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Chinoiserie Chic • Mid Century Modern • Palm Beach Regency Vintage Sales & Rentals


Filtering by Tag: DIY

Tuesday Ta Da!

LeAnn Stephenson

I am not, intrinsically, one of those people put in this world to meet deadlines.  Despite this handicap, I persist in trying.  I missed the reveal for the DIY upcycled champagne lamps on Makers Monday.  So, I thought I could try and save face and sneak by with a Tuesday Ta Da post to show you how they turned out, but unfortunately I committed to a four day show out of town last week and simply didn't finish what I started.  This serves as a brilliant illustration of how I've made a much closer acquaintance with over-committing than I am entirely happy with … 
So, basically, what I'm saying is … I got nothin.

Perhaps I can get my "To Do List" done by next Monday!

Photo courtesy A Pair of Pears

Retro Redo: Mid Century Credenza

LeAnn Stephenson

Recently, I had the pleasure of hiring the marvelously talented women of Evolve Media in Austin to help me brand my website, boost my social media marketing, and increase my search engine visibility.  Evolve Media's principal, Morgan Avary, and her marketing director, Shelley Schmidt, have analyzed my existing website, researched my niche in the vintage and antique industry, and have developed a two-part branding plan that will be implemented and launched within the next couple of weeks.  "Excited" really doesn't fully cover my enthusiasm and anticipation for this "strategies implementation!"  And, as if that wasn't enough, my company and I have had the added bonus of working together with Evolve Media in an interior design collaboration that will, in essense, brand Evolve Media from the inside out! This finished project is to serve as an example of how they create brand identities for their clients.  The plan is to take their company's color palette and implement it within their interior design.  This will further cement their corporate identity and serve as an example of just how far a business can take its branding strategies.

So, without further adieu, it's time for a little show and tell from the last few days of our collaboration. We started with a mid-century credenza that Miss Avary purchased from The Vintage Laundry's Prime Time Custom Collection. As it happens, my client is crazy for turquoise, and as a matter of fact, it is one of the hues in her company's corporate identity color scheme . . . so, of course, we had to use it on the credenza.

Some paint, a smooth surface roller, a drop cloth, an hour and a couple of creative minds, and Voila!, a stunning, totally reworked vintage credenza, ready to serve as their coffee bar in their common room.

Make sure and check back frequently to see the progress we are making on this venture!

Epic Facepalm: A Celebration of Fogetting and Frustration

LeAnn Stephenson

If you are unfamiliar with the word facepalm let me explain . . . . According to the Urban Dictionary, a facepalm is the act of dropping one's face or forehead into one's hand. Usually accompanied by a 
"thunk" or a cry of "Doh!"  As in:  Today I locked my keys in my car.  Again. *facepalm*

Well, unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with this experience as you will gather from the following story:

Things have been slipping my mind for years - at least since I was twenty-eight.  I know this because the year I celebrated my twentieth-eighth birthday was the year I was pregnant with my daughter, Olivia.  I can even prove it, because after her birth was when I started forgetting the names of people and words - they would just slip away without warning.  This marked the time when I had to begin scrolling through my mental dictionary, trying to guesstimate what letter the word or name I was frantically searching for began with.  Sometimes I even tried to figure out how many syllables were involved to speed the process.  When this first began, the lost name, word, or thought would drift back into my head, recovered, kind of quickly.

But here's the thing:  it's gotten worse in the past few years.  And now if my daughter, with her talent for remembering everyone's name or my son and husband with their ability to play charades with me aren't close by, I have to fake it.  Olivia can actually gather that I'm trying to remember Tina Fey's name when I gesture with my hand in a certain way and Noah and the Hubbs can tell me the name I'm looking for is Julie Andrews when I say, "You know . . .  she's  that chick that sings on 
the mountain in that movie and makes matching clothes for that guy's kids out of the family curtains . . . . and there's nuns . . .?"

I try to comfort myself by insisting I'm too young for dementia to be setting in and that it's not so much a "Senior moment" as it's a Freshman or Sophomore moment, instead.

But here's my point:  My forgetting has taken on a new slant.  Now I can't remember if I've shared important information or not.

So, just in case I forgot to mention it . . . . . .


