Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Kids Art Everywhere!

If you happen to have kids in your life - your own, nieces, nephews, grandkids etc., - chances are you have been on the receiving end of some good, old-fashioned scribbles.  And what on earth do you do with those fantastic little scribbles?

In our house, we have come up with several options.  My daughter LOVES to draw and paint, particularly with her grandpa.  And we end up with a TON of pictures at the end of the day.  For starters, we found a fabulous roll of wired ribbon that we hung on the wall.  Add some clothes pins and voila!  A quick and easy solution for displaying some pictures (plus, kids can hang their works themselves!).

Another great idea for displaying kids art is to create a pin board.  We have one of these at home too.  Using a vintage frame (which I painted with Golden Acrylic Paint - Iridescent Pearl), I stretched a piece of bright paisley fabric on a piece of foam core and attached it to my frame.  With pins, I can attach my daughter's works of art and replace them as new ones arrive.

Or, do as 'Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss' has done, and give old frames a new life with a coat of paint and some colourful art.  Here, binder clips hung on the wall allow art to be changed as needed.
Image can be found here, at Apartment Therapy, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/changeable-kids-art-frame-wall-158562
Finally, you can take some of those art works, and frame them.  Kids art can be colourful, modern and fun, fun, fun. 
Our spring window display features artwork done by the children who attend Flutterbug Preschool here in Regina.
A fun and colourful piece with a modern silver frame and a bright pink mat.

An artwork cut in two, framed in a white wood frame and a blue mat.  (I love this one!)
Hope you are all having a great Tuesday.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Little People, Big ART

I am back from a much needed trip to Calgary with my sister and her fiancĂ©.  I had a fantastic time, and it didn't hurt that Calgary is essentially (at the moment at least) snow free. 

I wanted to pick up a few things from Ikea, and while wandering the kids' section I started thinking about 'Kid' art.  I love BIG, BOLD and Unexpected art hanging in kids rooms.  There are no Disney cartoons for this Mum (unless they are vintage drawings... that could be cool!).  I mean, why not do something different - anything from framed patterns, to illustrations.  The sky is the limit, and a child's room is certainly the perfect opportunity to let loose and have some fun!

I love this - a large Charley Harper poster framed over a bed.  Charley Harper created wonderful illustrations - they are graphic and fun and absolutely perfect for framing and hanging at home.  The above room doesn't even feel overly 'child-ish' thanks to this carefully curated art collection.  This great pic can be found over at Apartment Therapy.
More birds (I love birds!).  These vintage inspired pieces work perfectly in a little girl's room.  They aren't overly 'cartoon-y' and, unless she develops a fear of birds or goes 'goth,'  they should be able to work in the room as she grows.  Full disclosure, these hang in my daughter's room, and she loves her birds.
And this great, big, unexpected framed cow in a boy's room is perfectly unexpected! (Wonder if his name is Angus?  Either way, it works!)

And no need to stick with an animal theme either.  The framed pattern over the crib brings a wonderful punch of colour to a neutral colour scheme.
And don't feel that you have to be neutral either.  Look at the colour in this room!  Red, Yellow and Blue - a bold choice no doubt, and that great cowboy above the crib ties it all together.  All of the above images can be found over at

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week.  Stay tuned to see how you can frame kids' art projects in a fun, clean, modern and sophisticated way.  It is possible, and we'll show you how!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

I'm the Map!

"If there is a place you got to go
I am the one you need to know
I'm the Map!
I'm the Map!
I'm the Map!"
(Sigh).  Too much 'Dora the Explorer' this morning (my little one loves it).  However, that little song (see above) got me thinking about today's blog post - MAPS.
Some of my favorite things to frame are maps.  I love them.  Plus, they are a surprisingly functional piece of art.  Wondering how close in latitude Novosibirsk, Russia, and Edmonton, Alberta, are?  Check out a map!  Having an argument over what the capital city of Qatar is?  Look to that gorgeous map on your wall and prove yourself right!  (It is Doha, by the way).  Yeah, yeah, I know you can Google these things, but Google just isn't as pretty as the real deal.
This is a vintage map of the world that we had framed for our store window.  I love the aged look of the yellow map - up close it looks like an antique piece of parchment.  The frame on this is massive - nice and wide - but its simple profile compliments the map itself with all of its beautiful detail.

A standard National Geographic Map of the British Isles.  The texture in this frame echoes the topographical detail of the map itself - pretty neat!  A silver fillet breaks up the map and frame nicely.

