Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A good fundraiser gives me the giddy up and go...

Ever since I got back from Texas and had the carrot of purchasing property to flip was taken from me I've felt a little lost. I was really excited about having a new project and work that I could focus on while still having the flexibility of being the mom of an active teenager. Then here come the storms and devastation and the feeling of wanting to help (and putting things in perspective). Thanks to the wonders of facebook, an artist friend announced today that she is doing an online auction of art with all the proceeds going to the Oklahoma recovery costs. Inspiration was born. A reason to create and a way to help.
I signed up then went straight up to my studio and started making. These are two hand mirrors that I made immediately.

Bee-inspired hanging ornament.
This is actually a knock-off of a Paper Whimsey project that I'd been wanting to do. 
Altered cigar box.
Mixed media hanging collage ornament.
Altered journal (in packaging).
I had been thinking I'd like to go to Oklahoma and help when the time is right. Whether I do or not at least this is a start. The auction will begin on May 26th here, the link to the facebook page called Hope for Oklahoma. Please join in either buying, selling, or both.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Adios mi amigo

My dear friend, Pete Ruff, passed into the loving arms of Jesus on April 15, 2013. He was an officer and a gentleman; a quiet man but a party boy and a lady's man. He was a Texan and a Longhorn. He was born in Midland but passed in Maryland. He was a sailor and a true patron of the arts. He gave me my start in business to which I will be forever indebted to him. He also brought together a group of people who, under no other circumstances would have ever met. So many are my "forever friends". This photo was taken when Pete and I went to see Historic Oella Mill, where we met when he owned it, after he had sold it and it had been refurbished into 270 condos. What a treat it was for me to get to share the experience with him. He was very happy with what they had preserved of the history of the mill, as was I. Pete, you are missed and you will always be in our hearts. 

(A piece of art that Pete bought from me has now come full circle)

I was blessed, because of our Texas connection, to be given Pete's boots. They are Justin Boot Company boots (my middle son's namesake). I also am blessed to have a painting done by Pete; a country house surrounded by a beautiful stand of trees and wide, blue skies. He loved Texas. He loved Maryland. He loved Costa Rica. All places where he had homes. I met Pete in 2000. Here is what a childhood friend wrote about him for those of us who didn't know these great details of him growing up in Midland. He loved talking about Hawaii and the parties he had with Don Ho and his adventures around the world especially in Mexico and Central and South America but Bill has edified us with an even more wonderful insight into this very special man.

I grew up with Pete in Midland. He was in our Cub Scout pack at the age of nine or ten, which is how I first remember meeting him -- at our back door. He was as pleasant and funny then as he later showed as a young man fresh out of the Catholic high schools he attended in Amarillo. I believe he was the star quarterback.

Pete, whose nickname was Speedy, became an associate member of the West Flepanske group created by the late R. Dennis Kelly. The. Name stood for West, Pannill, Fletcher, and Skee, or Kelly. Dennis changed the nickname to Speedre. He played much touch football with us -- in games at which Dennis often played in a Haspel suit and tie.

Speedre stayed with this agglomeration at the University of Texas. I believe he lived on Speedway with Dennis, Roy Merrill, and Hugh West. 

I lost him for a time when he graduated and became a Naval officer ("Mr. Ruff"). But we resumed our friendship when I went to work for the Treasury Department in the spring of 1971 and he opened his importing business in Ellicott City. We made a few trips there to see Pete and his wife, and I think both couples produced babies in 1972. But I moved back to Texas and we lost track again.

I heard from Speedre a couple of years ago when he was organizing a trip with the late Charles Ratliff to Costa Rica. I missed that trip, which I now regret very much. We don't appreciate what's important to us until too late. Goodbye, old friend.

Bill Pannill

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I'm headed to the land that I love this week, home. My hometown Bryan, Texas. The land of my heart and soul. The land where my soul brothers and sisters live and my oldest son and his darling girl are. My heart is filling with joy and it will continue to fill and fill and fill. My prayer is that everyone has that one place in the world were, when they are there, they feel that relief and peace of, "I'm home." just as I do when I'm there. I'm looking for real estate this time. It would be the first piece of property that I ever owned myself in the state where I was born and raised. Wish me luck, say some prayers, be happy for me. Catch you on the flip side (literally).

