Thursday, July 30, 2009

After-class Homework

We had a great event/class tonight at the retail store with an over crowded room of Black-eyed Susan friends. Our subject was using plates as decor. I have had a long love of collectible plates, especially transferware, as well as anything monogrammed (of course!). Once you get the bug for collecting plates (and actually sets of plates), you could go on and on. I personally, have many sets of favorite plates. Each collection brings a certain joy when used or displayed. Oh yes, I love my plates!

I handed out color copies of my favorite inspiration pages using plates as art in unique and unusual placements. There were several examples I had meant to take from my home and left without this morning. So, here are the promised homework shots with brief explanations.

Dining room window with trio of monogrammed plates between drapery panels.

Close up of brown transferware collection in favorite cupboard.

Birdseye view of chocolate transferware collection at top of stairs!

Collaged collection of blue transferware collection and various objects. *Note the small card holder used to display butter pats!

This small bread and butter plate adds the perfect finishing touch and height to this grouping in the bedroom hall.

As discussed, the arch of the bed dictates the positioning of this plate collection. Symmetry and size are important. The shape of the headboard is repeated. Large art rests on either side of the bed. Plates in the bedroom, who knew?!

Vintage creme ware from Paris! (You'll recall this shot from the Bucks County Designer House.

One more shot from the Designer House. A wall collaged with plates, intaglios, and my framed button collection. Most of the plates I brought back from Paris. The square ones are from Black-eyed Susan! Yes, I still have several. I love square plates!

Okay, absolutely nothing to do with plates! At the end of our events, participants get to shop at a discount! Suzanne (a blog follower and kindred spirit), asked for some ideas to display under her new cloche. This one has a glass bottom, way cool! I came up with several ideas, but I have to say that this one was my favorite! Fabulous vintage books, small, narrow, and perfect fit.
It was a little crowded, and a bit hot. We found a chair for everyone to pull up and a good time was had by all. Next week: "Paint is my magic wand"! Come see the magic.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kindred Spirits!

Having and knowing kindred spirits on this earth is one of the most satisfying comforts I know. Kindred spirits can relate on many levels-creatively, socially, spiritually,or educationally. Numerous things bind us together,but to me, kindred spirit says it all.

Many years ago, I became a fan of Anne of Green Gables. Such a creative and visionary girl. Lots of opinions, bright and funny and very well spoken. She can't imagine living without a "scope for the imagination" . I love this girl.

There are many life lessons to be learned from her and a good bit of entertainment along the way!

A true kindred spirit, Marie, gave me this gift of love a few days ago, and I was so thrilled!

A vintage copy of Anne of Green Gables. Take a look at the dust cover! I really treasure this and told Marie that I was sure that she and I were kindred spirits.

Almost 20 years ago, another kindred spirit knew of my love for this book. She gave me a framed excerpt from the book to remind me of the beauty of ambitions. This tenderly helps me to persevere at times.

"Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them...that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting..."For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having,they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement." Anne of Green Gables

I truly relate to this quote, and I am glad that I have ambitions. And yes, they don't come without the dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement. I am grateful for this too.

My newest (and oldest copy!) of Anne of Green Gables will happily find a home in my office library. Perhaps some late night when I'm in need of a word of encouragement filled with entertainment, I'll take a moment to find a favorite passage.

Thank you, Marie. You are indeed, a kindred spirit.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Contest Begins!

Several weeks ago, we had a contest/drawing at Black-eyed Susan for a bedroom makeover!We had such a good response that we awarded one grand prize winner and three runners-up.

The grand prize includes Susan's complimentary design fees, along with that of a project manager. The winner was instructed to set the budget, and that budget could by any amount. You would be amazed at what we can make happen with a little magic from creative thinking and manpower. Oh, did I mention that Sneelock was also included in the package as our master painter...

Our winner is a regular blog follower and BES friend, Suzanne!

We will be following the progress of the project and you can also expect the attention of one of the local papers to document the make-over!

Here is a photo of the bedroom as it stands currently:

After several brainstorming sessions together, I'm pretty sure we have nailed now the pallet and we'll be working on the overall plan. Keep watching for progress reports and photo documentation along the way! Oh so exciting!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chocolate Ganache and Pearls Don't Mix!

I can see that we did not photograph this close I am holding the chocolate ganache cupcakes and my long pearl necklace! After spending the time to neatly press this pink blouse, I dangled my pearl necklace in the ganache while loading them into the car...not realizing that the chain then rested on my blouse, skirt and layered T all the way into Yardley, making this "chocolate leopard" print on my clothing. Oh dear! My classmates were kind enough to overlook this! As the setting for these ideas, I purchased several yards of a light creamy burlap for only a few dollars a yard for the tablecloth. I used handy tablecloth weights that clip on to the corners of the tablecloth to keep it from blowing up when outdoors on the burlap tablecloth. We had a great time and plenty of good conversation to go along with our shopping, all at a discount for the evening!

