Sunday, May 27, 2012

18 Years of Love

It's that time of year again....graduation season. On the years that darling friends and family are among the graduates, it's hard to believe where 18 years has gone! It puts one's life in perspective as you reflect back on the lives of these accomplished graduates. It's a real beginning into adulthood.

This weekend, we celebrated in Charlotte, NC.  While Hayden was the guest of honor, years of friendship between Linda and myself was evident as we spent two long days in preparation...all the while laughing, peeling, mixing, rolling, chopping and mincing for a good cause! 

It seemed like a fairly simple plan, but when the end result culminates in 23 hours of work...well, what can I say?! Congratulations, Hayden. You've earned it!

Several weeks ago, when Linda was in Bucks County for the Designer House opening Gala, we planned the menu.

30 lbs of pulled pork (Sandwiches)
 Susan's favorite Green, green salad
Linda's favorite potato salad
Fresh fruit salad
Grilled Hot Dogs for the younger set
Assorted cold drinks
Linda's Carrot Cake
Susan's German Chocolate Cake
Raspberry Chocolate Torte
Home made Double Chocolate  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

I think it's safe to say that we had planned a menu fit for a party!

Hayden is one of four siblings, and coming from a very stylish girly-girl mother, he instructed us that this party was not to be the least bit "sweet"! No girl-y colors...not too "pretty". Just a good boy party. 

Here's what we came up with!

Linda caught this evidence of "getting down to the grunt work"! All bracelets and watches off in preparation for pulling the 30 pounds of pork that had been cooking overnight...

First thing Friday, we mixed up a quadruple batch of double chocolate chip cookie dough for the 60+ ice cream sandwiches to follow.

 How we wish we had someone on hand to photograph the next sequence! Filling, shaping, prepping the plastic wrap and wrapping the ice cream sandwiches was getting out of hand real fast!! It was truly a scene from a Lucy and Ethel episode! Somehow, we got them put together and documented our stash in the freezer for the evening ahead. *Whew*

Every surface of the kitchen was filled with supplies to be used and items not to be forgotten...

Colors...lime and orange, two personal favorites and oh so manly...remember the deal, "no girl-y stuff"!

Platters and serving pieces at hand...


Salad bowls, trifle bowl, samovar for favorite cucumber water...

Burlap for our table clothes...not exactly budget friendly, but once again, oh so stylishly manly!

Hayden posed with me after assembling the Chinese lanterns in the colors of the day!


Then the graduate and I set out to hang the lanterns under the largest tree in the back yard. We were enjoying an 87 degree day in the city of Charlotte...May, no less.

We wrapped a band of burlap around assorted sizes of mason jars and then used multiple turns of twine as our "ribbon" (the manly version!) Each mason jar was filled with tinted lime green water and hosta leaves, along with several sprigs of the large maple tree that took center stage in the yard.


I tied burlap covered sand bags as weights to use for our balloons.

Here's a long shot of the tables!


In back of the serving table, we used our weighted burlap bags to hold 18 balloons for 18 years...all at perfectly placed heights to form a celebratory wall. Giant hosta leaves from my daughter, Jessie's yard added the punch.

Closeup of weighted burlap bags!

Looks like a  manly party for sure!

Linda and I laughed when we arrived after a short break to dress in the same color! Well....we think alike! Nothing planned, really!

Hayden indulged us in a photo shortly before the guests were to arrive. He is so handsome!


 One last look around....

 Our favorite refreshing drink was added to the drink buffet table...


At the end of the evening the breeze had completely died . That, along with the piles of burlap told the story of a successful evening.


 We decided to release the balloons as an expression of Hayden's moving to new heights!

Congratulations, dear Hayden. I know he will go far.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring/Summer Events

Spring/Summer 2012 Event Menu

Thursday, May 31 6:30pm
“Easy Ways to Make Your Case”  
            Beautify your bookcases! Susan will demonstrate how to put interest and your personal touch into your bookcases. A few trade secrets will turn yours into a favorite design project and place to display collectibles, books, art and more!

 Thursday, June 28   6:30pm
“Every Home Needs Atmosphere!”
Pattern and so much soul! Pattern rules the design world right now. Susan will discuss how to use pattern to pump up your rooms. Expect lots of fabrics in a wide variety of current styles. You’ll go away with inspired ideas for quick change! Take home a favorite memo to be returned and dream.

