diy: coffee filter flower garland

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Our Dinner x Design table scape received countless questions about the hanging rose petal garden installation we created above the table. So much so, we decided to prepare a step by step DIY guide. We dyed 600 coffee filters and used roughly 500 in our installation. The outcome was incredibly dramatic, more so than we anticipated, and we too were quite smitten with the result. We hope you find this tutorial useful should you decide to channel your inner creative and take on the simple yet dramatic task of dying this ever so popular household item.  NYLAFREEDESIGNS_DXD2015_FINAL 003 Image credit: Phil Crozier

step one

you will need:
• food colouring, a minimum of two packages (we used clubhouse brand from superstore, blue, red, yellow and their unique purple from the neon collection) buy enough to manipulate the colour, the more food colouring the higher the saturation of colour
• gloves (as fitted as possible)
• water
• large coffee cup or tupperware container
• pitcher of water on hand, in order to dilute colour as needed
• coffee filters (we used superstore no name brand no. 2,  they are smaller in scale and create a realistic feel)
• 2-3 garbage bags. place over the surface you are using to dye the coffee filters, you will also need this space to allow them to dry
*finally, wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, the food colouring will stain coffee filter diy step 1 step two
• while wearing gloves, begin by adding food colouring to the water. dip coffee filter into liquid mix to test the colour. this will enable you to find the right balance in colour ratio. we used roughly:
5 parts red
3 parts neon purple
2 parts blue
1 part yellow.
• use artistic licence when testing the colours, they don’t all have to be perfect!
• variation in colour creates visual interest. also, remember the coffee filters will always dry to a lighter colour, therefore don’t be afraid to use a lot of food colouring. coffee filter diy step 2
• once you are satisfied with the colour, begin by dying 5-10 coffee filters at a time, dipping them into the coloured water. once all of the filters are saturated, lift out of the liquid and drain the excess by pressing them with your hands. set filters aside. step3 step four
• the dye mixture will slowly deplete after each 5-10 filters have been saturated. depending on the number of coffee filters you wish to make, dilute the food colouring solution, which will alter the colour, lightening each batch to create a natural ombre effect. step4 step five
• once you have used all the coffee filters or have simply run out of food colouring mix, open up the filters and prop them up like tents on the garbage bags. this allows them to dry in a open position creating a flower-like effect. allow a minimum of 4 hours for filters to completely dry. coffee filter diy step 5 step six
• when the coffee filters are completely dry it’s time for the stringing process. you will need
-fishing line (we used 20lb)
-safety pin or paper clip coffee filter diy Step 6 step seven
• depending on desired length, take 8-10 coffee filters choosing ones that vary in colour saturation and hue. line them up on the table, arranging them in the preferred order. coffee filter diy step 7 step eight
• begin by taking your safety pin or paper clip and poking a small hole at the peak/highest point of the coffee filter. take a piece of fishing line approx. 4-5 ft. long and tie a knot at the end. thread the fishing line through the coffee filter so the opening faces downward. coffee filter diy step 8 step nine
• irregularly place the coffee filters along fishing line, becoming more concentrated at the top. this gives more volume as well as creates an organic feel. coffee filter diy step 9 Repeat until desired number of garlands has been reached. Now sit back and admire your hard work and creative genius. Well done!  coffee filter diy final

Thank you to Adrienne who put this DIY together, photographing and note taking along the way. Adrienne also dyed all 600 coffee filters for our Dinner x Design installation and as mentioned they were the pièce de résistance.




happy new year!

Hello to a new day, a fresh start, a new chapter, a new book….  A NEW YEAR! Cheers everyone. 2015 happy new year cake 2015cakequote Cake: made by me! Recipe: Martha Stewart


chairLIFT chair revealed!

The 2014 Calgary Home + Design Show invited us to participate in a charity initiative called ChairLIFT. We chose a chair from Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta’s ReStore and upcycled it using remnants of left over fabrics and a fresh coat of paint.

chairLIFTbefore Our chair selection was carefully considered and we got to work on selecting fabrics and finish options. We played with several Rustoleum paint colours and mixed fabrics to create a stylish chair with well appointed details. We are thrilled with the outcome! Take a look at how it all evolved.  chairLIFT chair, calgary home and design show, habitat for humanity, restore

chairLIFT chair, calgary home and design show, habitat for humanity, restore Our chair is pretty, with an unexpected twist of colour and pattern, embracing our love of both. It is a “use anywhere” statement piece. chairLIFT chair, calgary home and design show, habitat for humanity, restore All entries will be exhibited and auctioned off at the Calgary Home + Design Show (September 18-21, 2014 at BMO Centre) with 100% of proceeds directly benefitting Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta and ReStore. Please come out and show your support and bid on your favourite chair.

