Posts belonging to Category Fun Stuff



RULES FOR A COLOR PARTY

Last week, I shared a rather unique concept in “Have Yourself a Color Party”.

(If you haven’t already read that article, you might want to click here).

This is all about creating a Color Scheme, something that is fairly basic to almost any home design project.

Yet, how does one create a Color Scheme?

Broken down to it’s essence, it’s a simple matter of knowing which colors to invite to the “party”!

And yes, there are Rules.

 

Purchase a Color Wheel                                                                                                                                                 

A color wheel is a handy tool that can be purchased at any art supply store.

This is a great resource for educating yourself on color, especially if you are unfamiliar with terms like ‘complementary’, or analogous’, or the meaning of hues, tints and tones.

Brushing up before hand, so you can address your guests accordingly, is always a good idea.


Consider a Theme                                                                                                                                                  

What mood are you striving for?

A few words come to mind: 

Sensuous  – As in slightly exotic, with  rich reds, browns, and gold

Nurturing  – Earth tones, in varying shades of green or brown

Contemplative or Serene  – A watery theme of cool blues and greens, mixed with neutrals such as taupe, beige, or off-white

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HAVE YOURSELF A COLOR PARTY

Early in my design career, a client presented me with a challenge for re-designing her living room.

She wanted a new look, with lots of COLOR!

Per her instructions, she wanted to keep two existing chairs , one red and one blue, and replace most of the remaining furnishings, including the sofa.

(In design parlance, that’s what we refer to as the scope of the Project).

Did you catch the part about the chairs – one red, the other blue?

The real challenge here, was to connect these seemingly disparate pieces into a harmonious color scheme.

Well, I love a challenge, and every project has one.

It’s what usually gets the creative juices flowing.

It is also where the ‘Color Party’ comes in.

Let me explain.

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LIVING WITH ART

“I don’t think there is anything that communicates better than art. It is quicker than language and clearer than philosophy”. Frederick R. Weisman, Founder of the Frederick R Weisman Art Foundation

***

What do art, travel and this picture of a gardener have in common?

That’s easy.

The gardener – who isn’t real, by the way – was spotted in a private art collection, during a recent trip to Los Angeles.

The trip, taken with a group of Seattle Art Museum Docents,  was very similar in scope to last years’ exploration of Chicago.

As you can imagine, our whirlwind tour of the city focused on art. We were not disappointed.

I was particularly intrigued by the monumental collection of modern art amassed by the Philanthropist and art collector Frederick R. Weisman.

This impressive collection, housed in a privately owned Mediterranean-style villa, located in Beverly Hills, is not for the faint of heart.

Now, I am not a huge fan of modern art.

Yet, when I stepped inside the front entrance I immediately knew I was in for a treat.

Perhaps it was the ultra-realistic, life-size figure of a woman, dressed as an American tourist standing off to the side, obviously there to amuse and greet us.

I couldn’t get over the feeling that we were being watched, or that I might step on her toes.

She was not the sole human-scale sculpture in the house, I might add. My favorite one, apart from the gardener, was of an elderly gentleman asleep in his chair, book in hand.

Which once prompted some workers to call 911 because they couldn’t wake him up!

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HEALING THROUGH CHOCOLATE

I thought I’d share a singular chocolate adventure that I experienced during my recent trip to Asheville, NC.

A group of us had just shared a tasty meal at a local restaurant, and were considering dessert.         

All were in favor of visiting a local chocolate shop called The French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

Yes, that’s the correct name.

If it sounds a bit off-putting to you, rest assured that the French Broad happens to be the name of the local river that wends its way through town.

From that perspective, it’s a very fitting name indeed!

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect when I set foot inside the door but was immediately aware of the warmth that greeted us within, after the chill of the night air.

The fragrant, yet subtle scent of chocolate greeted me, and I followed my nose (and fellow diners) to the confectioners case filled with chocolate goodies of every variety imaginable.

This was truly a chocolate lovers haven!

What impressed me even more, though, was the selection of vegan truffles, made with coconut cream, instead of the usual dairy. The flavors had exquisite names like Strawberry-Balsamic, Buddha, and Pomegranate.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY

“The word playful is a necessary aspect of our work because one of the problems of our work is that we have to… produce lovely things throughout all our life”.

“How can you, without drying up, make things with the same pleasure, as a gift to others, for so long? The word playful is therefore an important part of our quality as a designer”.

Eva Zeisel, designer

Eva Zeisel, as you may know, is a world renowned ceramic designer who will soon be 104 years old.

This is a significant fact because Ms. Zeisel is still actively creating new products, no small accomplishment at her age.

Can you see why the ‘playful search for beauty’ that she refers to is so important? As she herself says, with an 80 plus year career, how else can you keep creating for so long without ‘drying up’?

Which means that, maintaining a sense of humor is always a good idea regardless of your age or job title.

For an interior designer, adding a touch of whimsy to a room design goes right along with this way of thinking.

In other words, interior design does not need to be a serious endeavor. Being playful, even whimsical, is not only OK it’s practically a requirement.

Perfection is a serious thing.

