Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vinter Vanter Wrapping Paper

(vinter vanter is Danish for winter mittens)

And that's just what I designed for the Spoonflower mitten-theme wrapping paper contest!
Check it out here:
and don't forget to vote, hopefully for mine!

I designed winter blue mittens with Scandinavian folk art patterns in white, with gold cuffs and scattered golden snowflakes, on a clean white background!

Here is what my pattern looks like close-up.
And thank you for checking out the entries....
I have an entire shop full of blue & white patterns for you to enjoy too.
They'd make wonderful wrapping paper, wallpaper and fabrics!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Linked to The pink Pagoda's Blue and White Bash!

Head on over to The Pink Pagoda to se all the exciting links to everyone's blue and white blog postings on this first Monday in November!
Click here:
the Pink Pagoda

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tea Towel 2014 Design Contest Entry

I have been b.u.s.y
I haven't posted in awhile but I have been spending my limited free time designing new fabrics for my Spoonflower shop, LilyOake.
Check it out! Its all blue and white, for the most part.
Here is my latest design....the tea towel I entered into the 2014 Spoonflower contest! I'd love a vote from you would be wonderful to make the top ten (or be #1)
My design is titled "May Day Roses Tea Towel 2014" by lilyoake. 
Once you highlite all the designs you like, you must go through all 13 pages to the very end, where you will enter the secret word, then click submit.
Then again, enter the secret word and click "submit".
Enjoy the designs!

Spoonflower 2014 Tea Towel Design Contest

Monday, July 29, 2013

My "Goodie Drawer"

   I once told a friend about my kitchen "goodie drawer' post idea and she thought it a good one but to change the title for it because someone else once blogged about their goodie drawer - next to their bed, if you kin my meaning!

   Well I can understand why she'd be worried about that!  But I have called my "goodie drawer" just that, for years!  And to people like me, this is a real goodie drawer - full of beautiful kitchen and serving pieces I use but rarely or on special occasions.  Silver knives with M.O.P. handles...silver sugar cube tongs, tea strainers, etc.  And my favorite pieces of all, the soft paste porcelain handled serving pieces made by A.E. Lewis in Sheffield, England.

   Some have navy handles with a colorful filigree pattern, some have a pale blue handle.  My favorites are in the classic Blue Onion pattern.  I used to have over 110 pieces but sold some off now and then to raise money for other household projects.  The pieces I sold were flatware - fish sets and soup spoons, etc.  The pieces I kept are ones I use and bring out at tea parties or during the holidays.

   The pieces range from bread and cheese knives to salad servers, berry spoons, cheese planes, pickle forks and even iced tea spoons, with long necks and a perforated  bowl with etched filigree.
   Most are stainless while a few are silver plate, like the gorgeous 2-sided punch ladle I found on eBay for $55, around 15 years ago!

   All are treasured and live in my kitchen "goodie drawer", which is off limits to everyone in the house but me.  I can't tell you how many times someone has dropped one and shattered the precious and delicate porcelain handles so now they are used very sparingly but are wonderful to look at in between those occasions!
   My kitchen is tiny so to set aside an entire drawer for these treasures shows you how I feel about them!  

   I thought I'd set a few up outside on the patio table, under the protective umbrella, on a very hot summer day, and take photos to show you.  This isn't all of them, I have around 50 pieces, but they are some of the more fun ones!  I used one of my own fabric designs I have available on Spoonflower, for the back drop: "Watercolor Roses in blueberry blue".
 Server, berry spoon, bread knife and serving fork in Blue Onion
 Pickle fork and cheese knife in Blue Onion
 A cake server and combed cutter in navy Floraine
 Cheese knives and planes in periwinkle Floraine
 Iced Tea Spoons in navy Floraine
 Double-sided silver ladle in periwinkle Floraine
 Butter knives in navy Floraine
 Silver salad servers in navy Floraine
 Bread knife and extra large serving spoon in navy Floriane
A very old Austrian-made silver dessert fork in Blue Onion

Link to Pink Pagoda to see many other wonderful blue and white entries!
 Pink Pagoda Blue and White Bash

Monday, July 8, 2013

May's Rose Slip Cover

   I have completed the second dining chair slipcover, this one in "May's Rose" in pale blueberry blue and white!
Same pattern as the first chair's slip - thought that if I was using a different fabric on each chair, I could keep some cohesiveness by using same colorway and pattern.

