Wednesday, August 28, 2013

d.i.why not?? vintage french seed label art





I feel like it has been a million years since I have posted a new DIY and, I don't know about you, but I think it is about time that I did!  Vintage French seed packet labels as artwork!  Oui, c'est vrai!

By the way, I really meant to post this beauty before presenting my new collection of furniture at the Dwell on Design Show but I got caught up in the excitement and work involved in that.... Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering, the show was great in that I got a lot of attention and lots of folks were interested in my pieces (YAY!), of course there were some folks that are known for copying others' unique handmade designs overseas that were also very interested (my heart was breaking as I helplessly watched a man from the company Umbra spend a very long time photographing detailed shots of my Jacks cocktail table).  But all in all it was a good whirlwind experience that helped my confidence with this new endeavor.  And sending a big shout out to my fab booth neighbors that made the experience great.  Check them out when you have a chance because their products were super cool (Ensconce- with these amazing felt pillows and cool lighting.. and Urban Fidelity with these fab audio speakers surrounded by cool artwork that helped the days fly by! and Plyproducts with groovy diy plywood shelving)


Anyhow, speaking of my fledgling design biz, I have been nominated for a Martha Stewart American Made Award and would love nothing more than for you to take a moment to go here to this link and vote for me.  I love being able to say proudly that my entire collection is made in Los Angeles and I love Martha even more for celebrating American made products.  So this contest is all about audience votes and it takes 30 seconds to register to vote and it would mean the world to me if you do it.  Oh, and you get to cast 6 votes for me each day you click on that link until the voting for finalists ends in 2 weeks.  Cool, huh?


So, enough begging, back to the fun stuff... This DIY project lives in my client's dining room.    They had a lot of bright white walls when I started the job.  White walls are my favorite canvas for adding brightly colored art and accessories.  The thing I love most about this client is they are not afraid of bright colors.  Not at all.  It has been such a pleasure working with this family!  So, in their dining room they have two big white walls and I needed some large art pieces to fill them. 

While I was trolling Etsy one evening I found some really beautiful, colorful vintage French 1920's seed packet labels.  I was immediately inspired to turn them into art so I bought 96 labels.  Just like with my troll doll installation I love creating wall art from something unexpected and I am really happy with how this turned out!


Here's what you need:
  • foam core cut to whatever size you desire
  • fabric to cover the foam core (I used a beautiful natural linen in keeping with my French theme)
  • a stapler or U shaped pins
  • fabric glue (I used Sobo craft and fabric glue)
  • ball tipped pins (mine had yellow colored balls and were purchased at Michael's)
  • and of course those seed packet labels (I ordered 96 but there were a few extras in the package so I actually ended up using 98)

Directions:
  1. cut your fabric to fit the foam core
  2. attach the fabric to the center edge of each of the four sides of your foam core using either u shaped pins or staples (I used staples, getting as close to the edge as I could, because I knew my frame would cover them)
  3. then, while pulling the fabric tightly across the foam core, continue stapling/pinning from the middle of each side out (If you have ever recovered a chair seat it is a similar process)
  4. I then laid my labels on the linen covered piece and arranged them how I liked with the color balanced throughout the piece.  I did not measure all 98 labels and arrange it perfectly perfect.  This was just done by eyeballing it.
  5. when I was happy with their placement I used a tiny dab of glue (really tiny) just to hold them in place in case the finished framed piece shifted in transit so they would not become crooked.  I really wanted the edges to look free and unglued.  Like they were just held in place with the pins
  6.  and then I pinned away
  7. after that I framed the piece (note that this had to be professionally framed because of it's large size - approx 30"x60" and this was the most expensive part of the project.  If you can find a frame that already exists and cut your foam core to match it you will save a lot)
  8. once it is hanging on your wall you can do as I did..... exclaim "Ooh la la!" and do a little happy dance


Oh, and if you are wondering about the art on the other wall in the dining room... Well, I decided to stick with the French theme as I found this fab vintage French school poster with a floral theme that I know would be the perfect compliment to my DIY art.

