Have Yourself a Funky Little Christmas

Spotted this decorated tree on a walk in an adjoining neighborhood last week, and it brought a full-blown smile to my face.

May your home be filled with full-blown smiles this Christmas Day!




Small Business Saturday: Shop Local at The Pink Palm’s Lilly-licious New Richmond Location

The Pink Palm Has Moved Just Across the Street . . .

to a bigger and brighter location.  With the new pink doors now open,

Small Business Saturday is the perfect time to stop by The Pink Palm and support one of the happiest places in Richmond.  You can not help but smile when you enter this big confection of a space.

     No longer crammed all together, you can fully see and appreciate the artful designs of all of the Lilly Pulitzer inventory,

as well as treasures from curated vendors selected by creative owner, Lizanne Jeveret.

After too much food and too much Black Friday, drop by The Pink Palm at 5019 Huguenot Road (River Road II Shopping Center) and relax.

Let your blood pressure drop and your spirits rise.

You are sure to find the perfect gifts for all of the Lilly lovers and beachniks in your life.

     Happy Holiday Shopping!

All photos by Avad Fan from my iPhone.

Welcome to Richmond, Brocante Home!

Thanks for bringing Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint to the Capitol City

     You have been reading about Annie Sloane’s chalk paint for awhile now as I have been freshening up the old brown furniture around our abode.  My source for the paint has been the fabulous French shop in Irvington, Brocante Home.  Though it’s a bit of a hike from the West End, every time I head to the Rivah with friends, we make a point of stopping in and leaving with at least one new can of paint.

     The owner of Brocante Home, Rachel Pugliese, loves to teach her customers about the wonders of this paint.  In fact, most Thursdays you can find her in the store paintbrush in hand transforming an old piece into something wonderful.  She is always full of tips and has started offering two-hour workshops to help her customers get comfortable with this easy and clean medium for transformation.  She has even named the workshops “Paintbrush and Pearls” to further her point.

     One of the posse and I decided to try the workshop the other week, and sure enough Rachel was wearing her pearls as she took us through different finishing techniques to use with the chalk paint and waxes.  Of all of her pearls of wisdom gathered from experience, the most valuable to me was the importance of buffing after waxing and sanding.  A really good going over with 800 grit sandpaper makes all the difference to the final look and feel of the piece.

     The other information that we picked up during our workshop was that Brocante Home has just opened a small outpost in DéCOR, the design center in Carytown!  For now, Brocante’s floorspace is mostly Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint, but the shop has plans to expand as room becomes available in this wonderful design haven.  Several local designers have set up small shops within these walls, and Brocante Home is the perfect addition.  Rachel also plans to be on-site on Wednesdays so that she can answer customers’ questions about the chalk paint.

     Now you have no excuse to postpone your own furniture transformations.  The paints are nearby, as is the expertise.  Plus the paints are so easy to use that you can just set up a workshop in your living room just like this Avad Fan.

     Happy Painting!

#thankfulfor Tweet trend

Are you on Twitter?

     If you are anything like me, you probably don’t know the difference between a tweet and a trend.  Several months ago, I asked a twenty-something to explain the Twitterworld to me.  After three hours I still didn’t get it, and my tweet-free world remained unchanged.

     Recently, however, a good friend encouraged me to join her on this social medium, and in my ongoing effort to remain relevant in the 2010s, I decided to give it a try.  Signing up was a breeze.  Then I tried looking for people to follow.  Well, but for my previously mentioned friend, it doesn’t look like my posse has jumped into Twitterdom.  Hey ladies, it is time to figure out what your kids already know.

     Just sign-up here.  You will be prompted to look for friends and interests to follow (don’t forget to follow me, listed as Alison Fauls).  Then help me try to get a trend going.

     You know how you hear Natalie Morales on the Today Show always mention what is trending online?  With Thanksgiving only five days away, let’s get a trend going about what we are thankful for (I know that I shouldn’t be ending a sentence in a preposition, but it just doesn’t work otherwise).  In the box on Twitter where you can add a Tweet, type in what you are thankful for and finish it with #thankfulfor.  Then hit the blue Tweet button that shows up.

     Can’t wait to see if we can get a positive trend going.  How cool would it be to hear it mentioned on the Today Show?  Listen to that little blue bird calling to you to take the challenge and get tweeting.

Tablescapes from the 2012 Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball

Through the Eyes of a Child

     Under the leadership of Cameron Cummings and Martha Bowden, the talented Junior Board of Richmond’s Children’s Hospital Foundation once again transformed The Country Club of Virginia into a fantasy world.  Take a look at these pictures that I snapped yesterday afternoon before the evening’s festivities got underway.  Hope you can appreciate all of the little details that the Tables, Flowers and Decorations committees included to make “Through the Eyes of a Child” come to life in each of the rooms of the Westhampton Clubhouse.

Royal Palace set in the Main Ballroom

The crown is filled with red roses.

Which patrons ended up in the throne chairs?

The hanging lanterns were lit before the Ball began.

Underwater World in the Big Tent

The shimmery blue table toppers covered by fishing net highlight these elaborate coral creations.

