Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update! Update! Update!



Good Grief....I'm a bit behind on things over on this side of the tracks......want to give everyone a reminder that we've got ALL our projects housed over at www.borganic.net and things are HEATING UP over there for the holidays, my friends!

The workshop has been one busy place, and we're even giving away a lot of the FINISHED projects we just did for the HGTV special and a whole lot more! Check in, throw your name in the hat, take what ideas you want and HAVE AT IT!
Here's our latest newsletter with all the latest.

CHEERS to CREATIVITY and HUGS TO YOU ALL!
michele.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back 2 Beige


My friend Dee will be most disappointed in me, as I reached for the beige paint can the other day. Yes, I turned our dining room/sitting area into a space with with big, beige, boring walls. Not because I'm not colorful or courageous in that area of course, but because I have too many other colorful things going on, on the walls and all around. Sometimes, you just have to go 'beige' to make it all work.
And as I painted this room, AGAIN.....I got to thinking of what makes painting a room actually fun and successful for me, personally. Most people think of painting a room as drudgery and I really think it's no big deal...just grab some paint and go.

  • The paint.
I've always been very honest about what I'm using and how I'm using it and 'not paid to promote', as they say....while at the same time, try to be considerate of all brands and such, but you know what.....I have tried every kind of paint out there and I always run back to Sherwin Williams products. It has always been the best for me. THEE best coverage and wearability. Having the right product for the job is always a good investment. And, basically I don't want to do the job 3 or 4 times to get the right results. If it looks good in one coat, I'm going to be done with the job. Curious what house paints you guys reading this always turn to. A good brush. They make all the difference between a good cutting in job and a sloppy looking one. It makes the process more enjoyable and less frustrating because the paint is easier to manage and you get it right (and only) where you want it. I've tried to scrimp and save and use the cheaper brushes before, and it's never paid off. I'm also someone who never tapes anything off, and having the right brushes makes me never regret that decision. Buy a few good brushes and take good care them. My favorite for cutting in is a 3-inch angled brush.
  • A good roller.
Pick one that has a good 'roll', extension options, a comfortable handle, is lightweight and doesn't 'squeak'.
  • Don't make it a bigger production than it needs to be....you're just putting color on walls.
I don't move everything out of the room...but rather just enough to get it out of my 'working' way. I don't cover everything and as I mentioned above, I don't tape everything off....(I do however always take off switchplate covers and such:) I just move a heavyweight dropcloth around the room with me as I work and carefully get the job done. Just do it, as they say.
  • Versatile, easy to move ladder......
that is comfortable to climb and stand on and properly and securely houses your paint supplies.... be it your rolling pans, paint cans, rags, etc. Trying to hold and balance everything in your hands makes things more prone to accidents and sloppiness. I've always thought some sort of electronic type ladder that I could just navigate or 'drive' around the wall would be pretty slick....why hasn't someone invented something like that?
  • Do a test spot.
Be sure you're happy with the color. I'm someone who will usually say....oh, I can make that work, even if it's not exactly the way I want it, but with paint colors, I find that it's just a daily annoyance if it doesn't genuinely make you smile. Our dining/sitting room was painted this green that when it was going up, I knew it wasn't quite what I wanted, but I went with it anyway because we just needed to get it done. Well, it never really made me smile and it competed with everything I tried to put in the room or hang on it...it was just one big distraction. And to top it off, it looked terrible on camera whenever we tried to shoot in that space. If you do get a few gallons of paint home and they're just not right, it never hurts to take them back to the paint store and see if they can deepen, lighten or alter the color slightly to suit your tastes. Some paint stores are very creative with their formulas and willing to make the effort. You're not out anything and it can sometimes save you from having to buy more gallons of paint. Otherwise you just have to suck it up, reorder and do some creative mixings with the 'wrong' paints yourself and use them in other projects. Nothing ever goes to waste.