I spotted this beauty at the Rose Bowl and bought this fab piece from a great gal named Jill that runs a company called Le Trip and sells vintage French finds like these (Oh yeah, you can hire her to take you shopping a flea markets in France.  Someday I am totally doing this!!)

Hoping I won't be so long between posts next time!  Also, before I forget, lots of people have been sending me messages asking about the Ikea rug I have used in my many painted rug DIYs (they seem to be pretty popular on Pinterest).  Sadly, I don't know if Ikea has discontinued that Erslev rug but guessing that might be the case since I am being asked for alternates.  I am sorry but I don't know of anyone with a plain white rug exactly like that Ikea one but if you are in the market, you should look for 100% cotton in a flat woven rug for best results!

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I have a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

big news...

Sorry to have disappeared for a bit, I have gotten caught up in a project that I am incredibly excited and also super nervous about.   Actually, super nervous doesn't even begin to describe it... more like filled with anxiety and a smidge of nausea.  But in a good way.  I think.  So, I decided to start a little custom made furniture business.  It all started when I was working on a master bedroom project a while back , and was trying to come up with a unique, cool and functional nightstand for a client.  Nothing I had seen in any stores was floating my boat (or his).  And then one day I was at the Rose Bowl flea market....

 And I saw these...


And I thought to myself, I bet that could be the main ingredient for a really cool nightstand.  I texted a photo to my client, who loved the idea.  And then I added some bells and whistles like drawers (little cubbies and doors are not so great for storage), and added a stainless steel surround.

It took a while for my woodworker and me to figure out how to get it to work, balancing the weight of the solid brass doors, but I was thrilled with the results and so was my client, who said "you should sell these because I have never seen anything this cool!"   After I finished the project, I couldn't help but wonder if it would be a successful business idea.  The boxes aren't easy to find, it is super labor intensive (i.e. expensive) to build these pieces and therefore cannot be sold for cheap prices.  I decided to take the leap anyway. 

I have spent months and months collecting vintage post office boxes from all over the country all the while keeping my mouth shut as to what my plans for them were.  No need to plant the idea in anyone elses head while I was trying to pull a business together.  I had a few samples made, mixing finishes and door styles.

 And Modern Postal was born.
 
 I even had a branding iron made to mark all of my pieces.




I have been consumed with all things that go into starting a new business which has taken a lot of time away from friends and fun but then I have met all sorts of interesting folks along the way.  And I have learned a lot.  Like how hard it is to find these darn vintage post office boxes.  Especially the really cool ones (like the art deco beauty above).  And just how scary and exciting it is to start your own business.  And just how grateful I am to have open minded clients that wanted to try my crazy vintage post office box nightstand idea (and pay for it!) because without them...

If someone had told me 3 years ago, when I was laid off from my old executive job, that I would change careers,  become an intern and work for free for a year and a half (YIKES!)  to learn everything I could while going back to school for some design classes and then start my own business I would have told them they were crazy.  Who knew? So, if you want to see what I am up to in the custom furniture world you can check out my Holly Westhoff Design website here and pin away because there are a bunch of things I am really proud of! And I would love it if you liked my new page on Facebook.


And the really big news is I will be showing my line at Dwell on Design from June 21-23 at the LA Convention Center... next week!  Holy cow!  If you live in LA, I would love it if you stopped by booth M16.  It is a teeny tiny 5'x10' space but worth a peek!  You can go here to register for tickets and enter the code SAVE5 for $5 off admission. I am more nervous about this than I was appearing on the Today Show.  And one of my idols, Michael Graves, will be speaking there. So, to share the same airspace with someone like that is pretty cool.  And big companies like Williams Sonoma and JC Penney will be there too.  Perhaps they are looking for someone to create a line for them before one of their competitors knocks me off?

I will continue blogging here so, please stick around!

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern











Monday, April 22, 2013

d.i.why not? bright yellow gallery wall

So, not only am I completely obsessed with black and white these days.  I am also loving yellow.  And the brighter yellow the better...   You may already know this from my painted yellow starburst rug project. Anyhow,  I was working on a client's house and we had this boring hallway with a bad light fixture.
 
