November 25, 2012

Tutorial......Winter Urns

Hi everyone, how was your Thanksgiving? Getting a jump on Christmas? Am I ever glad we have an extra week in between this year!
We are busy going to clients homes and decorating their exterior. 
Source: via Kathryn on Pinterest
 I thought I would share some of our work so far followed by a tutorial. This is fun and easy, even for beginners. Let's take a may want to grab a coffee, this is long
When we designed this garden the intent was to make these massive urns on pedestals, on either side of the front door, a focal point, changing the contents with each new seasson
The Why:   Look for elements in the garden and pay close attention to your homes colors. 
The Materials: 
  -Boxwood (already in the garden, repeat, repeat, repeat)
-Tree toppers, for height
-Birch sticks, pick up the brown tones in the home
-Eucalyptus, has a blue/silver cast (great contrast to the brown)
-Blue Spruce, same reason as above
-Pine cones, extra large (compliments the browns)
-Faux fruit and berries, for color and textural contrast. Faux lasts year after year, IF YOU USE SOLID PLASTIC,  n e v e r  styrofoam coated berries, they will burst in the freeze/thaw of winter. How can you tell? Try to puncture the fruit/berries with a finger nail, if you reach foam, take a pass
Consider leaving the obelisk from summer in place. In this case Robyn and Donna wrapped it in a mixed garland. Love their choice of faux pomegranate's wired to the top.
Another creation by Robyn and Donna.
The materials;
-tree topper for height
-spruce boughs
-oregonia, looks like a variegated boxwood
-coned cedar (minute pine cones dangling from the ends) a great weeper
-faux berries
-non-breakable ornaments on a stick
Outside my Chicago shop, SG Grand. 
The Why; Red is not a stand-out against terra-cotta colored brick, it can actually clash
The Materials;
-tree toppers for height
-yellow twig dogwood for pop
-eucalyptus pods, the strong blue cast is complimentary to the brick
-weeping cedar in the front and sides
-blue spruce, the backside is even bluer
-white kale. creates a center focal point, does not clash and will last all winter
The why's;  take a look at the various greens. A successful composition will have varying shapes and colors. Have you ever seen those with one variety, say long needle pine with a cone and a berry branch? Yes, not as interesting, dare I say boring!
The materials;
-a boxwood wreath around the rim, great for nestling the bunny plus the rich dark green leaf glows
-pine needle spruce; the underside for the blue
-long needle pine
-cedar incense for draping and visual interest with the yellow seeded tips
-red twig dogwood for height
-faux berries
-a concrete rabbit

I NEVER use or sell fresh winter berry or holly. The berries turn black and drop, quickly, in our cold climate
The Why's;
The blue cedar siding was my guide. It's cool tones could take the same in material choices
The materials;
-Tree topper for height
-blue needled pine, the underside again
-blue berried juniper, great texture and long lasting berries
-Seeded eucalyptus for the leaf shape, seeds for texture and the color
-purple kale for pizzaz
-birch tubes, same as above
Easy; a boxwood wreath at the rim, obelisk left over from summer. A mass of plastic berries. This can be repeated year after year with little effort

A window box with some of the same except for faux holly leaves and berry

Another terra-cotta colored home, so no red. (my personal taste only)
The materials;
-toppers for height (yes, i really like these!)
-long needle pine
-blue berried juniper
-eucalyptus; leaves and silver/blue pods
-faux berries
NOTE:  I recommend leaving the Eucalyptus pods for outdoor decorating. When brought in, the heat warms the pods which releasing the scent of cat urine!

If local, we can come to your home or we sell all of the components at the Geneva, Il. shop. Feeling creative? Between the samples above and the tutorial below, I hope I have empowered you!

The following urn from last year has been all over pinterest. Let's use this as our tutorial
To begin, use any type of urn except for terra-cotta (in the north) as that will freeze and crack. I use last seasons soil or refresh. Another medium you could use is finely ground mulch.
Tree toppers, insert these upright and as with all materials insert deeply into the soil
Red Twig Dogwood

Long needle pine used upright and spilling sideways
Coned cedar as another spiller

Extra large pinecones, wire these at the base and wrap around something strong, in this case the red twig
Step back repeatedly and scan your shape, is it even all around? Go back and add more of all the above. Plan on using twice as much as you think you will need. Over time the branches will diminish in size, keep it full.
Faux red berries, looks good doesn't it? 

 Your final step is to spray with 'Wilt-Pruf', an anti-dessicant to keep fresh. 


November 18, 2012

Antiquing in England

This Anglophile LOVES antiquing while in Britain. The Decorative Antiques and Textile show is a favorite held three times a year. Let's take a peek at what caught my eye
Intaglio's are still white hot but displayed in unique ways  (sorry for the quality, my I-phone)

Antique dealers from all over Europe attend. This is obviously a dealer from France with a chalkware Joan de Arc
Same dealer. Take a close look at this intriguing lamp fashioned from a french barn door hinge.

Speaking of chalkware, I adored these pigs and wanted them for my kitchen. At 800 pounds =
$1,475.00 dollars, this was not to be

I love framing objects and was mesmerized by this early 17thc gown

An 18th c bureau from Spain with original paint. Has anyone antiqued in Spain? This piece has me thinking.........
Simple but different with the button placement

Classical elements were abundant. Notice the blue butterflies under a dome?
Here is another dome with a display of ancient ship ballast balls
A bibliothique, or French library cabinet. Notice the narrow profile
This long ago barrister's cabinet from London
The whimsical nature of this toy captured my imagination for it's charm. This Dutch toy made of paper mache cost $1,660.00!
Sorry for the glare, and no it is not an antique, but the decorative art of the talented Elisabeth LeCourt
In case you were wondering, yes, these are crafted of maps
Some of my purchases.......     Found this heavy linen fabric in France and loved the wide stripes and colors. What separates this from typical linen is a subtle oil cloth-like coating. Thinking this would be perfect for a current interiors client. They have been wanting a fabric for bench seating at their kitchen table, we have searched. With children, this was a shoe-in but they changed their minds......7 yards was a bear to carry around........and now it is for sale

Maxwell of London is the finest bespoke riding boots in England. What drew me to these is the small women's size. Not original, but may turn these into lamps.
What can I say? It spoke to me! Victorian era parade horse harness. As my luggage became unbearably heavy I thought I could wrap this around my neck, breeze through security and if stopped claim, in an insulted tone, 'I am a jewelry designer!' Would have broken my neck!
Like everywhere around the world, 'antique centered towns' are disappearing in Britain. One of those that remains is Tetbury England. In planning our 2013 tour, Sylvia and I made a visit to this royal town in the Cotswolds. Prince Charles' Highgrove is in Tetbury so needless to say, this is an upmarket region. We are on the list to receive tickets to Highgrove Gardens for next year's group.
In town is his stunning shop called again, Highgrove Garden shop.
Terrific imagination abounds, like this gardening can turned wall sconce
A series of garden sconces, all different, were fashioned from vintage gardening implements. Notice that the bell cloche on top is the 'light'

A diminutive courtyard. Isn't the painting scheme attractive? As we departed, Sylvia queried 'did you know that there were signs posted everywhere stating 'NO PHOTOGRAPHY?' Actually I did not, aren't you glad?
Endless antique shops lined Long street. Here is a Knole sofa with contemporary lines. So named after it's origin at Knowle House in the 17thc. It's design was for visiting Monarch's to receive their guests and once had adjustable arms. Knole House is the family home of Vita Sackville-West, erected in 1605.

Source: via Debra on Pinterest

Next years trip.......September 5th through September 13th, 2013. Won't you consider joining us?

Thank you for visiting!

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