The Sprucettes’ Favorite Makers Right Now

One of the most satisfying thing about working at Spruce is having the chance to be creative, bringing our problem-solving skills to the table on a daily basis to create fun, interesting and beautiful solutions. And since each of us has some background in sewing, design and upholstery, we truly appreciate the hard work and long hours that go into making artisanal projects. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite local and national makers we think you should put on your radar!
Amanda
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Stephanie McClenny of Confituras. Photo via Sustainable Food Center website.

Confituras. On Saturday mornings, there’s nothing I love more than taking my time with breakfast. The hubs watches Lilee while I make my favorite breakfast goodies, and buttermilk biscuits (best gluten-free recipe here!) are my absolute favorite. Of course, half the delight is in the jelly, and Stephanie McClenny of Confituras does it best. Last weekend, I picked up Hill Country Lavender Peach Butter. YUMMY! One of the best things about this Austin treat is the seasonal variety. Each month brings a new set of delectable spreads, salts, and sugars fresh to your neighborhood farmers’ market.
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Handmade Prairie Doll by Kathryn Davis of Buddha Hill. Photo via Buddha Hill online store.

Buddha Hill. I’ve vowed to replace ten junky, plastic toys with one of these handmade dolls. I originally saw these at one of my favorite Austin gift stores, Take Heart, and was pleasantly surprised to find them made right here in Austin.
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Latika’s Queen Bee soap. Photo via Scoutmob.

Latika. Somewhere in the height of Bath & Body Works’ heyday, I got burned out on all things bath soaps, shower gels, and body mists, and then I crossed paths with Latika at last year’s Renegade Craft Fair. I had one of those Herbal Essences shower moments with their Queen Bee bath soap. Also, try their Milk Bath for soaking.
Clar
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Ryan Anderson of RAD Furniture. Photos via RAD Furniture.

RAD Furniture. We’ve worked with Ryan before on some small prototype projects. Co-founder and designer Ryan Anderson is humble and modest, a treat to work with! His products are great because they are modern and design-forward yet retaining a classic, industrial look — and durable! They are heavy, sturdy and built to last. See his creations at Hilton Hotels in Austin, and cruise his installations on his website! My fave is the Howard Stool. I’m a sucker for perforated metal!
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Ceramic planters by Cody Hoyt. Photo via codyhoyt.tumblr.com.

Cody Hoyt. Cody is not an Austin-based designer/maker, but I found his items in town at Friends and Neighbors!  His ceramic planters are some of my fave, seen recently out-and-about. It doesn’t hurt that there’s so much fun stuff to buy at Friends and Neighbors! So cool! WANT, WANT, WANT THEM ALL!
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Photo via East Austin Succulents’ Facebook page

East Austin Succulents. Lastly, I have been delighted by shopping at a ‘maker’ establishment on Austin’s East Side that makes plants! East Austin Succulents has a great, rare and vast selection of awesome cacti and succulents. They also have an assortment of found and handmade pots… and, they’ll make a succulent arrangement for you, if you want!
Clarisa
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Christopher Franks and his leather products. Photos via Fortuna Monsoon.

Christopher Franks of Fortuna Monsoon. I’m fortunate to call Chris a friend. He’s a very talented designer and leather worker, as well as a tailor, jewelry maker and carpenter, based here in Austin. He makes his own waxed canvas and pairs it with vegetable tanned leather, creating bags and accessories that are practical, modern and androgynous. I’m currently loving the leather sandals he’s been whipping up and his sunglasses cases (I have one in white!).
Jessica Hannah and the scents she has in her studio space. Photos via J.Hannah Co.'s Facebook page.

Jessica Hannah and the scents she has in her studio space. Photos via J.Hannah Co.’s Facebook page.

Jessica Hannah of J.Hannah Co. Jessica coaches people to make their own custom natural perfume via private blending sessions and by hosting group workshops. During my last birthday, I hosted one of Jessica’s workshops at my home, and she helped us create scents while telling us about the history of each fragrance and educating us about the science of natural perfumes. She’s very passionate about scents and probably one of the most fascinating people you’ll meet in Austin. Check out her upcoming workshops in town!
Stephanie Beard wearing one of her designs. Photo courtesy of Tribeza.

