6.30.2011

Reclaim

Reclaim - a: to rescue from an undesirable state,
also: to restore to natural state.

"Reclaim my house" is new series I want to launch on this blog. I am sure everyone who has small kids will understand when I say " I want to reclaim my house from the kids chaos!"
Of course, there are those who somehow manage to keep their house tidy and organized, and moreover, DESIGNED to their liking even after they have kids! I salute you, those brave moms, who are not afraid of displaying decorative glass vases and picture frames on their side tables, and upholstering fine furniture in designer fabrics and using beautiful wallpaper in their guest bathrooms. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. From the moment I had my first baby, I put all my design desires and dreams to the side. On hold.
Somehow crawling babies and a coffee table with a pile of Interior Design magazines on top, and a small square vase with a pretty bouquet of flowers in it ( you know what I am talking about, this is a typical photo shoot prop used in those Interior Design magazines to make the rooms look pretty and fresh and wonderful) did not work out for me! LOL!
Other item that were banned from my house were live plants, fake plants, candles, books, decorative objects, etc. Because everything within their little hands reach were instantly destroyed and/or increased the risk of injury.
So we lived in a boring, bare-walled, un-accessorized house for almost 3 years. And now that my kids are almost 3 and 4 years old, I think it is possible to give my house a design makeover it deserves.
Of course, it is not going to be one of those miraculous makeovers they show on TV, but rather a step-by-step, room-by-room update/upgrade and renovation to fix up all those "design gaps and holes" left behind.

So I plan to post every Thursday on the progress of a certain room.
The first room to receive an upgrade is the LIVING ROOM
Here what it looks like now,




Things that are new, and to be included in the new design:
-Drapes
-Mirror
-Console Table below
-Sectional

Besides the EMPTY BORING WALL and the old, stained, temporary RUG that is just really wrong for this room, there are a few things I want to achieve:

- Add color/pattern to the room

- Add wall treatment on the boring wall - perhaps, a collage of framed photos/artwork, maybe a ledge to fit small decorative objects, maybe even a stencil. 

-Change the rug ( I covered that one in the post here)

-Add new pillows for the sectional

- Possibly repaint the walls due to numerous fingerprints of smaller size, and occasional doodles with crayons, pens, plus some scratched made by the same hands that produced fingerprints ;) Also, I would really like to change the color to a more cooler shade, like light grey.

-Add another piece of furniture, either a small chair or an ottoman. We really like the openness of the living/seating area, but the professional interior designer in me craves the balance that another chair would provide, plus an extra seating is always a bonus. Will have to think about it..

- Possibly paint the console below the mirror different color, some FUN color! I realized all the furniture pieces in our home are dark chocolate ( yea, I remember that phase...)
Here are some examples of what I mean:

Overstock
Source: Unknown

House Beautiful

Ok, so for right now I will wait for the arrival of my new rug, and if it works in a room, we'll take it from there. I will update on the progress  next week. I you have any suggestions on how to improve my living room, I would LOVE to hear it!

6.29.2011

Christmas Pillow anyone?

I know it's the middle of summer, almost 4th of July, and I am talking Christmas Pillows. Crazy, right?
Well, I had a fresh piece of my "Decorating Team" fabric just asking to be used, and I wanted to show off the cuteness of this fabric, because it is NEVER too early to start crossing out those items from the Christmas shopping list, right? Now, whether you have a modern setting or classic, this pillow cover will fit perfectly on your favorite chair around the holidays. Get one for yourself or for a loved one HERE while they still available!





Trend Bible

Have you ever heard of the Trend Bible? Yea, me neither.
Apparently, they are a group of young people who produce trend forecasting books twice a year. Basically, what is going to be popular in colors, graphics, materials, shapes, fashion, interior design, etc. They are more well-known in UK and provide forecasting services for large manufactures, retailers, and designers.
I was contacted by them last week and was offered an opportunity to be featured in the upcoming trend forecasting book. Frankly, I was skeptical at first: they have selected 2 of my designs and asked for large fabric samples/pieces to be sent to them (to be later included in the book)
After some research and ask-around, I have decided to go for it. After all, any exposure is good exposure, and maybe something good will come out of it :)
 So if you wonder which designs will be featured in the upcoming book, here they are, available in my shop here:

6.28.2011

The story of my new rug

Last week I ordered this rug from West Elm - Pebble Rug in Winter Sky. It looked luscious and heavenly soft under foot. Plus, it was huge 9x12, 100% wool, all under $700.



When it arrived yesterday, I almost squealed from excitement! It covered our living/seating area from edge to edge, was really soft and it was fun to walk on these feet-massaging wool pebbles. So as I am starring at my new rug, a small seed of doubt slowly but surely start to creep up. 
- The color is too muted and thelack of pattern creates a heavy, solid block of dingy color on the floor. My living room desperately needs fresh, bright boost of color/pattern. And I realized that this rug was the opposite of what I needed. Also, the pebbles are not as tightly placed as I thought, and I could already see the crumbs, cereal, berries from my kids snacking, are being trapped in the thickness of the rug. And so this 70lb giant had go back. Thanks to an excellent customer service of West Elm, UPS picked it up today. Whooh!

Now, here is the next candidate  - Indus Valley from RugsUsa.com
( I really, really, really hope I don't have to return this one!)




It looks like it is a much better option - fresh colors, geometric pattern, 100% wool, hand-knotted, and on SALE! It is smaller than the first one, but I like this size better. I like having the edges of our seating area as wood flooring and the center covered with a rug, just like we have now. Looks proportioned and defines the area rather than just covers it. So bigger is not always better, I learned.
Cannot wait for it to arrive!


