From Sweatpants To Spring Dresses

From Sweatpants To Spring Dresses

A colorful patterned dress makes me feel amazing

Have you tried putting on a pair of jeans after months of being in sweats and yoga pants? ROUGH. I might suggest forgetting pants this Spring and moving straight to airy floral dresses. I love the ease of dress. You can throw it on put your hair in a ponytail and you look instantly put together. Jeans never have that magic. ABSOLUTELY NEVER.

Women’s Floral Print Flutter Sleeve Dress, WHO WHAT WEAR, $37, target.com.

On a warm day this week I wore my new Target dress with my J.Crew trench to a doctor’s appointment. It seemed like a good reason to take a shower and take off the yoga pants. When I showed up at my daughter’s pick-up; friends literally didn’t recognize me. That is the power of a dress.

I rounded up a a few dresses I am eyeing and adding to my cart. They all have the block print feel like I am loving in home interior textiles too. I always gravitate towards prints and florals. And if it can be just as pretty as a curtain; I will probably be smitten.

Check pattern midi dress, $80, Mango.com. This dress is very cute paired with bright accessories. I have a lot of fun rainbow earrings, necklaces, bags and this is the perfect dress to wear with them. The check is not overwhelming and you don’t feel like a picnic blanket.
FLOWERS COTTON DRESS, $80, Mango.com. I bought this dress. It’s super pretty. The fabric is double layered and kinda crinkly but in a good way. I like that it’s not see through like I feel with most of my summer dresses. This one has a bit more weight and appropriate for work or a dinner out.
WOMEN’S FLORAL PRINT FLUTTER SHORT SLEEVE A-LINE, $37, Target.com. The color pops and instantly makes you feel brighter. The dress runs true to size. I own it and love it.
Cotton Block Print Dress, $46, etsy.com. A friend recommended this Etsy shop to me. She got a few dresses from them last summer. It takes a bit longer to get because it’s coming from India but I can’t wait to wear. I am going to pair mine with a woven belt (like this) I picked up at Todd Farm Flea market a few years ago. Here I am on rainy day wearing it with my J.Crew trench.

Photos at the beach were taken by Frances Williams, age 8.




3 Ways to Reuse Your Hippy Tapestry From College

3 Ways to Reuse Your Hippy Tapestry From College

Remove from the wall and use to cover an upholstered headboard

I am a child of the 90’s and when we went to college many of us brought with us a tapestry to hang over our bed in our dorm room. They were considered this kinda hippy accessory that went a long with tie dye. But just like tie dye what is old is new again. Block print tapestries can still be found at hippy shops but also at online retailers too. They are affordable and can be used in many ways. I share three ways to rethink the tapestry using this cotton tapestry at mexicaliblues.com.

  1. Wrap it around your headboard I picked up a twin size tapestry from mexicaliblues.com and wrapped it around my upholstered headboard. The print instantly updated the room and made it feel more Springy. I didn’t do anything special other then wrapping, folding and tucking it around. You could secure with a few straight pins on the back. When I get bored with fabric I can just take it off. An easy and doable update.

2. Use it as a tablecloth There are so many options now with tapestries. Many of the colors are brighter and more saturated. The twin size sheet fit perfectly over my dining room table. The colors with the daffodils and my thrift store napkins are happy. When I walk in the room it’s like, POW COLOR!

3. Use as a bedspread You could do this two ways. Lay on your entire bed during the hot summer months. Or fold it up and put at the end of your bed over a coverlet. I see fancy designers like Ben Pentreath do this all the time. It just adds an extra layer of color into the room. As we transition our beds from down comforters and wool blankets this is a great go between.

Provincial Block Print Tapestry, $25, mexicaliblues.com
Indian Hand Block Printed Geometric Bedspread, $75, etsy.com
Indian Hand-block Printed Floral Bedspread, $85, etsy.com
India Arts Sunflower Print Tapestry Cotton Bedspread, $22, amazon.com
Block Print Indian Tapestry Cotton Bedspread, $40, amazon.com

The Quilted Coat Everyone DMs Me About

The Quilted Coat Everyone DMs Me About

I layered it over my Amazon dress and paired with Hunter boots for a walk down to the beach

We are lucky if we get a 50 degree day in March in New England. I immediately reached for a dress this morning because I’m so tired of wearing jeans. But it’s too cold for just a dress and I needed one more layer.

The quilted jacket I picked up from Target is the perfect Spring layer. I can wear it over all my summer floral dresses or even with jeans. It’s reversible and made of cotton. I like that it’s on the longer side in length and hits below my hips. Roll up the sleeves, layer over all the florals and add a floral silk scarf. Anytime I have worn the jacket and posted on Instagram I get a zillion DMs asking where I picked it up. It is super flattering.