Stephanie Beard wearing one of her designs. Photo via Tribeza.

Stephanie Beard of esby. I was really excited about Stephanie’s menswear-inspired women’s line when I heard about her Kickstarter in February. Since surpassing her Kickstarter, she has started selling her cool, ready-to-wear line online at at Sunroom and Olive (two of my favorite boutiques in town!) — and she’s rolling out her second season soon!
Elizabeth
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Maura Grace in front of the Montana Quilt. Photo via Folk Fibers’ Facebook page.

Maura Grace Ambrose of Folk Fibers (who we had the pleasure of having in our shop this Spring!).  Maura is a graduate of the Fibers program at Savannah College of Arts and Design, the same program I attended, so her work has been something I’ve been aware of and have admired for quite a while.  She uses an assortment of all-natural dyes to create beautiful, handmade quilts of heirloom quality to be cherished for years. Her craftsmanship is absolutely on-point, and the love and care she has for the process that goes into each piece is evident in every single hand stitch.
Yarn and accessories by Madelintosh (left) and Amy Hendrix. Photos courtesy of Madelinetosh.

Yarn and accessories by Madelinetosh (left) and Amy Hendrix. Photos via Madelinetosh’s Facebook page.

Amy Hendrix of Madelinetosh. Amy creates the most delicious, gorgeous hand-dyed yarns. She creates unique, small batch runs of her beautifully saturated colorways, and I love including her yarns in my own weaving projects. She’s definitely a maker to keep on your map!
Katherine
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Tyson Pendergrass (left) and Gable Bostic and their Tre Table. Photos via Petrified Design.

Tyson Pendergrass and Gable Bostic of Petrified Design. The fellas at Petrified Design are continuously impressing me with their exquisitely-crafted, handmade furniture. Beautiful reclaimed wood paired with welded steel bases give their designs a warm and modern look. Their craftsmanship is impeccable. These guys are TRUE makers!
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Carolyn Kimball and her tea towels. Photos via Carolyn Kimball.

Carolyn Kimball. Carolyn is a gal of many talents but my favorite would have to be her handmade tea towels. Not only are these darling, but Carolyn goes the extra step and uses non-toxic inks. Each design begins as an original watercolor and is screen printed by hand. I use her tea towels each and every day. I must say, in addition to being functional, they really add a bit of happiness to my kitchen.


New Upholstery Class: Ottomans with KKDW

They’re back! We’ve just rolled out a fresh new batch of upholstery classes for the fall. Get excited!

We’re super pumped to be collaborating with local furniture maker Kelly Dewitt of KKDW on a special Ottoman Class on November 7. Kelly is a talented maker based in Central Texas who has collaborated with Hotel San Jose, Canoe and Folk Fibers on a few projects, and her modern planters were recently featured in SF Girl By Bay and Anthology.

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If you’re from Austin, you may have seen her on the cover of this month’s Tribeza Makers Issue. We really love the shapes of her planters, so we asked her to design some steel, octagon-shaped ottoman bases for us. They’re going to be 24″ wide by 24″ deep and 18″ tall. Take a look at some of her work below.

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We’re so excited about this collaboration and will post photos of the ottoman prototype as soon as it’s ready! We’re also celebrating the collaboration with a little party after class at Spruce (Friday Nov. 7, 5 p.m.), so save the date! It’s not to be missed!

Speaking of classes, we’re teaching our ever-popular Bring Your Own Chair Class on September 11-12 and our Headboard Class on October 23-24. We get a lot of questions about these classes, so visit this blog first, and then feel free to reach out to us if you still have any questions! We’re also headed back to Dallas on October 4 to teach a lampshade class at Oil and Cotton (register here).


Spruce Upholstery Tip: Reinforcing Panel Nails

If you are unfamiliar with upholstered panels, let me give you a short explanation of how they work. Panels are often used to cover the front of arms or sides of backs on furniture pieces such as wingback chairs and camelback sofas. A panel nail is first punched through the bare panel before it’s covered in Dacron and fabric. Then a mallet is used to hammer the panel onto the furniture. The nail has a large and flat, round head that allows it to be discreetly hidden under the upholstery without making a bump, while the shank protrudes out the back of the panel.

