What does Life By Design offer me?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

If You Are Going To Invest In Original Art, It Might As Well Be Art With A Sense Of Humor!

One of my favorite subjects to discuss either live or on blog posts would be interesting art and artists!  As you  may know, I periodically feature an artist and his/her works on the blog and today I am thrilled to share one of my favorites, Chris Roberts-Antieau.

"Good Night"- Chris Roberts-Antieau

I first discovered her work years ago at New Morning Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.  It was love at first site and I have followed her works ever since.  Chris is a self-taught artist from Manchester, Michigan who creates her masterpieces from sewing together quilting fabric scraps.

"Hooray For Cupcakes"- Chris Roberts-Antieau

Other than the intricate sewing of a ridiculous number of fabrics into each piece, the subject matter of her artwork is appealing  as well. She has an irreverent sense of humor and it is difficult to view a grouping of her pieces without laughing and commenting on it as well as relating to it in some way.

"Feeling Sorry For Pluto"- Chris Roberts-Antieau

Chris is a nationally recognized artist who has many admirers and collectors so purchasing a piece of her art is an investment, but she does create some smaller pieces in the $400 to $650 range.  If you get an opportunity to look at her website, you will get a good idea of her talent and since she is nationally known, she is featured in galleries all over the country. You should definitely check to see if any local galleries carry her work!  If you are in Western North Carolina, New Morning Gallery still carries her pieces as well.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Postcards, Ipods and Posh Living...Combining Beauty and Function In our Lives

Okay, prepare yourself for some new (new to me) websites and products that I think feature innovative and beautiful products.  The first website I recently discovered is www.postcardly.com.  This is a website where you can send an email with a photo attachment to anyone you wish, from anywhere in the world (from your iphone, or an internet cafe in Brazil) and postcardly turns your photo and email into an actual postcard and mails it to the recipient!  So, If you are on vacation and want to stay in touch with friends and family, take a photo of yourself in front of the Eiffel tower and attach an email and send.  Your recipient will receive your postcard in the mail! The photo of you and the Eiffel Tower make up the front of the postcard and the email is on the back!


I just discovered www.urbanhome.com as well. This site offers some different furniture and decor selections from anything I have seen and are very reasonably priced.  Take a look at the items below! 

himalayan drum at urbanhome.com

teal jar at urbanhome.com

throw at urbanhome.com

The third discovery is one that I have already made a purchase from in the past.  But I just found two products on the site that everyone should have.  The site is www.bluelounge.com and the products are featured below. 


Little feet that you attach to the bottom of your laptop for ventilation and gripping power!

A minidock with a lip that holds the apple product in place and keeps it off of the floor!  Yeehah!

I am always in "search  mode" to find interesting and innovative resources and products to enrich our lives! I hope you have fun checking out these resources and maybe you will find just what you have been searching for!  

Have you tried Postcardly yet?  If so, please share your experience.  Happy surfing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A "Benjamin Moore" Love Affair

Okay, So I have been a little naughty... I just needed a long weekend from posting this time and I am refreshed! I have been working on several projects both at home and with a friend and client.  I will have some fun photos of the transformation of my client's project soon!  One of my personal projects has been repainting my living room and mantle.  Over the past year or so, I replaced the larger pieces of furniture and I knew that I would have to change the paint to complement the new pieces.

I am thrilled with the walls and the mantle!  Next I will tackle the trim!  The palette I chose includes:

Benjamin Moore's Blair Gold-walls

Benjamin Moore's Olive Tone- all trim

Benjamin Moore's Amazon Green- mantle & accent

Benjamin Moore's Caliente-accent

As I mentioned above, I have completed the walls and the mantle, but I have not yet started on all of the trim, this will be yet another transformation!  In the photo's below, the door/window that is on each side of the mantle will be painted the olive tone, NOT white.  So once this is completed , I will share the final photos as well.  

