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Spring Is Right Around The Corner…

24 Jan

No really. It is!

Night Snow

Never mind that we have almost two full months of winter left, I know that spring is coming because I am booking up like crazy. When the holiday decorations are all put away and people start to look at their homes in their natural state, they often decide it’s the right time to call a designer. After five years of being in business, I am always my busiest this time of year (and in the fall when people start to think about holiday decorations or hosting and realize they want to make some changes). This is also the time of year I head back to the classroom, which is really ENERGIZING. It’s  a nice shift away from holiday-mode to return to stacks of paper on your desk and lots of new projects to tackle.

And though I love crafts, it’s nice to not have to scramble for something to keep little hands busy every single day. Though we did have fun with beet stamping one night a few weeks ago…

Beet Stamping

 

 

To shift back to work-mode, one of the projects I’m working on has this fantastic mix of rustic and glam materials: it’s a master bath in a single-family historic home in NW DC. Here is a super messy, in-progress sneak-peek that shows the incredible shower floor. I love being able to see the sleek new marble, the earthy river rock floor, and the original woodwork all in the same frame.

In Progress

Other projects include a bunch of color consultations (blog post to come on my most popular colors of 2013), two new homes, a kitchen renovation, and an institutional commercial project that I don’t have quite enough info to talk about yet.

I’m not sure right now if I’ll ever get back to “regular” blogging, but I’ll do my best to update as I can. It’s good to be busy!

My new year resolution is to take more in-progress and finished photos, so let’s hope I stick to it!

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

 

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Lots! Of! Baking!

20 Dec

One of my favorite things about the holidays is all of the baking and candy making. And believe me, we have been doing a lot of baking and candy making around here lately. Also, because I’m approximately 20% hipster, I have been instagramming all of it. Take a look:

 

Mint Chocolates: A first this year, and I definitely don’t regret it. I used this recipe.

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Oreo Truffles: These are messy. But worth it. I use a process similar to this one, and use Wilton candy melts (from Michael’s). Oreo Truffles

 

Toffee: This is the easiest toffee I’ve ever made. It’s literally 2 sticks of melted butter, 1 cup of packed brown sugar (light or dark), stirred constantly until it reaches 300 degrees (or 305 if you suspect your candy thermometer isn’t calibrated correctly, like I do, but you’re too stubborn to test it by boiling water). Then you pour it over nuts and sprinkle it with chocolate chips. That’s it.

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Rum Cakes: The classic Bacardi recipe, except in little loaf pans (which bake in about half the time).

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I even made a gingerbread house! Truly, just me, because at this particular annual gingerbread house making party, no kids are allowed. (Is that bad?)

Gingerbread House!

 

Hope you’re having as much festive fun as I am! …I suspect there will be a lot more of it, because my son is now home from school for more than two weeks. Wish me luck!

 

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Original Fabric Designs from Spoonflower

19 Dec

I just wrapped up another semester with my graduate students, and as usual, much of their work was very impressive and my creativity is recharged from being in the classroom.

One of the projects that my students engaged in this fall was the creation of a series of original textile repeats with digital design software. After they made tweak after tweak, we had them produced in the flesh by Spoonflower. Spoonflower is a textile company based on North Carolina, and they allow users to upload original designs and have them printed onto one of the many fabrics they work with for a pretty reasonable cost: it is a fantastic tool for me to use in the classroom, because it makes the designs that my students work so hard on come to life in a way that is motivating and full-circle.

We ordered a sampler, which is 30, 8” x 8” inch samples of fabric printed on one yard (for under $40 – can you believe it!?). Each of their original repeats appears 4 times, as they were uploaded at a 4” x 4” size. This was the sampler before we cut it, all laid out in its colorful splendor on my living room floor:

Spoonflower Sampler

Spoonflower Samples

Here are some of the details of the samples, after I cut them up and pinned them up to create on-the-spot coordinated collections in class. For those of you who have used Adobe Illustrator, you will appreciate that it is no small feat that many of these students had no prior experience with the software, and in about 15 weeks, they became masters of the Pen Tool. I am very, very proud of them.

Spoonflower Samples

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Spoonflower Samples

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When I was in graduate school, one of the most magical things was seeing your work come to life, which isn’t always possible when you’re working with buildings and rooms and furniture and fabric. So obviously,  I’m really elated that the students I work with in digital design can see their own textile designs take shape so easily. Now they can design fabrics and order them by the yard if they wish to!

If you’re interested in any of their creations, send me an email so that I can put you in touch with the designer: Spoonflower sells any public users’ fabrics by the yard, however, to protect their privacy, I did not upload any of the designs used in class as “public” designs.

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Sticky Frog Advent Calendar!

2 Dec

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Before I get into the point of this post, let me make two things clear.

1.) Between Thanksgiving and early January, my work schedule is typically a bit lighter. Partly because people are less likely to want to take on big home projects during the holidays, and partly by my own design (because I like to be more present during the holidays, and with my son having a whopping almost 20 days off of school, I need to be!). So, during the next month or so, this blog will naturally become less about decorating and design and more about crafting and kid and holiday themes.

2.) I love chalkboard paint. So if you don’t, you’re in the wrong place.

