Wednesday, December 31, 2014


May the coming year bring you Health, Happiness and Prosperity!
(Photo by Laura Petersen in London, England.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014


More pillows for the master bedroom...

The same fabric as the balloon shades was used on these Euro squares.  Because the fabric is not an even pattern, there is no way to center the stripe so that it is a mirror image.

But they can be turned so that either the black stripe is in the center as in the previous shot, or the white/silver is.

The double flanged pillows in the front add color to the room.

In the wider view of the bed, the roman shade is visible.  Both of these fabrics are Designers Guild.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


The job with Cara Clancy continues...

These boxed pillows turned out great, but as with most everything else on this particular job, they were a big, fat pain to make.

What made them difficult was the pleated linen welting.  The linen was much too heavy to pleat.  As always, though, I did it anyway.

I like to tell myself that I get the jobs I do because I CAN to them, even when they are not simple or easy.  (Sounds good and makes me feel better.)

This is the guest room.

And in the guest bathroom, a roman shade made of the same fabric.  It is always a challenge to photograph shades when it is really sunny outside.  And since I do not normally deliver items at night, I frequently run into this problem.  This is sunny Southern California, after all!

The shade pulled up.

Friday, December 5, 2014


The client to whom this chair belongs was my very first client in Coronado way back in 2002.  She likes her slipcovers VERY fitted, and requested a zipper instead of the usual buttons-down-the-back.

This fabric proved to be a bit of a challenge because of the pattern, which had to be matched everywhere.  Also, she had bought all Calico Corners had, and, really, I thought it probably wasn't going to be enough.  Luckily, I was able to railroad the fabric, which meant I could make the entire slipcover out of it without having to use another for the welting and/or deck.

The zipper is on the other side, but I did such a good job that my client didn't realize I had put one in.

The skirt has gathered corners.

I was especially happy with how it turned out, given that the wings made it that much harder to make sure it all matched.  My client was happy, too, and that's what really counts!

Friday, November 28, 2014


I received a call from a woman telling me that she picked up my card a few years ago at the Farmers Market in La Jolla.  Odd, I thought, as I haven't done that market since about 2003.  As it turned out, she had gotten my card at least 11 years ago and had held onto it all this time.  Cool!

She told me she had purchased a set of flannel sheets that she wanted a tablecloth and napkins out of. Okay, not my strangest job, but up there on that list.

Once I got the sheets, I washed them.  She wanted everything a certain size and had I made the tablecloth and napkins to her specifications, when she finally did wash them they would have shrunk and probably not evenly.  Anyway, once it was all pre-shrunk I then cut out the 12 napkins and the over-sized tablecloth.  It was fairly easy to work with because of the plaid.

After I delivered it to her, I asked that she take pictures of her table once it was all set.  I did think about it briefly once yesterday, but thought she probably forgot.  Today I received these pictures.  So, thank you, Pam.  I am happy that I was able to contribute to a happy Thanksgiving for you and your guests!

Friday, November 21, 2014


This is the same chair I did back in the spring for the home of the designer on this job.  At the time she had me make a permanent pattern because this is a chair she likes to use in all the homes she does.  It is super big, but then again, the homes she works on are super big.  Perfect fit!

The fabric, a heavy linen, is photographing as aqua, but it is really a much more teal green than it looks here.

Since the house is still in the process of being finished, it looks very empty.

The back of the chair, with large buttons, since the size I usually use would have needed about 20, and would have looked ridiculous.  And because the chair is very rounded, the buttons are actually needed to make the slipcover fit properly.

A couple weeks later I was back at the house delivering other items, and took these shots.  By then, pictures had been hung and accessories added so it was looking more like a lived-in home.

The window treatment fabric has yet to arrive, but once it does, there will be balloon valances on the windows that look into the courtyard of the house. The fabric is another gorgeous Designers Guild stripe like nothing I have ever seen.  I look forward to making them and posting the finished room.

Friday, November 14, 2014


When I first started my business back in 1992, then called Design Options, I only was doing window treatments, bedding and pillows.  People kept asking for slipcovers, though, so I decided I'd better learn how to make them.  I bought all the books and read up on everyone else's opinions of the best ways to make slipcovers.  Still, the only real way for me to learn how to do something is to actually do it.  The problem was that at the time I had no furniture that I could practice on.  My sofa was a futon and I had director's chairs for my dining room table.  I had no upholstered pieces.  So I went to Betty's Resale Shop (this was in Chicago) and bought a chair for $12.  It was a small chair and not exactly what I wanted, but the price was right.

In an attempt to make the chair look more like what I wanted it to be size-wise, I bought batting and covered the entire chair with it, several times, until it was puffier.  Then I kind of upholstered it with duck cloth because you can't really put a slipcover directly on batting and expect the batting to stay in place.  I didn't do too bad a job, but because I had no clue what I was really doing, nor how to do it, I sewed the arm fronts by hand, which meant the chair couldn't be used without a slipcover.  No big deal since that was what I wanted in the first place.  Anyway, at the time I was working at Loomcraft and I had always loved this fabric.  With my employee discount, it was probably $5/yard.  By the time I made this, though, I had already 'learned' how to make slipcovers on a client's benches, sofas and chairs.  Talk about being thrown in the deep end and having to sink or swim!  I learned very quickly how to swim, and have been 'swimming' ever since.  I no longer have this chair, but I still love the slipcover!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


This pillow, actually there were 2, took me the entire day to make.

