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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It really IS all in the details........................

Have you ever wondered how to get 'that high end look" from your own home decor? Do you look at the homes of other people or magazine pictures and think "I want that", but just don't know how to get it, or even what 'that' really is? You just know it's different, and it feels different, and you like it.

As a designer with a professional soft furnishings workroom, the most popular request I get when it comes to planning the fabric items of the house is that they want it pretty, but it has to be practical, and it has to be affordable. Hmmm, pretty AND practical.................seems like I've heard that somewhere before.

One of the things I tell my clients on a regular basis is that, if it's important enough to you that you've ordered custom, then really make it custom. Take that pretty fabric and dress it up. Give it some bells and whistles. Add a bit of the unexpected. Make it beautiful, and make it special.

So how do you make it special? (Did you ask me that? I thought I heard you ask me that.)
It's all in the details. Really, it is.
Even if you aren't working with a professional, you can do this.
If you can sew, you can definitely do this.

Let me show you some examples of adding the right touch to the right treatment.
(these are all examples from my 'animal print' file)

Now I could've made this tablerunner out of the leopard print and just brought the edge to a point, put a tassle on it, and it still would've been pretty. But that's just not me. Once you get to know me, you'll learn that I cannot be satisfied with one fabric on one product. In fact, I'm well known for my pattern mixing around these parts.
To add the custom touch to this runner, I brought in the use of other fabrics in small touches. I added a bit of gimp to separate the fabrics, and then added wonderful little metal pieces (from Lowe's), and topped those off with a round black button. I finished it off with fluffy multi-colored tassels on the ends.

I wish I had a close up of this pillow. I did it a few years ago, and this is the only picture I can find of it.
Anyway, this starts out as your basic roll pillow. Where you would normally close off the ends, I extended the fabric an additioanl 16". I added a heavy tassel fringe to the edges to weigh it down nicely. I then covered a button in the same fabric as the banding on the pillow, and pulled the fabric up in a folded fashion and sewed it all down with the button. There is nothing special about the cut of the extended portion of fabric. The look comes from the way you fold it.

This client wanted red chenille pillows. She was quite excited when she got these instead of  solid red chenille pillows. All is takes to get this look is a few small pieces of additional fabrics in the corners and along the edges. Throw in a couple of trims and add a full brush fringe, and you have a beautiful sofa pillow.

Same concept, different layout. This is just strips of fabric sewn together with gimps separating the patterns.
I added a tassel on the front instead of at the corners. (I pulled the tassel away so you can see how it's sewn down. I zigzaged over the cord with matching thread so that it would stay in place.) This has a springy ribbon fringe on it.

If you're leary of adding too much to your pillows, at least do something to them so they don't look store bought. Here I just added two rows of gimp and put tassels in the corners. I finished these off with a heavy braided rope cord.

This pillow has three fabrics and three trims. Selecting fabrics that compliment each other without being too matchy, will always give you a nice look. Make sure your trims don't compete with each other in color or scale.

This is one of those fabrics that made me hyperventilate. This is my very favorite fabric EVER. I ended up using it for my living room drapery.
A lot of people ask about how to incorporate animal prints in their decor without using too much of it. This is a good example of that. This duvet cover is one fabric on front, one fabric on back, but it's separated with just enough of another print to make it stand out. Without the contrasting trim, this duvet cover wouldn't be too exciting, would it? Notice how the rounded corners have a soft gather in the trim.

You can even jazz up tiebacks. I cut this one at a sharp angle that comes to a point in the middle. I then added an eyelash fringe to the edge a hung a tassel over a button covered out of the drapery fabric. Pretty, huh?

That's it for today. I hope I've inspired you to add a twist to your decor.
Remember to keep making it beautiful!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall is in the air...............

I live right outside the foothills in Colorado, close enough to see the leaves change, but far enough away to miss the early snowfalls of the season. The mountains have already gotten about 6" of snow this past week, while the temperatures at the bottom have waned between 52 and 80 degrees.

While the resort areas are gearing up for more snow, we're just starting to feel the first signs of fall. All of the stores have their pumpkin displays neatly piled up on top of hay bales, with fall leaf springs strewn throughout. A pretty site indeed.

While I love those type of displays, I would much rather drive around and find the colors of fall imbedded in nature's own raw bounty. Colorado never disappoints when you're looking for anything beautiful in nature to stop you in your tracks.

I found this scene in the yard of an abandoned house. How pretty, and definitely fall. It was hard to believe that someone would uproot themselves from this property. It sits at the edge of the woods, right outside of the hub-bub of the city.

Can't you see yourself sitting on a bench along the side, sipping homemade hot cocoa? I wonder if any children ever skated on the pond in the winter..................

