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For the First Time Ever, Loving the Mess!

Hate to see a messy table? You just might like this one. AZE Design‘s “MESSY” project brings back the idea of really spending time at the table as a social event. For many of us, meals are taken on the go, alone or in the car – the Messy tablecloth wants to remind us that a meal is an opportunity to spend time together. For breakfast or for dinner, MESSY is a reminder that meals are best shared, even if that means things get a bit messy in the process.

Finally, a spill I don't have to worry about

Messy breaky, yum

AZE Design is a polish design studio established in 2006 by Anna Kotowicz and Artur Puszkarewicz, with a focus on combining traditional handicraft techniques – hello, embroidery! – with contemporary materials and processes. Kotowicz and Puszkarewicz practice what they call MINDMADE design, which aims to transform everyday situations into usable art. In this case, I’d say they’ve succeeded beautifully!

Everything Old (Can Be) New Again!

When it comes to amazing couch reupholstery, you can’t beat Susan’s primo DIY job! The hip chick from Freshly Picked managed to turn this:

Into this:

And apparently she learned to do it as part of a class she took with her husband. Lucky? I would SO like to take my boring little family room loveseat and turn it into something amazing. Want a little peek into how it was done, then look no further. Here’s a sweet time-lapse video of the couch during nine two-hour classes:

Have you ever tackled a DIY project on such a massive scale? Because I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

NtB Loves Corita Rose of Dorset, England

And how could I not? Corita Rose designs amazing cotton and velvet fabrics full of bright colors and striking patterns that look as great on a couch as they do when they become a curtain.

I can’t get enough of their heraldic and folk-inspired imagery, and you can even see something of classic tattoo art in Corita Rose’s designs. If, like me, you love color and iconic patterns, then you should definitely cruise by their web site!

Inspiration: Roses

Roses have long played a role in home decor and decorating. As standalone embellishments – cut roses or rose bushes – the rose has been the front-runner of all the flowers in the world for a centuries. In paintings, carvings, and textiles, roses began appearing (along with other blooms) with regularity in something like the 17th century. And why not? Images of roses are gorgeous whether they’ve been captures true to life or in stylized fashion, in 2D or 3D. Plus, as decor goes, roses tend to be timeless. Not every rose curtain or wallpaper will stand up to the passage of years, of course, but the iconic rose will certainly do so. Love roses? Me, too, which is why I put together a little inspiration for us to share.




NtB Loves: Nina Campbell

Nina Campbell, the world-renowned interior designer, is known for her beautiful interiors, as well as for her collections of fabrics, wallpapers, accessories, carpets and home fragrance. She is not known for being inexpensive, which is why so much of her furniture is listed as “price available upon request.” That’s how you know something is pretty expensive. I guess they figure that the peons won’t waste their time if they make the price listing sound so exclusive (and so vaguely ominous). Aaaanyway, the luxurious meets the practical in Campbell’s furnishings and wallpaper, all of which are gorgeous. Here’s a sampling for you to drool over:

NtB Loves: Chocolate Creative

South London interdisciplinary designer Margarita Lorenzo is my new favorite human being, and it’s all because of her pillows. What’s not to like? Handmade throw pillows that use sustainable fabrics, feature kitschy vintage patterns, and are hand sewn so each is unique are her signature product.

throw pillows

Aren’t they just too adorable? They’re also a wee bit expensive, but those are the prices you tend to see when you’re looking for goods not made in some big, honkin’ factory. Find them at Chocolate Creative, Lorenzo’s shop, or see more on her Flickr page or in her blog.

Needle In a Haystack

Anyone who’s ever tried to and/or succeeded at completing a sewing projects know that the use of pins frequently leads to dropped pins and lost pins and pricked fingers. Sewing is a dangerous game, best attempted with all the right tools. Tools like magnets for retrieving dropped pins from slippery floors that don’t allow for purchase and, naturally, the classic pincushion, which keeps pins corralled as well now as it did forever ago.

I’ve been told that making one’s own pincushion is easy-peasy, but not many people actually have time to sit down and whip up their own homemade pincushions *before* starting the sewing projects building up on their to-do lists. At least that’s how I feel! So for all the sewers like me, here’s a roundup of some totally gorgeous and not at all lame pincushions I found on Etsy.

vintage pincushions 4

These adorable pumpkin styled pincushions from Bondgirl Quilter are made from high quality cotton retro print fabrics and ultra suede trim. The final touch is the antique button that marks the center.

vintage pincushions

Isn’t this clever? Wonderful vintage 70s cappuccino cups turn into pincushions when paired with bright, cheerful fabrics. Available at Ants Accessories.

vintage pincushions 2

Here we have a sweet pottery dog egg cup with a pouf top for your pins from Sweet Scarlett. Yes, it’s cute, which is why I included it, but does it not look just a bit like the pins are sticking out of his exposed brain?

vintage pincushions 3

A delightful bird pin embellishes this pretty shabby chic pincushion created and sold by Sew Creatively Sweet. At just $4, you can’t beat the price, and if you were thinking of making your own pincushion, isn’t your time worth $4?

vintage pincushions 5

Coordinating ribbons and buttons turn tiny tin buckets into super itty-bitty pincushions. Chocolate Cupcake made this one using gorgeous red and white polka dot fabric for the pincushion, with safety filling inside.

vintage pincushions 6

A pincushion pair from Retro Mama is the perfect addition to the sewing room, table display, or play kitchen. With a classic retro shape, this plush pear features a gorgeous royal blue daisy bunch print by Denyse Schmidt, paired with a super retro orange Pez print by American Jane.

vintage pincushions 7

Finally, though they might be a tad dorkalicious, these prickly pear pincushions from Pretty Little Things are just too stupid cute not to include. They’re perfect for those of us whose black thumb kills everything from spider plants to the hardiest of succulents.


