18 Nov

The Colors of the Year

As the announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year draws closer, design insiders recognizing the marketing power of color and the iconization of the color of the year are jumping on the bandwagon to announce their own color choices for 2016.

First up was Ben Moore’s Simply White ( and we all know how that went!) Ben Moore asks us to surrender to the complexity of white . Suggesting that  the interplaay of layered whites and diffused light creates nuances and subtle beauty.




Today, following suit, Sherwin Williams’ also announced Alabaster (SW 7008), a hue symbolic of new beginnings, as the 2016 Color of the Year.

“Alabaster represents a straightforward and necessary shift to mindfulness, well-being and an atmosphere that is pure,” said Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing, Sherwin-Williams. “It provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality and ‘less is more’ visual relief. Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring hue of white.”

Hotly debated as to whether it is a color at all, white has a strong connection with pureness and light across many cultures. At a time when homeowners are faced with excess and clutter, and may be overwhelmed by the commotion of technology, Alabaster encourages a time to relax and re-examine, according to Sherwin Williams.


Valspar recently announced their coloring trends complete with a coloring book.

valspar coloringbook

Now Robert Allen introduces the Interior Designer Color of the Year – Batik Blue. Robert Allen’s process is a bit different. Batik Blue, Beet, and Mussel Shell, were selected by the Color Experts at Robert Allen as three colors that will have strong relevance in interior design throughout 2016. To determine the initial three options, Robert Allen examined colors in style throughout history, as well as current color patterns on runways, in interiors, and even trending online.  From there, over 2,000 interior designers and design lovers voted online, selecting Batik Blue as the winner with over 40% of the vote. Once again validating that blue is universally the favorite color of consumers.

 “Batik Blue is a particularly versatile shade. Think of your favorite pair of jeans and how you pair them with everything in your closet, regardless of color, pattern, or texture. We see Batik Blue the same way, as a backdrop to all colors, whether calm and neutral or bright and funky.”


Here’s the scoop on the three colors:




Batik Blue: Like a tried-and-true pair of jeans, Batik Blue’s inky dark indigo is infinitely versatile whether layered with similar unbuttoned blues for a classic, tone-on-tone look, or offset with arresting colors such as fuchsia and lime.




Beet: Flaunting one of the most brilliant colors found in the natural world, beet’s saturated red-cast purple connotes high fashion and pairs well with everything from creamy white to bright green—like that found in its leafy tops.










Mussel Shell: Inspired by a bivalve’s opalescent, purple-tinged blue, Mussel Shell is an intriguing, grownup version of periwinkle that balances masculine and feminine undertones.





Which color of the year is your favorite?

03 Nov

Thanksgiving Table Settings

With only a couple of weeks until the big day we thought you could use some quick & easy Thanksgiving table setting ideas.  Exercise your creativity and use the resources you have on hand to put some of these lovely ideas into action to create a beautiful table for your family. ( In the interest of transparency- this post originally appeared 11/2014. )

Don’t leave money on the table- help your clients with their Tabletop challenges this holiday seasonJumpstart your new revenue stream with our Table Top Cheat Sheet and watch our  TableTop videos HERE and HERE.

First up is the star of the event your table centerpiece.


We love these bare tree branches because they are dramatic yet you can still see the person on the other side of the table and they don’t interfere with the conversation.


Your produce drawer is full of beautiful colors and texture that you can arrange into a lovely centerpiece.  Throw in some paper leaves or other decorations and you are ready to go.


These colors are so rich and they are a nice break from the traditional color motifs of the season.  Who says it has to be orange and brown?



When all else fails go with gold!



This simple idea is a new twist on the classic orange studded with cloves.  Just think of the creative designs you can quickly carve into your citrus and there is the added plus of that great smell.


Raw wood rules supreme this year with these simple log cuts arranged in a tiered display topped with mason jar candles.



Place Cards set the mood for a more formal affair and give your guests a sense of belonging.  There are many easy ideas that you can throw together to make them all feel at home.


Small log cuts with a groove sawn into the top make cute place card holders.



Larger log cuts can serve as dramatic chargers.


The lowly walnut can serve as a quick name holder in a pinch.  Spray them with metallic paint or glitter to dress them up.


Put those Fall leaves to good use as place setters.


