Sunday, May 31, 2009

Families and the Graduation Ritual...

Late Spring is the time of year when we celebrate our children and friends as they graduate from Middle School, High School, College and Graduate School. I love the circle of life, it continues to go round and round, never seeming to end. I always get a little catch in my throat watching all of the attendees at these events. I like to check out these proud Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters and Moms & Dads at these affairs. It truly delights me that the families show up always clapping and cheering the graduates on, year after year. I think about the parties and dinners or lunches that they will be sharing after the commencement is over. This tradition is time honored, I think, because it gives our young people the ballast to go forth and create their own lives and work knowing they have the full support of their families behind them. The most important component in our life is “family” and the understanding, that it really does take a village of folks to move each one of us forward to that next level in our lives.

We just returned from a “Graduation Adventure” for Sabrina, the daughter of my partner Neil Shankman. She graduated with honors from the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley. What a terrific several days, his three grown children, Conor, Cody, Sabrina and her partner Andrew were a delight. We roamed around town, ate amazing food and explored the campus all the while listening to stories and insights about Berkeley and journalism. Later in the trip we hung out with Sabrina’s Mom and her family. Lovely. Wow, this is the age of integrated families and lifestyles and the Shankman’s do it well. I think it is more important than ever to try to be flexible, open and giving during these family events, well all the time really. It makes for smooth sailing and a future filled with other harmonious family gatherings.

Click on arrow to view slideshow.
Congratulations to all of the graduates and the families who have supported their endeavors, Spiritually, Financially and Emotionally. Good job.
Life is good and our children are a gift.

Some thoughts on photographing your family event.

I believe it is important to document the moments that mark the milestones of our lives. This is an important moment in time, not only for your loved one but also for the entire family.
Here are a few tips for organizing and being prepared to get those perfect shots.
Make sure your camera or handheld video camera has batteries and is in good working order.
Take the time to think about the kind of shots you want to record, before the big event. Why? Because you can be thinking about those intimate family shots that integrate the young and the old. Take a moment and think about who you would like in separate shots and of course where you will stage the ever popular group shots.
When you are considering your photographic approach think about the finished product. Do you want images to print and frame, post on Facebook, or put into an album? Will you be using some type of photo-share site such as Photobucket or Fliker ? If you haven’t used this service for sharing photos, there is no downside. You can easily create a free account and then upload the images to your album. You can then send to everyone on your list, it is that easy. Whatever your finished goal will be, you do need to consider your future use and options, before you click the shutter on your camera.
It is also important to remember to let folks know when you are taking a picture. This simple courtesy prevents closed eyes, opened mouths and folks generally not paying attention and not looking their best and everyone deserves the opportunity to look as great as possible. Lastly, what could be better than seeing the look of joy, relief and a sense of accomplishment on the shining faces of all the graduates who collectively have achieved the honor and title of “Graduate”. Priceless.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Finding Retreat at Farm Chicks

Teri & Serena posted the show map & vendor list on their Farm Chicks blog, so we thought we'd share them here, too. Unfortunately, for some reason I can't get them to enlarge when clicking on them - so you'll have to go to the Farm Chicks blog to do that. Sorry. (What IS IT with Blogger lately???)

Retreat will be located in Bay One, Booth #86.
To get there: Enter the show into the Plaza. Take the first door to the left, into Bay One. Ahead of you, you will see a block of booths - swerve to the right around that block, hang a left, and go straight ahead on the main aisle. We will be the double booth located along the main aisle on your left. (Note: the map above is upside down, really - the main entrance is located at the TOP of it. So, looking at the map, you'd actually enter at the top, go down to the first door on your right, and then proceed with the directions above).

And if you saw us at the show last year, be prepared for a big shock. We have a whole new style, some absolutely jaw-dropping creations and a plethora of products to delight you this year. We call it 'Tattered Paris, Texas Style', (there's a town in Texas named Paris) and we know you are gonna' love it all. From personal accessories to home decor, lighting, & furnishings, we've gotcha' covered. We even have a few things the GUYS will like!

