Thursday, February 26, 2009

Junk to Fabulous

Welcome to my first Fabulous Friday post hosted by the Fabulous Simply Seleta!

This week, what I think is fabulous is spray paint! I was about to throw this old, tired, wicker accessory away. Look at all the dust it had gathered in the basement!

But, I loved its' shape. Not the color. So, with a couple of sprays with black spray paint....

Quite sculptural now, don't you think? It is now showing off dead center on a console in my family room.

To see some more Fabulous Friday posts, click here.

Happy Friday Everyone! I'm off to go skiing in the mountains!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's in a Name?

What's in a name? For thousands of years, people have chosen names based on meaning. In the Bible, people had their names changed after spiritual transformations. When my brother was a baby, my mom changed his name when she found out his old name had a negative meaning. It's a good thing in this day and age that most people don't believe the meaning of a person's name will predict who or what they will become. My married last name is Graber, meaning "grave digger"!

For me, many people ask where the name LaurenFaythe comes from. It is not my real name. My real name is Susan, but everyone calls me Sue. LaurenFaythe is actually a cumulation of my children's names. When thinking of my retail site name and my blog name, I wanted something other than my own name. I wanted it to be for something other than just myself. My family is very important to me. I wanted my children to be a part of what I do as an artist, and as a person. They give me inspiration and motivation. I want to show them that they can achieve anything they want to. I want to inspire them to reach for their dreams. They only have to try. If it fails, then they keep going.

The painting above is of my kids standing next to a fountain in Beaver Creek about 2 years ago. I love this painting because it really depicts their personalities and how each of these kids approach life.

My oldest is the one on the very right. She is an observer. She doesn't jump into things. She looks and analyzes. She doesn't show much emotion to most people. She is very quiet, but she is always thinking. Because of all her analysis, she is great at everything she does.

My middle child, my son, has to touch everything! He is usually in his own little world creating movies and stories in his mind. He learns by doing. He has to experience and touch ( and make sound effects while doing it). He is full of laughter, and my most easygoing child.

My youngest has to do everything everyone else is doing. Even though she was too short for this fountain, she had to stand on her tippy toes to look at the coins in the fountain. She doesn't care if she is small, she will bowl her way through a crowd to get the best seat in the house! She charms everyone she meets.

Below is the photo I used to paint the painting above:

So that, in a nutshell, is where LaurenFaythe comes from.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Nursery Update

I had no idea that posting my daughter's old nursery would bring such positive response! Well, I received an email from Helen at Creative Baby Nursery Rooms asking to include our nursery on her site. I was honored! This site is a resource for anyone interested in nursery decor ideas. It also includes extras, like links to baby name ideas, a mom-to-mom advice center, links to baby furniture sites, and recall lists to name a few. I would have loved a resource like this 10 years ago! To view my daughter's old nursery on the site, click here. Thanks Helen!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Nursery

Welcome to Monday Metamorphosis hosted by Between Naps on the Porch. Please visit Susan's site. There are so many wonderful before and afters!

I have been working on redecorating my oldest daughter's room for several months now. I work on bits and pieces of it when I get the chance. She is now 9 years old, and going through a metamorphosis of her own. She is ready to shed some of the little girl room she has and wants more of a "Tween" room, with her style and colors. I have been sad about this, because it means she is growing up.

Working on her room makes me reminisce back to her first room, the nursery. It was in a different house, and me, being the excited first time mom, went all out and worked like a madwoman trying to make the perfect nursery for our firstborn. I did not take before pictures, as always, because it was 10 years ago, and I had no idea I would be blogging then! Her room was the craft room. Imagine something like this:

Yikes! What a messy room! This is my current studio (photo taken after Christmas, in my defense!)

After several weeks of painting and sewing, with pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, and eventually, preeclampsia:
Since we hadn't found out the gender of our child, I wanted a fairly neutral theme. I thought an outdoor theme fit perfectly. I painted a mural in the entire room. All four walls and the ceiling were painted in the mountain outdoor theme.

Little ladybugs, bees, and butterflies were stapled onto the wall.

If you look closely, you can see some butterflies in the sky. There were clouds in the sky walls and ceiling that you can't see in the pictures. My parents brought the cuckoo clock back from the Netherlands during their European tour. I bought one of the teddy bears on the shelf in Cambridge, England. I was very huge and pregnant at the time of my visit there.

My brother made an airplane that hung from the ceiling. The plane was made from balsa wood and tissue paper. (My brother is an engineer, and this airplane could fly if we wanted it to.) I found some sheer fabric with star details, and I used blue gingham for the cornice and tieback. A blue and white striped fabric was used for the roman shade. I wanted the curtains to blend in with the sky walls, but also have character on its' own.

I wanted the baby to feel like it was in the trees, so I painted a tree on either side of the crib. (Not that the baby would even know it!) There are wooden birds stapled onto the branches.

