Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Room of the week-ORC Now linking party

My "Room of the week " feature is taking a detour this week to the ORC Now linking party.
You may have seen my room in the ORC linking party last year. If not, here's the idea, I wanted to create a room that would be comfortable enough for guests and also work for my son who is in college and away most of the time.
My son, Mr. Death Metal Maniac, is a music business major so I had to make it conducive to guitar playing while at home. He did not see the room until after the ORC reveal. Thank you for that timing, Linda.

Don't hate me for this, but it is exactly the same as the last time you saw it except when Mr. DMM is home. Then it looks like 5 laundry hampers exploded and need an air freshener. I don't have That picture.. maybe next week for Spring Break.

Check out everyone else's changes HERE

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thoughts on displaying art

In looking at the many varied images that display art in ways that I find pleasing I began to notice my own favorites. I am talking about more than just hung on a wall versus tabletop or bookshelf display. I have been thinking about the particular details that make up the context for display of two-dimensional art.
I'll show you a few examples and share my personal tastes along the way.

In the first photo the art work is propped on a mantel and layered. It also is an asymmetrical  assemble of art and objects framed by a symmetrical collection of objects.
I find it quite pleasing but in my own home might feel as though something were missing in this over-mantle arrangement.

This layered asymmetrical art arrangement seems to ground the work on the wall above and the work above seems to call attention to the collection below.
This is, to me, is perfection.

I could be persuaded to prop a piece in front of a mirror as Miles Redd has done here.

Propping paintings on the floor is evocative of an artists studio and is a common site in my own house. A house full of rambunctious kids may not be ideal for this type of display but its awfully romantic in a bohemian kind of way.

The idea of grouping a piece of art with another collection based on color, era and other similarities is intriguing to me although I might choose differently than this example.

Gallery walls and salon style installations are big buzzwords these day but nothing new. I particularly enjoy them when there is a theme of sorts.
Figures, caricatures and portraits are my favorites to group as you will see in the next two examples from my house.

a corner of my dining room
My college aged son's room

The choice whether to display art collections vertically or horizontally is a matter of taste and context in the space.

The Pink Pagoda

 A horizontal installation can bring life to a wall that is too wide to hold one work with any impact. My favorites either way include more than two.

I love vertically hung pieces on a narrow wall.
I have my own hang-ups (pun intended) about displaying art. 
Do you have rules that you adhere to?
What is your favorite way to display art?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Room of the week

This week I chose what appears to be a darling kitchen. It seems to have everything pretty, artwork, white cabinets, some glass fronts, diamond patterned floor with a Persian rug atop, antiques add up to a big dose of charm. The one thing it does not have is square footage.
Personally, it would take one holiday meal in a tiny kitchen to put me over the edge. I would be in a rubber room or jail cell.
Does size matter?

Monday, February 17, 2014

A meal to remember-the recipes

Toot toot! I am tooting my own culinary horn today. 
On Saturday evening I made a slightly tardy Valentine's dinner using some of the molecular gastronomy techniques and ingredients I received at Christmas.

The lighting of my photos was horrific but trust me when I tell you, all was super delicious. My husband and I are the sort of foodie that is easily pleased but very hard to impress. The flavors of my main course were impressive, if I do say so myself. We were all very happy.
I will explain what I did but I have no formal recipes.

The first little bites were bacon, honeycrisp apple sliced thin and cut into heart shapes, topped with black tea and lavender honey "caviar".
The bacon and apple are self-explanatory. The little jelly balls or "caviar" are another story.
They are made by bringing 3/4 cup of liquid to a boil with 2 grams of agar-agar powder and dropping the hot liquid with a pipette into very cold oil.
In this case, the liquid was tea sweetened with lavender honey. Agar-agar can be found at Whole foods and online.
The next course went unphotographed but was delicious. The plan was Gruyere tuilles (imagine mini taco shells) with proscuitto and tawny port foam. The foam did not happen and since I had an eager family we just had the delectable cheese bits with proscuitto.
These were really easy.
I took about 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated gruyere and formed a flat circle in a non-stick pan over medium heat. The cheese melts and forms a pancake of sorts that you carefully flip and cook another minute. When you remove to a paper towel you must quickly bend the hot, crispy cheese over the edge of your spatula, forming a tiny taco- shell shape. The trick is not to over brown these or they are bitter.
Fill with rolled proscuitto.

The main course was Pan-seared salmon with carrot cardamom puree and blood orange/Meyer lemon gelee cubes.

 I made the carrot puree early in the day and heated it before plating everything.
I used three carrots  peeled and coarsely chopped. Cover with water  and a pinch of salt, boil until soft.
When they were cool I put them in a blender with about 3 Tbl. of the cooking liquid, 1 tsp ground cardamom, and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and blend until smooth.
The gelee cubes used the same formula as the "caviar" but instead was poured into a glass dish (much easier) and cut into tiny cubes.
I juiced and zested 1 blood orange and 2 Meyer lemons to make 3/4 cup liquid and sweetened it with 2 Tbl. sugar. I brought it to a boil with 2 grams of agar-agar and poured it into a glass baking dish. It was set in 15 minutes I cubed it and set aside in the fridge but refrigeration is not necessary if you are just going to use it in a few hours.
I pan-seared the salmon at the last minute. This is really easy just use a non-stick pan on medium high heat with a few Tbl. of olive oil and make sure to salt and pepper both sides of the fish. The time will vary based on the thickness of the fish so an instant read cooking thermometer is handy. The fish should be between 130 and 135 F when you pull it.

