Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Symphony Sid

In a boutique of everchanging accessories, the Sid Dickens Memory Blocks have long been a staple at Sonata. I never tire (at store or home!) of looking at the blocks. It seems that I see something new each time. Perhaps my mood of the day affects me, but I see different cracks, different chips, and different color shades each time I look.

As I prepare to send in my final order for this year (it generally takes about 6 weeks to get in), I am eager to say hello to incoming blocks and sad to say good-bye to retiring blocks. Here are some of the retiring blocks. If you would like me to order one of these retiring blocks, please let me know by Monday, Oct. 10 so I can include it on these last order of the year.




"Imperial Column"

"Music with Moulding"


I love them all but have a particular penchant for the music-themed blocks! Order now for holiday gift-giving!

Monday, September 20, 2010


I love Halloween! As a child, I could hardly wait until my mother said it was all right to pull out our three life-size cardboard cut-outs and tape to the front picture windows. Halloween decor has definitely evolved over the years and has now officially arrived at Sonata! However, rather than fill the shop with cute orange jack o'lanterns and develish figurines, I have decided to focus on decor items that serve double-duty....items that can spookify your home but also can be used in your decor throughout the year. Double-duty Halloween, so to speak.

Take one garden urn, top it off with a tray, add some Hitchcock birds, and voila!....instant creep!

These canvases are actually beautiful, sculptural images of winter trees. The black and white photography would be striking in any home. The stark twisting of the limbs give an eerie twist when included in a goulish atmosphere.

Perch a "scary" cutout on the shade of a black lamp. When illiminated, it creates a a even scarier effect!

Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" is one movie that totally freaks me out! Attach a creepy bird to the rim of a glass hurricane jar or to the lip of a cast iron candlestick. Feel the chills!

The most sophisticated skulls I have ever seen! Put a votive (real or battery operated) and watch these eyes come back to life!

Witch on wheels!

One creepy skeletan with a platter of spiders! Spiders not your thing.....add candy!

Of course, I have to include some Halloween about some toothy bobbleheads!

Sophisticated witch hat headbands!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 13, 2010

You're Invited! Decorating with Books

Books fascinate me. As a child I devoured every book I could get my hands on. My weekly trips to the library got my heart racing as I chose new books as well as a couple of favorites for re-reading. My bookworm (some say nerdish) status was sealed in stone when an English teacher told my mother to not let me read my novel during my brother's high school football game. (I did look up when we scored!)

However, my love of books transcends beyond the story inside to the beauty of the cover outside. A favorite furniture purchases was a three piece bookcase in which I could display all of my beautiful books that had previously been packed in boxes. To line up the Jane Austin spines, to group the "English History" section (took up an entire 1/2 shelf!), to display my book "friends" for the world to see (at least the part of the world that came through my living room!) still my decorating heart. (the design books took an entire shelf!)

If space and architecture permitted, my books would call this wall home!

Oh, give me an empty armoire, and I'll fill it with bookish charm!

There is a world of decorating creativity that exists beyond the bookshelf! Books as levels, books as artwork, books under glass! And let's not stop there! There are numerous ways of creatively using the pages of a book. (best if you use books you didn't like as this involves some therapeutic ripping!) Folded accordion pages, pages as wallpaper, pages in frames....follow me? Are we on the same page? (sorry, couldn't resist.)

To make sense of my rambling list, please join me at Sonata on Thursday, Sept 23 at 7:00 p.m. for a free seminar on Decorating with Books, on or off the shelf. I will share tips, projects, and ideas for decorating and expressing yourself with the books that you read. Reservations are requested with a minimum of 10 bibliophiles needed. Please call Sonata 325-6786 or email me at to let me know how many of you to expect.

Cheers! (back to my book!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Inspiration Boards

Nothing gets my creative juices flowing more than sitting down with a pile of shelter magazines and dreaming! I tear out sheets that give me ideas for the shoppe as well as for home. If you are like me, you have a stash of magazine clippings that scream "YOU!". Maybe it is that perfect paint color, or a room arrangement idea, or even a craft project that you intend to tackle "soon." I wish I could say that mine are organized in an orderly fashion. I have tear-out sheets tucked in files, stashed in notebooks, or more likely, sitting in piles by my nightstand or on my desk. I have cards, fabric swatches, maps, fashion photos, etc. that somehow give me inspiration and fire up my creativity. As a visual person, I can all too easily forget about a fabulous idea if it is not out in the open and easily accessible to me. (Don't move my piles! I know exactly where everything is!) Sometimes I need my own ideas to hit me in the face! Lately, I have been inspired by a means of creatively organizing and displaying all those fabulous bits and pieces. Inspiration boards are not just for designers. They are an effective and beautiful way of defining your decorating style and keeping your sources of inspiration in front of you.

Think beyond your typical bulletin board. While the bulletin board hanging in my bedroom throughout high school did inspire me, (concert tickets, homecoming corsages, honor roll certificates...take me home 1983!) it was more of a memory board than an inspiration board. Place your inspiration board in your office, kitchen, mudroom, workroom, even a hallway! (you see it every day don't you!) Start with sheets torn out from magazines. Add special mementos from travels. Include that photo of your dream table setting or the letter from your aunt with the fabulous handwriting. Don't be afraid to go 3-D with unique and nostalgic piece of jewelry. Hang it on the wall or lay flat on a tabletop. (Who says it has to be vertical!) Your personal decorating style will emerge before your eyes. You will start to see color combinations, patterns, and textures to which you are drawn. Seeing everything together on one massive board offers a chance at clarity and creativity.

Try putting together boards for specific rooms or projects. This is one of my favorite ways of designing displays for Sonata, particularly around holiday open house time. Redoing a bedroom? Place a board in the room "to be" and start assembling photos, color swatches, room layouts, fabric samples, artwork ideas, or even photos of incredible couture fashion. You will be amazed at how this can create new ideas and lay to rest the quandary of the moment.

Need ideas for the board itself?
-You can start with a basic bulletin board. Your additions to the board will give it instant character.

-Take a flea market frame and attach a backing with cork board. Or, remove the glass from an old mirror and attach a layer of cork board.

-I was fortunate to come across a fabulous frame (with hideous artwork) at the local Goodwill. I covered it with collected wine corks (cut in half) and voila! Instant inspiration board! (For the record, I did not drink all that wine myself!)

-I found three of these hollow core closet doors at the salvage yard. I decoupaged the doors with various papers and objects that inspire me. Then, I added cork board to the three panels on each of the doors. Now I have three boards with permanent and temporary areas of inspiration! As a person who loves to give (and receive!) beautifully wrapped packages, I have these placed in my workroom where I do all of my wrapping. Bits of wrapping paper, ribbon, and inspiring photos go on these boards to keep my packages fresh and fun.

-Don't forget fun thumbtacks, dress form pins, or other means of tacking up your ideas.

Most importantly, don't over think your board. It should be a transitory piece. As ideas come and go, make adjustments to your board. It will become a daily reflection of you and your style.