Unfortunately, hammering doesn’t always go so smoothly. Sometimes the nails push back out of the panel and damage the fabric while trying to hammer the panel in place. It can be very frustrating, but, as always, I have a little trick that will help prevent this from happening.

panel tipReinforcing the panel nails with a small piece of cardboard tack strip is all it takes.panel tip attaching panel Super easy!

Another helpful tidbit is to use your regulator to find the shank of the nail so you can perfectly line up the mallet with the head of the nail. Also, do your best to distribute your “whacks” evenly. Partially tap one panel nail in and then move to the next one, and so on, until all of the nails have been fully hammered.Panel tip attaching panel 3

Follow these tricks and save yourself the frustration of having to redo your fabric-covered panels!


Meet Our New Sprucette, Elizabeth!

We’re overdue in introducing our new Sprucette, Elizabeth Najdecki! Welcome Elizabeth!!!

Elizabeth comes to us with loads of experience and knowledge under her belt. She hails from many places and is worldly-wise. Born in Chicago, she’s lived  in Oklahoma, Connecticut, Michigan, England, Georgia, Dallas and is now residing in sunny Austin. She has enjoyed marvelous tutelage at Dallas’s Southern Methodist University (SMU) and the incredible Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she focused her studies on textiles and applied studio art. She’s cut her teeth in the design industry since graduating, working for Dallas area designers, retailers, and a hefty dose of doing-it-herself.

Enjoy my Q&A with Elizabeth below!

Clar Mapes: You’re an arty type. Who’s your favorite artist?

Elizabeth Najdecki: I am mesmerized by Claire Zeisler!!! I can always find something new to marvel at in her work.

Totem III by Claire Zeisler, via Swoolinthecity.blogspot.com.

Totem III by Claire Zeisler, via Swoolinthecity.blogspot.com.

CM: Dang! Me too! Love her work! (Also Diane Itter, Sheila Hicks – greats!) Here, here! Can you show us some of your work?

EN: Sure! Elizabeth Najdecki original artwork

Elizabeth Najdecki original sculpture Najdecki product

CM: You can see the Zeisler influence in the sculpture for sure! Nice study! Coolest pillows — those are killer!

What’s your favorite vacation?

EN: I can never say ‘no’ to a tropical getaway. I’m happiest on the beach or at the pool with an appropriately garnished adult beverage — the more umbrellas and pieces of flair the better! I have visited Thailand, the Maldives, Mauritius, South Africa… but I think my favorite vacation is always the next one because I like looking forward.

CM: That’s nice, Elizabeth. Well played! What do you love about home?

EN: I always love making a house a home, but I’m also super impulsive; so decorating, collecting furniture, arranging it, painting, then changing my mind a week later at 3 a.m. and redoing it all is super fun for me! I also love entertaining, sharing my home with friends. I love to lay by the pool, can’t get enough of the Texas sun! I have a cat named Tyson and a dog named Belle. Tyson is named as such because he bites ears, and Belle because she’s a Southern lady!

CM: You’ve been in Austin such a short time. What are your favorite food discoveries thus far? Any favorite hangouts?

EN: A standout for me are the eggs and bacon tender belly with hollandaise at Austin’s Searsucker. Love the creme brulee from Olivia’s. I’ve always had fun out on Rainey St. and East 6th St. Send me suggestions for fun things to do! (Readers, leave us your comments here on the blog!)

Searsucker's "bacon and eggs" (left) is "bacon and eggs," pork belly topped with an egg cooked at 63 degrees (photo via Thrillist.com); and Olivia's Duck Egg Creme Brulee (right, photo via Foodspotting.com).

Searsucker’s Eggs & Bacon (left): pork belly topped with an egg cooked at 63 degrees (photo via Thrillist.com); and Olivia’s Duck Egg Creme Brulee (right, photo via Foodspotting.com).

CM: I will do so! Tell me some of your favorite movie titles. I wanna know!

EN: Some of my favorites are Point Break, The Science of Sleep, Home Alone, and Welcome to the Dollhouse…but I hate to name favorites because I like too many!

Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in Point Break. (Photo by Richard Foreman/Fotos International/Getty Images)

Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in Point Break. (Photo by Richard Foreman/Fotos International/Getty Images)

CM: I know what you mean! I have worn out a childhood copy of Point Break, and at one time, I’m positive I could quote most of Welcome to the Dollhouse. Ha! Do you wanna be “besties” with Keanu?

