Friday, October 28, 2011

Random thoughts about blue

1. Blue and animal print look good together. (Note far right above and center below.)

2. The Novogratz and I both scatter solid throw pillows in shades of blue, the difference being that the Novogratz apparently settled on actual pillows whereas I was draping pieces of fabric in imaginary pillow shapes for hours.

2b. And the Novogratz were working in this space.

2c. And this was just an excuse to use the phrase 'the Novogratz and I' in a blog post.

Images: Elle Decor; via Full House; Elle Decor Spain via Design Elements.

Vera Bradley giveaway reminder

Last chance for the Vera Bradley giveaway.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


A few pics from our trip upstate with family. The last two are from the Culinary Institute of America. (No photos of food. Just myopic shots of flowers.)

No tree stumps were obtained.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My DIY: How to take in the sides of a top

Refashioning has been a tar pit for me. I used to spend all kinds of time thrashing around until my dream of inexpensive cutely fitted items sunk out of sight.

But my slipcover project must have burned some new synapse in my brain. Pin seam after pin seam has taught me that the human body is nothing more than an oddly shaped cushion. Thus, above you see my first successful alteration -a resized thrift store cardigan.

The secret - unleashing the power of the straight pin.

We start simple here with a top that already fits in the shoulders. (Unfortunately I don't have a "before" photo to indicate its former voluminous size elsewhere.) We will tackle the scary world of shoulders another time.

Button the sweater up, turn it inside out and pin the sides to a size that fits you. To save some pinning time, I sometimes start by laying a top that already fits over the larger top. I use the smaller top as a pattern and pin my sides accordingly.

My pin line is indicated in pink. Note that you can't just stop at the sides. Continue into the sleeve, then gradually angle back into your original seam.

Try the top on inside out and adjust your pins if needed. You don't want your buttons straining (too tight) or your sides droopy (too loose). Use a measuring tape to check that you are taking it in the same amount on both sides. Take your time with the pinning. Get it right before you sew.

Here you see my seam. I used a long straight stitch. There are special stitches for stretchy fabric, but I have not gone there yet. My straight stitch worked fine.

Notice that the new seam goes basically parallel to the old seam. Don't get too curvy. Your top will stretch around you anyway.

Here you see the seam gradually joining the original seam in the arm. Sew your new seam all the way to the end of the sleeve, right over top the original seam.

You want the edges of your fabric to match up. Here I'm a little off.

Then, if you're not lame, you trim your seams and finish the edges with an overlock or zigzag stitch.

Or you leave them as is because they look and feel OK and nobody would know if you hadn't posted an inside out photo of your cardigan on your blog.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A peek at the neighbors

They always have the best stuff in their pot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DIY Lucite cuffs and rope necklace

Make DIY Lucite cuffs by melting plastic in the oven with Love Aesthetics.

Make Lucite and gold cuffs from a plastic tube and a toy lizard with Glitter N' Glue.

Make a DIY Anthro rope necklace with Thanks I Made It.

Monday, October 17, 2011

DIY rope bracelets

All of the rope bracelets pictured here from Miansai and Roarke (and appearing in the latest issue of Elle) will run you $55 to $100 a piece.

You can so totally do these.

The one above is a square knot. Get a tutorial from Elizabeth Abernathy. (She was way in front of this trend.)

The next two are braids. I know you've got this covered already.

If you like, though, you can get a similar look by handweaving strips of jersey (you can cut up a t-shirt) with a tutorial by Vanessa Christenson.

And for this last one, don't even go out and buy the latches. You can get them off thrift store purses.

Which one would you make? Have you seen some you like even better?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Still inspired

One of the fun things about tidying up is finding old magazines in your stash, opening the pages and discovering that your taste has not changed a bit in six years.

This is the East Hampton's home of Donna Karan, designed by Bonetti Kozerski, who also did a bunch of the furniture.

Karan's "spa house" was featured in the February 2005 issue of (the now defunct) House & Garden.

I would still take this place in a hot sauna second.

Lest you think it's not possible to duplicate such a look in your own spa-home-to-be, note the white back cushions paired with the black and white striped seat cushions in the next photo.

I apologize in advance for showing you yet another photo of my sofa, but check out the striped seat with the white cushions.

OK, that was a stretch.

Not so much of a stretch is the artwork in the dining room, featured only in House & Garden (I could not find an image online.) It's by Karan's late husband Stephan Weiss.

It looked so familiar because I had knocked it off years ago.

A mini version is part of my permanent floor gallery.

This home also explains my six-year yearning for some tree stumps for DIY side tables.

I'm going upstate in two weeks. They have trees up there.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vera Bradley giveaway

Time for a little reader appreciation. I'm giving away a Vera Bradley wallet clutch in nice autumn shades. To enter, just be a follower and leave a comment below. Your chances are very good.

If you are Irish, give yourself a second entry.

If you are Irish AND have a whimsical blog about home design and Welsh cakes, by all means enter again.

If you are having a challenging day in any way (regardless of nationality), enter again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You know you've lost your mind when

Your spouse is working late and instead of reading enlightening material or learning to play the violin, you try out various potential throw pillow arrangements over and over and over . . .

. . . and over and over . . .

. . . and over and over . . .

Please tell me I'm not the only one.