Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Swedish Tile Wallpaper

This is an update for an earlier post where I was mentioning an idea I had to hand paint my front entry armoire to look like a Swedish blue & white tiled stove.
I have been gearing up since to begin that project.  I dug out my acrylics in various shades of blue, downloaded resource photos and perused my copyright free art books for a suitable floral pattern to copy in blue paint.
THEN, I get this email yesterday from Spoonflower and jumped for joy.  They now offer custom wallpaper!
This was the answer to my time-crunch nightmare.  I will design my Swedish tiles in Photoshop and upload to Spoonflower and have wallpaper made with which I will apply to the sides and front door panels on the easy!  And saves me hours of work too.
Not that I don't like painting, but I have so little time lately.
So I got busy right away and came up with this:  (minus the logo which is there for copyright protection on this digital image only)

I ordered my first roll yesterday and am eagerly awaiting its delivery.  This custom wallpaper thing has opened up a myriad of ideas for me.  I will be filling my ETSY shop with new stuff this winter/spring, all made from custom wallpaper - now made a reality by Spoonflower.
As soon as my order is marked "shipped" I will be able to assign "sell to public" status on the pattern so you, too, can order it for those Swedish-inspired projects.
Line cupboards or hutches, apply to the back of a kitchen back splash or cover an old armoire as I am doing, for your very own Swedish tile stove look. Its pre-pasted and removable so renters and students can use on their apartment or dorm room walls.
(can you tell how excited I am!?)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

'Ol Autumn, She's a' Comin!

I know we are all feeling it in the air already and the excitement mounts.  We who love fall, do so because of the feelings it generates inside our hearts.  The nesting instinct kicks into overdrive and we want to get out the wool throws, stock up on wood by the wood stove and break our our comforting fall recipes like beef stews and chili.  Time to gather the family around and regroup.

Our NW mornings are now cold and foggy, burning off to sunshine in the late afternoon.  Evenings are getting to the point where I have to shut windows overnight.

But when I think of fall coming on, I still remember the days long past now, when I was young and working in the Seattle Laura Ashley shop downtown.  I LOVED getting the giant coffin boxes delivered, loaded with the entire fall collection.  I was the stockroom person so when I wasn't on the sales floor, I was in the back, unpacking the wool or babywale cord dresses, the wool Scottish sweaters and Italian silk scarves, sent straight from Wales!  I was then assigned to make over the floor, and would be there most the night, setting up the displays and racks of new fall clothes. It was always fun to reveal the new look in the morning to early bird commuters walking past our windows at 4th and University.

I still have many of the old catalogs we Laura Ashley published for clothing and home.  Here are some choice fashions from Autumn 1990, my most favorite season and year of them all.
It was a season of tartans velvet, great wool hats and navy floral skirts and dresses.  I think I bought 2 dresses (a very big splurge for me back then but with a 40% employee discount, it hurt less) and got one dress on allotment.  As a FT employee, we got a free dress or skirt/top combo, according to how many hours weekly one worked.  Of course it was mandatory you wear Laura Ashley every day so if you were new, you wore that one dress EVERY DAY!  LOL
   My most favorite dress of all came from that 1990 Autumn season collection...the blue floral babywale corduroy Welsh farmhouse dress, pictured here on the model leaning against a rock.
   Maybe when I'm old, I will move back to my native rural Wisconsin countryside and dress like this again, and live like Tasha Tudor.  ;)
   I feel bad for anyone who never heard of Laura Ashley or walked into one of the shops to see the beautiful Welsh dresses, wool English coats, Scottish sweaters and so on, on display.  Everything smelled like Laura Ashley No1 parfum...

Enjoy this walk back in time to when we still enjoyed Laura Ashley right here in the states and had access to some of the most romantic, sought after and well made clothing at that time.  This is how I feel about fall every year - imagining I am dressed in romantic clothing, wandering the English countryside...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Swedish Stove Mania

There seems to be renewed interest in Swedish tiled stoves these days.
I have been in love with them since I was turned on to their very existence in the early 90's while in interior design school.  I fell head over heels with Swedish Gustavian style with the light, bright colors, the painted furniture and down to earth fabrics.

I have longed for a Swedish tiled stove for almost as long - and now that they are getting more attention, why doesn't a company start up that sells to the American public?  I guess demand might be low, after all, its a very specific, narrow niche!  LOL

I will have to live with my old-fashioned black wood stove for now (which I might paint either red or oxford blue next year...we'll see) but I still long for a slender, rounded stove in the corner adorned with lovely blue and white floral tiles.

Then the other day I thought to myself "I don't have a Swedish tiled stove, but I do have a large armoire I am painting white, which is screaming out for some decorative paint work".
Now, I ran my own decorative painting business in the early to mid 90's called "a Gilded Vine".
I have painted a few pieces since then, but only for myself.  My hutch (still in progress) and my bedside table (finished) and now this large, squared armoire which I needed to house coats and such near the front door to Elinor Cottage, given we have no coat closet!

I have decided to paint the armoire to look like a blue and white tiled Swedish stove!
I am going to get to work on it tonight, designing the layout, what each tile will look like (probably all florals) and drawing up my prototypes on transfer tissue.  I am very good at trompe l'oeil painting.  That's what I used to do with "a Gilded Vine".  I will make the tiles really look like old tiles with weathered grout...just wait and see.

Stay tuned for future photos as I work my way around this monstrous piece of furniture, transforming it into a trompe l'oeil Swedish stove.
After all, the Gustavians did it too - if they wanted to balance a room using the symmetry of Neo-Classical design, they'd put a large cabinet on the opposite wall or corner from the stove, and paint it to match!  I have seen and read about this in the many Swedish Gustavian books I've collected in these 25 years or so!

Enjoy these blue tiled beauties while I go get to work on my own!