Painting a room is really an easy task that anyone can do, and it's a quick way to freshen things up and make a change. .......

Just only go beige, if you HAVE to. :)

CHEERS to fresh paint.
michele.

Friday, August 27, 2010

shout out 4 an inspiring friend's blog

I had the pleasure of meeting C. McNair Wilson a couple years ago and I can honestly say he was memorable, charming and downright inspiring.  He's a corporate creativity coach and speaker who gives one heck of an entertaining presentation!  I like to check out what he's up to on his blog every so often and I'm sure you will too.   He has some incredible stuff up there currently for all us doodle lovers!  I got to peruse through one of his sketch/doodlebooks when I met him and it was FANTASTIC.  They should be published.  


Sneak a peek here!


Cheers to the creative inspiring souls in the world and all that they do!
michele.

Friday, August 13, 2010

dropcloth decor and do it yourself magazine


It's a colorful material that gets created randomly while you work. It's an unexpected, unplanned BONUS. The designs, the color combinations, the textures.....all created without purpose, without direction.

The dropcloths that lie beneath your work can be transformed into upholstery, throw pillows, paintings, purses and more.
Launder them.
Press.
And use as you would any other material from the fabric store. Work with the designs as they are or play them up further by embellishing.
I've loved this project for years, and I'm excited to learn if others out there share an enthusiasm for these dropcloth beauties. I shared some idea starters in the latest issue of the Do It Yourself Magazine (summer 2010). (An inspiring read that is filled with creative projects front to back..pick one up today or better yet, start your subscription and get it delivered right to your house every quarter!)



Cheers to the art of repurposing!
michele.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

for no reason at all.





Ever feel like sitting down and doing something for no reason at all? Something that has no direction or purpose?  You just have an urge to go to your creative space and CREATE.  Doing something mindless ironically enough is a great exercise in helping me become more mindful. To recharge. 



One exercise I like to do every so often is to just sit down with:

  • one canvas
  • one tool (committing to only one brush or palette knife adds to the experience)
  • a big pile of paint
and to just start moving it around.  
All mixing happens on the canvas. 
Rinsing or wiping your tool now and then is optional.
Just watching colors move, intertwine and blend is mesmerizing, inspiring and uplifting.
Witnessing the textures that erupt 'feels' GREAT.
Who knows what you'll come up with....and who cares.....it's the process that is the reward.  
BUT I'm willing to bet, 
you WILL end up with something that makes you smile..
you WILL end up with some sort of 'takeaway' that ends up in another project..be it a technique, color combination, etc.
and 
you WILL want to do this mindless, yet mindful exercise more often.  
I know I do.
Cheers!
michele.
 



Thursday, July 29, 2010

too many ideas scattered about in too many books



Every one of you creative, idea-driven individuals can probably relate to this......I LOVE blank books...sketchbooks, notebooks, college ruled, no ruled, graph, spiral, hardback, large, small.......and I've developed a habit out of having a book with me at all times, to capture ideas as they happen.  (if you don't write them down as they appear, they're likely to be lost forever, you know!) :) The problem with that is that I have WAYYYYYY too many books going at any given time.   Sometimes if I'm traveling, I grab a smaller one to have with me;  if I'm in the studio, I love having the large ones nearby; If I'm in a hurry and can't find the one I was last using, I grab whatever's close by; if I'm bored and looking for a fresh start, I grab a shiny new one (whether I've filled the other ones or not)....cuz we all know the feeling that a brand new, crisp sketchbook can bring....I have no rhyme or reason to the books I use, to how the ideas get organized....so guess what?  Whenever I need to go back and find something, it's a daunting time-stealing task. Sometimes I end up actually leafing through ALL the books searching for something I KNOW I jotted down ideas for.......only to come up empty....SOOOOO frustrating.  (It is however always an inspiring exercise to go back and look through the pages of our idea books, so time spent is not a total loss)  



My question is this....how do you keep track of all your ideas so that you have quick reference to them?  To rip out the pages and do some sort of filing system would somehow KILL the whole idea capturing process for some reason...not to mention the comfort and excitement that comes from watching the books pile up, knowing that there are zillions of ideas, thoughts, doodles and drawings captured between the sheets.  On those 'blank' days, it's like having money in the bank!  Creating some sort of scribbled index in the beginning of each book would be a bit of an extra job, but maybe that's the route I need to go...... 