A few snapshots from my walk down to the beach this morning. Buy the jacket for $35 by clicking here. (LIMITED SUPPLY)

So many of your bought this little quilted jacket from Target and it’s almost completely sold out. I added a few more options I found on ETSY and EBAY below. Tip: Use search terms like “vintage quilted jackets” “quilted block print jacket” and “vintage quilt vests”. There are so many good ones and really affordable too. I could list a zillion that I found and loved. Happy Hunting!

Women’s Floral Quilted Jacket, $35, target.com
Add a silk scarf for an extra floral layer.

Handmade Block Print Short Kantha Jacket, $55, etsy.com.
Noor Hand Block Printed Quilted Jacket, $80, etsy.com.
Vintage Quilted Vest, $48, (only one) etsy.com
Indian Block Printed Indigo Print Kantha Kimono, $50, etsy.com (This is listed as a robe but I would totally wear as a jacket, why not?)
Vintage Quilted Vest, $39, (only one) etsy.com
Pierre Deux Quilted Jacket (ONLY ONE), $100, etsy.com
J.CREW LIBERTY QUILTED JACKET, $70, ebay.com
Printed Quilted Gilet, $99, mango.com
Pierre Deux Handmade Jacket 1980’s (ONLY ONE), $100, etsy.com
How great is this one The Thrifted Table found at thrift?



Vintage Kilim Runners Under $300

Vintage Kilim Runners Under $300

Some late night searching lead me to this beautiful and unique rug on ebay

I spend way too much time on phone lately. Late one night I went down a rabbit hole when I couldn’t sleep searching for kilim runner rugs. I found a ton I loved on ebay. But I was a little concerned about buying a rug off ebay from Turkey. What if it was a scam? What if it took months to get here? I decided to take the plunge and order one.

This runner came in the mail about a week after I purchased. It was wrapped really well and when I rolled the rug out it was clean and ready to go. I’ve read reviews that sometimes old rugs can be smelly or really dirty. This rug looked exactly as pictured on ebay. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

The prices are so reasonable and comparable to a knock off mass market rugs I have spotted on Overstock. Wouldn’t you rather have the real thing? I know I would. My rug is unique and literally nobody is going to have the same one.

When I was trying to decide if I wanted to purchase the runner I sent over to my friend, Constanca. She sent back the below photo from Robert Kime’s collection. My rug is so similar in pattern and color. The check feels really fresh. And if Robert Kime likes it (I bow to him) I had to purchase the rug.

Robert Kime, “KARSAMBA”, a woven design inspired by an early 19th Century Anatolian hanging, robertkime.com

So here is my secret source, Turkishkilim. I choose a few of my favorites from their current selections online. I am really drawn to the more pastel versions. A few of them feel similar to a Swedish kilims which can go for thousands of dollars at dealer shops. Scoop these up before they become too cool and none of us can afford them too. Links to buy in captions, happy scrolling!

Vintage Adana Hallway Kilim Runner, $259, ebay.com

Anatolia Kayseri Kilim Runner Rug, $189, ebay.com (SOLD) but similar here.

Turkish Adana Kilim Runner, $215, ebay.com
Turkish Kilim Runner Long Rug Carpet, $129, ebay.com
Turkish Kilim Runner Rug, $179, ebay.com
Adana Turkish Hallway Kilim, $149, ebay.com

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Field Flower Vase: Arranging And Crafting With Seasonal And Wild Blooms

Field Flower Vase: Arranging And Crafting With Seasonal And Wild Blooms

A collection of wanderlust photographs from the countryside of Portugal with tips on how to forage and arrange simple floral arrangements

I met Chelsea Fuss about 13 years ago. She was one of my first virtual blog friends. We connected over our shared loved of design and taking a slower pace to life. I flew to Portland, Oregon in 2011 to take one of her flower arranging classes. Chelsea was enchanting. You could instantly hear her passion for flowers and how every detail was researched and understood through practice. I made this beautiful arrangement in her workshop seen here.

Flowers I arranged in Chelsea’s workshop in 2011

Over the years we stayed connected and I followed her adventures all over Europe; working on flowers farms via her blog, Frolic! Chelsea landed in Portugal where she has spent the last 6 years. I caught up with her and asked if she would share a few things about her new book, Field Flower Vase: Arranging and Crafting with Seasonal and Wild Blooms and her life in Portugal. The book is equal parts wanderlust travel diary and flower design projects using all natural materials in lieu of floral foam and wire. Each arrangement is accompanied by foraging tips that can be applied to different locales even if you live in an urban environment.

Q: First off, the photos in the book are gorgeous. Did you take them?

