Cottage in the snow

Its nearly too late to write anything about snow, but this cottage is just too colorful to not write about it.
It is -oh -so red (one of my all-time favorite colors) and I love it. The house is energetic, cozy, warm and it has more Ikea-furniture in it, than you might imagine with just a short glance in it. ...so I can dream about all these colors, the huge windows, which let every light in and let the snow shine even more and the warm fireplace on which you can return after a day in the woods... and I can even find 'my' red woolen Ikea-Carpet on one of the pictures. (Just that this one is still much better looking, because the owners obviously don't have cats, there... ;)

Pictures from 'Decormag No. 380'


These pictures are also from the 'Decormag No. 380'. They are showing some very colorfull tendencies for design in 2009 – fresh from the furniture fair in Milan.

Like you can see, it's all about Patchwork...and this is not just because its a nice crafty project or because the fabric was still at home...
No, the new patchwork pieces are funny, colorful with cartoon motifs, black and white graphics, fairytale figures and designer sketches mixed with traditional jacquard pattern and therefore, they are looking like crazy pieces of art by themselves.
And its not just any longer the small pillow or throw... nowadays, its all about chairs and other living room furniture.. like light fixtures, carpets, kitchen accessories and even complete beds....
In every case, they are great conversation pieces... to discuss on them and about... =)



Since longer time I'm posting pictures from 'Decormag', now finally I want to show the magazine by itself:

I'm reading 'Le premier magazine de décoration au Québec' Number 380. It took some time for me to read it through, because my French is -if existing at all- just a basic school version and it was nearly never in use. But, I loved the magazine, the ideas and colors.
It was more innovative than anything else I read until now in northern America. And it is a nice break from the monochrome “Hotelroom-Perfect -Look” which other magazines seem to prefer and to see actual real living, breathing homes, again. It gave me so many new ideas and inspirations, what to do with my blog and also with my own art projects.

This one and the two posts above are the last from the mag and then its going on with new stuff, pakka ... ;-)
The two pictures are showing shopping ideas from Montreal and a special green furniture for the garden from cinqcinqdesigners.



By accident I found this crafted picture with such colorful mushrooms, flowers and little 'pom-pom' balls in the second hand-store and I was thinking for a while, whether I like the picture or not... Finally, I decided that I do like it, because it looks a bit nostalgic and friendly in its for mushrooms uncommon spring colors, but nevertheless I was letting it there for a lucky new owner and was just making this photo...
But, I was curious what other kind of crafts projects were possible with mushroom motifs, although I know, that the theme is a bit out of the season... and while searching in Google images for available mushroom crafts, I found a lot of interesting ideas and colorful mushroom houses, which are just making me happy ....
I even found easter eggs with mushrooms.. so I would say.. Actually, they are never out of season ... ;-)


This week I love...

...these white armchairs with the black shadow print of traditional chair types.
The idea is maybe not the latest one, since people are hanging pictures of bathtubs in their washrooms and pictures of kitchen utensils in their kitchen, but it is made in a very simple, yet charming way and it looks very French, as well. ;-) ....(from Maison Corbeil)


Dreaming of summer

I am dreaming of a nice sunny summer day to have a picnic outside in the park with lots of family and friends around and of course lots and lots of balloons

but blue balloons are even better...

and they are matching perfectly with red dotted furniture.... (lots of dots... )

now, you just need the right music and your day is complete... :-)


Easy Details III - from New to Old with wood wax

When we moved into our flat we got some of our furniture from a colleague of my husband who moved to Spain and sold his whole household.
For our kitchen we got these very simple IKEA-chairs and table from him. They already had been two years in use and the pine wood was darkened in different brownish-yellow tones. It just didn't looked that fresh any longer.
For sometime I was thinking what to do with it, coloring it opaque or just a thin layer of white to let it look fresher again... One day in the deepest winter I found the solution at 'Canadian Tire'. The product is named PolyShades from Minwax and its available in a wide variation of wood colors.
It is an all-in-one product, so you don't need to work with a primer, a stain and a clear finish... and you have everything in one working process. Just when your furniture is already colored you might need to prepare it with sand paper, but our furniture was completely natural wood.
We decided to buy the color: Antique walnut gloss (the gloss was worth some discussion between my husband and me because it doesn't look that natural any longer, when its glossy, but I wanted it shining... ;-)
Then I just had to wait for warmer days, because we don't have a place inside to work with bad smelling chemicals and even holding the cats away from it.
At least my cats were very nicely preparing the chairs for the antique look, with a large number of scratches and small needle prints. If you want your furniture to look older, after waxing it and you don't have any cats available, you can also scratch with a knife, needle, hammer what ever destruction you are thinking about. These points will look darker much darker than the rest of the wood, after the waxing.

Last Sunday finally, it was warm enough to work outside and I painted all my chairs, the table, two picture frames and a fruit bowl in the same glossy walnut tone. I needed two hours for it and then it dried for one hour more and everything was done....
I really like my kitchen furniture now... Do you see how different the colors shine in the sun?


