Friday, January 14, 2011

Confetti Garden...

I'd like to introduce my readers to Nicole Hill. I stumbled across Nicole's flickr photostream one day, and instantly fell in love with her cozy, vintage style home.

I contacted Nicole about using her photos on my blog, and asked if she would like to answer some interview questions for me. So here it is, my very first blog interview!  

First off, some basics: Name, age, family? Where do you live? What do you do/job? What would help readers get to know you a little better? Do you have a blog?
Hi, I’m Nicole; it is nice to meet you.  I am nearly 37 years old, and I reside in Broad Ripple, a village within the city of Indianapolis filled with quaint shops, and a bustling night scene set to a back drop of graffiti murals and cafes.  Nearly 12 years ago I mustered up the nerve to ask my now “one and only” to join me for a night out and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

The above mentioned man (who is also a painter) and I share our 3 bedroom 1920’s two-story home with our two beloved baby dogs, Gertie and Bunny. Our journey together has led us to create our Etsy shop, Confetti Garden in July of 2010.  When I am not rescuing vintage goodies from thrift stores and flea markets for Confetti Garden I do a variety of jobs: online shop owner, decorator, photographer, journal designer, and obsessive organizer.  In the near future, I would like to work as a stylist, and also master the art of blogging (mine is a work in progress that is yet to be revealed). 

Some truths about me are that I have a bit of a dirty sailor mouth, I often work in my pajamas, I take many tea breaks throughout the day, I love rainy, chilly, gloomy days, snow and the sound of the ukulele. I keep a daily gratitude journal, and for several years I co-owned and operated both a retail clothing boutique in the Village where I live and a cupcake bakery in my old neighborhood in Indianapolis.

Do you own or rent your home? When was your home built? What are the challenges of your living situation and how do you solve them?
The home that we are living in now was built in 1925 and I guess you could say that we are “renting” it.  My man’s aunt purchased the house as an investment property and we have agreed to live in it,  renovate it and decorate it for her while we save our pennies and work steadily on designing and building a little dream home of our own.

With regard to challenges, I would say that it is quite “tricky” to make a half renovated house into a home while we are in the process of finishing everything from painting rooms, to constructing new doorways and installing tile etc.  I hide table-saws and nail guns in the dining room closet, and a giant power washer still resides in the downstairs bathroom. I find myself throwing rugs over unfinished tile and hanging flowing curtains over windows that still need to be trimmed out.

How would you describe your style?
I have a split personality when it comes to decorating. I tend to create spaces that are a cozy eclectic mix of both vintage and modern styles with a sprinkling of whimsy. I flip flop between two very different design styles.  I love open and airy spaces that are organic and simple, filled with found objects from nature and colors of gray, black and white, highlighted by modern and industrial furniture pieces. But on the flip side of that I find tiny nooks filled with happy colors like lilac, yellow, turquoise and plum filled with layers of vintage finds and various patterns and layers of textiles to be ever so dreamy. I can never decide between the two styles, and I believe the end result for me is usually a comfy mix of both. 

What inspires you?
Blogs, blogs, blogs!  I all too easily slip into a design blog roll that I may not find my way out of for several hours.  Among my very favorites are Loveology, Dottie Angel, Lobster & Swan, Emma Cassi, Poppy Talk, My Favorite Color is Shiny, Design Love Fest, and Décor 8.  I am especially captivated by Scandinavian blogs, Fjeldborg, Froken O, and Fryd + Design are the bee’s knees!  And of course Flickr has changed my life, both personally and professionally.  My cherished and oh-so creative Flickr friends are a second family to me and they continue to inspire me on a daily basis.

I am also easily inspired by both art and music. When I create spaces, I listen to lots of Joanna Newsom, Coco Rosie, Ingrid Michaelson, Rachael Yamagata or Bjork. Designers and Artists such as Donna Wilson, Samantha Robinson, Orla Kiely, Yokoo, Tif Fussell, Melissa Wastney, Merle Pace and Ann Wood are hugely inspirational. Also films like Amelie, and magazines like Frankie and Lonny Magazine always trigger new design ideas for me.

