Archive for October, 2010

Pumpkin Painting Party

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The pumpkin painting party I had with my daughter and her friends last week turned out to be a great success!

Thanks to Target, our decor was festive but not too pricey.

Of course the children loved sprucing up their pie-sized pumpkins.

Then a few rounds of pumpkin ring toss (with glow sticks used to make rings) were in order with candy and treats as a prize for winning.

Followed by a fierce competition of toilet paper mummy race.

And then at snack time the adorable treats, orange crush and goodie bags were a big hit!!

I think the vampire teeth might have been the favorite treat of the party! Or should I say trick?

Hope you’ll try some of these ideas for your kids.  They were goulishly fun. To see all the details for creating this party for yourself, check out this month’s entertaining feature.

Designer Mailbag, Calling all Design Dilemmas

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Don’t forget about my new series “Designer Mailbag” where you send me all your design dilemma’s.  I will pull one out of the “bag” each month and solve your design problem.

So here’s your chance to get a free consultation from me.  Email your particular design question and a photo of the space to me at and maybe you will be lucky and get your design dilemma solved right here on my blog.

Can’t wait to see more of your questions roll in soon!!

Happy Weekend. xo, Tobi

A Frighteningly Busy Day…

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Today is off to a running start with staff meetings, a client presentation this afternoon and don’t forget our art show tonight from 6-8pm for Andy Reed and Sheila Cotton!

But while I am busy I thought I’d leave you with a little Halloween inspiration from Pottery Barn and Better Homes and Gardens.  Are you ready for a scary holiday? It’s only 10 days away.

Look Who’s Coming to Design Camp

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Thinking about coming to an upcoming Tobi Fairley Design Camp?

Each design camp has a fun and exciting mix of personalities, both designer and design enthusiasts. Take a look at a few of our past, present, and future campers, what they do and their favorite things…

The Multitasker is an almost 60 designer and Texan that always has several irons in the fire and loves life. Currently running both a successful design business and a staging company, this experienced and savvy lady isn’t afraid of hard work or technology. When she isn’t designing or staging, she’s authoring her blog or spending time with her 3 adorable grandchildren.

My personal style is: very traditional preferring solids to prints. I am definitely a traditionalist at heart in my own personal space, however, I love all well thought out and executed design

Children/Grandchildren/Pets: 2 sons, one fabulous daughter-in-law and 3 beautiful grandchildren. I also have two dogs that are great companions, a Norfolk terrier, Julip and a Shih Tzu, Ming Tsai

Favorite store: My favorite store being from Dallas is of course, Neiman Marcus

Fashion Designer of Choice:  I am an Armani and Piazza Sempione fan. The Audrey pant by Piazza is my every day wardrobe staple.

Favorite Shoe: mostly flats either Chanel or Tods

Interior Design Idol: A huge fan in the design industry of my friend Charles Faudree and Carolyne Roehm as well

Coffee or Tea? Black coffee at home and non fat latte at Starbucks

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Designer or Design Enthusiast? Registered Interior Designer

Purse/Bag?: I always carry a large handbag so I can have a file or an iPad inside and handy.  This large bag has a small Louis Vuitton clutch for evening that I can pull out at a moments notice.

Planner/List maker or flying by the seat of my pants ? A list maker for sure! Could not sleep with out my list next to the bed

Patterns or Solids? In my design work I use both I would say equally

Traditional or Contemporary? Traditional mainly

City or Country? I am a city girl that dreams of a country home

Blogger: yes or no?  yes,

iPhone or blackberry? iPhone

Water: sparkling or still? still water, cold without ice

Music of Choice: classical music and Spanish and Mexican traditional music

Why I am coming to Design Camp?  I am coming again to design camp because the day I quit learning is the day I need to retire!!!

This 40-something designer and design lover can’t stay away from the business! She “lives, eats, and breathes” design and even after stopping to have her now 10 year old son, she couldn’t help but get back in the design business again.  Though now a Texan (and proud of it), her Portuguese and English heritage brings an interesting perspective to her projects, and her early exposure to the sights and scenes of New York City (she was raised in Jersey), had a major impact on her path to design. When she’s not designing, the Serial Designer is having fun.  Give her a good Cabernet and a big bowl of pasta and she’s a happy girl. Even with her fantastic heritage, she secretly wishes she was Italian.

