Monday, February 28, 2011

Fan Flair - A DIY Project

I have just finished a project to brighten up and unify my China Closet.  It was easy, cheap and effective. And, it can be easily modified if I change my mind in the future.  The cabinet is now a collection of visual compositions melding the shape and beauty of my dishes with folded fans in a satin and matt stripe.

The Story:

It all started several Christmases ago.  The glass shelves in my china cabinet came crashing down right before I hosted a dinner for 18. I lost some dishes but luckily most were saved because they were on the table set for dinner. As a result my cabinet was under-shelved and most of the dishes were stacked on the bottom.

Not only was it inefficient but it was also unattractive. I have some beautiful handmade pottery with delicious glazes and none could be seen.

I'd been searching for a place to have new glass shelves cut and finally asked at the local, "has everything" hardware store, Mansfield Supply. I don't know why it didn't dawn on me earlier but they had them ready for me by the end of the day. This allowed me to spread out the dishes but I was still disappointed. The cabinet has no lighting and the back wall is cherry. It needed to be lighter and brighter but I wasn't going to paint the beautiful cherry.  

I considered several solutions including stretching fabric or paper. I purchased a roll of brightly colored wrapping paper to experiment with different effects. From the experimenting I learned that I wanted cherry to still be visible and that the bright colors were too strong. At some point a folded fan nestled into the corner was tested and I knew I was on the right track. I tried some with the blue and green apple stripe paper and the effect was too strong so I made another with plain white copier paper. David (my husband and top consultant) came home for dinner and weighed in on the elegance of white.  Typing paper was too thick so I purchased another roll of wrapping paper but this one was wedding paper, alternating satin and matt white stripes. Hallmark wrapping paper had an additional benefit in that it has a 1" grid printed on the back side. It was helpful in straight cutting and folding.

I started making fans in different sizes and playing with arrangements. At this point both Karen and Amy (our daughters) were home for a family weekend and additional design advice helped me finalize on random fan and circle shapes artfully arranged on the back panel. They also helped with folding!

My total investment was $7.98.  Each roll of wrapping paper cost $3.99.  The final result is nearly impossible to photograph but I am very pleased. And, the solution is flexible. I can change it with little effort or cost!

Up close the glazes shine and the fans add a decidedly oriental theme to the closet.

Here is some DIY Information:


1 roll Hallmark wrapping paper - 22 1/2 sq. feet
Assorted double stick tape/dots/lines


  • Cut 1 strip of wrapping paper for each fan. 
  • I made a variety 3.5 - 9.5 inches wide and 30"-36" in length.
  • Fold each strip in a back and forth fan fold.
  • All folds are 1/2" and although I tried to keep things even, absolute precision was not required.  It looked even even though it wasn't.

  • Add a row of double stick tape to each of the ends.  
  • I tried different types but found I liked the scrap-booking adhesive splits that had individual pull tabs. The fans shapes had a life of their own and would snake around and stick to themselves. I used Frosted Splits by Creative Memories. 
  • Using the covered tabs allowed me to stick one half in place, then peel the backs off the other half, position it, and stick that in place as well.

  • On those fans which hang upside down I also added a double stick piece of tape behind them right at the center to keep them from drooping.

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©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wanderings - Fuller Craft Museum

We gain creative inspirations through our wanderings so David and I regularly plan road trips to museums, exhibitions, gardens and other beautiful places. The Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA is dedicated to contemporary crafts and a place we visit occasionally.  Its problem is that it is located on the road to nowhere. On Saturday we decided to team up with daughter Karen and make the trek. There were several items in the exhibits the engendered the "Oooooh!" reaction from me.

This piece in the Furniture Divas: Recent Work by Contemporary Makers exhibit caught my attention. I am often drawn to items with strong geometric patterns (not to mention beautiful storage) like this piece by Judy Kensley McKie.

Below is a sculptural piece made out of old plaster lathe strips which also caught my attention. Geometry can often be so static in it's mathematical precision. Not so in this piece by Barbara Homes. It is very dynamic and fluid.

In a second exhibition Loom and Lathe, I found this beautifully delicate basket, made from the skeletons of leaves and created by Kay Sekimachi. It is crafted from Krylon-coated maple leaves.

Her work is shown in combination with that of her husband Bob Stocksdale.  He is renowned in the field of wood turning and there were many exotic wooden bowls combining a stunning sense of shape with unbelievably thin walls. I have a growing collection of turned wooden bowls from lesser know artists.


From a show like this I take inspiration. The work here is museum quality and not things I would ever be able to have in my home. But I have learned creativity breeds creativity. Going to exhibitions of this type gets the ideas flowing.

A quick search on my iPad informed us that there was an IKEA nearby. We followed up the museum visit with a 2 hour inspiration gathering ramble through IKEA which is a great place to visit when the creative juices are pumped. I made some purchases which may very well show up in a future post as an IKEA hack!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stone Look-A-Likes

The previous posts all incorporate actual stones but there are also plenty of inspiring designs that aren't actually stones but use the beauty of stones as their theme....Take a gander at some of these beautiful things.

