This past holiday my family (25 in total) did the gift exchange/swap thing – everyone brings a wrapped (hence the secret) gift with an approximate value of $10. Depending on the number you pull from a hat you then chose when it is your turn to unwrap one gift or steal from a gift that has already been unwrapped and revealed.
Fun and chaotic, sometimes even turning into a bit of a ‘sport’!
This year in true Modmissy style I decided I had to create a ‘one-of-a-kind’ gift that reflected me. Chocolates are de-lish and lottery tickets could be $$$$$$ but just not my style.
Here is what I decided to create.
I started with this. A Ralph Lauren oxford shirt that I decided my husband no longer needed!
And then with some black and white houndstooth check fabric I started to create. Any guesses?
A few cuts and stitches later this was the end product. A Ralph Lauren oxford pillow!
The front of the pillow was the Ralph Lauren shirt complete with the pocket and logo plus I changed the white buttons to black for more interest. The back of the pillow was the houndstooth with the Ralph Lauren label that I removed from the inside of the shirt at the neck and re-sewed on to the pillow.
I always get ahead of myself or rather get ahead of the project. Whenever my husband and I renovate (and we have been doing that for over 20 years!) he is still in the ‘bust and build’ state while I am already decorating the space.
We are on track renovating our cottage, the drywall is up and the new window is in, the kitchen cabinets are assembled and the countertop is ordered. But way before all this I have been buying fabric, rugs, furniture accessories etc. all the little touches that will coordinate the final presentation. Make the finished space just ‘right’.
I pulled together my inspiration board which is always helpful to visualize the space.
I pictured our cottage done in white, warm wood, sisal and hits of blue to give a pop of colour to the space. I choose Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC-30 for the walls (new drywall) which is a nice bright white. The long wall across from the windows is paneled in pine. The sofa is an existing Bauhaus sectional that we have had for years and works really well in the space. The sectional is in a neutral weave fabric of which I replaced the back cushion covers with natural canvas. I bought a new area carpet – IKEA Tårnby, a natural fibre carpet that has a great textural appeal giving the room a warm organic look.
To keep the room bright I bought 3 coordinating fabrics that I will sew into cushions for the sofa. Crisp blue and white fabrics with lots of white accessories in the room will give a fresh, lakeside feel to the cottage interior. I decided to replace the existing large upholstered (red) chair as its size was not appropriate for the space. I wanted something light coloured and airier in appearance. On Craigslist I found a leather IKEA Poäng chair (wish it was an Alvar Aalto Lounge Chair! – check out my previous post here) which I thought would be perfect for the room. Gotta love Craigslist!
Ok…..so I had it all figured out. I knew exactly in my mind how this space was going to look. WRONG!!!!
This past weekend when we started to put the furniture, carpet, etc. back into the cottage I realized the room looked nothing like my inspiration board. I think my biggest miscalculation was the light. The natural light that floods the room from all the windows changes the sense of the room. The colours – paint and fabric, the furniture etc. all read very different.
When the weather starts getting warmer I change all the linens and accessories in my bedroom. The room faces west and receives the hot afternoon sun so my summer bedroom gets the all-white treatment giving both a cooler look and feel.
Layers of white cotton linens on the bed give a ‘cool as cotton’ sensation. I made the duvet cover from 2 sheets that we (hubby and I) brought back from Venice while travelling through Europe many years ago. Hubby carried these king-sized sheets plus 2 cotton tablecloths in his knapsack for a month! (had to throw out some of his clothing to fit them in!!) The cotton chenille fringed bedspread is vintage and originates from the same era as my beloved orange lamps. The cushions from West Elm provide the pop of colour on the bed.
The bergere chair is slipcovered in white cotton and the art above the dresser is exchanged for a white mirror.
My otherwise contemporary home gets a shabby chic makeover in the bedroom. Bring on the summer!
Yesterday I wrote about my front porch and how in summertime it is my oasis. Today I thought I would share some other porches. Enjoy.
Nothing says ‘hazy, lazy days of summer’ better than a porch swing. This one from Better Homes and Garden magazine is the ideal spot for an afternoon nap with its green and white ticking on a watermelon colour swing piled deep with vintage-inspired floral pillows. Languor away!
Wicker, rockers and wood suggests a country cottage feel. This porch from Canadian House and Home says “you’ve arrived”, now sit back and unwind.
Nothing says ‘calm and cool’ like a porch decorated in blue and white. This porch’s appeal is the combination of indoor furniture – a drop leaf dining table and mirror, mixed with director’s chairs and vintage finds. Cut flowers from the garden appeals to the senses with both beauty and scent.
