Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Summer has begun in Minneapolis at last and it’s pretty hard to convince myself to work inside all day long with the sunshine calling to me like a siren. You know what makes it even harder? When I get emails with pictures like this:
Seriously Crate & Barrel, did you create a personalized ad for me based on a researcher’s discovery of my love of lemonade, macarons and glass beverage dispensers?? Dang it, now I want to bake some lemon macarons, whip up some infused summer drinks and invite some friends over to hang out on my patio. I only have one beverage dispenser though… what’s a girl to do?? Oh, I guess they answered that question by offering a link to their website in the email.
So if you need any of the above supplies in order to throw a cheerful kick-off to summer party, check out Crate & Barrel.
Photo source: Crate & Barrel, of course.
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Can you believe how time flies? Summer ends, I try to transition into fall, and then suddenly snow is flying, sidewalks are covered in ice and it’s time to think up creative gift ideas for every person on your holiday shopping list. Yikes!
Well thanks to West Elm‘s Festive Edition holiday catalog I’m brimming with ideas for fun gifts my loved ones might not have indulged in buying for themselves, but will put a grin on their faces nonetheless.
I don’t know about you, but I can never manage to spend the month of December shopping for other people without falling in love with a few things for myself. Fortunately, at these prices I won’t feel guilty buying myself a fun accessory to dress up my own house for the holidays!
With all the green and red overload in stores throughout December, I’ve chosen to give myself a color break and decorate my own house in silver and blues for the holidays. It feels fresh but still has that wintery, sparkly, cheerful vibe that’s perfect by candlelight. How do I break up the silver and blue palette? Why will white accessories, of course. And since white is a neutral my accessories will still work perfectly with a different color scheme in the future. Should I add a white nutcracker to the collection this year?
The holiday season seems to be filled with parties, and if you don’t have your bar cart stocked yet with the essential tools, this is a perfect time to build a collection. The Sheesham-Wood Cocktail Collection could just as easily fit in on the set of The Graduate or in a swanky downtown bachelor pad.
I love a good geometric pattern and I love simple animal shapes. So those cocktail plates with four of my favorite animals (of course I’m partial to any collection with a Fox) are right up my alley! Crate and Barrel has a similar small square white plate in two sizes and you could easily mix and match them together.
While you are stocking your bar cart, you better be planning to serve your guests some food! Cheese is an absolutely essential at my parties. If I don’t serve at least 3 really good and interesting cheeses my friends threaten to leave (they don’t really, but they rely on my excellent cheese choices.) I like the idea of having a nice glass dome to protect the cheese over the course of the evening.
I’ve told you about our mushroom theme before, right? My husband and I like to go foraging for wild mushrooms during the summer. I find the textures, colors and variety of species in the woods inspiring. So I documented the wide variety of mushrooms we’ve spotted on our expeditions, printed out the photos, and created our own wall of photos in our living room that tells a unique story about our lives. It never fails to start a conversation with a new guest to our home. Knowing our love of mushrooms, one of my best friends just surprised me with a set of the mushroom plates above! They are gorgeous in person and have an uneven edge that makes them stand apart from your average dessert plate. It’s a great way to have your party tools reflect your personality.
After you get your place styled and party ready for the holidays, it is time to find presents for everyone on your holiday list. I like these office themed gifts, which could easily translate to the home office. I’ve been thinking about downsizing from my big stereo components to a small radio like these, and the iPod connection makes them perfect for the modern lifestyle. How much fun would crunching numbers be with a orange calculator you can clip to your project binder?
More animal silhouettes – this time as minimal black bookends. Simple bookends are hard to find – they are so often gaudy or so large you can’t fit more than a couple of books on the shelf with them. I also recommend the wood boxes with laquered lids. I used a pair of them on the desk in the Showcase House bedroom and in my own office. They keep all the little bits and bobbles contained and out of sight so nicely. The small square one is the perfect hiding place for all those business cards I get that have yet to be entered in the computer. What would you hide in there?
I hope that has you inspired for your own holiday needs. Be sure to check out the rest of the decor and gift ideas on West Elm’s website as this was just a sampling of all their great products. Happy hunting!
Monday, August 16th, 2010
My passion for all things domestic was fueled in my teen and college years by the infamous Martha Stewart. Back then no other magazines had multi-page spreads on the amazing creations possible with a variety of cake pipping tips or gorgeous photograph composites of bowls of spices. I even started a Martha Stewart fan club in college (really an activity group to do crafts together) to get my fix of craftiness. I’m pretty sure I had the only dorm room with cafe curtains made from vintage napkins picked up at an estate sale and trimmed with ribbons.
So even though I don’t read every issue of MSL anymore, her annual Home Issue is a favorite of mine. And when I saw it mentioned on one of my favorite blogger’s blog (she was featured in ”100 Great Finds for Every Room of the House”) I popped out to Barnes & Noble to pick it up. It’s not my favorite home issue to date, but it still has plenty of useful tips and good photography.
While I enjoy beautiful gardens, I leave the gardening work to my husband and mother. However, I do have favorites in the garden, and sedum is a key one. I love the diversity of colors, textures and shapes sedum is available in. They are often a key component in the mix of plants used on green roofs (roofs covered in plantings to absorb rainwater and minimize runoff).
I liked this layout with its mix of natural materials and clean lines. The brackets for the shelf would look too fussy if they weren’t paired with that rustic wood shelf.
Now this article filled with Martha’s advice on kitchen design and organization takes me to my happy place. Drawers neatly organized by function. Cute containers to achieve proper containment and separation. AND kitchen tools?! (My love of kitchen tools and gadgets comes from my mother. Do YOU have an angel food cake cutter? I do.) It’s too much goodness in one place. I just wish I had that many drawers to begin with!
This party layout is at the end of an article about the condo of Kevin Sharkey, the executive editorial director of decorating. The decorating of his condo has been chronicled in previous issues, and this is the grand culmination showcasing how it all came together. It looks nice, but I actually loved the party photos best. They have a great energy and lightheartedness that’s not often found in MSL party articles. An oreo cookie “cake”? Ping pong is a condo filled with expensive furniture and large mirrors? A faux frame drawn on a mirror? Love it. The balloons photo reminds me of the end of the movie 13 Going on 30. (There’s a large scale photo shoot for a magazine with balloons and good looking people smiling and having a good time.)
Besides these articles there are also a number of helpful articles that you should be sure to check out. There’s a great feature on how to layout a large wall installation of personal photographs, with step by step instructions, “Walls That Talk.” If finding the right product to clean and repair all the different surfaces in your home is a struggle, be sure to read “Furniture First Aid.”