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How To Make A Bed

How To Make A Proper Bed

It might seem silly to write about making a bed. However, today it seems the art of making a proper bed is lost. I will admit, I am more the “throw the sheets over the pillows” morning bed maker. My family hates it. However there is something to be said about a finely made bed and, even more, how a nicely made bed feels after a long day. So now I’ll challenge myself – and you – to make your bed. Here’s how:

If you’re starting from a bare bed, lift the mattress off of the box springs to add the bed skirt. Spread the bed skirt over the box springs and make sure it is even on both sides. The top of the bedskirt with nothing hanging down will go at the head of the bed. Place the mattress back onto the box springs and be careful not to mess up the bed skirt.
Starting with the fitted sheet at the head of the bed, cover the corner with the fitted sheet entirely and move down to the bottom corner on the same side. Whichever side you choose to start with is up to you. Then cover the next bottom corner entirely and stretch the sheet to last top corner. Next take the top sheet and stand at the foot of the bed and spread the top sheet over the fitted sheet. The side of the top sheet with the larger hem lays at the head of the bed and be sure to leave a small space between the head of the bed and the sheet. After you have spread the sheet entirely, tuck the top sheet under the mattress at the foot of the bed. Next move to one side of the bed and make a hospital corner. To do this take the draping sheet from the side about 16 inches from the foot and tuck in the lower drape (lower drape should look like a triangle). Hold the corner of the higher drape in place and fold the top drape over. Once finished the corner of the bed should look like a 45 degree angle. Repeat on the opposite side and then tuck in the remaining hanging sheet on both sides of the bed. Cover duvets with desired duvet cover and coverlets. Next place blanket or duvet on the bed, smooth it down creating a clean surface. If desired fold the top of the blanket at the head of the bed with the loose sheet on top. Take your pillows and slide them into their shams, if your pillow has a tag or a zipper at one edge-make sure you slide that side into the sham first. Lastly add pillows or any extra decor desired.

This total process should take 5-10 minutes, at the very most. Super easy, right? And you get a nicely made bed that your mother would be proud of.

Here’s a chart from twentytwowords in case you need a visual.



Throwback Thursday

Welcome back to another Throwback Thursday!

The Islamic design and lifestyle have an intense religious focus, much like Japan’s devotion to nature. The Islamic design esthetic focuses on tradition, with a unique flare, consistent and intricate. The designs remain consistent throughout the centuries; with timeless beauty, why change?

Early architectural techniques were derived from early conflicts and influences. This provided the knowledge of architecture but allowed the people to evolve a unique design style. The Islamic style is a rare form of design, manifestly in religion and lifestyle. The Koran structures society by gender and class. Separate entrances for men, women and classified people are part of the design of public and some private buildings. The Koran also influences architecture by its calligraphy. Koran calligraphic motifs reflect throughout public buildings, including mosques and other religious structures. Other popular motifs include meanders, stars (representing heaven), frets, rosettes, vines, scrolls, palm leaves and tendrils. Structural features however are principal attractions of Islamic design, and are icons of Islamic design. The Taj Mahal is the most notable example. The onion dome centers the exterior design as the highest peak and its largest feature; the onion dome is a distinctly Islamic design. Another noted feature is the pointed or ogival arch which cascade around the exterior. These arches are unique to Islamic design.

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image from Wikipedia

Although exteriors have an immensity of detail, the majority of the intricacy of Islamic design is found in the interior. With complex patterns, vivid colors, arches and vaulted ceilings, Islamic interiors reflect the divine infinity and the everlasting presence of their Almighty. Most colors derive from decorative elements, such as tiles, paintings and rugs. Recurrent colors include blues, greens, reds, gold, black, and cream. Textiles were heavily used for decorative, functional and comfort purposes. Due to the nomadic Arab lifestyle and heritage, minimal furniture was minimal, so textile usage was abundant.

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Like Islamic designs, Mystic Valley Traders designs are intricate and unique. In The Namaste Collection, Mystic uses popular Islamic colors (blues, greens, and cream) as well as intricate symmetrical patterns.

I hope you all enjoy today’s throwback!


How To: Measure For Upholstery

Last week we discussed How To: Upholster A Chair. I highlighted measuring the chair to determine fabric yardage requirements. Well, here’s how!

You need:
A tape measure
Something to record measurements
Graph paper

First review the piece of furniture. Notice each section of its body, where each piece connects. For instance, my arm chair has two inside arm sections, two front arms, the seat (also known as the deck), and the front rail that continues to the floor.

