wave tucks

wave tucks

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cowboys and Celtic Banding

This week I had two installations which could not have been more diverse. 

The first installation was a small (24 wide by 13 tall) inside mounted valance for an entryway powder room.  Newly wallpapered in soft cream, bronze and light gold tones, we opted for a shaped cream silk valance accented with bronze microcording, tassel and Celtic banding in an undulating oval shape.

This motif was selected from The Great Book of Celtic Patterns by Lora S. Irish.  This book has wonderful and creative design ideas and is my favorite go-to book for Celtic inspiration. 

While I most often use 1/2" bias banding for Celtic applique', this petite project called for a more delicate 1/4" banding, which curved beautifully and easily around the many curves in the project.

Our next installation of the day was for a friend and neighbor whose projects have been featured previously on this blog. 

I am happy to add that her home will be featured on our upcoming neighborhood home tour and I know the attendees will love her collections and creative style.

This project was for the "Cowboy" guest bedroom.  As always, she provided a challenge for this project:  utilize her grandmother's tropical-patterned barkcloth drapery panels in this western-themed bedroom.  Due to the age of the barkcloth, there were some condition problems which required planning and creative cutting to work around, while making sure the pattern repeats on the overlays matched each other.

The photo above shows the smaller side window, along with some of the numerous cowboy/western collectibles featured in the room.

The larger window above the bed also showcased the faux-leather embossed cornice which was the backdrop to the barkcloth overlays.  The overlays were accented with leather and bead conchos, which can be seen more closely in the photo below.

Hope you enjoyed the latest blog post - and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ingenuity from the International Quilt Festival

Yesterday I visited the exhibit hall at the International Quilt Festival - it truly deserves HOURS of time and I had only about an hour to spare, but I wanted to share some of the photos from the gorgeous displays.

The quilt shown below in several photos was one of the major award winners at the Festival...it was so gorgeous and I was mesmerized by the lattice work that the quilter made using bias turned tubes. She was displaying and discussing her stunning work; she did mention how many hours she spent just TURNING the tubes, not including sewing them into the quilt.  It was so beautiful!  There was a crowd surrounding her, admiring her work and design.

Below, the quilter shows the back of the quilt - gorgeously finished!  You can clearly see through the undulating latticework design here, can't you?

Below is a much closer photograph of her exacting handiwork!  Amazing!
Look at the little thread scrollwork accents at the bottom of the photo - so whimsical and fun.

Some of you may know that we have seen an armadillo lately in our backyard - I thought this quilt was appropriate for Texas.  The colors in the sky are so lovely and soft.

The quilt is a wonderful scene showcasing outdoor Texas.  The field and sky is so pretty, that you almost don't see the little armadillo in the corner!  The detailed stitching is amazing to me.  Here's a closeup of Mr. Armadillo and his stitching:

Below is a stitching sample that one of the Quilt Festival instructors had on display.  It was about 14 x 14 and looks pretty here...but wait until you see the close up photo below.

 Such intricacy in the flowing stitching and the soft color choices.

There were some lovely examples which included Swarovski crystals - ooh la la!

Here is a zoom photo of some of the sparkly embellishment.

And some more innovative ideas for using the Swarovski crystals - don't we all need more bling in our lives?

This memerizing quilt was another award winner - and rightfully so.  The Asian inspired quilt shows so much detail and skill.

Look at the detail on the border edges!

And the watered background, completed with dragonflies and feathery birds - I am amazed at the planning and skill that went into this (and other) projects.

I hope you enjoyed this little mini-tour of skill and talent - I will post more photos soon!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Slipcovers - casual and dressy

I recently completed two slipcover projects for a client.  The below two photos were taken in front of a white fabric backdrop in my workroom.

The first project incorporated a coffee theme for the four chairs at her breakfast table.  We added padded and ruffled chair skirts to the seats and a padded mini-slip to the top of the chair. 

The top slip has a small fold and button accent at the back and ties which coordinate with the ties on the chair seats.

We also made six slipcovers for her dining room chairs.  She wanted a decorative "waistband" wrap that would work well throughout the year but could also be dressed up for the holidays.

The overall slipcover is lined and interlined in the top section, to add softness and to prevent the wooden frame and slats from being seen or felt through the slipcover.  If the chairs are used often, the imprint of the slats can sometimes eventually be seen on the slipcover, so I wanted to prevent that as much as possible.