We will be closed Sundays and Mondays and open from 11PM - 7 PM Tuesday through Saturday.  The address is 3406 Glenview, Austin Tx, 78703.  You can join The Vintage Laundry on Yelp, Foursquare and check in when you visit and receive a discount on any purchase or you can join us on our Facebook fan page or follow my tweets to get updates on new merchandise, deals, invitations to exclusive events, workshops and lots more.  Also in the works is The Vintage Laundry TV on our YouTube channel that I'm really excited about!!!  More on that later.  I can't wait to share more info and photos!  So, check the blog in the next couple of days to take advantage of all of the goodies that we have planned to celebrate our new store opening!

See you soon,

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So's Your Mom

LeAnn Stephenson

Something funky is going on in the world of women's underwear . . . .  Well, at least in THIS woman's world.  Don't freak out, I'm not about to over-share or anything, it's just you know how they say that you should always be sure to wear clean underwear just in case you're in a car accident and have to be taken to the hospital?  Well, I have a story to tell you and it's kinda like that . . . kinda.

Until Monday night, last week was shaping up to be marvelously productive.  All day long the kids and I had been zooming around from one task to another, like protons spinning out of control (I may have the science wrong there) when all of a sudden, I had a complete and total nuclear melt down.

For the past month the whole family has been working in the shop trying to prepare for its opening by painting walls, chairs, etc., hanging chandeliers and mirrors, polishing silver, and pricing merchandise.  Monday had been particularly great because it seemed that we were at "full steam" and getting all matter of things accomplished.

And if that wasn't magnificent enough, many, many Diet Dr. Peppers were involved.

So I was working on putting a couple of metal contraptions on the back of a rather large mirror that needed hanging, when it happened.  I was sitting on the floor power-drill in hand just about to make my first pilot hole in the template that came with it when my hand slipped, making a lovely pilot hole in my left thumb, instead.  I quickly reversed the drill and removed the bit from my thumb and then debated upon which to do first . . . vomit or spout a creative stream of obscenities.  Turns out there was a third option which was to burst into inconsolable sobbing - complete with lakes of tears and snot and lots of snubbing just for effect.  To be perfectly honest, I wasn't being a complete wussy for nothing, this puncture ranks as one of my more severe injuries. I mean, when I held it up to the light I could actually see all the way through to the other side.  And there was blood - lots of blood - like in that episode of SNL where Dan Akroyd, dressed as Julia Childs, has just cut his finger and is spurting blood everywhere.  My children quickly grabbed the roll of paper towels and crafted a mighty fine bandage consisting of about twenty-seven sheets of Brawny held together by 2-inch blue painter's tape while the Hubbs located his keys so that we could dash off to the emergency room.

As we ran into the emergency room I became immediately aware that something was wrong, I mean other than my perforated thumb.  I was getting some interesting looks from everyone in the waiting room, which prompted me to turn to the Hubbs and ask, while I tilted my head back and pulled my upper lip over my front teeth, "Do I have a bugger?" or, as I looked down at my pants, "Is my fly open?"  Turns out neither was the case so, I just smiled and stared back at my audience.  The second time I was aware that something was amiss was when the handsome young male nurse led me back to the examination room.

I need to interrupt the story here to share a couple of things about my appearance.  When I dress to go to the shop and paint and sweat and move furniture and sweat and sweat some more, I don't take a lot of care in my appearance - I typically choose a pair of Nike running shorts with one of my husband's "seen-better-days" t-shirts and a tragic looking pair of pink flip  flops.  My attire says, "When I'm not in prison, I enjoy a day of looking homeless."  So, just in case I have to go out in public, each morning I grab a change of clothes from the fresh from the dryer pile that is currently residing on my sofa, clothes that I quickly changed into before heading off to the emergency room.

Okay, so I'm there with the handsome nurse asking me all the usual questions, "How current is your tetanus? . . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.  when I notice that he keeps looking at my chest or rather right below and to the side of my chest.  So, the next time he turns to write on his clipboard I take a quick look at my shirt . . . . . and there "it" is  . . . . containing enough static cling to start a small electrical fire . . . . a pair of my underwear stuck to the side of my T-shirt.

As he turns from his clipboard I ask, "Why didn't you tell me I had underwear stuck to my shirt?"

"That's just how I roll.  It's nice underwear though - my mom has the same kind." he says. 

