Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sponsor Family for October: The Meli Family, coupon inside

Happy October, everyone. Today we are bringing back our sponsor families! Each month we sponsor a family or individual in need of some funding to get through a difficult time, fulfill a life goal/dream and anything else that is worthy of our time and funds. We donate $5.00 of every order placed in the month to the cause. Additionally, we offer a free shipping coupon and encourage our customers to take the opportunity before them to help our sponsor family by donating a portion or all of what they save with our free shipping coupon. (Coupon is only good on domestic US orders, no out of country).

Today I bring you the story of a beautiful family that has encountered an unfortunate situation. This is the Meli family from Hawaii. 

 Bottom row left to right Michael, Saia, and Pono
Top row left to right: Poko, Lia, Michael, and Val.
Val Meli, the mother of this beautiful family, passed away on July 31 of this year. This came two years after the death of one of their sons. Here is what Val's niece told me about it: " In May 2012, the Meli's oldest son Michael complained of a headache. Days later, on Mother's Day he passed away. On July 31, 2014, 3 days before her husband's birthday, Valerie Meli unexpectedly passed away, Leaving behind her husband, Michael, and 4 surviving children: Lia (senior in high school), Poko, (junior in high school), Saia, and Pono."

With permission of her husband, Michael, I would like to share with you a Facebook post that followed Val's funeral service: " 
"On behalf of my entire family, especially the kids and me, thank you all for loving us! Sunday's service for my dear Val was a strong indicator of just how much she is loved and missed. It was more than humbling to be hugged and held by dear friends and family--both those who were in attendance and the countless others who were not able to attend, but sent their love via phone, text, email, and social media. Looking out at the tremendous outpouring of support that evening made it very difficult to feel the pain, and we thank you for taking so much of our grief upon your shoulders. You truly have mourned with those who mourned. Val always had a beautiful smile that lit up the room, and I always looked forward to that smile when I was feeling down. She lifted our spirits each day with her laughter, and I realized after her services that she wasn't just here on this earth for the kids and me; she was everyone's Val! Her light will continue to shine through the lives of those she touched--her family, her classmates, her mission companions, her ward and stake members, and the list goes on. We love you all, and you will always have a dear and special place in our hearts."

I'd also like to share Val's obituary: "VALERIE ANNE POHAIAMEPUMEHANAAKEALOHA MELI 45, of Honolulu, wife and mother, graduate of Kamehameha Schools (’87) and BYU-Provo, passed away July 31, 2014. Valerie was an active member of the LDS Church, and has served in numerous callings, most recently as 2nd Counselor in the Honolulu Hawaii Stake Relief Society Presidency. She served an 18-month mission in the Japan-Sapporo Mission (1992-1994). After working 12 years at DFS Hawaii, she made the decision to work from home in order to be available for her young children. She never regretted the decision. She attended each of the children’s church, academic, and athletic activities. She was their greatest cheerleader. She served as Young Women leader, Cub Scouts Leader, Seminary Teacher, and has helped countless youths and adults. She was loved by all who met her, and she will be dearly missed."

Left to Right: Poko, Michael, Val, Pono, Saia, and Lia.
What a wonderful woman. I wish I could have known her. 
This situation has me in tears as I share it with you all because this is something I have anxiety about often. But we have the opportunity to help. Michael has been left with four young children to care for. It's a difficult time for this family without having to worry about expenses on top of it. 

WTbM will be donating $5.00 of every order placed during the month of October to the Meli family via their GoFundMe account. 

Additionally, we are offering a coupon for free shipping to use in our etsy store:  "MeliFam" will get you free domestic US shipping in the etsy shop.

 If you are looking for an opportunity to serve and do something good today, we encourage you to share all or part of your savings with the coupon with the Meli family via their gofundme account. 

Let's do what we can to make things a little easier for this family during a difficult time. I know other mother's out there have experienced anxiety about being in this situation at one time or another. but we are still here now and have the ability to help. If you feel inspired to do so, please share what you can with the Meli family. 