Can you believe this house is empty? Since I have a very curious nature, I had to peek in the windows. Everything was original to the house, and there was even a servant's kitchen off to the side. Someone of stature must have lived here at one time. I've snuck back up to this property during every season to take pictures. Once I caught it during a heavy snow, and it literally stopped me in my tracks it was so beautiful.
You'll see those pictures show up here at Christmas time.
(Just a side note.....they've now put a fence [big, orange, ugly and plastic] up around the property, and I'm sure it's to keep me out!)

Enjoy the freshness in the air, and look for the beauty that surrounds you.
Happy fall!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From Placemats to Pictures

I've been holding on to this placemat for a long time, just waiting for the perfect project to present itself. I thought about making an apron out of it. That was a no-go. Then I thought about making a pillow for the dreadfully bare rocking chair on my porch, but I then I didn't want it to fade in the weather. Then I thought about putting hot-glitz around the cherries and hanging it on a hook in my kitchen. Nope, that wasn't it either.

With no further brainstorm in the near future, I placed my darling placemat back on a shelf. One day a friend was in my workshop and she discovered the placemat. She held it up and said "Wouldn't that be pretty as a painting?" Oh, god bless you my friend, you've given me a new idea!

So, gathering a few goodies.........................

I came up with this...............

I used double stick tape (Selah's) to put the ribbon on the frame. Then I used thread to attach the red round button (my version of a cherry!) to the black button. I attached the buttons with E6000 glue. When all of that was done, I used Rub 'n Buff in antique gold to age the frame.

Easy, peasy! (You'll see this show up in my shop later.)

I love me some tea! Tea-staining, that is!

I know many people love pretty things that are crisp and white.....lace, paper, flowers, linens, clothes, and so on. Me? I take all of those pretty white things and give them a tea bath. White-white is just not for me. My poor mother's heart would take a serious beating if she saw what I'm getting ready to show you. I can hear her now, "I swear to my time! You're gonna ruin that! OMG, I can't believe you'd do that to a perfectly nice tablecloth!". (I'm not making fun of you, mom, but you know it's the truth!)

Let's get started. There are lots of ways to give a bit of age to your wares. I like to use coffee when I want a richer color, and tea when I simply want a piece to look 'anything but white'. Here is my weapon of choice.

I like this tea because it gives a nice wheat color without looking 'tea stained'.

I start by filling the sink with hot water. I put 12 bags in (these are big bags) to get a good color. I let them steep for about an hour, or until you have a rich color. (Tip, if I want spots that look darker than the whole piece, I'll leave the bags in the water.)

There actually is a lot of water in this sink. I just have a very deep sink!

Next, go raid the house and find some items you want to stain. I can always find something that needs a bath in my sink. Saturate it thoroughly.

I know, that lace is beautiful the way it is, right? Sorry, but I have to do what I have to do.

Ahhhh, in a few short hours I'll have a beautiful tablecloth. Well, not so much. Let's just say it went in the sink as a tablecloth. Doesn't mean that's what it'll be when it's done. Not in my house anyway.
To be sure the item doesn't float to the top outside of the tea, I usually weigh it down with a cookie sheet.

I stir it about every 30 minutes to be sure I get even color. I usually let my items soak for about 3 hours.
And here's what I get after it's done.
From bright white to brilliant in an afternoon!

I'll come back later and show you what that tablecloth turned in to. I have to finish the project first, but I can tell you, you'll love it.

(If you want you items darker, simply add more tea bags or double you soaking time.)

Here's another project that benefited from the sink bath on that same day.

From pretty and white.....................

to Polly perfect! (perfect for Polly, that is!)

And here's what I do with those:

Here's one of my favorites. I made a tabletopper out of burn-out fabric, and added a small ruffle to the edge. I then washed it to relax it, and then of course, I drowned it in my tea vat.

I told you, nothing escapes the tea bath in my house!

Hope this project motivates you to 'have a little tea' in your house today!
Happy Staining!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gettin' Started - kinda!

So I've finally decided to dip my toes into the wonderful world of blogging. I have so much I want to talk about, and so many pictures I'd like to share along the way. Hold your breath for a few more days while I read up on how to do this!

I want to give a big THANK YOU to the designer of this adorably cute blog that I am completely thrilled with!! Traci at was wonderful through the whole process. I know she got frustrated with me - even I got frustrated with me! - but she never let it be known. She created my store as well, which I'll familiarize you with once I finally get the products loaded.

Ummm, that might take a while.........

Crossing fingers, toes, and eyes, I'll see you in a few days with my first real post............and then I'll introduce you to my store!


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