Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you find interesting ideas and inspiring images. Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated! Check out my facebook page.

About Me

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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Design for 2012 - Comments Welcome

I have redesigned my blog for 2012 using the options available through blogspot.  I'd like the blog to be more clearly laid out and easy to see/read.  Any comments would be welcome!

I hope everyone has a healthy and prosperous 2012!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Go Green in 2012 - Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

This might be a little late for this gift-giving series but great food for thought never-the-less.  I found this article today and it reflected some of my current gift-wrapping practices as well as others I plan to incorporate.  The full article can be found at this link green your decor link.  The article provides five recommendations:

1.  Use boxes and bags from last year

I have been doing this for years.  As we do Christmas unwrapping, I place a laundry basket or similar "collection" device near the activities.  It conveniently captures boxes, bows and ribbons to be reused.  I have not been saving the wrapping paper itself as the author suggests but it is something worth considering.

2.  Use what you already have

Reused Paper with Fabric Ribbons
Embellished Plain Paper with Sponged Circles

There are other ways to reuse that brown paper, though. I used it to wrap another gift, then used a couple of craft sponges to paint circles on it in our chosen Christmas color scheme (turquoise, gold and lime green).

3.  Wrap a gift in a gift

The author has some wonderful examples of gifts in gifts.  I have done this myself although not to this extent.  

Layers of Gifts
Layers of Gifts
4.  Use paper just for the kids

I am guilty of using a lot of not-eco friendly papers and may follow this good bit of advice.

So if you’re going to use paper for wrapping, use it just for the kids — and make sure that paper is either made of recycled materials or at least recyclable. Even Walmart, Target and Dollar Tree offer recycled wrapping paper if you take the time to look. And please stay away from shiny foil, velvet flocked, or glitter-covered paper, because it is generally not recyclable. Simple printed paper is best.

5.  Print Your Own Gift Tags!

There appear to be many, many sources of free gift tags that can be easily printed and she provides some excellent examples.  I have often recycled gift tags myself by using last year's holiday cards.  We send and receive over a 100 cards annually and many can be shaped into great gift tags.   
Example of DIY Gift Tags

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve Photos - Some Pinterest Ideas

Dinner Table with Candy Cane Name Plate Holders and My Mother's Old Czechoslovakia China
Closeup of Cranberry and Mums Centerpieces
My daughter hosted a family Christmas eve dinner at her lovely home in the Atlanta area (near Murphy Candler Park).  She had found a number of very cute ideas on pinterest and some stand-byes from prior year's celebrations.  Here's a quick posting.  I also got my sister started with pinterest - we are all getting addicted to this interesting way to find and save/file interesting images, ideas, recipes, etc. etc.  

Reindeer Cookies and Pomegranate and Proseco Holiday Drink

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pinterest - a New Addiction

I found Pinterest not too long ago (it takes me a while to figure these things out) and joined up several days ago.  They have an interesting process for joining.  You have to "apply" and be accepted.  Once accepted, they give you a cheery welcome from "Ben and the team" and instructions on how to actually use the site.  After that, you can spend ALL of your time doing nothing but finding images, ideas, etc. etc. and "pinning them", organizing your boards (old fashioned term here would be your files or file structure) and reacting to others who are "repinning" your "pins" - gee, maybe they have found something you didn't know about.  This goes on and on and on ....  I tried to do a "screen capture" but was unsuccessful - here are a few things I found just this morning and "pinned" in several categories.  I must admit, this is fun!

Some Images Found This Morning

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Holiday Tribute to Goodwill of North Georgia

Recent Purchases at Goodwill of North Georgia (Before Refurbishing)!
Today was senior citizen Tuesday (a whopping 25% off) at our local Goodwill Industries stores and I visited the Dunwoody and Norcross locations.  I have been a strong advocate in our neighborhood for shopping at these great stores and often run into people I know.  The Norcross store is closest to my house and there is a wonderful woman by the name of Jacquie who runs the cash register near the jewelry and fine bags area - a MUST stop for me.  When she is there, she welcomes everyone coming into the store with a big "hello, hello - welcome to our Goodwill store" and always serves with a friendly smile.  My friend, Nora, recently said that receiving her genial greeting is the reason she loves to visit this location.  Jacquie and others at the store make it feel like a nice neighborhood place to meet.  