EN: Right now I’d rather hang out with Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate because I’m in the mood to laugh!

CM: I would be tickled to meet them, too – they slay me! Last question/command: tell me about the kind of music you like, please?

EN: I love music and will listen to anything, but I can’t help but always love Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day (I try to hide my embarrassing high school emo side, but I can’t fight it.). One of my favorite songs will always be, “Goin Against Your Mind” by Built to Spill, and I love both the song and video for Alt-J’s “Breezeblocks”….and all my friends’ bands! I love the sound of rain!

Thanks so much Elizabeth! In your short and completely helpful tenure here at Spruce, you have proven to be a quick wit, a bright smiling face to our customers, and so informative for those you’ve consulted. I/we salute you, Elizabeth! You are a golden gal, and thank you endlessly for your expertise and easy personality. We’re truly so happy to have you!


August Storage Sale at Spruce!

Take advantage of our Storage Sale this month! We’ve never done anything like this before. We’re pulling all the furniture pieces we’ve collected over the past seven years from our sheds and discounting them for sale and/or custom upholstery.

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Amanda spent last week pulling items out of the storage sheds that haven’t seen the light of day for a long time! Out with the old to make room for new projects, we say!

Items include vintage and antique chair and sofa frames (along with a few headboards, stools and rockers, to boot!) — mostly priced at under $100.

Get the frame for FREE and a 10% OFF FABRIC when you book the upholstery project with us!

The cost for basic upholstery ranges from $75 to $1500.

Take a look at these great bones! If you can dream it we can upholster it! That chandelier on the top right is on sale, too, for a cool $100!

Take a look at these great bones! If you can dream it, we can upholster it! That chandelier on the top right is on sale for a cool $100!

Let’s take a look at some of the goods…

We’re pricing this “Antique Rose” sofa for $95. The cost to upholster this elegant beauty is a mere $1,095 — a steal!

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This antique oval desk just needs a little TLC. Take it off our hands for $100!

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I’m personally a big fan of this fun, 3-piece sectional ($150 for frame, $895 for upholstery), so if you want it, come and get it ASAP! It has a lot of potential, don’t you think?

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If you’re looking for dining room chairs, we have sets of four, six and eight! Take this handsome set of fish armchairs, going for $30 each. Upholstery is $295 each.

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Two wingbacks are better than one! These are priced at $45 each; $850 each for upholstery.

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I’m a sucker for rattan! This pair of rattan club chairs are $35 each; $500 each for upholstery! Imagine recovering these exotic gems with a tropical, contemporary print. Oh, the possibilities!

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Now that I’ve wet your whistle, come by and see the other pieces in person! If you’re looking to spruce up your home with some new digs and you love a great deal, don’t miss this sale ending on August 30. The sale started yesterday, and we’ve already sold several pieces! Questions? Feel free to give us a call at 512-454-8181.


Spruce Upholstery Tip: How to Protect Fabric When Using Ply Grip

Ply Grip (a.k.a. Pli-Grip, Flex Trim, and Curve Ease) is a nifty invention that helps create professional looking, clean, smooth edges for all your projects. It can be a little tricky when working with thinner fabric, as the metal of the Ply Grip will sometimes cut through delicate fabrics. Naturally, I have a quick solution for this problem.

tape on plygrip fold tape over plygripA strip of masking or painter’s tape serves as a great barrier between the fabric and the sharp edges of the Ply Grip. Be careful to leave the teeth free from tape so they’re able to do their job and grab the fabric.

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After the tape is applied, use scissors or a razor blade to slice the tape in between each segment of the Ply Grip so that it may bend and flex around curves.

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Once you complete the above steps, continue Ply Gripping as you would normally.

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Now you’ll be able to Ply Grip without having any hesitation or worry about damaging your fabric. Add this tip to your upholstery tool box!


Designer Spotlight Series: Chris McCray of McCray & Co.

We love working with Austin’s most creative and talented designers. One of our favorite creatives is Chris McCray of McCray & Co., a designer who has natural talent and a persistent salvaged DIY aesthetic. His creations are always fresh, soulful, and inspiring. We’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with him in the past, and we’re excited to spotlight him for this month’s Designer Spotlight Series. Without further ado, take a look at our interview with Chris!
Portrait photo by Ryann Ford http://ryannford.com

Portrait photo by Ryann Ford. Glasses design by Chris McCray.

