Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog Interrupted. . .

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I apologize for the lapse in entries this week.  My photo editing program is down and I am waiting for my new copy to arrive.  It will be here any day.  I could be posting, but what good is a home decorating blog without lovely photos?  Once Lightroom and Photoshop are reinstalled on my computer we will be back in force.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


Thursday, September 23, 2010 0

Yesterday brought us the first day of Autumn, and tonight is the harvest moon.  What better time to throw a Harvest Party?

Traditionally, the Festival of the Harvest has been celebrated for hundreds of years, dating back to pagan times.  It was generally celebrated on or around the harvest moon and after Christianity joined the celebration, it was celebrated the Sunday closest to the harvest moon.

As my favorite season, I hardly need further incentive for celebration, but this was an opportunity not to be missed.  Here is a glimpse at our preparations.

In addition to the typical harvest fare, much in the line of a Thanksgiving feast, decorations consisted of harvest related items--corn husks and wheat stalks and displays of fruits and vegetable freshly harvested.  We created corn husk wreathes and adorned our table with a "Thanks Tree".  Leaves with harvest related words hang from our tree, but guests could also write things they are thankful for and hang them on the tree as a reminder during the feast and festivities.

A man was traditionally chosen to be the "Harvest King" and lead the way in from the final harvest to the festival, but the corn husk crown was adorable on our girls as well.

Leading the way, the Harvest King would fashion a corn husk doll from the last sheaf of corn and carry her on a stick to represent abundance.  These are simple to make and are a fun activity for the children to make.

And of course we must not forget gunny sack races.  These girls couldn't get enough of them, and our party hasn't even begun yet! Our sacks are made of a little burlap and craft paint.

With the weather in our favor this week, we took our whole party outdoors.  So to add to the ambiance, we created a little outdoor room by hanging linen curtains around our arbor.  You might have also noticed we did not use totally traditional colors for our harvest party.  As lovers of light and bright, we stuck to whites, creams, and other pale tans and browns with accents of blue.  I love any excuse to use my ironstone and Fire King dishes. One need not always use golds and oranges to carry the feel of autumn in a party or seasonal decor.  I love to decorate in colors that go with the style of my home.

We hope you have enjoyed our party preview and wish you a HAPPY HARVEST!

***Today we are linking up with The CSI Project***


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Art of The Profile

Monday, September 20, 2010 0
There is something striking about a good profile.  It always seems you capture something about someone when they are turned away, as though the shield of their stare has been lifted and a glimpse of their true self is revealed. . .

The art of the silhouette was first practiced in the early 1700's, but is an art that has carried on virtually unceasingly until today.  It's a classic expression of art with a decidedly personal turn.  And you no longer need an artist to cut one for you.

In fact, you need not limit yourself to paper.  Or people.  Take this example of a teapot cut from white felt and sewn on gray felt and hung on the wall in an embroidery hoop.

And the background need not be white.  It can be patterned like this silhouette of my daughter.

The classic beauty of black on white is, however, quite striking.  Creating a silhouette of your child makes it personal.  And painting it on a pillow makes it interesting. . .

This pillow is of Virginia Woolf, but I am creating one with my daughter's profile on it, so I will show you how it's done, then (if you are feeling crafty) you can create one of your loved one.

You will need: fabric, a picture of your child (or whatever you want a silhouette of), freezer paper, scissors or exacto knife, a pen, an iron, and paint .  I am using regular spray paint.  It holds up well and is still very pliable when painted, but if you want you can buy fabric paint.

Place your silhouette picture under the freezer paper and trace it.  You want the freezer paper to be large enough to cover the fabric so you avoid over spray.

Then cut out the silhouette.  An exacto knife makes this a quick job. If you are not using black or a dark color, be careful to cut away all the ink so it doesn't bleed onto your fabric when you spray it.

Iron the freezer paper to your fabric (be sure the coated side is down--that is what adheres to the fabric). If you have spots exposed iron on more sections of freezer paper.  I had only small strips along the edge so I taped them.

In a ventilated area, or outside, spray the exposed fabric.  Let dry.

Peel the stencil off to reveal your silhouette!

I still need to sew the rest of the pillow, but I am pleased with the way the silhouette turned out.

Have you made any interesting silhouettes lately?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Best Things. . .

Friday, September 17, 2010 0

. . . come to those who wait.  (But once you see it coming, jump quick or you'll miss it!)

It may also be true that the best things in life aren't free. . . but some really great stuff is!

And Craig will tell you how to find it.  On a nearly nightly basis I take a quick gander at what there is to be had on craigslist, and my first stop is the "free stuff" section.  Now, you might be thinking one of two things--

If it's free, there's a reason.


If it's free it will be gone before I get there.

And you will most likely be right on both counts.