My personal style is: Classic with a twist (the twist usually being a fabulous pair of shoes). I love everything tailored and very symmetrical.

Age: 42 and proud of it

Children/Grandchildren/Pets: Son, Spencer who is 10, (2) daughters (my husbands, but I helped raise them and consider them mine) Teresa (30) and Rebecca (24). I just became a proud MiMi (grandma) in June, her name is Cortlynd

Favorite store: Nordstrom for clothing and Neiman Marcus for shoes. My favorite showroom is EC Dicken (furniture) and Lee Jofa (fabrics)

Fashion Designer of Choice: Dolce & Gabbana

Favorite Shoe: HIGH / Manolo Blahnik & Christian Louboutin

Interior Design Idol: Tobi Fairley : ) & Carolyne Roehm

Coffee or Tea? Starbucks Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte (extra Hot)

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Blogger or not? Not, but would like to

Designer or Design Enthusiast? Designer or decorator, I’m fine with both titles

Purse/Bag: Big, although I don’t have much in them unless I am at the design center or with a client.

Planner/List maker or flying by the seat of my pants?: Definitely a list maker. I go crazy if I don’t have my calendar on my iPhone, as well as a To Do list on my desk. (I secretly love crossing things off.. : ))

Patterns or Solids? For my clothing always solids. Design, I love patterns

Traditional or Contemporary? Traditional and transitional

City or Country? This is a tough one! Favorite city (in the US) is definitely New York, but San Francisco is next in line. Paris (love the architecture) & London (love the people and the pace).

iPhone or blackberry? iPhone

Water: sparkling or still? Sparkling, but will drink still as long as it is ice cold

Music of Choice: This better not get out, but I love Disco!!!! Probably because I grew up listening to my sister’s albums! I also like smooth jazz and light classical when I want to act grown up!
Why I am coming to Design Camp? I had such a great time at the first camp and although I knew alot of what was being shared, I still came away with a new take on design and concepts

The Heiress had the great fortune to inherit her love of design and all things beautiful from her designer mom. Now she’s a 40-something mom and Prosecutor’s Administrator for the Sixth Judicial District in Little Rock by day and a decorator extraordinaire by nights and weekends. Married with 3 gorgeous daughters, this mom is disciplined in design and in life, committing to one hour workouts 5 days a week, determined to set a positive example for her daughters, her friends and her clients. She sums herself up as this: “I love Jesus but I drink a little” and this could also describe her design style…mainly classic, traditional or primitive pieces, with a bit of contemporary mixed in for good measure!

Design Style: I just am drawn to the unusual. I sort of crave something organic in every space, every room. It doesn’t have to be really alive, but I want something that at least references life, be it faux fur (or real fur, I’m a Democrat but not a radical Democrat) or nature-themed art, or a big old cloudy fishtank–just kidding! Regarding furniture, clothing, shoes, bags- I would rather have a few good pieces than a houseful of poor quality ones. I dress professionally every day; professionally does not have to mean a suit every day, but I am serious about the image I portray to the public. Most people who come to my office are frightened and downtrodden; they deserve to see and feel competence when they hit the door, and that means heels every day and a white crisp blouse lots of days.

Children: Callie 20, Grace Hill 14, Elli 11

Pets: Bullet Malcolm, pug; Charles Manson Malcolm, a Boston Terrier and Rosie Max Malcolm, the stray cat

Favorite Clothing Store: I am very excited that Anthropologie has opened in Little Rock; I don’t think I have a favorite clothing store, I shop in lots of different cities, lots of different stores and shops.

Favorite Design Store: I love all kinds of design and all kinds of design shopping, high end to estate sales and flea markets. I can almost always find something that I absolutely adore or am intrigued by. I love wallcovering and I always have, even when no one else was loving it, and I can look at wallpaper books for hours.  I love something about almost every shop I go to. The most bizarre place I love to shop in LR is Galaxy Furniture.

