Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Best Idea...for Today!

My dinner party went off without too many crazy issues...well, if you don't count me setting the main table for 6 instead of 8. What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn't!

We had a total of 12 guests. I had split the guests between the small kitchen eat-in area and the formal dining room. Somehow, I set the table for two less in the stress of last minute setup. I had worked in the retail store during the day and didn't get started cooking the main course until about 5:00pm.

All went well and all seemed to enjoy a good evening. I had the help of a darling and creative friend, Shannon. (We probably were too busy having fun catching up to count the seating arrangements!)

As promised, here is my best idea of the day! Since quick centerpiece ideas follows closely in line with the merchandising I do daily at the store, I didn't give too much thought ahead of time. At the store in the afternoon, I came up with a vision that I thought would be seasonal and fast. It turned out to be a big hit. You could easily try this for your next party!

I borrowed this three tiered wire basket from the store. I knew that my hydrangea bushes were fully loaded with beautiful green/white blooms. I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and picked up 5 heads of leaf lettuce-some green and some red. Then I headed for the produce department and selected some very firm red pears, stems in tact.

I cut a generous supply of hydrangeas from the yard and positioned them with the leaf lettuce and fresh pears in such a way to balance out the tiered stand, and to be appealing from all sides of the centerpiece. Voila! With this selection of all fresh goods, all readily available, I created this centerpiece in a matter of minutes!

Another angle for inspection. I thought later, it would have been cool to add some of the fresh cilantro we were cooking with! Ahhh...the scent would have been fabulous with the mix.

Yet another closeup of the hydrangea, leaf lettuce and pears. Of course, those who knew of my store inventory of absolutely real looking artificial fruit, thought they were from Black-eyed Susan! You could always purchase my fake ones and have them ready at all times without making the quick trip to the grocery store!

I hope you try it for your next "quick fix"!

Friday, August 28, 2009

And, they're off!!

The home team started the makeover today! Take a look.

Suzanne, homeowner/winner-Susan, designer-Ryan, son/cabinetmaker(today, painter!)-Fred (Sneelock) pharmaceutical professional/painter/can do it all!

At the end of the day, we had made great progress and Suzanne was in love with the color!

I think it's a go!


12:30 am. Bread out of the oven and I'm off to bed!
Remember my bread debacle last fall---same bread, disaster! I posted how I saved the day by breaking it into pieces when it would not come out of the pan! So, here's the real beauty! Susan's sheepherder's bread, oh so good. I'm having a small dinner party Saturday night and this will be on the menu, in perfect form...this time!
Just to give you the scale of this loaf, it is baked in a dutch oven. It is about 13" in diameter and 14-15" tall! It's a showstopper,and best of all, it will feed at least 20 people! I guess you could call it "stylish bread"!
When time permits, I'll be happy to pass along the recipe if there is any interest. It's a keeper in my family.
Happy to have redeemed myself from the last attempt!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yes! Progress Report on Makeover!

I'm so excited to report that we are now ready to set the date for painting our bedroom makeover! No surprise, one of my favorite colors: SW Quietude. A soft, lovely grayed blue that wraps you in soft, quiet thoughts. Suzanne, you're going to love this one! If time permitted, I'd be having my own bedroom on the painting schedule for the same color, it's a tried and true favorite.

This is what our work surface looked like as we began to narrow down the selections! As you can see, lots of choices and lots of inspiration. I love the green accent pillow and the cotton duvet with the modern twist! The colors are all coming together. This is a good example of the importance of not stressing over the "exact match" of every color. While we don't want to have colors that fight each other, there needs to be some blend and some part of the picture that is unexpected so as not to make it predictable and boring. Now this combo is anything but boring!

For some time, Suzanne has not been able to put my "Charleston pallet" out of her mind. This pallet was developed for our Sullivan's Island project long before it was trend...making it a much more challenging design at the time! I haven't tired of it, and prior to the Sullivan's Island project, my own basement was the first to use this delightful color scheme. It is a true breath of fresh air, happy and bright without wearing on the eyes.

So, here goes! We're off. Sneelock has been put on task for the painting. Suzanne and I will most likely dig in to the furniture painting and orders will begin to fly!

