Friday, July 31, 2009

Rando Design Inspiration Friday!

I'm so happy it is Friday again, as always! I know most people have left for their country homes, but I'm staying in the big bad city this weekend. Enjoy some of my fave pics from this week!

I bought a few books downtown at a used bookstore about Provence interior design and I'm falling in love all over again with France. So romantic. From Kimberly Seldon's blog.

This sun drenched room looks so relaxing and whimsical. By Sharon Simonaire.

This chair with the caning is possibly everything I've ever wanted from a chair. Okay, maybe that was a tad dramatic but I still love it. By Kimberly Seldon.

Hmm, maybe I wish I were going to my country house (parent's house) this weekend after all. Nothing is quite as lovely as reading a good book on a porch with a beautiful view. From Country Living.

Oh Albert Hadley, you never disappoint me. From the patriotic eagle to the painted floor to the canes by the door, everything in this room is gorgeous.

With all this heat and humidity it makes going outside a big hassle unless I plan on going outside and not moving at all. I will be going to a garden party this evening though! What do you all have planned for the weekend? Whatever it is, I hope it's fun!

Alicia B.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jam Plan

Does anybody remember that Friends episode where Monica makes all that jam because she just broke up with her boyfriend, Richard? Well that happened to me MINUS the breakup part. So basically I just made jam for the sake of making jam. So thanks to the combined inspiration of Friends and Martha sending me jam recipes, I did it! It was the best decision I had made in weeks, though. YUM.

First you must OBVI wash the 4lbs of strawberries. MMM.

Then chop them all up into one inch squares/bits. This is one box chopped and put into an 8 quart stock pot. Martha says 10 quarts but...I only have 8. Make it work!

Phew! Here is what 4lbs of strawberries looks like all chopped up. Next, turn the heat up on your stove...

And start pouring on the sugar! Pour in 1/4 cup to start.

Stir it around with a wooden spoon until it is all mixed in.

Then I put in a few more cups of sugar, and stirred it as I went along. MMM it smells so good!

Next, turn up the heat and bring the strawberries and sugar to a boil and maintain a temperature of 220 degrees on your candy thermometer. After this, you are to do a gel test. Spoon a tiny amount of the almost jam onto a plate that you had put into the freezer about 3 steps ago, and leave it in there for about 4 mins. After 4 mins, test the jam to see if it has "gelled." In other words, is it gellin'? If it is, then you're good to go and you can take the jam off the burner. If not, keep boiling it. And test again.

After you've tested the jam to see if it's gelled (or licked a very very cold plate a few times), then you can start to pour it into the jars! I got small jars so that it would look like I had a lot of jam. It's important that you put it in while it's warm.

I made 7 jars!

Then, if you're a huge nerd, you can take out your sticker maker and make sticker labels! I made mine with Farrow and Ball wallpaper. Martha also has some templates, but I wanted to make my own.

Here they are!

Close up.


HERE is Martha Stewart's recipe which I was most impressed by. Next stop: scones. Thanks!

Alicia B.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Office for Creativity

My friend who was asked me to help her with her new apartment and look for a new desk for her. This got me thinking about desks, home offices, and how my "home office" is set up. I have a small green painted table with a distressed white painted chair. I have a printer scanner on my desk, a lap top, and a mail holder where I place photographs and postcards that interest me. Above my desk I have a framed piece of fabric, a photograph of my sisters and me, and some other small inspirational things including a poem. I find that having a desk like this with lots of things to look at (I have ADD okay??) is very helpful for someone is the creative field. You can find inspiration in almost everything. Here are some home offices that I found equally inspirational.

Living etc. Bookcases on either side make easy access to everything you need, plus a great view. I have a radiator in front of my window so I had to put my desk on the opposite wall.

James Merrill Photography. This home office has books, space for the computer, and a clear space for reading. Also, amazing chairs, eclectic wall decoration and fun art.

Houzz. OMG I love this one. Its cozy and that stairway on the left that acts like another wall/ceiling is SO fantastic. I also love how everything has its own space.