Thank you to Rustoleum for donating the fabulous and easy to use product, our wonderful upholsterer Red Eight for donating their time in re-upholstering our chair, and to our lovely client for allowing us to use remnant bits of their left over fabric.  And of course, thank you to the Calgary Home + Design Show for inviting us to be part of this exciting charity fundraiser!

Have a design dilemma? I’ll be available for Ask a Designer, Friday 1-2 and Sunday 1-2 and 3-4. Would love to see you!



experience: calgary stampede 2014

The Calgary Stampede has once again come to an end and each year we seem to be joining in the fun more than in years passed. The Stampede is a culture like no other. The entire city is involved with pancake breakfasts, western wear for all ages (even if, and especially if you aren’t a cowboy), beer tents galore, bull riding (whether you’re in the rodeo or not), lunches that never end and all work seems to slow down for what has become “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. Those are tall boots to fill! but one thing’s for sure, Calgary has a lot of pride in it’s city, people and vibrancy. Don’t let the “cowboy theme” fool you. This is an internationally recognized event with high caliber concerts, as well as fireworks and a Grandstand production every night. Even though locals have been known to run for the hills when the Stampede rolls in, there is no denying the amazing spirit of the city for these ten days in July.

Here are some of my Stampede highlights via Instagram.

calgary stampede 2014

Nyla Free Designs Inc. is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs Inc. also offers online design to Canadian clients through Design in a Box.


summer solstice weekend

Summer solstice has become one of my favourite days of the year. It means summer is officially here and we enjoy the day with the most amount of daylight. Last year we hosted a party to celebrate milestone birthdays as well as this special day with family and friends.

Part of the fun of hosting parties is creating the ambiance. The music, flowers, candles, food, beverages and decor elements all add creative touches to any party. Of course the main ingredient is always the people.

We’re planning to do the same this year so today I’m working on all those decorative details in preparation. As we’ve just come off of a difficult week personally, I’m so looking forward to having this time with special friends.

Last year we were lucky enough to have my sister in law (and photographer!), Blynda DaCosta here for the party and she took a few photos before and during the party. Here’s a little “taste”.

summer solstice 2013 Do you have any plans to celebrate summer solstice? Whatever you’re up to, I wish you a wonderful weekend and happy first day of summer!

Photos by: Blynda DaCosta Photography


a day in the life: birthday party bliss

I adore birthdays. It’s the one day of the year to celebrate YOU and of course kids are on the count down months in advance to this highly anticipated day. Both my girls have summer birth dates which proves difficult in organizing parties as many people are away. This year I waited until school started up again to celebrate or 7 year old’s birthday with her friends and OH!, what a party. Admittedly, I was feeling the stress of pulling it off but when I leaned over to hear my little girl whisper in my ear “Mom, this is the best party ever!”, it made every ounce of the day worth it. The cupcake piñata was epic, although I nearly shed a tear as the girls attacked it’s beautiful tissue paper icing adorned with a cherry on top. *sigh* Sometimes I wonder if the party is as much for me as it is for them.

birthdday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties

Nyla Free Designs Inc. is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs Inc. also offers an online design service to Canadian clients through Design in a Box.


trend from decorex: sculpted

While across the pond last September for the London Design Festival during BlogTour London we visited Decorex, the UK’s premier luxury design and interiors show. I couldn’t help but notice the incredible number of sculpted pieces, whether furniture, lighting or accessories, it was a predominant design element in numerous booths.

We’ve come through a ‘phase’ if you will of boxy, square, clean lined and somewhat minimal however there’s a movement towards added detail and shapes with softer lines and curves, and I like it.

What do you think? Are you ready to embrace a softer side of design?

Take a closer look at these great lines here: Graham and Green, Ochre, Julian Chichester, William Yeoward, Louise Bradley, Cox London

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.




trend from tent london: graphic

Tent London is a multi faceted design show and considered one of the most creative events in the design calendar. It boasts over 200 established, yet up and coming interior product designers. These companies are pushing boundaries, with colour combinations and graphic patterns, a trend I spotted each and every row I traveled.