Phew. I’m glad we’ve gotten that out of the way. Now I’ll start:

I wanted to make my 4 year old son an advent calendar this year, and last week, I sent my husband and email detailing all the little gifts we could give him. He pointed out, and I think rightfully so, that it was too much stuff, which is something we struggle with having a little kid. So we decided we could still do the advent calendar without deluging him with 24 different knick-knacks that he’d never appreciate or use (and inevitably, lose). I ultimately decided to draw the calendar on the new/temporary chalk wall we have, and every day we’ll put a new sticky-frog on the date. Remember those? You throw them, and they stick to the walls. And the tv. And the stair railing. And the picture frames. And your parents’ legs. And hopefully not the sprinklers on the ceiling.

Sticky Frog Advent Calendar

For demonstration purposes, I’ve put the frogs on each number: in real life, there’s no way this would work, as my son would remove every single frog on day 1. But he sure does look forward to coming down every morning and finding out which color his frog will be. Is it his “first favorite color” (orange)? Or his “second favorite color” (purple)? Who knows.

Sticky Frog Advent Calendar

 

This works really well for our family because it manages the junk and tames my son’s sense of preschooler-I-want-it-entitlement.  I may even be “fun mom” and put a piece of candy up there one day. Maybe.

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

DIY Paper Fortune Cookies!

26 Nov

I posted a picture to Instagram a few weeks ago of some DIY paper fortune cookies that I made. A few people have asked how to make them.

DIY Paper Fortune Cookies!

The good news is, they could NOT be easier to assemble! If you have paper and a glue gun, it’ll take you less than 5 minutes to make a few.

Here’s a how-to…

DIY Fortune Cookies!

Didn’t I tell you that was easy? If you don’t have a glue gun (Wait: how can you NOT have a glue gun?) you could use a dot of regular glue, but I can’t stand holding paper together until glue dries so I use hot glue. I also glued a lot of the “prizes” to the inside of the “cookie”; folded paper (messages, bills) tends to stick just fine, but other things will fall right out.

We’re going to have them as part of our place-setting for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait!

DIY Fortune Cookies

If you find my paper choices gaudy, I should explain that I chose patterns that correspond to certain family members’ interests. I am MUCH more fond of fun than formality.

Enjoy this super easy and festive craft!

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Happy Monday!

25 Nov

This weekend was a good one. I’ve been pretty sick (cold, cough, more coughing, bruised or cracked rib from coughing, horribly painful coughing, more coughing…) but am finally feeling MUCH better, and it was nice to have a break from a month of feeling yucky.

I wanted to share a few pictures from the weekend that I thought were fun. First of all, I was inspired by this DIY paper-bow tutorial I saw on Pinterest. It’s not in English, but it’s very easy to follow via the pictures, which are below.

DIY Paper Bows

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We made a few bows, and then we put one on the cat. Because why not.

 

Cat Bowtie

 

On Sunday, a long-time client of mine had a rug show at her gorgeous home. I snapped this photo of some of the rugs and a guest’s perfectly color-coordinated shoes.

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Colors make me so happy. And so do bespoke cat accessories.

Enjoy the week!

 

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

You Do What You Can With What You Have: Holiday Decorating Edition.

20 Nov

Many of my friends and most of my neighbors are aware of the ever-present, pretty annoying, long-lasting construction project going on in my condo right now. To make a long story short, the building has some issues with waterproofing that are a result of not very detail oriented initial construction, and we’re in the midst of what we’re hoping is the final fix. Also, Pro-Tip: When installing window flashing, you want to position it so that it directs water outward, toward the facade, and not inward, toward YOUR HOUSE.

So now that we’ve covered that, let me explain…

About a month ago we were graced with this lovely tent.

Do What You Can WIth What you Have: The Holiday Decorating Edition!

Not only did it compromise the lovely light that we get through this hugely awesome window, but it upset my son because it exists in his “play station.” He came home from school and charged it like a linebacker. Not good. Though I can attest that it’s a pretty sturdy bubble. 

After about a month, they realized the existing windows will no longer work, so the search is on for new, custom, apparently very hard to find windows. I am no stranger to custom items, long lead times, and construction hassle. But ugh. And it was getting cold in here. So in this windowless hole, they put up a temporary insulated wall, which will grace our condo with its presence until the new year, when the new windows are finally here. It’s heinous.

Do What You Can WIth What you Have: The Holiday Decorating Edition!

My first thought was: MY HOUSE IS GOING TO BE SO UGLY FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  My second though a few seconds later was “Can I paint this?” So I asked a guy standing around and he said I could. Before he had time to go ask someone who could say “no” I painted it. With chalkboard paint. Bear with me here on this big black box…

Do What You Can WIth What you Have: The Holiday Decorating Edition!

I had about 1/3 of a quart left, and I used every single bit of it. The best thing about chalkboard paint is that one coat is enough, and if you do a spotty job, you’ll never know because the first time you use it you create an imperfect, cloudy/chalky finish.

I strung up some lights, and then my son went to town with the chalk.  The first thing he did was get a chair, climb up on it, and draw a sun and clouds. “Because they’re up high.”

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I’m really liking this “new” look. We’ll “Christmas-ize” it in a few weeks, and I think it will be a lot of fun. I might even miss it when it goes. Maybe. I might. We’ll see. I have to admit my craftsmanship is at 75%, but hey, it’s fun.

Just wanted to share this fun project, which turned a disaster into a fun, temporary installation!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.