Harmon ParkIt is finally here. Spring and the official start to the floor tiling extravaganza. I know, you have been hearing me talk about it for months now. There may have been a little avoidance/procrastination going on coupled with some unexpected family commitments to delay the process. If all goes well this weekend I will post a photo or two to prove I actually did stick tile to floor.

This past week has consisted of more Spring cleaning than creative endeavors. Yard work last weekend while we had some decent weather then digging things out of storage to be donated to a couple of fundraising yard sales in April as well as a big town recycling event. Time to get rid of the ancient VHS players and old cell phones.

Last Sunday we had a conversation in church that has amused me all week. Who knew that a coffee pot could  cause so much division?

coffee yin yang

Have you ever thought about your personal little pet peeves and quirks? How did you acquire them? I think many of them are passed down through our families. You know, the “that’s the way it’s always been done” effect. Some are in reaction against the way it was done in our families. My sister and I will never wash dishes the way our Mom does because we had to do it her way growing up.

The same quirks you thought were charming in someone when you were dating will drive you to the brink of insanity after a couple of years of marriage. Wars may very well have started over quirks.

Our quirks are part of what makes us each unique beings. As hard as it is sometimes, we really should appreciate and celebrate the quirks in each other. Why does the way someone carries their money in their purse make someone else crazy? Or how towels get folded? That’s one of mine. I fold towels a certain way and that’s the way I want them done. Yep, much of it comes down to control issues. Does it really matter how the towels are folded if they are put up in a cabinet and very few people actually see them? It does to me!

How do you handle someone else’s quirks? How do other people handle yours? Can you find a way to appreciate them or at least compromise before World War Three breaks out?

I have claimed responsibility for my towel folding obsession and just do it myself rather than subjecting family members to “my way.” The same goes for the dishwasher. Have you noticed that the dishwasher is a HUGE issue? It is now understood at my house that my rearranging the dishes is not a statement of anyone else’s inadequacy, but just a hang up of mine. Well, that and the fact that my way is better!

So what was the subject of the church discussion?  One of “my kind” sinned by taking a cup of coffee from the pot that had not yet finished the brewing process. This set off a protest by D’s “kind” that the “sinner” had now effectively ruined the pot of coffee for everyone else! It was soon determined that the class was almost evenly split between the two coffee obsessed factions. It was left to the non-coffee drinkers to mediate. We consider them “heathens”, but for continued peace, love and understanding with our Christian brothers and sisters we practiced forgiveness and grace.

May your week be filled with understanding and grace for others and yourself. Happy Spring and Happy Easter!


Harmon Park photo by Christel Williams

Coffee photo credit



Art Chair Auction results

Here is the final installment about my art chair.  If you are just finding this blog you can check out the beginning of this story here, here and here.   I left off where I had just delivered my chair to the business that was hosting the event.  I was worried that I the wax would cause more problems with the permanent marker I had used for the outlines. It would be several days before it would be on public display and I would be able to check on it.  My extra paint was safely stashed away in case I had to do emergency repairs.

What a relief to see that all was well with my chair.

A few days later the store contacted me to see if I would be willing to do an interview about the event, my chair and the process.  Yeah!  I had a chance to go see my baby and see how she was doing.  After a quick check, I was able to let out a sigh of relief that all was well.  No more bleeds.

Here are a couple of photos of my chair on display.  The chairs were divided among the downtown businesses for display for two weeks and people could see them and vote on their favorite.


This past Saturday (September 26th) was the auction.  I know several people involved with Next Step Ministries and they were concerned that enough tickets had not been sold.  Add to that, the monsoon that had settled in over our town and there was the concern few people would come out in the rain.

The fears were unfounded.  We had a crowd turn out and the Community House was packed.  Mine was the only upholstered chair submitted.  I couldn’t decide if that was good or bad.  It’s harder to drop an art chair of that size into just any space.  The right person needed to have the right room for it.

During the painting process I did not think to keep up with how much time it had taken me.  I was too caught up in the creative moment(s).  After I dropped off the chair I did a little math and estimate a minimum of 40 hours put in.  Yikes!  It never seemed like it took that long.  Once I got started on it two or three hours would fly by without me having any idea.  It’s that “flow” thing that happens when you are so involved in the concentration and process that time stands still.

My baby on display at the auction.
The other chairs on display.