Seaside inspired, Zoe Murphy uses textiles and imagery on recycled furniture encouraging a ‘love what belongs to you’ mindset.

Vintage toys, childhood memories and travel continue to inspire the designers of Mini Moderns where they’ve mastered the art of pattern in their own voice on such items as pillows, wallpaper, fabrics, rugs and ceramics.

Luxurious bohemian patterns is all you really need to say to pique your interest of Surfacephilia. A sketched approach to the design of wallpapers, cushions, bone china and greeting cards, the depth and interest in each pattern caught my eye instantly.

It doesn’t get more classic than black and white, however award winning print design company Erica Wakerly, has taken the graphic combination and softened it. Their approach to interior textiles and wallpaper is described as ‘Modern and delicate. Distinct, but not overpowering’.

Lovers of colour and inspired by their surroundings of nature, art and fashion, Parris Wakefield Additions collection is bold and graphic. With a strong and successful background in graphic design they’ve embraced interiors with their collection of cushions, fabrics, rugs and wallpapers.

What I loved about BlogTour London and the London Design Festival was the diverse visual eye candy that did not disappoint day after day. Each show, showroom tour and not to mention BlogTour London participants, brought a different approach to design, inspiring avenues of reaching their end product as well as a style so apparently unique to everyone,  you couldn’t help but be filled with the vigor to go forth and create!

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.


get to know: lapicida

“Nature does not differentiate between ‘new’ and ‘old’ – a block of limestone quarried yesterday could be over 180 million years old; anchoring even the most contemporary of homes to Earth’s genesis.” Lapicida

Simply defined as “stone cutter, quarryman”, Lapicida is mastering the art of stone. They are taking stone to new levels, pushing boundaries of what we expect and assume. I never thought the words ‘bespoke’ and ‘stone’ could be used in the same sentence. Lapicida proved me wrong during the tour of their King’s Road showroom, opening my eyes and inspiration vault of what is possible. And it’s endless….

Lapicida is combining the traditional skill sets of masonry with high-tech capabilities such as 3-D objects, scanning and automated stone working. The outcome is pure drama, creating etched patterns, inlay details and carvings of such objects from sinks to cars. Anything your heart desires.

The showroom in and of itself spoke volumes to the company’s vision and road ahead. They are leading the way in the world of stone with an ‘outside the box’ approach to all they do. The space is full of romance and grace, architectural elements and a past meets present feel, much like their reclaimed collection which is beyond gorgeous and perfect in any setting.

Budget, lifestyle and of course taste are all part of the dialogue when considering flooring, counters, walls etc. whether in limestone, marble, travertine, onyx, slate, sandstone, rock crystal or other semi-precious stones. Where possible I encourage clients to invest in stone. There is no material offering the depth and variation of natural stone. Questions often come up regarding durability and maintenance, both honest and important questions. Education is the key to making the best decision for you and your home, however I challenge you to find anything as beautiful and hard wearing as stone.

This is raw sophistication at it’s finest. Thank you Lapicida for touring us through your exquisite showroom and for being a BlogTour sponsor. The attention to detail was apparent around every corner. The knowledge and enthusiasm you brought to us is paramount in helping us talk with our clients about choosing stone and natural products.

Lapicida has plans to enter the North American market which is beyond exciting. Until then, they have a fantastic website as well as an interactive app. so please do connect with them. You can also following them on twitter and facebook.

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.


Blogfest 2011: Day 1

I’ve just returned home from my trip to New York City and what an incredible week I’ve had. So much so, there are many blogs to come in order to report my experiences, findings and inspirations. I can’t possibly fit them all into one post.

My first day at Blogfest started with a rainy taxi ride to the Hearst Tower, a building that welcomes you street side with an old facade indicative of many building in New York. Look up and you’ll see that it towers with modern architecture. This is the first building in New York City to be certified LEED Gold and also the first to break ground after 9/11. It’s beautiful, inside and out.

Atop the 44th floor and celebrating the meeting of new friends and reuniting with old, we had lunch in style with House Beautiful. Our view was hidden by a dense fog but that didn’t matter much. We were all so happy to be sharing this incredible experience together.

After lunch we moved into the theater for panel discussions. Above, the team from Veranda magazine lead by Dara Caponigro where she shared her vision for Veranda and how they work towards creating the pages of their magazine. One thing Dara said that spoke to me was “magazines can really touch people”. There have been many times, countless actually when I’ve had a *moment* with a magazine and I have been experiencing and reading Elle Decor and House Beautiful for years. Dara has definitely opened my eyes to Veranda. With their gracious approach to a liveable luxury, you bet I’ll be checking them out regularly now.

