Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oversized Stuffed Animals

Did you like the giraffe in Mason's nursery?

Oversized stuffed animals are one trend in nursery design that I really, really love. And giraffes (no doubt the most popular choice) are so stinkin' cute. For Mason's room, this giraffe provided a bit of height that I needed to break up the level plane of the crib and the dresser and his colors were a perfect complement to the rest of the room. Not to mention that he upped the fun factor.

I always thought these oversized stuffed animals cost a small fortune and figured that using one was probably not wise with our small (but adequate) budget. Although you can indeed find them for several hundred dollars, I was very happy to find out that Amazon (and other online retailers) carry the Melissa & Doug versions for less than $75!

And there are so many awesome options to choose from:

Ummm, isn't the zebra amazing? I could see two flanking either side of a very chic crib. I absolutely love how the giraffe turned out for Mason, so I will definitely be filing this idea away for the future Shuffler children.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

IKEA Hack: DIY Crib Bumper and Monogrammed Pillow

Mason's nursery was full of little projects, two of which were courtesy of some clever usage of inexpensive IKEA items.

I knew I wanted to use custom fabrics for the room's curtains and crib linens, but had I made a crib bumper or crib skirt before? No. And Julianne still trusted me to make hers? Yes. She is a good friend. Or maybe I just didn't tell her that I had never done it before.

I'm not sure where in the recesses of my brain I had stored this information (or why), but I recalled that IKEA has a fantastic, very simple crib bumper that I could use as my starting point. The Kompisar bumper is only $14.99, white, and very thin so it's easy to cover with fabric.
The short version of this story is that I took several strips of my 54" wide fabric, sewed them together to make two very long strips, and then sewed them right onto the crib bumper - one on the front and one on the back. I know that is not very helpful if you don't sew, but if you do sew, I hope that makes sense.

And if it does make sense, you can scroll to read about the monogram pillow now.

If not, here are some more details.

First, I cut off the ties that come on the bumper. Later, when I installed the bumper, I made a note of where the ties should go according to the crib I was using and I sewed small strips of grosgrain ribbon to these spots for affixing the bumper to the crib. 

To cover the bumper, I used a sewing machine to essentially sew on strips of fabric to both of its sides.  I measured out six strips of 54" wide fabric - three of which were 2-3 inches taller that the bumper on top and bottom, and three of which were about the height of the bumper. I sewed the first three together on the short sides to make one very long strip of fabric that was 2-3 inches taller than the bumper on top and bottom so that I could essentially wrap this one piece of fabric around one side of the bumper and its edges - folding the fabric around the edges as I went. I sewed my seam about 1" inside of the bumper's edges to create the look of a welt. If you look at the picture, the bumper already has this kind of edge, so I basically just followed it.

Here is a picture of this strip of fabric wrapped around the bumper, and the placement of the needle shows about how far in I made this seam:

So I just sewed around this long, long rectangle until that piece was affixed. The bumper was longer than my strip of fabric, so I just cut off the excess bumper and finished up as usual around the raw edge. (When I initially tried out the plain bumper in the crib, I knew that it was a good bit longer than I needed, so I was safe chopping off the excess - make sure your crib doesn't need that extra length)

Then I took the three strips of fabric that were about the same height of the bumper and I also sewed their short sides together to make one long strip about the height of the bumper. For this strip, I did the same thing as the first in that I just sewed it right on to the bumper - but in this case, I didn't fold the fabric over the bumper's edges. Instead, I just folded down the strip's own edges to make a bit of a hem and sewed over this hem following the same seam I sewed on my earlier strip.

Let's recap - one long strip is taller than your bumper and this strip you wrap around the bumper, covering the edges. Then on the other side, you take the other long strip whose edges have been folded over to make a hem, and you sew this hem right on to the seam from the first strip (but this second strip doesn't fold around the bumper like the first).

Yes? Make sense? I didn't take good pictures, I know. Email me if you have questions.

