Tuesday, April 15, 2014

exterior illumination!

A few things you may not know about me:
1) I'm fickle. Exhibit A.
2) I need to be inspired before embarking on a project but once I am, there's no stopping me. Exhibit B.
3) For as long as I've lived in my house I haven't truly figured out what to do with the exterior Exhibit C to give it a more cottage quality.


After years of seeking advice on my blog and offline, declaring color choices and then reconsidering, it finally all came together the other day after seeing a white door on a similarly colored house. I decided to just go for it and paint the front door white. {What's the worst that could happen, right? Right!}

Unplanned Reflecto-Selfy
'Twas a bit of a hack job because in theory this old door will be replaced at some point and so all I did was clean the door well with 90-something-percent rubbing alcohol; no scraping (tsk), no sanding (tsk), just two good coats of paint. In another cost-saving measure, I spray-painted the brassy mail slot shiny silver rather than spend $40 on a new one.

Then came more ideas! I found outdoor lighting fixtures and finally have shutters in mind.

Note that steps have been painted with lattice added. Hydrangeas have replaced wonky shrubs where illustrated.
I went through my cottage + curb board on Pinterest and realized that I needed to create a collage to sort my thoughts and so I assembled a few at Picmonkey.com. The collages illustrate things that exist such as the flowering plants (thank you, previous owners), things on my to-do list (order shutters, install lights), and wish list items (picket fence with roses, stone path).

Click image to enlarge

The process of creating these collages is very helpful to me in gathering and sorting things in a very visual way. In fact since I created the above collage yesterday, I've changed my mind about the backdoor color to ...

From Cath, natch
See. Told you I was fickle.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

interview (and selfies) with selina lake

Book Selfies (Shelfies?) with Selina
As soon as I found out that stylist and author Selina Lake’s latest (and fifth!) book was completed, like an eager student raising their hand I emailed our shared publisher to request a review copy. Selina Lake Outdoor Living arrived the other day and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the last patches of snow melted away I find myself out of hibernation and staring at my muddy backyard daydreaming of ways to make it pretty on the cheap.
Selina's brilliant new book demonstrates how to decorate natural settings as you would an indoor space but unlike so many publications, there’s no fancy fire pit feature or illuminated in-ground pool, instead there are picnic tables covered in florals and jam jars bursting with posies; there are pillows and tee-pees and buckets filled with floating candles and flowers. It’s all very practical and impractical and brilliant! And as with all of Selina’s books, there are signature pops of her rosy pinks, vintage floral prints and china, and a feeling of spontaneity.

Selina Lake Outdoor Living
Okay, enough of my sincere gushing, let’s chat with Selina …

Hello, Selina! This book is extraordinarily beautiful. I love how you show such pretty outdoor living spaces but the best part is that it’s all very do-able. You’re throwing scalloped muslin across a picnic table, decorating SHACKS with floral prints and bunting, and floating candles and flowers in buckets. I can do that! So what comes first? The location or the idea? For example: the mustard-colored velvet chair in a field of buttercups – this sound like poetry! – what came first? The chair? The location? Or is it all very organic and just happens?  
Thank you so much. I’m delighted you're enjoying my new book. I like to create achievable style on a budget and make my ideas accessible as well as hopefully aspirational. Before photographer Debi Treloar and I started shooting the book I spent quite a bit of time researching and thinking up ideas. I knew I wanted to include some wildflower meadows in the book as I just love them -- for me they are the ultimate in outdoor whimsical locations and although not everyone has access to their own meadow perhaps you could take some of the ideas to implement in your own garden -- like leaving an area to grow slightly wild. I’m also a fan of the ‘Indoor Outdoor’ trend of taking typical indoor furniture outside to be used and enjoyed on a sunny day. 
So how did I find this particular buttercup field to shoot in? I put a shout-out via Facebook and one of my followers Sarah from Sarah-Jane Down the Lane blog got in touch to say she’d love it if I came to her buttercup field situated in the Kent countryside and of course I jumped at the chance. As soon as the meadow location was booked, I set about sourcing all the props I was going to need to create the dining space in the meadow. I bought mix and match dining chairs from my local furniture charity shop and gathered fresh flowers from my local florist and picked sweet peas, peonies and lilacs from my own garden. I was also on the hunt for a velvet vintage armchair as I had a vision of placing it in the middle of the wild flowers with a beautiful floral bouquet resting on the seat. I spoke to Sarah again a few days before the shoot to double check we were still good to go and I mentioned I was looking for an armchair to use and she said she already had the most perfect old mustard velvet one which I was welcome to use. So that floral armchair shot came together a few days before the shoot and I’m so happy with the outcome! 

