Inspired to create by a sweet-as-candy-heart-shaped necklace…

26 Feb Azure Elizabeth Design Valentines Moxie

So is it just me or has 2013 been moving at the speed of light so far? Okay. It isn’t really moving that fast…some days feel like they are dragging, but when I look back & realize we are ending the second month of this New Year I am thinking where did all the time go?

Although I haven’t blogged here for a while I can assure you I haven’t taken a break from my creating…I have just been juggling a lot of balls & honestly it is naturally easier to just create…writing about it though…well that isn’t always as easy.

So to give you a bit of perspective on what has had me so distracted besides my design business & the business of being a single mother…I do have to insert here that one of the highlights of the month was my daughter getting her pointe shoes. A big distraction & a moment of motherly pride over took me for a moment there, so I had to mention it…it happens sometimes.

I am still writing for the examiner online as the Salt Lake Interior Design Examiner. I recently covered a whole lot of information on some of 2013’s color trends & forecasts which you can check out here.

Then a somewhat newish adventure  for me has been working part-time  at Jcp’s (JcPenny’s) in the home & drapery department….which admit I am totally enjoying. I love the store, my managers & the associates there. I think it is a great fit right now for this Interior Designer. If you need blinds, shutters, drapes, bedding & or towels you should check them out. Product is great & pricing is amazing. We also just added a whole bunch of new products & lines in these departments…with even more to come including  Happy Chic by one of my favorite designers Jonathan Adler.

Now one of the reasons I mention this is because I have to give Jcp credit for the inspiration for this recent “Inspired to create by…” project. Just before February Jcp brought in a line of lab created gems & jewelry for Valentines. There were so many gorgeous choices & even though I try so hard to avoid the jewelry department I couldn’t avoid its sirens call when I saw this pretty ruby & white sapphire gem in their ad campaign, plus I have a huge weakness for pavé gem settings.

Lab Created Ruby from Jcp 2013

Admittedly since I was young I’ve had an aversion for heart-shaped anything…especially jewelry…I also couldn’t stand it when little girls would dot their i’s with little hearts…I must have held some kind of negative belief about them for some reason…but that is between me & my therapist…No. I don’t really have a therapist unless you are talking about Dr. Organic Dark Chocolate…

In the last few years symbolism has become very intriguing to me & I am using it quite often in my design work, so maybe that is the reason that despite any of my usual reasoning  & avoidance of things attached to the word cute…I fell head over heels in love with hearts this past Valentines, as well as a newly heightened passion for lace glitter…all of those beautiful romantic symbols of love.

So from this jewel my little Valentines Moxie painting was born. I already had a prepared canvas with layers of red paint glitter, glass gems & acrylic resin. It was originally for something else that didn’t end up happening. When I realized looking into its depth was akin to looking into that tempting heart-shaped ruby in the jewelry case at Jcp, I suddenly knew that I wanted to accent this red canvas with shimmering, glimmering frosted white like that of white sapphires or sparkling snow.

Azure Elizabeth Design Valentines Moxie

Since flowers are often a part of Valentine’s Day I wanted them to be the theme of the piece. I used my stylized Moxie flowers that have adorned a few of my other paintings. I love curving, bold, extreme, yet feminine lines & a bit of whiplash curve every now & again. The moxie paintings reflect that bit of mania.

So here you go…my February creation inspired by a sweet as candy heart-shaped necklace that not only caught my eye but shot its little cupids arrow right into my heart & seduced me into buying it. Yes! I totally caved. Valentines gifts you get for yourself are really the best though. I highly recommend making this day every year a day of spoiling yourself & others instead of always relying on someone else to make it happen.

Inspired to create a little Valentines Moxie by a Lab created ruby by Jcp

Show a little love for yourself today & also have a lovely day!

PS. For more photos of this & other paintings please visit my Etsy shop AzureElizabethDesign

Xoxo’s

Inspired to create by…the perfect paisley, and the elements fire and water

19 Dec

For those of you who know me well you know that I juggle a lot of balls…though the truth is that because of my juggling act, very few people know me well enough to actually realize that. I confess…I am an extremely private person who only gives small glimpses out to others about my person which are usually based on content, subject matter and need. If there is no need then there is very little divulged leaving others to make assumptions about me, which they often do…I admit this can be quite interesting at times…

Can I get any more confusing? Yes! I guarantee I can.

