Archive for March, 2009

green thumb, brown thumb

March 31, 2009
viva terra: recycled glass terrarium

viva terra: recycled glass terrarium

viva terra: succulent cube garden
viva terra: succulent cube garden

 

I don’t have a green thumb. In fact, I kill any plant I purchase which is a problem since I’ve always wanted to accessorize my home with plants. I keep hearing about plants for dummies that apparently you can’t kill. Really? Such a thing exists? So when I hear people tell me about these plants I jot down the name and do a Google search. Usually I find that most of these plants are not pretty.. or fun to look at. Sure, I would like to fill my home with a few plants but not ugly plants!

Well this year I’ve gone on a hunt and discovered succulents as well as terrariums. Domino magazine has a How-to Guide on terrariums that has gotten me all excited. And if you aren’t in the know about succulents (images above) apparently they are air plants and only require an occasional misting. No real watering involved. Now this is a plant I can get down with. And they come in a few varieties and colors. Very urban-modern and look like they can add a bit of texture to a room. Perhaps my dilemma is now solved. We’ll see as I think I will make this my summer project.

If anyone wants to suggest any other plants before I start my project I’m all ears. Just don’t suggest anything that is ugly. I don’t want a home filled with unattractive plants. You know, the kind that grow endlessly with leaves that people then wrap around the wall. Blah!

domino magazine: terrariums

domino magazine: terrariums

domino magazine: terrariums

domino magazine: terrariums

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fashion friday

March 27, 2009

Earlier in the week I stumbled across these images and was instantly lost in their beauty. Though a bit old I feel like the dresses are still current and thought they were a fitting way to end a hectic week.

 

Photos are from W Magazine, August 2008.

W Magazine - Dress by Alexander McQueen

W Magazine - Dress by Alexander McQueen

W Magazine, Dress by Robert Cavalli

W Magazine, Dress by Robert Cavalli

W Magazine, Coat by Mulberry

W Magazine, Coat by Mulberry

fashion and film

March 25, 2009

Acolyte Films - Valentino: The Last Emeror; Photo by Lorenzo Agius/Contour by Getty Images

Acolyte Films - Valentino: The Last Emeror; Photo by Lorenzo Agius/Contour by Getty Images

 

Last night I had the pleasure of going to see Valentino: The Last Emperor. It’s a documentary following Valentino in the last two years leading up to his retirement from Haute Couture. If I had to describe the film in one word it would be – charming.

And it simply was charming! From the gorgeous dresses to the perfect French and Italian accents. It almost made me want to learn another language. And there were five of the most adorable pugs which almost made me want a dog. And the bickering between Valentino and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti. Even that was delightful to witness. I can only hope that after 45 years of being with my husband we can be as smitten as they were.

After the film I walked to the subway with my dear friend chatting and laughing. The night was winding down and even though the cinema was rather far from home I managed to get to my hood pretty quickly. And then… it was back to reality. The lyrics to Eminem’s song Lose Yourself began to ring in my head.

Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity…

And with that, off I went into the evening night to search for diapers and wipes. It was my last errand before ending a lovely day.

home decor: living space

March 23, 2009

I think perhaps my home is best described as a Design Evolution. It will be three years this summer that we have lived here and even though things are still unfinished I feel content with where we are. It’s been a slow process with many style changes but I’m most happy with the direction I am headed in at present. For the first time I have a clear sense of where I am tying to go and it feels good to have reached this place. I have ideas that need execution and to even be able to say that is proof that we’re forging ahead.

Late last year it finally hit me that so much was unfinished. I quickly started selling things on Craig’s List to rally up funds. With the money we collected I was able to purchase curtain rods for our Living Room. Shortly after we found the most ideal curtains; they were tedious to iron but my mother was generous enough to take on the task. I took down my photo collection that I had mounted to the wall a year earlier and replaced it was a large canvas print. I stumbled upon the image while drooling over a friends nursery. I couldn’t stop salivating when I saw it so my friend finally told me it was from Ikea and encouraged me to get it.

I still have a corner that needs filling up but right now that’s Graycen’s spot so it will be a while before anything other then toys are spilling out of the nook. I’d also like to change out the dinning room table. I wasn’t a fan of round tables when we made the purchase and two years later it hasn’t grown on me. It will do for now but in the next year (or two) I hope we can replace it with something a bit more rustic. I would then like to pair it with chairs on one side and a custom upholstered bench on the opposite side. I’m thinking a fun bright pattern that really makes a statement.

