Monday, April 25, 2011

Custom Window Treatments......from the store?????

Window treatments are a lot like shoes – they can make or break a room.  Sometimes all that is needed to turn a room around are nice window treatments.  Believe it or not, there are still great window treatments available for purchase that can be made fabulous with a little bit of additional creativity. 

I always start with a panel that has a lining on the back.  This will keep your room insulated while simultaneously creating a uniform look from the outside of your home.  Please try to keep the colors on the inside – you don’t want everyone in the neighborhood to know that you have red window treatments in your living room :o)  To embellish your store bought panel, look for trim such as a braid or a tassel, and then you can start to very easily customize your window treatment.

For this project, you will need:
A panel window treatment – from your favorite store
Fabric glue – can be found at Jo-Ann or any fabric store (or a sewing machine)
Window Hardware – Lowes or Home Depot
Pinking Shears (or Scissors that will cut through the trim)    


  1. Make sure to measure your window from top to bottom to determine the appropriate size of the drapery.  Most windows can use the standard 84” panel.
  2. Purchase the draperies and then decide on an appropriate and a coordinating trim.
  3. Determine where you want your trim to be placed.  Do you want to line your trim along the bottom of your panel – or do you want to go for the WOW! factor and trim the panel along the leading edge of the panel (the inside edge of the drapery where you handle the drapery to pull them open and then back closed).
  4. Lay the drapery flat and measure the trim corresponding to where you want the trim to be placed (bottom edge or leading edge).
  5. Cut the trim, ensuring that you leave some extra on both sides.
  6. Bottom edge or leading edge, glue the trim, in sections, to the stitch on the draperies making sure to press the trim firmly to the drapery as you go.  If you opt to use a sewing machine, which I personally do and recommend, omit the glue and stitch the trim in place.
  7. Tuck the extra trim remaining on each side of the draperies to the back of the panel and glue to secure.  With the sewing machine, omit the glue and stitch the trim in place to secure it in place.
  8. Let the glue dry for 24 hours and then hang the panel.  If you have used a sewing machine, the panel can be hung immediately.
A brown velvet Pottey Barn panel very simply embellished with a bottom edge tassel trim. 

Easy enough, right?? 

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination! 

The Art of the Floating Shelf

One of my signature design suggestions for just about any room in a home is the floating shelf.  First, because floating shelves are simple and classic and can serve as an artistic focal point in a room; and second, because floating shelves enable you to change what you have on display at any point in time creating an entirely different look in your room with minimal effort.  But not only can floating shelves serve as pieces to display artwork, books, etc., they can also serve to give you additional “functional” shelving pieces in a tight space, i.e., the bathroom. 

Photos courtesy of

The floating shelves in this dining room and the living room below make great use of the wall space to create an additional focal point in the room.  Notice the different sizes and shapes of the shelving used here and also notice the leaning picture on the shelves in the dining room and the living room below - that's another design trick that I typically use.  The leaning photo as opposed to the hanging photo is unexpected and can be very quickly changed out when you want to display something new.  

A lot of new homes and apartments do have medicine cabinets anymore, but rather flush mirrors with great lighting.   If you have wall room, as shown here, floating shelves in the bathroom can give you additional space to place all of your jams, jellies, and towels that you may not have the cabinet space for.

You have the wall space, why not use it?

The niches above this fireplace were made for display.  Why not add glass floating shelves?

Floating shelving can also be used as functional shelving as shown in this kitchen.

If you are in need of additional shelving and have some wall space to spare, give floating shelving a try.  They come in a multitude of colors and sizes, and even corner units to make use of the all forgotten corner.  They can be found just about anywhere, but my favorites can be found at Ikea, Pottery Barn, and Target. 

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination

D.C.s Annual Running of the Brides

If you are planning a wedding and still looking for the perfect gown, on Friday, April 29, 2011 Filene's Basement will hold it's annual Running of the Brides sale where brides can find their dream dress at a dream price!  Bring your team and get ready for a day of wedding gown shopping at Filene's Basement!  Doors open at 8:00 am.


Filene's Basement
Mazza Gallery
5300 Wisconsin Avenue
Washington, D.C.

For additional information, please visit:

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Budget Conscious Easter Party Décor

With Easter just a few days away, I have had some questions on how to dress up a table for the quickly approaching festivities.  Although it may seem that time is running short, you still have time to pull together a fabulous celebration.  Party décor does NOT have to break the bank to be gorgeous or memorable.  Take a look at these table centerpieces created with jars, glass cylinders, and of all things – wrapping paper and gift wrapping embellishments!  If you are having a casual Easter celebration and want a quick, fun, and (not to mention) adorable way to dress up your table – why not give these fun centerpieces a try!

