Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Painted Dish Rack

I now have a better excuse to collect more blue & white plates....my newly hung dish rack is empty and sooo lonely!
I have one plate that will fit, out of several blue & white plates. This rack is quite old. I spruced it up with white paint and gold leaf details. I'm staying true to my Swedish Gustavian look I have going throughout the house.
But it won't hold a modern dinner plate - modern plates are waaay too big now! So I can save some money and collect salad-sized plates, as is this Spode beauty.
I can't wait to go snooping around now for plates to display on the wall....they'll come in handy if I need extras for tea party of lunch.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Handmade Ribbon

Up to my nose with house projects, I haven't done a craft project in ages! My boss's birthday provided me the opportunity to get crafty and take a break from wallpapering and painting furniture.
I decided to make her several yards of handmade ribbon - something popular in the stamping world but since I'm a graphic designer who works almost exclusively on a computer, I never got into the stamping world like two of my sisters did.

But it was easy and fun to do and I might do some homemade ribbon for special holiday gifts in the future!
(the hardest part was keeping my furry helpers off the work area!)

I bought a yard of white/bleached muslin at JoAnn Fabrics and some RIT dye. After washing/drying the muslin in my regular laundry, I mixed up some of the dye in a plastic pail (wearing gloves).
I chose a denim blue because I like how it looks when faded - a more reddish-purple undertone. I did not make it full strength - used hot water and a pinch of salt - tied up the muslin into knots so it would dye uneven for an aged look, and plunged it in/out in 5 seconds.
Wrung and rinsed in cold water, then washed/dried again with a load of jeans.
Not wanting to let the dye bath go to waste, I also dyed a stained white cotton Battenburg lace tablecloth a lovely shade of faded blueberry (20 seconds in the dye bath) and a white linen blouse that was also stained (10 seconds in a weakened dye bath). It turned out a lovely shade of pale hydrangea blue!! (new life for both pieces).
The next step was to iron and then tear the strips to the width I desired (in this case, about 2" wide). I loved the torn edges look so chose to do it that way - you can also cut it with a scissors if you prefer a more polished look.
To tear, just cut a notch into the selvage and rip.
Then the sewing machine came out - it only took 10 minutes to sew the ends together!

After laying it out on plastic bags on my table, I began stamping (I bought it all on sale at JoAnns).
Once stamped, I spritzed it with a frost and shimmer fabric/paper spray and stuck on sticky-back rhinestones.

The finished yardage was rolled up on to a piece of unbleached papyrus paper and tied with a piece of white lace ribbon.
For the final touch I stuck a piece of fresh flowering rosemary underneath the ribbon!
My next ribbon will be white muslin with pink and pale green roses and romantic text!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spare Bedroom Wallpaper Update

OK, now the spare room is not done yet - it will need new baseboard and crown moldings. The furniture needs to be moved in and pictures hung.
Curtains need tie backs and the white cotton IKEA rug will hit the floor just before a student renter moves in or otherwise it will fall victim to a spring hairball.
(seriously - all my throw rugs are off the floors right now during this season when the cats are shedding and coughing up the results of excessive grooming)

I hung the wallpaper this past weekend and as usual, it transformed the room.
The walls were a pretty butter yellow but alas, I felt the need to tie the room into the rest of the blue & white house color scheme.
I got the wallpaper for $11.20 per single roll from wallpapermore.com.
Its a pretty blue & white sprig-like floral pattern. I had some late nights getting it up and miscut/mismatched a few times but seriously, no one has noticed because the nature of the pattern hides any mistakes!

I'm very happy with it. The IKEA chambray curtains were $20 per pair and one panel is all I needed for each window. They came with tie backs which I will attach high on the trim so more curtain is held back to allow more light into the room.
I kept the Brylane Home lace panels in each window for added privacy and a feminine touch.

The bed is an IKEA platform bed in pine. (I painted it white)
It's a bit low to the ground but I found risers on sale for $9.99 at Burlington Coat Factory so the bed will rise to a normal height.
The comforter set (Ralph Lauren via TJ Maxx for $29.99) comes with a long bedskirt to hide the risers.

The bedside table was a Shabby Chic $30 buy off Amazon and the dresser with mirror is from Goodwill ($40/set); freshened up with a few coats of white paint.

My little helper's name is "Mini Me" and he's my shadow. He insists on going everywhere with me and getting right in there to help with what ever I'm doing.

Stay tuned for finish snaps - hopefully by the end of the weekend I'll have the twin mattress from a friend's storage and framed images up.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Master Bedroom Wallpaper

I hung this wallpaper in my "new" room last summer when my room mate moved out of my house and I moved downstairs to take over his old room.
(the other smaller, yellow bedroom that I am hanging wallpaper in was his daughter's room)

I love this paper - it is so romantic and really added character to the small bedroom which already had great lighting and calming views of the side and back yards of green grass, lilacs and hydrangeas.

I love waking up in this room with that beautiful wallpaper all around me!

