Categories Archive

Fun with Fabric

It’s always fun when we get fabric samples at the office but it is even more fun when some of our crafty friends make things with our fabric. I think we’ve mentioned before that we are staple gun and iron-on sewing experts but we’ve never mastered the needle and thread! Even though it kills my mom, who sewed tons of our clothes when we were little, I can barely handle a missing button. She did give me sewing lessons once but I broke the machine so instead she gave my kids lessons and bought a sewing machine for them to share. Unfortunately after the first month of excitement it started gathering dust and was moved to the garage. Maybe once my kids are out of the house I will have time to become the leisurely sewer of my dreams. Until then, we must rely on friends and family to sew us fabulous projects with our new fabrics. And lucky for us they do not disappoint! Our fabric, In the Meadow, by Quilting Treasures was used for the bags above. You can also download a great quilt design here. We have new fabric coming out soon featuring shoes, can’t wait to see what our pals come up with...

Dreamy chandeliers

While in NYC for the Stationery Show/Surtex, I lucked out and found myself outside of ABC Carpet and Home store. The storefront was vintagey-cool and the window displays were works of art. I spent a couple of hours soaking in the one-of-a-kind home decor collections and was most captivated by the lighting display.                                                                                               This amazing store was my favorite find in NYC this year. I’m not sayin’ I wasn’t delighted by this year’s hooker display, I saw some very original looks, but the ABC Carpet and Home store was just as good....

the new nuetral – gray

So dreamy… Grey or gray is an achromatic or neutral color. The first recorded use of grey as a color name in the English language was in AD 700. Grey is the British, Canadian, Australian, Irish, New Zealand and South African spelling, although gray remained in common usage in the UK until the second half of the 20th century. Gray is the preferred American spelling, although grey is an accepted variant. Gray became the preferred spelling in American English around 1825. These days I am seeing gray everywhere in home decor. I love it mixed with almost every color. Gray is the new brown, black and taupe! It’s not as warm as brown or taupe but it complements other colors really well. It is not a spotlight color it lets the other colors shine. It can make a room feel really modern, country, shabby chic, romantic or traditional depending on what you pair it with. Plus there are so many shades of gray, from blue grays to warm grays. You can’t go wrong. Not feeling brave enough to try it out yet? Then start collecting your favorite looks on Houzz.com or Pinterest and start off with a small space. How about the bathroom or laundry room? So many great color combinations!...

the shops at target

Target has a great new concept that they just launched. They’ve taken items from some popular stores and have curated and collected them for Target shoppers into The Shop. Much like their designer lines that they carry now, these items are available online and in the store. They have a great selection, Polka Dog Bakery, Privet House, Cos Bar, The Webster and The Candy Store. I really love Privet Shop which carries home decor items and hope they expand their collection. I plan on visiting my neighborhood Target and buying that awesome green pillow! Now instead of spending a million dollars at Target I can spend $2 million. My cart is always overflowing even if I just go in for detergent. Good thing everything is so reasonably priced! Now if Target could just give Simon+Kabuki a call all would be good in the world!...

before and after: rocking chair

When I graduated from college and moved out on my own (a really long time ago!) my mom bought me an antique armoire for my bedroom. I decided several years ago to paint it white and loved how it turned out. I also had an antique rocking chair that I recently decided to reupholster and paint white. Most everyone knows that I do not sew! The nice thing about reupholstering chairs is that you only have to be good with a staple gun, which I think anyone can handle! I only needed a small amount of fabric and the nice thing about this chair is that I can change the fabric often since it is easy to do. I sanded down the chair and wiped away the dust. I used a flat white paint (leftover from another project) and gave the chair two to three coats. After it had dried a few days, I took sand paper and just sanded all of the edges to let some of the wood underneath show through and give it a shabby chic feel. I may finish it off with a semi-gloss clear spray, but I haven’t decided on that yet. I am happy with the way it turned out and it was a pretty fast project, only a couple of hours total. I was able to easily squeeze it in to a Sunday...

