Friday, November 20, 2009

Gifts for Music Lovers!

I've been looking around Etsy for gifts for some of my music loving friends and family members. Musical images make great artwork, as well as unique jewelry and accessories.

Below are some of the fun things I found while searching for musical items!

Visit these Etsy shops for more great gifts this year!

Las Guitarras by ZuppaArtista

Owl Ipod Touch Case by EvelynX

Love Wood Cello Pendant by DanielKim

Set of 3 Songbird Series by AnimalHouseArt

Piano Music Pendant by PinkTopHat

Musical Mountains by KatieDidItGlass

Saxophone Original by Marnold

Beatles Wall Art by WallDecors

The Composer Print by MerrellArt

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have Some Pithivier and Stay Awhile!

I love learning new foodie terms and my latest is "pithivier", which is defined as a round, enclosed pie, usually made with puff pastry. The filling is often a sweet frangipane, but those with savory fillings may also be called pithiviers. It is traditionally finished with a shine to the crust from either an egg wash or a thin layer of carmelized sugar at the end of cooking.

This Pear Pithivier was Robin Levinthal's offering on Top Chef's Restaurant Wars episode last week.
It looks delicious and the judges said it was the best dish Robin had made so far!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Go Orange For the Season!

In honor of you know which holiday, I decided to browse Etsy for orange things today. And I was delighted to find some beautiful things in this often underrated color!

This is the Gilbert Skirt from Renneslechateau on Etsy . It is such a sweet little skirt, made from soft pumpkin colored corduroy and I think it would be quite versatile.

Here is a Crocheted Scarflette from Beebun . It has a cute scalloped edge and can be worn several ways. I love the little flower detail!

This is a Sweater Cowl Hoodie from CastCouture.
I love the color and the shape! It has inbuilt pockets in the paneled body and a cowl neck hood.

For something unique for the season, don't miss this Strap Wrap Chameleon Shrug by Malam on Etsy . It has extra long, flared sleeves and can be worn in a variety of ways. It is made to order to fit your size.

Visit these Etsy shops for a splash of great color for your fall wardrobe!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Gift and A Vicarious Tour!

I could not resist buying this book for my sister's birthday. She is an avid knitter. And since our family is of Italian descent, it seemed like the perfect fit!

Of course, I also couldn't resist flipping carefully through it before mailing it off to my sister and I'm glad I did!

The book is called "Knitting in Tuscany" by Nicky Epstein. Along with some of her original patterns, the author presents tips and travel recommendations with beautiful photography and interesting commentary on the history of knitting in the region.

A glass of wine is always a welcome break!

I adore this beautiful knitted, wool version of Pinocchio! Author Carlo Collodi was born in Florence.

Siena is a beautiful, medieval city in Tuscany.

This is a knit wreath based on a terra cotta coat of arms for the Wool Guild. "On your wall, it declares your affiliation with the International Order of Knitters."

I found this book beautiful and inspirational. I couldn't begin to accomplish most of these projects, but I would love to wander around Tuscany and imagine doing them. I know my sister will love it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Contender Gone and a Top Recipe!

And so we said good-bye last night to Top Chef contestant, Ron Duprat.
Ron is an executive chef from Haiti. He cooks with exotic flavors with a Haitian Creole influence.

I liked Ron's big, gruff personality and I was a little sad to see him go. But, the challenge of deconstructing a paella was too much for him, since according to head judge Tom Colicchio he didn't appear to know how to make one to begin with.

Below is one of his recipes. It sounds delicious and not too complicated for a home cook. I think I may try it this weekend in honor of Chef Ron!

Pan Seared Salmon with Spinach and Cannelloni Bean Saute and Citrus Butter

* 8 ounces wild salmon, filleted into 4-ounce portions
* 4 ounces Chablis
* 2 ounces heavy cream
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 lemon, zested and juiced
* 4 ounces spinach, washed and cleaned
* 1 small can cannelloni beans
* 1 clove garlic
* 2 ounces unsalted butter
* Olive oil
* Salt and pepper

1. For citrus butter, reduce Chablis and heavy cream by half with bay leaf and lemon juice. Mount slowly with butter (whisk in cold butter). Strain and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a saute pan, heat 2 ounces olive oil and add salmon seasoned with salt. Cook until golden brown. Remove from pan and let rest.
3, In another saute pan with oil, cook spinach, garlic, and cannelloni beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve:
1. Using a ring mold, pack spinach-bean mixture onto center of plate. Remove mold.
2. Gently place salmon on top of spinach.
3. Spoon citrus butter sauce over salmon and plate.
4. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh herbs.


photos and recipe via

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back from the Beach!

