Wednesday, April 30, 2014

From the Hoop: Large Monograms on Totes

I think my recent enthusiasm for bold color in decorating has moved into my embroidery work. I keep gravitating towards bright and cheerful colors.

A few weeks ago, a friends dog had a terrible accident that resulted in a major surgery. The dog is okay, but had a few weeks of total rest and total recovery will take time. I was trying to think of something that would cheer her little family up and I thought about making some pretty bandanas with the dog's monogram on them. Like many dogs we know, this one has a full name, so it was perfect for a monogram. The mom of the family's favorite color is purple, so I had to make sure one of the bandanas was in that color.

The little dog is doing much better these days!

 With spring blossoming around us, I wanted to find some more tote bags to share with friends since the last ones I made were so popular. I teamed up with a few other embroidery hobbyists to purchase some tote bags from a company that usually works with corporate buyers. We were able to make a large enough purchase that it was worth the company's time.

I have a thing for really large monograms, so my costs to monogram (thread, stabilizers, and designs) are a little higher than the average person who monograms in a 4 inch hoop. Most of my monograms are at least six inches tall.

In my process, I work with each person to select a monogram style (the fishtail design above is the most popular one right now). Sometimes I post the options on Instagram and see what people think.

From there, we go back and forth to narrow down the thread options. Some embroidery shops offer 5-10 standard colors, but I can't resist having lots of options. In fact, the other day when I went to the Viking store to buy a few large rolls of stabilizer (the material you use under the thread to give it structure), she commented that it was odd that I wasn't buying thread. They know me so well.

When Lily, the owner of the bag I posted above, said she wanted pink, I had six threads that I thought could work.

We narrowed those options down to the three bright pinks on the left of that image and she ultimately went with the hot pink.

Another friend named Lauren wanted an orange bag, but wasn't sure about thread color. Seeing several spools against her bag helped her decide on something in the blue family.

But at the last minute, she waivered between teal and a berry pink.

I thought they were both fantastic colors, so I wasn't any help. She ultimately went with the berry color and I love how the bag came out!

 I've been embroidering up a storm lately as more friends have asked for bags. I'm almost out of them!

Just looking at these pictures is making me forget about all the rain that has been coming down outside. If you are in the deep South or the mid-west, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and sound!
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The 2014 DC Design House

Since I mentioned the Charlottesville Design House yesterday, I thought I'd also share a little information about another design house in the region, the DC Design House. The DC house might be my favorite. I've been going to see the house for years and am always impressed by the diversity of the designers on the team. Year after year, the house is always full of interesting rooms.

The DC Design House team always has a fantastic presence on social media. I've been watching their Facebook feed for months as they've let images from behind-the-scenes trickle out. The Fox affiliate in DC also shot a couple segments in the house, so you can preview a few spaces (of the 29 in the house) by video!

4600 Linnean Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20008
April 13th - May 11th 2014

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Monday, April 21, 2014

The 2014 Charlottesville Design House

The Charlottesville Design House is back for a fifth year! 

Five years ago, I remember hearing about how hard it was the convince someone to give their house over for the very first Charlottesville Design House. Now, word is that they have people lining up to be part of this amazing event.

If you aren't familiar, design houses are events that often raise money for charity. Our house in Charlottesville benefits the Shelter for Help in Emergency. Designers sign on to decorate one room in a large home and the public buys tickets to see the results. Design house rooms in the same house aren't being created with one client in mind, so visitors get to see many different styles juxtaposed.

This year's design house is in the Farmington neighborhood (where last year's house was located) and the kick off event is on May 1st. You can visit the house from May 3 - May 18. Tickets are available online and at many area stores.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Embriodered Tote Bag Giveaway Winner!

On Sunday night, it was time to pick a giveaway for the embroidered tote bag I shared last week. Since entries came in through two posts, I decided to just print the comments out and put them in a bowl over using

Since I'm connected to almost everyone who entered, I decided to let Marc pick the winner. 

He picked Stephanie at This Casita, who was a fellow Weddingbee blogger! Stephanie was Miss Hydrangea, if you'd like to check out her stunning wedding.

Congratulations, Stephanie! Have a great time in Mexico!
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Giveaway Ends Sunday!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a tote bag with this dia de los muertos embroidery design on it! The design has over 51,700 stitches and took two hours to stitch out. It's a pretty cool design!


T enter: Post a comment here or on the Facebook page for this post. Be sure to use a real email address in the Disqus form (this won't be public) so I can contact you if you win.