my womancave

My little “work room” had become a place to put crap so I decided to reorganize. I took all of the furniture out so I could get a fresh perspective on the space. Then I noticed that I hate the carpet that’s been in there for 10 years. So I tore it out. Then I had crappy plywood floors. Then I figured since the carpet was torn out I might as well paint. Now it looks like this. It was important to keep the desk clear of clutter so I have a place to do projects and wrap gifts, hence the industrial shelving with baskets so I can see that I already have a hundred spools of ribbon before I run out and buy another one. I wanted a place on the wall to pin up inspirations and momentos so I made a pushpin board out of cork squares. I layered some burlap with a sheet of gift wrap that was too beautiful to use on a gift. The “wallflowers” are from Target.com, they’re super easy to put up and come in other shapes and colors.   I didn’t really need a curtain on the window but I wanted a nice finished look. So I glue gunned sewed this valance out of burlap and used some Simon+Kabuki white patterned cotton fabric for the panels. My effin’ home office project is finally almost done. I still have one blank wall that needs some loving care but I’m taking a little break to give my addled brain a chance to air out and come up with something supercute. And hopefully easy....

home improvement or total destruction?

I haven’t even finished my super sassy pink home office project (it’s 90% done, stay tuned!) and I started another really awesome/shitty home improvement project. It’s awesome because when it’s done I will have new floors throughout my house. It’s shitty because my house looks like this right now.                         We have been wanting to replace the floors for years but you practically have to move out and we’re doing a large area – all of the living areas, hallways and a bedroom – so my dining room is in my living room right now and there is a bed on top of the pool table. The guestroom is full of the bookcases that used to be in the landing at the top of the stairs. Did I mention there are nails/staples/dust everywhere? Ack. The project officially started when I asked my husband, ” When would be a good time to tear up our house and spend a buttload of money?” and he replied, “How about when I’m out of town and don’t have to live in it?” I thought that was a brilliant idea so I called the contractor and said that if they could start the following week about 1 hour after I got on a plane for a business trip then they got the job 🙂...

eye candy

I know you were expecting a picture of David Beckham! Hah! I wish. The eye candy I am referring to are the wonderful ways to use color. There are some great color trends this year and you can easily adapt them to your home decor, clothes and jewelry. I’ve already talked about Pantone’s new color Tangerine Tango but there are plenty of other trends that are sure to be a hit. Blue Skies – The color blue is not going away. Chocolate and blue was a hit for a really long time in home decor. The latest combos have blues mixed with taupe, green, and greys. Giving the overall feel a softer more mature vibe. Great for master bedrooms. Blue is very soothing and these new pairings are super sophisticated. Sunshine – When you need some energy and excitement what better color than yellow to brighten your day. Yellow can be used as a subtle wall color to brighten up a room or use it sparingly but boldly. I love yellow mixed with other strong colors like black or grey. Yellow is warm and nurturing and is bound to bring you good cheer. Grass – The color green is a happy color. I love it when it is used as a pop of vibrant color in an otherwise monochromatic scheme. Green also has a very earthy feeling to it. Reminds us that nature is nearby. Even just adding green plants brings a room to life. Sand – I think there is a theme here! I love all white or off-white. It is so crisp and comfy. It may be...

The fun part of my frickin' project

I still need to paint the ceiling in my little home office because I can’t possibly live with the current color (cream). I started to paint it last night with a color I picked out solely because it was called “Burlap” and I had fantasies of burlap floor to ceiling curtains in there. In reality the color should have been called “Peachy Puke.” So I went for my 11th trip to the hardware store and picked a different warm grayish color and went to work on destroying my shoulders, neck and back. I’m almost done with the serious grunt work and I get to do the fun part next. My biggest priority when I design a room (or yard) is how I want to feel when I step into it. I want to feel a little euphoric, ambitious yet relaxed, and like I’m in my own domain when I walk into my little home office. It doesn’t need to impress anyone but me, but I’m a tough customer. Here are some of the ideas I’m perusing (you can click on http://pinterest.com/simonkabuki/home-office-ideas/ to see close ups of these photos). In order to avoid buying furniture that doesn’t fit well, or moving stuff around until the floors are scratched and the freshly painted walls are scuffed, I always draw a scaled version of the room with pieces of furniture I’m considering putting in the room. I do this on my computer but it would be just as easy to do it with cutout pieces of paper. Here’s how the desk I want would fit it in the room: My desk used to...

