I have some very talented relatives – both blood and by marriage. My grandmother Williams was very artistic. She did needlepoint – and she would start with a blank canvas and create the picture as she went. She completed upwards of 20 dining room chairs – probably closer to 30. The ones she did for their home on Mackinac Island were incredible – each had a different Mackinac house (all beautiful Victorian homes) on the seat. My Aunt Wendy is also very artistic.
My husband’s sisters are very talented. They sew and smock, paint and do all sorts of crafts.
I love doing crafts – but understand my limitations, so I look for projects that aren’t too difficult. I have found two types of crafts that are achievable, even for those who are artistically challenged.
My dear friend Ellen gave us a wonderful gift several years ago – two sets of coasters, for different areas of our home, and the coasters contained the exact colors of our rooms. How did she find those? She made them – using tiles, cocktail napkins, glue and polyurethane. Here are some that I have done to match the decor in various places:
You finish them off with pieces of cork glued on the back.
The second project is the one that I have had the most fun with, and my sweet sister-in-law Ali taught me how to do it. The end product is a floor mat – and it is great for areas that might get wet or that have heavy traffic as they are very durable and easy to clean. You start with a piece of linoleum and cut it into the size that you want. You then paint the other side – in whatever pattern you desire. You finish the mat off with numerous coats of polyurethane.
This is the first one I did, and it is in front of the washer and dryer in the mountains.
I have done several mats for in front of the sinks in bathrooms. We have beautiful sinks in the mountain house, made by local potterists. The first mat was intended to be a collection of Iris leaves – not sure that came across very well, but I like the colors. The second one is for the powder room in the mountains and was just a fun use of the colors in the room.
We spent all of December in the mountains as we were between houses in Savannah. We were snowed in for much of that month. Rather than go stir-crazy, I made the below mat for our powder room in Savannah. It took a lot of time and a great deal of patience. I was trying for the Burberry plaid – and I think it came pretty close.
I wanted to do something for the area in front of our kitchen sink in the mountains. I love a type of furniture called Sticks, which is fun and colorful – and strikes me as very “mountainy”. We have a Sticks clock which hangs in our kitchen, over the sink.
I wanted to do something similar – and came up the below, which ended up as a tribute to my marriage.
The first column has our mountain view, a sailboat (a passion of my husband’s and something we spent the first part of our marriage pursuing), and our English Setters Maggie and Scout on clouds – we miss them dearly.
The second column has our initials and two verses from our favorite song (“When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss).
The last column has a bulldog, which is a mix of Gracie and Conroy, the scales of justice with “partners” underneath, and what was our then Savannah view.
Finally, my most recent project is a little crazy. I have several pieces of Mackenzie-Childs dishes and accessories in Savannah. I love the bright colors and craziness; my husband, not so much. To brighten up our laundry room and as a labor of love for my bullies, I painted a mat for their food dish holder, and then decided to paint the actual holder as well. My inspiration was the Mackenzie-Childs mix and use of patterns.
Not great artistic achievements, but fun and relatively easy to achieve. If anyone has an interest in either of these types of projects and needs more details, please let me know – I am happy to provide step by step instructions.