Monday Morning Love – Jackie Astier Dining Room

My Mom came to town on Friday to see me and to give me a bit of a hand with trying to fix my dining room (also to see my brother who’s in town from the UK – it’s a bit of a family reunion this week). You may remember that I recently shared my big shame – my dining room, complete with globs of wallpaper paste and cracked plaster walls. I’ve gotten a few quotes from professionals to get the walls and ceiling skim coated, but when those quotes were from anywhere from one to two thousand dollars I’ve decided that I’m suddenly much more inclined to try the DIY route. So far we’ve sanded every surface trying to remove as much wallpaper glue as possible, and primed using a plaster friendly primer. Next up – adventures in skim coating. Wish us luck.

Anyways, in keeping with this weekends activities I thought I’d share this dining room that was featured in Elle Decor.

Dining room by Jackie Astier

Dining room by Jackie Astier

It’s it gorgeous? It’s the dining room of Jackie Astier, and I can’t decide what I like the most – the lacquered walls, the amazing dining table, or the chairs upholstered in teal. What do you think? Would you ever be tempted to lacquer your walls? Or use teal and gold?

BlogPodium: Blogs + Media

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to sit in a room full of fabulous bloggers and listen to an excellent panel discuss the role of blogs and traditional media.

BlogPodium was created by two Toronto based bloggers – Jennifer Flores of Rambling Renovators and Lindsay Stevenson of Little House Blog, and it’s purpose is to bring together design bloggers and industry representatives from design magazines and television shows to share ideas about how blogs are influencing traditional design media (and vice-versa), and what blog writers should aim for when striving to make their blog successful. Yesterdays panel was the first of what will be a quarterly discussion about blogs, with the aim of educating and encouraging bloggers to create the best blogs possible.

This first discussion was held at the start of trade day at the Interior design show (which I explored after the talk), and there were excellent speakers on the panel:

  • Margot Austin – Senior Design Editor – House & Home magazine
  • Kimberley Seldon – Editor in Chief – Dabble magazine, and Design Editor – Chatelaine magazine
  • Kate Moore – Producer – CityLine
  • Jennifer Flores – Blogger and co-founder of BlogPodium
  • Moderated by: Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault – CityLine Guest Expert

    The BlogPodium panel: from L to R: Lindsay Stevenson, Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, Jennifer Flores, Kimberley Seldon, Kate Moore, Margot Austin (my apologies for the fuzzy cellphone picture)

The discussions were incredibly interesting – here is some of what the panel had to say:

  • A good blog has an original voice,and original ideas.
  • Don’t just post pictures and say ‘wow – this space is awesome’ – explain why you think it’s a great space.
  • Don’t let your blog get too serious – blogging is about content and entertainment.
  • Make use of all forms of Social Media – you need exposure along with great ideas to grow your blog.
  • If you dream of being invited to do a guest spot on a design show include video on your blog so producers of shows can see the real you.
  • Set a good regular schedule for posting – 3 to 4 posts a week – once is not enough(eeps!)
  • Try to keep you posts to under 500 words (Double eeps!)
  • If pitching your idea – consider the vehicle – know the audience – if the magazine features mostly homes decorated by professional designers using high-end products they probably won’t be interested in your DIY projects.
  • Editing is key – stick to your core message.
  • If you use the work of others in your blog (photographers, designers, etc), always, always credit the source.

The panel made some excellent points, and I will try to work on some of them: posting 3-4 times a week and keep posts to about 500 words – both of which will be really hard.

BlogPodium’s next topic will be the Business of Blogging and will be presented in May. I’m sure it will be just as enlightening as yesterdays, and I’m planning on attending, and if you’re in or near Toronto I hope you will consider coming as well.

This afternoon I’m heading to Canadian Design bloggers meetup so I won’t be able to share today what great things I saw at the Interior Design show – hopefully I’ll be able to do that later this week.

PS – Word count: 529 :(

DIY Dove Christmas Ornaments

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I’m having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t seem to get really excited about the holiday that is fast approaching. I own a little fake Christmas tree and a selection of ornaments and I fully intended to leave them in my storage locker for the holiday season until last week.

I was flipping through the November issue of Style At Home Magazine when I spotted this:

Style at Home – November 2011 – pg 108

I loved one little aspect of the shot, and my plan to not decorate this year went flying out the window. Can you guess what part of the picture above inspired me? Since it’s a little hard to tell from my scan here it is again:

Style at Home – Nov 2011 – White Dove

Can you see it? It’s the white felt dove Christmas ornament on the top right.

