The day I became a Rebel Artist and didn't mind at all

I don’t think I’ve felt this rebellious since I overtook a caravan on double white lines.

I’m Claire and I’m a 43 year old mother of two with a passion for baking, poetry writing and grafitti-ing old paintings.

So what you going to do about it?

Rascal.jpg

Well you can copy me if you like? It feels all kinds of good.

Appropriation art is a thing in all the right circles, trust me on this. It’s where a piece of art (preferably one that is past it) is updated to be more appropriate for the current market. It may have been embellished, collaged, touched up, or in my case scrawled upon with messages of endearment or empowerment. Here’s another much admired piece I sold as part of my little up-cycled art venture, No Two Walls.

Appropriation art by Yours Truly

Appropriation art by Yours Truly

Clearly, these examples are not exactly masterpieces that you are likely to leave your children in your will. That’s precisely the point. They’re a post modern, tongue in cheek entry into the classification of art - so low brow that they’re high brow, see?

In combining a celebrated art form (the floral still life) with a relatively new obsession (typography) my new obsession for painting on pictures offers a new perspective on art that would otherwise be destined to clutter the shelves of a charity shop. I use only cheap reproduction pictures that are now, sadly, only worth the frames they are mounted in - They make the unoriginal, original. And THAT’s what (in my world anyway) makes them cool.

Making them is absolutely as easy as it looks. You don’t need an art degree and - come to think of it - being good at spelling isn’t all that important either. It may even add to the charade in some instances. Essentially, all you need is the luck to stumble upon a really un-loveable picture that has at some point in it’s chequered past been cared for enough to be deemed worthy of a decent frame. And then you need the balls to paint on it.

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This one isn’t even a painting - it’s a print - and a sun faded one at that, which made it far less gut wrenching to de-face.

There’s not much room for making mistakes on this sort of thing, which can make it slightly unnerving. A washable paint, such as chalk paint is more forgiving, but bear in mind that oil paintings have bumps and lumps on them which the fresh paint can stick to, so I find it’s best to commit to the job and just go for it. The worst that can happen is that you make a crap picture crapper. In which case, re-use the frame for a different project. That’s why I don’t like to pay more than £10 for the picture in the first place, although the more you pay, the better the frame is likely to be and sometimes this can make more of a difference than the background.

If you do find a lovely floral still life in a gorgeous gilt frame, please do consider if vandalising it is creative or criminal. Obviously check out the painter if it’s got a signature on it. Google can provide a quick fire response on a collectible artist.

If the colours are too beautiful, think twice. Ask yourself, could the flowers still be enjoyed without your graffiti on them? If the answer is no, then it’s OK to paint on it. Getting the right amount of twee, with the right amount of modern is where the magic happens.

Take this brown oil on board for example. It aint pretty. The colours are a bit samey but it has a hippy, retro vibe to it that does appeal. The frame is non descript so it’s not going to win fans on its own merit. I made the call that it would benefit from a little style statement and now it brings a smile to my face in the laundry room.

A No Two Walls un-original original.

A No Two Walls un-original original.

This one on the other hand, I can’t bring myself to scrawl on. It’s not by anyone famous, the frame isn’t amazing, but the colours are pretty and it’s somehow still got a charm to it, albeit in an innocent, amateurish kind of way. This one is safe from my rebel paintbrush. For now at least.

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Landscapes are easier to come across than florals, simply because they are less in vogue. They don’t work quite as well but I still think you can have fun with them that’s better than them heading to landfill.

I’d like to think they would make very cool wall fillers in student digs or similar, but am willing for this to go up in the man cave, should it ever come to fruition. It’s quite possibly somebody’s A level copy of the famous Hay Wain by Constable and I had to be in a particularly rebellious #SorryNotSorry mood when I wrote on it. In the end I decided it was better to be uniquely controversial than a blatant fake. … So handcuff me…

Hey, Wayne, you’re mum is gonna kill you.

Hey, Wayne, you’re mum is gonna kill you.

A more popular choice of wording would be some cool music lyrics that mean something to you or your other half. I’ll be doing more of these on No Two Walls so keep a look out if you like the idea, but don’t like the deed.

And what about a marriage proposal via Appropriation Art? Surely that’s got to be the coolest way to say I do next week on Valentines Day, what do you say? Let me know in the comments section.

Or maybe not?

Or maybe not?