Spare Bedroom "before" Wallpaper

Here are a few quick snaps of the spare bedroom before the wallpaper goes up and around the room.
I also took a quick snap of the corner where I began to hang the paper last night.
Smaller patterns are harder to match up then larger ones....JMHO.
I need to hit the arm weights at the gym more because my arms were screaming from being held above my head while I struggles to line up the little floral springs and keep the paper from flopping down on to my head!

I love this little room - it's small but bright and cheery with south and west views onto the backyard and patio. Walls are currently sunny yellow, which I also love, but they felt out of place in an all blue and white house.
I will hang another 2 lengths tonight and then will try to bang out the rest Saturday afternoon.
Look for an update next week!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Custom Printed Fabric Update

I just received in the mail the custom printed fabric swatches I sent for! I couldn't be happier - the colors are right on with my digital file in Photoshop and the blues match the paints and other fabrics in my house.
The only thing I noticed was the pattern is slightly smaller in scale then my digital file - something to keep in mind!

The company is Spoonflower and you can click on to their website and upload your own digital designs for yardage in any of their many various fabrics. Just follow the file size requirements. An 8"x8" quilting cotton swatch costs $5 each with $1 shipping.

When I order the faded blue roses for my living room curtains, I will have the pattern put on the linen/cotton.

The other pattern is a fun Swedish folk floral I want to use for a table cloth, matching napkins and various simple slipcovers. Its a happy, cheery floral.

Another cool feature is if you order yardage, you can opt in to make the pattern you designed "public". Spoonflower offers it for sale per yard in their online shop and with each sale, the artist/designer gets a 10% commission.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Affordable Occasional Table

As I prepare 2 bedrooms to rent out to foreign college students, I find my already tight budget stretched a wee bit tighter as I have to furnish each room with a bed, desk, chair and dresser. I have been foraging through thrift shops for great deals (last night I scored an awesome neo-Rococo cream dresser with mirror at a local Goodwill for $39.99!!). I'll post the before and after on that piece once I clean it up and repaint it white.

The upstairs bedroom is furnished but the downstairs one needed a few more pieces, including a bedside table. I found this Simply Shabby Chic table on Amazon.com and pounced on it. It was delivered 2 days ago and last night I finally put it together, then stood back, amazed at how sturdy it is and how pretty it is too! It will be the perfect table in a room with faded blue and white floral-vine wallpaper, glass chandelier, lace curtains and Ralph Lauren blue rose print bedding.

I am very pleased with it. The best part was the price - under $35!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Love Affair with Blue & White Wallpaper

As I wait (impatiently) for my wallpaper to come so I can finish the second bedroom, I thought I'd share some of the wallpaper patterns I have either already hung in my house, bought and am waiting for shipment or considered using at one point.

As it ended up, the very top right blue rose swag is now hung in my bedroom and the top center blue and white floral vine is due to be delivered any day now and will dress up the walls in the 2nd bedroom, which was once planned to be the library but is now going to be a rental room for foreign students. (hopefully a girl)

All these wallpapers are from the website http://www.wallpapermore.com/ and are discounted in price. My entire 12' x 14' bedroom was done for $180 and the wallpaper made the room come alive! It was so simple a step to make but added way more personality to the room then a flat coat of paint ever could!

I also used the left over paper to line the inside of my hutch last summer. (see earlier entry)

The 2nd bedroom's walls will be covered for $160, with enough paper left over to line the drawers built into the eaves upstairs.
I had a hard time choosing from the selection that caught my eye but in the end, I went for soft and romantic.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Got the Blues, and That's Good!

...got the love of blues, that is! I bought a book called "Decorating with Blue and White" by Gail Abbott. These "snaps" are from that book - just a wee bit of inspiration for all you lovers of blue & white!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Petite Retreat

Built in 19th century Denmark, and now part of an open-air museum in Aarhus, Denmark, this teahouse is one of my most favorite examples of Gustavian design. I have been in love with this little treasure for years so I thought I'd share it with you.

It's a dream of mine to have something just like this in my own back yard some day!
From the melon-tinted walls which glow in the sunshine, to the muslin-swagged windows, painted table and chairs with brown striped cushions, the whole room speaks of elegance and sophistication!

I love the classic Royal Copenhagen "Blue Fluted" porcelain tea set on the table. I'm a big fan of RC china. I collect the "Blue Flowers Curved" pattern. Imagine yourself sitting here on a sunny day with a group of friends having afternoon tea with a lemon-glazed cake, or alone with a great book, listening to the rain on the pagoda-styled roof!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Custom Fabric!

Have you heard of Spoonflower.com? If not, check them out! Here's what they offer: your own custom designed and printed fabric!
YES, using your own design and colorways - choosing from several fabric types ranging from simple quilting cotton to linen & voile!

I hated the plain white curtains I ordered for my living room last week so sent them back for a refund. I thought they'd be OK but they were too plain Jane for me.
So instead I am considering having my own fabric printed in a pattern I love and a colorway that will work for my taste. I prefer a more purplish blue - like a denim shade, only lighter. It's hard to find and when I do, it's usually out of my price range.

