Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inspirations and Friends

For the By Invitation Only November topic, Marsha asked us to share how we got started in the blogging world. Who influenced us, who befriended us in those first few months as we took our tentative steps. I bet you remember your first few friends... 

Several years ago, the only blog I had ever come into contact with was called Fauxology. Created by Regina Garay, it was full of eye candy for decorative painters. Regina still remains an icon in the industry, does beautiful work and is the friendliest person you would ever want to meet.

It goes without saying that I am a gardener through and through and when I discovered Deborah Silver's blog, Dirt Simple, I was, and continue to be, amazed. Deborah is the proprietor of Detroit Garden Works, a fabulous garden store just north of Detroit. She is extremely knowledgeable, and generous with that knowledge. If you want to get hundreds of ideas for your pots and garden, visit Dirt Simple.

There are so many others that have inspired me over the past few years, including Trouvais, La Pouyette and The Shiny Pebble. All of these blog creators are vibrant, passionate women and I am proud to call them my friends.

Blogging has truly opened my life, urged me to explore and has allowed my family to meet folks from all over the world.

Here are some inspirations from our travels in the past few years, both abroad and at home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Materials Focus

Loved this couch- such a happy, fun look. 
Then I noticed the walls. 
Would you do this in your home?

As we all know, lighting is everything. Lately I am drawn to simplicity. LED strip lights formed into several circles- brilliantly understated, definitely contemporary and full of potential to form interesting gobo effects in the room.

OK, so we all cannot have a rolled steel staircase. But why not have a silver leaf staircase? I'd probably go with aluminum leaf and age it a bit. Actually, I can't wait to do this! 

I am into screens. They are so versatile, especially when created in smaller panels. When I saw this Venetian plaster wall, it occurred to me to make a screen with the iced black VP on one side and a white gold VP on the other. Two looks, one screen.

Elitis, the French wallpaper company, has fabulous wallpapers. This is the Paso doble  variation of their "Tenue de soirée" wallpaper. So you can't quite afford to bring this in from France, but perhaps you could use a stencil to give a similar effect. Go with a metallic background with a flat design or have a flat background with a metallic design. Either way, it will certainly become a compliment receiver!

Do you have a favorite? 


Monday, October 1, 2012

Inspired Ideas

Sharing with you creatively cool ideas in design from around the world...

Leather is used more and more in unexpected ways; the London and LA based company, TING, has re-invented the leather belt by sourcing reclaimed leather and vintage belts from London, Paris and LA. Is this a gorgeous floor or what?

 TING leather flooring

Here the vintage belts are assembled as a part of a door pull.

A new Portuguese company, Reve d'Or, is creating gilded screens in fabulous colors. 

With a varnished, high gloss finish, they reflect beautifully and are well protected.

 Love this happy wall of humble, curated tiles. One could even begin collecting tiles as a rather unconventional gift.  
(Of course, those copper pans are stunning in their own right.)

Chameleon Fine Lighting custom created this crystal chandelier for interior designer, Jarlath Mellett. Simple, elegant, fun.

Last, but not least, I think if I were to walk into this room, with its high ceilings and sophisticated decor, I would wish to stay for a while.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Greetings From the Garden

Hi y'all! 
I've missed my friends and thought I'd pop in to say Hi and see how you are all doing.

Even though most of us are experiencing a rather uncomfortable heat wave, our garden is enjoying every moment. We just managed to put the leaf humus mulch down this weekend! The bad thing was we sure needed to weed a lot beforehand; the good thing is I don't plan on needing to weed for a long while!

The Lily Show has begun in earnest here on the North coast. The bulbs were purchased from Costco this year (yep, really) and we are having a banner year for blooms, although they are blooming a good three weeks earlier than normal.

Here are the fleurs:

So, how are your gardens doing in all of the heat?
I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


On this lovely summer evening, I would like to share with you, my dear readers, that I will be taking a hiatus from PlumSiena for a while. As those of you with blogs know, maintaining a blog is très time consuming, much less posting daily.

While I thoroughly enjoy the research, I have found that I need to concentrate on my other project, Design Culture Cleveland, an online resource of our city's boutiques, artisans and professionals with a focus on the many aspects of art and design. My goal is to promote local artists, designers, shopkeepers and galleries and to cultivate design and the arts in our area. Needless to say, I will truly miss the many friends that you all have become!

I am sure I will be popping in occasionally to say Hi and share stories about those that inspire. Till then, please stop by Design Culture Cleveland and visit for a while!

 The assemblage art of Susie Frazier

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gilded Beauties

While doing research for an upcoming project including gilding on glass, I came across the beautiful works of artist Jan Maitland. She works in two mediums, pastels and glass. On the glass, she uses the verre églomisé technique, which is the art of painting and gilding on the reverse side of the glass.

"Mardis Gras" Bowl  Verre Eglomisé

Designs may be hand painted or decoupaged, then 23 Karat gold leaf, fine silver or copper leaf are applied and sealed. The leaf can also be engraved. 

Square Nugget Bowl  Verre Eglomisé

She was first drawn to the verre églomisé technique when she visited the studio of  master glass artist Marco Toso Borella, in Murano, Italy. “I was inspired by his work on gilded glass and application of Gustav Klimt motifs. I knew immediately that I had to explore this exciting medium."

Glass Hors D'oeuvre Platter In a Millefiori with 23-Karat Gold Leaf Design
Verre Eglomisé

Glass Bowl In White Gold and Blue Patina  Verre Eglomisé

You can visit her website here and her Etsy shop here.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Discovering Manuel Cohen

I just stumbled upon discovered the beautiful photos of Manuel Cohen.

 Taking his first photo at age twelve while accompanying his father on an assignment for his news photo agency, AGIP, Cohen has never looked back.In 1996, he founded Avantis, a photo design agency specializing in photo montage.

I was especially drawn to his series of the Sagrada Familia's interior in Barcelona.

Cohen's photos are recording new views of the heritage sites, with an emphasis on architecture, line and form. Viewing his gallery is like taking a world tour. 

"Photography is the tool for modern painters." I agree!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Even with all of the attention that Morocco is receiving in the design world, especially with the recent publication of Maryam Montague's fab book, Marrakesh by Design, I never dreamed I'd be fascinated by a tannery located in Fez, Morocco.

Meet the Chouara Tannery, in use since medieval times:

Using the ancient leather tanning techniques, the skins of goats, sheep, and less often cows and camels, are first cleaned and sheered. 

They then receive a soaking in a mixture of acidic pigeon droppings, cow urine and lime, which cleans away the animal fat and remaining hairs, as well as softens the leather and prepares it for dying. (Whew!)

The clean skins then soak in the dried-earth pits holding natural vegetable & colorful dyes. The colors are changed every two weeks. Mint produces green, indigo>  blue and saffron yields yellow.The odors are (obviously) dreadful, but- this works.


Poppy flowers were used to create this red dye.
After the skins have dried in the sun for days, they are cut into pieces and made into beautiful leather accessories.

For a wonderful review of Marrakesh by Design
visit Regina's Fauxology post of June 12, 2012.  

Wouldn't you love to go on Melanie Royals' (Royal Design Studio)  



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