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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Dede Pillows

There is something about this three dimensional Hydrangea Pillow by Etsy designer Deanna that caught my eye. I'm not sure if it's my love for hydrangeas, being from coastal New England, or the color combination and texture of it. It's likely all of these things combined.
There are thousands and thousands of pillows for sale on Etsy, but really only a small fraction of them stand out as truly interesting and well designed. The simplicity of this Cream Linen Circles Pillow makes it perfect for so many places. It's a little shabby chic and just fun and girly without being too fussy.
This Red and Aqua Disc Pillow caught my eye because the color combination is so unexpected, but works so well together.
This Owl Pillow was just too cute not too share. It's clearly perfect for a child's room. As I mentioned, there are loads of pillows on Etsy, but it's not always easy to sort through them. This shop has much more to offer and at amazingly inexpensive pricing, like under $35 inexpensive. Pillows are such an easy way to change the look of a room and at these prices, there is no excuse not to.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Popham Design Tiles

One of my other favorite blogs, Design Sponge, came out with their list of their top 15 tile resources yesterday. And while I've fallen in love with many of them before, I was so excited to learn about Popham Design. This is my kind of tile! These graphic patterned tiles are available in multiple sizes and colors so that you can truly create your own unique look.
Here are just a few of my favorites. The Zig Zag tiles (top) can become a chevron pattern, diamond pattern and much more, and can even be done in multiple colors. A great way to create the permanent look of popular rugs in high traffic areas. I also love the Moroc tiles (above) for a more subdued but still graphic look.
And the more intricate Fretwork tiles can create a truly elaborately detailed look in bold or muted colors. I love these tiles for backsplashes, but they would also be really fun on the floor too. Check out their web site and play with the different layout and color options to find your favorites too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

City Girl Farm Chickens

Hmmm, why would I post a picture of a bunch of chickens in a corn field? Because these chickens are in fact furniture! City Girl Farm makes these amazingly life like wool and bronze chicken footstools. They get filed under smile inducing objects because it is virtually impossible not to smile when you see these guys.
When I saw them at the New York Gift Show in August, it was also almost impossible not to touch them as they are upholstered in incredibly soft hand felted Kansas grown wool. They are sturdy with cast bronze feet and beaks, and are available in a variety of colors.
The "grass" rug is also available and would be incredibly amazing under foot when you step out of bed each morning. Each piece is hand made to order by sisters Emily and Sally Ebright. The only problem is that I'm not sure I would want to put my feet up on them as they are each an amazing piece of art.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Jeanette Zeis Pottery

I don't have a sweet tooth, but I seem to have a thing for cake stands. Cakes and cupcakes just look so much better when on a pedestal, and when I saw the beautiful stands made by Jeanette Zeis on Etsy, I knew they had to be my Etsy Pick of the Week. I love that they come in sizes ranging from tiny to large, and I think her colors are amazing.
Her stands also have wonderful details ranging from scallop edges to lace inspired rims. And in addition to the standard Happy Birthday message, I think she'll do custom messages as well which means this would make a great gift for weddings or even babies. We're all so drawn to baby clothes as gifts, but why not give something that could be used every year on their birthday with a date or monogram.
I also wanted to share a few of her other pieces. I love this ceramic hanging basket set for fruits and veggies. I love having a big bowl of fruit on display, but my toddler thinks that means she can take a bite out of every apple and put it back, and I'm not a big fan of the mesh hanging baskets so this would be the perfect solution.
And this berry bowl is lovely. It's so nice to be able to wash, store and serve fresh berries all from the same piece, and again the color is fabulous. If you need a gift or just want to bring your kitchen to a new level, Jeanette Zeis has pieces that are sure to please.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Party Closet

