Friday, May 27, 2011

Artistic Hiatus

Sorry for it, but I've been busy working on a Ketubah for my cousin's wedding.  They were kind of last minute, and somehow my mom passed my stuff on to my great aunt who passed it on to the happy couple.  Less than a month?  No problem.  Luckily, FH went out of town last weekend so I was able to sit and work for superhuman lengths of time with just myself.  It was kinda nice and very productive. 

They are getting married in Napa Valley, CA and are being married by a good friend.  He is Jewish, she is not, but they wanted a Ketubah with Hebrew, and they wanted something that represented them as a couple, not something that was over-the-top Jewishy with pictures of Jerusalem, etc.  They sent me over a photo of a Ketubah that they liked, but that needed some tweaking.  Below, the process:

 I started with this, the photo that my cousin sent:

And I started sketching:

And then painting (this is my favorite part because every little thing you do changes the piece so much):

I added some stars, the first layer of the border, and began to paint in the grape leaves:

We picked out some text from the wedding blessings that were more universal, and they loved the saying "Ani L'dodi" so we incorporated it on the top in Hebrew (and later, the English was added to the bottom):

In the original, there was a scene of Jerusalem which didn't resonate with the couple, so I painted in a vineyard scene of Napa:

Then I added the dark blue border to hold the Hebrew text in gold, and added in the outside framing which will have climbing vines:

Last night, I finally got an ok on the text, so I wrote that in: 

This weekend I will be finishing up the leaves and grapes in the outside frame and looking for a giant scanner to run this baby through.  Kinkos said they could do it, but the last time I took something there they had no idea what I was talking about and the scanner scrambled all the paint colors on the digitized version.

I will post my final scan once I get it- Fingers crossed.  Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Gardening!

We planted a vegetable garden, complete with deer-proof fencing.  I happen to kill anything I try to grow and have an aversion to getting dirty, so needless to say I was not overly excited about the prospect of taking on a gardening project.  It actually wasn't half as bad as I thought, and I really do enjoy checking the progress.

Look at those brussel sprouts!  Can't wait.  The tomatoes appear to be turning yellow, possibly from the torrential rain that has been forcasted for the last week.  Also, the carrots and beets we planted from seeds have just started poking up.  Maybe the sun will stay out for a couple days to help dry things up!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Healthy, hearty and really good.  I actually was very impressed with this first attempt since I didn't use a recipe and just kinda winged it.  I had short grain brown rice, green lentils and an onion, and needed a side dish.  FH doesn't go near lentils, but loves onions and garlic.  I thought this might be the way to get him over his fear.  He tasted it, but due to it's appearance announced he would not eat a whole bowl of it.  That's ok.  More for me!

1 cup green lentils
1 cup brown rice
1 large yellow onion
Olive Oil
Minced garlic
Kosher salt

In one pot, boil the lentils.  In another pot, start sweating the onion and minced garlic in the olive oil.  When onions get tranluscent, add the brown rice and the water.  I added my spices to the rice/onion mixture when the water was about halfway absorbed.  I added about three decent sized pinches of kosher salt (I tasted in between and added as needed), about 2 tablespoons of cinnamon (I really wanted a hint of the flavor to stand out and it was getting lost), and about 2 tablespoons of cumin.  The onions and the cinnamon gave it a slightly sweet flavor while the garlic and and kosher salt balanced things out.  Then I mixed it all together and served.  It actually was better the next day for lunch after sitting and coming together in the fridge overnight.

Any other spices you use for mujadara?  Any changes you would make?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Old Fashioned Vessel Sinks

The same client I blogged about last week has been looking for "historical" vessel sinks (as a reminder of the chamber pot look). Here are some that I rounded up that I plan to pass along:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Client Ideas

A couple years back, I worked with a client to design the kitchens and bathrooms in the house they were building on the lake in Painsville.  The job was really rewarding, and I had so much fun working with them that I was sad when the project ended. 

Here are some views of their gorgeous upstairs kitchen:

Here is their view...(Jealous.):

This is their second, basement kitchen with access to the beach:

A couple weeks ago, I got a call from them saying that they had purchased a condemned Painsville landmark originally built in the 1860's that they were thinking about turning into a boutique hotel:

Steele Mansion

Note that there is no roof- It burned off in a fire a couple years back and has been sitting abandoned filling up with debris and snow ever since.  Here is a view of how it looked a couple months ago (there are also huge chunks of floors missing):

But this will all have a happy ending-  The 16 suite building will be rebuilt as either a boutique hotel or an upscale apartment building.  I am helping with the individual ensuite kitchens and baths.  The owners want to stick with the original French Second Empire style of the building with modern amenities, and the idea right now is for each suite to have a different personality.  Here were some preliminary inspiration boards I did for the bathrooms: 

Traditional Antique:
Antique bathroom look

Antique bathroom look by jenk968 on

Distressed French:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In Love With...D. Porthault Table Linens

Have you seen these?  Stop what you are doing and click here right now- try not to drool on your keyboard.  I've been so into botanicals lately, I think it really speaks to my fascination with attention to detail.  These embroidered linens are the epitomy of detail and craftsmanship.  Each peice is hand-stitched and is truly heirloom-worthy.

