December 19, 2018:


I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Look for Less -- Copy the Cover: HGTV Magazine April 2014

Hola darlings!

Did you see the cover?  So cute!  I was immediately drawn to the color. It looks so fresh and spring-like, and just what I want to see after the long hard bitterly cold and icy winter we endured in southeastern Wisconsin, and so many others of you did in your own home towns, too! 

The magazine at Barnes & Noble online
The "Copy our cover!" article in the print edition focused on (1) the fabric Roman shade; (2) the yellow pouf; and (3) the pillows.  The window seat in the cover is built-in, but the article made a point of noting a "built-in storage bench look" could be achieved by using a pre-made storage bench the width (or wider) of the window, flanked on either side with ready-made bookcases.  So, I threw that into the mix for good measure :)

The Roman Shade

The fabric used in the cover shade is "China Seas Nitik Grande in  French Blue," by Quadrille.  It is a light blue on white with darker blue centers (looks like a navy blue).  HGTV hired a seamstress to create the Roman shade used in its cover (and I assume, the cover for the bench cushion, too, since it is made out of the same material).  The magazine recommended either doing so or hiring an online producer of such shades.  Cha ching

I checked out some of the larger producers of such shades online.  I didn't see anything I could afford in the kind of print I was looking for!  I gave up and focused, instead, on Etsy.

Here is one Etsy option I found:

I like the addition of the yellow because it ties in so beautifully with the throw pillows and pouf.  This pattern, Bluebird, is one of many offered by Mallory's Home Decor (if you are in the market for a ready made Roman shade, I recommend you take a few hours and view all of the lovely patterns).  This shade measures 30" wide by 66" long, priced at $180.  Mallory Home Decor offers this fabric pattern in many different color ways, some featuring primarily blue. 

I was also drawn to this particular fabric, offered by Ideal Window Fashions,  It is called Pom Pom Play:

It measures 24" wide by 60" long, priced at $178.49.  This is very narrow and would not fit a standard window.  This Etsy shop owner does custom widths/lengths in the same fabric.  It is a somewhat different take on the design aesthetic of the magazine cover, with lovely blues and a sunny yellow/gold color, and I like the more expansive background of white; there is a bit of what looks like an olive green, too, and those grey swirls or tendrils -- I love them! 

HGTV's feature article offered three different fabric options for a "make your own" faux-Roman shade, aside from the fabric used in the unpriced cover photo:  (1) Bonnie Phantasm Fan Linens in blue, from $17.50 per yard, at spoonflower; (2) Rosella Monaco in blue, $21.00 a yard, at warehousefabricsinc; and (3) Tibet Monaco in blue, $18 a yard, also at warehousefabricsinc (see image, right, for the sample fabrics chosen by HGTV Magazine). 

To save some money, I would make my own faux Roman style shade and cover for the cushion on the storage bench that would go underneath the window.  I can sew, but I know there are tutorials online that show you how to use iron on heat-activated glue-tape to create flawless hems and seams, and rod pockets, etc. I would forego using a Roman shade kit to raise/lower the shade and opt for hand sewn-on ties to roll-up the shade during the day and lower it down to whatever length I wanted to at night.  When rolled up during the day, the excess fabric from the ties could be tied into a bow and/or pinned up to minimize bulk. 

In the "old" days (back in the 1970s-1990s) I relied upon sheets purchased at Marshall Fields to give me great looking washable fabrics at a fraction of the cost I would pay for it in a fabric store.  I used sheets to make simple rod-pocket top curtains and table cloths.  That was well before the internet.  These days, pattern selection in sheets has become rather - blah, to put it bluntly.  That leaves shopping at your favorite fabric store in person or shopping on line to fine something that rings your chimes.  I did visit a few discount fabric websites but did not find a pattern I thought suitable at a modest price.  Maybe I was putting in the wrong search parameters, though.

So, I had a brain storm and made a quick visit to Ikea, as I know Ikea offers fabrics as well as kitchen cabinets, lighting, bedding, rugs, and lots of other home furnishings, odds and ends.  Ikea's website continues to amaze me. 

That visit revealed some interesting fabric possibilities.  The one below, for instance, is a lot darker blue than the cover shade, and has a lot less white in it (so it is opposite, featuring primarily dark blue with white accent, rather than primarily white with blue accent), but it is so pretty:

This is Ikea's Blavinge blue and white fabric, at a price of $5.99 a yard.  Did you get that price -- $5.99 PER YARD!  It is 59" wide, 100% cotton, and machine washable.  What's not to love???

Sadly, it is NOT available for sale online, for this is surely one of the most interesting fabrics I've seen in a long time.  Using the close-up feature at Ikea's website revealed that it a botanical and biological print, combined together.  Absolutely lovely.  The advantage of using this type of print in a Roman shade is that, as it is laid out flat, one can fully appreciate the intracacy of the print and its pattern.  At a whopping 59" 2-1/2 yards would be more than enough to make a sufficiently long roll-up Roman shade and more than enough to cover a 48" wide window; the extra material on either side of the length once hems were put in could be used to make the tie-up strips.

Then, there is Ikea's Angsruta white and blue fabric:

It is also 100% cotton, 59" wide, and machine washable.  Not available online, must be purchased at an Ikea store.  Angsruta's pattern looks delicate and tiny in this image (above) but when seen on some throw pillows at the Ikea website, it has a large scale.  It could be just the thing, made into a basic faux Roman shade, with ties tacked on to roll the shade up/lower it down.

Here's a different idea.  What about buying an Emmie roll-up shade from Ikea ($19.99 for a generous 39" wide by 70" long, in white, and doing some stencilling in the colors of your choice?  Or stamping with stamps made from materials of your choice?  With a ready-made roll-up blind, the time spent on the artistic side putting in the perfect geometric print and colors would be up to you!  Best of all, it would be totally - and hand - custom-made, giving you 100% bragging rights.


