Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween, Caribbean style!

Image via Country Living

Any of these decoration inspirations would look beautiful in a coastal cottage. 

image via 100layercake

I painted a couple of pumpkins white last year, couldn't believe how many weeks longer it kept them preserved!

Image via houseofturquoise

These velvet pumpkins above and the vintage sweater pumpkins below would make fun DIY projects.

Image via rustyhinge

Image via dustyluinteriors

Image via dustyluinteriors

Hope you all have a magical evening and let your imaginations run wild, like these floating stage set designers in Australia . . . . incredible!

Image via lifemusicmedia

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Giggles and polka dots!

Last month I was contacted by Marjorie Simmons about custom mural work for Giggles Ice Cream & Candy Parlour.  She was inspired by the Land of Nod website, a cascading polka dot motif in a rainbow of sorbet colors, and wanted to replicate the look on a few feature walls to give the space a fun, effervescent feel.

First I completed the Grace Bay Ports of Call location, the entire resort and shopping complex has just undergone a bright and cheerful renovation and now Giggles can say the same.

 Giggles will soon be opening it's brand new downtown location, look for details to come!  This space is much larger and I love the way the mural turned out on these tall walls.

One mother stopped in to see the work in progress and inquired about a kids room.  Absolutely!  There are lots of great ideas for incorporating polka dots in a nursery,

 kids bedroom,


or even furnishings.

You may even find a sleek and sophisticate use for polka dots in your home!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fleur de Lys Villa Bird's Eye View

It was a very busy weekend between Longbay and Leeward, bittersweet to think we will not be traversing between the two neighborhoods so often anymore.  The Beach Barn, our home away from home and pet project for the last few years, sold last July.  We sign and seal the deal in a short few days so the deadline to make our move had come.  It was eye opening to discover just how many belongings we had acquired; what seemingly appeared to be very little set against the massive floorspace of the barn, in reality was two parades by caravan of  boxtruck, two pick-ups, and an SUV!  A skytrak also joined the fleet, more to come on that topic later, but we thought while we had use of it, may as well take a few overview images of Fleur de Lys.  Utilizing a kiteboarding harness and a couple of dog leashes, I was strapped to the forks and up, up, and away!  Thanks to residual winds from hurricane Sandy it was a pretty wild ride!  The birds eye view was beautiful, and it allowed a great study of the size of the bird reserve to the north of the property.  I  had not realized it was such an impressive wetland, it stretches nearly the length of the block.  No wonder we see such variety of feathered friends at Fleur de Lys!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Styling with Steve

To wrap up on Amazing Grace, here are a couple of Steve Passmore's images from our photo shoot at Amazing Grace in June.

image by Steve Passmore

I have to admit, I LOVE this room; the stone walls, the exposed white washed ceiling beams, the arched transom windows and doors, the pale patterned furniture, . . . I could go on and on.  All this room needed in terms of styling was a few accessories to soften such a grand space.   Placing corals, woven baskets, wood lanterns, succulents, and beautiful books on the central cabinets shelves turned a dark void into an eyeful of interest.  

Amazing Grace Waterscape

 "Amazing Grace Waterscape" 2012 copyright Stacie J. Steensland

At the beginning of this year I did a proposal for Amazing Grace, highlighting what a major impact art and accessories could achieve in such beautifully boned home.  We decided on a commissioned painting for the dining room as a takeoff point.  

To begin, I looked at the predominant color palette within the home; seafoam greens paired with oceanic aquas and denim blues.  A touch of lavender greys, and layer after layer of glaze, completed the first stage of the painting (above).

The next step, detail above, was to add silver leafing to add drama and dimension.  

The series of four photographs above demonstrate how the painting looks different from every angle, additionally with various quantities of light, due to the reflective nature of the silver leaf.

The final step was a thick, hyper high gloss top coat, that holds the eternal appearance of looking wet to the touch; the perfect finish for a painting inspired by the sea.  This type of finish adds a whole other dimension to a work of art, a dimension that is next to impossible to portray in photographs.

What you see here pales in comparison to what you would see standing before it in person.