Burnham Design. This one is also super cozy. It looks like a nice retreat from everything with a gorgeous fabric on the chair, amazing antique furniture and dark painted walls. I wouldn't change anything about this room.

Having a space for all of the things that you require at your own "home office" is very important. I have pretty file folders to break up the monotany of paying bills and other office activities that aren't as fun as blogging or researching designers. What does your home office look like? Please feel free to email me photos for a future post!

Alicia B.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dear Anthropologie, I'm back.

Yesterday I was downtown (yes, during the huge deluge/thunderstorm/tornado) with a friend and we were on an Anthropologie mission. I used to absolutely adore everything Anthropologie, then I thought "I can't pull this off, its too indie for me," but now the tables have turned and I'm in love again. Don't you hate when you want every single thing in a store? It's maddening. Well, when the recession clears up slash I win the lottery, these are a FEW of the things that I was loving.

I would have bought these at the store but they didn't have an "A." Monogrammed Sticky Notes $14.
Nothing gets my heart pumping faster like a striped nautical rug! The Nautical Stripe Dhurrie starts at $78.

Pretty pottery vase for $14. It's mini but so cute!

I don't know WHO I think I am, but I think these are just plain practical! I love them! Magnifying glasses starting at $68.

I think these are quite possibly the most genius thing I've never seen. They are PRETTY measuring cups! I have about 300-400 sets of measuring cups which I love of course but none that come close to how pretty these are! They also have some that are flowers. Feminine and perfect.

If I were to get this bedding, I'd have to change my entire identity/personality/move into an old Victorian home but it would be SO worth it. Featherfew bedding starting at $268.

Somewhat by accident I've started to collect really pretty bowls ( I like cereal okay??). I have some blue and white ones and I think these would be a good addition. Cordoba Bowl $10.
My friend pulled this apron out and said, "Alicia, this is so you!" and I'd have to agree with her. I love Anthropologie aprons (already have one from another friend!) but how can you resist this one--it has smocking!! Comfort food apron $38.
I have to say I didn't see this chair coming from Anthropologie. Usually it is much more "distressed" in appearance. I love the classic traditional style and caning but painted black. Lovely. Bachelard Chair $298.

I don't have to wait to win the lottery, I'm open to donations as well. Thanks!

Alicia B.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rando Design Inspiration Friday!!

How jazzed are you all for this weekend? RIGHT?? Anyway, to speed it along (not that this week could have gone by faster), here are some lovely pictures that I found that made me smile.

I'm really loving Mollie Johnson's portfolio. This bedroom in particular really caught my eye. The simple white and soft green palette is so refreshing. I also can't take my eyes off that nightstand.

I love the preppy style of design of John Loecke. Sometimes it's a wee bit over the top but still playful and fun.

Am such a sucker for books...and a gallery wall...and a fireplace mantle. By Glen Gissler.

I bought a bolster pillow form but haven't gotten up the courage to attempt to sew a cover for it. I did make a square pillow last night though for someone special...who will receive it?? This one above, the Shali Bolster is from Anthropologie for only $228.

I SWEAR I'm going to make strawberry jam this weekend. THIS recipe from Martha Stewart looks pretty simple.

Last night was my last class for the summer so I celebrated with dinner and then went home and made a pillow. I'm really excited for my jam project and some more cooking projects that I've been inspired to try. Cough PAULA DEEN Cough. Speaking of which, I've started to follow some foodie blogs! I love the images, the recipes, and the enthusiasm that matches that of a design blog! Sunday Suppers, Simmer till Done, and Out of the Event are some of my favorites. I love to bake cookies and treats but I think I should up my difficulty level and go for larger projects. Do you guys have some favorites? What are you plans for the weekend?

Alicia B.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crawl Space Design

When you live in a teeny tiny apartment like I do, every bit of space is valuable. You learn to maximize your space and use every little inch to its fullest. I saw this image (below) of a small space under the stairway which the designer used for a tiny dog room!