Don't they look summery!?

   I am working on a blue and white tartan fabric design for winter versions of these same slip covers...stay tuned for that!

   Once again, my fabric collection, all in blue & white, can be purchased by the yard or in wallpaper, wrapping paper and wall decals at:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hydrangeas in Bloom

Last week none of the hydrangeas were in bloom.
Then this past weekend we had a heat wave come through the Seattle area and literally overnight, I suddenly had several bushes in bloom!

Here are the some of the blooms from the big bush on the east side of the house...what started as a small $6 end of season buy at Lowes has, in 2 years, become the biggest and healthiest hydrangea at Elinor Cottage!  I think it loves where it's located.  East yard with full morning sun after 8AM and sun until noon, then shelter from the too-hot sun rays in the afternoon.

Friday, June 28, 2013

My Newest Blue & White Fabric and Wallpaper Designs

    After a lifelong love affair with lilacs (I chose my business name, "lilyOake" because its an ancient English folk name for the lilac), I decided it was time to do a lilac fabric design but I wanted it full color.  
      Introducing ""LilyOake" in blueberry blue.  
Its has an 8" repeat, so its not to large a pattern to use on many projects ranging in size and according to your ambition.  ;)
I included a sweet Victorian bumblebee and flutterby, as well as a faded back actual hand written letter by Marie Antoinette, in the background.  All on a blueberry blue.

      I also introduced 3 more designs this past week.  One is a big lazy swag of blue roses - a personal favorite of mine, I named "Catherine" in blueberry blue.  This is the pattern I think I will have wallpaper made in, for my own dining room.  As well as fabric printed in cotton twill or linen/cotton, to slip cover my antique settee.

My dining room is currently painted blue (an older discontinued color from Restoration Hardware named "Atmosphere Blue").  It works wonderfully with the white woodwork and trim, fireplace mantel and front door. So I will use "Catherine" with the blue background for the walls and the white background for the washable settee slip cover.  I am starting to design a series of fabrics named after my sisters and aunties.  Catherine is my oldest sister.

Also new this week is a light hearted pattern I call "Seaside Garden Stripe".  Small sprays of blue roses on a classic light blue and white background.  I think this would make marvelous curtains with matching wallpaper for a very feminine bedroom.
I would love to hear what you all think of my newest fabrics!  They are all available for purchase through my shop: LilyOake, on Spoonflower.  Just click HERE to see my collection of fabrics, wallpapers and wrapping paper designs!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Slip Cover Update

   Finally found time on a rainy Sunday afternoon to begin work on the latest dining chair slip cover.  I finished the seat cover - the back's slip cover construction will happen some time this next week in the evening hours after I get home from work.  Supposed to rain in Seattle all week so I am avoiding yard work until Friday, to get this done!

I eye balled the pleats on the skirt and added a white piping.  The fabric is my own design I have for sale through my shop on Spoonflower.  (check out my shop Lilyoake)

This pattern is named "May's Rose" and is a muted light to medium blue with white rose sprays with single buds faded in between. 

(I envision this print on silk some day and sewn into a ballroom skirt to wear at my wedding.  I would team it with a baby blue cashmere sweater set with pearls)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Fabric for Slip Covers

      One of my newest fabric designs is called "May's Rose" in blueberry blue.  A soft  scattering of blue roses on a medium hued blueberry blue background.  I have four dining chairs that need slip covers to blend in with the rest of my blue & white home.  So far I have done one chair in my "Jane's Rose Bouquet".
     Here is "May's Rose" uncut, on the back of the next chair to be slip covered, next to the first one I did a month ago.

      Designing one's own fabric is very exciting and rewarding when you  begin transforming your home into what you have always seen in your mind's eye.  You have control over pattern, color and dimension.

My next project will involve designing a blue & white chinoiserie wallpaper for the family room and a simple Swedish stripe floral for the dining room.

Let me know what you think!  Visit my collection on Spoonflower,  here

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Appreciate You All, My Friends!

