Monday, November 30, 2009

A Post-Turkey Return

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Didn't get the chance to post last week, since I was running around prepping for (and ultimately enjoying!) the holiday. Lots of fun crammed into the last 5 days or so... I'm still trying to recover! Not only did I have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, I played hostess for our 5th annual "friendsgiving" on Saturday, aptly titled Thanksgiving 2 (or T-Givs 2 for short). Flaming marshmallow drama aside, it was a wonderful time spent with my favorite people, sharing my favorite foods.

The photo above is of a little arrangement I put together for the celebration, inspired by found items from the Fall. Shadow boxes and floating frames were used to display various nuts, cinnamon sticks, leafs, feathers and a few fabric scraps that tied in with my palette. Glass bottles wrapped in twine held branches and floral stems, while pine cones and mason jar votives punctuated the display. For the focal point, I affixed unfinished wooden letters (custom made by to a 24" x 36" canvas and propped up the number 2 in front for added dimensionality.

I didn't document my work in progress, but everything here is easily DIY-able! The bottles did take a while to wrap, but I love the way they turned out. Super cheap to make, and the end result is something that I'll get a lot of use from! All of the frames will also be recycled for other projects, or become a part of everyday décor.

Did you host your own holiday get together? What are some of the things you did to dress up the room or table? Feel free to share pictures if you have them!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Magical Stained Glass

Loving this photo featured on Apartment Therapy from this year's Bienalle International Art Exhibit in Venice.  The colorful reflection on the floor is from American artist Spencer Finch's "Moonlight" installation, an ode to stained glass created by applying gel filters to existing windows throughout the space. The hanging incandescent bulbs make up Finch's "Moondust," which complement the windows and add a magical feeling to the room. Check out more photos from: Spring Globe's flickr 

The colors and lighting in this picture are absolutely gorgeous. Stained glass is incredibly dramatic, and the idea of creating a simple and temporary stained glass window with colored film is brilliant. Maybe one day I'll take that up as a DIY project! In the meantime, here are some easy ways to instantly incorporate a stained glass feel into your home décor.

Clockwise from top left:
Aqua stained glass table lantern with metal handle from Glassware Manufacturers 
Butterscotch stained glass lamp and multicolor lamp from Charmaine's Past & Present 
Mixed color glass mosaic tiles by EVIT 
Amber mosaic glass bowl by Glassware Manufacturers 
Tree of Life stained glass window from Stained Glass & More
Stained glass leaded mirror by Libby Harri at Tinted View
Glass genie bottle from the large decanter collection by Joe Cariati 
Recycled collage made from fused glass dinnerware and bottles, featured on Southern Exposures (similarly amazing work available from Daniel Mahr Stained Glass Studio )
Other worlds kaleidoscope with stained glass wheel from Anthropologie 
Turquoise blue gilded glass votive with horizontal and vertical accents from Luna Bazaar 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So Much Glitter

In the process of cruising Etsy for some craft ideas, I came across these awesome items from Judy's Mosaic Supplies. I've always wanted to create mosaics, and these shiny (and cheap!) materials are especially tempting.  From left to right: Goldwater Silvercoat Stained Glass Tiles, Silver Metallic Coarse Sand Glitter, and Glass Gems in Electric Black

How can you not love something that shimmers in the light? I have quite an affinity for sparkling items, but rarely take the opportunity to work them into my wardrobe. Glittery clothing and accessories can be borderline over-the-top, but certain pieces in neutral metallic colors can make quite a statement when paired with more modest basics. I'd be proud to rock any of these beauties below..

Clockwise from top left:
Stone color wavy sequin blouse from Topshop  ($90)
Crushed glitter minaudiere by J. Crew  ($49.50)
Marc by Marc Jacobs faux bow glitter ring on Zappos ($54)
Black Silence & Noise sequin tee from Urban Outfitters ($48)
Sequin brooches by jeweler Joanna Campbell featured via Fingers
Black stingray cuff bracelet in luluka's Etsy store ($40)
ABS sequined shift dress at Saks Fifth Avenue ($360)
Sequin scarf in iron from Ann Taylor Loft ($29.50)
Christian Louboutin Fred Flat glitter in anthracite at Barney's ($595)
Glitter shimmer pot in silver by Sephora  ($8)
Silence & Noise sequin skirt from Urban Outfitters ($88)
Marni glitter flower necklace on Brown's
Nude glitter pump by Christian Louboutin at Bergdorf Goodman ($595)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Junk Food

This odd little illustration by Jared Stumpenhorst, originally dreamed up as a t-shirt design for Woot, caught my eye mostly because of the interesting selection of snacks. I've seen the burger/fries combo on t-shirts, the cupcakes and candy combo, even a family of fruits with faces--but I'd yet to come across such a fine sampling of junk food. 