I love the embroidery on the table linens the best, although I'm sure the bedding is also incredible.  Frustrating, I can't find any pictures of the table linens to post for you, but I promise if you check out the site you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In Love With...Dark Walls

Maybe it's the artist in me that loves the introspection and moodiness that dark paint gives to rooms.  I am dreaming of a dining rooms with big windows and super dark, super glossy walls, maybe with some ornamental moldings thrown in for architectural interest and good measure.

What is it about this teal blue that makes it appear at least once in 98% of my "inspiration" folder??  I think I have a problem.  Also, that lamp is amazing.

Here is that fabulous teal again, this time in fabric wallcovering form.

Not blue (OMG, I know...), but how do you feel about dark ceilings?  It should be a given that I think this would look much better in blue, with maybe some teal upholstery on the chairs and a gorgeous oversized painting between those sconces.

High gloss to the max.  Too much?  I love the pops of orange in there with the greens and blues.  It keeps things energized but still with that moody traditional feel.

This was from an office showcased in  Ultra-glam.  I love that rug- it makes the whole room feel lived in and it gives it soul.

More navy walls...

 I love this purplish charcoal blue with those camel leather chairs.  Again, that orange and blue combo.  Love.

Could you live with dark walls or would you feel a little too "Miss Havisham", roaming the hallways out of touch with reality?  Actually, maybe that's only the second picture.  I could definitely live in that last room, in touch with reality or not.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Color Combos: Yellow and Green

One overarching theme I seem to have subconsciously incorporated in my inspiration folder is color.  On Mondays, I think I'll share these rooms with you by color combo to give you ideas.  Today's color combo is yellow and green and it's pretty perfect for spring. 

Here is a perfect yellow and green kitchen in a summer home:

And here it is mixed with orange drapes in a formal dining room:

I love the drama and formality in this one by Mary McDonald: 

And here it is with green accents in a more modern dining space:

I should be partial to this combo because I grew up in a room with grass green shag carpeting, and when I turned 12, I finally managed to get rid of the barnyard wallpaper and paint the walls a golden yellow.  I'll have to photograph my childhood room as an add-on.  Here is more modern example of green and yellow in the bedroom.  I love the trimming on that roman shade.

What do you think?  Would you use this springy combo in your home?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Design Friday: Library Ladder Inspiration

I love the way library ladders look in the home.  It makes everything feel grand and like there are endless hidden secrets tucked away out of reach.  I especially love this one in the kitchen, but do you think it would get in the way?

There is something about the quality of light in the kitchen below that makes me imagine wondering into the kitchen after sleeping in late, sipping tea while wrapped in blankets.  It's so homey and lived in.  Even though it's small, this is one of my favorites because it oozes character.

This one is beautiful too, although definitely not with the same historical feel...

And here are some libraries/living rooms:

This one is a bit too cold for my taste, but it's still cool!

As I mentioned before, these pictures have been in a folder labeled "Inspiration" on my desktop for over two years.  I'm not sure where to give proper credit, so if you recognize a photo, please let me know.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wedding Dresses with Sleeves

An issue that is close to my heart because of my upcoming wedding and religiously Jewish ceremony.  According to the Jewish tradition of modesty, brides wear modest dresses on their wedding day.  This was a concern, as the selection of wedding dresses with sleeves can be horrifying (talk about looking like a marshmallow/bringing back the 80's).  If you live in NY, I am told that there are specialty seamstresses that work with orthodox brides-to-be in crafting a build-up to a regular, off the rack dress, but I've also heard that this can be expensive and, depending on the material of the original dress, difficult.  I spent hours browsing the internet looking for dresses with sleeves, and, after visiting all the Mormon wedding dress websites (that are obviously based only in Utah and therefore totally unavailable for this bride to try on...), I purchased my dress in February.  I decided, like many of my friends, on a strapless dress with a jacket that will be worn for the ceremony and taken off for the reception and I LOVE my dress.

Even with my dress bought, I can't help but be a bit frustrated at the plethora of dresses just available in the last week with sleeves modeled after the royal wedding dress.  I loved Kate's dress and immediately pegged the similarity between her's and Grace Kelly's, if only because I've spent so much time staring at wedding dresses online.  For those of you who are in need of a sleeved dress and are just now beginning to look, you are lucky ducks.

This one is my absolute favorite:

By Ramona Keveza

Check out more in the "Get the Look" slideshow on Martha Stewart here.

Inspirational Thursdays...

In honor of it almost being the end of the week, here is a beautiful shot to inspire some mid-morning day dreaming. 

I can smell the mountain air and feel the wind.  Perfection.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Great Sources for Inexpensive Artwork

Blog merging:  Oct. 28, 2008
I came across another great decorating blog while skimming Domino Magazine's site for new decorating sources: On top of her having a great collection of sites for all your interior design cravings, she has a specific section just for budget art. Among the sites mentioned are a few for botanical and vintage prints, as well as , and which have contemporary prints for sale starting at $20 a piece.
This is an example of one of Matthew Smith's Tidal Pool prints for $110 (Quincy Pond).

Speaking of investing in inexpensive contemporary artists, I have fallen in love with the amazing porcelain ceramics of Heather Knight at Element Clay Studio ( Her wall tile collection makes me want to run my fingers over all of them! I think they would look great hung on the wall with a different frame around each. And, as an added bonus for those of us who have expensive taste, she makes them in two sizes so that you can splurge on the entire set of small tiles (4 for $275) as opposed to the larger set of 9, which go for $2100.