Happy Valentines week art rebels.
Claire

IF the teenagers come to tea

Yesterday I became a Teen Mom (as in a mom of a teenager). I'm using the American spelling because that seems to be the preferred tongue these days. Examples:

Following a sudden rise in my temper, "Things sure do get heated 'round here."

Following everything the younger brother ever says, "Shattap."

For me, hardcore parenting starts here. I now realise everything else was just a warm up. Yesterday I rolled up my sleeves for the nitty gritty, hands dirty, stinky, sweaty, armpit of the job. But I'm prepared. I'm armed with two classic pieces of literature that teach me and my son everything we need to know about the turbulent years ahead. 

The first is my favourite poem IF by Rudyard Kipling, which we all know and love, don't we? And which, framed and arranged in such a teenage friendly manner makes a very stylish dig at their dwindling morals. It's also a great feel-good gift to give, right after he's unwrapped the latest edition of Grand Theft Auto. 

IF Print £12  Not On The Highstreet

IF Print £12 Not On The Highstreet

The second piece of prose I will be referencing regularly throughout the next five years, was wrapped and sent to me by my son's Godmother; my best friend from school who is also a mother of sons and herself fast approaching the third trimester of parenting. (Following baby phase and fun phase in case you were wondering).

The teenager who came to tea  £7.99 Amazon

The teenager who came to tea £7.99 Amazon

The Teenager who came to Tea, a parody of course of the classic Tiger who came to Tea is our survival guide Teen Moms.

We must roll with the hormonal surges. We must make sarcasm our friend. We must spare a thought for the vulnerable younger siblings and we MUST stock up on frozen chips. 

In fact, I loved this book so much I feel inspired to leave you with my own parody following a successful first multi-teen sleepover last night. It goes like this...

IF you can fill the fridge within 60 seconds of coke gone,

Yours is the Earth, and everything that's in it

And what is more, you'll make a great TEEN MOM. 

Are you a Teen Mom? Can you offer me any pearls of wisdom? I'm all ears, please get in touch via the comments section. What's that... it's hell you say? "Shattapp".

Claire xx 

 

 

The print with natural pulling power

There's a little bit of punk and a little bit of Pollock in my latest vintage upcycle. There's also a hint of my son's reception class art apron when it came home for its first term's wash.

The vibrant, paint splattered pattern of Earthed Fabric's Osmosis print is my favourite of the nature inspired Upperlands collection, mainly because it has unexpectedly pulled my eclectic interior decor scheme together. 

I needed a fabric to work hard for the sixties dining chairs that came to me en-route to the skip (above). They're not classics, but have sleek modernist shape. They are also light and amazingly comfy - perfect for moving from room to room as the need for extra seating is required. But choosing a fabric was proving difficult as I searched for a colour that would work in different rooms and for various situations.

Osmosis in Self Heal combines splashes of my favourite brights, yet combines sweeter blush tones on a rich purple background. It makes for a riotous mix, designed to invoke positivity, passion and wellbeing. 

So far (and they only arrived on Monday) those qualities have rocked my white dining room, complimented bold accent colours in my kitchen and nurtured a hip, artistic vibe throughout my whole interior aesthetic. 

The vintage chairs that had to work hard AND look nice!

The vintage chairs that had to work hard AND look nice!

For a pair of chairs that were heading for landfil, that makes for one impressive comeback. They not only look good, but the luxury Irish linen gives them a high quality, individual finish that feels super expensive and translates easily from a laid back to a formal setting.

The entire Upperlands collection reflects the rich and abundant mix of colours found in that one big paint splattered canvas we all call nature. If you're looking for a fabric to bring cohesion to your chaos, these are the prints with natural pulling power. Explore the full range here: http://earthedbywmclark.co.uk/collection/the-upperlands/

Bolster cushions made from Osmosis in Self Heal by  Earthed Fabrics.

Bolster cushions made from Osmosis in Self Heal by Earthed Fabrics.

What do you think to my latest upholstery updates? Do you love pattern or shy away from prints? Are you good at sticking to one colour scheme or have things gone a bit, um, artistic of late? I would love to know your thoughts, please drop me a line in the comments section, it would be so cool to connect.

Claire x

Original WAG = Serious SWAG: My Tina and Bobby crush crescendos

I haven't experienced WAG envy on this scale since Victoria Beckham's Team Baden-Baden taught the world a lesson in girl squad manners back in 2006.

