Challenges Update — Vote for Kitchen Today

Here’s what’s up with the Challenges this week.

kathy-ktichen-design-21. What a thrill! We ended up with nineteen entries for the SeeItYourWay Kitchen Design Challenge. The kitchens are so diverse; it’s been a kick to see your varied tastes.

Voting for the best combined kitchen design and description has been ongoing all week, and we have only today left. So pop by and vote for your favorite, and be sure and do it by 11:59 pm Pacific tonight. Remember, just one vote per person.

I’ll announce the $100 winner in the Ta-Da! post tomorrow.

2. Rachel is looking like a lock to win the From Textile to Table Challenge, where she took inspiration from a fabric design and created her own dishware. Will someone else sneak in with an entry under the wire? If not, a $50 Michael’s Gift Card is on the way to Rachel.

Penny Mosaic Serving Tray3. You’ve got plenty of time to enter the Let’s Make Cents Challenge. So dump out those jars of pennies and give something a coppery glow.

4. A brand new Challenge is coming today — watch for the post!

Thanks Design Junkies, Have fun!

Cut it out! Rugs — Love it or Leave it?

Today I want your reaction to the innovative Cut it out! rugs from UK product designer Marina Ralph.

Red Cut it Out Rug

Ralph designed the 100% wool felt rugs with perforated lines for decoration, and to allow the buyer to adjust the rug’s size and shape to fit the room.

Cutting the Cut it Out Rug

Rug a little too big? Want to move it from your den to a smaller bedroom? Snip away.

Cream Cut it Out Rug

Does this cut-to-fit design idea work for you? Tell us what you think.

(via Notcot.)


Artist Profile — Kristi Taylor

I have always admired people who can pick an interest and stick with it. Not that it’s bad to dabble—we learn so much that way. But focusing on an avocation or even concentrating on a certain theme can result in impressive work.


That’s how it is with abstract artist Kristi Taylor and her Tree Views series of paintings. Her kaleidoscopic interpretation of light filtering through trees has evolved.


“Many of my early Tree View compositions included roots,” said Kristi. “I think the roots grounded them visually in a way and as I moved toward abstraction I wanted to focus on the branches. My newest collection, Sunlit Trees, depicts full branches with circles of light shining through.”

“Tree View no. 2” is one of Kristi’s earliest works in the series.

Tree View no. 2 is one of Kristi’s earliest works in the series.

By Tree View no. 7 she had begun to develop her trademark inclusion of light.By “Tree View no. 7” she had better developed her trademark inclusion of light.

For the colorist living in the Appalachian mountain region of Tennessee, the bountiful trees were the perfect choice. “The Tree View series began in autumn as the leaves dropped from the trees revealing the lyrical lines of the branches,” said Kristi. “I was inspired by the shapes they created in the empty sky.”


Light dances through Kristi’s acrylics on canvas. From a distance, the glisten and glow is apparent. “A number of people have commented my work reminds them of stained glass so I hope that means I am doing something right with light,” said Kristi.

But gaze only from a distance and you’ll miss out. Zoom in on one of the Tree Views and the textural brush strokes and confident color combinations become the focus.

mini sunlit tree_no5

“The name Tree Views has a dual meaning in my work,” said Kristi. “Primarily it references two distinct vantages. One from a distance which relies on movement created with shape and color harmony and the other close up revealing the heavy textures and complexity of the color palette.”

Kristi’s passion for color is evident in her work. Other artists she admires for mastery of color and their timeless work include Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Gustav Klimt and Georgia O’Keeffe.

“It can be like music,” said Kristi. “The right arrangement of tones creates harmony and the possibilities are endless.”

lucky tree_no1lucky tree_no2

With an interest in Feng Shui, Kristi believes that color can affect mood and well being. “I tend to favor palettes that reflect something between tranquility and happiness,” said Kristi. “I want my color selections to make people feel good.”

Because of the mix of color, geometric and organic elements, Kristi has seen her paintings work well with many styles of home decor. “I love pairing them with dark woods and leather elements to really play up the contrasts,” said Kristi.

mini sunlit tree_no10

A career sidetrack into the world of digital design has served her well. In 1999, fresh out of college and armed with a Fine Art degree with a concentration in painting, Kristi found herself without the resources to market her then large-scale work to galleries. So she took a job in Web design. “That led to more new media jobs and…opportunities to learn a variety of digital mediums,” said Kristi.

Her Web jobs gave her the skills and knowhow to confidently present and market her artwork online. “By the time my Tree View paintings had grown into a collection I had more then enough knowledge to get them out there.”