I am well aware that not all Goodwill stores are equal but these locations are wonderful and serve such a worthwhile purpose.  Here is a link to the North Georgia website link  which describes their history and their mission - one that is worth repeating:
Goodwill of North Georgia provides job training and employment services to people who are having trouble finding work, want to change careers, or start their own business. With the agency’s support, Goodwill participants overcome employment hurdles caused by physical, emotional and developmental disabilities, limited job skills, poverty and other challenges. We sell donated clothing, books, furniture and household goods in stores across North Georgia and the proceeds help fund our mission of putting people to work!
In addition to jewelry and great bags/purses, I always check out furniture, fabrics, books and down/feather pillow inserts.  Today's haul included a well-constructed and shapely wingback chair (in horrible condition - my favorite for refurbishing because prices are so low), eight paperback books, and two pillow inserts.  I have bought wonderful quality furniture at the local stores which refurbish beautifully.

Goodwill Industries deserves our support AND provides great values - you just can't beat that!  For some "after" pieces, you might check out my website link to site

Monday, December 19, 2011

Go GREEN in 2012 - MY Vintage and Used Furniture

I ran across this article which reminded me of how I got started buying "used" furniture - it's called Vintage and Used Furniture: Find Green Gold link to full article

Here's a short excerpt:
One of the most environmentally smart things you can do is reuse, reuse, reuse…and furniture is a great product that can be used by multiple generations. At our house, we are huge fans of used– or as the fashion media likes to call it “vintage”– home furnishings. We bought our dining room set used and always get compliments. We have two used chairs, many lamps, a bench, a desk and some side tables. Used/vintage furniture adds warmth, history and serious eco-savvy to any home. Who knew our grandmothers were eco-pioneers when they used to go antique-ing??
The article goes on to describe places to buy - highlighting the Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Chicago markets with a recommendation to check out Craigslist and eBay.

This is old ground for me.  I would estimate that 85+ percent of my house is furnished with used items including decorative as well as practical goods (e.g., dishes, lamps, waste baskets, etc. etc.).  I got started while in college (no money) and was greatly influenced by my fashion-forward mother-in-law who loved to shop auctions and generally loved finding good deals wherever and whenever she could.  She dragged me all over and we found some wonderful things together.  I came to realize that this was a practical approach to furnishing a home on a dime but also found that the treasure hunt approach to home furnishing was a wonderful pursuit.  To this day, I dislike furniture stores and buying new things and vastly prefer her methods which I have only added to over the years.  It is the reason I have my business link to website

This morning I wandered around the house taking photos of some of my many finds - I actually have memories of where and when I bought most of these things!

Bookcase - Milwaukee Estate Sale Purchase (mostly used books)
Victorian Bookcase/Desk (Sandy Springs Estate Sale) plus Refurbished Chair 
Whitefish Bay, WI Estate Sale Desk (I refinished this one) - Chair (one of a pair from Marietta GA), books and lamp also bought used 
Pie Table from Madison, WI estate sale, lamp (one of a pair) from Buckhead, GA sale and Chair (one of a pair) from Dunwoody, GA moving sale
Original Oil from Dunwoody Estate Sale
Chair (as is - not refurbished) from Buckhead Estate Sale 
Old Pine Breakfront from Sandy Springs Moving Sale - most of the blue  pieces also used
Original Oil from Buckhead Moving Sale, Table (one of a pair) from Dunwoody Moving Sale and Chairs (one of a pair) from Alpharetta Garage Sale - lamp and decorations also used
Baker Table from Milwaukee garage sale (I refinished this one originally yellow) 
French Style Cabinet from one of Annie's Estate Sales as well as original watercolor pictures (blue pieces all used)
Table from Buckhead Estate Sale - Rug from Roswell Moving Sale
Victorian Chair - Milwaukee Sale 
Baler Sideboard from Annie's Estate Sales - Sandy Springs
Kitchen Dining Area Chair - one of six - Cumming Moving Sale

Friday, December 16, 2011

Go GREEN in 2012 - Tips for Recycling Used Furniture

Refurbished Highland House Wingback Chairs - from Garage Sale

Refurbished Chaise Lounge - from Estate Sale
Refurbished Bench from Craigslist 
Sometimes I find an article that I could have written - in fact, have written in fits and starts.  This article from Earth911.com is just that type of article.  It mentions that chairs are the most thrown away item in landfill - I did not know that - and that is my most common refurbished product (see website).  It also lists my favorite sources of great used furniture that can be recycled:

  • Craigslist
  • Garage (and Estate Sales)
And it discusses some Do-it-Yourself ways to do the work - a nice discussion I am sharing.
We love our homes and we love making them by creating the feel of our space with furniture to reflect our style. As we grow out of what we have, though, or it gets worn out, most of us throw our old furniture into the landfill.
The U.S. EPA reported that furniture accounted for 8.8 million tons, or 3.6 percent, of our waste stream in 2005 (quadruple the tonnage in 1960).
By both recycling our old digs, sprucing up those we want to keep and buying used pieces when we crave new ones, we are opting out of the energy-intensive furniture supply chain.
If there’s any hope, revive your furniture with some updated upholstery or a snazzy new paint job (using eco-friendly paint, of course).
Chairs are the most common piece of furniture thrown away. To revamp them:
                Seats are usually screwed on, so simply unscrew them. 
                Remove the fabric (making sure the foam is still good).
                Use a staple gun to cover it in the remnant or organic fabric of choice.
If you need to get rid of it, recycle it through reuse. To give or sell your own furniture to others, you can go to:
                Craigslist: A site where you can scope out opportunities to buy new and free furniture in its “for sale” listings. Also try Ebay.
                Freecycle: Creates localized lists where you can track what people in your neighborhood are giving away for free.
                Donate: Your furniture will be a great addition to Goodwill or Salvation Army, and you can receive a tax deduction.
                Garage Sale: This is a great thing to do when you feel the “spring cleaning” bug coming on. You can also tell your friends and neighbors that you have items to sell and give them first choice.
If reuse doesn’t work out, or the item is beyond repair, recycle it. Check with your local curbside program for bulk days or use Earth911 to find a recycling location.
If you’re looking for new furniture yourself, why not check out the sites above to see if anyone in your neighborhood is selling something great? You can check out Craigslist or scan your neighborhood during trash day, when most neighbors will leave their old stuff out on the sidewalk to make their journey to the landfill.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

GO GREEN in 2012 - Olive Oil Furniture Refinisher

In preparation for a more GREEN 2012 (and to honor the basic premise of my own green furniture refurnishing and reuse business - link to website), I am starting a series of blogs to highlight different green ideas gleaned from various sources.  I have already had some discussions about using a much greener than usual set of products to redo the woodwork on my chairs - Annie Sloan Chalk Paints - and can't wait to show some finished products when I get them back from the upholsterer.  Today, I found this interesting article about using olive oil as the primary ingredient to redo wood finishes - I am reposting most of it from planetgreen.com by Sara Novak  go to site :

Refinish Wood Furniture with Olive Oil
It beats VOC loaded furniture polish hands down.
I was watching some sort of home improvement show on television and I saw them using olive oil to refinish furniture and they weren't even trying to be green. I felt compelled to give it a try because I have always been pretty frightened of furniture polish. Store-bought furniture polish is the farthest thing from green and can irritate the respiratory systems in some individuals. Olive oil doesn't have the thick coating of a varnish but it does protect woods from simple scratches and drink rings.
Make Your Own Furniture Polish From Olive Oil
 1. Combine two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice. You could substitute vegetable oil or linseed oil for the olive oil but you should avoid the use of virgin olive oil because it doesn't work nearly as well. This recipe only works on finished wood.
2. Apply with a lint free cloth or cheesecloth. Towel-dry excess oil in a circular motion applying special attention to the problem areas of the wood.
*To polish unfinished wood, combine a teaspoon of lemon oil into a cup of mineral oil. Apply with a lint free cloth or cheesecloth. Apply the mixture in a circular motion taking time to make sure it's evenly distributed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Decorations - Options for the Mantel

I am obviously distracted by the holiday season and the decorating challenges we all have this time of year.  I am happy with most aspects of my decorating - but not the main fireplace mantel in our family room.  I would call it "understated" - with some greenery and two Dr. Seuss type trees on each end.

In maintaining this blog, I spent a lot of time looking at other blogs as well as decorating magazines for inspiration.  The mantel decorating options are plentiful and well illustrated.  I just reviewed a group of them on the Better Homes and Garden website that are all interesting - and ideas that would help my mantel stand out.  website
Here are some that I particularly like:

BHG Fireplace #1
I like the mirror-image decorations against the bright greenery and what great stockings!  I also like the symmetry which is not exact and makes the two groupings look more interesting.  Also, like my mantel, it appears that they did not remove the photo above the mantel replacing it with a wreath or other holiday display.   I do question the candles which appear undersized and not particularly useful here - I certainly wouldn't want an open flame so close to the greenery.
BHG Fireplace #2
I think this one is sweet.  I like the color scheme and the simplicity and, in this case, almost perfect symmetry.   I like the horse on books in front of the fireplace which looks like it would be easy to move when starting a fire.  I think those are stockings behind the horse but not sure - regardless, not a good place in case of fire!
BHG Fireplace - #3

This one looks like it started with quite a few of the basics already in place and just added holiday finery and great stockings.  A simple wreath across the mirror and lights make this a festive look.
BHG Fireplace #4
I love the creamware and white candle combination on this simple mantel which matches so well with the white wreath and frilly stockings.  I don't think I would do frilly stockings but they do add a flair of feminism.
BHG Fireplace #5
I think this last one demonstrates the theme of this series - simple and elegant.  You don't have to go all out with huge and totally different decorations.  I like the attention to details and the careful planning of the color schemes shown here.