Everyone should have a party closet! A few years back (well maybe close to a decade ago) the close family friends I grew up with started getting married and having kids and the moms started throwing bridal and baby showers, and before we knew it my mom had a full on huge closet dedicated to all things parties. We joke about it, but really, it's a truly fabulous thing to have. Now my mom, my aunts, my sister, our friends and so on all run to the party closet when we have an event coming up. The trick is not to have the fanciest pieces, but to have a matching set of dishes, glassware, flatware, napkins, etc. in large quantities. Plain white dishes are perfect because you can plan any event decor around them. My mom happened to get her 20+ plates at the Christmas Tree Shops, but I was thrilled to see that Pottery Barn is actually selling Caterer's Dinnerware Sets. These come in sets of 12 and ideally you'll want 24 or more, but I would suggest finding a friend that wants to do the same thing and agreeing you will share your sets for when either of you are hosting larger parties. It's best to pick someone that will always be invited to your events to avoid needing them on the same night.
Pottery Barn also sells stemware sets and flatware sets for the same purpose. While it's not always easy to find exact matches, we found that rental stores like Taylor Rental are a great source for pieces. They often have excess pieces or pieces that somehow landed in their hands after an event that don't belong to them and they'll sell them super cheap. Again, discount stores are great as are thrift stores, tag sales and anywhere else you can find bulk of like items at low prices.

While most people have a decent white tablecloth on hand, you can easily stock up on other colors or stock up on napkins, table runners in every color and more at the Table Clothes Factory. The items on this site are sooo inexpensive, it doesn't even seem possible so grab two dozen napkins in a few of your favorite colors and throw in a few table runners and toppers to go with them. They have chair covers and sashes and other party supplies too.

Before you know it, you'll be ready to host the most beautiful parties at only a moments notice and everyone will be wanting invites to dinner. So many of us are stretched so thin and the last thing we have time for is entertaining, but if you have everything at your fingertips, a huge amount of stress is taken away and we all need those nights with friends to rejuvenate ourselves. Plus, this makes the holidays a lot easier. A little effort goes a long way so go get yourself a party closet!

Trompe l'Oeil Wallpaper at Couture Deco

You would think that with all the wallpaper posts I've done that my house would be filled with it or would at least have a drop of it, but no, I still don't have a single room in my house with wallpaper. I think I'm getting close to reaching my breaking point and we'll be seeing it soon, although I have been contemplating a wallpaper stencil (never thought I would say stencil and my house in the same paragraph). Here is yet another group of wallpaper gems from Couture Deco. There is just something so fun about tromp l'oeil (trick the eye) wallpaper that will have all of your house guests talking. The Kapyton Leather wallpaper (above) even has the texture of leather even though it is made of paper.
With winter just around the corner, why not curl up in your cozy knit papered room.
I've always loved the idea of having a library filled with beautiful books, and while I love to read, with two little kids I'd be lying if I said the last book I read was anything but Brown Bear, Brown Bear. No offense to Eric Carl. I do love his books, but they aren't exactly what I have in mind for my dream library that makes me look really intelligent. Anyhow, now anyone can have a beautiful, expensive looking library with the XIXe Century Biblioteque wallpaper. Of course, there won't actually be any books in it.

And if you've always wanted beautiful hand carved French doors, you can have the look of those now too with the Louis XV Old French Door wallpaper. All of these papers install with regular wallpaper paste and are sure to be a conversation starter. There are many more great trompe l'oeil wallpapers are Couture Deco so be sure to check them out.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Catalog Living

"Gary Jr. was getting a little tired of his parents none-too-subtle digs at his recent bed-wetting phase." -Catalog Living

There is no better time than a gray Friday afternoon to share a good laugh. I found the hysterical blog Catalog Living earlier in the summer, and must apologize for not sharing it earlier. The blog chronicles the so-called lives of the people who live in the pages of catalogs. Molly Erdman, a writer, actor and comedian based in L.A. came up with the blog and has named her catalog residents Gary and Elaine. Having worked on many catalog photo shoots, I can completely see where the stylists were starting out and then how they took their propping too far. If you are at work, be prepared that it will be almost impossible to not burst out in laughter and you may even laugh so hard that you cry.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Recycled T-Shirt Pillows & Rugs

I must admit that I am slightly torn about this item. On the one hand I find these Recycled T-Shirt Pillows very fun visually, and I think the designers at Talking Squid have a great eye for color like in the rug shown below. Plus, it's not often you find a pillow in a sphere shape. On the other hand, the only info they give on the material is that it's recycled t-shirts which does not sound like an appealing thing to put in my home. Based on the fact that they have so much of the same material, it is clear that these t-shirts have not been worn and they are probably either buying overstocks or just straight out remnant t-shirt material.
I really wish they provided a little more info on their Etsy page, but in the end I am a huge fan of re-using or finding new uses for materials and I think they add a splash of fun and color to a room. Plus, they'd make pillow fights more like dodgeball which sounds like fun!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Every Girl Every Boy