Do you have a method to your creative madness that you'd be willing to share?!  Would love to hear about it.
 
Cheers to blank books just waiting for us to grab hold and fill!
michele.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

s.m.i. welcomes.....

Tarah Sissing to 408 Grant...she's a long way from home (Holland.....Michigan) and joining us for an adventurous internship this summer. Whoo! Hoo! Welcome to the team, my friend! (look at her....she's already taking a project and running with it...love that!)


Cheers to creative interns everywhere!
michele.

Monday, June 7, 2010

my new love for barbed wire



I have about 1 hour of time and Zero dollars invested in a couple of pretty sweet sculptures we just created for the front yard.  

A friend of mine told me she had some barbed wire by her dumpster, thought maybe I could do something with it and when I went to check it out....it was love at first sight.   I took one look and knew what I wanted to do.

The combination of rock and rusty metal is a nice contrast to the plants and they should easily stand the test of outdoor time.  Once I got going I had all kinds of ideas for them, so I'll be keeping my eyes wide open!  I quickly used up all the balls I had and am now hoping I stumble upon a few more down the road. 
 


If someone offers you barbed wire...TAKE IT!  Roll it up in a ball and get creative.  We simply drilled some holes in the limestone rocks using a hammer drill (surprisingly very easy tool to use and drilling through limestone is a cinch) and used rebar to hold things in place.  


SUPER, SUPER easy and FAST!  
 
Cheers to my friend Misty for having such great stuff sitting by her dumpster!
michele.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

yard games



I've always enjoyed creating games. It just naturally makes the project that much more playful. Thought I'd share one that I created several years ago so all of you could have some fun with it, too!  Having an arsenal of yard games at your disposal makes your outdoor parties that much more ENTERTAINING.

OVERSIZED PICKUP STICKS:
(You can adjust to make various sizes simply by using different dowel diameters and lengths....A small scale set out of bamboo skewers is another option!)  
  • For my set, I used 36" wooden dowels that are a quarter-inch in diameter. 
  • You’ll need 30 for a full set.
  • Sand down the ends so they taper to a blunt point.  If you have access to a bench sander, it will make the job even easier.  Another option is to simply whittle down the end first to shape and then hand sand. 
  • Measure up about 8 inches on each end and paint them in the appropriate colors.  To define the painted ends, go around the dowel with a woodburner. 
You’ll need:
(1)  Black
(8) Green
(7) Red
(7) Yellow
(7) Blue


  • For the storage container, I took a piece of heavy cardboard tubing, capped off the bottom with a piece of wood and decked out with visible scoring info and a playful comic strip collage!


Easy and FUN!

Cheers, and as I like to say with all game projects... "Let the Games Begin!"

michele.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

colorful, creative snack for the day



Serve up your art mediums in something new, my friends!

Old snack trays are a good choice. Their built in dividers and companion cups for rinse water or other additives make these vintage housewares a wonderful addition to the art studio that can get reused time and time again.




Worn out cookie sheets. Place a wet sponge at one end and your paints/mediums at the other. Work off the cookie sheet itself or line it with waxed paper. A convenient way to mix things, moisten your brushes and it too is a paint palette that can be used over and over again.


Divided storage containers with lids. These little plastic beauties are a better environment for my art supplies than my food, so I like to use them for mixing paints/mediums when I know I'm going to be working on something for an extended period of time. The airtight lids make it a cinch to store things for a few days without drying out.

Cheers to creating...and, to taking time for a colorful snack now and then!
michele.