Thursday, April 25, 2013

Touch of Spring

I wanted to bring spring into my living room, so I embroidered this paisley pattern onto this pillow cover which I made myself. To make this I first traced the outline of the shape onto the fabric and then the rest I just free-hand sewed. The other two covers also were made by me earlier. The purple floral last year and the black paisley earlier this year. I made the flowers on the coffee table as well-- for Easter. Yes, they are paper flowers. So this is my hand made living room. My coffee table book is an ACT study guide--ha ha (belongs to my Jeremiah)! Need to change that up. These flowers are also made by me. Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Home office

Source: flickr.com via Anna on Pinterest

As of now I have no office space. My lap top is usually on a desk in the master bedroom. I do all my sewing/diy/craft projects at different spots in my home--sometimes at the dining table, sometimes in the family room and sometimes in the bedroom. So I think I really need a space where I can craft, sew, blog, read books and blogs. It is in my bucket list to to have that space for myself.
In my home office I want a large desk to spread my things around. My fabrics, glitter, threads, glues, beads etc, etc. This desk looks big enough.
I want there to be lots of storage space, to keep everything.
I want there to be space in my office to keep books because books=love=simplicity of childhood=comfort, to me. I need to see books. Books remind me of my pappa who loves books and always instilled in me the love for books.
I want my office to be pretty like this. I would love lots of flowers on the desk. Flowers with faint sweet smell that I can smell when I am tired.
or like this. Do you have your own office space? If not, how would you like it to be? And if yes, how does it look like? Have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blue and Green

I painted a paisley pattern onto a pale blue piece of cloth because I wanted to make a cover for a pillow with it for my living room sofa, in order to bring spring into my home. This is a very experimental project and I did not use fabric paint. So I don't know if it will survive a wash. After I saw a blue and green color combo on a fabric in Elle Decor about which I blogged about a few days back, I really wanted to try out the blue-green combination in my home. I already had blue fabric so all I needed was green paint. First, I printed the image I wanted and then I traced that image onto wax paper from my kitchen, with my trusty black marker. Then I placed the image from the wax paper onto the fabric and drew the outline of the design with pencil and after that I painted over it. Is there a better/another way to do this? Do you like fabric painting? Hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Indian Block Print

Source: google.com via Anna on Pinterest

I searched pinterest for Indian block print fabrics and found these examples. Aren't they pretty?

Source: etsy.com via Anna on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Anna on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Anna on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Anna on Pinterest

I wish I could lay my hands on some blocks with Indian motifs for printing. Earlier this year, I found some Indian motifs and printed them out. I don't know how I can turn those images into a stencil or a block print. I guess I will have to turn to pinterest and google to find out.
Examples of blocks in Indian motifs. Do you know if these are available for sale anywhere?
Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Textile Inspiration

"Textiles are a language to express emotions and a way to embellish life, a way to create beauty and a link between humans." I love this quote by Arianne Dalle, the design director of French Fabric company called Manuel Canovas. This fabric company is featured in the May 2013 issue of Elle Decor. After I read this small article, I kept thinking about the meaning of this quotation. It is so true. If there are no textiles and fabrics what would we wear, how would we make our beds, cover our pillows, and all windows would be bare. Life would be so ugly without fabrics, don't you think? The other reason I could not get this little article out of my mind was because Arianne Dalle says that she draws much of the inspiration for her fabrics from India. In fact, the founder of the company Manuel Canovas also used to draw inspiration from India. "One of Canovas's favorite destinations was India, the article says. And this is what Ariane Dalle says about India. "Everything is inspiring there; the people, the streets, the gardens." "They have maintained the savoir faire of 18th century embroidery and they have an extraordinary, intuitive sense of color." India is the inspiration for their 2013 collection. "India is always an enriching voyage." Having grown up in India I cannot look at India like a tourist, because it is my first home. But what she says about India's textile heritage is really, really true. When I was a little girl I used to go shopping with my mom to the big saree showrooms. Each showroom is huge, like a magical land filled with vibrant colors, patterns, textures of fabrics, sarees, ready-made clothes etc. While my mom chose her sarees, I feasted my eyes on all the fabrics. Fabrics lined the walls, and fabrics were piled up on tables for customers to touch, and feel. After my education, I worked as a sub-editor at a newsagency in New Delhi, (which is far away from Kerala where I grew up and with a completely different culture and language). Soon after, I got married and so we were in New Delhi for the first five years after our marriage, before coming to the US. The textile scene in New Delhi is even more amazing. New Delhi is a huge sprawling city and each residential area has its own market. Within the markets, there are areas that concentrate on fabrics alone. They are tiny little shops, but piled till the roof with fabrics. If you have time and patience to search, you can find pieces and colors of incredible beauty. In fact, each of India's 25 states has its own unique and distinct ancient tradition of design, color, looming technique, fabric etc. I wish I knew more about it. There are so many women entrepreneurs designing fabrics, using ethnic prints and interpreting them in a modern way. Sometimes I wish I can be one of them. Sometimes I want to make table runners, bed skirts, pillow covers, place mats, slip covers, duvet covers etc with fabric patterns inspired by the colors and patterns of India. Those colors and patterns are comforting in some way. Also, if you want to start a fabric line of your own, it would be a good idea to travel to India and check out the textile scene in India in all of the 25 states simply because it would be very educational. All the images in this post are from pages 64 and 65 of the May 2013 issue of Elle Decor. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Strawberry Torte

