Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Romantic Antique Lace Napkin Rings

My name is Laura and I am an antique lace scrap hoarder. Some of my precious bits are so small I wondered what I would ever do with the pieces other than admire them. Inspiration struck when I began planning my Valentine tablescape. I wanted romance and lace and lots of it!

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I began by tearing strips from an old cotton pillowcase and a well worn French linen tea towel. (Yes, it is ok to imagine yourself in Edwardian times doing something noble like rolling bandages. :)

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I then spent a bit of happy time laying out different patterns with the lace.

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Here’s a yummy close up.

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After carefully stitching the lace pieces onto the cotton strips I then hand sewed a few seed pearls and iridescent beads in various areas for a bit of pretty sparkle.

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The beading is a bit easier to see in this image and oh so lovely in person.

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I raided my stash of mid size antique mother of pearl buttons and sewed them onto the napkin ring using linen twine that I purchased in France last spring. Cotton twine would also work.

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Each of the 12 finished napkins rings are all similar, yet delightfully different.

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I am so excited for you to see the pink and white lace Valentine tablescape next week.

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Do you have a romantic dinner planned?

Laura

UPDATE: Dear lovely readers: Yes, by all means these could indeed be worn as a cuff. I am currently working on a prettier design intended as a cuff which will be featured in my Etsy shop very soon.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Return To Romance Necklace Tutorial

Over the weekend I  created not one, but two necklaces that made me really, really happy. I thought this tutorial would be the perfect way to kick off the annual DTA Valentine extravaganza.

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First, I have to tell you a story. See the well groomed people in the photo below? My Aunt Jan is on the upper left, my mom is on the right, followed by Papa Jack and Grandma Mary. Now my Grandma had beautiful taste. She was ALWAYS put together perfectly even when she was just going to the grocery store. She loved to have matching shoes, purses, and jewelry. Oh the jewelry.

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When my grandmother passed away I was the only one with any interest in her costume jewelry. Her jewelry box was like the faux spectacular version of Ali Baba’s cave.

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Rhinestones and pearls galore! In every color and length imaginable.

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Sadly they have since sat in my jewelry box for the past 13 years barely worn. I have been making the family do a drastic purge of everything they don’t use. It seemed only fitting that I apply the same rules to myself. But I COULD NOT bring myself to part with the gems so I decided to give them a makeover so that I would actually wear them.

I took stock of all the bits of leftover chain I had from previous projects like the recent medicine cabinet makeover.

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To get the length I needed I had to combine a few chains together with “O” rings.

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Then I went to Joann’s to fill in a few gaps and found that their jewelry making supplies were 40% off. Oh Happy Day!

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I laid out several different patterns until I found a layout I liked.

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The same scenario occurred with the pink.

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I attached the strands via another “O” ring to the bar set closure.

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Here is the finished look of the other bar set with lobster clasp.

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It looked good sitting in a dish.

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It looked good with jeans and a T shirt…

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…as well as a fancy lace top.

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But the best part is that Grandma Mary’s gems are back in action.

Have you updated a family heirloom?

Laura

Friday, January 27, 2012

Anthro’s Needlework Garden Shade Knockoff

I am SO excited! I finished the lamp for my office. The total price? $17.00.

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Like many others I have long admired the gorgeous lighting selections Anthropologie offers.

A few months ago I decided to create a knock off version of the Silhouette Lampshade and I still adore that light fixture. But I also needed a little something for my office. The Needlework Garden Shade had me at hello.

What I didn’t like? Well the $128.00 price tag to be sure and the color palette of reds and oranges wasn’t exactly what I had in mind either.

I went back to the store twice to study the lampshade. It appeared that the cream colored fabric had been enhanced with beautiful crewel embroidery and quilted cotton and wool flowers. The fabric was then applied to the lamp shade base.

But as my crewel skills are sadly lacking and my sewing machine doesn’t quite do all that either I had to come up with another plan.

First, I had to find a lamp base that fit the scale I was seeking. A strong contender was this lamp I had purchased from Tuesday Morning eons ago.

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Over the years dust had somehow made its way inside the glass column which resulted in a foggy/dirty look that I really was not fond of.

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So I taped off the electrical parts and strung it up so that I could give it a good primer coat of a paint.

Warning~ make sure to give your lamp a light sanding first. This creates a rough texture so that the paint has something to grab on to.

Ugh! The paint just peeled right off of the glass section. Start over!

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Much better! Like the color?

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Next I had to find a lampshade that was a similar shape to the Anthro shade. Target offered up this gem for $7.00. Sold!

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I thought that the closest thing to the flowers on the Anthro shade would be a few blooms made from wool felt. I purchased a custom combination of petal styles in shades of teal, turquoise, purple, mustard and fuchsia from Just Greetings.

I then ran the petals through my sewing machine with a contrasting color of thread.

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The petals were then hot glued on top of one another.

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I cut the leaves out in a freehand fashion but you can find patterns online by googling “leaf templates”. They too received my version of a crewel embroidery treatment. Sing with me…. “Don’t be crewel…”

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I then placed the back of the blossoms on the lampshade with just a smidge of hot glue in the center.

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The lampshade then sat on my filing cabinet for awhile until I figured out how I wanted to make the stems. I decided upon some Yarn Bee yarn from Hobby Lobby and placed it under the petals and guided it over the lampshade in a willy nilly form. (Oh the excitement!)

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I then added in the leaves.

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At this point I began to get REALLY excited! It was so pretty.

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After everything was in place I added more hot glue to secure the petals and leaves onto the shade.

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So once again, the “before”.

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The “After”.

I am thinking about how gorgeous this would be done in all creamy neutrals. Hmmmmm.

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All lit up,

Laura

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Real “Shi Shi Shi” Wedding

I have a guilty pleasure secret. I like to watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Truthfully, I first began watching the show to get a sneak peek into the women’s various homes and peruse their decorating styles. Lisa Vanderpump’s home has always been my favorite.

While the house itself is French in flavor, the gardens are definitely English.

The interiors are decorated primarily in a pink and white color scheme.

It  would seem that Lisa’s daughter, Pandora, shares her mother’s penchant for an all pink color palette.

For her nuptials to fiancé Jason Sabo Pandora selected an Ian Stuart wedding gown which was primarily white, although it did feature pink roses and diamonds, as did her shoes.

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The mother of the bride and Pandora’s four bridesmaids all wore pink.

With the help of event planner Kevin Lee (who I think inspired Martin Short’s character, Franck Egglehoffer in “Father of the Bride”) the estate tennis courts were transformed into a pink fairy wonderland.

The happy couple wed under an outdoor arbor that was decorated with pink and white roses intertwined with ivy garland and hanging candlelit lanterns.

"Shi Shi Shi Shi, Darling!"

The reception tent featured a ceiling covered in crystals and white flower petals while the guest tables had elaborate rose centerpieces.

Pink wonderland: The tent was festooned with pink and cream roses and crystals draped in every direction

I preferred the bridal party table with its conversation cozy centerpieces and romantic candlelight.

Sumptuous: The after-dark wedding was a lavish affair in all respects

The cake was also covered in roses and orchids in various shades of blush and bashful.

A Cake That Costs Nearly $10,000

As night approached the mood lighting turned pink enhancing the rhinestone encrusted chandeliers.

Even if you don’t watch the show, but happen to be a hopeless romantic, scan your television guide to see when the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” airs in your neck of the woods this week. Because this is one wedding I guarantee you’ll adore.

Laura

You can see additional photo’s on the Bravo site.