"Oh, your mom?" is what I said, but this is what I thought:


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Contain Yourself: Debbie Glassberg

LeAnn Stephenson

Everyone has their porn. Mine is home design. I also dabble in DIY, which I'm pretty sure is a kinky subculture - the S and M of home decor, if you will. I'm not entirely sure how this happened or when, but this much I AM sure of, shelter magazines, home improvement shows on TV, and big-box stores constantly enabled me. I futz around my house with the tenacity of an obsessive compulsive - think Monk or Rain Man only with ovaries and a paint brush. Don't misunderstand, a neat freak I am not - far from it. As a matter of fact, there are times when my house can be so cluttered that one might need a sherpa to find his way safely from the bedroom to the kitchen. I'm sorry to say that my housekeeping skills don't serve so much as a good example as they are a horrible warning. I've never claimed that cleaning and organizing are my thing. I flunked "tidy" but I'm top of my class in "topcoat," "tack hammer" and "painter's tape."

So, with that in mind, today I would like to begin a new series of weekly (unless I get lazy) posts called "Contain Yourself," where I will share photos and links to what other home design junkies choose as containers for their families, their stuff, and their lives.

Today's home is from Debbie Glassberg, an industrial and toy designer from "Our Man Stan's" hometown of Kansas City, who recently took on something a little larger, seeing homes where others saw only metal boxes.

You know those metal shipping containers that you see on rail cars? Yeah, the ones with the graffiti and the rust. Well, Glassberg has designed a home, made from those metal containers and placed it in the aging Kansas City neighborhood of Brookside.

The home is made from five shipping containers. It’s a little over 2,000 square feet. Her container home is green with geothermal heat, soy foam insulation, bamboo flooring, and LED lighting. Debbie’s father, who owns a factory in China, was able to negotiate with individual Chinese manufacturers for all aspects of the interior of the home cutting thousands of dollars from the cost.

In the middle of the house is a galley kitchen. She didn’t have a lot of space because she was using just the container space. So on one side she made a more of a shallow counter and filled it with energy efficient appliances. There is also a window in the kitchen to serve your guests outside.

The master bedroom is constructed of two nine and a half foot containers that are joined together. She made a his and hers closet that is designed very simply with two boxes and rails making for really sufficient hanging space. Then she created one nice drawered piece of furniture to hold all her other things. Additionally, on the second floor adjacent to the deck is a rooftop edible garden.

Cargo containers are now gaining the attention of many architects, engineers, and designers as a useful architectural material. Glassberg joined with many other container lovers and had the Home Contained built. Aside from the cargo containers, the Home Contained has other earth-friendly features, which include green roof, geothermal heating, insulated walls and solar panels. With these features, occupants will be able to save on their energy usage and money as this will surely keep their electricity bill lower than it should be if they chose to use first hand materials, opt not to have solar panels, and the like.

Photos and video courtesy Home Contained, igreenspot, and YouTube

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My House Is Staring At Me

LeAnn Stephenson

There's something you should know about me, I have a shortage of personal restraint.  I can turn away from the computer, a book, or some task that I need to finish and see it.  Paint me, my bathroom walls so clearly pleads.  Pull me up, my nappy-seen-better-days carpet begs me.  My entire house, inside and out, can stare at me so intently sometimes, like it's on the verge of speech.  I haven't yet learned how to arrange my thoughts in that reasonable way other folks do.  Thoughtful arrangements like;  maybe you should finish the last project before you begin a new one.  Or, perhaps, you should evaluate your abilities before taking on a major renovation single-handedly. 

I have over the past year, begun and not yet finished a stair redo and a master bath renovation without having the slightest idea when I might finish them.  So, the only logical thing in my mind is to start another project . . . . . and for those of you who know my battles with Do-it-yourself Deficit Disorder, I enthusiastically invite you to STICK A SOCK IN IT! and play along.

My new project is my garage, also known as the dumping ground and my storage unit.  The mere thought of my over-stuffed garage makes my hands tremble and my mouth go dry from sensory over-load.  But no more, because I've begun AND finished the cleaning out process and am moving on to the patching, painting, and transforming part of the job.  So, I'd like to share a few photos to give you an idea of what I started with, where I'm goin' and measures I've taken to get organized.

See you soon with the finished project . . . . and for those readers who are skeptical . . . again, I enthusiastically invite you to STICK A SOCK IN IT! and have a little faith that I'll actually finish this one!

