Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: I'm a Jorge Manuel bride!

Image from Jorge Manuel's blog

I groggily checked my email this morning and then logged into Facebook to find a status update from designer Jorge Manual in my feed:

Eek! The winner of the contest I entered a few weeks ago was selected! There were 252 entries and I was one of five finalists. I've been trying not to think about this day because I was so nervous and wanted to win so badly. So badly, that I was almost afraid to try on a Jorge Manuel gown at Hitched when I was up in DC a few weeks ago. I feared falling in love with the gown and being heartbroken if I didn't win.

I went to Jorge's website and saw that one of the pictures on the front page had changed. I was one click away from finding out who won one of his beautiful wedding gowns.

I clicked and screamed.

Image from Jorge Manuel's website
The guy can do wonders just wrapping fabric around a form...look at that draping!

Baxter, my golden retriever, seemed to think I was injured. I ran over to Marc and leapt into his arms. He thought I had seen a spider...but he's never seen the dress (and I'm not going to show it to him), so he might not understand how excited I am.

I debated sharing too, too much about the dress here, but figured I'd link to is so those who are curious can see it. First of all, check out the description of the dress and an interview with Jorge about the dress and the contest from the Jorge Manuel Weddings blog. Then, you can look at the beautiful photos of the dress at the Madison Row bridal salon in Charleston from the Weddings Unveiled blog.

I just can't resist sharing this picture from Jorge's studio. I'm not saying I've spent a lot of time in workrooms, but I have spent a lot of time in fabric stores and I have never seen a cutting room as polished as Jorge's. Impressive, no?

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Crafting fail

Every time I do something successful in the craft department, I know it's only a matter of time before I try something that fails miserably. Share in the disaster, won't you?

A few weeks ago, Gillian from Dried Figs wrote about a project I thought I could handle. She took an inexpensive tray and used Mod Podge to recover it with paper that was decorated by her children. The result was pretty cool.

I had a roommate in college who was a Mod Podge genius. She could transform a simple cardboard box into something pretty with a little Mod Podge. At the time, I was the anti-crafter. I wouldn't even try to make anything by hand...perhaps because my roommate was so talented. The girl could sew and quilt, too. She even has an Etsy store, which she stocks despite having a few children and another on the way.

Having a few crafting successes behind me, I thought I could step into the Mod Podge world. Thank goodness I only bought a small bottle.

First, I sanded a very inexpensive tray (I'm probably the first person to use a 40% off coupon on something from the $1 section of Michael's) to remove the sheen, which would let the Mod Podge and paper I was using as a cover stick to the surface. I then put a think layer of Mod Podge on the coaster and covered it with some pretty wrapping paper.

The not-quite-square corners presented a problem, but I cut them and let them overlap. This is where I started thinking this wasn't going to work so well.

After letting the tray dry, I started covered it in thin layers of Mod Podge. This is where I started realizing what was wrong with my project. First, my paper was too thick. Second, the edges of my trey were rounded, and the paper wasn't adhering to the curves.

Want to see this project conclude successfully? Go see it on Gillian's blog. I might try it again, but I don't think I'm destined for Mod Podge greatness.

Humor me...tell me about your last crafting fail.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Design House Thursday: The Hard Hat Preview

Sunday afternoon was the Hard Hat Preview of the 2011 Charlottesville Design House. This was a chance to see the house before major work is completed by the designers. While we have before pictures, they don't always give you a sense for the condition of the house when it was handed over to the designers.

It almost seemed fitting that it was a cloudy day. The Charlottesville Design House is a beautiful, but it could definitely use some sprucing up! The house is on a 120 acre property and has a lake and tennis court. It's an impressive place!

Let's take a look inside. I shared MLS photos with you a while back, but all the furniture has been removed to the designers have a truly blank slate.

The previous owners clearly loved their built ins. They're everywhere!

Two walls of the master bedroom are covered in built in storage. That sounds great, but there are at least five different sizes of doors covering all the little nooks and crannies.

There are some fun details around the house, like a little curved door in a back hallway and lines drawn to keep track of the height of children on the back of a closet door.

The date on the lowest line is December 26, 1942

A few lines from the 80s. Miles wound up being a tall kid!