Favorite Designer: I am not loyal to one fashion designer, I wear a million different designers, always off the rack, never couture, not that I wouldn’t love to sometime. My newest work suit is St. John so that would be my favorite of the moment. If I get a new pair of Joe’s Jeans at Anthropologie next week, Joe will probably be my favorite designer.

Favorite Shoe: My favorite work shoe is definitely Donald Pliner because they fit me the best and I always think my foot is beautiful in them. I like to be sitting in a meeting, seemingly concentrating seriously on the issues, but really be admiring my feet/shoes. That’s how I roll. I wanted some Tory sandals this past summer but never got around to getting them.

Interior Design Idol: Without question, my mother is the designer I idolize. When my mom was a little girl, if a piece of silverware happened to fall in the floor in her house, it normally fell through a hole in the floor. She and her brother loved to get to go under the house and collect the flatware. She says she remembers, even as a tiny child, always craving beauty and beautiful things. She became an incredibly successful community developer, home builder, real estate broker and interior designer. She and Daddy created a life for my brother and me that she wanted as a child; filled with beauty, cultural experiences and opportunities and love. She is the consummate professional designer, and she created herself.

Coffee or Tea: Tea, do not like coffee

FB or Twitter: FB definitely. I don’t care who is checking in at Starbucks

Designer or Enthusiast: I am definitely a designer, my methods are not always orthodox, but I can trick the place out without question.

Purse/big bag: My favorite was a woven Botega of Mom’s that I carried all through college and still to this day, although I haven’t been able to find it in the past few months (do not send this to mom). Usually now I carry a big Tano that I don’t mind dropping on the bleachers during Thursday and Friday night football games. Mom currently has a TB hobo in turquoise that I’m hoping to get and lose soon.

Planner/List maker or flying by the seat of my pants? I like to list and plan, but I keep a paper calendar in my purse. I am relatively intelligent, but can’t grasp keeping my calendar on my phone.

Solids or Patterns? I like solids on sofas, patterns on smaller upholstered items

Traditional or Contemporary? I definitely like a mixture of traditional and contemporary home furnishings.

City or Country? I am a country girl.  I grew up in the hills of North Arkansas, I love country life.

Blogger–yes or no? I am not a blogger, though I read several design blogs and one blog written by a gifted writer, albeit a crazy lady whose husband cheated on her and she blogs daily about her husband’s and his lover’s various physical deformities. I am strangely unable to NOT check in.

Blackberry or iPhone? Blackberry, though considering Droid X

Water-sparkling or still? Recently started drinking sparkling with lemon.

Music: Love all music except country and I like some like Johnny Cash or Waylon and Willie. I just don’t like all those country women singers who have that guttural hollering thing. That is not attractive to me.

Why am I coming to design camp? I came to design camp originally just for fun, but after my first session, I was hooked. I learned more than I could have imagined I would, and felt a passion for design that I had not felt in a long time. I can’t wait ’till November!

The Newbie is new to design and has a new baby.  This 30-something designer spent 8 years working in corporate America feeling unfulfilled.  Now she has 2 beautiful children, an adorable husband and amazing clients that love her passion for design. When she’s not working or being a mom, she’s volunteering in her community in Wilmington, North Carolina.

My personal style is: Fun, fresh, eclectic and slightly tailored

Children/Grandchildren/Pets: 2 great kids.  A 3 1/2 year old boy, Burton, and a 6 month old baby girl, Harris.

Favorite store (fashion or design or both):  Beanie & Cecil for fashion and Paysage and Glen-Harmon for home design & products (all are in Wilmington and have owners with amazing taste).  And I can’t make a trip to Chicago without a stop in the Ralph Lauren store.

Fashion Designer of Choice:  I would love to walk the red carpet in Carolina Herrera.

Favorite Shoe: Brooks running shoes

Interior Design Idol: Lots.  Tobi, of course!  Suzanne Kasler. Celerie Kemble.  Bunny Williams. Amanda Nisbet.  Betsy Burnham.  Phoebe Howard.

Coffee or Tea? Mandarin Spice Tea.  Hot.  Mmmmmmm.

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Blogger or not? Not yet

Designer or Design Enthusiast? Both!

Purse/Bag: BIG.  I never leave home without a change of clothes for both kiddos, snacks, a camera and a tape measure.