We’re already in the habit of throwing old quilts over the furniture to protect everything from cat hair, so is it any surprise I’m digging on patchwork furniture? I swear I run the vacuum and the Roomba daily, but our cats are like tarantulas, defensively ejecting their hair everywhere. I’m not sure what it accomplishes, but it sure seems to satisfy them. So, quilts. I’m thinking patchwork couches and chairs would save us a step (though not the need to vacuum hourly).

patchwork furniture

Want to be all patchy-patchy? Try Squint Limited, makers of all things rocking the patchwork look. This isn’t your grandma’s patchwork, however. It’s bright and bold and fun and not at all dowdy.

patchwork couch 2

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with grandma’s couch or something like it. A patchwork daybed, perhaps — easy to do with nothing more than a throw!

patchwork chair

Depending on how DIY proficient you are, you could try your hand at a patchwork reupholster project. Find a sturdy free chair, and you’ve got yourself something sweet on the cheap.

patchwork couch

Big patchwork squares are balanced with little patchwork squares from Bazaar Style: Decorating With Market and Vintage Finds by Selina Lake (a very fun book, if I may say so).

patchwork furniture 2

A traditionally-shaped couch gets a new look with beautiful patchwork fabrics in the home of Mark Homewood, a buyer for interiors and textile company Designers Guild. I love how it’s set in an otherwise modern living area. (via)

Check Check Check!

gingham ceiling

Blue gingham on the ceiling? Zowie! A wallpapered ceiling provides the foil for the stenciled painted floor below in this kitchen featured in Coastal Living.

gingham chair covers

Blue gingham is used a bit more traditionally in this French country dining room found on Vintage Amethyst. It’s a little overwhelmingly country-country-country for my tastes, but I’m loving the distressed dining table paired with the gingham.

gingham headboard

Upholstered headboards and footboards rock my world, if only because I grew up with one. Blue gingham makes this bed the focal point of the space in this bedroom from Belle Maison.

gingham plates

Finally, note that loving blue gingham doesn’t have to mean investing in new wallpaper or buying a new bed. These blue gingham plates from La Plates feature pretty monograms and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

To incorporate a little blue gingham into your own life, click on any of the pics below!

gingham flatwaregingham lettergingham sneakers
gingham tea towelsgingham platesgingham oven mitt

Paint a Canvas Floorcloth

Let’s say you don’t have a thousand or so bucks lying around to spend on the perfect rug. You can forget all about it or lust after the rug from afar. You can look high and low for a cheaper version of the rug you really want. Or you can approach your little rug funding problem with the DIY spirit.

canvas floor covering

While I don’t know how feasible it is to dye a rug or draw on a rug, an artfully painted canvas floorcloth can stand in for other kinds of floor covering and are easy for the novice to tackle. So, floorcloths… right now you may be saying “Huh?” Which is okay, because I wasn’t aware that floorcloths existed either. Here’s the skinny:

The floorcloth originated in France and became popular in American in the early 1700s. At that time the floorcloth was made from recycled ships sails and the use was utilitarian. In early American colonies they were used to cover bare wooden floors or sometimes dirt floors. After being used for so long as a necessity, they eventually lost their popularity with the arrival of linoleum flooring.

The floorcloth eventually made a comeback but with a revamped attitude. Today’s floorcloth is not for necessity, but rather as a piece of artwork for the floor. The design is only limited by the imagination. Floorcloths are usually made from a heavyweight cotton duck canvas. Despite the fact their beauty comes from water-based paints, floorcloths are durable. The paint is sealed with several layers of water-based varnish so the floorcloth can just be wiped clean.

How’s it done? First, you need to acquire a piece of canvas — it is possible to buy pre-cut rug sizes that are already primed. If it’s unprimed, you’ll have to hit it with a layer of gesso and then a layer of latex paint, allowing for a 2-inch hem all around. Note that you’ll still need to apply the latex layer even if you buy pre-primed canvas. The next step is painting your canvas floorcloth with whatever design you like. You can rock ‘n’ roll freehand, use a stencil, or have someone who’s a better artist than yourself sketch out a design before you paint. Then you’ll need to seal your canvas floorcloth with a few layers of acrylic (non-yellowing) matte varnish. Finally, apply paste wax for a nice soft sheen.

Descriptions of canvas floorcloths don’t do justice to them. Check out this gallery of stenciled floorcloths for ideas and inspiration!

(Again, via Sterlingspider, who is awesome.)

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