My love for pasta knows no bounds. I even have a shirt that says "Pasta Power" on it and I wore it for years, then framed it so I could still enjoy it. When I came across this adorable ceramic pasta storage container from Black + Blum at the gift show, I knew I had to share it with you.
Aside from being a slim and handy way to store spaghetti, it has both a sense of humor in its design and practicality: the underside of the cork lid has a one-, two, and three-serving portion measurement guide so you can ensure you're making the right amount for the number you're serving.
images via black + blum
As I spend time looking at local neighborhoods and perusing online real estate listings, I'm thinking a lot about exterior paint color combinations. In the majority of neighborhoods in the US (at least all the ones I've ever been in), houses are generally painted in variations of brown, gray, white, green, yellow, blue, and red. But the colors are always pretty muted: the reds are more brick reds, the yellows like butter, and the greens olive or forest. (But it seems like there's always one blue house that is a weirdly electric color and stands out like a sore thumb.)
Wouldn't it be amazing if our neighborhoods were as vibrant as these blocks in Cape Town, as photographed by Gray Malin? Those blue houses would be right at home among the lavenders and oranges and limes and other saturated colors.
I can't imagine how fun it would be to live in a technicolor neighborhood and see where everyone took their house color-wise. I think I would be insanely happy every time I walked on my street.
Of the standard colors, I've always gravitated toward gray houses, and my last house was light gray, but lately I've seen a few houses around town that are purple. Subtle though—the purples have gray or brown undertones and they look really nice. Something like this color, left (Cabernet, 2116-30 Benjamin Moore). So maybe I should go in that direction for something a little less typical?
If you could paint your house any color--neighborhood associations and judgmental neighbors be damned--what color would you choose? Or for more inspiration, check out my exteriors board.
This week is Tabletop market in NY and I can't wait to see images of the new introductions. Tabletop market is one of my favorite market events (actually, I love them all), even though I don't get to work on tabletop stories very often. New place settings, serving pieces, glassware, and some giftware are on display both to the press and to retailers who decide what to buy for the upcoming season. Most, but not all, of what you see at Tabletop is high-end so it's fun to create tablescapes using these beautiful pieces.
In honor of Tabletop week, I decided to share some of my favorite tabletop pieces from past years at market (see the slideshow above) and these are still available for purchase.
Ruche by British bridal designer Bruce Oldfield for Royal Crown Derby is a pattern I fell for right away. The pattern is inspired in part by the way the silks Oldfield works with move and the ruching technique. The yellow accent plate is actually a little more chartreuse in person, and the gold bands on all the pieces are textured.
Haviland's Laque de Chine chargers are classic and come in wonderful colors, so they mix with nearly anything.
I'm not usually into the sea creature-theme, but I do love these textured plates by Richard Ginori with creatures in relief.
Kosta Boda's glass Mine collection is swirly and smoky and fabulous.
I adored Juliska's Country Estate collection from the minute I saw it because it has all these wonderful details like little hot air balloons in the scenery.
I am pretty much a fan of everything Kelly Wearstler does, including this tabletop she designed for Pickard.
I absolutely love John Rocha's Black Cut collection for Waterford. The black crystal with the cut clear crystal is so gorgeous and feels a little mysterious.
Nason Moretti's Cliff glasses are another product I was constantly drawn to.
The Harcourt glasses are the oldest collection in Baccarat's archive. I love weighty stemware and the hexagonal foot.
Saint-Louis' Les Endiablés collection is a major favorite. It's so high end, but I love the colors and the fact that they're both objet and functional glass, and can be used upside down or right side up.
The incredibly talented (and lovely) Marcel Wanders designed a line of flatware for Christofle, and the engravings are gorgeous.
Lladro is really more of a collector's brand, but the craftsmanship of the pieces is incredible and I love the creativity and whimsy of them. This Clown Lamp is by designer Jaime Hayon.
Rosenthal's Studio Line has a bunch of wonderful vases and this is just one of them. If I remember correctly, it was designed by a student.
Full admission, the Oberon pattern from Wedgwood is not one I saw at Tabletop initially, though I did see it there once I started attending market. Oberon is actually my own wedding china pattern, but I still love it, so I thought I'd share it.
images via royal crown derby, bloomingdales, richard ginori 1735, kosta boda, juliska, pickard, waterford, nason moretti, baccarat, saint-louis, christofle, lladro, rosenthal, wedgwood
Now that I've (gulp) registered my first-born for kindergarten, I keep thinking about various things that I've been meaning to do with my girls. One thing I've had in mind for a while is to write them letters about this period in their life, what they are like, what they like to do, and so on. I meant to start when Cupcake was born, but even though I've composed these in my head several times, I haven't gotten anything down on paper.