Candles light the room and add warmth and a sense of calm to your table as well.  Avoid scented candles that will clash with the wonderful aromas of your dinner.


Jute string secures these mini pilgrim corn cobs around a simple glass votive.  Add a strip of sticky tape around the jar to be sure everything stays in place,



Burlap ribbon has a million and one uses at  this time of year.



More pilgrim corn around a large candle



Fresh vegetables are a nice addition to any table.



Fruit illuminated in water is both beautiful and aromatic.



Hollow out small pumpkins and gourds for votives at each place setting or as a grouping in the center of the table.



Use those leftover apples that Grandma didn’t put into the pie to hold some tapers.  If you don’t have fancy candle spikes just bore a hole in the center of each apple for the candle.



Small twigs can be hot glues to the side of small votives for a rustic charm.


Table Runners are an easy way to dress your table .  Here are a few fun ideas for DIY projects.


Fall leaves are great if you’ve got them.



If you are like me and live in an area where the leaves don’t turn then improvise with stencils or stamps.



Burlap by the yard makes a great runner.  I love the way they tied the end here.


Upholstery strapping can be woven into runners or individual place mats.


Put that left over trim or ribbon to use to embellish your runners, place mats, or napkins.


The bottom line is that we are all very busy and sometimes the holidays can sneak up on us but with a little imagination you can put together a lovely table for your family.  Just don’t take it too seriously and have fun with it.  At the end of the day it’s really about giving thanks and enjoying  our family and friends and no one will remember if your table was set perfectly.

Wishing you and yours a fantastic Thanksgiving!




11 Jul

Michelle Obama Touches up to the State Dining Room

White-House-State-Dining-Room-Update (2)According to the press, modest changes (at a cost of $590,000) were done to the room compared to the dramatic makeover earlier this year of the family dining room. Seeing as the State dining room decoration dates back to 1998- was it time for a change or is it  better left alone?  I’m not a fan of the color scheme or the drapery fabrication or dressing and what’s up with the brown horsehair dining chairs?

white house



State Dining Room Before

state dining room window

Before Draperies- ivory silk brocade with flowers, baskets and ribbons.



What was Done

The chairs were switched out; new custom draperies at the windows and two new custom woven rugs which anchored the makeover.

ap dining

Mahogany side chairs and arm chairs, custom-made in North Carolina, replaced a set that was upholstered in a golden yellow fabric. The new chairs are done in a brown, grid-patterned ‘horsehair’ fabric and trimmed with brass nail heads. They were modeled after arm chairs that President James Monroe acquired for the East Room in 1818 from a cabinetmaker in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood.

ap state 1

The new custom-made, wool rugs arrived in 2012 spurring the rest of the refurbishing. The rug design used elements of the room’s ceiling to create a border of continuous wreaths and a blue-green mottled field designed with oak leaves. Two rugs were made so they can be switched out for cleaning.

ap state


Peacock and ecru striped silk with taped leading edges

The silk draperies and valances in stripes of peacock blue and ecru echoes the “Kailua” blue that trims the modern-inspired china service the first lady unveiled in April . A blue woven tape is down each leading edge and what looks like unlined cream silk make up the under draperies. The Kingston valances hang from gilded poles and replace scalloped valances and curtains made of ivory silk brocade and designed with flowers, baskets and ribbons.


Obama Kailua Blue White House China

The $590,000 tab was paid by the White House Endowment Trust.

03 May



Finding the perfect fabric to fit your needs can be difficult these days with back orders, shortages, and dropped patterns. You’ve probably seen that many designers are beginning to create their own fabrics and soft furnishing products. If you have ever thought about designing your own fabric we have the perfect course for you!

Learn the basic skills needed, resources required and processes you must master to bring your designs from fantasy to reality. Jackie Von Tobel is an award winning product designer who produces her own signature fabric line, The Jackie Von Tobel Collection She will walk you through the design and manufacturing process step by step and help you to formulate a plan for creating your own unique signature fabrics that will enhance your business and help you to grow your brand.

A downloadable pdf handbook will spell out the details covered in class and give you a source list for private label fabric printers,  software providers and online education sources, as well as many other essential contacts and information so you can move forward on your own towards achieving your goal of producing your own fabrics.

Sign up today!