The skirt has bouillion trim at the hem and pleats at each corner.

  For most of the year, the pleated sash/waistband will be used, which features 5 covered buttons and fabric loops on each side of the chair.  The waistband section for the waistband is a solid fabric which was pleated on the back, and embroidered and embellished on the reverse side of the pleated back. 

The pleated back waistband segment is reversible, with the reverse side featuring a custom embroidery design with a mirror image layout.  The leaves and holly berries are stitched in several thread colors, including metallics. 

I hand beaded some gold, silver and ruby colored beads onto the design for a bit of shimmer and elegance for the holidays.

The holidays are coming up and these simple and beautiful details are the perfect complement to holiday decorating!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bedding and Window Treatment Project

Yesterday we installed a large window treatment project for a long-time client.  Here is the evolution of the project:

My client called saying that she was ready to update her master bedroom's bedding and add window treatments.  You can see from the photo below that the window area is a large expanse which included a 13 foot long main wall and about 4 feet on each side wall.  The right side wall includes a functioning door which would need to remain in use.

 At the time of our original appointment, the walls were a light peach tone.  After all of the fabrics and trims were selected, my client had some remodeling work done and also had the bedroom freshly painted in a neutral taupe tone.

Because the door needed to remain functional, we elected to use the Operable Door Valance system, which I have featured in this blog previously.  We installed the bedding last month and did a "dry fit" of the ODV to make sure the dimensions worked well since we would be adding many linear feet of connecting valances and the measurements and sizing needed to work perfectly.

The photo below shows the bedding, which was planned to coordinate with the existing oriental rug in the room.  We choose rich inky blue matelasse for the coverlet, featuring a self cord and scallopped hem.  Tone on tone Euro pillows add height at the back of the bed and rectangular pillows in an embroidered fabric with contrast twist cord are placed at the front. 

 The foot of the bed features a scaldino, which is a long rectangular fabric piece, filled with layers of heavy interlining for weight and softness, and backed in the same fabric.  The scaldino is trimmed in gold silk cording and features a beautiful Robert Allen red and gold silk tassel trim on the ends, which overhang the sides of the bed and end above the edge of the coverlet so that the trim shows nicely on the ink blue fabric.

The scaldino is made using a gorgeous Schumacher fabric.  This fabric was very expensive but worked perfectly in the project and served to "marry" all of the fabrics together.  We very carefully planned how we would use the fabric, in which direction and which motifs would be centered.  This allowed us to use the same fabric and motif on the back, and you can see the matching patterns on the edge of the scaldino.  We had just enough fabric left over to use a remnant for the centerpiece of a feature pillow which you will see below.

The gathered silk bedskirt is a red Kravet fabric with gold embroidered accent details and is lined and interlined for fullness and softness.

This above photo also shows the ends of the scaldino and the tassel trim accents.  This photo also shows the addition of a gorgeous neckroll pillow that we added at yesterday's installation.  We utilized the medallion motif from the scaldino fabric for the neckroll's centerpiece, added blue silk cording on the centerpiece's sides and rouched gold silk fabric on each end.  Blue silk cording was added on the ends, and self lined gathered gold silk forms the end pieces which are tied with gold and navy tassel ties. 

Doesn't this one pillow add so much to the bed?  It is a wonderful unifier and adds softness and more detail to the project.  I love this pillow!

 Above you can see a closeup of the pillows on the bed - a lovely combination!

For the window treatments, we wanted to break up the long linear wall to provide some movement and shape, so we lifted the center swagged sections.  Here is a rendering of the proposed project, which is shown to scale and in the fabrics and colors chosen for the room:

And here is the completed project:

Backdrop cornices in a solid dark blue fabric add contrast and interest to the overlay valances.  The valances are self lined in the gold silk fabric and interlined for weight and softness.  The gold silk can be seen in the cuffs, inside of the horns and on the cascades on the ends of the treatment.  The main fabric is the embroidered gold/dark red fabric.  We used the solid blue fabric for microcording at the edge of the cuffs and above the tassel trim. 

Many times the tassel trim has a pretty edge on the top and is applied on top of the fabric.  In this case, we felt using that method would add too much gold to the treatment, so I applied the blue microcording to the top of the tassel trim's top edge, thereby covering some of the gold and showing only the fan shape of the edge and the tassels.  The trim was inserted into the seam...and it looks beautiful!  I love the weight that tassel trim adds to the hem of treatments like this.

The photo below shows a perspective of the room with the window treatments and the bedding.  We will be adding a decorative fabric throw and some pillows to the chaise lounge in the next couple of weeks.  As you might notice the chaise and plant are out of place in this photo; there were painters and other contractors at the home yesterday while we were working, so those items had been moved to accomodate their projects.

Hope you enjoy this finished project as much as I did!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Valance Samples on Display

I recently installed a couple of valance samples at my favorite local upholstery shop in Houston - Jack Johnson Upholstery.  Located on W. 34th Street between N. Shepherd and Ella, this family owned upholstery shop offers high quality detailed service at reasonable rates and a reliable turnaround time.  I have used Jack Johnson Upholstery for my own personal projects and have recommended them to clients, family and neighbors; they do a terrific job!

They were gracious enough to agree to showcase a couple of sample valances in their showroom.  This is a great opportunity for exposure, and also was a challenge for me to decide on fabrics, trims, design ideas, etc.  When the usual constraints of projects for an actual home are removed (privacy, light control, existing furnishing styles and colors), it can be challenging to decide on a finished treatment style!

For the stationary roman shade style above, I selected a velvet paisley fabric, accented with open scallops outlined in black silk microcording and with a gold pleated silk inset inside of the scallops.  I love the contrast and I adore the regimented pleats lined up inside the scallop openings.

The close up photo above shows the pleated detail and microcording.  The black cording and "puff" accents are a striking and strong contrast, which is not shown well in this photo at all.  I guess my flash washed out the rich colors...boo!

The purchased trim is fun and I love the amber accents.  Shown above is the original trim which was used at the hem of the shade.  I cut apart the "puff" accents and removed the round top bead and glued two components together to create the accents at each scallop's closure.  I love rearranging and layering trims and this was a great way to repurpose the original trim.

Another sample on display is this lined and interlined silk valance.  With clean lines and a pleat at each corner, your attention is focused on the black grosgrain ribbon applied in a decorative pattern.  This is a wonderful way to use minimal fabric in a simple design, but still obtain a custom and interesting design.

Hope you enjoyed the latest projects!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Lone Star State of Mind

How do four months go by without a blog post?  Quickly!  I apologize for my absence...I have been busy with client projects and teaching (last month in Las Vegas) and coordinating some upcoming seminars in July and September.  But I am back to the blog!

We recently installed a wonderful cornice and traversing drapery panel project for a client who is both a friend and neighbor.  Her newly constructed home has a Texas/lodge theme throughout and it has been fun working together to design and create window treatments for her.  She has a wonderful eye for design and collectibles and she knows her preferences very well.  She is quick to select designs and fabrics and is extremely creative in her selections and ideas.

The project below is the rendering I created for the study in their home.  With a large window facing the front yard, she requested traversing drapery panels for privacy and light control topped with a shaped cornice with nailhead accents at the bottom cornice edge and in a star shape at the center.

Not shown in the rendering are the nailheads that would embellish the hem shape.  The drawing shows the numerous measurements that I needed in order to make sure the proportions worked well in the room.  The cornice is 106" wide, and 28" at the longest point (the outer edges) and 15" at the highest (short) point. 

When a cornice has this many curves and varying long and short points, it is important to make a paper template and carefully plan the spacing for each nailhead, so that the nailheads can follow the curves, bends and corners and match evenly on each side of the cornice.  These nails were almost 1" in diameter, and I wanted to have some open space between them so that they did not overtake the cornice.

I wanted to use slightly closer spacing on the nailheads for the star shape, so that it did not become too spread out.  It took some planning to make sure there would be a pointed edge at the tip of each star point, yet to not have the nails closest to the points overlap or abut each other too closely.

In order to visualize the spacing using the actual nailheads, I drew out the cornice edge, marked the spacing and inserted the nailheads into a piece of Firmaflex.  In this way, I could see the nailheads upright and inserted and check the spacing for any needed adjustments.  When I liked the layout, I began to insert the nails into the cornice.