A porch doesn’t have to be big to be great. Carving out a spot needn’t be about large square footage but rather any nook can fit the bill. This porch from Houzz shows how a small space, appropriate sized furniture and a great view is a perfect recipe for ‘drinks at five’.
While away the day drifting into a dreamy evening on this all white porch. The mixture of a white wicker settee with an industrial-style coffee table provides a nice contrast. But what I really loved was the unique table. This large white table top sitting on 2 huge white bases combined with wooden benches is a fabulous update of the age-old ‘picnic’ table.
So…..where will you be spending your lazy, hazy days and relaxed evenings of summer? Let me know.
Images: 1,3,5 – Better Homes and Garden 2 – Canadian House and Home 4 – Houzz
I love going to fabric stores. It is like an overload on the senses – looking, touching and imagining. As I walk amongst the bolts of fabric, admiring the many beautiful fabrics, running my hands along them to feel them, my mind starts racing trying to envision where I could use them all. So many gorgeous fabrics – not enough projects!
On a recent fabric store adventure I came across this fabulous orange/white fabric that I fell in love with – I bought 2 yards.
I decided to use the fabric for seat cushions on the chairs in my enclosed front porch. My sewing skills gained from grade 7/8 Home Ec. are fairly rudimentary but I can sew cushion covers.
My front porch spring/summer cushions were looking faded and boring so the new orange/white gives the needed punch. The patterned pillows which coordinated perfectly came from HomeSense thanks to a good friend who found them for me! The twig furniture (hubby and I made many years ago), lots of potted flowers, good lighting to read with and candles in the evening makes this porch my summer oasis.
Donald “Duck” Dunn, the legendary bass guitarist of Booker T. and the MG’s died this past weekend at the age of 70. Dunn was notable for his 1960’s recordings with Booker T and as a session bassist for Stax Records. It was Dunn’s bass lines recorded on many songs of the 1960’s that gave the world its ‘groove’; Otis Redding’s “Respect”, Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’” and Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign”. The influence of this ‘groovy’ music also had a large impact on fashion and décor of the 1960′s as you can see in these photos.
The popular Better Homes and Garden Decorating Ideas was the magazine of the time that captured home décor as seen in this 1960 issue.
Colour blocking and swirls were very popular for patterns of fabrics as seen in everything from furniture to clothing. The Rive Droite chair designed by Patrick Norguet covered in Pucci fabric.
Airline stewardesses circa 1960.
The lava lamp was invented in 1963.
‘Mid-Century Modern’ furniture was in full swing with Eames, Platner, and Panton to name a few creating the design classics of the 20th century.
This white Panton Chair designed in the 1960’s feels very similar to these ‘mod’ Go Go Boots designed by Clark Shoes in the 1960’s.
Fringes on lamp shades, doorway curtains and clothing were all the rage. Tie-dye, shag carpet, peace signs were signs of the times also. As we bid a final farewell to Donald “Duck” Dunn his legacy will live on forever in the music and the ‘groovy’ influences of that music that reverberated into décor and fashion.
Eureka! I have found myself a new upholsterer. I have been recovering furniture for myself and clients for years or rather the upholsterer has. I have found that an upholsterer is someone you create a relationship with. They begin to understand what you are thinking. They begin to see what your vision is for the end product. My first upholsterer was located outside of Toronto but his workmanship and price were worth the drive. Carl built furniture for me and he re-covered many pieces of furniture for me over the years. Carl and I got to know each other through ‘extension’ meaning that he met many of my family, friends, neighbours and clients that he steadily did work for. I was reminded of this fact while visiting a family member recently and was told that the sofa I was sitting on was recovered by Carl. But like all good things that come to end Carl decided it was time to retire and move much farther from the city. That is when I found Jack. Jack was located in Toronto this time making it much easier for me to ‘drop by’ and ask about a certain fabric or various upholstery questions. Once again Jack and I got to know each other. He met my family, friends, neighbours and clients too. Jack was the upholsterer who I had re-upholsterer ‘My Purple Chair’ with the mohair coat. (http://modmissy.com/2011/07/26/another-trash-to-treasure) I had Jack do a lot of unusual upholstery projects for me over the years but that is the fabulous thing about re-covering furniture. Innovation and invention! But once again Jack retired. Doctor’s orders. I felt as if I was sent adrift in the ‘without upholsterer’ atmosphere once again. But as luck would have it I recently found myself another upholsterer. This one is a truly a gem. David is a young gentleman from Paris that speaks English with a wonderful French accent. Of course the first project I gave him was a challenge. But David pulled through with shining colours. He went the extra distance and put some unique details on the piece that I had not thought of. So to the upholsterers of the past, the present and the upholsterers of the future I say thank you for helping me ‘material-ize’ my vision.
