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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from all the Goblins and Ghouls at Anything But Plain!

Donors Choose Update

DonorsChoose, Thank You notes from school kids

In September, we wrote about Donorschoose.org, a charity specializing in helping schools get specific supply needs met for their classrooms. We chose to help a local Houston classroom purchase their art supplies. As part of the program, the kids sent us hand written thank you notes. In these sweet little notes, the kids detail what they love about their new art supplies and classroom décor. It shows how a little help can make a big impact; we cherish each one of these little artists and hope this is just the beginning of their art education.

Take a look at the photos below to see what each student had to say. We hope this inspires you to give to the charity of your choice and if you don’t have one, we recommend supporting Donors Choose.

Thank you for the art supplies...I really like art. It is fun... I love my new carpet because I can see colors and shapes... I love art. Thank you. You are awesome...


Mark Your Calendars! 3 Design Events You Don’t Want to Miss.

Sincerely,
Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Mark Your Calendars! 3 Design Events You Don’t Want to Miss

2014 ASID Awards

Not only does the fall bring nicer weather but a plethora of interesting and fun activities in our industry. This past weekend we attended one of the most anticipated design events of the year, the 2014 ASID Awards. Kristi Morrison, our new COO, was there to represent us and she had a fantastic time. On top of it being a fabulous night out, we were honored to win with Beth Lindsey in the category of Designer/Industry Partner Collaboration. We loved working with Beth on this project, and we are beyond thrilled for this win!

If you weren’t able to attend the ASID Awards, be sure to pick the latest issue of Houston Design Resource to see all the lovely winners and get a recap of the evening. And mark your calendars for these 3 Design Events we think NO ONE should miss!

Kristi and Beth pose with ASID Award

One of the many benefits of having our office and showroom at the Houston Design Center is being in the middle of all the wonderful activities the design community has to offer. This fall, of course, is no different.

Here are our TOP 3!

  1. October 28/29Leading in Design FALL Market 2014 – The Fall Market at the Houston Design Center is something you definitely DO NOT want to miss! There is something for everyone in the design industry, from interesting talks by leading designers, CEU’s, and of course great food and a wonderful opportunity to network with those in our industry. Don’t forget to register!
  2. November 19Fall Design Sip & Stroll From 5:30 to 7pm, presented by Audi Central Houston. Meet Leaders in Design and see the latest Audi models, all while you enjoy Flora Springs Wines and Brugal Rum Cocktails.
  3. December 10The 7th Annual Deck The Tables & Holiday Tabletop Tour – Bring a group or just a friend, either way this event is something to add to your holiday traditions. You’ll see a fabulous array of Holiday tabletop décor that is sure to get the biggest Scrooge into the Holiday spirit. Click the link above to register.

We hope you are able to attend at least one of the fabulous events this Fall, we know you will have a wonderful time. Hope to see you there!

Sincerely,
Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Things are Fall-ing into Place

Fall has finally arrived!

Happy Fall & Design Events

Great Expectations!

After a steamy Houston summer, I think we’re all ready for crisp cool air, sugar and spice and everything nice! There is something about the change in weather brings excitement for a coming New Year and new changes. We have plenty of changes occurring in our office.

Our office manager Jana is in her last stretch of pregnancy and will deliver her first baby at the beginning of November. Jana will continue to work with us on our social media and marketing efforts but will be no longer be in the office. We are as excited as she is about the new baby!

Jana at 34 weeks.

A Warm Welcome to Kristi!

Kristi Morrison, COOIn light of Jana’s move, and the extraordinary growth of our business we have welcomed a new member to our team, Kristi Morrison. Kristi, a native Houstonian, is an accomplished business woman and graduated Cum Laude from the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business (a program ranked #2 in the United States). She is a proven leader with a track record of developing a history of successful design work in a variety of environments. Kristi is passionate about her new role here at Anything But Plain and looks forward to bringing her unique creativity to each project.

As our new COO, Kristi will be learning all aspects of our business and will be working side by side with me (Janie) in the day-to-day operations. Keep an eye out for Kristi; she will be making the rounds at events or may pop in your office to introduce herself. Kristi has a very energetic and outgoing personality and is looking forward to connecting with you all. We are ecstatic to add such an asset to our team; we know you’ll enjoy working with Kristi as much as we do!

