InSights: Blog Lift ... Life Lift~

Okay, I know, I know ... I'm easily distracted. I thought it was time for a *BLOG-LIFT*. Considering that my life has been changing a lot lately, why not the blog!?

My dearest friends & family are still worried .... But ya know what? My interior decorating company was established in 1999, so I had a 10 year run and a time out seems fair to me. When you think about it, many of my friends AND hubby have changed jobs several times within this time frame. So! Maybe I'm not as easily distracted as THEY think! I am, however, easily engaged and enjoy learning new things. And I never let my fear take over my will to try to accomplish something .... But this is what I am hearing a lot lately ....{scroll down to see some decorating projects I worked on}

"So, are you still blogging?" ... {like, everyone asks me this ...}

"Yeah. I love it...." I say, taking a deep breath.

"But you are soooo creative! Wh
y don't you get yourself a *little* J-O-B? You are just bored and don't know what to do with yourself!!"

"Well, I'm really trying to figure out EXACTLY what direction I want my life to go in. So, I've been taking some time off. Actually, I love blogging. I really like working with computers & writing. And I am being creative with scrapbooking and all the projects I've been working on..." I reply like a tape recorder.

"But you have so much talent ..." Translation ----> *Your mind is being wasted in blogland!!!!* =:-O

"Actually ... I look forward to blogging everyday and I've met a lot of interesting people that I wouldn't have otherwise. AND I've seen images that have taken my interests in a totally different direction. It kind of makes me *think* differently about people and the world. I'm learning new computer skills, like Photoshop."

"Ohhh Julie ... You really need to work." Translation -----> *Do something with your life that is worthwhile*

"I understand that you can't relate to people who Blog. I admit that it takes a special kind of person to enjoy it. You have to enjoy writing, first of all. Know a little about the computer, secondly. And, hopefully, have some kind of talent to share or interests to write about. There's a vast spectrum of people on Blogger." I
defend us ALL!

, I discuss my options ...

Residential design, although I enjoyed many aspects of it, isn't quite for me. I truly love the final transformation but getting there was getting to be ... hmm ... at times, annoying. Remember, I'm not too patient. When I walk into a home to speak with a new client, I can generally size up how easy or difficult the person is going to be. For instance, if they say something like:

"You want to move that (nondescript glass bottle collecting dust & looking very lonely) bottle up there????!" That signals that the person is a control freak and will be sweating every piece of furniture or accessory I touch. Additionally, that they do not realize that I truly am talented and since they won't let me do my job, their home will remain stale looking and ... yes, sometimes, very ugly.

"I found this exact lamp for $100.00 dollars less (the one that took you an afternoon to find and out of the goodness of your heart didn't charge any shop time for. Now, I expect you to go all the way across town on your own time, of course, do not charge me your hourly rate, return it, handle the paper work, pick up the new one, pack it and bring it back over without charging me delivery or gasoline, then credit me the difference because I just want the cheaper price and don't value your time or your resources.)

"I know that fabric is perfect but can you find something cheaper that looks the same ..." Okay, I have mixed feelings about this. I always take into consideration the client's budget. In doing so, I also think about the cost of replacing cheap fabrics down the road with something *new*. When using quality fabrics, clients are less likely to want to switch a custom item out short term and are happier with the end design. I've never ever heard a client say, "Julie! I wish we had not have used that beautiful fabric!" I am also extremely good at blending in new items with old so that the client doesn't HAVE TO replace everything -- which does what? Saves money. Pay more - save more. Of course, I don't blurt that out but it is true. Quality fabrics and trim can transform a room and truly affect the way people feel and live, as well. That's important. I've had people cry after an installation because it makes them feel so good and happy.

"You charge how much an hour???" In my head, I think to myself ..."For you, NOT ENUF!!!"

Now, China has affected the textile market considerably. The US has lost many, many mills because of cheaply imported fabrics. The problem that I've seen with this is, naturally, loss of US jobs. Additionally, there is a displacement of quality designers. China is known for knock-offs. I believe that over time they'll continue to make the same old fabric designs and the quality of new designs will be severely sub-standard. Then, guess what? No more beautifully designed textiles. Just like the customer service centers moving to India, companies lost business because of what, QUALITY. I hope that the US wakes up and understands the impact and loss of human talent and quality products since the 1960s when Japan started eying our electronics. From my point of view, the Chinese lack the traditional cultural history and quality of US made goods. This huge gap of them understanding US market desires is problematic. I know firsthand, I've been to international fabric shows and see what their salespeople *think* is a quality product. I see the same fabrics over and over again. Many times, a lesser equal knock off -- time and time again. The difference between high end and substandard stuff is obvious. Hopefully, the lack of quality will drive US textile sales percentages back home. At one point, the cost of oil was impacting freight, so especially on the manufacturing side, companies began moving towards South America and the US.