The most delightful rediscovery for me is the inspirational beauty of nature and found objects (a relationship once lost while I was caught up in the stress and chaos of my two storefront businesses). I am now much more at peace within my surroundings and the seasons truly dictate how I design and decorate my personal spaces. 

I know you recently moved into the new place, but do you normally change things around in your home often, or leave things the way they are for a while? (Like art, furniture placement, etc. I like change and move things around a lot!)
I do tend to get bored with my surroundings easily. This may be a manifestation of the constant movement from one house to the next when I was growing up as the daughter of a single mom.  Consequently, I find myself moving, changing, and rearranging displays and furniture in our home quite often. It is healthy for me to alter the mood of a space by adding or removing pieces of furniture and well loved items. Selecting new patterns and adding new slip covers is the cure if I’m in a bit of a sticky wicket. I am obsessive about collecting and displaying my collections is trios or more.

Do you have a strict decorating budget? (I can tell from your photostream that your pieces have traveled with you, but think about in the beginning.) How did you find pieces to fit your budget? What are your favorite places to shop for home decor? What is your favorite object in your home?
My true obsession is treasure hunting and trawling flea markets or the hidden spaces of antique stores and estate sales to discover what old souls I can rescue and bring home and sprinkle about in both my home and in my shop Confetti Garden. I can usually talk my way into getting a super deal on vintage goodies from vendors that will fit into my budget. With that being said, I have certainly been known to splurge on a Flea Market must-have find on more than one occasion. So long as it is a piece that I feel will travel with me from place to place then I don’t second guess it.
My current budget only allows for flea market and thrift finds, handmade items, Etsy trades, and the little lovelies that nature provides.  But naturally I dream of an Anthropologie or DWR shopping spree or an all expense paid trip to a Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely, or Rachel Ashwell boutique. Etsy is currently my most favorite shopping venue and Three Potato Four is another favorite online resource.

I love paper, pattern and texture, and my favorite item in my home is probably my old tall chippy white glass display cabinet.  The outside has several layers of milky white paint and its super chunky. The inside is covered in peeling, vintage wallpaper and it holds my most cherished lovelies. 

I love all your vintage suitcases. Are they empty, or do you use them for storage? Do you have any tips on keeping a well organized/neat home? 
My old suitcases currently house our collection of vintage board games (making them easily accessible on game nights) and a lifetime’s worth of design magazine tear-outs that are my look-books of inspiration. 
I could go on for days about organizing, but the key word here is “purge”.  Purge, purge and then purge some more.  If you’ve collected as much as I have over the years you can even make a business out of it!  That’s how Confetti Garden originally got started. Or pack it up and take it to your local Goodwill and make a tax deductible donation.  If that’s not your thing, you can store items until spring or summer and sell your goodies at a garage or yard sale. Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a large house it is always best to put things away as soon as you are finished with them or else they will come back to haunt you in giant creepy piles. Eeek!

Are you a big "DIY"er? Do you do a lot of projects?
I would love to say yes, but truth be told I am an “idea” person and my partner is the DIYer of the house.  I am very lucky to cohabitate with a human who can magically make anything that I can dream up come to life.

Any advice for folks setting up house for the first time?
Setting up house is such a personal process, but I would say start off simple. Approach your decorating plan with organic materials first; flowers, plants, tree branches, fruit, feathers, shells, pinecones etc. Slowly add pretty every day must-have necessities such as sweet smelling candles, cozy blankets, fluffy towels, handmade china, flowing curtains and homey rugs. Be sure to incorporate cozy rather than harsh light fixtures. Disco balls or handmade shades are a wee bit more creative than typical pendant light fixtures. Move into accessorizing with unique flea market or thrift store finds that are either personal to you or that just make you feel happy and peaceful. Invest in one or two heart stopping pieces of art or furniture, you don’t have to spend much on the rest. From there you can play it up by layering textiles and adding pattern. Be sure to throw in wee bits of whimsy to lighten the mood, like twinkling lights or a stream of lanterns; there are no rules when it comes to your unique style. Allow yourself to mix stripes and dots and florals within a similar color scheme and try not to take your design too seriously. Adding treasures that are meaningful to you and that have a history are the final touches that make a house a home and the rest will evolve naturally.