The second, MUCH easier project was Mason's monogrammed pillow:

This pillow uses one of my absolute favorite, favorite items that IKEA sells - the 16x24 Fjadrar pillow insert! It's an amazing fluffy insert (I think it's down?? not sure) whose quality seems much higher than the price of $6.99. I LOVE it. Love it. 

In Mason's case, I also used the Sanela velvet pillow cover from IKEA, which comes in some really handsome colors - like navy, hunter and paprika - and only sets you back $7. I went with the taupe-ish color for baby M.

So, total, the velvet lumbar pillow is only $14. Bananas. And my secret to the monogram is felt and fabric glue....that's it.

Get yourself a piece of felt in the color of your choosing from any craft store. Find a font on your computer that you really like - I find that fat fonts work the best - and print out each letter. You'll have to play around with the sizing you want each letter to be.

Then cut out each letter to use as a guide on your felt. Pin the paper letter to your felt and follow its edges to cut out the felt letter. Then glue the felt letter right to the front of your pillow with fabric glue. I use Unique Stitch, but any fabric glue will work.

That's it! I will add a disclaimer that my letters are a bit more fancy than computer font. I actually drew the letters to make them look Leontine-esque in Illustrator and then printed them from there. Being a graphic designer does come in handy with projects like this, but you can definitely still do it using fonts you like from your computer.

More details on the room tomorrow!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Mason's Nursery Reveal

As promised, here are the pictures from Mason's nursery!

That last one is Lucy, one of David and Julianne's puppies. She was too cute not to include!

I'll bring you details from the room and sources this week on the blog, so stay tuned. Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Photo by Laurey W. Glenn via Southern Living

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, shared with people you love. I'd like to think that I am always aware of the eleventy billion blessings I have in my life, but I like that this holiday puts a focus on everything I have to be thankful for. Not the least of which is this blog and you.

Some business items we need to review before we sign off for the holiday:

1) You need to purchase the December issue of Southern Living.*

2) Don't forget to buy your designer pillow covers on Etsy at 20% off. Shop: Aurelia, Code: AESTHETICOISEAU20

3) Come back Monday for Mason's nursery reveal!! Julianne and I took some pictures this past weekend, and I am going to post them for you on Monday.

Gobble, gobble. See you Monday!

* I have so much to say about this issue. It's been a while since a magazine issue has knocked my socks off, and December's SoLi did just that. AND, if you are a print subscriber and have an iPad, you can download the digital issue with their app. It's the first time I've read a magazine on my iPad and it was a delightful experience because as soon as I saw something of interest, I could just hop on over to my browser and then come back to the magazine. I spent about two hours looking at this issue on Saturday. The gift guide alone is worth it - I got tons of ideas. And one of my web design clients is featured! (Letter Love Designs) The homes are real pretty. And they have a feature on table settings using classic china patterns (including pic above) that is WONDERFUL. Trust me. Get it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chiang Mai on Sale

In the spirit of the upcoming Black Friday (or better yet Small Business Saturday), I am bringing you one heck of a deal today!

How about a pair (a PAIR) of 18" Chiang Mai pillow covers for $80? Two. For $80.

In one of those kismet moments, I came across the Etsy shop Aurelia who sells amazing designer pillow covers for really reasonable prices. I contacted her for a custom size and she responded that she reads my blog (from New Zealand!) and loves all things Chinoiserie like moi.

And the best part is that she wanted to offer AO readers 20% off her loot. Woohoo! That means Kelly Wearstler, Chiang Mai and all your favorite friends are bananas affordable - just in time for holiday sprucing, gift lists and general merriment.

The details: shop link, code: AESTHETICOISEAU20 

I got these Kelly Wearstler Bengal Bazaar pillows (in 20" - Aurelia does custom sizes, just convo her on Etsy):

She also has Kelly Wearstler Imperial Trellis, Celerie Kemble Bleeker,  and a variety of fun Chinoiserie fabrics.

