Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Big Reveal!

After a few short hours of sleep last night, I headed over to the convention hall, excited to see the show.  I started the day with two classes, one with Joanne Lenart-Weary and one with Vickie Ayers.  I enjoyed each class thoroughly and look forward to my classes tomorrow. 

And then...I headed to the vendor's hall to see the Alumni Showcase Treatments! 

Are you ready for The Big Reveal?  Me too.  Let's not wait any longer!

My CHF Alumni Showcase Winner 2011

I love the way the treatment came together!  Although we made our treatments in March, we really didn't get to see them put together - we only saw the completed components of the treatments.  I was really pleased to see it look the way I originally envisioned it. 

Checkerboard cornice with crystal nailheads

Orion crystal finials

The "bling" in the treatment just sparkles!  These pictures really don't do it justice.  Both Orion and Diamond Head Upholstery Tacks had booths at the show and I took lots of pictures of their products.  I'll feature them in a post soon, as well as pictures of the other winning treatments. 

But for now...I'm going to try to catch up on a little sleep!  Thanks for reading.

lois@ryliemax.com   314.324.5972

Creating the Award Winning Design - last day

We worked HARD on Saturday - 8:00 am until 11:00 pm!  We were starting to feel a little worn out by Sunday.  But - while we all still had a lot of work to do, it seemed doable (is that a word?).

I had another challenge come up with my crystal buttons.  My design had the crystal buttons attached elsewhere and again, I couldn't get them tight enough.  So we came up with the idea of propping up the buttons with a small "yo yo" of fabric behind it.  They look like sparkly flowers to me.

Crystal button with yo yo

The yo yos worked well, so I made them for all the other places where the crystal buttons were attached.  They are all hand stitched.

All my little yo yos, waiting to be attached to their crystal buttons.

Yo yos and crystal buttons on lower section of panels

Closeup of buttons and yo yos on lower section of panel

My treatment includes a checkerboard cornice with padded silk strips of fabric weaving the checkerboard.  It is embellished with crystal nailheads.

Checkerboard cornice with crystal nailheads

Closeup of cornice with crystal nailheads

After all the treatments were complete, we packaged everything up to be shipped to Vegas.

All packed up, ready to go

We were all proud of a job well done!

From left:  Monique Becker (Becker Window Fashions), me, Debra Martin (Debra Martin Designs), Elizabeth Gerdes (A Stitch Above), Liz Hawkes (Windows by Liz), Sheri Stouffer (Finishing Touches), Sue Fresconi, and Terri Booser (CHF)

...but we were a little tired!

The International Window Covering Exposition opens today and all the CHF Alumni Showcase designs will be unveiled there.  If all goes as planned, I will have another post later today LIVE from the Expo!  Thank you for reading.

314.324.5972   lois@ryliemax.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

Creating the award winning design - Day 2

We worked on our designs for 12 hours on Friday - 8:00 am until 8:00 pm.  I will admit - the day before I was supposed to travel to CHF, I was wondering what on earth I had been thinking when I entered the contest?  I did NOT have time for a trip!  But by the end of the first day, I was in my element and was SO glad I was fortunate enough to be there.  And already thinking of ideas for my contest entry for next year.

Sue Fresconi, Elizabeth Gerdes, me, and Monique Becker arriving at CHF on Saturday morning

On the second day, we weren't quite as bright eyed but still excited to work more on our treatments.  Not suprisingly, some of us had things about our treatments that were not turning out the way we had expected.  And yes, I was one of those people.

My treatment, as it was originally designed, had a contrasting leading edge on a drapery panel with crystal buttons along this edge.  However, when I started to fabricate it, I couldn't get the buttons attached as tightly as I had envisioned, and they were pointing down.  We brainstormed and came up with the solution to put a gathered contrast band on top of the original contrast band to support the crystal buttons.

Me, Terri Booser (CHF) and Ann Johnson (Author and CHF Instructor) working on my treatment. 
Cheri Mulhare captured the actual brainstorming taking place in this photo!  Can you see the gray matter churning?

I liked this look even better than what I had orinally designed, because the crystal buttons were much more visible against the blue silk than they would have been against the silver.

Blue silk panels with double contrasting lead edge, embellished with crystal buttons

The other change we made to my treatment was to construct them using the english method of fabrication.  This involves constructing the panel by hand sewing.  This method of fabrication is for high end treatments; by doing this, you don't see any stitching on the front of the panel.  It's a beautiful effect.  Obviously this took more time to accomplish, but not to fear!  The industry rock stars were there, ready to help.

Susan Woodcock, Drapery Rock Star, hand sewing my panel

Now seriously....where else but at the CHF Alumni Showcase Weekend would I find Susan Woodcock handsewing my treatment for me?!  That was way cool!

I did help though....I didn't make Susan do ALL of my hand sewing. :)

Threading the needle

Hand pleating the contrasting leading edge band

Stay tuned for my next post tomorrow detailing our last day at CHF...and then for the BIG REVEAL later live from IWCE in Las Vegas on Tuesday!