What motivated you to become a designer?
Church. When I was growing up, I was required to sit through church every Sunday, every week of my life. As a rambunctious kid who would later be diagnosed with ADD, I was bored to tears. I would take a pencil and draw all over the church bulletin, copying down every architectural detail I could see in the place – every angle, every line, whatever I could think of to get me through the interminable 30-minute sermon. I guess it just sunk in.
How would you describe your work process, taking something from an idea to a fleshed-out, finished product? 
It usually starts with the flash of an image – something I see on the side of the road as I drive by, a picture that streaks across the screen on my laptop, or a thought that I have late at night before I go to sleep. Some of those things manifest into sketches, some of them collide with each other before making it onto paper, and a lot of them lay dormant until a later date. But once they make it onto paper, they become malleable ideas that continue to be layered upon until the design feels right, or it just gets too damn late.
I typically design furniture and spaces with a fabricator in mind, and a large part of my design process takes place in three dimensions. I have a personal belief that there are far more objects in existence than there really ought to be, and the act of simply specifying goods which were manufactured in and shipped from faraway lands is a practice that I try to avoid as much as possible. Working with local makers and existing/reclaimed materials becomes just as important as that original spark that caused me to put pencil to paper. Everything that I do is a collaboration, whether it’s with the client, the maker, the people who work with me in my office, or the materials themselves.
McCrayCo_Our-Lady
You collaborated with us on the Our Lady of Guadalupe sofa (above), which is a completely unique piece that includes a custom screen print and upcycled materials. Can you tell me a little bit about the piece? Where did you get the inspiration for it?
The Our Lady sofa was inspired by the client, who asked me to interpret Austin from a South Congress perspective. I’m a big fan of the work Federico Archuleta has done all over town, but one of my favorite pieces is the Lady of Guadalupe he did across the street from Guero’s. My favorite time to be on South Congress is when the Continental Club is sponsoring a hotrod show, which made me think about the old-school tuck and roll upholstery, done up in the bright, funky serape fabric that we see so often here in Austin. And then we skirted the whole thing in red cowhide because, hell, it’s Texas.
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Photo of Ramen Tsatsu-Ya by Spencer Selvidge, Eater Austin

Your company is pretty prolific, but you’re probably best known for designing some of Austin’s favorite restaurants, including Ramen Tatsu-Ya (above) and Lenoir (featured photo, taken by Ryann Ford). What is your design philosophy for creating memorable spaces? 
I think as designers, we are obligated to tell a story in the space. If it’s a good story, it’s memorable. And all good stories are unique. It’s all about storytelling.
How have you seen the landscape of Austin’s design change since you moved here in 2011?
I feel like when I arrived just a few short years ago, there were only a handful of people that were making what I consider to be thoughtful work. Now, with so much growth happening at such a fast pace, there’s interesting work going on all over the city. The bar has been raised on design and experience expectations to the point where we are now having conversations with clients about staff dress and the type of music that they’ll play. Not sure these were topics covered in design briefs here four and five years ago.
What would be your dream design project if you had an unlimited amount of money and time?
I hate the idea of having unlimited money and time. I truly believe that if that were the case, it would be an extremely hard project to take on. For me, design is about parameters and what can be done within those parameters. Without the parameters, it just feels hedonistic. But as far as my dream project goes, I’ve always wanted to work on a boutique hotel.
What can we expect from you and your business in the next year?
We’re really excited about what the next year has to bring. We’ve got a few more restaurants up our sleeves; can’t wait for those to be revealed as they move forward. We’ve got a few commercial clients that we’re working with on exciting projects. And we’re starting to venture more into the residential world here in Austin, which I really like. We’re also working on prototypes for a new furniture line called Mable. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a good year.
What have been three of your favorite projects?
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Photos of Lenoir by Jody Horton.

