Friday, July 25, 2014


Well, this is not really MY car.  But it is in my favorite color!  I saw it on my way home last week from delivering the slipcovers in my last post.  I had to go around the block to go back and take pictures.  I don't know the year, or even if this is its original color, but I LOVE it!

It's such a happy bus!

 Even the surfboard on top matches.
And the VW on the seats.

Friday, July 18, 2014


It's kind of hard to see, but this fabric is a light blue and khaki stripe, and goes perfectly in this very neutral home.  

The button-back is really just decorative.  When I put the slipcover on the chair, I did not even unbutton it.  This chair does float, though, and the buttons are more interesting than a plain back.

Throw pillow with self-welting

Flanged pillow

The blue of the chair picks up the blue of the swimming pool.  

Friday, July 11, 2014


It's hard to tell from the pictures, but this chair is HUGE!  I mean, it was so big that I wasn't sure it would make it through my front door.  It did, by about a half an inch.  And if that weren't enough, the repeat on this lovely Designers Guide fabric was also quite large, something like 36".  A normal chair usually takes around 10 yards of fabric, even when matching is involved.  A larger than normal one might take 11.  This took 14 yards, and because I had to center all the cuts, there was a lot of wasted fabric.

I did a pretty good job of getting it all matched.

Buttons down the back are really more decorative than anything else.

Because the chair was so big, larger buttons were called for, as well.

This is the chair in its new home.

It looks so much better here than in my workroom/living room.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


This is where the 'Other,' as in A Little of This That and the Other comes in.  Clearly, I did not sew anything here.  I painted all of this furniture years ago when I lived in Chicago.  The first piece was old, but not valuable.  As much as I dislike dark wood, I would never ruin a piece that was worth something.  My house at the time was very colorful and these pieces all fit in nicely.  

I am not so good at drawing, but I have a pretty steady hand.   I made a stencil for the flowers on the top of the above piece , but painted them free-hand.  Same with the border.  I kind of penciled it in first and then painted it.  The pulls were an ugly gold, so I replaced them.

This dresser was purchased at a thrift/junk store in my Rogers Park neighborhood.  It was also an ugly dark brown.  I think it looks so much cheerier in bright lemon yellow.

The rocking chair was one I got back when I was 23 years old and was meant for rocking the baby I forgot to have.  I kept it until about 3 years ago, when I finally sold it.  It was a great chair, but I had no place for it in my house and thought it should go to someone who would actually use it.

The cedar chest below is still in my garage with wool sweaters in it.  I would put it in the house, but there is no room.  I suppose one of these days, I will sell this as well.

I know that chalk paint is all the rage now, but I like clear, bright colors.  I have an armoire that is begging to be painted.  I just have to decide on a color...  

Friday, June 27, 2014


I have been sewing like crazy and this is about all I have to show for it!  And this was a birthday gift for a fellow yogini.  Several weeks back I posted pictures I was having printed onto fabric, and this is the only one I've made so far.

Of course, that's because I've been making so many other pillows that I am actually getting paid to make, that making my photo pillows is not a real priority.  I made 3 giant, and I do mean GIANT pillows today.  The down inserts are 30" x 30"!  The actual pillows were 34" square.  I also made 2 smaller pillows, which really aren't that small until you put them beside the jumbo ones.  They took 24" inserts and were 28" with the flange.  But I have no pictures of those.  They got picked up and delivered to their new home.  One of these days I am hoping to get photos of all the things I've made in the last 2 months.

Friday, June 20, 2014


This is the second time I have done this sofa and chairs.  Last time, 3 or 4 years ago, my client chose a tiny blue pinstripe.   This time it is a golden yellow interlocking chain print.  As I was telling her, in some ways a pattern like this is easier, and in some ways, harder to work with.

It makes it easier to cut out, especially when the pattern is so even, as this one is.  And it didn't hurt that it is an outdoor fabric and has a lot of body to it.

What makes it a bit more challenging is it has to be matched more perfectly.

The living room

I matched it pretty dang well, if I do say so myself, and I do!!  My client was impressed and happy with the new color and the brightness it brought to the room.  Can't ask for more than that!