314.324.5972   lois@ryliemax.com

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Creating the Award Winning Design - Day 1

With the big IWCE show in Vegas coming next week, I am going to continue my series of posts about creating my design that will be displayed there.  I can't believe the big show is here already! 

We arrived rested and bright eyed on Friday morning, eager to get started. 

From left - front row: Terri Booser (CHF), Elizabeth Gerdes (A Stitch Above); second row: Sue Fresconi, Liz Hawkes (Windows by Liz), Monique Becker (Becker Window Fashions), Debra Martin (Debra Martin Designs) and Sheri Stouffer (Finishing Touches)

When we entered in the CHF workroom on Friday, we each found a worktable set up with all our fabrics, hardware, and embellishments.  It was exciting to see for the first time the "ingredients" of all our treatments. 

Beautiful silk fabrics provided by Greenhouse Fabrics, hardware provided by Orion, and
 nailheads provided by Diamond Head UT

While I can't reveal my entire design until it's unveiled in Vegas, I can show you some of the components.  My design has BLING in it!  All of the fabric, hardware, and embellishments for our treatments were generously supplied by industry vendors.  My treatment included sparkly crystal nailheads which were supplied by Diamond Head UT. 

Diamond Head Upholstery Tacks

My treatment also has big sparkly finials!  When I designed my treatment, I knew immediately that I wanted to use crystal finials on it.  I was already familiar with Orion's products, having seen them in a design showroom and then using them for a client's project.  In my mind, nothing else would do but the Bohemia crystal finials from Orion.  I was delighted to find out they had agreed to provide them for me.

Beautiful crystal finials from Orion's Bohemia Collection

Did you know they make drapery hardware that looks so much like jewlery?  With hardware like this, I couldn't resist striking a pose!  It doesn't take much for me to "ham it up" for the camera. 

If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it!

Do you love "bling"?  I would love to create a spectacular treatment for your home!  Contact me at 314.324.5972 or lois@ryliemax.com to get started.

Monday, April 18, 2011

At last....embroidery!

For quite some time now, my emboidery machine has merely been a decoration in my workroom.  I finally made time to re-take the "learn how to use your machine" class where I purchased it, and am proud to announce that Rylie Max Studios now offers embroidery!

I learned that there's much more to creating successful emboidered designs than meets the eye.  You need to choose the proper stabilizer and thread as well as use the proper sized hoop for your fabric and design.    Who knew there were more than a dozen types of fabric stabilizers?

My embroidery machine does ONLY embroidery and no regular sewing - since I have 5 other sewing machines, I think I'm covered on the sewing part.  :)  As I wanted to focus mostly on embroidering words or single letters for my projects, I purchased special software to increase the capabilites of my machine.  So when I begin an embroidery design, I create it first on my computer, and then transfer it to my machine.

The pictures below show my first embroidery project after taking my class.  I had already done some window treatments and chair cushions for this client, and wanted to give her a gift to coordinate with her cushions.  What better than a small monogrammed pillow? 

Completed embroidery at the machine


Completed pillow, ready to fill with pillow form

Can you see the zipper hidden in the bottom seam?

 Finished pillow

Mrs. "M" was very happy with her pillow.  And I am ready to monogram anything I can get my hands on!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A whirlwind Alumni weekend at CHF!

The Alumni weekend is over now, and what a weekend it was!  I had planned to blog daily while I was here but my computer caught a virus on the way out here.  It went to Best Buy on Friday for intensive care with the Geek Squad which resulted in me buying a new computer.  I just picked up the new one today and am very glad to be back online - I'd been having withdrawls!

Truthfully, though, we have all been very, very busy; I wouldn't have had much time for blogging anyway.  We've headed over to CHF each day around 8:00 am; on Friday we came back to the hotel at 8:00 pm, and on Saturday at 11:15 pm.  Sunday we got done around 6 pm and actually got to leave the building for dinner!

I've had a great time meeting all the other contest winners and getting to know them better.  A few I knew from the CHF Academy Forum, but I hadn't met any of them in person.  What a fun crew!  The CHF staff did a great job too, helping us work on our projects and providing great meals and ample snacking opportunities. 

The designs are great and are all quite unique.  We are going to WOW the Vegas crowd at the Expo in April!  I can't wait.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I can figure out how to download photos onto my new computer.  More soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Custom Home Furnishings Alumni Showcase Fabrication Weekend!

I just arrived in Charlotte, NC for the Custom Home Furnishings Alumni Showcase Fabrication Weekend.  I am SO excited to be a part of this!

During the course of this weekend, the 6 showcase winners and several industry experts will slave away at the Academy to create all the gorgeous designs.  The winners attended a webinar earlier this week where we got to see each other's designs and ... they are awesome!  I am really looking forward to see them all come together and to get to know the other talented designers who dreamed them up.

When I checked into my room, there was a nice gift bag from CHF waiting for me.....

Inside the bag was a comfy CHF sweatshirt and coffee mug.

I think CHF is trying to tell us dress comfortably and plan on drinking lots of coffee! 

I'll post another update when I can.  At the most recent webinar, we were told that last year everyone arrived at the academy around 8:30 am each day and didn't leave until about 11:00 pm!  So, I'm not sure how much free time I will have. 

Thanks for reading!