Monday, October 13, 2014

bewitching switches

As I always say, with simple substitutions all of my projects can be made to look very different. So to prepare for an upcoming book signing and Halloween tinkering event at a Barnes & Noble I thought, why re-invent the wheel? Let's make projects from my first book Tinkered Treasures but use a different palette.

I began by gathering favorite materials such as bakers twine, millinery forget-me-nots and paint chips, along with pretty papers of course, but in shades of orange, gray and black over my usual yellow, pink and aqua.

I decided to revisit a few projects that seemed especially suited to Halloween, like these pretty favor boxes tinkered from paint chips.

See! Not scary at all and ready to hold all kinds of small tricks or treats!

Use printed text to alter the pretty clothespins project...

into handy holders with holiday messages. Try a fun font at about 14 point, print-out and see how it lines up on the clothespin. You might need to do a few tests. Once you have the sizing you like, just affix with glue stick and trim to fit! Finish with a light coat of decoupage medium (or not) and let dry.

And add a little pumpkin spice to your October 31st with the cupcake flags and bunting project in the colors of Halloween.

Leave it to Lecien to have a pretty floral fabric with an orange background!

If you're in the area, stop on by to make the favor boxes with me. I may use this event as an excuse to buy that tutu I've always wanted!

{If your Barnes & Noble doesn't have my books on the shelf, just ask at the Information Desk and they can easily order them from the warehouse, or order online here or from your favorite bookseller.}

Happy October wishes!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

the couch stays

Thanks for all the lovely ideas for the Girlie Office! I came to the following conclusions:
- I want to keep the couch
- I need storage
- I like working at a table
That's me... pondering... Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
This morning I headed to Ikea to get ideas and walked away with this thought after seeing two KALLAX shelving units back-to-back on display:

Buy two white (or pink?) shelving units and position as shown above to create not only ample storage for books, magazines and craft items, but a sturdy work area. Unify the pieces by covering the top or entire exterior with oilcloth fabric. Perhaps add this pink SNILLE swivel chair to skooch around in.

I'm not always big on bird and butterfly motifs but keep coming back to the just-above pattern from Dotty Brown. It's the roses! They are so lovely and I'm a big fan of tone-on-tone and like the varying shades of pinks.

Keeping it real, peeps!
So what's not making the cut? I think the coffee table is going to take up residence in the basement. My plan is to (1) remove all furnishings; (2) position the couch and the shelving-as-tables and see whatever else fits in comfortably. The painted chair will stay. The wall color will stay. The curtains and chandelier will stay.

More pretty oilcloth considerations all from Dotty Brown. {Please ship to the U.S.!}

Which oilcloth pattern do you like best? I'm already changing my mind from A to E. Stay tuned!

Thank you for visiting!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

girlie office: 2.0?

I love my "Girlie Office."

It's the first room I tackled, decorated, wrote about.

It once looked like this

and then like this...

but soon I switched-out paisley for posies and it's pretty much looked like this for a while.

It's light and breezy and filled with tinkered treasures

When I'm working on projects, it looks like this

but when I'm writing, I try to keep it looking like this.

Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
It's a sunny, small first-floor bedroom with one closet with a curtain instead of a door. It has a supercomfy yellow couch, an aqua crackle-painted coffee table, a striped and decoupaged vanity, a small yellow chest of three drawers (one of which is being used as a desk hutch), a desk, a small cabinet and a tall bookcase.

Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
As much as I adore it, I am feeling the need to streamline and turn it into a better creative workspace.

I've been thinking about making some changes for a while but I love the comfy couch (have I said that already?) and am sentimental about the furniture that I've painted.

Imaging something like this holding a desk top? Source
So, I'm leafing through magazines and poking around Pinterest for ideas. My sister-in-law Meridith suggests removing the couch and building a work table over short shelving units. Sounds great but I'm like, "But I love napping on the couch!"

Love a picnic table indoors! Source
Then I wonder, should there be a large table in the center of the room

or along the wall like a counter? If I were asked to advise on someone else's space, I feel like I would have so many ideas but am finding it difficult to be objective and insightful on the re-thinking of my own studio.

So I'm putting this out there for all of your brilliant minds. Any suggestions for GirlieOffice 2.0?

Thank you and I'm looking forward to reading your comments!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

my "favorites" in romantic homes

Back in April when summertime was barely a thought, I was offered the chance to share some of my favorite things for the September issue of Romantic Homes.

How fun it was to assemble this list and use it as an opportunity to shine a national spotlight on some favorite sellers. Even though September just began this issue has been on newsstands for a few weeks and will soon be replaced with October. {Boo.}

Consider this post a handy online companion piece with a longer shelf-life and links:

Click to enlarge







And just for fun here a few items that didn't make the cut for one reason or another ...

This pretty little city is filled with unique shops, cool cafes and a vibrant collegiate atmosphere, there’s even a bonfire installation along the rivers of the downtown area.

An aromatic mix of chocolate, vanilla and sandalwood is exhilarating to wear when the weather gets wonderfully brisk!
I have started a collection of these small swatches of luxury. Too exquisite to use for say a spaghetti dinner, perhaps I’ll knot them together into a bunting or frame them!

Quite possibly the most perfect drink. Inexpensive, refreshing, tasty and almost-everything-free! 

The September issue also features my wallpapered blinds tutorial:

Gee, should I pick up a few more issues?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

backyard meets seaside signed copy giveaway

It doesn't hurt to ask. The worst they can say is no. I thank my dad for that nugget of wisdom which seems to serve as my M.O. So when I got the crazy idea to approach Matthew Mead the celebrated stylist, writer, author, photographer, lifestyle editor and noted style expert with the idea to cross-promote our summer-themed books, I simply took a deep breath and figured: what's the worst he can say?