The nervous smiles on their faces make me wonder, are they self-conscious about the way some might look down on them? Or are they about to get eaten by someone more like me?

Let's face it, these snacks may not be the best for your diet, but there are some benefits to cooking them in your own kitchen. Healthy recipes and fresh ingredients can take out a lot of the yuck-factor from these usually mass-produced treats. Alternatively, making a conscious decision to buy all-natural alternatives to your old favorites can help satisfy a craving without doing any real damage. Everything in moderation, right? Ahh, junk food..

Clockwise from top left:
Really simple homemade pizza from (one of my favorites!) Smitten Kitchen 
Copycat Oreo cookie recipe by Cupcake Project 
Soft pretzel recipe from Cooking Light via My Recipes 
Healthy microwave potato chips from Fat Free Vegan 
100% natural GuS (Grown-up soda) available in a variety of flavors
Fried chicken photo from Sweet Tea with Lemon , recipe by Alton Brown 
Homemade peanut butter cups from Genesis of a Cook 
Glazed donut holes recipe by Diana's Desserts 
Greek lamb burgers with spinach, red onion and Feta from Bon Appétit
Fresh fruit roll-ups recipe by Sugarlaws 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pattern Party

If you know that I love packaging and pretty patterns, it goes without saying that I would be completely amazed by these brilliant take-out cups. Graphic artist Sarah Walsh designed these beauties as part of an image overhaul for Mallard Tearooms, a specialist tea company. According to Sarah, "the mix and match branding is inspired by the eclectic feel of the establishment, which is quirky, eccentric and unmistakably English." Check out more from this project on her portfolio site.

Obviously a bit excited about these cute designs, I took her cue in putting together a quirky, eccentric and unmistakably English tea party that incorporates both the patterns and palettes from the Mallard project. From tabletop to dessert buffet, the details we might normally overlook are an amazing opportunity to incorporate more of your theme--just check out the cookies with stunning houndstooth-print icing!

Clockwise from top left:
Red ranunculus arranged in a teacup from Domino's, "Unexpected Vases" (via Duet Weddings )
DIY aqua mason jar project via Apartment Therapy
Houndstooth print cookies designed by pastry artist Amber Spiegel
Classic red teapot from Whittard of Chelsea (£17.50)
Dotti red cup and saucer on Living and Giving ($10.99)
Fabric potted plant in black houndstooth by janejoss on Etsy ($28)
Shabby chic English rose napkins on Shabby Chic Rose Interiors (£1.95 for 20)
Picket fences floral plates from Home A La Mode ($24.99)
Sabre red gingham charger plate, found on French Habits
Teal bamboo lattice letterpress note cards from the Garden Aviary collection by Elum Design
Turquoise M&Ms in a candy buffet inspiration photo from Details Event Rental
Strawberry cupcake recipe by Bumbleberry Cakes
Red gingham muffin cups from Fancy Flours  ($4 for 40 wrappers)
Cakes inspired by calico-print fabric on Martha Stewart Weddings
Houndstooth table runner from CoCoMalé (£21.00)
Recycled glass votive holders from Target ($49.99 for set of 6)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Post-less Wednesday!

No post again? Egads!

We're working on moving ourselves over to a new host, so updates have been lighter than usual. Excited about getting everything set up in our new home! More features, more functionality, and definitely more posts. Get pumped! I know I am.

Image above is from Dutch fashion photog duo, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, via Radeville (kinda NSFW).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wise Owls

I absolutely adore this collection of owl figurines featured on abby try again (via here comes the sun).  I'm a sucker for anything with an owl on it.. not sure when or why this obsession came over me, but it's been quite a few years of owl lovin' with no end in sight.