The following images were featured on Apartment Therapy (one of our absolute favorite webpages here at the shop!), and you can link to these gorgeous pictures here -  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/always-in-style-decorate-your-117040

A map of the world is the perfect compliment to a serene space such as this.  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/10-fresh-map-decor-ideas-121126

I love the idea of cutting the map into three pieces and hanging each one separately - a D.I.Y. triptych!  Bonus points for using this in a nursery - colourful, artistic and educational.  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/escape-style-maps-from-our-house-tours-173751
And finally, a massive black and white city map divided into 16 pieces, each one framed.  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/escape-style-maps-from-our-house-tours-173751
You don't even have to frame a map to enjoy it on your walls.  Try one (or all!) of the following;
1.)  Drymounting is a great option, particularly if you like to stick pins into the cities you have visited! 
2.)  If you have recently been on a Caribbean cruise, grab a map of the Caribbean - using a needle and a piece of red embroidery thread, you can sew your route onto the map, hang it, and use it as a reminder of your vacation. 
3.) Finally, you know those old pull-down maps you had in school?  They are easy to source online and would make a great piece for any wall. 
Maps are easily available and the sky is the limit to what you can choose - you can even leave Earth entirely and find maps of the Moon, Mars, etc., even maps of the stars....
This is a star chart I had done in a two-toned silver frame.  I love this frame - so nice and simple.  This piece hangs over my bed and it is massive - the entire width of it - so plexi-glass was used on it instead of regular glass.  Glass is heavy, and this way I don't have to worry about it falling and crushing me in the middle of the night.  The downside is that plexi-glass has a bit more reflection than regular glass does - as you can tell by this picture.  Check out that laundry basket in the corner!  Classy!  Perhaps I should be working on that instead of watching 'Dora the Explorer!' (Though no complaints - it did inspire this post.  See?  Inspiration really is everywhere!)
Hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

More of Our Favorite Things

I needed a Sherpa to help me get to work today - the snow is THAT high.  On the 23rd of March, this is insane.  On a positive note, we are pretty excited about showing you some more of our favorite things.

Roma mouldings are made in Italy by master artisans using old-world techniques.  The labour intensive application of gold and silver leaf, patinas, veneers and finishes are all done by hand. 

The Tabacchino frame series is one of our all-time favorites.  This moulding is made from a "delicately aged piuma di ulivo," a veneer collected from olive trees, and applied by Florentine craftsmen with an overlay of colorants and a hand rubbed beeswax finish. 

I tend to put this frame on anything.  I love it.  It looks just as nice on vintage black and white photography as it does on contemporary artwork.
It comes in colours such as Cognac, Dark Ash, Tobacco Leaf, Forest Leaf, Bourbon and Cigar Leaf, and it varying widths and profiles.
This is an example of black and white photography framed with a narrow Tabacchino frame in Dark Ash.
We framed one of Eric's paintings with the wide Tabacchino frame, a silver fillet and a narrow Tabacchino frame in Tobacco Leaf.  The perfect example of how to layer different frames in an interesting way.
We also love Roma's other moulding series - Lavo.  The Lavo is a fusion of old-world French design and modern styling.  Traditional carving is enveloped in a high-gloss lacquer in the most incredible colours which are blended and applied by master craftsmen.  
The Lavo series comes in a variety of colours - Electric Red,  Pewter,  Brown,  Black,  White and Silver, and Shimmering Yellow, Orange, Violet, Red, Green and Blue.
This is an example of a Lavo frame on a canvas we've just finished working on.  The texture on this frame is amazing, and it complements all types of artwork.
  This is a mirror we have framed with the Electric Silver Lavo (its on permanent display in the shop).  We have done several mirrors with this frame - they certainly make a statement in a bathroom or a bedroom. 

The Lavo series comes in a variety of widths and patterns.  I love the crown detailing in this particular series.

The crown detail would look amazing on something like this -
Or this -
(Someone in the shop might be a major Anglophile.)
Happy Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

R & F Encaustic

Since winter seems to be going nowhere fast, and because there is more snow on the way, I need a 'pick-me-up.'  I need colour - colour everywhere.  I have developed an addiction to turquoise in the past few weeks, and I have become obsessed with obtaining the perfect shade.  This is my perfect shade:

Gorgeous isn't it?  This is a sample of R & F Encaustic's Turquoise Blue. 
R & F Encaustic (check them out at www.rfpaints.com) is a company out of Kingston, New York, which creates the most beautiful encaustic paints. 
"R&F Encaustic is a paint composed of beeswax, damar resin and pigments. The term “encaustic” is often used to describe both the paint itself, and the method for using it. Encaustic paint is applied molten to an absorbent surface, and then fused, (or re-melted), to create a variety of effects. Unlike other paints, encaustic goes from a liquid to solid state and back again in seconds, which means layers can be built up immediately, without any drying time. Once the surface has cooled, the paint has reached a permanent finish, but the painting can be revised and reworked with heat at any time – minutes or years later."
At the shop, both Eric and Kathleen have worked with Encaustic, and once this past fall I stumbled into Eric's garage as he was working on a little project and I was able to learn a thing or two about it.
R & F Encaustic comes in these beautiful bricks of colour....
Or in the form of pigment sticks.
A sample of their colour range.