15 Apr

High Point Market Soft Furnishings Hit Lists

High Point Market Soft Goods

If you are looking for High Point Soft Furnishings manufacturers  this week we have a complete list of vendors for you broken down into several categories to make finding exactly what you want a bit easier.  From Top of Bed, Window Coverings, Upholstered Furnishings, Throw Pillows and more we have you covered. Just download our guides and breeze through market. 


Ready Made market must see list HighPointHitList2

23 Mar

Flourish at High Point Market


Looking to rise above the noise of your daily operations, discover how you can dramatically increase your profits, and run your business with even greater passion?  Then you can’t miss the  Flourish Summit.  Presented by High Point Market Authority, Gail Doby and Lisa Ferguson are hosting  the Flourish Summit on Friday, April 17, 1pm – 6pm at the High Point Theatre at the Transportation Terminal. They will share fresh and proven strategies to help you:

•Manage your time for maximum results with minimum effort

•Align your income with your core values

•Identify YOUR top strengths

•Find and get hired by your ideal clients

•Stay in your sweet spot 80-90% of the time, and

•FLOURISH in your business and personal life!

Think: Less Hustle. More Profit. WAY more joy.

Lisa Ferguson headshotLisa Ferguson is going to be a busy woman during Market. She is offering a RISE, a StrengthsFinder workshop on Monday, April 20th.  Lisa discovered StrengthsFinder® nearly five years ago and it quite literally EVERYthing changed. She successfully shifted services, people and processes around her top strengths at the same time as meeting the new way interior design clients want to do business.  After significant changes in her business resulted in less hustle, more profit, Lisa invested in becoming a fully trained facilitator for StrengthsFinder® to empower and equip others to also reach their full potential.



The result is a tactical, practical and inspirational  full day workshop, Rise.  Interactive and customized to meet the six participants’ specific goals using Gallup’s science based StrengthsFinder® assessment and post it notes,  Lisa will help you recreate your business around You.  Click HERE For more details or to Register.


#flourish  #rise  #softdesignlab  #HPMKT

15 Mar

A Stellar Line Up

Our itinerary for High Point  Buyers Tour is finalized and we couldn’t be more stoked! We think we have a stellar line up of private and exclusive events for our first time High Point Buyers Tour. Here’s a taste of what we’ll be doing.

We arrive on Friday and kick off our tour with The Designer’s Guide to Upholstery with Kirstin Drohan. At our Welcome Dinner courtesy of High Point Convention and Vistors Bureau, Style Spotter and our good design friend, Jeanne Chung will Talk Trends with us. We’ll be giving our tour group  a heads up of what to look for at Market.
Jeanne Chung of Cozy~Stylish~Chic

Jeanne Chung of Cozy~Stylish~Chic

On Saturday, the first day of Market we ‘re going from dawn to dusk. Breakfast at High Point Theater and the Barry Dixon Panel and then our adventure begins exploring the IHFC floors with stops and presentations at  Codarus, the Wrenn wing and much more.  We’ll move onto Market Square to see Thibaut and Eastern Accents. Finally, we’ll end the day with a tour of the IMC Home Textile Pavilion a glass of wine and meet up and a video PR opportunity for each of you with High Point Market Authority. Not to mention we hope to squeeze in a quick tour of ADC with The Antiques Diva.


Sunday means breakfast with Kelly Weartsler and WITHIT,  lunch  at Taylor Burke Home and we’ll spend time in the  afternoon with Jana Platina Phipps & Robert Allen for a visual tour of the evolution of passementerie. Then onto the  outdoor concert with Christopher Cross.
Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler

Monday we have a private luncheon and tour of Currey and Co. and Fromenthal followed by desert at CR Laine as Tobi Fairley shows us her new collection.
Fromenthal at Currey and Co.

Fromenthal at Currey and Co.

tobi crl
Tuesday we visit the Madcap Cottage guys to learn about their new ventures and what it takes to put together your own line. At the end of the day, we’ll be whisked away to our farewell dinner at the Green Valley Grill.
madcap book
Finally, on Wednesday, we end our design adventure at Design Camp at Jaipur.
21 Feb

Prep for Success

It’s that time of year when we are reorganizing, editing and looking ahead to what 2015 can do for our business. We jumped on the bandwagon with our Take Ten: Prep for Success in 2015.  You can get your copy HERE.