Yep, not cute at all.  And this couple is way cooler than the original light fixture that once lived in this hall. It came with the house when they bought it.    So, of course that ugly old light had to go and we had to jazz up their hallway.  We replaced the light with this one by Jaime Young from Lamps Plus.

They wanted a gallery wall filled with photos and art that celebrated people and places they loved but black or brown frames were not right for the narrow space.  We wanted to keep the light, sunny, airy feel that already lives in their house.  And, something that would contrast and compliment the groovy tile that was just installed in their kitchen (I am obsessed with that tile).  So, I suggested yellow.  And they said they loved the idea...
And I am really glad they did because, while it took me what felt like a zillion hours to paint these frames, the final result is pretty cool.  The reddish/orange frame in the middle was painted the exact color of a bit in the new tile in the kitchen.  That frame houses a treasured family photo.

All of the frames used are part of the signature line available at Aaron Bros.  And the great thing about these frames is that most of them came with a white matte and were purchased during their annual 1 cent frame sale which saved a ton of money...

So, all you need for this project is patience, a can or two of spray paint (I used Sun Yellow Gloss by Rustoleum), white colored Signature wall frames (go with a light colored frame if you are painting a light and bright color for best results), some painters tape and a place to get to work.  Note that I found during the process that I had better results when I didn't sand or prime prior to painting these.  And very short spurts of spraying, not too close to the frame is best. All of the frames needed 2 coats of paint.

A great way to welcome spring, don't you think?

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Friday, April 12, 2013

dreaming of the open road...


Recently I was introduced to some new friends and they seem pretty awesome... and I am in awe of an amazing journey they are currently experiencing.  Ummmm so, I haven't actually met these new friends.   Well, not in the traditional in person sense anyway.

We were introduced by a gal in my metalsmithing class... she told me about some friends of hers who decided to hop in their Volkswagon Westfalia van, leave LA for a bit, and travel throughout Central and South America.  As far as I know they don't have a specific end date in mind.  They are 6 months into their journey right now.  And they have been writing about their trip on their site Our Open Road and posting some amazing photos along the way... Oh, and they are having the occasional 24 Hour Bazaar, selling free trade wares from local artisans in whatever village they happen upon at the time (with a 24 hour limit in place adding some urgency to getting your order in), to help fund their fab trip.  My metalsmithing friend knows that I love to travel and I love to shop, and I love finding cool things from far away places.  And these guys bring it all together.

So, meet my new pals - Adam, Emily and their adorable daughter Colette.  If Ford models is looking to sign a family of really good looking hipster outdoor adventurers, this one should be at the top of their list.  My vacation photos are always featuring my never ending bad-vacation-hair days and travel grime and these guys are camping in their van, in the middle of nowhere,  almost every single night yet somehow they always look cool in every single photo they post. Not exaggerating! I swear.  Check it out for yourself.  Another reason I am in awe. 


So, I have been following their adventures starting with crossing the border into Mexico, and traveling further and further into Central and South America.  Seeing all the cool places they are parking that fab VW van, I am itching to meet up with them and join in all the fun!  Somehow it seems so much more romantic than my childhood family vacations driving to a national park, staying in the pop up camper with my parents, and bickering with my sisters.

 These guys are parked in a nice spot with a view of the Andes one week...
Driving past more beautiful scenery ...
 Stopping amongst some palm trees (note the cute kid in the makeshift tub)...
 On the beach another week...
 Frolicking in the surf after a long day of being immersed in local culture...

Seeing spectacular sunsets...
 Pausing to enjoy the occasional rainbow.

Still smiling, even when they hit a bump in the road and are sidelined for a smidge.  Because, frankly, they are well aware that life is pretty good!   Yeah, there may be the occasional mechanical problems and bug bites but they take it all in stride.
Ahhh, I am so doing my own version of this in the future!

Emily is a fashion designer, working on a cookbook during this trip and Adam is an artist (the awesome piece above is by him).  And I am sure little Colette has many great things awaiting her.  How could she not, growing up experiencing something so cool?

