So, I knew I wanted to make our Christmas cards on Minted.com. I also knew that even though I really like to do a collage of photos, this year I wanted one simple unique photo. We were going to visit my dad in Maine for Thanksgiving. They have a big field behind their house and beyond that is a lake. I thought it would be fun to have my dad and stepmom take a photo of us in the field with the lake in the background.

First my middle child, step mom, and I scoured the garage for different levels of things to sit on. (I think I could have convinced them to let me take their sofa outside if it hadn’t been kind of muddy!) So we found some foot stools, went out to the field and I lined everyone up for a test shot:

Notice the red everyone is wearing…it will become important later on…

_0002

Ummmm, where’s mom?

_0001

Pretty good, but dad’s eyes are closed.

_0007

I think we’ve found a winner!

Next I just needed to make a little adjustment…like removing all of the color from the photo except for the red…_0005Then I started to play with the photo on Minted!  Here are the card selections I narrowed it down to and how they look with my photo:mintedUltimately, I liked the one on the left best and here it is!minted final

And here is a photo of the photography crew with their grandchildren:_0006Incidentally my dad writes a blog, too. It is about his life since he was diagnosed with Multiple Myloma, an (as yet) untreatable form of cancer.  If you want to check that out here is a link: http://findingthepony.blogspot.com/

Those of you who know me know that I love Christmas cards.  I especially love giving and receiving photo cards!  I actually place all the photo cards that our family receives in an album. It’s fun to see how my friends and family have changed over the years.

Last year I made our Christmas cards on Minted.com.  Here is how they looked online:

card 2014I think they turned out gorgeous in person (though my photo doesn’t do it justice):

_0001

I was so happy with the whole process.  It was fun and easy to add my photos and personalize my card.  The hardest part was choosing a design!

I’m using Minted to make my cards again this year and I have to say…choosing a design is still the hardest part.  There are so many to choose from!  I do like that I can see a preview of my photo in several cards at once:

card 2014 2

I’m excited to get the jump on Christmas this year!  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and I’m already finishing up my Christmas cards!  AND this year I’m going to take advantage of Minted’s feature of Free Recipient Addressing.  They have lots of designs to make the outside of the envelope match the inside.

Stay tuned to see my chosen design!

I have a new job!  I will now be working as a designer for Decorsit.com!

decorist site

 

I’m very excited to be doing design work for people all over the country.  You can request me, if you’d like me to design your space.  Click on the photo above to check out my bio on the Decorist website.  =)

I thought it might be fun to have a regular feature on this blog that lets me talk more about design.  I’m thinking of taking photos of rooms I like from the internet and analyzing them from a design standpoint.  I’ll talk about what elements to copy to achieve a similar look in your own home and maybe provide shopping links for similar items at an affordable price point.

Where to start, though?  There are sooo many great photos on the internet!  How about we start with a celebrity home that looks fairly simple to duplicate?

jlos NYC penthouse bedroom

I love this little beauty!  It is a bedroom in Jennifer Lopez’s NYC Penthouse.  Let’s talk about it!

Before we can start to duplicate this look, we need to look at what elements make this room what it is.  How does this room make you feel and what elements contribute to that feeling?  Your answers may be different than mine!  I see a serene, neutral bedroom.  The tone-on-tone, mostly white palette is grounded with dark brown.  I believe the mix of texture is what makes this room so luxe.  To get a similar feel in your own room, here are the elements I think should be duplicated:

  1. The walls.  Start with a light colored neutral.  White, off-white, pale gray, light beige or even a subtle pink or lilac would give you this same airy feel.
  2. The white. Go crisp white on the drapes and go floor to ceiling if you can.  They should definitely touch the floor and then go as high as you can.  (My home has 10 foot ceilings. It’s tough to find pre-made drapes that would go floor to ceiling and they are super expensive when I do find them!)  Go crisp white on the bedding, too.  Comforter, quilt, duvet cover…it doesn’t matter, so long as it is crisp white.
  3. The textures.  This is super important for a tone-on-tone room!  Here there is a nubby, natural jute rug, a fluffy fur throw, what looks like a plush velvet sofa and the sleek smoothness of the bed, table and desk. And of course, lots of soft pillows!  If you don’t have space or budget for a velvet sofa, try a tufted bench instead.
  4. The dark brown.  You need a dark color to ground all the ethereal lightness of the rest.  The dark bed, the table and the desk chair ground this room and keep it from being whimpy and whispy.  You could also use black or a deep charcoal grey.  You can ground your room with different elements.  It doesn’t have to be the table, bed and chair, but the dark elements to need to spread across the room.  You could use black or oil-rubbed bronze drapery rods.  You could have a lamp with a black base on the desk, rather than a black desk chair.