The bathrooms span a few different periods. One is probably original, with classic white subway on the walls and mini hex on the floor. Another was probably updated in the 90s and the master bath was probably updated in the early 2000s.

The next update will include a few pictures of the designer's mood boards.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Too many shoes

A few weeks ago, I found a beautiful pair of Butter shoes for a great price on the website of a shoe store in New Orleans. They were a final sale pair of shoes, but I was so certain that I liked them. Butter shoes, if you haven't heard of them, are super comfy, but beautiful and feminine shoes. Their bridal line, which is called Something Bleu and Bridal by Butter (not sure why they have two names), is being carried by Anthropoligie's new wedding brand, BHLDN.

When the shoes came, I loved them, but they were too big! I'm a pretty consistent size across most brands, but in Butter, I forgot that I usually order a half size smaller. Darn it. The shoes aren't returnable, so I guess I'll try to sell them online somewhere. If you're a size 9.5 and would like these shoes, feel free to email me. They're marked size 9, but they most definitely fit like a 9.5.

Discouraged, I abandoned the shoe hunt for a while and decided to make a few trips to bridal salons to try on wedding gowns. By shopping for shoes, I was putting the cart a bit far before the horse, don't you think?

I tried on some lovely dresses, wound up crossing a few designers off my list (the Priscilla of Boston of today is not the POB of old! Things have changed!), and found a few favorites (four favorites, to be exact).

While in Richmond last week, I decided to stop by that J. Crew Wedding Event. I wasn't really looking for anything. I was stunned that dresses that used to sell for over $1,000 were marked down to $200-300. All bridesmaids dresses were $30. All shoes were $10. Yes, J. Crew shoes were $10. Oh, on top of that, everything was 20% off for the final weekend of the sale.

I couldn't resist.

They were $8. They retailed for $238 when they were in the catalog. I'm still not 100% sold on them (I have a thing about toe cleavage), but I figure that $8 isn't much of a loss if they don't wind up working with my dress.

By the way, you have to check out the latest photos from our still-being-built venue, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. It's looking fantastic!
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Unconventional furniture shopping

I'm not in the market for any new furniture at this time, but like most of you, I can't resist thinking about what I'd do with an interesting piece when I come across it.

This weekend, I stopped into London's Apothecary, which has moved to a new location in Charlottesville and is closing their original store. London's carries almost every sort of lotion and potion you'd ever want from the bath, from the well known L'Occitane to the more obscure. I've never made a "quick" trip to the store because there are so many interest products on the shelves.

As I wanted around the soon-to-close store, I noticed that the fixture were for sale. Some were pretty impressive. It never dawned on me that store fixtures could be pretty enough to use at home.

That's a matching set, sitting back to back.

That piece is probably about 8 feet long!

There was even a beautiful, old looking sink looking for a new home.

That big, antique cash register was for sale, too.

Guess someone changed their mind about removing the faucet.

There were some modern, Ikea looking pieces, too. If I was in the market for Ikea furniture, I think I'd pay extra to have it already assembled!

Now I'm curious. Has anyone ever bought store fixtures before?
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Blogger Day of Silence

I hope by now you've come across this campaign by Ever Ours and Utterly Engaged.
If not, click those links and read about what's going on.

United with Love, a DC wedding blog, pointed out this fairly comprehensive list of relief agencies.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Wishing Upon a Star

My Wedding Wednesday posts haven't been too exciting in the last few weeks because this is such a busy time for me at work. I've been pulling some pretty long hours (and I'm okay with that) and the blog has suffered. That ends today. I have exciting news.

A few weeks ago, I was up way too late looking at the wedding gown designers carried at bridal salons around the region. On the website for Hitched in Georgetown, I saw a name with which I wasn't familiar: Jorge Manuel. Off to google I went and I started reading about the designer, looking at his collections, and tracking down wedding blog posts about his dresses.

The details were beautiful and quite different from those I've seen on other gowns.

A post on the Completely Unveiled wedding blog got me really excited. A beautiful, A-line dress with amazing details was being given away! I couldn't imagine being lucky enough to win the gorgeous gown, but I started to daydream about it a little bit. Finally, I decided that I would regret not trying to win the gown and I wrote a little essay to submit as my entry.