Thursday, July 26 6:30pm
“25 Fun (and easy!) Design Ideas for Your Bedroom”
            Bedrooms aren’t just for sleeping anymore! Make yours one of the more stylish rooms in your home with these tips. Susan will cover everything from color palettes to fabric patterns, art and lighting. She will review her Pinterest boards and inspire you to visualize your own possible changes or additions.

Thursday, August 16 6:30pm
“Make the Most of Your Mantle”
            What better place to showcase an array of eclectic objects?! Always an anticipated class, Susan will demonstrate ways to create stunning display ideas you can re-create for yourself. Bring photos and measurements for individual consultations and help.

Thursday, September 13 6:30pm
“The Art of Assemblage”
            With her eye for the over looked and the avant-garde, Susan turns her store into a quirky lab for living! A walk through the store with discussions and demonstrations that will turn on your imagination and get you started on the path to creativity and out-side-the-box thinking.

Thursday, September 27 6:30pm
“Top Shelf”
            Dressing those high surfaces with interest is a challenge. Whether it’s a great room, a bedroom, or kitchen, your higher surfaces shouldn’t go unnoticed. Susan will review her dos and don’ts with demonstrations and ideas for all. Bring your photos for instant design direction.

A $20 registration fee is required for all events and can be applied to your purchase the evening of the event.

High Style!

The Bucks County Designer House held it's annual "Meet the Designers" night tonight.

Well attended, Juliana and I hosted our room . We greeted guests with enthusiastic explanations for my lipstick pink high gloss walls, Sunbrella dining chairs with rhinestone tufts, and zebra rug. We handed out stacks of photo postcards (our room in photography) with an enticing 20% offer to visit Black-eyed Susan. All in all, our room was a hit and very well received!

At the end of the night, on the heels (excuse the pun!) of a comment regarding my aching feet, I recounted a segment that I had seen on a national morning show this morning. It seems there is one Doctor who feels that wearing high heels has a link to cancer. He touts that any stress is a factor in cancer and high heels definitely equate to stress.

Let me just say that Juliana is my one staff member who could rival my choice of high heels on a daily basis. After I had retold the story and as we commiserated together about the state of our toes, she said very seriously,  "Well, high heels can bring on nausea" . I cracked up laughing!!

So, for your enjoyment, we took these photos of our individual choice of shoes.

Juliana in purple/hot pink and me in metallic graphite...

In our defense, we asked out neighbor designer, Mark to take our photo...I guess he didn't get the significance of this documentation!

*Note the zebra rug!*

I don't think either one of us will be making a change towards practical shoes any time soon.

Style. It's all about style.  The hot pink high gloss walls speak pretty loudly for style as well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's All About Color!

We are starting another new project for a favorite long term client in Charleston, SC! Oh, the joy!

In October, we flew down to see the new project and make our notes and get inspired (we did a little Christmas decorating while we were at it like magic elves). It was a delightful start to a new project.

How do you start from scratch? New house, new colors, new approach...NEW! It's a little overwhelming to find a beginning point. Inspiration. Style. Color pallet. Where to start?! 

This will be the 4th home we've done for a very personal favorite client. She's a joy to work with, listens (and likes!) is agreeable and will take a leap of faith. Pretty much the perfect client! Each home has been different in style and this one is looking like it might just be the most fun yet! 

You have heard me say that "textiles are my drug of choice". Well, tonight, Jackie and I stayed late and put together our inspiration. The table (all 12 feet!) was completely covered with "inspiration"...

When the rest of the store gets quiet and the main staff has gone home, that is when the real magic begins!  Just take a look;

    We got out our notes from several weeks ago and recalled that we really wanted to incorporate coral (hot new color trend!) into our new pallet.  This cheerful and hip fabric was our first inspiration. My followers know how much I adore chartreuse, so this fabric had instant appeal. When sales reps call on my design studio, we order loads of fabulous memos of textiles that strike our fancy, never knowing when we may have a need for them...I'm sure glad I had this one sent!

After finding the inspiration fabric, we added the coral velveteen (accent pillows), cream linen (sofas) and pulled out a book with this chartreuse quilted velvet. Maybe the perfect thing for an ottoman/coffee table!

