Monday, May 30, 2016

I get asked....

Hello dear readers, hope you are having a wonderful day!  I'm still stuck in the A/C. Not a complaint, just thinking about moving to Alaska. Lol, but really.

I was grateful to have some time to go through my neglected email. I don't get a lot of comments, but I do get a lot of emails. Not, a complaint, I love my emails!  Guess what the number one question I get asked is.

The number one question is......drum roll......that's right, you guessed it.  The number one question is:  "Do you really live like that?  And where's your stuff?"

The answer is YES!  I really do live like this. And in the next couple of days, l will show you how.

As you know, I am working on a social media experiment. I am blogging with my Android and it is a huge learning curve! Could I have a little feedback please?  Are my pictures too dark?  Any tips will be appreciated.

 It's dark in my little cottage, the way I like it.  And small. Very difficult to photograph. I have newfound respect for interiors photographers.  It's much harder than exterior shots.

Want more pictures, and less words?  You can also follow along at instagram, @margiemax #sweetlittlebeachcottage.

I really must learn how to link. ;)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Sweet Little Beach Cottage

Hello dear readers!  I hope you are having a great weekend. It's a hot one here in Ohio. Hope it won't be like this the whole summer! A strange thing happened to me over the last several years, I actually prefer the quiet and solitude of winter.  And rain, I love rain. Not torrential storms, but gentle, misty rain, cool breezes on my face. And the beauty of gray skies.
So, I'm stuck in the A/C, and damn grateful that my sweet little beach cottage has brand new central air.  Whew, hew!  What luxury.  I'd like to mention quickly that I have the best landlords in the world. I will be talking about the all-important landlord/tenant relationship in a subsequent post.

Since I'm stuck in the A/C I'm cleaning the place, and of course rearranging. Who knows what the place will look like by Monday, so I thought I'd show you it's current incarnation, minus the mess.  I receive emails saying hey there's no way your place is that neat.  Well yes and/no. I do keep it simple. But I don't usually photograph it when it's messy.  Maybe one day I'll do a post of it messy. But not today. :-) remember the new painting I've been talking about?  It was intended for over the sofa, and ended up in the dining room.  I'm still contemplating if I'm going to put a painting over the sofa. In the meantime, I found a large, blue throw pillow at Gabriel Bros. for $6.99. What a deal. Since I can't paint as often as I like, I've grown very reliant on textiles for color and coziness. This place was freezing when I moved in. So luckily, I had a small collection of blankets, sheets, scarves, pillows, rugs, all of which can be moved around on a whim - and all of which came on the cheap.
Here's a little secret about my living room. I use it like it's a studio apartment. The back pillows come off the sofa - which is actually a very old Danish mod daybed on its last legs,  not a futon. It's just not in the budget to have it repaired and reupholstered.  It's amazingly comfortable to sleep on. And while it's small, it's actually helped my sleep because it's taught me not to toss and turn. Sometimes I'm too lazy to put the pillows back on.  There are two bedrooms that are too small to put beds in!  I'll have more to say about these little rooms in a subsequent post.
Little dining area is a study in using what you have. This is actually an outdoor table from Target. Have you noticed how cute outdoor furniture is? It can easily be used inside. I love the simple shape of this table.
I love my kitchen!   
It's the perfect marriage of form and function.  I'm not gonna say too much about the kitchen now, because I'll be talking about it in a subsequent post. But, don't the landlords have great taste?  Love the tile. And dig that awesome hanging glass lamp in the window. Oh, and a window, what luxury!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Painting....Simple, but not easy

Hello dear readers!  In the last couple of posts I've spoken about the process I go through when contemplating a painting. It usually starts with a color I see clearly in my brain, and which continues to haunt me.  Lately a particular shade of blue has been haunting me. When this happens the need to express the color becomes palpable.  I don't know why I do what I do, I just know that I have to.

I humbly present the first successful painting I've done since moving to my new place. It's simple, but not easy.  In fact, the more simple the painting, the more exacting. As you know, much consideration goes into the color. Then there's the mixing of the color. Then execution. In this case, I was going for perfection, although allowing imperfection can be fun too, but that's not what I wanted to achieve here. I did not want brush strokes, nor variations in the color. Indeed, the color itself is the art. This is a great way to experiment with color psychology.

