The Top Ten Reasons Skyblue loves ~ SHE HAS TROUBLE WITH NUMBERS ~ by Joann Loftus

I’ve seen dozens, if not hundreds of online contests on blogs, facebook, instagram… but never considered entering one.  I guess if it’s not a million dollars, or a date with Mark Wahlberg, i’m not really interested.  I just really don’t want any more stuff.

A few weeks back though, I did enter one of those online contests.  I just happened across it, cruising through my feed, and for the first time I was like… “hell yah! sign me up!!” The very talented, inspiring artist, Joann Loftus was giving away a print…any print!  A hand embelleshed print of one of her original mixed media paintings, which i absolutely drool over.  Yup. I occasionally drool over art.  And, Mark Wahlberg.  Enough about him though… I won the art!! And I just wanted to tell the world!!!

It came in the mail wrapped up in this delicious paper with a special note on one of her sweet cards. (her painting Create)

IMG_4646I couldn’t WAIT to open it.

Rewind about a year… my husband and I did a lot of work remodeling our bedroom.  It was my first little attempt at being a “designer”.  I had this vision that just wouldn’t go away.

I had become passionate about the project… Together we made it happen, and it became a huge part of a healing process we were going through after some health issues.   The room was transformed from mostly-dreadful to semi-delightful, but with a severe lack of funds, the project came to a screeching halt before my favorite part of the design… the ART!!!  I knew there had to be art, that wasn’t my own, that I hadn’t seen yet.  When I saw it, I would know.

IMG_4660I brought up this back story because it is important for you to understand how excited I am having added the first piece of art (besides a few of my own which don’t count) to our Bohemian Zen bedroom.  When I saw the contest Joann had posted, I knew I wanted one of her pieces in our bedroom.

Most artists would agree, nothing says appreciation for someone’s art like forking over some well-earned dough.  Since I wouldn’t be paying for this piece, I wanted to somehow express how much I really did appreciate it.  Sending a heartfelt email just didn’t seem enough.  So I broke out a top ten list… written especially for Joann, and pasted it into the email.  I was pretty sure this whole thing was a scam, since it seemed much to good to be true, but I sent the email with my painting of choice.

It was not an easy or instant decision…I can relate deeply to so many of her pieces (Create was actually the first runner-up!)… but without a doubt it was meant to be, She Has Trouble with Numbers.

IMG_4669So here is the top ten list…

The Top Ten Reasons I love She Has Trouble With Numbers, by Joann Loftus

1. This was the first Loftus I ever saw.
2. I didn’t much love my short curly hair that wouldn’t grow out after chemo.  I liked her short “curly-ish” hair when i first saw her.  It made me like mine more.
3. She reminds me of me.  I’m terrible at math.  I mean really terrible.  It gives me hives.
4. She has daisies on her cheeks.  Heaven knows, I love daisies.
5. She will look so pretty in my bedroom.
6. The painting reminds me of my husband, who is fantastic at math.  He helped me “double” a recipe today.
7. The colors are amazing.  They remind me of our quilt, a gift from my mom. She, like my husband, is excellent at math and does our taxes like a CPA Ninja.
8. The painting reminds me of my dad, who, like me, is also terrible at math.
9. Did I say, I love the colors?
10. I can’t stop looking at her.  I feel like she was painted especially for me.IMG_4671
… when Trouble arrived in the mail last week, she was even more lovely than on my computer screen.  I knew she belonged in this room. She has found her home right next to my bed… and next to my alarm clock.  The numbers 5:13(am) could not be more troublesome.
Anyway, more than that, I love that I see her everyday first thing when i wake up, and just before i turn the lights out.  She’s home.
Thank you Joann.  I can’t wait to save up for my next Loftus!
Please find a piece for your own home, or for someone you love at Joann’s Etsy store and see what she’s up to on her Facebook page.

the vase.

It is evident that I post an excessive amount of photos that include the inside of my home as either the background or as the subject matter.  If I have any regular readers (thank you, if i do!), then you are probably like, “seriously… is this chick going to post yet ANOTHER picture of her “studio”? Or no, let me guess… one of her cats!”

Well, I love to take photographs.  I don’t have much opportunity for travel, and generally I don’t get out much between my home on a patch of grass with some trees, and day after day in an office cubicle…  so the majority of my photographs get taken in or around my home, with much of the same subject matter.  The occasional day trip takes me to to a scenic forest, or if i’m lucky, a visit to Boston or New York City.  But until I am free from to live somewhere fascinating, or travel as I please… I invite you into my home, where I will do my best to entertain you.  I hope over the years these images of my home, my cats, and my humble life, will on their own tell a story of a girl who just wants to take pictures, make art, inspire people, make them giggle once in a while, and create beautiful spaces.

With that said…  I have more pictures in my studio.  And more cats.

Today I thought I would, in the form of a blog post, memorialize a vase that has been in my home for years.  It has lived on many shelves, in many corners, of many rooms, but most recently it has held the big burst of colorful flowers you may have seen in my studio.  The flowers are fake of course, the vase really just a cheap thing from the craft store, but i remember when i first put it on this shelf years ago…how happy the vase of flowers made the room feel.