This past weekend, I was reminded of just how different my two kids are from each other while catching a rare moment of snuggling with my daughter. My 4 year old son wants to be a fireman and a parachuter, but loves to set the table, help me cook and gives hugs and kisses followed by "I love you Mommy" all day long. My almost 18 month old daughter spends most of her time trying on shoes and making sure everyone else is also wearing theirs. But when not worrying about that, she is climbing stools to get on the counter, climbing ladders to the slide, or jumping from the ottomans to the couch. She has no fear, is happy to go off on her own at the park, the beach, etc. and I'm hard pressed to get a hug or a kiss out of her. Their differences aren't gender specific, but I think people often like to explain "reasons" for differences by focusing on gender. A few years ago, when I walked into a new job, this poster was hanging in one of the office's. It is used in a lot of classroom settings. My first thought when I read it was if I ever have a daughter (in addition to my son who was already born) I would hang this poster in between their rooms. I have the perfect spot where our hallway ends and to one side is my daughter's room and the other side is my son's room. There is a lovely sailboat print their now, but I think the message here is much more important than the beauty of anything else, and it makes the space more personal in a way and hopefully reminds them that everyone is unique and they don't have to be like anyone else. Kids, and even adults, are under so much pressure these days that sometimes it's nice to have a reminder that we should just be ourselves and accept others as they are too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Serena and Lily's New Fall Catalog

Belgian Club Chair
Serena & Lily's Fall catalog is out and there are some truly fabulous pieces in it. I've been a fan of theirs for several years, and I just love that they keep expanding into home furnishings while continuing on with their bedding collections. Here are a few pieces from the fall catalog that I just can't get enough of. I think the Belgian Club Chair could easily be used in any room of the house, but is probably the perfect bedroom chair. It's not too large so it would be really great for a kids room too because it would carry them right through their teens and into adulthood.

Senegalese Storage Baskets
The Senegalese Storage Baskets might just be the perfect place to store those items you use every day, but don't want to look at all the time. Think extra blankets, toys, etc. Suddenly storage is looking fun and interesting. Also available in pink and a navy/green combo.
Chakki Ottomans
I'm really loving the Chakki Ottomans which are available in both white and dark walnut. The details in the wood add interest and it's nice to see a round ottoman instead of the rectangular ones we are so used to seeing. Great as a coffee table too!
Lucky Lacquered Table
We've talked about the Lucky Lacquered Table before, but now it is available in Black and White. Tres chic!
"The Coast Is Clear"
This "The Coast is Clear" wall art may not be new, but it was too fun not too include. I love the pink and orange combo. For boys, check out the "Save Our Ship" wall art which is equally as cool. If you haven't checked out Serena & Lily in the past, be sure to add it to your must see list!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

18th Century Colonial Renovation: Part VI

I can hardly believe that it's been over two months since my last update on the 18th Century Colonial Renovation we've been following! The good news is that progress has not stopped. The bad news is that it is moving a lot slower than expected, and that is largely due to the fact that this is the hard part, picking paint and tile. But since we've last checked in, all of the baseboard molding has been put in, light fixtures have been installed in several rooms, the kitchen cabinets have been assembled, but not installed, and the kitchen floor has been laid.
But, back to picking paint colors. We found some amazing grass cloth wallpaper (above) in cream for the living room and blue for a yet to be determined place at LooLoo Design for an equally amazing price. The cream will go above a chair rail in the living room and we've found a few shades of creamy white for the trim throughout the house that we think will work great with it. In the dining room (top) the color choices are in the colonial blue range which look really lovely with the grass cloth in the living room.
The 2nd bath which will be for a little boy and guests is going to be a soft, but rich blue. At the moment, we're leaning towards the one on the far left top.
The master bedroom is proving to be the most difficult at the moment. The goal is a gray with a hint of lavender, but at the moment everything is looking a little too lavender. Unfortunately, this picture doesn't quite do the colors justice.
And for the little boy's room, a fireman theme it is. There will be a chair rail in this room so that the entire room is not bright red. The debate is how red is too red and will it be over-stimulating. I say if you go red, go all the way and am pushing for the bottom one, a nice deep, rich red.
A few things that have worked well here for helping pick colors. Always write the name of the color in pencil on the wall next to its swatch. We found that the paint samples we put on the wall really dried to exactly the same color as the paint chip from the store so if you don't feel like you need to see it in a larger swatch, save the money and don't buy the sample paint.
Another thing that my sister has done is gone around and taken pictures of the items in her current house and started storyboards for each room so that she can look at the items with the paint chips. It doesn't have to be fancy. She just printed them out on copy paper and cut and pasted them onto another sheet of copy paper, but she has a sense of how all the primary pieces in the room are going to look tonally together and with the paint colors.
Once these paint colors are finalized, things should start moving a bit faster.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dahlia Bouquet