Selina Lake Outdoor Living
Was planning difficult for an all-outdoor book or did you just roll with it and pack the Wellies? Any funny stories?   
Before we started shooting we were slightly worried the weather might not be on our side all the time (summertime in Britain is notoriously unpredictable) so when I was booking the shoot locations we kept dates fairly loose and penciled in a couple of days on either side so we could keep flexible. Having said that, last summer was actually one of the best on record for the UK and we enjoyed absolutely glorious sunny and dry days. We had to keep reapplying our sunscreen!

When we met last February, I recall you sharing that you would be writing the text yourself for this book and I want to let you know that it’s wonderful! It’s such a pleasant read – very charming and conversational, beautiful word choices (abundance, dappled – I’m such a nerd). Did you enjoy the process of writing?
Tea and books
Ah thanks! I was slightly nervous about the writing process beforehand even though I write features and shopping pages to accompany my styled features for magazines, writing a whole book was something else! I’m also dyslexic so I was worried I would make loads of mistakes. I wanted to keep the style of text quite chatty as if I was having a chat with the reader about my ideas. Although styling and creating the images is my first love I did really enjoying the writing once I got into it. I also had a really helpful editor Nathan, who corrected my grammar/ spelling mistakes.

Selina Lake Outdoor Living
The layout of the book is very fun. I love the almost scrapbook feel with “I heart” notes and images set in Polaroid frames with scribbled captions. How did the layout come to be?
Thanks, yes I wanted it to have a scrapbook feel and for the font to have a handwritten quality to match my style of writing. I shared my ideas with the book designer Barbara Zuniga, and she came up with the finished design.
My backyard
Okay, last question. My backyard abuts a wooded area and we don’t have a fence but I want to create some kind of delineated area but I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions? 
Wow, how fabulous to have a woodland on your doorstep. If you're looking for a temporary fix say for a garden party or celebration, you could create a washing line effect by tying string from tree to tree around the boarder and then pegging up pretty floral fabrics or for something more permanent you could install some kind of screen, maybe made from woven willow, bamboo canes or recycled timber.

Selina Lake Outdoor Living
Love your ideas! Thank you! Oh wait, one more. What is your favorite color and if you had to give it a name for a nail polish company, what would you call it?
I’m always drawn to Pinks and I’m a huge fan of fluro pink at the moment, I’d call a neon pink nail varnish - PINKPOP!

Thank you so much to Selina for making the time to chat as she plans the Selina Lake Outdoor Living Book Tour 2014. Find Selina Lake Outdoor Living at all good booksellers.


Monday, March 31, 2014

interview with prairie founder fifi o'neill

Prairie is back by popular demand! Followers of Romantic Prairie Style founder Fifi O'Neill, are sure to swoon over the 144 pages of beautifully photographed stories and nine fabulous homes from coast to coast and Canada. More book than magazine and printed on high-quality paper, this publication is a real treat!
Fifi and me, Barrington, RI, fall 2013
I was fortunate enough to visit Fifi during while she was on location in Barrington, Rhode Island. Last week while chatting on the phone (Somewhere in my youth or childhood ... I must've done something good ...) I proposed the idea of posting an interview to talk about the return of Prairie and the style in general. Fifi graciously provided not only answers but sneak peeks!
For behind the scenes info and more, visit Fifi's post Catching Up
In a nutshell, how would you describe the decor style you have coined Prairie Style?
From taking stock in the environment, respecting traditions, and honoring the past, Prairie Style is the reflection of the American spirit of ingenuity and individuality. These enduring qualities translate into a unique aesthetic in homes with character and grace, refined rusticity, primitive charm and country flair wherever they may be located.
Prairie Style can be colorful!
What are your favorite elements of Prairie Style?
It has been said that what goes around comes around and nowhere is it more evident than in the manner in which Prairie style embraces humble materials, handcrafted objects, and homespun accessories. Reclaiming, reinventing, repurposing, and resourcefulness are among the hallmarks that define and make Prairie style uniquely current and exemplify the new American country.
What are the best places to shop or look to bring a Prairie look to one’s home?
You can easily find inexpensive furnishings and accessories in secondhand and antique shops, flea markets, barn sales, architectural and salvage outlets, and even yard sales.
I love how the new magazine includes homes, people, places food and more! Your round-up of artisans for this issue is so interesting – from beekeepers to woodworkers, farmers and more. Traveling for photo shoots must have felt like a field trip at times. Did you try your hand at any activities that were new to you or sample a new dish?
Yes, you are so right! Many photo shoots have a wonderful 'field trip' feel but, unfortunately, I don't get much of a chance to experiment with the activities! However, I do get to taste some of the yummy recipes.
My article!
I’m also excited to have written an article for Prairie about the Grilli home right here in my beloved Ocean State. It just shows how this aesthetic can happen anywhere. Do you have any tips for infusing this style in an unlikely place? Like, how could a tiny city apartment achieve a Prairie look?
I am not going to give you all our secrets but when you read the issue you will see how well people incorporate Prairie style in their interiors. In the issue, we celebrate the unbridled creativity with which homeowners instill personality and their own brand of sophistication into their homes in ways that elevate each from basic to beautiful, regardless of their location. You will be surprised to discover how easy and effective it is. But, to sum it up, the Prince of the Prairie himself said it best: "There is a way of living that has a certain grace and beauty. It's not a constant race for what is next, rather an appreciation of what has come before."-Ralph Lauren
That's beautiful.
Thank you so much to the fabulous Fifi for answering my questions, providing these gorgeous peeks and for being such a special presence in my life!