The Pouf

The cover article featured three poufs, one of which was used in the cover display:

I found this pouf at Amazon:

It is 16" tall and 18" diameter, Yellow Cotton Rope Pouf Ottoman, by the Original Rug Company, $119.99 with free shipping.  Really cute!

I found this interesting alternative at Wayfair:

I love the chevron pattern and the zingy yellow-gold color. This is Chateau Designs' Chevron Bean Bag Cylinder, measures 17" tall and 17" diameter, and costs a budget-saving $59 and free shipping!  A bonus feature is that the cover is removable and machine washable in cold water, air dry.  I'm very attracted to this pouf for its cleanability (is that a word?), the price, and the extra pattern zing that is versatile enough to fit into many different decorating schemes, as chevron is a classic pattern. 

I came across this Threshold ottoman on clearance at Target.  I love the details -- look at the tufting on top and the nice wood feet.  Like the chevron patterned pouf above, the Threshold ottoman's check, another classic design, goes with just about anything, including other patterns (as long as the scale of the fabrics work together).  It's so cute, and has the added advantage of having a lift-off top to provide additional hidden storage.  This is the round tufted storage ottoman in gold for $35.98.  It is 17.5" x 17.5":

The Throw Pillows
Prices were not given for the throw pillows used in the cover setting.  The substitute throw pillows selected by HGTV on the right (I presume less expensive than the originals) are the Surya Square 18" linen pillow in cream and orange (I am not a fan of organe in this color scheme), $70, lamplus; The Pillow Collection Querida 18" square, cotton pillow in Arctic blue, $58, wayfair; Cabana 17" square, polyester in lemon, $20 at pier1; Transocean Liora Manne Twist Stripe Sky 20" square polyester, $49, outdoorpillowsonly.

I think I can do better :)

Note:  Ikea offers the Blavinge pattern in a 20" x 20" zippered pillow cover (see fabric sample under The Roman Shade above), machine washable (line dry), for just $4.99!  Alas, not offered online, you must purchase at an Ikea store.  If you already have the right size pillows, this would be a great money saving option for one or two pillows.

For pillows, I went to my "go to" store -- Overstock! 

I fell in love with this classic geometric print.  It is the Modern Geometric 18" Square Embroidered Throw Pillow in dark blue (solid white back).  Cover is 100% polyester and filling is 100% polyester fiber.  Finish is knife-edge, spot clean only.  It is currently priced at $34.49 (Item #: 15997354).  It appeals because its clean design would complement some of the different fabric options featured above while injecting yet another pop of pattern.

My next offering is the Pillow Perfect Butterfly Scroll 18" Square Throw Pillow.  It is currently priced at $33.99 (Item #: 15449926).  Cover is 100% cotton and filling is 100% "recycled virgin polyester fiber" (whatever that means).  Finish is knife-edge, spot clean only.  The pattern and mix of blue, yellow and white in this pillow really appealed to me, and I think, again, that it would go with a variety of different patterns I offered above:

I love the scale of this next pillow's pattern; I think it would go with any of the fabric options I selected, above, and - best of all - besides this bright golden orange it also comes in several different shades of blue!  It is the Diamond Print Decorative Throw Pillow 18" Square, currently priced at $33.99 (Item #: 16121).  Knife-edge finish, 100% woven polyester cover, hypoallergenic faux down fill (what is faux down?), spot clean only, in Celosia Orange:

Other colors offered:  Dazzling blue, fuchsia, lake blue, margarita green, Moroccan blue, pink, purple, radiant orchid, red, yellow. 

This is the Chevron 20" Square Cotton Pillow in Lemon Curry.  It has a hidden zipper which means it is removable (I do not know if the fill materials are enclosed within muslin).  It is currently priced at $28.49 (Item #: 14278357).  Knife-edge finish, cotton cover, polyester fill materials, machine washable:

This pillow also comes in multiple shades: Black, Burnt Orange, Clear Blue, Oasis Green, Silver.

These are just a few of throw pillow options available.  Coordinating fabrics would depend on the scale of the window shade fabric chosen; what I tried to do here was offer more classic patterned options that would coordinate with many different types of scaled patterns.  Note:  For a solid-colored yellow pillow option, I don't think the $20 price on the Pier One Cabana pillow can be beat. 

A Storage Bench

There are a lot of options for storage benches on the internet; it basically comes down to what you want to pay and how wide your window is.  I found a couple of lower priced options that I think would work well as an under-window bench to give a "built-in" look when framed on either side by (equally inexpensive) bookcases.

This is the Closetmaid 156900 3 Cube WHT Bench from the Closetmaid website.  It is 35 1/4" x 18" tall x 14" deep and is priced at $67:

What I like about this storage cubby is the flush sides that one could snuggle a bookcase up against.  It's open cubicles give a "built in" look without having to fuss with raising and lowering a lid everytime someone wants to fetch something in storage. 

This option is from Overstock.  it is the Winslow White Cubby Bench, 48" x 20" x 15.75" deep and is priced at $94 (Item #: 10468415):

As you see, it appears to have a bit of a "lip" or overhang on the top (bench seat).  That would mean snuggling it up against a bookcase on either side would leave a gap.  I like this option, though, because it provides 13 inches more width than the ClosetMaid bench (at a price below $100), and features that nicely curved base board.  At 20" tall, it might also be more comfortable to actually sit upon if one wanted to use this as a window seat.  Much would depend upon the measurement of the wall space beneath the bottom of the window to your floor. 

Let this be your inspiration to find your OWN look for less for HGTV's April 2014 magazine cover.  Bon chance!

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