Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ah, yes... the blog... What to do.... ????

Last week was a very busy week! There was training Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and appointments on friday. Everything came together last week. I had some great ah-ha moments around my business-the design studio, met up with some past acquaintances, helped a friend move on Saturday and Sunday worked a bit on my Pixels and Pens homework, which I did again all day on Monday.

I am working on a new logo design for Shelly's Design Studio. Then, comes a web-site. I know it has been forever and I still haven't done one... I wasn't sure if I was committed to Interior Design.

After some very satisfying projects I realize, I can't give it up. It isn't my 'passion', rather it is a very precise outlet for expressing my passion. Each project is a new set of design challenges, getting to know people and assist them in creating a space beyond what they could have dreamed or imagined, exceeding their expectations.

My passion is design. Period. Just a plain fascination with design and the combining of the elements that make up good design. It is more than just color, although, that is often times my starting place. The other elements all need to support whatever intentional use I am doing with color. It is different in an interior space, an exterior space, a garment, a wardrobe, a quilt, a drawing, a fabric design... the whole process fascinates me.

I am particularly excited about learning Photoshop and getting back into my drawing. I haven't really drawn seriously for many years. I have not picked up a pencil or some colored pencils, or well, not a paint brush in a while either.

There is so much to explore and create! This makes me happy. I am happiest when I am creating and expanding my understanding, techniques, all of it.

It is definitely creative mode time... working on all of these things a little bit at a time, preparing for a full out creative session where something actually gets done... although, it seems like there is always something going on.... something demanding attention. I prefer to work on what is inspiring to me in the moment rather than a deadline to meet. The key to making this work? Only take on obligations that are inspiring in the first place. I am so fortunate to be able to have clients who make requests of me to practice my passion.. ensuring only that those opportunities that are truly inspiring to me, make it onto my calendar!

All of you out east, my thoughts are with you and of a speed-y return to 'normal'. As you are reading this, I am glad you are safe and took a moment of time for yourself and honored that you chose to share it with me! Be Well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Late in the Afternoon, Monday Musings, and the Mystery Project!

Good afternoon. It is mid afternoon, the errands are run and I committed to watching the first week of the raw chef series that I have invested in.

I am very excited about this, as this week has already inspired me and I am ready to start practicing the art of raw food creation, as well as healthy body creation, which inspires to wardrobe creativity and full self expression! There is a vibrant thread for you! Everything is connected. I automatically connect the dots and sometimes it is a curse because it is not a linear pathway. I have to build the habit of taking baby steps in all areas that are important to me. Focusing on the thing coming down the way and attracting it while not neglecting everything else is a tricky business. I am getting better at it.

Is my house the way I want it? not yet, but it is better this week than last week. Are my finances where I want them to be? No, but I am more clear about what I want to be doing to strengthen that area of my life. Have I gotten any more sewing done other than the mystery project? Nope! But I am so excited to sort through some things and gather UFO's and new projects that I would like to complete while I am here.  I promised photos today!
Mystery Project Complete! 1946 McCall's vintage apron pattern................fabric designed by ME!! 

Detail of the Ric-rac-ric-rac-ric-rac..... and the bow! Too sweet!                            
Saturday morning was the first class, Pixels and Pens at the College of Visual Arts in St Paul. It is a community education class and I am excited to be drawing again. I bought myself some nice new paper and a couple of pens and drew for a bit saturday morning and really want to spend some time this week playing around with it and scanning. Learned a whole bunch about scanning art work! And this is just the beginning.. so you may see some art work cropping up on this blog as well.

There is a lot going on and with more practice comes proficiency, allowing more productivity! Hey, you have to start somewhere, right? I am definitely in a better place than I was 6 months ago! I know here is still transitional, but then, isn't that what life is? A series of transitions? Mine looks a lot like that anyway!

This is a busy week with training. Product training, business training all types of training. This has definitely been a year of training for me. Color, art, fabric design, .. all the things I am interested in. I told a friend this weekend, "We all have drama in our lives, be proactive and choose your own, so you don't take on someone else's!" And, I am adding now,  "Make it worthy of the performance!"

For example, the drama of not having enough money? really? I prefer to create the drama of having too much money... ha! still working on that one... but it IS a good theory.. I plan on putting it to the test! Same goes for not enough time. Schedule things that bring you joy and that you want to be doing, you will find a lot less of other things filling your time that are less than satisfying. You can always change your schedule if you have one! If you don't have a schedule, you end up doing things by default and then wonder where the time went!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Completion! Bedroom Draperies ...

Detail of inset border
It is a rainy friday afternoon here in Minneapolis. The bedroom draperies have been completed and hung. It was so nice this morning getting up and knowing as I walked through the hallway to the bathroom that the corner bus stop did not have direct viewing access as I groggily made my way!

Everything was technically done by wednesday night, but as one panel was on the rod, it was clear there was no way the weight of the other panel was going to keep that tension rod in place. It had been extended towards its maximum width and there was no center support. Had I gone with the cut to measure rod, it would most likely have held up, as the rod is solid all of the way across. Not to worry. Last evening after work HM put in a cup hook at the center to support the rod, so now everything hangs evenly.

The only problem being the 3/8" clearance that I allowed is useless. It seems the cup hook supports the rod at a lower point than I had anticipated, so, the darn thing brushes the sill. it doesn't look HORRIBLE, but the pleats do break and not hang perfectly straight. I am going to leave them, move on to the next window, the living room.

The pleats are loosely implied. They are not stitched down like traditional pleats and there are two rings at either side of a pleat, as opposed to traditional draperies that place a ring at the center of the pleat.
hooks on either side of the pleat, back detail

front detail. grommets and leather
The pleat is made with two grommets or eyelets (these are 5/32") with a black leather shoe lace knotted at approximately 1-1/4" spacing. This forces the fabric forward making the pleat. There is math involved and I will provide information on that for a future post. It was easier to just do it and then explain it later. If I were to explain it while doing it... I would still be trying to explain it and wondering if it would work and it would not be done.

It was a great project and my little studio down stairs, although, still a mess and still not completely set up... is going to work great for getting some projects done. I look forward to cleaning up the mess. In search for my awl.....'awl' of my stuff that wasn't unpacked and put away, got dumped out.. some by accident... some not so much. I still didn't find the awl... It is a good one too.. I will find it... hopefully sooner than later.

And the mystery project is also completed. I just have to find a good place to photograph it.. so it will most likely be mondays post.. as we are scheduled to have a beautiful weekend!

Happy projecting .. not 'projecting' your friends might not appreciate that... Happy creativity! There, that's better!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Draperies-Finish today!

Todays task is tack down the facing on the drapery panels and put in the grommets for the leather details. I am happy with the results so far.

Drapery panels ready for side hems
I am not so sure the spring tension rod is going to hold the weight of the draperies. I may have to go the custom hardware route after all. We will see how it goes. If this were a permanent location, I would have gone with the cut to measure hardware for sure! As it is temporary, if it holds, it stays.

New grommets may be in order as well, as I think the ones I have are technically 'eyelets' and may be too small. I will see what I have for sizes that my grommet setter will accommodate.

There is one more panel to tack the facing, last night we put up one panel and just hooked it on rings. They will definitely allow for privacy. It was lovely getting up this morning and being able to walk through the hallway without being on display to the bus stop and traffic.

I also plan to finish up a mystery project... you will have to check in later to see what it is.... it is time to get it done and move on to the living room drapery design and implementation.

Next wednesday will be the blog post on Drapery Math. I know I have been promising it for some time now, but I will actually have to plan that post. I don't think it will work as well on the fly as just my musings about it. My plan is to create something that will just be a stand alone page for reference.

Enjoy your day where ever you are! Are you finishing up any projects? What are you working on that you are inspired by completing? Or are you more excited to finish it and get it out of the way to work on the next thing?

I have been working on a web-site for the design studio. It is a tech-y project and one that I am working on determining the details and then will seek professional assistance... because THAT  is out of my realm of comfort in creativity....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Workrooms, designers and finishing up some draperies

It is tuesday and I have spent most all of monday working on the draperies for the bedroom. I have the border at the bottom attached and as I was laying out to put in the lining, I found that the top of one of the panels had a whole in it. It was excess material from a long time ago at a drapery workroom that I worked at. The manufacturer sent extra yardage due to the flaw and the cutter was able to get whatever was being made out of the remaining fabric. Usually workrooms donate the fabric after 6 months to a year after completing a job, typically clean up day, employees can pick through before donations are sent out.  Sometimes there is nothing left, sometimes when multiple items are coming out of the same fabric there can be quite a bit left.