My heart goes out to the hurting people in Boston. I pray today that the God of comfort will hold the hurting in Boston in His arms and will console and comfort them. .....who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 1 Corinthians 1: 4 I made this Strawberry Torte yesterday afternoon as an after-school snack. My 17-year-old loved it. Mission accomplished. When I saw a recipe for Strawberry torte in the Camille Styles blog I knew I had to make it for Jeremiah. He loves desserts with fruit, especially any type of berries. So I made this just for my kiddo of whom I am so super proud of. I love the Camille Styles blog. There are so many amazing recipes and the videos on entertaining are beautiful. There is one for a Christmas Brunch, Thanksgiving, movie night, summer get-togethers.. everything. Awesome. Here is the recipe from the Camille Styles blog. STRAWBERRY TORTE by Jess Simpson (Camille Styles Blog) 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 3/4 + 1 tablespoon cup sugar 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 1 1/2 tsp vanilla 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch tart pan with cooking spray. Set aside. In a small bowl, toss together quartered strawberries with one tablespoon of sugar. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, nutmeg, salt and baking powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together remaining sugar and oil until combined. Add egg, milk, vanilla and vinegar and beat until smooth. Gently add flour mixture into wet ingredients and lightly fold together until batter forms. Pour into prepared tart pan. Add strawberries to the top and press each piece gently into the batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Serve with freshly whipped cream or ice cream! I did not make any changes to the recipe, except while serving. It is suggested that we serve this with ice cream or whipped cream. I had neither on hand so we ate it plain. Also, looking at the pictures for this torte in the Camille Styles blog I realize that I should not have pressed the strawberry pieces deep into the batter. I did and that is why in my torte the strawberries don't show. I think if they show it looks prettier.... all those pops of red! And I baked this in an ordinary cake pan and not a tart pan. The tart pan would be better because of the fluted edges. What type of fruit desserts do you like? Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Quiet Beauty of Gray

A few years ago I fell in love with the color gray. It was a gradual progression for me who comes from the country of saturated hues. First I started liking blue, and then I liked smoky blue and then finally it became gray. It all started with noticing the sky and its changing moods. I suddenly started noticing that the sky was more gray than blue most of the time. (The above image is "putty" by Martha Stewart.) and I like it.
I love the softness and quietness of gray. When I look at this picture I feel that it is when we layer pretty details that we end up with a beautiful look. Layering and details is the key.
Love this!
Do you like gray with gold? I think I do.
Love all the pillows in the different shades of gray. In nature, there are a gazillion shades of gray--apart from the grays of sky,(the gray of ominous gathering storm clouds, the gray of an overcast sky before a rain, the gray of a melancholy cloudy sky when it does not rain, the afternoon gray sky and the dusk gray sky--each are so subtly different conveying different moods) there is the dove gray, slate gray, the gray of burnt embers, ash gray, heather gray and on and on. It is so hard to choose if you want to decorate with gray paint or fabric.
This is so feminine, pretty and wintry! Do you have a favorite gray? Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Decorating with Books (updated)

Source: sunset.com via Anna on Pinterest

Something about books is very comforting to me. Books remind me of my parents' home which was filled with books often piled up everywhere.
When my kids were younger I used to read to them a lot. A major part of every Saturday was spent at the library. Isn't this such a cute idea if your kids are young or for an English class?
When I see books I remember a time in my life when life was simple and not complicated and everything was so happy. I am very happy now also, but the quality of happiness in one's childhood is certainly something very special, don't you think?
I used to love bookstores and could never get out of a bookstore without buying at least one book. Books always meant comfort and love to me. Even today I love bookstores. My favorite kind of bookstore is the type that have coffee shops inside them so you can buy your book or browse through books while having coffee and a cookie.

Source: bhg.com via Anna on Pinterest

Isn't this window seat surrounded by bookshelves soooo cute. I always dreamed of curling up in a window seat with a book. Do you like books? Do you like decorating with books? Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pretty Living room

I like this living room a lot. My favorite feature in this room is the pretty white fireplace. I love all the detailed designs on it, (is it called molding? I have no idea, ha ha!). I love the candles arranged at the base and the big black and white photograph on the mantel. I love the bookshelves behind the sofa, and all the colorful books. I have always loved a ladder not used as a ladder, but instead to hold plants or books. The rug is so simple and cute. Nothing is matchy matchy and everything looks so natural. Do you like this room? What are the elements in this room that are appealing to you? Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yummy and Easy Spinach Salad

Yesterday I made this super delicious, easy-to-make, and healthy salad. All you need is baby spinach, thinly sliced red onion, pear (cut in shape of your choice), feta cheese, lemon juice and salt. Just toss them together and you are ready to eat. If you have foodies in your home, even they will like it, I promise. My foodie teenager loved this yesterday. I got this recipe from Lauren Leiss's Pure Style Home-- a super cool blog. Do you have any easy and yummy salad recipes you would like to share with me? Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Small Starburst Mirrors

My new decorating mantra is to surround myself in my home with things I love as much as possible. With that in mind, on Saturday, I bought these small starburst mirrors from Target. Several months ago, I had seen the image of small starburst mirrors arranged on a wall behind a sofa on a blog. I really liked it and so when I saw something similar and affordable in Target I brought them home. I love the new photo editing tool called "Bokeh" available in pic monkey that adds sparkles to your image. Here is an image after I applied "Bokeh" to my picture of the starburst mirrors. On Friday, I had to take pictures of the pretty birds in our backyard. They are so sweet, chirping and happily moving from one branch to another. But when I tried to take a picture of birds I ended up, instead, taking a picture of sunlight and blue sky. Isn't this picture pretty? Here is one of the birds. And finally, I am teaching myself to make a photo collage. Here is my first attempt at a collage. I hope you have a great day!