LENOIR
The first project that comes to mind is Lenoir because it’s the first project I worked on when I arrived in Austin. The materials we used to build out the space were scavenged, upcycled, or reclaimed. It was my only project at the time, so it allowed me the time to work on-site and get to know some great Austin makers, like Jesse Hartman, and Andy and Pearly Rihn.
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ROCK STAR HOUSE
One of my favorite residential projects I’ve done was for a record producer and his wife, which started with a very simple design brief: make our house as colorful as the Simpson’s house, and make sure Godzilla is present in every room. As you can see by the photos, I think we accomplished these two tasks. Photos (above) by Lee Brauer.

 

TITO’S VODKA

 

Recently, we worked with the creative and marketing team at Tito’s Vodka to help them out with the design and build of their new offices. I got the chance to bring in and work alongside one of my favorite Austin makers, Adam Young of Old Crow Custom Works. The majority of our resources came from decommissioned bottling equipment, which we picked through and selected from the manufacturing graveyard out at the Tito’s plant, as well as pine planks that were salvaged from the devastating fires in Bastrop. One of my favorite details is that I got to work with a pinata maker over on Cesar Chavez to create three pinata chandeliers, using the copper foil that everyone’s familiar with from the Tito’s Vodka bottles.

 

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Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Chris!


Fabric Shop Hop This Weekend

We’re at it again THIS WEEKEND! Visit Spruce and nine other fine fabric retailers for the semi-annual Fabric Shop Hop.

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We know who your are, that lovely customer who loves to come in and ooh and aah but never has a reason to pull the trigger. Well, here are your reasons:

20% off ALL FABRICS and WALLPAPERS

10% off ALL OTHER RETAIL

$50 off CLASS REGISTRATION FEE

Plus, make one of these adorable pincushion wristlets at our DIY station (while supplies last), and enter to win a FREE LAMPSHADE CLASS!

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Here’s what you missed at the last Fabric Shop Hop.

 


Spruce Upholstery Tip: Creating a Smooth Edge on Damaged Furniture

Sometimes the stripping process can take quite a toll on your furniture. Even the smallest of missing chunks will be noticeable when the fabric is pulled around the edge, especially when using a thinner fabric or a fabric with a sheen. In these scenarios, fear not! I have a very simple solution that will help you achieve a nice, smooth edge.

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Cardboard tack strip is a material we use for various things in upholstery. For today’s tip, I attach a strip of cardboard tack strip along the edge of the damaged side, creating a straight edge.

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Attach another piece of cardboard tack strip along the underside to add extra stability and structure.

smooth edge ready for upholstery

Two strips of cardboard and you are back in business. The simplest tips are always the best ones!


Inspiration of the Week: Pineapples!

You want to know what’s all the rage this summer? Pineapples!

Clarisa returned from Alt Summit (see post here) with reportage that pineapples are on trend! I’ve collected some of our fabric offerings that feature pineapples, or conjure ideas of  the juicy fruit in color or texture just for you, dear readers!

One of my favorites is the Manuel Canovas Jamaica print. This pattern comes in a few colorways and sports a giant pineapple along with other vibrant citrus, passionate fruits and luscious melons that connote everything SUMMER!

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Manuel Canovas Jamaica shown in three different color ways.

Wikipedia says that “in the Philippines the pineapple’s leaves are used to produce the textile fiber piña, employed as a component of wall paper and furnishings, amongst other uses.”  Fascinating! How apropos!

Though the pineapple belongs to the bromeliad family (think Spanish moss and certain rosette-forming desert succulents), I can’t help but include another print idea that is so connected in my psyche: the palm. This one’s thrown in to reinforce the summery theme!

I love this next one from Duralee’s  Jalene Kanani contract collection. This fabric is built to last and has a great organic repetition – just like the pineapple!

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Duralee’s Twine in Goldenrod; pattern 90886-264.

The Design Connection offers a cool print that is all at once contemporary, Art Deco, and a bit organic! This one’s another super durable print, and it comes in several colors.

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TDC’s Miami in Red and Yellow.

I found a bunch of sweet prints from Christopher Farr that don’t feature pineapples overtly but remind me of them! See a short list of great prints from the Christopher Farr Cloth line below! The first one I included is a sweet reminder of a pineapple’s golden interior flesh and ashy, bark-like, spiny exterior.

I really loosened up on the theme for this next pattern! I was thinking pineapples, pina coladas, and then… tiki! Here ’tis! A sweet pattern that shouts “Hawaii,” the adopted home of pineapples, swinging retro times and some frothy, fruity drinks! Mahalo!