Additionally, China has given America what I have termed *Discount Mentality*. And while I'm all for finding a bargain, I do believe this mentality has impacted our economy adversely. We've shut down millions of our own manufacturing plants, entrepreneurs, business owners to save money that we spend elsewhere. We are not the generation of savers. We want what we want NOW and fill our credit cards up. So, what's with this whole *savings thing*? We are NOT saving! We want more stuff! And SOMETIMES or MANY TIMES we scrimp on quality to get more. I am also guilty of this but I worry about the people and families here that it has impacted. I have a feeling that the whole China-thing is a larger factor breaking down our economy than is made public. Additionally, the standard mark-ups that supported the sales pyramid has been reduced drastically. It impacted my business to the point that I could no longer compete with furniture stores because their volume discounts lowered my ability to profit anything. As a trade member, I was supposed to be able to purchase goods somewhat above showroom cost. Wal-Mart and the Internet have driven many markets downward which causes people to lose jobs. *Cost* used to be protected. Now, everyone wants to know -- *What is your cost? And what kind of discount can I get from you?* *Cost* protection protected the lives of many hard working people who loved their trade, their families, their lives. What *value* can be put on that? Interesting to see online boutiques showcasing handmade items like Etsy. They encourage their users to take the Buy Homemade vow. I believe this is a direct response to people wanting to buy more US items. Additionally, people are being kind of *forced* to selling things online because of the lower overhead. It's challenging to mark-up and earn a living when *cost plus* is driving the market. On the flipside, Internet is fun, rewarding and interesting. It's appeal is huge for sales and communication.

Another eye-opener, was when I worked on a bedding line. Labor rates and cheap fabrics from China were definitely a competitive consideration. I can understand why so much *stuff* is made in China vs. here. And the logistics of shipping back and forth was more complex than I wanted. I don't like waiting. And what if the ship sank?! What if they didn't make things to spec?!!! I withdrew from moving forward with this company I had developed over the course of a year. Everything outside of packaging was ready to roll. The timing was off for me financially and personally I decided not to make the leap. I won't bore you with the juicy details, however, it was a beautifully designed line of upper end bedding. I learned so much from putting it all together. Spent hours upon hours sourcing fabrics, trims, packaging laws, developing the business plan. My inventory system was in place. I documented design, cost and material specifications, calculating yardage! EVERYTHING!

I was ready. Life wasn't ready. So, I stopped.

It was time to set everything aside and focus on my health - my bout with basal cell of the eyelid, to heal emotionally from working so hard without having seen the fruits of my labor blossom, focus on family because my children are rapidly growing up, and work towards putting my household in order because I had been flying by the seat of my pants for so long. I took a little time over Christmas to work on my own home, instead of others. To give back to my family, instead of others. To focus on myself, instead of others. Don't get me wrong -- my friends will tell you that I am the one they lean on when they need help. Emotionally as a friend or professionally as a decorator for various projects they've all got going on. But I think I was totally spent and frustrated. Life wasn't changing quickly enough to keep up with my wants and desires. So, I stopped in order to get revved up again. The throttle was choking me. Sometimes, you just have to stop. You have to listen. You have to take time to grow. You have to take time for yourself, your family, your heart. I also have to add that I'm very lucky that I could take some time away because of my husband's support. He works very hard to provide for us and is an exceptional father.

I was simply whirling around faster than the world could carry me.
I had everything I truly needed. Success would just have to wait. And perhaps God had/has a better plan for me. This is the way it needed to be in order for something greater to be. I Believe.

So, for those of you that are curious. This will give you an idea of some of the design projects I worked on and what style
I lean towards in design.
Here's a photo of my entry bookshelves. These bookshelves have morphed into something truly beautiful. They didn't start out like this! I should find some older photos to contrast with them. My tastes have definitely changed and developed over the years. To get things right in design, takes time. Like everyone else, my accessories and collectibles began to look cluttered, junky and in disarray. Now, after the little makeover, the items on the shelves are a direct reflection of my interest in design! Every time I pass them, they symbolize and remind me of what I enjoy doing - TRANSFORMATION!