If you have a chance, call the office to make an appointment to see the phenomenal new samples we’ve been working on! We look forward to hearing from you.

Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Party Like It’s 1989 – Celebrating 25 Years in Business!

We celebrated our 25th Anniversary in business this past Saturday with an 80’s themed bash. We asked our closest friends and colleagues to grab their leg warmers, tease their hair and come “Party Like It’s 1989!” Our Silver Anniversary celebration was hosted at M Squared Gallery in the Heights. It was the perfect setting for celebrating our 25 years of artistry, and to top it off, the current art installation was all graffiti…very fitting for our occasion!

No Eighties Party is complete without costumes, and our guests really showed us the best of the 80’s

I came as a “Designing Woman” and we had several Madonnas, Miami Vice, a Ghostbuster, Wayne from Wayne’s World, Waldo, Mario from Mario Brothers, and Tom Cruise from Risky Business in his tighty whities, just to name a few! We loved the enthusiasm everyone put into their costumes and had even more fun dancing the night away to all our favorite 80’s hits.

It was a great night celebrating our hard work, and all the lovely people we’ve gotten to work with and for over the years. We want to extend a big Thank You to all those that came out, it means so much!

Below you can see a few photos of the great time we had! We can’t wait to celebrate another 25 years in business!

ABP celebrates 25 years in business!ABP celebrates 25 years in business!ABP celebrates 25 years in business!ABP celebrates 25 years in business!
ABP celebrates 25 years in business!ABP celebrates 25 years in business!ABP celebrates 25 years in business!ABP celebrates 25 years in business!

Sincerely,
Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Wordy Walls

Have you noticed the increase in wall design with words?

We’ve moved from the era of motivational pictures to walls of motivational verbiage. We think it’s great! There are so many media popping up in design magazines and online where you can incorporate words. You can purchase wordy decals, painted and printed canvases of words, even use the ever popular chalkboard walls to write your own inspirational words. We just love the idea of layering your walls with your own choice of expressions that inspire or set a mood for a particular room.

We jumped into the trend a while back. Our choice of medium was hand-made paper with words. Since we create our own paper by hand, we have complete control over the color and content (in this case the words) on the paper. You have to admit it’s pretty amazing to be able to incorporate your own hand written notes, drawings, or verses from your favorite book onto the very walls that surround you. Your options are limitless.

In the past we have done beautiful bedrooms with scripture about love and marriage (a favorite on Houzz.com), a Chinese influenced powder room, and a corporate bathroom in a science facility that incorporated the formulas they used every day. This year, a client and flying enthusiast commissioned us to create a handmade paper to include sketches of airplanes, text from Orville and Wilbur Wright’s biography, and hand written flight logs for his sons room. He wanted it to look old and very distressed. The end result was great. The client was thrilled because it personalized the room!

Take a look at the photos below to see the diverse projects we’ve created with our handmade paper.

Would you be up for a wall design with words? Leave us a comment to share your favorite wordy wall idea!

Sincerely,
Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Happy Labor Day!

Have a Fun Labor Day Weekend!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!
Janie & the Crew

Sincerely,
Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Support the Arts at a Local School

School’s Back in Session!

Another summer is over and the school bells are ringing. You’ve probably noticed all the moms and dads zipping from store to store, purchasing all manner of supplies for their school-age kiddos. Sadly, each year we also hear about the kids that don’t get all their supplies in time for school… and the schools that have their budgets cut each year for basic supplies. The first things they cut are art supplies. This is a shame, because it has already been shown that kids that get to experience the arts do better in school. As you might easily guess, art class was always my favorite (surprise, surprise!).

Being artists ourselves, we completely understand the value of exposing young minds to art early on in their education. We have found a great website that helps teachers in a great way! It’s Donorschoose.org.

Their website explains it like this!

Support the Arts at DonorsChoose.org

DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.

When a project reaches its funding goal, we ship the materials to the school. You’ll get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Give over $50 and you’ll also receive hand-written thank-you’s from the students.

Another really fun fact, you get to leave a note to the teacher and class on why you chose to sponsor their project. We love this charity because you get to see your contribution in action and can even choose schools in your own area. Here’s a little walk thru on how you can donate.

