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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Seaside Shelf

In Sweet Boy’s bathroom there was a space above the towel bar that cried out for a bit of art.

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Mr. Decor was replacing part of our fencing and we were left with some nicely weathered boards.

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I grabbed the miter box, saw, hammer and nails and created a shelf of sorts.

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It’s hard to see, but I painted the outside edge “Glass Bottom Boat” by Martha Stewart.

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I then googled “vintage shell images” and found a few prints that I loved. After printing the images out on cardstock I lined the back of the shelf in a sort of wallpaper fashion taking care to line up the center image.

 

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I hung it above the hand towel and had Sweet Boy pick out a few favorite shells to display. Inexpensive and interactive artwork perfect for a young boy’s bathroom.

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

How are you living?

Laura

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lighten Up Your Decor For Summer

Welcome to a week long series of summer decorating. Everyday this week I will be featuring decor and bits of bliss that celebrate summer.

private garden. Sussex. Blue garden gate. Clematis 'The President'

First though I have to talk about the previous post. As I finished writing that post my finger actually hesitated as it hovered over the “publish” button. I imagine that anyone who places their heart open for viewing has had this fear. But given that the title was “Opening the Door to Possible Fear and Failure” I let my spirit lead me.

All that I can say is “Wow! You guys have richly blessed me with your friendship, love and support.

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So, onto summer. Let’s begin with a dose of laughter and reality. Can you spot the fabric purchased at the Rose Bowl which will soon recover the dining chairs?

How about a mile long fabric garland to be sewn into something fabulous for an upcoming 4th of July post?

Please note how the furniture is stripped of it’s winter slipcovers to be washed. (Yes, I realize that they should have been changed out AGES ago.)

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Yes, that’s right. School is out and it is 115 degrees here in Phoenix. This means my kids (and often their friends)are inside for most of the day. So projects tend to pile up.

clothes 006 Can you imagine if a local newspaper called and wanted to do a feature the next day? Yeah, um remember the reality part? That actually happened. A decorators worst nightmare. There was no time to plan for the ultimate in “Easy Summer Decorating Tips”.

So, here’s what I did instead:

1. All of the rugs were rolled up and put away leaving the tile floors cool and bare.

2. White slipcovers were put on the heavy furniture pieces.

3. A few seaside touches were added. There’s nothing cooler in the desert.

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Here’s a close up of a small vignette. I think it softly whispers summer.

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The table was dressed in cool whites and creams.

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The wicker chargers give the table a feeling of an indoor picnic.

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Do you remember when I told you that the shelf was going to get repurposed yet another way? As a centerpiece it does double duty as a summer filled conversation piece.

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Summertime to me means lemonade and Rainier cherries. Yum!

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Summertime also means travel. Who hasn’t brought home a few shells in their suitcase?

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In other areas of the house I kept the surfaces free of extra fabric.

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On a side note I am thinking about painting the antique bentwood cafe chairs this summer. Bright yellow? Glorious green? Yes, no, maybe so?

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A simple floral arrangement consists of a circle of roses filled in with happy daisies.

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Summertime at our house means lots of games. You never know when you’ll need extra dice, chips or vintage bingo cards.

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Tomorrow’s post will show an easy seaside shelf made from old wood fencing that Mr. Decor was replacing.

Laura

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Opening the Door to Possible Fear and Failure