A: Thank you! I am so happy you like the photos. I took almost all the photos. I spent a lot of days alone at different locations in Sintra and Lisbon, styling, arranging, writing, and photographing. I also took small breaks from other work, sneaking in shots where I could. Cláudio Silva took many of the portraits as well as some additional photos and I am grateful for his cinematic eye.

Why did you pick to live in Portugal? Tell me more about daily life Sintra?

Portugal happened on a bit on a whim while I was traveling Europe. After I booked an amazing home belonging to a traditional carpenter José Pedro Silva, in Beja, a small city in the interior. After, a month there I ventured into Lisbon and after two days I knew I wanted to live in Lisbon because of the sunshine, color, the sea, and the incredible warmth and straight up charm and kindness of the people.

After about a year in Lisbon, I moved to Sintra which is about 45 minutes from Lisbon by train. I have since moved but I lived in a very tiny hamlet, a 20-minute walk from the main village. Hiking in and out of the village was part of my daily routine. I grew much of my own food and flowers. I embraced a stripped down life in a very rustic stucco home with beautiful weeds growing out of the terra cotta roof.

It was a slow, simple life there full of challenging moments and idealistic ones too, like gardening under the shadow of a castle, trying to communicate with a landlord in Portuguese when the entire house was falling apart, dealing with isolation, and decorating my dream stucco walls with local baskets, hanging herbs and foraged stems. When I look back I see what a difficult way of life it was in many ways but it is also where I really started tuning into foraging and got super inspired with arranging wild branches of roses, scouring trails for elderflower, growing my own veggies, and experimenting with eco-friendly methods of floral design.

What are your tips for gathering flowers when it’s still winter and there is no green vegetation?

Look for texture, seedpods, evergreen branches, discarded stems. I spent a winter snowed in at my parents cabin at the bottom of a mountain a few years ago. I dug tumbleweed out from under the snow and made one of my favorite wreaths. There is always something to forage.

I think I worry when I forage that I am doing something wrong and I might get in trouble. Any tips?

Ha! Yes. It is definitely good to follow your local laws. Find out what they are. It will vary according to your location. I often forage from areas that are cleared for fire hazard. I forage invasive weeds. And, I often take from debris piles or ask landscapers to share their pruning cast offs. Never take more than a few stems from a plant, and try to leave the area as it was. Don´t take from areas with clear signage asking you not to do so.

What are some containers that you use from around your house for flowers?
I have a collection of vases from local ceramicists. I also often just use drinking glasses, recycled yogurt jars, kitchen bowls, mugs, vintage glasses, and baskets. You can make any container water-tight by placing a jar inside of it. A lot of people get fussy about containers and of course that can be fun if you have the budget but I honestly like to let the flowers shine. Humble containers are great.

Do you have a favorite project in the book?

I love the strawflower hanging wreath. The potpourri is a real favorite too. I still have it in my bedroom and the petals still smell so good.

We are all stuck at home right now and I am really enjoying taking classes online. Do you offer any? 

Yes! After teaching flower arranging online for over 7 years, I launched my online flower school in May of 2019. Each month, I hold live “flower therapy” workshops! It has been such a healing way to get through this pandemic. 

Frolic! Flower School grew out of my flower centric blog, Frolic! We now have four core self-paced classes that teach the basics of flower arranging, event flowers, wreath making, and edible flowers. Two floral career courses (one of which trains aspiring in florists in eco-friendly floral design), mini workshops, and monthly lives and pop-ups.

I also teach flower arranging classes to corporate teams. I’ve taught flower arranging now to teams from GAP, Microsoft, and even some Wall Street people.  And when the pandemic is over, I will resume our launch of our Portugal Flower and Garden Retreats. Flowers make people happy and it is such a joy to be doing this work right now when we all need color, beauty, and fragrance in our lives. It truly is very heartening. If you can try to have one flower bouquet a week at home, it is mood changing. I notice when I forget (yes, even I have to remind myself), my mood is completely different. 

Chelsea is offering 15% off any class through March 12,2021. Use code: KATYELLIOTT at checkout. Visit chelseafuss.com for a list of classes offered.

Field Flower Vase: Arranging And Crafting With Seasonal And Wild Blooms, can be purchased through local book stores and amazon.com.

Please join us this Saturday, March 6th at 2PM EST for a virtual zoom book signing with Chelsea in Portugal. Please send me an e-mail to: elliott.katy@gmail.com to receive a zoom link invite.

Images reprinted with permission from Abrams Books

Chelsea is offering 15% off any class through March 12,2021. Use code: KATYELLIOTT at checkoutVisit chelseafuss.com for a list of classes offered.