Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Clients and Christmastime Thankfulness

These past few years clients have received a personalized calendar from me as a thank you, one of the beautiful calendars created by trueIMAGE Publishing. And a letter, most of which you'll see here.

At the end of another year, I’m reflecting on the blessings of this past year and the years that have gone before. In my almost eight years of doing business, I have met so many wonderful clients, you included. Many of you have invited me into your homes not just once, but on multiple occasions, and even multiple homes!

I’m not always as faithful or as quick as I should be in sending out thank-you cards after I’ve fulfilled your window covering needs; this personalized calendar is a small token of appreciation for the trust you have placed in me.

This past year has been a busy one for me. In addition to providing many of you with beautiful window treatments, I was one of 11 designers from across the US who was chosen to create beautiful window coverings for the Vignettes shown at the International Window Coverings Expo in Atlanta, GA last May. I became a Hunter Douglas Certified Professional Dealer after completing many hours of on-line courses, one of only five in Washington State. Recently, I also became a Somfy Motorization Expert; this on-going education is all part of my desire to provide you with the best and most knowledgeable customer service in the window covering industry in Whatcom and surrounding counties.

This next year promises to be an exciting one. The first sale of the season will be Hunter Douglas’ Energy Efficient Window Fashions Sale which runs from February 1 - April 15, 2010. Other manufacturers are sure to follow. If you would like timely notice of sales and other specials, please email me to be put on the ezine list. Look too for new developments and products in the window coverings industry and upgraded safety features for problematic window treatments.

I am also offering a $25 Referral Thank You – if a new client mentions that you referred me to the client, you’ll receive your choice of a gift card as a token of my appreciation.

Truly, you have blessed me in years past, and this year again. Thank you for your trust, and your business.

I wish you and your families a joyous Christmas season and a blessed New Year.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Broken Hands and Other Blessings

How many of you carry boxes of window coverings or other things that are too heavy for you, or too bulky, or just too awkward? I think we've all been there!

Thanksgiving is over and done. I'd meant to post a Blessings blog but in the busyness of the weekend, it simply didn't happen. But after yesterday, it became even more apparent that I needed to stop and count my blessings.

Yesterday a new order of shades came in. It needed to be moved to the garage but really was too heavy and awkward for me. I picked it up anyway, quickly strode through the house to the garage, opened the heavy garage door while balancing the 7 foot long box (see, I can do this after all!), and promptly slid off the first step, catching myself by landing on my right hand. What an application of "Pride comes before a fall!"

Wow, did that hurt!!! I looked at my hand, then gingerly flexed it. It worked! Blessing! Then I looked again - what was that white spot in the blood blister that was forming on my swelling fingers? Think! What did I need to do? Years of mom experience kicked in. I eased my rings off, grabbed an ice pack and took some ibuprofen then called my doctor.

I'm giving thanks for our healthcare system. Within the hour my doctor saw my hand, sent me off for x-rays, and shortly thereafter gave me the good news - no broken bones! Bruising, swelling, soreness, but nothing broken!

So today I'm pausing to reflect on blessings. The blessings of family and great times together with them last weekend, the blessings of a Marine son who could briefly come home and reconnect with us, the blessings of general good health, work I love, the blessings of friends and this great country, and above all the blessing of a Heavenly Father who provides and cares for us and who loves us.

And what a blessing to have a hand that isn't broken! Lesson learned - ask for help!

Full steam ahead - carefully!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thermal Drapes - Stylish Solution for Energy Savings

Snow is falling in the Mount Baker ski area! It's getting cold out there! The layer of snow blanketing the area is a beautiful sight, but the cold has its own set of challenges.

When a favorite client called to see what I could do about blocking the cold from coming in her large French doors and the picture windows atop them, I was happy to have solutions for her. Our first line of defense was Hunter Douglas' Duette shades. Their line of Architella fabrics boasts a very high R-value of 7.9 when installed with double-glazed windows and are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $1500, with some qualifications. The best solutions for the upper high windows were motorized Duettes; easy to operate and beautiful at the same time.

However, the French doors required more than just the shades to increase the living comfort in the enormous great room. A beautiful cinnamon-colored tweed fabric from Kasmir Fabrics was chosen for the face fabric. But how could we make the drapes as energy-efficient as possible?

The help of my Kasmir fabric sales rep, Anita Faulkner, and the handy Temp-Assure brochure from Hanes steered me in the right direction. A discussion with Ralph Angel at Angel's Distributing also helped firm up my decision. Since the drapes are not desired to be black-out, I will be lining the drapes with Angel's Premiere Napped Sateen then interlining with Domette flannel. By creating insulating layers of trapped air, there will be an over 300% increase in the R-Value over identical unlined drapes!

I'm looking forward to installing these eye-catching and highly energy-efficient thermal draperies in this stunning home.

Call or email if you would like to discuss what we can do to make your living space more comfortable and energy-efficient. I may have just the solution you were looking for!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

WFCP Launch Party Excites, Inspires!

Grace McNamara and the WFCP team kicked off a new era in the Window Fashions Certified Program! In their words, "We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes so we can offer window covering pros the BEST certification and membership program in the industry." The launch party included a motivational presentation by Drew Gerber of, a PR guru, who discussed key steps in promoting oneself in cost-effective ways to land media coverage.

It was exciting to see some of the new initiatives set out by the WFCP team. A new wiki will be appearing soon, providing a go-to place for information on the window coverings industry; new ways to receive credits toward professional certification were discussed; the TrendSpot blog was mentioned; and many features and benefits of WFCP membership were enhanced. Topping it off were great prizes and give-aways.

Digital certification using MinutesMatter will make attaining the next level of certification much easier. It gives me renewed energy to work toward the Master WFCP designation!

For more information, explore the WF Vision website to see all that WFCP has to offer for the window fashions professional, whether workshop, designer or installer.

Grace, once again you and your team are setting the standard for the window coverings industry! Kudos to you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NeoConEast Seminars Inspire and Motivate

Today's keynote speaker was the charismatic Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, perhaps better known from his TV show Ace of Cakes. He entertained and inspired with his frank and humorous speaking style and stories. It was easy to see why his show is such a hit!

The afternoon was crowned by the seminar led by Deb Barrett and Susan Schultz. They were familiar faces to me, as I had met them last year at IWCE Vision09. This time again they inspired and motivated with their seminar Future Vision: Interior Design in 2019. As leading edge designers and speakers, they focussed on the changing face of design and how that would impact our industries. Evidence based design is coming to the forefront; Deb and Susan spoke of the idea that "design is emotion" - people buy design because it moves them. "Design locavores" are increasingly conscious about origins, and demand traceability, accountability, design transparency. And as we move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, this will impact the way we deal with clients. As Paige Rense of Architectural Digest said, “It’s a whole new world and you ignore it at your own risk”. Once again, these two talented speakers challenged and encouraged the listeners to grow, improve, change and embrace the new realities.

NeoConEast A Feast for the Senses

Day One of NeoConEast - what could I expect? Heavy Baltimore traffic delayed my arrival but when I did enter the Convention Center, I was thronged by fellow attendees, all eager to view the show floor and hear a wide range of speakers on a variety of topics.