Astrologically speaking I am dominantly Air and Fire with one sneaky little water sign planet, Scorpio…My Sun sign is in Libra. Yes, that is where my vanity comes from as well as my desire for romance and my love of beauty. On Twitter I refer to myself as A Lovely Designer…to understand why I use Azure as my alter ego go here…I use the word ‘lovely’ symbolically because if represents a combination of the two ideals, love and beauty that I equally value and try to create in life.

Love is emotional and beauty is visual, often stimulated by physical or environmental influences but at times they merge together into one. If I ever tell you to have a ‘lovely’ day I am wishing you actual love and beauty to be manifest in your life.  To me it is as positive an emotion as wishing you much happiness.

If  I tell you something or someone is “lovely” I am saying that to me it/they are of more value to me that just the superficial  appearance and that the worth and value runs much deeper with me.  This word is used in reference to people I value and love and the things they create. If I can see them or their heart in their creations there is nothing more lovely to me.

Now back to my astrological chart…I know you are just dying to know more…alright whatever! Indulge me please, I promise it will make sense shortly. I am more on topic than you think and this is an only round about apology for not posting more often.

So where were we….oh, yes…so my Moon is in Gemini, and this is where the importance for communication comes in. I am a communicator and nothing annoys me more than people thinking I can read their mind…I may be intuitive but I wont give you the pleasure of knowing what I read. It is not my responsibility, so If you don’t tell me something please don’t expect me to know about it. I am so not a busy body either…but we will get sidetracked if we go there…I also don’t take words, commitments and promises lightly so if you can walk your talk there will be probably little trust between us…unless it is something trivial that I don’t depend on to function.

I give the Air signs the credit for my being a bit of a free spirit…one who is attracted more to movement than being stagnant who moves quickly from one idea to the next. The free spirit comes in handy as an artist and designer and it allows me to be open-minded but it can mean I live very much in my head and will often put logic over my own heart and sometimes block myself from my emotions…something I am learning to recognize and be more careful about.

Now to top that all off I have two planets in Leo, one in Venus and one is Saturn. Darn it! I have not yet figured out how to allow my inner Leo’s out of their cage because Saturn is standing on my tail. Saturn, will always repress, suppress or oppress the planet it is in.

So how is this relevant to my Inspired to Create blog? Well, taking what I have learned about my own self from astrology, and seeing my strengths and where I am out of balance…I have used this understanding with the assistance of my Astrologist David Porter to design and create an environment for one of my clients. It is still a work in progress but until we addressed his astrological chart we just weren’t making any progress.

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My clients astrological chart is an almost split down the middle with only Earth and Air planets. This means that the emotion that is represented by the Water planets and the passion of the Fire planets was somewhat void in his life…which he admitted too. This process spoke to him and when I suggested that we bring in colors and patterns to symbolize his missing elements it resonated with him. Then I found the perfect paisley fabric to honor all of the elements with reds and oranges to represent the missing fire and blues and greens for his water. Earth is represented by earth tones and air by the color yellow.

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design Side View

I love using symbolism in my designs when I can. It is like turning your environment into a vision board so to speak and what better way to reach your subconscious than that?

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design representing air earth and water

So here are a few glimpses of what we are using in the space as well as some custom art work I created for it. He was very patient with me since my gypsy like spirit means I can sometimes have a lot of irons in the fire.

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design the whole collection

And here is the light that will be going over the kitchen table in a few weeks. I couldn’t help but give you a sneak peek.

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Inspired to create by…the Goddess Aphrodite

30 Oct 2012-10-29 19.53.27

Well here we are finally. I have teased you all long enough. At last I unveil my newest project…which if you saw the last blog, ‘Inspired to create by Queen Elizabeth the 1st‘…you knew it was coming though I am fairly sure I didn’t give too much away.