To me , fair friend, you never can be old.
For as you were when first your eye I eye'd,
Such seems your beauty still.

These few lines from William Shakespeare have long been a favorite of mine.  
I am very grateful to all my friends and family who have supported me through the last 3 months while I recovered from breaking my leg and surgery.  Either by running me to appointments, cooking and visiting or giving me advice, its all been greatly appreciated!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Slip Covering Some Dining Chairs

   I acquired these four dining room chairs through a small shop in Seattle for a killer price (on clearance for around $20/each) and I have to say they are very comfortable to sit on!
   BUT, they are peach and cream, friends, and anyone who knows me, knows my entire cottage is blue & white!
    So the stage was/is set for a transformation to fit them into the decor at Elinor Cottage.

I decided to start with a slip cover for each.  I will use my own fabric designs I have for sale on Spoonflower under my designer name, "Lilyoake", and each chair will be different as far as fabric.  But the same as far as design.

I ordered my design on 2 yards of Spoonflowers linen-cotton blend.  Its BEAUTIFUL.  Honestly - what a soft but tight weave. Its the perfect weight for slip covers and I might even have some printed up for curtains!

I chose my Jane's Rose Bouquet in blueberry blue for my first chair.  Its a big bouquet of roses in blueberry blues, on a lighter baby blue background.  The blues tend towards the red side as that is what I decorate Elinor Cottage with.

First step was to make a paper pattern I can than use on all four chairs as I go along.  Easy enough.  I taped together printer paper and traced the chair top and back. Trim it out and tweak from there.

Once that was done, I cut out my fabric pieces (I was nervous now too - cutting into this precious two yards!!  Were my measurements right? Was this going to work!?)

Once I managed to get it cut out and started sewing, it just came together.  I decided to add a small drop around the seat and then attach white piping and a more tailored, pleated ruffle (more to my taste).

The back was more of a challenge as I had not planned it as well and I wanted to make sure I was able to remove it easily enough for washing.  Since the chair frames will also get a make over with white and light blue chalk paint with details in gold leaf, I wanted parts of the frame to show through the slip cover so I planned accordingly.  (stay tuned for another posting of how I paint & gild the frame)

The result at the end of my weekend was a very pretty slip covered chair that now fits into my blue & white color scheme - and best of all, I got to use my own fabric design and the slip cover is machine washable!  (I pre-washed the fabric already too, to avoid excess shrinkage later.)

Now I will decide which of my other fabric designs to use next and order the next few yards.  (left over fabrics are becoming napkins and tea pot cozies or pillows!!)

I am very happy with the results!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring is for Lilacs

   My favorite flower, I wait for it all year round.
This year Mother Nature did not disappoint!
When one pays such close attention to their lilacs year after year, you discover how the winter before affects each bush or tree.  Last year we had a much colder, stormier winter and the common lilacs had heartier stems and more flowerettes.  The specialty lilacs bloomed profusely, except for the whites.  This past winter was mild and hardly cold compared to years past and the common lilacs now have more brittle branches and while they bloomed profusely, the flowerettes are not as long lasting. The smaller specialty lilacs didn't bloom at all but the whites and all the new lilacs I planted last year with the expectation they wouldn't bloom for a few years, are giving me the most beautiful displays now!

Here are a few I picked for the dining room mantle last Saturday.  Aren't they magnificent!?
You can only imagine how wonderful my home smells right now.
There are lilacs everywhere...I float from room to room thinking this must be what heaven is like.  Occasionally I see a cat butt on a table, sticking out of a vase...the kitties love them too...but mainly, I think, to drink their water! haha

Monday, April 8, 2013

Transforming An Armoire into a Faux Swedish Tiled Stove

I needed a front entry "closet" for my c.1950 Cape Cod "Elinor Cottage" because it wasn't born with a closet - the front door just opens right into what is now my dining room.
After searching Craigslist I found this big, dark modern behemoth for the right price and went to go buy it.  It comes in two parts and I really like the interior - lots of drawers and cubbies, with front doors on double hinges so it completely opens/clears the front (its former life was an entertainment armoire).