After analyzing the furniture, measure each piece with the tape. Add a few inches, I like to use 4-5″, so we have enough extra fabric to hide the staples. Always record measurements Width by Length for consistency.

When finished measuring, take graph paper and cut it to demonstrate the sections of fabric. Use a scale of 1 square equals 6″; if the section is 48″ x 24″, you’ll have 8 x 4 squares. Then, graph each section on the graph paper. Label each section clearly. Next grab a piece of 1/4 inch graph paper to represent the length of fabric. Since every square is equivalent to 6 inches, and typically upholstery is 54 inches wide, the representation will be 9 squares wide. Once done, count the squares and multiply by 6, to determine the inches of fabric required. Divide this by 36, which equals the total number of yards required.

These guides, from All Things Thrifty, show dimensions of popular pieces of furniture. Now go measure furniture like a pro!

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Throwback Thursday!

Greetings Readers!

Its Throwback Thursday!

Last week, we visited ancient Rome; rediscovering Romans’ desire for the lavish and ornate.  Today, we explore its opposite: the minimalistic, intricate designs of Japan.

Through a period of isolation, the Japanese acquired a taste and a design quintessentially their own. Although previously influenced from both China and Buddhism, Japanese art and design distinctly blended unity, harmony, and balance. The highest esthetic of Japanese design was expressed in Shibui, a collection of characteristics ruling everyday living. These characteristics are: simple, natural, implicit, humble, and silent. For instance, many Japanese homes would directly lead to gardens, divisions of space were seamless and natural components would emerge throughout the interiors. The only embellishments that would derive from motifs which were also naturalistic, as well as geometric and figurative.

The facades of Japanese architecture encompass Shibui beautifully. Japanese architecture appears as marvelous works of art, almost as if they are derived from nature. On the facades, the Japanese are more insistent on asymmetry, dissimilar to Chinese architecture that keenly concentrated on symmetry. The Japanese believed that an asymmetrical balance constructed engaging and dynamic design. Public buildings are monumentally built to enthuse, but normally are constructed of smaller scaled rooms, for intimacy and privacy. Most dwellings are also surrounded by tended gardens combining natural and man made elements. The Japanese were so in tune with nature that in case of any natural disaster, for instance earth quakes, buildings were easily built and could easily be rebuilt. Throughout history, Japanese design features vary very little, they value traditional over new, and plain over ornate.

Japan houseShrangi-La

Similar to Japanese design, the Mystic Valley Traders Shangri-La Collection expresses simplicity, nature and strong geometry. Constructed from the Oasis fabric, the bed skirt and pillow shams display strong geometry in neutral colors. The lagoon fabric, reserved for the duvet cover and a few shams, parade the only color of the collection similar to the color palette the Japanese used, also the lagoon fabric embodies naturalistic and oriental motifs, akin to Japanese art.

I hope you enjoyed todays Throwback, stay tuned for next weeks Throwback and my next How To!


How To: Upholster A Chair

Greetings Readers!

So we know great furniture dents our wallets. For those who, like me, love to save money and add their own design style, in this post I explain how to re-upholster a chair. Re-upholstering furniture can be a huge help to your bank account and allows much greater expression of an interior decorator’s design ethic. For instance, you may find a classic chair at an estate sale and a favored or coordinated upholstery fabric for a unique and well-matched result. Today, I’ll use an armchair example, but these tips apply to all chairs. Now let’s get to it!

First you need:
An armchair
7 yards of fabric*
Compressor with an air staple gun

* This applies to a wingback armchair; be sure to measure your chair before buying fabric and get a bit extra for safety.


Start removing the original fabric from the chair; lay out the old fabric to use as a pattern for the new fabric. Cut the new fabric according to the old pattern, leaving a few inches around the outside. Use a staple gun to hold the staples fast. Using the staple gun, staple the fabric to the chair.The fabric must be pulled tight. Ensure the fabric is staples two inches from the exterior edges, to hide the staples with the new upholstered pieces on top. See the image below, the staples are as inward as yours should be.


Reassemble the chair and voila! a brand new custom chair!

Next week: how to measure a chair and determine fabric requirements.

Please suggest a How-To topic of interest. Leave a comment or shoot me an email, as I’d love to hear from you. Stay tuned for this week’s Throwback Thursday!


Throwback Thursday

Greetings Readers!