This project was a daughter inspired project, 100%. My twelve-year-old daughter is becoming such a ‘designing woman.’ She recently got hooked on these Goddess Girl books, and came to me with her brilliant idea of being Aphrodite for Halloween. She even tried to get all her girlfriends at school on board and each be a different Goddess…what did I say about ‘designing woman?”

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Well her plans are very well thought out and usually seem to involve my sewing skills. I really dropped the ball on teaching her such skills…I have a lot of time to make up for since I’ve been sewing since the age of five.

Well I am sucker for any design plan especially since she was giving me full rein on the design. I would show you my original sketch except that I ended up going into a little bit different direction allowing it to evolve and flow. Since my daughter was the client so to speak I can do this. Usually I confine myself to an agreed upon concept, but here I didn’t have too.

As the mother and the teacher I walked her through the steps of how I come up with any design. She was referencing the cover of the book with the cartoon looking character and I was leaning toward the idea of making it her own (this is really very similar to working with any client who always starts with a concept that is another persons design) so we collaborated. Which mainly meant that after she told me what she wanted, she was part of all decisions that I came up with and threw at her.

Trusting little angel that she is. Honestly she has to be my favorite client.  She gives me such exciting challenges to work on in a medium I rarely get to work,  without trying to control it all.

This is what we ended up with. I wanted the robes to be flowing with layers of interest all around as though they were long yards of fabric tucked, gathered and bound together to make the dress…and she sure does she look amazing in red and gold.

Enjoy and have a happy safe Halloween!

Inspired to create by…Queen Elizabeth the first

2 Oct

October is a somewhat magical month for me. All the beauty and richness and color of September goes bold with intensity and drama. The full moon seems bigger and bolder. Almost overnight I become obsessed with the rich decadent pleasures of life. Baked goods which hardly ever seduce me become constant haunts especially when spicy pumpkin chocolate chips desserts come into season… and with Halloween around the corner I become obsessed with contrast, gaudy pieces and drama in my decorating…

Costumes become the big focus for my children and I, which they seem to find more delightful than their passion for treats. This year is without exception for my little designing daughter who has big plans for her mama’s designing talent. You will want to stay tuned since I wont be letting the cat out of the bag just yet.

Not since her fourth grade year has she felt the desire to make me so ambitious. For years (although not every year) I have made costumes for my children. I try to get around it when I am able, since it can be fairly time-consuming, but just like my memories of my own mother making my costumes they find there is something rather magical about the whole process.

In Autumn’s fourth grade year they were required to do a wax museum report. This was where they do the research on a particular person from history, who they then dress like and they hold very still while the parents walk around the room looking at them and their poster board with its research.

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Well she came home one day and said that she had chosen Queen Elizabeth the first. Mainly because her middle name…like my own is Elizabeth. I looked at her in shock. How may I ask am I going to find a Queen Elizabeth Costume. “You will make it” she stated. “I know you can mother.”

ImageShe is a lucky little girl because she was right and I did make it for her, I also made her swear that she would wear it the next Halloween since it wasn’t going to be an inexpensive or simple costume to make. She kept her promise and was a stunner as the Young Elizabeth Tudor.

ImageShe wanted to be as authentic as possible so I used temporary red dye in her hair. Since she has a reddish caramel tone natural she pulled it off brilliantly. After a few hours she did find the ruff a bit itchy so I freed her of it. It is a lovely costume either way and was so much fun. I can’t decided if I enjoy designing wedding dresses or costumes more.

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Inspired to create by…seeing the contrasts

21 Sep

Autumn is my favorite time of year and more than just that…there is something in the air that enchants and captures me. It all starts in early September, this feeling of magic in the atmosphere where light and shadows create colors and patterns in the world, that are vibrant and new.

I have always wondered if it is just me. September is my birth month and the month I welcomed my daughter into the world on my twenty-fifth birthday, nearly twelve years ago.

Everyday I watch in fascination as this darling little girl starts pushing out of the box called childhood. She is like me in so many ways. A designing woman in every sense of the word. she has the desire like her mother to design every part of her life, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual…

I have joked often that she is my ‘mini me’, but it really isn’t a joke. Besides having a little red-headed fire hidden in her genes that she got from her father, and more sass-in-her-frass (sassafras is my word for sassy) than I would ever claim. She is so much like me it is uncanny at times.