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I recently had an opportunity to meet an extraordinary individual. We are currently trying to rent out the second room of the Fashionista’s condo which is close to ASU. A gentleman brought his only child, a lovely girl, to see the place. The knock on the door prompted sweet boy to answer it. I heard my little boy pause for just a moment and then say, “Hi, welcome to my sister’s place. Come on in.” I quickly realized why my son had paused as I crossed the room. My own heart quickly switched to a loving and welcoming mode as I carefully shook our guests hand and looked him in the eye. “Welcome, I said. We are so glad you are here. Let me tell you both a bit about the place.”   
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After leading him through the kitchen and other rooms of the tiny apartment we talked about the area, the neighbors and our daughters. The conversation was light and easy. After about an hour he suddenly became serious. “My doctor recently asked me if I would speak at a camp for children who have been horribly burned like myself. I didn’t think I could do it. I rarely place myself in positions where people can look at me~ possibly recoil from me. This was like a test to see if I could do it. To go into a situation with an unknown person and see their reaction. I couldn’t believe that your little boy opened the door to me. I can’t tell you who the last stranger was that looked me in the eye.”
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I told him that I have tried to instill in my children the knowledge that everyone has scars. Some are just hidden inside where they cannot be seen. I shared with him a bit of my own background and he was stunned. I believe that his own words were “But, you’re so Donna Reed!” We laughed and I went on to say that I too often kept the door closed on situations where there was a possibility of fear and failure. It made me sad and disappointed in myself to say this out loud. I was all to guilty of wearing this protective device. We then agreed that we had to use our experiences to bless others. It is my prayer that Craig did go and give young burn victims hope that everything will be ok. I went home and made an audition tape for Oprah. Scratching your head yet?
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I’ve been having a sort of inner battle and questioning myself for awhile. The kind of questions such as “Am I headed in the right direction?” In His infinite grace I was once placed me in a situation where a woman in my bible study asked me how I could be involved in a profession that is so blatantly not for the glory of God. My first reaction was that I was crushed. My second reaction was that I needed to pray. I was led to Exodus 36 and continued reading for several chapters. For those of you not familiar with these passages, they cover the most minute of details given by God to Moses regarding the construction of His temple. A tabernacle so glorious I cannot even fathom what it might have looked like. But what I took away is that God IS the ultimate interior designer. Not just of temples, but of souls. I am indeed made in His image and filled with the confidence that I am on the path headed towards where He wants me to go.
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Granted my path is currently somewhat hidden. There is much work that needs to be done. But I believe that beauty lies waiting. Faith will always carry me through any possible fear and failure.
Mr. Decor recently asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a valid question as I dabble in quite a lot. Like so many others I haven’t had a paying job in over a year. But mortgages and car payments continue on. I need to do something and soon. I was then asked “If you could do anything, what would you do?” I thought that if I were given the choice between a high paying design job in a million dollar home with an unlimited budget or a complete wreck of a house with a little budget that housed a lovely, deserving person my choice would be quick and easy.
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I have no desire to be rich or famous. Truly, my greatest desire is to be a blessing to others and of course I have small dreams like putting my kids through college. I believe that beauty can be had with a bit of creativity and hard work. If you rescue previously unloved treasures you can stay within budget and also help the planet. This is a win~win situation. So my mission is to try and figure out how I can bless others with the gifts that I have and still make a living. I imagine that what I need is a sponsor to help open those doors. 
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I have said before that I rarely watch tv. Most of what I find on tv is depressing and uninspiring.
But what if there was a show where you would be shown how to take an everyday object that was readily available, for very little money and transform it into something lovely. Would you watch?
What if each episode also featured a blogger who shared a creation of their own clever ingenuity and imagination. Would you watch?
What if those things were then added to a room which was given a high quality, yet low budget redesign of the space. It would be for someone truly deserving. Someone who could greatly benefit from a little design pick me up. Would you watch?
You have a choice in what you want to see on your tv: beauty~ home ~ family ~ creativity ~ inspiration.
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I am a REALISTIC DREAMER. I know that this pie in the sky dream is a long shot. The proverbial needle in a haystack. There is a very good chance that nothing will come of this, which of course will result in PUBLIC FAILURE ~something we all fear. But I am ok with that. I feel safe in the knowledge that I have sent my hopes and dreams out into the world instead of keeping them tightly within myself where they would never be realized. I just know that there are others who also believe and see value in these dreams too.
If we never attempt to fly, we surely will never soar.
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No matter what, I am happy that I took a chance and will not live in the land of “What Might Have Been”. If I banish fear and failure, and open the door to my dreams, I just might discover that what lies waiting on the other side is not scary after all. It may be something rather delightfully unexpected and perhaps even perfectly charming. 
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What’s keeping you from opening your door? Live your dreams.
Laura

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ticking Pillow Tutorial, Terrific Ticking, or perhaps Twitterpated for Ticking

Sometimes a girl just doesn’t know what to title her post.

