Archive for January, 2010

Super Powers

My family is kind of like The Incredibles. That’s right, we all have super powers. Except none of us can run at high speeds or create ice walls with our hands or generate force fields. And our super powers are not just strengths, like being good at math or being a good communicator. Our super powers are powerful attributes we each have. But our super powers are also our weaknesses, our Kryptonite per se. Super powers have been, on occasion, our undoing, can cause our downfall or ruin us if taken too far.

My son and his friend, small super heroes

My mom, for example, is The Rescuer. She will do anything for her loved ones and that is a really admirable, generous attribute to have. BUT she sometimes takes it too far, takes care of/rescues too many people at once and doesn’t save anything for herself. Then there’s The Rationalizer, my husband, who on one hand uses his super powers to keep a positive attitude and outlook on life, but on the other hand can rationalize spending money we don’t have. Or there’s my youngest brother, The Improviser. He can come up with an answer to any question, at any time, the problem being that he doesn’t always give the right or true answer and sometimes gets himself into trouble.

Does this make sense?… Everyone has one, not just me and my family. There’s really nothing that special about our family, except that we’re aware of our super powers and can help and support each other when our super powers turn to Kryptonite.

I’m a little embarrassed about my super power which is why I’ve avoided revealing it until now, but I’m going to tell you anyway because it’s important that you know. Let me put my mask on. Do you see my cape waving in the breeze? Haha… I am… The Overachiever!

There it is… I’m uncomfortable sharing because there are so many negative attributes encompassed in being The Overachiever, like being a control freak, or a bulldozer, a brown-noser or, the main one I struggle with, being a perfectionist. I’ll tell you what it’s like being The Overachiever when it has turned to Kryptonite. It looks like a continuous cycle of never being good enough, control issues, second guessing myself constantly and depression. It’s not pretty and is a form of self-inflicted torture at the very least.

At this point you may be wondering – what does this have to do with luxury home accessories, window coverings or tea pot cozies? Seemingly nothing, but it does. Being The Overachiever, a perfectionist, in super power mode helps me tremendously in my work – I don’t cut corners. I am very detail oriented and meticulous. If I make a mistake I will make it right if I can. I always always always do my very best. I double, triple, sometimes quadruple check my work. I have high standards. I will never leap tall buildings in a single bound or fly faster than a speeding bullet, but I can promise you, you get what you pay for with TiffinyDesigns.

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I’m adding decorative pillows to my store this month. All different sizes, shapes, colors and styles. Some are environmentally friendly, made from recycled materials. Most are one-of-a-kind. All are fabulous!… Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ll be listing in my store this week.

Origami Floral 16x16

Contemporary Spring Mosaic 16x16

Chocolate Leaf Motif 12x12

Dupioni silk with rosette clusters in 12x12 and 18x18

There are LOTS more on the way so keep watching!

(These pillows will be available in my store by January 24th, 2010.)

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Pillows are fun to make and pretty easy too. I’ve made my fair share of the them and I was thinking about the wide variety of pillows I’ve made, large and small. The smallest I’ve ever made was a Barbie doll pillow for my niece. Actually I made a bed for each of her 5 Barbie dolls including bedding, at her request. I really should have taken pictures. Anyway, the pillows were about the size of a business card.

The smallest people pillow I’ve made was this tootsie pillow or neckroll which was 12″ long and 5″ across the round end. That’s what my client asked for and it turned out pretty cute.

Pink striped tootsie/neckroll pillow; I also made the round pillow to the right

The largest pillows I’ve ever made were 55″ x 55″ square. Yup! Almost 5 ft. across! I was working with the fabulous interior designer, Teresa Karagas, to decorate a client’s playroom loft for her grandkids. I made 5 pillows in all different colors of solid color denim. Each had a pillow form as well with shredded foam inside. What a fun project!

Here they are taking up all 8 feet of one of my work tables

Stacked up here with my son on top to show some perspective

Incidentally, this was the first project I’d worked with shredded foam. I ordered it online – 120 pounds! – not sure exactly what I’d be getting. A week later I received 5 medium size boxes…It didn’t seem like enough, but when I opened the boxes…12 bags of foam! WOW – the power of compression! And it was the perfect amount too!

The most time I’ve ever spent on a pillow was for another of my nieces. She’s a talented dancer and wanted a pillow that said DANCE. She also loves pink and brown. I made the letters by layering 3 different colors felt, then hand stitched with accent floss. The top daisy accent fabric was edged with pink covered cord and pink pompom trim. They loved it so much they decorated her whole room around it and I ended up making the duvet cover and sham as well.

I’ll share more pillows with you another time, but for now, those are the pillows I’ve made, large and small….

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I love drinking tea, especially when the cool weather sets in. After dinner, my husband and I often enjoy a pot of our favorite tea and each other’s company. Sometimes it’s the only time in the day we have time to chat and reconnect. I love it.

I also love tea parties. They’re a great opportunity to get to know people, especially women (it’s not often you’ll see a man, at least an American man, at a tea party). Several years ago when I lived in Phoenix, a friend, Jennifer, invited me to a tea party. What fun!!… I’ve been hooked ever since! (Thanks Jennifer!) Anyway, I’d never been exposed to tea parties before or really anything to do with tea. I’d seen teapots before but teapot cozies? Never. If you’re not familiar with a teapot cozy (or cosy as they say in Europe and Australia) it’s a cover for your teapot to keep your tea hot (while you chat it up and eat finger sandwiches and sweet treats). Not only are they practical – they’re so cute too! So not only did I get hooked on tea parties, but also teapots (I have quite a collection now) AND teapot cozies.

So imagine my delight when I found out January is National Hot Tea Month! I’m all about keeping my tea hot and keeping it hot in style. I’ve been designing and making teapot cozies now for about 6 years and have a great portfolio and quite a selection available in my store. Here are a few of my favorites…

One in a series called Antique Rose

One in a series called Victorian - I love the pleated band and the ribbon rose accent

One in a series of Japanese inspired designs - this is my most favorite ever

Made custom for a friend, this whimsical carrot cozy was the silliest and funnest I ever made

In later posts I’ll share tea party themes, menus and how-tos. I’m excited to share the fun of teapartying with you!

View my teapot cozy and home accessories portfolio.

View the Tearoom in my online boutique.

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