A Laelia Outfit #1

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 3 Comments



Today has been one of those days where I need to get a million things done, and just nothing is working out. So I thought I would do a therapeutic post; I’ve been thinking about posting some of my favorite outfits for Laelia for a while now, as a way to remember them in the future. I think it might also make it easier for me to let things go when she gets too big for them; Also it will obviously help me find new ways of putting outfits together for her, and maybe even help some of my readers out there find inspiration for the little girls in their life! This outfit is actually all from Old Navy! I bought the cardi to go with her birthday dress too, but I just though it looked so cute with these shoes and this little chambray dress. :)

Project Selvage

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 3 Comments

Yesterday marked the deadline for Project Selvage, a joint collaboration between Spoonflower and Michael Miller fabrics to find Michael Millers’ next licensed fabric designer. The required entry was an original baby boy print, and the grand prize is a contract with Michael Miller and a trip to the International Quilt Market in the Fall(!!!). If any contest in the world ever had me written all over it, it was this! Not only do I have years of experience designing prints, but I’ve spent years designing baby boy’s prints while at babystyle! (I still haven’t finished my print portfolio yet, but I have hundreds of prints to sift through! I did design the print of the background of this website though, to give you an idea) And a dream of mine is to have my own print line à la Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler. The primary reason why I’ve taken up sewing and quilting is to specifically understand the way that a print is utilized as an end product! It’s an interesting thing to consider. I want to work out of my own home studio, and have (more) little ones crawling around; I just don’t see the need to work anywhere besides my home with the line of work I do, especially while I have children under 5!

A few sketches of foxes I did for the print.

Admittedly, I knew about the contest for about a month but I had so many other things going on that I didn’t get to work on it as much as I would have liked–I only had about a day. Really, I shouldn’t need more than a day, but I would have liked some more time to finesse the repeat. Repeats can be SO tricky, especially with conversational prints like this. Also, I totally understand why MM chose a baby boy print specifically to find their next designer; the most difficult prints I have ever worked on have always been the baby boy layette prints. You’d think they’d be so easy! But they can’t be too sweet or they become “girly” and they can’t be not sweet enough, because then it is no longer “baby”. There is such a fine line! I did know I wanted to do a fox print, and I knew I also wanted to incorporate foxtails (the plant). I enjoy the play on words and the wispy wheat-like motif they add. I think I did well with what I came up with, it certainly makes me smiley and happy and I even giggled a few times when I was drawing them in Illustrator (always a good sign).

Foxtail Print

Close up! :D

Isn’t he so cute? He would make a great plush! I wish I could share the cute plush I’ve been designing lately, but I will have to wait till they hit the stores, I think. :) Anyway, of course I have my reservations about what I’ve submitted now, and I wish I could revise a few (or many!) things, but alas, contest is over. I just have to hope I make the first cut to the 75 prints they choose for the contest, and then the second round to the 10 semi-finalists. Then I will design 5 coordinating prints which would be SO much fun and I already have tons of ideas! And, the winner gets to design a GIRLS line too! That would be ah-mazing. So if you don’t here about this contest again, it means I didn’t make the cut, and oh well, I’ll move on to developing my own line of prints for development. But if I do, be prepared to endure some shameless self promotion in asking for your vote! (I apologize already, but this is the quilt market we’re talking about!)  xoxo

Here it is over at Spoonflower.

Hutch featured on Centsational Girl!

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 2 Comments

Firstly, I would like to welcome all the people coming over from Centsational Girl! How exciting! When I emailed Kate about my before and after, I was totally expecting my email to get lost in the crowd, but I figured, “what the hey”, and it doesn’t hurt to give things a shot. :) She featured it last night, and it increased readership exponentially. What’s funny is, when I saw that hutch on craigslist I thought to myself (and later out-loud to my hubs) “this would be such a great blog post!“. It’s so awesome to know that other people like doing and seeing these sorts of things as much as I do. When I see an old dingy piece of furniture, I always see it for its potential, and I’m excited to meet others who feel the same way!

