Monday, January 31, 2011

Outlet Love

I'm back at home after a whirlwind shopping spree at an outlet mall just outside Seattle this weekend. I have never been a fan of the outlet mall shopping experience and it really has to be well over 10 years since I've last shopped at one.  My friend Kris and I planned this trip as a Christmas gift to our daughters who love fashion and shopping.  After a grotesquely long wait at the border we arrived with cash in hand ready to shop til we dropped.
I am happy to report that I have a new outlook on outlet mall shopping.  The mall is an outdoor mall but is set up in such a configuration that it doesn't feel strip mall-like.  I was not prepared for the bargains I would find....extraordinary!  I was utterly shocked and delighted to discover there is a Restoration Hardware outlet in this mall.  

We all walked away with oodles of goodies but everyone agreed that I was the bargain queen after scoring 3 blouses at Banana Republic for a grand total of $18.  
This baby was under $7

We had 2 swanky king rooms but should have pooled our money and went for one of the uber chic suites.  

Our room
Suite to die for
 Still dying
A little on the masculine side but I'd still take it.

Orca suite - next time you shall be mine

Did the girls have a good time?  Let's just say at the moment I'm a rock star.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spray Paint Project

My most recent thrift store acquisition is a beauty and I had to share the before photos of this one.  This pair of fantastic candelabra were towering over everything else and looked behemoth and scary. I wasn't 100% sure about the purchase but once I got them home I knew they would be perfect.  They each hold 30 tea light candles so there is the danger that once lit, someone will think we've set our deck on fire.  They are very difficult to photograph since they are so open so I had to resort to outdoor shots where there was not furniture competing with them.

They are going to be spray painted next week and they will reside on the deck for fantastic candlelit evenings of wine and merriment.  So now it's time to decide on the colour.  Last year we purchased a new umbrella for our very neutral outdoor table and chairs in a beautiful turquoise (I promise to stop talking about turquoise soon).  I am on a search for new lounge chairs and sofa and they will all be accessorized with turquoise and red.  So the question is, do these guys get a red or a turquoise coat of paint?  Oh and did I say they were $5.99 each:)

This weekend I'm crossing the border and heading to one of the Seattle Outlet malls with a friend and our 9 and 11-year-old daughters.  We're giddy with excitement for our girls weekend and hope to score some great bargains along the way.

So tell me what you're up to.  Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pantone Colour of the Year

Honeysuckle is this year's colour of the year as announced by Pantone, the colour forecasting organization but I have to admit that I am not a fan.  Apparently I am very much alone in this opinion though.  The colour was announced in December so there are opinions and reviews aplenty but I have yet to find one reviewer who is in agreement with me.  It's me against a whole honeysuckle-loving world.

Who am I to argue with Pantone.  I am a huge fan of pink and I can absolutely see me wearing this colour and for very, very certain I will drink a cocktail that is this colour.  I don't really think I would design a room with this colour in mind though. 

All the shelter magazines are crazy for the colour so maybe in a few months I will succumb to the pressure.  I have occasionally been known to jump on a bandwagon long after a trend has become mainstream so who knows.  I think secretly I"m just hurt that they replaced last year's drool-worthy colour.  Don't worry turquoise, I have not forsaken you.

Here's what Pantone had to say about this year's winner. A Color for All Seasons   Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.

What do you think?  Thumbs up or thumbs down for Honeysuckle?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thrift Store Finds

There doesn't seem to be much in the marketplace by way of desktop accessories for kids.  I mentioned last week that I just finished painting a desk for my daughter's room so naturally I wanted to find some way to accessorize and be functional at the same time.  The accessories I found were either gawdy "kid" colours or made of plastic, yuck!

I decided instead to go for a little sparkle by repurposing some thrift store goodies so with friend Jane in tow I hit the thrift stores and this is what I found.

A couple of pieces started off looking quite gruesome in their before condition.  Silver pieces sitting in thrift stores usually resemble a colour closer to black but don't be turned off.  A can of silver polish and a soft cloth can bring out the sparkle with very little effort.  Look for interesting shapes and complementary heights.  There is no way my daughter's erasers would look cute sitting in a plastic bowl but I love them in the this little wine goblet.  Aluminum items like the pen holder are also great as a small vase since they can hold water without tarnishing.  I ended up with too many items for one desk but have split them up between 2 desks.