But these are all ideas that will take a while to execute.

These images (below) don’t highlight the areas I need help on. The biggest one being what do with my walls. They need more stuff. I don’t really have anywhere to show off purchases so I think I need shelves though I’m not entirely sold on the idea. Plus, I don’t actually own anything that needs showing off. It’s more like shelves would require me making a purchase to get things to show off. Other ideas are a possible plate collection, art work or a mirror. My friend told me I needed a mirror and ever since I’ve been sold. What she didn’t tell me was how hard it would be to find a mirror that I would like and how much money a nice mirror was going to set me back.

And an accent color. I need to get moving on this. With the addition of grey drapes and the large black and white print our living room has started to look a bit bleak. I really need to start working on bringing in pops of interest with an accent color. The problem is, I’m still bouncing back and forth between yellow and granny apple green. I am most in love with yellow but I’m starting to feel like it will become dated. And with the green, well I’ve been dreaming about it for so long that I don’t think it will ever be dated in my mind. At this point I think it’s just a matter of me stumbling upon my first purchase in either of those colors and then running with it.

Thoughts?

main living space in its current state

main living space in its current state

 

 

 

dinning "room"

dinning "room"

crafts: easter & bonnets

March 20, 2009

When we first moved to New York I had a pocket map of the city. It was in the form of a small guide book and included a short list of things to do. To pass time I would often read, and re-read, over the list. I’m not certain why but a few things in particular always stuck in my head. Like the Bonnet Parade on Easter Day. Prior to the birth of my son the only holiday I managed to make a big fuss over was my birthday. But these days I feel like I need to spread the love, put down roots and start traditions. Sure we can go to church, and church is a good place to be on Easter Day, but the Bonnet Parade won. Now, from everything I’ve read the guide book detailed the event as a parade where people wore clever bonnets (or hats) that they had spent the year crafting. With this being New York you can imagine the thought and effort that would go into some of these festive sombreros. And so I began to craft.

Now, in my head I’m Martha Stewart. Well, actually… in my head I’m better then Martha Stewart but that would probably be ridiculous to admit. It doesn’t matter how crappy my creations turn out, mentally I think I can create things that are equally drool worthy. Now, I’ve created a few things that are spot on spectacular but I’ve created even more things that were pretty disastrous. But no matter the end results, I feel certain I can out craft Martha. Let’s just say that my mom did a great job at instilling confidence in me.

Last year I decided to make three hats for the Bonnet Parade. The first hat I started on was for my husband. It turned into a huge undertaking that resulted in a lot of work. The construction was difficult. After several dedicated weekends consisting of shopping, buying, cutting, gluing and questioning my logic I had a not so masterful masterpiece. All I could do was repeated over and over that I don’t make bonnets for a living. Unlike MS, I don’t have a creative team of brilliant minds and unlimited resources. The end result was less then a masterpiece. Having spent so much time on the first hat I had little energy to dedicate on mine. In the end, my hat recovered birthday hat was worse. Graycen’s looked fabulous but all I had to do was attach a butterfly to his blue corduroy apple hat so anything less then stellar would have been embarrassing.

As Easter Day approached I began to feel hesitant. My creations stunk and what could more embarrassing then having to parade yourself amongst the public in something you designed that truthfully looked pathetic. But my husbands a trooper and he wore his crappy hat. My son was six months old and had no say in the matter. We arrived at the parade late morning only to discover the parade isn’t really a parade. Yes, streets are closed off. A handful of people wear hats. An even smaller group of people get decked out in fabulous Gatsby attire. BUT a much larger group of people stare at the silly folks in hats. In truth, so few people wear hats that if you have dared to don one people will compliment you. They’ll sing you praise and then with a huge smile ask if they can take your photo. Many many people asked for our photo that day. Grown men kept telling my husband how cool his hat was. In those moments I felt like I really did outshine Martha. Not that it matters because we had did what we set out to do. Roots were laid and a tradition was started.

All year I’ve been thinking of ways to outshine last years crap creations. I didn’t think it would be hard but here we are, a month away from Easter, and I haven’t started. I’m worried folks but this weekend (or maybe next weekend) I promised to get my bum in gear.