The reason for excess fabric, is this.  When a job is estimated for a designer, the designer sends over a request for an estimate of pillows, draperies, bedding, valances, whatever soft furnishing are being specified for the room. A designer has the big picture in mind and they are communicating to their client what that big picture is going to look like. For this stage a designer needs accurate pricing for all of the items. Each product is specified individually, it is easy for the designer and client to control the budget by changing out fabrics, eliminating items, etc.

In the estimating process, fabric economy is not taken into consideration. The workroom does not do a fabric layout for the estimating purposes.

It is difficult to determine how the fabric repeats are going to arrive and often times multiple items do get ordered from the same fabric.  However,  cost breakdown is impossible to do when a pillow front and the bedskirt are coming out of the same width of fabric. When all orders are placed and fabric arrives, it is then laid out in the most conservative manner. Your designer can request that all excess fabric be returned with the completed items. However, fabric is NOT returnable to the manufacturer and your designer will NOT refund for any excess unused materials. This is standard industry practice.  Part of doing custom work is to ensure that adequate materials be available to complete that work for an impeccable finished product.

The estimating process can take up to two business days for the workroom to determine all of the details if they do complete custom work. It also depends how they are staffed, if the person doing estimates also does the sewing/construction, it can take longer. Premium workrooms often times have one or more people whose job is consulting with designers, estimating, writing work orders and scheduling. 

I have held this position for numerous workrooms throughout my career and have most likely designed and specified for some of the most challenging windows in Minneapolis and St Paul-   Unfortunately, for me, my most challenging work was sold by someone else as part of their design and vision. There are a great deal of talented artisans and professionals that make a designers work very good. A good designer cultivates these relationships and has access to some of the best work available. Many of these artisans only work with the trades, because they can do what they love and don't have to 'sell' their work to someone who doesn't understand what goes into it. That is the designer's responsibility. A designer is the person who has the vision and is the communicator between the end user and the person(s) doing the work. A good designer can speak these multiple languages to ensure that expectations are met for the client and the workroom (artisans).

Recently, I drove by the first workroom I worked at while in college. It was a great position and I was fortunate enough to work with the top designers in the Twin Cities. I learned to meet the standards of very discerning designers for very discerning clients. Detail was the name of the game and custom was the arena. Making sure every custom detail worked to create a one of a kind finished product, that was my job. This position is the foundation of the reputation I hold amongst my peers to this day.  (I have heard more than once from others in my industry "oh, your THAT Shelly!?")

This company was started in 1974 and celebrated 25 years in business when I was working there. It has been a name that any top designer in the country who has designed windows or soft furnishing in Minneapolis would know. I am extremely grateful for the experience that I obtained there. Driving by the other night, the windows were bare and the space was empty. The company had sold a few years back when the remaining original partner of the business sold. Unfortunately, the new ownership wasn't able to navigate through this economy.  In a world of cookie cutter houses and cookie cutter furnishings, these fabulous houses of artistry are becoming extinct. It sent a twinge of sadness through me to see it gone. (heavy sigh of remembering..... )

Now, back to those draperies. Due to the tear in the fabric, I had to improvise the design. So, I cut the top off and added a narrow flange and will add the remaining fabric to make up my length again. The plan for today is to attach the tops, add the lining and sew in the side hems, attach the facing, grommets and leather and hang them up. I may have photos at the end of the day of a finished drapery. Drapery math another time. I just need to sew today. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Busy friday and an update!

Happy weekend readers! This is just a short post today as it was a busy design day and not much happening on the draperies. Concrete coloring today... hey, EVERY DETAIL MATTERS!

So, I just wanted to share that I received an e-mail from Dena Designs today. After posting about her book in my excitement, haste and inspiration, I thought I maybe should seek permission to use the photos I took of some of the pages of the book. As, I haven't spent a great deal of time researching this protocol stuff, I just sent her an e-mail seeking permission and offering to remove the post if it was not acceptable.  The response was very kind and I am a bit embarrassed that I didn't think to include the photographer's name on my own! My apologies, I have updated the original post. The photos are beautiful in this book! It is what drew me to it in the first place, of course she has great stuff to photograph. A successful book of this nature couldn't happen one with out the other.. great content and great images!