I couldn't be happier!  The mantle is truly the focal point of my room and it is often a major element in most living areas so do not be afraid to paint it a beautiful color!  Again, life is too short to have a white or cream mantle by default.  It is a great way to transform the look of a room with very little cost and effort.  In fact, if you want a big bang for your buck, you could paint your mantle or mantle surround (whichever you have), and replace some items on the mantle, the wall over the mantle and even on the hearth area in a weekend! This would change the whole focal point of your room with only the cost of paint, a little time and simply using items to replace from around your home!  Voila!

Okay, so now I need to get started on the trim!  Wish me luck!  Have you painted any new spaces lately?  What was the palette?  Have you tried a mantle transformation in the past?  Please share!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Does "Country Living" Mean To You? Etsy Treasury Feature

For me, "Country Living" is defined by an aesthetic a little more multi-faceted than simply the obvious deduction. It is always interesting how labels for home interiors and lifestyle change with all of the other fashionable trends of which we have become accustomed.

"Vintage" is such a popular term used for just about anything older than the bananas on the kitchen counter, and I feel sure that just by having the word any place on a website it will increase that sites' traffic. And there is nothing wrong with this, it is simply a word that works right now for a very popular look and it evokes a specific feeling. Just as popular, would be "cottage" or "transitional." These are the buzz words that mean something to us and instantly define in our minds a specific aesthetic...and what I find fascinating about it is, if you asked 100 people what "cottage chic" means to them, you would get 80 different definitions.

By the way, I use all of these words often and I look forward to the next set of terms that will be all the rage in the next decade. I get excited and inspired by these concepts just as much as the next girl!

So back to "Country Living." This week the Etsy Treasury Feature is composed of elements that I feel best represent country living to ME. What does it mean to you? Or what about "Farmhouse Transitional?" This could get really interesting!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Double Feature: My " Top 5" Lists for Paper and Notions

Today's post is a Double-Feature!  Since I was not able to post yesterday, I am going to share a little "extra" information that I hope you find fun and helpful.

We all organize our references and resources in different ways, and mine are almost always "old school."  I have a notebook full of all my favorite websites and resources in every category you could ever dream of.  I will eventually get all of it on computer, but for now my old steno pad is my bible, of sorts.

One of the larger categories is the "Paper and Stationery" category. I am going to share my top 5 sources on the web for paper and stationery category.  Now...this section of my notebook has probably 50 entries, so this is the current short list.  My top choice is:

personalized stationery choices are graphic and clean

great desk calendars

decorative wrapping paper...hello!

beautiful stationery

next choice:  www.redstamp.com

great personalized flat cards!

I know, you have already run out of money but...the next choice is: www.hellolucky.com

great colors and letterpress cards are tops!

and last but not least...www.lindaandharriett.com

calendars and stationery!

Now, if you cannot find some incredible stationery and/or a beautiful calendar in that collection, I would be astonished.  I have always read that one should have a stationery wardrobe and it stuck with me and I have used it as my excuse to buy beautiful papers and stationery ever since! If you would like to learn more about a stationery wardrobe, visit www.dempseyandcarroll.com, where they have a detailed description of one and some amazing choices for stationery as well.

The Second Featured Top 5 List is compiled of some of my favorite creative resources. These sites have some of the most interesting and gorgeous craft items ever.  Have you ever had a morning when you wake up and the first thought that comes to mind is: "What I really need is some french beaded flora!"- Of course you have, we have all had that morning.  Or..."I just know I would feel better if I ordered some hand dyed silk ribbon."  Again, a very common first morning thought for all of us.  Well now, you know where to go!

For brocade ribbon, one of my favorite types of ribbon ( I have seen amazing jewelry made from vintage brocade ribbon), my choice is:  www.britexfabrics.com

can you believe this? check out this site!

When you really need a Wendy Addison fix or much more, www.tinseltrading.com.

Wendy Addison

Wendy Addison

For great wrapping and crafting, as well as homeade food items and more, visit www.sks-bottle.com.

For that beaded flora we were talking about, as well as buttons, ribbon, headbands and wool, check out www.rosemille.net

This is made entirely of beads.

glitter letters are a staple...

yes, this is a hand painted poppy garland!

This is ALL paper!

