Friday, November 30, 2012

Studio Update

The studio has been hot today.. not temperature, it is still pretty cold downstairs. In spite of the lack of warmth, I made myself go down there today to work on the canopy for my mom and dad's swing. The sewing machine was humming, the iron sizzling and I admit, I did a little bit of swearing.

The top is made up of four sections. A front and back long triangular shape and two deeper triangles that go to the center for the ends. My plan was to sew a long triangle to a short triangle and then sew the two large pieces together. In theory this is a good idea and if one is paying attention and not getting confused, it would have worked like a dream. But I had sewn the small rectangle to the same side of the larger one, so I did NOT have mirror images to work with. I had to rip out one whole section and reattach it to the other side of the long triangle. In the process, managed to slice the fabric near the seam, so, I had to do some darning/zigzag action to secure the tear. Luckily it is on the floral, so the busy print will camouflage the incident. (this is where the swearing happened)
The darned tear

The plan is to have that sewing done before they leave for AZ. The valance is left to attach and then the cushion for the seat. That is still in my car. I may as well store it out there until I need to bring it in. Which, looks like it may be this evening. I would love to get this sewing done and get back to the painting project.

There are new creatures down there now too. No spiders, no 'house centipedes' (the ones with the long feathery legs) now there are a multitude of the round wormy looking centipedes. They navigate in big circles on the floor. They just seem to be traveling. They sometimes curl up into little spirals and,  sleep? I thought they were dead, however, after hours of 'playing dead' they just up and start cruising again. It is a bit disturbing, but, as long as they stay out of my way and my stuff, fine, we can share the space... for now.

Painting station
Over the weekend I created a painting station in the basement. It is near the laundry sink and the paint shelves. There is a table on wheels that is perfect for setting things on, and there is room under it for sliding WIP (work in progress).

The one in front is NOT MINE! I only have 32!
So, the space seems to working well today. There is still a great deal to do. I counted 32 totes of fabric the other day. So, I have some purging and some serious project planning to do. I am looking forward to it. I just need to take it one tote at a time.

Back on Monday with Sales, a definition.. as a follow up on wednesdays post. Still working on the website... photos.. it has been challenging getting great photos of rooms that are accessorized and photo ready... I wish I was better at photoshop! I would do renderings of the rooms before and then show progress shots... maybe... Accessories complete the room, they are like jewelry to the perfect outfit or the perfect pair of shoes... You need them to complete the look. Imagine a cake with NO FROSTING to make it look pretty.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feng Shui, Good Design, Sacred Information

Today is computer work day. I am working on the content for the website, planning my images, their sizing, etc and defining my business as it is and how I want it to develop. It is at a transition stage. Having just finished reading the book Midas Touch by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki, I am excited to DESIGN my business.  The book looks at entrepreneur skills, focus, branding, relationships and the little things. After reading the book, I see exactly where I am at and why AND I am starting to formulate where and how to get to the next place. I am a designer, I have achieved mastery of the design elements and principles, it is now time to create a structure to enable me to do what I love, with the people I love to work with, make a comfortable living and further explore my creative expression. 

I am particularly interested in how to develop intellectual property and protect my proprietary information. I sell ideas, I sell the creative process, I sell experience. It is all intangible. (Yup, a future post will define my method of "sales". It's not what you think!)

Early in my career as an independent designer, I studied Feng Shui, the chinese art of placement. It is a cultural system and tradition of how energy or "chi" moves through a space. (Much like the composition of a painting determines how our eye travels the surface, observing the content and its placement; to express an idea, an emotion or some other intention) It soon became apparent to me the way I wanted to practice Feng Shui was really just good design. However, I did learn valuable information about energy, intention and follow through during this brief study. I have incorporated this knowledge into how I design and communicate. 

In Feng Shui, when a consultant is engaged, there is an even exchange of energy, every time, if not, the 'cure' or prescribed solution will not work. If the recipient of the service has doubt or doesn't agree to the value the 'cure' or solution may have in their life, they will not be satisfied with the results. They will have the experience something is missing, always wondering what it is. The 'what is missing' to make the experience complete, is their commitment. The consultant will never meet the expectation of the client, as the consultant can not provide the client's commitment. With the exchange of money (or something of equal value) and commitment to that exchange, the client is saying to the consultant, "I trust the value that you place on your  commitment to my 'project', your work, and the experience that I will have by engaging with you."