This morning, I woke up to find out that I'm one of the five semi-finalists in Jorge Manuel's Upon a Star Contest. Just getting picked for one of those five spots is a thrill in and of itself.

By the way, the last two gowns pictured above are from Jorge's Matilda collection. If you scroll down on the collection page, you'll see that it's named after Jorge's grandmother and her picture is on the site. Isn't that charming?
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Cville Design House: Hard Hat Preview coming!

This Sunday, March 20th is your first chance to see the 2011 Charlottesville Design House in person! From 1 PM to 5 PM, there will be a Hard Hat Preview. You'll have a chance to see the house in "before" condition. While I've shared a few pictures of the house, you'll see plenty more at the Hard Hat Preview.

There will also be barbecue from Fardowner's, yummy beverages from Starr Hill Brewery, and live music by Bluzonia.

Tickets are $20 at the door, but you can get them for $15 if you buy them online now. As always, proceeds benefit the Shelter for Help in Emergency.

Hope to see you there!
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Friday, March 11, 2011

A small change with big impact

Baxter, my golden retriever, loves to bring presents to anyone who walks in the door. When he hears a key in the lock or a knock, he scampers off to find something to present to the person who will inevitably come into my place. His favorite present is socks. If he can't find a sock, a toy will be fine, but he really seems to prefer items that aren't his.

One day, I came home and was presented with a dryer sheet. It had been through the dryer and probably fell under the bed when I was putting sheets or the duvet cover back on the bed. Even though it wasn't slick and shiny anymore, the thought of my little guy having that chemical laden sheet in his mouth sent me to the internet to find some sort of alternative to the dryer sheet. This is when I learned about dryer balls.

There's a lot of information about these great, little things online, but check out this Ecowomen post for a good summary and a link to directions for making your own, if you're so inclined.

Photo from Hillsoflead on Etsy

Dryer balls are made of wool yarn and they do pretty much what dryer sheets do. They make a little noise while they tumble around in the dryer, but that doesn't really bother me. I bought my dryer balls from hillsoflead on Etsy. Sadly, she isn't selling them right now, but you can find plenty more Etsy sellers who have made these things.

I've stopped using dryer sheets completely, which is a good thing because Marc didn't know that you aren't supposed to use them with towels at all. Oops. The only drawback I've found is that Baxter is very, very interested in getting one of these in his mouth.

If you want to save a bit of money and cut down on trash and chemicals in your home, you might want to try these out.

Does anyone else use dryer balls?
How long have you been using them and how do you like them?

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Architectural Digest Home Design Show tickets

My fabulous aunt has offered up two complimentary tickets to next week's Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94 (55th and 12th) for one lucky NYC area reader of this blog. The show runs from Thursday, March 17-Sunday, March 20th. These tickets are good for all four days of the show, including the trade preview day next Thursday (Thursday tickets sell to the public for $95 each!).

One of the perks of attending is the ability to have 20 minute consultations with a number of designers. My aunt and uncle used those consultations as a way to interview a few prospective designers. There will also be exhibits, seminars, and book signings during the event. Check out the schedule for more information.

If you're interested, leave a comment below. The tickets are in my lovely aunt's hands and she will put them in the mail tomorrow.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

A quick and easy project for the non-crafter

I've been itching for a project and seeing these linen wrapped vases on the Elizabeth Anne Designs blog had me thinking of a homemade version that would be a quick, simple weekend project.

I cleaned three medium aluminum cans and bought some hemp twine at the craft store. There were a few different kinds of twine at the store and I found the hemp had the right thickness and a texture I liked.

Using hot glue to secure the twine, I wrapped the cans. Each can took about 15 minutes to complete. My first can (below) wasn't my best. I didn't wrap the twine as tightly as I should. On the second and third cans, I let the rows overlap slightly.

The result is a simple, rustic little container for flowers. Yes, they just look like cans wrapped in twine, but I think they look pretty cute lined up with some cheerful flowers in them.

Project costs:
Aluminum cans - free
Twine - $3.80 (using a 40% off coupon at the craft store)
Flowers - $15 at Whole Foods
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 Charlottesville Design House Designer Profile: Heather Picinich

It's time for the second installment of the Charlottesville Design House designer profile series. Today, I'd like to introduce Heather Picinich. If you're a long time reader, you might a post I wrote about Heather last summer. Now, we get to know her a little bit better.

