Monday, September 26, 2011

Favorite Installation of the Day: Flower Power Awning Valance

I've been out at a multi-room drapery installation most of the day, and I have new orders to process, work orders to write up, and a slew of voicemails and emails demanding my attention, so I'm just quickly going to post this photo of my favorite treatment that installed today.  I blogged a couple of weeks ago here about a Land of Nod play tent that my client embellished -- all by herself! -- with Samuel & Sons trimmings that I ordered for her.  Today my awning valance installed in the little girl's bedroom next to her tent and I love, love, love it!

The bow rosette medallions were inspired by a magazine ad put out by Samuel & Sons:

We changed the rosette centers from white to red and added emerald green grosgrain ribbon loops to our rosettes to coordinate them with the child's bedding set (not pictured). 

Closeup of Bow Rosette Medallions

The valance fabric, from Lee Jofa, is an embroidered white linen with three-dimensional eyelash fringe effect around the blossoms. 

What's next for this little girl's room?  The Land of Nod company sells a 36" diameter floor cushion for use with this play tent, but the client wants a much larger, 52" diameter floor cushion instead that has enough room for mother and daughter to cuddle up with a good book together at story time.  We'll be doing a custom cushion and throw pillows for the inside of the tent, using more fun fabrics and trimmings.  Here's my youngest client, finalizing her trim selections:

She says pink pom poms are the best.  Who can argue with that?  :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quilted Doors: Four of my Favorites from Four Different Artists

So I was thinking some more about my Parisian door quilt concept, and I wondered how other quiltmakers had used doors in their quilting.  I decided a bit of research was called for, and a quick "door quilt images" google search turned up plenty of pieced quilts with Barn Door block designs, as well as this beauty:

Kathy Schmitz, Kathy Schmitz Studio
I love how Kathy's fabric selections created the illusion of depth for the threshold.  It looks like she highlighted the "corners" of these bricks as well; maybe painting on a little bleach?  This was the most realistic quilted door I came across, and it's the most like what I initially had in mind for my Parisian doors.

This next example is just one quilt block (paper-pieced?), but I was really excited to find a photo of the door that inspired the quiltmaker as well as the photo of the finished block:

Mid Century Modern Door quilt block for Lisa by verykerryberry
Isn't that adorable?  You can find verykerryberry's sewing blog here.  This is the photo that inspired her quilt block:

It was really interesting for me to see which elements of the door/photo she chose to incorporate into her block design, and which elements she decided to leave out.  I was also impressed by the level of detail she was able to reproduce through her meticulous piecing.  I had assumed that applique plus embroidery would be required for my quilted doors.  I also love how verykerryberry used artistic license to take this dilapidated old door back to a happier time and place, evoking a completely different mood than the inspiration photo. 

This next small quilt, made by Allison Aller and featured in the Renaissance Ribbons blog here, incorporates a technique that allows a photograph to be printed directly onto fabric, which was then embroidered and embellished. 

Barbara's Door, 14" x 18" by Allison Aller

I love the way Allison "framed" her quilt with jacquard ribbon; I haven't seen that before.  I hadn't considered using my Parisian door photos for fabric printing, but that is a technique that I'd like to try at some point, perhaps with family photos.  You can see more of this artist's work on her blog, Allie's In Stitches.

Finally, take a look at this artist's take on the quilted door theme:

Tunisian Door, 106 cm x 140 cm, by Margaret Ramsay
I love the rich blues and greens and the visual texture of this quilt.  This quiltmaker and textile artist blogs at magsramsay and has a web site here. 

Isn't it great to be able to pull up so much inspiration with just an internet connection and a few clicks of the mouse?  Every day is a quilting show-and-tell on the Internet, and you don't even have to get dressed to attend!  I was actually surprised that I didn't find more door quilts out there.  I still think I want to incorporate different doors into my quilt, each its own rectangular block, maybe with different sizes for different doors, and use borders and sashing to unify the blocks.

My Parisian door quilt is going to have to hang out on the way-back burner for awhile, though, because I've been promising Lars a dragon quilt for years -- literally!  Lars's quilt is up next.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Portes à Paris: Doorways to Paris

When I stayed in the Latin Quarter of Paris in January 2010 and again a few weeks ago, I was fascinated by old doors like these:

I took so many pictures of entrance doors and gates; I wonder what I will do with all of them?  I love the dark cherry red color of the doors pictured above.

Front Doors to Notre Dame Cathedral

An Interior Door in Notre Dame Cathedral

One of many secondary entrances to the Louvre
Door of our Hotel Room
Interior Doors at Versailles

Interior Doors at the Louvre, "N" for Henry of Navarre, a.k.a. Henry IV
I can envision a quilt with each block a different doorway.  It would be a combination of patchwork , applique and embroidery to recreate all of these doors.  The paneling and carved woodworking would be quilted in, the ironwork would be embroidered in black thread...  I hope I have enough time someday to make all of the quilts that are in my head!

What else could I do with my doorways? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More from Paris: Setting the Mood

Bonjour!  If we were still in Paris, I'd be starting my day with a cafe au lait like this one.  I would have taken a picture of the yummy crepes framboises that I had with the coffee, except I devoured them before I remembered to take a picture.  C'est la vie.