I thumbed through a few other favorite sources and opened to this Ikat/medallion print for possible drapery panels. My heart sings!

With all the hip wall coverings that are making a reappearance, we added this to our possible selections. Oh. My. Yes! The chartreuse and grey metallic is pretty cool as well....maybe a powder room close by? Or, maybe not. Yet to be seen. (Of course, we don't even know if our client will be on the same page, but how could she not??!!)

Just in case, we found a metallic taupe stria paper and a fabulous coral string paper! I thought you might like to see the larger picture of the coral graphic one too!

Pure joy, style and color!

Then the question...what kind of drapery would be the perfect balance to this bold color? It took a while to search through our drapery weight fabrics, and I came up with this. It's a beautiful sheer linen tone on tone cream awning stripe...very subtle and a perfect match to the background of the coral graphic wall paper.

So, this is a shot of the inspiration as it was building. (Pay no attention to the paint strips in the background...they are just "markers" we use from a paint deck that fell apart!) I did, however, find a paint can in the back stockroom that looked like a perfect match for...who knows what, yet?! It was an old Duron can, "Poinsettia". I peeled off a heavy drip, took it to the table, and wow! Perfect match. It's pretty bold, so I'm not sure what we will use it old table, sideboard, piano? Just sayin'.


And this is just a sneak peek at the family room pallet. Graphite with a pop of coral to tie it all together!

I'll keep you posted as to our progress once we show our client! 

We left a bit tired from a long day, but exhilarated and in pure style. 

Pure. Style.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Night Shift pays off!

Last week, my team and I got inspired! In my stash of props are several books that I use to tear pages from...oh dear! (Several of my children and nieces may shriek!) I also have a love of old frames and generally have several of them on hand that are "not for sale (another problem of mine as a retailer...).

But just take a look at this visual we came up with! 

*Large empty black frame  
*Book pages mounted side by side on foam core
*Pressed leaf from former Charleston site visit
*Secondary framed fonts , layered
*Re-styled lamp with replacement oval black shade and twine embellishment! (personal favorite).
Trophy vase with aged paperback books tied with twine
*Reclaimed looking large finial lidded urn
*Burlap covered small bottle
*Several framed dictionary pages
*Iron organizer with bird's nest
*Vintage inspired flash card

We loved the theme, the natural color and the composition! I've really been meaning to keep a file of the mantles I design...maybe this will start the file!

Love. It.

Hope you do too!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The "Wow!" Room !

Linda and I hosted our room, The Dining Room, at the Bucks County Designer House Gala tonight.
"Wow!" was the exclamation of the night. I can say, that it was extremely  well received by all. We were so pleased that there was a particularly large number of men who exclaimed their approval. High Gloss Benjamin Moore Crushed Velvet was the backdrop color. White accents added contrast. 

Patrons commented most on the room color, the porcelain cherries (scattered on the tabletop), the totally lifelike succulents, table finish, rhinestone appointed tufted chairs, rug...chandelier...mantle stallion...oh. dear. I guess the whole package!

We snapped a few photos during times when the room wasn't filled to capacity...

Metallic veneered side chests with glamorous mirrors... (and I love the warm stone colored lidded urns flanking the fireplace). I do love the drapery panels...

Many times during the evening, the size of our room could not hold the interested patrons. We greeted everyone personally and answered questions about the design process, what's and whys, and gave each visitor a photo of the room with an enticing coupon to visit Black-eyed Susan. Many of our guests identified themselves as Besusan blog followers (!) and reminisced about past designer room favorites.
One darling visitor who introduced himself as Bill exclaimed, "If you can't have fun in a room like this, then there's just something wrong!" We had a lively conversation with him about his take on the room (all good!) and thought we should have had him give us an endorsement for an ad! He came back by and we told him that we had quoted him several times over.

The food was delicious. New and old familiar faces greeted us enthusiastically. We received many promises for first time visits and many more for return visits from our regular supporters. The weather cooperated! Not a single raindrop until we arrived home. 

All in all, a good time was had by all and we felt satisfied with the delivery of our high gloss, lipstick pink dining room!

Here's to another successful year at the Bucks County Designer House 2012. 

Come see the magic.