Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blueprint


I picked up the final issue of Blueprint in Grand Central yesterday. The cover looks great. I was so sad that Jan/Feb issue would be their last. I like many others didn't really like Blueprint when it first came out. The mag felt unorganized and just seemed to lack a clear vision. But the mag grew and definitely found it's footing. It quickly became one of my favorites.

I really like that each month that had some kind of DIY projects that didn't feel like DIY. Each project was always clever and chic. Best of luck to the staff. I have heard a rumor that the staff will continue with their Bluelines blog. Great stuff and ideas...a definite bookmark! blogs1.marthastewart.com/blueprint/

But let's take one last look at the cover. I so dug that custom made dresser using clip art. I am thinking of buying two dressers and doing a horizontal art piece to join the two! So smart!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Forcing Bulbs



This afternoon I planted some paperwhites and pink hyacinths bulbs around the apartment. The smell is so refreshing and enticing in the dead of winter. It's fun to see the bulbs grow each day and eventually bloom. Last year, I woke in the middle of the night to literally hearing the paperwhites bursting from their blossoms.

FYI wear gloves when planting hyacinths. Every year I forget and wonder why I am itching all over my hands, face, and neck. The hyacinth evokes itching in practically everyone: an irritant reaction caused by calcium oxalate crystals. Wear gloves and you'll avoid this fate.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

C. Bell Furnishings


I found this link via Design Sponge's guest blogger a few weeks ago. I fell for the two nightstand above. They are perfect. I like the lines and I love that they are white gloss. The problem is that they are a bit out of my budget right now, $2,100 for the pair. Oh well, I can dream for now. Check out some of my other favorites below and be sure to check our her site, cbellfurnishing.com. I am loving this site and totally keeping it bookmarked for future inspiration.




A Ribby Christmas


Hot off the grill and ready for the table


This past Christmas we decided to do a little something different. None of us really felt like eating roast beef or wanted to make a fish soup. But all of us were in agreement that ribs sounded outstanding.


I have a great recipe a friend gave to me over the summer. The ribs have a definite Asian influence, made with ginger, soy sauce, orange juice, and ginger ale. We decided to pair the ribs with some down home favorites: mac & cheese, baked beans, sweet potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, and a carrot cake for dessert. The adults seemed as happy as the kids for this unusual holiday meal. See my favorite recipe below. Even the non-rib eaters gave it a double thumbs up.




My plate piled high and clean.


A shot of the marinade for the ribs cooking



Our Favorite Ribs



6 servings



14 large garlic cloves—8 peeled and smashed, 6 minced


1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger plus 1/4 cup minced (6
ounces total)


6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
separated


4 star anise pods


3 cups soy sauce


2 quarts water


2 cups ginger ale


1/2 cup dry white wine


Strips of zest and juice from 1 navel orange


1 cup granulated sugar


1/2 cup cilantro stems plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped
cilantro


3 racks of baby back ribs (5 1/2 pounds)


2 cups lightly packed brown sugar


1 cup ketchup


1 teaspoon crushed red pepper



Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan,
combine the smashed garlic with the sliced ginger,
scallion whites, star anise, 1 1/2 cups of the soy
sauce, the water, ginger ale, white wine, orange zest
and juice, granulated sugar and cilantro stems. Set
the pan over 2 burners and bring to a boil over
moderately high heat.



Add the baby back ribs to the roasting pan, cover
tightly with foil and bake for about 2 hours, or until
the ribs are very tender. Let cool to room
temperature, then spread the ribs out in a single
layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled
and firm, about 30 minutes. Discard the braising
liquid.



Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the
vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger and
the scallion greens and cook over moderately high
heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add
the remaining 1 1/2 cups of soy sauce, the brown
sugar, ketchup and crushed red pepper and bring to a
boil. Cook over moderately high heat for 3 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add
the chopped cilantro. Transfer the rib sauce to cooled ribs.


Finish off the ribs on the grills for about 15 minutes. Let them get a healthy coating of crust.Pile on a platter and serve hot.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Cookie Time

We had a lot fun making cookies for Christmas. My niece joined me over the weekend to help with all the baking. We made Mexican Wedding cookies, Gingersnap cookies, and Peanut Butter cookies. The afternoon was really special for me and my niece. Everyone's favorite? Gingersnaps! The boyfriend grated tons of fresh ginger into the cookies to give them a great spicy kick. All the recipes are from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook available at amazon.com. I have included our favorite recipe for the Gingersnaps below.