During one of the discussions the panel was asked the following:

I was very appreciative of the thoughts on blogs from the editors. Magazines are imperative to me and my designs, not only from the perspective of leading the industry in design, inspirations and news on what’s up and coming, but also giving me ideas on what to blog.

Above the team from House Beautiful with Newell Turner leading the panel. Newell charmed us with his poise and encouragement with the acknowledgement of the time and effort that goes into blogging. He also shared that House Beautiful has some exciting news coming to the airwaves, so stay tuned!

With both House Beautiful and Veranda we had the chance to meet some of the people behind the scenes. I loved hearing where they got their start and what their position involves now. It was interesting to learn that almost everyone included in the panel that day had at one point or another worked in the offices of House Beautiful.

Another topic of discussion with some advice to bloggers from the magazine editors:

Again, so appreciative of what the editors had to offer as advice to bloggers. Nothing we haven’t heard before, but a reminder and reaffirmation is always good.

What was most incredible was listening to the editors and stylists from these magazines. It’s quite a moment when you realize that you are sitting in the same room with people you admire, learn from and drool over the pages of the magazines they work hard to put forth each and every month. The candor and respect they displayed for each other, their industry and even us as bloggers was quite something.

Taking a break on the mezzanine floor of the Hearst Tower was no hardship as we admired the architecture and mingled. There never seemed to be a shortage of words!

Finishing the day with a cocktail party with Mark Rozzo, Editor At Large at Town & Country magazine. Covers from the archives showed us how far T & C had come. Can you believe it’s been in print since 1846? In 1901 the name changed to Town & Country where you’ll continue to find fashion, arts, culture, interior design, travel, weddings, gala events and most recently, philanthropy has become a priority for the magazine.

I was proud to be one of many Canadians attending Blogfest and I don’t think this is even all of us! From left to right: Yvonne of Layers & Layers, me, Jennifer Powell of Kravet, Dane of 2Hounds, Michelle of Holley & Gill, Lisa Ferguson of Decor Mentor, Vanessa of Decor Happy, Sharon of Layers & Layers, Meredith Heron of Sashay and Amy of Eye See Pretty.

What a full day so far, but it doesn’t end here. Thursday’s post will share the rest from Day 1. Tomorrow watch for a fun scavenger hunt that we did during our visit to the New York Design Center.

Thanks for stopping by!



dabble mag launch party

Off I went to the Dabble Launch party and boy am I glad I did. Elte was the place to be last Thursday night. The party was highly interactive and an extremely social evening. I met so many new friends and re-united with others that I had briefly met during IDS11 a few short months ago. The sad part is that I hardly took any photos. The night got away on me. There were so many people to see and talk to that I forgot to capture the evening. The truth is I rarely even had my camera with me as my husband carried my handbag all night, bless him. I’ll share the few snapshots I did take as well as a few that I *borrowed*.

Let the celebration begin!

Admiring the eye candy of the amazing showroom at Elte we stopped for a Kodak moment. Me, Kimberley Seldon and LeAnne Bunnell (@ellestudio).

This night was all about painting the town blue, not red. Mini nail-bars were set up and guests encouraged to treat themselves to “The Cows Come Home” by OPI.

Kimberley Seldon talks to City Line and Design Contributors Nicholas Rosaci, Christine Da Costa and myself strike a pose.

Kimberley shared a vision for the magazine that started many years ago and that dream has come to life on the pages of Dabble Mag.

Cocktail Deeva’s ‘Dabble-tini’ drinks were a huge hit. Glasses here are all garnished and ready to be filled.

The people…oh the people! It was chock a block full with almost 1000 in attendance.

Fit with a red carpet, everyone had the chance to walk toward a photo opportunity to be on the cover of Dabble.

If you’re passionate about design, travel, food or even all three, then this magazine is for you. Warning: the photography on the pages of Dabble Mag is so incredible that it cause hunger, spur on a renovation or induce a travel bug. Dabble Mag will not be held responsible for any of the aforementioned, however please be sure to let us know if any or all have occurred :)

It was truly a night to remember and I was thrilled to be able to share it with my husband, family and friends.


Kimberley with CityLine and Cover photo shoot *borrowed* from Dabble Mag website.