I guess the smaller dog has more privileges and gets the space under the stairs. How cute is this and what a great use of the space under the stairs! By Janet Simon.

This room by Christopher Maya rates as one of my top favorite rooms of all time. They found this crawl space and made it into a secret little room slash fort for the kids. It reminds me of this weird little room in my father's office at our old house. My sisters and I used to play up there and slide down the ramp into the room! Tres fun.

Alicia B.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

White Drapery Surprise.

As I mentioned, over the weekend I am helping out a friend with her new house. It's so much fun for me and great to have someone who is receptive to my ideas even if we don't have the same style! Isn't that what a designer is for? Anyway, in her living room which is her top priority at the moment, she has simple ivory colored drapery. My first instinct is, COLOR! But then I stood back and thought that even though they were white, they still carried themselves without any color. Here are some other lovely rooms with ivory/white drapery and don't fade away.

This room is mainly made up of whites and neutrals in a very traditional style. By William Hodgins. Interesting how he works with the shape of the room and places the bedside table forward from the window.

Not a ton of color here but the white drapery is what draws your attention to the height of the ceiling. By Westbook and Winkler.

James Michael Howard, always decorating with soft neutrals tucks this gorgeous drapery behind the stunning architectural detailing.

The ceilings in the Kip's Bay Showhouse this year were so high that Bunny Williams had to sew two sheets (she used linen sheets I believe instead of drapery fabric) together to achieve that height.

Windsor Smith had the honor of participating in this Veranda Showhouse Greyhouse Estate. I'm just in love with those windows that are nicely framed out by strong white silk drapery .

Another lovely room, this one designed by the editors at Veranda.

Funny how even though there is a white carpet, these white drapes really stand out against the cocoa painted walls. By Carrier and Co.

I, of all people shouldn't be too astounded at how many people use simple white or ivory colored drapery. I have soft white drapery panels in both my bedroom and my living room with white scalloped edge roller shades underneath that. Would have included a picture for you but sometimes stealing internet has its drawbacks. I think it's subtle and elegant and lets the rest of the room speak for itself without being a cop out. White is certainly not a cop out.

Alicia B.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tough Tuesday

So I'm back after my day off yesterday. What was I doing you ask? I was in CT helping a friend with her new house! I'm so impressed (jealous) that she lives in an actual house and has so much room--even a yard! Anyway, the rooms have so much potential and I'm so honored that she has asked me for my advice. I'll give you updates on it as we go along. I have lots of posts (about 70--why do I keep subscribing?) in my Google reader that I need to catch up on today. This is one of the gifts that I got for my birthday from my bff from college who lives in Boston. I saw it and thought "Oh great, something weird with incense sticks" but I put it in my foyer and it smells like absolute heaven every time I walk in my front door! Its a collection of high end perfumes, body creams, and bath salts etc. made by ElizabethW who is based in San Francisco. You should check out their line, I was pleasantly surprised.

Alicia B.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rando Design Inspiration Friday

Just lovely. James Michael Howard.

Could this week have seemed longer? Maybe things seem longer when you get as old as I am now. Anyway, high five for Fridays! Enjoy the inspiration and have a glorious weekend!

Sandra Lindsay Design is making me want to go home and organize everything perfectly with these glorious bookcases stacked with woven baskets and antique books.

Did anybody else get their Ballard Designs Catalogue last night? I'm in love with nearly everything in it, especially these pillows. I just wish they came in a duvet form!

These stairs are so graceful and the angles are accented by that hanging globe. Curvy! By Austin Patterson Diston Architects.

I'm going to CT this weekend to celebrate my birthday with just my parents. I guess my sisters don't care enough to come all the way from Chicago for two days, but whatever. I'm okay with it. Totally fine. *dramatic tear* Just joshing--but really it'll be lovely and I'm taking Monday off to help a friend with her new home! Alicia B. Designs to the rescue!

Alicia B.