A few months back I got an email from a stranger. He asked me if I had attended the Easter Parade. He was vague but I went with it. Shortly after, this photo arrived in my inbox. It was such a treat to see that one of the many many people that took our photo had taken the time to send me a copy. Thank you Alan!

New York Bonnet Parade (2008), Photo by Alan Lungen

New York Bonnet Parade (2008), Photo by Alan Lungen

a cake party

March 17, 2009

We had some dear friends over for cake this month. As we discussed the details of the day Andrea expressed a great interest in American cakes topped with yummy frosting. She’s from New Zealand and apparently hasn’t perfected her Betty Crocker cakes. I love me some box cake mix so a date was set for Farwell Cake and Champaign. Then my imagination began to run a bit over the top. My visions of what to create got a bit out of hand. I wanted something that made a statement and showed how much we have appreciated their friendship. I ended up making two batches of cake that resulted in four gorgeous layers of chocolate yumminess. To top it off I made Buttercream Dream frosting which is a recipe that I discovered about two years ago. It is scrumptious on its own but once you pair it with a chocolate cake it’s delirious. The recipe yields a pretty large batch of frosting and in the past I’ve had a considerable amount left over. Having made two batches of cake that wasn’t the case and I found myself short on frosting as well as time. That meant I had to scratch all thoughts of piping a pretty design. The end result was homemade and rustic however the taste did not disappoint.

Now, I’m almost too embarrassed to post an image after having shared photos of creations by the Cake Girls. And I wish I had taken a photo of the cake once cut but I sent a good amount home with our guests and the rest was quickly whisked off to the home of our friends two floors above us. Ms. Jen-The-Nutritionist wasn’t too fond of me making a cake but I assured her that after one slice I would remove all traces of cake from home. And I did.

Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

 

lists revisited

March 17, 2009

Martha Strewarts Attic Craft Room

Martha Strewarts Attic Craft Room

 

I declared February Get Stuff Done Month and that didn’t entirely happen. So I took a second stab at it and declared March the Official-Official Get Stuff Done Month and here we are, half way through the month, and not much has gotten done. Apparently I’m not very good at this stuff.

However, I have spent a considerable amount of time in my kitchen baking and whipping things together. You’d almost think I didn’t have a nutritionist whom I report my calorie intake to. And if you knew anything about Ms. Jen-The-Nutritionist then you’d know that life is only beautiful when she isn’t wagging her finger in your face with a “tisk-tisk” motion. But the cake was so deliriously delicious. The frosting was yummy and the cookies weren’t too shabby. I don’t regret any of it. Take that, Jen!

So while I’m on a bit of a sugar high I think I’ll try and tackle some of those things on my Get Stuff Done list. In the next 30 days I need to:

– hang photos in the hallway
– order replacement images as needed
– fix blemish on wallpaper
– paint closet & install shelving unit
– declutter magazine box next to my bed stand
– sell baby items on Craigslist

None of that sounds fun or exciting but I’m realizing there is so much I want to do yet just as much stuff undone. So before spending money on more projects I think I need to finish a few. Anyone want to join me on this little adventure? Show me your list and tell me what you need to finish.

Martha Stewarts Craft Room

Martha Stewarts Craft Room

 

 

more of Martha Strewarts Craft Room

more of Martha Strewarts Craft Room

 Back in January I did a post called Lists. As conscious as I am that there is more for me to do it’s easy to get lost in the rat race. I wish it were a bit more effortless but I’m not there yet. And as the energy and excitement of a new year, and a new start, escape me I find I need even more reinforcement to keep plugging away at the things that matter. I am bigger then the life that I am leading. I need to remember that.

Here is where I stand on a few things from that post:

Personal Wellbeing
4. Host a gathering
This month we hosted our dear friends Andrea, Glenn and baby Ben for cake and Champaign. We never actually drank the Champaign because we were too busy sipping on mango margaritas. Nonetheless, it was so much fun to have the company. We met this couple during a special time in our lives and I am so grateful to have had their friendship and company over the past two years. They are moving at the end of the month to London and we will miss them dearly.

Motherhood
6. Teach my son good manors
We’re working on this and making some progress. Mr. Graycen has learned to give hugs. Now technically this may not seem like a reflection of good manors but when he goes to visit Stinky Grandma* it will definitely be in good manors that he extends her a hug.