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Christopher Farr Cloth’s Happy Flowers in Berry (large scale shown); love the style here! Sketchy and playful, and overall decidedly artsy! Gotta have that pineapple!

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Christopher Farr Cloth’s Africana shown in five color ways.

This pattern I chose as a riff on the pineapple skin diamond pattern texture. I love how the drawn black lines lend further to the ideas of the pineapple texture – rough, a little pokey, natural… You get it, right?!

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Christopher Farr Cloth’s Africana in Green.

cloth adras lemon

Christopher Farr Cloth’s Adras in Lemon. It’s all about color here!

If you’re in the mood this summer for a pineapple or two, we can fix you up!


Bench Auction to Support AIDS Services of Austin

We’re excited to participate in a special collaboration that’s kicking off a Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) event – Urban Picnic by Design (featuring picnic table set ups by 20 talented local designers) – held on September 11. Take a look at The Frank Bench! We’re auctioning this one-of-a-kind bench on our website, and all of the proceeds benefit AIDS Services of Austin!

Bench3The bench is a collaboration between Spruce, local interior designer Kelly LaPlante (who upholstered this beauty in our bench class using an Alexander McQueen-inspired velvet) and TreeHouse (which provided the industrial hairpin legs). It is named in memory of Kelly’s friend who battled AIDS for 34 years and passed away earlier this year.

Bid for the bench here! The auction expires at midnight, July 8.

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Alt Summit 2014: Highlights From My First Blogging Conference

When I first met Amanda, the very first conversation I had with her was about the awesomeness of Alt Summit. “If you’re into blogging, you should definitely go,” she said, after sharing some gems she learned about social media and SEO during her time at the conference in 2013 (which you might remember us blogging about here, here and here). Surprisingly, I had never heard of Alt Summit — once dubbed the “burning man of blogging” by the Huffington Post. Once I learned more about it, I knew it was something I had to experience! So, I packed my bags last week and headed off to Salt Lake City for a few days.

me taking notes

That’s me in the background, taking careful notes of what Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked had to say about her experience on Shark Tank! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

While I was at the conference (held at the exquisite Grand America Hotel), I met several wonderful bloggers, photographers, designers and entrepreneurs who inspire me to be the best marketer I possibly can. I learned the importance of collaborations, networking, creating effective marketing materials and using social media platforms, such as Pinterest, to their fullest. I’m still in the process of digesting all of the information I got out of the workshops, talks and networking events I attended. For now, I’ll leave you with a few highlights from this memorable experience.

Joy Cho of Oh Joy! started off the conference with an inspiring keynote speech about juggling work and being a wife and mother. She Joy ended with Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

Joy Cho of Oh Joy! started off the conference with an inspiring keynote speech about juggling work and being a wife and mother. Joy ended with Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

Winning an Oh Joy! for Target bowl

On top of the fact that Joy Cho of Oh Joy! was the opening keynote speaker, she “liked” our Instagram post of her. Call me a fangirl, but I was pretty excited.

See that Oh Joy! for Target bowl in the center of the table. It's mine!

See that cool Oh Joy! for Target bowl in the center of the table. It’s mine! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

Oh, and she gave away some cool serving bowls to a select few, and I was one of the lucky participants who won one. You made my day, Joy!

Someone asked Martha Stewart about making pie crust.

Martha Stewart was the keynote speaker this year, and we all had the pleasure of asking her questions. Several people asked Martha about her work-life balance, but one question was specifically about pies. Someone asked her if she uses butter, lard or vinegar in her crust. She responded by saying she uses butter for most sweet pies, lard for her meat pies and vinegar for a specific apple pie. There you have it, folks!

Martha Stewart was the conference's keynote speaker for the second day, and she was interviewed by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom!

Martha Stewart was the conference’s keynote speaker for the second day, and she was interviewed by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

There was a Garden Party.

Alt Summit is a lot more than just workshops and lectures. It’s about having both a fun and beautiful experience. Thanks to generous donations from sponsors, such as Bing and MailChimp, the organizers were able to put together some fun parties, gorgeous flower arrangements and delicious food. Every detail – from the strategically decorated photo booths to the letterpress menu cards – was considered. The final event of the conference was an outdoor Garden Party, and Alt Summit went all out. There were mopeds people could pose on for photos, a croquet set-up, ribbons hanging from trees – and the majority of the participants were decked out in fabulous attire. Check out some photos from the event here.