Plenty of designers have shown their admiration for our wise feathered friend in their collections - just check out a few of the pieces below that are all on sale right now!  The gorgeous sweater is actually a DIY project from Needled that I could only ever dream of imitating. Amazing work!

Clockwise from top left:
People's Market owl shift dress on Moonspark (£51.99)
Crafty owl scoop neck from Urban Outfitters ($24)
MARC by Marc Jacobs owl pendant necklace at Neiman Marcus ($98)
Bronze owl belt from Highway Child ($158)
Steampunk owl ring by chinookhugs on Etsy ($21.99)
Brown owl handbag on Patina ($78)
Long brown owl print scarf from Pretty Raccoon on Etsy ($21)
Book club owl print Keds slip-ons ($77)
Samurai owl organic cotton tee by ironspider on Etsy ($23)
Owl crystal-embellished clutch by Judith Leiber on Net-a-porter ($3,800)
Cozy owl mittens by Brooklyn-based design company Butternut
Handmade owl sweater by Needled (pattern here for brave knitters)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Le French Dresser

I recently came across this piece by Wary Meyers , a husband and wife design team, on Apartment Therapy.  "Le French Dresser" was created by adding scroll-saw cut wooden letters to a salvaged dresser, drawing upon inspiration from Lou Dorfsman's Gastrotypographicalassemblage.  This awesome DIY project is currently featured in Wary Meyers' book, "Tossed and Found ," along with several other simple masterpieces created from items that others might disregard as trash.

My goal here was to create a space for this lovely piece of furniture to live in.  I decided to stick with the black and white theme and tie everything together with fun patterns, some more typography and a few nods to France. I adore the photo collage in the shot below,  especially since it evokes the alignment of compartments in a california job case - the basis for Lou Dorfsman's remarkable design.

Clockwise from top left:
Ung Drill black baroque-style frame from Ikea ($24.99)
Eiffel Tower votive candle holders at Sur la Table ($14.95)
Black and white bedroom photo via Decor Pad (to recreate the photo collage, try this set of 10 frames from Urban Outfitters )
Fleur de Lis pillow from Pillow Superstore ($42.99)
Versa black stripe pillow by Madeline Weinrib 
Loop leaf ottoman in laser-cut steel by meganauman on Etsy ($750)
Chalkboard sticker with printed frame from Paper Source  ($6.95)
15" black wood ampersand by DimeStoreVintage on Etsy ($19.99)
Removable wallpaper in "Damsel" by Tempaper ($74.95)
Nelson asterisk clock from Hive Modern ($300)
Three-drawer honeycomb print dresser by Paul Marra on 1stDibs 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Earthy Apps

This image above features a logo, color palette and imagery style for Bella Sicilia's new brand identity, by Denis Olenik. I saw it floating around on FFFFOUND! and it definitely caught my eye! The palette suits this company well, as the earthy tones reflect their commitment to high quality foods made from natural ingredients.

The olives and the mushrooms got my gears a-turnin' and I set out on a hunt for some simple (and tasty!) apps that complement our palette, above. Really makes me want to set some time aside this weekend to try a few of these recipes.

Miniature napoleons with eggplant creme from Vegan YumYum
Spanakopita photo from DarbCU on Flickr , recipe from Epicurious
Green and black olive tapenade via Top Appetizer Recipes
Italian-style steamed mussels from My Gourmet Connection
Honey and chili glazed nuts recipe by Walnut Grove
Coconut shrimp recipe from My Recipes
Garlic stuffed mushrooms on My Recipes
Bacon wrapped dates on yumsugar
Luscious spinach artichoke dip on bfeedme
Mini Asian crab cakes from Martha Stewart
Lemongrass meatballs by Eat Local Northwest

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DIY: Ruffle Embellished Cardigan

Yesterday we tweeted about a cardigan-centric post from You Are my Fave, which featured this photo of an embellished sweater from J Crew . The ruffled beauty is unfortunately sold out, but that shouldn't stop you from re-creating the style with pieces from your existing wardrobe!

