Saturday, September 13, 2014

girlie office: 2.0?

I love my "Girlie Office."

It's the first room I tackled, decorated, wrote about.

It once looked like this

and then like this...

but soon I switched-out paisley for posies and it's pretty much looked like this for a while.

It's light and breezy and filled with tinkered treasures

When I'm working on projects, it looks like this

but when I'm writing, I try to keep it looking like this.

Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
It's a sunny, small first-floor bedroom with one closet with a curtain instead of a door. It has a supercomfy yellow couch, an aqua crackle-painted coffee table, a striped and decoupaged vanity, a small yellow chest of three drawers (one of which is being used as a desk hutch), a desk, a small cabinet and a tall bookcase.

Photo credit: Marisa Bettencourt
As much as I adore it, I am feeling the need to streamline and turn it into a better creative workspace.

I've been thinking about making some changes for a while but I love the comfy couch (have I said that already?) and am sentimental about the furniture that I've painted.

Imaging something like this holding a desk top? Source
So, I'm leafing through magazines and poking around Pinterest for ideas. My sister-in-law Meridith suggests removing the couch and building a work table over short shelving units. Sounds great but I'm like, "But I love napping on the couch!"

Love a picnic table indoors! Source
Then I wonder, should there be a large table in the center of the room

or along the wall like a counter? If I were asked to advise on someone else's space, I feel like I would have so many ideas but am finding it difficult to be objective and insightful on the re-thinking of my own studio.

So I'm putting this out there for all of your brilliant minds. Any suggestions for GirlieOffice 2.0?

Thank you and I'm looking forward to reading your comments!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

my "favorites" in romantic homes

Back in April when summertime was barely a thought, I was offered the chance to share some of my favorite things for the September issue of Romantic Homes.

How fun it was to assemble this list and use it as an opportunity to shine a national spotlight on some favorite sellers. Even though September just began this issue has been on newsstands for a few weeks and will soon be replaced with October. {Boo.}

Consider this post a handy online companion piece with a longer shelf-life and links:

Click to enlarge







And just for fun here a few items that didn't make the cut for one reason or another ...

This pretty little city is filled with unique shops, cool cafes and a vibrant collegiate atmosphere, there’s even a bonfire installation along the rivers of the downtown area.

An aromatic mix of chocolate, vanilla and sandalwood is exhilarating to wear when the weather gets wonderfully brisk!
I have started a collection of these small swatches of luxury. Too exquisite to use for say a spaghetti dinner, perhaps I’ll knot them together into a bunting or frame them!

Quite possibly the most perfect drink. Inexpensive, refreshing, tasty and almost-everything-free! 

The September issue also features my wallpapered blinds tutorial:

Gee, should I pick up a few more issues?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

backyard meets seaside signed copy giveaway

It doesn't hurt to ask. The worst they can say is no. I thank my dad for that nugget of wisdom which seems to serve as my M.O. So when I got the crazy idea to approach Matthew Mead the celebrated stylist, writer, author, photographer, lifestyle editor and noted style expert with the idea to cross-promote our summer-themed books, I simply took a deep breath and figured: what's the worst he can say?

Not only did Matthew reply instantly but with the added suggestion to meet! A few weeks later he and his wife Jenny needed to be on Cape Cod (about :90 from me) and so we planned to have lunch at Sandwich's sandwichery Cafe Chew. Over delicious avocado BLTs on croissants we shared stories and laughs, and over an oatmeal raisin cookie hatched a plan to simultaneously host giveaways of signed copies of each other's recent books.

Matthew Mead's Backyard Style is an testament to the value of the printed page. While I enjoy scrolling around online as much as anyone, this book is a real hands-on treat for the senses. The paper is lovely, the design and typefaces are wonderful, but holy moly, the gorgeous depth of the photography captures every nuance from glistening fruit to glowing fairy lights to the soft petals of roses. And the ideas presented which range from crafts to decor to food are executed so beautifully with instructions that make them all appear very do-able. Spoiler alert: if you're a fan of hydrangeas, you're going to go nuts!
Matthew's post

Giveaway Details
To enter simply post about our contest on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your blog) with a link back to us for tracking purposes. Matthew and I will each pick one lucky winner after Labor Day with a drawing to be announced on 9/2/14.
Matthew's winner will receive a signed copy of Seaside Tinkered Treasures
My winner will receive a signed copy of Matthew Mead's Backyard Style

Best of luck and enjoy a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!


after sorting through comments and shares here and on facebook, twitter and instagram, the winner has been selected and announced and tagged on facebook. thank you for participating!  xo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

late summer blog tour: seaside tinkered treasures

Photo from Syl loves Elyse's tinkered treasures
Okay, so in my recent e-newsletter I referred to August as "the Sunday of summer" but the season ain't over yet and a second wave of a seaside tinkered treasures blog book tour is just beginning! My publisher has assembled an international list of creative bloggers who will be sharing reviews and more!