In my design practice, this is essential for me to do what I do best, it is how I currently practice my life's work, to create and design. By using my design experience and knowledge to create a balanced, functional and aesthetically pleasing result, I have acquired certain standards that over time have become natural to me. I am continually expanding my awareness of details to increase the number of those 'standards'.  I want to produce the best I am capable of, always. This is true whether it be for my clients or myself.  I experience the creative process, that is what is in it for me, for my clients, they get to experience the benefits of what I have created, the beauty and the function. 

Another practice is of gratitude, in some sects of Feng Shui, it is the exchange of the red envelope. In this practice, the recipient of the service gives the consultant something of value to them,  sealed in the red envelope. This illustrates a conscious acknowledgement of the gifts to come in providing the 'cure' for whatever is 'missing' or being channeled elsewhere in the space. The cure provides an adjustment to the flow of energy necessary for that change to be reflected in the life and prosperity of the individual or group of people that inhabit that environment.

Following these principles and practices, has provided a life that I love and one that keeps me expanding my experience of self.

I am passionate about design, understanding it and applying it to all areas of my life. It is a way for me to experience who I am. When I was a child, in sunday school, I was taught, when you go to heaven, you can do whatever you want. I thought to myself, "ooh, what would I want to do? What do I like to do here? I like to create. When I get to heaven I am going to create all I want, anything and everything"... in years of spiritual soul reflection, a book I read, suggested something about reality. What if.... "this is heaven, and part of the illusion is to remember that and do what you really want to do"?

Well, that sent chills through my body. People sometimes say that life here on earth really is hell.. I have had moments when I believed that, but not for long! I would rather believe, what if the opposite were true? What if it is what we say it is? It was then I  decided, for the time I am here, I am going to do what I can to make it my heaven, CREATE,  the next place then, will be even better!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A long weekend of house projects

Good Morning and happy Monday! We are just coming off of a long weekend or at least a short week last week with Thanksgiving in there.

My housemate was off from thursday-sunday, so we did a lot of house stuff. It has been hard for me to want to go downstairs and do anything, as it is so cold down there. So, on friday, HM cut openings in the vents downstairs for warm furnace air to circulate. He then put vent covers on them to clean it up. It is working, even upstairs is warmer. It still gets a bit cold down there, but it can be as much us 10 degrees warmer than it has been. We also put a new storm window on one of the basement windows. There was no outside window and the inside one barely closed. It was possible to see a light gap. So, weather stripping was put around ALL of the windows.

I also rearranged some things and now have a sewing area AND a painting area. So I can navigate between projects... like sew while paint is drying/curing.

Then, cleaning the grout in the tub/shower surround. There were areas where it was discolored a reddish brown color.. it looked ok with the tile, but I know it is NOT grout! The grout is a different color in areas that don't get much water on them. So, I scrubbed it, and realized the grout had NEVER BEEN SEALED! EEK!! So, sealing the grout is the next step. New sanded caulk is going to be put in as well. The person who did the tile work, didn't grout between the tub and the tile, it is a sanded calk. Clearly that doesn't hold up as well. But, to put new grout in, would mean the entire area needs to be re-grouted to match. There has been a great deal of work to do here. So, the next property is going to be MY asset! If I wouldn't live in it, I will not expect my residents to either.

I am looking forward to having the tub done. I couldn't relax soaking in a tub with pooh-brown yuck at the back of my head.. I so miss soaking in a tub...

Friday, November 23, 2012

A bottle neck in the studio

The day after Thanksgiving... and our little cottage by the river is still bursting at the seams, so black friday is just another marketing strategy to me. There is nothing that I didn't have yesterday, that I can't live without today or tomorrow for that matter. It isn't that I don't appreciate a deal, rather, I have no need for one right now.

I am grateful for what I have and an abundance of what I do have... my computer and a little tv are the biggest distractions in my life right now, and the computer works about 50/50 as a distraction and a progressive tool. I know I need to skew that percentage a bit, more towards the progressive tool than distraction.

There is a bottleneck in the studio. I have one end table on the table and another waiting to be sanded and primed. A replacement basement storm window which needs a coat of paint and the canopy for my parents swing. I would love to have that done before they go south for the winter. Then I can get it out of my space and keep it free and clear for production.

Today I will make a plan, rather tweak the plan that I already have in place. I see where there are some problems with it. It is a little to tight, if too many things take longer, I am all out of alignment. So, I need to loosen it up and allow a bit more flexibility for things that take longer. I want to enjoy what I am doing not race the clock to get to the next activity..

