Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cute & Clever: CAKE STANDS!

At Designed Sealed and Delivered, we love great homemade gifts.  And what could be a more inventive homemade gift than some freshly baked buttermilk cupcakes topped with maple icing and candied bacon?  
We'll tell you what:  Those fancy little cupcakes presented to the recipient on an adorable HOMEMADE CAKE STAND!
 This little project has everything going for it.  It's adorable, inexpensive, simple, and completely inventive.  Here’s what you need to do:

Find an attractive plate. 
The fun part!  Pop in at garage sales, estate sales, or pay a visit to Goodwill (or even Grandma’s china cabinet!)  There are beautiful old plates EVERYWHERE, but they sit around collecting dust because most of us can’t see a use for a lone plate that has lost its set years ago.  Now we can scoop them up and put them to good use!  And use all different sizes, depending on what kinds (and amounts) of baked goods you are presenting.  Even a shallow dish can be fashioned into a spanking candy dish.

Find a base.
Okay, another fun part!  While you’re hitting the sales look for items like candlesticks, pretty glasses, or a small vase to use as a base for your stand.  And while we want these pieces to be beautiful, the most important part is to make sure they are flat on top.  Simply place the plate on top of your potential base to see if it appears level before gluing. 

First, apply an adhesive to the top of your base.  Our tried and tested choice is Household Goop, and you want to let this cure for 5 to 10 minutes before actual assembly. 
Then make a mark in the middle of the bottom of the plate to assure that it is nice and centered.
After the curing time is up, place the plate on the base as close to the mark as you can (there will be a little bit of wiggle room if you don’t get it just right upon placement!). 
Let the adhesive cure for 24 hours before use.
And to think, after slaving away on those cupcakes all afternoon, a simple cakestand is going to swoop in and steal the show!

Note:  The cupcakes in the first photo were baked from scratch at Sweet Creations by Anesha in Saginaw (Delicious, and yes, addictive!)


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weather your Wood

The world fits into exactly two categories:
Those who like to make old things look new
Those who like to make new things look old

Call us crazy, but more often than not, we fit into the second category.  There is just something about the warmth and story behind something old that makes it so attractive.  And believe it or not, more and more people are beginning to appreciate the beautiful patina that vintage and antique objects hold.  One of our favorites is old barnwood.  Not only has this workhorse of the wood world withstood tens or hundreds of years out in the elements, but it has done it in style.  The silvery grey finish that it has walked away with is unmatched, as is its ability to be paired with any other wood finish and still look fabulous.  We are living in an age where layering textures is all the rage, and this little baby will get the job done.

Only problem:  Not all of us have an old barn in our backyard waiting to be disassembled.  So that leaves some of us with the only option of making new wood look old.  Easier said than done, since wood stain companies have decided to not carry a transparent grey stain (why, we will never know).  So after much research and testing, we have found a method of turning brand new wood into a beautifully weathered silvery-grey with SIMPLE HOUSEHOLD ITEMS!

Here is what you will need:
Tea bag
1/2 c. boiling water
Small chunk of steel wool
1/2 c. white vinegar
Paint brush

First, place your tea bag in the boiling water and let it steep for a couple minutes.  Then "paint" the tea onto your board and let it dry.  

Separate the steel wool into smaller shreds and place it in a glass jar with the vinegar.  Cover and let it stand overnight.

In the morning, strain the steel wool out of the vinegar and "paint" the vinegar onto the wood.  Wait about a half an hour and you will have a board that looks strikingly similar to barnwood!

You know, if you're one of the crazies that's into that sort of thing ;-)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Faux Firelight

Do you have a non-functioning or faux fireplace?  Sure, it's great to have that mantle to display your favorite artwork or knick-knacks; and it IS a really great focal point for the room...but what about the empty hearth?  You could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a gas insert OR you could create  faux firelight by yourself for little cost and even less effort!

Creating these warm little bursts of firelight are Flicker Flame light strands!  Each light sends off an orange flicker that creates the illusion of a real fire warming up the room.  Assembling this quick project is so simple!

First you will need to purchase a grate for your fireplace (this is the metal contraption that holds your logs in place).  These can be purchased for a few dollars at estate sales, garage sales, or second-hand stores.  Don't have time to search?  You can pick up a brand new one for as little as $30 for a simple model.

Now for the lights!  We found ours at Lowe's priced out at $8.99 for a strand of 10, and we purchased two strands for this size fireplace.  We did purchase them around Christmastime, so availability could be sketchy at this time of the year.  But as with most things nowadays, they can easily be found on the Internet for purchase.

Onto foraging fun:  the gathering of the logs!  We chose to use birch for our fire simply because we love the texture and color, but any kind of wood would suit this project just dandy.  For a more realistic effect we split the wood, but this is a step that could easily be skipped if you don't have a lumberjack at your fingertips.

And now to assemble.  In order to conceal your cords as much as possible, weave the lights through log by log as you arrange them.  This will take a little patience, but you don't want ugly cords getting in the way of enjoying your fiery display.  

As you can see in this picture, the visible cordage is minimal.  Take your time, start over if you have to, but get those cords out of sight!  For a creative conceal of the extension cord, we added a fireside basket filled with extra wood (realistic AND functional!)

And to give you an idea of the warm glow it throws off at night:

So pour yourself a cup of decaf, grab a blanket, and cozy up to your fancy new fireplace.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Paris Market (heaven in Savannah!)

