Friday is a day for COLOUR!

How appropriate is it that I discovered this gorgeous blog in time for a Friday in May?
What could be wrong with a blog full of pretty and named for two of my very favourite things– Pink Friday?!

Happy weekend, everyone!



Because they are long and a bit delicate, packaging up paper garlands can be a bit tricky.

I decided the best way to do it was to wrap each one around a cardboard tag. That way, I could write an explanation of the garland and give some suggestions for how to use it on the tag itself (in case the recipients wondered why I was giving them a string of paper flowers…).


To make it coordinate with its garland, I stitched some confetti to the bottom of each tag.
No sewing machine? No problem. Use glue to attach the confetti or add some washi tape to pretty up the tag.

Next, I wrote a little message on the tag and then started wrapping the garland around it.


Finally, I put a bit of washi tape on the garland to hold it in place. Ta-da!


Confetti Garlands


This weekend, I had the pleasure of making some thank you gifts for a couple of teenaged girls. Both of them are currently at boarding school and will be off to university next year, so I thought they might like a little something to personalize their spaces. I decided that confetti garlands would be cute.
When I Instagrammed a photo of the process, the lovely Kate Durie asked for a tutorial. So here it is!


I made myself some of these a few months back and it is an easy, fun craft.
You will need a few little supplies.


I decided to use one “main” colour, plus three complimentary and contrasting colours. Punch out more of the “main” colour and successively fewer of each of the next two colours. For the “accent,” or contrasting, colour, punch out only a few. I used my little floral punches, but any shape will do.
How about hearts? Circles in varying sizes?
Don’t have a punch? Why not cut out squares?
Try using patterned paper or a mix of patterned and plain.


Arrange your piles of confetti by colour and then fire up your sewing machine.
(You will need to replace your needle after you are finished– you don’t want to be sewing fabric with a needle you have dulled by sewing paper!)
Place the first piece of confetti under the needle and slowly stitch across it; line up the next piece and repeat.
Keep going, stitching a long, looooong row of confetti together.
For the colour pattern, I was just pretty random, but you could be more mathematical about it if you prefer. To keep the thread from unravelling at either end, I sandwiched the ends between a bit of glitter tape at each end of the garland. You could use washi tape or sandwich the thread ends between two bits of confetti with a dab of glue.


Use the garland swagged over a curtain rod (I do!), as “ribbon” for wrapping gifts, draped over a mirror, or just taped to the wall or the ceiling with some fancy tape. Use it to pretty up your daily decor or for a party.


No sewing machine?
No worries– check back here on Wednesday for the “by-hand” version of the project!

A Sweet Tea Party

One of the current bridal shower trends I love is the old-fashioned tea party. It combines a whole passel of lovely things: sweets, antique dishes, flowers, fancy silver….cake bunting!


Today’s post is about just such a shower, organized and styled by my talented colleague, JG. The woman puts Martha Stewart to shame and her talents in the kitchen are legendary among those who know her.
Who better, then, to create the vision for the dessert table at her pal’s bridal shower?


The wedding’s colour scheme is purples and lavenders and, thus, so were the sweets & the dessert buffet decor. Add some pretty washi tape mini-bunting
–(we had a joint brainstorm to add the pompoms to the bunting– isn’t it darling?!)–
a vintage silver tea service, some hydrangeas and some vintage tea cups & saucers and you have a beautiful, old-fashioned, feminine bridal shower.



Yes, those are TRIPLE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES with purple sugar sparkles.


Teapot-shaped, lavender-tinted shortbread? Yes, please!


All photos by J. Goldberg, who was kind enough to let me share all this prettiness here.


Dickinson, that is.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune– without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

One of my favourite poems inspired a bit of bunting I gave to an English teacher friend for her birthday. The gorgeous embroidered rick-rack came from a lovely little shop in Bath— alas, I cannot remember what it was called.
The buttons are made of tagua and I bought them in Ecuador.

You could easily do something similar with a holiday theme.

First Fig

Here are a few pictures of my attempts to make a little corner of a very ugly and unwelcoming space look cozy and inviting, a fitting home for my little wares this past Saturday.  Setting up the display is half the fun for me, and although I find the hideousness of the space frustrating, I try to see it as a fun challenge, rather than a liability.

Or so I tell myself. 😉

The sodium arc lights are ghastly and make everything look horrid, so I thought I’d bring a bit of my own mood lighting this year. It didn’t really work, but it made me feel a lot better; at least I knew I’d tried!

Take a Seat!

When my parents got married– heck, even as recently as when my friends got married–  the way you figured out which table you’d be at for dinner was by finding your name on a board and going to the numbered table to which you’d been assigned. As you know, that system is no longer the norm. I love checking out wedding blogs to see some of the fun and creative ways couples choose to indicate the seating plan to their guests.

My brother and his bride chose to use origami. My brother made all the origami sculptures twice– once in miniature to go on the board with the lists of guests, and once in a larger size to mark the table and be part of the centrepiece. He was up until 3:30 a.m. the night before the wedding, folding paper like a madman, but it was worth it. After all, it was pretty fun to be able to say you were sitting
“at the sign of the prawn”!

(Though I think the X-Wing fighter might have been my very favourite!)

The origami looked so pretty tucked in amongst the lovely mismatched vases full of flowers and the tealights sparkling in beribboned mason jars.
A crack commando team of amateur florists (a.k.a. family and friends!) worked very hard to get the flowers looking just right and to set up the centrepieces.