Thank you all for your kindness and consideration. I will be back on the 15th with an update as to our progress for the donation on our end and any other updates I may have for you. My readers and customers, you are beautiful people. I work with you on a daily basis and have had a glimpse into your beautiful homes and families. Thank you for helping and supporting our sponsor program and our sponsor families. I am grateful for you as I know the Meli family is at this time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Popular designs we recreate

Our clients often run into the problem that popular design stores don't carry the window treatments they want in their custom sized window. With an inspiration photo we can recreate anything to fit your size window. We alter the design slightly so as not to infringe on any design right issues with the companies. We will make slight alterations such as a ribbon size, ribbon placement or the fabric will be slightly different. For example, we may use a cotton canvas instead of a cotton duck or cotton twill.

We have a talented team of seamstresses and can recreate most anything with an image to replicate. Here are some samples of window treatments we have recreated based on an inspiration picture.

The curtains in the image above are lined with a pink lining. When the light shines through the window you can see the pink. It is a nice, subtle feminine touch. One of my favorite projects!

We started making the ribbon trim shades after so many of our clients had custom sized windows that this particular design from major stores could not accommodate. We changed the design slightly from the original designer store pattern by making ours with cotton canvas instead of twill for the base and using a 2.25" wide ribbon instead of 1.75" wide. We also have it inset 3" down the length sides and across the bottom.

The Greek Key design came to us from another popular design store inspiration image. The design store could not accommodate custom window sizes, so we created our own design and started applying it to shades, curtains and even pillows!

Sorry for the terrible image, but it's the design that's important :) We had a customer once send us images she took in a cafe in Europe and ask us to recreate the window treatments! The design was complicated, but came out beautifully when it was finished.

We recreated this penant valance from an inspiration photo from a client. She picked her own coordinating fabrics.

For these particular curtains, the client sent us an image that looked similar to this, but she wanted the colors to be different. So we tracked down the fabrics and found them in the specific colors: Virginia Tech colors! (Yes, the VT colors were picked on purpose). 

And one of our most asked for recreations is the Harper Shade from Pottery Barn. Pottery Barn only offers select sizes. We have changed the placement of the ribbon to be inset a little more than pottery barns. We also used slightly different sizes of ribbon and our base fabric is cotton canvas instead of twill.

We actually make a LOT of different styles of window treatments. Unfortunately, I am limited to images that clients think to send me after they have hung the treatments. So we do not have an image of all that we can do. If there is something you would like done, please don't hesitate to ask us if we can recreate it. 

See something you like somewhere? Get a picture and send it to us! I am confident we'll be able to provide you with the design you want in your unique window size. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

10% off coupon to the first person to correctly identify this object!

10% Coupon to use on our website or in our etsy store to the first person who can correctly identify THIS:

Photo credit: Miriam, my four year old daughter :)

Leave it here in the comments! And please leave a way for me to contact you :)

May your coffee be strong and hot and your Friday work day be short. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ask Melissa: Ordering Custom Work, where do I start?

We get a few people every once in a while that write their first etsy message ever to us! I'm honored. Truly. And they say, "I want custom window treatments, but I have no clue what to do." And sometimes that's all the message says. So here's what to do!

1) Have an idea of what you want. Head over to Pinterest, or other design blogs and websites, and get some inspiration for your space. 

If you're like me, not tech savvy and have little knowledge of navigating the Internet, I have some other recommendations for you. These might be useful for even tech savvy folks as well.

a) Check out a design book from the library. I still do this to keep my ideas sharp about window treatments and to revive some old fashions with a fresh new twist :)

b) Go to model homes in your area. They usually have the latest in window treatment fashions as they are designs by interior decorators. Take some pictures while you're there!