I suspect that Jennifer’s bed is actually bronze, but here is a bed with similar lines that could ground an all-white room.  Click on the photo for shopping info. (I get no compensation for sharing these links!  I just thought it might be fun to help you shop!)

canopy bed

Modern, four poster bed

That beautiful carved table is probably custom made.  I could not find anything like it on the internet!  Nothing!  I’m embarrassed to tell you how long I spent looking for something similar.  I’m sure it is a dining table.  It appears too large to be an accent or end table.  If you wanted a table similar to this, your best bet would be CustomMade.com.

Let’s look at that white desk in the corner.  It is a white desk trying to balance a black table in the opposite corner.  It is able to do that because it is so chunky and is paired with a black chair. This writing desk is a great match and it’s under $200!

desk

Chunky, white writing desk

What do you think of Design:  Duplicated?  Do you have a photo you’d like me to duplicate?  Please let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

_0001Guess where I went on Monday!  If you read the title of this post, then you know:  I went to the Blogger Block Party hosted by HGTV Magazine!  Since my middle son, Matthew has been functioning as my assistant in some of my DIY projects, I brought him along.  (It is surprisingly cheap to take a bus from Philadelphia to NYC!  Both of us got there and back for about $24 each!) Being at the mercy of the bus schedule, we arrived a little bit early and were the first ones there!  So we had time for a few photos in the lobby.

_0002

We got our picture taken when we got in and that photo made it onto the big screen where it rotated in and out all day._0003_0004There were stations set up on three floors and speakers/demonstrations every hour. There was a Flea Market Flip contest between Brooklyn Craft Company founder Brett Bara and HGTV magazine lifestyle editor Jodi Kahn.  We were welcomed by Editor in Chief, Sara Peterson:

_0005

Laurie March demonstrated a DIY art project using burnt matches similar to some art projects she did in the DIY Network’s Blog Cabin:_0006

Jason Cameron’s talk was a bit more of an infomercial for Wagner paint’s spray gun, but he’s pretty cute, so it was easy to watch!_0010

I actually got invited to the stage with Stephanie Marchetti of the blog Sandpaper and Glue to help Danny Seo make an upcycled home version of Candyland using scrapwood and Wilsonart laminate sample chips.  _0011

We both got a copy of Danny’s book Upcycling: Celebrations and Stephanie got to keep Danny’s pre-made version of the game:_0016

We saw season 7 Design Star winner, Danielle Colding._0013

Matthew and I did the Chinet Challenge where we had 1 minute to do a pretty table setting.  The photos were tweeted or Instagram’ed and printed out and Sara Peterson & Genevieve Gorder judged the best one.  I’m pretty sure we came in second place. 😉
tableGenevieve Gorder shared her thoughts on coming design trends.  For 2016 she thinks we’ll be seeing more of a Scandanavian influence with black and white contrasted and timeless tribal print patterns with an emphasis more on triangles and less on circles and squares. For 2017 she thinks we be seeing a big Cuban influence with tropical green colors and bold leaf patterns with pops of coral-ly pink.

_0014After she spoke, Genevieve posed for photos.  She was very gracious and took the time to chat with everyone in line.  I hate to post this photo because she looks like Barbie and I look like…Mrs. Potato Head, but here it is…

_0015We did some fun activities throughout the day.  We created mini terrariums and painted tiny canvases with stencils.  Matthew won a Snuggle teddy bear by spinning a wheel and naming the flower that the spinner landed on.  We had some fun designing a shopping board on a giant smart board using products from Overstock.com.  The event ended with a reception during which Matthew and I hung out in the lounge.  Quite a fun day!