Agenda 2009

This is also from the Decormag and shows, how I would say in a very charming way all major home design developments, which we can expect in 2009... :-)


What would you do, when you have too much time and
no idea what to do with these plenty of free time?
For example, you could sew a rice bag on a pillow cover.
What you will get? Hmm, yes, a rice bag on a pillow cover, what else ...but at least you were not throwing it away ;)


Paisley Pattern and Kashmir Shawls

My first memory about a paisley pattern was a shawl my mum was owning, when I was still pretty young. It was a red shawl with a blue and multicolored texture and I really liked it.
I didn't wanted to wear it by myself, I thought it's something what older people were wearing, but I liked to look at it and study the complexity of the color and pattern.
My mum told me, that this is called Paisley-Pattern and even when it is an English town, actually these kind of pattern came from India.
I guess this was even more fascinating and exotic for me.
As I grew up, I forgot about the shawl and started liking monochrome things much more than patterned.
But, in recent years more and more products were coming up, on the market with a fresh modern interpretation of the old style, that finally I wasn't able to ignore all this colorful dishes, pillows, tablecloths, clocks and wallpapers any longer and so I started from the very beginning of my own rediscovery by learning about the pattern by itself:

From the the author Meg Andrews at Victoriana.com is a very good introduction in the history of the pattern online available, I defiantly learned a lot about production methods and development and of course also, how 'the' paisley got its name and would like to sum up the new learned knowledge in the following:

Paisley shawls, directly from Kashmir or woven in Europe, were highly in Fashion, for around 100 years, between 1780 till 1870. Later the pattern got rediscovered by the 'hippie'-movement, because of its psychedelic look in the 1970s and around thirty years later it started making a slow comeback, but this time more often in home fabrics and designs, than in clothes and shawls.

It all started with the East India Company. The people from military and traders were bringing Kashmir shawls back home and it became an expensive trend.
The European Manufacturers began to weave and print such patterns by themselves, to make it less expensive and because in the town of Paisley were the most shawls produced and over the largest period of time, the name of the pattern became synonymous with this Scottish town.

The Motif
In the very beginning, the motif was a flowering plants with roots, this developed later into a spray of flowers, which finally became the stylized cone-shape motif, which has the name: Botey or Paisley pine.
This pattern can be followed back in time, until the ancient Babylon, were it symbolized the first green of a date palm. As the palm provided food, water and shelter in the desert area it was considered to be the tree of life and the pattern got also recognized as a fertility symbol.

The Kashmir Shawl
These shawls were made since the eleventh century, but the industry began 500 years later. The word shawl comes from the Persian word shal, which means a woven fabric. Especially under the rule of the Mughals since 1586 the arts blossomed and the shawl industry grew. As a weaver was working around three years to complete one shawl, a shawl was considered to be a very prestigious symbol, which demonstrated the wealth and class of a man and therefore his family. With the increasing European demands, the production methods changed and later several people were weaving small pieces which got sewed together in a patchwork or embroidered. One shawls of this kind was then able to be finished in 15 days.

The shawls were made from goat hair, which is soft and light and has a natural sheen in it. The finest, softest quality comes from the central Asian wild goats, which is called Shah-Tus (King's Wool). It is from the underbelly of these goats and allows them a protective layer against the cold in extreme altitudes of the Himalaya. In spring the goats rubbed themselves against bushes to get a lighter fur for summer, then these wool got collected and was only used for the most expensive shawls. The more common quality was from the domestic goat, the Pashmina goat.

European Methods
Even with the better developed industry in Kashmir, the demands were not able to be satisfied in Europe.
So in many European countries, the manufactures started to imitate Kashmir shawls. One of the first producers was Edinburgh in 1790, Paisley followed 15 years later. In 1812 Paisley introduced an attachment to the hand loom which allowed them to weave in five different colors of yarn, so that they were able to copy the shawls much better.
The European shawls were woven in silk and wool and therefore pretty heavy. The early shawls needed a vertical thread of cotton or silk and a pattern thread of wool... just wool would have made it lighter, but it wasn't stable enough. But then the French invented a fine wool fiber, which was spun around a silk core and so it was possible to make much lighter whole wool shawls, then. Also from France came the invention of the Jacquard loom at the nineteenth century.
Before 1820, the weavers needed a draw boy, who took care of the pattern. The Jacquard Loom then, was using punched cards, which eliminated human error, made the work easier and it was possible to copy any wished pattern in many colors. Due to this, the circumstances of the weavers changed. Until 1820, it was mostly one male weaver with his helpers, who lived and worked in a small house and were weaving, designing and selling by himself. With the new technique the cottage industry changed into a factory based one.

Changes in Fashion
In 100 years, the fashion changed a lot and also the needed shawl for it.
In 1770-1810 simple white muslin dresses were in fashion. They were accomplished by simple, long light stoles with narrow borders The centers were either plain or had a small repeating pattern.
In 1820 with the introduction of the Jacquard loom, the shawls became bolder in designs and color. The dresses started requiring a larger shawl.
In the 1830s the skirts of the women got larger. In this time the shawl became less expensive and highly popular and every better class women needed at least one. In Scotland it became a tradition, that the shawls were worn to church on the first Sunday after the wedding.
From 1840s-75 the skirts had a crinoline (wire underskirt) and it was difficult to wear a coat above these skirts. Therefore the most people preferred wearing a shawl and so the shawls (or plaids) were made that large, that they were able to cover the skirt as well.
There were also a large variation of printed shawls available. Especially for evening wear a printed silk shawl was the more preferable option. While printing it, for example with roller prints, it was possible to produce an infinite number of designs. During this time millions of shawls were printed for the mass market in clear vibrant colors.
This mass market finally also brought the end to the 100 year old trend.
Once the shawls were affordable for every women with a price of just a few shillings, they fell out of fashion...


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