You're also gonna' love the show, the Chicks, the venue, the party vibe, and these amazing vendors:

Quite a gathering of talent, and we are so honored to be part of it all. Teri & Serena have created something so incredible with this - it's not just a show or an event, it's a COMMUNITY. A community of creative artisans and shoppers who GET IT and support local & independent businesses. There is a contagious joyful energy at this event that surpases anything I've ever experienced - including church! (uh oh, I may get in hot water for that one, huh?!) This is the highlight of our year, I have to tell you. We do so many wonderful shows and love them all, but Farm Chicks is kind of like a holy pilgrimage to Mecca for everyone involved. I hear even C Sections are scheduled around it.... ;0)

Oh, and when you come to our booth, please let us know if you are one of our dear blog Followers - we'll have a little somethin' somethin' for you!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Plan B... Updated

Sometimes Plan A just doesn't work out quite as planned, so a quick shift to Plan B is necessary. And today was one of those days. In reverse order from this post on my design blog last June, it all went down something like this:

From this V

To this V

(Minus the awning, which was removed two weeks ago.) Took us about two hours, start to finish. I really don't have much to say about it all except 'chapter closed, book complete': we are completely out of Snohomish after fifteen long years. (Sorry, I said twenty before... maybe it just FEELS like 20 years....) Didn't end like I wanted it to, but sometimes getting it over with (and ripping it off fast, like a bandaid) is just the only way to do it. This move-out was a week ahead of what we had scheduled, but in the end it's better for everyone this way. Trust me on this.

I'm certain that the next dealer in this space will be bringing beautiful things to Faded Elegance, and we wish everyone there continued success at this lovely antique boutique. *** Update Friday, May 29: I just heard from another dealer at Faded Elegance that Jan Marie was moving her stuff into our old space TODAY. Oh people, get in there!!!!! She's had a little space upstairs and now she's going to have all that room for her wonderful merchandise..... it will be incredible. Amazing. Beautiful. ***

It's on to the next big thing for us..... see ya' in Spokane!

My New Bench

My new breakfast room is almost finished. After searching for several months I found a wonderful nine foot long antique Belgian Table with an incredible iron base. The iron work is so interesting that I didn't want to hide the front of it with traditional chairs.
(I know the photo leaves a lot to be desired - taken on my cell phone)

So imagine my surprise when I saw this great bench at Wisteria and it was covered in a vintage grain sack like linen! The perfect size too!! So I ordered it!
It just arrived this morning and its perfect!!

I chose the red stripe versus the blue; but I really like them both!
Still waiting for my chandelier (Niermann Weeks) before the big reveal!
But wanted to share what I think is a wonderful find at a great price!
(and did I tell you I also had a 20% off coupon?)

One Week to Go!

One week from today, we'll be in Spokane making magic! Check out the Farm Chicks blog for more info!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sneaky Sneak Peek...

You say you want a glimpse of what we are planning for Farm Chicks (in just over a week!)? ya' go. Positively hideous, isn't it? Don't worry, this is the before shot. With some TLC and a bit of paint, sandpaper, muslin, burlap, and screen printing, the finished product doesn't look anything at all like that photo. But you'll have to wait for the show to see the 'after' on this one and lots & lots of other beautiful creations! Hope to see you there...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Millie's House