So, now I have some more ideas and will definitely improve my own mantel - but probably not until next year!  I am done for 2011!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Decorations - My Ideas

Preparing for our Gathering on a Bright Sunny Day
I belong to the Neely Farm Garden Club which includes some of my best neighborhood friends.  The group does include some great gardeners (including one "master") but its real goals are to maintain friendships and have fun together.  This year, I had offered to host the annual holiday party at our home.  Hosting such a gathering (25) does force you to critically review your home and its decorations.  We always have a big tree in our "sunroom" which takes advantage of its height but this year we put up a second tree in the dining room.  We also added additional outside lighting to brighten up the setting.   If I do say so myself, the place looked magical as the guests arrived.

Here are some of the ideas I used for decorating and hosting this gathering - some old and some new:

  • A tablescape that included multiple smaller candles that are low and somewhat scattered in the center to maximize the amount of space available for diners and provide a low profile for conversation across and around the table
  • Two beverage stations - both as far away from the kitchen as possible to encourage more movement and decrease congestion in the kitchen (it worked pretty well) - one was outside on the deck which certainly helped keep beverages cold
  • Stuffed animals as decorations on the stairwell and throughout the house including a group of greeters in the entrance foyer
  • Oversized ornaments on the big tree with an emphasis on those that best reflect the lights
  • Smaller, more intimate family ornaments on the second tree in the dining room 
  • An original oil painting (from South America) of the Madonna and Child that is part of my dining room buffet grouping
  • Lots of shiny surfaces that reflect all available light including bowls of different sized glittering ornaments 
  • Candles in "fire-proof" settings such as enclosed glassware or broad glass plates (I've actually caused some minor damage in past with less well-designed candle decorations - never again)
  • Christmas themed cookie jars as primary decorations in the kitchen including jars on top of the kitchen cabinets enhanced with greenery - I have at least 30 jars collected over the years 
  • LOTS of reds all over - it helps that my living and dining rooms are predominantly red to start with!
Here are some more photos to demonstrate the impact.  
Some Examples of Decorations
Ready to Go!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spruill Gallery Holiday Artist Market - A Local Tradition

Spruill Gallery - Dunwoody, Georgia
I have been taking several watercolor classes at a local institution - the Spruill Center for the Arts.  link  The Center has great teachers and students and contributes to a wide variety of cultural and artistic endeavors in the area.  Every year at this time, they have a wonderful Holiday Artist Market at their old homestead. From their website:
The Spruill Homeplace in Dunwoody, Georgia, was the center of a large working farm from the mid-19th century until 1965. Today, the main house and two outbuildings are still standing in good condition on the property. The house has undergone numerous additions and renovations since being built in the 1840s, and features a century's worth of phases and styles of Southern folk architecture. 
Spruill Pig Ornament
I visited the Market today and loved the sights and smells of this wonderful old building.  The items they have for sale are well priced and unique.  I bought several Christmas gifts - for friends and my two granddaughters and couldn't resist the cloth pig (I LOVE pigs) to hang on my tree.  

I know of people who do a lot of their holiday gift shopping at this annual sale.  I wish I had waited for some of my purchases - this is a wonderful tradition!

Displays at Spruill Gallery

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Tribute to Hickory Chair - In My Own Back Yard

Neely Farm Clubhouse featuring Hickory Chair Furniture
I just received the January, 2012, issue of Architectural Digest which included an article entitled:  Hickory Chair Turns 100. Since I had just acquired a Hickory Chair French-style chest for my own home (see most recent blog) over the weekend, I thought it might be nice to once again talk about how great Hickory Chair furniture is and that it is one of the labels I most want to buy in my refurbishing classic American heirloom upholstered furniture business see website.

The Hickory Chair website and blog link to site discusses the high-quality company's century-long history in Hickory, North Carolina, where most of their products are still crafted.  In checking out the company blog, I was led to an article about a designer's work at the historical Neely Farm Club House in Norcross, Georgia.   This just happens to be MY neighborhood and while I was aware that the clubhouse had been renovated, I didn't realize that the neighborhood had actually used such a prestigious designer and bought excellent products from Hickory Chair to do this very nice refurbishing project.  Clearly, I need to be more involved in the neighborhood.  I am proud, now that I know of it, to show some great clubhouse photos featuring this great manufacturer's pieces!