_0009

 

 

So…here is something we haven’t talked about on this blog yet.  In addition to my design business, I own a retreat house.  You can find it here:  Legacy Retreat House, if you care to take a peek.  IMG_5448

It started out as a weekend retreat house for scrapbookers, quilters and other crafters and has begun to take on vacationing families.  When we furnished it, we put in a luggage rack for every bed figuring no one was staying more than a few nights.  Now with our vacationing families, people are beginning to stay for a week or two at a time.  As I was out running errands one day, I thought, “I really need to start looking for dressers for the retreat house.”  No kidding, on my way back home, there was a dresser on the side of the road with a big “FREE” sign on it!

_0014

Of course, I stopped and put it in my van with the help of a nice teenage boy who was riding by on his bike.  It’s an interesting little dresser.  There were originally four knobs on each of the three drawers, but many knobs were missing.  There were three left on the top drawer, one on the middle and three on the bottom.  I really didn’t want to invest in new hardware… and four pulls per drawer seemed excessive, so I decided to redistribute the hardware I had and fill in the holes where I was not going to replace the pulls.

See all the holes for the missing hardware?

See all the holes for the missing hardware?

Let me tell you… this is a really nice, high quality, much-heavier-than-it-looks dresser! Look at the stamp in the drawer and the dovetail joints!

Ethan Allen!

Ethan Allen!

Dovetail Joints

Dovetail Joints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here is what it looked like after I filled in the holes:

_0004

I sanded the drawer fronts and spray painted them with Rustoleum Ultra Cover 2X Spray in gloss white.  The dresser top was looking a little beat up, so I decided to sand and spray that, too.

_0013_0005While the paint was drying, I tackled the hardware.

With salt and lemon juice...before adding the Bon Ami. Compare the top three to the bottom one.

With salt and lemon juice…before adding the Bon Ami. Compare the top three to the bottom one.

The knobs are real brass.  The pulls are brass plated.  Not that it matters, you clean them the same way.  First I tried a little Bon Ami, a natural cleanser that we use for cleaning our copper bottom pots and pans.  That didn’t really do much.  So I tried a mixture of salt and lemon juice with a tooth brush.  That did a pretty good job. THEN…I added the Bon Ami to the salt and lemon juice…score!

_0011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at that hardware shine in the photo below!

 

 

 

_0008

And lastly, a photo of the dresser in it’s new home:

photo 1 (2)Here’s a before & after side by side:

Before

Before

After

After

What do you think?

Want to know a cool and perhaps unexpected perk to having a blog?  You can use it as a portfolio to show off some of your work!  Want to see what I’ve been working on?

Jennifer Terry The Everygirl Mood Board -min

This design is for a company I’ve done some work for. The company will be featured on a well-known blogging site in the near future!  I can only hope that my design is front and center! They asked for a living room for a young, urban woman interested in hip, chic design. Here’s a 3D view of how the room will look:

roomI just did a nursery idea board for a woman who asked that the room feature an elephant.  She already had the rug and the crib and she really liked a $4000 version of this chandelier (this one is only $380!):

Odalis nursery - Page 001-minHere is a living room for a gal in NYC looking for a bit of contemporary design.  The white cabinet is her existing TV stand:

Calm & Collected Mood Board for Michiko -minWhat are you looking for?  I can do a mood board for you, too!  We’ll discuss what you are looking for, what you like and don’t like.  Then I’ll make you a board similar to those above.  We’ll tweak it until it is exactly what you are looking for.  Then I’ll provide you with a floor plan (so so know where to place everything) and shopping list and you’ve got yourself a new room all at a budget that you set before we begin!

 

 

I recently had a reader ask for help with a problem.  I thought that could be a new feature on the blog!  If you have a troublesome spot in your home- please ask for help! I’ll see what I can do to give you a solution.

Qj soap” I beg of you! Please help me find a creative and fun way to make these accessible on my husband’s side of our master bath double sink without looking, well…like this! He insists on keeping leftover hotel soaps and using them up. But I end up with a pile of these in my sink or I find them under the sink years later because he forgets. I think he’d die if I came up with a way to stage them so he can remember to use them instead of secretly throwing them all out. The theme in the bathroom is nautical. We have a wooden ships wheel and some light house stuff. Ideas?”