Yes, I was nervous when the bidding began.  There was the fear that it would not do well.  All that time put in and I was so afraid it would only bring $30! After a few minutes of intense bidding (partially by a couple of friends running up the price) my Doves & Daisies chair sold for $260.  Whew!

and the bidding begins...
and the bidding begins…

I wish I had gotten a picture of the lovely lady who bought my chair.  She had not seen it until that night.  She was a friend of one of the other artists and did not even realize that each side of the chair was painted until they put it on the table for the bidding to begin.  She was still trying to decide where it was going to go in her house when I left her.

Next Step Ministries was thrilled with the results of the evening.  Since all thirty chairs and the food and drinks had been donated the total came in over $3000 funds raised for the shelter!  Not bad at all for a first time event.  I think there is the hope the event will become an annual occurrence now.

Will I do it again? Absolutely.  I enjoyed every minute of it (except maybe the retouching time).  I went into it just hoping to bring in some money for one of my favorite local charities and move a chair out of my life and storage unit.  I gained some new process knowledge and have now been contacted about painting a table and a chair for two other people.  I will let you know how those pan out.  Thus ends the “How To Paint a Chair” series.  Have a great week!

How to paint a chair…maybe Part 2

If you are just now dropping by, this is the second part of a tutorial of sorts.  I am working on an art chair that is to be auctioned off at a fundraising event for our local domestic violence shelter.  You can check out the beginning steps from last week’s post here.

So far so good.  Step one I painted the entire chair with the off white flat paint.  It took two coats to give it a reasonably solid color.  The original fabric has some texture so it is not going to look completely smooth. step 1

Step two – The hardest part.  Trying to decide what to actually paint on the chair.  I was struggling with this.  Did I want something bright, cheerful and funky?  A local landscape? Something simple and geometric?  A blank canvas is a daunting thing!  I have six buttons on the back of the chair and two on the inside of each arm.  There was no good way to disguise the buttons so they had to be incorporated into the design.  That was my only guideline.  Then I remembered that if the chair is not sold it comes back home with me.  So, guideline #2, I better make something I really like!

Many times it just comes down to jumping in and getting it done.  With no real idea of what I was going to do, I just took my pencil and started drawing daisies around the buttons.  Daisies are my favorite flower. With the rough texture I knew any painting I did would have to be loose so I just decided that this would have to be a whimsical drawing and more like a doodle.

step 2

Step three – Adding color.  I don’t work in a orderly fashion.  After drawing a few shapes on the back and side buttons I liked the loose look that was happening.  It reminded me of the Zentangle drawings, so I whipped out a Sharpie marker.  Nothing like jumping in with a permanent marker to get the adrenaline flowing! IMG_2346

I moved on to some paisley shapes on the arm and tassels on the skirt.  At this point I needed to see some color so I started adding the pale yellow paint in places.  It is very subtle but enough difference to still show up.  As I added the paint the rest of the design began to form in my brain. I wanted the chair to be a place of peacefulness and safety.

IMG_2341   IMG_2345

Peace and tranquility often show up in my work.  My art is my safe place.  I can retreat from all the violence and turmoil that surrounds us in the media.  I have no desire to make in-your-face political statements or dark, disturbing images.  There is often private symbolism in what I do, but I much prefer to offer someone an image they can enjoy than to confront them with something the media will happily throw at them every evening.

Doves began to find their way onto the chair.  A symbol of peace and just beautiful birds, they seemed fitting.  This is one of three doves on the chair. Once again, I did not want to get fussy with details because of the rough texture of the chair.  I want them to be loose and ethereal. IMG_2339

I am keeping the color palette soft and limited to the off-white background, pale yellow, green and blue.  I have a possible surprise element, but I will wait until the painting is done to see if it will work.

Here is a little of where I am so far. IMG_2343 The doves are on each side and the back. It looks like this will turn into a three part series since I need to finish the painting then wax everything before the big reveal.  Check back next week and see if I am finished.  September 10th is my deadline to turn in the chair and the auction is on September 26th. I’m feeling the deadline pressure now.

How to paint a chair…maybe. Part 1

This is my first attempt at a tutorial.  Back on this post I announced my plans to do an art chair for a fundraising event for our local domestic violence shelter, Next Step Ministries.  The chairs are to be auctioned off (hopefully someone will want mine) on September 26th, 2015.

