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1.21.2014

The Wintered Garden

I've always been amazed at the way a landscape transforms 
when covered with the simplicity of pure white snow...

Monday morning, I sent off some of my photographs of a snowy garden landscape
[snapped in Seattle in Winter, 2012 before I moved away]
to Broadway+Thresher Magazine editor David Gobeli, 
and he's turned them into a blog post today!

See the B+T blog post here

Black & white images like those inspire a perfect decor combination for winter...

Mixed with warm wood tones, black and white create a fresh, crisp color palette
 that reflects the snowy landscape outdoors...

Find more black & white decor inspiration:  
* office
* living & dining rooms
* chalkboard-inspired

1.16.2014

the Beauty of Simplicity

this time of year, it seems we all do a bit of cleaning and clearing, 
ready to embrace the simplicity of a blank calendar and clean rooms.
i'd like to share some inspiring 'simple' decor with you, along with a story...

once upon a time, 
there were two incredibly talented men named Joe and Jermonne
who created a style all their own...
Barn House style.

they hosted a beautiful vintage show on their farm in the Pacific Northwest,
a gathering of great ideas, original style, and a group of fun & talented people
that drove design trends and appeared in magazines everywhere.

take a look at what their own booth at the show looked like in 2011:
their own personal aesthetic in their restored home was as unique and masculine as they are...
feed sack and driftwood as art installations
simple accessories: interesting wood finds, heaped in a bowl and a stack of guest towels

 it was a rustic yet refined style,
a mix of rough farmhouse + worn industrial that felt warm and welcoming.
they filled their home with the beauty that came from simplicity...
soft, natural colors. a mix of textures. streamlined yet detailed vignettes.
a gathering of objects both found and fine that enhanced every corner of their rooms.
an old screen door on the entrance to the laundry room added charm
and that memorable 'SLAM' that we all love...

i was lucky - beyond blessed - to spend time in that lovely home, on their farm,
as a vendor in their vintage show for several years.
[they were also gracious enough to be vendors in my show -
their booth at my show is shown in the photo of them above]
in the stillness of morning, i snapped the images you see here.

they aren't perfectly staged and styled shots - 
because that's not how 'the Boys' lived.
over the years, other photographers chose to stage and style these interiors for magazines,
yet to me, their own perfected rustic style needed no help at all.
It had depth and heart and soul, all on its own - every day.
isn't that exactly what we ALL want our homes to be?
not perfect, but
simply beautiful...

the Boys sold their farm, relocated to Texas, and are no longer in business.
but that doesn't mean they can't still inspire beautiful decorating... 
and I knew you'd enjoy their wonderful style!

1.14.2014

Creative Winter White Decor

My recent 'Winter Whites Inspiration' post is BLOWING up my stats!
Since you liked that so much, I thought I'd share a little MORE on that subject...
featuring some of the current white decor in my office.
[some of it can't be revealed yet, as it is scheduled to appear in print soon!]

Before we focus on the decor, here's a little 'New Year' development:
I don't make resolutions. I choose a 'Word of the Year' instead...
it works much better for me to have a word as a 'touchstone' of sorts,
to help me stay on track with the goals and pursuits that are most important to me.
[While resolutions just seem to feel like never-achieved, guilt-inducing lists]

My Word of the Year for 2014 is CREATE.

Not just due to the long-overdue revelation that 'I can Create the Life I want to live',
but also the pursuit of FUN. 
As in, Creating just for FUN instead of always as content for publication or this blog.

My post about the mannequin form made from a tee shirt was part of that approach:
I just made it for ME and had fun in the process.
Then when it works, I can go ahead and share it here on the blog!

When I removed all of the holiday decor from my office last week,
I replaced it with vintage-inspired winter white decor, using things I had around the house:

 I enjoy creating seasonal tableaux on these small display shelves.
Let's take a look at the elements I used -
and I know it won't surprise you when you realize that you've seen MANY of these items before!

 On the top shelf shown up above, there are three photo frames...
You've seen the one on the far left in my post about framing a sweater remnant.
The large and small baroque frames holding my word 'Create' used to say 'Dream' -
 as they did in this post.
This is a great way to focus on my Word of the Year.

The two white ceramic Space Needle figurines are salt & pepper shakers - 
I bought them in a schlock-y souvenir shop on the Seattle Waterfront at Christmas,
because I wanted an ornament to commemorate this Christmas with my family.
Problem was, every ornament in the shop was just plain TACKY. Not my style at ALL.
These shakers fit right in with my white and neutral decor scheme for everyday enjoyment,
and will easily be made into tree ornaments next Christmas!

The white ironstone creamer and mug are among the last few remnants of a HUGE collection.
[ I shudder at the thought of how many pieces shattered when the new kitchen shelves fell off the wall.
Priceless, special sentimental pieces - gathered and given to me by friends.
I posted about that project on HOMEtalk.
Or how many pieces I gave away when I moved from Seattle to California.... ]
I snuggled a rhinestone crown around the mug, just to add some icy sparkle.
The NeSt is one I made myself from daylily foliage, shared in this post,
and the branches are the antique glass-glittered ones that mysteriously appeared on my front steps!
I've used them in this years' Christmas tree and tee shirt mannequin.

On the lower shelf, I assembled some small items...

The snowflake-pattern plate showed up in this post last Winter.
The little white truck is very close to the same truck style that my Grandpa Ward used to drive...
and even without tires, it takes me on many sentimental journeys.
That little truck has been around for a LOTTA' years...
The glittered 'D' and crown way up on top came from a Michael's Crafts bargain bin last year,
and the Monopoly playing pieces are just something I love to collect when I find them.
[ I love galvanized metal and these just fit right in with that! ]

On either side of the truck are two of my funny little JUNK Snowmen.
Sweet Sweater Snowmen are the new creation that I sold this past Holiday season.
Thankfully, I was smart enough to grab two of these for myself before they were all gone!
I have happy memories attached to the little tin cans they are made in,
as well as the Cliquot Club soda caps that adorn them.

So, anyway, you can see that very nearly everything I used in this vignette
is something I already had and love.
Actually the hardest part for me is editing, because I always unearth more stuff than I need!
But the point is that it doesn't cost me anything but time, 
and it's time spent creating and having fun.
Sounds like a great way to start the New Year to me!

So, what's YOUR word or resolution?
What decor projects are you planning for this new year?


 As you read this post today, 
I am busy taking a HUGE STEP forward in pursuit of a life-long dream...
please send good thoughts and prayers my way, won't you?
I'll share more as soon as I can!


UPDATE: I interviewed for a job that I have wanted for over 30 years.

and I GOT IT!

.... at Disneyland!


1.09.2014

DIY mannequin - from a tee shirt!

i'll admit it, i've fallen prey to the 'vintage mannequin' craze.

over the years i have admired them from afar, 
but never had the chance to get my hands on one of the 'real' ones.
oh, sure, i had a chicken-wire one picked up for a song after a gift show,
and i rehabbed a really old cardboard bust form found at a yard sale.

My friend Todd recently shared this image on facebook:
SOURCE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/132011832801322296/

When I saw it, I thought "I really want to make that.
But I don't have a dress form / mannequin anymore.
And it's Christmassy... It's too late for that."

THEN my Muse arrived....
and reminded me that I have a WHITE faux Christmas tree
that would look FAB.U.LOUS all through the winter months as the skirt for a mannequin.
I just needed a mannequin.
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They say 'necessity is the mother of invention',
so I came up with one of my trademark 'Fast, Cheap & Easy' solutions:
I made a mannequin form from an old tee shirt!

It was a simple matter of cutting and stitching a few seams...
here's a quick tutorial for making your own:



[solid lines show original tee shirt outline; dotted lines are approximately where to cut for form]

once mine was done, i popped it onto the top of my small white Christmas tree!

 SAFETY TIP: if you do this, remove all lights from the area under the tee shirt form.

I removed the lights on the top branches and then bent the branches downward,
so I could easily slip the tee shirt on and stuff it with polyfil stuffing.
[ and yes, I gave her some lovely lady lumps! ]
Then I created her 'skirt' by adding my vintage metal & glitter tree branches to the tree,
and wrapping a fringe-y scarf around the very bottom of the tee shirt.

