Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lets talk about pillows!

So, we all have pet peeves. Things that bug us. Just annoys us. This is really minor in the realm of life but one of mine is the pillows that come with your couch! Sure they 'match' but they don't really give your couch character now do they? 90% of couches are a basic neutral color which I am ALL about. But you still need to have your couch coordinate with your room and leaving the neutral pillows on it leaves it just a blob of tan in the middle of your room! Here are gorgeous couches, but all looking like 'tan blobs'! Once you have a color scheme, pull those colors into your room through new pillows. You can buy some or make some, or both. Mix it up! Here is an example of how to do this. Here is a room that I transformed and their couch is gorgeous and feels like a soft sweater but it had no life!

We started with this store bought striped pillow. This pillow captured all the colors we wanted in the room and this became our base for all color choices. I focused on decorative pillows but also think that at least one pillow should be comfy--one that you can just curl up with! That pillow in this room is the butter colored pillow. I used a high quality down filled pillow form for comfort and no trim so that it would be cozy and not easily damaged.

This red pillow was purchased and then I made this green pillow from the same fabric used on their window treatments with a lush trim that coordinates with all the pillows.

Using the same green and using some tassels from the same trim, I made these pillows for chairs that flank a console in the entry which help tie that space into the family room. Imagine this same area without the pillows. It would look fine but there wouldn't be enough color, the chairs would look a bit cold and it wouldn't have as much interest.

Here is the same couch with the new pillows. Doesn't this couch look alive now? No Tan Blob in this room!I know, you don't want to 'waste' a good pillow. Neither do I! You have 2 options. 1. Use the pillows that come with your couch somewhere else. If you have chairs or a different couch elsewhere in the room, perhaps they would work there. If you view my Home Tour, you may notice that the pillows that are the largest and on the back of my window seat in my office are actually the matching pillows from my couch in my family room! 2. Use the form that came with the couch but sew new covers. I did this on the chairs on my patio. Forms run from $8-30 depending on size/quality so the 6 pillows I used saved a lot of money! The nice thing about doing this is that the old cover is now your perfect pattern! Just measure, pin it and make sure it's the same and sew!

Okay, go arrange your pillows please! Oh, and the same 'issue' happens with bedding sets so check that out too!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kitchen Niche Project

Here's another Before! When I designed my home, I knew I didn't want the usual wood lined niche above my refrigerator. It is expected and darker than I prefer. I pictured this area a bit fun with a burst of color. And also something that I could change around as my decor changed. So, I just had them drywall it and paint it until I could get to it. After much back and forth in my head, I have decided what it is I am going to do! I have ordered what I need and should have it in a few weeks! Lets just say, it is something I never thought I'd do again and something my husband is quite apprehensive about! Can you guess? Here is a BEFORE of my project and I can't wait to show you what I have come up with!

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What could be prettier?

Okay, my kids smiles should be my first answer I know! But besides that, I just love to look at this jar. Am I nuts? I walk past it all the time and love it when it catches my eye! I so enjoy needing to use it as I love to dig through all the tiny ribbon that makes such a huge difference when I'm creating!
I know this isn't a life altering design tip but really, if you don't love the things you have in your home, what's the point? You should look in every room and see areas that you love and that you are drawn to. I have seen many blogs where they photograph those areas and items (anything from a photo wall to flowers on a side table) and show all the pictures. Maybe I'll do that someday . . . My ribbon jar would be on the top of my list.

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Craft Supplies!

So, you buy supplies for a craft project for your child's class and have left over googly eyes. Probably a few pipe cleaners too. Then you decorate for a girl's baby shower and now have tiny pink flowers and lots of sheer pink ribbon left over. Oh, and lets not forget about the remaining teeny tiny clothes pins that were so cute holding up baby socks at the same shower. And you were nice enough to buy all the leather rope and primary colored beads for a cub scout project and they only come in 5 lbs bags! WHERE do you put all this stuff?

Years ago, I'd store it in the original bag and put it in a craft drawer. But in a rush to complete another school project, I almost always bought more googly eyes because it's just too much work to dig for the old ones! Right? Here is how I solved that problem. I think that anything can be gorgeous if you display it beautifully! All of the above mentioned items are mixed into this wall and they don't go together at all but look at how great they look!

Here are a few pointers:

-Buy many different sized containers. This wall has 4 glass containers. The big candy jar bins (4 each of 2 different sizes) hold chunky ribbons, stamp pads, stamps, beads, large tabs, handheld punches, etc. The tiny jars hold all the tiny things you end up with from brads to flowers to tacks to clips. The taller medium jars are perfect for smaller ribbons, those googly eyes, smaller tags, pins for sewing, etc. The toile bins hold things that are too tall to fit in the bins and provide a pop of color that tie into the rest of the room behind the teeny tiny jars. The basket holds scrapbooks that I've made at expos and hope to complete someday! Shelves are from .

-Make sure you buy enough containers and get some extra! In two years when you have a few more things, you want to have matching jars. If you want more and have none and they are no longer available, it will start to look junky if you start a new jar in a row of all matching jars.

-What makes this wall cohesive is that they all coordinate. All are clear glass with simple lids. They aren't all from the same container line but they still work together. Imagine if the tiny jars will all silver and contemporary looking and the medium bins were all white that look like cookie jars and the big ones were clear glass. Everything would be stored but it wouldn't look as cohesive and wouldn't have as great an impact.

-But I don't like matchy matchy, what about me? If you like the vintage look of old jars that don't match, go for it! I love that look! But there is still a trick to make it cohesive. You should make sure you have a wide assortment of different sizes and different shapes. What doesn't look as good is if you have say 10 jars that all match and then 3 or 4 that are different. Or 15 jars that are all the same tall size and 3 that are short. Varying the styles, shapes and heights so that they all are different but so that the variety is balanced makes it a cohesive collection!

-Labels. I am a bit obsessed with labels. But I didn't label my jars! Why? Creativity and art are always evolving and I don't want to be stuck with labels that are an issue to change every time I decide to add or take away an item. In a year, if I start using more brads but stop using letter stamps, I'll just switch things around instead of having to deal with label changes. Also, they are clear so the item is a "label" in itself.

This picture is what this area looks like from the side. My "office" is a little less than 7' wide but runs the entire length of the house. In it is a desk with computer, lots of cabinet storage, this craft area, my kids school display area, a window seat with a tv above it, a pantry and our mudroom. It is truly a "multipurpose" room! Just so you know what else is in this wall section, the built in below that is curtained covers 12x12 paper storage towers and more craft items that aren't as pretty (rolls of tape, kids scissors, gluesticks, etc.). The very top shelf is full of magazine bins that I have shown you in another post.

This wall is really the epitome of how to make a space PRETTY NEAT!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Family Resources

Every family needs a place to hold your reference items and my solution is a Family Resource Binder. What goes in it? Well that depends on your family. Mine has a menu section, school schedules, homemade gift ideas that I might want to use someday, a 'personal education' section where I have an article about wine and books I would like to read, vacation spots I'd like to some day visit and the list goes on.

After sorting through your clutter areas and determining what it is you are holding onto and why, I can create a custom Family Resource Binder for your family.

If I am not organizing your home but you would like one, I will gladly make one for you at a cost of $65. That includes the following: Binder, 80 pages to hold your items, custom cover where you and I will work together to select the colors that best fit your home, custom tabs that coordinate with your cover, and Content page that details the topics of your Family Resource binder. We will determine the "content page" together, based on your family's needs and you will be given a word document of that content page so that as your family changes and grows, your Family Resource Binder can as well.

You can contact me at if you would like to discuss your own Family Resource Binder.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I have readers!!!!

Wow! Welcome new readers!!! I barely know how to put up posts and hadn't even shown my mother until last night yet people are visiting! My blog was designed by Jennisa (her link is on my side thingy and she does SUCH a great job!) and I am listed as one of her designs and it seems 2 people have come and even left me comments! I have comments! :) And one of my sister's friends in Georgia said he will be following. I am now a multi-state read blog! I feel famous which I know is sad. I really have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to this so thank you for showing me what it feels like to have someone look at what I am up to! I have a web address ( but have NO idea what to do with it (so it is "parked" and is a future project) and have an email address ( but I have no idea what to do with that either! Someday, once I am not spending hours just getting the format of one blog correct, I will figure that stuff out as well as start wandering and visiting you all too, I promise.

Since it feels so great to have comments, go ahead and keep them coming! :) And if you have a decorating or organizing question or "issue", let me know and I'll do my best to come up with a project and example in the future for you!

And a special 'shout out' to Jenn who has left 2 comments and added me to blog reader! I have NO NO NO idea what that means, though I assume it alerts her that I have written something?, but it makes me feel really special! Hee hee!

Thanks for visiting and I will do my best to post things that will keep you interested! And by the way, I wrote a lot in the past without actually getting around to taking pictures of the projects that go with them. I'm recalling my Family Resource Binder, kid's paperwork area and magazine bins to name a few so give me a few weeks and then go back and check them out too if you would like to see those completed posts!

Because I really love blogs where there are lots of pictures, here is a picture of myself and some of my girlfriends at a party I had this past October. I have known them all since middle school and some much longer--Nicole (teal shirt in front) was my first friend from this group at age FIVE! Oh, the history . . . . since they are intermingled very much in my life, they will not be surprised to see themselves on my page--once I get around to giving them a link to this. :) And someday, I'll tell you more about how I made that cornice board and how I think that outdoor accessories, like the ones on the wall to the right, can easily work into your interior decor too! Oh, and that chick that looks like me in black and white--that's my twin, Kim. I'm blending into the window treatment in the very back . . .

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My first blog "After"!

I am finally ready to post after pictures of the family room I have redone. I focused on utilizing what they had as they have lots of beautiful, new furniture and accessories that they have collected in their travels. Other than buying a small side table and a large expense in silk fabric, the rest of the room was transformed through some new accessories and rearranging what they owned. Every single thing purchased has color and I'm sure you will agree that it makes a huge difference.

Here is the before:

And here is the after:

Pieces were added to maximize the tall walls. Color now gives this room life! The walls and shelves still utilize her collections while obtaining a better scale to the room. Storage solutions were found for things like magazines and remotes under the coffee table. See the green on the pillow? That's the same silk I used on their 16 foot long (yes, huge!) custom window treatment! I have never sewn anything so large--the valance weighed 40 lbs I think! You can see on the left that space was found for a massage chair from another room that the owner loves and here is a picture of that area, which also shows you one side of the window treatment.

This slider is so large with so much light coming in that a long shot has not come out yet but I'll keep working on it and am sure you can imagine how much this space has changed!!

I am still working on many other spaces but wanted to show you the progress so far!

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