Fine, Furry Friends

Go get a cup of tea, this could take a while.

I am not going to get into the whole fur debate here. Nor am I going to get into the fact that, as a child, I actually felt physically ill in the presence of fur (some of which feeling resurfaced this weekend when I took on a DIY project I’ve been considering for a few months now).  I will put forth that I am not proponent of NEW fur, but that I am willing to touch (and even wear!) vintage fur because I think doing so is better than throwing it out or letting it get moth-eaten. But that is not what this post is about. Instead, I am going to tell you a very not-so brief story about an item that was given to me when someone was doing a cleaning up/purge.

Here it is:


It is, in short, the World’s Most Enormous Fur Coat.
Made of raccoon.
Vintage raccoon.
It weighed about 350 lbs. It was a size Gigantic. Seriously, a Volkswagen could have worn this coat.
It ought to have made the man who put it on (surely it was not designed for a woman?) look deliciously collegiate-football-fan-circa-1935. Alas, it made everyone, male or female, who donned it look like a pimp from the 1970s.
It was, in short, problematic. One of those items that ought to have been utterly fabulous but…. just….wasn’t.  This fact made me sad.
And I didn’t really want to believe it, so I let the coat hang in our basement for many, many years.

And then I started to think, what if I could save this coat from itself?
Would I have the nerve? Could I bring myself to do it?

Well, Gentle Reader, it took me a couple of months to work up the chutzpah to tackle it, but this past weekend, I took the plunge. After carefully removing the lining and label, I…..
cut up the coat.
Cue vomiting– this part reaaaallly made me think about the raccoons, I have to admit, and I very nearly chickened out.
Even now, just typing that makes me kinda queasy…

BUT, the the World’s Most Enormous Fur Coat, made of raccoon, vintage raccoon, has become two rather good, very cosy throw pillows on our couch.  Even M likes them! (Will wonders never cease?!)
I like that this project gave new life to the old fur; makes me feel a bit less sad about the raccoons.


I was nervous, never having sewn with real fur before, so I looked up some tutorials online. They all required about 30 pieces of equipment, which terrified me. Also, I am the Lazy DIY-er, so there was No Way On Earth I was going to take on some complicated cushion tutorial. Thus, I did what any self-respecting Lazy DIY-er would do: I winged it. And it all worked out fine! Basically, I made two envelope-style cushion covers, the way I would do if I were using regular fabric.  No big deal. I did take three sage pieces of advice from the lengthy tutorials, so if you are planning to do similar, I recommend that you also take these tips:

1. Use a razor blade or a utility knife to cut the fur, and cut it from the back side of the pelt, being careful not to shear the fur

2. When sewing, be careful to push the fur away from the cut edge of the fur/fabric, in order to avoid stitching the ends of the fur into your seam. Just go slowly and you will be able to tuck the ends of the fur towards the middle of the cushion as you go, leaving you with a nice, furry edge when you turn the pillow right side out.

3. Keep your eye on the nap of the fur by using the bottom hem of the coat as a guide– always keep it positioned towards you so that you can be sure that both pillows have the nap going the same direction.


What do you think? Would you save unusable fur from itself?



It has been a looooooong week and I am looking forward to a quiet couple of days to recharge my battery.
This space, found over at the always-gorgeous Lottilou, embodies the relaxed, cozy, soothing feeling I am hoping for this weekend.


What are you up to this Oscar weekend?

Friday Eye-Candy

Here is a look I am really loving these days– clean white with vintage elements, including pops of colour from antique and vintage textiles like kilims and suzanis.
Gone are my monochromatic palette days, it would seem…



Have a great weekend!

(ps– how about that amazing herringbone floor in the bottom image? Perfection, non?)

Let’s Go Shopping

…for my imaginary London pied a terre!
Of course it’s in a light-filled Hampstead garret– a bit out of the way, but worth it for the character of the ‘hood.
And I can always hop on the overground and travel a few stops to visit  LHR, Graphic Definer & Russell at Dalston Abbey.


1. This sofa is Absolutely Perfect.
2. There is a reason this side table is ubiquitous– it looks great and the price is right!
(This one is pretty darned gorgeous, too. Perhaps I’ll take one of each!)
3. This fabric would make gorgeous toss cushions.
It’s from LHR’s friend D’s new shop, Fabricspark.
Check out her pretty, pretty fabrics– you won’t be sorry!

Let’s Go Shopping In Paris

And by shopping, I do mean pretend internet shopping. For my pretend home in France. Oh, heck, for BOTH my pretend homes in France– clearly I can’t be confined to Paris all the time, so I’ll need a place somewhere near Antibes as well.

Here is some loveliness from Caravane to add a little brightness to dark winter days here in the northern hemisphere:

delovelydelightful1 & 2
3 & 4

 How about a new dining room table (the link for which I cannot find…) for my fabulous apartment in St Germain/Montmartre/ the 4e?  I’ll need some pretty storage to organize my bibelots in my Parisian pied a terre, so I’ll add this whimsical little bunny canister and this colourful tray to my (incredibly chic, Provençale) shopping basket while I’m perusing the wares at Petite Friture.

delovelydelightful1, 2, 3.

What would you buy if you were shopping in Paris?


Have you ever renovated, updated or made over a space?