Ok, I know we’re almost 60 days into 2015… If you’re like most of us, you had good intentions , but haven’t gotten to it yet. So let’s all regroup and take a few minutes to look ahead. If you’re looking for more tips and tricks, here’s our curated list to increase productivity  for 2015.

7 end-of-year planning tips for your small business

by Nellie Akalp  |  October 17/2014  |  End of year business planning, small business tax planning


14 Tips To Make 2015 Your Most Productive Year Yet

We talk to the most productive people all year, here are their best productivity tips for 2015.  By Rachel Gillett

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re a little obsessed with productivity. To make your quest for a more productive self this year something you can really work towards, we asked some of the most productive we work with all year what they do in their everyday lives to get so much done. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Visualize And Set Up Your Day The Night Before

Before emotional intelligence expert and author of The Other Kind of Smart Harvey Deutschendorf goes to sleep, he says he makes some basic decisions about the next day like what he’ll wear, eat for lunch, and the route he plans on taking to work. “The less time and energy you take to focus on routine, everyday things, the more you will have to work on what is important,” he explains. He also suggests visualizing what exactly you plan to accomplish the next day. “Become extremely focused upon making this an ongoing part of your routine and you will surprise yourself by how much more you accomplish,” he says.

2. Surround Yourself With Productive People

“It’s very easy for me to work alone, but I find that my productivity is maximized when I surround myself with productive people I don’t know,” says Vivian Giang, a freelance journalist who covers leadership, organizational psychology, and gender issues. She says working around productive strangers keeps her accountable for staying on task. “I’m not browsing social media without purpose. I eat healthier, I don’t take long breaks. I semi-compete with them because they always look like they’re coming up with great ideas,” she says.

3. Stand While You Work

When journalist and co-author of The Art of Doing Camille Sweeney had to interview 15 prominent newsmakers in just a few days, she made her calls standing. “This was the year I got out of my chair and on to my feet at my desk,” she says. “It’s made such a difference.”

Before Sweeny’s portable standing desk arrived in the mail, she improvised and put her laptop on top of a nine-inch square cardboard box on her desk. Now she alternates every few hours between sitting and standing.

4. Focus On One Word For The Year

“A one-word theme creates simplicity, clarity, and life change,” says Jimmy Page, author of One Word That Will Change Your Life and vice president for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “You’ll find renewed passion and purpose by achieving laser-like focus that drives productivity,” he says. “Best of all, one word transforms not only what you do, but who you become; it impacts every area of life—physical, relational, mental, spiritual, emotional, vocational, and financial. One-word focus eliminates distractions and turns our intentions into actions.”

5. Maximize Your Most Creative Time

Sally Poblete, Founder and CEO of healthcare technology company Wellthie, tells us to first track and explore when we’re the most creative and then create the space in our schedules to capitalize on it. “I find that I think best in the mornings with fewer interruptions, so I do my best to keep that time open for brainstorming, writing, and meeting with others who inspire and challenge me,” she says. “I save my necessary meetings for the afternoons, when I am energized from my morning productivity and excited to share my plans with my team.”

6. Know When To Not Be Productive

On the flip side of this, Starr Million Baker, CEO and cofounder of PR agency INK Public Relations, points out that there are only so many things we can do in a day. More importantly, he says, there are only so many things we should do in a day.

“Knowing when to say ‘that’s not going to happen today’ is a skill that has given me a greater ability to have a laser focus on the stuff that really, truly must get done.” Baker says he uses the task management tool Todoist to get all of his tasks in one place. He then religiously clicks the “postpone to…” button throughout the day as the clock marches towards 5 p.m. “I evaluate my tasks more than once a day as I work in a field full of fire drills, so priorities are ever-changing.”

7. Slow down and reassess to avoid getting overwhelmed

“When you have more things to do than you can count,” says Scott Eblin, author of Overworked and Overwhelmed, “it can quickly throw you into a fight or flight state of overwhelm. If you feel yourself getting spun up like that, stop before you start to do anything else.” He instructs us to think of STOP as the acronym for Slow down, Take three deep breaths, Observe what needs to be done most, and then Proceed.

