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