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Girl Friday: Big Thinkin'

LeAnn Stephenson

I don't know about you, but I do some of my best "big thinkin'" when I'm preforming tasks like ironing a load of vintage tablecloths or painting a vintage find.  The topic of most of my "big thinkin'" recently has been how I'm going to re-finish my master bath walls and how, using my original direction of Chinoiserie wallpaper, am I going to make them my own.  My original thought was to just flat-out copy the design of vintage Chinoiserie wallpapers, and then I  remembered a couple of pages I had pulled out of some shelter magazines last year. 

Those pages and two of my most favorite "big thinkin'" spots - my garden and my bathtub - gave me my direction.  I have found that given enough alone-time in either place, I emerge a new woman - a new woman with a million ideas!  The ideas range from ones of global significance, like how to solve all of the world's problems, to ideas with very little global significance, like how to re-decorate every inch of my house.  Below are examples of some of the latter:

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Slightly More Intelligent Than Dryer Lint

LeAnn Stephenson

Deep into the renovation of my master bath I realized that the world is made up two types of people:  (1) Those who have undertaken a timely and not-altogether-necessary remodeling project all by their lonesome and (2) those who are sane.

Super-extra-crispy-crazy has become the order of the days that have made up the last 2 months that have surrounded this remodel.  So much so, that I'm beginning to question my intelligence and judgement and have come to the conclusion that I'm only slightly more intelligent than dryer lint.

However, on a more positive note, and I don't want to brag or anything, but Home Depot loves me.

And I mean loves me!

So, without further ado, I'd like to share some photos of the progress that has been made in my master bath remodel.  I'm hoping to have photos of the hand painted Chinoiserie design up tomorrow or Friday - so, stop by and check 'em out!

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A Hole In One

LeAnn Stephenson

I can handle going to the doctor because, in theory, they are supposed to help you and I like my doctor.  She's groovy and good at what she does.  Typically, I just see her once a year for physicals and the occasional Rx refill.

Well, as luck and my right foot would have it, I've gotten to see a lot of doctors in the last 3 weeks.

I'm pretty sure that my foot, the one that has seen so many doctors recently, was my favorite foot.

It usually behaves while carrying me from place to place with little complaint: a long, slender kick stand, located perfectly at the end of my right leg.

I thought the foot liked me, too.  I did everything I could to be kind to it, I bought it jazzy shoes, and scheduled pedicures for it and its brother, Lefty, now and then to express my love and appreciation for its never-ending hard work.

But being kind to something doesn't necessarily mean that it won't revolt someday.  My foot's revolt involved a rather large nail piercing the outer edge of my foot followed by a slight amount of blood escaping and a rather significant amount of swelling.  I wasn't doing anything particularly unusual when the revolution began; I was pulling up carpet in my master bath reno when a gi-normous nail that had anchored the carpet tacking strip down to the sub-floor of the bathroom decided to work its way through my tennis shoe and continue on into my foot and then on through the top side of my shoe - kind of a tennis shoe-foot-tennis-shoe-shish kabob kinda deal.  Well, long story short, as they say, 2 visits to a clinic, 2 visits to my own doctor, a tetanus shot, 4 different antibiotics, and trip to orthopedic surgeon I'm finally getting some relief from the pain, the swelling and I'm able to walk around again.

But, while I was propped up in my bed being a good patient and staying off said foot, I read . . . . A lot . . . I read books . . . I read labels . . . I read a ton-o-magazines and I read lots and lots of blog posts.  There was great inspiration in these posts as well great links to tons of marvelous products, artists, designers, etc.  Check out the photos and the links below- cuz  I'm  givey-sharey like that!

See you tomorrow with some pics of the progress on the master bath reno!

The Massey Bros. and their teams have imagined and developed public projects focusing on the human condition for 15 years now. Together, they have led social issues-related, public education campaigns dealing with women’s rights, education, pluralism, bigotry and extremism, civic engagement, social responsibility, and volunteerism, among other themes. They are the co-founders of the Portraits of Hope art, education and creative therapy program for children in hospitals and schools. A striking and very colorful public visual component is a signature of their projects and campaigns and I'm so very taken with their program and its concept and of course all of the beautiful color.

Photos courtesy Portraits of Hope and Loren Philip

These photos from Interior Design Magazine above are of Karim Rashid's New York apartment and they perfectly illustrate his rosy world view.  Part of Rashid's manifesto states that design is about the betterment of our lives poetically, aesthetically, experientially, sensorially, and emotionally - And I could not agree more! 

