Author Archive

Jackie Von Tobel

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Hi friends,

Well I am back in the swing of things since my Vegas trip and wanted to fill you in on this fabulous giveaway I have going on. While Amy was watching over my precious blog last week, she mentioned that I was on a panel at the Las Vegas Market with the talented Jackie Von Tobel. She also mentioned that if you commented on that post, you’d be entered to win a great prize — one of Jackie’s fabulous books! Well, Jackie was kind enough to send an autographed copy of both of her books for us to give away.  So we will choose 2 lucky people and they will each get one of these books.

Jackie’s books really are must-haves, especially if you are in the design profession! They are so in-depth and informative, they should be used as texts in design school.  But they aren’t boring like any old textbook.  They are filled with beautiful renderings.  And the especially impressive part is that Jackie draws and renders each and every illustration herself. She is one talented lady!!

I love how Jackie helps you put together a complete package. Not only does she tell you about different styles and techniques for hanging curtains or dressing a bed, she also just created a  gorgeous line of fabrics and pillow covers that are stunning and you will love using in your home. This amazing lady hasn’t left any stone unturned.  She’s even created a software program for designers and window treatment professionals that helps to pull everything together for clients.  Jackie’s Minutes Matter software allows designers to show clients exactly what their soft goods will look like in their own homes. And if this wasn’t enough, she’s got two new books planned for her Design Directory series — I can’t wait to see what they are! A little birdie told me that slipcovers are going to be a big focus of one of the texts and boy is there a need for great how-to’s for these.  Nothing looks worse than an ill-fitting slipcover.

In Jackie’s spare time, she also has this little blog that she has been writing for the past 4 years.  Talk about being on the front end of the blog trend.

I so enjoyed spending time with Jackie in Las Vegas on Thursday. Besides being on the discussion panel with her and a few of my other great friends, one of my favorite parts of the trip was seeing the debut of her JVT Collection of fabrics and pillows at the Las Vegas market center.

Jackie’s fabrics were beautifully displayed and it got my wheels turning on where to use some of these.

Doesn’t her medallion pattern look handsome on this settee?

And I even got to pose with Jackie for a quick pic.

So don’t miss out on leaving a comment here for your chance to win one of Jackie’s books.  They are a wonderful resource to add to your library.

You have through the end of the day Thursday to enter.  We will announce the 2 lucky winners on Friday morning.

Good luck!

Before & After Decorating

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Before and after decorating: That’s one of the most fun things about design blogs and magazines, right? I mean, who doesn’t love the pictures of those horrible rooms with popcorn ceilings and orange shag carpet and busted linoleum that suddenly turn into breathtaking bathrooms or comfy family rooms? They’re like Cinderella stories, only the glass slipper is a perfect Christopher Spitzmiller ginger jar lamp.

“Before and After Decorating” also happens to be the title of a cool, new-ish Better Homes and Gardens book I just found.

And whaddya know, four of Tobi’s rooms are used as examples in this book. It features some seriously cool projects, and gives very practical design tips. Everything from using color to liven a space, to rearranging furniture for a fresh look, to completely redoing cabinetry. The projects are large and small, but all very doable. And there’s something for every room, taste and budget in here. Plus, it hits my main before-and-after criteria: great pictures and great explanations.

(And all of these great tips and pictures and practical projects reminds me of oh, I don’t know, Design Camp maybe?)

So I highly recommend grabbing a copy. Lots of online retailers carry it. Here’s a tip: Search for it by ISBN number. It’s 978-0-470-48803-4.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed having me around this week. Thanks to Tobi for letting me take over the blog, and thanks to y’all for reading and commenting! Speaking of commenting, you have two homework assignments for the weekend. Go over here and comment so you can win a cool prize, courtesy of Jackie Von Tobel. And then email me to get registered for Design Camp. This is fun homework. I’m nice like that.

Design Camp, From a Camper’s Point of View

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So you’ve heard Tobi talking about her Design Camps. She’s told you about what topics she covers, all the great information you’ll be given, how quickly the camps have filled up, etc. That’s all good and well. But if you’re like me, you always like to hear from people who have actually experienced Design Camp. So today, I’m going to share some of their stories with you.

Taking lots of notes the first day

Taking lots of notes the first day

First, I’d like to share a bit of a message that a sweet camper sent to Tobi. She said “I wanted to tell you that I really, really enjoyed your class. The fact that you are so willing to share your tips, style principles, etc. demonstrates a level of confidence that I wish other designers and professionals even in other fields had.” She’s already signed up for our six week class this fall!

Another camper had one complaint about Design Camp. “It was too short!” she said. “I felt like it was over when we just started to scratch the surface!” Yeah, that’s what we were a little afraid of. That’s why we decided to do the longer courses, because we knew that we couldn’t cover everything in just four classes.