NeoConEast bills itself as "the premier design exposition and conference for commercial interiors with a focus on the federal government." The first seminar I attended gave good specifics regarding obtaining government contracts. Then it was time to walk the show floor, a real treat for the senses. Bright colors, contoured shapes, intricate designs all tantalized the eyes. One of my favorite booths was trendgreen, with a wide assortment of machine washable fabrics made in the USA of 100% Post Consumer Recycled Polyester by Reid Witlin.

Lutron amazed with its brand-new line: the motorized Kirbe vertical drapery system, in a wide variety of fabrics. Draperies are lifted up and out of the way while retaining their pleats, completely eliminating stack-back.

The other products that impressed me were the seamless leather Tubular Wovens from Garrett Leather, which could be used for drapery rods or tiebacks, in three sizes. They also carry pre-made leather welt cord in the leather and color of your choice. What a beautiful accent for pillows!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm a Certified Hunter Douglas Professional Dealer!

I finally completed all of the webinars to receive certification as a Hunter Douglas Professional Dealer! I made it my goal this month to complete the course and last evening polished off the last one.

What's so special about that? Why am I excited? I've been selling Hunter Douglas products like the Silhouette and Pirouette window shadings for quite a few years already. But now I've taken it to a whole other level. Lifting systems, size maximums, fabric choices, vane sizes - the course covered so many of the million details that accompany Hunter Douglas products.

There are very few Certified HD Professional Dealers in this area, dealers who have decided to take those extra steps in order to benefit clients. It is of utmost importance to me to increase my knowledge of the window fashions industry through education, by attending trade shows, seminars, webinars, and by reading trade publications and blogs. I've made it my on-going mission to be up-to-date and very knowledgeable about the products I sell so that I can provide the best possible choices and information to my clients.

And now, off to Baltimore to experience NeoConEast; the abundance of seminars and myriad of exhibits are sure to be educational and stimulating!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beautiful Drapery Hardware - Ado, Helser & Brimar

I just received a brochure today for a new line of drapery hardware by Ado. I've always loved Ado's gorgeous and innovative fabrics; I'm excited about this addition to their product line-up. My sales rep, Lisa, is always very good about coming to visit in this far corner of creation and keeping me up to date; she had shown me this hardware line a few months ago and I was eagerly awaiting the product roll-out. Ado is offering a wide range of smooth, reeded and fluted poles, cast resin and metal finishes, traverse rods and many different finials, all at a cost effective price. With the renewed interest in draperies that I've been noticing, it's great to have one more option for clients, to complement the creative window fashions they are looking for.

Of course, there are so many other beautiful options to choose from. To mention but a few, check out Helser's stunning offerings. Their Artefice line of minimalist textured metal would look wonderful in any home. The Helser brothers pride themselves on their customer service; no wonder Jay and Mark received the 2009 Client and Customer Service Company of the Year award.

More drapery hardware - Brimar this time. Brimar's wide selection of trims have provided the finishing touch to a number of my creations. They also supply textiles and wonderful drapery hardware. Definitely worth a look as well!

So much great drapery hardware, for every taste and style, from cost-effective to out-of-this-world expensive! Paired with some of today's amazing fabrics, it'll create a look that is truly gorgeous and uniquely yours.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fabulous Fall Sale!

Fantastic Fall Savings are here! We are offering great savings from two great companies this fall - Hunter Douglas and Graber Window Fashions!

Hunter Douglas is promoting their SEASON OF GIVING from Sept. 25 - Dec. 15 with generous rebates between $25 - $600 per window on window coverings such as Duettes, Skyline Gliding Window Panels, Silhouette Window Shadings, Luminettes, and Vignettes.

As well, in recognition of National Window Covering Safety Month in October, Hunter Douglas is offering free upgrades to the Literise Cordless Lifting System on Tiered Vignette Modern Roman Shades, and Duette & Applause Honeycomb Shades. This offer runs from Sept. 25 - Nov. 16.

Graber's offer begins Oct. 1 and runs till the end of the year. Receive $25 cash back on blinds and shades purchased with safety upgrades, to a maximum of $100, on qualifying products.

As part of National Window Covering Safety Month, we are also offering retrofit kits for your older window treatments.

Call 360-966-4142 for details!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Blessings

Heading out the door in a few minutes for a church picnic. Time to mingle with family and friends, to reflect on the blessings we have in this great country of ours. A good time to give thanks for the labor that we do have. Even if it has been a little slower this summer, I am thankful that with the change in the weather, the phone is ringing and the orders are coming in.

Blessings: to have a supportive and loving family; to have great friends; to have good health; to be able to be busy in productive ways; to have work; to have good workrooms to execute my designs; to have quality suppliers to provide quality products for my clients; to have a wonderful design community spread across the country... So many blessings to be thankful for. And above all, I acknowledge that these blessings come from my Gracious and Caring Father, God of all.

Always good to reflect again on how richly I am blessed. It is, after all, my birthday, and what could be a better time?

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are Your Window Coverings Child-Safe?

Major Recall of Blinds and Shades after Child Deaths, the headlines screamed yesterday. 5.5 million blinds and shades were recalled by six different manufacturers yesterday, after three children died after being strangled by loose cords. CNN Money carried an excellent article detailing the companies involved and more of the facts surrounding the recall. A Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman said that in the U.S., one child dies every month as a result of strangulation by a window cord.

I've long been an advocate for child safety when it comes to window coverings. I have been very thankful that the major brands that I sell, Springs Window Fashions/Graber, and Hunter Douglas, have been at the forefront of ensuring that their products are safe both for children and pets.

How can you keep your children safe around your window coverings?
* Repair or replace your pre-2001 window coverings - new safety standards were adopted in 2001 improving safety. You may be able to retrofit your old blinds or shades - ask me how to get retrofit kits.
* Install only cordless window coverings in children's bedrooms, and wherever else possible
* Move beds, furniture and cribs away from window coverings
* Use cord cleats and attach tension pulleys and safety hold down brackets if they are provided
* Keep cords out of reach of children

Still concerned? I can come and do a free safety audit on your window coverings and suggest ways to help. Together we can work toward the goal of no more child deaths due to unsafe window coverings.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The End of the NW Washington Fair for Another Year

It's been hard to get a blog post in today with the busy-ness all around. It's great to see so many people here after a quiet few days in the middle of the week. Yesterday was a good day for many of the vendors; we are hoping for another one today.

What makes a good fair or trade show for us vendors? I thought I would ask around. First of all: people, lots of them, preferably friendly. Personable, responsive fair staff and a clean environment is a plus; the NWWF ranks high on that list. Congenial fellow vendors help make slow times pass by more quickly and help keep the environment positive; one rude or uncooperative vendor can make life miserable. And for vendors who are selling product, not just raising their profile by handing out literature, a fair or trade show needs to be profitable.

A few tips: Good shoes are a must when standing on concrete for 13 hours a day. Resilient matting under the booth carpeting is a great idea too. Some type of seating is good in order to give feet and backs a much-needed rest during the day. Pack some healthy food along with your dose of fair food favorites. Dress professionally - it is amazing to me how many vendors don't. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, to prevent fatigue and headaches. All this will help keep that smile on your face and the energy level high to greet clients all day, day after day.