Here is the list of blogs that are part of the tour:

The classic surf film The Endless Summer was the image-inspiration for the tour badge I created
Warmest thanks to both CICO Books for putting this all together and to all my lovely tour hosts!

Want to summon a bit of summer right anytime? Click below, sniff a bottle of suntan lotion and close your eyes ...


Find earlier blogger book reviews and more here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

seaside tinkered treasures giveaway

How's your summer going? I have been super busy doing my part to support seaside tinkered treasures with book events and shop visits. I've already done a bunch and am continually adding dates.

Unless you are a bestselling novelist, being an author can very much be a labor of love and so the support of readers is important, helpful and most of all, appreciated. Here is a link to a great post called How to Support an Author's New Book that lists 11 ideas to consider doing for any favorite book and/or author.

giveaway deets
I am giving away a signed copy of seaside tinkered treasures. To enter simply leave a comment on this very post. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on August 8, 2014.

be a treasured marketing elf
To gain additional contest entries I ask that you please help me to promote my work by doing any or all of the following:
Follow my blog  :)
Like my page on Facebook: Click here
Follow me on Twitter: Click here
Follow my page on Pinterest: Click here
Follow my page on Instagram: Click here
Subscribe to my free e-newsletter: Click here
Do anything to help promote my book(s) and leave a comment letting me know. Some examples:
I told my friends
I asked my local bookstore to carry it
I asked my library to order it

Thank you so much for all of the support!

Again, a winner will be posted at this blog on August 8, 2014.


*** update ***

Hello! Using a winner has been chosen: Rebecca (at comment 3)! Please contact me at elysemajor(at)gmail(dot)org with your mailing address. 

Thank you to everyone for your sweet wishes and comments, support and kindness!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

shanty chic

All of the beautiful images for Seaside Tinkered Treasures were done by a brilliant team assembled by my publisher: stylist Nel Haynes and photograper Claire Richardson (who I sadly just learned passed away recently; link to fundraising campaign).  :(

In an email, Nel let me know that much of the book was shot over "very happy, if busy, two days at The Battery in Seasalter - it's a very special location and when you shoot in a good space things tend to go right!"

TINKERING RUSTIC RECYCLABLES: Shopping Bag Bunting and Sandcastle Flags
I'd like to share an excerpt from my first draft of the book's introduction. (Note the different title)

For as long as I can remember I have been smitten with beach cottages -- not opulent new-construction houses with tall views of the ocean but the old, un-winterized types furnished frugally with simple odds and ends. Small, modest places that conjure images of beds made with floral sheets soft and faded from years of use, where sun-bleached towels hang by the back door on a row of weathered hooks, and woven baskets hang at the ready to serve blueberry muffins when not adding rustic charm to walls.

Like many, I have fond memories of summertime that I summon for warmth and peace on cooler, busier days: mental snapshots of striped umbrellas dotting stretches of beachfront, lunches laced with gritty sand despite best efforts, and inexpensive roadside souvenirs fashioned from sea shells.

Welcome to Summer Treasury, my second craft book which builds upon the premise of Tinkered Treasures of tinkering wonderful somethings from everyday nothings. Consider this a sort of guidebook for a never-ending summer camp. Most materials are things you either might already have or are not difficult to find (because what fun is that?) and projects are easy to make.

Whether you have fresh sand in your sneakers or snow caked beneath your boots, the projects in Summer Treasury aim to become prized souvenirs of sunny, happy times spent creating.

In a nutshell (or clam shell) this is what I like to call Shanty Chic.

Happy summer tinkering!


Available at all good booksellers

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

my rhode island state secret for country living

Philadelphia-based writer Catherine Strawn
Through my publisher I was approached by Country Living to share a Rhode Island "state secret" for their Country Living Across America series. I was so excited not only for the opportunity to contribute to the esteemed publication but to promote my beloved Ocean State.