I'm going to toot my own horn here - it is too bad that I am not healthy enough to work as a professional interiors painter, because I am great at it.  So it occurred to me that I should use the same technique on a canvas that I would on a wall.

If you want a perfect, flat surface it's important to remember that a lot of paints are self leveling and look completely different dry than they do wet. I think Behr paint in flat finish is the most perfect paint there is, especially if your walls are in bad shape. And Home Depot are masters at mixing custom colors (although I mixed this color myself using paints from Pat Catans.) Wish I could say this is a sponsored post, but it's not. :) These are just my humble opinions based on years of experimentation.

The key is patience and restraint. When we are trying to accomplish a smooth surface, the natural inclination is to keep working the paint, going over areas we've already done and lobbing on more paint. Like I said, most acrylics are self leveling, so not only is this unnecessary, it  can be counterproductive. The way to accomplish a smooth flat finish is to put a whole coat on the canvas, in a thin layer. Don't go back over areas you've already painted. keep moving forward in one direction. Again bear in mind that paint looks very different wet than it does dry.

Put a thin layer on the canvas (or vase or table or whatever you are painting), without stopping and without retracing your steps. Then, patience. Let the coat dry thoroughly before applying another coat. Fortunately acrylic dries quickly. Then apply another coat, same way, sparingly, always moving forward, never back. Again let dry thoroughly. You might be surprised after the second coat dries, you might be done. In fact, I have never had to give walls a third coat, even when painting a light color over a dark.  Repeat the coats the same way until you are satisfied.  For this particulsr canvas, after the third coat dried, it was done and perfect.

I love most art, but the art that I find most aesthetically pleasing in my place is very minimal. And like I've said many times, it's simple, but not easy.

Untitled, 2016, 36" x 36", acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Taking clues from the rain

Ever since watching Design Star, I've wanted to make a custom chandelier. My new place has several chandeliers, and my landlord inspires me because she is skilled at making them. There is currently a sort of rustic chandy in my dining area that is not really me.  Landlord said she thought of hanging jewels from it.

Hmmm.  Now I've never been much for embellishments, preferring things more simple.  But one day while shopping in the bead aisle at Pat Catan's - and becoming completely overwhelmed and over stimulated - it came to me. Whatever I do must be simple. And influenced by rain. I love rain!

So I bought some chains and played with hanging them from the chandelier.  Now, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I have a ton of ideas, but I'm not that great of a DIYer.  So I'm pretty proud of this. 

Voila!  I have a new chandelier for about $12.00! I must say that I love it!  It's amazing how the chains look in the changing light of the day. And it's so romantic with candles on the table. I'd like to add even more chains, and to spray paint the fixture silver or white...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

And speaking of the blues....

As you know, I've been thinking about blue a lot lately. If you're like me (addicted to design) then you love movie sets too.  I recently watched the movie The Big Empty.  I was stunned by the beauty of this shot!

The gorgeous girl is dressed in blue and her apartment is blue. Even the phone is blue.  And will you look at that lamp!  I love it.  I would love to decorate a place in monotone.

If you love blue, you can also see a lot of blue inspiration on my board called The Blues at pinterest.  Sorry, I've been blogging on my Android and I don't know how to link yet.  It seems I'm always on a learning curve. ;)


Everything inspires me when I am contemplating a painting.  I am constantly amazed at the beautiful color everywhere I look.  I bought the most awesome blue lipstick and nail polish at the dollar store recently.  I can see a color scheme of blue, pink and gray.  I also found the most gorgeous pillow at Pat Catan's, on the cheap.  I usually don't like patterns, but the colors are so gorgeous.

I've been seeing a lot of blush or pale pink in decor these days.  And for the first time Pantone selected two colors of the year, rose quartz and serenity.  I am taken with how closely these colors resemble my sky inspiration photo (below).  I even love these colors with last year's color, radiant orchid.

All these thoughts go through my brain as I think about a painting. I become obsessed with a desire to reproduce a color I see in my mind.  As I contemplate, I move things around in my place. My place becomes my color lab.

My new pillow.
Part of my scarf collection
New makeup and thick socks, such luxury!


It's been a big adjustment moving to this little cottage. I actually sorta miss my apartment, go figure. Life in a house is a lot of work and hidden expense, even when you're just renting. It seems like something is always going wrong.  This place was so filthy when I moved in, I've scrubbed and scrubbed.  And it was infested with spiders! It was a nightmare!  I felt terrible because I killed so many spiders, but I am deathly allergic to their bite.