My focus of late has been helping her to embrace her creative side. I have heard many a human claim they aren’t creative. I am myself pretty convinced that everyone is to some degree. What they may be really feeling is that they aren’t talented in some area or another, compared to someone else. I am prone to believe it isn’t creativity they are longing for, because they already have it. They just may not know how to tap into it yet and where it may lie within them.

What I think they really are saying they want or lack is the talent that follows. The talent is the hard part that requires the work. It doesn’t come without it. Not only do you have to know how to tap into your creativity you have to know how to take it and run with it. You can’t be afraid of the risks of failure yet you don’t even need to be fearless, just committed. You have to face the challenges and there is no instant gratification. There will be a struggle following your initial effort but that is the nature of creating. I don’t know a single artist or designer who doesn’t hit a wall with almost every project…meaning a problem to solve or something to overcome to achieve the result while still working within limitations.

For weeks I have been trying to pour my wisdom into my Autumn as I see the dynamics of her world changing. I see exactly where she is standing and the struggle she faces when it comes to creativity and developing her talents. I have let her know the truth about it all. It isn’t all fluff and it is work. I have encouraged her to expand and keep at it and not give up.

I have taught her that for every great creative achievement there are usually ten rough draft or sketches that didn’t make the cut.

The finished product rarely tells the whole story. Art and design much like life has its contrasts…its ups and downs. The light and dark. We think someone may be talented when we see the finished results but we never see the discomfort or long hours, the uncertainty that were part of the process. There are limitations as well. Your medium only works on the appropriate material and your design has to fit within established boundaries.

Our lives are much the same. They are a process, a journey through contrasts of light and dark times, success and failures, pain and joy. This is what makes life colorful, beautiful, interesting, dynamic and even poignant. If we want the purpose and meaning in our life we have to tap into our ability create it, and keep making an effort to work at even when it seems like we haven’t got it figured out yet.

I personally believe we learn as much from the dark as the light. As an artist I have learned to use as see and appreciate both the light, shadows and the dark. The shadows in life make the light all the brighter and you need both to grow and develop.

As I thought about all of this today, driving back from taking my daughter to school I remembered this drawing I did in High-school of these jelly jars. It is a perfect example how the contrasts of light and dark work together to create depth and color. It was my first large-scale colored pencil drawing and I was scared but I worked hard and challenged myself.

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I have to remember that the life I create is much the same, and the beauty is in the contrast.

Inspired to create by…my mother and her indigo eyes

12 Sep A E Design Photos my mother's bathroom after 1

I have to start this post out by saying I love my mother. I love her dearly lest I seem impersonal as I continue to write….I am just going with the flow on this one so who knows how it will come out.

You see when it comes to design I am all business. This, I am afraid has not made working with other woman always easy…this is not in reference to my mother so please don’t misunderstand. After all these years, if there is a woman I can work well with, it would be my mother. I do sometimes have to remind her when she asks for my honest opinion and she didn’t like it, that she did ask.

If I gave out awards for the best female client of the year…which I’ve actually considered doing…for this year 2012, it would be my mother.

A mother daughter relationship can be very complicated at times and I would be lying if I didn’t say that ours been evolving and ever-changing over the years.

I am no longer a five-year old little girl sitting on the floor near my mothers feet as she sews at her sewing machine while I carefully practiced my hand stitching, passing it to her for inspection periodically.  I am also not the young preteen who years later as I was beginning  to sew my own clothing, would scream up the stairs for her in sheer panic when I sewed the wrong side of something together. The thought of un-picking made me hysterical and I did a lot of it back then.

She was my first teacher and the person whom I give credit…or the blame for my initial addiction to creating (maybe this is why she is so supportive where others haven’t been).

The tables have turned a little bit since that time, and with this last project I became the teacher. I forget sometimes is that the  things that have become second nature to me are really quite intimidating to others.