new quilt patterns

We have several fabrics (In the Meadow, Nesting and Juicy Blossoms) out right now through Quilting Treasures. It is always exciting to see what beautiful projects people make with our fabric. For each line we design, we also design a quilt pattern. Quilting Treasures takes our pattern and makes a quilt for display at the shows they attend. The quilts in person are amazing such great craftsmanship. They usually send the quilt to us so that we can take pictures and admire our pattern work. But alas we must send them back. I really wanted to keep the In the Meadow quilt for my daughter’s room. Would have gone perfect! Next up from Quilting Treasures is our Cuddlebumps line. Cute and colorful creatures perfect for any child’s room. Here are links to our current fabric patterns, you can download them for free. Happy quilting. Juicy Blossoms Nesting In the...

add a pop of color

I just recently joined Pinterest. I know I am way behind but I don’t know how people have time to keep up with all of these new social sites popping up. It is hard enough doing a few blog posts a week, twitter and facebook, plus running Simon+Kabuki and our corporate design company, EandI Design, now I need to add Pinterest and still try to be the greatest mom and wife at home. Yikes that is a shit load to do!! I keep a constant running of lists of what to do today. I am sure at some point my head will just explode and my family will have to make do with my life insurance. Must remember to pay life insurance. Anyhoo… Today I wanted to do a post on adding pops of color to your house and life so that you can make it through the dreary winter and I thought it would be great to test out on Pinterest. Right now in northern California we are suffering with 65-70 degree sunny skies but I know that the rainy days are coming. So instead of shooting yourself when you’ve spent the 5th consecutive day inside just add a pop of green or magenta to brighten the day! I logged onto my Pinterest account and started pinning a board called Pops of Color. Here are the results. I am not quite sure how the whole thing works yet, like how do I share it on my blog? But I am sure if I spend enough countless hours on there it will come to me. If you have any...

throw a vintage holiday party

  What’s not to love about the holidays – traffic, people fighting over the last Tickle Me Elmo doll, Grandma’s fruitcake, Uncle Joe’s drunken slurring – I digress. I love the holidays and can’t wait each year for them to arrive. Almost everyone will host family or friends during the holidays so why not make it a vintage holiday to remember. It’s easy to set the tone of the event with a great invitation mailed to all of your guests (no evites for this one). Picking the right invitation will help with the theme and color scheme. Adding food, decor and music is a lot easier with a theme. We used our vintage invitation above as our inspiration, it can be found at KodakGallery. You can use this invite for any festive holiday party, Christmas or New Years. Here are some tips to make sure your party goes off with a bang: 1. Add elegance to your soiree with a little glitter and shine, but keep it “vintage” with some weathered materials like galvanized metal or mercury glass. Try using a soft burlap runner on your food table with delicate candles. 2. Gather pinecones and spray paint them silver and gold–they don’t need to be perfect, the natural color coming through looks more aged. 3. Instead of a classic red and green color scheme, try a palette that includes browns and eggshell. 4. Use blank paper wine glass charms and write down reindeer names or holiday words like “peace,” “noel,” and “happy holidays” so your guests will know which glass belongs to them. 5. Use fringed burlap as a...

what's new wednesday – sneak peak

We are almost done with Holiday cards here at Simon+Kabuki. Just doing some last minute additions to fill in some holes on some of the sites that carry our line. One thing that we’ve learned with licensing our artwork is that it is a very long process. Not at all like our corporate graphic design business, EandI Design. Those clients want everything yesterday and we’ve been trained to respond just like Pavlov’s dog. With licensing, we can work on a design in September and not hear whether it’s been chosen until the following May and then it may not hit stores until October or November! But when it does hit the stores we are like kids in a candy shop. It is so exciting and gratifying to see your stuff out there in the public eye. And it is a lot more fun to tell your kids, friends, family, etc. that you can pick up one of our notebooks at Target as opposed to say picking up our latest semi-conductor data sheet, snooze! We are currently working on home office products for a very large manufacturer. They are really great to work with and we can’t wait to see our stuff in the big box stores next year. Staples, Office Max and Office depot will be carrying the new line. I am including a sneak peak of some of the patterns that we are working on. Of course as soon as they hit the stores you will be the first to know.   Congratulations to Anna Driver-Bishop. She was the winner of our Baby Shower kit...