You don't have to use a tree as the base, you know...
What about a lampshade? Or a wire tomato cage? [one of my fave multi-use props]
 Up on top, I wrapped a cheap white garland around her as a scarf,
finishing it off with a vintage ribbon and rhinestone pin accent.
My own Original Ice Queen Crown encircles her neck.

I chose a tan tee shirt for the 'vintage' look, but black would look swanky! 


Shared Online:

One Project Closer | Creativity Unleashed

The Vintage Farmhouse | Creative Things Thursday


1.07.2014

Winter Whites Inspiration

 Winter has arrived!
And even though it looks much better while sitting inside looking out, 
I love the fresh, clean, crisp look of a snow-covered landscape...
the soft, pale winter color palette inspires me.

In winter, choose subtle, soft, and misty neutrals for your rooms...
tones like gray, charcoal, chocolate, white, vanilla, and pale blue.
Then add sparkle with clear glass, mirrors, and shining silver.
This creates a beautifully serene background,
to which you can add the warmth of red, the softness of pink -
or perhaps the 'of the moment' Radiant Orchid lavender.

Start by gathering the elements that reflect the colors and surfaces of Winter:

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Then combine them to express the mood of Winter:

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These settings all include vintage, antique, and repurposed furnishings & decor,
because that's my own particular style...
but it's just as easy to combine mid-century modern and contemporary pieces
to create a seasonal  'Winter' mood in your home!

 Even the most humble things can become a decorative element...
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 Stay warm!

"Baby It's Cold Outside" Chalkboard Printable by The Everyday Home
 [ found on Pinterest ]

Find more of my winter decor posts by clicking on the 'Winter Decor' sidebar tab >

shared online:

Style Sisters | Centerpiece Wednesday

1.02.2014

Color of the Year: yes or no?



Pantone, the leading color authority in the design world, has selected
the 2014 Color of the Year:
Radiant Orchid

 Now, I'm going to be totally honest here...
I am not driven by what Pantone chooses as their color of the year
or what hues and shades are 'IN' in fashion, home decor, and design.

While it's fun to watch what's 'trending' and rising to popularity,
and to sometimes find ways to reflect that in my own surroundings,
I am FAR more interested in expressing my own personal style and preferences.
And I am much more interested in inspiring you to do the same...

 I can't even begin to imagine this color in my home.

OK, wait, that's not entirely true....
I CAN see those beautiful orchids in a white vase on a white shelf,
surrounded by stacks of white books and shells,
or scattered in clear vases on a table for a party.

It would be a temporary punctuation point of color in my pale, neutral world.

In my life, that's all that a 'hot new trend' is...
a way to experiment with something new in a simple, small way that works for me.
I enjoy it for a little while, then replace it with something else.
I don't have to - or want to - change my whole wardrobe or decor to incorporate it.

Pantone creates a new palette of colors for each season,
and those choices help drive the creation of new products to be manufactured and sold.
I've spent a lifetime in the retail industry, and I know that this all has a purpose in the bigger picture.
But when it comes down to how it affects our lives, we ultimately choose what we buy - or don't!

That being said, in a rather amusing coincidence,
one of my daughters gave me a sparkly, spangly purse for Christmas.
Just GUESS what color it is!

 I think I've found a way to use it that works for me:
I turned it into a vase! 
(just like I did HERE last Spring)
Right now, it's holding my potted lavender plant, a potted ivy, and a few silk orchids...
while looking very fashionable!
[you could say this trend is 'in the bag'!]

 Of course, if you want to incorporate this new hue in your rooms,
it's SO easy to do on a budget...
get a quart of paint and revamp a chair, a lamp base, a few picture frames, or a thrifted find.
Add that 'exclamation point' to a room and see how you like it -
preferably BEFORE you buy new wallpaper ;)

See inspiration for using Radiant Orchid here:
Pantone's Color of the Year on Pinterest

How do you feel about fads? 

Do you heartily embrace new trends with gusto?
Do you hesitate and see if it really catches on?
Do you find a small way to include it in your home decor or fashion style?
Or do you eschew trends altogether, and forge your own unique path?

I'd love to hear your opinions on this topic...