Old ChairThis is the chair I am working on.  As I explained in the earlier post, I had already attempted to paint this chair.  I followed (sort of) directions I found on a few websites where they had successfully painted upholstery on old seen-better-days chairs.  After this attempt I had my doubts about just how successful those chairs turned out.  Mine was stiff and rough after drying.  I had used bottle after bottle of fabric medium mixed with watered down latex paint, applied it in layers, letting the paint dry between layers as instructed.

You can see here what the upholstery originally looked like. original 1 This chair was a hand-me-down chair circa 1970’s is my guess.  I owned absolutely nothing that coordinated with it in all the 25 years I have hauled it from house to house.  It’s a solid chair except for this little problem.  IMG_2311I decided to leave it.  It gives it some human history.  I will share the story in the second part of this tutorial.

So, with nothing to lose except maybe the chair, I am attempting to turn this mess into something cool, or beautiful, funky, or a complete new mess.  I do not have a solid plan at the moment.  This is going to be spontaneous art. My only guide is that I have to like it in case it comes back to live with me again!

IMG_2309My tools – one can of off-white flat latex commercial grade paint I found for $9 on the reject shelf, two sample jars of a golden yellow and soft green paint for $3.50 each, one tub of chalk paint clear wax for a whopping $16 (this is supposed to be the savior of the project and for that price it better be) and various colors of acrylic paints as needed.

Step 1 – give the whole chair one or two (I hope just one) coating of the off white paint to get a solid background.

Check back for Part 2 and see how this all turns out.

A hard post to write

For those of you who haven’t heard, Nicholas Thornton passed away on February 21st. It’s taken me some time to be able to post this and I wanted to include what his Mother, Nancy, recently posted.

“Dear old friends, new friends and friends we have yet to meet,
Let me share words that were spoken at his funeral: We have lost love ones and felt that world should know what it has lost. We don’t feel that way with Nicholas. Because of all of you, the world did know him. When I asked for birthday cards, they came from 18 different states. But, when we reached out for prayer, you didn’t just pray, you called on family, friends, and neighbors all over the state, the country, and the world. I know there were three churches in Haiti praying from Nicholas, as well as countries in South America and China that I know of. Because of you the world did know Nicholas.
Thank you traveling this journey with us.”

Fundraising is continuing because we all know the aftermath of such a long medical battle. I still have a few packs of cards left and there are still some at Amy Temple DDS and Framed Impressions (as well as the mugs Tricia made).

Nancy and Jon, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. This weekend, Arden and I enjoyed remembering Nicholas as a toddler playing during Arden’s tutoring sessions and those blond curls.

Update on notecard sales

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. After our Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, the kids and I kicked off our Christmas season with a viewing of Christmas Vacation. The holiday craziness doesn’t seem too bad after watching what the Grizwald family went through!

A Candle for Nicholas - Fundraiser
A Candle for Nicholas – Fundraiser

The “A Candle for Nicholas” notecards are on sale at Kernersville Elementary School, Smiles By Design, Dr. Bruce Burns, DDS and in the past week, Upscale Living Consignment (on Kernersville Road across from Triad Salvage) as well as Center City Frame Gallery at the Studios at 625 (625 N. Trade Street, Winston-Salem).

Personally I have picked up and deposited to Nicholas’ account $442 from the sales and donations. Other folks have packages of the cards as well and are making deposits with their fundraising work. I can tell it’s going to be difficult to keep up with exactly amounts, but I know that I ordered 1000 cards. When all those are gone (and I hope I have to order more) it will be at least $1200 plus any donations made in the process.

Thanks to all those who have purchased them and please pass the information along. This is going to be an ongoing need for the family as they work through Nicholas’ recovery.

A Candle for Nicholas

A Candle for Nicholas - Fundraiser
A Candle for Nicholas – Fundraiser


Yes, if you go to my Home Page here you will see much of this same information.  I just don’t want it to get missed.  Below is what is on the back of the note cards I am selling as a fundraiser for Nicholas and his family.

Proceeds from the sale of this card will go to Nicholas Thornton and his family.  Nicholas has a rare blood disease known as Aplastic anemia and has undergone a bone marrow transplant.  His parents, Jon and Nancy, are both dedicated middle school teachers who have taught, tutored and mentored my children.  This is my small way of helping them in return. 

 For more information on Nicholas you can go to

Prayers for Nicholas Thornton on Facebook. 

 I am selling the 10 card package for $12.00 (plus shipping if I need to mail them to you).  Please email me at bloomtownstudio@gmail.com to order for now.  More details to come and I will be posting donation amounts on this site.