Saturday, May 31, 2014

Card catalog crush ...

Remember when research meant a visit to the library, thumbing through the card catalog to find books on your subject matter? Technology has certainly changed the way we find information, and the card catalog has found new life in homes across the globe.

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A coat of paint and the addition of legs add a mid-century vibe to a vintage card catalog.


Images above via The Cottage Market (left) and DIY Network (right).

Create a bespoke buffet or multi-functional end table, bringing out the beauty in the wood cabinetry with or without new paint treatment.

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There are great metal file cabinets, too. A bright paint color is all that's needed to create a signature piece for any room. Love the addition of wheeled legs to make these gems portable.

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What to do with all the drawers? Store utensils, stash small findings for craft projects, create bins for tools ... the list goes on and on.

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Memories of these commonplace school furnishings of my youth make me realize how much has changed over the years. Card catalogs are out and printed books are following suit. Feeling a bit nostalgic. 

Gym basket basics ...

Oh, the indignities suffered upon gym baskets! Stinky socks, sweaty gym uniforms, and wads of crumpled clothes. But, finally these utilitarian storage containers have seen the light of day, and are getting the recognition they so deserve.

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If you're like me, you can probably think of 101 uses around the house for gym baskets. Suggestion: Steam before use!

Upcycled lockers ...

After my school memories faded, I became a fan of lockers.  It just took some time to forget my annual back-to-school dream. (While sleeping I had forgotten my locker combination and returned to school unable to open the locker. Argh!)

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While lockers were the bane of my existence as a student, their upcycled usefulness and industrial character has since won me over.

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Their reincarnation into bookcases is a natural, as is the space saving storage solutions they offer.

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I'm impressed with lockers tucked into the pantry as well as those that take center stage.


Images above via Ahhh la la (left) and GattoX (right).

If you're interested in incorporating lockers into a design scheme, check out the local school district auctions. My husband and I have bought overhead projectors, globes, tables and desks at these auctions. There is a continuous supply of lockers at rock bottom prices, too. Just make sure you get those lock combinations. No need for bad dreams!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cool cocktails ...

It's Memorial Day weekend in the States and the unofficial start to summer! What better way to welcome the warm weather than the cool, crisp refreshment found in yummy, iced fruit juice beverages.

I can't wait to whip up a batch of 'Blushing Bride' for my classmates when we gather next weekend for a high school girls reunion brunch. Champagne and Passion Fruit take center stage in this easy recipe.


2 oz passion-fruit nectar
3 oz Champagne
1/2 teaspoon grenadine

Pour chilled passion-fruit nectar in a flute. Carefully add chilled Champagne and grenadine; don't stir, but allow to blend.

Notes:  As always, pick less pricey Prosecco or Cava for a Champagne cocktail; you'll never taste the difference. No need to sugar the rim, but it certainly does look pretty.

My other sizzling summer drink desire is inspired by France.

It's the beautiful and tasty Frenchy Cocktail with gorgeous layers of fruit fantasies. Incredibly easy to make and drink. (I know it's a stretch, but just think of the health benefits in fruit!)



1 1/2 oz Grey Goose Pear Vodka
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice

In a chilled rocks glass filled with ice, add vodka and pineapple juice. Top with a splash of cranberry juice.

Toasting the tumblers ...

Cheers to the holiday weekend! I'm lusting after some attractive glassware to hoist our favorite beverages.

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I'm drawn to the drool-worthy drink companions by Roost. These are the Twilight Tumblers in glorious hand-blown, seeded glass, and they come in a variety of delicious colors. Available at Wabi Sabi Home.

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From the Twiddle Tumblers (above) to the Perle designs by Federico DeMajo (below), Zafferano glassware is prized for its artistry in blown glass.


Just looking at these brilliant beach hues summons images of the Isle of Murano. (Murano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon where glass has been made for more than 700 years.) I'm smitten by the line of Italian hand-blown glass with a chic, modern aesthetic.

I keep cruising through the Zafferano glass catalog at YLiving and thinking of all the beverages that would seem even more appealing when served in gorgeous glassware. Cin cin!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Noodling around the nursery ...

With the arrival of a newborn in our family this summer, my daughter (and mother-to-be) has begun to focus on nesting. She's been drawn to several color schemes, and I've had the joy of visiting lots of websites and print magazines to acquire inspirational photos to share with her.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blush color palette for the baby's room.  This week, shades of turquoise, green and pink are moving closer to the top of the nursery decor list.

Images 1-3 are Carousel Designs found at Baby; 4. Behr Paints in (l-r) Island Oasis, Hidden Meadow and Island Coral; 5. Striped rug from Pier 1; 6. Jenn Feldman Designs; 7. Trenna Travis Design Studio; 8. Wood block letters from La Petite Peach; 9. Newborn photography by Kellie Carter; 10. Paisley crib sheet from Target.

I admit I'm drawn to the baby elements in the rooms above, but my expectant daughter envisions a decor scheme that will translate well over time. Smart move.

Fabric designs by the French fabric house of Manual Canovas, available through Cowtan.

Did I mention that we're both scouring the internet for gender-neutral nurseries. Even though this little bundle of joy is a girl, I am approaching this creative output like I would for any client ... offering the best of what may fulfill my daughter and son-in-law's vision.


Images above via Crate and Barrel (left) and House or Home (right).

But, this grandmother is over the moon with thoughts of pretty bows and booties to come.

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I'll just make sure they are in complimentary shades!

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Of course, next week may bring an entirely new color palette. The paint purchase is yet to come.