There you go!  Some of my favorite sources for beautiful things!  What are your favorite sites for paper, stationery or crafts? Please share!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Color Outside of the Lines...

Are you familiar with Pantone?  Most people have heard the name and  some know that they are associated with color in some form, but that is probably about as far as it goes.  And in many cases that is enough ...sort of.  By taking a moment to explore the Pantone website,  you further enrich your knowledge and appreciation of color AND you become aware of yet another amazing resource that is easily accessible whenever a little help is needed.


Pantone is the world's leading authority on color and provides color systems/ palettes that are standardized across many industries and are utilized for everything from color matching to developing fashion and home color trends every season.  Basically, Pantone plays a role in your life everyday...whether it is the new jacket you just purchased (one of Pantone's top color trends for fall 2011),  the sofa on which you are sitting ( from top home interior color palette for 2010?), or your favorite website (graphic designers must always be on top of color trends).

Well, how can Pantone be a resource to you in a more practical sense?  Easy...Are you planning on painting a room, reupholstering a piece of furniture, putting together a nursery for a new arrival?  Or maybe you have a beautiful dress and need to see some color options for accessories, or selecting colors for a wedding?

Next stop, www.pantone.com.  You can become a member for free and you have access to some great tools and some beautiful archived color combinations.


You should also make sure to frequent colourlovers .com for some beautiful combinations and ideas.  You can search color palette trends, top colors for crafts, top colors in print and interiors.



Now, no excuses for not using color and trying some fabulous and daring combinations!  Go ahead, step a little closer towards the edge...trust me, it is a lot more fun!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Have You Invested in Some Original Artwork Yet? Meet Magaly Ohika.

It's The Weekend Edition!
Have a Safe and Restful Weekend...and be sure to check out this artist!

Bye, Got to Run and Paint,  Magaly Ohika

Several weeks ago, I wrote my first "artist introduction" post on an artist that I had discovered named, Bob Hoke. Bob Hoke is an innovative "outsider artist" with a great eye for color and composition.  He also has a refreshing sense of humor.

 Today, I will be introducing you to another talented artist that I discovered on Etsy.  The artist's name is Magaly Ohika and her shop is ItsyBitsySpill.  Magaly has a B.A. in illustration and toy design and she currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Magaly's illustrations always intrigue me. I love the expressions and interesting facial construction of her characters. They are a perfect combination of whimsy and reality.  Some works are very ethereal and others playful.

Need to Take A Vacation,  Magaly Ohika

One of my favorite things about Magaly's work, is that almost anyone can afford an original painting or illustration, so she makes it very accessible for people.  She also has handmade pouches with her illustrations featured on them and they are glorious.

Are You Ready to take Flight?  Magaly Ohika

Bohemian Life of Art and Music,  Magaly Ohika

If you are interested in adding some original works to your home, please take a look at her work.  She is always adding new pieces to her site. I have created a small collection of her illustrations (grouped together)
in my studio and it is not only fun and inspirational but an interesting conversation "starter."

And remember...you purchase art that you love, that evokes an emotional response or that provides inspiration on some level...don't worry about matching your sofa!  Life is too short for sofa art.  Bring something interesting and innovative into your home and share it with your friends and family!

All of the works featured are original, except for the clutch which is a print.

Magaly's shop is at: www.etsy.com/shop/itsybitsyspill?ref=pr_shop

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Thursday... Etsy Treasury Feature Day! oh..and one more day 'til friday.

Often we get ready for an update to our home, and usually it is one or two rooms at a time. We can get a little overwhelmed with where to start but we know we want a change. My first choice is always a color palette and paint. For me, it establishes a solid foundation on which to start. But I have had many friends who get nervous about color and end up selecting cream or white walls simply by default...and a little bit of fear.

One way to break into a more interesting group of options, if you are not quite ready for a broad or intense palette is to select one color and use multiple tones and many different textures. This will create a more layered look and will also add warmth and interest.