Visit link for information or Visit Rhode Island
I tried to think of a destination that would appeal to almost anyone, not be a niche, be easy to access and have nearby places to discover en route. After much consideration I landed on The Duck and Bunny, a cozy restaurant in Providence that calls itself a snuggery.

Marisa in action!
First step: Ask my talented photographer pal Marisa Bettencourt (Marisa Pictures and M Studios) what her schedule looked like because I wanted this submission to shine! Next, contact The Duck and Bunny to see if they were interested and schedule the shoot.

Baker Brandy Schwalbe, whipped up a beautiful cake garnished with fresh flowers, along with a few signature dishes and drinks to highlight.

Marisa and I enjoyed a morning of styling (me) and shooting (her) in the pretty rooms of the snuggery. Afterwards we stayed for a yummy lunch!

The glass-topped cupcake drawer
Fun fact: See those strawberry-topped cupcakes? I surprised Fifi (also in RI for a photo shoot at the home of my friend) with them for her birthday! Her photographer Mark Lohman became an instant-fan.

As it turned out, I kind of blended in with the surroundings so Marisa took a photo of me just for fun.

Despite the elegant decor, the upbeat music and nice staff keep the D&B feeling relaxed and not at all stuffy, and of course the menu offerings are delish!

The selected image
Photo credit: Unknown/Google
I also gave a shout-out to nearby Wayland Bakery, one of the suppliers of JFK’s wedding cake. I should call and let them know because I have a hunch they're not very active online.

Snippet from the Country Living page on Facebook
The result!
Where to find the best dessert in Providence, Rhode Island

Related: Providence's Duck and Bunny featured on Country Living Website

And meanwhile ...

June 29 at 12:30 p.m.: Curiosity & Mischief, Narragansett, RI
June 30 at 6 p.m.: Greenville Public Library, Greenville, RI
July 5 at 1 p.m.: Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
July 14 at 7 p.m.: East Smithfield Public Library, Smithfield, RI
July 21 at 7 p.m.: Mohr Memorial Library, Johnston, RI
July 26 at 2 p.m.: Island Books, Newport, RI

Happy June!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

seaside book party

Seaside Tinkered Treasures Book Party: The Craft Buffet
Ever have one of those days ... when everything went as planned?! That's how I feel reflecting upon last Saturday's Seaside Book Party. After months of scheming with the awesome Nancy Chace of decorative paint and vintage shop Sea Rose Cottage, we found ourselves with the right amount of everything -- from decorations to food to weather to guests!

It was also one of those special days where I felt so supported by my friends and family and community.
The Cath dress!
When I asked my friend Bridget of the fair trade flower and gift shop The Greenery if she'd be interested in providing bouquets in return for promotional consideration, she assembled arrangements that rivaled those of any wedding!
Beautiful arrangements by The Greenery in tinkered cans
A china plate holds flowers, twine and specially made project postcards
My friend Morayo of Piper Brown Photography arrived early and took the most beautiful photos!

Seemingly tireless Shanyn known in my town for her delicious treats quickly responded to my asking if she could whip up some pretty confections for the fete and did she ever!

Vendors from near and far offered goods and services to make the Seaside Swag Bags quite the lure! Please visit this link to see items and generous sponsors.

I think that the details are the best part of any event and really tried to make the time to enjoy the process of making, planning and assembling.

It was all hands on deck to get everything in ship-shape, even making sure there was sidewalk chalk outside for busy little tinkerers in tow.
"Wicked awesome"
Nancy planned a nautical-inspired buffet of mini lobster rolls, shrimp cocktail, potato chips and lemonade! And yes, I made paper bunting and flags of all sizes to festoon everything in sight!

To view even more of Morayo's party pics, please visit this link.
Decked out in aqua furnishings and pink-striped shades, Sea Rose Cottage provided the perfect backdrop for flowers, tinkering supplies, bunting and sweets all in the same soft palette.

Craft buffet make-and-take project

My "twin" Tracey gasping over one of Nancy's many cool acquisitions in aqua
My home away from home on the Summer Tour!
I adore this book. I really do!
Whether you were at the party or cheering me on from afar, thank you to everyone for the good wishes and support!!!

Nancy and me ... happy and pooped after the party!
Coming up:
Missed the party? Don't be blue. Order your copy, make a pitcher of lemonade, gather some supplies and get tinkering!