Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Coming

Have you heard........

                The rattle of dry leaves blowing down the sidewalk?

                The cries of the Canada geese overhead?

Have you noticed......

                The squirrels and chipmunks are awfully busy?

                The birds are starting to gather?

Have you felt........

                The crispness in the mornings?

                The sunshine isn't as bright as it was?

Have you thought.....

                About delicious sweaters and gorgeous suede boots?

                About fireplaces and candlelight?

The morns are meeker than they were--
The nuts are getting brown--
The berry's cheek is plumper--
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf--
The field a scarlet gown--
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson, 1858

How Expensive are Custom Drapes?

A lot of people get very nervous when they hear "Custom Drapes".  Visions of dollar signs dance over their heads and they often assume the prices are extravagant. 

But they know that a room is never really 'finished' until there is something decorative on the windows, and off they head to find something ready-made.  And they might find panels that will be "okay" and maybe they're not quite the right length or quite the best color for the room, but hey, you have to have something on the windows, so this will be better than nothing.

So I thought I'd compare the cost of a ready-made panel from a very popular store and catalog to a custom-made panel.  I don't want to name names, so we'll just say this source rhymes with "Lottery Darn".  There you can buy a dupioni silk panel, lined in cotton with a rod pocket top.  One panel, which is 50" wide and 96" long currently costs $139.00.  It comes in 8 colors. It will have a thin cotton lining and pillow-cased side hems.  It will come to you folded up into about a 10 x 12 package.  (Wrinkles.) (You will have to iron it.) (And there might still be creases.)

If you choose to get custom drapes, you can select from a myriad of colors, in your own home, so that you can be sure your color is exactly what you want to enhance the decor of your home. 

 If you have 8-foot ceilings, you may want drapes that are only 92 inches long.  Or if you have 9-foot ceilings you may want drapes that are 103" long.  With custom, you get exactly what you want.  But let's compare apples to apples here, so we'll use that same 96" length.  You will need 3 yards of fabric.  Similar weight dupioni can be bought for $30.00 per yard.  Add in high quality lining and labor and you get a custom-made silk panel for $136.00.  Imagine that:  the exact color you want, the exact length you want, turned and blind-stitched side and bottom hems to ensure your panels hang beautifully for less than a ready-made panel. And no ironing!

(and that price doesn't even include the 20% sale that is currently running at LFCDS.)
There's that cha-ching you're looking for!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happily Ever Afters

Yesterday was a big, big day here at the Frew Household!  Big Girl and I went to Priscilla's of Boston with Our Bride to look for dresses and **ta-da** we found the Perfect Dress!

Turns out she has had this particular dress in the back of her mind for quite a long time.  She tried on several dresses, some which were real contenders.  Until, of course, she tried on The Dress and then it was all over.  No competition, this is the one.

As we looked at the gowns, I gave them names so we could remember which was which. 
This one we called the Meadow, because of the sweet trailing vines of lace at the waistband:

This one we called the Cutwork, it has appliqued lace flowers all over.  The matching veil also had the appliques--absolutely stunning! Check out the applique scalloping at the hem.  The train on this one was a real eyecatcher.

This one was the Starfish, it has a starfishy-looking flower at the waist made of crystals and all kinds of bling.  Poor Starfish was rather quickly eliminated...we were not digging that big chunk of bling right there.

This one is PolkaDot. Our Bride loved the dotted swiss fabric, but overall, PolkaDot was a loser.  (As if any of these gorgeous creations could be called losers, but you have to make cut throat decisions in this process.) In this case, PolkaDot had just too much cleavage.

Now being a sewer, I was very interested in the construction.  I loved how all the boning was concealed in stitched pockets.  All the layers of crinoline perfectly gathered and attached in rows, the lace painstakingly stitched on by hand.  A little different from making drapes and pillows, I can tell you that.  I don't imagine Our Bride would enjoy having her straps stapled in place!  I haven't made clothes in ages, but I can truly appreciate the hours and hours of artisanship that go into these works of art.  In fact, a good friend of mine made a wedding gown for a friend this year:  have you ever seen anything more glorious?  Jacki is a true magician with fabric!