Thanks to my cute, stylish friend Lisa, here is a snapshot of our last Black-eyed Susan event, "Inspirations guaranteed not to break the bank"! We spent the evening discussing and demonstrating using items that most of us have at home and use in our everyday living.

For example, goblets filled with dried split peas as a buffer for votive candles. The peas are such a fresh color for summer entertaining, and at only $.80 per bag, oh so affordable!

Hosta leaf cuttings in tinted water.

Fresh hosta leaves from the garden make beautiful (and very stylish) individual place setting accents. I used one drop of green food coloring and several drops of yellow to come up with this lime green water to compliment the color of the hosta leaves.

Scatter some of the dried peas around like confetti!

Lemonade bottles were shown recycled as floral containers for individual gerbera daisies in bright summer colors.

Everyday drinking glasses become pretty individual vases for garden cuttings.
I can see that we did not photograph this close I am holding the chocolate ganache cupcakes and my long pearl necklace! After spending the time to neatly press this pink blouse, I dangled my pearl necklace in the ganache while loading them into the car...not realizing that the chain then rested on my blouse, skirt and layered T all the way into Yardley, making this "chocolate leopard" print on my clothing. Oh dear! My classmates were kind enough to overlook this!

As the setting for these ideas, I purchased several yards of a light creamy burlap for only a few dollars a yard for the tablecloth. I used handy tablecloth weights that clip on to the corners of the tablecloth to keep it from blowing up when outdoors on the burlap tablecloth.

We had a great time and plenty of good conversation to go along with our shopping, all at a discount for the evening!

There are several more events planned in the next few weeks. Just call the retail store to register. Our next event: "Plates! They're not just for eating anymore!" I love plates and use them as art in the most unexpected places. Traditional, modern, cottage...there is always room for plates in the mix.

Give me a call if you are interested in this evening and be watching for the post of our Fall/Holiday event schedule. Believe it or not, it's coming soon!

Come see the magic.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Season Kickoff!

Believe it, or not, we began the 2009 Holiday Season sales on Saturday by selling our first two Christmas ornaments!!

Kim and I were laughing about the evidence of the "glitter season" everywhere, including on her toes from open shoes, when this cute friend came in for another purchase and was taken by the ornaments that were being priced. It happens frequently, to be honest. When the ornaments are being checked in and priced, and are visible to the shoppers, sure enough, they cannot be resisted.

I guess I was a little sad and a little happy at the same time...Christmas will be here all too soon and summer isn't even over yet! I have to confess though, that when I take a stroll through the basement and see the treasures that are coming in, I do get a little excited about the coming season!

So, there you have it! At Black-eyed Susan, we've had the season kickoff! Thanks, Mary!

Don't worry, there's still fall and Halloween ahead of Christmas!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Final Market Day Picks!

The last day of market is always a hectic one. Too many places on the "list" to fit into the hours remaining, far too many catalogs and contacts which results in a very heavy load to carry around, and generally aching feet still wearing stylish shoes!

Of the many things we squeezed into the day, these were my favorite picks of the day. Oh, so cute! Oh, so stylish! Oh, so Susan!

Does anyone else like these framed alphabet letters as much as I do?! They have been printed onto enamel disks that are ever so slightly concave and framed in distressed metal frames. I can think of hundreds of creative uses for these!

I couldn't resist taking one more photo of the display of these great finds!

One of the most interesting trends we spotted was furniture and pillows made from reproduction french feed bags. Course linen and muslin-like fabrics in natural colors were the fabrics of choice. Script was primarily black with occasional red accents. Some were collaged with old images of botanical or insect themes. How fabulous these would be on the linen sofas we used in our designer room! These really stole my heart. Prices range from $135.00 to $200.00 depending on size. You can definitely look for these to make an appearance in the store.

These are something new introduced by one our favorite vendors. They call them "book crops". Not the least bit overdone yet, and they are dimensional in various sizes. Great quotes and a variety of fonts-oh, so cute! I liked the way he placed them in a collage form within this old frame--something you wouldn't be surprised to see at Black-eyed Susan! I liked this one"There is nothing like staying home for real comfort." -Jane Austin. They also had introduced many phrases and words in their "walligraphy" line. Basically, rub-on phrases and quotes that give the purchaser lots of creative licence for composition in several colors. One of my favorite offerings was an entire collection of labels, or signs to identify rooms, i.e. "Nursery", "Laundry Room", "Pantry", "WC" (water closet), "Master Suite" and many more.