A

I’d take the ones he is currently using and put them in/on a glass soap dish. Could be shaped like a seashell or just round. I have one that is shaped like a leaf in my bathroom. (The glass ones seem to clean off easier, but the glass part is not exactly necessary.) Then, I’d take the ones that are under the sink and display them on the sink in a glass apothecary jar–with a lid! If the wrappers are pretty, leave them wrapped. If they are ugly, unwrap them. You can have a mix of both. When he needs a new one, he can just reach in and grab one. You may still need to throw away the bits in the soap dish when they get icky, but the unused ones will have a nice dust-free, easy-to-remember-them home.  I think I’m going to start looking for a pretty apothecary jar at yard sales and Goodwill so I can do this myself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Several weeks ago my friend Maggie posted a photo of her front porch on Facebook.  I could NOT stop thinking about it!  She wrote “And just like that, the best room in the house is once again open. Lemonade, good books, cocktails, and sweet dreams all happen on the porch!”  Look what she did. It’s so simple and relaxed:

Inspirational image of porch with day bed, rug, 2 chairs and a samll chandelier

Maggie’s Summer Porch

I begged her to be a guest blogger here and share what she did, but I couldn’t persuade her. So I copied her (in theory) and will write about it myself!  LOL!

So, first I had to analyze what was calling to me in this photo.  What was the essence I wanted to capture on my own front porch?  What calls to me is:  the privacy, the coziness and the inside-comes-outside feel of it.

I decided I needed to copy:  the curtains, the bed, the rug and the soft chair–the chandelier might be a bonus.

We do have an extra twin bed in our house. However it is currently located on the third floor in our walk-up attic and I was pretty sure I could not convince anyone in my home to bring it down for me for a few months and then bring it back up.  Our dusty old swing would have to suffice.

porch before with a table, chair and bench swing

Our porch–before

The curtains?  That was easy!  I found sheers at IKEA for $3.99 a pair!!!  Our porch has a very high ceiling, so I was worried about finding something long enough.  These are 98″ and I figured we could always cheat them down a little.  The sheers are 100% polyester, so they should last outdoors for a few summers.  Not a bad $8 investment!  We own property elsewhere that is loaded with bamboo, so we got a few long stalks of that to use as curtain rods= free!

My middle son helped me cut the bamboo to the right length and hang the curtains.

Son cutting the bamboo with a hand saw

Cutting the bamboo

Once we hung the curtains they began to blow in the breeze and they either blew up and out eliminating the privacy they were supposed to provide, or they blew in and buried anyone sitting on the porch.  I was going to try sewing washers to the bottom, but the only ones that were heavy enough to fight the breeze were going to put a whole in the curtain.  So… I sewed them down to the porch railing!  I sewed them only in the middle and on the end of each panel, so they still flutter in the breeze- just not into your face!

before shot-curtains blowing: after shot- curtains sewn down

Before and after shots of the curtains

Then we discovered the power washer!!! Oh, what fun that was!  We had never used a power washer before.  We borrowed it from my mom and everyone wanted a turn.  I wanted to get the dirt off the floor and take some of the gunk off the swing.  Wow!  The swing went back to it’s original wood tone.

A little trip to HomeGoods netted me a cute orange side table, 5 pillows and a small rug–all for under $135!

Score! A rug, 5 pillows and some kind of vessel that I will use as a table.

Score! A rug, 5 pillows and some kind of vessel that I will use as a table.

Next, I  needed chairs.  I decided to take an old, old one from my bedroom and make it an outdoor chair. (At least for the summer on the covered porch.)  Then driving home from work, I noticed a neighbor had a chair out on the curb.  It looked like an office chair that had been left in the rain so long, the finish wore off the wood and the fabric was a very dirty blue. I transformed them both, but we’ll talk about that in an upcoming post.

I think I will do a chandelier of some sort.  I’m not sure what yet, but here is how everything turned out so far…

The finished product.

The finished product.

And from the other direction...

And from the other direction…

Oh- what do you think of my out door art?  It was less than $20 for both pieces!  I’ll talk about that in an upcoming post, too!

_0031Happy summer!