Everything is a domino effect. It all started with my mother’s bathroom cabinet. It was shabby, dark and worn and with it only having one door it was an organizational nightmare. She was tired of opening it and having everything fall out or having it all packed in so tightly she had to dig to find the toilet bowl cleaner. It probably doesn’t help that as a hair dresser she has perm rods, scissors, various razors and such she needs to store.

So she asked me if I thought there was a better option. Truth be told it would be tight, but a raised height vanity with two banks of drawers on each side, and one door in the center was the best we could do. It took some convincing my cabinet guy, who knew the drawers would have to stay pretty small.

It would also have to be custom-made. You cannot buy a box like that in the needed dimensions pre-made. I pointed out to her that if she was going to put a fresh brand spanking new cabinet in she might want to update the floor…which was a worn vinyl that she just happened to adore. Blue is her favorite color so I have to tread lightly when it comes to anything blue.

She was not thrilled but she was respectful and decided to humor me and go look at tile options….the one I recommended from Daltile was lovely enough that she forgot all about her blue vinyl flowers.

She knew that she wanted the cabinet to be lighter and she already had the wall paint…which she had bought three years ago, and no I wasn’t with her. We were suddenly working around this previous selection so we knew any direction we went had to make the blue paint work.

For the countertop I suggested she go with a granite and an undermount sink. As you can see the cultured marble top had seen better days.

She was concerned because she wanted a blue countertop and knew that isn’t so common in natural stone… I suggested the blue pearl with the hopes of grounding the brighter blue in her paint.

I would consider its color to be a deep indigo tone. It is actually the color I think of when I think of my mother, so I was actually dying to show it to her.

You know that old Peter Murphy song ‘Indigo eyes?’ I have no idea what all the lyrics say, but I have always loved the chorus. Well, I used to think it was about my mother because she really does have indigo eyes, which genes she has generously transferred through me to my blue-eyed daughter.

The color potential of this granite was never more apparent though, than when we found the perfect wall tile for her backsplash. I knew it was her when I saw it, even though Daltile had so many other amazing options for us to choose from..when you know, you just know.

This really was a small job, but it was no small thing having the bathroom unusable for two and half weeks. It can make even the most patient of people edgy and irritable but she handled it with grace. Tonight we discussed it and now that all the dust has settled and she has organized it all, she is wondering how she lived in it the way it was before.

She is happy with it, which is music to my ears.

The guys who did the work were so incredible and are always my go to guys when I have the choice. For the tile work we worked with Joe from K J Tile. The granite was done by Gene Prunty of Medusa Granite and Marble. The best place to go “when you turn to stone.” The Cabinet was a collaboration between friend, and fellow designer David Porter and was  built by Bear River Cabinetry.

My thanks goes out to them for always coming through for me. Much gratitude and appreciation to these gentlemen and all the others who were involved in making my mothers indigo eyes sparkle.

Inspired to create a ten foot mural by a mountain lake fishing trip…

7 Aug

Perhaps I am too ambitious. It is one thing to be in a constant creative mode, moving through life at an intense designing pace & quite another to sit down & write about it all…just so I can keep my audience on the edge of their seat…or at least remembering my name.

I recently finished a big project designing a wedding dress…which you can check it out here. It was awesome & I am very proud of how it turned out. Since then I have been on a roll & have sketched out a whole assortment  of designs for a wedding dress collection that I would love to introduce…someday maybe.

I am of course still writing for the online examiner as the Salt Lake City Interior Design Examiner & loving it! So if anything was to blame in my not keeping up with my blog, it would probably be….well, we just won’t be pointing fingers.

The fact is I am not super woman. If I was I would’ve flown by my own power to Vegas last Wednesday, when my flight to meet up with designing friend Brandon Smith at Vegas Market was delayed by four hours.

The truth is more often than not, after a long day of working I often can’t put more than two sentences together.  I am lucky if I am speaking coherently enough that my children hear, “it is time for bed” instead of that Charlie Brown adult gibberish.

I am really starting to think that is why they don’t respond…I must be speaking another language, either that or it is because I am the mother of two very ADHD teens. Life is never dull but it is one ride I do enjoy.