Be sure and support small business saturday tomorrow, you will be assisting someone in living their dream! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve

Well the day flew by. Where did it go? I met with a friend to discuss our ideas and a future collaborative effort, went to Treadle Yard Goods for sewing machine needles.

There are some LOVLY fabrics in at Treadle.. and I almost caved.. but, I reminded myself of the fabulous stash I have at home to work on and by the time I got to anything purchased today, some other lovely will find its way to the shelf.. plus, I made a commitment to myself to work through my stash of fabrics. So, I did it. I left with only the needles I came for.

I then came home and did some writing, as well as work a bit on the website. Oh, I  spoke with a dear friend for a bit.

That was my day and I just realized I hadn't posted today. Another day of small tasks towards large dreams.

Enjoy your thanksgiving and all that you have to be thankful for. There is so much, let us focus on the abundance and the love that we have in our lives.

If you are in a country that celebrates Thanksgiving on another day or not at all, take a moment and acknowledge what you have to be thankful for on this day as well.

Be Well. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Update on the Website

The website is still in the works, progress is slow. It was such a lovely weekend, we spent most of it outside doing yard work and running errands.

My last Pixels and Pens class was on saturday morning. What a great community education class!

I learned a great deal in it and actually started drawing again... I must not lose momentum with drawing. I love to draw,  I always have. The last class was partially spent on creating patterns in photoshop. I get it. I even created some quick things saturday to make sure I had the steps down. I think I may even be able to take a screen shot and apply it here. (we learned that too)
On a fabric width this repeats better, this is letter size paper. 

Small print to coordinate with the flower. 
Ok, so, they aren't screen shots, however, you get the idea. I can see a collection forming.. so, spoonflower and etsy may be near future endeavors as well. Do I have too much on my plate? 

No, learning new stuff keeps me stimulated and my client projects are more fluid and creative. This is my practice ground where I test my theories.. I don't test theories on clients. I do what I know is going to work, based on my experience, professionally, through my formal training and through my continued pursuit of understanding of design elements and their relationships. 

Writing the content for the website has been good. It is getting me in touch with my core values in what I want to experience and what I provide for my clients to experience. It isn't about making pretty spaces. It has never been about that for me. Beauty is definitely part of the recipe, it is a by product of function. (that is another post) or maybe a post for the deign studio blog. PD, has declared, I must blog about design on the website. I think she is right. I have too many discoveries that don't get shared. I integrate them into my understanding and don't get them developed into communication. 

I am also reading Midas Touch by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki. The chapter on branding is where I am at now. I am starting to recognize MY 'brand'. That too is another post. It is a very good book. I recently realized the trouble with my business, is I haven't fully developed and documented my systems. I can stop design training. Much of the design training (unless it is a new media or tool) is not as rewarding as just doing projects on my own and discovering new things. It is the business development part that has been missing for me. 

In the past, to supplement my income, I worked for retailers, interior designers and high end drapery workrooms. Many, not all, became more profitable from my ability to improve their systems and policies. But until now I never FULLY made the connection to my own business.... now I get it. I am passionate about design, I need to create my systems and really do what I love, because I love it! 

I am not going to promise when the website will go live. This morning I am off to take some photos of a project, then meet with a rep to review carpet installation layouts. I want to know where the seams are going to be and do my due diligence and ask questions if they are placed in the best positions and not compromise how the carpet performs in the space. This is what I do, no surprises! Only pleasant ones are allowed and I do everything I can to avoid the unpleasant ones for my clients. If my clients are unpleasantly surprised, most likely I am too. I dislike unpleasant surprises. 

It is off with my day... be back on wednesday... 

Friday, November 16, 2012

No Sew Wednesday... But....

Wednesday ended up being a no sew day, because I started priming furniture instead. I have three pieces that I want to put on an etsy store before the end of the year. Two pieces, are a pair of end tables I posted a long time back ... the other is a vanity and mirror that we picked up a savers. The piece has some very nice details and is VERY beat up. Nothing to strip and refinish... but to clean up and repaint... oh, the fun of it.
Last weekends treasure hunt find

everything gets primed, even the handles

Drawer fronts primed and ready for base
As I am not doing any faux finishes or wall finished myself these days for clients... I don't want to be out of the loop that many days away from my routine... my painting fix can be addressed with small furniture items. I need to get these three done, so I can post them and then go find more 'diamonds in the rough'.