It has been a crazy two weeks - My computer crashed and I was unable to blog or access any of my pictures. The kids were winding down with school and we had the end of the year projects due - I have learned more about The Boston Aquarium's Water Management Program and the wonderful state of Wisconsin than any Mother should know. Finally we are back on track - thanks so much for your patience.
So now after a very long wait we get to tour Millie's house in New Orleans!!! Millie and I have known each other almost 20 years. We have been through relocation's, births, deaths and natural disasters together. Through it all we have stayed good friends despite our distances. Millie grew up in New Orleans and like most, the draw to return to her hometown was so strong; she returned over 15 years ago and will never leave again! Millie is an interior designer, inspired by her own former designer (and dear friend), Jennifer Price of Dixon Smith in Baton Rouge. After Hurricane Katrina, like many others, Millie lost everything. So, when she was able to rebuild and start anew, she decided that since Jennifer had helped her build a such a great foundation, she wanted to give it a whirl on her own. Her results are outstanding! Let's have a look! As soon soon as you enter the foyer, you know you are in for a treat. The lovely limestone floors, beautiful sconces and botanical prints greet you. Look at the wonderful detail work on the sconces- aren't they beautiful?
The Dining Room has to be my favorite room in Millie's house. A wonderful large round dining table seats ten. Beautiful light fixtures, artwork and accessories make for a very enticing space.
Millie has a wonderful eye for artwork. My favorite are the French antique theater panels from Tara Shaw. The room seems neutral and warm at the same time - but how? Notice the red ceiling.
Here is a close up of the beautiful chandelier and ceiling. Notice the contemporary artwork on the wall to the left. A better picture can be seen above with Millie and I standing in front of it. I love the contrast of contemporary art with traditional furnishings.A close up of her buffet; notice the oyster plates and antique candlesticks.
Although the lighting is bad in this photo, I wanted you to see how you enter the dining room from the kitchen. Notice the gorgeous aubusson rug. Here is the eating area in Millie's kitchen. The lighting in this photo is so bad, but when I took it the kitchen was flooded with wonderful morning sun. I adored her lantern over her kitchen table. I loved the patina and the crown on top. I very well may have to copy her and put this in my own kitchen.
Her bathroom, tucked under her foyer staircase, was incredibly difficult to photograph and the pictures do not do it justice. It was a lovely little jewel box with silvery taupe wall paper and custom forged fixtures. Millie even had an iron artist create this toilet paper holder for her. New Orleans has wonderful artisans and because she has lived there all her life she has many connections and can create beautiful custom pieces. Finally the living room - I really love the elegance of this room. But truth be told, this is also the family room! Millie has three children and as such, created a room that is beautiful but also child friendly. Notice the gorgeous curtains, artwork and bookcases. I love how Millie painted the insides of the bookcases chocolate brown to highlight her collections.
Hidden in the fabulous amoire is a retrofitted custom bar. Fabrics are velvets and chenilles which hold up to children's wear and tear. Rugs are simple sisal which add texture and interest.

Perhaps the most stunning part of the space is the painting by Amanda Talley. What a wonderful feeling it brings to this room. I also love Millie's collection of framed black and white prints of her family.

I should have taken photos of the upstairs- Millie's bedroom is gorgeous, filled with antiques and custom Leontine linens. The children's bedrooms are also adorable! But I will save that for another day! If you are interested in contacting Millie please check out at MG Design and Consultation. Thank you for sharing your house with us, Millie!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Seasonal Home, Retreat Style

Autumn Comfort
Winter Warmth

Spring Fresh
Summer Ease

We all want lovely, comfortable homes, with rooms we can live and make memories in. With our Retreat Collections, we love to create furnishings and accessories for your home that bring happy vacation memories into your daily living.... evoking the ease and relaxation of the mountain cabin, the farm, or the beach house. It's not about cost, it's about the feeling you surround yourself with.

The room pictured above is a perfect example of how our rooms and homes shift and evolve thoughout each year. Simple, subtle changes in color and accessories can make a dramatic difference in how a room feels, and how we live in it. Every season brings a new design scheme, refreshing the space and us with new energy. It doesn't take a lot of money or effort to get results like this - just imagination. And if you like that idea, have we got good news for you...

Now, in addition to our products, we will be offering residential seasonal decorating services. This service will launch in late June - just in time for you to enjoy your homes for the summer! By the time the kids are out of school and the temps have warmed up, you can have a newly-restyled room or two to set the stage for a memorable and relaxing vacation season. With the popularity of 'Staycations' (where instead of leaving on a trip, you stay home and relax), this is a great opportunity for you to get the most out of your precious time off.