At this point I won’t promise to be more a more consistent writer. I refuse to subject myself to any kind of trivial guilt anymore. I am a “go with the flow” kind of gal who is more creative & productive the less negative pressure there is attached to things.

I am one designing woman who must put priorities first, which for me are my children & bringing home the bacon. After that the rest is just the frosting on the cake or pancakes & maple syrup on the plate…cake doesn’t really go with bacon.

With that being said I have a lot of things in the works & even nearing completion. Paintings, design work…I may even begin another wedding dress…you know, the usual. I do promise to keep you updated… at some point. I do!

In the meantime I am pulling from the archives (deep within my external hard drive) for this inspired to create post, which is based on a ten foot long mural I painted around 2005 for a little boy’s room in Draper Utah.

The family was a group of avid campers. They loved the outdoors & spending time together more than anything. They just said they wanted an outdoor scene for their oldest sons room so I pulled from my own stash of photos from a mountain lake fishing trip when my son was five years old.

It is a good thing I am addicted to taking ridiculous amounts of photos of my surroundings, because I had over ten views to use as my reference for the design.

East wall concept

I measured the room & did elevations to lay it out. The truth is this was my first mural. Art & painting I had done plenty off but mural work…not at all.

South wall concept

As with any design client, it was important to me that they knew what they were getting into before I even put paint to the walls. I believe concepts can help reduce anxiety about any designing or creative process. It puts your client at ease & helps them see that you know what you are doing by giving them a tangible piece of information about the project. Since people don’t read minds nor can they see what is in your head, I believe it is vital especially when someone is investing large amounts of money in something you have essentially dreamed up.

West wall concept

Here is the finished product. I don’t even remember how long it took me to complete (I’ve blocked it out) but it was a really busy time in my life so I was only able to squeeze in a few hours, a few days a week.

East Wall

I don’t typically paint murals & that is probably more my fault than anything. I have very strong opinions about murals which I’m sure has offended people at times but since this is my blog though I will not hold back…

East wall up close

In my opinion…there are very few places a mural is even appropriate.

I think restaurants & children’s spaces are the best places…if it actually adds to the design & doesn’t subtract. I have seen murals work in everything from historical homes, pediatric offices, hospitals & even arcades.

South wall mural

In my opinion…only ten…umm…maybe I will be more generous, twenty percent of murals I have seen, I like. I guess I have this snobby idea that they have to be classy & original. They shouldn’t look rushed, cheap or slapped on. The whole idea of faux painting a bookcases on your wall instead of just having one really baffles me. Although there are times adding an illusion through a mural works, but only in certain circumstances.

West Wall

Really the reason I don’t do more of them, is that people always want Disney characters on their child’s wall or Thomas the train. I myself hate having my copyrighted work stolen so I am not a fan of copying on that level. The other thing is that children grow very fast, so you date & condemn a room that may have been a juvenile haven at age three only to have it become a cartoon nightmare a few years later when the child is too embarrassed to bring their friends over or they don’t like that ‘subject’ anymore.

West wall up close

Being that I appreciate originality & longevity, if you were at ask me to paint Cinderella in your daughter’s room walls I would paint my own version of Cinderella, not Disney’s. One that she could head into her teenage years with. As for Thomas the train, wouldn’t you much rather have a classic old-fashioned Steam Locomotive or a sleek Modern high-speed rail train? Something that’s a  combination of fantasy with  a punch of realism  so you can grow up alongside it for a while?

Yep! That is what I thought.

Inspired to create a wedding dress by a ruffled cake…

13 Jul

I have no doubt if you follow my blog that you have been waiting with bated breath to find out the outcome of the wedding dress project…or if I am being realistic you’ve probably forgotten actually about it.

As many design projects go & what seems to elude most of the public…designing is a long-planned out process, Nothing is created in a half an hour to an hour segment. Despite what the media wants you to think there is rarely any instant gratification in the design world.

The itself dress started out as a conversation in April. Nicole (if I had, had another daughter I would have named her Nicole, love the name) has known me since 2004 when I worked as the Interior Design Director for a large home builder. She was the sassy little receptionist who kept everyone on their toes with her playful sarcasm & quick wit.

Things have long since changed & we are both in different places in our lives…the builder is no longer around…but as facebook friends we have made sure to keep tabs on each other.

According to her I told her way back when that I would be happy to make her wedding dress when she had asked me. Other than the costumes I made on  Halloween’s for my children I am not sure how she knew that I had a thing for needle & thread.

Okay I don’t…not exactly. Needles & thread are really a means to an end. What I love it designing. I have been sewing since I was five. I started out by designing dresses for my Barbie’s. I really never played with them I just sewed & designed clothes for them. I was very common to find my naked doll with her feet stuck in the bottom of a large spool of thread so she would be held upright, acting as a dress form.

The truth is my plan was to be a fashion designer first…others things happened though. I am essentially self-taught & during my teens I would devour every book on clothing construction I could find & back then it wasn’t easy to find such publications. Most of the instructional books were from the 40’s & 50’s.

So there is a little History for you. Nicole & I discussed the dress & she came to visit a couple of times to go over things. I encouraged her to go look around at prices & styles before she made the decision to have me make it. I wanted her to be completely committed to the process because it is a huge commitment on my part as well & because she lives in Vegas & I live in Utah she would have to arrange to come here for fittings.

After a few rather discouraging shopping trips & going over photos with me of what she loved & didn’t she decided to give me a shot. Kudos to her for faith because she hadn’t seen what I could do yet. All she knew is that I can sew.

I pulled together some concepts to help her narrow down the look she wanted based off her preferences & emailed them to her & waited to hear back. It cracks me up now thinking about it but I think it is an important part of the process. This is something I encourage my clients to do in the most appropriate manner, & that is communicate.

No matter what we are designing we don’t read minds & we need your considerate feed back. We also need you to be present in the process. “April” she said, “I love these but I was wondering if you can add a ruffle?” She was so nervous when she said this, uncertain of my response. She had tried on a dress with crumb catchers…huge ruffles on the bodice that drowned her but she got emotional when this happened because it reminded her of a cake she loved…this is the key. The emotion. We designers want results that get to the heart of your dreams & desires…the emotion is a clue to which direction we should take.

I was so happy that we had hit that deeper level. I asked her to please send me a picture of the cake & that became my inspiration for the dress.

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This was a 400+ hour process. Between concept drawings, creating the pattern & a mock-up dress out of muslin first to making the actual dress it is a big job. We were able to coordinate everything smoothly with her visits from Vegas for fittings which had me more that a bit nervous. Designing & making a custom dress for someone who lives nearby is one thing, but one who lives in another State is different story.

I am happy to say that she is thrilled & she looks amazing in it. It is perfect for her…made just for her. I also have a new love for ruffles…as long as they are done correctly. I affectionately call them Fruffles now.

If you follow me on Facebook, twitter or Instagram you may be so lucky as to see the bride in the dress since I plan to take pictures tomorrow night at the reception.

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Also I ask my  friends & sister Heather in Arizona for forgiveness from with holding photographs until now.

Inspired to create by…Blue Abalone…

17 Jun

Now typically I am not one for feeling guilty about this sort of thing but the fact that I haven’t posted since Easter is really getting under my skin. This I promise you is not due to being in a slump or any kind of designing funk. Quite the opposite really…I have been busy as usual, but just my normal sort of busy.

What this means is that I have great inspired projects in the works that I cannot wait to share with you…they just aren’t ready yet. Here is a hint, there is some art on the easel, so to speak & even some clothing design in production….a ‘Wedding Dress’ actually. I wasn’t planning to give you that much info, but if you are reading this little blog of mine here, you deserve more than just my gratitude. Thank you for reading & please stay tuned for what is coming.

One thing I must also mention is my somewhat recent gig with the online Examiner. Yes, I am writing as the Salt Lake Interior Design Examiner (my official title) & I love it. I will admit as with anything that implementing this into my life has meant some juggling at times…but it is all worth it.

So in the meantime I am pulling out a little inspiration from the archives. This one has been on my mind of late as I am seeing all the home product catalogs highlighting summer by the sea themes.

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These renderings are from a college assignment. We were to design a Cape Cod beach house with very specific spatial requirements. It was probably the most time consuming plan I did in college but the most enjoyable.

ImageRather than use the typical beachy color schemes or even a nautical inspiration, I chose my palette from the beautiful subtle periwinkle or blue tones that can be found in Abalone shells. There is something sort of mysterious about the sea & the pearly undersides of textural seas shells & sea creature are a lovely representation of its hidden treasures to me.

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I love to mix what was then (2004) considered to be more unexpected textures together…it wouldn’t be so unusual now I am sure. My fabrics were combinations of luxurious silks for pillows & drapery, with nubby linens for the bed & upholstery, natural stone counter-tops & flooring in earth tones, while the soft floor coverings & window treatments were woven organic materials. I specified lighter woods, simple contemporary lines in the furniture rather than the more traditional items you might see in a home by the sea.

ImageHere are my concepts for the design, I had to recreate the boards somewhat…I  can see a few things I would go back & change in my renderings but experience always does that. I hope you enjoy!

Inspired to create by…some hard boiled eggs…transforming them for the our Easter Celebration.

6 Apr

I could go on about how lovely Spring is & what an inspiring time of year it is to see new life, all the flowers coming up out of the ground & the blossoms on the trees. The truth is Spring has always been my favorite season, well right next to early Fall, but I woke up this morning  & it was almost 30 degrees & snow was everywhere. I was not the heavy kind, but the wet snow that sticks. It was quite a sight on all the neighbors white blossoming trees. Yes, I live in Utah where the weather is quite fickle so Spring & I are not speaking to one another right now.

It may have been the cold & the fact that I could not find my winter coat this morning as I walked, No! Ran out the door to meet with my accountant…Frankly I was not very inspired when I faced the day & was more irritable than usual…I am not a morning person by any stretch of the the imagination. Today I was sure when I woke up I was not even going to be a April 6th person, but four hours later this all changed.

Suddenly after weeks & weeks of extreme busyness trying to get ready to file my taxes & juggling my other responsibility’s I felt free! The children are on Spring break so we decided we might as well do our egg dying today. This got their cute little noses out of the books they were reading & gave us some time together.

I took one look at those white hard boiled eggs & suddenly I was feeling ambitious. We were at my mothers house so we set out the dye just the way I did as a child. We put garbage sacks on the table with layers of newspaper over the top & for the dye we put one tablespoon of vinegar in each cup with boiling water & more than a few drops of McCormick brand food coloring in each cup.

I put two layers of tape lined up next to each other about four wide, with each layer going the opposite direction to reinforce it on a piece of wax paper. I used blue painters tape on the bottom because it is easier to remove the wax paper off of than the Scotch tape which is firmer. Then I drew a design over it with a fine Micron marker & used fingernail scissors (my secret tool for cutting out fine detail & curves) to cut it out & then used the tip of an exacto knife to carefully remove the wax paper off the back. Now I had a way to transfer a design to the egg.

I put the egg  in yellow dye briefly so it would be a soft color underneath the tape. Then I let it dry completely before I applied the tape design, rubbing it softly to make sure it would not slip off. First I dipped the egg with the design in a warm green. After a bit I removed it & let it dry. Then I added a few more sticky stencils then I let it sit in the cooler almost jade green dye.

The fun thing about using the tape over the eggs is that  the dye will leak under it a bit…fairly randomly & when it does it gives the area  a sort of tie dyed look. We all got pretty creative here but I may have gone over board. Once I get an idea in my head I have to try it. That is why I have an animal print egg & a few abstract eggs to go alone with my floral designed eggs.

My children & I have  not spent this much time dying eggs in a very long while. It was nice to let our creative juices flow & just enjoy a project without feeling like we had to hurry to move on to the next thing.  For me doing this kind of casual design that is for no one but myself is a great way to recharge my battery so I can tackle the bigger more serious design stuff. It is as good for me as meditation.

If you still haven’t dyed your Easter eggs yet & are looking for a way to mix it up a bit give this a try. I would love to know how they turn out. Happy Easter for all of you Easter celebrators!

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