R & F's Indian Yellow.... I love it.

The R & F webpage (see the link above) is a wonderful place to visit - so many resources!  They have a forum and a blog, and they feature artists who work with encaustic.  There are some really great videos that you can watch as well, and a really neat tour of their workspace in Kingston.  The best part?  They're really big into featuring and supporting artists who work with encaustic.  Its the perfect place to be inspired by both art and colour!

*Little note - all of the photos here are from the R & F website - gorgeous photography all around that site, and credit is certainly due to the photographers and to the company.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

It's Not Easy...

Its not easy being green writing this post while it looks like this outside.

Though, it is Saint Patrick's Day, and as John Doyle writes in this weekend's Globe and Mail (and you can find the rest of the article here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/) -

"It’s an event now in the hands of beer companies and their clever marketing departments. “Party like the Irish” is the exhortation, which means, as I’ve noted previously on March 17, that marketing turns a day to commemorate a saint into an internationally recognized keg party.  Some people will roam from bar to bar, in “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” hats and various, unknown-to-nature shades of green."

The "unknown-to-nature shades of green" that Doyle is referring to likely look something like this;

And if you're a child of the '80's like I am, you've probably actually sported a shirt or two in this particular 'colour' because your Mom thought it was 'cute.'  I'm not angry about that or anything.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, certain synthetic green pigments contained exceptionally high levels of arsenic, and were eventually prohibited.  While '80's neon green wasn't toxic to my health (though it probably didn't do my social life any favours), overexposure to the popular 'Emerald Green,' which was based on arsenic compounds, was a frequent cause of accidental poisoning among artists during the Impressionist Period.

Claude Monet, Green Park, 1871.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.
Not only did the artists of this period have to watch out for toxic materials, but they also had to watch out for the Green Fairy.  That's right, absinthe (told you I'd mention it!). 
Bottle designed by Stranger and Stranger, UK.  Check out their amazing packaging here - http://www.strangerandstranger.com/
According to Wikipedia, "The legacy of absinthe as a mysterious, addictive, and mind-altering drink continues to this day.  It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium, together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs."  

Artemisia absinthium - also known as Grand Wormwood. 
The plant is found across Canada, particularly in the prairies, and is considered to be a problematic weed in livestock pastures.

"Adding to absinthe's negative reputation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, unscrupulous makers of the drink omitted the traditional colouring phase of production in favour of adding toxic copper salts to artificially induce a green tint. This practice may be responsible for some of the alleged toxicity historically associated with this beverage."

Numerous artists living in France during the late 19th century were noted absinthe drinkers including Vincent Van Gogh and Edouard Manet.

Vincent Van Gogh, Daubigny's Garden, 1890.
The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.



Edouard Manet, The Monet Family In Their Garden at Argenteuil, 1874.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
So, on this fridgid St. Paddy's Day, avoid the weird green beer poured as a novelty and warm up with some beautiful green absinthe.  Heck, you can even wear that weird neon green shirt you have stashed in the back of your closet - I won't judge you.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Green Is The Colour

Only 6 days until the official start of spring.... except you'd never know it here in Saskatchewan.  The forcast looks ugly folks, which is why today's post is brought to you by the colour GREEN.

Green can affect people both physically and mentally; it is a soothing and relaxing colour which is said to help alleviate depression, nervousness and anxiety.  'Grass' green is considered to be a very restful colour.

Green was considered to be the colour of the heavens during the Ming Dynasty.  In Aztec cultures, green was considered a royal colour because it was the colour of the plumes used by Aztec chieftains.  It is associated with the Roman goddess Venus, and the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Green is the colour used for night vision goggles because the human eye is able to distinguish more shades of green than any other colour.  Indeed, there are more shades of green than any other colour.

Feng-Shui claims that green eases absent-mindedness, nervousness and rudeness.

Colour experts suggest adding green to your life when you want to attain a new state of balance, when you feel the need to make changes, and when you want freedom to pursue new ideas.

Green was once the preferred colour choice for wedding gowns during the 1400's.
Arnolfini Wedding Portrait by Jan Van Eyck, 1434, oil on panel, National Gallery, London.

Green is considered a lucky colour in most western cultures, and few things are considered as lucky as a four-leaf clover!

So Happy Thursday everyone!  I'm going to keep up the green 'theme' for a few more days - stay tuned for more useless fabulous information on the colour green.  Absinthe anyone?