I also did tabletop & parties! Like this Vietri setting for a dinner party. Oh, I had so much fun pulling this all together with a mixture of cool different shaped glasses, candles, and antiquey silverware by Pottery Barn. To dress it all up, I custom-designed the tablecloths, added sheer shimmery toppers with metal & glass beaded custom tassels, as well as very tall & ultra unique custom florals that were dramatic, yet didn't get in the way of a good conversation or glasses clinking together in Cheer. I was told by my client that this was the longest Dinner Club Party event their group had ever had because of the festive and warm decorations. I must also add an exceptional menu planned by her and her sister-in-law. Sitting with them at the round kitchen table, planning out the details over a cup of coffee was like having breakfast with family! She always *let me spread my wings* and trusted my abilities. It's rare to find someone with such a supportive and giving heart. We were two completely opposite individuals - me, the uptight, suburban working mother of 3, with a laser-like drive; her, a laid back yet gently sophisticated country woman with a razor-like sense of humor and trusting soul. See, the thing is, we both loved the same things! And became close friends.

Here's a gorgeous window treatment I designed for a very challenging window configuration. It was extremely tight, I wanted to accent the arch window and naturally, look beautiful! The panel fabric is very tailored and tightly textured in a khaki color then trimmed out with a full but simple tassel fringe. For interest, I added a chenille horizontal stripe with all the rooms accent colors. It also had a touch of ethnic flair for a worldly look. The draperies turned out awesome. Decorator and Client = Very Happy!

This was my favorite male client. He was refreshingly partic
ular and I had a clear understanding of what his expectations were. Yet, he also trusted my instincts and was always open to ideas. We'd shop together at the World Trade Center and accomplish more in an hour than I could accomplish with some of my female clients. Bottomline, get things done! "LET'S HIT IT!" has always been my decorating motto!

Here's the dining room draperies - 20 ft ceiling! These also turned out beautifully. The accent fabric was made in Italy and the colors were so perfect nothing else compared! The overall window treatment is classic with gorgeous gold leafed hardware and beautiful finials!


My mind is still turning with ideas. I am just sorting through them all!


{xoxo} Juls~



  1. Hey hey!

    I LOVE your new blog look. I mean I LOOOOOVE it! I'm sorta jealous of it, but don't tell anyone!

    I think it's great that you're taking some time for you and trying to decide what it is you want to do and that you are in a position where you are capable to.

    I pretty much have the same opinion you have on different things you discussed in this entry. I also think we've become a nation that has no idea what "success" actually means and we've lost touch with ourselves in so many ways that I don't think many people really understand what inner peace and happiness is.

    Some of the most interesting people I have met in my adult life I have done so via this medium and have some great friends that I'd not have were I not open to it, but I'll admit to having a love hate relationship with computers, lol.

    I love the examples you showed of your decorating sense. The tablescape was to die for. I'm in love with that color lately for some reason.

    Have a terrific Tuesday!


  2. I Love ur header! And I am so glad to hear that you love ur blog lift.. lol .. Thanks for inviting me over..

    Have a blessed day..

  3. @SparkofWhimsy Hey Angelique! I think it's pretty cool. I did the header myself in Photoshop and need to tweak the subtitle with a little color to pop it more. I love the distressed look of it.

    I wish the color photos of the draperies were better. They were taken with my old camera and truly don't do them justice! I want to learn more about the camera! Just like you mention from time to time. Cannon has a great tutorial that I haven't had time to check out.


    {xoxo} Juls~

  4. @Cat Yes I do love it! Whimsical, antiquey and it looks kinda altered art-ish.

    {Hugs} Juls~

  5. I wish we could get together and share either a bottle of wine or a pot of coffee, or both! I feel stuck too and I just keep looking for the same dull jobs because I know I can do them, and do them well, but they are never satisfying for me.

    Thanks for sharing some of your amazing working with the pics that you posted - they are AWESOME and you should be proud.

    Most people who don't blog, don't understand what it is or the incredible people that you can meet. I'm so very happy I've met you and know that I'm here for you in blogland!

