Monday, March 2, 2015

sew pretty: torie jayne's stylish home sewing

I have a sewing machine, piles of pretty fabric, and trimming and buttons -- but as you may already know -- I'm a sew-a-phobe. Yep, afraid to sew. The precision frightens me away every time and sends me running for my trusty roll of fusible webbing aka Stitch Witchery. So, why did I want a copy of Torie Jayne's new book? Because!

Because Torie and I are longtime blogging friends. I adore her, I truly do. She even asked me to contribute to her first book How to Show and Sell Your Crafts. Here's pretty Torie in a feature from that book's press:

Okay, so why else would I want Torie's new book?

Because this book is as beautiful as I knew it would be. With Torie's fresh palette of seafoam, lavender and coral, details like ruffles and ball fringe, and photographs by Sussie Bell: it's a visual treat.

Because in addition to being a sewing book, it offers inventive decorating ideas like this padded headboard suspended with ties along a row of hooks. Brilliant!

Because there are projects like this rose garland that even a no-sew gal like me can handle with a glue gun.

Because with detailed instructions and a Getting Started section, maybe even I could try something like this bag for starters...

And work my way up to something like this!

{Or grab the Stitch Witchery... Or beg a friend who can sew... }

Congrats to Torie on Stylish Home Sewing and welcome to CICO Books {my publisher}!

Stylish Home Sewing by Torie Jayne, photography by Sussie Bell, is published by CICO Books. You can purchase your very own copy right here!

Thank you for reading


Friday, February 20, 2015

a do-able a-door-able makeover

We've been having quite the winter here in Rhode Island. When prepping for the last snowstorm, in addition to making sure we were stocked with comfort-food essentials, I also bought some paint.

Backstory: The door to the basement was painted in an unappealing "flesh crayon" color by the former home-owner. Back when I was refreshing this small hallway, the Hubs advised skipping the door because he needed to fix it or something. But recently I thought, "what an eye-sore," plus I wanted to install some hooks to have an accessible place to hang heavy winter coats.

Which brought me to Home Depot on the eve of a snow storm. Honestly, when I walked into the paint department, my mind was a blank canvas. First I thought of lavender but my eye was drawn to an aqua paint chip. Time was of the essence and so I just trusted this first-impression, asked the attendant to mix some up, grabbed some brushes and off I went. Minutes!

It snowed and I painted... After two coats the door looked great! When the roads were clear enough, the Hubs ran out and brought home some white paint so that I could work on the trim which was also flesh crayon.

Before packing up the paint, I covered some cans and clothespins (of course).

To finish the project, I wanted a "fun" doorknob and decided on a glass type or "Nana-style," as my grandmother had these throughout her home. Unable to find the hardware-finish I wanted in-store and impatient as always (I want this door pretty NOW!), it seemed easier to spray-paint than buy online and wait.

So I put my boots on, used a giant mound of snow as my work table, and spray-painted over the brass finish with a metallic spray.

 Not optimal conditions but it worked.

Tips: Cover the glass knob well with low-tack (painter's) tape and allow enough time to dry (24 hours).

I came across this piece at TJ Maxx and liked the shape but not the finish so with a dry foam brush, gave it a few coats of the same white interior semi-gloss paint used for the door trim.

And then like any good blogger, took advantage of the sunshine and tidied things up to take some pics.

Sure, it's the same door that still could be fixed or replaced but I'm happy with it just as it is.

And this is probably how it will look in the summertime but for now it looks more like this:

And the backdoor row of wooden hooks can be left to handle the lighter-weight accessories of winter.

On the summer project list: Paint the radiator
Paint: Echo Lake Aqua by Glidden in semi-gloss
Spray-paint: Bright Coat Metallic Finish by Rust-Oleum

I'll save sharing about my next project for another post...

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

field trip: valentine workshop with matthew mead

"Do you mind if I take a photograph of the bathroom?"

Yup, I had to ask.

Yesterday my friend Nancy and I took a road trip to Matthew Mead's studio in New Hampshire to attend one of his Valentine's workshops and yes, even the bathroom was breathtaking.

Our project was the decoupage wall plate and the skill-level was just-right for encouraging lively conversation.
I would've been happy playing tic-tac-toe because the real treat for me was to see Matthew's studio and listen to stories from his brilliant career. I met Matthew and his wife Jenny once before over the summer when they were shooting and styling around Cape Cod.

Our hosts served the most beautifully presented array of snacks including this chocolate pretzel tart from his Autumn with Matthew Mead publication (2011).

I actually said, "Matthew Mead is serving us desserts from his books!" How crazy-awesome!

As you may know, Matthew was style editor of the much-loved CountryHome magazine. I told him about my very favorite issue which featured plastic chairs slip-covered in Annette Tatum fabrics on the cover and how it inspired my playing in the backyard blog post. Turns out that was all him and he still has the slipcovers!

