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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Freshly Picked Flatware

I have been a busy bee for the past few days crafting away for my daughter's first birthday party on Saturday. I was going to wait to show you everything on Monday, but I thought this one might be useful to some of you who have events this weekend. It's very simple and cute. You just have to promise me that you won't put plastic flatware and napkins on your holiday table and will only save it for more casual gatherings or the kiddie table.
I found the directions to make these carrot flatware bundles at Disney Family Fun. Luckily, I actually had the green flatware from a previous party so the hardest part was finding the orange napkins which I finally found at Walmart. You'll need at least luncheon size napkins, though I think dinner napkins would be even better. I suppose you could use a different color flatware, but I like the way the flatware kind of disappears into the background. The flatware and plates should at least be the same color so that it doesn't stand out so much. It took me about 30 minutes to make 30 sets of them so not too bad and since I would have been wrapping the flatware with a ribbon anyway it really wasn't any extra time spent. Plus, now I have a nice fresh picked basket of carrots for my table.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Design Your Own Upholstery Fabric

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've known exactly what I wanted for fabric, but couldn't find it which seems impossible when you see the millions of options out there, but it's true. So I was so excited this morning to discover Spoonflower which allows you to design your own fabric and have it printed on anything from quilting fabric to organic cotton sateen to upholstery fabric and even a linen/cotton blend canvas. They also offer a great selection of pre-designed prints by textile and graphic designers and I just love that you can have any of them printed on exactly the type of fabric you need for your project.

Weirdfishes by leighr
These are just a few of my favorites. I had to stop myself from spending all day browsing these designs.

Birds Tiled by yvonne_herbst

Dotsnlines2 by dolphinandcondor

Ovals Plain by joybucket

There are infinite ways that you could use this fabulous site. It would be a great way to use your children's artwork...scan in the picture, upload it and make a pillow from the fabric. Then you've got a personal, useful piece of art in your home or to give grandparents. You can also upload photos. I think I may dig out my old textile designs from my RISD class and try one out. And I clearly now need to get a graphic design program on my computer because this could be my new favorite activity. Prices are totally reasonable and range from $18/yard to $32/yard and you only have to order 1 yard. Happy textile designing!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Kitchen Towels

I know a lot of people think it's silly to spend a little extra money on things that are used for utilitarian purposes around the house, but one of my top design rules is that if you look at it all day or use it every day it should be both good quality and good looking. Certainly, one of those things is kitchen towels. It's possible that I may be a little too drawn to them when most people could care less what they look like, but at 23 years old I started working at the now defunct catalog and retail store Rue de France at which we carried the gorgeous Le Jacquard Francais linens and the kitchen towels (or tea towels as they are so referred to) were clearly the most affordable way to bring these beautiful linens into my house...not to say that I didn't convince myself that I needed other table linens as well as the years went on. Anyway, I digress, but the point being that kitchen towels are a perfect way to add a little color and personality to your kitchen without spending a fortune, and Etsy has an incredibly beautiful selection of screened and blockprinted towels. I love the colors of the kitchen utiensil (above) and rooster kitchen towels by House of Bouton and you can tell just from their photography and packaging that these people know what they are doing.
Pony and Poppy's kitchen towel designs are more simple, but equally as lovely. They also have some really cute citrus print towels.
And never one to pass up anything with sea life, I couldn't not include this Whale Kitchen Towel by Enormous Champion...really amazing artwork.
And this goldfish and seaweed kitchen towel by Oh Little Rabbit has incredible detail and great colors.
In addition to being great for yourself, any of these would be great great hostess, housewarming or bridal shower gifts. If you have to do the dishes you might as well do them with style!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rainy Day Boot Tray

Another rainy day here in the Northeast, and we're still a week away from April showers. I think a good boot tray is going to be important this year (and of course a good pair of wellies) like this one by Martha Stewart. Now if they would just make one in dog bed size so my pup could drip dry those paws before running through the house.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vintage Wallpaper

I am a big fan of vintage anything, and I have been dying to get myself down to New York for a visit to Secondhand Rose (on 5th Ave between 26th and 27th) , but I never seem to make it. Luckily, they have a fabulous web site that features dozens of their vintage wallpaper and linoleum collections. Here I've picked a few of my favorite wallpapers from their site.
The bold geometrics and bright colors are really fun. I feel like these would make a bathroom with old colored tiles much more livable or they'd be a fabulous accent wall in a large room.
They also have a great collection of Chinoiserie wallpapers in both muted and bold colors.

This green damask print could go in just about any room in the house.

Channeling my grandmother's vintage a good way with the floral wallpaper below.

When we were looking for houses a few years ago one of them had a kitchen that this vintage red apple paper would have been perfect for! It still had the original appliances from the 50's, but if you love the look you could find reproduction appliances in a candy apple red that would look amazing with this paper. All I can think of is a Maine vacation cottage with this paper, vintage appliances, and white lower cabinets with open shelving on top in it.

This bright orchard print would be a great accent wall in a little girls room.

I don't know where I'd put this tennis wallpaper-maybe a mudroom of a tennis enthusiast-but it was too fun not to throw in.