S&C: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into interior design.

HP: I moved to Charlottesville in 2001 with my husband, Blake. I worked as a Consultant in Washington, DC for about 10 years after graduating from the University of Maryland and came to Charlottesville to start our family of our two beautiful little girls. The funny thing is, while working in DC I was burnt out from working 60 hours a week for a major firm but now I work the same amount of time and love, love, love what I do! As for interior design, I guess it’s just always been a passion of mine; even in college I was the girl with the coolest dorm room and have been helping my girlfriends decorate their homes for years.

S&C: Heather Picinich Interiors launched in a big way last year. What advice do you have for designers who are thinking of starting their own business?

HP: Thanks for saying that I launched in a big way last year! It was truly one of the most exciting nights of my life being able to have a party of over 100 of my closest friends and clients to celebrate the launch of my website and facebook blog for Heather Picinich Interiors. Not to mention that the party was on my (ahem) 40th birthday.

When I first started working as an interior designer in Charlottesville back in 2007, my talented former business partner, Ami Smith, and I just jumped head first into business. It was an amazing experience but I would definitely recommend that new designers get a firm grasp of their business structure and ensure that they are confident in their designs. Also, create a great relationship with a good contractor and a wonderful seamstress!

[You all remember Ami Smith from last week's profile, right?]

S&C: How would you describe your design aesthetic? How has it evolved over time?

HP:I’ve been called “traditional eclectic” several times and I think it seems to fit. I do love classic furniture pieces, items that can fit into most any style. There’s nothing like fabric that can change your grandpa’s old club chair and give it new life! The eclectic side of my design aesthetic comes from my love of mixing old and new pieces to create a sense of a space evolving over time; a rustic, natural wood cocktail table working effortlessly with a gorgeous leather Chesterfield sofa.

S&C: Tell me about your favorite design resource in Charlottesville.

HP: Aside from all the amazing local retailers here, I think U-Fab has become one of the best things to happen to Charlottesville design resources in a while. Everyone, no matter the project size and budget, wants the best in fabric and furnishings but at a competitive price. Also, I’m a huge lighting fanatic and think it is one of the most important elements in good design. I’ve recently created a new relationship with Timberlake Lighting and am in love with their selections, not to mention customer service.

S&C: Where do you usually start your design process?

HP: Definitely fabrics! It is typically fabrics that start the process for me; I love to scour the fabric shops until I find the right one and then everything falls into place from there. For example, I am currently designing a den for a client who lives in the countryside and owns horses. After finding the perfect fabric for window treatments the whole design evolved into a gorgeous “hunt club” style, complete with leather recliners for him, beautiful upholstered chairs for her, and cowhide rug. It is going to be stunning!

S&C: What was the last purchase for your home that had you excited?

HP: A few months ago I blogged about my obsession with daybeds, but not necessarily for use in the bedroom. When my husband and I built our home a few years ago I was determined to put a custom upholstered daybed in my family room. It is the most versatile and comfortable, piece of furniture we own and everyone loves it! It serves as both a seating area for a dual conversation zone and as the perfect piece for my whole family to cuddle up together.

S&C: Is there anything you've been hoping to use in a client's home? Maybe a color scheme, pattern, or piece of furniture?

HP: I love a chic wallpaper! I have had my eye on this striking grass cloth wallpaper from Stoheim & Romann that is in the most subtle and gorgeous shade of silver grey with a whisper of turquoise blue. I am getting ready to have it installed in a client’s home as an accent wall in a room that is currently dominated by boring beige. This wallpaper not only adds great color but texture and pattern as well. Don’t be afraid of wallpaper; it can really add dramatic interest to a room when done the right way.

S&C: Any hints about your plans for your room in the 2011 Charlottesville Design House to pique people's interest?

HP: I am so excited about being able to design the 3-season sunroom! It will combine all the elements of my “traditional eclectic” style: great fabrics, stunning lighting, and a beautiful, yet functional, space. I am honored to be in the same company with such an amazing field of talented designers, some of whom I’ve looked up to for years.

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