As for Our Bride's Perfect Dress?  Well, I'm sworn to secrecy, so I can't share any pictures for a year.  But she looks like a model with endless legs and a Scarlett O'Hara teeny tiny waist.  Ohh, I get goosebumps, just thinking about it.  We ended up selecting the simplest of veils, maybe matched up with a flower in her hair.  I absolutely adored Cutwork's matching veil, and wanted it badly.  Til I saw the pricetag. Apparently I have very. expensive. taste.  Who could have guessed that!
I can tell you, however, Feathers here is not The Dress!  You'll have to wait til August 7th for The Real Thing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The End of Summer

 Here it is, August 13th.  (Friday the 13th, in fact!)  I'm feeling a little blue, knowing that Old Man, as his sisters call him, is heading back to school next week.  When he went away last year, I told everyone (ad nauseum!) that I was going to go "into a decline" as all well-bred Southern belles who were born in Massachusetts and lived the rest of their lives in Illinois do.  And what the heck were the hubby and I going to talk about, for crying out loud? And who was going to help me with difficult installations?

When in actuality, about 30 minutes after he was officially moved out, I was fine.  Go figure.  And the hubs and I travel on the weekends, go to movies on any old evening we feel like it, doing just as we please.

 And the installations get installed, one way or another.

Which is not to say I don't miss my boy, as much as I miss my girls on an everyday basis, even though none of them are more than 90 minutes away.  Of course, the girls are much better about calling their Mom on a regular basis. (hint hint)  I do know Tracy is taking good care of him.

But really, who could resist a face like this? I miss him already!

By the way, in case anyone was wondering, that lovely harvest gold bedspread was never a part of Chez Frew decor; that picture was taken at our beloved Lakeside Inn in Whitehall, Michigan.

Monday, August 9, 2010

One Hundred and Five

One Hundred and Five.  That's how many days til Thanksgiving.  Fifteen weeks and three days.  Sounds like lots of cushion, doesn't it?  Well, hold onto your hats, because if August, September, October and November pass by the way July did, we are going to be eating turkey leftovers before you can say "Halloween Candy"!

And then you know what comes just four weeks later......

Yep, that's the Ghost of Christmas Present!

Well, the gist of all this is this:  if you are thinking of re-decorating before the holidays, I kid you not: don't wait another minute longer.  Mills and fabric companies no longer stock fabrics the way they used to.  It is pretty common to hear about 10-12 week backorders on fabrics now.  That takes you all the way to Halloween and then it's a hop skip and a jump to Christmas and Chanukah, with the entire extended family sitting in your family room and your Aunt Ethel is surreptitiously checking out your old sheers over fourth Cousin, twice-removed, Bob's shoulder.

So if you are thinking of refreshing your indoor look, it's time to call your favorite decorator.  Whether you are just plain tired of looking at the same old-same old, or want to treat yourself to a little somethin-somethin new OR if you saw the Old Farmer's Almanac which is predicting a horrendous winter for the midwest and insulating your windows against the cold and damp is going to keep your hard-earned $$$ in your pocket, not Nicor's, don't wait too much longer!

Then you can sit back after the holidays and let the men clean up!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My name is Lee and I'm a blogoholic!  Are you in the same boat?  I start off on one blog and start linking on their favorite blogs and so on and so on, and well, you get the picture.  A couple of hours can fly by before you know it.

But there are so many really, really creative people out there, all willing to share and teach and chat.  I feel like many of them are my friends, although I've never met them.  I don't even dare count how many I have listed in my favorites. (58 so far.)

So anyway, I'm going to share a really fun one with you:  - Miss Mustard Seed Creations of Gettysburg, PA.   She re-furbishes furniture, seeks out amazing shabby antiques,
she even shares recipes, tips and tricks.  She writes so comfortably, you'll feel like you're sitting down with an old friend.  So check her out, she's even having the most amazing giveaway  right now, which we'd all die and go to heaven if we won. 

I hope you enjoy her as much as i do!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's A Rainy Day

It's a rainy day here in Chicagoland. I'm not complaining, because it's been pretty hot and dry and my gardens could use some rain.
Unfortunately, when I say 'gardens' I use that term pretty loosely. I haven't put much time or money into them this year and it shows.

Maybe they're not this bad, but they are pretty shabby.

One thing I did plant this year is some 'Heavenly Blue" morning glories. I love morning glories! I was pretty proud of my little seedlings popping up. (What is it about those tiny fledgling flowes that is so exciting?)Anyway, Big Girl was visiting and I was showing off the newly sprouted vines. She suggested I might want to thin them out a bit, since morning glories do tend to stretch out. I pooh-poohed that suggestion--more is more in my book! In fact, I even threw a little more fertilizer on them last week!
And now? Well, let's just say that I get nervous when our little neighbor, Connor gets too close to the fence. And little Wrigley might just disappear if we're not careful. Remember this guy??

Well, I'll just be vigilant. Because once these puppies start blossoming, they're going to be spectacular!