And the yard, my gosh.  I just can't keep up.   Suffice it to say I have newfound respect for anyone who goes through a renovation project.  I'm just not cut out for it.  And I may be moving again!  I never thought I'd move so much in my life.  I'm glad I travel light.

So okay, the place is temporary, but that's no reason it shouldn't be cute.  One thing I have really loved is living with walls that are not tan!  Honestly, I don't know why apartment buildings paint such ugly colors.  I'm rambling, sorry about that.

This is actually supposed to be a post about color.  If you've been reading for a while, you already know I love pink. But lately, I've been haunted by a shade of blue.  I need a painting for over the sofa, I think it will be blue, definitely influenced by the sky.

The sky is so lovely here. It's a source of never-ending fascination.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sweet Little Beach Cottage

Happy Monday, dear readers!  Did you have a good weekend?  I did!  I didn't do much, but that's just the way I like it. I am loving living the simple life. Less stuff means less time dusting! 

Now just because I love living small and simply, doesn't mean I want to sacrifice beauty.  I still want my place to be feminine, cozy and edgy. I still have design ADD. I'm just very careful what I bring into my home.

Of course I still like to change things up, but I do it with very little money. There's a great dollar store in my hood, so my style could actually be called "dollar store chic," lol.  Here's a few pics of my living room, showing changes I made. I'm so obsessed, I swear I move something every day!

 I'd love to paint the place gray, but it's a rental.  I'm just so glad it's not muddy puke biege, like most of my apartments have been. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

New painting

Untitled, 2015, 18" x 36", acrylic on canvas

If you follow my instagram, you've already seen this painting. It's the last painting I did in my apartment. It was influenced by the Colorado mountains, and rain. I must say, this is my favorite painting. I've become very intrigued with reductionism in art. This painting feels like I've achieved a style and voice that all my experimentation has led to. It takes a lot of restraint to put a small amount of paint on canvas. Just as it takes restraint to decorate in a minimal way. The painting is soft, romantic and mysterious. Perfect for my new place.  My love of rain is inspiring my decorating decisions.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hello again! Big changes in my life.

Hi friends, how are you?  I've missed you. I haven't decided if I'm going to start blogging regularly again, but I thought I'd do a few posts on what I've been up to. I've been unplugging quite a bit, and it feels great.  I'll talk a little about the way I am using social media in a subsequent post.

The big news is that I moved.  Yep it's true. And another big move is on the horizon, I think.  Living very simply and taking things day by day. I want to move somewhere with legalized weed and lots of rain. Like Seattle or Portland.

I moved to a sweet little beach cottage. It's been quite an adjustment. I've lived in an apartment most of my life. And I was surprised how much I missed my apartment (not the hood), when I moved. My cottage is a small one story ranch. No basement -- yay! basements creep me out, I'm traumatized by the horror movies I was forced to watch as a child -- and no attic. It's not much bigger than my apartment at around 650 square feet.

One of the things I miss is being on a higher floor. I never had to turn on my heat, and I could keep windows open all the time. I love fresh air and love sleeping by a window. I miss my balcony, and my tree. I love feeling like I am in a tree house.

I had a rocky start when I decided to move. I moved half my stuff and the deal fell through. I was so beside myself when I had to move the crap back, I almost put it all in the garbage.  Things worked out for the best in the long run. Typical mercury retrograde stuff.  Fortunately, I believe in travelling light. I did almost the whole move by myself, in my little station wagon. God, I love that car.

Here's the last few pics I took at my apartment. My ever changing living room. I sold that coffee table and now I regret it!  Oval coffee tables are hard to find. Not only was the piece gorgeous, it was so functional. I'm watching the Goodwill and yard sales for one like it.  Like I said, I miss my friend the tree. I used to sit on the sofa and watch the squirrels and birds play in it. I also loved to watch its seasonal changes.  Oh well, there's lots of amazing fauna here, which I'll be sure to tell you about.

I hope you will follow along as I tell my story of setting up home in this sweet little beach cottage.  You can also follow along on instagram @margiemax.  I did this post on my Android!  I'll have more to say about that in my upcoming post on social media.

Thanks for reading!  


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