For any of you that may be traveling to Savannah, GA anytime soon, here is a store that you cannot miss! 
The Paris Market & Brocante is a extraordinarily eclectic shop that combines the finest of vintage, handmade, and new items.  These items are integrated so seamlessly that it will leave you guessing which category each find fits into.  Located at 36 West Broughton Street in the Historic District of Savannah, the outside of this store is only a charming taste of all the wonder that's to come inside!
Upon entering, you are greeted by sumptuous displays of old statuary and a large "Paris" sign emblazoned at the back of the store.  
Antique wooden fixtures house everything from soaps, perfumes & jewelry to chandeliers, architectural elements and natural pickings (even real bee's nests!)  Kitschy taxidermy abounds, as does old photographic ephemera and supplies.  
There is a little for everyone here, as you can see from the pictures.  There is even an entire section dedicated to kids that has clothing, handmade and vintage-inspired toys, bedding, and old-fashioned marbles!  This two-story shop also has a small cafe where you can stop to order a coffee or infused water (homemade everyday with things like strawberries and basil).
If a Savannah visit is not in the immediate future, you can visit their website at
Although the website appears to be set-up for online sales, this service is currently unavailable.  But pay the site a visit anyway for some good old-fashioned inspiration!

Metallic Miracle-Worker: Rub n Buff!

This is one of our best friends, and something that no crafter's toolbox should be without!  Rub n Buff is a metallic wax that can be applied to any number of materials to give them a gilded look.  One of our favorite ways to use this is on cabinet hardware.  For those of you that are on a budget but are tired of their brass or chrome knobs, polish them up with a little "Antique Gold" or "Silver" Rub n Buff on a paper towel and VOILA:  Completely updated hardware!  A little goes a long way and at only around $5.00 a tube, that's a huge bargain.  

There are a huge plethora of colors available, but the only ones we have been able to find at our local Hobby Lobby are "Antique Gold," "Silver," "Copper," and "Verdigris."   To order any of the colors on this chart, you can order online at

Also use it to highlight painted wood furniture, change a gold necklace to silver, enhance carved wood molding (are you seeing how endless the possibilities are??...) 

Style a Lampshade

Topping your beautiful lamp with a boring shade can be akin to wearing a baseball cap to a formal dinner.  So let's dress that shade up!  Here are a couple examples of how we've dressed up tired shades to create a little topper for our lamps that have a personality all their own!

This little beauty was created from a sweater (See our post "Felt Up!" for felting tips).  We shrunk this adorably cozy-looking cable knit grey sweater from Goodwill to use as our starting point.  It freakishly shrunk down to the perfect size and we were able to pull it over the top of the lamp just as if we were dressing a child!  Since it is felted and won't fray, we were able to cut off all of the extra material from the top and bottom and glue it into place with a glue gun.
To finish it off we glued on a coordinating rick rack and dressed it up with a pretty little lace flower.  The flower was created by hand-stitching lace around a large button (tutorial for making fabric flowers to come!)

This pretty little rustic lady was creating using one of the lampshade forms that you can find at your local craft store (JoAnn's has the best selection!)  While they can seem pricey (around $15), they are quite convenient if you are using a delicate fabric like the linen used here.  There is a sticky layer on the outside that adheres fabric beautifully, and the protective paper that is it sold in works perfectly as a pattern when cutting your fabric to fit!  Once the fabric is applied, simply hot glue the edges around the top and the base for a clean exterior. 
As for the embellishments, we hot glued a couple yards of lace around the bottom and topped it with inexpensive upholstery netting (only .75 cents a yard!).  To hide the seam of the netting we created a casual rosette out of torn muslin (tutorial to come!)

The possibilities for these lampshades are endless!  We would love to hear about any lampshades that you have created! 

Felt Up!

One FABULOUSLY inexpensive textural element to use for any of your interior projects is a felted sweater!  To seek out these little darlings, visit your local Goodwill store or other thrift shop for sweaters that have a wool count of at least 90% (bonus points for sweaters that are cable knit or have a cute pattern!)  To begin the shrinking process, simply:

Use hot water with or without detergent (you will definitely want to add some if the sweater smells like it has been packed away in Auntie Em's attic for a few years!)

Add weight to the washing machine!  If you don't have any other clothes that can be thrown in with this load, add an object like a flip flop or tennis ball:  The weight will enhance the agitation of the wool thus resulting in a thicker, more shrunken sweater.

Throw 'em into the dryer and dry completely!

After you are all finished, use your felt for projects such as reupholstering a chair, dressing up a lampshade (as we will detail here soon!), or making a cute little felted flower for your hair!

Our Story

Designed Sealed and Delivered was created in 2006 by Jennifer Boehler and Tiffanny Brandel after attending design school together and working at the same interior design firm for several years.  During this time,  we felt that there was a huge void in the design world:  Creating a style for clients that was both unique and affordable.  To us, this meant combining the quirkiness of vintage pieces, the textures of natural items, and the practicality of modern elements to create a fluid design that spoke directly to each individual client.  Following the birth of our children, we put this philosophy into action and began our company.  

Since our launch, we have not only been putting this philosophy into action with interior design, but also with holiday design and event design.  We have also recently began creating custom accessories and products using the same vintage+natural+modern formula that can be purchased on Etsy!  Our latest step is this blog, which is being created to bring everyday tips and techniques to our followers that can help everyone design a beautiful life!  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Welcome to our brand-spanking new blog!

At Designed Sealed and Delivered, we are passionate about all forms of design!  While our formal training is in interior design, we are also experts in the areas of event design, holiday design and creating custom elements for you or your home.   We have always had an affinity for vintage items and are delighted that the new "green movement" has breathed new life into these old gems.  Creating a well-rounded mix of old and new is a staple in our design philosophy.
This blog is a culmination of our love of design, our drive to re-invent vintage pieces, and our desire to share all we know with you!  Our goal is to provide tips on designing spaces as well as techniques on how to create custom pieces.  And not to worry--we won't leave out  tidbits we pick up about cooking, travel, gardening (etc.!)  Stop in often, and please contact us with any questions or design dilemmas you may have, we are happy to help!