June 4, 2008

This week we are answering a few questions from the survey. I hope you'll find this information useful. Have a wonderful week.

Two questions I hear often are:

How can I present custom without sounding too high brow?


How can I make enough to support myself and my children?

These two questions have the same answer!

One of the things I did this past year that has had the most dramatic impact on my professionalism and income was joining Toastmasters. I attend weekly and participate as much as possible. I find I can now speak with authority and listen with intent to hear.

Our club has a camera so I can review my speech and see any nuance I would like to enhance or delete. It has taught me how to take a breath, collect my thoughts and present a thought with sincerity and authenticity.

At a customer's home, I listen better and am a vital member of the design team. The only thing that I have changed is "how" is say what has to be said. And, I give full credit to Toastmasters for showing me a better, more effective method to communicate.

The two bonuses: It is fun and there is a room of potential customers within the membership!

Sumptuous Seating


I have a customer who would like boxed cushions with a down look and feel. I have never done anything like this before and wondered what your recommendation would be? Basically, I want to know if I should have a foam core and then purchase the down feathers to fill in around the foam or do I just go with the down filler? I have your "Fun with Foam? DVD but I don't recall your addressing down. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Jennifer:

I would not go all down/feather. It does not last and is not comfortable unless you fluff it often. The solution is to use foam as the center of the cushion and slide it into a specially made "envelope" of feather and down. The foam provides the support you need and the down and feather envelope provides the sumptuous "cush" the customer wants.

I have an upholstery house make the down envelope as pictured below.
Depending on the need for cushion height, I fill it with either a 2 or 3" foam.

How do you know which height of foam to use? Because there are so many variables, here's what I do-

Order the envelope to hold a 3" piece of foam then take both 2 and 3" foam and the envelope and go visit the client. Try both. If these are for dining room chairs you will need to be sure there is plenty of room for legs to slide under the table without hitting the apron and that the weight of the client does not cause the cushion to bottom out with the smaller foam.


photo from Harris Pillow Supply

Be sure to get quotes from the upholstery supplier and know what they are putting inside. 10/90 is cheaper than 25/75 but both are good for this application.

Last you do not want to make this envelope yourself. Life is too short. Been there and done that, way too short. You can use Lodi Down and Feather or Harris Pillow Supply as a source for the envelope.