I think her going off to school and beginning this new phase in her life will be the perfect time to put down exactly how I feel about her and who she is at this point in time (and my youngest daughter, too). My idea, in addition to writing the letter about their baby-, toddler-, and preschool-hood, is to also write them letters for different situations like their first breakup or the first time they accomplish a major achievement as an adult. I'd like to think I'll live a long time and be there for them to share my own experiences in person, but the truth is we never really know what will happen, and I'd love to leave something for them to keep, as a part of me, and as something to encourage them when they need to be reminded that they're not alone.
Once written, I'll need a place to put the letters so they can read them when they're older. I love this chromatic set of assorted envelopes in one of my favorite color palettes. I can slip the letters in each envelope, label them and keep them safe in a box for the future. A future that will be here before we even know it.
image via woonwinkel
Admittedly, these are a little pricey ($54 for set of three), but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't buy them if I had the extra cash lying around. I have a bit of an obsession with storage boxes and these are so lovely and feminine and fancy. Either set would make your desk or office look even better, don't you think?
Have I mentioned how much I love cuff bracelets? Probably. I think it stems from a superhero power band place (in high school and college I used to cut the tops off tube socks and wear them like power bands on my wrists). I pretty much like them all, whether they're big and chunky or elegant and minimal, like this 'Eileen Gray' cuff.
Handmade in the USA, the cuff is adjustable so it can fit on any wrist. The shape is very simple and architectural. If you aren't familiar with designer Eileen Gray, this is the iconic table she is so well-known for. You can see the direct inspiration between her design and the cuff.
Eileen Gray was an Irish designer who lived in Paris and worked as an interior designer, architect, and furniture designer throughout her career. This table was created by Gray and her partner Jean Badovici for a home in Roquebrune, France. They placed it bedside, but the table is often more likely seen now next to chairs and sofas.
Last year, we ended up coloring eggs that were meant for a deviled egg hors d'oeuvre and I loved how it came out so much that I wanted to do it again this year. Plus, I like deviled eggs better than plain hard-boiled eggs, so this way, we can enjoy the fun of coloring the eggs and I'm more likely to eat them after.
Hard boil eggs and remove the shells.
Halve hard-boiled eggs lengthwise.
Remove yolks and mash them (if you have a ricer, it makes the filling smoother, but using any masher or fork will do).
For 6 eggs, use:
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-1 teaspoon vinegar
-1 teaspoon mustard,
-and salt and pepper to taste
To fill the eggs, we put the mixture in a cookie press with an accent tip on it; it gives them a light and ruffled look, but you can also use a piping bag (or a plastic storage bag with a corner cut off).
We usually top them with paprika, but you can also garnish with parsley, chopped onions or chives, crumbled crispy bacon, or horseradish.
The coloring process is the same as eggs still in the shell: food coloring + water + time = colored eggs. The color won't take to the eggs as uniformly as they do on the shells, but as long as you're okay with that, you should be pretty happy with the results. I haven't tried to do ombre or anything more advanced than combining two or three colors on the same egg, because it takes a while for the color to saturate into the egg white. We're actually doing another batch of eggs next week when my sister comes to town, so I might try to experiment a little.
images my own
These ice cubes are so cute! We've seen amusingly-shaped ice cubes before, but these are just a little different. Silicone molds create mini icebergs for a frozen polar bear and pair of penguins to stand upon. Created by Japanese designer Hayashi Atsuhiro, they represent the North and South Poles. As adorable as they will look in your drinks, they also serve a higher purpose: as the ice melts, the cubes act as a reminder of the situation facing real animals living on the receding Arctic and Antarctic ice caps due to global warming.
The set of molds is available at Fab.
Watch the video below to see how they look in a drink and get a better sense how they're made.
Since we moved nearly two years ago, we've been on the hunt for the right house. Spending all this time searching has taught me at least one thing: People really, really need help taking photos for their listings. I have no intention of shaming anyone (because frankly these photos below are not the only ones out there), but I feel like I need to share what not to do. A house is a big-ticket item and you want it to look its best so it can move off the market quickly. Listing photos are supposed to draw people in and make them want your house, not make them laugh or run scared.