Not only did Matthew reply instantly but with the added suggestion to meet! A few weeks later he and his wife Jenny needed to be on Cape Cod (about :90 from me) and so we planned to have lunch at Sandwich's sandwichery Cafe Chew. Over delicious avocado BLTs on croissants we shared stories and laughs, and over an oatmeal raisin cookie hatched a plan to simultaneously host giveaways of signed copies of each other's recent books.

Matthew Mead's Backyard Style is an testament to the value of the printed page. While I enjoy scrolling around online as much as anyone, this book is a real hands-on treat for the senses. The paper is lovely, the design and typefaces are wonderful, but holy moly, the gorgeous depth of the photography captures every nuance from glistening fruit to glowing fairy lights to the soft petals of roses. And the ideas presented which range from crafts to decor to food are executed so beautifully with instructions that make them all appear very do-able. Spoiler alert: if you're a fan of hydrangeas, you're going to go nuts!
Matthew's post

Giveaway Details
To enter simply post about our contest on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your blog) with a link back to us for tracking purposes. Matthew and I will each pick one lucky winner after Labor Day with a drawing to be announced on 9/2/14.
Matthew's winner will receive a signed copy of Seaside Tinkered Treasures
My winner will receive a signed copy of Matthew Mead's Backyard Style

Best of luck and enjoy a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!


after sorting through comments and shares here and on facebook, twitter and instagram, the winner has been selected and announced and tagged on facebook. thank you for participating!  xo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

late summer blog tour: seaside tinkered treasures

Photo from Syl loves Elyse's tinkered treasures
Okay, so in my recent e-newsletter I referred to August as "the Sunday of summer" but the season ain't over yet and a second wave of a seaside tinkered treasures blog book tour is just beginning! My publisher has assembled an international list of creative bloggers who will be sharing reviews and more!

Here is the list of blogs that are part of the tour:

The classic surf film The Endless Summer was the image-inspiration for the tour badge I created
Warmest thanks to both CICO Books for putting this all together and to all my lovely tour hosts!

Want to summon a bit of summer right anytime? Click below, sniff a bottle of suntan lotion and close your eyes ...


Find earlier blogger book reviews and more here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

seaside tinkered treasures giveaway

How's your summer going? I have been super busy doing my part to support seaside tinkered treasures with book events and shop visits. I've already done a bunch and am continually adding dates.

Unless you are a bestselling novelist, being an author can very much be a labor of love and so the support of readers is important, helpful and most of all, appreciated. Here is a link to a great post called How to Support an Author's New Book that lists 11 ideas to consider doing for any favorite book and/or author.

giveaway deets
I am giving away a signed copy of seaside tinkered treasures. To enter simply leave a comment on this very post. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on August 8, 2014.

be a treasured marketing elf
To gain additional contest entries I ask that you please help me to promote my work by doing any or all of the following:
Follow my blog  :)
Like my page on Facebook: Click here
Follow me on Twitter: Click here
Follow my page on Pinterest: Click here
Follow my page on Instagram: Click here
Subscribe to my free e-newsletter: Click here
Do anything to help promote my book(s) and leave a comment letting me know. Some examples:
I told my friends
I asked my local bookstore to carry it
I asked my library to order it

Thank you so much for all of the support!

Again, a winner will be posted at this blog on August 8, 2014.


*** update ***

Hello! Using a winner has been chosen: Rebecca (at comment 3)! Please contact me at elysemajor(at)gmail(dot)org with your mailing address. 

Thank you to everyone for your sweet wishes and comments, support and kindness!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

shanty chic

All of the beautiful images for Seaside Tinkered Treasures were done by a brilliant team assembled by my publisher: stylist Nel Haynes and photograper Claire Richardson (who I sadly just learned passed away recently; link to fundraising campaign).  :(

In an email, Nel let me know that much of the book was shot over "very happy, if busy, two days at The Battery in Seasalter - it's a very special location and when you shoot in a good space things tend to go right!"

TINKERING RUSTIC RECYCLABLES: Shopping Bag Bunting and Sandcastle Flags
I'd like to share an excerpt from my first draft of the book's introduction. (Note the different title)

For as long as I can remember I have been smitten with beach cottages -- not opulent new-construction houses with tall views of the ocean but the old, un-winterized types furnished frugally with simple odds and ends. Small, modest places that conjure images of beds made with floral sheets soft and faded from years of use, where sun-bleached towels hang by the back door on a row of weathered hooks, and woven baskets hang at the ready to serve blueberry muffins when not adding rustic charm to walls.

Like many, I have fond memories of summertime that I summon for warmth and peace on cooler, busier days: mental snapshots of striped umbrellas dotting stretches of beachfront, lunches laced with gritty sand despite best efforts, and inexpensive roadside souvenirs fashioned from sea shells.

Welcome to Summer Treasury, my second craft book which builds upon the premise of Tinkered Treasures of tinkering wonderful somethings from everyday nothings. Consider this a sort of guidebook for a never-ending summer camp. Most materials are things you either might already have or are not difficult to find (because what fun is that?) and projects are easy to make.

Whether you have fresh sand in your sneakers or snow caked beneath your boots, the projects in Summer Treasury aim to become prized souvenirs of sunny, happy times spent creating.

In a nutshell (or clam shell) this is what I like to call Shanty Chic.

Happy summer tinkering!


Available at all good booksellers