sassy pumpkins for fall

So my friend Linda brought me this totally hot pumpkin because she said the black and white fabric reminded her of me. I already loved it and then she told me she made it for me so now I love it even more. What an awesome hostess gift, teacher gift, or fall decoration for your own home. Here are more of Linda’s creations, it’s all about using great fabrics. They could compliment your home decor, your personality or your fashion sense. Here are Linda’s instructions: They are very easy to make and with plastic pumpkins being so cheap at Michael’s, one could go crazy on making one to match every room! I purchased 1/2 yard of fabric (which can cover two pumpkins depending on their size), Mod Podge (at Michael’s) and foam brushes.  Cut the material into strips that measure from the top of the pumpkin to the bottom.  On smaller pumpkins, I would cut the strips a little thinner to make them easier to handle (1 to 1 1/2 inches wide).  Work on a piece of wax paper (to save the table) and Mod Podge a thin layer onto the backside of the fabric and then place on the pumpkin smoothing out the edges. Place the next strip as close to the first one as possible and so on.  Once all the strips are on, brush a coat of Mod Podge on top of all of the fabric and let dry for an hour.  Repeat.  Tie with raffia or ribbons. I’m going to make a whole pumpkin family with our Juicy Blossoms fabric – can’t...

decorating with white

I love the look of an all white room. Especially shabby chic and comfy with just a couple of pops of color, if any. This probably won’t happen at my house during my life time. With 3 kids, a husband, 2 dogs and a cat, I’m lucky if I can get the chocolate milk stain out of the carpet. I am not a huge fan of the modern look but cement flooring does have its appeal. This year I replaced both my family room and living room couches. During my younger (more stupid) days, I decided to get light (mostly white) slip covered couches. I thought wow how great I can pop them into the wash whenever they get dirty. Which I didn’t realize would be daily! I finally broke down and got a brown leather couch for the family room and a taupe chenille couch for the living room. I’ve always avoided leather because I don’t think it is quite as comfortable, but I do have to say it was a great choice. It never gets dirty, ever! My only issue is that pillows and throw blankets always slip off. My chenille couch in the living room hides the dirt and dog hair well. As most of my friends and family know, as soon as I win the lottery, I am going all white. I may have to buy the house next door for the rest of my family but my space will be awesome! And there will be a cute victorian playhouse/office in the backyard, no kids allowed! And maybe a fairy garden since the dogs will...

Vintage Baby

Right now I am loving all of the vintage looks that are in home decor. Mixing burlap and lots of white  is beautiful and really brightens the room. Since I always design my kids birthdays around a theme, I thought it would be fun to decorate a baby room in similar fashion, starting with the announcement. There are no babies on the horizon for me but just thinking up decorating projects makes me happy! Make sure to use lots of vintage white frames and soft pastel colors. Keep the bedding simple. A burlap or linen ruffle would look great on the crib. Vintage toys and metal buckets for storage fit in nicely. I also love the look of the tissue paper pom poms hung from the ceiling. Burlap Baby Announcement – LookLoveSend.com Vintage Buckets – Etsy Pom Poms – Etsy, various Crib – Posh Tots Blocks – Etsy...

things to love: type and time

I am about to geek out on my type obsession and my thing for clocks, you have been warned. I have posted before about how I have a clock in every room of my house. I am always looking for more ideas on how to incorporate type into my surroundings. I am also on a mission to schedule more free time and make this the most stress free summer of the decade (I know the decade just started, but still). I love clocks and these little gems from Soho Clockworks just make me smile. The birdhouse is my...