Time for another Throwback Thursday!

For those who missed Throwback Thursday last week, I’m sorry! I’ve been busy developing my new How To posts, which will debut on Tuesday as a weekly feature. Please suggest topics or sources for your favorite DIY topics.

This week we’re talking about one of my favorite ancient societies, the Romans. The Romans were imaginative, integrating various cultures and designs from across the empire: notably from Greeks in the East and Etruscans in the North. The more affluent, embellished, material Roman culture influenced Western civilizations more than the Greeks.

At the height of the Roman Empire, it consisted of Western Europe as far north as Scotland, most of the Middle East, as well as the entire northern coast of Africa. The Romans were first to represent a variety of cultures; Rome was a melting pot of diverse influences, aggressively interpreted and lavishly decorated.

Roman architecture adopted contractual elements of the Greeks and Egyptians; however the Romans used a post and lintel system, mostly to organize exteriors but also to heighten the amount of exterior décor. Romans created elements such as pilasters, engaged columns and the arch order with distinguishing capitals, shafts, and bases. Intricate Romans designs feature on the capitals of columns and pilasters. Romans heavily used naturalistic motifs such as vines, acanthus leaves, flowers, as well as a variety of geometric shapes to decorate these elements. The Pantheon is most iconic Roman temple. A true masterpiece highlights Roman technical advancement; the Pantheon was a tribute to the gods.

Although the Pantheon has a simple exterior, the interior showcases Roman extravagance. Patterned marble floors with various geometric shapes leads your eyes to rectangular niches, mimicking exterior architecture, holding statues of gods. The walls are adorned with various marbles, pilasters and engaged columns with exquisite Corinthian capitals. More carvings above these pilasters and columns lead to the coffered concrete dome and oculus. The coffered ceiling provided added décor while also lightening the weight of the dome.

In contrast to public Roman interiors, private interiors weren’t lavishly carved, yet still boasted elegant painting. Compared to Greece, Roman interiors were more garnished. Roman interiors, however ,were not known well until the discovery of Pompeii. At the beginning of the 18th century the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum gave new and detailed insight into Roman 1st century material culture. Classical concepts from the exterior were echoed in the interior, often to define wall and ceiling configurations more distinctly in public interiors. Interiors showcased bright, bold colors such as black, gold, rust, Pompeiian red, turquoise, blue and green. Many of these colors came from frescoes, similar to the Egyptians and Greeks. Furnishings in the Roman Empire were typically grand, heavily carved wood, and extremely detailed. The Romans were the first to place a back on a sofa, which was used to sleep, eat and lounge. Roman textiles were composed of cotton, wool, silk and linen in bright colored patterns and embroideries.

Similarly to the Romans, Mystic’s Park Avenue collection used the same colors and motifs as the Romans. The Park Avenue uses geometric shapes on the throw pillows, contrasting the intricately designed duvet cover in similar colors. The bold red and black beautifully orchestrates floral motifs across the duvet cover, honoring natural Romans motifs.


I sincerely hope you enjoyed today’s Throwback Stay tuned for next week’s two new blog entries, starting with the inception of How To!


Throwback Thursday!

Greetings Readers,

It’s Throwback Thursday!

Ancient Egypt.  A captivating society that influenced every modern society around the world.  While Ancient Egyptians are noted for advancements in architecture, they also influence the design of modern textiles and home furnishings.

Egyptians had no abundance of furniture, and what they had was minimalistic. Stools were common in Egyptian households.  Tables were rarities even in wealthier households, and Egyptians used the floor to write or to prepare meals. Their furniture was crafted from reeds or other types of wood, with woven or occasionally leather-bound seats. Common citizens had stools of reed, pillows, or reed seating mats; wood was too expensive for the masses. Egyptian furniture so wellcrafted that we still use their innovations today. Stools, some chairs, and tables used mortise-and-tenon construction, variations of which are still used today.  Beds in ancient Egypt used minimal material yet provided surprising comfort.  Wooden or reed frames held the stretched or woven material upholstered fast to the bed. Linens were used as blankets, a light material perfect for the hot Egyptian climate. Oftenthese beds had lions or bulls carvings, reflecting strength.



Images from Talaria Enterprises

Wealthy Egyptians commissioned more luxurious furniture and richer materials. These Egyptian homes relaxed in fine wooden chairs upholstered with animal skins or woven from leather strips. Chairs and stools were carved with animal motifs.  Royal furniture was commonly painted or constructed out of metals such as gold or bronze.