NOTE: If you're planning a crib with a bumper pad, it's important to be aware of the new guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics which state, "Bumper pads should never be used in infants' cribs." This recommendation was issued as part of an updated and expanded set of guidelines on safe sleep and SIDS prevention for babies. To read more, click here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Child hang ups ...

Okay, my brain is revisiting the 1950s. I saw a vintage child's clothes hanger, and now I'm thinking that it would be quite fun to take on a craft project to recreate these adorable closet companions.

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A mid-century hanger (above) is what started me down this path. I think either hand painting or a vintage image decoupaged on wood would be fairly simple to master.

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Farm animals occupying a child's closet would be adorable, too. Low degree of difficulty here with simple line painting.

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For a bit more challenge, I could collect animal images and decoupage them with Mod Podge. And, of course, I would have to ask my dear husband to cut the wood shapes ... hoping he won't mind.


These animal images would certainly infuse some fun when getting a young one dressed.

Images above and below via Trendhunter.

Or, if I could locate some old toys, I could get crafty with my glue gun and wood rods to make clever character hangers.

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I do have a robust collection of sticks, perhaps they have a future ...

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Now, I just need to find the time before our grandbaby arrives!

On the menu: Chocolate filled strawberries

You may already know that I'm obsessed with chocolate! Rarely does a day go by without me devouring a chocolate something or another. But, in the interest of health, I'm going to work on adding fruit to my daily consumption.

I think chocolate filled strawberries would be the best of both worlds and a hit at any gathering. Love the idea of making them up ahead of time and transporting these tasty goodies in a saved egg carton. Click here to visit the video link from Jessie Jane that shows you how simple her little treat recipe is to make, or check out her recipe below.


15-20 strawberries (the larger the better)
1 bag of Milk Chocolate chips (Jessie Jane uses the 11.5 oz Guittard milk chocolate chips, but I'm thinking dark chocolate would be fabulous, too.)

1. Cut the stems off your clean strawberries and carefully scoop out the top of the berry. The deeper you scoop the more chocolate it will hold. I used large strawberries so I scooped about an inch down.

2. Pour the entire bag of chocolate chips in a glass bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 second intervals. Make sure to take your bowl out every 30 seconds to stir the chips. Continue until all chips are melted.

3. Place your strawberries in an egg carton so they sit straight up. You could also use little Dixie cups. Now you can either spoon your melted chocolate into the berries or use a funnel or piping bag. I used a little baby spoon and it worked fine. Your choice.

4. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes until they harden a bit. Enjoy!

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Jessie Jane has a great little website with all sorts of delicious recipes. Check out her LilyShop.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Light, bright ...

Enamored with non-traditional lighting! It's so much fun to see how creative people are when upcycling old objects and giving them new life as light fixtures.

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The egg baskets above and the cheese graters below are sure winners for ingenuity. Great vintage charm for kitchens and dining spaces.


Images above via Indulgy (left) and Top 10 Kitchen (right). Both inspired by "That 70s Show."

Maybe lighting an old wash tub or two could transform your tented soiree into something special. Image above left via The MilkhouseI'm actually loving the baking canister pendants (above right) via Apartment Therapy

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But, my favorite has to be the upcycled strainers. Who thinks up this stuff?  Brilliant! 

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If you're really ready to test your electrical and automotive prowess, a series of recycled headlights makes a bold decor statement. (My husband tells me that headlights generate a great deal of heat, so be advised.) This staircase lighting installation has such an intriguing industrial vibe.

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Lovely test tubes bring the outdoors in when they double as lighting and vases. So very sweet.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Blushing babes ...

As an expectant Mom, my daughter is beginning to feel that nesting instinct. She's brought home some great paint swatches for a little girl's nursery in shades of blush pink. Of course, that triggered a desire in 'this first-time grandmother' to find inspiration-worthy room photos with creative design schemes in her chosen blush color.

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The first thing my daughter said was that she "preferred a pale, neutral blush over a strong ballerina pink so the room would read feminine, yet not girlie." That makes the color combo (shown above) perfectly suited for la femme of any age ... brown, blush, khaki and white. Yummy!

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The shade is expressed beautifully in the rooms above and below - not necessarily in strong wall color, but in the shade of decorative accessories.

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Designer Alaina Kaczmarski has put together a fab 'blush pink' inspiration board for a new bundle of joy (below).

1. 0versized light fixture – Ikea, $89.99
2. paint – Serena and Lily, $45 gallon
3. century crib – Dwell Studio, $980
4. heirloom quilted 3-piece crib set – Restoration Hardware, $209
5. flora flash cards – The Land of Nod, $29
6. oversized baby lamb photograph – by Sharon Montrose, $950
7. striped cap – Mabo, $20
8. pink seersucker dress – Estella NYC, $85
9. changing table – Restoration Hardware, $749
10. ballerina tights – Trumpette, $23.50 
11. lamb floor pillow – Restoration Hardware, $39
12. pink trellis rug – PB Kids, $299
13. pink Moroccan pouf – Serena and Lily, $450
14. star egg nightlight – J Schatz, $135
15. clothbound Penguin classics for kids – Anthropologie, $16.99 each

I'm totally infatuated with the color on the Emelia changing table by Restoration Hardware (#9. above). That finish could easily be duplicated on an old 'found' piece since this one is no longer available.

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Not only are these blush tones beautiful for a baby, they also have real staying power as a child ages. Gorgeous! And, the shade can be taken a step further with bolder hues to compliment the neutrals.

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Okay, little one. Your room awaits. See you soon!

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