This week is drawing to a close. Only a few hours remain until the barn doors close for a final time and we pack up for the year. It's been a good week again. I hope I'll be able to be a help and a blessing to the people I've met through the work that I do for them. And now it's time to shut down the computer and hand out a few more cards, give away a few more brochures, and make one or two more appointments for next week...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 5 - Fair Friday

Somebody flipped a switch and the Northwest Washington Fair just came ALIVE! It was another quiet morning and early afternoon, and then the sun came out and so did the people. Maybe they finally realized that there weren't too many more opportunities to enjoy all that Lynden's own home-grown fair has to offer.

Our little row of vendors has become quite close in the past few days. Of course, many of us meet each year at this time. The consultants at Pampered Chef have been my neighbors for years; McGregor "The Plaid Books" phone books are across the aisle again and have been my favorite yellow pages for as long as I've been advertising with them; and the friendly couple at Solarus infrared health cabins are set up again at the end of the aisle. Directly across from me, personalized picture frames are provided by the Wilkins family business, J & A Concepts, Inc.; my other neighbors this year are the suppliers of yummy treats and gifts, Blue Heron Shirts & Gifts; and how could I forget the always smiling faces at Zaks Zoo, the beanie baby providers. Farmer's Insurance Group has kept us amused all week with their routlette give-aways as well.

I should get up on my feet and greet the fair-goers thronging the aisles... Till next time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 4 and the NWWF is abuzz!

There's an air of excitement at the Fair today. I don't know if it's because of Foreigner on stage tonight, the fact that it's almost the weekend, or the slightly cooler temperatures. But everyone just seems a little more energized and a little happier.

I'm excited that the internet is working today - all day. A midday update was possible today, in between talking with potential new clients and hugs from clients I've done work for in the past. The iced mocha made by the young volunteers at A Perfect Blend is keeping me awake as the Expo building gets warmer and noisier and more crowded.

The mix of passersby is always entertaining. The young urban professionals in pressed khakis and carefully casual t's, the Birkenstock crowd in their sloganed glory, the Lynden soccer parents with their wide-eyed, blue-eyed tow-headed family, young people, old people, in-between people, people with tattoos, people with plush toys, people with sunburns, people, people, people...

But back on my feet, my very pretty feet, today. Of course, bright pink wedge sandals are not very practical for 13 hours on my feet, but today beauty won out over practicality :) And back to work!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 3 - A Hot and Lazy Summer Fair Day

The morning began with great promise; a very interested couple even before the fair was officially open. It ended well; speaking with clients who were moving into a new home and needed my services again. In between - well, let's just say there was ample time for reflection. And who can blame anyone - the morning started out warm and proceeded to get even warmer. By mid-afternoon everyone was looking a little wilted. Thankfully, as the sun set, a cooler breeze swept through the Fairgrounds, bringing some relief.

I had a brief chance today to enjoy some Fair food, and to watch others enjoying perennial favorites. Unique to the Northwest Washington Fair are poffertjes, delicious little pillows of donuts sprinkled with icing sugar and garnished with buttery cream. Curly fries by the plateful are consumed; kettle corn is always a tasty treat. But the biggest lineups are always at one of the Dairy Women's booths. There you can purchase delicious ice cream treats, especially the Moowiches and lusciously thick milkshakes. Add to that a wide variety of burgers, Fair scones, ethnic foods too many to list, and top the entire concoction off with an Avalanche from Lynden's own Woods Coffee and a handful of candy floss. What a treat for the taste buds!

But enough about the Fair experience. The week is halfway through already. Time to massage my aching feet and get a good night's rest. Tomorrow will be another long day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 2 - A quieter day at the NW Washington Fair

It's a quiet Tuesday morning; the weather is warming up and the crowds are a little sparse. Lots of seniors - is it senior day today? - and lots of kids in barn boots with tramping through the aisles with purposeful glares. It's funny how the seniors and the kids alike eye my candy bowl with glee.

I'm missing my family. Today Reece graduates from Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton and I'm not there. My husband is there to witness the occasion, accompanied by my daughter and her infant daughter. So I've taken a moment to walk over to the Veterans of Foreign Wars booth, to talk to the volunteers there and have a look at the pictures posted there. Stop by and write a note to a member of the military or contribute to Whatcom Homefront, if you get the chance.

And now, after some frustration, I'll continue this post late at night now that I'm back home. This morning the internet worked well for a few hours in the Expo building; this afternoon, no internet despite all attempts to reconnect. Attempts to reach the vendor were met with an annoying phone tree. I may have to find another, better solution.

The rest of the day was more quiet than yesterday, with bursts of activity. Once again good contacts, appointments for consultations booked, even a mini-design consultation on the spot. Also some great opportunities to taste fair food... but more about that tomorrow. Good night!

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Fair time!

And here we go again! There's a buzz in the air as the vendors slowly make their way into the commercial buildings here at the Northwest Washington Fair in picturesque Lynden, Washington. Exhibits are uncovered, displays are rearranged, dust removed, and last minute details completed. What will this week bring? The recession has been relatively kind to this area of the state; how will that translate into interest for the vendors at the fair?

My day started with a wonderful surprise - a dozen gorgeous pink-tipped white roses beautifully arranged and appearing in my booth while I was gone, a thoughtful gift from the vendor across the row. That's what's great about this fair - the relationships that have been formed over the years with the other vendors and the staff of the NWWF. It is one of the ways that make the 13 hour days here - dare I say it? - enjoyable.

But the best part is the people you meet. I just spoke with an old-timer who has been coming to the Fair since 1952. There have been a lot of changes in fifty-seven years, he says, but he still enjoys coming and hopes to enjoy the Fair for many more years. Then there was the couple who moor their boat in Bellingham, who were looking for a solution for their arched boat windows. They were happy to hear that I could provide a custom sewn option that would serve them well on the high seas. And I have a soft spot for the children, big-eyed, candy-smeared, holding tightly to the hands of their parents and taking in so many wonderful sights and sounds.

Day 1 is half-way done. For me, it's been a great start to the week - not only great contacts with potential clients but also the opportunity to get enthused again about my passion for window coverings! Until tomorrow!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Countdown to the Northwest Washington Fair!

Saturday, two days to go to the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. My display is set up and looks great! It's the same Vignette that I exhibited at the International Window Covering Exhibition in Atlanta a few months ago. I'm excited and ready to face a week of 13 hour days again, greeting old clients and meeting new ones.

This fair is one of the old-time, good-time, all-time great fairs. There are animal barns filled with well-groomed cows, enormous Clydesdales and tiny rabbits and kittens. The Demolition Derby is always a crowd-pleaser; the grandstand is always filled with spectators for the great acts up on stage in the evenings. There are exhibit barns of stunning paintings, beautiful quilts, jewel-toned canning and prize blooms. There is the unforgettable aroma of curly fries and poffertjes, the raucous sounds of the carnival mixing with Mr. ShamWow's practiced spiel, the mile-wide smiles on the faces of the little ones as they take the first lick of their ice-cream cone purchased from the Dairy Women's stand with the cow on the roof.