Descended of the Egyptian style, the Mystic Valley Traders Silk Bronze Collection embodies the classic metallic colors and luxury of wealthy ancient Egyptians. The Bronze Dupioni Silk mixes tradition with modernity. This collection is available today.

See more at the link below.

Stay tuned for next week’s Throwback.


Throwback Thursday!

Greetings Readers,

On our first Throwback Thursday, let’s go back to ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks brought to modern society philosophy, democratic government, and critical elements of our design trade. Naturally, we focus on how an ancient Greek society – the Minoans – influence today’s designs.

In 2000-1400 BC, Minoans were concentrated on the island of Crete. Minoans were agricultural peoples now known mostly for their development of metals such as bronze. However, they’re also known for intriguing design motifs linked to their geography. In early Minoa, artists centered on feminine figures and geometrics. Minoan art featured many water and water-dwelling mammal motifs in their designs. Principally in the wealthiest homes, Minoans animal motifs decoratived a wide range of accessories, such as vases and furniture. Yet Minoans also decorated their walls with marine images including dolphins, octopuses, and fish.













Sacred Murals Studio 

The Minoans applied these designs using fresco painting. Fresco painting applies fresco paint to wet plaster, binding the pigment to the wall, creating fluid, organic lines with long lasting pigments.











Today we hark these timeless aquatic designs, still inspiring our inspirations at Mystic. The Oceana embodies marine motifs just as the ancient Minoans did inCrete.Here we see Mystic’s Oceana duvet cover and shams using familiar octopus, crab, and lobster motifs on the linens. See the link below for the full collection.

Hope you enjoyed our first Throwback Thursday; please come back next week for our next Throwback!


High Point Market

Greetings Readers,

Welcome back to The Trading Post! In today’s post, we discuss the home furnishing industry’s favorite holiday: High Point Market.

“Market” started in 1909 in High Point, North Carolina, showcasing local furniture, providing a more functional and regional location for furniture manufacturers to conduct business. In 1921, it became an immeasurably more valuable resource for the Southern furniture market when, with its sights set on becoming the world’s Furniture City, High Point built the Southern Furniture Exposition Building, now the International Home Furnishings Center (IHFC), between Commerce, Green, Wrenn, and Hamilton in downtown High Point. Throughout the 1940s and 1980s the Southern furniture market grew and expanded immensely; in 1989, High Point assumed the mantle of “Furniture Capital of the World”.

Today High Point Market remains the world’s largest and most important furniture exposition, Over 75,000 people venture to High Point for each Spring and Fall market . Included in those 75,000 was be Mystic’s Jay Taylor, Eric Kainer and me.

Jay and Eric were testing trends: assessing competition, and recruiting a top sales team. We are looking for talented and diligent sales representatives; please recommend your favorite sales professional, or send your qualifications to us. We’d love your advice.

This year at market I worked with Century Furniture. I’ve assisted with the exhibit set up – it’s incredible! A majority of Century’s furniture is American-made and impeccably designed. Please share what your plans for Market were in the comments below. Also, this coming Thursday will begin Throwback Thursdays, so be sure to return for that.


Intro to The Trading Post

Greetings Readers,

Welcome to The Trading Post, where we’ll connect, share, learn, explore and inspire each other through the world of art and design.

About Mystic: Nancy Mills took inspiration from Welsh weaves, adding modern fabrics to old-world designs, creating a new premium craft bedding market in the United States. Expert weavers adapted her inspirations to create uniquely beautiful coverlets, shams, and pillows. Skip to 2003, when Nancy’s retirement spelled opportunity to the Tager brothers, who greatly expanded the company. And then finally last year, Aquetong Mills reinforced Mystic’s rich heritage with new designs, a new website, social media, and catalog updates. I encourage you to look at the full history,

About your Blogress: I’m Lauren and, like most of you, I’ve been working in the design industry forever, and I’m still a student of our customers, as well as working in the industry. I’ve a passion for writing, for elegant home furnishings, history of architecture and for the ideas and information we’ll share. Now let’s get back to you, and our blog: I’ve got my first several topics sketched out, and I’m scouting for more. Where you’ve got a passion, a controversy, an opinion, or even a question, please share it.

And as we develop our blog technology, we encourage you to leave your comments after each of my posts, I look forward to hearing from you, contact me at Stay tuned for my next where we’ll be talking about the High Point Furniture Market!