Photos courtesy Karim Rashid, Eric Laignel and Interior Design Magazine

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Bit Off More Than I Could Chew

LeAnn Stephenson

Last Thursday, July 8th , the phrase "Bit Off More Than I Could Chew," collapsed and later expired while making a guest appearance in The Vintage Laundress' master bath re-model.  The cause of death was officially determined to be "an understatement." Although the idiom has had a successful career at the Stephenson household, having had long-standing roles in the popular DIY series What Were You Thinking?, a series about a staircase and a stencil and Are You Smokin' Crack?, a series about the special relationship between blue painter's tape and a living room wall, both episodes produced by The Laundress.

"Bit Off  More Than I Could Chew" is survived by her husband, "You're Gonna Do What?", and her children, "Oh No She Di'int" and "Did You Take Your Meds?"

Discovered in a Home Depot in Austin, Texas in the late 90s by agent and DIY legend, "Measure Twice Cut Once," "Bit Off  More Than I Could Chew" signed a lucrative contract and found herself starring in multiple productions at The Vintage Laundry Studios.

"Pretty soon, 'Bit Off  More Than I Could Chew' was everywhere you looked," remembers her husband, "You're Gonna Do What?," who met his future wife on the set of The Love Shack, a series about owning your first home.  A fellow actor in that series, "Do It Your Own Self," was quoted as saying, " She was one of a kind and will be missed very much."

In lieu of flowers The Vintage Laundress requests that donations be made to the Comment Section below.

Photos courtesy House Beautiful, David Kaihoi and Ngoc Minh Ngo

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A Stroll Down Owee-ka-bowee Blvd.

LeAnn Stephenson

If you plan on painting your stairs as a chosen DIY project, there's about a one-bazillion percent chance that you'll spend at least a portion of that undertaking in an urgent-care clinic at the corner of Owee-ka-bowee Blvd. and Lord Just Take Me Now.

I hadn't foreseen this inevitable possibility, thinking naively that it's just some paint and a little tape applied to some harmless looking risers and steps.  Sadly, I was mistaken.

As da Hubbs and I sat for what like seemed like an eternity in the "We Use the Word Urgent Loosely Medical Center Clinic," I comforted myself with the image of a steaming hot bathtub in which I could soak my bruised and bonked-up body parts.

I had worked so hard not to be here, I had held tightly to the hand rail when I scaled up or descended down the stairs, always being very careful to keep my "size boat" feet within the 6 inch space that remained unpainted on each step. It all went wrong, however, when the big toe on my left foot became snagged on the hem of the right leg of my "you-got-a-ka-donky-donk-butt" warm up pants.  I pivoted toward the handrail in order to stabilize myself with my other hand and it was at that point that I started tumbling backward down the staircase.  The scene may have looked something like a gymnastics routine but it sounded more like a shoe in the dryer - a big ol' six feet one inch long, one hundred somethin' somethin' pound steel-toed heavy soled shoe!!

Exactly one hour later the doctor was ready for us.  After a flashlight in the eyes here and a poke and a picture there and a "Yep, that's quite a bruise" statement or two, I was released to go claim my long awaited soak in the tub.  After 2 days of nursing all the sympathy out my family that I could extract, I'm happy to say the only things that are still bruised are my ribs, my tailbone, and my ego.  Oh, and the stairs? . . . . they're fine . . . .  not even so much as a scratch . . . . I'll let them know you asked after them.

So, as a result of all that mess, all have to show you in yet another installment of " The Project from Hell " is more in progress pics.  So here goes:


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Cloudy With a Chance of Scattered DIY Hissy Fits

LeAnn Stephenson

Hands up if you've ever worked yourself up into a big ol' DIY hissy fit trying to finish a project, doing, as my friend Deb says, your best impersonation of the dog from the movie Up? (Do you still say impersonation if it's a dog impression?) Oh, look. Everyone's hand is up. What's that? You, up in the back? Two hands up, huh? Oh, I know, my dear, just calm yourself and get those narcotics like I suggested in my last stair post and life will be grand!

Da Hubbs has begun offering little impromptu DIY intervention speeches throughout this past week showing concern as to whether or not I can complete this project.

"I'm honestly worried about your chances of your finishing the stairs before the kids start collecting their social security checks," he said, all "smarty-pants" like this morning.