I've just returned from another quick trip to the beach with some great girlfriends.

We only had one day of sunny weather, so not much time was spent on the beach. But, the rain made for some lovely rainbows at the end of the day!

And we saw beautiful sunsets from our balcony!

The best thing, of course, was the wonderful visit with dear friends!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Last of Summer

Last blooms of summer.

And a visitor!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Goodbye to a Favorite Author

I was sad to hear about the death today of one of my favorite authors, Dominick Dunne. Oddly enough, I had visited his website for the first time today and had left a post of encouragement on his message board, regarding his battle with cancer.

I very rarely leave any sort of message as a fan, but I had just finished reading his book, " The Way We Lived Then" which is a sort of pictorial memoir about his life and the many famous people that he met along the way.

Mr. Dunne led a fascinating life among the Hollywood elite for many years before events in his life brought him to a serious crossroads and a period of self-examination. From there, at age 50, he began to write and embarked on a second career as an author and journalist, often covering high-profile murder cases, such as the O. J. Simpson trial.

He wrote several best-selling novels and was a columnist for Vanity Fair. I enjoyed watching him host the show, "Pride, Privelege and Justice" on TruTV.

Dominick Dunne was 83.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mise En Place (Or Be Prepared)

I confess, I'm a foodie! I love to watch cooking shows of all types. Top Chef is my favorite reality show and the new season has just started. I always learn something when I watch this show. I am seriously thinking of learning French just so I can understand some of the often used culinary terms.

This week's favorite French term is "mise en place", which means "everything in its place." It is used in professional kitchens to refer to ingredients and components set up and prepared in advance of the actual cooking of the dish. Ingredients are measured, washed, chopped and placed in individual bowls. Utensils and equipment are also made ready for use. The purpose is to cut out wasted time when the chef is ready to cook the dish.

The mise en place competition on Top Chef is always fun to watch. The contestants are divided into teams and must tackle each task in a relay race, tasks such as chopping veggies, shucking oysters, beating egg whites, etc.

It's like watching a sporting event, but with food! What could be more fun than that? For a foodie like me, not much!

photo by wickenden

Monday, August 17, 2009

To the Emerald City!

I attended a lovely wedding this past weekend. In place of the traditional Bridal March, the bride's entrance was accompanied by the playing of "Over The Rainbow." It was beautiful and it made me nostalgic for one of my favorite movies of all time. I found some wonderful things on Etsy while searching for "The Wizard of Oz"!

I love this limited edition art print by Robert David Bretz! It can be found in the Etsy shop, PaintAllNightStudios.

This primitive hand-painted sign from SawdustNStitches takes you back to a simpler time, and of course, to a place that is "over the rainbow"!

I always loved Glinda, The Good Witch, and imagined her as my very own godmother! This cross stitch pattern is available from Glenniz on Etsy.

These finger puppet characters from Weeknit are so cute, and would provide lots of storytelling fun!

I think it's time to schedule a family movie night and watch this wonderful classic again!

CottonColors Is a Lovely Etsy Find of the Day!

CottonColors is featured as the Lovely Etsy Find on the blog, Lovely At Your Side! There are some beautiful dresses featured today as well. Visit this blog for some handmade loveliness!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bring on The Cool Days and Hot Colors!

The vivid colors of Fall!

Each season, Pantone surveys the designers of New York Fashion Week to identify the 10 most directional colors. These are the colors in the Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall, 2009. I love deep, vivid hues and the diverse palette shown here. American Beauty is gorgeous, saturated and lively! I adore the rich, dark shade of blue that is Majolica Blue. For neutrals, I am most drawn to Iron and Honey Yellow. This is a really beautiful palette, although a little light on the greens for my taste.

I am looking forward to seeing how these colors will show up in both fashion and home decor this fall. It looks to be a colorful season ahead!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Filling a First Apartment with Love and Style!

I've been spending a lot of time helping my daughter furnish her first apartment. She has her own ideas and tastes, not necessarily what I would choose, but some of her style is growing on me. We have been really doing some bargain-hunting to make her place look great on a college student's budget!

We've made great discoveries in some of the local re-sale shops, like these candlesticks. Very ornate and they are in like-new condition!

These mirrors are the perfect size to hang together on one wall in the bedroom. They are from a re-sale shop too! The mirror came off one of them, but she was able to glue it back on.

This gorgeous lamp was on sale at Hancock's! I think we paid about $35 for it.

