Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Concrete seating ...

Pour the concrete, then, pour the drinks! No need for chairs when company calls. With poured concrete used as a base for outdoor seating, there are no worries about how they'll stand up to weather extremes! When ancient Romans wanted to seat the residents of their Empire, they used concrete. Just take a look at the Colosseum in Rome that seated thousands and was largely built of concrete. It still stands today.

Curved concrete entertaining space by Dallas-Ft. Worth landscape architect Harold Leidner.

Of course, concrete is a far better seating choice with some 'tushy' comfort added. Add easy-to-sew cushions, and it's a snap to personalize any concrete seating you may imagine. 

Pool seating designed by Kathryn Ireland.

By the pool, on the patio or in a field of flowers, concrete rocks!


Images above via AAI (left) and Frankly Esoteric (right).

These are a few of my favorites, but the size, shape and design are only limited by imagination.

Mexican-themed outdoor seating by Los Angeles designer Sandy Koepke.

Image via

For even more interest, a tiled, concrete seating arrangement really steals the show.

Laundry quandary ...

What do you do with dirty clothes while on vacation? My dear friend just returned home from a beach getaway minus all of her family's soiled garments and sandy shoes. A thoughtful family member was sure the filled, plastic trash bag was intended for the garbage can and tossed it out before departure. Oops!

I can totally relate to the situation because I always pack a trash bag in my luggage for the very same purpose. Now, I'm rethinking how I might avoid a similar occurrence.

I've found some gorgeous laundry bags from West Elm (shown in the photos above and below) that would easily slip into a suitcase and look appealing once home as well.

But, I'm also inspired to sew one of my own. Laundry bags are so simple ... similar to making a pillowcase with a drawstring. The fabric choices are limitless.


Images above via Mod Cloth (left) and Bed Bath & Beyond (right).

Another laundry bag caught my eye on Etsy. This one has great vintage (hamper style) charm and looks like a easy weekend project to me. Now, I just need that open weekend to start my stitchery.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Getaway car ...

I keep thinking it's time for a summer getaway, and a little camper would make it so easy. Several friends have vintage trailers in various stages of functionality. One is restoring an Airstream, another has a collection of the retrofitted beauties up in the mountains of New Mexico.

Image via

I would settle for just something small, easily towed and maintained. Not a bad way to rough it. Although, my husband considers a hotel without room service as roughing it. So, this may take some convincing.

Image via

I wonder if he would like another project. "We" could build our own or restore a fixer upper like the one above.

Image via

I can imagine taking our little mobile abode to lakes and forests and hilltop sanctuaries.


Images above via ReNest (left) and Bake At 350 (right).

I could read, eat cookies and send pretty postcards with highlights of our adventures. Not a bad way to spend a day.

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Take me home country roads. I can be packed in no time.

Seashell chic ...

If you're collecting sea shells by the sea shore this summer, skip the necklace creations. Instead use your beach bounty to wow your style-savvy friends with stunning, hand-crafted jean embellishments.

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I may just pull those old shell necklaces out of storage and use them to add pizzazz to my faded denim. Love this!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nursery bunting ...

Color, pattern and whimsy in a nursery make visual discovery fun. That's why I'm loving bright bunting in baby's room in place of the traditional crib mobile.

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To hear the experts say that over-stimulation is a sleep distraction wasn't news to me. But, I hadn't thought about that mobile on the crib, with its rotating toys, sounds and even projected lights on the ceiling. It can be too much of a distraction for a little one. You want to teach babies that it's nighttime - a quiet, soothing time to fall asleep in bed.

Designed by Carley Slater. Image via

Creating a space that babies and parents love and feel comfortable in takes some thought, including calming tones on the walls to soothe baby and nursing mommies. To bring out the celebratory spirit, I love the festive charm of flag bunting and banners. They add cheer that elicits smiles from kids and adults alike. 

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I'm also fond of decals and murals that have found their way to baby's room, too. You might say happy rooms bring out the 'happy' in all of us.

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As the infant moves into childhood, bunting can step up the decor style as well.

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Adding pizzazz with colorful flags waving above head is my kind of gleeful expression. Really, what kid wouldn't be happy here?

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Makes me want to take a trip back in time to redecorate the room of my youth! But, with no time travel currently available, I'll just settle for making some cute banners for my favorite little one.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Vintage viewpoint ...

Artist Michael Carson has a nostalgic eye beautifully translated into painterly poetry on canvas. From the moment I saw his paintings, I was enthralled with the figurative work by this American contemporary artist.


Carson, a 1996 graduate of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Design, took the route from graphic designer to painting full time in 2001. His highly regarded work feels a bit like 'Norman Rockwell meets Toulouse Lautrec' with many of his images posted on Pinterest here.

According to Fine Art Connoisseur, "For the galleries representing figurative painter Michael Carson, it's getting harder and harder to keep this exciting artist's work in stock." I can see why. His images convey an evocative narrative, as if we are getting a glimpse of a private moment captured without the subject's knowledge. A little voyeuristic and appealing at the same time, don't you think? 

The Phoenix-based painter has seen his timeless portrait art grace the pages of The New Yorker. Not bad for a a people-watcher who brilliantly translates street characters into a distinct waif-like look that recalls the heroin-chic look of the ’90s, or ’40s pin-up girls.

Carson is represented by Arcadia Contemporary in New York, Jones & Terwilliger Galleries in Carmel and Palm Desert, and Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale. And, if I had my way, his work would be hanging in my home at this very moment.

On the menu: Carb-cutting tortillas

I eat my fair share of tortillas (almost every day) and have finally found a way to cut out the carbohydrates that pack on the pounds. Instead of tortillas made of corn or flour, they can be as easily made with cauliflower. This little veggie is a superb imitator in so many recipes. Tasty and healthy is hard to beat!


(Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten free) Makes about 6-7 medium size tortillas

¾ a head of cauliflower riced or 2 cups riced and packed
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Cut cauliflower florets from the head, removing most of the stem. Take 3/4 of the florets and pulse in a food processor until you get a texture slightly finer than rice. (Now that it's riced, measure to make sure you have 2 cups packed.)

3. Place riced cauliflower in bowl and microwave for 2 minutes and stir, then another two minutes and stir again then place in a dish towel and squeeze excess water out as hard as you can. (You're going to want to get out as much water as you can and be careful not to burn yourself because it's going to be very hot.)

4. Place drained cauliflower back in bowl and add two eggs, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.

5. Note: it will be a little bit runny but shouldn't be pure liquid either. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet into 6 small fairly flat circles.

6. Place in the oven for 10 minutes then pull out of the oven and carefully peel them off the parchment and flip them. Place back in the oven for 5-7 more minutes.

7. Once they're done, place the tortillas on a wire rack to cool slightly.

8. Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat and place the tortillas into the pan pressing down slightly, and brown them to your liking. Don't skip this step because it makes them slightly crispy on the edges and gives them a wonderful, nutty taste.

Recipe and photo via

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