Mexican Wedding Cookies cooling.


Our favorites: Gingersnaps.



Gingersnaps

Makes about 5 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2/ teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar

1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated, peeled, ginger

1 large egg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and salt; set aside.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, molasses, and ginger on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the egg until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined. Transfer dough to a bowl and wrap in plastic; refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place granulated sugar in a shallow bowl; roll bowls in sugar to coat completely, and place about 2 inches a part on the prepared sheets.

Bake rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are deep golden all over and centers are firm, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Penny Harvest Field


I was in Rockefeller Center today and got a few shots of the massive penny field. Hords of people gathered around the giant display. It seems all people wanted to know was, "How may pennies were there," and "Can they touch them? I was grossed out. No way was I touching those pennies. These people have obviously not gotten the horrible coughing cold that has been going around.

The pennies are doing good things besides being a carrier for the common cold. The little guys will help benifit children in NYC schools particpating in the Penny Harvest. The copper field is quite beautiful shimmering in the sunlight. If you can't make it to NYC you can view the field on their website, commoncents.org.

From December 10 until New Year’s Eve, the Common Cents Penny Harvest Field will be open to the public from 9 AM – 9 PM, north of the world-famous Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, just west of Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Marine Life Artist, George Anderson


Feeling inspired by the sea today I thought I would share my favorite marine life painter, George Anderson. I discovered George years ago in the sleepy little town of Rockport, Massachusetts. In an area that's over run with tourist trap paintings and lobster memorabilia, George Anderson is an amazing treat in a sea of crap.

Anderson is a real painter. He gets it. The color is strong, composition unique, and the work just feels real. Bulky arms and gloves and large nets depict the hardship of the fishing industry. The bright blocky colors ignite the canvas helping to exude a somewhat timeless emotion of the sea. If you can't afford the paintings he does sell his work in poster sized images. To view more work: click here.




Amy Lau Inspiration


Yellow has made a definite mark in 2007. I love it paired with greens and grays. This cute bedroom designed by Amy Lau is a perfect example of yellow done right. The yellow feels fun but it doesn't get crazy. The grey and mossy greens help ground the color and give it some sophistication. The white duvets keeps the color crisp and casual. Check out Amy Lau's work by clicking here.

Lauren Wolf Sea Jewelry


From left: Stingray Baby Necklace, $340. Stingray Disc Necklace, $202.


I am loving these new pieces by Lauren Wolf. Each piece is cast in sterling silver depicting abstract sea life forms. The pieces have a great texture and nubby feel. Think: lost jewels from the bottom the sea. Get the booty at thisisauto.com. Check out her portfolio here.

From left: Lauren Wolf Sea Urchin Band, $74. Sea Urchin Bangle, $97.

Glacier National Park Blankets


From left: Rainier National Park, $168. Glacier National Park, $140-$178.


Glacier National Park blankets are one of my favorite wool blankets. I love the stripes and primary colors. The blankets have been around since the 1900s and made by Pendleton Woolen Mills using 100% virgin wool. Each blanket is named for a specific U.S. national park. I have always been drawn to the Glacier National Park blanket. I am trying out these colors on a new stripe painting I am working on. I'll post some images once I get it a little closer to completion. For now check out Pendleton's website and explore the great outdoors.


From left: Great Smoky National Park, $168. Crater Lake National Park, $168-$178.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mairo


I was just cruising through my bookmarks for a little inspiration. I thought I would share my two favorite patterns from the Swedish company, Mairo. So pretty! I am in love with this fabric. The colors and pattern feel so juicy and organic.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tartan Wool Blankets


From left: Buchanan Wool Blanket, 72x54, $43. MacMillan Wool Blanket, 72x54, $43.


Tartan wool blankets are classics. The colors and patterns vary depending on clan. Who cares if your not Scottish. Pick up a few of these and drape on couches and beds. Think Ralph Lauren ads/Log Cabin retreat.

From left: Stewart Royal Blanket, 72x54, $43. Anderson Blanket, 72x54, $43.