And finally from another re-sale shop, these cool wall plaques with a beautiful aged relief pattern and fleur de lis!
All told, I was out less than $70 that day for these finds and I think they will make a great statement of her style. Now, if I can get finished with the throw pillows, pillow shams and curtains she has requested, she will be all set! I'll post photos of the finished room soon.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Atlanta in Five Days or Less!

I've just returned from a quick trip to Atlanta to visit family. We had so much fun, just shopping, seeing the sites and eating great food!
I visited IKEA for the first time. This is a great store for people starting out in their first home! They have virtually everything you need and lots of fun fabric choices!
After IKEA, we shopped and had dinner at Atlantic Station, a fairly new development in Atlanta with a mix of mid-range and upscale housing along with plenty of varied shopping and dining choices.
We visited "Z Gallery" and "West Elm" among some other shops!
After a few days of endless shopping, we decided to get away from the hustle and bustle, so we drove up to Blue Ridge, GA and took the scenic Blue Ridge Railway ride. Located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, the railway starts off in a quaint little town full of antique shops and meanders along the Toccoa River.

The weather was unseasonably cool for Georgia in July, and the train ride was a relaxing break from the busy pace we'd been keeping for most of the trip.

It's so invigorating to just get away for a few days! We had a great time and a fun visit with family. Must do it again soon!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

CottonColors in The Design File!

The Design File is a wonderful and informative blog, highlighting unique, contemporary interior design. CottonColors was a featured Etsy pick this week!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Furnishing the Multi-Purpose Room

I've been considering the best way to use an empty bedroom in my house. I would like to make it a multi-use room to serve as guest accomodations as well as a place to watch movies and just relax. I considered a futon for this room, but I think I will go a more traditional route with a daybed. I think a daybed is a little more comfortable to sleep on and I really like the look of one, especially when filled with a big variety of pillows!
We owned a daybed many years ago, a very basic design. I was surprised at how many style options there are to choose from in daybeds.

For a really unique look, check out the Lea iRoom II Daybed from Kids Furniture. I love the design, but it might work best in a child's or teen's room.

This is the Astoria Steel Daybed I found on It has a great contemporary feel with a champagne finish. It looks super sturdy and modern!
For a more traditional look, I found a couple of very pretty ones at This is the Casey Daybed. It has a rubbed black finish, with beadboard panels and round finials. I think it has a French feel, especially with the wonderful bedding shown with it!

This one is the Surrey Daybed. The sleigh bed design is classic, with a warm wood finish. It would work beautifully with traditional furnishings and bedding!

Here is a really simple design from IKEA. It is the Hemnes Daybed. I love the storage underneath. It's a bit plain, but with the right bedding, this could be a nice, neutral backdrop for some bright pillows and accessories. I like to change things up a lot, so a neutral white starting point can be a good thingThe Powell Kawayan Bamboo Daybed from is a fun change of pace! It is a simulated bamboo, constructed of steel. It has a tropical flair and the chocolate brown is so warm and inviting!

If price was no object, this John Kelly J1 Daybed from Name Brand Beds would be wonderful to own. It is simple, yet beautiful!

Another favorite from Name Brand Beds is the Miami Daybed. I love the textured bronze design and it definitely has and old Florida feel, one of my favorite styles!

Pottery Barn has some great choices in daybeds like this Seagrass one, made from renewable fiber. With bright, crisp linens and pillows, this organic daybed would look great in a sunroom, too!

The Claudia Daybed has that wonderful old, antique iron bed look. I love the crystal knob finials and Edwardian style! Sweet and comforting, like Grandma's house.

This last one from Pottery Barn is the Caden Daybed. I like the combination of wood and woven jute. It feels casual and comfortable. The jute gives it really nice textural appeal!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Seeing Red in The Kitchen!

Over the years and in various homes, no matter what color my kitchens have been, I have always loved having a few pops of red in the decor. Red adds warmth and liveliness to the room!

My favorite little touches are those old red utensils from the fifties, like this beautiful pastry blender.

I love this red colander and the crock for keeping things semi-organized.

I found this gorgeous set of red utensils at . Anything I could cook with these would surely taste just like grandma used to make!

And I'd love to have this brand spanking new little beauty (from Williams-Sonoma) to add to my red collection! Fabulous function mixed with retro beauty all wrapped up in my favorite kitchen color. Who could ask for more?

Pastry blender photo by passionforvintage
Colander and crock photo by eraphernalia

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Show Your Colors!

Feeling patriotic? How about some red, white and blue to celebrate the Fourth of July?

Earrings from ArtworkbyKD
Quilt from SewnNatural
Bunting from Springchick