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DIY, Events + Markets

Flea Marketing: Plan Your Attack

April 25, 2008

With the weekend ahead I’m certain that some of you are planning to hit a few flea markets. Time to plan your attack! I’m quite pleased that it’s about time for my annual trip to the Brimfield Flea Market May 13 – 18 in Brimfield, MA. I found my handmade guide to Brimfield from ’07, it’s this system I create and follow each year because it keeps me on track since this is one gigantic show. I need to get started on the ’08 version for next month’s visit.

Why do I bother? At one time, I would attend huge fleas without a game plan and always purchased things I didn’t need, that didn’t work in my home (size, color, etc.), or none of the above — I left empty handed because I felt overwhelmed with options so I didn’t buy a single thing. Then I got smart and started making these little guides for myself so I could chart my course. Here’s what I do:

Flea Marketing: Plan Your Attack Pack supplies: I carry in a large tote some sunscreen, bottled water, a snack bar, almonds, glasses, a hat, my guide, and a smaller zippered pouch (shown above) that holds scissors, pens, pencils, a tiny notebook, a few of my business cards, a few spare ziploc bags (for storing parts that may come with a piece, like screws), measuring tape, fabric swatches I’m looking to match, and paint swatches.) In my car, I have rope and a few screwdrivers just in case. I also bring with me measurements of current spaces I’m looking to fill. Let’s say I need a dresser and I have a very specific place for it. I will measure the space in my home and note it so when I find something I want at the flea market, I can measure it to see if it will fit.

Flea Marketing: Plan Your AttackMake a binder: Grab a bunch of clear page inserts and instead of putting them in a binder, tie them together with ribbon (make knots). I do this because it’s much lighter to carry around in my tote and I can roll it up if I need to. In it, I carry fabric swatches, paint swatches, floor plans, measurements, clippings from magazines of things I’m looking for, etc. All of this keeps my EYE ON THE BALL. I don’t get overwhelmed or confused. I know the exact red I’m looking for, or the pattern I’m trying to find, etc. There’s no guess work. I make purchases that I’m confident in thanks to my handy guide.

Flea Marketing: Plan Your AttackChart your course. I download the various maps from the Brimfield website and highlight the vendors that I want to visit, writing down their name, booth number, and quick notes (what they sell, contact name, etc.). I number them in order of importance so I’m sure not to miss the vendors that I really want to see. You can use their database online to search for vendors that carry what you’re looking for. Let’s say you’re into McCoy. Click here, search for McCoy under Items Exhibited, click Search and you’ll see that two vendors carry McCoy items along with their location. Look for them on your map and highlight their booths so once you arrive, you know where to look first. I also note the time that the show begins, as the flea market contains several fields each with their own opening times.

Tip: Don’t forget a rolling cart! I regret not bringing one last year! You can buy them at a few locations on the fairgrounds for around $40 but they sell out quite fast so bring your own if you can.

Have fun at the fleas this Spring/Summer! Oh and if you’re looking for some flea market inspiration, the Raised in Cotton blog and the Junk Market Girls website are great places to start. And here’s a handy guide I wrote on How To Find Flea Markets and Indie Craft Fairs.

(images from holly becker for decor8)

DIY

Dress Forms as Decor

April 24, 2008

Back in February we discussed using dress forms in the home for both practical purposes (sewing of course) and for displaying favorite items as more of a decorative element. I was pleasantly surprised when an email arrived today from decor8 reader Cathe Holden of Home Grown Logos who wanted to share her newly created dress-form-as-decor with us. Yay! DIY done right!

Dress Forms as Decor
You can view her entire DIY project from start to finish right here, the finished product is shown above. Lovely job, Cathe!

(images from cathe holden)

DIY, Inspiration, Objects

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}

April 4, 2008

Time for a little Bemz-spiration.I’ve talked about Bemz a few times here, they carry slipcovers that fit IKEA sofas and chairs so that you can customize your IKEA finds turning them into something more personalized. They just launched a section on their site called “Lifestyles” where you can view different collections of Bemz’ fabrics in real homes. Seeing some of their fabrics living in a real environment is really helpful. Currently there are 6 Bemz Lifestyles and more will follow later this year.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*} This is my favorite of all the rooms. I’d have a little more in this space (a rug, a few chairs, etc.), but I really the cool colors and the mixing of florals with stripes in a way that looks very stylish, like a fashion designer would live here.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}
I found their break down of the various styles they’re trying to mimic helpful since we often try to define our look to friends and don’t know what to call it, there are so many styles and definitions floating around. As I look at these definitions along with the Bemz images I realize that they are based purely from a Scandinavian perspective, as they’re Stockholm-based and this is their own take on these looks. In other words, I don’t think Country Romance or Downtown really looks like the typical country or downtown style that we’d see here in America.