And yes, there are commercial vendors too, for the fair-goers to come and see. For the past four years I have found a place for Edwards Drapery & Interiors under the roof of the Expo building. Fair week has been a wonderful time to reconnect with clients, to meet new clients, and to promote my cause of transforming the world one undressed window at a time.

So, yes, I'm excited to get started! I'm wondering a little what this year's Fair will bring with an economy in flux, but I'll trust that God will continue to bless my efforts; I'll just keep on working and doing what I love.

Let the Fair begin!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vehicle Signage Equals Sales!

One of the best investments I have made in the past year has been a pair of magnetic signs for my work vehicle. I drive a Chevy Equinox to appointments; it doubles as a family vehicle on the weekends. For that reason I have been reluctant to put any permanent signs on my workhorse; however, Tim at SpecialT Signs and Graphics came up with a perfect solution. He created magnetic signs closely color matched to my vehicle. They are beautifully lettered, advertising Edwards Drapery & Interiors, noting that I create custom window fashions, with my phone number prominently displayed. Three simple lines elegantly done, working with the contours of a vehicle that don't leave much room for signs.

I have had people notice the signs then approach me numerous times to discuss window treatments that have subsequently led to sales; the latest contact came while our family was camping at a lake close to home. This contact led to a great sales call; the client and I have one project started and are working on the next.

It's also true that when I'm at a client's home, the neighbors are noticing just who is there. Free publicity! Vehicle signage is one more way to increase my visibility in the local area, whether I am at work or at play. I do watch my driving habits - there's nothing more memorable than a company vehicle cutting you off on the freeway! You'll remember that company, and not for the right reasons!

I do want to take my signs off on occasion so I am pleased with the choice of a removeable magnetic sign. Others may decide that permanent signage is more appropriate. But however you decide, don't miss this opportunity to tell the world about what you do! In this economic climate, I'll make sure my signs are ON and working for me!

Monday, August 03, 2009

window + fashion: Beating the Heat with Window Coverings

window + fashion: Beating the Heat with Window Coverings

Beating the Heat with Window Coverings

Last week the heat was incredible in the Pacific Northwest. We broke the all-time heat record in Seattle,hitting 103 degrees and then further north in Bellingham, close to my home, with a whopping 96 degrees by the water.

I'm thankful for all the clients I have in this economy, so I am grateful to be able to have installs to do. In this heat, though, I am doubly thankful that I have a great installer, so I can just assist and watch him do all the hard work. Last week was tough! It really did point to the importance of window coverings for lowering the temperature in the home.

One of the last installs of the day was in Lynden, WA, a quaint little farming town close to the Canadian border. The windows we were covering were mostly west facing, directly in the full force of the setting evening sun. It was brutal! A large picture window in the living room, as well as a number of windows in the dining room, were no match for the enormous amount of heat radiating in from the sun.

It took only a few minutes for my installer to put up brackets spanning the width of the large window and install the beautiful Graber Traditions 2" Wood Blind in a Peru color, complete with a decorative wood valance. The relief from the heat was immediate! Then the next three window blinds were installed. Wow! What a tremendous difference that made!

There were other choices the homeowner could have made that were even more energy-efficient; however, these blinds suited her style, her budget and her home. Graber has a great article about Energy Efficient Window Treatments. When I go out to visit clients, I carry charts comparing the energy efficiency of various window coverings so we can choose the best option for a particular window.

There's no reason an uncovered window has to add to the misery of a hot house in a heat wave. Adding a window covering to that bare opening will lower the temperature in your home, protect your furniture and carpeting from UV radiation, and add beauty and style to the interior of your home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Favorite Window Covering Tool

Did you guess what it was? Yes, it surely is my Leica Disto Laser Measure! Today at a client's new home I measured 31 windows in less than half an hour, top and bottom windows, doors, up and down stairs, in 90 degree heat.

I purchased my Disto a few years ago, wincing as I looked at the price, but it has paid for itself many times over. I didn't mismeasure often, but even once a year was too often, with the price of a Duette Architella shade or a custom shutter.

Now all I need to do is get that quote out...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Onward Hunter Douglas Certification!

A few weeks ago, I received a good dose of inspiration from an email I received. Only seven individuals became Hunter Douglas Certified Professional Dealers in June; a designer whose work I admire was one of the seven. Quite an feat - HD sent out an email notifying all dealers of their accomplishment! This program is thorough and encompasses a wide range, from Hunter Douglas products such as Skyline and Silhouette, to window covering basics, to professional development.

In a followup note to my congratulatory message, this designer wrote, "There is no better time to invest in yourself than when business is a little slow (summer and economy)..." And those words were the impetus I needed to continue my education in the window fashions industry. It's so easy to just sit back, relax, and wait for the clients to call. It's much harder to be proactive, especially when it's summer, it's sunny, and the livin' is good!

There are so many great ways to keep on learning from your lawnchair - boot up your laptop, and look for the great webinars on offer, or browse through the plethora of articles online. I'm disappointed I had to miss a webinar on social networking by Debbie Green of Minutes Matter Studio, coming as it did in the middle of an installation, but will keep my eyes open for the next one. Grace McNamara's Vision Magazine always has lots of interesting, informative and beautifully presented articles to delight the eye as they inform the mind. TrendSpot Blog... Oh, la, la! And I could continue...

But I would much rather have you share your favorite inspirational educational informational blogs/websites/magazines/ezines with all of us!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

... I'm Proud to be an American...

The words of Lee Greenwood's song echoed in my thoughts as I watched 311 brand new United States Marines march in formation at their Graduation Ceremony at the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego just over a week ago. I swallowed a lump in my throat, hand held over heart, as I listened to the band perform the National Anthem, looking at those ranks of solemn-faced young men.

Thirteen weeks of hard training, sweat, and education lay behind them. They were imprinted with the values of "Courage, Honor and Commitment" of the Marine Corps. They had learned to work as a team and not as individuals; to work for the common good and with common goals. They together completed the Crucible and climbed the Reaper and earned the title: they are Marines.

Our son was among those young men. As a family we were blessed to be able to witness his graduation, just day after receiving the blessing of another healthy granddaughter. And as a country we are blessed to have a volunteer armed services made up of young men and women like these Marines, who desire to serve their country.

Take some time to thank a veteran or a member of the armed services, or their family members today. They have our gratitude!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

IS Service the New Luxury?

A few days ago I was reading the latest edition of By Design magazine, published by the Seattle Home Center. One of the lines in an article by Kay Stewart & Craig Cross read "Service is the new luxury" really struck me. Initially I thought, "Yes, right on!"

I've had a few days, a few service calls, a few installations to reflect on that line. Is that really true for me? For you? Are you doing anything differently in this economy regarding service than you were a year ago? I thought about it as I spent several hours on the phone and internet searching for a cream colored very wide traverse rod. I thought about it as I took down the dog-chewed faux wood blind for a 79-year-old widow yesterday and replaced it with a new one. It was on my mind as I delivered a rush order of shades, and as I tried to match valance clips to repair an older blind. I thought about it as I placed orders late into the night. It's always been about great service, and from talking with many of you, it's the same for you.