Planner/List maker or flying by the seat of my pants ? Planner and list maker.  Probably to a fault.

Patterns or Solids? Patterns

Traditional or Contemporary? Traditional with a twist

City or Country? Beach.  🙂

iPhone or blackberry? Blackberry AND iPad

Water: sparkling or still? Still, still, still.  No lemon.

Music of Choice: Old school hip hop, country, reggae and classic rock (a little of everything!)

Why I am coming to Design Camp?  To learn from one of the best and meet some great new people!

The Import is a 40-something who was born in Africa and was lucky enough to travel the world while growing up before ending up in the US. She is a Designer and a Texan who’s married to her high school sweetheart and the mom of two wonderful daughters. When she’s not running her design business, you can find her in flea markets, thrift stores or “renewing” a old gem that needs new life. You can’t take the traveler out of this designer because this designer loves the outdoors, RV camping with her family, and traveling to many different destinations.  But when she stays home, she loves entertaining family and  friends.

My personal style is:  I have eclectic taste and love to mix it up.

Age:  I’m in my 40’s and think this is the best time in life.

Children/Grandchildren/Pets:  Two girls and a dog; they keep me humble

Favorite store: Anthropologie, Horchow, Black House/White Market

Fashion Designer of Choice:  Ann Taylor for basics and then whatever brand makes me look skinnier.

Favorite Shoe:  Nine West but brand doesn’t matter so much to me as long as it is comfortable and stylish.

Interior Design Idol:  Of course, Tobi Fairley is my most recent, Candace Olson & Nate Burkes

Coffee or Tea? I have a passion for both!  Especially Cafe con leche & English Black tea.

Facebook or Twitter?  Facebook

Blogger or not?  Blogger, it’s a way for my voice to be heard.

Designer or Design Enthusiast?  Designer with a passion for beautiful things.

Purse/Bag:  Just recently went to a small purse (trying to simplify) but having a hard time adjusting.

Planner/List maker or flying by the seat of my pants? List maker if I’m working, fly by the seat of my pants if I’m playing.

Patterns or Solids?  Pattern.

Traditional or Contemporary? Traditional & Contemporary

City or Country? Recently visited Paris, France and it was just like I imagined.

iPhone or blackberry?  iPhone and desperately wanting an iPad

Water: Sparkling or still?  Still

Music of Choice:  Soft Rock

Why I am coming to Design Camp? I love the idea of being with others that are passionate about design.  I find it an honor to have the opportunity to be trained by Tobi.  She is incredibly talented and I can’t wait to soak up everything she can teach me to make me a better designer and business owner.

The Philanthropist is a 30-something classic woman who resides in Arkansas and Houston.  Always willing to help out her favorite charities or open her home for a fundraising event for her favorite politicians, this FOB (friend of Bill Clinton) is also a busy mom and wife who loves learning, especially when it comes to design.

My personal style is: classic but modern dress and European-inspired interiors

Children/Grandchildren/Pets: Daughter who will soon be 3 in January and 3 wonderful step-sons

Favorite store: Fashion: Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman   Design: Local: Cobblestone & Vine

Fashion Designer of Choice: RIP Alexander McQueen hands down! I love his perfect blend of old Hollywood glamour with modern influences and clean lines.

Favorite Shoe: My peep toe black patent Chanel heels.  Just love ’em!

Interior Design Idol: Betty Lou Phillips

Coffee or Tea? Coffee- An iced latte always puts pep in my step!

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Blogger or not? I don’t blog yet, but plan to soon and I am quite fortunate to soon be taking the Tobi Fairley Blogging Workshop.

Designer or Design Enthusiast? Design Enthusiast

Purse/Bag: Big! I’m a big purse kinda girl.  My husband calls my handbags “small luggage cases”

Planner/List maker or flying by the seat of my pants  MEGA Planner.  I like to actually create written processes for how I want lists accomplished.  Oh, and my kitchen cabinets and drawers were all labeled using my label maker, too!

Patterns or Solids? Both

Traditional or Contemporary? Both

City or Country? Both!  My favorite city in the US is Washington, DC but I also love to go fishing with my husband and daughter on the Mulberry River when we visit our farm in Ozark, too.  Both environments are good for the soul!

iPhone or blackberry? iPhone

Water: sparkling or still? The lavender infused sparkling water served at Ashley’s in the Capital Hotel is divine.