Yesterday, was another day of website madness and working with my personal version of 'wordpress.augghhh!' I am learning some things and will most likely start shifting things around on this blog as I learn more.. progress is being made, not at the pace I would like, but I am out of my realm of experience here. It is frustrating, as I can visualize what I want.. getting there is..well, challenging. I will not give up. I did finally, at 11:30 last night figure out how to create pages on the website... slooooowww progress.. but, it is rewarding to learn something new. Well, it is off to another busy day... See you monday... with any luck, there will be a link to activated in the next post...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We are under Construction!

Yesterday, I spent the entire day working on a Website for Shelly's Design Studio. To this date, we haven't had one. I have had the privilege  of working with some wonderful people through referrals. The projects have varied from element to element in a room setting.

Some want to focus on paint colors, some want to focus on soft furnishings, others want new furniture and others want full service interior design. I am greatly touched and moved by many of the things they have to say about working with me.

The experience they have with me and the finished results are rewarding for all. I am looking to get this across in my website.

I don't want a website that has a gallery of finished work.. there are a lot of people out there doing some beautiful things. And the interiors all start to look the same. I do NOT want to do the SAME thing.

I rely on my clients personality to provide the key element for the transformation of their home. It is their needs, likes and dislikes that shape the basis for my design concept. This forces me to think out of the box. It keeps the work from becoming trendy. I am a style maker not a trend follower.

Working with current materials and products does give an updated and 'trendy' feel to the project, many times however, I am integrating treasured pieces of the family, parts of their past.  Even the house itself lends cue's as to proportion and certain elements of style to be repeated or pronounced.

A site that conveys the personality of my clients is what I want.. I want to work with people that enjoy working with me. I am pretty easy to get along with, many have said I am fun (I like to think so, I want to have fun at what I am doing).

As an interior designer, I develop, communicate and hold the vision for the project. If the client were able to do this, they would not have called me in. The contractor knows construction, they are experienced in this. Design is my realm. I take the function and partner it with an aesthetic that works for the client and the house... and my expertise. At this point in my career, I cannot knowingly allow myself to let something by that is going to look odd. I do very detailed and calculated research to know in advance if something is going to be in MY tolerance range. If it is out of my comfort zone, I do not endorse it.

 Let me just say, I am fearless when it comes to creativity. I am willing to put things together that have not been paired before. I am confident in my understanding of the design elements and assess each of them before moving forward with the unorthodox pairing. Color being a prime example of this. I like to put colors together that would not ordinarily be playmates. It is all in the proportion in making these oddities work. Resulting in individualized spaces that reflect personality, invitation and warmth.

My hope is that by next monday's post there will be a link for all of you to
(not active yet).. I will activate links when it goes live..

This is a big step for me, a commitment to my passion of design and the willingness to share a something that is sacred to me with the WORLD.

Thank you all for reading and being my ears as I process this communication beyond my own inner critics.

It is a sewing/project day today... so, friday we'll have pictures... see you then..

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creating Structure

This weekend was a busy one, however, rewarding. The first dinner party. We, housemate and I invited my parents and his parents for dinner. I made a new recipe and my mom & dad brought turkey and dressing.. not my plan.. they seem to have an over abundance of turkeys, so they offered to make it and bring it. I made Mashed potato with Proscuitto and green beans. My aunt and uncle brought desert.

It was lovely to see them having a good time visiting. It was also nice to have them see what we have done to the house to make it home. Both had concerns with the size of the house when we moved in.. But, I worked my magic and my housemate did his share of some projects. I managed to get the studio cleaned up downstairs. It is presentable AND ready for working on projects.
studio work table

Saturday, we went to the savers in NE Minneapolis and I found a great treasure to transform. It is on the schedule for this week, along with priming a new basement storm window, priming the end tables from a post long ago.

The old swing canopy

Fabric for the new swing canopy
I just came from downstairs and cutting out the valance for the swing canopy at my parents house. I promised to have it done by the time they return from their winter home. Maybe I can bring the canopy at thanksgiving and get the cushion for finishing.

My plan for the next few months is to work in the studio MWF in the morning and then post about it in the early afternoon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Trend, Fashion and Style-distinctions

The 'neighbor' kid... watching me through the window
It is friday morning and the sun is shining. We are expected to have a warm day today... 50's , so warm for November.  One of the 'neighbor kids' is in the tree watching me through the living room window as I write this.. They are so funny here... they work with a sense of play...
Bookcases sorted, new clock, painted table and torchiere 

The living room has shaped up nicely. (except the drapery rod has bent from the weight of these draperies, so I have to order the custom cut to measure rod after all) The Bookcase was rearranged yesterday. The books neatly stacked and sorted. They were just thrown up there in the unpacking and it was like walking past a messy closet that had no door. I still haven't found my scallop shell bookends.. they may still be in the garage. There are a lot of accessories, well, not a LOT but some things that express my style are not out. There is just no room and the thought of repacking in a few months is not appealing..