Michelle Keegan's portrayal of Tina Moore (wife of World Cup '66 hero Bobby) in the ITV series Tina and Bobby has stirred something inside. Not just Inside my heart, not even limited to inside my wardrobe, but inside my entire home. I want a bit of that late sixties/early seventies WAG (SWAG as it now needs to be known) at House Candy HQ and I'm turning to the celebrated retro-glam interior designer David Hicks for inspo. 

A classic David Hicks designed living space

A classic David Hicks designed living space

Contrasting textures define Hicks' style, with deep shag pile carpets balancing out the shiny surfaces and angular shapes of furniture typical of this era. Orangey browns and rusty red leathers that remind me (in a good way) of Starsky and Hutch are punctuated with pops of glossy turquoise. Leafy house plants, low hung, slightly random wall art and patterned curtains rock a retro vibe that my sources tell me is set to make a significant comeback this year. 

And it is this kind of SWAG - a retro & therefore infinitely cooler version of today's luxed up footballer's wife style, that we were invited to swoon over in Tina and Bobby.  In particular, it was their last marital home, the dream 70s open plan new build that made me long for life back when there were only 3 TV channels, telephones were attached to curly wires and it was the done thing to barbeque in 6 inch platform knee boots. 

Here's some ideas I'm considering to help me bring a bit of retro-glam SWAG to my pad:

1) Cladding

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

I'm thinking of putting the flooring up the wall when/if the kitchen extension ever happens (unlike Tina and Bobby, we're having to save up see). The ceilings will be lower there and the modern contrast will create a cool kind of cosiness in an otherwise featureless new-build area.

2) Contrast Piping

Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

I've been hunting for the perfect low, boxy sofa for some time and having failed to find it, I've decided instead to get my 11 year old Habitat Sydney sofa recovered in velvet and add some contrast piping. Tina and Bobby had a similar look in the TV series, complete with fringing which I'm also absolutely mad for, but am saving for another project. See below.

3) Fringing

I fancy a day bed. Welllllll, it's the perfect place for a SWAG to get her pedicure done and with this fringing no one will ever know that I'm way too posh to hoover under the furniture.

3) Kitchen Hatch

OK so this probably won't happen, but I SO like the idea of decanting my M&S ready meals in the privacy of the kitchen then serving them to an adoring dinner party without them ever needing to know the secret behind my Chicken Chasseur.

4) Flos IC lighting

Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364  www.amara.com

Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364 www.amara.com

If Flos IC lighting were a celebrity, I'd be its stalker. Ball shaped pendant lights were big in the 70s but can somebody tell me in what era these simple, elegant yet not at all ostentatious beauties would look out of place, because I can't think of any. 

Here Flos look stunning in a period panelled setting, an image I've been staring at for far too long already today. These babies are earmarked for my hallway and that's a fact. 

So Tina, you can keep the diamond rings. I'm not fussed for the fancy cars and as for the wealthy, good looking football hero of a husband... pah! what a let down he turned out to be. But I do like your retro WAGishness lady. I love your bo-ho dresses and since adopting your beehive, my fine hair has a whole new lease of life. I love your SWAG Tina Moore (or at least I love Michelle Keegan's version of your SWAG) And I'd LOVE for you to bob round to my place for Babychams so we can talk the Dralon and tassles off each other.

Claire x

Unless stated, images are pinched from Pinterest where incidentally I'm collecting 70s interiors images like WAGS collect collagen. Follow me here for inspo.

 

 

 

Common Interest - Artistic wallpaper strikes a chord

I try to be cool about it, but the fact is I am like a lioness over my cubs, especially on a Monday.

As I drop them off at school and watch their back packs wobble off into the distance, half of me is doing cartwheels at the prospect of a few hours with only myself to look after, and the other half is wondering ... Did he do enough spelling practice?... Did he remember his trainers? ... Did he even clean his teeth this morning?

So today I'm feeling all lioness (and let's face it I'm rarely not feeling palms) which made it particularly exciting to return to my layer and find this Lioness and Palms print wallpaper sample poking through my letterbox.

Lioness and Palms wallpaper £140 per roll by  Common Room

Lioness and Palms wallpaper £140 per roll by Common Room

Common Room makes fine art accessible to the likes of me and you through its stunning range of artist designed wallpapers. The Lioness and Palms design is taken from the early 20th Century designer and architect C.F.A Voysey's original watercolour design, sourced from the V&A museum archives. 