Going above and beyond what is expected - that's the kind of treatment I love to receive. Why would I provide any less for valued clients?

What do you think?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Taking stock

Life can change in a moment. I know, what a cliche. You hear it so often, and it never seems to apply to you. But yesterday, in one quick moment, life's paradigms shifted for me - again.

I've had a few of those in my life. The "aha" moment I knew that the young man I was dating would be the man I would marry and spend my life with; those wonder-filled moments I met the eyes of my newly-born children; and most recently, when our youngest son was sworn in as a recruit in the US Marine Corps and I realized that my devotion to my adopted country ran bone-deep.

Yesterday's paradigm shift was a little more mundane, an incident that occurs often in this beautiful and verdant land of ours. On our way to church, driving at the speed limit of 55 on a state highway, we hit a deer. No avoiding her; we didn't even see her as she jumped from the tall grass in the ditch directly bordering the unshouldered two-lane highway in front of the vehicle. No time to brake. No time to panic. Massive front end damage. Praise God no human injury though the deer did not survive. We picked up the car parts and continued on...

It was later that the thinking started, the what-ifs. What if we had gone into the steep ditch - there were no shoulders. What if there had been on-coming traffic? What if my calm husband had overreacted, swerved, rolled the vehicle? What if the airbags had deployed and we had been injured by them, like a friend's daughter? What if...? What if...? And the thoughts went on and on. And that's when the Thank God's really started.

Thank God for His provision and care that our family was kept in safety - something we take for granted as we travel so many miles, both for work and for leisure. Thank God for dependable vehicles we take for granted - the work vehicle that is now at the shop being repaired, the one has taken me so many miles and on so many sales calls and installations and the spare one left behind by my Marine recruit that I'll be able to drive while this one is in the shop. Thank God that we were driving my sturdy SUV which bore the brunt of the accident well, much better than my husband's much smaller import would have.

I'm taking stock today of those "everyday" blessings. Not so everyday after all, but such rich blessings! Thank God!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Family Fun in Phoenix

A red-letter day in our family! My husband Bob turned 50! It's hard to believe that we're getting that old - but hey, with six grandchildren and the seventh on the way, I guess we've earned our years. I decided that something extra-special was called for to mark the occasion.

My husband's family is Canadian, and spread across the country. Why not gather them in a scenic place and surprise my husband with a mini family reunion? The plans were laid almost a year ago already. Invitations were sent out and plans proceeded. Finally the day came and my husband was surprised to learn that he was not helping me at a client's home that day as he had expected, but instead our bags were packed and we were on our way to Phoenix.

Once we had deplaned, we strolled towards baggage claim. Shock was written all over Bob's face as he spied eleven family members waiting for him at the exit. What was this? How did this happen? Yes, it was me, I confessed, who orchestrated the whole reunion.

We had a week together: siblings, spouses and parents. We left with wonderful memories of blazing Scottsdale sun, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, quadding in the desert, shopping in the outlet malls, and just relaxing around the resort pool. Hundreds of pictures. Time to chat, time to reconnect, time to realize again the importance of family.

And thanking God again for great blessings.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lined sheers?

A few days ago it was time to install again at one of my favorite clients. I've worked on several rooms in her home; this time she wanted to add window treatments to her office. There were existing shades already; Silhouettes in two of the windows and a top-down bottom-up woven wood shade in the other window, but this client needed more than just the basics. She needed to come into this room, where she spends a good portion of her day, and have it be a beautiful, warm and welcoming place.

This client loves glamor, unique trim and delicate sheers. As well, she had existing ruffled valances in a cream fabric accented with a gold scroll print that she wanted to repurpose. I needed to find a way to pull those elements together in a way that would delight her every morning as she entered her office to begin work.

Together we chose a very sheer and shimmery fabric embroidered with delicate flowers and scrolls that complemented the valance fabric. The sheer was simply too sheer; the solution was to line it with another sheer in the same color family for more color saturation and to block more of the sun's rays. The one-way draw sheers covered the entire back wall of the office and were topped by the updated valance. Conso beaded trim in hues of gold and amber was added to the valance for added sparkle. A matching tieback swagged the sheer back in open position, and the small adjoining window was topped by an identical beaded valance for that finishing touch.

The client loved her "new" office! That's the best part of this business - fulfilling clients' window coverings dreams! And I can't wait to get started on the next rooms in her home...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reflections on IWCE Vision09

I'm back and I've had a few days to reflect on the experience that was Vision'09. I think I'll still be processing ideas and sights for quite a while to come.

For a small business owner such as myself, it is always a huge investment of time and money to make the trip cross country, so I needed to weigh carefully the pros and cons of going. I have attended IWCE in the past, so I could better judge the value of the seminars I would attend and the education I would receive, as well as the opportunity to see the latest innovations in the industry and meet suppliers old and new. The benefits of meeting and learning from top designers, workrooms and professionals in the window coverings industry is also invaluable. Was there really any doubt in my mind? I booked my travel, packed my suitcase, and headed off to Atlanta. And what a positive experience it was!

The speakers were top-notch. The days were jam-packed with seminars in all the different areas of our industry - design, workroom, business, installation, etc. The show floor had a wide variety of vendors showing their latest wares. TrendSpot showcased Vignettes while hosting daily design trend talks, interviews with the designers of the Vignettes, tips and product presentations as well as Portfolio Reviews and Small Group Consultations. The Construction Zone featured top workroom experts giving demonstrations and product introductions in a hands-on area; as well contestants were presented with various challenges to design and create. The bookstore was filled with books and material specifically geared to the window fashions industry. To round out the busy schedule, there were various awards presentations and other special events. Is it any wonder my head was spinning?

What an enjoyable 4 days I spent in Atlanta. Thanks to Deb Barrett for all her help in seeing the the Vignette display through from conception to installation. Kudos and thanks to Grace McNamara and her entire organization for a well-organized and enjoyable exhibition. This was the best investment I could have made for professional development!

Today I took my show and seminar notes and began to review them. I had so much information thrown at me in such a short period of time that it is good to take the time and effort to go through the notes again from time to time, first of all when it is still fresh.

IWCE Vison'09 helped me to refocus my passion for what I do and clarify my vision of how to proceed for the future. It revitalized me and re-energized me! Now, I need to step away from the computer and head off to my first client of the day!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday – One last day at IWCE, then time to head home

Back to the Georgia World Congress Center one last time. The day begins with Somfy’s Motorization seminar. I’m interested especially in the motorized shades that are sun-activated. Just suction cup the sensor onto the window, and when the sun’s bright, down comes the shade! There are so many options and possibilities in motorization.

Then off to an in-depth workshop by Terri Booser on Understanding Pattern Repeats and Calculating Yardage. Helpful material again, not just for the workroom, but also for the designer in calculating yardages for all types of window fashions and applied trim, and unraveling the mysteries of pattern repeats.

A quick trip around the show floor, some goodbyes, and then off to the airport. Back to the family – home is going to feel good!

