6.29.2010

Unplugging and Unwinding

It's been a L O N G time since I unplugged and disconnected entirely, but when you're heading to a place with no internet connection and your iPhone was stolen anyway, it just makes sense to leave it all behind.

So here I go...leaving at the crack of dawn for a week in Small Town, Vermont, with no phone, no Macbook, no iPad (yes, my husband has me all teched out). Just me and my precious family. This is going to be SO good for me. Thank you, iPhone thief.

Here's what I've got on my list of things to enjoy (because I love lists!):

1. A little reading...


Doesn't the one on top just look like the perfect vacation book? I guarantee you it will be, because Katherine Center never disappoints. She's witty and a master of her craft (not to mention an awesome mom and an inspiring friend).

2. A little hammock swinging...

{My girls when they were babies...2003. How time flies!}

3. A little mommy-daughter bonding...

{Thanks for capturing the moment, Allison!}

4. And a little shopping...


 ...at the store that inspired me to "find my lampshade" back in 2000, which turned out to be cards and stationery, not lampshades; but I hope to find Judy and give her a big ol' Texas hug! (Read about how she inspired me here and here).

{Images courtesy of Judy Lake's book.}

It's going to be a great week. I hope it is for you, too, Sweet Readers!

P.S. Something fun to do when I return: a "cocktail + sale" at Nest. If you're in Houston, stop by next Thursday, July 8, around 6:30 (3637 W. Alabama, Suite 160). All of her fabulous finds for your nest will be 10% off. I'll be there for sure! I've even got my eye on a table!

6.28.2010

Mini Design Flea Wrap-Up

What a day, friends!
WHAT A DAY!



We provided the goods...



...Whole Foods provided the refreshments...



...a local reporter provided the press...



...and YOU, with every single LLH Designs purchase...



...provided the funds...


...for a $600 "Mini Home Makeover" in the Third Ward. Prince and Sheila (co-founders of The Forge) will be SO surprised! I can't wait to tell them...and can't wait to serve as their decorator!

AND...thanks to all the extra dollars you gave, we are sending THREE of Houston's own inner city children to an amazing summer camp in Missouri (with The Forge). My goal was one, and now we're sending THREE! Thank you to an especially generous donor. I love your heart!

{If you missed the sale and would like to give, email me.}

At the end of the day, there is lots to celebrate. Though my body is tired, my house is still a mess and my cell phone was stolen (by the one and only one suspicious shopper), it was worth every single sacrifice. I didn't gain a thing in terms of dollars, but I gained the things that really matter:


FRIENDSHIP with two women I adore. Just when I wondered why in the world I'm blogging at all, I meet these two amazingly talented ladies who've become real-life friends. Tricia and Holly, you are a gift to me!

And then there's the JOY of knowing that people went home with fabulous, well-priced "finds." One kind shopper and blog reader sent me this as a thank you this morning:


A photograph of her precious little one holding the umbrella she purchased at the Mini Design Flea. You  made my day, sweet reader!

So to all the ladies and a few good men who braved the heat...to all of my "regulars" and to my brand new readers (loved meeting you in person!)...to the high school friends and even a middle school friend... 


Big hugs to you today!

{More Design Flea photos here and here!}

6.24.2010

"Mini Design Flea" In The News!

Wow, friends! Our humble little "Design Flea" is in the news! All of the sudden we feel very "official!" First a mention on Pink Memo by Paloma (of La Dolce Vita fame). Then an interview with a real reporter! You can read that article here.

The reporter was as sweet as she could be and took copious notes, but despite my PR background at Enron, I had NO IDEA she would want a few photographs with ME in them! I think my PR brain has gone to mush!


{Featured in InstantNewsWestU.com}

After the reporter left, my nine-year old daughter said, "Mama, your hair's messy. You should've brushed it." Umm...I thought I did brush it. I guess this is my "summer hair" thanks to the humidity.

Enough about me. Let's talk about the charitable aspects of this event.