(PS: Realtors, when I see you've posted a listing with questionable photos, it makes me question your attention to detail and quality as a professional.)
I won't lie, it can be hard to get good pictures when you've just found out or decided you're moving and haven't packed up yet and there's clutter all around. But try your best to remove distracting and overly personal items. When we were moving from our first apartment to our house, we had a lot of papers, miscellaneous decor, and photos. But we spent a couple days, packed all that stuff up and brought it to a storage space that was running a two-month special. It made a huge difference in the amount of stuff in the apartment, which I then staged for the photos and showings. The apartment sold within 24 hours of being listed. Granted, it was in a highly desirable area and it was before the economy tanked, but I have no doubt that the cleared-out space helped. We even removed all photos of family and friends, save one wedding picture where you couldn't see our faces. People want to see themselves in your house, so even if it feels weird to you, try to depersonalize your house when you put it on the market.
This advice is not new, but it seems people don't take it to heart:
I can barely see this hallway. Is it painted, is that wallpaper? Where is this leading? Aside from the lights being on, I think the door at the end of the hall should have been opened. People want a sense of how the house flows.
In the digital age there is no excuse for posting a blurry photo like this. I can't see the details clearly. Is that a tiled backsplash or simply a gajillion outlets all along the wall? Take a minute to scroll through the images on your camera display and see if all the important details look clear.
It's safe to assume every bathroom has a place for towels and toilet paper, so I don't really need to see that. I'd rather see what the vanity and lighting look like and how many sinks there are. Powder rooms and half baths can be hard to shoot, but at least show me all of something. Showing me fractions and corners of multiple things doesn't help me visualize the room.
I'm the first to admit that on any given day I have a stack of laundry and school papers somewhere. But I wouldn't show them to you in my listing photos. You want your house to look its most attractive when you're trying to sell it, so straighten up and put away dishes and cleaning supplies. People want to see how much counter space a kitchen has, keeping it cluttered is not appealing.
I'm not a plumber or an electrician and I don't know what this is but it looks like a hot mess. And probably not code. I'm not sure why this was included in the listing photos; is this supposed to entice me to want to see more of the house? This makes me want to call Mike Holmes to do a full house inspection.
Now, let's look at this beautifully finished room again. This is a good example of what I would like to see in a listing photo. Obviously it's a professional image so I don't expect a listing photo to be this high quality or the average room to be this well decorated, but here's what this photo has going for it and what you should strive for:
-The picture is clear and in focus, is not taken from any funny angles, and shows the approximate depth of the room. Because I can see the whole room, I'm not left wondering what I can't see.
-It gives an idea of how the house flows because you can see into the next room.
-The lights are on and the windows are letting in natural light so you get a sense of how the room looks during the day and you can see everything in it.
-The furniture is nicely arranged and the room is lightly accessorized but there are no personal items, photos, toys, or other kinds of clutter.
This room absolutely makes me want to see more of the house. When I see the bad images, sometimes I can look past the poor photos if it seems like the house is in good shape. But if the pictures are blurry, make the rooms look small, or if the rooms are a mess, it makes me wonder what state the house is in and whether it's worth my time to see the house in person.
I can generally tell within 3-5 pictures whether I'm going to want to see a house in person or not. If everyone is judging your house by the photos, don't you think it's imperative to have the best possible selection of images for prospective buyers?
top (and bottom) image via pinterest
This week, as part of my part-time job, I'm attending a local conference called the WISE Symposium. WISE stands for Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. All day tomorrow I'll be tweeting and posting from the conference and I'm excited to hear the speakers who have been successful in starting their own businesses, attend the panels all related to starting and running a business, and learning more about local businesses who will part of the expo section.
The company I work for is a small business founded and run by a woman. My mother-in-law is an entrepreneur and I don't think of myself as an entrepreneur, but going out on a limb and working freelance as opposed to being on staff is a direction I wasn't ever sure I could succeed in.
Marie Claire posted 11 of Coco Chanel's best quotes and they seemed especially appropriate this week. The one above is my favorite as it's pretty close to my philosophy on life and decorating (to some extent). Check out the rest of the inspiring quotes here.
image via marie claire
mom, wife, market editor, crazy person.
© 2014 | mrkt