But being a professional graphic designer, I was able to create my own RL-inspired blue rose pattern by scanning in an old cotton hankie from my Mom's vintage collection, cleaning up the roses from the background and colorizing them from red to monotone blues, then putting them through a couple watercolor filters in Photoshop to achieve the look I wanted.

The image I present to you now is the result - it will be repeated over and over to create an all-over rose pattern. You have choices in how to repeat the printed pattern and also how much yardage - from a swatch, to any yardage you want.
You can make the pattern private, for your own use, OR make it public so you keep the copyright but it allows anyone else to order the fabric too, giving you, the designer, a 10% commission!

There are several fabrics from other designers you can choose from as well.
Yesterday I sent for a sample square to see how the colors come out - everyone's computer and printer is working on it's own calibration. If the blues come back too teal or turquoise, I will tweak it and make it more purplish - when the color sample comes back right, I'll order my first 3 yards for my first living room curtain panel! (probably the cotton/linen blend)

Check them out and tell me what you think of it! I'm anxious to see how the fabric looks/quality, etc.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Sheets

I love new sheets on a bed - freshly laundered and soft, in a lovely pattern. I found this set of RL blue rose/floral sheets at TJ Maxx about a week back and couldn't believe my luck - they match my room like they were made for it!
As you can see, the kitties loved them too...

Lace Curtains and Plain Cotton

I have also made up my mind as to what kind of curtains will hang in the library and living room.
The sunny library will also be my studio/work room so I do not want to darken it in any way so I found a great deal on white lace panels from Brylane Home.
In the living room, which faces north and east, it is darker, especially with the walls painted a pale purplish-blue. the woodwork, trim, Georgian style fireplace and slipcovers are mostly white so I decided white curtains would work best.
I found plain white panels on Country Curtains website and decided that if they needed some details, I could add little sew-on or glue-on embroidered baby blue bees or flower springs.
But first I'll hang them and see how they look. Right now I have IKEA white sheers and they look fine but they give no privacy....

Library Wall Treatment

After a year of going back and forth on what to do with the 2nd small bedroom in Elinor Cottage, I have decided how to treat the walls. I was bouncing back and forth between painting, half wallpaper/half paint with chair rail, or all wallpaper.
I decided I LOVE the look of an entire room wallpapered in one pattern so that is how I will go. It reminds me of old 1930's farmhouse bedrooms...

I had tried to order wallpaper last fall but ordered incorrectly and then the WP was discontinued so I couldn't get any more (duh!)
I then ordered a blue ticking stripe but the background is cream instead of white (not a cream fan) so I will use that paper to line the drawers and built-in cupboards upstairs. Then I checked the same book I had bought my bedroom wallpaper from off a website called www.wallpapermore.com and saw a similar print in the same blue colorway and fell in love with it. That sealed it - and the price is so low I can't pass it up!
Its a lovely purplish-denim shade of blue in a rose sprig print on a soft white background. Looks very Shabby Chic to me.
As soon as I get the wallpaper hung, I can begin painting the bookcases, add books and move my computer/studio into the room.
It's such a light-filled, airy room it will be a joy to sit in there and work on my art and graphic design. It has 2 windows which face a sunny western-side patio with rose bushes and a blue hydrangea and a southern-facing window that faces a green, grassy backyard with lots of trees.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tea Party Set Up

Here are photos from Sunday's tea party - of course I was unable to snap any photos once people arrived because I was too busy brewing tea, answering the door and directing people to the food table! Besides, I am not sure everyone wants their photo posted online for all to see. ;)

I was busy Thursday and Friday cleaning house and baking. I made fairy cakes, jam cookies, fudge, lemon-lime cookies, cherry coconut macaroons, smoked salmon and halibut sandwiches on mini croissants, egg salad sandwiches and a plate or cheese and sliced fruit.

Teas included Scottish breakfast, English breakfast, York Black, Jasmine and Early Grey. I had around 19 people show up and it was so exciting - so many guests brought me flowers or plants I was overwhelmed. The hydrangeas and roses I bought from the Met Market on Queen Anne Hill were also beautiful!

I do not have the hutch finished yet but I did get the base painted white so that I could stack the topper on it and use it for the party - I can't wait to get the whole thing done because it really made a lot of room with the two pieces stacked on one wall. I made a small sign for the hutch to let people know it was a "work in progress".
Tea cups were stacked inside on the first tier while plates and napkins were below. Tea pots/sugar/cream/honey was lined up on the sideboard while the food was laid out on the table. I made small tags for each tea pot so people knew what tea they were drinking.

Most people arrived right at 2 PM and most were gone by 5 PM except for a few friends who I invited to sit awhile in front of the fire and chat by candlelight. It was cozy and relaxing. I hope everyone had fun - I sure enjoyed hosting the tea!