Then we'd head down a beautiful cobblestone street like this one:

...And on our way, we'd probably pass a lovely little grocer's fruit stand, like this one:

I've never before seen such enormous grapes.  They were good, too; just watch out for the seeds.

That's all for now.  By the way, if anyone knows how to get French accent marks in Blogger, please let me know in the comments.  Have a great day!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Ba-aack!

For those of you who don't know, I just got back from a week in Paris.  It was a business/pleasure trip timed to coincide with the huge international trade show Maison et Objet and Paris Design Week, but we crammed in as much sight-seeing, wining and dining as possible while we there.  I found some new vendor resources, lots of inspiration, and took about a thousand photos.  I have so much to share that I don't know where to begin.

If you're looking for a serious analysis of the hot trends coming out of the Paris shows, look elsewhere -- I don't do that.  Instead of looking for universal themes and trends, I collect little details, fragments and impressions from the show floor, the museum halls, and the streets and cafes of modern Paris that I can refer back to for inspiration in the future. 

At the moment, I'm still getting back into the groove of being home again.  A big drapery installation for a client went in on Friday, and I'm still unpacking and sorting through voicemails, emails, and papers that came home from the boys' school while we were away.  The cleaning service will be here in a couple of hours and that means I have some serious straightening up to do (trust me, that's a MAJOR understatement!) before they get here -- so of course, I'm blogging, because that helps, right?!

So I'll just leave you with a little taste for now:
Random Chubby Cupid from the Louvre
Have a great Monday!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Embellished Readymade Play Tent Fit for a Princess

Customized Land of Nod Play Tent
I should be packing for Paris right now (as my husband reminds me every 5 minutes), but I just had to share this project one of my clients recently completed for her granddaughter.  The green gingham play tent is a readymade item available from Land of Nod here for $129.  This is what it looks like right out of the package:
Land of Nod play tent
I designed a cute flower power awning valance for the window in this little girl's bedroom incorporating playful trimmings from Samuel & Sons Passementerie, and suggested embellishing the readymade tent with coordinating Gumdrop Button Border and Dolce Pom Pom tassels to liven it up, tie it in with the bedroom color scheme, and give it a more custom look.  Although my drapery workroom is handling the valance fabrication, my client decided to apply the trimmings to the tent herself.  Doesn't it look fabulous?  She did such a great job, and the little princess who lives in this room was so proud to show it off to me. 
1.5" Gumdrop Button Border in Fruit Punch, Samuel & Sons
The trims used on this tent are available exclusively through the design trade, but you could get a similar look using pom poms, wide grosgrain ribbon, and multicolored plastic buttons available from your favorite local or online fabric retailer (it would just take longer to sew all those buttons on individually).  Adding trim to readymade window treatments is a great way to get a custom look on a budget, especially for young children's bedrooms that you think you'll be redecorating again in a few years.  Land of Nod sells coordinating plain drapery panels in the same ginham as the tent, and they would look great with trim added to the lead (inside vertical) edges of the panels.  Another great thing about this button trim is that it adds weight and helps the flimsy fabric to hang better.

I'll be sure to post photos of the finished awning valance after it installs at the end of the month.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Anders' Birthday, Back to School, and Puppies

Anders Celebrated his 8th Birthday with Star Wars Laser Tag
We did Anders' birthday differently this year, scheduling his party for the 27th of August instead of the week of his birthday (August 13th).  This worked really well; summer birthdays are difficult because so many people are out of town.  Anders chose a laser tag party again (need I even ask anymore?) with a Star Wars theme. 

Lars and Anders unloading their school supplies from the car
The boys started school on the 24th.  Lars is in 5th grade and Anders is in 3rd, and they are both in the same school again this year.  That should make my life a little easier!  Notice the grouchy expressions in this picture -- apparently it's annoying when your mom follows you into school with a camera on the first day of school.  Not that that stopped me or anything...  I felt like the back-to-school paparazzi, though, sneaking around with the zoom lens and taking pictures behind doors while the boys weren't looking.  I just now noticed that I packed Lars's school supplies in an empty wine case.  I promise I did not send him to school with a year's supply of cabernet sauvignon.
Clandestine Shot of Lars in his 5th Grade Classroon

Anders Unpacking Supplies in his Classroom

Otto, Lulu & Bernie Heading Out for a Walk
The puppies are getting bigger every day, and I know I haven't been taking enough pictures of them so I brought my camera on our walk yesterday.  Otto is in the turquoise blue harness and Lulu, also known as Princess Puppy, is in hot pink.  At nearly 8 months old, Otto is 77 pounds of solid muscle and Lulu weighs in at 65 pounds.  The Freedom harnesses, available here, have velvet lining so they don't chafe against the dogs' fur, and my trainer recommended them to give us more control over the dogs as they get bigger.  Since they know that the harness means a walk is coming, both dogs love them.  Lulu can't wait for me to put hers on; she shoves her head in and tries to do it herself.  We're walking them separately most of the time (also at our trainer's suggestion) but we took them out together yesterday in order to fit a walk in before we went to the dentist.

It's hard to believe we're headed to Paris for Maison et Objet in just four days.  I have a million things to do before I leave, including renting or purchasing a trombone for Lars (he's in band at school this year), wrapping up some loose ends with work, and of course I have to battle the never-ending laundry or else I won't have anything to pack. 

In fact, I have no business blogging at all right now.  À bientôt!