For those of you not familiar with Kate and her work over at Centsational Girl, let me explain why this hutch makeover is so up her alley; she features lots of furniture revamps (usually thrift store & craigslist finds), and is a sheer force in the world of DIY home improvements. I think we share that “seeing a piece of furniture for it’s potential” thing I just mentioned. She’s also not afraid of power tools, finds great uses for molding, and probably uses her garage more than her husband (as I assume I will, once we have a garage … *dreams off wistfully into space*). Here just a few of some of my favorite revamps of hers:

(Her logo is Aphrodite Pro; a favorite font of mine, I couldn’t help but use it here too!) Make your way over to her project gallery to find more great makeovers, and a bevy of information, tutorials, and tips; from “how to paint laminate” to “10 lessons I learned building a kitchen”. And thanks again to Kate for featuring my hutch, and for helping the world realize the potential of the “junk” left on the corner of the street, and to all those who came over from Centsational Girl! xoxo

*all photos are credited to Centsational Girl*

China Hutch Makeover

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 61 Comments


After a lot of hard work and a few moments of indecision, I finally finished the hutch late last week!  This piece needed a lot of work, and I probably could have spent a lot more time stripping and sanding, but as I knew it was going to take a few days, and we were due for rain, this had to be an inside project and I couldn’t spend days sanding and striping (and potentially ruining our floors). Just look at that peeling varnish!

“Before” hutch details; many scratches, broken and missing knobs, horrible peeling, marker, and a missing glass pane.

I took the door with the missing window to a glass shop, and started hunting down hardware. Some of it I knew I could salvage, and some I knew I would have to toss. I had (and still have) my heart set on anthropologie’s color swatch knob, but it seems to be completely sold out! (The bottom shelf of the hutch will house my fabric, and I always thought those knobs would pull the colors of the fabric so well… :). I decided to get a move on with the things I knew I was going to go with; turning that center window that was drilled shut into an operating door with a hing and a magnetic closure, and installing the lights. I went to Lowe’s and bought some furniture door hinges and a closure. They had to be the kind that you could attach to the outside so I could have the door centered over the opening just right. Just drill, drill and drill, easy peasy! Now we have a functioning door.

Attaching the interior lights and the hardware to turn the window into a door.

I went to IKEA and bought some LACK spotlights and installed them above the top shelf. I actually bought 2 sets as I intended to light both shelves, but one set was making a strange buzzing noise and we decided they need to be returned. I decided not to drill through the top of the hutch for the time being… I figured the wires are so thin it won’t be so noticeable. We’ll see if it drives me nuts or not!

I’m kinda really into shelf liner paper. I’m very specific about the way it accents the furniture that I makeover… I love the surprise when you open a drawer or a cabinet! It just helps everything to feel more put together. I found this awesome Con-Tact shelf liner on ebay for $2.99 a roll! A pretty gold and white, almost chevron print, but not quite, which makes me love it more for some reason… It was an instinct purchase, and when I was having trouble picking a fabric for the back, my husband said “I thought that was what the Con-Tact paper was for”, and I immediately was like “No!!! It’s for the drawers!”; but then, nothing else seemed to work quite as well as this, especially since I knew how busy it was going to look with the fabric in it, I was really leaning towards a two color print. It was such an easy fix, and SO CHEAP! I ended up using all three rolls, but it was worth it. :)

Pretty gold and white Con-Tact paper. Awesome eBay score! Also, always use a credit card to help you smooth the paper along the way!

At first I really did think I was going to paint it black w/ the ebony stain, and the turquoise interior, but I really fell for all of those light hutches with the wallpaper backings… And while I didn’t want to paint it black, I also didn’t want to paint it white, so I ended up mixing the bit of paint I had left over from the office/nursery with the paint we used in our bedroom, and a little off white, which made this color. The gold accents (I used model paint!) seemed to come organically, perhaps inspired by the existing antique brass hardware, but I’m sure it was also influenced by the contact paper. I don’t know which idea fueled the other, really. :)

In case you are wondering if that is an upside down birdcage attached to a ceiling, you are right; that is an upside down birdcage-turned chandelier. Maybe one day I’ll do a quick post about it. :) Anyway, I went with some knobs that were totally on sale at Anthro (and match a pair of teacups I have), but I can’t find the name of them anywhere… I only used two, despite having turned the middle window into a door because; 1) I thought it was more balanced this way, 2) there were only 2 of these knobs left, and 3) I’m still holding out for the color swatch knobs (/shakes fist!!!). My only regret is not installing a push-open magnetic closure on that middle door so it would be easier to open. Put that on the to-do list! The  cabinet pulls I used were the new ripe melon pulls, which I love as they instantly remind me of the Edland furniture set I love from IKEA, and I’m sure something else that I can’t think  of right now which is what probably inspired IKEA’s designer to use them in the first place. Check out the flickr photostream I have if you’d like to see more photos.

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