So what did I spend you ask.  Here's the breakdown:

Glass vase for pencil crayons - $4.99
Small silver cup with beautifully detailed base for paper clips - $5.99
Aluminum cup for pens - $1.99
Large silver plant holder - $9.99
Small Wine Goblet for erasers & Pencil sharpeners - $1.99
Irish crystal clock - $5.99
Beaded Mint Julep Silver Cup for Pens - $5.99
GRAND TOTAL - $36.93

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Covering a White Lamp Shade

I have a lamp and shade that made the cut when we moved from Ontario so I didn't want to throw it out when the colour didn't work in it's new room.  The shape of this lampshade works really well with this particular lamp but the white shade was looking a little lacklustre and I figured a louder  fabric could solve this problem.  Note that this shade is not round so the directions are a bit different than others you may find but it's not difficult.  I will have another post on covering a round shade coming up.

Start by gathering your supplies...fabric, pencil, fabric glue (I always use Fabri-Tac), scissors, painters tape and ribbon.

This fabric was easy because the pattern is simple but if you're using a fabric that has a scene or an image you want included then take a minute to lay out the fabric and find the exact piece to be used.

Start by placing your fabric with the pattern down so that you don't leave any pencil marks on the fabric.  Lay your shade down on the longest side.  Using a pencil trace a line leaving 2-3 inches above and below the shade.  Once you have the first area flip the shade onto one side and continue to trace.  Flip from the centre to the other side and do the same thing and cut along the lines.

Because of it's shape I decided against wrapping the entire shade with one piece of fabric as I don't think it would lay flat.  Instead I cut the 3 sides from one piece of fabric and then a separate piece of fabric was used for the 4th side.  

 Run a thin line of fabric glue along the first edge and place the fabric down holding it in place for a few seconds.  Add several pieces of tape to stop the fabric from shifting while you work.
Not so pretty, I know.  I forgot to take a photo of this step so I had to rip up the fabric and do it again.  The fabric colour came off on the shade

You don't need to iron or sew the cut edges of the fabric but turn it under approximately 1/4" - 1/2" so that it looks neat when it's finished. 

Once the first line is taped in place cut the fabric so that there is only 1/4" - 1/2" remaining on top and bottom.  This will be tucked under creating a nice neat edge.

This photo makes it look as though there is nothing left to tuck under but there really was 1/2" there.

Continue to wrap the fabric around the shade.  Add a line of glue to the top and bottom of the shade but it's not necessary to add any to the centre.  Do be sure to smooth out the fabric and keep it pulled tight before gluing.  Turn the raw edge under and hold firmly before taping.


I didn't worry about matching the pattern where seams met.  I think as long as the edges are neat and tidy it'll look great.

Once all the edges have been tucked and glued, tape the entire shade to hold it in place until the glue thoroughly dries.

I would recommend leaving the tape on for a full day just so there is no shifting in the fabric.  Now you're ready to glue the ribbon on.  

I found that because of the tapering in this shade that the ribbon puckered if I tried to wrap 1 piece around the entire shade so again I used one piece for 3 sides and a short 2nd piece for the 4th side.  I also find that the ribbon sits flat if I start applying it at the front and work towards the sides.

Apply a thin line of glue, lay the long piece of ribbon on the glue and press firmly and tape.    Apply the last piece the following day by turning under the edges and gluing in place.  Tape and you're finished!!

Before & After

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Framing Collectables

We all have things tucked away in drawers or closets that were lovingly brought home from a vacation but then stay tucked away because we're not sure what to do with them, right?  

This summer our family went to Vancouver Island and spent an unexpected night in Qualicum Beach.  We all rose early in the morning and spent an hour combing the beach while the tide was out.  We found a myriad of delights but my daughter and I couldn't resist bringing home some sand dollars.  They reminded me of my own childhood when our family would spend a week or two at a busy beach and I would spend my allowance buying sand dollars at the gift shops lining the beach.
Here are some of the goodies we did NOT bring home!