  1. You can choose to filter the projects based on the lowest cost, urgency, highest poverty, most donors or fewest days left. Most of these are self explanatory filters; the only one I’ll explain is the most donors. For example if you have a small amount to donate you could look at the projects with the most donors and possibly find one that your donation could bring to completion.
  2. You can also choose a specific area of study. We chose art because it is near and dear to our heart, but all school subjects are there to choose from. We also chose to support a school in Houston. This part was a little tricky to find on the website. Start with the state. Then narrow down the city, and then choose the area of education. When we did it another way we couldn’t find schools in Houston.
  3. Once you get back the desired search results, you can read each teachers’ request and choose the project you want to sponsor. I loved how creative some of the teachers were with their titles and project information. It made us feel great to help out a local teacher trying to make her classroom a little brighter for her students.

We look forward to hearing from the classroom we sponsored, and will fill all of you in on the details as they arrive this fall. If you reach out to this group, please let us know about your experience!

Do you have a favorite charity that helps education or the arts? We’d love for you to leave a comment and tell us all about it.

Sincerely,
Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Summer Vacation Mementos

Summer is coming to a close, and so is our “vacay” time.

Maybe a few of you have made trips to the beach, or have ventured out of the country for a little summer getaway. I noticed that during my travels I tend to collect the odd bits to remind me of my trip. Shells from the beach, pebbles from a hike, a goofy coaster from a cool bar…all kinds of interesting odds and ends. When I get home, I look at them again, think about the fun I had, and then shove them in the nearest drawer. I usually don’t see them again until I get into “cleaning mode” and rediscover my little “finds!” This year, I have decided to do something special with my treasures from my summer beach trips. This way, I can look at them throughout the year instead of once in a blue moon.

Now, I just need some ideas to create a format for showing them off! So I’ve been searching the DIY spots for inspiration. I found a bunch of nice ones. I hope they inspire you, too. Whatever you create, it will probably only have meaning for you and your family or friends. That’s fine! That’s the beauty of creating something so personal, and reflecting on that special time – when seeing it again that gives us joy…

Here are my favorite ideas for summer mementos from a few fabulous DIY blogs.


Silver Seashells


Antique Silver Seashells Summer Mementos
I’ll start with the easiest way to put those treasures on display. I’ve noticed metallic seashells in all the home accessory shops. They are just fabulous! This tutorial takes your beach finds to a new level with a little help from a can of spray paint. Take a look at how beautiful these came out. To see these beauties in progress click here.



Seashell Covered Letters


Seashell Covers Letters Summer Mementos
Moving to a little higher degree of difficulty, this project would be perfect for any room or even a gift. With these adorable sea shell letters you can create a monogram, or words that inspire. I could even see this as a replacement for your summer wreath. Click here for step by step video instructions.



Sea Shell Mosaics


Seashell Mosaics Summer Mementos
This next idea would be great for kids and adults alike. It takes all your treasures from the beach like sea shells, sea glass, marbles and anything else you find interesting and puts them on display in a neat way. These little mosaics would make great coasters, hanging art work, or maybe even steps in the garden. This tutorial uses plaster of Paris but I think you could take the same idea and use a concrete mix for steps in the garden. Click Here to see the step by step photo tutorial.



Christmas Ornaments


Christmas Beach Ornaments Summer Mementos
Last, but not least, we loved this Christmas ornament idea. This particular blog showcases a lovely summer tree but how fabulous would it be to have little reminders of the warm summer months to come during the Winter holidays, when it is so chilly. Take a look here on how to make your own.


Have you made something fabulous with your summer mementos? Leave us a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear all about it.

Sincerely,
Janie's Signature
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan
janie@anythingbutplain.com

Recent Glass Bead Project

Summer is heating things up in Houston. If you are one of the lucky ones, you are sitting out the heat in Colorado or hanging out by the pool. Well, we didn’t get to escape Houston, but we are working in air-conditioning, so that’s pretty good.

A client recently asked up to create an original design to put on the main wall of her master bedroom. She loved the look of glass beads. Was I thinking of shade or escaping the sun? I don’t know, but a tree came immediately to mind.

All the fabrics, drapes, bedding and artwork had already been selected; the client just wanted a little sparkle added to the room. We decided to create a beautiful glass bead cherry blossom tree. The color, radiant orchid, worked well with the bedding colors so that became our base. The flow of the branches and blossoms gave the room a more feminine feel without being gooey. The glass beads gave it that “bling“.

We loved the way it turned out but more importantly so did the client!

Read more…