Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Decoupage Chess Table (Parlor Project #1)

I have an area in my home that can be considered a formal living room, or sometimes people refer to it as a parlor; the space that you are suddenly in when you enter through the front door.

This is a completely unpractical space, one useful only for extra seating for guests during entertaining. Lately I've been trying to re-purpose this space so it can be used.

My first idea was to create a permanent chess board, which would be pretty enough to be seen all of the time. My boys are actually pretty good at chess, and even the 7 year old beats me when we play, which really probably says more about me than it does him.

I started with a neglected circular dinette table from Pier 1 (originally white) which had been painted by me once already in a shabby chic pale green. The pale hue turned out to be a bad idea for a craft and/or game table, as every dirty finger print and speck of dust showed up much too well.

The color scheme also had low drama compared to the other pieces in the room (which I'll talk about once I finish all the projects I'm working on). So I repainted the table a high gloss, dark red and added two wrought iron chairs.

The decoupage chess board was an idea I got from Cathe Holden of the crafting blog Just Something I Made.

I first created the board in Photoshop using two different marble texture photographs. Then I created a border using vintage clipart. I printed the board in two pieces and then pieced them together for the exact size I wanted.

Then I Mod Podged the board to the table (both to stick it onto the center and then brushed some over top to create a crisper surface). Once the Mod Podge was dry I covered the board with polyurethane. 

You may notice I didn't actually get the board to be perfectly centered, because that's how I roll. I suggest you don't roll like me. Be less lazy and measure for the center instead of winging it by eye.

The chess pieces are just cheap ones from an old set. The board design will accomodate much bigger and better pieces, but I'll wait until the boys (and cats) stop letting them end up on the floor before I invest in anything fancy.

The fabric I used for the seat cushions was a bright white and black flocked muslin I found in New York city. The pattern is fuzzy. The chairs are from the Salvation Army in Colorado Springs.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dickensian Style

Sometimes I have an idea for a genre of fashion or design inspiration that I want to highlight and explore...and find out it only exists in my own head.
fter seeing a live production of "A Christmas Carol" with my kids, I was inspired by Dickensian style.
I Googled "Dickensian Style/ fashion/ inspiration/ photography" and found almost nothing! So maybe the literature and era of Dickens isn't something many designers derive inspiration from, but why?
Dickensian Style
to me references mid 19th century England, top hats and tweed, Gothily ragged hems, floppy muslin shirts and under skirts, layers of browns and blacks and greys all tinged with coal smoke and industrial revolution ennui.
t's Steampunk's depressed cousin. It conjures up images of orphans and harsh mistresses, debtor's prison, street children and corrupted miserly landlords.
ell, anyway, the only cooperative designer was my dearly departed Alexander McQueen (as per usual). Before his death I hadn't realized the depth and breadth of his legacy. He always comes through; no matter what I've been inspired by....he's been inspired first.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fashion Photography: Let it Snow

Annie Leibovitz's shot of Karlie Kloss in Central Park for a 2010 Vogue
Photography by Jamari Lior
 Photography by Tim Walker
  Photography by Tim Walker

Photography by Paolo Roversi
Photography by Paolo Roversi
Photography by Paolo Roversi
Photography by Paolo Roversi

Photography by Paolo Roversi

Photography by Haleh Bryan

 Photography by fashion156
Cool Ad by Hermes

Cool Illustrated ad by Bocage

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wishing You a Very Retro Christmas

  More than any other time of year, Christmas is when nostalgia takes over.

We even "remember" lovingly the traditions and stylings of our Grandparents' holiday seasons that took place before we were born...and sometimes we look back even further.

think it's interesting to note how utilitarian things (things we would probably never think of as "gifts" these days) were advertised at Christmas more often than toys and games in the past century.

We could probably cut down on excessive consumerism if we trained ourselves to enjoy getting vacuums, typewriters and ironing boards for Christmas.....

Check out Mrs. Claus's gams!

Product placement, Rockwell style.

I knew there was a reason I was never having a "real Family Christmas".

"November is Wake to Music Month". I think they overlooked a major flaw in this advertising campaign.
I have a soft spot for pastel cakes.

Space Age Wrapping Paper
Odd advertising slant....how would you have gotten to the airport if you're snowed in? And the mom and girl stand in the snow up to their ankles with bare legs why?
I'll say! That thing is schweet!
No idea why he's in a copter.
Awesome Motorola ad circa 1961. Look at that house! Fantastic!

And now, shocking proof of how much things change over time.....
apparently cartons of cigs were the must-give gift. 

Yeah...I can see that.

Et tu, Lucy?

Oh, and also some guns for the little ones....who can't smoke.

Ok, back to some Victorian wholesomeness.  They did invent Christmas as we know it, and they did it better than anyone.

It was a priority to perfect electric Christmas tree lights (made available in 1882) because Victorians lit their trees with little clip candles (resulting in many tragic fires). However, until the early 1900's a lit tree could cost as much as $300 (the equivalent of $2000 today).
Nothing said Christmas to Victorians, like puppies and kittens...and an occasional turtle.