2) Pick your fabric! I have a small selection in my etsy store to consider. But you may also check out my fabric supplier Lynn Chalk,

Or you may browse any of the other fabric stores on my recommendations page on my website:

THEEEEE most IMPORTANT thing to remember when you are browsing for fabrics is that window treatments should be made from a Home Decor Weight fabric. You should make sure you are in the Home Decor section of whatever fabric store you are browsing. If you are not sure if what you are looking at is a home decor fabric, please send me a link and I can tell you. Or you can look for the following indicators: the fabric should be 54" wide or more, medium weight or heavier, or indicate in the description that it is used in home decor or for window treatments. 

3) Measure your windows. I have measuring videos for roman shades here on my youtube channel

When measuring, it is important to remember that I will be making your window treatments to be the measurements you provide for me. So please give me the measurements you would like your shade to measure when completed. 

4) With the above information, you should be able to submit your order on the website. But you are more than welcome to contact me personally at my email, windowsbymelissa@gmail.com, or at the etsy shop.

Whatever method of contact you choose, please include the following in your message to me:
a) what style of window treatment you want
b) the dimensions you want them to be when completed
c) the fabric selection
d) the choice of lining (drapery, blackout or non for curtains and valances)
e) your location. This will help us get an accurate shipping estimate for you.
At this time you should include your inspiration images if you have any.

At this point we will then create a quote based on the information you provided. If you approve the quote, we will then give you the address for shipping your fabric, or we can purchase your fabric for you and add it to the purchase price along with our acquiring fee.

Ordering custom treatments is quite simple. The hard part, and sometimes overwhelming, is fabric choice. If you need help, I am happy to offer assistance. I just need to know what style you are going for and colors you are considering. then I will be happy to make suggestions.

I hear from a few people who have never ordered before and they are very nervous about ordering. I am sure I am only hearing from a handful out of all the people actually considering custom work. I hope this post has been informative in helping you to get past the overwhelming feeling associated with ordering custom work. 

As always, if custom work isn't in the budget, please consider Swags Galore for your window treatments. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday with Melissa: My Pre-Sew Routine :)

I can sew (and I GET to sew) for 6-8 hour sessions at a time. To be able to do a stretch like this, I have to do my little "pre-sew" routine. I try to be completely focused on sewing while I work. If I am not completely, mind and body, focused on sewing then mistakes happen. So before I sew I like to indulge in some cotton candy for the brain. 

I start by picking out a show or movie to play on the TV while I work. It has to be something I've seen 8 million and a half times so it can just play in the background while I sew and I won't look at the screen or end up sitting and watching it. This week has been:

Next, I browse a few of the online groups and stories I follow. I am a huge nerd for hauntings and paranormal activity. I'm not a huge conspiracy theorist. You'll very rarely hear me participate in conspiracy conversation. But for some reason I LOVE to read about them! On my own time, I've been writing a collection of short stories called, "All The Ways In Which I Die." It's gross exaggerations of everyday normal events that actually occurred in my life, by I die at the end of them somehow. It's a collection of dark comedic horror. So I like to stay sharp by reading a horror story once a day :) Depending on my mood, I'll read the latest haunting, paranormal, horror, or conspiracy story. This week it is: 

Then I turn on the difuser with an essential oil. My favorites are lemongrass, peppermint, wild orange and serenity :) Does any one have any essential oil favorites I should try? I'm thinking of getting Juniper Berry next!

Then I get a gatorade. I am usually prepping throughout the day for a run in the evening. So I start with hydration!

Then, to get into sewing mode, I look at any emails my assistant couldn't answer and enjoy customer appreciation photos. This morning a few came in.

Or I write a blog post :) Then, when I feel sufficiently that I am thinking about pretty and pleasant things (not horror and conspiracy), then I can proceed with a full six hours of sewing!

What are some of your pre-work routines? What do you do to get in the "groove?" Especially on a Monday morning if you are feeling sluggish or like you didn't want the weekend to end?