IWCE09 Thursday - Vignette Interviews

Early afternoon - time to head over to TrendSpot! First a little social networking, trading some Twitter aliases and blog addresses, before several of us Vignette designers answer questions about our displays.

Let's back up a little. A few months ago a call went out, asking for window fashions designers to apply to create a Vignette, one window treatment, to be displayed at IWCE09. The designers were given client profiles for whom to design the window treatments, and in some cases even a real client to interview. My "Booming Business" client was a charming 50-something from the Midwest who had just remodeled but wasn't sure how to deal with the custom windows she added. She wanted a treatment that wasn't fussy but would frame the view and add softness to the room. So that's what I had in mind when I designed my Vignette.

I designed an arched cornice, to follow the arch of the wood in her custom window, of Kasmir's bronze faux silk with chenille maroon, gold and moss green dots, finished with maroon and gold cording. The pillowcased gold chenille side panels were backed with maroon chenille; the facing edge was finished with maroon and gold brush fringe. The panels were held back with large tasseled tiebacks from Kasmir. To give the display more interest, I added a small back pillow with beautiful beaded fringe and a side table layered with a maroon underskirt and the bronze faux silk overcloth with beaded fringe, accessorized with a beaded napkin holder and napkin ring fashioned from the cornice cording and some leftover beads. The roller shade, of Ado's Actibreeze fabric for sun protection and improving air quality, was velcroed onto the roller for quick removal, easy washing and interchangeability with other fabrics.

Well, today Deb Barrett interviewed me and 3 of the other Vignette designers regarding our displays in an open forum. It was interesting to hear how the other designers arrived at their end displays, their design process, the challenges they faced, the fabrics and other materials they used. Kudos to all the Vignette designers for beautiful and imaginative displays showcasing the wide variety of styles and talents of American window fashions designers.

And thanks especially to Deb Barrett, a very talented designer in her own right, who coordinated the Vignettes, helped with installation, setup and takedown, and just generally pulled it all together!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

IWCE09 Thursday - The Show Floor Opens!

Well, after yesterday's completely full and exhausting day, I just couldn't make myself get up at 6 to be at the show by 8. I strolled in just after 9, thankful that the traffic cooperated, just in time for Susan Shultz' great seminar on How to Guarantee Your Clients Value Your Work. We consistently undervalue ourselves and thus our work - Susan urged us to get out of the rut of thinking that we provide products and reevaluate the valuable services we provide to clients. Another great seminar with a lot of food for thought and personal development.

Then off to walk the show floor! It was bustling with strolling spectators, camera in hand, and eagle-eyed vendors eager to exhibit their wares to all passers-by. What a great opportunity to meet with current suppliers and check out new ones. I spotted a line of beaded trims that I just had to add to my current collection - did I say that I love trim? I know just the client who would love that line on our next project! And the colorful silks draped over the booth walls... I missed a few of my old standby vendors - the show floor looked a little smaller than it has in past years. When talking to the vendors you can hear that the economic downturn has hit them as well. They are looking forward to busier times ahead. I'll go back again tomorrow to visit with some suppliers, have another look at their products.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WOW Awards really Wow!

The day ended with the WOW (World of Windows) Awards, sponsored by Hunter Douglas, hosted by HD's Joe Jankoski and WFCP's Grace McNamara. Tonight we celebrated winners, first, the winners of the Window Fashion Vision09 Design Competition Awards. They shared their creative vision and the inspiration behind their beautiful window treatments. We were encouraged to think about applying motorization to window coverings, which many of the winners used in their treatments. The Workroom Competition Awards followed, and were a delight to the eyes. The talent displayed in creating the designs showcased was amazing! We ended with specialized awards to industry leaders. We were reminded by Shirley Rupert, one top winner, that "Your vision starts with your passion." Congratulations to all of the winners!

We could network with others in the industry, share ideas and success stories, problem solve and be inspired by each other. We could see too that our visions can't come to fruition without each other. IWCE09 is a perfect opportunity to learn and grow - I can't wait to continue the journey tomorrow!

Power Lunch with Kelly McCormick-How to Increase Sales to Women

I'm just blown away by the quality of the seminars that I've been to so far! The biggest problem I've had though, is that I haven't been able to attend them all.

I've just finished a great lunch capped by an exhilarating talk laced with humor by the keynote speaker, Kelly McCormick. She brings years of experience dealing with people, with salespeople, years of business ownership, and is now a much desired speaker. She pointed out the unique buying styles of men and women - men are linear and goal oriented in their purchasing decisions; women are visual, and see the big picture. Women make 80-95% of the home improvement buying decisions today; they buy great solutions rather than great products. To sell to women we need to establish relationships of trust and get to know them personally. Kelly suggested the basics of great sales conversations and led us further in our quest to be the best we can be. Lots of food for thought and improvement!

For dessert I attended her followup seminar on Handling Objections and Stalling Tactics. Again we received a wealth of information that we could take back with us and apply as we head out on future sales calls.

My head is just spinning with all I've heard today! I'm going to head back to the hotel after I've had one last look at my Vignette and just reflect on what I have learned. Exhausting! Invigorating! Exciting! Tomorrow's seminars promise to be just as good!

IWCE09 Wednesday

Anticipation! The buzz started as we waited in line to register. It was great to meet up with acquaintances old and new then head for the kick-off session of the show!

The morning started off with a bang - Grace McNamara, the President and CEO of Window Fashions VISION MAGAZINE, hosting the hot topic for window covering professionals - how do you price, and make a profit? Do you set a gross margin? Do you charge for your design expertise or consultation? The panelists were knowledgeable and from a variety of niches in the industry - Jeanelle Dech, of Adaptive Textiles, Joan Willis of Patterns Plus & Robb & Stuckey, Donna Cash of Designs by Donna, and Melinda Peters Elliott of Fine Designs & Interiors. Because of the expertise they shared, we all walked away with a better understanding of how to fine-tune and analyze our pricing, and especially how important it is to make the service we provide invaluable.

And onward to the next seminar - Makeover Your Marketing by Mary Larsen. What a dynamo! The room filled as Mary shared strategies to learn the most effective marketing techniques. She helped us identify the gaps in our marketing plans and showed us how to create a plan to fill in those gaps. She shared so much valuable information - for more see her website at . Mary suggested a one hour per week action plan to get us jumpstarted. A simple nugget she left us with: "Choose a set of simple, effect things to do, and do them consistently." Good advice - to be put into action when I get back to the office!

Beth Hodges presented a very helpful seminar on Communication: the Designer, Workroom and Installer. She showed us ways to improve communication between the three, stressing that they all need to work together as a team to provide the best possible experience for the client. Another good learning session for the mixed group of designers, installers and workrooms represented!

IWCE09 Part One

It's finally here! It seems like I've been waiting and planning for this forever! It must still be the child in me; the anticipation is always half of the fun!

I arrived into Atlanta yesterday, flying through the night the long way around via Seattle and Detroit. What a blessing it was to be able to check into the hotel early - very early - and get a few hours of sleep before I headed over to the Georgia World Congress Center. Wandering my way through the building, I finally connected with show management and thus with Deb Barrett, who has been a wonderful guide through the steps of preparing for my first Vignette display at IWCE.