We selected an upholstered headboard with a soft arch to anchor the focal point. Suzanne's husband,Joerg (way cute German man!) was a great supportive and agreeable addition, adding his opinions to the mix. I think we have a winner and we're on our way! It should get exciting fast.

Here is one of the Robert Allen patterns that Suzanne selected. The colors don't show up exactly correct here, but the blend is great and the bonus---she loves leaves!!

I brought a fabric book with the general pallet of colors and she choose the patterns that spoke to her heart.

Here is one of the coordinates, also a Robert Allen fabric. The scale is larger and very Jacobean in nature. I recall her saying that she liked Jacobean florals very early in the project, so this is a great find!

This is a shot of the overall pattern on the larger scale print.

One of the surprises in our design turned out to be the development of a more casual, summery collection (the more modern floral pattern) and the more wintry, slightly more traditional look of the later floral. Both florals go with the aqua and green color story. The summery, lighter one will use a soft white coverlet and the more wintry Jacobean floral will use a grey/blue matlesee coverlet found at one of the off-price retailers. Using our budgets wisely, we have been able to come up with two seasonal looks on the same wave-length!

And, by the way, Suzanne and have established a budget of $5000.00 for furniture, paint , lamps, accessories, and art. We're on our way! I'll be posting our progress, so check back and let us know how you feel about the design as we go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To Market, To Market!

4:30am comes pretty early. For a girl with "the primping gene" as my sister, Denise, describes the Petersen girls, it's a given on the morning of New York Market. Every 6 months, this is the story! The retail and/or design staff keeps this schedule anywhere from 3 to 4 days each market.

This market, however, we accomplished our work in a record of one day!! Hooray! One day of the early morning routine makes me a happy girl. Now, what should I do with the next few days??!

So, as usual, here is a small trend report and the best findings of the day. Look for these things to show up in my retail store, Black-eyed Susan.

Fabulously interesting glass cabinet for all fine collectibles; bibliotech style. Perfect for The Hampton's.

Check out this series of pillows! This one is a version of the feed sack pillows I saw in Atlanta, of course I love the manuscript pattern!

This vendor (Check this one out, Marie!) printed vintage images on linen and layered the imaged with worn muslin!! The boxed edge was fashioned from chair webbing. I think this is a great new find, very stylish and very unique. Sophisticated interest. Great images and patterns. He also had some mounted on canvases. During our conversation, we discovered that we both had former connections to Brigham Young University, a real plus. Kindred spirits for sure.I love his style.

Additional pillows with numbers and manuscripts on linen. Down fills. Ahhhh.

I love this arched mirror. A brand new vendor for me, and I love finding new resources! How cool would three of these mirrors be for a headboard??! Sorry, Suzanne, not available till the first of the year.....drat.

These giant letters were part of one of my favorite vendor's booth. David designs a unique booth that looks as if it were transported straight from Paris. Everything there is cool and desirable. So, expect to see these show up!

Same booth. Inspiring!

Last shot of David's offerings. These magnifiers are on stands and are in a variety of heights and sizes. I love these things!

New framed art featuring sepia tones and vintage wildlife. Authentic looking collectibles!

Many of the booth designer/owners use fresh flowers for drama. I try to shoot photos of things that I like. These elephant ears (REAL!) were very cool. These leaves are about 18-20" in diameter! What a statement!

Back shot.

Front shot.

Lastly, this funny cow's head! It was all mosaic glass and presented quite an impact! While finishing my order, I discovered that it was the top selling item in the booth! I made the comment that I could certainly see it as a retail prop, but wondered what kitchen it would find a home in.....then I thought of at least two kitchens that I thought it would work in! Yep, last item on my order!! It's about life size. Forget the silly crown they put on her...yes, to the old frame that is surrounding her. Pretty cute.

Well, these are my picks for the day. They will be showing up in the next few months. Call me for details!

Trips to market are a combination of inspiring, exhausting, exciting, enticing and at times, horrifying sightings! It's all in a day's work. And sometimes, work is play!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Window Wizard!!

That's right! Susan is on sale! I am running a sale on professional fees. All areas of our services apply, so to view our menu of services email me for a complete list at You'll be surprised how many different ways we can help with your home/office design needs.