After washing it down with soap and water I mixed up my own chalk paint because I use a particular shade of white throughout my entire cottage - Waverly's Cottage Linen White.  I did not want to be stuck with the one white offered in ready made chalk paint.  Cottage Linen White is not cream but its also not a stark/harsh white.  Its the perfect compliment to the blues I have in every room, including my favorite shade, a pale whisper of a blue, a discontinued Restoration Hardware paint color, "Atmosphere Blue".

I painted the exterior white and the interior in Atmosphere Blue with some surfaces wallpapered in a left over blue and white rose print from a bedroom re-do on the main floor.

Next I had to decide what to do, decoratively, with the exterior of the armoire.  
(some pieces speak to me of how they will look finished and some pieces take awhile to design themselves in my mind)

I considered hand painting rose swags or landscapes.  I even considered wallpapering the entire EXTERIOR too.  But in looking through some of my Swedish Gustavian decorating books one day, and seeing what was being posted and drooled over on Pinterest and in some blogs, I decided transforming it into a faux Swedish tiled stove was perfect!! My cottage was already decorated in my own version of Swedish Gustavian, my favorite historical style.

Due to lack of time, I decided it best to design a pattern and have it printed as wallpaper through Spoonflower, instead of hand painting every tile.
My first attempt at designing a tiled pattern went bust when I was constrained to square ones due to the pattern repeat I was working with through Spoonflower.  The armoire called for rectangular tiles in an odd size (and this is the tile shape you see on most real tiled stoves) so my next option was to design the faux tiles in Photoshop and then use an old method of transferring the image to the painted surface with Golden Acrylic's transfer medium and laser prints.
I used an old piece of hand made paper/scanned, to manipulate in Photoshop to look like a hand made tile, and then used some hand painted roses I had already used on a fabric design I have for sale through Spoonflower, "Watercolor Roses in Blue".

This has turned out to work the best for this piece and it will save me HOURS of hand painting when my job schedule doesn't allow me more then an hour each night after work and cooking dinner/cleaning at home for the family.  Not to mention I am healing a broken fibula from an unfortunate bicycle accident and its hard to get into certain low positions to paint with a cast on my leg!
 Start by laying out where the tiles will go - although I had already measured and designed them in Photoshop, to make sure they fit the space. I then had to cut them all out after printing them on laser paper.  They needed to fit within the moulding I had pre-cut but not yet attached, around the edges of the inset panel.
 Supplies: Your laser copies(trimmed and ready to go), (this transfer medium does NOT work with inkjet copies - sorry!) a brush or two, painters tape for low tack positioning, a tape measure and pencil, a water container, rag and a of course, the fluid matte medium!
 After measuring out a grid and drawing it on with pencil as a guide for where to place my tiles, I could begin gluing the surface and adding the faux tile laser copies - FACE DOWN.  Its the actual printed side that makes contact with the glue to do the images transfer so make sure your image is printed mirror image (backwards). NOTE:  there really is NO re-positioning so make sure you land the image down exactly where you want it!
 Leave it dry for at least a few hours.  Overnight is ideal.  Here is what happens when it doesn't dry long enough OR you apply too much pressure in removing the paper backing:  see the upper right corner?  The image and paper came right off.  BUT, this is where touch up comes into play.  If you don't care and want a worn look, this look is desired.  But if like my project, I want it to look like actual tiles, I will need to get out my acrylics and repair it.  No biggie.
 What is used to remove the paper backing to reveal the transferred image?  WATER!  Clean water and your fingertips.  Go ahead and try a soft cloth if you want but I prefer hands-on because I can control the pressure needed to wash/peel away the paper backing without taking the image off in too rigorous of rubbing.
After an hour of wetting and rubbing I got this far.  This is time consuming because you have to be careful not to remove the image by over-rubbing.  And its not a one time thing either - this removes the first layer only. When it dries it milks back over, showing you all the paper backing is not yet off so keep repeating until it dries bright and clear and true to your original laser copy print!

Once I get the paper all off I will go back in with my paints and create a faux grout and repair any tiles that lost some of the image.  I am still deciding whether to gold leaf the wooden trim or paint it a bright blue to match the faux tile flower print.

Keep checking in with me for updates on the project!  I have a long way to go but every step is exciting and I am already imagining it done - coated with a high gloss lacquer so it gleams like real porcelain tile!