This old tank and cardigan have fallen out of  normal rotation - the tank is a little short, but I love the pattern and couldn't bear to part with it in my most recent purge.  The sweater? Just a big bored with it.  Feeling inspired, I decided to combine the two into something new!

I thought this shirt would make a great ruffle for two reasons: 1. it's a cute, neutral color and pattern and 2. the soft jersey knit material will hang well and can live without a hem. First, I split the shirt down it's side seam. Luckily for me, the lace trim was only on the front, leaving a nice open area on the back for me to trace my first ruffle.

The first strip I cut was for my larger, bottom ruffle. I measured the fabric out to remain 5" wide from start to finish. The second ruffle was cut out of the front of the tank, on the bottom half. This second strip  started out at 3 1/2" and tapered off to 2"at its end (about 18" long). I wanted this strip to have a narrower end so that my top ruffle would have more defined layers. 

Thread a needle through the top hem of your ruffle, folding the fabric back and forth (like a paper fan) as you sew. As you pull the thread, the fabric should gather and start to ruffle. I used a regular thread, but I'm assuming this would work even better with an elastic.

With a steam iron, I carefully pressed my pleats to form sharp creases in the fabric. Easier said than done, but the results came out great! Now, lets fold these bad boys into their final ruffly state...

1. Start with the small tapered ruffle, laid out flat
2. Fold the top half of the ruffle down over the bottom half, with the reverse side of the fabric showing
3. Fold the remaining bit down, print side up, to form a wedge shaped piece for your top ruffle

4. Next, lay the larger 5" ruffle out on a flat surface
5. & 6. Fold ruffle back and forth in a zig-zag to create alternating layers of patterned and reversed fabric

7. This is what my completed bottom ruffle looked like when I was done folding.
8. Once you've laid out both ruffles, pinch the folds and discreetly sew each layer to secure.
9. Here are the finished pieces! I decided not to sew them together, in case I wanted to use the top or bottom ruffle separately on another garment.

10. Use a safety pin to secure the bottom ruffle to your cardigan. You can also sew them on, but I wanted the option of removing them before laundering as well as using them as embellishments elsewhere!
DONE! Pin the top ruffle in place and VOILA! A magical creation, all your own.

Only took 2 hours, and it didn't cost $118 from J Crew. Score.

Monday, November 2, 2009

One for the Forest

This happy little guy is a creation from Bosque, as seen on the bosque photostream.  Bosque is a particularly awesome new design studio based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that works with a wide range of media. From graffiti murals and print designs to 3D installations, tote bags and commissioned designs for Vans, the Bosque team applies their street art-inspired style in some pretty unique ways.

I loved this sticker design for its muted colors and its trees-make-me-smile message. Trees do happen to make me smile, and with the lovely fall leaves outside my window, I've been thinking a lot lately about applying this inspiration to an eco-friendly fall event.

The natural linen table runner below would look great with the Japanese Maple bonsai landscape, or any other bonsais you might find to match your style! I prefer a lot of the deciduous trees, but indoor bonsais would be a great takeaway for guests to keep in their own homes. Check out bonsai rental services in your area for the same look at a lower cost.

Photo-realistic forest wallpaper murals and votives wrapped in birch bark take things one step further in transforming your space into a woodsy sanctuary. Throw in some branches and other rustic details and you're well on your way..

Screenprinted leaf table runner in natural/cream linen by elisabethbentz on Etsy ($68)
Manzanita candelabra branch from West Elm  ($99)
Hand-engraved pint glasses with branches and leaves by daydreemdesigns on Etsy ($28.50)
Screenprinted fig leaf napkin, also by Elisabeth Bentz ($18)
Sunrise dahlia, photo from Eiseman Color Blog
Woodgrain fabric in Chocolate from Aviary by Joel Dewberry ($9.50/yd at Quilt Home )
Birch votives with natural bark from Crate & Barrel  ($3.95-$9.95)
"Misty Forest" photo mural wallpaper by Murals Your Way ($5.57/sq ft for vinyl print)
Japanese Maple bonsai penjing landscape by Qingquan Zhao via Art of Bonsai
Natural pine cone garland from Wisteria via Remodelista
Rustic floral arrangements by Stephanie Elhayani of Seed Floral for Kevin & Paige on Once Wed