    Peace and much Luv,

    P.S. I'm in LUV with the new blog look! It is absolutely beautiful!

  6. Oh I LOVE your blog's new look!! Believe it or not, it looks like something that an interior designer would have designed, because it seems like fabric!! It SUITS you. I too think that it great that you are taking time off. Sometimes we just have to step back from something that has occupied our life for so long, let new ideas and thoughts settle in on us, and suddenly a new direction will take us along! Often it just happens, thru a small coincidence, a suggestion, etc.

    Loved the photos of what you have created for other's homes. Oh my, my oldest sister would have loved it for you to come to her house and do such wonders on her windows! She is very much into decorating. What talent you have.

  7. @Jeannie BOTH sounds great, girl! I love red wine. I always start the day out with a pot of coffee -- it gets my creative wheels speeding! I can't keep up with myself sometimes.

    I think that a lot of people find themselves in the same position. I enjoyed all the aspects of decorating except the constant running around and dealing with *difficult* client issues. I know, there will always be that. I thought the bedding line would centralize my efforts. I can deal better with corporate clientele than residential clientele. I'm not one to be managed easily either. For the most part, I am just give me a direction and I'll handle it. Self-motivated. I was very open to suggestions and, actually, expanded my horizons with clients who were very smart & had talent of their own. Even my friend, Jamie, is awesome at design. She has an eye for objects but I am a little stronger at placement.

    There are a few things going on in my life that need to be handled. Once those things are handled, then I can move forward full speed ahead! I believe blogging has influenced my future and I can't wait to see what the future holds. It's just been very refreshing, fun and I've learned so much.

    Okay, another blog novel here...

    If you are all are ever in town, you are welcome to stay with us and we'll go have that bottle of port! Or a cup of coffee over the phone! :)

    {xoxo} Juls~

  8. @ThePinkBirdHouse Hi girl! Nice of you to stop by and see me. Thanks for the compliments. Yes, I adore fabrics. Loved the UPS man dropping off a box of freshly packaged samples to drool over! And trims!? Oh my .... love it all.

    I'm enjoying my break and I think lots of people around me are a little jealous! ;)

    {xoxo} Juls~

  9. Look! We both felt like redecorating our blogs at the same time! Mmmm... What a coincidence!

    Outer changes are necessary when we feel them innerly too.

    I´ve made a pair of pics of your lovely glasses. Have a look!

  10. WOW! Just found ya! Im blown away by your amazing decorating talents. Such Beautiful Dreamy works of art. I wish you could come decorate my home too. And your BLOG ROCKS!!!

  11. Sometimes we all need to take some time to reflect on the direction we need to go. :)

    Your decorating shots are beautiful!

  12. Oops, meant to say that I really like your new blog pic!
    Did your daughter have fun while she was here in San Antonio?

  13. @America Glad that you stopped by to have a look! It looks like you are a designer for House Mouse??? Love their products - so cute!

    {Hugs} Juls~

  14. @Sarahlcc Thank you Sarah! I've been looking for blogging, altered art and scrapbook groups. I really love seeing all the beautiful things everyone is working on!

    {Hugs} Juls~

  15. @Nancy Absolutely! I truly needed (need) a little time off to brush off some disappointments.

    Jacq and David had a blast in San Antonio. Marty gave him some hotel points and they stayed on the Riverwalk one nite. Also went to Sea World and had a great time.

    {xoxo} Juls~

  16. Juls you are really clever and creative. Creative people need to be challenged. You will go on and do some interesting things in a similar yet different direction. Hey I love your work too. But you are right you are important and your family is important. And we are all glad you started blogging! I think blogging will inspire you in other ways and its a commitment too which can be a good discipline. Its funny how others dont understand the internet or blogging really either. There are some suspicions about it. Sure you do have to be careful although the blogosphere is a little different.

    Oh I wish you lived closer too because I think we have loads in common. I am loving your drapes too. Classy and opulent! And your blog is looking great!

  17. @Mermaid Lullaby They look beautiful in the candlelight! I am so happy that you like them and can't wait to see a picture of you all sipping wine with them near the beautiful ocean!

    {xoxo} Juls~

  18. @Lilly Yes Lilly, you can hire me as your American Decorator, I'll fly over for a summer and we will transform your house, drink wine & eat cupcakes!

    {xoxo} Juls~


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