"I'm honestly worried about your chances of living to eat your next breakfast," I responded in an "its-possible-I-might-have-to-smother-you-in-your-sleep" like manner.

The next fifteen minutes were filled with da Hubbs practically falling all over himself trying to back-pedal on his previous statement by saying things like, "You are doing a great job, don't get me wrong - I just thought maybe you would want to make an 'in progress' post on your blog or somethin' - that's all I'm sayin'!"

Okay, so maybe he had a point and I'll delay cutting off his oxygen supply for the moment . . . . so, without any further stalling here goes:


Hopefully, I'll have photos of the finished project posted on Monday.  So, stay tuned!  I know I said that last time but what can I tell ya' - I'm tease!

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How to Avoid Do-it-yourself Deficit Disorder

LeAnn Stephenson

Because I didn't just fall off the DIY turnip truck, I'm now ready and willing to share with those of you who may be new to this do-it-your-own-self deal, the single most valuable piece of advice that anyone could ever give you.

And no, I'm not talkin' about all that junk about always prime first or make sure you have the right tool for the job, etc.

I'm talkin' real life-altering wisdom here, the really useful junk. And here it is. Commit it to memory, write down somewhere, do what you have to, but always remember these words:

When starting any home improvement project you must make sure to have a constant supply of Schedule 2 narcotics.

That's it. I know it sounds severe but you can plan what looks like a perfectly simple project, and then life and Diet Dr. Pepper consumption, and an addiction to surfing design blogs get in the way and, before you know it, you have 14 other projects swirling in your mind.

This is what I call Do-it-yourself Deficit Disorder - and this is where the narcotics become handy.

A person with DDD may have some or all of the following symptoms:

• easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli and frequently interrupts ongoing tasks to attend to, like taking the opportunity to pee without anyone else in the room, or sit on the sofa with an unblinking stare accompanied by a small saliva thread dangling from the corner of your mouth like a cellophane noodle while the kids are at school and the Hubbs is at the office.

• frequent shifts from one uncompleted project to another - like testing out how the sofa looks against the opposite wall or tending to your last unfinished painting escapade that won't stop heckling you from the kitchen.

• procrastination - well, I'll talk about that later.

• getting up frequently to stand back and admire the 3 inch by 3 inch square that took you 45 minutes to perfectly paint.

• often dancing excessively trying to perfect your "All The Single Ladies" dance moves all Beyonce-like.

• forgetfulness in DIY activities (for example, sitting down for a break on the wet stair step that you just painted 2 minutes before and ruining your best pair of "I-got-a-ka-donkey-donk-butt-from-eating-too-many-Christmas-cookies" sweat pants).

• frequent shifts in conversation, trying to change the subject when the Hubbs asks, "How are the stairs are coming?", not keeping one's mind on task, and painting your knee caps, your elbows, and hair instead of the stairs.

Just thought I'd share my insight, cuz, knowledge is power, y'all - Am I right?

So, hopefully, the next post that I do about the stairs will be accompanied by jaw-dropping photos of the finished project. But its time for my meds and a little drool time, so, I really must go.

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Girl Friday: Get-over-your-freakin'-self

LeAnn Stephenson

I have an aversion to change - it scares me, I question it. Even if the "same old, same old" is bad and stressful, at least it's predictable - I know it, so, its comfortable. This mentality reeks of stupid, and as a matter of fact, it might give a stupid thought the will to live - so, its time for change, and lots of it!

In thinking about my new year resolutions, it occurred to me that my life, more often than not, seems constantly embattled, waiting for the next crisis. This tends to be corrosive (this constant stress). Life needs peace. Peace needs balance. And, balance begs a certain amount of "get-over-your-freakin'-self." Recently, I was reminded of an old Swedish proverb; "Fear less, hope more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Hate less, love more; And all good things are yours." After a year of suffering through my mood swings, it was the Hubbs who reminded me of this mantra. So, for Christmas he bought me a mood ring figuring it would be helpful in monitoring my disposition. We've discovered that when I'm in a good mood, it turns green and when I'm in a bad mood, it leaves a big red mark on his little forehead!! Seems I've become a bit of a wench-lotta!

I've decided to resurface in 2010 a new LeAnn, after a year of being plagued with what the Hubbs claims, are peri-menopausal symptoms. (“Peri-menopausal” being the much less sexy version of “Menopause”) But, to be frank and honest here, there is no new LeAnn - its just the old LeAnn with less caffeine, a taller stack of self-help books, a mani/pedi appointment, and lots of ideas.

My most recent idea involves my stairs, some paint, bloody fingers, and mild streams of profanity. I'll have photos of the finished project in a few days - stay tuned!

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Child of the Seventies: Clothkits

LeAnn Stephenson

As a child of the 70s, I had a memorable talisman - among others, Mrs. Beasley was a favorite because she had a pull-string that made her talk. She said wonderful things like; "DO YOU WANT TO HEAR A SECRET? I KNOW ONE" or, "IF YOU COULD HAVE THREE WISHES, WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR?" I confess, I was all about "the secrets" and "the wishes" at the age 6 or 7. I even had an invisible friend, who I named Buffy Rebecca - in homage to the 70s series, A Family Affair. She lived on my Big Wheel. She would stand on the seat back when I rode it, which was often and at very high speeds down our steeply pitched driveway. When I reached the end of it, I would pull with a strong jerk on my hand-brake at the back right wheel, which produced a rather lovely black skid mark and a fantastic Indianapolis-style hissing noise. Buffy Rebecca would not be able to resist the centrifugal force and would fly off the Big Wheel, slam into the large Mesquite tree we had in our side yard, break her neck, and have to be taken to a hospital where she would be attended to by Dr. Marcus Welby, M.D. In the meantime, I would give an accounting of the accident to New York City's finest detective, Lieutenant Theo Kojak (played by Telly Savalas) who always said, "Who loves ya, Baby?," and then would give me an imaginary lollipop. In response I would say that "he" loved me, and that was that. Buffy Rebecca was pretty much abused, neglected and ignored by me, other than that. There were no deeply disturbing conversations or orders to paint the neighbor's cat blue - so, I'm not really sure how that happened! I was at home with my family watching Laugh In at the time . . . honestly! I had a friend, Julie, who had an invisible friend named Marilyn Monroe, and I guess, if the truth be known, I felt abnormal not having one.

As far as my wardrobe was concerned, it consisted mostly of Grandmother, Aunt or Mother-manufactured dresses or smocks that we paired with stirrup pants at first and then bell-bottoms later. I was a tall child, even back then, so stirrup pants on my lengthy legs more closely resembled the pants that one might wear as part of their baseball uniform, though that was not the look I was striving for. However, if I had lived in the UK, and been aware of, or had access to Clothkits I would have been rockin' that look to the max!

Started by Anne Kennedy in 1968 and run from her kitchen table, Clothkits was one of the original 'Mompreneurs' in the craft business. Hugely successful, Anne's idea was simple, design groovy, graphic clothes and accessories for kids. She would print the pattern onto high quality cotton or corduroy fabrics in multi-sizes and send them out by mail-order with little packs of notions. This allowed Moms with even the most basic sewing skills to make their childrens' clothes with pride.

Kay Mawer
, bought the old Clothkits business in 2007 and promptly relaunched it. She has created a fantastic new range of Clothkits for the modern kid. She stays true to the heritage of this iconic brand by raiding the Clothkits archives. Projects with contemporary artists and designers form the core of the business. Partnerships with screen printer Jane Foster and papercut artist Rob Ryan are some of her most recent collaborations.

I'm thinkin' I'll be getting a couple for my daughter and me . . . who knows, Buffy Rebecca may even like one - I'll just be careful not to get a color that clashes with her neck brace!

Photos courtesy Clothkits


LeAnn Stephenson

Fin! Complete! The End!

I believe the proper upholstering term for executing this much tufting is, "Yowza!" I’m simply awash in the heady buzz that comes from finishing a re-worked vintage piece of furniture. It's likely that this is as many tufts as we’ve ever done in one piece!

I cannot be sure, but my guess is that my customer Lisa will be pleased with her custom upholstered chair. Here’s hoping! She simply purchased the vintage chair from my online store and then shipped me the needed yardage of her fabric of choice. I suggested several different lines of fabric that I carry, like Mod Green Pod and Ink and Spindle, but she had her heart set on a solid material.


I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned my workroom on my blog. My usual "spiel" goes something like this . . . “Customization in the home is like couture in the closet. Take this. . . (insert your vintage piece of furniture of choice that is in need of re-working).” So, if this sounds like something you desperately need, you can find more information about this service on my website.

Stay tuned for more show and tell from my workroom.