Here is a photo of the faux suede cornice and drapery panels installed.  You can see the Texas theme carried out elsewhere in the study, can't you? Yes, those are horns on the chair on the right side of the photo.  Don't you love the open frame with a decorative plate hung in the center (to the left of the stacked suitcases)? 

Additionally, the exterior of the home is a putty/tan color, so we used a putty lining on the draperies and cornice.  Using a tan lining coordinates well with the exterior of the home and blends more evenly.  A stark white lining would have a more severe finished look and could look a little jarring across the exterior of the home.  This tan lining looks great, and matches the lining we have used on the guest bedroom upstairs.  I will post a photo of the exterior and some closeup photos soon.

The next project for this home is the dining room, which will include another cornice accented with antique iron gate hardware and cafe curtains.  The homeowner has also given me a vintage mail carrier's bag that we will work into two valances for another room.  Like I said, she has innovative and creative ideas and is very fun to work on projects with!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kids' Rooms + Embroidery = Fun!

I am lucky enough to count many of my clients as my "favorite clients".  My very first client is one of these...we have continued to work together on projects throughout her home since 1995.

We haveredone her childrens' rooms several times, moving from almost-nursery style, to juvenile looks, to youthful styles, to teen rooms.  It is fun to watch the progression of the kids' rooms and the styles, colors and themes that they like and how they change.

This valance was designed and fabricated by a friend of the family.  The homeowner wanted to add some stronger color and style to the treatment and to coordinate with a new quilted Pottery Barn coverlet in a pretty kiwi green color.

The photo is the "before" shot of the pair of windows.

By adding an overlay with custom embroidery and coordinating cording, the bedspread is tied in and the valance (stationary roman shade) has some added weight and detail.

These purchased pillows and shams are nice, but the client wanted to add some personalization and color to coordinate with the valance overlay.

The photo below are the original purchased pillow shams and comforter.

We designed slightly larger Euro sham pillows in a soft shell-pink with  kiwi green embroidery.
The smaller pillows have a 1/2" contrasting flat welt around the edges which is gathered a bit at the corners. The smaller pillows can be used on the bed or the upholstered side chair.  One of the smaller pillows features some floral embroidery also. 

I think it is very fresh and crisp!

The photos below show a young boy's room - he loves basketball, and more specifically, the Houston Rockets.  We used a purchased plaid comforter as our base, and incorporated the Houston Rockets theme.  We ordered these wonderful and large Rockets pennants, and mounted them on a black backdrop, blackout lined to prevent light bleed-through and fading.

Centering the valance is a custom embroidered pennant with the boy's name positioned vertically and a "swooshing" basketball flying through the net.  Contrasting banding and cording mimics the Rockets banners for unity and balance.

Below is the completed room which features some of his sports memorabilia on display.  He was happy with his room, as was his mom.  It was a fun project that I enjoyed working on.  Kids rooms are always great to plan and coordinate, and I love working with themes and incorporating custom embroidery too.



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Inspiration for the International Quilt Festival

I promised (almost two months ago!) that I would post more inspirational photos from the International Quilt Festival held annually in Houston, which I attended in October. 

 Below are numerous photos for your viewing pleasure!

The quilt below is lovely at first glance... 

But a closer view shows the amazing detail on this coneflower...

Look at the beaded detail - I think they are bees!  The ingenious quiltmaker used beads in different sizes to simulate bees on the flower's center - I love it!  This was one of my all-time favorites for creativity and style.

 These smaller designed pieces were in a class that I took. These pictures do NOT do this artistry justice - the beading and handwork was exquisite and jewel-like.

Another creative use of color and pattern:

I loved the mottled background on this award-winning quilt, as well as the contrasting colors.

Bonus:  it's gorgeous on the back as well!  A sign a true craftsmanship and skill.

A closeup of the stitching and vibrant colorations.

I love the deep contrast and reverse patterns here.

Another beautiful quilt!

 A stunning Americana type quilt.

 Perfect stitching and circles!

What a beautiful soft colored and sweet quilt embracing the art of tea!

The beribboned spoons are adorable! 

These vibrant scenes were terrific. 

A closeup of the beaded accents and stitchwork - fabulous! 

It was great to revisit these photos and I hope you enjoyed them also!