visions of wonderland : ‘the mad tea party’

Posted on March 14, 2013 by

This year’s Philadelphia Flower Show was packed with beautiful, creative exhibits, but The Mad Tea Party seemed to be an overall smashing success – and was by far, my favorite. Petals Lane of Philadelphia captured all the whimsical details and magical moments of the literary classic into their ‘mad tea party’ exhibit.

Glimmering chandeliers, blooming table settings, ‘flowering’ mushrooms, a card deck croquet set and handcrafted bronze characters from Wonderland Bronze by Robert James Workshop Ltd. of Dorset, England immediately transport you to the fairytale tea party.

‘The Mad Tea Party’ described by Petals Lane owners Brittany Gillespie and Michael Phinney:

‘Tea is used as a moment for intimate conversation, set with traditions and charm. Alice found herself at a tea party of answerless riddles, nonsensical poetry, and arranged as “mad as a hatter.” The mish-mash of mismatched furniture, natural plant life, ornate wrought iron, elegant crystal chandeliers, and floral arrangements created a cohesive madness.’

If I were to ever imagine life as Alice in Wonderland, this would be it. Take a look for yourself…

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Ode to Britain : Philadelphia Flower Show presents ‘Brilliant!’

Posted on March 6, 2013 by

It’s been said that the Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest indoor flower show in the nation, is the precursor to spring’s arrival. This year, from March 2 – 10, experience the whimsical heritage and cultural icons of Great Britain first-hand at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

This year’s theme “Brilliant!” transports visitors across the pond with exhibits created by the nation’s top growers and designers celebrating the lush landscape and charming gardens of Great Britain, along with its rich history of pop culture and royalty.

Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the 184th Philadelphia Flower Show beautifully captures the ‘Best of British’ theme with features such as the 38 ft. tall digitally enhanced rendition of Big Ben, cottage gardens, Royal table settings, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, foggy London streets and a scene from The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’, to name a few.

Purchase tickets for the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show here

It was a captivating experience — pictures simply cannot fully portray the sheer brilliance of this year’s show. If you have a chance, it’s absolutely worth the trip!

[left : visitors enter through Buckingham Palace's Royal Gates / right : Big Ben surrounded by water gardens]

[The Lych Gate Garden display by the Garden Club of Wilmington]

[‘Pure Britain’ royal table setting by PURE Design of Philadelphia, PA]

‘Simply Fascinating’ : themed store window display’

[left : part of the Beatles 'A Day in the Life on Abbey Road' exhibit / right : store window display featuring the iconic London double-decker bus]

[left : ‘Hockney’s Haven’ by Chester County Art Association of West Chester, PA
right : colorful wheelbarrow sculpture surrounded by vertical garden exhibit by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society]

[the main PHS exhibit, assembled from reclaimed wood]

[vertical gardening : the benefits of gardening with eco-friendly peat]

[A rustic greenhouse is part of an English garden designed by Hunter Hayes Landscape Design of Ardmore, PA]

[Dutch shoes are part of the exhibit by the Netherlands American Business Association of Willow Grove, PA]

All proceeds from the show support both the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and their urban greening programs, including City Harvest – a citywide partnership that has grows and donates fresh produce to help feed families in need.

P.S. a separate post on the amazing exhibit, ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ will soon follow — stay tuned!

* photography by blair lindley

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from simple to stunning : lampshade makeover

Posted on February 27, 2013 by
Using a beautiful pair of classic gold gilt floor lamps from Karas Karas, we wanted to give the lampshades a polished look by covering the shade with fabric and faux painting the interior with metallic gold. We selected a hand-painted Fortuny silk fabric to cover the lampshade, which allowed just enough light to peek through, while also reflecting light off the metallic gold interior.
The interior of the drum shades were hand-painted with a layered metallic gold faux finish by Vicki Vinton, local faux finisher and muralist. The lampshade covering and trim was done by Janice Colgate of Uchi Design, Inc.
Customizing a simple lampshade with fabric that coordinates with your decor is great way to give your lighting (and space) an updated look and also showcase a fabric you love in a polished, professional way.

Once we selected Fortuny’s Barberini, a brilliant red and gold Italian silk to cover the shade and cording from the Barbara Barry for Kravet collection for the trim on the top and bottom of the shade, we narrowed down our options for the metallic faux finishing.

With alternating brush strokes, Vicki layered varying metallic golds, ultimately creating an effect that looks stunning when illuminated – allowing the light to shine through the fabric and reflect amongst the interior of the shade.

The new Fortuny-covered shade compliments the gold gilt base beautifully!

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DIY: jewelry display frame

Posted on February 21, 2013 by

We wear jewelry to add color and style to our look. So, why not display it like artwork? It solves the issue of pieces getting tangled together and lost in the shuffle. It sure makes things easier when picking out what jewelry to wear for the day.

A display frame serves as a great alternative to the traditional jewelry box or tree and is really quite simple to put together once you have the frame and sheet metal. You can find inexpensive frames at thrift stores like Goodwill. Only a few other supplies are necessary to complete this D.I.Y. jewelry display frame.


>  large wooden frame, 11″ x 14″ (or any size you wish)

>  acrylic paint

Martha Stewart antique-effect paint medium (optional)

>  paintbrush

perforated sheet metal (available at Home Depot in a variety of patterns & finishes)

>  scissors (sturdy enough to cut sheet metal)

>  cup hooks, 5/8″

>  drill & drill bit (for cup hooks)

>  strong bonding glue (GOOP works great)

Before, all my jewelry hung on a jewelry tree, which quickly got cluttered, leaving some pieces hidden & then forgotten about — out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, this DIY is the perfect solution. Now, I can display my jewelry in a variety of ways – and it doubles as wall art that is also functional.

(1) Start by removing the glass and backing from the frame

(2) Brush on a few coats of paint until you reach desired look — I used three coats

(3) Using strong scissors, cut the sheet metal down to size — use the frame insert as a guide to measure as you cut (or you can trace the proper size before cutting)

(4) If you want hooks to hang necklaces, it helps to use a drill to get the cup hooks in without splitting the wood

Depending on the frame, you may be able to use the fasteners on the frame to hold the sheet metal in place. In this case, the fasteners were part of the  frame backing, so I used glue to keep the sheet metal in place. You may also use tape, staples…whatever works, just as long as it’s not visible from the front.

(5) Apply GOOP adhesive along the back ledge of the frame. I used a toothpick to spread it into the corners because this glue is very thick

(6) Lay your cut sheet metal into place and with your fingers (with gloves on) lightly push the metal down along the back ledge to ensure it lays flat and the glue adheres to all edges – allow at least an hour to dry completely


This simple and easy project can be altered to suit just about anyone, of any age — and used for different purposes other than jewelry. With options of different paint colors and frame sizes, let your imagination run wild!

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decorating tips : house beautiful

Posted on February 13, 2013 by

House Beautiful is a great resource for design inspiration. Aside from pages of eye candy, their decorating tips straight from top designers are always helpful, simple pieces of advice.

Check out all of HB’s designer decorating tips & tricks here.

Here are a few of our favorites:

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