How To Decorate With Natural Materials…

Dishfuctional Designs

That’s My Letter

One of my favorite things about doing this blog is seeing how creative other people can be and finding new inspiration for home design.  In keeping with the Spring theme I started looking for natural decor; bringing the outside in.  Before researching this post I’d seen the tree branch center pieces and wall art made with wood but look at this amazing piece!  It’s an IKEA circular mirror affixed to plywood and surrounded by wood trimmings.  It’s stunning, right?  Can you see this in your entryway or above your dresser?

Shelterness

Shelterness

I don’t know why this feels so perfect; maybe because it’s a bit like camping in the comfort of your own bed.  I love that trendy, in regard to this design, also happens to be free.  This is really beautiful.

Wohn Idee

Wohn Idee

This piece is a nice mix of modern and organic and on top of that, it would be so cheap to put together!  A wood or metal end table painted a bright color with wood trimmings attached to the surface.  I’m sure this could be done for less than $20…I might have to try it this weekend!

Inspirations by Ivy

Inspirations by Ivy

Are you inspired to head out to your yard and start gathering branches yet?  An electric chandelier created from tree branches might be difficult to create but this…so beautiful with the hanging tea light holders and strung up with ribbon. Simple and gorgeous.

Design In White

Design In White

This is a basic cube with wood trimmings and branches affixed to the outside with an added glass topper.  In a white room this is again a really nice mix of organic and modern.  In a city home or apartment where having a tree in your yard is a luxury (I lived in Philadelphia for a time and the view out of my bedroom and kitchen window was a brick wall) this is a perfect way to bring the outside indoors.

Wed Loft

Wed Loft

The centerpiece above was clearly set up for a formal event but I can easily see one of these being used on a family dining table.  Gathered branches displayed in a large glass vase and small hanging tea light holders is all you would need to pull this look together.

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3 Course Spring Meal…

I’ve been in Spring mode all day today.  I did a post on Easter decorating, Spring florals and I thought I would round things out by doing a Spring meal.  From hors d’oeuvre to the main course to dessert, according to Food & Wine online these are some of the best Spring recipes available.  As soon as I kick this cold I plan on trying them all out!  Follow the picture links for many more tasty Spring recipes.

Hor D’Oeuvre:  Cherry Tomato Tart With Basil

Food & Wine

Food & Wine

  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. Salt
  3. 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  4. 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  5. 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  6. 2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves
  1. Butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. In a food processor, pulse the flour with a pinch of salt and the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and pulse until the dough nearly comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Roll out the dough to a 14-inch round. Press the round into the tart pan; trim off any excess. Mound the tomatoes in the shell. Bake for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, until the dough is evenly browned. Let cool. Season with salt, garnish with the basil and serve.

Main Course:  Beer-Braised Chicken Stew with Fava Beans and Peas

Food & Wine

Food & Wine

*Braise chicken thighs in beer before adding to the stew

  1. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  2. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  4. 8 skinless chicken thighs
  5. 2 tablespoons anise seeds
  6. 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  7. 1/2 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
  8. 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  9. Salt
  10. 1 cup shelled fava beans
  11. 1/2 cup fresh peas, preferably English peas
  12. Freshly ground black pepper
  13. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  14. 1 pound button mushrooms, halved
  15. 8 scallions, thinly sliced
  16. 2 thyme sprigs
  17. 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  18. One 12-ounce bottle Belgian beer
  19. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  20. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. In a small skillet, toast the anise seeds over moderate heat, shaking the skillet, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let the anise seeds cool slightly, then crush with the side of a knife.
  2. In a mini food processor, combine the toasted anise seeds with the chopped garlic, saffron, paprika and cayenne. Add the lemon juice and puree. Transfer the mixture to a large, shallow bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt and the fava beans and cook for 1 minute; using a slotted spoon, transfer the fava beans to a small bowl and let cool slightly. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes; drain. Peel the fava beans and add to the peas.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, scraping off the excess. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken thighs to a platter.
  5. Wipe out the casserole, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the halved mushrooms, sliced scallions and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until any liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the beer and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the casserole.
  6. Return the chicken thighs to the casserole and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Add the cream, fava beans and peas, increase the heat to moderate and cook uncovered until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Serve the chicken stew in shallow soup bowls, sprinkled with the parsley.
Dessert:  Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream
Food & Wine

Food & Wine

  1. 2 1/4 cups red wine
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
  4. 2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
  5. 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  6. 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  1. In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.
Variations• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.

Flower Power…Spring Inspiration

A Creative Mint

A Creative Mint

I’m in Charlotte, NC and although you would think that because we’re down south it would be warm and balmy in March, it’s not.  It’s cold and rainy.  On top of that I’m lying in bed recuperating from a cold, drinking Theraflu, blowing my nose and looking at pictures of flowers.  What can I say…flowers make me feel better and on top of that I’ve been blogging about Spring and flowers are one of the best parts about this season.  I thought I would share.  If you’re stuck at home like I am today, browse through the pics and then hit the link above and follow me on Pinterest…lots of photo inspiration there, as well.

Happy Saturday!