The table is dotted with lemonaide bottles serving as vases for the fabulously real looking seasonal blue hydrangeas. I tinted the water lime green to carry the color story of the opposit window. Real life shows this a bit better! Two large concrete urns support the window display, utilizing linen pillows and life-like calla lily folliage for color. I like the simplicity of the table and it has the feeling of late summer in Bucks County, Pa. Our blooming hydrangeas are a beauty to behold and these hydrangeas could take their place along side the real thing and go undetected! Don't worry, I have plenty more for the taking, as well as a beautiful dramatic wreath using them.

The stripes we painted for the last window change survived the cut once again. A comfy and delightful chair in aqua and soft chartreuse finds a home next to a recycled chest that I painted in a favorite aqua.Oh so fresh! How perfect this chair would be in a delightful sunroom or favorite bedroom. (It would be pretty darn perfect in my main family room as well! Rememeber the Christmas tree with the aqua and lime design several years ago?) Yep, that's where it should be! It has a great price on it right now and is on sale. Come check it out. You're welcome to sit in the window and try it out!!

The windows have been completed for another month. Hope you enjoy the view.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coming Soon!

I've been waiting for Sneelock to complete his photos of the new windows....

It's not a tease, just something to look forward to! Maybe tomorrow night.
And, I've already got my plan for the next window change.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Late Night Magic

The flow of traffic and sales volume often result in daily remerchandising of my sales floor. However, once every 4 or 5 weeks, the entire store gets a revamping. Often, this monumental task coordinates with the window change...other times, this domino floor change occurs a week or so following the window change.

It's an odd combination of exilleration, married to the overwhelming and vast tornado of "stuff" that must find new homes. When it's time, I generally have mixed feelings about the long night ahead! Sometimes, I'm just plain tired of the same old look, and others, I'm not really tired of what I have in place...and not quite ready to mix it up! But keeping the inspiration of the retail floor is important, and fresh new ideas and new ways to use our favorites is paramount.

Yes, last night was the night!

Many nights, this is a solo affair, but last night I had the help of Nick. You may recall Nick from last seasons Holiday setups. He's great company, creative plus objective and is tall!! (This saves me from countless ladder moves as he can place inventory in high places as I direct).

This time of year, I am always a bit itchy to relieve the summer inventory with the promise of fall and holiday merchandise. Yes, Halloween is in the basement neatly contained. I left the Halloween on the shelves, but did premier a bit of fall. All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the creative venture of the night.

Let's take a look!

This basket tray lends a seasonal feeling to an unusual cloche and glass tray. I placed this giant preserved sunflower head under the cloche, added a potted rosemary topiary and finished it off with a small pile of leaning books. The beauty of this centerpiece is the versatility of adding new objects when the season changes or just your mood changes!

Vintage music books become props! An unusually large fashion book from the Paris flea market is open, while smaller pages from a recently purchased set of old music books were torn out. Several of the books were warped and had water damage. But, as you can see, they are great for this purpose!

I raided my house for several old frames to use as props. Think of using such frames to frame out objects and collectibles for interest. I tore some pages out of an old atlas and looked around for something to age them with...ah, yes! Glossy wood tone should do the trick! A quick spray and they look 60 years old. Sometimes, one inspiration compounds to an entire theme---in this case, the maps, globes, clock with map face. Then, color and scale take over, thus the potted orchid and paperbacks with raffia. I love the large jacks sculpture too.

I always try to keep a selection of busts on hand. Great library accents or side table effects. In this case, I created a mantle using multiple busts with volumes of black books. These findings are fabulously priced and fly out the door quickly. Come in while the selection is good!

And this is my first touch of fall! An old laundry basket has been transformed into a basket to hold pods and maple leaves that would fool any botanist! I piled bartlet pears along with several more music pages in the open weave of the basket for interest. The addition of maple leaves (these are dark, muddy green) is the first touch of fall without looking like we're rushing things.

This interesting container just came in. It is in tones of grey and charcoal/cream and is printed with an old-world street scene image. It stands alone as a piece of art or as a home to exotic leaves and moss. Yes! I love it.

Shakespear standing guard over a small pile of books. My theme in this bookshelf was color-in this case black and white. The large jack sculpture makes an appearance in a different way here.

I hope you'll stop in for your own inspiration. Change is in the air!

And, just to assure you....Halloween offerings are tapping at the door!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Possible Pallet!