Stones in relief from stonegifts on Etsy.

Felt stones from Fairyfolk at Etsy.

Stunning stone field photo from IKEA

Columba River Stone print from CloudyDay2 on Etsy.

This simple pebble vase is made in many subtle shades. Perfect for oriental tablescapes. Available from Canoe.

Talk about personality! These are from SFMOA via Curbly.

Share your links to other stone look-a-likes in the Comments area.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

News Flash! Another Shelf

I am taking a quick break in my stone series to share another striking shelf unit. This corner unit takes my breath away. The design is sleek.

This design is by Abhinav Dapke of Bangalore, India.  I found it at Coroflot which seems to be a site for aspiring designers.  I would love to see this design brought to production. I can see it also built out of hardwood with complex finger joints at the corners.

More stones tomorrow....

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stone Lighting

They idea of incorporating stones in decorating is not unique to me.  Here are some other finds on the Internet.

The beauty of symmetry from Timberstone Rustic Arts

A design for those with a little more dance in their step.....

For those a little more free-flowing in their design preferences by EcoByDesign

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sometimes Tulips are Perfect

I have been sharing creative solutions for centerpieces but sometimes the standard is perfect. When it is still snowy and you are dreaming of spring, a handful of tulips freely arranged in a glass pitcher is perfect.

No creativity is required.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

From Sticks to Stones

I use nature as a source for contemporary design accessories in many ways.  I have blogged extensively about incorporating wood and only a little bit about using stones. Meandering through the artists showing at the ACC Fine American Craft event in Baltimore this week I came upon these elegant stone hooks.

They are so simple in design and their natural tactile quality begs to be touched. They come from Sea Stones which also has cabinet hardware and other sea stone accessories available. I can visualize an entire bathroom designed around this starting point.

Recently there have been some great soft stone options available including rugs, stools and pillows. While none of these are as affordable as harvesting your own sea stones they certainly are beautiful designs. The following are from VivaTerra.

On a smaller scale VivaTerra also has stone place mats. I love the place mats but am especially drawn to the sea glass dishes as well.

At more affordable level you can find some stone accessories at Amazon.

Pebble Floor Mat - Slate 

And one last option for this post is a round stone rug found a Chiasso.

I love many of these design but am still partial to a stroll on the beach or river collecting my own and building with them.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Rings to Roots

Yesterday I showed a beautiful tree ring rug.  Today this creative design by Matali Crasset might inspire you. It does me.

It is a rug that might also make an attention getting wall-hanging. Although things with this degree of contemporary design might not be something I'd want to live with every day they contribute to my growing library of home design ideas.  I am always collecting inspirations.

Links: Nodusrug
Via: MocoLoco

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tree Rings

This rug would be so appropriate in our home.

Great match in color, theme and whimsey.  I bet the rings would also hide the dirt!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Literally - A Coat Tree

There are a lot of contemporary design ideas using wall stickers.  This one I particularly like.

Not only is it a dynamic graphic design, it is also a great space saver. Absolutely no floor space is lost to what could be a traditional piece of furniture. This example is from Ferm Living and they have many others. As a DIY person, a roll of blue painter's tape, some black paint and some hooks could make this a truly affordable sleek solution.

Ferm Living has a series of wall stickers that are worth looking at. Many would give a room a focal point with a little design humor attached.

Interesting that I am partial to their trees.  

Go to their site to see flowers, birds, suitcases, bikes, and telephone poles.

There is a series of wall stickers at Amazon as well. These are much more affordable but a different design level. 

An Amazon search on Wall Stickers leads to thousands of hits.  

Having never used wall stickers I wonder how easy/hard they are to remove when it is time for a change. Anyone have experience with them?

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sunday, February 20, 2011


No doubt about it. This post made me smile!

Talk about creative living. A tad impractical but oh what an experience!

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shelf Happy :-)

I have been serious about the blogging for a few weeks now and as I have been actively following other sites (might be interpreted as wasting time) I am noticing trends in my likes and dislikes of categories. I have always known I have strong style preferences but I am noticing a distinct bias of furniture functions as well. I am not terribly interested in chair design - and there are lots of posts about them.  But shelving units - oh my! I get unreasonably excited over a well designed self unit. Here is a collection of some of the ones that have caught my eye this week. This first set starts as simple slotted boxes.....

But put them together and combine sets and Oh, My!  I am impressed.

Endless and changeable possibilities for interesting displays are created.

The second set speaks to the non-gamer in me.  I only like spatial relation games like Tetris.....

Example #3 is a wonderful replacement for the ugly kitty tower.  The stairs and hightop kitty perch are just excellent solutions.  

And the last sample is here just to let you know that my storage solution attraction is not limited to right angles!

I have no doubt that my love of storage shelves is related to my love of collecting stuff!

1. Slot Shelves: They have been all over the design blogs but I saw them first at SwissMiss
2. Tetris shelves were discovered at Opulent Items.
3. Cat Library was uncovered at Shoebox Dwelling.
4. Round Flexi Shelving was also from Opulent Items.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy