Friday, April 30, 2010

Rescued from the dumpster update #2

I've been super busy here and April almost slipped away before I was able to post the after shots of my first chair project.  Here it is finished in a natural eco-linen...

For this chair I chose a natural linen from Pindler & Pindler that is sustainably manufactured and has been certified eco-friendly. It is extremely soft to the touch and feels super cozy... like a favorite sweater.

I've had several people inquire lately about reupholstering their existing pieces, so I thought I would do a quick post on the advantages and disadvantages.  First, let me say that I am a HUGE fan of re-using.  I love the idea not just from an environmental perspective, but because it is those unique pieces with a story that help define a space.  Homes should be a reflection of the people who live in them, expressing their personality and style.  So if you have a piece that you LOVE, by all means try to re-use it, whether it has sentimental value or it just has a great feel.  However, be warned that if the main reason you are thinking about reupholstering a piece is to save money you may be disappointed.  By the time you purchase fabric and pay for the labor, you could often buy new.     

Here are some questions to ask when considering reupholstering a piece.
  • Is the original furniture piece of exceptional quality or value?  
  • Does it have sentimental value?  
  • Is it a unique shape, style, or size that is hard to find?
  • Is it super comfortable?  
If you answered yes to any of the above than it might be worth investing in having it reupholstered.

If you decide that it is a piece worth reupholstering the next step will be to choose a fabric and decide on the details such as tufting, welts, buttons, pillows, type of fill for the cushions, and determine if the frame will need to be touched up or re-finished.   Both the fabric selection and treatment of details can dramatically change the look of the finished piece.  You can tie pieces of different styles together with complimentary patterns or give a traditional frame a contemporary look.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ahhh... Mexico

I've been home now for a week and today especially, I am missing the relaxed pace, vibrant colors, and empty beaches of Baja.  We made a trip back down to our favorite little town, Todos Santos, for a few days of relaxation.  However our real reason for the trip was to try to decide what to do with the property we have there just outside of town.  We hadn't been down for a few years, after returning from France time has slipped by, and we had heard and read (thanks New York Times and all of you who forwarded me the latest article) that there has been a good deal of new development around Todos Santos.  Maybe the silver lining to the economic slowdown is that the pace of development in Todos Santos appears to have slowed from the breakneck speed of the previous few years and the town has managed to hold onto the dusty charm that made it so attractive to us in the first place. 


We are thinking of moving forward and building a little getaway so now comes the fun part... 

Do we stay true to the town's Spanish Colonial architecture...

images via Veranda

Or do something a little more contemporary...

images via Mikkel Vang.  
Thank you to Greige for introducing me to his photography

Or think minimalist...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day Continued...

Looking for more ways to continue celebrating earth day? Here are a few things to check out this weekend in our neighborhood...
The 21st Annual Southern California
Spring Garden Show
April 22 -25, 2010
South Coast Plaza

Find everything you need to start a garden of your own. From vegetables to california natives, worm composters and the garden tools you will need to get started digging in the earth.  No green thumb?  No worries!  Connect with professional landscapers, or visit the Ecology Center's garden to pick up information on their back yard skills workshops.  Molly Wood Garden Design, one of my favorite garden shops is in attendance with plenty of potted succulents that are ready for you to bring home and enjoy today.

The Ecology Center
32701 Alipaz St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Saturday - Sunday 11am - 4pm

Visit The Ecology Center to see their magnificent garden of california natives and edibles.  While you are there sign up to become member and find out about volunteer opportunities, or sign up to attend one of their Backyard Skills workshops.  This is a great resource for green living in our community.

Newport Beach Film Festival
180 South
Saturday, April 24 1pm
The Studio at Sage Hill
to buy tickets tickets:

Don't miss your chance to view this documentary by Chris Malloy documenting the 5000 mile epic expedition to Patagonia by Doug Tomkins & Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and one of the pioneering environmentalists of our time.  In 1968 Chouinard and Tomkins loaded up a second hand van and headed south from Ventura  on the adventure of their lives.

The Volcom LEAF Awards and Screening Event
LEAF (Leaders of Environmental Action Films)
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center

Come out to this free event to celebrate the winners of a the LEAF Ecommercial Contest.  Orange County high school students were challenged to create 30 or 60 second "ecommercials" focused on raising awareness around environmental issues.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Here are a few of what will be this years crop...  organic heirloom tomato plants started from seed.  I am looking forward to getting them in the ground soon and then enjoying fresh tomatoes all summer long!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rescued form the dumpster update

I opened the mail today and flipped through the latest Anthropologie catalog and came across this photo which triggered me to post an update on my re-purposed chair project.

image from Anthropologie

As this is my next chair...

I've been using this fun chair in my office since picking it up at the Santa Monica flea market in January.  As you can see the original seat has several large rips in it.  I love the retro style of the chair but in addition to needing to be recovered, the foam cushion is officially kaput... and no amount of yoga can make up for endless hours spent everyday in an uncomfortable chair.

In staying true to the spirit of the project, after replacing the foam seat,  I am going to re-upholster this chair using one of the re-purposed vintage linen grain sacks that I have left in stock.

Stay tuned for the after photos!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Breakfast made easy...

I had a few friends over for breakfast yesterday and made up a batch of granola to serve with the local organic strawberries that have just come into season.  I was asked for the recipe (if you can even call it that, it's so easy) and thought since I was typing it up I would share it here.

4 cups oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup raw seeds (I like pepitas)
2+ tablespoons unsalted butter
1+ tablespoon honey
pinch of salt (optional)

Combine oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut in a large bowl. Melt the butter and while hot stir in the honey. Pour butter over dry mixture and toss together until lightly coated. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and put in a 350* oven. After 10 minutes toss with a spatula and put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Let it cool and store in an airtight container.

Voila, it's that simple.

Of course you could substitute vegetable oil for the butter, but I think you will be disappointed!  Feel free to substitute your favorites for the almonds and pumpkin seeds, and you can always add more honey if you like it sweeter.  Serve with milk or yogurt.  I like to serve a bowl of mixed dried berries and raisins on the side but you could just as easily throw them in the jar too!