Friday, April 29, 2016


A whirlwind trip to Nashville and The Country Living Fair last week meant that I missed the Week Three update of my office redo for the One Room Challenge guest participants.  Weeks One and Two included getting the room cleaned out and painted and working on the feature wall.  I'm still in misery over the fact that I didn't like my feature wall choice and have absolutely no idea which direction to turn!  Going from my blue walls to a pearly gray has completely thrown me off regarding staging photos and working with the wall color.  It's crazy how one small-ish change can create a domino effect of details required to get the perfect photo.  

This was my first trip to Nashville, and I met up with my BFF, Lynda, from Memphis.  A lovely time meeting vendors at the fair and shopping and eating our way through Nashville.  I finally found great food trucks!  I made it to Draper James!  The loveliest boutique you'll ever meet.  As we walked in, I was pretty happy to see a stack of Monograms For the Home on a display table, as some of my work appear in the pages. Lynda reached over to open the book, and the pages fell right open to a CDH applique towel. Could NOT have planned that myself! The sales girls were sweet enough to let me show off the other pages of calicodaisy handmade items.  

I walked away with a little notepad for the desk all wrapped up in lovely DJ paper.  Reese has made beautiful packaging choices.  

Meanwhile, I really have been thinking through the finishes for the office.  I've been collecting accessories for the room and auditioning fabrics from my stash for the bamboo chair seat covers.  What do you think?  Stacked bottom to top are:  Covington's Tuscany in linen, a tropical banana leaf and hibiscus in case I want to go with a pop of color, Stroheim Giselle in Indigo, Thibaut's Haleema (my favorite), and Ralph Lauren Home Antibes Batik. 

So, that's where I am.  My daughter promised to come by this weekend and help me make final decisions.  Monogrammed curtain valances and bamboo shades are up after the seat covers and then the lighting and staging the bookcases.  I see all the beautiful rooms blossoming on the ORC updates, and I feel like mine can hardly compare to the gorgeous finishes going on, BUT, my office is clean and tidy now and will be a lovely spot to greet my visitors.  See you here next week.   

Friday, April 15, 2016


Week Two of the ORC and my studio office makeover has passed with good momentum.  The room is cleared out and the walls are freshly painted Sherwin Williams Snowbound.  Wow!  I haven't had white walls in a room for at least 20 years.  See Week One to check out the blue walls I loved for eight years.  

There have been happy successes – painted room, bamboo blinds purchased, portable backdrop wall found for a deal, valance fabric and style decided, the gorgeous slip cover for the bench sewn. 

There are some frustrations, too – I don't really care for the paint color even after researching my choice for ages before ordering.  There is just a touch of gray to the white, but I feel like the walls look dirty.  My assistant, Lillian, (who sewed that gorgeous pleated cover!) encouraged me to hold out on my concern until we have the place staged, but I long to get on with a crisp white or maybe the creamy Cream Delight shade I have upstairs. 

The fencing backdrop wall is a fail! My cropped photos have the look of being in an old cabin or the backyard.  Not what I expected in the eye of the camera.  The inspiration wall included in my design board is a planked wall painted different hues.  I thought about applying a whitewash or gray wash to the fencing, but I want to go a more refined direction.  After thinking on it for a while, I slipped in a piece of beadboard I have on hand for shoots, and that totally changes the view and works out lovely.  

So, success and frustration but still moving forward. 

My List: 

1.  Paint the walls

2.  Create a SECOND portable backdrop wall with the beadboard.  First one failed

3.  Bamboo window blinds. 

4.  Monogrammed valences. 

5.  Stage white cabinets. 

6.  Slip cover for bench

7.  Skirts for bamboo chairs. 

8.  Decorative rug. 

9.  Lighting. 

10.  Artwork and accessories. 

Next week, I'm headed out to Nashville with a BFF to attend the Spring Country Living Fair.  I may have to double up Weeks Three and Four when I return home as there is loads of work to accomplish before heading out for a week of fun and relaxation.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016


The One Room Challenge.  This semiannual event belongs to Linda at Calling It Home. A number of interior designers and lifestyle bloggers are invited to participate in a six-week challenge of redecorating one room in a home, and everyone gets to follow along week by week watching the plans come to life.  Along with the invited participants, the rest of us can design our own spaces and show off our progress by linking in as guest participants.  The featured designers post progress on Wednesdays and the linking players post on Thursdays.  This is Week One, and the finale will be May 12, 2016. 