Lastly, we popped the Moet and I grabbed the store bought macarons.
Maybe next time I will make those too.
I love a challenge in the kitchen so this was fun to me.
Tell me, do you enjoy gourmet food and cooking?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Etsy love

My blog headline, "Etsy love" has literal meaning today as I introduce Madeleine's Metier, my 16 year-old daughter's shop on Etsy.

She has raided my watercolor supply and began simply by painting what she liked for herself. Its a familiar story around here. I suggested the Etsy store and she was really into the idea. Its a big change from her declaration a year ago that she can't paint and is not creative.
I am enormously proud of her.

Many of her paintings are based on photographs but she really likes the fashion illustrations best.

Take a peek at her other offerings HERE.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Room of the week

"We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad."
 I couldn't resist and Alice in Wonderland reference for the photo.
 I love a climb in bookshelf but more pillows please and perhaps better lighting.

Would you love or hate this?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pagoda mirrors

I love pagoda mirrors. I mean who doesn't right?

They are suited for mantles and entryways and dining rooms that need something over a console or buffet.

They are not for every house or budget. This one from Circa Who is $2800. Another was on eBay for $1500.

Circa Who
The thing I like best about pagoda mirrors is...

that there is now one in my house!!!
Imagine me screaming that and jumping up and down like the people one The Price is Right!
That is how excited I am, especially since the price was right. It amounted to about what the sales tax would be one one found in a retail store.

I have Kristen of Pursuing Vintage to thank for this. She emailed me about an estate sale nearby. At first I dismissed the idea entirely because my husband and I agreed on a spending fast where we buy nothing but food, gas and essentials.

Then I peeked at the offerings and saw the mirror. Despite my inner curmudgeon telling me it would be gone already, too expensive and that I dare not buy anything, I went.

Let's just say that Mr. Design du Monde was none too pleased about this but he was not mad enough not to style the whole thing. He hated the varying blues in my porcelain set up so I scurried about the house bringing pieces for his approval. He is insisting that the painting next to the mirror is wrong looking so I better fix that. He is a styling fiend!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Paintings and such

"I miss Thistle" 11 x 14 oil on canvas by Kerry Steele
I finished working on two small canvases this week. I works for me to prop them on the floor while I have a larger canvas on my easel. I add a bit of color to the little ones when I have something right from the big one on my palette and bit by bit they get finished.
The title of the 11 x 14 above is "I miss Thistle". It refers to the long retired Crayola crayon color that was my favorite as a child. Why did they have to do that? I am still annoyed.

"Ghost pear"
You might remember the fun that my friend, Christina Baker and I had a few weeks ago with #bringingbackthepear.

It was joined by quite a few artists and can be searched by the hashtag on Instagram. It spawned a new Etsy shop by the daughter of another artist pal, Sally Kelly. Gabrielle Kelly has been busy painting watercolors for her shop.

My youngest daughter who is just 4 joined in and this melted my heart, so it got a frame. I think it works well with the color story in my larger painting.

I have added a few watercolor pears to my shop too.

On Monday, February 10, Jennifer of The Pink Pagoda will be posting another round of my watercolors in blue and white.

They have been going really fast but if you don't score the one you want you can still special order on.
Happy weekend Y'all!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Room of the week

David Hicks

I recently saw a Mary McDonald drawing of a tented room and remembered how I loved the look of them as a child. They do have a certain romantic quality.
This heady David Hicks example is quite dramatic and I am sure impractical, but who cares?
If you are going to do something, do it all the way, right?
Could you you or would you make a tented room in your home or is it just the stuff of fantasy?

Monday, February 3, 2014

What's in your blue and white?

Hi!  Today I am linking up with Jennifer at The Pink Pagoda for her Blue and White Bash.
You don't want to miss the other links either...lots of inspiration!
Today I am showing you how I use my blue and white porcelain in everyday life.

I love the dragons on my bumbershoot stand. It holds a few antique walking sticks, umbrellas and a cane.
Across the entryway is a table with a collection of blue and white porcelain and I like to keep a magnifying glass handy here. It may house my husband's car keys, receipts and glasses from time to time too.
Speaking of car keys, I throw mine into a different antique bowl by the back door.

Just below that, I plop my purse on the garden seat.

The Foo dogs use their derriere's to hold a few books in place.

I have opted to use blue and white tea towels in my kitchen ever since I had my own and a tiny blue and white bowl of Kosher salt is always handy in my kitchen.
Last Mother's day I got these fab blue willow canisters to house my kitchen staples.
Oh and of course, flowers!

What's in your blue and white?