The Garden Party was held in the courtyard of the Grand America Hotel.

The Garden Party was held in the courtyard of The Grand America Hotel. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

 

The best thing about Alt Summit is seeing so many stylish people together in one place. Here are a few of the attendees at the Garden Party, which concluded the conference.

The best thing about Alt Summit is seeing so many stylish people together in one place. Here are a few of the attendees at the Garden Party, which concluded the conference. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

Learning what’s hot right now

Apart from learning the trends in social media and blogging, I got a chance to see what’s hot in fashion and design. This is what’s trending with some of the most influential bloggers in the know: pineapples in design, Scandinavian braids in your hair, Pippet, jumpers with bold prints, ’70’s wavy hair, fluorescent colors, starting a stationery company, thick-rimmed glasses, gold, calligraphy, and food styling.

Take a look at some more photos from the conference!

After the first day, we were all invited to an outdoor party, equipped with food trucks and a DJ, at a park in downtown Salt Lake City. There were several dancer breaking along to the music, and some of the bloggers joined in the fun!

After the first day, we were all invited to an outdoor party, equipped with food trucks and a DJ, at a park in downtown Salt Lake City. There were several dancers breaking along to the music, and some of the bloggers joined in the fun! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

This is the Bing lounge. There were several lounges decorated by the participating sponsors, and attendees had the opportunity to get their portraits taken in front of the photo booths.

This is the Bing lounge. There were several lounges decorated by the participating sponsors, and attendees had the opportunity to get their portraits taken in front of the photo booths. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

The Honest Company donated several toiletries. They were arranged like this in the waiting area of the restroom, there for the taking!

The Honest Company donated several toiletries. They were arranged like this in the waiting area of the restroom! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

listening to how to put your editorial calendar together

All of the participants had a chance to pick up some tips about blogging from the pros in attendance. Here, I am learning about how to organize your editorial calendar. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.

Some numbers from Alt Summit

Celebrity sightings: 2 (I saw actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burrell of Modern Family at Bar-X, which is owned by Burrell)

Attendees who participated in our blogging book tour last year: 3 (Jessica Angel of Oh So Antsy, Melissa Bahen of Lulu the Baker, and Jeran McConnel of Oleander and Palm).

Hours Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked sleeps every night: 5-6

Susan Peterson is my hero! She had several great tips for entrepreneurs, including giving yourself a "warrior name" to help you during challenging circumstances. Her warrior name is Beyonce!

Susan Peterson is my hero! As the owner of a company that’s now worth a million dollars, she had several great tips for entrepreneurs, including giving yourself a “warrior name” to help you during challenging circumstances. Her warrior name is Beyonce! Photo Credit: Justin Hackworth.

Books Martha Stewart has produced: 85

Minutes the average person spends on Pinterest: 15 per day

handmadecharlotte

Rachel Faucett (left) co-founded Handmade Charlotte with her husband. She has five kids, tons of energy and great ideas and is wildly entertaining. I want to be her best friend! I’m applauding her (on the right). Next to me is my new friend Sean Timberlake, a food writer and a blogger specializing in canning and preserving. Check out his blog Punk Domestics! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth Photography.

The best time to post on Pinterest is on Friday, 3 to 7 p.m. EST! Thanks for the great tips Rachel Faucett (Handmade Charlotte) and Alex Evjen (Ave Styles)!

The best time to post on Pinterest is on Friday, 3 to 7 p.m. EST! Thanks for the great tips Rachel Faucett (Handmade Charlotte) and Alex Evjen (Ave Styles)!

Cards collected: 43

Times people said, “there are a lot of people from Austin here!”: 4 (Local creatives Anna Kamburis of Demi + Olive, Miranda Anderson of One Little Minute, and Nycia Emerson of Inspired Events and Designs were also in attendance!)

photo 5b

Me and Hillary Walker, the Dallas/Fort Worth blogger of Our Style Stories, in front of Eva’s Bakery. I had the best quiche in my life at Eva’s!

If you have any questions about Alt Summit, feel free to leave us a comment – or tweet us @spruceathome!