Fun exercise: As you read through their definitions below, examine the images shown as examples and consider how each style would be interpreted in your part of the world.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}
1. Bohemian Chic – Aimed at people who love combining old and new to add unexpected contrasts to their home. This Lifestyle employs a palette of dark, intimate colors, with elements of brown, mauve, black and pink.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}
2. Country Romance – Is Bemz’s modern interpretation of a delightful past: elegant and graceful, romantic and playful, while not coming across as cute. Shades of white anchor this Lifestyle, thoughtfully blended with pale pastels, gentle florals and muted checks.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*} 3. Downtown – This look pays tribute to city slickers, people who are energized by the skyscrapers and pulse of a big city. Downtown draws from an urban palette of black, grey and white, combined with discrete patterns and bright accent colors.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}4. Nordic Home – Embodies a clean, simple and harmonious backdrop for the changing seasons that can be highlighted with materials such as cushions and curtains. This 5. Lifestyle features some of Bemz’ distinctive Scandinavian patterns.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}5. Playground – For those homes where the walls are white and it’s the furniture and art projects that add color. Red, green, orange, blue and black are combined with strong graphic patterns and bold horizontal and vertical stripes.

Bemz {*New Lifestyles*}
6. Swedish Grace – Features clean lines, natural shapes and understated tones, inspired by a legacy of classic 50s Scandinavian design.

How would you define your style?

(images from bemz)

DIY, Objects, Rooms

Rapture and Wright {fabric + wallpaper}

March 10, 2008

I’m always looking for new fabric and wallpaper so the second I came across this photo in the March issue of Livingetc magazine, I had to learn more about the headboard. The fabric is called Birds and Butterflies and is hand printed by Rapture and Wright, a company based in the UK that I’d not heard of before.

Rapture and Wright {fabric + wallpaper} Rapture and Wright {fabric + wallpaper}
The headboard itself is custom made by The Dormy House, but I can’t stop thinking about how easy it would be to DIY this idea with plywood (or an old door), cotton batting, your favorite fabric, a staple gun, and some mounting hardware for the wall (easy video here on You Tube). It’s also amazing to me just how great this particular print looks in person as I don’t think I would have given it a second glance if only seen on their website. Livingetc really grabbed my attention with birds and butterflies – I love the serene neutral space with a pop of black and yellow. Heaven!

(most images from Rapture and Rright, photograph taken of the March 08 issue of Livingetc by Holly Becker for decor8. Photographer: Penny Wincer. Room styled by Melanie Molesworth.)

DIY

Whimsy Press (eco gift wrap)

March 4, 2008

Gift wrap has a wide range of uses that goes far beyond gift giving. You can use it to create tags and labels for canisters and storage boxes (use a craft punch and affix it to card stock so it doesn’t curl), line your drawers, incorporate into your art work, decoupage a pencil holder, flower pot, even wood furniture, frame your favorite pieces as art, lay your favorite pattern beneath a sheet of glass on your desk (alternate it each month with a new print), ideas for it really are endless! Have you shopped Whimsy Press lately for gift wrap? Need motivation? Cupcakes and bird motifs!

Whimsy Press (eco gift wrap)Whimsy Press (eco gift wrap)
They’ve just added some new prints that I spotted on HWTM, their gift wrap sheets are FSC certified paper and contain 30% post consumer fiber so they’re pretty and eco-friendly. Whimsy Press has added new products in addition to their extensive (and beautiful) collection of wrapping paper to include wall art, placemats, stickers, and much more.

Whimsy Press (eco gift wrap) Need some visual inspiration? Use wrapping paper to whip up this project from Martha Stewart, it’s one of my favorites on her site.

(images from whimsy press)

DIY, Objects, Shopping + Products, Travel

Furniture Spruce Up by Turquoise LA

March 4, 2008

Photos and Text by: Vanessa De Vargas, Turquoise LA Interior Design and Showroom.

I thought it would be fun to show off some of my before and afters to all of you here on decor8. Most of these pieces have been completely redone with new lacquer and new upholstery. Most of my inspiration comes from viewing old 1950 and 1960’s Better Homes and Gardens Books and Magazines to see how best I can replicate it from that era.

Furniture Spruce Up by Turquoise LAFurniture Spruce Up by Turquoise LA
The 1930’s side chairs upholstered (above) in red have actually been redone “green”. The chairs are painted with NO VOC paint, and the batting is 100% certified organic cotton, which means no chemicals were used in treating the cotton. The stuffing or foam, is actually recycled denim mostly used for insulation of homes. The upholstery is from the 1960’s which is recycled.

Most of the inventory for my store is painted in black or white, but I have painted items in kelly green or Chinese red, it all depends on what I feel would look the best for the item and what would appeal to my customers.

Furniture Spruce Up by Turquoise LAFurniture Spruce Up by Turquoise LAFurniture Spruce Up by Turquoise LA
I also offer a lacquer service from my store, so if clients bring in a piece I can custom lacquer it to any color from a fan deck and customize it to their liking. My lacquering service runs between $150-$250 for chairs depending on labor. If you are interested in having a piece redone and would like a quote, please send in pictures with the measurements to turquoise.la AT gmail.com

(images from turquoise la)

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