6.25.2011

My fabric on a product

Lovely Louise from LouiseFelice has made a little pouch/wristlet using my fabric " Magical Fruit". I was so happy and flattered to see my creation give life to another creation. I have sold quite amount of fabric,but this is the first time someone shared with me the final product. I think it looks absolutely wonderful!Louise did a great job and it is now for sale here!
P.S. Love the fact hat she lined it with red wipe-able nylon in red to match the inside of the figs. Cute touch!

6.24.2011

4th of July Inspired designs

Have you already made plans for the 4th of July? We didn't.Yet.
But I did kinda got inspired by the upcoming holiday and whooped up these fabric patterns:


I see these as pillows, tablecloth, napkins, placemats. They are versatile enough to work together, or separate all year long! :))

6.22.2011

Here is what's on my project list next:


This chair needs some love.... and some of my fabric! I am considering the following options, which one do you like best for this chair? Would love to hear from you!


All fabrics available here in my Etsy shop:

DIY swing makover

Hello friends,
I want to share my  latest (almost!) finished project - Renovation of the backyard swing. As I mentioned earlier, I did buy a new outdoor fabric and was going to re-create an awning that was Plain to begin with and then later severely damaged by the winter storm. So here is what I did:


    The original, plain-looking and severely damaged awning.


    Preparations for the sewing!

    Makeover in action!


New awning!

I also want to paint the grey metal frame some fun, bright color ( hence almost finished). Will post pics as soon as I am done!

6.07.2011

Backyard is back on the plate!

I cannot believe it is June 7th already! Time flies and before we know it, summer will be over. Oh, well, more reason to stick to my plans and make sure my summer resolutions are making their way into the reality.
My report

Etsy shop:  Number of items has gone up from 23 to 43. I have been working all day today, editing photos and creating new listings. Yey!

Weight Loss: Eating smaller portions for 3 days now. Today I did a 30 min workout along with a TV fitness show.

My railing painting project is on hold again. Too hot and humid +  I lost my brush.

As if I didn't have a long enough to-do list, I actually found myself another little project. See, we have a swing in our backyard,  and during this winter heavy storms, the roof of the swing got broken and and spend the remaining days buried under the tall piles of snow. Due to harsh weather and, frankly, our neglect, our swing now is totally roofless. And that's no fun. That was the one place to hide from the sun - we have no other shade available. So obviously, I came up with the idea of making a new awning for the swing out of some cool fabric. Here is what I decided on:
 
I figured the grey will match the existing swing frame, while greens and tangerines will give me good opportunities to introduce more color and accessories to our very bare backyard. I plan on adding some colorful plant pots, bench cushions and pillows. The fabric has shipped already and I cannot wait!

6.03.2011

Dumplings with Asian flair!

Today I want to share with you another one of my life-saving recipes - Dumplings with Asian flair. I call them this because I know they are not authentic Asian dumpings and I don't want to confuse those who are seeking for truly Chinese original dumpling recipe. I sort of came up with this by reading here and there, and then experimenting on my own.  Everyone who tried them loves them, and I just made it work for us. It is easily adjustable for your taste too, please feel free to replace ingredients and adding whatever you like. I make a big batch and freeze them for future use. SO CONVENIENT! :)))






Basically you need the following:

- Ground meat ( I use chicken+beef mix, but feel free to use what you like ) 3lb
- Chinese cabbage - 1/2 shredded
-Wonton wraps ( I prefer Nasoya brand, really soft and thin and easy to work with, refrigerator isle in supermarkets) 2-3 packages
- Ginger - 2 in piece, grated
- Garlic - 4-5cloves, grated
- Soy sauce
-Cooking spray ( can be substituted with regular oil)
-Olive oil or other cooking oil
-Salt, pepper
-Scallions
-Water in a small bowl for sealing dumpling


Sauce:
- Soy sauce
- Olive oil
- Fresh scallions
Mix 1:1 ration, say sauce and oil, then add the chopped scallions.

1) Mix meat(s), shredded cabbage, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper to taste, splash of soy sauce.
2) Spray the surface for storing assembled dumplings with cooking oil, or grease with regular oil
3)Spread a few wontons on the working area and damp the edges with your fingers according to the pictures below ( 6&7)

You have to work quickly, you don't want the wonton squares to start hardening at the edges. Put a little of meat mixture in the center, bring two corners together - seal, then other two corners - seal. See picture 9 & 10. This is how I do it, if you find it easier for you to do it some other way, please do it.
After you have completed 5-6 dumplings, transfer them on the greased steamer/platter and cover with damp paper towels. Wontons wraps that are still in the open package waiting to be used, must be covered too to avoid hardening at edges.

I like to work in batches of 5-6 dumplings at the time, this way it feels like a production line without letting the wraps to get dry.
Picture 12 shows the assembled dumpling ready for freezing, when they are hard enough, I put them in a plastic bag. ( pic 15)

Picture 14 shows my dumplings lining up the steamer for our dinner ;)

Once the dumplings are cooked ( 20-25 min in a steamer on med heat), dump them, while still hot, in a big bowl with sauce on the bottom, mix well to coat.

Yummy!!!

This is such a life-saver when you have no time to cook, or ran out of everything, or have sudden guests.
As I mentioned earlier, this is what works for us, but the options are limitless: you can make it with pork, you can add other spices, hot flakes, you can make it vegan by using cabbage, carrots, zucchini, you can add shrimp, scallops, etc..