  Let me say right now that I cannot really draw, but I figured since an anchor is mostly straight lines, I should be able to do it successfully.  I did tell my client that if I thought it looked dorky, she would be getting solid black pillows.  So, first I had to draw an anchor big enough to fit on a 26" pillow.  Next step was to cut it out of the paper and trace it on fusible interfacing.  Then I had to iron the interfacing to the white Sunbrella; then cut those out; then do a satin stitch around the whole thing.  After all that, I then zigzagged the anchor to the fabric, and sewed the welting on, put the zipper in and finished the pillows.  Literally, the entire day to do this, and I only made $50 per pillow.  Still, I was quite happy with how they turned out, as was my client.  Next time, if there is a next time, I will charge accordingly.

Friday, October 31, 2014


Another gorgeous fabric from Designers Guild Limited.  This one is called Caviglia, color Noir.

This is the master bedroom of a renovation I have been working on with Cara Clancy here on Coronado.  This is the second time I've made balloon shades with this exact fabric.  The first time was for Cara's own home.

The larger shade is 72" wide, the smaller is 36".  All are lined with blackout, which make them exceptionally heavy.  I originally wanted to split the larger shade, but Cara wanted no light leakage that would have occurred because it is one large pane of glass.  I have to admit, she was right.

This is to the right of the corner window, beside the bed.

The french door got a flat-stitched roman shade.  And the window in the hallway leading into the master bedroom also got a big balloon shade.

The roman shade half closed so you can see the fabric better.  As beautiful as these fabrics are, they are quite challenging to work with as the repeat is huge and not necessarily even.  There is no centering of one stripe with a mirror image on either side.  Still, it all looks lovely in the room.  And, as always, the most important thing is the client is happy!

Friday, October 24, 2014


Usually when I do a job through/for Cotier it is a custom order for a customer of the store and not for the store itself.  This time, however, I did all these pillows for display/to be sold in the store.

Most of the fabrics were left from other jobs, and instead of tossing them, the owner decided we should use them.

As I love to make pillows (seems obvious since I tend to post a lot of pillows!), this was a fun job.  It's also more interesting when there are just scraps of fabric available and more imagination and ingenuity are needed to make it happen.  Nothing like a challenge!

Friday, October 17, 2014


I've been working a lot with Designers Guild fabrics lately.  Cara Clancy, designer extraordinaire, uses them a lot in the houses she does.

This pattern is called Hiranya, color Fuchsia, and though I am not a huge fan of orange, the hot pink more than makes up for it.

This pattern lent itself well to the double flange style that Cara is so fond of.

One of the challenges with Designers Guild fabrics is the repeat is usually quite large and really works better in draperies, where the entire repeat is visible.  Given that, I still thought they turned out nicely.  And Cara loved them, which was the whole point.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


This week's post is short and sweet.  Both of these 'works of art' were provided to me by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, respectively.

This is a piece of seaweed that I picked up on Coronado Beach.  I let it dry out.  I kind of liked the look of it better when it was still wet from the ocean, but I thought it still looked good enough to frame.

I carried this sea fan home from Cat Island, Bahamas.  I loved the purple color of it.  I had to break off its stem so that I could keep it flat.  (It traveled in a plastic bag inside my journal.)  Once I got back, I had to let this air dry for a couple of weeks, then it was ready for its new home.

Both of these frames are from Pottery Barn and have just a bit of space between the mat and glass to allow for something less than flat to be inserted.

Friday, September 26, 2014


When my client called, she originally thought she only wanted arm covers for her existing slipcover.  The slipcover, also in white denim, was 20 years old, though!  There was no way to just make arm covers because there was no way to match the fabric.  No matter how close the color, fabric that is 20 years old will never look anything but old beside a new fabric.

So we ordered new fabric.  I'd say she got her money's worth from her old one!

This sofa was already in the center of the room with the back showing and perfect for a button-back.  The husband said, no way.  He wanted it exactly as the old one was, and that meant a zipper right down the center of the back.  Not what I would have done, but I do what the client wants.

There is a table that goes behind the sofa, so it won't show as much as it does in the photo.

And even though they have never had a guest sleep on the sofa bed, I put the zipper in the deck so that they have that option.  Otherwise, the entire slipcover would have to be removed to pull the bed out.  At least it is accessible this way.

The pictures above and below are cushions I did for them 10 or 11 years ago!  They still look great!  Sunbrella is a wonderful fabric!

Friday, September 19, 2014


These chairs literally weigh about 2 pounds each, including their new slipcovers, and so can easily be moved inside to provide extra seating.

I forgot to take a picture of the original fabric, but it is a black Sunbrella.  The gray is just a touch lighter and the skirts make them seem fancier than they really are.

The covered buttons are more than just a nice touch.  Because the top of the chair is wider than the bottom, without an opening of some kind, it would not be possible to get the slipcovers on.

My client, and her adorable dog, love the 'new' chairs.

Friday, September 12, 2014


The width of this doorway/opening to the backyard is 180".  When the designer told me she wanted one panel, not a pair, that would stack to the far left side, I told her it was too big an expanse, that there had to be a center support because the weight of the panel would bow the rod.  And with a center support, half the rings would be stuck on the other side of that support.

That Cara Clancy is so cleaver, though!  She had a rod made with the needed center support and special rings that slip past the center so that panel CAN be pushed to one side!  I was so amazed that this was even possible, but as you can see from the picture above and below, it's all on the left side of the rod.

We chose to less fullness than normal for the inverted pleat drapery panel. The usual is 2 1/2 - 3 times full.  In this case, I made it only about 1 1/4 times full. But because the panel will almost always be open, the less fabric in the panel, the less the window will be covered, and it still looks nice when it's closed.

The stripe even looks nice all bunched up.

More of an over all view of the dining room with the drapery panel shut.