A Creative Mint

A Creative Mint

All Things Shabby and Beautiful

All Things Shabby and Beautiful

Jungle Seeds

Jungle Seeds

Kittens and Pitbulls

Kittens and Pitbulls

EarthShots/Graham McPherson

EarthShots/Graham McPherson

Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts

WonderDecor

WonderDecor

Style Me Pretty

Style Me Pretty

5 Reasons to Decorate for Easter…

We Heart It

We Heart It

Spring is officially here and Easter is on the way!  I’ve always filled the house with Spring decor but have never really been inspired enough to decorate for the Easter holiday itself.  This year, though, I’m going to give it a shot! There are just too many cute ideas to pass up, from wreaths to baking to egg decorating…if you’re crafty or a DIY’r the Easter possibilities are endless.  Here are 5 projects that have inspired me to get my house Easter ready this season.  I would love to hear from you as well…do you have a favorite Easter project or a new one you’re anxious to try out this year?

#1.  Easter Tree

The Creative Mint

The Creative Mint

The Creative Mint

The Creative Mint

Eggshells painted with a Spring floral pattern are secured to a cherry blossom branch with string to make this beautiful display.  The eggs were hollowed out as opposed to hard boiled.  Maybe you guys know how to do that but I’ve never tried it before…here are the step by step instructions courtesy of eHow:

http://www.ehow.com/how_15776_hollow-egg.html

#2.  Tea Cup Floral Displays

Emporio 74

Emporio 74

Emporio 74

Emporio 74

Emporio 74

Emporio 74

This display is as much for Spring as it is for Easter and I love it! If it’s not practical for you to keep your table set all the time (for me it’s not) try putting together the place setting and displaying them on a bar or coffee table.

#3.  Coconut Nest Cupcakes

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

If you have a cake stand with a glass cover these can be displayed before they’re eaten.  The recipe yields 40 so maybe you can feed your family half and insist they wait a few days before eating the rest : )

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 recipes Basic Vanilla Buttercream
  • 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
  • Pastel-colored candy-coated chocolate eggs, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in the middle of the oven. Line 40 standard-size muffin cups with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 6 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate fully after each and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk and ending with the flour. Beat in vanilla. The batter should be smooth and very thick.
  5. Fill prepared muffin cups halfway full with batter; transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  6. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, scoop buttercream on tops of cooled cupcakes; sprinkle buttercream with coconut, pressing to adhere. Using your thumb, make a well in the center of each scoop of buttercream; fill with chocolate eggs. Serve.
#4.  Shimmering Ombre Easter Eggs
glo

glo

glo

glo

glo

glo

So very fashionable, right…ombre is everywhere so why not on your Easter eggs!  Glo has a great full tutorial on how to get this look right…follow one of the picture links above.

#5.  Colorful Deviled Eggs

Recipe by Photo

Recipe by Photo

I want to make these for our next get together or even on a Sunday afternoon for the family to snack on.  They’re almost too pretty to eat – take them to a church function or Spring baby shower.  They are officially now a must for Easter dinner.

7 Inspiring Wallpaper Designs…

matchbook

matchbook

Wallpaper used to be that thing that you pulled down and painted over as soon as you moved into a new house but guess what…it’s making a comeback.  From designer lines to more affordable ones carried by Lowe’s and Home Depot..there’s something out there for everyone.  In fact, there might be something out there for you!

Osborne & Little

Osborne & Little

This is from a designer line but even if it were ridiculously expensive, a little would go a long way.  Can you see this on an accent wall in an entryway or bathroom?

Flat Vernacular

Flat Vernacular

The wallpaper from this company is hand drawn and hand printed in Brooklyn, NY.  $100-$300 per role and I must tell you, the website is amazing.  Check it out!

Flat Vernacular

Flat Vernacular

I had to show you one more from this site; look at all those colors!

Aimee Wilder

Aimee Wilder

Very cute screen prints by Aimee Wilder and great nursery wallpaper as well.  A little of everything!

covet living

covet living

Love this…wallpaper centered on the wall and framed.

Pip Studio

Pip Studio

Really pretty, traditional floral paper.  If you live with a guy this may be a hard one to pull off, though.

The Psychology of Colours…

The Psychology of Colors
The Psychology of Colors infographic
After posting the infographic on food & wine pairing yesterday I started to think about what a cool way this is to share information.  ‘Data Visualization’ relays info with pictures, and if you’ve ever been on Pinterest than you understand  how powerful that can be.
I started looking into infographics in relation to home design and came across this amazing one on the Psychology of Colours.  Did you know that painting a nursery yellow can encourage crying or that using lavender in your living room can help you relax?
If you’re about to embark on some Spring cleaning and possibly painting check this out.  Lots of little known, interesting facts about colors and the relationship they have to how we feel!
*On a side note, the website Visual.ly has an endless amount of these infographics on every subject you can imagine and makes it very easy to embed them on your blog or website.
Enjoy!
Moms Know it All

Moms Know it All

Food and Wine Pairing Infographic…

Food Republic

Food Republic

I must be hungry; I am in a food mood at the moment and even if I weren’t this infographic just really deserved a post of its own.  How helpful is this?!?

Ok, must stop blogging and start cooking…after I print this out.