Members of the Tables committee fashioned coral branches from tree twigs.

Fairy Land in Ollie’s Bar

The lucky diners in this room found the sweetest nosegays at their plates.

Such a darling fairy house.

Do you see the butterflies?

Where the Wild Things Are in Ollie’s Dining Room

The moss crowns are straight out of this favorite children’s book.

Truly a wild room

A Boy’s Treehouse in the Westhampton Room

Aren’t those stump vases fabulous?

How many little boy trinkets can you spot?

Look at that rope bridge in this amazing room.

Candy Land and Sweet Treats in the Windsor Room

A confectioner’s delight

that must have thrilled the dentists, too.

The Nutcracker Ballet in the West Ballroom

See the snakes on the plates referencing the snake charmer in the ballet?

Love the Children’s Hospital Foundation nutcrackers made locally here in Richmond.

This amazing tree was created from corrugated box.

The window inserts were painted by Junior Board members under the guidance of local artist, Liz Kellinger.

The Carousel in the West Porch

Meadow flowers reflected in the mirrored candelabra

This curved room feels like a carousel come to life.

     Like the Bal du Bois, the Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball is always one of the social highlights of the year in Richmond.  This seated dinner for 700 followed by hours of dancing raises important capital funds to help improve the lives of children who come from near and far.  As a former member of the Board, I am so fortunate to be invited back annually to help with the flowers that enhance each year’s unique theme.

     Cheers to another fabulous Ball!

All photos by Avad Fan from my iPhone.

Inspired to Finally Get Transforming a Piece or Two of the Home

     Lately, inspiration has been everywhere.  It started at the Designed for a Cure event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  There a panel of Williams & Sherrill design experts, including Kevin Malone, shared their design viewpoints.   Then through Annie Selke‘s luncheon presentation, I learned that my design style is “Everyday Exuberance”.  This perfectly apt and succinct description can now guide me and give me confidence in my color choices.

     The next week one of my design blogger heroines, Tobi Fairley, delighted an IFDA luncheon crowd as she showed how her design aesthetic and her design projects have evolved over the last decade of her very successful career.  She shared a lot of advice with the audience of mostly local designers, but I am going to take some of it as well, starting with taking pictures of the rooms of my house to locate decor problems.  Following the IFDA luncheon where Tobi spoke, our posse toured the Richmond Symphony Designer House, which was filled with amazing rooms produced by local talent like Malone and Kat Liebschwager of Ruth & Ollie (I hear Kat’s fabulous dinner room there was photographed for a future issue of Traditional Home).

     The following week, I had the great pleasure to have coffee with one of my other design blogger heroines, Laura Trevey of Bright Bold & Beautiful.  Introduced through a mutual friend after I won a BB&B Bliss giveaway, Laura truly lives up to the name of her blog.  By the end of our coffee, she felt like an old friend.  Laura has got such exciting things happening on her blog (you really should subscribe here to find out), and she left me completely energized.

Energetic and enthusiastic, Laura Trevey takes her own advise and gets in the picture with her kids and the dog.

     Finally, over the past month I have had the pleasure of a couple of day trips to the Rivah with friends.  While their fabulous homes demanded attention, on both trips we stopped by the delightfully French design shop, Brocante, in Irvington, as well as browse the local antique and consignment stores.  Brocante carries the Annie Sloan chalk paint line and is filled with examples of furniture that Brocante’s helpful owner, Rachel Pugliese, has transformed with the AS paint.  Each time I visit Brocante, I have to buy some Annie Sloan thing, which ends up in a closet while I fantasize about what boring brown piece of furniture in our house can be spiced up with the magic contained in one of her cans.

     Not this time, though.  With all of this inspiration and the realization that I could not buy another orphan piece of furniture until I made progress on what we already have, I have finally gotten out the sandpaper, wood-putty and paint brushes and started making a few transformations of my own.  I can’t wait to show you the results of my inspiration to transformation pieces.  In the meantime, maybe these inspirations will nudge you to transform your home fantasies into reality.

Mark Your Calendars for this Fall’s Edition of The Ivy Market

     The Ivy Market returns next week, October 9th and 10th, at the University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center.

     It looks like a couple of new vendors have been added to the line-up of unique boutiques.  Collard Greens is an eco-friendly but preppy mostly men’s clothing line.

I wonder if anyone on my shopping list would love this pig bowtie as much as I do?

     Lindsay Cowles is one of my favorite local artists.

A St. Catherine’s graduate, Lindsay is always such a delight to talk to whenever I see her showing her captivating work.   Dubbed a “Design Genius” by popular design blog Sadie + Stella, Lindsay and her nature-inspired oils will be a wonderful addition to The Ivy Market.

     I am also looking forward to seeing some of my favorite vendors’ latest offerings.

Lori Daniel Rowland‘s new wrap bracelets with rhinestone button closures look fabulous.  The Ivy Market is definitely the place to update your look with some new accessories.

     With donations being accepted at the door for ASK, The Ivy Market provides the perfect combination:  great shopping for an even greater cause.  Make plans to put on your cute shoes, and get your holiday shopping started next Tuesday and Wednesday.