One of the best things is the ability to customize your own phrase or book crop! I'm getting my favorite quote from Anne of Greene Gables ready right now! These can be ordered through the retail store. Great gifts for sure, and it will all be able to be done on line (in the wee hours of the morning for those of your who shop when I do...) and drop shipped to your recipient! So cool. I'm pretty excited about this great find.

Lastly, I feel in love with this linen sofa. (I know it has nothing to do with alphabets, but as my last cool find entry, you must see it!) It was super long, about 8 feet and very stylish. Those french feed bag pillows would be the perfect finishing touch. Oh, yes!

Well, that's the end of my best picks from the July 09 Atlanta Market. It's sure to be exciting when they all start arriving. Keep checking in for advance notice and first pick. It's sure fun to look forward to new inventory!

For the record, I wore my most comfortable shoes today! It's good to be home.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trend Alert!

The Atlanta Market is always a time for us get a heads up on the latest trends-fashion as well as home decor. There are three huge buildings with about 20 floors each with 50-60 showrooms on each floor. It can be overwhelming, not to mention exhausting! We try our best to search out the best and newest resources and only buy what we love (much to the irritation of those vendors who have "the next best thing to hit the market" that we find foolish.

Today, we walked the High Design floor and were inspired by two things in particular.

Pearls, pearls, pearls...large doses of pearls in every size, strand upon strand...all worn at the same time! We bought lots for everyone from several of our favorite suppliers. So, resurrect all of your pearl jewelry, combine them together and layer a few new ones in with them. There you have it, the latest trend! I'm always thrilled when something I already have in my closet comes back into vogue again. I'll let you know when they arrive.

Aprons were everywhere! Anthropology-worthy styles, collaged in various colors and patterns. For those of you who enjoy cooking and baking, join the club with Linda and myself. Big girl aprons and little girl aprons! So cute. We had a hard time selecting the one line to purchase from the store, but finally choose one that had a great pricepoint along with great style. They should be in the store in time for Holiday gift-giving.

Tomorrow is a short day. We finish and head for home . Stay tuned for the last of my market reports. One more adventursome day remains!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Score! Great finds coming your way...

There are just some showrooms that inspire! Then there are others that leave you wondering, "what are they thinking?!" The ones that inspire are filled with creative ideas and visuals that give you a creative high. One must walk through the showroom once, twice, several times over taking in the little vignettes and surprises.

This is also what I try to do in my retail store for you! While I can't afford unlimited inventory right now, I can afford to share unlimited ideas and design inspiration with you. I hope you'll stop in for your own "fix".

For now, here are some of the best picks today:

We found these great rub-on monograms (we chose a different font) that you can use for anything! The cutest idea perhaps, the rear window of your car!

Check out these oh so cool black ceramic bases and containers to put under cloches!

Galvanized potting shed pots with numbered tags! Get in line for these.

Just a bit out of focus, but fabulous distressed urns. Lots of ideas in mind for these.

The most enchanting framed bird prints in sepia displayed with garden tools and old ledger pages. Oh, so cute!

This is actually a lantern hung on the wall and used as a shadowbox! Plates, eggs, nests,old photos and straw...we ordered the straw too!

Another closeup of yet another lantern vignette . Note the blue transfereware plate!

About the most interesting birdcage I've ever seen! I have a former client with a pet dove--so perfect for her! It's way cool.

An interesting and unusually shaped cloche...that's straw and a turnip underneath!

Tiny sculptures of nests with eggs. Oh yea, we got plenty.

Well, that's the review of the day's picks! Let me know which ones inspire you and look for them coming our way next spring!

Did I mention that we are buying for Spring 1010?! It will be worth the wait!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

On The Lookout!

Day one. A view of our feet side by side. At this point, raring to go! No pains. Ready for another day.
And might I point out that our foot sizes 4.5 and 5 are quite compatable and we often exchange shoes for a day. Now that's what I call a kindred spirit!

Well, I'm in Atlanta again with my very stylish and entertaining friend, Linda! She and I have done the buying for the store since it opening in 1994. Our days are filled with stimulation (some good, some bad!), and walking,walking,walking...

I'm going to be documenting some of the best, and possibly worst, things we find! (Remember the butterfly bonanza from the January market)? If not, go back to my January 09 posts and check it out!

We had a half day today, after driving the four hours from Charlotte. After registering, we began the intense search for the new products and most stylish options to bring home to the store.

You can count on some instant new jewels...fabulous any additional new Holiday items that we can't resist.

I'll document with photos the best and the worst, so check back in the next few days! And, don't hesitate to personally contact me for your wish-list! I'll do my best!