Once I spotted it, I knew I could make something similar, and all thoughts of being a complete Scrooge this Christmas went out the window. While they were a little time-consuming, they are very easy to make.

Here’s what I used:

  • White felt
  • Pearl beads
  • Silver tulle
  • White craft feathers
  • Silver string

    What you’ll need to make the doves

My first step was to find a pattern for a dove. that was easy enough using Google, and with it on my screen I free-handed the shape I wanted. There are three parts to the dove – the body, the wings, and the bottom.

My Dove Template

I cut out my pattern, and then pinned it to my fabric. I cut out two body shapes, two wing shapes and one bottom shape in the felt, and two wings in the tulle.

Once the pieces were cut out I sewed the body together using a blanket stitch and then I stuffed the dove a little with some off cuts from the felt I was using to make my dove more three-dimensional.

Dove Body Sewn Together

Once the bodies were put together I added the wings. I decided to add the piece of tulle over my felt wing to dress it up a little, but you could do it without. The wings are attached to the body with a couple of stitches at the top – this allows them to stand out from the body which I think looks more natural.

Dove with Wings Added

I sewed on two pearl beads to make eyes, but I’m sure you could just use a little dab of glue.

Dove with Pearl eyes

Next, I took the craft feathers and decided on what length I wanted the tail to be. Once that was done I cut them, and then removed a little of the down from the quill to allow me to insert it easily into the dove. I used a little dab of glue to hold the feather in place.

Making the feather tail

My last step was to add the silver string. It turned out my string was too fat for my regular needle, but luckily I happened to have an upholstery needle with a big enough eye. All I did was use the needle to pull the string thought the top of the dove’s body, and then tie a knot in the sting.

Here is the finished product:

My Christmas Dove

Here is what this project cost (everything came from dollar stores):

  • White felt: $0 (I had it on hand from my bookend project)
  • Silver tulle: $1
  • Silver sting: $1
  • Craft Feathers: $1
  • Pearl beads: $1
  • Total Cost: $4 for 6 dove ornaments

I was going to just hang the doves, but I thought there should be something else on my tree, so I came up with what was the easiest project ever – it took about 5 minutes to make 15 ornaments.

What you’ll need:

  • Small mirrors (I used round ones, but they also had squares and ovals)
  • some ribbon or string
  • some glue – I used a glue gun

    Mirror Decoration Parts

All I did was add a little dab of glue on the back of one mirror, stick in both ends of the small piece of string and lastly stick on the second piece of mirror.

Here is what they look like:

Mirror Ornaments

Cost:

  • 2 packages of 15 mirrors: $2
  • Small spool of silver ribbon: $1
  • Total cost: $3 for 15 ornaments

I was going to put all my new ornaments on my regular tree, but on the way home from work today I found a tree branch, so decided to try to replicate my inspiration image a little more.

My Christmas Tree

And here’s a close up of my dove:

Dove Close up

Felt Doves in My Christmas tree

I feel I have to apologize for the pictures in this post – I’m battling two difficulties – It’s now dark here when I leave for work, and when I get home, so there’s no opportunity to take pictures in natural light, and probably more importantly I have no photographic ability. Maybe Santa will be good to me and get me lessons;)

Linked to: The Shabby Nest, Domestically Speaking, Addicted 2 Decorating, Under the table and dreaming, Sumo’s Sweets Stuff, Polish the Stars, Coastal Charm, The Kurtz Corner, Thrifty Decor Chick, The CSI project

Finally, a Dining Room I Can Use!

One of the first pieces of furniture I bought after I purchased my apartment was a dining room table. I was out exploring the antique and vintage stores on Queen street East when I spotted a mid-mod teak table that I liked. It didn’t come with chairs, but I figured I’d be able to find some easily enough somewhere else.

My Mid-Mod Dining Room Table

Fast forward more than a year, and I still hadn’t bought any chairs. If I wanted to use my table my seating choices were limited to my desk chair, or a small stool that I’m pretty sure my mom bought at Ikea when I was still in junior school (does that make it an antique?)

A Year Later, and These Were Still Your Only Seating Choices

It wasn’t that I couldn’t decide what style of chair I wanted, it was that I’m cheap, and my dream chairs are decidedly not cheap.

White Eames DSW Chair

My dream chair is the Eames DSW in white. Unfortunately at about $400 a chair it was miles out of my price range. I wanted the original fiberglass version – there are molded plastic knock-off versions available but I don’t like them nearly as much, and they’re still about $150 each which is too much for something you don’t love. I needed another plan…. 

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