The first thing I needed to do was to give them a good cleaning.  These guys were filthy.  Can you believe we dragged them around with us for 4 days while continuing our vacation.

I used a solution of bleach and water in a 50/50 ratio.  Let them soak in the pan for 10 minutes but not much longer or they'll start to crumble.  I used a soft toothbrush to scrub away sticky marks.

When I removed the sand dollars from the bleach solution, I placed them in the sun for an hour of two.  This helps to bleach them to the bright white colour.


When I had the dollars just the right shade of white I brought them back indoors for the framing.  I chose the IKEA Ribba frame which is an extra deep frame.  Depending on what you're framing you can get away with this inexpensive frame and not have to spend the money for a more expensive shadow box.
I cut a piece of cardboard measuring the same as the inside dimensions of the frame.  Be sure not to use the cardboard mat included in this frame as the objects in the centre will sag through the open centre.  The cardboard is then covered with a fabric cut 2" wider on all 4 sides.  I just wrapped the fabric around the cardboard like a present.  There's no need to be tidy on the back since you won't see it.  I used clear packing tape but you could also use hot glue or duct tape.   I chose a heavy dark green fabric that feels like burlap but looks like linen.  A heavy fabric works better so that it won't drop and sag once mounted.  Tip:  Don't forget to iron the fabric before you get started.

The next step was to attach the sand dollars to the fabric.  I didn't take any photos of this step but it's super simple.  Be sure to use a ruler to mark where you will attach your items.  I covered the back of the sand dollar with hot glue, placed it on the fabric and gently pressed down to make sure it set.  Let them dry for short time before setting it in the frame.  

We ended up with 8 sand dollars that were in perfect shape so we finished the pattern with a starfish that we had in our bathroom.  I'm actually really glad it worked out that way because it changes the rhythm of the pattern which usually adds some additional visual interest.

Let me know if you've framed something special and share some of your photos.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Beginnings

Surprised to see me back after such a long time away?  I wish I could tell you that I've spent the last 6 months travelling the world.  Possibly adrift at sea on a fabulously splendid yacht with good books, good friends and good wine.
The truth is that I've been here all along but busy in contemplation of my next move.  I have been addicted to blogs for some time now and while writing this one and continuing to browse and peruse the sea of "others" I realized that what was missing from The Design Pages was a unique voice.  There is very little in the design world that doesn't intrigue me but writing about it is a little tricky.  Blogs take a lot of effort and time and I felt a bit confused about the direction of this one.  So I took a break.
During that time I set to work doing what I love...creating.  I have crafted, sewed, scavenged and spray painted an assortment of lovelies for my own home and those of various clients.  I started to miss blogging and then it hit me.  This is my voice and this is really what I am yearning to share with you.
This revelation has taken a toll on my design business as well.  After 12 years of designing beautiful and expensive interiors I have also realized that my passion for design lies in creating one-of-a-kind interiors that reflect the homeowners and not the current trends.
Join me again and learn how to create a fabulous and unique home without spending a lot of money in the process.
Here is a small glimpse of the projects I will reveal in the next couple of weeks.  I will include step-by-step instructions to all the diy projects so you can be just like me!!
Our family vacationed on Vancouver Island this summer.  We found these gorgeous sand dollars on a beach in Qualicum Beach and I knew these would become a masterpiece to remember our time.  

I spotted this little beauty at the side of the road near my son's school.  I was in my car and couldn't check it out.  When I mentioned it to my son he said, "it's just garbage.  It's all scratched and dented."  Cue the hubby.  He retrieved it from the side of the road and it is now a gorgeous desk in my daughter's room.  Think Tiffany blue.

Since we don't have a closet in our front entrance I wanted a dresser with lots of drawers that could house a variety of unsightly messes.  This baby was at Salvation Army for $40.  It's solid wood and made by a now defunct division of Montreal furniture manufacturer Shermag .  Some blue gray paint, new hardware and new feet and this is functional and beautiful in our front hallway.

I'm glad to be back at The Design Pages and I hope you enjoy all the posts to come in the future.  Spread the word about the blog and become a follower on the blog to help in it's success.
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