Twice in the past I've been contacted by participants to create items for their styled rooms, shams for House of Pemberley and shams + linens for Andrea's nursery at The Glam Pad.  It makes me so happy to see my work included in such lovely spaces. 

As luck would have it, just when I made the decision to get on with redecorating my studio office, this Spring's ORC begins this week as well.  Not being an interior designer myself, I am a bit wary of the commitment, however, I have been planning this makeover and collecting items for ages and have nearly everything needed.  There is just the hard work to put in and the courage to actually execute the plan. 

The studio office before:   

These photos were taken in 2008 when I thought calicodaisy handmade was going to produce monogrammed aprons and totebags and baby items – way before finding my home decor niche.  Remember when this shade of blue was so popular?  I have loved it and really regret painting it over, but it is time for a fresh modern look, and the gray-tinged white walls will be just right for shooting product photos. I spotted a handmade desk in Country Living magazine in 2008 with galvanized pipes for legs and had my husband make one for me.  A long desk to fit a computer on one end and a design area on the other.  

Three coats in and a make-do shoot in progress!  

Pretty much, I have all the hard furnishings for the room.  I plan to slip cover the sitting chair in white.  Two thrifted bamboo chairs may get skirted seat cushion covers and used for desk chairs.  Bamboo blinds.  Linen monogrammed valences.  The slip covered chair and valences will be my personal challenges for the room.  New adventures in sewing! 

At the top of the post, my design board features the overall goal of the space on the left and a number of design details to create on the right, including a portable backdrop panel for photographing finished products.  Please check back each week to see my progress AND pop by the ORC to check out the featured designers' updates and the linking participants updates.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Same But Different

While the husband was choosing door frames and molding at Home Depot a few weeks ago, I hung out at the magazine rack.  Flipping through Cottage Style magazine, I landed on a bedroom layout admiring the serene space and thought, "Hmmm, I have nearly everything needed to create this look, and I must make a monogrammed bolster wrap right now!"  Nice to have a creative spark and design idea to update my own guest room – and the stuff to do it at home already, too. 

As I've never painted walls before, I started with the bedding.  Lillian (the seamstress!) sewed up a perfect zippered white bolster and two shams in a lovely textured neutral taupe while I spent way too many hours trying to create a new combo-font duogram for the wrap.  Hours later, we were ready to test out the look.  So pretty!  You'll have to ignore the yellow walls and the green metal bed – soon to be gray walls and a spray-painted charcoal gray metal bed.  For the window, I'm planning a monogrammed (of course!) valance that can be swapped out with floor length panels.  There is a chair to slip cover as well.  Coming soon … hopefully before the next guest arrives. 

As we finished up a tan and white South Pointe sham, it occurred to me this king sham would look great in front of the solid standard shams.  On the way upstairs with the camera, I grabbed the new Bordeaux Flourish monogrammed pillow for a third vignette to show off bedding accessory options.  So, same basic bedding but three different looks. 

Another same but different situation around here is … ME!  My 20+-year career as a Medical Transcriptionist, both as home biz since 1998 and a part-time job with a hospital since 2008, is over.  Well, it is over as I knew it to be, and my coworkers and I were replaced by voice recognition.  Technology!  We've known for a year it was coming, so I prepared myself the best I could with plans to go full–time with calicodaisy handmade.  Lillian started working with me this summer as my seamstress.  She comes with lifelong knowledge of sewing and a real Home Economics degree.  She is such a joy to have around and gets pretty much just as excited as I do over a beautiful seam or a properly hidden zipper.  I couldn't have a better assistant to hang out in the studio with me. 

We have loads of new products lined up and hope to start ticking them off one by one, week by week, and chatting about it all here again.  This week the bolster wrap.  Next week, maybe new table linens – just got started on those today. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

September Mill Fabric Finds

In August, I traveled to NYC for the first time.  When walking to the Purl Bee in Soho, I looked up and recognized the new WTC towering over the skyline & snapped a photo.  A timely tribute to our country's hope and fortitude on this day when we remember 9/11. 