This is shown in the treasury featured today. I selected a beautiful warm gold color and simply added different tones as well as textures. It certainly represents a home I would love to live in! How about you? Do you have any rooms in your home that are based on one "foundational" color with selected tones and textures throughout the room?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Need A Little Help With Your Home? Just Look Out Your Window...

I often mention that inspiration is always around us and it is up to us to recognize it in all of its forms.  Of course, sometimes it is obvious in a beautiful sunset or the laugh of a child...however at other times, if we open ourselves up to all experiences, we will find it in the most unexpected forms, such as the beauty of an old dilapidated barn in the middle of a field or the cracks and scars in the brick of a historical home.

As you are breezing through your days...checking off your "to do" lists and making sure each family member  is well taken care of, make sure you take the time to recognize at least ONE source of inspiration and be sure to encourage your kids to do the same.  It could be on your way to school in the morning, eating your family meal or reading before bed.  I believe that the act of recognizing a kind act or source of beauty is the same as expressing gratitude for our experiences on this earth. And what could be more important to teach our kids?

 In one of my favorite quotes from the movie "The Color Purple,"  Shug says to Celie,  "I think it pisses God off when you walk by the colour purple in a field and don't notice it."  I thought it was an inspiring and simple quote within the context of the movie about recognizing the world around us as we dash through it.  Remember life is too short not to take a look around...

You may recall my post on the visual comparison of food and interiors?  I have compiled a fun visual comparison between fall photographs and interior spaces.  As we restlessly await the 60 degree evenings when we can sit on our porches and hear the sounds of high school football games in the distance...take notice of the correlation between the following images...and hopefully it will inspire...

There is nothing like a little black and white inspiration. Always a classic, both in nature and interiors!
Aspens - Flagstaff Arizona

www.atmosphereinteriordesign.net via houzz.com

I cannot wait to see all of the maple trees showing off for the season and who can imagine actually using this bathroom!
...for my parents...

www.carsonpoetzl.com via houzz.com

This photograph reminds me of all the trips through the Nantahala Gorge in the fall...the subtle golds and coppers muted by the angle of the sun correlates perfectly with the golds and coppers in this interior space.
Nashua River foliage

www.wlinteriors.us  through houzz.com

Turquoise, gold, red and orange oh my!  how could you go wrong?  A perfect juxtaposition with the gold blanket, bold headboard and orange and red accents!
September 30, 2006: When September Ends

http://www.burnhamdesign.com via houzz.com

Please make sure you place your mouse directly under each photograph (hover) in the blue shadow to see the links for all of the photographs.  Thank you to houzz.com and flickr.com for being a constant source of beautiful images.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Be Back In The Groove on Wednesday, August 17th!

I apologize for the unexpected "break" from posting!  Be back with some interesting updates and features on Wednesday, August 17th! thanks!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football?...Okay, I Really Mean Tailgating!

Today is the Weekly Etsy Feature!  Take a look at my collection of items that represent all of the great football and tailgating memories we have as well as more to come!  We are almost there!  Fall weather, high school football games in the distance and the good ole' southern traditions that go along with it all!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

The post for today features some nifty items on my "wish list."  I have included the links to each of the websites where the items can be found, but make sure you have your credit card ready because they can be addictive.   I hope you enjoy these sites as much as I do!

How about a set of cards to jot down notes and lists in a simple acrylic holder for your desktop or countertop?

I love these over-sized post it notes from RussellandHazel.com as well! 

A great looking desktop collator! 

Obviously, you must place russellandhazel.com on your favorites list! They are worth the visit!

I recently discovered greatusefulstuff.com and I am surprised at the variety of items that they offer. They offer a lot of different totes with organizer pockets and great options for electronics storage!

These numbered boxes have a vintage appeal and could be used in many different ways!  Try stacking them in multiples of your favorite numbers in bookcase displays, store paper clips, tacks and binder clips on your desk, or use them as "giftwrap" for small gifts to friends.

These farmers market baskets are actually bone china!  These can be used in so many different ways, from holding strawberries on the counter to holding trinkets on a dresser or craft and office supplies!
Get ready for this site as well...beautiful things!

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