I am a believer that there is a lot more to a “nice house” than expensive furniture, and fancy things.  It’s not about impressing people… it’s about the feeling people get when they enter a room.  Calm, happy, warm, cozy, comfortable, clean, romantic… these are adjectives that describe an atmosphere that can be achieved with moderate physical effort, a few discount stores, and some creative solutions.

I just happened to take these photos about a week ago, featuring Stewie and the Vase.  I had recently moved the shelf and the vase to a new corner, and this quickly became his new “favorite spot” to oversee the studio activity.

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Now if I was smart, I would have known better than to leave a top heavy ceramic vase filled with giant daisies on a shelf where the cat frequents.  It was only about 48 hours after I took these photos, when at about 2 in the morning we heard the crash that brought certain intruders through the back door of the studio.  Heart racing, baseball bat and 911 buttons in hand we made our way to the studio and found the shattered vase on the floor.  Nobody had broken in…

Stewie tried to blame Olive.  Olive tried to blame Stewie.   Sorry Stewie Buddy… i think Olive’s got this one.  We have photographic evidence.  Licking yourself won’t make you look less guilty.

Oh well… I easily moved on.  It really wasn’t my favorite vase, and I was over it as soon as i realized we were not experiencing a violent home invasion, my cats had not escaped out the broken door into the darkness, and i could go back to bed.

This room still contains plenty of happy without a vase of fake flowers… but it’s neat that I have a few pretty pics to share.

skyblue xo

From Daydream to The Bohemian Zen Love Den… Spicy!

Artwork – Daydream – by Henri Matisse

every day from about 8am to 5pm, i sit in my cubicle, type on a computer, and daydream.  i somehow manage to do my job quite efficiently, and with an outwardly sincere enthusiasm, but i have to confess my sin… Most of the day, while i am typing… I am daydreaming.  seriously daydreaming.  this morning i clearly recall doing yoga in the grass, and flea market hopping with one of my besties. Just before lunch, i think i was driving from Austin to Denver with my husband and a sick camera, listening to happy road trip songs, eating Twizzlers.  It doesn’t really help the day go by, but it beats focusing on reality.

And many days, likely to the dismay of my boss if she ever read this (God forbid), i dream about designing a home for my family from top to bottom.  i can design a whole room before lunchtime.  I could never do a fancy drawing of it, but in my head i am a sought after, free lance designer with a team of hot HGTV carpenters and design experts on hand.  Whenever I really need to escape… i am sharing notes with my beloved Design Stars, David Bromstad and Antonio Ballatore – sharing a morning coffee, planning out a project together with our colored pencils and Chewie.

So, occasionally i succeed in bringing one of my daydreams to life.  Or at least the best i can, minus loads of talent and money.  My recent obsession has been creating a new bedroom.  I have imagined every corner transforming… the room becoming a colorful, tranquil retreat.  The plan was to make a space – the space that we begin and end each day with – that would rejuvenate our spirits and remove some of the stagnant energy from our home.  I have spent hours dreaming, between phone calls, “TPS” reports, and meetings, thinking about this room… and a beautiful chair that my husband surprised me with one day.  I imagined how i could surround it with the room it so deserved.

image - Office Space

And so the love den was born.

This is the room as i have done my best with over the years… Cozy Chaotic I think i would call it.  I loved the bed…  but was a dust collector, and it just needed to go.  And the purple… what a hot mess.  What was i ever thinking?  (My husband wonders this also). This would be the purple room challenge.

The over hall was challenging.  Basically we de-popcorned the ceiling, replaced the carpet, replaced the molding, and painted every surface.  We did it all ourselves, except for the carpet installation.  We had a surprising amount of fun… there were long, long hours on the weekends, late nights after work… an experience that i am so glad is over, but will always cherish.  It looked a little something like this as we began the process…

We finally put in the carpet and moved back in a few weeks ago.  Somehow we are still together… in fact, i think we like each other even more.

There is no new bed yet, and I am still painting furniture… but little by little we add the details, color and art.  It already feels like a new world.  I could curl up and read in in there for hours.  The morning sunlight feels whimsical and warm.  I laid on our “new” bed for the first time and thought, bohemian zen.

I tucked a secret letter under the new carpeting, for the future owners of our home to find (along with some pretty decent hard wood floors)… maybe in a hundred years or more.

Our spicy new bedroom is no Fifty Shades or Grey, but it is two or three very lovely shades, and I am optimistic that it won’t hurt the love life.  Besides, i don’t think I’m quite that adventurous.

The chair’s special corner is not complete, but here is a peak at its fabric and the view from it’s cozy new spot where i will read books, sketch nudes, and sip tea.

Stop in later for the big reveal.

Until then, I hope i have you thinking about giving your own bedroom some love…and a little spice!

What is your design style?  If you like the grey walls… find some other ideas here.

skyblue. xo

p.s. David is hosting Design Star Tuesdays 9/8c…they certainly don’t need my advertisement, but it’s looking to be a great season…  White room challenge is up next!