23 February 2010

The art of Elisabeth Banigan Iddings

Born in Paris in 1924, Elisabeth (Lysie) created in a wide range of mediums and subjects.
Here are a few.
Breton women in Bubry

Twelfth night bonfire

"Femme Plante"

Elisabeth painting in the 1950s

18 February 2010

1001 AD nights

It has been more like 8440 nights since I recieved this issue of Architectural Digest in January of 1987 and its images still flicker in my memory.
The Hotel Tichka in Marrakesh is featured. Designer Bill Willis used the vibrant colors that are typical of Morocco and traditionally painted furniture.

The article explains that, only the brown and turquoise trim on the windows and balconies hint at the delights within on the otherwise austere exterior.
Despite its fanciful colors I find the images comforting rather than stimulating. Like the inside of a genie's bottle, I would imagine that this place feels a bit cocoon-like.

The enlarged quote within the article is, "The owners wanted a property that was typically Moroccan and that would linger in the memory long after guests checked out."

Evoking the scents of Rose and Spice through photographs, the virtual guest can only guess that this is a perfumed paradise that does, indeed stay with you long after your departure.

17 February 2010

Sneak peek: Burke Decor's Spring 2010 collection

Here is a sneak peek at the Spring lookbook emailed to the press from Burke Decor.

The pillows are a colorful take on the botanical/ seed bag trend.

I like the console. Traditional lines but not boring.

Hard to pick a favorite, isn't it?

Tote bag

It might be raining in my kitchen, (insert insane, maniacal laugh here)but I still found time to make this.

It is a tote bag that I made out of a vintage feedsack (seed bag) that I bought on ebay. I got four for $30 including shipping. For this bag I just cut off the blank areas, closed up the bottom with a straight seam, and used the pieces I cut off to fashion the straps. I also made an inside pocket out of some other fabric and secured it inside the hem on the top edge.
The five minute project was this pillow.

I did not want to cut away any of this marvelous pattern, so I stuffed it as is. It makes for an unusual size pillow, but I can easily take out the only seam I put in, remove the stuffing and use it for another project.
I have two more that are much larger. I plan to upholster a small bench with on and turn the other into more pillows.
If you plan to do something like this I strongly recommend soaking and washing the bags at least once before you do anything.
It s a great way to pass the time while in denial about impending water damage!

13 February 2010

Think pink

Pink is, in my opinion the happiest color.

That is what I love about Valentine's day.
So, love yourself with sprinkles on top and have a wonderful Valentine's day!

11 February 2010


I have taken down enogh ugly wallpaper in my life to think long and hard before putting any up.
This collection from Thibaut has me thinking.
I love the textural quality. When I was a child,  a close friend of my grandparents had grasscloth wallpaper in her whole house. On top of it she showcased her stunning and extensive Asian art collection all in a modest two bedroom house in the suburbs of D.C. I loved it then and I think I still do.

This recent incarnation is much more colorful.
If that weren't enough, Thibaut has done my number one favorite thing in decorating...

juxtaposing traditional and modern styles. They have done it with texture too. The damask pattern above seems so refined. It gets taken down a notch, relaxed a bit by showing up on grasscloth.

I would love to see this in a formal dining room. I think it would tone down the stuffiness and at the same time reflect a tradional sensibilty.

The papers come in different weaves...and colorways.

This metallic gold backed Tahitian weave is cool. I don't know where I might use that.

This one is so bright yet somehow unaffected and not at all obnoxious. You could not say that about paint in the same color. This is the extra fine sisal weave and it comes in a ton of colors.

07 February 2010

Snow cooking

This blog is supposed to be about cooking and home as well as decorating and design. The sad truth is that this foodie has been rather uninspired in the kitchen. My latest coup being Meatball Hoagies. They were far more delicious than any pizza shop's but really, I don't think Martha Stewart was whipping up a batch recently or ever.

We just got 20 inches of snow the other day and it is very cold here. The only good thing about snow, in my opinion, is that it makes me want to bake.
I was reading The peak of chic post on 1980's cookbooks and it got me thinking about my 1965 Betty Crocker' New Boys and Girls Cookbook. It cracks me up.
I think I got it for my birthday when I was 6 or 7. It's a far cry from Larousse Gastronomique, my Christmas present this year.
I just love the kitchsy pictures.
There are throwback drawings of smiling children wearing aprons and frosting cakes. It's mostly very cute and if you grew up in the 60's or 70's, it brings back memories.

The salad section is just silly. 

Most things in it have a face. It includes vegetable people with radish heads, bunnies made from pears and raisins. The raisins are for the eyes, stop laughing. There is also a rocket salad that is so blatantly rude looking that I can't imagine anyone serving it.
I always wanted the castle cake when I was little.
The cookies and cakes section is nice.
I think I'll make plain old sugar cookies with Broiled Coconut Icing.
Mix in small bowl
3 T soft butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 T cream or milk
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Place under a broiler untill mixture bubbles and browns (3 to 5 ) minutes. Watch the icing closely as it broils, so it won't burn.

Perhaps I'll be more creative for the dinner party next Saturday.

Ok I just had to edit this post with the results. I assume that my readers are nice people and would do most anything to save them from this.
I did make lovely, mostly perfect, chewy sugar cookies.
I made the coconut icing for broiling, but...
I decided to use the blowtorch instead of broiling. I was still using the oven to bake.
Even with the help of my oldest daughter I caught one on fire while trying to take a picture.
It did not taste very good either.
I did broil one and it was edible but not remarkable.
After all of this, I remembered that amusing it may be, but the Betty Crocker's New Boys and Girls Cookbook does not have such good recipies.
The only thing I remember making from it as a child was paintbrush cookies. They are sugar cookies with egg yolk mixed with food coloring as paint. They were so gross I can still taste them when I think about it.

05 February 2010

Interview with Cote de Texas' Joni Web

Whoopee! I interviewed Joni of Cote de Texas fame. You can read it right here.

03 February 2010

Oh Dear! This chair needs help.

This chair came from England with my great-grandmother. I assume it was her mother's (see crazy lady post) as many things like this were. I need to repair the foot--easy. It's just the ghastly fabric that has to go. It really is the grayish, cadet blue damask that you see.
I am NOT a fan of Victorian furniture. I adore my other antiques and this chair does have its charms. For one, it is tiny like the diminutive British ladies that must have used it first.
My dilemma is in choosing the replacement fabric. I looked through all of my sample books and memos to no avail. I originally thought that a pale yellow taffeta or jaquard would be lovely, but not knowing the destination room for the chair has made me unsure.
Four bedrooms and five kids means we need a bigger house. In that case it would go into the baby's room.
I would not want a traditional velvet, mohair, or tapestry

I thought something outrageous, like this chair from Anthropologie, might be best.

I found this interesting too.
I want opinions. Lots of them. What do you think? Can you recommend a large scale pattern that I might use? Or is that just garish and awful?