The bunnies painted on the wall had company from a big stuffed bunny.
I know that all of this was more for myself than for the baby. Really, what baby would know the difference between a room of murals and a plain white box? But, in my mind, I wanted our child to feel special, and it was my way of showing her/him my love through all my labor in that room.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Like many people, I am intrigued by barns and cabins. Some are old and dilapidated, some are new made to look old. Here are some photos I took:

The structure above is sitting right next to a sidewalk in Edwards, CO.

These old structures are close to Sylvan Lake near Vail/Beaver Creek, where my son caught his first fish.

This barn is at the Starling Lane Winery on Vancouver Island, Canada.

This barn is in the Napa Valley, California, near all the wonderful vineyards. This poor barn gets painted by me every now and then. Here's my latest:

Napa Barn II is now in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tea for Three

Welcome to Tablescape Thursday hosted by Between Naps on the Porch. My tablescape is not my own, but the one presented to us at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. In my first real blog posting, I posted a story about having tea at the Brown Palace Hotel, the 2nd oldest hotel in Denver. It's a hotel with a rich history. Celebrities, dignitaries, and every President since Teddy Roosevelt, with the exception of Calvin Coolidge, have visited there.

It was a beautiful table-setting. The ambiance was great, all with a harpist playing in the background. The food was delicious as well!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Before and After - my powder room

Welcome to my first Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Between Naps on the Porch. I am going to show you a before and after of my powder room.

I have been enamored lately by all the light, airy rooms I have seen on the web and in design magazines. My home right now is in transition between the earth tones and Old World /Tuscan style I have loved for a long time, and the lighter look I am now leaning towards. I am trying to find a happy medium where I can marry my old darker furniture and this lighter look.

Before, my powder room felt a bit like a cave. It was dark. You'll see what I mean:

I had painted the sconces above several years ago, and also added the painted and aged mirror.

I had this print behind the door.

The floral is tired, tired, tired!

Until I took these pictures, I didn't realize the painting on that wall was way too small.

I finally got my grey/blue fix by painting this room:

I replaced the small painting with the bigger one I posted the other day. I replaced the magnolia and ivy floral arrangement with this branch in a glass vase.

The print behind the doorway was replaced with some candle sconces I had in the basement. You can see the sconces through the mirror.

Aahhh, such a lighter, airier room! Notice the toilet paper holder I showed you from an earlier post! :) What do you think?
Thanks for viewing my before and after. I hope to have more soon!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Two of Hearts

As many of you know, we go up to Beaver Creek, CO quite often. I love to visit the many art galleries while we are up there. A couple of years ago, while visiting one of the galleries, we learned that the artist Steve Kaufman was going to have an opening later that week. Unfortunately, we would not be able to attend, as we were going to go back home before the opening. The gallery worker, though, was so charmed by our well-behaved children, that she gave each of them one of the many hand painted embellished Steve Kaufman editions that were to be given away the night of the opening. Here are two of them:
I will profile this artist at a later date, but in a quick summary, Steve Kaufman is an artist who was an assistant to Andy Warhol. He has quite a resume of celebrities, corporations, and others he has worked with. He has also helped thousands of people through his charities. In my opinion, the charity work is his greatest accomplishment!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Agapanthus Again

Have I told you lately how I love the Agapanthus flower? :) 

I feel such freedom whenever I experiment with a new style or new technique in painting. This is because I know I am painting for myself (which is the mindset I should always be in).  I usually paint large, and I feel like I'm physically exercising, using large strokes. The adrenaline is running! 
Here is my most recent painting. I've made a departure from all that color, and have had to use such restraint, but in a good way. There is still a lot of texture. 

What do you think? 

Next week I will show you the room I've put it in.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I love the Agapanthus flower. It is also known as the "Lily of the Nile". I love the Greek translation of the word. It comes from the word agape - which means love, and anthos - meaning flower. The flower of love. How fitting for Valentines day!

The flower is usually in varying shades of blue. Of course, my version is different ( I have that artistic license:) ). My version is purples and pinks. It is now in my Etsy shop.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Morning Coffee

AAARRRGGGHHH! Has this happened to anyone who LOVES coffee? I love to drink coffee. It's not the caffeine, but the taste that I love. I look forward to every morning. This is what I woke up to the other day. Disaster for people like me:

Why do coffee pot manufacturers make the glass so weak? This isn't the first time it has happened to me. Well, not wanting to go through the trouble of getting my french press out, I figured out the next best thing. A canning jar with the lid unscrewed up as high as it would go, with my coffee pot lit on top so the sensor could be pushed in far enough for the coffee maker to let the coffee out. Almost as good as the real thing!

As I sat down at the computer to order a new glass pot, (which by the way, I could've probably bought a cheap coffee maker for the same price) I found some other coffee makers I could get.