I just finished reading the classic and well-known book, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. It was on the pile of books my son is required to read this year for his English class. Written in 1912 as a play, later adapted as the musical and film, My Fair Lady, Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a lower-class Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess by teaching her impeccable speech and thus giving her an appearance of gentility. In Act Three, Eliza is introduced to Henry’s mother. The scene takes place in Mrs. Higgins drawing-room in a flat on Chelsea Embankment. Shaw’s writes of the room’s setting with great detail; “In the middle of the room there is a big ottoman; and this, with the carpet, the Morris wallpapers, and the Morris chintz window curtains and brocade covers of the ottoman and its cushions, supply all the ornament, and are much too handsome to be hidden by odds and ends of useless things.” The ‘Morris’ that Shaw writes about is well-known English textile designer, artist and writer, William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896). Morris founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which greatly influenced the decoration of houses and churches into the early 20th century. Furnishing textiles were an important part of the design firm. Morris taught himself embroidery, tapestry weaving and textile printing. Morris had his first repeating wallpaper pattern manufactured in 1864. Almost 150 years later, William Morris textiles and wallpaper designs remain as ever popular which is a great testament to the enduring appeal of his work. And Morris’s golden rule, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. A very wise man!
I recently came across a 1976 Spring/Summer Eaton’s Catalogue. Truly a trip down memory lane! The T. Eaton Co. Limited founded in 1869, was once Canada’s largest department store that became a national institution in Canada. Eaton’s issued their first catalogue in 1884. For 92 years the Eaton’s catalogue was a household fixture but due to financial reasons the 1976 Spring/Summer catalogue was their last catalogue ever issued. It was really fun to look through the 700 page catalogue of very retro fashions and to see what the trends of the mid-70’s were. For clothing, denim/stretch denim was hot, as were caftan dresses, tube tops, platform shoes for men and women and Speedo® bathing suits were just being introduced. What I found really interesting was the home furnishings and décor. Of course the popular colours of the time were harvest gold, avocado and brown in everything from appliances to bedding. But it was the fabrics that were being used for bedding and drapery that had me so interested. The 1970’s were all about “easy care” with fabrics that promised “permanent press, no-iron, machine washable, carefree, wrinkle-shy, resists the harmful effects of heat, humidity, sunlight and smoke”. Synthetic materials were opted over natural fibres as they “eliminated chores”. Fabrics being used for bedding were: ARNEL, AVRIL, MODACRYLIC, FIBERGLAS, FORTREL, DACRON, LANESSE, and TERGAL. Arnel was the trademark name of a synthetic fiber developed in the 1950’s but was discontinued by the manufacturer in 1986 due to concerns about the toxicity of a chemical used to manufacture the fiber. Modacrylic (modified acrylic) was produced in 1949 by Union Carbide Corporation. And Fiberglas? When it comes to the cyclical nature of fashion (and home decor) isn’t it nice to know that some things are left behind?
Many years ago I received a gift from my hubby of a black and white leather jacket. It was one of those ‘team’ jackets where the body of the jacket is Melton wool and the sleeves are made of leather with an embroidered picture on the back. The jacket was from the television series Street Legal, a Canadian production which aired from 1987 to 1994.
I wore this jacket for the seven years of the shows airing but afterwards it was relegated to the cottage to be worn as a ‘campfire’ jacket. This year after spring cleaning my closet I decided that the jacket had its time and it was goodbye. I am a big believer of: if it isn’t being used enough, get rid of it. I hate clutter and crowded closets. (that’s another post!) But for some reason I could not seem to put that jacket in the bag with all the other items that were destined for the donation drop-off centre. Throughout the summer the jacket got shuffled from one chair to another around the cottage. I could not seem to part with this jacket for some reason, maybe it was memories. Finally, I came up with another idea for re-purposing this jacket. I took scissors to the jacket and cut and ripped it apart, I removed the Legal stitching from the embroidery picture and then had Queen monogrammed in its place. It now read Queen Street which was appropriate as the scene was that of Queen Street in Toronto of which I live a stone’s throw away. I then sewed the jacket into a cushion and it now adorns my sofa. Very reduce, re-use and recycle and my original gift still lives on!