piece was commissioned by a client who wanted a kitchen step stool for herself inspired by the warmth and aged elegance of Tuscany. I went to work, and created this:

While working on it I started calling it the Tuscan Two-Step, but…perhaps that’s a little too line-dance-y? I’m open to suggestions, people!



The inspiration here was the ornate carvings and detailed elements I see over and over in Tuscan design, with the whole piece hand-distressed and antiqued to emulate a sturdy kitchen fixture passed down for a few generations.





The dropped “dishcloth” on the top step in a vibrant red adds a warm pop of color, and features it’s own Tuscan-inspired design of embroidered vines and leaves.

You can check out the details for this one on Etsy, too!




As always, I want to make my pieces unique and meaningful for each client, so I love to hear about elements and colors that would be special to YOU! Most customizations can be done at no extra cost, provided they don’t exceed the scope of the original design. Let’s talk!

Here comes Lulu! Featured pick, handpainted accent chair


At last we get to take a closer look at Lulu, aka Tuffets ‘n Bows, aka…the girly chair. This one is just so much fun to paint! I love the color palette, all vivid pastels, and the riot of ribbons going every which way, and most especially the velvety lavender pillow. I wish I had a real pillow like that. I would carry it around with me and put it on every chair I ever sat on, and instantly feel princessy and pampered.

Hopefully those feelings will translate to the past and future owners of this model, because that’s what I was going for. I know of one young lady who drags hers to her desk for homework, and then to the dining table for dinner time–that is some serious commitment to princess-hood which I applaud.

In this model’s second incarnation, the client asked me if there was any way I could work in dinosaurs, as her granddaughter had a current passion for them. This was a puzzler for a while–should I throw in a stegosaurus and drape some ribbons around its neck? Should there be an inexplicably benevolent T-rex reclining on the cushion? It took a while, but I finally came up with a solution that I felt wouldn’t be too jarring: I designed a crest with a Triceratops Rampant, and painted it in gold on the aqua field just under the front of the seat. I have to say I found the little guy rather fetching–and hello, the fact that triceratops have a frill made it sort of a perfect fit with this frilly chair–and the client was pretty pleased with it.

It wasn’t until its third incarnation that this model won its name…it couldn’t be helped, the little girl I made it for is everything this chair is going for, and her name is just…well, perfect. So, here you go, meet Lulu. She’s a sweetheart.

Surf’s Up! Featured pick, handpainted accent chair


This is the chair that launched my whole beach theme.  It was the first one I painted for my last client, for a family of four siblings, plus a cousin (five boys, one girl; we’ll talk about Lulu later). It was also the first time I started playing with the idea that the unadorned wood tones represented the sand, an idea that I just loved–the bird tracks absolutely delighted me as a concept. From here I moved on to the Tommy, then the Will, and then back to the surfboard theme for Ben–and I’m thinking the beach theme probably has a few more versions to spawn before it plays out…like maybe a more girly version of the Jack, couldn’t you just see it with lipstick pink Hawaiian print? Obviously it would necessarily be named the Jill. Obviously.

And in the process of painting this one, I discovered who my most helpful and appreciative critic is, after my mother: my son. Mom and I, we go waaaaay back with the collaborative thing, so that was not news. My son however–who just turned 7–was the big surprise, even more so when I discovered I really value his input and insight. Case in point, I started to worry (self-doubt, my nemesis, hanging around again) about painting flowers on a chair for a 1st grade boy–would he think it was too girly, would it insult his manliness (boy-liness…)?

Enter Colin. He loves to see what I’ve been working on, and because he loves his Mommy and wants me to know he’s proud of my artistic ability and especially of being consulted, he really takes his time verbalizing what he sees. This means I get to hear exactly how one child, at least, responds to my ideas.

“Ohhhhh, I get it–” (this is always how he starts)–“those are the surfboards and they’re standing up on the sand! Ohhhh, and the palm tree is growing out of the sand, and that blue part is the sky! Oh, cool, look at the starfish! Niiiice.” This is high praise.

Then, being the devious Mommy that I am, I ask him about that orange stuff around the seat. Not even a pause.

“Oh, yeah, that’s the swim trunks.”

Self-doubt, eat your heart out, the seven year old has spoken. Simple as that.

Featured Pick of the Day–Handpainted Rocking Chair

Handpainted rocking chair-5

This one is kind of special. Okay, really special.

I made this recently for my cousin, who’s about to have a baby boy. The theme was a no-brainer (the nursery is a really adorable cowboy motif), but it became very meaningful to me. Our grandmother was a Missourian farm girl, who owned horses when we were all kids, and we’d all go out to her house in Elsinore and ride, and swim in the pool, and get really dirty out in the hills.

Grandma died a few years ago, and it was my cousin’s idea to have her saddle sitting on a sawhorse up in front at her funeral.  This just about undid me when I walked in to the church, but it was so her, and so perfect. (side note: he and his bride also had Grandma’s cowboy boots sitting on the sweetheart table at their wedding. We’re a little sentimental in our family. I like that about us.)

So, fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I’m brainstorming about what to paint for this new baby we’re so excited about, and speculating on whether it should be a rocking horse, a step stool, a rocking chair, or what…suddenly, as I was looking at a picture of the rocking chair I was considering, it occurred to me that, if you kind of squinted and looked at it the right way, the curvy back looked a little like a saddle. Grandma’s saddle.

So even though the colors, the lasso, the deputy badge are inspired by the nursery decor, and it’s little Travis’ name tooled into the leather, it’s Grandma’s saddle in my mind.

another side note: please, please, please forgive the quality of the photographs. I took them myself (and a photographer I am not) with my dinky little point & shoot, because I finished the chair the night before the baby shower, so there was no time to beg one of my talented photographer friends to do it for me. Sorry. Did I mention I’m not a photographer?

Of course, once I had come up with this design, it sure seemed like a keeper, which is why you’ll also find a footstool in this same theme.