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Ballard Designs {new for spring}

Call me so yesterday, but I like Ballard Designs and have even shopped them in the past for clients. Ballard Designs sends “to the trade” emails as a way to give us a sneak peek of new collections in advance of their next catalog release to the public. I spotted a few things you may like so of course I have to share….

Okay so there’s this green and white Miranda Bedding that looks pretty nice — it’s all Kate Spade meets John Robshaw. Well that comparison works for me. I like the elegant Elden Cocktail Ottoman with it’s curvy legs and tufted top. Imagine the design book stacking opportunities on this thing! I’m also a fan of the affordable Seagrass Pendant because it has a Scandinavian vibe to it. I imagine a few of these hovering over a long farmer’s table just like the amazing Room Redux that Victoria recently pulled together for one of her blog readers right here. The Madeira Rug is another fave, great pattern — you notice it but it doesn’t dominate or battle with other patterns in a space.

(images from ballard designs)

Posted in bedroom, flooring, furniture, lighting, textiles on February 28, 2008

The Koko Company

The Koko Company just launched their colorful bedding and fantastic plastic floor mat collection over at 2Modern. Just in time for Spring, their collection flaunts lots of fuchsia, chartreuse, and all the hot colors you’re currently seeing in home design and on the runway, and bonus: lots of Asian influence here that is totally on trend and affordable. Enjoy!

(images from 2modern)

Posted in textiles on February 28, 2008

Repro Depot {new arrivals}

Fabric! It’s constantly on my mind because there is just so much that you can do with it, especially with all the fun patterns that are available out there, affordable sewing classes, online tutorials, informative bloggers who sew and share… It’s a great hobby to take up. I haven’t heard much in blogland about Repro Depot lately so I thought I’d highlight a few of their new arrivals, particularly the elevator keys in yellow or purple.

Tips: The elevator buttons to cover an inspiration board,
the cane for a chair or bench, the paisley to trim a white duvet…

If you would like to learn how to sew but think you’re not talented enough (something readers express to me very often) then I think it’s time you embrace your amazingness because girl, you can sew — I just know it! Maybe you are stressing yourself out for no reason. Sewing is not rocket science, it’s pretty easy once you learn the basics and it can be a lot of fun once you start pumping out product. You know what helped me get over my fear of sewing? I can often expect perfection out of myself and you know what? Expecting perfection is the best way to kill creativity. So I decided to roll with it and start off small with pillow covers and such. Then I advanced to drapes. Then quilts, which I must admit I’m not as patient with the quilting process. I found what fits my personality best – projects that take no more than a day so I can reap insta-rewards. I’m not into projects that take weeks or months because I lose interest and it ends up in my TBC pile. To Be Continued. It should be called my RIP, or Rest In Peace, pile because once things end up there I rarely complete them. So for me, quick projects work best.

Another thing that helped me to see the importance of sewing is to view it as I do cooking. What motivates a person to prepare dinner? Outside of the pleasure of creating with your own hands, making others feel happy and cared about, and the self-esteem boost you get when you taste your delicious dish, you cook for a very basic reason: you need to feed yourself to survive. Eating is an important part of life. And what does any new cook do to learn how to prepare a meal? If you didn’t learn from your family then you’ll need to train yourself. First, buy kitchen appliances and tools and learn what they are capable of, then you purchase supplies (food, spices, etc.), grab a cookbook, watch cooking shows, buy books, etc. Then you practice, practice, practice! You will burn things and some of your cookies will taste like wallpaper plaster, but you press forward and ultimately, you’ll whip up some great meals and even start to learn what you enjoy cooking more (casseroles, gourmet, baking, basic meals, etc.). It’s the same with sewing. You’re bound to mess up at first, but over time you’ll start to produce things that will make you feel very proud of yourself. You’ll start to see where your strengths lie (maybe you do really well with pillows and blankets, but find box cushions a nightmare).

Once you convince yourself that you should make sewing a part of your life just as you have with meal preparation, you’ll be able to motivate yourself to carve out time to learn it. I was lucky, my mother sews very well and taught me a lot when I was a child and when I’m stuck now, I just call her and she’ll walk me through it. Years ago, women made clothes for the family and repaired them as needed. Women made everything, from cheese to butter, to blankets and aprons. This was long before Made in China and the Gap. Nowadays, between take-out meals and Target, we no longer need to create things for ourselves. It’s kind of sad if you think about it. My mother made all of my clothes before I insisted on wearing what only kids flaunted in school — Levis, Jordache, Chic, and Izod. And how can I forget the Members Only jacket that I had to have. My mom also made our drapes, shower curtains, shades, clothes for my dolls, pillows, she loved to decorate and frequently changed the decor in our home with fabric. When I have children someday, I’d love for them to be able to look back and say that I taught them how to sew. Even my husband can sew, thanks to his mother. He recently repaired a hole in a vintage wool coat and added new buttons to a shirt – simple things but to pay a tailor to do it would have taken time (driving to/from the shop) and money (paying to have the work done).

That’s why I support the handmade movement — we can buy handmade but we can also learn to make our own things, it’s inspiring! Plus I think it’s just good that we learn the basics as women — cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc. because our families appreciate our work and it’s what makes us so special as women I think, that crafty ability we seem to be born naturals at. Of course men can be crafty to (look at Christian on Project Runway, he can out sew any girl!), but how cool is it as ladies to be able to kick butt in the office and at home. Plus it saves us money to make some of our own stuff and gives us a huge dose of joy because there’s nothing more exhilarating than to step back and view a homemade meal or a completed sewing project. What a burst of self-esteem. And with blogs, flickr, and all these terrific online communities, you can share what you’ve made with others which will motivate you to keep at it.

So with that, I’m going to take up sewing again. I’ve put my machine away for the past 6 weeks and I’m starting to feel a need to sew up a little something again before Spring, as I’m rarely indoors once the weather is nice. Anyone want to sew a little something up too? Refresh your sofa with new pillows for Spring, add a table runner to the credenza, linens to your table — these projects are all relatively easy so why not decide on something and give it a whirl, girl?

(images from repro depot)

Posted in textiles on February 25, 2008

Blissliving {bedding}

Pamela wrote in today from the online bedding boutique Pillows and Throws to tell me about some of the latest contemporary floral patterns from Blissliving. I receive lots of emails asking for bedding suggestions so if you’re looking for a good resource on the web you’ll want to bookmark Pillows and Throws. In addition to Blissliving, they also carry bedding from Inhabit, Jonathan Adler, Koko Company, Denyse Schmidt Designs, Unison, Plush Living, In-Fusions, and Twinkle Living plus shipping over $100 is free.

For more bedding resources, click here.

Thank you Pamela for the tip!

(images from pillows and throws)

Posted in textiles on February 21, 2008

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

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