These and the other wallpapers at Secondhand Rose originate between the 1860's and 1970's and prices begin at $70/double roll. If you want something truly unique, love vintage, or are searching for that original Frank Lloyd Wright paper definitely check it out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Blooms

I have been looking for some inspiration for floral arrangements for my daughter's first birthday party next weekend. Since a lot of people will be celebrating Easter next weekend and I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't just plain enjoy some beautiful flowers, I thought I'd share some of what I found. Nothing seems to say spring more than a bird's nest and some beautiful tulips and daffodils.
I just love how sweet these are. Unfortunately, I don't own any egg cups (despite the fact that I've spent 7 years of my professional career working for French home decor companies and trying to get other people to buy them), but I do have a very sweet petite sterling silver mint julep cup with my daughter's name engraved on it that I think some lillies of the valley would look equally as sweet in....perhaps to dress up the powder room.
I always love the look of wheatgrass in an arrangement, but I am never organized enough to get it growing early on enough to actually use it.
I'm a bit torn on whether to go with bright bold colors which are more my tendency or soft sweet ones that seem more appropriate for a baby. Granted my daughter's personality is a bit more bold than sweet so maybe that answers my question right there. I love the burst that the crysanthemums add to this arrangement.
Put a peony in just about anything and you've won me over. They are hands down my favorite flower. It just about killed me that the florist couldn't guarantee me they'd be able to get good ones for my wedding (in the month of August), but I must say they came as close as possible to the same look I was going for with some gorgeous open garden roses (in case you ever run into the same problem, it is possible).
I also love ranunculus (my bridesmaids carried these). They basically look like a smaller version of the peony. And I don't know what these furry green pom pom looking flowers are, but they are awesome.

Now this is what I call a bouquet of roses! And I love the large leaves that support it because it really needs something of a grander scale instead of just any little greenery.
Again, very sweet and I love the colors together. I'm thinking something like this in one long container with moss that I have may be what I use in the dining room.
Lastly, I always love the unexpected so this little bird perched on a twig which adds an element of rusticness to an otherwise elegant arrangement is really nice.


I am completely in love with painted wood floors, however I find it so difficult to paint a perfectly good wood floor so I haven't done one yet. I hope one of these days I'll get up the nerve to just go for it, but until then I have fun just looking at some of the amazing designs other people have done. The diagonal design above is fabulous juxtaposed against all the straight lines of the furniture.
The herringbone pattern makes this entryway much more intimate, and gives the appearance of a rug in a high traffic area where you don't necessarily want one.

This kitchen looks like it's straight out of the French countryside with the painted diamond pattern.

This diamond pattern successfully combines the look of tile and wood together, but could easily done with two paint colors as well. To find out how, click here.
Brighten up a room and add to a theme with a pop of color and cute motif....
or go bold with dark stripes and a large motif.
And this is a great way to spruce up some well worn floors without having to paint the entire room.

Photos: Mark Cutler Design, House Beautiful, Coastal Living, Design Sponge

Monday, March 22, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Pop Up Playhouses

There is something magical about play tents for kids. They just can't seem to get enough of them which is also great for mom and dad when they need a break. Whether you are looking for something new to do with the kids because you are still housebound in cold weather or you are looking for a new backyard toy (although I wouldn't recommend leaving any of these outside except when in use) Etsy has an some really adorable ones. The personalized tents (above) by Moozlehome look like they came right out of a woodland fairy tale.
I just love this adorable shabby chic style patchwork tent by Little Birds Boutique.

These custom tents by Love, September are the perfect size for a pow wow with friends.

The Cupcakery (above) and Fire Station (below) by Miss Pretty Pretty are a little different than the tents in that you need a card table to put them over, but still make a great play spaces. There are also many, many other themes to pick from.

Pick a playhouse and watch your kids' imaginations go wild!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Spotlight: Simon Pearce

While the internet is awash in green today, I decided to take a look at my favorite Irish home accessories designer instead of my favorite green rooms today. (Note: I couldn't not do an Irish post today. One of the hardest things I've ever done is change my last name from O'Neill to Fernandez after I got married, and I still don't understand why my husband wouldn't compromise and go with O'Fernandez.) Glassblower Simon Pearce opened his first workshop in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1971, and in 1981 he moved his operations to an old mill building that he restored in Quechee, VT. If you have ever been to his store/restaurant and glassblowing workshop, you know what a treat it is, and if you haven't, I urge you to make the trek. He has expanded his operations and you can get the same experience in his West Chester, PA location or check out his large manufacturing locations in Windsor, VT or Mt. Lake Park, MD. Unlike most glassware, all of his pieces are still made using centuries old glassblowing techniques.
Woodbury Vases
His designs are so simple, yet so elegant that they easily translate from daily use to formal entertaining effortlessly
Hartland Stemware
The collection includes everything from lamps and votives, to vases, cakeplates, barware and even pottery.

Oven-to-Table Pie Dishes
They also now offer oven-to-table bakeware which I'd like to get my hands on. His pieces aren't inexpensive, but they are worth every penny. They also make wonderful wedding gifts! And now through April 4th, they are having a special on dinnerware-buy any 4 piece placesetting and receive a soup or cereal bowl for free.

Belmont Dinnerware
In addition to his own designs, the Simon Pearce stores and web site also feature beautiful wood cutting boards, woven linens, and other artisanal items.
Happy St. Patrick's Day and here's to all things Irish!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Jonathan Adler Stationery Collection

Ok, I know, I'm a little (well maybe a lot) obsessed with Jonathan Adler, but I just can't help it. His creations are a perfect mix of bright colors, classic prints and modern lines, and now he's done it once again with a new collection of stationery and paper party supplies, all of which are under $20 (many are even under $10). Here are a few items to give you an idea of what you can look forward to, starting with the Multi Chevron Paper Lantern. These Acapulco Dessert Plates will make any sweet treats taste even better, and there are coordinating napkins and cups as well.

Never to leave any party detail by the wayside, there is even fabulous gift wrap so your presents look perfect. Gift enclosure cards also available...of course.After all the partying, it's back to work. Foldover Note Cards will brighten anyone's mailbox.
Get organized with the Acapulco File Folders. Suddenly work doesn't seem so bad.

A desk covered in notes won't look so messy when they come from this stylish Note Cube.
And lastly, these fabulous sticky notes that will keep you on your toes. There is, of course, much, much more in these collections which you can see here.