Throw back Saturday?

The year was 2005. Janine and I had shared a shop at Oella Mill for a couple of years and had were getting ready to launch our decorating business when we stumbled into the grand opportunity to decorate a room for The Historic Ellicott City Show House. It is a huge honor to be chosen to be a decorator for this annual fundraiser for the creme' de creme' of Howard County. A woman who was involved with HEC came into the mill one day when I was working and I asked her how a person goes about getting to do a room. She said she'd just heard that day that, after everyone had been selected a month earlier to decorate all the rooms, someone had to drop out and that there might be an opening. Well that was quicker than we had been planning but we knew better than to pass up an opportunity. We met with the chairwoman the next day and wowed her. We were scared crapless but acted as confident as we possibly could. We had to run around like mad because everyone else had turned in their design boards two weeks before. What we learned that day was that we had gotten the master bedroom and bath! Huge. Huge room, huge coup. Right after the main floor rooms, the master bedroom comes next. We were too excited to be overwhelmed. We had three days to get everything before meeting with the design committee and the homeowner. As I said, something everyone else had a couple of weeks to do and they all had experience. Well professional experience. Fortunately, Janine and I had both been rabid amateurs our whole lives so we caught up quickly. We were very happy with how it turned out. Now remember, when you look at these photos, this was eight years ago...things have changed but our design was bold and classic. I just found these photos this weekend and, because I didn't have a blog back then, I'm just now posting this. We did four in all; two are somewhere on here, the other I will post sometime soon. 
Janine and Christine (our fab friend who, along with her husband Phil, helped us so much that we never could have completed in time and all while they were visiting from England/Wales) enjoying the finished product. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge. The wallpaper was a beautiful golden yellow Asian-themed toile.
These photos were taken before there were better digital cameras so excuse the funky quality. This was a wonderful corner with a rattan chaise, quad-fold mirror screen, potted palm on a staircase of books, and the first time I thought to use a clock as a ceiling medallion for a chandelier.
Ahh, that's where that family heirloom washstand went I've been wanting to use as a vanity for years! We took an antique bed and upholstered it with silk taffeta plaid.
There were twin lampshade pendants on each side of the bed. Phil did all of our electrical work for us even thought he was only used to European wiring. We had some exciting moments while he was working.
Topiary and cutting edge design at the time placing a vignette in the non-functioning fireplace.
To make more "retail" space we had our buddies, Bob and Bob build this bookcase and cabinet into the large closet.
A sweet secretary I found and painted white and played dress up with the chair.
In the bathroom we used a wallpaper that coordinated with the bedroom paper. We used the same Dupont silk fabric as the bed plus another to do the sink skirt and shower curtain.
Check out the detail on the shower curtain; there are crystals hanging from the harlequin points. Who doesn't love a chandy in the bathroom?
Little gilded chair with the same harlequin and crystal detail next to the tub.
Okay, the befores. Me, Phil, and Christine ready to go. See the old wallpaper and dark blue paint that had been there 25 years?
The house had not been lived in for 10 years so lots of things were in bad shape...before us.
Janine and Phil taking turns on the ladder. 16 foot ceilings made for long, tiring days.
One of many "I Love Lucy" moments.
Philly on his perch.
Not like Wales' wiring but he did it.
Great minds.
Our kitty, Ellie (Ellicott City Show House Cat), who I found under a fridge in the garage. The mama ran off and left her so I grabbed her. I rue the day now eight years and 15 pounds later.
Ellie had to be bottle fed the first couple of weeks. I have to say that Christine did most of the feedings. We had to take her with us to the show house in a box so we could feed her during the day. She loved it when we were at home trying to sew the bed linens, shower curtain, window treatments, and pillows. Backwards, I know, but there you are. Boy did we launch.