Like choosing a painting, I look for something that connects with me when I pick a paper; something that matches how I'm feeling, rather than matches a particular interiors trend. This is the best advice I can give for creating a vibrant home that tells your own personal journey through its interior.

The Common Room Lioness and Palms print is available in two equally gorgeous colourways. I love the idea of this Midnight option teamed with rich emerald green subway tiles in a modern Victorian bathroom.

Lioness and Palms wallpaper in Midnight by Common Room

Lioness and Palms wallpaper in Midnight by Common Room

But my personal preference is the lighter Midday colour option. It conjures up exotic Out of Africa adventures which, when it's up in my spare room, will be all kinds of hysterical for my guests. I live in the same town I grew up in FFS. Travel is not my strong point. 

But you see, it's not the plains of Africa I'm transported to when I sit here with my cup of Yorkshire tea, picturing C.F.A Voysey's child-like brushstrokes bringing some botanical artistry to my attic bedroom.

Sure, I see a jungle out there, and I see one proud/potentially vicious mamma protecting two golden heads, whilst keenly keeping a paw on the palm print fashion pulse. (And if she's anything like me, she's about to race to the rescue of her hungry cubs with an over laden lunch box any minute now.)

Art, imitating life and simultaneously decorating it.  Common Room, I salute you.

Happy new week all,

Claire x

 

 

My Mate, Matisse and My House Candy

In what is a retail first for me, last weekend I made a shopkeeper very happy for not paying for something. 

I tried, but he wouldn't let me. Jeez, maybe this 80 year old antiques dealer has mistaken me for that other celebrity blogger with the 30 million followers and the power to catapult his little backstreet shop into the Sunday papers, I thought. Is this what winning the Interior Blog Awards could do for me? (vote here to find out)

Here's what actually happened.

Edward, who looks like a mad scientist (and if he hasn't discovered the essence of eternal youth, has definitely found the secret to eternal happiness) runs a small antiques shop in the North Yorkshire village of Knaesborough and has done for the past 40 years.

In it, I'd found and set aside various old bits of furniture, an emerald glass tea set, some odd bits and bobs that were gathering dust on windowsills and on my last scoot around, checking I hadn't missed any unmistakeable House Candy, I pointed at this picture. 

"Do you like it?" he asked. 

"Great colours", I said, because I was still deciding if I did or not.

"It's pastels", he said, "It will smudge if you take the glass off. It's in the style of Matisse."

"I know," I said, feeling rather smug. I did art at A level, I remembered loving working with pastels and the satisfaction of manipulating the chalky colours with my fingers and thumbs. And I totally recognised the fluid shapes and merging figures of the French impressionist. There looked to be several couples cavorting in this scene. In fact, it looked like there was a lot of love (and maybe a bit of acid) in the subject room and I suspect Edward could have provided further background to the scene had I pressed him on it.

"How much?" I asked, a question which cracks a smile with most salesman, but which initiated an ear to ear grin on 80 year old Edward. He nudged me and with a wink replied,

"You can have it," and he proudly took it down from the wall.

"I did it myself, many years ago and it's been up in my attic. My wife told me I had to have a clear out so it won't be such a big job for everyone when I die. I'm ready to die you know, I won't mind." He said quickly, in case I should feel at all sorry for him. 

He clambered down his steps, refusing help and all the time regarding his work and muttering about the special times he spent painting with his son. When he got to the point of writing me out a paper receipt for my other items (the bit he likes best apparently), he added:

"It's been on the wall a few weeks now and you are the first person to show an interest."

I like being that person that paid an interest in Edward's artwork. I like that this picture makes me want to pick up a box of pastels and make my own art - something I haven't done since I passed my A level. And I really like Edward for still feeling the buzz when someone appreciates his work.

Edward rocks and so does my new, acid coloured pastel on paper. I'm calling it "Party On Edward". And I know he totally will. 

Thank you so much if you have voted for me already in the Interior Blog Awards Best Design Inspiration category. I'm sorry for going on about it but I really have absolutely no chance in this phenomenally tough category if I don't big myself up, like 10 million times. In fact, I'm the Edward in a category full of Matisse's. I'm just hoping you'll be the one who notices me.

Happy Weekend all,

Claire x

 

The Candy Files - Too cool for stool?

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week...