Limited run on newsstands soon, or visit this link to order your copy.


seaside tinkered treasures signed copy giveaway winner announced

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway of Seaside Tinkered Treasures. I am so honored and heart-warmed by your lovely comments and sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing support!

Source: Seaside Tinkered Treasures, photography by Claire Richardson, styling by Nel Haynes

Using Random.org the winner is Julie Light of the beautiful new-to-me blog Fabulous Finds Studio by Julie Light!

If you're reading this and you're not Julie, I hope you will consider buying a copy for yourself from your favorite bookseller or suggest that your local library purchase a copy or two. Can't find it on the shelf? Just ask for it to be ordered.


Friday, March 21, 2014

{first} signed copy giveaway of seaside tinkered treasures

Hello again! I am so excited about the release of my second book Seaside Tinkered Treasures! It turned out so beautifully thanks to the stellar team assembled by CICO Books! 

Photography by Claire Richardson, styling by Nel Haynes and color illustrations once again by Qian Wu combine to make this book extraordinarily pretty but don't worry -- projects are  easy-peasy. Foreword provided by the brilliant Selina Lake, who is busy launching her fifth book, Selina Lake Outdoor Living.

You may enter to win a signed copy of seaside tinkered treasures in any/all of the following ways:
1. Leave a comment at this very post
2. Subscribe to my e-newsletter for all my updates in one quiet, little place 
3. Follow me on Twitter
4. Follow me on Facebook at either tinkered treasures and/or elyse major writer
5. Share about this giveaway on social media and tag my sites(s) or comment so that I know

Gosh, remember when all we had were our blogs?!

"Hey! How come we didn't make it into the book?"
A winner will be chosen at random and announced at this blog on Monday, March 31, 2014. Entries will be accepted up until a winner has been announced. Please be sure that I am able to contact you if you win.

Thank you as always for all of the support!

Happy spring!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

me and seaside on tv

How crazy is this? The press release for my just-released Seaside Tinkered Treasures made its way to Rhode Island PBS and they responded generously by not only using it as a pledge-drive gift but by having me appear on television between an evening of seaside-themed programming. (And it will re-broadcast a total of three additional times!)

me and the pretty and talented Bianca Nastari
Knowing I'd be super nervous, I prepared as best as I could by planning what I would wear, reviewing a set of questions (which as it turned out, weren't used!) and scheduling an appointment to have my make-up done.

Photo credit: Jodi Mesolella
As I knew it would, my two-minute segment went by in a blur. Everyone at Rhode Island PBS was wonderful, helpful and encouraging to silly/nervous me.

I just hope the exposure to the book results in lots of interest and sales because I have big ideas for a third!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

sign-up for e-news from e-lyse

I started a newsletter! A couple of author-pals suggested the idea to me months ago and I kept putting it off thinking that it would be difficult to create but it wasn't (well, at first it was) and now it's actually pretty fun!

What I like about the newsletter is that it will allow me to share a bunch of stuff all in one place. Still a work-in-progress, I'm not quite sure of the frequency -- maybe weekly, monthly?

Seaside Tinkered Treasures featured on Rhode Island PBS!
And just like here at my online clubhouse/diary, I'll be sure to keep content post-worthy and fun (like the above photo slated for issue #2), similar to what I share on my tinkered treasures pages on Facebook and Twitter but all in one bundle. I plan to share publishing updates, events, tinkering tips and quick projects, and giveaways!

Now I just need subscribers. I hope you'll consider signing up (see below) and telling a friend.

Many thanks!


subscribe today!

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Monday, March 3, 2014

seaside blog tour: giveaways and more!

I'm so excited because today kicks off the blog tour for seaside tinkered treasures! Each of the blogs listed will feature posts that can include an interview, review, tutorial and even book giveaways. Each date of the tour, I'll be sure to update this post with a link.

Thank you so much to the wonderful Lauren at CICO Books for orchestrating the tour and to all of the lovely participants!


blog tour links
Day 1: Cut Out and Keep
Day 2: {oc cottage}
Day 3: Weddings.CraftGossip.com
Day 4: Decor-Art 
Day 5: Torie Jayne 
Day 6: Christine Chitnis
Day 7: Such Pretty Things