Nearly once a month for the last few years, I’ve made a day of heading to a fabric mill for the once a month, open to the public, weekend sale.  On those trips, I’ve loaded up on my hard to find, white home decor fabric for pillow covers as well as on LOADS of home decor fabric that aren’t necessarily for my orders … fabric lovers will know what I mean.  The fabrics are chosen for two reasons – 1) I must have this fabric!  2) I could offer the great finds in my shop for other sewists who, like me, must have this fabric! 

My bounty has included lovely fabrics from Schumacher, Tilton and Fenwick, Verrain, Ralph Lauren, and many more designers I hadn’t even head of until researching the fabrics.  The bulk of my finds have been from the Premier Prints Designer Collections.  Swiss cross, chevrons, damasks, Greek key, so many.  This month I picked up what seem to be brand new designs in a new Tribal Collection – Pawnee and Phase.   

For ages I’ve intended to list these fabrics each month but never seemed to find the time.  However, I find myself in a fix at the moment.  My embroidery machine was zapped by lightening last week, and I am sitting on pins and needles – no pun intended – waiting to find out if the machine can be fixed or if I must purchase a new one.  In an effort to stay on the bright side of life, I am focusing on the fact that I still have my original one-needle machine AND there are so many half-started and unfinished ideas that I now have time to tend to at least while the big machine is down. 

Now to the fabrics.  You can check out the atelier section of the shop to see the full gamut of fabrics I do have listed.  The newest fabrics are below.   

Premier Prints Pawnee in Coastal Blue / White  

Premier Prints Phase in Navy / White  

Premier Prints Lipstick Red Zig Zag Chevron

Premier Prints Swiss Cross / Plus Sign in Navy / White 

Premier Prints Houndstooth in Black / White

Link to the shop at calicodaisy handmade.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January Birthday Cakes

January is generally a quiet and cozy month here.  We settle into resting up after the holidays and new year organization.  It's the only month that I really give in to the early sunset and snuggle up in pj's and quilts and watch too much TV. This third week of the month, though, is always time to celebrate a January birthday for the husband. The kids like to make the dinner plan, and I like to make the dessert! 
In December, I spotted a caramel frosted cake that looked delish, but I totally lost the link and had to put my own best ideas together to hopefully get it right today.  I decided on my favorite Southern Living Buttermilk Pound Cake and Caramel Icing.  Alas, in my attempt to bake the recipe in two rounds rather than the bundt, I left the cakes in the oven too long and felt they were too brown and smelled a bit burnt. One can't give a burnt birthday cake, so I decided to make another cake but different recipe (I didn't have another six eggs!), see below. Meanwhile, I trimmed off all the too-brown edges and bottoms of the pound cakes - mustn't waste the beauties.  I made the cooked caramel icing, so easy!, iced cake #2 with the glazey stuff, and then I added about a cup or more of powdered sugar, more butter, and milk to the rest of the icing and changed it to a frosting for the pound cake layers.  Wow!  Dense, rich, and marvelous!  

Cake #2 is the Buttermilk Birthday Cake with the Caramel Icing.  The recipe looked like it would make a nice moist cake, and it did.  It's really a just-the-right size cake, not too big, and nice and fragrant.  In my excitement over the pretty cooked caramel icing just made, I didn't trim the top off the bottom layer, so the top layer slipped a bit.  Sheesh!  I was so busy working all last year with practically no homemaking that I obviously lost some baking skills.  A few well placed tooth picks stopped the sloping.  Let's just call it rustic happiness.   

Camille and I made quick little flags in my studio to decorate the cakes.  Fabric rectangles folded and glued over wooden skewers thanks to Posie Gets Cozy. Sweet!  Just right for Dad and a cheery simple embellishment.    

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

piping and zippers

Early this summer, I met Daniela of Aesthetic Oiseau, an interior design blog. Lovely style!  She sent a client project my way for custom bedding and an appliqued pillow cover.  Boy, she pushed me outside my comfort zone.  The bedding included a duvet cover with piping with a buttoned panel to close as well as standard pillow shams, two-sided, with piping AND hidden zippers.  Piping and zippers, piping and zippers - together in the same seam!