Outdoor elegance

The rolling hills and big estates of Westchester are something to ogle over.  I came upon this gated property while driving on a local side road after a recent snow storm.  The property is the home of exotic animals, kind of like a mini zoo in your own back yard, so the fence is a reflection of what lies beyond. 

Iron Tree Gate

Iron_gate_tree 2

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A Very Pantone Christmas

pantone_typhoon_peppermill

The best gifts, no matter the occasion, are the ones that truly speak to the recipient. I love buying gifts that reflect someone’s personality and interests, whether it’s a (totally badass) neon deer lamp for my outdoors-y nephew, or paintings by a local fashion designer-turned-artist for my mom-in-law, because they were friends from way back when they were both starting out in the business.

I also, of course, love to get the same kinds of gifts. Over the weekend I got together with my best girlfriend for drinks and the customary rehashing of our Christmas holiday, as well as a little gift exchanging. For me? The Pantone Universe peppermill, which has been on the wish list in my mind for ever, but I never mentioned wanting it to anyone. It’s available in several colors, but she chose Dazzling Blue to complement the orange walls of my kitchen and I absolutely love it!

Made by Typhoon, the peppermill is more than just a fabulous design statement—it’s also incredibly well made and eco friendly! The biodegradable outer shell is made from corn starch, and the grinder has several adjustable settings for coarseness, and carries a 25-year guarantee. Which is perfect, because with the combination of three new cookbooks and my first full matching set of cookware, my new peppermill is going to get quite the workout!

Color Tip of the Week: Tonal combos inspired by the full spectrum

Click here  for the full spectrum.

Colored_Pencils_Felissimo

This post was inspired by a promotional that I saw offered through Social Designer, a site that is partnering with Martha Stewart to offer a set of colored pencils when you sign up for the program which lasts 20 months and boasts the full spectrum of 500 pencils when completed.  Pencil-of-the-month club will get you started for $33.00 for the first 25 pencils and then month-by-month to work your way up to the full spectrum.

I love the idea of owning colored pencils  in every color of the rainbow.  It’s a mini color wheel in a usable form.  I just may join this club…

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CONTEST: Sterling Pear Keepsake Chest (US only – sorry)

[This contest has now ended.]

Christmas is now over and the New Year is here. It’s time to reorganize and get things sorted. To celebrate the ending of the holidays and the ending of quite frankly a rather meh year for many, we here at Tchochkes thought it would be great to begin 2010 with a stunning Sterling Pear giveaway.

Sterling_Pear_Keepsake_Chest

One of the owners of Sterling Pear, Janet Hayden, is someone I grew up with in Huntington Beach, CA. and she’s one of the nicest, most positive women you’ll ever meet. Seriously. So nice, that she’s willing to give readers of Tchochkes a  discount of 15% off your entire order on www.SterlingPear.com by using the coupon code “TCHOCHKES10″ at checkout by January 31, 2010 in addition to this months raffle contest.

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DIY Cushion Covers from a Man’s Shirt

I’ve had this idea for quite some time now, wanting to make cushion covers from shirts. The idea is, not to throw out more clothes and to spend time being creative and making something that you enjoy using or looking at.

A friend of mine heard that I was into all sorts of recycling projects and so he gave me some of his old shirts and some boxes and all sorts of fun stuff that is piling up in my little apartment. So finally I got around to doing something with these old shirts and realized how much fun it is and how easy it is to do.

So, here is the result:

Model-cushions-2
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Classic Coffeehouse in Budapest

Whenever I’m in Budapest I make a point of going to Gerbeaud, not only for the coffee and confectionery mainly for the decor dating back a century and a half.

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I imagine sitting at the same marble topped bronze tables, on the same Thonet bentwood chairs; touching the wallpaper, exotic wood paneling, furniture,  looking up at the beautiful chandeliers and stucco ceilings that inspired the writers, painters, composers and statesmen of the nineteenth century. Continue reading

Covering an unsightly window or two

Classic problems call for simple solutions.  This old barn building is a great example for one of these situations.  The windows look out onto a street with high volume foot traffic and the owners wanted to conceal their belongings from the public.  The problem is solved by painting a whimsical pictorial in each window.  Not Only does this hide what’s within it gives the folks on the street something to talk about.

Painted_Window_1&2

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My Favorite Ornaments

Christmas is only a couple of days away, and like most people I’m frantically trying to get everything wrapped up, both literally and figuratively. One thing I didn’t get to this year was the full-on holiday decor explosion that typically happens: the little purple tinsel tree on the dining room table, the bright mod glass garland dressing up the boring old chandelier, and a second smaller fake tree decorated with every keepsake ornament from my husband’s childhood. But we did, of course, get the tall and awesome-smelling Fraser fir, and it’s taken over half the living room with all its shiny glorious-ness:

christmastree

My favorite thing about our tree is that it’s a hodge-podge of different ornaments, and isn’t at all matchy matchy. I love the keepsake tree (although it’s in the attic this year), and have designs on another themed one, but I’ll always have a unique scrapbook-like tree. And with that, here are some of my favorite ornaments.

blown_glass_purple

Purple has been a constant with the tree, and my favorite is this big blown-glass teardrop. It’s one of a pair I found six or seven years ago on a New Year’s trip to Eureka Springs (a cute little Ozark town three or so hours north of Little Rock), and frankly I’m amazed I haven’t broken either of them. But I love the rich color and the way the lights hit the glass.

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