You can have a whole new look and feel in your home easily and affordably, with our designer imaginations working overtime for you. We'll utilize our creative minds and styling insights to restyle your rooms with the same flair we use in our product displays and show setups. My years of design work for retailers all boil down to a philosophy of 'Fast, Cheap, and Easy' Design TM, which means getting maximum results immediately, and for minimum cost. With this service, your home can benefit from the tips & tricks of the trade that I have been using for over 30 years as an award-winning retail stylist & designer.

Just as in our product design, the concepts of recycling, reusing, redesigning, and reimagining existing furnishings and accessories will be the heart of our service. We can show you how to restyle rooms, rearrange furniture, repurpose items, and change it all up to create memorable spaces for living. A little bit of paint there, a combination of items you never thought of here, a shift of that from another room... and suddenly your home is refreshed, re-energized, and ready for new memories to be made within its comfortable spaces. The beauty of each season can be reflected in your home's decor with simple, cost-free changes.

 Our decorating services also include Holiday Decorating!
If you have a big family gathering or party coming up, and want to fit in extra tables & seating, or create a stunning showcase for your event, let us help you go all out - on a budget. I've designed holiday decor for some large corporate clients (Chateau Ste. Michelle, Hogue, and Columbia Wineries in Washington state) and residential settings, including the elegant homes of the Dean of the University of Washington Business School and a top Microsoft Executive. From large to small, creating beautiful holiday decor is about expressing the memories of the people who enjoy the space!

We can also forego the seasonal focus, and restyle your room to update it for everyday enjoyment. Is your room feeling a bit out of fashion? Perhaps you want a more mod vibe, or maybe a country cottage feel? Maybe your room just lacks 'WOW factor', and you'd like it to make a statement. With simple ideas, we can help you express your own style using what you already have.... you'll be amazed at how a room's personality can change with just a bit of rearranging.

We are all about making design available to anyone, on any budget. That's why our fees are so reasonable and our approach so accessible. Here's a comparison for you. For more information about our rates and scheduling process, or to request a decorating consultation, please contact us at We look forward to helping you create your own Retreat for living...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Garden Party, Anyone?

Finally, a moment to upload photos of our newly spiffed-up space at Poppyseeds! A fresh green & white color scheme with a garden look is perfect for spring & early summer inspiration...

Lots of funky shabby garden goodness... perfect for sunshiny days outdoors!

(PS: the large Eastlake table and set of chairs in our space at Faded Elegance is gone, sold over the weekend. A few lamps have moved on, as well.... there's only two weeks left to get your hands on the Retreat products there!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Well, THAT was fun! It was a wonderful sunny day, spent with friends and happy customers at the Poppyseeds May Swap Meet. Thank you, Julie & Marybeth! (And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming....)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cue Patsy Cline....'cause we must be CRAZY

Earlier today, we decided (quite spur-of-the-moment) that Retreat will be participating in the Swap Meet at Poppyseeds tomorrow! We had a lot of merchandise ready for a restock of our room inside the shop, and tho it was planned for a reset next week, we changed our minds. So, we went in tonight and totally restyled the room.
It's now all white, green and yellow and garden themed - very much like the look we had at Sand Point last month. (Shown in the photos above)

We took out the vintage red enamel & chrome diner table and red vintage kitchen cart shown above, a haul of the vintage linens, and a whole bunch of accessories.
On Saturday, we'll set up a space outside on the grass, and sell it all at some pretty stellar discounts! Yep, that cute little red chair will be on sale, along with the darling picnic basket under the table in the photo, vintage fruit, tins, some of my Garden NeSts, cute aprons, and a whole lot more!

So, come by Poppyseeds tomorrow to check out the new rooms, and grab some great deals out in the parking lot... and be sure to say hello, I'll be there all day! (The Swap Meet runs 10 to 4.)