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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Birmingham Decorator ShowHouse- The Nerve Center of the Home

I have spent the last two months working in the Birmingham Decorator ShowHouse on a space I call the Nerve Center of the Home. The space is all about functional, practical design that is also, green design. It is a mix of modern, industrial, and vintage with whites and grey surrounding the pink and orange center piece of the space- the desk and chair.

pink and orange desk  Laurl Designs

Most of the items in the space are recycled, recyclable, or from a renewable resource... but nothing about the space looks any different from a less environmentally friendly space.

large dry erase board Laurl Designs

antique ceiling tiles Laurl Designs

These antique ceiling tiles have the original baked on finish which allows them to be used as a dry erase board, as well as a magnetic pin board!

antlers used in home decor Laurl Designs
Neutral greys with orange snakeskin rain boots! Natural elements like the sheepskin pillow and an antler as a tieback on the linen drapes soften the starkness of the modern space.

back hall nook  Laurl Designs
mud room  Laurl Designs

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Picking and grinnin'- by fave find this weekend

I haven't posted a fave find in a while. Once I found this set this weekend, it was a must post.

rice grain pattern dinnerware

This doozie is so large, I can keep part of it for take-out dinners and sell the rest! Hot and sour soup just got a bit fancier with this place serving for 12!

The pattern on these dishes is called Rice Grain because grains of rice is added in the clay before firing the piece. When the dishes are fired, the rice grain burns away leaving rice shaped holes in patterns which are filled in during the glazing process. This gives the pieces a translucent pattern all over, the addition of the decorative blue and white pattern is an added bonus.

Innovative design work from long ago!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils- review

I am super excited to be chosen to review the newly remastered formula for the Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils. I am serious about eyelashes, so to try a new product is a real treat. My fave mascara is L'Oreal's, tried and true, Voluminous- love the fluff brush and the thinkness of the product. Tarte is running a close second.

So, how does YSL compare to my faves. Let's start out with the obvious- cost. L'Oreal is about $8.00, Tarte is about $20 and YSL is $32. However, sometimes price is not the whole story. You do often get what you pay for! And, I think this might be one of those cases, in that I feel like I need to use less mascara to get the desired long-length effect. This is furthered by the fact that there is less black marks on my nightly cleansing cloth, than with L'Oreal or Tarte. So, the more expensive could be the better value.


Image on the left, YSL, image in the right, Tarte. This is a straight-up, clean faced image with no lash curling, which I normally do. And, only upper lashes.
P.S. it is very hard to get this close-up with your cellphone.


On the functioning front, the mascara has very little clumping, even after reapplying to "push the limits" and maintains the same fullness that I feel that I normally get. So, good coverage, no clumps. On the Fullness front... well... clumping is in it's own way fullness. The lack of clumping makes a lack of fat lashes. So, this mascara is for those with lots lashes that need length. As I have an on again off again relationship with lash serums, the lack off fullness is fine for now... The lash serum and I are currently best friends.

YSL mascara has also added a fragrance. I am of two minds on this. Why do I need added fragrance in my mascara, would it conflict with any fragrance I want to wear and is this fragrance supposed to have a specific quality, in an aromatherapy way, that enhances the make-up application process. The answers for me are, not really, the fragrance doesn't last very long, and it doesn't seem to have an aromatherapy spin. It's a light, not unpleasant smell.

Final vote- Would I buy it on a reg basis? no, I'm very loyal to L'Oreal. Would I buy it as a splurge? Probably, I like the product and it feels like a splurge. Could a splurge become a habit? yep.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 Birmingham Decorator show house

Perspective. Copyright: Laurl Designs
I am super excited to be chosen as one of the designers to participate in the 2015 Decorator show house! I am, also, really excited about the space I have been chosen to design.

I designed two spaces for the bidding process and which ever design I was working on was the design I loved best. So, I could not be happier to bring you the coolest "back hall" you will have seen!

To the left is a composite image of the space with the orange desk, vintage metal ceiling tiles on the wall, Sweater carpet from FLOR and black and white art work above the desk. The chair is the lead singer in this band! With a mix of pink and orange fabrics on a vintage chair of soft olive, she is a standout.

I am calling the back hall "the nerve center of the house" beacuse it is where you chart everyone's activities, plan meals, and organize life. And, organizing life can be messy at times, so I am adding organization tools that are cool, industrial and vintage and combining them with a classic desk that you can close when you don't want to see all the papers. The space can be used as a sitting area, as well as function in the more mundane back hall aspects, like storing the dog's leash and your coats.