All photos courtesy of Hostess with the Mostess   

Who would have thought that jars and glass cylinders from Michaels along wrapping paper from your favorite store could also be used to dress up a table?!

The cute polka dot tea cups and saucers were given to each guest as party favors.

Add a bright table runner and this table is ready for the Easter celebration!  This theme can also be used anytime during the spring to give your table a colorful lift!
 *Sidenote - Glass cylinders and jars of all sizes can be found at Michaels and ironically, the gift wrap used for these centerpieces came from my favorite store "The Red Dot Boutique" (Target).  They have a gorgeous selection of wrapping paper, some of the papers are heavy stock - seemingly made just for this type of DIY project.*  So the next time you are browsing the giftwrap section - try to envision dressing up your next party table with the leftover wrapping paper.  Now that's really budget conscious - two for the price of one!!

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Baby Shower Inspired by the "City of Light"

I am currently planning a baby shower for a good friend of mine taking place next month, and I ran across this Paris inspired baby shower on one of my favorite blogs that I just had to share.  Baby showers have been moving away from the traditional "baby themed" showers to an all out celebration for mom to be, just like this shower.  I love the soft pink and gray color palette and the feel of this shower ~ it is both modern AND vintage ~ definitely très chic!!  Please visit Hostess with the Mostess at,  for more pictures and additional information on this beautiful baby shower!! 

I love the usage of the stacked vintage books and little suitcases used in this design!  They are repeating elements in the design layout.  We are beginning to see a lot of stacked elements in event design these days......

A closer look at the the details, details, and more details :o)


The little pink baby shoes are just too adorable!!

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination~ 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Royal Wedding ~ What’s all the Hype Really About?

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding is a little less than 2 weeks away – and as a wedding planner I couldn’t be more excited.  My husband, on the other hand (as well as a lot of other people I know) could care less.  “Why is this wedding such a big deal?” he asked me.  Well, from an economic point of view – this wedding is bound to bring an increase in sales of all things wedding.  It will also play at least a small influence in weddings for at least the next twenty years.  Don’t believe me?  Take these two examples: 

1)  The Dress – Princess Diana’s wedding gown sparked wedding gown inspiration for about ten years following her July 29, 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.  As soon as Diana’s gown came into view, designers struggled to keep up with the demand for replicas of her gown, or wedding gowns inspired by her taffeta and lace creation with large sleeves, hand-stitched embroidery, sequins, pearls, and 25 foot train.

All images courtesy of The Internet and Getty Images.

Whatever Kate Middleton decides to wear – trust and believe the fashion world will be watching and waiting to turn out replicas of her gown as fast as they can.  Her wedding gown will definitely turn the heads of many new brides.

2)  The Ring – Princess Diana’s choice of an engagement ring is still popular to this day – even before Prince William offered it to Kate Middleton in November of 2010.  The ring – an 18 carat oval sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds and set in white gold is a gorgeous piece of jewelry that was truly unique to Princess Diana.  She single-handedly started the trend to look toward other stones for an engagement ring instead of a diamond – but none more so than the sapphire.  If it was good enough for a Princess – then it definitely deserved a second look, right?!  Even I fell victim to that!  I always loved Princess Diana, and as a little girl I remember watching her wedding and just like every little girl wanting to be a princess.  So of course, I wanted a sapphire engagement ring just like Princess Diana’s.  Now, 18 carats was a little over the top for me, but I love that my engagement ring is close to it in shape and that when everyone saw it last year, Princess Diana was the first memory verbalized back to me, seconded by how unique my engagement ring is.

All images courtesy of The Internet and Getty Images.

Some people may question why this ring was given to Kate, but regardless of how you feel about the ring – no one can question its popularity.  After Prince William and Kate’s November 2010 engagement announcement – the production and selection of sapphire engagement rings increased dramatically after renewed attention and significance was given to this particular iconic ring.

Now, that was just two quick examples of the effects of the upcoming Royal Wedding on wedding trends.  We haven’t even started the discussion on its potential effect on wedding etiquette, fashion, décor, travel….. the list can go on.  But let’s be real ~ we have a lot going on in our world right now.  With that being the case, a Royal Wedding could be looked at as a guilty pleasure or at least an escape from all of the seriousness going on around us.  And if it inspires a wedding trend or two as a result ~ so much the better!

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination!

Designing Baby's Nursery

Over the past few months, I have noticed that I currently have many friends that are expecting little bundles of joy in the near future.  After speaking with a few of them – I thought "why not write a post dedicated to nurseries?"  If you, like my friends, are trying to come up with a comfortable and soothing nursery for your baby (as well as for yourself), please keep these tips in mind – especially if you are a new parent. 

Here is a list of essentials that every new parent should have in a baby nursery:

·        Comfortable Chair with an Ottoman or Foot Stool – Forget what you thought, this item should be the first thing that you purchase!  Keep in mind that this chair is more for you since you will be getting up sometimes several times during the night for feedings and nursing.  Try to invest in a comfortable chair that has rocking capabilities.  The rocking motion will help soothe baby and may also serve as a comfortable place for you to catch a nap as well.
·        CD Player – For playing classical music or a white noise CD, some say that white noise CDs such as those including the sounds of a vacuum cleaner or running tap water can soothe a newborn because it simulates the noises of a mother’s womb.
·        Crib – This obvious choice of the most essential item will also most likely be your most expensive piece of furniture in the room (unless you also purchase a dresser for storage of baby’s clothing and other items).  If you have a crib that has been passed down to you, just make sure it is in safe condition (i.e., not too old and with no lead based paint).  However, if you are planning to purchase a new crib, to save some cash, try and invest in a crib that can be converted to a twin bed as baby gets older.
·        Mobile – A staple form of entertainment for the baby while he/she is in his/her crib. 
·        Changing Table – Another staple of baby nurseries, try to invest in a change table that provides storage space for baby wipes, powder, diapers, and anything else that may come in handy while changing baby.  This extra storage will also come in handy during late night baby changes when sleepy parents lack the energy to hunt for these essentials.
·        Diaper Genie – A truly convenient depository for smelly diapers – although no odors will escape from it!  Empty it as you would empty the trash.  Simple.  Convenient.  Must.  Have.
·        Baby Monitor – Eventually, baby will begin sleeping in her/his own room and you will want to be able to check in on him/her.  There are many audio as well as video monitors available to serve this task and some are even so high quality that they can be used from quite a distance away!

Enough talk!  Let's see some photos :o)

All photos courtesy of The

Clearly a traditional little girls nursery - of course, I absolutely love the usage of pink and green in this room!  I also really love the mini-chandelier. 

Another pink and green nursery, although this time with a fresher and more whimsical feel.

A traditional boys nursery - I love the play of the neutrals with the blue in this room.  Taken together, they both have an immediate calming effect.

The other side of the room above.  If you don't have storage space within your changing table - you can turn a dresser top into a storage area for changing essentials!

Another usage of blue, but a bit more modern this time.  The use of white freshens the nursery up a bit!
Blue is the perfect color for bedrooms and nurseries because it is calming, soothing, and can help lull baby to sleep.  Often thought of as a boys nursery color, blue can also be used in a girls nursery and can also be quite feminine if applied correctly!

Pink, green, butterflies, trees, and a crystal chandelier to boot, this nursery is definitely fit for a little princess!  If you have the space in your nursery, it's never too early to buy a good bed for when your baby gets older - if the baby gets fussy on a particular night, the bed may be a welcome addition for you as well.

Red is a very powerful color that can promote energy due to its brightness.  Since red has the ability to over stimulate the senses, if you must use it in your nursery - only use it on one wall as shown in this example.

As a brief side note, when it comes to color theory for baby nurseries:

  • It is best to choose two main colors and no more than two accent colors - you can choose more, but be careful that you don't overstimulate baby with too many colors. 
  • If you do choose two colors for the nursery - try and keep those colors within the same family.  For instance, keep bright colors with bright colors and pastels with pastels, don't intermix them. 
  • Add interest by adding splashes of color to the nursery with the usage of accents such as cushions, bedding, or lamp shades.
Decorating baby's nursery can be just like decorating any other room in the home, but the most important consideration when designing a nursery is that you want to make sure that the nursery is functional for both you and baby.  The key word being functional.  In addition to the list above, just about all parents have items that they considered essential to them when they had nurseries - you will need to determine which of those items is most important to you and if they are - by all means add them!

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination!~

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vera Wang ~ 2012 Collection

It seems like Spring just sprung, but as we all know in the world of fashion, it's always on to the next season.  Vera Wang's 2012 Bridal Collection has been unveiled, and as is haute, Haute, HAUTE!

{Photos courtesy of}

Something about these gowns just scream VINTAGE ROMANCE to me.....

It's clear from this collection that next years bridal trends will continue the trend of color and the trends of the full skirts, lots of tulle, bows, ruffles, and lace - put quite simply next year's bridal collections will exude romance. 

Also, don't forget that David's Bridal also carries WHITE by Vera Wang.  If you love Vera like me but want a more cost efficient gown, take a look at David's selection.  Here are a few of my favorites! 

{Photos courtesy of David's Bridal}

La Toya Michelle

~You are only limited by your own imagination~