I was having friends over for dinner on Saturday night so I was looking for some flowers for the table. I headed to my family's summer home where my aunts have pretty spectacular gardens, and as it is the season for dahlias and so many were in bloom, I naturally headed to that section of the garden with the clippers. There were about four different massive dahlia plants, but I stuck to the pinks (surprise, surprise). As I gathered them and then wandered about the house chatting and putting clippers away, etc. I was holding the dahlias as a bouquet and thought to myself, why on earth don't more brides use dahlias for their bouquets. They are so stunning and the color variations among one flower add so much dimension to a bouquet. I googled dahlia bouquets and it seems that florists are using them sparingly mixed in with other flowers, but it's almost not even worth it in my opinion because their visual impact is most striking when they are all gathered together. I placed this bunch in a square glass vase and they were quite lovely, but any of you brides who are getting married in August/September should seriously consider these beauties. Plus, they are available in so many colors! Lucky for me, there are still loads of buds on the ones I picked from so I think I'll treat myself to a new bouquet each week while I can.

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Chateau & Bungalow Designed Fabric Swatch!

As I mentioned a long time ago, I've been trying to teach myself how to design fabrics in a program called Inkscape. Actually, I spent quite a bit of time on it a few months ago, and then haven't really looked at it again. Conceptually, I'm pretty confident in my ideas, but actually figuring out how to make the designs transfer technically on the right scale and with the right lines isn't quite as easy to teach myself. But I finally got my act together and ordered a swatch (8" x 8") of one of them from Spoonflower. Well actually it's the only one that I thought was finished up enough to warrant it. I see some things that I'd like to tidy up on the pattern before I would print more of it, but overall I'm pretty happy with it for a first go at fabric design. I know pink isn't everyone's favorite, but I'm a pretty big fan and thought this could be cute in my daughter's room. Anyhow, I'd really love to hear what you all think of it, postive or negative.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Fabulous Mess

Vintage Art Deco Mirrored Credenza
I know that my last Etsy Pick of the Week (which was sadly a few week's ago) was for The Vintage Supply Co. which specializes in vintage furniture, and I generally try to mix it up, but when I happened upon Fabulous Mess, I just had to share it. I don't really know where to begin and narrowing it down to only eight images was hard because they have so many A-MAZ-ING vintage pieces, from furniture to lighting to accessories. I don't even really think there is anything to say since they all seem to speak for themselves (at least they are all telling me to buy them!) so just enjoy.
I hope you all like these as much as I do. Be sure to check out the dozens of other selections at Fabulous Mess as well. You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Europe 2 You

Europe 2 You brings old world central European style to your modern day lifestyle. With an extensive collection of vintage apothecary jars, wine bottles, baskets, bread boards, grain sacks and pottery, Europe 2 You makes getting quality antiques at affordable prices easy. And while many companies are reproducing these items, Europe 2 You is providing the real thing.
The company is relatively new and so all of their offerings aren't yet available online, but you can see here that they will be offering more items like furniture and lighting as well. I am loving the oversized linen upholstered table (top).
I don't know if I am partial to this style because I spent 7 years working for French home furnishings businesses, but while a complete room in this style isn't my thing, I do love these pieces as accents, particularly in a kitchen.
I just couldn't not include this great set of vintage suitcases at their New York International Gift Fair booth. Hmm, I feel the need to book a flight now.