Friday, June 13, 2014


These are all photos I've taken, and, for once, I did not alter them in Photoshop.  I did, however, enhance the color somewhat.  Because they are being printed on fabric, the colors tend to get rather muted.  I thought if I started with more intense colors, they might come out more true to life on the fabric.  Once I get them made, I'll post those pictures.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


This is an example of exactly what a slipcover is good for--my client's chair and ottoman are in perfectly good condition, and she still likes the fabric.  She just wanted to update the bedroom for spring and summer without reupholstering the furniture.

Then, sometime in the fall, she can remove the slipcovers, change out the rug and go back to her heavier, darker bedspread.  And voila ... 'new' bedroom.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


I have been working with designer Cara Clancy here on Coronado for the last 6 weeks.  She has multiple jobs going at the same time, and because of this, I am making roman shades, slipcovers and pillows for 5 different houses, all at the same time.  The pictures below are of some of the 52 (!) pillows I've made so far.  This is basically the staging area for them before they get put in the appropriate house.  Once everything is in place, I'll be able to shoot pictures of the finished products where they belong.

Friday, May 23, 2014


When my client called and said she had four chairs, office-style, but used in her dining room, that had separate seat and back cushions, I told her I'd have to come and look at them.  Clearly, this is a reupholstery job, but I thought I could do the back cushion with a slipcover.  Ha!

I knew the seat, though rounded and curved in a way that isn't obvious in these pictures, would be challenging, but, basically, it was just a wrapped seat with welting along the bottom edge.  No problem.

I had to remove the old fabric, which just means a lot of pulling the old staples out with needle-nose pliers.  It also gives me a pattern for the new fabric.  Even after I took the fabric off the backs, I still thought I could slipcover it and then staple it on at the bottom.  Again, ha!  I tried doing it that way, but it simply did not work.  So, I went to UFO to get the metal spiky pieces (don't even know what they are called since I do NOT do upholstery!) and while there I inquired as to the cost of having 4 chairs, with seat and back cushions done, just in case.

What also isn't completely obvious in the pictures is how curved the backs actually were.  I tried and tried to do them.  I spent so much time and effort, and in the end, I had to take the backs down to UFO to be done by professionals.  No matter how I tried, I could not get them to work.  It's not like I didn't already know this, but, truly, I am able to do the very simplest of upholstery.  Anything more, I do not have the ability to do.  I did lose money on the job, and I learned a valuable lesson...leave the reupholstering to those who actually do reupholstering!

Friday, May 16, 2014


I have been sewing since I was a little girl.  My mother would not buy me doll clothes (she said the quality was bad and that they were too expensive,) so if I didn't want naked dolls, I had to learn to sew.  The photo is of a doll dress I made sometime in 1967.  I am still amazed at the quality, even though I knew nothing at the time of finishing seams.  I guess I was always a bit of a perfectionist when it came to sewing.  I have it on my bulletin board,  just to remind me that if I do a good job, it will last through the years.   And I still think it is the coolest dress my Francie doll ever had!

I made my first dress for myself when I was 8 years old.  I can still remember it like it was yesterday:  it was a wrap-a-round dress with 3 armholes, made with yellow kettle cloth (Is this fabric even still around?) and orange bias tape that went on all the raw edges.  Oh, how I wish I still had that dress!    

I sewed all through high school and college, sometimes for others but mostly just for me.   With very few exceptions, I sewed only clothing, even having a clothing business in the early 80's.  When I returned to the States in 1990 from living and working in Europe for 3 years, I turned to sewing for the home.  I had a successful custom home furnishings business in Chicago for 10 years before moving to California in early 2001.  I reestablished my business in Coronado and have been happily doing custom work here ever since.  

Friday, May 9, 2014


I made these drapery panels for a client in Rancho Santa Fe.  When we hung them up (on the already installed rods--if I were ever to install a rod, your house would probably fall down,) they definitely looked like they needed a little help.  They just did not seem to want to hang properly.  Luckily, the designer I was working with is really good at training them to look the way they are meant to look.  It involves folding, pleating and then tying them in place.  You usually leave them this way for a week or so.

To add interest on the very plain cream-colored chenille, I put banding on either side of each panel.  These panels were decorative.

In the end, you have beautifully, well-trained drapery panels.  I do not have a picture of the 'after' since I was there the day we put them up and not a week later when the ties came off.