1. MINI HOME MAKEOVER: I'm donating 50% of all LLH Designs sales to add some beauty to Prince and Sheila's home in the Third Ward. They are co-founders of The Forge and have chosen to live "on the front lines." I can't wait to give their home a little TLC after all the TLC they've given to others!

2. SEND A KID TO CAMP: All it takes is $200 to send one of our own inner city children to this  awesome summer camp with The Forge. We'll have a collection jar at the checkout table if you'd like to give a little. Can't be at the event but would like to contribute? Contact me for details. I know we can do this, Houston! 

3. WHOLE FOODS was so touched by the charitable aspect of our event that they've gladly agreed to donate some refreshments. Thank you, Whole Foods Bellaire, from one of your most loyal shoppers!

Time for some sneak peeks. We've got ART!!! 


A few French-inspired favorites taken right off my walls. Framed and ready to hang for some instant "Frenchifying" in your own home! 




Need a little more color? We'll have four fine art prints from a gallery in Telluride. All are signed and numbered by the artist and are gallery framed with beautiful linen mattes. (I tried to tone down the gold and considering reframing, but would keep the linen mattes for sure).


Looking for something even more unique and personal? Lucky for you, my sister will be here with some of her amazing pieces.




You don't want to miss her work, so if you can't make it to the Mini Design Flea or don't live in Houston, be sure to check out her new Etsy shop!

Finally, I'm thinking of parting with three of my "searched high and low" antique  botanical prints (from France, of course!). MAYBE:


Updated on 6.25.10: I almost forgot about my own "artwork!" I sometimes do a little fine art printing using either my favorite photographs from Provence or a collage of French design elements:


All artwork from LLH Designs will be lower than retail but not "garage sale cheap." Remember, I'm on a dual mission: to share some great finds with you, but also to build a "mini home makeover fund" for the decorating project I'm planning for the most deserving family in all of Houston! Thanks for helping!

I can't wait to see you this Saturday between 9 AM and Noon! {Click HERE for a map.}

P.S. I forgot to show you the amazing French pillow collection. Many of them were brought back from Provence by moi! I love them all, but with a great cause and a good God who never fails to provide, I can let go of almost anything!





6.22.2010

Brand New Just for You...At The Mini Design Flea!

I'm a sucker for great-looking, well-priced home accessories...pillows, wrought iron, baskets...anything that has a French feel to it. But here's where the CRAZY comes in: I've bought extras for YOU!

Like these new pillows I found for my couch:


Don't you just love the way an animal print adds instant fun and freshness to a room? I thought you might, so I have a stack waiting for you:


Oh, and that's a giraffe print jute rug on the bottom. LOVE IT! Also for you! And look what else:



I love indoor garden accessories! It adds a whole new element of style and texture to the softness you typically find indoors. And one more peek at the brand-new-just-for-you finds:


I know, call me crazy, but I'd like to think of it as "inspired" or "thoughtful!" I did the hard work of finding it for you. Now all you have to do is come at 9 AM THIS SATURDAY and take it home!

And don't forget, I'm donating half of every dollar you spend towards a "mini home makeover" for the most amazing, joyful, hardworking, non-complaining family you'll ever meet. {More about them in the last post.} I can't wait to see what we can buy for Prince and Sheila's home!

Also don't forget to check in with Holly Mathis and Morning T this week! They are my new "blog friend besties" who will be here Saturday with some great goods!

{Click HERE for specific location.}

Happy Tuesday!!!
P.S. If you can't make it, I'd love for you to forward this post to all your Houston friends. You don't have to know us to come...just have to love home decor and not be afraid of a little heat! 

6.21.2010

Mini Design Flea Scoop + Sneak Peeks!

I'm taking a quick break from table hunting (here and here) to get ready for THIS:


{Click HERE for specific location.}

Holly Mathis, Morning T and I are in full-out market mode this week! We're tagging lots of great finds in all price ranges (lots of under $50 items!) and can't wait to open the gate on Saturday at 9. {No early birds please; we need the time to set-up!)

If you like what you see on our blogs, you'll like what you find at the Mini Design Flea. No junk, no trash...only things we think you'll like! In fact, I just picked up a car load of gorgeous French goodies from Nest (the place where I got my beautiful new lamp).