Extra entries:
- Post a second time if you are following me in some way and let me know how (Bloglovin, Feedly, Twitter, or Instagram).

-Post a third time if you tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to mention @smallchic in your tweet.

I'll be drawing the winner's name from this post and the original one on Sunday night!
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

A New Look for Small and Chic

There's something about spring that brings out the blog makeovers. I feel like several bloggers I know are talking about new designs for their sites.

Because I've been working on both Blogger and Wordpress, I had been thinking of moving all of my blogs over to Wordpress. I kept setting parts of a Wordpress site up, but never followed through on moving this blog completely over. In the end, I realized that the two things I didn't like about the blog anymore (the color scheme and the influx of spam since I disabled Disqus) were easily fixed. I reinstalled Disqus and went shopping for a blog redesign.

Lisa at Pixel Anthology was able to give the blog a fresh, new look within days of my contacting her. If you read through a reader, you might not see the new look, so here is what the site looks like these days:

While I realize that Disqus isn't perfect (the few Internet Explorer users out there might have issues with commenting), it has completely stopped the influx of spam that came when I reverted back to Blogger's standard commenting.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Blue Ridge Home and Garden Festival

One of the reasons I haven't made rapid progress when it comes to decorating is that our house has required several "behind the scenes" improvements that were more important than painting and hanging drapes.

Right now, the list of major outdoor projects that need to be done includes:

1. Replace the old air conditioner with a heating and cooling HVAC unit.
2. Fix gutters that were configured wrong, add downspouts, and set up rain barrels.
3. Survey the property.
4. Remove about 50 small trees that have sprouted next to their mature "parents."
5. Build retaining walls and level slopping parts of the property.
6. Fence in the backyard.

Down the line, we hope to:
7. Re-establish planting beds and add landscaping.
8. Remove the deck, which isn't code-compliant, and install a patio.

I'm sure there are some things I'm not remembering. As we talked about the list at breakfast on Sunday, I remembered that a home and garden show was coming up. Thanks to a quick google search, we realized that the Charlottesville Home and Garden Festival was in progress. We went over to the Main Street Arena to check it out...

Though Snow's Garden Center was present in displays, they didn't have any representatives there. They had some wonderful little gardens installed, though. We were also impressed by the other landscape groups that were there, Serenescapes and Zenscapes.

The roof at our house hadn't been installed properly and we already had Roof Top Services out to fix the problems, but we stopped by their booth to see their slate products. We'd love to have slate on our roof one day. While shingles last a few decades, the representative said that slate can last over a hundred years if properly maintained.

We also learned that the metal pieces that are installed along metal and slate roofs are to keep snow from sliding down the roof and causing damage along the way. I'm surprised I never heard this in all my years living in the north.

By the way can you guess which slate in the picture below is real and which is synthetic?

(Synthetic is on the left and the real slate is on the right)

Roof Top also showed us the new solar sun lights that don't need to be wired at all. They even sense when it rains and close themselves to keep the water out. 

One booth we hadn't planned to visit was one for a mosquito prevention company called Mosquito Guard. They had an adorable dog with them, so we had to stop and talk.

Having the dog there was brilliant. Who could walk by that face? They brought him to show that their product isn't harmful to pets.

We were probably most interested, at first, in talking to a gutter company. There were at least six gutter booths at the show. By the third one, my eyes were glazing over. Everyone claims to be the very best, but they appear to be selling very similar products. There was one guy who seemed to have a great product, but he took the time to say something negative about another vendor, which kind of irritated me. I'd rather someone extoll the virtues of their product than talk about another being inferior.

We also have a solar panel guy try to tell us that LEAP, a non-profit focused on energy efficiency, was wrong in their assessment that our property isn't ideally set up for panels. Who to trust...the guy who makes a living selling solar panels or the agency tasked with helping homeowners improve their energy usage?

We left the show with a bag full or brochures and a few appointments for estimates. I thought the show would be larger, but overall, it was interesting.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Shop Tour: The Second Yard

I love stopping into The Second Yard in downtown Charlottesville. Half furniture store and half fabric shop, the three-story building is full of inspiration for the home. It seems as though every time I visit, there are new items in the furniture rooms and new bolts in the fabric rooms.

One of my friends saw this image on Instagram and thought it was my living room.

They always have a few pieces with fabulous trim.

I LOVE this cocktail table.

Are you ready for the fabric rooms? They're organized by color...

307 East Market Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
M-S 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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