Kristi Taylor“I didn’t understand where my path was going while I was on it but everything has fallen into place,” said Kristi.

Kristi’s advice for other artists? “Don’t use colors straight from the tube! Well, you can if you want to but I never do.”

Kristi Taylor’s paintings are found in galleries throughout the Southeast and are available online through:

What’s the most colorful piece in your home? How did it earn a place in your decor?

Fabric as Wall Art — Designer DIY

by Leona Gaita

What a fabulous week! Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Leona Gaita, Interior Design Expert and our newest Contributor. You’ll adore Leona’s inspiring, creative and resourceful posts for HomeWorkshop and those for her popular Gaita Interiors blog.

I’m constantly knocked out by the stunning creativity of textile designers! Every time I go to the Decoration & Design Building in NYC, I see more gorgeous prints that I want to take home with me. Many of them really are beautiful enough to be called art.

Meanwhile, empty walls can be a problem. Once the drapes have been installed, the wallpaper hung and the furniture delivered, there are still blank walls to be addressed. Here’s a way to create your own wall art, using some of the fabulous oversized prints that are out there.

Fabric as Wall Art

Staple Guns for Fabric ArtHere’s the finished product. The print is from Gaston y Daniela, Honshu Cotton & Linen Print, color Antracita. It’s available through Brunschwig & Fils. The fabric is stretched and stapled over an 18″ x 24″ cork board from Staples.

I used an electric staple gun. If you’re “crafty” this is a worthwhile investment, but you could also use a hand-held manual staple gun.

Lay the fabric over the cork board. Lightly trace the outline of the board with chalk. Then cut away the extra, leaving a 3″ border all around.

Cutting Away Extra Fabric

Put one staple into the center of each side, pulling the fabric tightly; make sure not to distort the design. Gradually add staples working your way out on each side from the centers to the corners, stretching the fabric tightly.

Stapling Fabric ArtFabric Art Corner Detail

Trim away extra fabric at corners, leaving about 1″. Then staple the remaining excess down with a few staples. Put it into your selected frame. That’s all! This small piece took me about 20 minutes to complete.

20 Minute Fabric Art

The full repeat of this print has several different horse figures, so if you order a couple of yards, you could make a series of three pieces to cover a large space!

Matsuyama Cotton and Linen Azul

This unbelievable print is also from Gaston y Daniela. It’s called Matsuyama Cotton & Linen, color Azul. This time I used a ready-stretched artist’s canvas, 30″ x 40″ and dropped it into a ready made gilded floating frame, intended for oil paintings. EASY!!

Leona at Work with the Canvas

Canvas with Fabric Side DetailMake sure the canvas fits comfortably into the frame. Once the fabric is stapled on, the fit can be tight. If the frame is a little warped, it can be hard to get the covered canvas into the frame. I had to check a few, to find one with a roomy fit.

With this type of frame, you’re stapling to the side, not the back. After you’ve stapled, you can trim the fabric very close to reduce bulk. The raw edge will be hidden by the extra deep side of the frame.

Here it is, all done!

Completed Matsuyama Fabric as Art

I LOVE the way this piece looks in my music room.

Matsuyama print in Music Room

There are so many of these oversized prints that are very appropriate for framing. Here are a few. If only I had more walls!!

Gaston y Daniela 71572 979

Wouldn’t this be great in a kitchen? It’s Gaston y Daniela #71572-979.

Decorators Walk 2629520 F S SchumacherGreek Vase with Different Sportsmen

I love the authentic look of this print with motifs taken from ancient Greek vases.The tawny color with the black background is right on the money! It’s from Decorator’s Walk #2629520, available through F.S.Schumacher.

Here’s a fragment of an ancient Greek vase. You can see why the print really caught my eye!

Brunschwig and Fils Fortunate Harbor

This border print can be used with or without the border. It’s called Fortunate Harbor from Brunschwig & Fils.

F.S. Schumacher 262093

This beauty is from F.S. Schumacher #262093. Prints with a dominant central motif are the easiest to work with, but almost any large print that you love, can be used.

The frames are all from A I Friedman. For pricing and availablility of the fabrics shown, call Gaita Interiors (914) 834-8282.


Leona GaitaLeona Gaita has an infectious enthusiasm for interior design that she shares with us, with her clients and with the readers of her popular blog, Gaita Interiors.

With a lifelong involvement in the fine arts and design, Leona designs for Gaita Interiors, a staple of the local community for over 40 years, serving Larchmont, Westchester County and the New York metropolitan area.

“I want to show people where I get the inspiration for my own creativity, and teach them how they can apply these principles to their own lives and their own homes,” says Leona.

Have you used fabric as art?

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