But sometimes that reason is merely that someone doesn't want to be bothered with trying to sell it, or they are in a hurry to get rid of it (due to a move or something). . . or they don't realize their junk is REALLY a fabulous treasure!

Usually I look at the location and figure it has been posted too long to still be there or is too far from my house.  Often the poster doesn't want to be bothered and won't respond to emails asking if it is still there.

But one night I hoped on around 8:30 to see a free post with a couch, a chair, two desks, a dresser, and a nightstand.  I liked three things she was offering, it was ten minutes from my house (or less) and it had been posted 30 minutes before I looked at it.  It was an "it's on the porch, come get it" sort of post.

So I did.

Only, by the time I got there the only things left were the two desks--luckily one was super cute.  It went home with me, of course.

And while she may have needed a little help, it was just the kind of help I was willing and able to give.

A little paint and a couple new screws later. . .

And she was perfect.

Sometimes great stuff really is free. . . plus a mad scramble, a little paint and some elbow grease!

The only issue here (which may not actually be such a bad thing) is that once I realized how cheap (or free) you could find things, it's become a challenge to see how little I have to pay for something.  And it makes it easier to splurge when I find something I REALLY have to have, but isn't cheap.  I consider that balance.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chalk It Up to High Expectations

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I tend to expect a lot out of my decor, or my functional pieces for that matter.  Either way, I want functional items to look good and beautiful items to have a useful function as well.  Add to that my compulsive need to make lists and it's a short jaunt to. . . the lovely framed chalkboards we have been creating recently.

I picked up some fun frames here and there on the cheap, because everybody loves a great frame.  Really, they have so many uses.  I like to hang them around things like the wreath in my daughter's room (also available in our Estsy shop).

Or layer them on my mantel.

Not to mention actually putting pictures in them.

But as I stared at the huge wooden frame I picked up at the Good Will for a song, it suddenly spoke to me. . .

"Make me a chalkboard!" is what it was saying. So I, of course, complied, after we painted it white, naturally.  But a beautiful frame and a useful chalkboard, while a great combination, could only be bettered by the addition of ONE more function. . . so we made it magnetic.  Then I forgot to take a good picture of it before we sold it at the market--so I snapped a quick one before the new owner hauled it off.

That large chalkboard garnered so much interest, we quickly set to work making more.  And since several people expressed interest in a smaller version, we made several smaller sizes.

This lovely little gilt frame became so much more attractive in its second life:

I particularly like the added trim of blue on this double framed chalkboard.

And in case you need to leave tickets or schedules or any number of things along with your message on the board,  do so in style with one of our felt flower magnetic clips (coming soon to the shop).

I can just picture these lovelies guiding the way at a party, listing the menu at brunch, welcoming guests, or, as is the case with at least two chalkboards in my house, filled with to do lists.

Now that is my idea of marrying lovely form and useful function.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Circuitous Stories and Shades of White

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A couple months ago I spied an adorable dresser at the Good Will that I decided I needed for my guest room, which lacked a dresser.  My husband thought I was crazy and dragged me from the store to high tail it to piano lessons with the girls.  Their lessons were across the parking lot and it was quickly becoming tradition that we stop by before or after lessons.

After lessons I decided I REALLY needed to go back and buy it. I had visions of painting it and maybe adding lovely new knobs.

Then it sat in my guest room for a month or so until I rearranged my daughter's room and decided it really would fit in her room better.  So I swapped dressers. . . and continued to talk of painting it--but never actually got around to it.

Fast forward a couple months.  Lisa and I have embarked upon House of White and I find myself at the Good Will looking at yet another cute little dresser, also with a mirror above it.  By this time, my husband is all on board and actually finds it before me and calls me over. I love the shape, the turned detail on the mirror supports and legs, even the aging on the edges of the mirror.  So, of course it goes home with me, even if its stay will not be permanent.

It took some time, and two trips to the paint store to decide on a color (though really it is only ever a choice between some shade of white/cream-white/gray-white/blue-white we're talking about here).  In the end I picked two colors.  This is were I am going to be phenomenally unhelpful, because I don't remember the cream color name, BUT it was a lovely creamy white and Sanibel Gray, a pale slightly blueish gray. Sanibel Gray is a Valspar "Seaside Retreat" color, but I had my favorite local paint store mix it up in a satin acrinamel paint.

After sanding and priming it, I gave it a coat in the cream, then topped it with the gray.  Then I took the hand sander to it and gave it bit of an aged look, thinning it in a few places so the cream paint showed through in spots and the wood in spots. I had planned on buying cute knobs, but after seeing  Layla  (of The Lettered Cottge) paint her knobs, I decided to give it a try. I like the subtle contrast of the cream knobs and gray/blue finish.

So what does this cute dresser have to do with my daughter's dresser?  Three months later and I think I have found a color to paint it. Hopefully three months won't pass before I actually get around to doing it!

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