The Lamborghini Coffee Maker for $1750:

Here's one that reminds me of chemistry class. The Siphon Bar may take up a bit of space on the kitchen counter though. It only goes for $20,000:

To see a step by step process click here.
Maybe in another life I can afford these coffee makers. In the meantime, I am quite happy with myself for being able to make my coffee until my new pot arrives!
Happy Monday Everyone!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Before and During...the Dining Room

I promised you I would invite you into my home, and I could kick myself for speaking writing before I think. I am quite awed by many of your homes, and am a little embarrassed to be showing you mine.

I am only an amateur home decorator. I have always had a passion for design and decorating. I have had a passion for art I think since I could hold a pencil. I would have loved to have gone to an art and design school for college, but, the left side of my brain (and my parents) won. I have a business degree in accounting and marketing.

I am always redecorating, and making many mistakes along the way. I don't mind though, because I always learn from them. I get tired and bored easily with various looks. I love almost every style there is. I don't know what I would call my style. I loved Tuscan/Old world for a long time. The colors throughout the house go with that warm feeling. It looks fine the way it is; I just want a change. I want less clutter, more neutral walls, and a way to marry my dark woods with the new light feel I'm looking for. I want a fresh look!

I feel like my house is always a before picture. I'm calling my dining room my "during" phase because there are many things left to do. I would love everyone's input, because, like I said, I do not have any expertise in this area. Only my instincts and the things I've learned from books, magazines, and now, wonderful design bloggers!

Here is my before of my dining room. If I had known that I would be blogging when I took this picture, I would have taken more pictures. While I love red, I was very tired of it. You can see my sample color boards on the wall and on the table:

Here are some during photos:

Here is the painted dining room. After such a drastic change, I almost repainted the walls. I felt like the window treatment and painting clashed with the new wall color (a warm beige/grey). I now rather like the clash, but I'm going to make new window treatments out of 20 yards of white linen. I'm also planning on making some white slipcovers for the chairs, switch out the painting, add some molding to what's existing, and get different end chairs. I'm thinking of painting that chandelier. We will tear out the carpet and put in wood floors like the rest of the first floor at some point. The wood floors are a dark, warm rosewood stain:

Another view. I need to take off the table cloth and re-accessorize the top. You can see the living room off to the side:

This hutch belonged to my in-laws. We inherited it when my mother in law passed away. No one in the family wanted it. It's a high quality piece, but it was that 70's wood stain with the greenish tint. We took it, I painted it, and put in new knobs.

Here is the back wall. I have been planning to paint the chest for a few years. Maybe this summer I will finally get around to it. I need to clear off some of those accessories:

So, in summary, here are my plans:

  1. wood floors

  2. new window treatments

  3. slipcovers

  4. end chairs

  5. paint the chest : white or black? I'm thinking a distressed white.

  6. practice restraint with the accessories

  7. anything else?

Any suggestions? By the way, I'm not married to the wall color, either. I should also add that I have mostly dark wood on most of the furniture, as well as dark cherry cabinets in the kitchen. The dark wood will have to stay. The labor in painting all of it will be too intensive. My upholstery is also dark, but I can also make slipcovers for that. So much to change.... maybe I just need a psychologist!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm Listening

In a previous post about girlfriends, I attached a link to Transcending Words on Women and Strength by Kelly Corrigan . It inspired me to paint this. Do you have that friend? The friend that is always there for you, the one who stands by you, ready to listen? I think as women, we treasure that relationship, whether it be a mom, sister, other relative, or friend. We need it. We need to relate. If we don't have friendships like that, we long for it so desperately. Are you that kind of friend? I know I want to be that kind of friend. It hard. It takes work. With the busyness of life, we let it slide. But, I know I want those relationships, and I want to be that friend.

"I'm Listening" is now in my Etsy shop.

Cleaning House

I'm cleaning my house, because I'm going to show you a "before and during" of my dining room tomorrow. Make sure to stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tissue Holders

Isn't this beautiful? Not! What was the thinking behind these bright brass tissue holders? Or for that matter, bright brass in general? Believe it or not, our house was built in 2003, not the 1990's. This past weekend I did a mini powder room make-over. Along with painting and re-accessorizing, I wanted to replace this fixture. This tissue-holder is recessed into the wall, so I had to find another holder that recesses into the wall. Guess what? The only tissue holder that I could find at our local home improvement center was bright chrome. A little better than the bright brass, but not what I wanted. Not wanting to learn how to drywall and turn an easy make-over into a large drywall project, I did the next best thing. I went to the spray-paint aisle, and...
using spray primer and a hammered texture finish spray paint, my tissue holder got a little make-over! Isn't this so much better? I'll have to see how the paint holds up, but for now, it will work just fine until we get around to remodeling the powder room in a few years.

Here are some whimsical choices I could have made if I didn't have to deal with a hole in the wall:

See no evil...




For the busy family...

Blue guy...

And, for your listening pleasure... the icarta toilet paper holder with ipod docking station and 4 speakers .
All images from Bathroomfurnituredirect, Comforthouse, and X-tremegeek.

Did I really write a post on toilet paper holders? I guess I did!