Photos of Historical Clubhouse in Neely Farm
Here is a portion of the blog discussion about the designer's work in Neely Farm:
Our friend and HCC University graduate, Janie Hirsch ASID, shared some truly inspirational images with us from a project in Georgia.  Janie owns J. Hirsch Interior Design.
Janie tells us, "These pictures are of the Neely Farm Clubhouse, a neighborhood clubhouse in Norcross, GA.  It is in the original country retreat home from the Frank Neely farm that used to be on this property years ago.  It was built in the 1930's and the bricks are from the original Fulton County court house that was torn down in 1884 and stored at Oakland Cemetery.  They were then carried by train to Norcross and hauled by wagon the remaining 6-7 miles to the Neely farm."
She goes on to tell us that "every piece of upholstery in these pictures are from Hickory Chair!"  We are proud to have the opportunity to hand make each piece in our workroom in Hickory and to share these inspirational images with you! 
I'd say that this is pretty impressive!  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Estate Sale Weekend - Rationalizing My Purchases

I reported on Friday about a wonderful sale in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta where I bought some great fabrics.  I had earlier visited a sale in Sandy Springs and contemplated several purchases - particularly a pub table and three windsor-style distressed chairs for my pool room.  This room has until VERY recently been stuffed with my refurbished furniture awaiting sales and shipments.  I have in fact been running an "inventory reduction sale" to make room for holiday family guests that will be staying with us.  My husband really wants to use the pool room over the holidays so I have been able to either sell the pieces or store them elsewhere.  That of course meant that I needed some furniture for the now vacant (other than pool table and one large table) room.
Pub Table and Chairs in Pool Room
I decided to keep a set of oversized Highland House club chairs that look great in the room and bought the aforementioned pub table and chairs to fill a vacant corner.  So I rationalized making an infrequent personal purchase - aided by the very good price they gave me.

On Saturday, I visited several more sales - this time in the Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton areas of greater Atlanta.  I was not too impressed with any until the last one in Milton which was being handled by Golden Opportunity sales - run by Doris and her husband.  I have bought wonderful pieces from them over the years including my very own 8-piece Hickory Chair dining room chair set (I will get back to this set later in this overly long blog).

At the sale,  I saw a lovely Hickory Chair old French style chest of drawers at a good price but didn't know if it would work in my foyer to replace a piece I no longer loved.  Upon arriving home (having made NO purchases all morning), I measured the space and found it just fit.  I called Doris, offered her a reduced price, we haggled and settled.  I told her I would return on Sunday to pick up.

My Hickory Chair Chairs
That brings me to this morning when my loving husband agreed to join me for the pickup - not entirely enthused about any new furniture for the house but in agreement with the general premise of replacing the old foyer piece.  We arrived and proceeded to get the piece into my trusty minivan AND my husband liked it well enough to congratulate me on finding it (or some such words)!  As we were leaving, old friends of ours who happen to live in Milton arrived to check out the sale and we chatted with them in the townhouse dining room.  Doris (remember Doris - she's running the sale) commented to me in passing that she was surprised I wasn't interested in the French style dining room chairs upholstered in, of all things, black patent leather.  I said:  "Doris, don't you remember, I have those great Hickory Chair chairs in my dining room that I bought from you and I just love them!".

I quickly looked the chairs over and learned they were American-made, fruitwood finish and high-quality hand-tied 8-coil construction.  I told her and everyone in the area that someone should definitely buy these chairs because they were wonderful and a not-bad price.

Anyway to make a long story a little shorter, we are no more than a mile or two from the house when I told my husband that the chairs were really nice; may in fact work as well or better in our home; and, that I probably should have bought them.  Sweet guy that he is - he said call her and see what she'll take - I did, we haggled, we settled and returned to add the six chairs to our purchases.

Now I am faced with the dilemma of deciding which set to keep and which to sell BUT in the meanwhile we decided that we do need some extra seating for the holidays and that the patent leather will be great for the grandchildren - easy to clean!!  Where will they be stored?  Of course, in the now practically empty pool room!  Also, we had almost spent $$ on folding chairs and look at the money we are saving not having to buy those!  OK, that's all the rationalizing I am doing today!

French Chairs Purchased at Milton Sale 
French Chair Tags - Look at the Horse and Hog Hair - Love it! 
My lovely new Hickory Chair Chest