So again, I am very highly recommending this book. It is one of the most favorite and inspiring of all on my bookshelf.. Well, actually, it hasn't made it to my bookshelf yet! It is still in the place of honor on the cocktail table. I plan to really dig into it this weekend between creative actions that I must take and oh, more concrete details on a driveway tomorrow..

Have a great weekend and happy reading to you! Go out an get this book if you are AT ALL creatively stuck! It is like reading SPRING!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Drapery progress

Wow, tuesday just flew by. I spent most of the day clearing out bookmarks on the computer and re organizing some folders.

Last evening, I hemmed the bottom edge of the bedroom draperies. This afternoon, I will do the border and attach it to the body of the fabric. Then all gets put together, the finishing details get done and then voila! One window done, another to go.

I will prepare the drapery math post tonight. There is a great app that I have on my phone for measuring. I use it often for my design clients. I haven't taken the time to really learn all of the features of it though and I think it will be great for illustrating drapery math and the deductions for determining finished lengths.

Here are some photos of the bedroom drapery progress.
The lining-nicely pressed!
The bottom hem band

Turn under a double 3" hem
Hand stitch long stitches, so there is no pulling.

The hemmed edge- before pressing.
I haven't gone downstairs yet to do the final press. I would like to get the border done and attached to the hem and top and layout done today, so I can put in the side hems tonight. The header will then go in tomorrow and with any luck. I can hang them by friday night or saturday.

There are a lot of things I would like to get done this weekend. Like vacuum the attic opening in my bedroom. I noticed some fluffy white spider cases strewn about the stairs. The last thing I am looking forward to are THOUSANDS of spiders in my bedroom. I think I will set out the hedge balls today. I purchased some the other night at the grocery store.. so, they will get strategically placed through out the house.

Until later... happy sewing or creating or whatever you may find yourself doing today...

PS There are a couple of bedroom projects that are formulating in my head. Inspired by the really great book I picked up the other day...

Ok. gotta go get something else done! Bye for now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A slow start for Monday

It was a slow start for the day today. Friday afternoon between appointments, the sneezing began and went right on through the weekend. Last night, I was awake from 1:30 to 4:30 this morning. Trying to breathe... through my nose.... Uugghhh! What an effort!

I spent some time on the internet and found some really great and inspiring sewing blogs out there. It inspired me. I had some great ideas for the studio and tweaking placement of furniture and how to sort and organize some things... then, when I fell asleep, I woke up at 9:30! Wow, was I tired! It was a slow start... but, I remembered my inspiration and went right downstairs to work. I moved some things around, organized the roll-y carts under the work table.. AND... found the label maker.. and have been happily making labels all day long! I even had to go to the office supply store and get more tape, I ran out.

I am excited about some things I want to make and have a thought of adding a page to the blog of desired projects to make. I will photograph the fabric and the design inspiration and have just a page of that! It will be a place to document the creative inspiration as it is found.. that is the purpose of the blog for me anyway.. so it is a sort of online scrapbook-journal... to share.. I hope you all don't mind the evolution of this.. I know me, I could plan until the cows come home and pigs fly  and any other farm animal oddities before anything ever got posted and published. After all writing is a creative activity as well and we all don't start out as professional writers. Some may never end up as such, what matters most is what gets communicated. If it touches someone to action, inspiration or empowerment, it was time well spent.

So, for now, the day is coming to a close, I can breathe easy again, physically and mentally and another monday has almost passed.

Tomorrow drapery math and progress on the bedroom draperies.. I got them cut out this weekend and the lining is hemmed!  The fabrics for the living room have been pressed and are ready for design consideration. Hooray for progress!

Good night.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Grommets and eyelets. One Finished Project!

I did it! I finished ONE project here! I incorporated mind mapping and determined all of the materials I would need to complete the project.