Some of his collections were on display by color in open shelving, from giant bowls to the teeniest vessels in vibrant greens, yellows, white and glass.

See some beautiful styling up-close...
I found myself in awe not only in his talent but inspired by his relaxed, sincere and friendly demeanor.

And of course I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other workshop attendees and making my plate.

Look for Matthew's newest publication (featuring my friend Danielle) on newsstands soon and check-in with him on Facebook to learn about upcoming workshops and events.

While we crafted, Jenny prepared heart-shaped brownies for each of us to take home. So delicious.

Happy workshop alums!

 Oh, one more pic from the bathroom...


Monday, January 26, 2015

girlie office: 2015!

Girlie Office work table, photo credit: Piper Brown Photography
Happy New Year! If you visit this blog from time to time you might know that for quite a while I've been trying to figure out how to transition my Girlie Office from cozy reading spot to working studio.

My photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
A large motivator was the new magazine Room to Create, which provided me with the unique opportunity to view my space with fresh eyes, not to mention that the issue is packed with really great ideas! One article in and I was moving furniture.

Tinkering in-action, pre-switcheroo
Okay, so first I switched the couch with the desk. Next I rotated the bookcase to be flush against the other wall and swapped the coffee table with a $35 table I went bananas over but had no place to go. I also decided it was time to get rid of the braided rug which had served its purpose and was coming undone.
photo credit: Piper Brown Photography
I bought two yards of laminated fabric from Modern June to cover my desk and of course discovered that I prefer its faded (non-laminated) flip-side, which as it turns out makes it grip to surfaces fairly well.

Always sizing up possibilities, I wondered if the stiff laminated fabric would suit my decorated roller shade idea. To test things out, a scrap is affixed to the tippity-top of the shade with a few discreet pieces of low-tack painter's tape. Love!

Then I grabbed a section of ball fringe and pinned it up, and adored the window treatment even more. I'll complete the project once my second order of laminated fabric arrives and I get some more of the trimming.
photo credit: Piper Brown Photography
The Girlie Office still needs more storage space but I'm already feeling a renewed energy and my enjoyment of tinkering on a larger scale with furnishings has been rekindled.

Wish out loud!
Which is leading me to pursue this idea for a third book. What do you think?

Tomorrow's big project? Most likely baking cookies and shoveling snow as a blizzard is expected here in Rhode Island! Hopefully there will be some tinkering time, too.

I hope your 2015 is off to a happy and healthy start. Thank you for reading!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

magazines x3 and new year's wishes

Photo credit: Piper Brown Photography
I nearly missed posting in December and I don't think I've ever skipped a month so phew... right under the wire. My good friend Morayo took this photo of me just yesterday (December 30) at our local bookseller to document my excitement over having three items on the newsstand all at once. Even though I've been fortunate enough to have things in print for a while now, it's still as exciting to me as ever (pinch!) and I'd like to share some details about each article.
Romantic Notions Make It, Romantic Homes, February 2015
The first magazine of the three to hit the shelf was the February issue of Romantic Homes. When my sister Betsy and I visited London and Paris, our trip began on Valentine's Day 2012. Betsy gave me a little surprise each day and the first one was a heart-shaped box, very similar to this one. To give a sense of how in-advance most magazines are done, I submitted this project in late summer. It's always a treat to contribute to Romantic Homes as they assemble the prettiest page designs for my images and text, and give my books a nice mention in my bio/credit.
Ticket to Ride, Cottages & Bungalows, February/March 2015
Next came Cottages & Bungalows! This "idea notebook" piece is especially exciting because it features an extraordinary piece of furniture-painting by my friend Nancy, owner of the decorative paint, vintage and interiors shop Sea Rose Cottage in Bristol, RI. Not only was I able to shine a national spotlight on Nancy's work but I pulled my friend Morayo in to take the photos. I served as stylist and writer and the three of us had a great time putting this together.

Weee! That's me in the premiere issue of Room to Create, 2015. All of my photos by Marisa Bettencourt
And last but not least (or whatever that means) is the just-out Room to Create! I am so superexcitedgiddy to be part of this and to appear alongside talents like Matthew Mead, my sweet pal Stacey from Cottage Industry and many, many more! All of the images of the Girlie Office and me were taken by my adorbs friend Marisa of M.Studios. The magazine is currently seeking people for the next issue so be sure to track it down and turn to page 14 for all the deets!

More from Room to Create
So, what's next for 2015? I have more magazine work in the pipeline which includes articles in Prairie Style magazine (BEAUTIFUL houses!), a Make It in the March issue of Romantic Homes and another in their special Romantic Gardens edition. I'm still thinking about a third book and of course I have my work as a communications consultant, too so I'm really lucky to have such a patient family that rolls along with me and my crazy schedule and non-stop ideas.

Thank you for reading!