Things have quieted down a bit and a new routine is evolving. It is time to observe and assess what my core style is. Then express it and brand it in a meaningful way. That is my goal to brand myself.

The next few months, I will be assessing my wardrobe, the colors, the shapes, how I use texture.. that is an element that I am looking at with more awareness and discrimination now. I will be looking at the color intensity of what I like to wear and am attracted to and the personal energy levels that I am experiencing at the time. I will also be assessing my fabric stash. You can count on future posts about that.

Now, let's distinguish for the purpose of this post a trend, fashion and style. These are my perceptions and connotations of what the words mean. These are brief and can be whole topics in and of themselves.

Fashion is the arena or industry by which we accessorize ourselves. Since public nudity is frowned upon, we need to wear clothes. Fortunately, that is an area that we can really express ourselves. There is so much out there, from high-end-runway-designer, Ready to Wear, Vintage, Consignment-Thrift, personal creation (make it yourself) and a combination of it all.

Style is how YOU put all of the elements together and MAKE IT YOUR OWN! It is not copying someone else's style. I like to glean things from someone else's style, but I put my own unique spin on it. I used to think I was doing it or making it 'better,  but that is not the case. I am simply integrating what I find appealing in another to enhance my own style, not at the others expense.. but rather as a compliment to their expression.

A Trend is when there is a great following of people who have not yet defined style for themselves and they follow some one else's style. Following a designer, a magazine, a character in a movie, an iconic figure. They all have style. It has been created, this balance of elements. There is a style of decorating, a style of design, a style of dressing, a style of speaking, a style of ... anything.

Trends are fascinating to me and this is a VERY simplified definition that is more about differentiating the context of the three. I will write about this in the future and share the vibrant thread of how it assists me in distinguishing my own style.

Well it is off to the sewing room...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The finished Living Room Draperies!

Voila! They are done with eight months to enjoy! Here are photos...

Cottage Draperies for the Living Room

They finally were finished late last evening.. They have some issues still, but oh, it really cozies up the whole house! I love the fabric selection and overall am quite happy with the results.

Open and not very well dressed... (over the chair!)
They are a little short.. The take up at the top due to the scallops between pleats shortened them up considerably. The solution.. attach a slightly gathered wide chiffon ribbon to the bottom edge of the lining (which I haven't finished yet anyway)

Love the blue lamp and green chairs with fabric!
The other problem is the hem extension and the facings, in the satin print... well, this is polyester! I couldn't press it or it would melt... and it has a mind of its' own.. not to mention stat-icky!
For our purposes they will be fine... We can at least watch tv at night without the bus stop people watching with us...

Well, I am off to clean up my sewing room and go vote. Thanks for your patience in waiting for these... I have been talking about them for months.. and without the blog.. I may not have ever gotten them done... so thanks for reading!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Abundance and Bountiful projects in the Imaginary Queue

A Bounty of veggies- and vibrant solids!
Yesterday afternoon after fabulous success (in my opinion- the client hasn't seen it yet) with tile selections for a basement update, I went to my own basement and started sorting the totes of fabric.
There are a great deal of them and about 3-4 have UFO's in them. I couldn't bring myself to go through those.

Instead, I gathered fabric groupings that I know are for projects. Currently  there are two totes full of project materials and another UFO, project bin to go through (included in the 3-4 UFO totes).

The fabric is inspiring as the day I acquired it. Here are some photos of quilt projects that are waiting to be made.

Design TBD- the fish batik is my FAVORITE!!!

Fairy Tale Patchwork
... not large quilts... I know me, it would take several lifetimes to complete large quilts and all of the other sewing I would like to get done... Oh, so much to do... and the Living room draperies are cut out.. Maybe by the end of the weekend, I will have Living room Draperies! And then on to who knows what? .......

There is another apron that would be a quick rewarding project, then I must sort through the UFO's and get them into the line-up!

Oh, and the garments.. I have several patterns and fabrics selected for some fabulous wardrobe pieces! That is another post... I get ahead of myself!