Yep, these are some cool new friends to have.  Oh, and I have kinda sorta met them via emails that consisted of my gushing about how great their site is, how genius their idea of a 24 Hour Bazaar is (honestly, I wish I would have thought of it first!), and asking for permission to use their pics in a blog post. All photos used in this post are copyright Our Open Road and used with their permission.

I was tempted to keep them to myself because I don't really want competition snapping up fab items in their next 24 Hour Bazaar but then I decided what the heck?  If you want to check out their adventures go here.

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern




Wednesday, April 3, 2013

sidewalk talk




Any of you that have been reading along for a bit may have noticed my growing obsession with bold black and white prints.  Of course the crazy black and white striped painted rug project really celebrated that obsession.  And I have a Pinterest board dedicated to my love of black and white as a combo...

I stopped in Portugal right after my recent trip to Greece and quickly became obsessed with their pavements.  Sidewalks - to simple Americans like me.  But the Portuguese people take pavements/ sidewalks to a whole new level and I instantly fell in love! They call their fab cobblestone pavements Calcadas (note, there is supposed to be a squiggle below the middle C but I can't figure out how to add it on this American keyboard....) and were created by hand by individually laying pieces of limestone cut into tiny blocks and placed into these amazing designs (by hand!!).   Streets are lined with them as are the many squares throughout the cities.   It all started in 1849 with the groovy wave design above.  It lives in Lisbon in a place called Rossio Square. 1849 people!?!?  It looks so fab and modern I would have thought it was created in the middle of this century at least! 

I couldn't help myself and took a lot of photos.  A lot.   In between eating many Pasteis De Nata (the most heavenly dessert on the planet) ... I averaged about 6 of those treats a day (sadly, not exaggerating and still hitting the gym daily to work them off).  Anyhow, thought you might like to ooh and aahh over these groovy designs too.  Below are some of my faves.











 I still have to sort out my bathroom walls and am feeling inspired by that wave design!


Oh, and lots of former Portuguese colonies have created their own pavements as well.  My friend Rob snapped the above photo while he was in Brazil last month.  So fab!

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

d.i. why not? vintage hanky gift wrapping

I think this probably has to be the easiest DIY project I have done in a while.  The last super easy project I did was probably the clothespin starburst but this is even easier than that one! 

I love nothing more than being able to reuse something lovely from the past in a totally fabulous way.  And I also really enjoy wrapping gifts.  I love it even more than shopping for them.  Coming up with fun and interesting ways of packaging is something I look forward to every single holiday.

I happened upon a table filled with these vintage hankies during one of my flea market outings.  What I loved about these the most was the fact that the gal selling them already cleaned and ironed each and every one of them.  That was key, because we all know what these were used for back in the day (yuck!) and I was thrilled that someone had already taken the time to Oxy Clean the old cooties out of them.  When I saw these vintage handkerchiefs, I was immediately inspired to pick some up and use them to wrap pieces of my jewelry as gifts for friends and family. 

The longest part of the project was the hour I spent going through each and every pile choosing my favorites.  Because of course I had to look at each and every one of them.  And then I had to go through the entire table one more time.  Ideally, you want to choose a hanky with a great pattern in the center as well as cool detail on the corners.


I started by placing my square jewelry box in the center of the hanky like so.  This box measures 1 3/4" high x 3 3/4" square. I think a square box at this thickness or slightly thicker works better than a skinny rectangle.



I then took two corners of the hanky on the diagonal and tied them to each other only once.

I did the same with the opposite corners.

I then tied the same diagonal corners to each other one more time.  This makes it more secure and structured while still allowing your gift recipient to easily untie and open to see the fab goodies you placed inside!

I think my fave of the group is the yellow one.  I am a little obsessed with yellow these days and the scalloped detail around the edge makes it look even more lovely!

Depending on the hanky you use, these can look classic or modern.  No tape, no string or ribbon of any kind is necessary as you have a built in bow!  Perfect for upcoming Easter or Mothers' Day baubles or really any time of the year!  Happy Spring!


For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and you can read about the start of my journey as an interior design intern here and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern