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Monday
Nov192012

Thanksgiving Centerpieces!

On a hectic Thanksgiving day with far too little oven space and far too many herbs and shallots to chop, my favorite thing to think about is setting a pretty table. So this year, I've found an abundance of tablescape ideas using squash, acorns, leaves and other fall materials that can be made days (if not weeks) in advance! I hope these autumn centerpieces and crafty arrangements will help you prep for your Thanksgiving feast!

This table-long centerpiece is gorgeous! Fill a tray with some moss or leaves and then artfully place a variety of squash, branches and candles on top. I love the idea of mixing different candle sizes and heights for added interest!

What a great, simple arrangement! Wrap branches around a few pumpkins to create a "nest." The little pumpkin baskets/favors are lovely!

If you still have some carved pumpkins after Halloween, keep them preserved and prevent molding by using silica gel packets! Just place a packet on the bottom of the pumpkin or dot several beads in the interior. Your pumpkins will last for weeks!

Love this idea!  Add more textural interest to your pumpkins and candles by glueing seeds or beans in a band or decorative pattern.

Or if you want something less permanent, surround your candles with corn, peas, beans, or acorns in a hurricane glass. You can alternate layers of dried materials for a unique look.


Leaves add a delicate, elegant feel.

Or try the same thing with nuts, instantly elevating these dollar store glasses! I love how different types of nuts were used.

A blend of burlap, linen and white pumpkins and gourds is great for a shabby chic take on fall entertaining!


It's always the little details that make a big difference! Bundle up some mismatched silverware with a ribbon for a special addition to each place setting.

Gotta love this engraved, "thankful" pumpkin!

Similar to one of the photos I shared in my Halloween post, these pumpkins spell out a Thanksgiving message with old keys. They'd look beautiful on the table as well!

Arrangements that function as both food and decoration are wonderful. A Tom Turkey centerpiece is fun for the kids table! Notice how it creatively uses an upside down pear for the face - love it! And this little one looks so excited to eat his fruit!

This Provencal table is casual, rustic and cozy! Layers of candles, wine, fruit and other appetizers atop burlap makes for an organically autumn harvest table.

This tablescape was created for one of the former Pink Ribbon Homes. A bowl of little squash and pumpkins adds to the traditional, festive ambience. Segreto of course plastered the walls and painted the fall inspired mural!!

Each place setting gets special treatment with these pumpkin flower arrangements! Once you carve out the pumpkin, remember to use a small glass of water in each to hold the flowers; otherwise your pumpkin will get waterlogged.

Pumpkins are a perfect, fall-themed alternative to your typical glass vase. This one takes the same idea to a larger scale!

Great idea to use leaves for a one-of-a-kind placemat!


Yummy! Can't do a Thanksgiving blog without sharing a few recipes… this pull-apart pumpkin bread from Sunny Side Up looks delicious!

These apple and brie tarts are a wonderful, savory-sweet appetizer. Bloghungry also suggests substituting any other cheese and fruit combo you have on hand!

If you're looking for a less sweet alternative to your marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, try this sweet and white mashed potato swirl from Salad in a Jar!

They always say the secret to a beautiful table is adding different heights... so I love, love, love the way this serving area uses pumpkins as the stands!

You can also use squash and gourds for your nut and olive bowls - so cute!

Or as candle holders!

And for an extra little bit of holiday meal stress, check out these adorable, mini "pumpkin" cheese balls from Kitchen Simplicity! If you already have a beloved family cheese ball recipe, just shape into tiny balls, dust with paprika and top with green onion or celery "stems".

 I'd like to give a special thanks to my family, friends, blog readers, colleagues and clients - I am so grateful for your friendship, support and the trust you've given me over the years. Happy Thanksgiving! 'Til next week when i will be showing you some new projects we have been working on!!! xo Leslie

 To purchase “Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors” on our website, click here or to purchase through Amazon, click here.

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Tuesday
Nov062012

Thanksgiving Place Card Ideas

For fall entertaining casual or formal, creating the perfect "tablescape" has become all the rage!! One of my favorite parts to add to the table to give it that personal touch are place cards!   Just like a handwritten letter, they have a bygone quality that's so special! Here are a few place card ideas to integrate into your Thanksgiving tablescape:



This couldn't be simpler - beautifully rustic yet so chic! Just write each name on an autumn leaf using a marker or even chalk.



Cut out strips of cream-colored card stock or manila folders and write guests' names in gold, brown or any other color. Then tack to a Bartlett pear or any other fruit of choice using a sewing pin. Be so cute to affix a photo of the person with their name on the fruit as well!  I love how Country Living incorporates family photos into the tablescape above!!! 


Beautiful-these napkins are easy to make! Using a medium, round-tipped ink marker, like Uchida's DecoFabric Marker, write each name on a folded linen napkin. Be sure to practice your script! Tip: first use the Prym Dritz disappearing ink pen and then immediately trace over the name with your bronze, copper or gold marker.
Read more: http://www.countryliving.com/cooking/entertaining/thanksgiving-table-settings-1108#slide-13

I always have an abundance of wine corks lying around-so I love finding new ways to recycle them. Check out the Mint Design Blog to see how to make these pretty cork place cards. 


These pinecone placecards have a great fall feel. super easy to make, and perfect for Thanksgiving. Here's how to DIY!

This would be ideal with the right tabletop!  Wrap an apple in twine and tuck in the name card!



Love the same idea using mini pumkins and cutting out pages from a book for the name cards from decorator Holly Mathis!

Using the same basic concept, I think the kids would enjoy making these!!



Kill two birds with one stone with these ribbon napkin holders that can also function as a place card! On a small piece of card stock, stamp a design or write out a message and punch holes on either side. Thread a coordinating ribbon through the holes and voila! To see the full how-to, visit Country Living.

Looking outside your door can be the best source for place card decor like this gum berry with ribbon and cardstock idea from New England Fine Living.




There could be so many wonderful different versions of this idea from Good Housekeeping.


I absolutely adore these plant place card holders! They not only create a beautiful tablescape, but they also make wonderful favors or take-home gifts. You can use popsicle sticks to mark the names of your guests if you don't have any wooden plant markers on hand!


So cute for the kids' table and a perfect craft project for the little ones to work on while out of school the week of Thanksgiving! Just add the guests' names on the turkey's body and wala.


And, of course, it's not Thanksgiving without dessert! Here are two versions of sweet potato cupcakes - yum! On the left, you see Cooking Classy's cupcake with a marshmallow and brown sugar topping; and Annie's Eats version with a toasted marshmallow frosting is on the right!

I am so thankful for each of you!  I hope you all have a peaceful day with your friends or family and are able to take some time to thank God for life's blessings.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 'Til next week! xo Leslie

To purchase “Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors” on our website, click here or to purchase through Amazon, click here. To Subscribe to Segreto Blog, click here. To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook, click here.

 

Friday
Nov022012

Ceiling Love!!!

In previous centuries, the ceiling was the most decorated surface in a room. Carved beams, exquisite plaster moldings, and elaborate mural work were used to adorn the "fifth wall," creating a truly unique space. The latest trends in ceiling finishes harken back to these centuries-old techniques, and I couldn't be happier that this formerly forgotten surface is getting special consideration! From hand-painted medallions to gold and silver leafing and plaster treatments, here are a few of my tips for treating the ceilings of today!

First, let's take a look back! This palatial room - Vladislav Hall in Prague Castle - has gorgeous architectural details! The definition in the ceiling allows the eye to follow the shape of the room - you instantly feel its height. By keeping the color consistent from wall to ceiling, the eye is not restricted by changes in color where angles meet but drawn to the wonderul stone or plaster molding design.

I absolutely love how the plaster encases this staircase, highlighting all the moldings and details - no need for any painted ornamentation. It feels rather current and fresh, even though it's part of an old Swedish castle. To read more about it, go to the Remodelista blog here.

 Here you see our new twist on an old art. The ceiling in this dramatic dome is plastered like the walls rather than painted a flat paint. It really accentuates the beautiful architecture and fabulous light fixture that designer Cathy Carabello designed with Alcon Lighting out of antique fragments!!!

With its intricately applied plaster moldings, this spectacular ceiling's details were gilded in silver, bringing the wallpaper and fabric tones up onto the ceiling. 

This idea can be applied to flat ceilings as well. In this powder, we created a jewel box effect by gold leafing the ceiling tying in the Fortuny-inspired design that we stenciled in gold on the walls - so glamorous! 

In an open floor plan, I always think of the basic colors in the space as being like foundation makeup. Just like foundation makes your complexion consistently even, one color or finish on all the walls in an open area will make the whole home flow together. Then you can go back and highlight the home's best ceilings and other features with special finishes, just as you would when enhancing your eyes and lips like we did in this ceiling in this Spanish inspired Villa for designer Nicole Zarr.

source via

The open floor plans and rounded corners of today's architecture, while desirable, do not allow for as many good stopping points for color changes. Ceilings are a great place to use color in a way that sets the room apart and establishes defined spaces. For a room without crown moldings like this one, keep the wall and ceiling color the same for a clean design and only treat the center pop-up ceiling. The molding was applied in this beautiful room to frame the distinctive ceiling treatment! 

If you want to add architecture to a space, go European! You can create a three-inch faux architectural border by wrapping the ceiling color down onto the walls. Hand-painting a thin line adds a bit more detail and dimension while dividing the two colors.  To create wainscoting, paint from the floor up 36-42 inches, paint a line to seperate the two, and then paint the rest of the walls and ceiling another color.  

source Annsley Interiors

I love this fun home office featuring a wallpapered ceiling that pulls out the green accent of the pillow and drapery trim. A similar look could be achieved by an artist with an all-over stencil design. While this bright pattern could easily overpower the space, this room works because the white from the walls is the background color of the ceiling design.

If you want to have coffers and beams on your ceiling but construction wise it is infeasible--paint them in as we did in this trompe l’oeil mural. This master bedroom ceiling was transformed from ho-hum to fab at a fraction of what the real think would have cost!

 

 Segreto created a garden feel for designer Sarah Eilers this sitting area off the master bedroom.  Notice how a few of the vines hang down on the walls, giving a more realistic perspective. A perfect place for morning coffee or snuggling up with a glass of wine and a good book at night!

In many rooms, you may not want a special finish, stenciled pattern or mural on the entire ceiling, but you can still use a few embellishments for a personal touch like this ceiling in an entryway we painted for designer Sandy Lucus. Handpainting medallions around chandeliers is a wonderful way to customize the space and add personality –  so much more so than a plaster-applied medallion.

Corner treatments are great for low ceilings - they lift the eye, making the room appear taller. In this room, we painted a special flourish at each corner and connected them by a simple line detail to further define the space.

Painted designs are also great ways to enhancing groin ceilings- highlighting both the architecture and the light fixture!

One of my favorites is this one we did for the 2010 Pink Ribbon House fro Designer Katie Galliano. The plaster on both the ceiling and the walls allows the architecture to really be highlighted. Instead of painting along the groins, we hand-painted a design in each of the vaulted sections, perfectly complementing the antique lantern  from Tara Shaw. 

 Sometimes subtle changes on the ceiling create just the right effect as in this ceiling we did for designer Bret Duhon where we waxed over the plaster on the ceiling nset only causing the effect to be slightly richer in tone and sheen than the walls. Whenever we do ceilings for our clients, it's always amazing to see how much impact the fifth wall has - it truly transforms the space! I hope this assortment of ceiling treatments gave you a few ideas to use in your own home.  

 Thank you so much for the gang at Patina Green in Mckinny Texas for such a fun  book-signing event! Look at for a blog post on their store and restaurant!  It is truly a place to see go and experience!!

November 8th : ASID Social Network Event at Segreto Studios Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Join us for drinks and light bights and mix and mingle with ASID Members while touring Segreto’s new studio. Leslie Sinclair will be talking about the inspiration and design of the new studio at 6:15 pm. This will also be a great time to take care of some Holiday shopping in Segreto’s new store. Shop one- of- a- kind minerals and corals, candles, tabletop, hand carved candlesticks, jewelry, art and of course the book Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Cream ranch with gray doors and columns to the right of a pink house across from St Regis School.

RSVP to andrea@329-design.com    Located at 1414 Antoine Drive, Houston, Tx 77055.www.segretofinishes.com

Hope t see you!!  Have a great week! xo Leslie

To purchase “Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors” on our website, click here or to purchase through Amazon, click here. To Subscribe to Segreto Blog, click here. To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook, click here.

 

Sunday
Oct282012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! It's definitely not Halloween without pumpkins… and with an annual pumpkin crop of 1.1 billion pounds in the US, I don't think I'm alone in this belief! In celebration of the ghoulish holiday, I thought I'd share a few decorating ideas for your pumpkins, most of which are carve-free.

I love the simplicity and charm of these homemade fabric pumpkins that can be stuffed and then tied with raffia of twine to create a cute stem. You could even use old sweaters! And the best part is that they can be used again next year!


I absolutely love this carve-free idea for a festive, yet elegant pumpkin display. Simply put your pumpkins inside some old fishnet stockings and voila!

These pumpkins studded with upholstery tacks are certainly on trend! I think white pumpkins work especially well for this treatment.

You can even take it a step further by adding keys and other metal decals.

Love this! Coating the pumpkin in chalkboard paint offers so much flexibility. You (or your kids) can change the face or design quickly and easily without having to carve another pumpkin! (Source: C.R.A.F.T.)


Good Housekeeping had this great idea for a fall centerpiece. Just attach some black, orange, white or themed ribbon to sugar pumpkins with double-stick tape and place in a pretty bowl or scatter around the home.


Martha Stewart Living offered this suggestion, turning a pumpkin into an ice bucket. Cut the top third of a large, wide pumpkin with a serrated knife and scrape out all the pulp and seeds (keep the seeds for pepitas!). Then, to keep the pumpkin from becoming water-logged, you need to place a plastic or glass bowl inside. I think this is such a fun way to serve drinks!

These Pumpkin Rice Krispies from Kate at the Grin and Bake It blog are so festive!

Pumpkin Rice Krispies Recipe
3 tbsp. butter
5 cups Rice Krispies
1 bag (8 0z.) Kraft Pumpkin Marshmallows
tootsie rolls
green icing (tan if you are making the pie shapes)
orange food coloring (optional)


Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add a few drops of orange food coloring and stir to combine. Add rice krispies and stir until thoroughly coated. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.*


To make pumpkins: form rice krispie mixture into balls. If your hands are super sticky, you can spray them with a little non-stick spray. Insert half of a tootsie roll for the stem. Once firm, pipe green icing for the vine.
Store in an air-tight container.


*It’s important to let the mixture sit in the pan for a few minute so that it’s firm enough to form into pumpkins.


If you prefer an elegant, fall tablescape, I love this centerpiece - a mix of small pumpkins (real or fake) in hurricane glasses, candles, and flowers. Gorgeous!


Yum! I can't wait to try these Mini Pumpkin Pie Croissants!

2 tubes crescent rolls - open and split lengthwise to make more crescents. Beat until fluffy: 4 oz cream cheese, 1 can pumpkin (not pie filling), 2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice, and 3-4 Tbsp. sugar. Place one large spoonful on each crescent and spread with a knife. Roll crescents up and then roll each one in a mixture of 4 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes (or until browned). Enjoy!


This "boo" button pumpkin is adorable! Find out how to recreate the look from Better Homes and Gardens.


Following the monogram trend, these pumpkins are so sophisticated! If you'd rather avoid the difficulty of carving, you could use a sharpie for a similar effect.


To add to a spooky theme, I like the idea of these webbed pumpkins that I saw on Woman's Day. Click here for the full how-to.


Or for a more elegant take on the spider web motif, I absolutely love this glitzy pumpkin! Simply glue rhinestones onto a white pumpkin in a web pattern and attach a silver spider.


This is a fun, no-carve idea that kids would love! As darkness falls, this gauzy pumpkin will eerily light up. The secret? The cheesecloth was brushed with glow-in-the-dark paint, making this mummified decoration great for day or night. To learn more, click here.


In Houston, there's never enough snowfall to build a snow man, so why not a pumpkin man?! This decoration could even last until Thanksgiving!


To get this look, use an apple corer to punch through the pumpkin's rind for perfect polka dots. You can mix and match the plugs if you buy a few different colored gourds or just leave the holes open for a glowing effect.


Using the above method, you could also create these pretty pumpkins that will last longer than conventional carved pumpkins that require the pulp to be removed. The easiest way to create the floral design is with a clay-loop tool. You can sketch it beforehand with a washable marker.


These are so beautiful!!! Artist Alisa Burke used Tulip dimensional paint to create these intricate henna designs. For instructions, go to her blog here.


I also love Alisa's sketchbook pumpkin tutorial with an autumn, fall leaves designs. Visit her blog to find out how she did it.


Alisa also came up with these white and black decorations. All you need is a sharpie to write out some text and personalize your pumpkin! This blog post also has ideas for other black and white gourds.


This is simple, but very charming! Just paint the pumpkin in a creamy white and top with a tiara - what a wonderful idea for a fall princess birthday!


And of course my favorite part of Halloween is seeing the little ones trick-or-treat all dressed up. I found this cutie on Pinterest - never too young for Chanel!!!

Hope everyone has a fun, and safe, Halloween! Be sure to share any creative techniques you've used to decorate your pumpkins…   I'm going to be at Patina Green in Mckinney Texas this Thursday for a fab event--see below--If you are in the area you wont want to miss it!!!   'til next week. xo Leslie

November 1st : Book Signing at Patina Green in McKinney, Tx  Time: 4:00-8:00 pm

Enjoy wine and hor’d oeuvres, shop for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for the home, and talk to author Leslie Sinclair who will be signing her new book, Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Oushak Rugs will also be there with hundreds of beautiful, handmade rugs from Turkey, so you don’t want to miss this trunk show! Located at 116 N. Tennessee, Suite 102, McKinney, Tx 75069

To purchase “Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors” on our website, click here or to purchase through Amazon, click here. To Subscribe to Segreto Blog, click here. To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook, click here.

 

 

Sunday
Oct212012

Blaygeen [bley-geen]- The Perfect Shade of Blue-Gray-Green

The new Addition of Antique Shops and Designers Magazine is out which features the article I just wrote on how to find that perfect shade of blue, gray, green. Here is a sneak peak-- Hope you enjoy!!

Discovering that perfect shade of neutral “blue” can be rather difficult. My clients are often looking for the ideal blue, gray or green - not too blue, but a little muddy; sophisticated, not depressing. I have to take a deep breath just listening to their descriptions, and to reassure them I recommend what I’ve come to call “blaygeen.”

 

Whether on walls, cabinets, trim or accessories like pillows, tableware and art, every design magazine, book and blog seems to be incorporating this elusive but much sought-after shade. It may appear as your favorite French blue on an accent island in the kitchen. It could adorn the family room walls as a beautiful “greige” with a hint of blue - or that “just right” tone that complements Calcutta and Carrera marbles. 

Yet how do you find this picture perfect paint color? Blue is always a tricky color to work with - it can easily be too bright or too childlike. In my experience, blues intensify when painted on the wall so I typically suggest muddying them with green and gray. 

The genesis of the term “blaygeen” stems from countless times when I have picked the softest shade of blue,  but the client  fears that it is too green or reads gray.  However, once this color is applied to the wall - no matter how large the space - its tones magically transform into the ideal color that meets their wishes. Blaygeen is that perfect color - blue tinged with subtle notes of green and gray in equal parts warmth, serenity and depth.

 

The base of blaygeen is blue, appealing to both men and women, and overwhelmingly cited as many people's favorite color. It reads as trustworthy, dependable and faithful. Soft shades of blue calm us, keep us feeling cooler, and have even been said to connect us with our intuition.

The color of the ocean and sky, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives.  Kept in its softer variations, blue invokes rest and enables the brain to produce chemicals that relax our bodies and minds. In this computer age overloaded with high technology and a bevy of daily tasks, coming home to a peaceful color palette is an enticing and inviting choice.

Blaygeen's second and third components - gray and green - also contribute largely to the creation of a peaceful mood.  Gray gives the blue a bit of elegance and subtlety, creating a neutral slate to stand up against the more intense accent colors in the room. Green, on the other hand, means growth, security and harmony, lending a sense of tranquility to the other two colors.

I custom mix my own blaygeens for each client, when plastering or glazing cabinetry, however there are ready-made colors that you like as well for painting walls and wood a solid color.

 A few of my favorite commercial colors that present as a beautiful ready-mixed versions of blaygeen are Sherwin Williams' Silverpointe, Lattice, Tinsmith, Repose Gray, or Mineral Deposit; Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl or Silver Lake; and Farrow and Ball's Skylight, Borrowed Light, Light Blue, Lamp Room Gray, or Blackened. For a bit clearer tone, try Sherwin Williams’ Sea Salt, Rainwashed or Tradewind; Benjamin Moore offers Woodlawn Blue or Pale Smoke.  Going one shade lighter of any of these colors gives great results, and these hues are ideal for blue ceilings or porches as well.

 

In any space, with the perfect blaygeen shade, we can add a new dimension to the color blue which has been so well loved for centuries by royalty and commoners alike. Blaygeen’s tints of gray and green add a quiet sophistication and serenity, while still highlighting treasured accessories.  Go ahead and give it a try –you may become a blaygeen believer too!

To visit Antique Shops and Designers Magazine go here.  This new publication isn't up yet but their other 8 volumes are!! It’s worth the look!! Thank you so much to Julie of the blog Belle Maison who wrote such a wonderful review on the book-she is also giving a book give-w-way.  Visit her blog here to find out how to win!!  I will be doing a book signing at Twenty-Two Fifty in Sugarland on Thursday and at The Urban market at the VIP early buying event! Hope to see you there.

October 25th : Book Signing at Twenty- Two Fifty in Sugar Land, Tx Time: 12:00-3:00 pm

Join us for a Holiday Open House at Twenty-Two Fifty! Enjoy light bites and drinks, shop their fabulous collection, and talk to author Leslie Sinclair who will be signing her book, Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Located at 2250 Lone Star Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77479. http://twentytwofiftyinteriors.com/

Oct 27th: Urban Market Houston Antique Show 3-6

Come join me for the opening event of Houston's premier antique fair hosting dealers from around the country. Sat. Oct. 27 - 3-6. Sun. Oct. 28, 9-4. The Bayou City Event Center 9401 Knight Rd. Sat. night's show is a VIP Early Buying Event: $25 per person entry fee includes early buying, wine/drinks & hors d'oeuvres, and re-entry on Sunday