Music of Choice: I entertain quite frequently and my “music of choice” is no doubt old jazz–Count Basie, Louis Jordan, etc.   Guests of all ages always complement our music.

Why I am coming to Design Camp? The first session of Design Camp was fascinating for a design enthusiast like me.  I found Tobi’s principles of design that were taught in the class to be applicable in other areas such as entertaining and event design.  Plus, the first class was so entertaining; Tobi is quite witty!

The Entrepreneur is a 30-something interior designer, product designer, and business owner who as a little girl wanted to be many things, but especially a teacher.  A girl who loves education (I went to college for 9 years and 3 degrees for goodness sakes) and craves knowledge, but gets the most satisfaction from sharing it with others. She created design camps to bring together like-minded people and share the many things she has learned through 15 years in the field of design and running a successful design firm.

My personal style is: classic but current

Children/Grandchildren/Pets: A five year old daughter and 2 very old but adorable dogs.

Favorite store: Fashion: Bergdorf Goodman

Fashion Designer of Choice: Lee Anderson Couture and Chanel

Favorite Shoe: the simple 90 pump by Christian LouBoutin

Interior Design Idol: Dorothy Draper

Coffee or Tea? Both- Starbucks Soy Latte or Chai Tea Latte or a fresh brewed pot of Chamomile Tea

Facebook or Twitter? Both but more partial to Facebook.

Blogger or not? You’re reading it…Thanks! I have written over 400 posts in the last two years.

Designer or Design Enthusiast? Designer

Purse/Bag: Either, but prefer small. If I have a big purse, I just fill it up with junk and it weighs too much to carry around.

Planner/List maker or flying by the seat of my pants?  Love, love, love making lists and love crossing things off of it.

Patterns or Solids? Both…Solid in dress and pattern in interiors

Traditional or Contemporary? Traditional with a clean and edited approach

City or Country? Both!  I adore New York City and would die to have an apartment there,  but I also long for a country cottage.

iPhone or blackberry? iPhone–I love apps and note to Santa, I am dying for an iPad

Water: sparkling or still? Sparkling all the way. Drink it all day, everyday!

Music of Choice: Melody Gardot, Diane Birch, Michael Buble.

Why I am coming to Design Camp? Well first of all, because I’m the teacher. But mainly because of the tremendous inspiration I get from all the campers.  They inspire me as much as I inspire them and I can’t tell you how amazing that feels! Nothing makes me feel better than to give my campers a content-packed, valuable camp experience.  If they come away inspired, I have done my job. If they come back for seconds, I sleep well at night!

Want to become a Design Camper now? Well check out the details of our upcoming November and December camps here. And call us at 501-868-9882 or email today to reserve your spot in our basic camp, advanced camp or blog camp. We’ll even let you sign up for all three…call us today!

The artwork of Sheila Cotton

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Today is part 2 of our artists features.  If you missed out on Andy Reed, you can read all about him by clicking here.

I am very excited to introduce to you the talented and lovely, Sheila Cotton.


Sheila is a contemporary Realist, sometimes linked to the School of magic Realism for the subtle, evocative mystery imbued within her images.  Critics praise her talent for “creating works imaginative in theme and execution,” and remark on her “sensual intellectualism.”  All her paintings are oil on canvas.

She has an international career, with museum exhibitions and corporate collections throughout the United States, Canada and Bermuda.  A native of Arkansas, she has spent much of her career living outside the South; in 2008 , she returned to Little Rock to live and paint full-time.

Tobi Fairley Gallery is Cotton’s exclusive representative for the state of Arkansas.

Cotton’s new work, stemming from her Arkansas focus, has swiftly attracted collectors and critical praise. Already in the first half of 2010, four national and regional museum exhibitions have featured her paintings of southern subjects.

Sheila has some beautiful new works, including some smaller works.  If you want to see more, then please join us for our art show, October 21st from 6-8pm at the Tobi Fairley Gallery, located at 5507 Ranch Drive, Suite 103!

Or contact us at and we will be happy to email you photos and pricing.