Yesterday as I was clearing the table. I just gathered everything on my mind map and amazingly, I didn't have to HUNT for anything! Nothing is put away yet, but as I find tools and such, I write them on my mind map, so I can see what I have for various types of activities and how much space it will take to store them. This weekend, the garage and the downstairs studio, get organized. I look forward to it!

Here is what I got done yesterday!

Grommets and eyelets
Black Rat tail

Cutting out the sheer

Entry door privacy panel

The Entry way

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspired into Action!

Yes, I know, its thursday and I wasn't going to post until friday and then, only a brief one... BUT I happened upon this book. It is one of the most inspiring books to me that I have seen in a very long time! I was perusing at B& N last evening and after putting away the books I was looking at.. this one just said, check me out. I walked past it and there were others in another location. Again, it said, you have to at least look at this!

A New book of INSPIRATION!
 So, upon opening the cover, I knew I was in for a treat!

If you can't judge a book by its cover, you can often tell a lot by its signature page!

 Here is a sampling of what I found between signature pages.... lovely, yummy, colorful pictures!

I had to capture the photo of the toilet... no just kidding! I love LOVE LOVE the wall painting!

Here, the warm golds and cool turquoise are so dreamy together
 I was delighted to find photos of her studio! I love studio photos. I find it intriguing and inspiring to see the spaces that people create in. Of course, these are staged for photos, but to see the colors, textures and available lighting people work in, as well as how the space is laid out.. very inspiring. It makes me want to go downstairs to the studio and get everything UNPACKED! (which is what my plan for the day has changed to) My morning appointment has been postponed until next week.

Studio photo # 1 featured in the book- same 'roll carts' as mine, only mine are black and have nice scratches on the top from moving! 

Studio photo#2 My dream studio!
I love that her studio has beautiful LARGE open shelves for the yards of fabric.. Very neatly folded and displayed... like a nicely organized toolbox. The other thing is a bed.. for designing bedding ensembles! Brilliant! And it could most likely serve as a guest bedroom space... hmmmm..
A dress form for apron design and a sofa for relaxing and inspiration, as well as photos!

After looking through this book last evening I am inspired to paint, to draw, to sew and to dive into my stash. I am soo glad that I have opted to keep the entire stash here and not send out to storage those things that I think I will not be sewing.. some of those pieces, I finally have an idea what to do with them!

I hope you have enjoyed the surprise post today, look through the book, you won't be disappointed! It is bursting with colorful photos and features 20 projects and an original stencil. The Painted Home by Dena I just want to add, the photography is gorgeous in this book! The photographer John Ellis has done a fabulous job of capturing the beauty of these rooms!

I plan to dive into some fun stuff today, so maybe a sneak peak tomorrow as to what I have been up to and then MORE DRAPERY MATH on monday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Drapery Hardware arrives today...when to start on those draperies????

It is Wednesday, already October. The leaves are beautiful in the neighborhood and I still do not have anything done on the window treatments.

The hardware is in. There was a back order on the cafe rings until yesterday. I will stop by my supplier this afternoon to pick them up. Hardware is the last part anyway, but now I can confirm my ring allowance before cutting into anything. It all works out.

Maybe I can explain all of the allowances for determining cut length.

First Measure where the top of the rod will be to the finished floor or sill.

My rule of pleasing window dressing design is this...

If the drapery is going to be outside mounted (hardware and fabric extending  beyond the window casing/trim) the length is to the floor or to the apron if there is a sill. If you are good with proportion you may adjust this finished length to anywhere between the apron and the floor. If the panels will be stationary, you may opt to brush, break or clear the floor.

Clear the floor means the drapery panels come up just above the floor and never touch. You need a good installer and a level floor. The first drapery workroom I worked for we did very high end drapery for very high end designers and were very custom... we loved a challenge and had a reputation for meeting and exceeding those challenges. Our standard clearance was 3/8" and we had very accurate precision. Workrooms I have worked at since then, their standard clearance was 1/2".  I personally prefer 3/8".

Break the floor means the hem edge breaks on the floor a minimum of a 1/4"and up to 4" (anything over 4" is considered a puddle and suitable for stationary panels ONLY! We never did puddling draperies on traversing panels and if the designer insisted, they were inevitably cut down within the first three months that the homeowner had them. Dressing out the draperies was a nightmare for the homeowner every time they opened and closed the window treatment.)

Brush the floor means the hem edge is touching the floor and brushes the top of the floor.

If the drapery hardware is to be inside mounted, the hem edge clears the sill. This is accurate for where ever inside the frame the hardware is mounted. At the top,  three-quarters from the top or one-third from the top. (It is not good proportion to have cafe curtains at the half way point. The window dressing looks very out of balance.) I have yet to see a drapery treatment inside mounted that goes to the floor. I have seen designer attempt it and the finished look is just odd. It looks like the draperies are mounted way too low and don't fit the window..(i.e. they may be toooooo short?) It makes people wonder what you were thinking...

That is hem clearances. The next clearance is the ring allowance. This is the Outside diameter of the ring less the inside diameter plus half the difference. For example.. and you would never see a ring this size... but lets just say the ring has an outside diameter of 2" and an inside diameter of 1"the ring allowance is: 2-1+1/2=1 1/2. This will give you the top of the rod to the top of the drapery panel. The hook set for rings is 1/4". So the top of the drapery hook slides into the eyelet of the ring and the fabric covers the hook in the ring eyelet. The fabric glides across the rod like butter if you have really nice hardware.

So far: the top of the rod to the bottom edge + or - clearance, - ring allowance will give us our finished length.

Later I will illustrate some of this and go on to share how to figure cut length on a drapery. Sharing the processes keeps me active in completing projects and not just endlessly designing them. There are so many creative ideas it is overwhelming to comprehend... so I just map them out in freemind and I am closer to getting them actualized...
Have a beautiful wednesday everyone and check back later for more details on the drapery math...
The next couple of days are packed with client meetings so the post for friday will be short. Monday's post will most likely continue on this thread of thought.. drapery math... If I put that as a post title how many people would check it out? ...

Monday, October 1, 2012

the beauty in the Universe.. on our doorstep and in our own back yard.

Today has been a quiet day of organizing and reflecting.

This weekend, my housemates son came to stay from Saturday to Sunday for his birthday weekend. He turns twenty-five today. (Happy Birthday S!) We had an action packed weekend. He took a bus to Big Lake where he picked up the train to Minneapolis, then light rail to our Hiawatha station in our neighborhood.

We went shopping on Saturday afternoon, visited outside for a while then went to Bar la Grassa for dinner. It is a very delicious italian restaurant that serves chef prepared italian dishes. They have the BEST whole chicken ever! It is completely boneless, very juicy and full of flavor.  We each had a fabulous pasta dish and all decided, S's Carbonara was the best... he savored every bite! Then we had fabulous desserts... If you are in Minneapolis, this restaurant is highly recommended and you will not be disappointed...

Sunday morning HM and I woke at our normal time, but it was awkward with a guest sleeping in the living room and then there was no where else for us to go. Living Room/guest room makes for tricky living on the weekend. So, we went to the grocery store. Luckily, he was up by the time we got back.

We then proceeded to have dessert for breakfast.. I had such a sugar headache by the end of the day it was WICKED!

We then went for a quick walk down to the river and along the path.. it was the first time I have been able to make it down there, as I have been working on design projects or getting things unpacked and organized...
Here are some photos of the walk.. the weather was warm, the colors brilliant and a comfortable breeze. It was definitely no jacket weather..

 After the river paths, we walked down to the Riverview theater and saw a matinee. It was Disney's Brave. I had wanted to see that movie and had completely forgotten about it. So, the three of us watched the movie, had 2 large popcorns (with REAL butter) and two large sodas for UNDER $20!

The movie, put many things into perspective for me about this summer. Something that I was NOT expecting at all. I was very moved by it because of events of the summer, staying with my mom and dad and all... it was perfect timing and very enlightening.

This morning I wrote a letter to my mom. It was 3 handwritten double sided. I wanted to share with her my insights. I knew I would not be able to capture the moment and tell her.. in person or over the phone.. I hope she experiences something close to what I did in watching the movie.. I love my mom!

She is the best mom I could have ever wanted! After all, of all the women to choose to be my mom.. I picked her. She and I have a very close and strong bond that I think neither of us is really aware of the depth and power of it. Sometimes it is challenging having that type of connection with someone.. sometimes it is perfect!