trendwatch: formal comfort

Comfortable meets formal with soothing colors: not your grandmother’s living room. I am totally inspired by these photos I found while online shopping for an entryway rug. It’s amazing what you can find when you are not looking. I am now on high alert for any accessory that is textured, weathered, or patina-d (is that a word?). Check out these rooms showcasing the formal look with a inviting feel. They have a soothing combination of elegance and comfort. Some of the photos are of Christian Siriano’s apartment in New York. They combine vintage and modern with cute birdcages, pillows from Restoration Hardware and vintage furniture. I wonder if he will let me move in.          ...

huesday – backyard color

As you may be noticing, I’m a project girl. I love taking old things and making them new, but in a simple way that won’t take up too much time. I recently did a little DIY project for my backyard with tons of color. I’ve really gotten into spray painting these days. It’s easy, mostly mess-free and gives you instant results. Just throw some cardboard under your object and get to sprayin’. How fun is this? I found a wire rack and 2 planters on the side of the shed during a summer clean up and instead of trashing them, recycled them. Here they are all purty and filled with flowers and plants. As you can tell, we’re not afraid of color at our house.   I’m about to keep it real right now. I’m so not a green thumb. In fact, I’m such a brown thumb that my husband has dubbed me the cactus queen. I can keep cactus and orchids alive, but that’s about it. After painting the rack (yep, with my new favorite Home Depot purchase — spray paint) , I went to the nursery to get some plants and pots. Who knew they had such fun, colorful options? Not this grim plant reaper!   Then it was on to my planter boxes. I did a quick cleaning, pulled out the spray paint and …   Viola, a bright, sunny new planter!   I hung them on the shed (which isn’t a shed at all, but the husband’s man cave) to add color and balance to the area. I took a chance planting perennials instead of...

huesday: DIY with paint

I’ve been in the DIY mood lately and dig anything that has to do with paint. If feels good to do a project yourself, but I want to see speedy results. I lose patience if a project takes more than 2 days. I live in an Eichler that we’ve furnished with both old and new pieces, so this cabinet was sure to fit in. I got this 1940s cabinet from my Grandma’s house last year and immediately knew what I wanted to do to it. You guessed it — paint. You can find spray paint in so many fun colors that the possibilities are endless! I picked a bright lime green, called my dad for last minute spray painting tips and off I went.     The inside was a bit rusty, but the body of the cabinet was in great shape and didn’t need much attention. I did minor sanding to smooth out a few rough patches and then got to work. I removed the handles so they’d stay their pretty chrome finish, but left the interior hooks in place. The truth is the screws were rusted over on the hooks and it would have taken more strength that I had to remove them. I did a coat of primer on the exterior to ensure a smooth surface. Dry time on spray paint is great, as you only need to wait an hour to do your next coat. It took 2 coats of spray paint (3.5 cans) and she was as good as new! I found cute polka dot shelf liner at Target and she was ready to...

huesday: black & white with a splash

Someone recently told me that often a woman’s home is decorated in the colors that she prefers to wear. I had to respectfully disagree. My home is in earthtones, comfy colors that don’t scream at me when I get home from the studio. My wardrobe, on the other hand is pretty much based on black and white mixed with bold colors. It looks good for work, everything matches everything else and I feel like with a simple outfit I can go nuts with accessories. Here’s what I’m into right this minute… I love this dress from White House Black Market, and it gets even better with a chunky necklace. Here’s a chair from Target that I wish I had in my office, I would change out the throw pillow color with the season or my hormonally induced moods (might need LOTS of pillows, what color expresses “I want to punch someone in the throat”?). And here’s an idea that I am so in love with that I think I’m going to scour some antique shops and flea markets for cool black and white prints or paintings and find some vintage frames to paint. Yay, a fun summer project!  ...