I do hope my clients love it as much as I do, my favorite abstract to date!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fleur de Lys Villa supports the Arc of Natrona County

The Arc of Natrona County came into existence in 1964 as an informal parent organization for children with disabilities.  Formally incorporated in 1977, the mission remains; 

"The Arc is committed to securing for all people with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they learn, live, work and play. The Arc is further committed to reducing the incidence and limiting the consequence of developmental disabilities through education, research, advocacy and the support of families, friends and community."
For as long as I can remember my mom has been dedicated to several charity organizations, one of those big hearts that never tires of giving time, attention, and resources to those in need.  She took special interest in the Arc, serving on the board and as an officer, over the course of many years.  For this much needed and respected organization, and in thanks to her, we donated a one week stay at Fleur de Lys Villa for the Arc's charity auction hosted early this year.
The winning bid went to Mark and Lesley Vigneri, who brought six friends for a week of rest and relation. Mark, who serves on the board and just so happens to be an old friend from school, and Lesley, who serves as the Arc's secretary, enjoyed a week of picture perfect weather; days spent at the beach, adventures on the water, and nights out enjoying several of Provo's best restaurants.  

 We all got together for dinner their final night at the legendary Blue Hills establishment, Da Conch Shack.  Fabulous local faire, uppity island music, and toes in the sand as you do the conga line!  We had a great time getting caught up and hearing about their week.  These philanthropists deserved an incredible vacation and we were so thrilled to hear they got one that exceeded their expectations!

To learn more about the Arc, please see the many programs they offer here.  To learn more about the wonderful people that the Arc assists, please see this amazing youtube video below about Carly and her breakthrough in autism;

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


 Our next stop was Angles-sur-L'anglin, another official les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.

This extensive name comes from the Saxon tribe, the Angles, that invaded England in the 5th century, as well as the river separating the upper portions, pictured above,

 and the lower portions of the village, pictured below.

It was a great village to stop for lunch and get lost in the pretty streets.  If one would like to stay awhile, the perfect plan would be to take this 3 day painting workshop.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


After Paris and Versailles we were more than ready to get back to some peace and quiet.  We had already done a fair amount of camping in the weeks preceding in British Columbia and Wyoming but this would be our first experience in France . . . and we had no plan, no route, and no reservations.  Again, getting the I-Pad fully connected, best decision ever!

Huttopia Rambouillet was fantastic; $18 Euros per night for the standard pitch, lodge like reception with restaurant and conveniences (like a fridge stocked with wine and cheese from the region), and this brilliant all natural, no chemical pool, whose filtration is provided by the vegetation in the  wetland to the left.

Thanks to some great advice by our Parisan friend Veronique we set our route to see some of the 22 most loved villages by the French.

First up, Montsoreau, where we had an epic first evening.  After dinner at a darling little creperie we walked around the corner to the Chateau de Montsoreau, a beautiful white castle built in 1455 at the banks of the Loire River. There there just so happened to be a concert performance in the courtyard, followed by fireworks at the foot of the castle.

The next day we rented bicycles and wandered around several little towns surrounding.

Lunch stop at le saut aux loups.  The Loire Valley boast more than 600 caves carved into porous cliffsides, homes for wildlife and man since prehistoric times.  Today many residences and businesses alike still thrive in these subterranean environments, where the climate stays ideal whether winter or summer.  Many have been occupied as wine cellars, quoting

"In todays' wine industry, caves are increasingly being used due to the many financial and environmental benefits, such as low energy and minimalised land usage. The high humidity of these caves, ranging between 70-90%, reduces wine evaporation and provides an ideal environment for storing red and white wine (suggested humidity over 75% for reds and over 85% for whites). The constant optimum temperatures, 13°C-15.5°C, provides a perfect environment for storing wine all-year-round."

An antique shop within a cave.

Walking around Montsoreau at night was as picturesque as during the day.  Stumbled upon this amazing little cemetary and neighboring mansion.

Our final morning at the market we picked up fresh fruits, cheese, wine, and breads from local artisans, which were so tasty they were gone by the next village.