House Candy = Stool

The time had come when I had to say farewell to this gorgeous white faux fur vanity stool that had been loaned to me for a photography shoot. And then, as I casually put it down in the hallway and got my shoes on ready to load it into the car, this happened:

What a great sized stool for a narrow hallway I thought. Just the thing for perching upon whilst slipping on one's pony skin mules I thought. Such a versatile little piece of furniture that every home (especially mine) should have I thought.

So now it's back on loan with its designer Justine Emmet who is working on other models (that might even match the mules) until I've saved up my pennies to ensure its safe return at my place. You can buy one HERE if your home has also got a faux fur pouf sized hole in it. 

Faux Fur Pouf by Justine Emmett £250  www.etsy.com

Faux Fur Pouf by Justine Emmett £250 www.etsy.com

Fine & Candy = Store 

Modern + vintage + quirky = House Candy

Modern + vintage + quirky = House Candy

The My House Candy store concept has just got a whole lot more exciting! I can't tell you any more about it just yet but I am absolutely, agonisingly struggling to hold my wee on this one so when I say watch this space I mean, watch THIS space. You hear me?

Candy Pandy = Steal

Thou shalt not.

And if thou is tempted to borrow items of exceptional House Candy for the purposes of taking beautiful pictures and promoting them on your blog to woo fellow interiors addicts, thou must not be tempted to hold on to them longer than thou promised.

Sorry Justine and Sorry Justine's bottom. You cannot have found these past few weeks easy. Especially when it comes to applying make-up in THIS beaut of a bedroom. Swoon

Oh I might just need to borrow that bedding btw. I promise to give it straight back...

Oh I might just need to borrow that bedding btw. I promise to give it straight back...

What's on your interior radar this week? Drop me a line in the comments section just to say hi or email myhousecandy@gmail.com if you've got some House Candy I might need to borrow/steal!

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram or Pinterest @myhousecandy if you're in need of some ideas.

Claire xx

 

FAIRGROUND ATTRACTION - why I'm looking for signs of change

My mum often jokes that there is gypsy blood in us (It's a line of enquiry I should maybe pursue). And let me tell you, with recent, tragic events taking place far too close to home, the temptation to pack up my little family in a Romany caravan and make a living on a travelling coconut shy is huge!

But for those of us with mortgages to pay and jobs to hold down, upping sticks whenever the feeling takes us isn't really an option. Whatever this millennium throws at us - and it's got a good aim - we have to find the good in it and keep going.

I think that's why this old fairground sign came home with me yesterday from the second hand market.

Vintage gypsy art fairground sign £20 from my local second hand market in Huddersfield.

Vintage gypsy art fairground sign £20 from my local second hand market in Huddersfield.

We need some fun-of-the-fair vibes at home right now. We've got exam stress, Euro stress, WTF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? stress going on here. We could all do with a daily pick me up - a prize every time to keep us going. And apart from the fact that I dig the gorgeous colours and the cool lettering (which according the guy who sold it to me is by a famous gypsy artist, the name of whom escapes him*) this sign is inspiring me to keep some playful Romany love in my heart too. 

In fact, I've decided to lighten things up a bit here on the blog. Along with the interior stuff that inspires me, I hope you won't mind if I blab about other bits and bobs that I deem worthy of a quick post too. It may be some random objects of desire that pop up in my crystal ball, or a weird and wonderful find that has spread a bit of happy about the place. (Like my recent flat peach discovery for example... who knew?)

Hell, it might even be a gorge new dress or just a hot guy in a muscle vest...

Dresses, stripes and strong men all welcome here.

Dresses, stripes and strong men all welcome here.

From here on in, My House Candy is a place to find sweet inspiration from within the muck and grime of every day business. Come to think of it, this reminds me of a prediction given to me by a fortune teller when I was just starting out in my career. He told me that life was a bit like putting my hand in a muddy puddle and pulling out a stone. He said if I rubbed it and rubbed it and rubbed it, I would eventually get a nugget of gold. 

Well I'm still rubbing folks, but the gypsy in me is happy to keep trying her luck.

Hope you will enjoy more frequent posts and find inspiration from my everyday musings. As always, I would love to hear from you in the comments section here or maybe we could hook up on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @myhousecandy too? You will find the links on this page and below. 

Be lucky all.

Love Claire x

*Instinct tells me he goes by the name of Bullshit Bob.