surf's up! beachy kids rooms

Yay for nice weather! It’s the countdown to the summer soltice, which is the longest day of the year on June 21st. Time for beach trips and late bbqs on hot nights. I have mentioned before that the change of seasons always makes me want to redecorate. There is no way I can afford to purchase and/or store different furniture for every season but accessories do the trick! I always ponder about my kids rooms first. Probably because they are the most fun for me to re-do. I love how you can change up a room with a few themed seasonal items and details to make a room totally different. I only have so long before my kids say “no thanks (eww) mom” to my new ideas. I try to keep them involved in the decorating process as much as possible but I am totally feeling the beach vibe right now. My daughter mentioned mermaids and I was more than happy to start researching the possibilities of adding mermaids to her room. I love the beachy room accessories and room decor that is out there right now. If it is not too much to ask can I just have a beach house please? BEACHY GIRLS Room Accessories: Pottery Barn Kids Mermaid Decals, PoshTots Mermaid Growth Chart, Pottery Barn Kids Girls’ Surf Plaques, PB Teen Beach Cruiser Decal & Basket, PB Teen Capiz Driftwood Mobile   BEACHY BOYS Room Accessories: PB Teen Beach Access art (image at top), PB Teen Shark Corkboard, Pottery Bark Kids Boys Surf Plaques, PB Teen Navy Surfboard...

color huesday: pretty appliances

Can appliances make you happy? If they last longer than a year, then the answer is yes (I will post about my dead vacuum cleaner later when I feel ranty). But they can also make you happy if they can be a fun pop of color in your kitchen. I personally am in love with this red KitchenAid mixer. And it’s not just because making cookie dough is my favorite thing. When not in use, some appliances either have to hang out on the kitchen counter or get hidden in the pantry or garage. If you have storage issues like me then there is not a lot of room to hide these things. If the mixer needs to stay out on the counter then it might as well be a fun color like red, green, or boysenberry right?  Pick an accent color in your kitchen and get a cool toaster or mixer in that color. Please don’t buy that ceramic kitchen chicken wearing a sweater in that color (it’s not functional and I’m guessing really tacky). Retro kitchens are really popular and the style allows you to get really bold with the appliances. Instead of the stainless steel refrigerator, go for the bright orange or baby blue colors. How about a pink toaster? This one will totally get my daughter to help me make breakfast. I want this baby blue Big Chill refrigerator so bad, but it will cause me to remodel my entire house around the style. It even has a matching diswasher! I will keep these in mind if I ever get a beach...

houzz inspirations

Today I wanted to talk about one of my new favorite sites, www.houzz.com. For anyone that is remodeling, moving or just likes to update with the seasons this is a great place to peruse. You can search by room, style and even by city (just in case you want to snoop on your neighbors). It’s like going to a million open houses or house tours from your own living room. I have set up my own idea books for areas in my house that I want to work on. I want to one day tear out my kitchen and put in one of the beautiful all white kitchens that I have saved in my kitchen idea book. I am not sure white is the best option with 3 kids, a husband, 2 large dogs and a cat but hoseable cement cabinets seem cumbersome. Often times I just look for display ideas for coffee tables or family picture displays. You can also get more information on certain items by scrolling over the photos. When the green tags pop up, like in the image below, you can get more info for that item. It is a well designed and easy to use site and it is like crack for all of us visual people who can’t get enough of the pretty pictures.  ...

DIY – Veggie Garden

After many summers of playing on the backyard play structure, my kids finally out grew it last year. We decided that it was the perfect time to clear out that area and plant a vegetable garden. We built wooden boxes and filled the area with pea gravel so that we would also have a sitting area and fire pit. It took quite a while to finish since we were doing all of the hard labor ourselves in between vacations and weekend soccer games (and simple procrastination). When we were finally able to plant our first crops, we chose lettuce, swiss chard, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes and herbs. Some were complete fails, like the tomatoes since we planted too late and the herbs never really took off. But the cauliflower was a surprise hit. It took forever to grow but when it was producing cauliflower the size of my head I deemed it a roaring success. My family loves eating our organic veggies. I’ve had to come up with creative ways to keep the squirrels out of the lettuce. They seem to like that best. My husband would really like to use my son’s airsoft gun but we are going with my kinder, gentler approach, at least for now. I have not been able to put out our furniture and fire pit yet due to our crazy weather but it is only a matter of time before we are out there every evening eating dinner or reading the paper in the morning. Smores in the firepit are always on my kids list of summer faves. We got most of our information...