I recently finished two small pillows made from antique ticking.

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Ticking seems to be cropping up everywhere.

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So what is it that has us all twitterpated for ticking? This fabric originated as a covering for feather mattresses and pillows. But it has seemingly become the look du jour.

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Perhaps it brings back precious memories of a simpler time when we were snuggled within the midst of Grandmere’s feather bed.  

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It’s classic crispness has a simple yet lovely look and it’s durability makes it a perfect selection for use as an upholstery fabric.

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Ticking is available in a variety of colors. I adore the soft pinks and green found in vintage ticking. They are rare and therefore a bit more costly than their common counterparts of red, black and navy.

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In my ongoing office makeover I am currently recovering two wing chairs and felt they needed a small kidney pillow to finish them off. The forms I found at the decorating stores were toooo fluffy. At IKEA I found the ANJA pillow. While others might say this 12” x 18” pillow is a bit wimpy, it made for a terrific insert and was perfectly priced at around $2.00.

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I tore a long strip of ticking measuring 14” x 20” which provided me with a 1” seam allowance. I also dug through my bag of scraps and came up with some random sizes of ticking and cream colored canvas.

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You did read the above section correctly in that I tore, rather than cut, my fabric out. I actually do this quite often. It’s quicker and assures that you have a straight section of fabric and results in a fringed edge.

For easy ruffles I tore strips that measured 3” x 50” and set my machine for a wide basting stitch that can be hand gathered quite easily.
Not knowing exactly the look I wanted, I made a few fabric covered buttons to play around with. They are very easy to do.
The finished button and a wee glimpse of a wearable tutorial that I am working on for next week.
Here is one pillow with four different decorative layouts. Which one should I choose?
You can find a fantastic tutorial for the fabric flower broach at Wisecraft. As for my remaining fabric scraps they shall be sewn into lovely lavender sachets.
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In the end I opted for a covered button resting on a small doily to create a flower of sorts and a simple ruffled design.

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Go make a blessed mess!
Laura

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grain Sack Chairs

I am sure most of you are familiar with the current popularity of using vintage grain sacks in home decor. I had found this beauty years ago at a flea market in Germany. It’s no secret why I bought it~ the reason is literally written all over it. :)
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When the Fashionista moved out last August she took most of my office furniture with her. I started collecting images of looks I loved for my new office.
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This of course brought to mind my piece of linen bliss and the search began for furniture that was upholstered with vintage grain sacks.  sofia-settee-front-1 I adored the arms on this chair.
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new_bobbin-settee This was by far my favorite image.
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I set out to create a similar look in my office for under $500. Of course most of you have already seen the hutch/bookcase I made over for $80 which was included in this budget. I still needed drapes and such so what to do about chairs? You might recognize these stars from my Oprah audition video.
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I know, I know. Pure horror. But I needed something small in scale and inexpensive. These 80’s delights fit the bill for $20 each at a side of the road yard sale. The grain sack is of course double sided and Mr. Decor desired a “HIS” chair so off the sack went to my cousin who has mad needlepoint skills.
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While the grain sack was getting it’s additional initials I sanded down and painted the legs of the chairs a pretty creamy white. I also decided that since we wear shorts 6 months out of the year I wanted a softer fabric on the seat and arms. Vintage ticking fit the bill perfectly.
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The chairs are headed off to the upholstery shop for new foam and will be recovered in their new (old) fabric. In the meantime I am working on some pillows for the chairs that I will show you on Friday and researching how to slipcover because great grandma’s wee stool needs a new look too.
wing chairs 010 Be blessed dear ones.
Laura