Monday, January 21, 2008

I LOVE retreat!

Today we installed the new retreat booth at Faded Elegance.... soft ivory, white, red, pink, and clear glass. Lots of cute. Valentine's Day is alllll about cute! And too much stuff. I always have too much stuff! Let me tell you the story of how this particular theme got started:

I have a buncha' glass candy jars, the tilted open-front kind you used to see in candy shoppes. I got to thinking about using those to display small items in pink & red. And maybe adding in some other fun confectionary delights, as well. Then when I was out thrifting, I found a little ceramic figurine (two, actually!) of Marie Antoinette. Well, is there anything more perfect for a display of sweets and candy and cake than Miss Foofy herself? I say no, there is not. (You answered the same, I am certain, if you saw Sophia Coppola's film about Miss Marie). Inspired as I was by those figures, the film's tasty visuals, and lots of candy jars, the foofiness commenced.
Yards of swagged pink silk, lots of clear glass candy dishes, cake plates, and domes. On the upper right is one of my umbrellas (left over from the shop I owned over ten years ago!) I ripped & shredded the silky fabric, a la' Curious Sofa's Halloween umbrellas, and dangled hearts cut from playing cards. I put it up high in the 'empty' space to warm things up. You can see a few white glass plates on the wall there - the kind with a lacy edge so you can thread ribbon thru it. I used Red & Pink, what else?! Twinkle lights sit under the fabric to warm it up. Two crystal lamps sparkle, and the glass refelects it all. I used an old medicine cabinet with a white wood frame (paid two bucks for it thrifting!) as a base for all of the glass....really bounces the light upward. Here's Miss Marie herself, perched next to one of my fanciful fun fake confections. I made it from a peppermint tin, vintage hot pink velvet, pom poms, and vintage chennille & crepe paper. There's another shorter cake in this shot, along with a bunch of 'Bon Bons' - really just vintage Christmas bells with a few sparkly beads added. The heart box is covered in vintage velvet, and a few more have vintage roses on them. My motherlode of glass bottles was raided, vamped up with lace, ribbon and thread, jewelry bits and beads and all kinds of fancies. Tuck a love note or fortune inside, or a perfect rose! Four sizes of bottles await. A beautiful silver heart box, lined in red velvet, now holds a heart pin made of old buttons....but it could hold something sparklier! A very cool glass dome sits over it. (And yes, I know that this particular glass thing is actually meant to be used turned over and sitting in a wall bracket...but it looks vintage this way!) I am big on finding new uses for things, ya know! Like this.... I've been doing this forever it seems. After the holidays, I use up some of my candycanes by stirring them into hot chocolate or coffee. Yum! But there are always a bunch left. I simply hot glue the ends of two canes together, forming a heart shape. I add a button to the top center, and I have 'new' Valentine's Day peppermint hearts! I usually hang them on a branch stuck into a vase, or nestle them on a plate, or something cute. Extra decorating mileage, for sure!

I'll confess that one year, I bought green & white candycanes for the tree. So I made St. Paddy's Day clovers that year instead of hearts. (You kept them until MARCH, you say?! Well, I wasn't gonna' eat them!!!!)

We are off to the San Francisco Gift Show this week, likely returning with lots more good stuff to share with you... Stay tuned!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Gilt-y as Charged!

Yes, you read that right...'Gilt Complex'. (It's a new year, we don't need to drag the other kind of guilt into it!) The 'Winter' theme for retreat is about warmth, glimmer, and glamour. And as always, it is about using imagination & creativity to bring new life to old things!

A cold January brings with it the freshly-cleaned rooms of a new year. Our holiday decor has been packed away, and the house is in need of a bit of sparkle and luxe to cozy it back up. Since metallics - specifically, gold - have been touted as the 'new neutral' for 2008 (Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Insititute), we focus on this warm and regal tone for our January booth display...

Gold, in gleaming metals, rich brocade fabrics, and glittered accents, warms up soft ivory painted furniture. (There is a darling little gold chair in here - I just didn't get a great photo of it!) The sparkle of clear glass and crystal add a reference to the icy weather outside - and when the sun does peek out, what a rainbow results! Cake pedestals, domes, and drop crystals make everything look special. A lamp & simple re-styled chandelier are adorned with extra crystals to break the light into facets, sprinkling diamonds across a ceiling at dusk...recalling a flickering fire.

Gold flatware, votive holders, and dishes create a regal tablescape for fireside dining. A collection of gold embossed tins provide varied levels to display accessories, from gilded glass grape clusters to more crystal domes, bowls, and apothecary jars. Placing a few of those tins together on a cake pedestal gives the appearance of a cake - a touch of whimsical is needed in every display, I think. There is even a tiny little mini-chandelier in there, sprinkled with gold glitter!

Making a simple wall sconce special is easy - tuck a few sheets of music or book pages around it (use sticky-tack for no marks) and a small item has more presence. I could have hung a few crystals on the arms of this...but I was trying to practice restraint! The gold cone is made from embossed florists' foil, old book pages & crepe paper, and a vintage fabric rose. A romatntic finishing touch.

A great find of antique spice bottles are embellished with vintage trims & jewelry bits. A great place to tuck new years' resolutions, or fortunes from fortune cookies!

This golden vignette will be in place for a few weeks, until we install a new look featuring black, white, red, and pink for Valentine's Day!