On the topic of hugs I must share this story. When baby Ben, who is 16 months, came to visit Graycen decided he (Ben) needed a hug. He was relentless and followed after Ben for a decent amount of time. Around the cocktail table, under the dinner table, down the hall. It didn’t matter, Ben wanted no part of it. Now Ben is faster and bigger but that didn’t stop our Sparkly Graycen. Finally Ben turned around and gave Graycen a little shove. I even think Graycen took a spill but that didn’t stop him. He got right back up and proceeded to torment Ben a bit more. Graycen was determined to give Ben a hug and he finally won out when Ben was strapped into his stroller. Graycen went in for his hug.. Ben let out a little scream, kicked his legs and then they left. And with that Graycen cried. It’s for certain, we’re going to miss that Ben.

*Footnote: If you don’t find the Stinky Grandma comment funny then you probably take life a bit too seriously. Loosen up and laugh. Life is Beautiful.

beautiful cakes

March 15, 2009

I’ve been sick since last week and generally still not feeling very well. I’ve spent most of the weekend on the couch with my eye’s fixated on the television. Not such a bad way to spend two days. Well, it was my husbands birthday and a sick wife along with a sick child equaled a rather pathetic gift. I gave him three bags of potato chips. Yeah, not much thought was put into that one. Opps! I’m blaming it on the kid. He was screaming and chips were the fastest thing I could grab while in the checkout lane. 

So this weekend I sat on the couch (a lot), bought my husband a clever birthday gift and managed to sneak in a few craft projects. Anyhow, just wanted to post some really beautiful cakes I saw while glued to the television. The Cake Girls are a sister team based out of Chicago and they seem like the sweetest ladies. Made me want to move to Chicago and work in their shop… or at least visit Chicago and crash someone’s party where their cake is being served. How beautiful are these?

Cake by Cake Girls

Cake by Cake Girls

 

 

Cake by Cake Girls

Cake by Cake Girls

 

Those sisters are super talented and they even do cakes for other occassions. Here are two more that I thought were too adorable.

Giant Cupcake by Cake Girls

Giant Cupcake by Cake Girls

 

 

 

Monkey Cake by Cake Girls

Monkey Cake by Cake Girls

home decor: house beautiful

March 13, 2009

Image from House Beautiful, Photo by Pieter Estersohn

Image from House Beautiful, Photo by Pieter Estersohn

I recently discovered this image on House Beautiful. The home is in Greenwich, Connecticut and this particular bedroom belongs to a young girl. I don’t know about you but I’m a young woman who would love to call this space my own. The headboard is a perfect statement piece.

This weekend I’d like nothing more then to lay in bed and rest. This image is encouraging me to do just that.

a baby shower gift

March 12, 2009

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my friends’ baby shower. The shower was held in the home of her dear friend and let’s just say – the space was stunning! Every detail, every object was perfect and scrumptious. To say that I felt like I had walked into the photo shoot of a fashionable home magazine is an understatement.

It was also lovely to catch up with a few girlfriends. I had such a grand time chatting about silly things and sipping on yummy cocktails. I had several glasses of this really beautiful drink. I don’t recall a thing that was in it… something, something and gin, I think? I just know it had this lovely pear green color and tasted like such a treat. In fact, such a treat that I must of had four during the span of the two hour party. Oh, boy!

Lets see, you know you’ve had too many drinks when you look through your images from the party and see photos of the persons’ bathtub. I mean, yes it was a gorgeous bathtub but what was I thinking?

When I go to wrap a gift I tend to look over my collection of wrapping paper and grab something fitting. However, in this case I knew I wanted something a bit more personal. The right word is escaping me but I wanted something that looked effortless. I love the simple clean look of butcher paper and twin so I decided to go a similar route using Kraft paper. In the end I had a few problems. The Kraft paper must have been industrial strength and I ended up needing to use packaging tape. Don’t worry, I was clever enough to hide its ugliness. Then after wrapping the gift I realized I had left an item out. I didn’t have enough paper to re-wrap and there was no way I was breaking through the packaging tape so I showed up to the shower with most (but not all) of my gift. My last dilemma that stumped me for a good half hour was how was I going to secure the baby booties to my box. To my relief I finally figured it out but I was sweating over that one. The end result was lovely. Not perfect, not exactly as I had envisioned… but lovely nonetheless.

If you have any nifty thoughts on wrapping or clever ideas I’d love to hear them.

Shower Gift: Bootie Close-up
Shower Gift: Bootie Close-up
Shower Gift

Shower Gift