Take a look at this gorgeous pair of trompe de l'oeil lamps waiting for you:


I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these! Thank you, Jennifer (designer and owner of Nest), for including them in the Mini Design Flea! I'm trying hard not to buy them for myself! Also from Nest:


And a peek at some of the things surrounding the mercury glass:


A nice high/low mix for sure. And there's much more! Holly, Tricia and I will be posting sneak peeks throughout the week, so be sure to visit all three blogs!

Personally, I want this market to be a HUGE success because I want to give half of every dollar toward a "mini home makeover" for a very deserving family. It's been on my heart all weekend. Here's a little background:
Prince and Sheila have opened their hearts and their home to Houston's inner city children for the last 18 years. They founded Inner City Youth, now called THE FORGE (which you support at Christmas when buying my cards). But they don't just work in the Third Ward. They live there...out of love and humble sacrifice. As you can imagine (actually, I couldn't imagine until I went last weekend), a kid-filled home in the inner city needs some TLC. And I want to help! My husband is doing home repairs, but I want to do a little decorating...new bedding and window coverings...things every woman loves. 

So what does that have to do with you? Everything. First, invite your friends. Second, the more you buy from LLH Designs on Saturday, the more we can buy for Prince and Sheila's home.  50% of the price you pay will go toward their "mini home makeover." I've had them in mind with every price tag I've written (not too low), and I have you in mind, too (not too high)!

Happy Monday, Sweet Readers!

6.19.2010

My Empty Dining Room

My dining room table quest has just stepped up a notch...


...because there's nothing like a big empty space to kick you into high gear. I'll be back later with more table photos, but for now, I've got some looking to do!

P.S. Did anyone love a table from my last outing? I'm not losing sleep over any of them (mostly because the prices are out of my comfort zone), but the inspiration is swirling!


6.17.2010

Table Hunting in Houston



The salvaged wood trestle table I asked you about in the last post is impressive, but here's the deal: I'm not in love. And sorry Restoration Hardware, but there's something about buying from you - even your 100-year old salvaged wood - that just doesn't feel personal enough for me.

Since I love a story and a personal connection, here's what I've decided about my table: it either needs to come from France (more on my love of France here) or needs to be hand crafted right here at home (preferably from antique, reclaimed wood).

In my dream world, I'd travel to Provence...


...shop the markets and find "the one." I'd speak my rarely used French to charm the shop owner with my Texas-French accent and listen to stories of the table's remarkable history. Then I'd celebrate at a fabulous French bistro like this one I photographed years ago:

{How's that for dreamy outdoor dining?!?! Perfectly Mougins.}

Here in Houston, it's a different story, but the bottom line is this: I'm a huge fan of supporting local businesses. Maybe because I am one. Maybe because more of my dollars go back into the local community (check this out). Or maybe it just feels more personal. So...whether I buy a French table from a local shop owner who imported it (unlikely due to the steep price tag) or have a French-inspired table hand crafted by a local artisan, I'll be happy.

Here are a few tables I spotted in Houston today:

{reproduction from Foxglove Interiors on W. Alabama;
Linda was very helpful and down to earth}

{antique from Chateau Domingue on W. Alabama; everything
there makes you want to live in a chateau and Anna is a doll!}

{antique from Neal & Co on Bissonnet; love the scallop}

{antique from Rosenkavalier on Bissonnet; very well priced}

I actually really like this one, but it's not large enough to host our wine dinners. My youngest daughter charmed the heck out of the shop owner, so he made me a great offer (maybe I can buy it for you?!?!).

So it's back to the inspiration board for a locally made table. One that looks très French! Maybe even clean and simple like this one:

{reproduced with old wood by Foxglove;
scan of a scan...sorry for the photo quality!}

So...what do you think of my new direction? Any further thoughts, images or resources? Thanks to all of you who emailed me with ideas (feel free to leave comments for all to see, too!). It's fun to work on this together!

{Email me for the location}
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