If not, I am here to let you in on a secret: a small change leads to more changes.
A big change, leads to MANY changes.
Thus it was with our new flooring upstairs. Once it was in, the whole tenor of the second floor changed so much that we began to see all the things we’d been ignoring for….um…. years. One day, M said to me, “Well, I guess you’d better find a bed.” And so, the hunt was on.

In the end, we went with the Deuce. It really is a great-looking bed, even though it requires that we get rid of the box spring (seriously, do you need a brand-new, totally bed-bug free, queen box spring? I can totally hook you up and then it wouldn’t end up in landfill…).

And then, I started thinking about how to bring it all together with a few little updates.
Snowball, anyone?

Here are some of the ideas dancing around inside my noggin at the moment:


1. The Deuce bed by Novogratz
2. Jumpin’ on the faux taxidermy bandwagon
3. Sconces, instead of bedside lamps. These ones make my heart go pitter-pat.
4. Ordered this baby online for a deep discount. Can’t wait to see it in person!


5. Since we need new sheets anyway, why not these?
6. Drool-worthy much?
7. As above.
8. One of these on our white duvet covers would be rather gorgeous.
(No link because I can’t remember where I found them. Womp, womp…)


While I was at Ikea recently, getting sucked into buying a bunch of pretty things I really don’t need, er, picking up napkins, I fell for this adorable bedding. I had already snagged a pair of cushion covers in a similar fabric a few months back and they make me smile every time I see them. Clearly I had to have the pretty linen bedding, too!


It’s bright, it’s cheerful, it would go a long way toward bringing the guest room into the 21st century. Except it looked wretched with the bedskirt (I totally forgot about the bedskirt when I bought the bedding…). No worries, I knew just what to do– I would whip up a bedskirt from some of the pretty linen tea-towelling they have at Designer Fabric.
In red. Perfect.

Except the red was sold out.
Which meant I had to sacrifice the pretty table runner I’d made over Christmas and turn it into a bedskirt.
It looks just as I’d hoped– bright and homey.


Of course, I also needed new toss cushion covers. I made them out of fabric I’ve been saving to cover a mid-century chair I plan to put in our TV room when it gets remodelled. One day.
(Don’t worry– I still have enough to cover the chair!)
The silly bird print looks perfect with the sunny polka dots.

The trouble is, I like the way the bed looks (and it does, admittedly, look better in person than in the photos), but the room does not gel any more.  I am all for a little design tension, but this is just off. I am going to have to go back to the drawing board, I think. Which is sad because I love the polka dots.

Fear not, Gentle Reader– I have a plan!


The living room “freshen up” project is now finished. The room had been done by a decorator in the 80s and was ready for a facelift. The homeowners are in their 70s and have very traditional tastes and did not want to spend an enormous amount of money, so the project really was just to update via new upholstery, paint and lamps. There was no budget to replace the upholstery on the oversized salmon-pink chair or the drapes in the same hue, so we had to work around those two elements.

The paint on the wall is a slightly more grey-green version of the Wedgwood blue that was already there. The rest of the transformation comes thanks to tailored, modern upholstery. The blue linen allows the lovely line of the back of the sofa to take centre stage; I had wanted to have one single cushion made for the seat of the sofa, to make it more modern and more inviting, but the upholsterer talked the homeowner out of it, alas. Luckily she followed instructions on the wing-back chairs, whose crisp ticking suits their tailored shape to a T.

The clear glass lamps bring a bit of contemporary sparkle to the room; I particularly love the ikat lampshade & the covered cord of the lamp on the console.

In the end, the new fabrics and a slight switch in paint colour make a big difference. The room looks fresh and updated, but still traditional and suited to the homeowners’ aesthetic.

And the Winner Is….

….Palette #1!

Thanks for all your input, Interweb. I liked both palettes, but thought for sure that the homeowner would choose #2, so I was (at first) surprised to see she’d chosen Palette #1. Now I think I know why– Palette #2 involved a lot more pattern and that can be a bit scary.

I think it will look fantastic and I can’t wait to see the finished room! We will have to wait a few weeks for that, however, as the furniture is not on deck to be recovered until early October.

I have spent a few days making the cushion covers. What do you think?

I trimmed one of the large ones with a lovely little silk ruffle from France, but once I got it on there, I decided I might actually prefer the cushions without it.

I will let the homeowner decide– it is just as easy to add it to one pillow as it is to take it off the other, depending on her preference. Below, you can see the cushion on the left with the trim.

I am particularly thrilled with the crewel-work; the fabric is such a spare, modern take on a classic fabric that it keeps the scheme from being too fussy or stuffy.

Pillow Talk

I’ve mentioned before that I have a thing for textiles. Also, that I have a thing for cushions & their covers.
Oh, and let’s not forget ribbons and trims!

When it came time to make the cushions for the screened-in porch, I had a chance to indulge all three passions.  Because the pattern of the main upholstery fabric, a large-scale or “buffalo” gingham, is linear, the cushions were the place to get playful and add some whimsical, girly touches in order to balance the geometric pattern on the seat cushions and in the lines of the windows, the panelled walls, the floor and the rug. I made most of the cushion covers from scratch, but I also used one pre-made cushion cover from Ikea in a waffle-weave texture and just tarted it up a bit with a giant flower.

You could do it, too!