From left: Lambswool Tartan Blanket Dress Gordon, 54 x 66, $91. MacLeod Wool Blanket, 72x54, $43.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Vintage Welsh Blankets


Vintage Welsh Carthens


I just feel in love with these vintage Welsh blankets. I found them on the UK site, Re-FoundObjects.co.uk. The shop is full of vintage finds: elegant glassware, lighting, and textiles. For now I will bask in the glow of my newest obsession. I have to see what else I can dig up on Welsh blankets. I am so in love with the colors and patterning.

Vintage Welsh Blankets

Friday, December 14, 2007

Andirons



Gates and Douglas Andirons, Lyle and Umbach, To the Trade.


Andirons have often been called, "jewelry for the fireplace." Not only are they pretty, but they help prevent logs from rolling onto your floor.

I started this piece back in my H&G days. I feel in love with Lyle and Umbach's, Reese Andirons, unfortunately they were only sold to the trade. I started to search for other retail options and turned up pretty empty handed.

The problem is andirons were popular back in the day when people had class and actually used fireplaces. It's nearly impossible to find a reproduction that doesn't seem cookie cutter and just plain boring. To the trade always has the most druel-worthy stuff but it can be hard for a regular person to get a showroom to sell to them. So I would suggest hunting for the real thing. Try antique stores and great websites like 1stdibs.com. My round-up is meant to be pure inspiration. Let me know what you find antique or not?




Reese Andirons, Lyle and Umbach, To The Trade.



Tree Andirons, Lyle and Umbach, To The Trade.



Pewter Ball Top Andirons, North Line Express, $189.90 a pair.



Iron And Brass Andirons with Thistle Design, English, Heather & Company.


Pair of Restored Modernist Andirons, 1930s-40s, Paul Marra Design.



Leaf and Cone Forged Iron Andirons, Early 20th Century, France, Robert Altman.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ferm Living Wallpaper


Fir Tree Wallpaper, $95.


Let the wintry weather indoors with Ferm Living's nature inspired wallpaper. The graphic appeal of the prints will make for some super high impact walls. Try wrapping a small space such as a bathroom, or for the less adventurous, a single wall. Be sure to check out their other nature inspired papers.




Family Tree, $95.



Wilderness, $95.

SoNo Baking Company

This past Sunday was my 29th birthday. We kept it pretty low key. Saturday night we were out late at the Philharmonic. We were pretty tired on Sunday and slept in late. By noon we were ravenous, we took a drive over to our favorite new bakery: SoNo Baking Company in South Norwalk, Ct.

The café is owned by baker John Barricelli . He is also the famed co-host of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food cooking show on PBS.

John's top notch sweets and breads have definitely won my heart and stomach. The open air café is filled with cakes, cookies, pastries, breads, and tarts. Large windows surround the bakery and give customers a birds-eye view of the large industrial kitchen.




Greg and I feed our belly's with 2 cups of really good coffee, pancakes ($7.50) and an egg sandwich ($5.25). Everything was amazing, fast, and cheap. While heading out the door we scored ourselves the last white mousee and apricot jam cake as my birthday cake ($30), a box of assorted cookies, and pecan rolls for breakfast the next day.




SoNo Baking Company

101 South Water Street

South Norwalk, CT

203-847-7666

sonobaking.com

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trina Turk


From left: Belted Cass Dress, $318. Rudi Pant, $228.


I despise shopping for winter clothes. They always seem so boring, heavy and everything is in a shade of black. Tonight I was suppose to be online shopping for a new winter coat that I so desperately need. But instead I found myself oogling over Trina Turk's new Resort collection. I love her bright bold feminine prints and shapes. The resort collection is a mix of a little 60's Jackie-O with a healthy kick of Palm Beach brights. My favorites are above and below.




From left: Tropics Dress, $288. Chickee Crop Jacket, $248.

I have stretched!



One stretcher down...9 more to go. My boyfriend asked for 10 paintings for Christmas. So I am going to let the gesso dry on this canvas and then put a base color down to dry overnight. I'll then have room then to stretch another canvas in the morning. The next canvas is more rectangular. I only have room to do 2 paintings at a time in my small studio.

Madeline Weinrib Rugs


Both of these rugs from Madeline Weinrib remind so much of the tiling in Mancini's Italian Palazzo. I so want one and then I can get a red velvet chair. But wait...I'm suppose to be painting. I can't buy anything till I made at least 5 paintings. Why is it that the things you really love to do can be so hard to start? Alright, no excuses. I have to leave the computer now and start my life.

 

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