8. Prioritize what matters

One of the secrets to feeling satisfied with your productivity according to Erin Baebler and Lara Galloway, certified life and business coaches and the co-authors of Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur, is spending the majority of your time on the things that really matter to you—your priorities. “When you’re clear on what you want to accomplish and the actions that will get you there, it becomes much easier to decide what needs to get done and what can either wait for later or not be done at all. Plus, and here’s where the real productivity comes in, we are much more motivated to work on things that truly matter and therefore able to get more done in a shorter period of time.”

9. Batch Tasks To Create Flow

As a writer, The Five-Minute Mom’s Club: 105 Tips to Make a Mom’s Life Easier author Stephanie Vozza’s day consists of research, interviews, first drafts, and final edits. She’s more productive she says if she can stay in one task mind, instead of changing gears. “I try to schedule my day around one activity; a day of interviews, for example, or a morning of writing and an afternoon of research. I discovered this after interviewing Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman for Fast Company, who writes about how being in a state of flow can quintuple your productivity.”

10. Be Intentional About Email

Before opening any email, cofounder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics Neil Patel says you should first ensure you have the time to respond to it. “If you decided to respond later on, it will cause you to have to re-read the email, which is an inefficient use of your time,” he says. And remember that most emails don’t need an immediate response—or any reply at all—says Zendesk CEO and founder Mikkel Svane. “Take a breath and wait a minute before jumping into the fray on group emails and non-urgent issues. You’ll find that sometimes the most powerful response is no response at all. You’ll suddenly have more time for the replies that deserve your time and attention.”

11. Do Whatever It Takes To Block Out Distractions

Vozza likes to spend an hour unplugged from the Internet, removed from distractions like email and Facebook, and sometimes ventures to spend an entire workday offline. “I discovered how much time the Internet sucks when my service went out for a day; in six uninterrupted hours I finished work that would normally take me two or three days. If you need to check something online, make a list and when you restore your service look up everything at once.” David Johnson, COO and CFO of craft brewery Fireman’s Brew, Inc., suggests simply closing your door. “You’ll find that it’s much easier to make progress on your own work when you’re not being pulled in a number of different directions.”

12. Create A List Of Easy To-Dos

Carson Tate, author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Productivity Style, makes a list of tasks that can be done in 15 minutes or less. She suggests we keep this list with us at all times so we can convert those odd moments of time like waiting in line or waiting at the dentist’s office into productive microsegments of work. “This list is also your go to when you feel the tug of procrastination. You can quickly complete a task, which gives you a little energy boost, helping you transition into working on a more challenging or complex project.”

13. Create A List Of Your Most Important Tasks

Speaking of lists, Jones Loflin and Todd Musig, coauthors of Getting to It, have another kind of list to make you more productive: an IT list, or Important Things list. This list requires us to identify the three tasks or activities that would most effectively move us toward the accomplishment of our highest priorities. “So much of today’s productivity depends on having the mental clarity to fully focus on the task of the moment. That can be difficult if there are items you haven’t addressed and they are holding some of your mental resources hostage.” Loflin and Musig offer these tips to help determine if any of our ITs may be limiting our productivity:

■An Essential IT: Something that if accomplished would significantly increase your ability to focus

■An Avoidance IT: This could be something you keep putting off, but your mind won’t let it go

■An Incomplete IT: Our brains are wired to not let go of something until it’s finished. Once you finish the task, your mental resources can be fully focused on the task in front of you.

14. Consistently Self-Evaluate

“Rigorous self-evaluation is the beginning, middle, and end of self-management. It is the essential habit of self-improvement,” says Bruce Tulgan, author of The 27 Challenges Managers Face. Tulgan instructs us to constantly assess our own productivity, the quality of our work, and our behavior. We should continuously ask ourselves: “What can I do to get more work done faster?” “Should I revisit my priorities?” “Do I need to focus my time better?” “How can I eliminate time wasters?” “Do I need better time budgets?” and “Do you need to make better plans?”

“But remember: Self-evaluation is an engine of self-improvement only if you use the information you’ve learned from it,” he says. “Start on one small goal at a time—the smaller the better. Once you meet that goal, take another small step. Self-management and self-improvement come one small step at a time. It’s a never-ending process because there is always room to improve.”

Hopefully these tips will make for a more productive 2015.

Do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments.