Monday, December 22, 2008

Childrens Water Color Painting Class at Kendall College of Art and Design

I just wanted to share with you a couple of images from a class that I just finished teaching at Kendall College of Art and Design through their continuing studies program. This was watercolor painting class on Saturdays for children 6-9 years old. These were the most amazing children! There is a pure type of enthusiasm that comes from us whether we are adults or children when we learn . Being an instructor I have the privilege and awe inspiring thing to see that happen to people. I hope that you can see some of the paintings these young people created in these images , for they are wonderful! Our last class was Dec.6 so I had them make Christmas cards using a resist method & I was so excited to see the results. Hope you enjoy these smiling faces and their paintings.
Merry Christmas!


Take a look at Christmas in our booth at Eastown Antiques. Everything in our booth is 20% off until the end of the month. Other dealers have similar discounts, so it's a great time to shop there. Sales in our booth have been strong ( guess we are collecting the "right" things ). There are fun and really affordable gifts and decorations there.
Watch for our new look in January too!
Blessings for Happy Holidays to you all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Most of you know about my passion for textiles, fabrics, quilts, needlepoint's, tapestries, weaving, knitting, crocheting, macrame. Old fabrics as well as new. Floral prints, geometric prints, checks, plaids, stripes, toiles, chenille's, mate lases, linen, cotton, wool and silk. I love it all! But lately I have really missed fabricating with these elements myself. I am so inspired by creative Internet sites from Country Home and Country Living magazines and from a shop in New York named Purl Soho.
In the past I have made several slipcovers. One actually became rather famous! My skitzo chair (so named for it's use of 4 different fabrics) seen here with Hattie Mae sitting in it. This chair has been seen in Better Homes and Gardens magazine Jan 1996 ( oh my gosh is it that old!), Better Homes and Gardens New Decorating book and Better Homes and Gardens Flea Market Decorating. I slipcovered this chair with a combination of vintage and new fabrics.
This white wing chair is slipcovered in a white on white quilt purchased from TJ Max. The more it's washed the better it gets.
The ottomans are a combination of leftover fabric scraps that as so practical and washable, you know good for feet!
So the creativity is flowing again through fabric. This feeds my tactile and visual sense.
Call or email for prices on slipcovering something for your home or cottage.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Dan & I moved into a new antique mall today in Williamston & I thought you might like to see a few photos of the booth. It is a work in progress and a fun new opportunity. It is a different market for us and allows for another creative outlet. This is something that we really enjoy doing together. Dan is so great at the furniture - finding it, repairing it ( hauling it!), as well as the architectural pieces. I mostly do the "smalls" as they call then in the business. Accessories, lamps, rugs, china, textiles and now Christmas. Over the summer I found a lot of wonderful old Christmas decorations. So the next time you are heading to the east side of the state take few minutes ( OK it could take hours!) to get off at the Williamston exit just east of Lansing and Okemos and stop in at the mall. It is right off of the highway. Watch for the signs. Happy treasure hunting!

Youth Watercolor Painting Class

I have just started teaching a youth watercolor painting class at Kendal College of Art & Design. It is a Saturday class with students from the age of 6 through 10 years old. These are some of the most adorable kids that I have ever experienced! There is something so amazing about these children and their enthusiasm about art and learning. They tackle each assignment with such earnestness and are so joyful about what they create. They all have so much fun with what they are doing. It was fascinating to watch them all interact with each other at break time. When prior to that day they were all strangers. But they all came together with the universal language of play. So as you can see I am pretty crazy about teaching this class. I hope to share more photos later of their work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I have tried to keep this blog mostly about VanDaff's Interior Design, with a lifestyle like feeling, but sometimes the lines are blurred.

On Oct. 10, 2008 I got married. A monumental life event! (at 50!) You know I have always lived life in my own lush way, but having a life partner, lover and husband is the very best way to live this lush life that God has so graciously given us. Dan is a true gift from God, we are soul mates. He loves sharing my life and me his. We have dovetailed our lives and it is GOOD.

We have worked together on many projects and now we have the ability to do this even more. Some couples find it difficult to work together but we seem to catch energy from each others creativity. Dan is a carpenter and historic restoration specialist and well and antique dealer, refinish, furniture builder and all around great guy. Do you get the picture? OK I'll help you with that! Here are some photos of our wedding. It was such a beautiful day! Just the way we had dreamed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


One should not have this much fun working! I am prepairing right now to teach a class starting September 3 at Kendall College of Art and Design in Continuing Studies. I am researching and scanning photos into power point for the lectures. There is so much on cottage design today. Even if we don't have a cottage we want that kind of style. I think it evokes a much needed respite into our busy over achiever lives and a casual relaxed feeling that is so wonderful to LIVE with. I plan on have the students go back into their pasts and share with the class their memories of cottages, camping, summer vacations. I have memories of how the lake smelled, the sweet marsh grass along the shore and the aroma of Coppertone suntan lotion, the laughter of my Aunties, singing around the campfire, learning water ballet with my older cousins new wife, the coolness inside the little brick cottage.

I have had the privilege to work on many wonderful cottages during my career. It's the real fun of a Designer. Creating a place that represents each clients lifestyle, whether it's a place for hunting and fishing, boating, swimming, golfing, entertaining or just being. I think for me the just being would be the most important. I can't wait to hear stories from my students! If you have stories, memories to share I would love to listen.

So enjoy our last weekend of summer and another sunset!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Oh for the Love of Color!

I just LOVE the explosion of color in this other bathroom! Here again more progress photos. This is one of the happiest bathrooms ever! Notice again the periwinkle "soap shrine" in the shower. I just think they are so fun. The apple green is the color that ties everything together. It is on the floor of the bathroom with a "rug" of hand painted circle tiles inset in front of the sink cabinet and it carries into the shower on the floor and the seat. There are more of the hand painted circle tiles in the shower on the wall that is not visible in this photo. These are the detail that really make a home personal, unique and add quality.

Ann Sacks Meets McKenzie Childs

Here are more progress photos of a house I have been working on for some time how. I realy love the use of tile! Here we have used a combination of Ann Sacks tile and hand made tiles from McKenzie Childs. You may know McKenzie Childs from their pottery serving pieces, their hand painted furniture - like the fish back chair etc. I think little is known of their tile which you can see is awesome! Notice too the china sink. I have paired their tile here with Ann Sacks white and apple green. Notice too the black and white checkerboard border detail in the floor and the "soap shrine" in the tub. Wouldn't you love to be a guest in this house and use this darling bathroom?

Antique Tile

These are some progress photos from a house on Lake Michigan that I have been working on for over 2 years. We are using many wonderful tiles throughout the home, but I wanted to show you some of the antique ones that we are using. Notice the hexigon tile has not been grouted yet, so it will looks different when it is grouted. The first photo shows the antique reclaimed French hexigon tile as well as the recliamed antique cement tile that has the interlocking pattern in the red, green and cream. We used it here to form a rug type of detail. We may use more of this pattern later on the wall in the garage above the work surface area that will be used as a potting and craft area. The next photo shows the lower level floor that is laid in basket weave pattern with new deco tiles in varying colors and patterns. The rectangular terra cotta tiles are also reclaimed antique tiles. Notice all of this is finished and grouted. Not a typical lower level! The last photo shows the main floor reclaimed antique terra cotta hexagon tile again. We blended 2 color ways of this tile to get this beautiful variation of color. Notice also the wonderful detail on the custom iron stairway spindles. When they are finished they will be a black/brown smeary speckle finish with burnished gold details! The excitement continues!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


* TO ALWAYS LISTEN - sometimes you have no choice because of the relentless meowing! Hattie Mae does this until I respond and not only respond but respond in the way that she wants.





Thursday, March 13, 2008


It' been an amazing week and the week's not over yet! It's been week of COLOR!

I had a color analysis for myself from Mary Leslie @ The Leslie Studio on Lake Eastbrook Blvd. I turned 50 this past December and there is more and more gray creeping into my hair. It has never been my intention to hide it, I rather like embracing it and view it as a right of passage. But I am not going to do it like a mouse. (a mouse in the house that's another story this week!- entertainment for Hattie, Hanna & Scout). In my 20's I had my colors done through Color Me Beautiful, a wonderful gift from my grandmother. At that time I was labeled "spring" and I was told I would always be a spring. Having a background now myself in color, I was doubting this information. I was finding that my complexion was changing as well as my hair color. More pink in my skin and cooler tones in my hair along with the warmer tones that my hairdresser had been adding, all of which I was feeling didn't look it's best lately. So off I went to Mary.

Mary advised me on the color of blond that should be added to my gray, the shape of my hair that would be most flattering to me, colors that I should wear in cloths & make-up as well as shape & style of cloths that would be most flattering to my figure! Oh I feel like I have just blossomed! Which would be correct, instead of the more delicate colors of spring I should be wearing clear bright sunny colors like a June garden in full bloom. Mary is amazing!

This new excitement has also translated into my work this week. I am presently working on 2 cottages on Lake Michigan, both with existing furniture and colors to work with. Of course being cottages we would like to see them happy colorful places. JUNE places. So here are a couple of photos of some fabrics etc that I pulled for a meeting with my client. Many options for a colorful, fun summer environment.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Architectural Inspirations

We have been so inspired by this artist from Maine, that we just had to try our hand at it. I have long been interested in architecture, which I believe led me to Interior Design, especially residential - houses. I like to take inspiration from something and make it my own. Changing things, like form, color, composition etc. In the past I had mostly painted from nature, in the garden, from the shore, looking at my subject. But lately I am more and more inspired by photographs or other images. I also have a fascination with shape and repeating shape - I'll show more of that later. But for now these are the images that emerged on a cold winter night with a pot of soup on the stove........................................

Tuesday, March 4, 2008



We had a house guest this past weekend who filled our home with such joy, laughter, positive energy and enthusiasm. Our home became filled will color so amazing, beyond what decorating could do. I am grateful for the gift of friendship that she brought with her, like a spring breeze. So you may need to add some fresh spring life to your home , and of course that is my profession so I can help you with that! But also invite friends over, they are the best decorating you can ever do.

When she left and the house was a little too quiet, here is what I found in her bedroom................................ You are welcome.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


OK sorry everyone, spell check is not working to catch my errors and typos


I am learning e-bay and feeling like a child. Dan has very patiently been teaching me. After I got 5 listing made on saturday I had to lay down! There is so much to it, so many details. There is stratugy to it so that your product looks it's best, is represented correctly. It requres research, good photography, interesting descriptions. But all fun, rather like creating your own play store. That is one way that it makes me feel like a child - the play, but also learning all about it. I feel like I am back in school with home work.
These photos are of the 5 things that I have listed this week. So check it out. There are a few more being added tonight. Some of these things are so cool I can't believe that I'm parting with them! So have fun shopping. Search for me by entering vintage hooked rug with cat and it should come up and then you can see the other items too.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Auction Fevor!

I love to attend an auction and I love textiles. This past week in a snow blizzard I was able to experience both. I am excited about what I found, antique matress ticking in blue, a French style whole cloth quilt, colorful picnic table cloths and beautifuly graphic Indian blankets. Color, color, color! All a feast for the eyes in the gray Michigan winter environment. Check out both of my spaces at Eastown Antiques for a closer look. There are also many other treasures that I brough back, a doll size painted dresser with mirror - great for a jewelry box, a giant letter "C" from an old store sign, great hooked rugs, a bunch of old wallpaper brushes................... you just have to go see. Hope it puts a smile on your face like it did mine!

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Here is another example of the use of the seaglass color. I have used it here in my knitting - oh by the way I am addicted to knitting! I learned many years ago and have not stopped. I really love all of the fibers, textures and colors. I like the fact that I can combine whatever colors and stitches that I like. It has always been a stress buster for me, it is hard to explain but has something to do with the rythem of it. Occationaly I like to try a more challenging pattern, but usually I like something with a simple knit stitch and gorgous lush yarn.
Here I have combined a cashmere blend seaglass color, a wool mohair of the same color, a wool chartruse and a wool mohair bottle glass green.


I always love getting New Fabrics from my fabric houses. F.Schumacher is know for it's exclusive beautiful fabricic. Many of their patterns are recreated from their archives of historic fabrics. If a pattern is recreated from the archives there is always a document color or and exact reprodution and several other color ways based on current color trends.
Over the last few years I have seen more and more detail in fabric, wich is evident here in 2 of these. The fabric in the middle is a silk with sewn on rick rack, a complicated and precise fabric to make, but what a unique look. I can just imagine it made into roman shades, bedding - duvet cover, tailored bed skirt, shams and or pillows. The fabric on the right is a printed fabric with emboidery over the printed pattern. This gives a posh dimentional effect that is delighting. This one is a more contemporary fresh patterns. The fabric to the far left is a more traditional floral available in three colors.
Current color trends are always exciting because that represents change. The seaglass blue is such a big color trend right now and has been strong for several years. I think it is a stong trend becuase it is soothing ( important at a time of war and unsteading econimics ). This color can also be combined with so many other colors sucessfully, mocha, lime, raspberry, red, mustard/butter yellow, coral, navy/cobalt. I am even combining it right now in my knitting with chartruse and a clear green. (see another blog... )I would love to hear and see how you have used it. Contact me on my e-mail,