The show floor was a busy one, people scurrying about, front end loaders beeping their way through a maze of packing crates and partially set up displays, and the beginnings of what will be the largest window coverings trade show in the U.S. starting today! I always find it amazing how in a few short hours an empty cavern can be transformed into an Aladdin's showcase of wares!

It was great to see my package of display materials, safe and sound from a long cross-country trek. With the help of Deb Barrett and Melinda, another Vignette participant, my display was installed, dressed down, and tweaked. And tweaked. And then fiddled with some more. Until finally Deb suggested that it was time to go... since everyone else was leaving...

And today it all begins! I can't wait for the seminars I've signed up for. And I should get going - I don't want to be late! Till next time...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brimar Rosettes - A Trim Odyssey

This odyssey began last spring with the selection of a rose colored silk. Ah, that rose colored silk had been the the object of a long search for the perfect shade to match the flowers in the fabric covered couch and loveseat in the family room. But that was only the beginning...

The design came together quite easily. Three elegantly shaped cornices with side panels, two for the windows and one for the sliding glass door. Beautiful frames for a spectacular view of islands dotting the bay down below, fading into the far horizon. Accent trim to pull in a few more colors from the furniture. Simple - or so I thought.

The next search was on... The ever-elusive trim was finally found in a Kasmir collection, a collection with a few limited items. But there was enough cording and tiebacks to accent the graceful scallops of the design and satisfy the client's desire for trim - or so I thought.

Installation went well. The colors, the style, the proportions all fit the room and the decor. The client was happy - or so I thought.

Followup phone calls are a great idea. In this case, however, the client felt that something was missing. The cornices needed something more - she wasn't quite sure what, but they needed something... MORE. And THE SEARCH was on...

Well, we did discover what the MORE was not. It was not chair ties from that original Kasmir collection, used in a variety of creative ways. It was not rosettes from various other manufacturers in varied colors from ivory to tan to rose to multicolored. And every time we ordered something different, it took six weeks to arrive. The MORE was not to be found in Seattle, or locally, or on-line, but was eventually tracked down by brainstorming with several workrooms. And finally, after about six months of detective work, the solution was found!Brimar rosettes! Brimar is a supplier of stunning drapery trimmings, hardware and textiles. I'm pleased to be able to provide these products to my clients. And for this particular client, the rosettes were the perfect finishing touch, the MORE she was looking for.

Today I attached the Brimar rosettes to the cornices. As we stood back and looked at the finished product, the client said, "There. That's what I was looking for!" Sometimes a job takes a little longer to complete. But we need to go the extra mile to do the job right and make sure the client is completely satisfied.

I'm looking forward to getting started on this client's master bedroom!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Hunter Douglas Premieres New Line-Up

It was a great day for a drive, down south I5 toward Mt. Vernon to attend our local Hunter Douglas Premieres workshop. The sun peeked through the clouds from time to time, the first cherry trees were blossoming and that fresh green tint to the bushes and shrubs showed that leaves were budding. All heightened that sense of anticipation - what would Hunter Douglas come up with this spring? What new innovations, what enhancements, what new fabrics or products would we see this time around?

Highlights this year: additions to the highly energy-efficient Duette Architella line. Great new colors and fabrics! The sales reps presented an excellent demonstration of the insulating properties of the honeycomb shades compared to a bare window. Pirouette Window Shadings are the newest product offering, with soft horizontal vanes attached to a sheer backing, controlling light in an entirely new way. What excited me the most, though, was the expansion of the Vignette Modern Roman Shades line! A new tiered roman shade with a low profile headrail is sure to be a big hit. The new fabrics are beautiful and coordinate with Fabric by the Yard to complete the room's decor.

Of course, the new sample books are gorgeous too. The pictures showing the new product offerings are wonderfully done, and the Duette book is five pounds lighter this time around!

Hunter Douglas has done it again! They really are the leaders in the field of "hard" window coverings. I look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeves for the future...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Semper Fidelis

A little more reflective today. Yesterday I went with several of the children to witness our fourth child be sworn in as a US Marine. A proud moment for parents - to have a son put into action his expressed desire to serve his country. A bittersweet moment - letting go of the child you have raised for 19 years and watching him begin to fulfill his dream. He headed for boot camp very shortly after taking the oath, and we don't expect to hear from him much over the next 13 weeks. But he'll be thought of, prayed for, missed dearly, and we'll look forward to witnessing his graduation from boot camp in due time.

What struck me yesterday was the number of recruits that were there, and their ages. They were not only 18 year olds, who had just finished school, not knowing what to do with their lives. Sure, they were there, but there were those too who had a clear direction of where their lives were going, of what they desired for their country and for themselves, and there were those who were older, in their late twenties, thirties, and even one fortyish woman, who were re-enlisting.

It gives me great hope, once again, for this country, seeing young men and women make that solemn oath "so help them God" to be our defenders and protectors, to sacrifice for the common good of our nation.

I give them all my thanks.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just how bad IS the economy?

Today's blog is a reflection on a comment made by a Facebook friend, Marie Mouradian. She questioned whether the economy is really as bad as the news portrays it, and concluded it wasn't.

I'll include some comments I posted in reaction: "Yesterday I reflected with a client on how blessed we truly are in this great country. Daily, I continue to work hard, provide excellent service, and strive to constantly improve - and I see so many others around me doing exactly the same thing in whatever job or industry they are in. This continues to be a land of great opportunity and hope!
I'm chosing not to listen to the economic news. I'm going to keep on making those sales calls - and I'm thankful for every single client."

There are so many people like you and me, people who are just going about their everyday life, working hard, doing what's best for their families, their communities, and their country. Those are the people who will continue to make this country strong through times of economic turmoil, naysayers and second-guessers.

I'll work harder, pray more, trust my Heavenly Father and hope for more settled times in the near future.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Twitter Widgets, Hot Links and

Another episode in the life of a multi-tasking custom window drapery fashionista! Sometimes juggling a million different balls can be a little crazy. Today Maya at had some great ideas on how to finetune my website. Of course, we had to detour for a moment and have a look at some of the website stats showing up on Google Analytics and what they meant... What? Twitter's not installed on the website? Okay, let's get the Twitter widget up and running there... Oh, and anchor text and hot links on the blog - yep, should do that too...

Wow, lot's to do again in the cyberspace world. Now, back to the real world...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Custom drapery creativity!

Sometimes the right fabric just really isn't the right fabric! And how do you deal with that? I ran into that problem late last year. As I sat with a client flipping through sample fabrics, one caught her eye. It was a beautiful striped faux silk, with beige and peach colored stripes of varying intensities and tiny stripes of gold. The colors were perfect with her walls, carpet and room. What was the problem? The client wanted a room darkening drape in that living room, and this fabric was a sheer...

So, back I went to the office, searching for another very similar fabric that would suit her needs but be equally as stunning. Of course, that did not happen. There was just nothing like the original fabric choice.

That's when Angel's came to the rescue! Their 118" Bella Notte Blackout Lining with Eurohem saved the day. By railroading both the fabric and lining, the workroom could fabricate a pair of seamless drapes that stretched across the entire wall, draping softly and providing the desired room darkening. No unsightly seams showing through the sheers, no bottom hem of the lining to worry about.

Mounted on a custom wood Estate Rod by Kirsch with rings and decorative finials, the custom draperies with the subtly striped fabric finished the living room with elegance and style.

Moral of the story: Sometimes the wrong fabric IS the right fabric - it just takes a willingness to think outside the box and look for the less obvious solution!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm excited about the IWCE 2009 Vignette!

Two weeks ago I heard from Deb Barrett that I was one of twelve designers who would be creating Vignettes for the International Window Coverings Expo in Atlanta this May! Wow, was I excited! What an opportunity to showcase my creativity and ideas to an audience of 6,000 or so window fashions design professionals! But then the nerves set in - briefly. What was I thinking? Could I do it? It wasn't long though, before the creative juices started flowing, the ideas were popping into my head in the middle of the night and at other inopportune moments, and I couldn't wait to get all the details so I could get the design finalized. I had a preliminary design in mind...

But first, a "client" interview. I could chose a client profile - which would I pick? for there were many intriguing profiles - and then hold a phone interview with that client. Based on that interview, and the client's needs, desires and style, I would design a window treatment that would not only be functional, but also beautiful.

The client was a delight, and after the interview I had a clear picture of what was needed. Off to work - out with the preliminary design, and back to the drawing board. Different fabrics - but even more stunning! New design - but this would work so well given her room and window - and I was excited all over again!

I can't wait for the fabric to arrive. The workroom is eager to get started - and I'm ready to begin this next phase of the project. I'll keep you posted...

Friday, March 13, 2009


Okay, I admit it, I am stalling. I really should be cleaning the house, since I have a whole day with no appointments - wow, what a luxury! - but instead I spent the morning ordering fabric for a client and updating the website. And I have to admit it, that was a job that I am glad to be finished with again. At least, for this month!

Up to now, I have managed my website on my own, but it was time to get some help. I have been thankful for the expertise of John Raasch and Maya at, who is helping me fine-tune keywords, get Google Analytics going, and just generally making the website a better tool for Edwards Drapery & Interiors. Quite a science to the whole system of bumping your website up in the Google, MSN and Hotmail rankings! But the whole idea is to increase traffic to the website, for more phone calls, more sales and more enthused clients!

And now, time to grab the dustrag and vacuum cleaner... Because I can always design the next window treatment and whistle as I work...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lynden Luxury using Ado's Trim Collection

Lynden is a spotless little town nestled between the foothills and the Pacific waters. Dairy herds dot the countryside; raspberry fields march in ordered rows up and down gentle slopes; the people are hardworking and friendly. And some own beautiful homes that cry out for that finishing touch - gorgeous draperies. Late last year one such homeowner came calling. Her formal parlor and dining room needed to be dressed up before the Christmas season.

The rooms and windows mirrored each other, on either side of a formal entry hall; two tall, narrow windows separated by wall in each room. Because the rooms were visible to each other and from other areas of the home, we decided to install identical treatments in both rooms. The client wished to have sheers with drape panels which could close as well as a top treatment, all hand traversed for that "luxury hotel" feel.

The fabric which was chosen for the panels and top treatment was a rich wine faux silk, pin dotted with a raised gold swirl. The simple cream sheers underneath were a perfect complement. The swagged top treatments were trimmed with a four-inch gold and wine bullion from Ado's trim collection. The floor-length panels were gently held back with a single tassel tieback from the same collection.

These window treatments evoke visions of ballgowns from a by-gone era, gathered softly and glistening in candlelight. Light spills from the rich silken folds and gleams on the tassels and trim. Beauty and elegance, to provide that finishing touch for a beautiful home in this corner of God's creation.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Window Challenges

Last year Camano Island homeowners presented me with a real challenge. One wall of the great room of their home perched high on a hill is composed of a series of three arched, stacked picture windows looking out on a gorgeous vista of islands dotting the peaceful waters below. The room faces south and on a sunny day light fills the space. The existing shadings were simply inadequate; the homeowners desired a fabric treatment that would soften and beautify the room as well as add another layer to help control the amount of light coming in.

I was to treat the 6 bottom rectangular windows; 3 side by side, stacked in 2 rows. A 4 foot window next to a 6 foot window next to a 4 foot window, separated by narrow 8 inch strips of wall, with only 8 inches of wall at each end. Not much room to stack any draperies!

The homeowners initially desired a hand-traversing custom iron rod, color matched to existing ironwork in the home. After discussions with the hardware supplier, installer, homeowners and myself, a much better solution for these 15 foot high windows was found - The Kirsch Estate Rod, with 3 separate cord traverse rods, one opening left, one right, and one center opening. The wood fascia was one continuous 17 foot long rod, custom stained to match the ironwork.

We needed to be very careful with the fabric that was chosen. Because there was so little room to stack drapes on either side of the windows we chose a semi-sheer unlined Ado fabric which was beautiful both on the face side and the reverse. The homeowners wanted a striped fabric which was not available so we created a wide stripe using two colors of the same fabric and minimal seaming. This took some math skills working out stripe sizes so that the stripes looked even although the drapes panels were not the same sizes! Kudo's to my skilled workroom seamstress - that was a lot of seaming! Ado's Eurohem was a clean and contemporary look to finish the bottom.

Each 4' window had its own panel that stacked onto the wall; the center window had one drape pair that mainly stacked onto the very small 8" wall separating the windows. This was a very good solution to allowing as much of the windows to remain open to the view as possible while making it easy for the homeowners to operate.

Once again, digital photography and the DreamDraper software was invaluable. I took photos of the room and designed unlined pinchpleated Ado draperies for the windows. The color renderings helped the homeowners visualize how the final project would appear. And my installer Tom was the other key component to making this project come together, can I say it, seamlessly!

The homeowners were wonderful to work with. I went on to complete draperies for two other rooms of their home, blackout drapes and cornices for their master bedroom and media room. They remained patient in the face of what seems to be almost inevitable delays nowadays for fabrics, hardware and trim.

And the end product - gorgeous window coverings to enhance a spectacular home with a magnificent view!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A brave new year!

And what will this year bring? That's the question on the mind of so many people today. I'm stepping forward in trust this year again, trusting that we will be provided for, and looking at the blessings in my life.

Two of my largest suppliers have announced that they are leaving Washington State in some form: Hunter Douglas is shutting down its plant in Renton, and Source Window Coverings has been sold to Graber/Springs and is also closing its plant in Woodinville as a result. Will this be better for Edwards Drapery & Interiors? Both companies will retain sales and support staff in the state - I will be optimistic! I will be optimistic! I will be optimistic!

I will concentrate on providing superior customer service this year again. I will do a better job of post-sale followup. I will not be afraid to cold call. I will continue to educate myself to be the most informed window covering specialist I can be. I will not put off for tomorrow what I should be doing today when the phone is quieter.

And every day again I will be thankful for God's blessings.