Board 1. Copyright: Laurl Designs
Fun colors in pink and orange plays well with white and cream... and always a little lucite!

Best of all this space is about green design and great design. Beside the great design of function, function and function ( by the way the FUN in function is the colors), this space is designed to be budget friendly and green with each piece made from recycled materials, vintage (i.e. second hand) pieces, or from plant based materials and most are source locally. This space shows that green design doesn't have to be sterile and boring... or earthy and dirt colored.

Board 2. Copyright Laurl Designs
Luxe flokati rug over white bench with silver dipped legs, cool industrial coat rack and a custom file cabinet for storage .

Speaking of color, this space is color theory at work with bright colors to energize whomever is working in the space on possibly less than exciting tasks. Of course, bring colors and me together means pink and orange... or should I say PINK and ORANGE.  It's bright and tempered at the same time. It is neutralized by a lovely light olive and lots of shades of white. The whites and creams brings a freshness, light and a sense of better organization to calm the mind. Welcome to the "Nerve Center" of the 2015 Decorator Show House!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cleaning antique paper, archivally

Every once and while you run across a problem that takes special knowledge... knowledge that you should pay someone big bucks for, but you can only invest little bucks. I ran across one of those problems last month. I found a pair of lovely, hand-painted etching of fish from the late 1700's. They were part of a famous book (Allgemeine Naturgeschichte Der Fische by Block)  and had been removed- heart breaking to remove pages from a book, but that's another story.

These are beautiful and the one at the right even has a silver wash over it to create the iridescence of the fish. However, they were dirty, like dusty-type dirty, not actually soiled. I needed to have them cleaned, in an archival way, and my best bet was to drive over 2 hours to Atlanta and visit a paper restorer- BIG bucks.

But it was just the dirt I wanted to really remove, I could let the light water damage to the corner and a foxing spot stay. When I mentioned to a local framer that surely I could do a little research and do it myself he said, "could you read a book on baseball and throw a no hitter game?" Thanks Snarky Snarkington. It was then that I remembered why I do not use him very often to frame art.

Turns out there is very little on the web about cleaning antique paper. However, I know enough as a former librarian and trained artist, that there are accessible techniques.  I remember products for removing dirt, cleaning book covers, repairing paper, etc. from archival library supply websites and finally found it. It is called a Dry Cleaning Sponge- note that it is for cleaning dryly, not a product from the dry cleaning industry.

These "sponges" are actually vulcanized rubber foam, cut into squares. Vulcanization is a chemical process that turns goopy rubber into firm or hard rubber.

To use the sponge to clean/restore paper, simple lay the sponge on the paper and pull it across- with the grain and using little to no pressure. Turn the sponge to a clean spot on the sponge and do it again. Avoid any pencil marks that you do not want to erase. Start with the edge of the paper to test the process. Do the important parts last and sparingly.

When your sponge is dirty, clean with soap and water, let dry, and then you can use it again. I bought a twin pack so I could complete a project at one time.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Doily chargers or placemats

I am so often asked if my 12 inch doilies would work for a place mat or charger for wedding tables. And they do! Such a pretty, lacy edge around a 10 inch plate. They would be great as a whimsical addition to a Summer party, graduation party, or Mother's day tea!

So, I thought I would set up a simple table settings with new china and my Grandmother's antique china for comparison. All of these pieces are standard size- plates are 10 inches. The silverware is antique, so not the large restaurant size flatware.

Please click HERE to order you gold doilies!

Standard 10 inch plate with a salad plate on top

Standard 10 inch plate on 12 inch doily, such a pretty edge!

Grandmother china on 12 inch doily- place setting with soup bowl

Grandmother's china on 12 inch doily- simple place setting

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Twine collection from Owl and Thistle

I am super excited about my new Mid-Winter twine collection on Owl and Thistle! It is the Metallic Neutral collection and it's full of golds, silvers, creams and greys.
These novelty twines can be found HERE!
It is a mix of metallics and neutrals that looks great with kraft paper gift wrap and perfect for white paper.

But it is not limited to gift wrapping! Here's a round-up of great ideas from across the web to use twines with.

Fantastic altered book from Phizzychick

Or this cute Christmas card book. Instructions from Honey Bear Lane found here!
Novelty twines are a great accent mixed with yarn on a wreath like this from Family Chic by Camilla Fabbri
Post image for DIY Mini Wreaths: A Guest Post From Catherine Rising
Metallic neutral twines are perfect accents for a tiny wreath from Free People Blog
Wouldn't this little wreath be great on wedding reception tables!