We also surveyed the campers to see what their favorite topic was. “Fabrics” was the most popular answer, with “paints” being a close second. I thought that was interesting. I think it’s because choosing these items can be pretty intimidating, and Tobi gave clear and easy instructions on how to choose and use fabrics and paints in your home.

Playing around with paint colors

Playing around with paint colors

I also heard from a few people who said how great it was to meet new friends. This past group of campers was really diverse — college students, retirees, newlyweds, new moms, stay-at-home moms, professionals in different fields, decorators and more. And everyone got along great. Also, it was a very collaborative camp. Everyone worked together, bounced ideas off each other, and learned from each other.

And I’d like to give my testimonial, too. You see, I was there for every camp. Although I was technically at work, I was thrilled to also get the chance to hear all of Tobi’s tips. I’m probably like many of you — I think I have pretty good taste, I try to decorate my home nicely, and I love Tobi’s work. But I can’t ever make things come together just so. Well let me tell you, these classes were inspiring. I haven’t told Tobi this, but each Tuesday night, as tired as I was, I went home and made some little change to something in my house based on what I’d learned from Tobi that night. And even though I was behind-the-scenes, I still had a blast meeting all the fabulous campers and getting to know everyone. I was so sad to not see them this past Tuesday night.

Oh, and did I mention the food? The food was really good. Especially the desserts. Of course we ate well at camp — we are in the South, after all!

What a spread!

(Which reminds me, I need to post some recipes for that food on the secret Design Camp blog. Yes I said “secret blog.” If you go to camp, you get access to a private blog with tons of cool stuff on it.)

So I’m here to tell you — from the point of view of someone who’s not a decorating novice, but is certainly not a design pro — CAMP ROCKS. It’s so worth your while to attend. Please come join us at one of our upcoming camps and see for yourself!

Have any questions about camp? Want to know more? Need travel tips if you’re coming from out of town? I’d love to talk to your personally. Please email me, and we’ll chat!

Tobi’s Latest Magazine Cover

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You may remember that yesterday I mentioned both Tobi and Laura Day were in this month’s At Home in Arkansas. (What’s that? You missed yesterday’s blog? Well you’d better get over there, because we’re having a giveaway!) What I didn’t mention is that yet another of Tobi’s design projects made the cover!

“Family Friendly in the City”is a great article on this home. As a mom myself, I enjoyed how this article — and Tobi’s design for this home in particular — really focused on creating livable, durable spaces for families. Let’s face it — good design sometimes falls to the wayside when kids’ needs and family members’ differing tastes are involved. Budgets, the never-ending onslaught of toys and the wear and tear on furniture and floors can all make beautifying your home seem overwhelming. But with this home in Fayetteville, Tobi did a great job of creating a space that all family members can use and enjoy.

Here are a couple of my favorite shots:




So head on over to At Home to check out the other pics of this great home. And while you’re there, stop by their blog. Tobi’s latest Traveling Designer post is up today!

(Photos courtesy of At Home In Arkansas magazine and photographer Nancy Nolan.)

Tobi’s Talk at Las Vegas Market and a Giveaway!

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Today Tobi is winging her way to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Market. (Can you believe it’s actually cooler in Vegas today than it is here in Arkansas?)

Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Market

Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Market

For those of you (like me) who aren’t in the trade, the LVM is a huge show at the World Market Center where designers, buyers and industry professionals can go to see the latest products. But it’s also a place where those people can go to learn about industry trends and business strategies. And Tobi is super-honored to have been asked to participate in an education panel this Thursday on blogging and building community through new media.

The moderator for the panel is Julia Noran from The Editor at Large. This website is an amazing online resource and community for design professionals. They provide industry news, advice on getting published, job listings and more.

Julia will be speaking at the Business of Design Conference next month in NYC where Tobi will be appearing, also.

And here are all the great people who’ll be on the panel:

You may remember Brad Ford as one of our Virtual Design Camp Counselors  (and a fellow Arkansan).

And there’s Ronda Carman, the creator of one of my favorite blogs, All the Best.

Also on the panel is yet another native Arkansan, the fabulous and lovely Laura Day.

By the way, if you love Tobi’s and Laura’s designs, you’ve got to check out this month’s issue of At Home in Arkansas. The magazine features projects by both talented ladies!

And I can’t forget Jackie von Tobel. Besides writing a blog, Jackie creates stunning eco-friendly fabrics.

There’s one other thing that Jackie does — she writes great books. Her Design Directory of Bedding and Design Directory of Window Treatments are like fabulous, comprehensive textbooks that any designer or lover of great design should have. And it just so happens that we have a signed copy of each book to give away! To win, just leave a comment on this post. Tobi will randomly select a winner when she returns.

So if you’re also in Las Vegas this week at the market, please stop by the “New Media Day” blogging talk on Thursday at 10:30AM in Building B. I promise you’ll learn lots. And since we’re talking new media, be sure to follow the World Market Center on Twitter while you’re there. Don’t forget to leave your comment to win Jackie’s books!