Friday, April 29, 2011

British Kitsch

All the hype about the royal wedding has made me miss our time in London!  Following up on my promise to post a bit about the design shops that were in my neighborhood (Marylebone), today, I'm featuring British designer, Cath Kidston, whose charming and distinct aesthetic, inspired by traditional English country house style, makes her royalty in her own right - I'd call her the Queen of Kitsch (I guess I'm not alone).

Here are some of my favorite images and products from her website (no shops yet in the USA, but they do ship here):

These are actually little containers for buttons, threads and pins:

Too bad her iphone cases have terrible reviews - this one is so cute.

Last, but not least, the obligatory commemorative tea towel.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Layering the bed

One of my personal design goals is to incorporate more layers in my designs - patterns, textures, subtle color variations.  A bed is the perfect place to practice layering, because there are in fact many layers to work with.  I have been gathering up the layers for our new bed - and can't wait to put it all together.

Layer #1:  Navy Velvet Headboard (with antique brass nailheads) and bed-skirt:

Layer #2:  Lightweight voile pick-stitched quilt and euro shams in birch (2nd from top left in bottom photo):

Layer #3:  Relaxed linen duvet cover and standard shams in white:

Layer #4:  Subtle bohemian paisley pattern accent pillows:

I think it might need 2 or 3 more layers - though I don't want to overdo it.  I'm thinking a long bolster or lumbar pillow... perhaps bringing in the roman shade fabric (which has great texture, by the way):

Or this larger-scale bold floral:

Or just using the same navy velvet and adding a pretty trim.

Next, maybe some new sheets or at least pillowcases like these:

And finally, perhaps a throw like this tossed casually at the foot of the bed:

 What do you think?  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bathroom update: the mini-tub is in!

Isn't it cute (in a mini-kind-of-way)?

And the red bit in the background will be our shower.

Happy to see more progress - and hoping this means we can move back upstairs soon (bed-time in the basement is getting a little tough... our little one climbed out of her pack-n-play for the first time tonight)!

To leave you with something prettier than our raw bathroom spaces - here's an image of a Lincoln Center poster silkscreen print that I purchased on sale at One Kings Lane, which just arrived (packaged impeccably, I must add).  I can't wait to frame and hang it!

Jill Moser, Acrobat, available here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Framing an heirloom

As I mentioned yesterday, my weekend DIY projects were a mixed bag of hits and misses.  One of the misses was my attempt to frame a delicate family heirloom. 

When we visited my grandparents in Florida a few months back, my grandma gave me a beautiful painted leather purse with matching mirror pouch and change purse that my great-grandmother had bought in Italy in the 1920s or 30s.  The purse is especially meaningful because it's one of the very few possessions that my grandparents (Holocaust survivors) have that belonged to them before the war.  The dark greenish color is a very pretty teal, that is not accurately portrayed in the picture.  The background in the photo is a matching teal mounting board.

I bought a simple shadowbox frame and the teal mounting board, and played around with different methods of hanging the three items (nylon thread... ribbon... no luck).

Soon realized that I probably don't have the supplies and tools necessary to properly mount them without causing any damage.  And, since they're meaningful family heirlooms, I don't want to risk unknowingly using acidic or other harmful materials.  Some things are best left to professionals!  Luckily, no damage done.  I'll just have to save my pennies for a real framing job!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pretty papers and polka dots

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  Mine started off great on Friday, when my DIY ladder tape blinds project was featured on Little Green Notebook, one of my favorite blogs (welcome LGN readers)!  Jenny featured some amazing projects on Thursday and Friday, and I was very honored to be among them!

The rest of our weekend was low-key, but productive.  We had no plans, so we were able to spend time outside just enjoying the beautiful weather.  I was also able to tackle several projects... some successfully, some less-than successfully. 

One of my less-than successful projects was an impulsive and poorly-planned attempt at a landscaping task.  Only after digging up a perfectly decent patch of our front yard did I realize that I should just leave the yard work to my husband!  A quick trip to Home Depot for some sod, and we're part of the way back to normal (will the sod ever stop looking like a rug sitting on our lawn?).

On to one of the (mostly) successful projects... I made a couple of accessories for the girls' bathroom.  In all my years of crafting, I don't think I had ever used Mod Podge, and I was itching to try it.  So, I went on the hunt for some cute paper to decoupage onto a trash bin and tissue box cover.  There was no shortage of beautiful paper at Paper Source, which recently opened in downtown Bethesda.  I'll have to find uses for some of these gorgeous patterns (see their website for other beautiful papers):

Ultimately, I found the right color and pattern in their gift-wrap section (which also happens to be much more budget-friendly) - I'm a sucker for polka dots.  Here are the finished products with the window fabric and the new rug I just ordered from Garnet Hill.  Well, I'm actually not sure they're "finished" yet...  I think they might each need a monogram in pink.  If I go for it - should I just do the first letter of our last name (since the 2 girls are sharing the bathroom)?  Now, if I can figure out how to use the Cricut die-cutter that my mom so generously gave me!

More details on the tissue box cover and trash bin to come!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A quick stop at World Market

On an errand run the other night, I stopped in World Market to have a look.  I probably stood the longest in the candy aisle, staring at the hundred varieties of Haribo candy... but, I also stopped to admire several items in the decor section.
Can't figure out why this photo won't upload horizontally - sometimes blogger has a mind of its own!  Anyway, these wooden panels are so pretty - especially the moorish pattern in the top one.
I guess I'm on board with the bird trend (I keep gravitating toward bird fabrics and decorations)!  These look like my new thrift store napkin rings.  The collection is available online.

This is Pottery Barn's version - in glass.

In fact, Pottery Barn has a ceramic version as well.  I like the glass ones better.

 I digress.  Back to World Market.

I also haven't tired of the chevron trend yet.  What a fun take on classic white towels!  These are also available online - and the reviews are glowing.

This rug looks like a thick cozy wool sweater and probably feels amazing underfoot.
I might have to head back there this weekend for some of those white handtowels!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Check out those pipes!

No, I'm not talking about football player biceps...

it's our brand new plumbing!

And now we have a sub-floor too...

Progress is good.  Sorry for the lack of eye candy today! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Kitchen's DIY Roll-up Shades

If you've been following this blog for a little while, you might have guessed that our kitchen is - shall we say - "retro" (and not my favorite room in the house)?  Thankfully, the cabinets and counters are white(ish) - so, I was able to play with color a bit to cheer it up.  When we moved in, we had the walls painted in a light orange shade.  Our casual dishes are yellow and displayed behind glass doors.  We have a window over the sink and a back door (half glass) that needed shades.  Of course I went crazy searching for the perfect fabric, and totally fell in love with a Marimekko print that had the right yellow and orange tones, and brought in a lovely lime green.

Marimekko Lumimarja in Yellow (discontinued)

For the windows, I opted to make a simple roll-up shade, which works very well in here.  It's easy to make and a good way to show off a patterned fabric (but would not be a good choice for a shade that needs to be opened and closed regularly).  Please excuse the unstyled images of my kitchen - counters chock-full of appliances, soaps, etc. and messy shelves - just "keeping it real," as they say!

The back door shade gets opened about twice a year, so its limited functionality is not a big issue.

We keep the window shade rolled up like this, and just lower the basic roller shade in the evenings for privacy.

Most of the time, it looks like this.

DIY Instructions for Basic Roll-Up Shade

I made the shades a few years ago (before starting to blog), so I don't have any "during" photos, but here's the very barebones how-to:

1) measure your window for desired width (I opted for an outside mount, so my finished width was the same width as the window frame);

2) cut your fabric 2 inches wider than your desired width and at least 3-4 inches longer;

3) cut an identical sized piece of drapery lining;

4) with right [edited per comments below] sides together, sew the front fabric and lining together on the sides, leaving approx a 1 inch allowance on each side;

5) sew the bottom hem and then turn the shade inside-out (it should look like a pillow case);

6) to give it some weight, and keep a crisp horizontal hem at the bottom, I added a wooden dowel.  To do this, simply sew a straight line about an inch above the bottom hem, and then cut a tiny slit in one side (on the back) to slide in the dowel);

7) measure the length of your fabric to determine where the top should be.  At that point, fold down the fabric and lining to the back and iron the fold.  Then, tuck under the raw edge and iron again;

8) sew a strip of velcro (the fuzzy side) to the very top of the shade's back side (this step combines sewing your top hem and attaching the velcro, but that could be done in 2 steps as well);

9) for the mounting board, I had my local hardware store cut down a 1x2" piece of wood to the length of my window width.  Then, I covered the board with fabric (wrapping it like a gift and hot-gluing).  Next, I used a staple-gun to attach the scratchy side of the velcro strip to the front of the mounting board.  Finally, I screwed the board directly to the window frame;

10) finally, I attached the shade to the mounting board with the velcro, and hung two ribbons over the top of the shade, knotting them at the bottom with a slip-knot;

11) to open, simply undo the slip-knot, roll the shade to desired height, and tie the ribbons into bows to keep the shade in place (ribbons could be replaced with drapery cord for a more subtle look).

I used the velcro method so that it could be removed and washed if necessary.  To save time on those steps, you could simply staple the top of the shade to the mounting board.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thrifting fun

In the midst of a torrential downpour the other day, we headed out on one of our weekend errand adventures with the girls to pick up a few missing pieces at the tile shop.  Somehow, in my MULTIPLE visits to said tile shop, I never noticed the "upscale resale" thrift shop in the same shopping center.  We went exploring and I brought home a few finds that I had to share.

I'm always on the lookout for lamps - and I loved the shape of this brass pair.  Bonus - they didn't need rewiring - and they were only $22.50.  Though they're not very different from my current living room lamps shown behind the sofa here - to me, they're a big improvement.  I need a smaller harp though, so I'll wait to share the photos of the lamps in situ.

This is my first set of napkin rings - aren't they cute?

And, then I came home to all these goodies in the mail! 

Now, I'm just about all set to make my headboard (with the nailheads, nailhead spacer, tack hammer and mallet shown above).