Once again, photo credits to Lucas Jarvis.

It Takes A Village…

… to stage a DIY wedding!

You will need:
1 extremely relaxed bride
1 similarly laid-back groom
a cast of dozens of loving family and friends

My new sister-in-law was easily the most unstressed-out bride I have ever met. She basically said to me: “I want bright colours, I don’t care which ones. You have good taste; I trust you.” And so I got to have The Most Fun Ever picking out pretty fabrics to turn into miles of bunting that would reflect the joyful, generous natures of my brother and his bride.

My brother spent pretty much forever designing and making the suspended ceiling for the dance floor.

My sister-in-law baked cupcakes for months in advance, freezing them along the way. Her lovely sister and wonderful friends, niece and mum whipped up lots of of yummy icing and decorated the cupcakes. They were sublime.

Several tall, good-natured, good-looking(!) men let me boss them around over the two days it took us to get all the bunting in place. They uncomplainingly climbed on gigantic ladders to pin the bunting up, they made painstakingly sure my swags were even, they made sure the table bunting was pinned perfectly in place, and then they got up and did it all in reverse to take it all down the next day.

An enormous cast of friends, relatives and guests spent the week setting up and getting ready, making time to go to the beach and have a few BBQs and then all showed up on Friday and Saturday to work hard and make sure that S & S had the best wedding ever.

It was AWESOME– I have never had so much fun making an event happen.

More wedding to come next week!

Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great long weekend, North Americans; have a great weekend, everyone else!

Design Friday: Office Transformation

Design Brief:

Take an outdated, cluttered home office and transform it into a work-from-home sanctuary for a busy mom.

Re-use several key pieces that have sentimental value.

Do it on a budget, with room for a few necessary splurges, including new custom blinds and some reupholstery.

Keep the major elements neutral enough to endure over the long-term, with colour and spark added via accessories, paint and fabric– all easily changeable in a few years if the client tires of the colour scheme.

Make it a haven of peace and tranquility that “looks like” the client; it needed to be an oasis of femininity in a house full of boys.

The “Before” Situation:

The room had become a catch-all for the bits and bobs of a family on the go. Two boys and all the school files, mail, craft supplies, musical instruments, “where-else-am-I-gonna-put-this?” piles of detritus had gotten the better of the space. The client works from home and needed a place that reflected her personality and allowed her to focus on her work, rather than on the stress-inducing piles of stuff that had slowly taken over the space.

The client was ready for a change and was willing to weed out all the unnecessary junk that had drifted into the room over the years. She worked diligently to purge, keeping only things of sentimental value, things necessary to her work, and important household files.

I was thrilled when she liked the fabric I had seen months before and thought would be perfect for her space; after compiling three different palettes, the lilac & creme linen scheme won out and helped us to determine the wall colour and ceiling colour, both by Martha Stewart.

With the help of the homeowner’s brother, who painted the whole room and the enormous wall of overpowering oak book shelves, the room got a new lease on life; just lightening up the colours made a huge difference!

The Big Stuff reupholstered the client’s mother’s wing-back chairs in a pale oyster-coloured velvet, their legs lacquered in high-gloss lilac, and also made a new seat cushion in a pretty awning stripe for the window seat. The chair legs can easily be repainted in the future if the homeowner decides she wants to change her colour scheme; the velvet is neutral enough to work into a wide range of colour palettes.

I made the throw cushions from a range of coordinating fabrics and we pulled a lovely lavender shade from the palette to use on the cove ceiling, drawing attention to the architectural detail.

The desk had been the client’s mother’s during her career; she took it with her when she retired and it has great sentimental value. It is a large, mid-century modern teak piece, and dominates the room. Painting the teak was (obviously!) not an option, but since the top of the desk is melamine, we decided to cover it with a length of the damask-printed linen under a sheet of glass. The homeowner moved her desktop computer to the kitchen, where she can keep an eye on her boys as they do their homework, and replaced it with her laptop. The result is that the focus is on the colour and pattern on the desk’s surface, rather than on the enormous computer screen.

We replaced the  utilitarian printer table with a pretty wrought-iron garden table and the office chair will be replaced in the future, as budget allows.

 Ample storage is provided by a large dresser, donated by a friend, and spray-lacquered in high-gloss lilac. Files live in the desk filing drawers and daily office supplies are housed in pretty boxes and baskets on the bookshelves. Books were covered in kraft paper and fancy washi tape to create a soothing, uniform look to the book cases. An inexpensive, neutral-coloured area rug from Ikea adds softness and baffles sound to create intimacy.

The final touches? A few bits of mercury glass, some curvy white bookends and candle sticks, lanterns and a repeated bird motif. I made a whimsical banner of bunting to hang in the window in lieu of a valence or curtains, hand-printed with inspiring words like “moxie,” “pluck” and “strength”  to remind the client of who she is and why she is special. Add to these the homeowner’s personal collections of matryoshka dolls and British royal family souvenirs, a few family photos and the room is clean & crisp, yet still personal.

 The homeowner loves her new office! Her boys have dubbed it ‘Mommy Land’ and I take that as the best compliment of all– it means the room looks and feels like the client, which makes it a place she enjoys spending time.

Mission, accomplished.

You can see more here, if you like.

Happy Weekend!