If I am not mistaken, that just made your day. Please shop 'till you drop and give another wonderful Etsy seller your business. Don't we all love Etsy? What on earth did we ever do without it?


Monday, November 21, 2011

My Thanksgiving Table Ideas

I feel like my tabletop decor has been in a rut lately. I love my china and my decorative pieces but for the upcoming holiday, I started daydreaming about completely shaking things up and creating a whole new look for my table.

I currently have a gig with creating product Ideabooks for their "Guest Picks" series and I decided to put my daydreaming thoughts into one of my collections. Check out the arrangements I have contemplated for some slightly non-traditional Thanksgiving table looks:

Do any of these strike your fancy or give you a good idea for your own table? I hope so!

I put together one more arrangement that is more traditional. Click here for my complete Ideabook and see this last arrangement as well as sources for all of the products I feature.

Happy planning!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Crush

Image via Pinterest via

When I have children, I will frame this illustration and put it up right next to the framed print of the Golden Rule. "Do Unto Others..." and "Hang Your Curtains Close the Ceiling..." are two life lessons the Shuffler children will learn early. I don't believe in "decorating rules," (an oxymoron to me) but I will say that hanging your curtains to maximize height is the common sense approach. It makes SUCH a difference to hang panels floor to ceiling at the maximum width your window will allow. 

Do good unto your curtains.

And with that little nugget, I leave you. Have a fantastic weekend...see you Monday!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Arrivals

I have procured some treats recently. The first are these chinoiserie hurricane vases currently on One Kings Lane:

They remind me of this bedroom by Mary McDonald seen in Veranda:

Wait, those are actually the exact same silhouettes. Interesting.

And I also got the Cliffs Area Rug that I have been seriously coveting for about 6 months. I just couldn't stop visiting it online and thanks to some birthday dollars from my dad, I pulled the trigger:

The good news is that this rug is AWESOME. I can't say enough about it. The colors are actually prettier in person if you can believe it (there is a slight touch of salmon pink) and it's very plush (I live in a world of jute and/or flatwoven rugs) and just incredibly chic.

The bad news is that it totally doesn't work where I wanted it to go - I thought the dimensions were good, but it's a wee bit short. So, it is now holding court on the landing at the top of our stairs - it's a perfect fit, but I feel it's too hidden from the world all the way up there. But it will bring me joy on a daily basis, so that's good.

In other news, Carter is making a serious dent in our basement den renovation. My mind has been whirling with the design plan for that room that is coming together quickly. I got a possible Christmas ETA for the room to be complete so I can start furnishing it. That likely means more like Jan/Feb, but I'll take it. That's so soon. I can't wait.

I'm really chatty today.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jim Thompson Fabric

Please review the images below, then we'll talk fabric:

Thanks to Jennifer at The Pink Pagoda, I was introduced to Jim Thompson Fabrics - a line of fabric (and home goods) purveyed by a company with a rich history based in Bangkok.

As I surveyed the fabric line these images totally and completely captivated me, mostly due to the color scheme of this space. I love the rich, dusty hues of the hexagonal fabric gracing the back of the chair and the pillow and how the colors work beautifully with the curtains and chair front. SO gorgeous.

Close-up of the fabrics used, starting with my favorite "Hexastripe":

I love the painterly stripes, geometric pattern and combination of colors. The curtain fabric from the intro pictures is "Fretwork":

Again, I love the loose lines of this particular fretwork and the deep aqua and rich marigold colors are awesome. Love the marigold version paired with the yellow-based Hexastripe. And finally, the front of the chair is upholstered in a fanciful toile called "Tea Party":

I can never get enough of Chinoiserie toiles and I especially love how the Jim Thompson designers upholstered the front of the chair with this pattern and the back with the Hexastripe - what a glorious combo.

I don't know too much about acquiring this fabric (though I'm sure it's likely trade-only), but take a look at the Jim Thompson website for more information.

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