After a few hours of local shopping, Suzanne, (our contest winner!), Jackie and I put together this possible pallet for the new bedroom! We're just beginning to finalize our ideas with our winner, but what do you think of this, so far?!

Suzanne is in love with the pallet we used several years ago for our Sullivans Island (Charleston, SC) project-aqua and soft lime green. We've gone off in a few directions, but always seem to come back to this one. I'll have to say that it is a beautiful and livable pallet.

We're going to consider one more possibility, and you'll be the first (well, maybe the second!) to see it. Suzanne will be first!

Give us your thoughts on this collection so far...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Paint Is My Magic Wand!

This was the topic of my in-store event last night. We had standing room only and had a fun crowd!

Paint truly is my magic wand. I have heard my paint selections called "gutsy", however, I prefer to call them "confident". Paint on any surface, and in any form, is the designer's (and hobbyist designer's) least expensive tool. There is hardly a surface that cannot be improved with paint at one time or another!

We have painted walls, (of course), furniture, outdoor garden ornaments, lamps, frames, containers of all manner, drapery hardware, shoes, baskets, candlesticks, chandeliers, even upholstered furniture! We discussed the effects of paint; bold, bright, dark, neutral, trendy, traditional, pastel, metallic---each renders an emotional effect.

There are some projects that are forever in my memory due to this emotional effect. They are favorites that go back, sometimes years. For instance, the first small home we built in Denver, Colorado. The living room walls were bittersweet chocolate (walls and ceiling, or course!) in high gloss!! This was about 35 years ago. I know I'll always remember the first time I tried the soft grey/blue "artemesia" in my current home's loft suite. I was never a "blue girl" until then. I've been a fan of this soft relief of color ever since. I can never forget the high style powder room I designed for Robin Freed. Yam was the color, with graphite accents. And yam is just what it looked like! I would use that again anytime. BMoore Venetian Gold will always be a personal favorite...let's see, I've had an executive office painted in it, two retails store areas, my mudroom, my sister's kitchen and multiple client rooms. It ranks among the absolute favorites! Come in and see for yourself. I couldn't possibly overlook the drama of black---interior doors, of course, french doors anywhere, furniture, kitchen cabinets, certain areas of interior trim, stair balusters and risers, frames, mirrors...ah yes! Black!

Do you have favorites? What are they?

I have to share this comment with you that I received today. It's always rewarding to get positive feedback. Thank you, Joyce!


Thanks for sharing your talent with us. Heather and I had a grand time. My husband and I had "trash picked" a lamp similar to the two you got last weekend. Heather thought it would be great in their dining room if painted robins egg blue. We went flee of foot this am for materials and had a "blast" painting. She will come after work today to view the final product. We think it looks great.

We decided to live dangerously and paint the shade, but chickened out in the end. May try it with an old shade and then move on.

Thanks for making a space for us and hope to see you in the future.


Now, I'll say to Joyce, send us a photo of your finished product! Great comments and it was a pleasure having you and Heather in class.

I'll soon be publishing the fall/holiday event list. Watch for it by email, or call the retail store to have a copy mailed to you. 267-503-0350. We have great fun and exchange lots of experiences. If there are subjects that you would like me to consider for events, I'd love to hear them!

Happy painting. Let me know what fun projects you tackle. And make plans to join us in the future. It's always a great, creative and entertaining evening. Bonus---all store purchases are 20% off these evenings. Come see the magic.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Passionate about Historic Beauty

For those followers who are from the 13 countries not from our surrownding Bucks County, Pa, we are known for wondrous, historic homes with centuries of history in their back yards.

I must say that it was one of the most wonderful things about moving to the East from the Rockies--historic beauties aplenty! It's really hard to give up this kind of architecture once you become accustomed to it.

Last week, my assistant and I visited this historic landmark in Lower Makefield, Pa. Check out this date!

We decided that each home of this era should come with a pedigree of sorts, a guest list of the important dignitaries who slept here, poets who wrote here, women who toiled here. The grounds were beautiful, the rose gardens and stone pumphouse. I do love historic properties. Of course, I could just imagine that it would be the perfect bed and breakfast!

In this photo, note the shutters on the first and second floor are two different colors. This is a true historic mark. I love the white shutters against the Bucks County Stone. And oh, those dormer windows!

Projects like this just make my heart sing. Beautiful Bucks County, Pa.