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DRIVING THE USA

What I love about travel is the unexpected adventures that can happen along the way.

Rock 'n Soul Museum, Memphis, TN

Like pulling into a roadside park and being told by the gate attendant that the park is ‘clothing optional’.

In that particular scenario, I’m sure the driver and I both wore a ‘deer in the headlights’ expression as we contemplated this fact and in unison responded:

“What?”

Then, a hurried “Is there a place we could turn around?”

As soon as we pulled through the gate we burst out laughing, one of those laughs that completely fills you up with joy and giddiness.

But that was another trip, and another adventure.

I’ve just accompanied my son on a cross-country drive from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Austin, Texas.

We completed this trip in four days. Time was of the essence.

So there were no side trips, and little sightseeing. But we drove through miles and miles of countryside and breathtaking scenery as we passed through each state into the next in our comfortable, air conditioned car.

Virginia Tech University

One thing’s for certain, we live in a vast and beautiful country!

From the lush, rolling hills of Virginia to the flat, dry countryside that envelops Arkansas and Texas, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the experience.

Although the nine hour drive from Virginia to Memphis was maybe a bit much. (more…)

7 PENNIES

My husband and I recently celebrated our 7th anniversary, which meant gifts of copper – if you follow the charts that tell you which material, or substance, represents your anniversary year.             

Even so, when I sat down to breakfast on the morning of our big day, I was surprised to find seven pennies on my placemat.

I was completely puzzled.

It took me a moment before I ‘got’ it. In the next instant, I was totally impressed by my husband’s cleverness.

In all my searching for an appropriate gift, I had never noticed the pennies in my wallet.

No worries, those pennies weren’t my actual gift.

But it did make me think about the many, obvious things we overlook everyday that are a little like those pennies.

I decided to turn those hypothetical pennies into some everyday hints for updating your décor – ideas that require little time or expense.

They’re simply there at your fingertips, ready for the picking. (more…)

I THINK I NEED A DOG

I was browsing hotels on-line for an upcoming road trip, when I happened upon an upscale hotel chain that provides guests with a Heavenly Bed and a Heavenly Bath.                      

Sounds heavenly.

Then I read that it’s OK to bring your 40lb dog, at no extra charge and you can even request a Heavenly Dog Bed!

Now, that’s service!

The Heavenly Bed, as it’s called, (for humans) features a “custom-designed, foot-thick pillowtop mattress with all-white bedding; triple sheeting; down duvet; and five pillows (two goose down/feather, two hypo-allergenic, and a decorative “boudoir” neck roll pillow)”.

Wow.

I’d love to know what the Heavenly Dog Bed looks like!

So yes, I’m off on a road trip early this month. I’m meeting up with my son in rural Pennsylvania, as he makes his way back to Austin, TX for the fall term of graduate school.

Many years ago, when my family moved to Seattle, we drove all the way from Toronto, which was a ten day road trip. Being young and adventurous, I thought it was a blast.

To this day, the highlights I remember were Mt. Rushmore, the Corn Palace (ever been there?) and of course, Yellowstone National Park.

We arrived in Yellowstone on July 1, and were welcomed by an enormous blizzard. Coming from Canada, we weren’t too fazed by this, although it was a bit confusing for the first of July.

Lucky for us, we had an ice-scraper in the car. This made us very popular the next morning in the parking lot, as fellow hotel guests prepared to dig themselves out of the snow.

My most recent memorable road trip was to Frank Lloyd Wright’s infamous Fallingwater.

So, it’s time for another road trip, and I’m looking forward to it! I hope to see you back here over the next few weeks as I share trip updates and photos.

"IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE…"

When my son was little, one of his favorite books was titled “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.                                               

Perhaps you’re familiar with this book.

In short, it’s about a mouse who, when given a cookie to munch on, decides he needs a nice cold glass of milk to go with it.

When he drinks the glass of milk, he ends up with a milk mustache. Which means he needs a napkin to wipe his face.

When he gets the napkin…well, you get the idea.

Sometimes one thing leads to another. And then, where does it stop? (more…)

JAPANESE 'WASHI' TAPE

I’m raving about my latest find for wrapping gifts, elevating the task at hand to a whole new level.   WashiTape I’m talking about Japanese masking tape, made from washi paper, which is a great alternative to   traditional ribbon and bows.

Well, OK, you can still add a bow if you want.

So what is this stuff I’m recommending? It’s tape, pure and simple, sticky on one side. All you  do is wrap it around the gift, getting as  creative as you like.

This tape is very cool, and very fun, limited only by your imagination. Even better, if you don’t like your creation, you can remove the tape and try something else!

I experimented with this myself. After wrapping a gift with bright yellow and red tape, I decided it looked a bit garish, considering my holiday decor of silver and gold. So I removed the tape in one fell swoop, and replaced it with something a bit more sedate.

I found the masking tape at Design Within Reach so if you’re lucky enough to have a showroom near you, you might be able to snag some in time for the holidays. If not, rest assured that this gift wrap idea can be used any time of year – you are in no way limited by the holiday season!

Enjoy your new-found creativity!