I'm about to go pop some "wintergreen" in the diffuser and then I'll be ready to go!

I want to hear from you! Leave me a comment and tell me what your prep rituals or slow down rituals are :) I like to change things up every once in a while. Give me some ideas :)

Happy Monday.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Finds! Window Art!

Window Art?!?! Yes, please! I found the neatest curtain panels at Swags Galore!

This one is called English Garden.

This one is called Bamboo Beach.

This one is called European Cafe.

Aren't these neat? I think they are so fun! Earlier this week I wrote a blog post on how I can recreate anything if I have an in image to look at. Well, not for these. . .  These are one of a kind. And there are more options than just these ones! Head over to Swags Galore and check them all out!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Ribbon and Trim Sources and Recommendations

Ribbon and Trim Sources 

The question we get asked most often about our trimmed shades is, "am I limited to the black trim in the image?"

The answer is, no. Not only are you not limited to black, but you are also not limited to solid grosgrain.

One of my favorite projects is pictured above. We used ivory linen for the base of the shade and then used leaf green and ivory greek key trim.

For Greek Key trims and tons of other trim options check out M and J Trimmings. These trims can be used in any way and design that you would like them applied to your window treatments. 

For solid color ribbon trim, there are many colors to choose from for this style of window treatment. I've done just about every combination you can think of. We've even changed the base color from white and done shades with a navy base and white ribbon or red base with white ribbon. Whatever combination you can think of! Our ribbon trim source for our solid grosgrain trim is The Ribbon Retreat.  You can purchase samples so you can match the trim to your decor.

Head over to The Ribbon Retreat and imagine all the possibilities! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Things to consider before purchasing your fabric

Today's goal is to make fabric selection more overwhelming than it already is :) There are tons of options out there: heavy weights and lights weights, cottons and linens, textures or patterns, and then of course every colorway imaginable. There is such a wide variety of fabrics because not every fabric is right for every space. There are important things to keep in mind when selecting a fabric. The best way to make sure that you pick the right fabric is to order a swatch. I cannot stress enough how important this is.
If you are purchasing a fabric in store, they will usually have a few pieces on hand that you can take home for a swatch. If you can't obtain a swatch for some reason, there are things you can do in the store to inspect the fabric. 
  • Unroll a bit of it and hold it up to the light. 
  • Gather some of it together to see how it will drape.
  • Examine as much of the fabric as possible for flaws.

When you have your swatch, here are the things to consider when testing it in your home:

1) Weight. Heavier weight fabrics will offer a more luxurious feel to your space. They are best suited for full length curtains with crisp header options, like pinch pleats, and other headers that will create luxurious pleating. Lighter weights offer a softer feel to the space and are much more informal. 

2) Texture. Having a swatch of a textured fabric is super important. The way light plays on texture is something you can only see when you have the fabric in the space it will be used in. It should be observed in the daylight with natural light and then again when it is dark outside and using artificial light inside. Light will play on the nap of velvet, the shimmer of synthetic fibers and the sheen of chintz differently in both types of light. 

3) Patterns. Patterns are usually applied to nontextured fabrics, though this is not the case of all patterns. A pattern may be printed, embroidered or woven. A sample of a pattern is very important. I sometimes recommend a customer purchase a yard of a fabric with a pattern on it if they plan to use it for draperies. The way a fabric looks flat in the sample image is not how it will look when it is draped and pleated. Stripes look less rigid, bold patterns are softened, and small scale patterns can be lost altogether. 

I get customers all the time that just tell me a color they want and then say they leave it up to my judgment to select a fabric because all the options are so overwhelming. I know that adding all this considerations makes it more daunting. But I can assure you that if you go through the steps above you will be confident in your fabric choice and not have any second thoughts about it after you have seen the fabric in action in the space you plan to put your home decor items in.

And as always. please feel free to ask me for help with a fabric selection. I know very well all the choices that are available and how overwhelming it is. I am happy to help.