Thank you so much for inviting me to sweet and oh so very lovely blog Sabrina, it’s been a real pleasure!!! oxo,  N"

I can certainly agree with Nicole on a lot of things. I'm one of those people who will "rescue" a piece of furniture and breathe new life into it. I think MOST of the furniture in my apartment is from second-hand sources. On organizing, purging is definitely the only way I'm going to get my home back in order!

Thank you, Nicole, for sharing in this post and allowing me to use your enchanting photography. You definitely have an eye for the lovely side of things!  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's in my bag?

I'm a bit of a fan of the "What's in my bag?" posts that other lovely bloggers have done. So, I'm following this trend, and posting my own.

I have been using this military style messenger bag off and on for the past two years. I LOVE military-inspired clothing and accessories. My bag, however, is an actual "army bag" from the military surplus store. (The second I've owned.) I bought it several years ago while on vacation in San Francisco. I put it away, and hadn't used it for years. I was trying to find the perfect feminine handbag, and eventually gave up, knowing I LOVED my "army bag"!

These are buttons that I attached to the flap of my bag. The "Art Beat" button is from my college last year. I participated in "Art Beat Week". There was an art show and several games throughout the week. The pink skull pin is from an Etsy shop, "sugarskull7" that sells rubber stamps and stuff. I purchased a journal from her, and she sent me a pin in my package.

My bag tends to get pretty messy. I usually just shove my receipts and paper trash into my bag, to be cleaned out "later". Which usually ends up being a lot LATER. Thankfully, I had cleaned it out a couple of days ago.

As for the actual contents, this morning my bag contains:
(from top right)
two dimes that were rattling around the bottom of my bag,
a thimble I had purchased at the fabric store,
my cell phone,
red Hello Kitty daily planner which makes me LOOK organized,
name tag for work,
hair clips,
two tubes of lip balm,
Robert Plant free iTunes download card from Starbucks,
green cosmetic pouch filled with lip gloss, Pier 1 paper soap (just in case) and peppermint Altoids smalls,
coupons, papers, and a paper shopping bag from returning my fiancé's jeans (they were just gonna throw it away at the store),
my silver wallet that usually holds my phone in the front pocket.

What's in YOUR bag?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Granny square goodness...

When I discovered flickr and "dottie angel", I almost instantly fell in love with the granny square (of course the one shown in this photo is actually a granny circle, but you see what I mean) and the style they call "granny chic". Ooh... to have a house full of mid-century modern furniture, afghans, and doilies is a dream. Since I live with a man who apparently has an opinion on home decor, I've been working on compromising. (Not that I'm complaining or don't like the direction we're going in. Its just different from what I have in my head.)

Anyway, my love for granny squares moved my determination to learn how to crochet one. My mother had taught me how to crochet YEARS ago, when I was IDK... 10 or so. I knew if I had someone there to teach me, I could pick it up. Since I don't know anyone who actually crochets granny squares, I took advantage of the good ol' interweb. I looked it up on youtube and found a tutorial.

That helped me some, but I was doing something wrong. I couldn't figure it out. Then I remembered Carol's post. She had written a granny square tutorial. I basically merged the two together to fill in the blanks. What one tutorial was missing, the other made up for. I was crocheting my little granny square blanket in no time!

I've been working on it for about two weeks, now. Any time I want to just unwind, I break out my crochet! I started with the big piece in the middle. I was just going to keep crocheting a big square until it was the right size. Then I realized it would be square, and not the shape I wanted. So I bought a skein of aqua yarn to add some color, and give it the right shape I wanted.

I know I messed up a little. I didn't want to undo all the squares, though. So I just filled in my gap with single crochet. Its not completely done yet, but I'm sure it will be nice when it is.

Despite my mistake, I am so proud of myself. I took the time to teach myself something new, and I actually followed through. (I have a bad habit of giving up on stuff. And I don't foresee me giving up on this because I have enjoyed it so much!) Now I have a new talent. AND I actually crocheted SOMETHING instead of just a chain! Next up... zig zag crochet!!