Hello everyone and happy Friday! I am so excited to tell you that our new apartment renovations are underway! The wood flooring is going in (in the back part of the house, the front has original wood floors – see the below photo) and then, we’ll have a team of painters work on all of the walls and ceilings for 10 days. We may be finished sooner than we imagined, which is very exciting! This pregnant girl will be able to move in, unpack and DECORATE before the baby arrives end of January. Monday begins week 30 of my pregnancy, so only 10 weeks left, and boom! The baby arrives!
Above is a glimpse of our living room. The apartment is actually the same floor plan as our current one (it’s in the same building after all, just two flights up), but more of the original details are in tact like the windows and doors shown in the living room above. Our current living room is the same but the doors are brand new glass and metal. Boring and generic. The doors and glass above are wooden and just gorgeous. So I’m really happy about this! Next week, the painting crew will begin on Tuesday. We also have to install a few new toilets, a vanity, 16 pendant lights, some wall lights and a new kitchen in addition to lots of other “little” but BIG things – like have custom window treatments made because none of the windows are standard size. Yes, really. I don’t want to even think about the expense so we’re going to tackle the most important rooms first (front room, baby room, our bedroom) and then move on to the other rooms over time. We hope to have all renovations complete by December 15th so we can start to slowly move upstairs. I am feeling total girl power and a massive adrenaline rush at the moment – let’s hope this sticks because my pregnancy has been so up and down. I’m throwing up one minute and out with my girlfriends the next like nothing happened.
This weekend we’re going to finalize paint colors, look for a new bed for our bedroom and try to find a dresser for the nursery. I’ve already ordered a baby stroller, chair, crib, throw rug, bookcase and a few other things for the nursery, including this wonderful ceramic owl lamp that arrived today – I’m in love!
This move will be a run for the finish line!
Luckily we’re not on our own and so we’re hiring out for the big jobs — we’ll survive it. Plus we have good friends and a lot of motivation with our baby on his way very soon. I like the idea of keeping busy until the end of my pregnancy because normally when January 1st rolls around each year, I feel depressed. Maybe you get this too? I feel like all of the holiday and new year fun is over and I suddenly miss the hustle bustle. The gray weather sets in, the cheer of Christmas markets are over, and you just sort of sit there trying to sort your year out. This year, that’s not going to happen. I’ll be moving, unpacking, decorating and then giving birth to our first child which will then mean my life will become a non-stop circus/roller coaster ride. This excites me. I don’t like a lot of stillness or “quiet” in my life. As much as I love Kinfolk magazine, I get 10 pages in and need to take a break from the silence for a little imperfection, excitement and noise. I suck at yoga because I always want to flip the switch and start a disco party amidst all of the ommmmmm’s. I usually lay there and think about blogging or decorating or cupcakes. I scan the room and try to figure out what everyone does for a living. I lose my balance because I nearly break into mini fights of laughter. It’s just not for me. Neither are January’s. Too quiet, nothing happening, bleh. But now, with a baby to be born in the same month, I will finally feel a shift and go from despising January to actually liking it. We will have a new year to honor with our little boy. How nice. Suddenly cold, dark January feels warm and bright. I like that.
I wish you a wonderful weekend filled with love and happiness. And hot cocoa.
(photo: holly becker)
Hello decor8 readers and Happy Friday! Are you ready to get your craft on and make some festive and easy candle holders for your table this holiday season? It’s Lisa here and I have another simple and stylish craft project to share with you this month. With the holidays coming there is much entertaining to be done and tables and mantles to decorate! Do you have any festive decorations planned yet? Anything that you plan to make by hand? Candles are always a wonderful way to add atmosphere and it’s lovely to tie the colors in to your decorations and table setting. I’m going to show you how to make candle holders for your table that will sparkle and shine. They are simple and quick to make and they look great with or without the sequins added, depending on the look you’re after. Let me show you how I made them.
YOU WILL NEED
* Untreated wooden furniture feet from the hardware store. Odd numbers always work best when you group them. Look for different sizes and shapes that compliment each other.
* Paint and a paint brush
* Elasticized sequin trim
* A needle and thread, or double sided tape, or a hot glue gun
Make the candle holders: If the timber is rough give it a light sand and wipe it over with a barely damp cloth. Paint each one in a different color. You may need 2 or possibly 3 thin coats of paint. Let each coat dry between applications.
Make the sequin collars: Stretch the sequin trim around each holder and cut to fit. You may like to make the sequin collar removable, so you can change the look of your candle holders with minimal effort. To make a removable collar, fold the sequin trim in half with the wrong side facing out and hand or machine sew the ends together. Turn it out the right way and fit it over the candle holder. Or, for a permanent sparkle, run double sided tape or hot glue around the candle holder to adhere the sequin collar to it. I told you it was easy!
I hope you enjoy making these candle holders. You could also try decorating them with Sharpies or painting patterns on them. Different trims would also look great: ribbon, lace, yarn or raffia would all be interesting. I’ll see you back here in December with last minute craft idea for Christmas. In the meantime make some time this month to get creative! – xo Lisa.
FOR MORE DIY PROJECTS, VISIT MY OTHER MAKE ME COLUMNS ON DECOR8.
(text/images: lisa tilse)
Are you ready to learn how to make a Spiced Pumpkin + Maple Cream Cheese Layer Cake for my special Thanksgiving edition of Delicious Bites? Hi, it’s me Jillian and around this time last year I spent a few weeks in Quebec and New York, arriving just before Thanksgiving. I found beautiful fall leaves; pumpkins were in abundance at the markets and my hotel served delicious steaming cups of hot apple cider in the lobby. I love all things pumpkin and I love apple cider so I was in heaven. Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, in my mind’s eye I have visions of a Martha Stewart-style spread complete with gleaming roast turkey followed by fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin pie. I’m sure you already have your own favorite recipe for pumpkin pie so instead I’ve come up with a pumpkin pie inspired layer cake with maple flavored cream cheese icing. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
The cake is based on a classic carrot cake recipe using browned butter and grated pumpkin for flavor and texture. Pumpkin tends to be used for savory dishes in Australia so tinned pumpkin puree can be hard to find. If you like, you can use pumpkin puree instead of the grated pumpkin and although the texture will be different it tastes just as good. Just hold back on the buttermilk though, as pumpkin puree is much more liquid than grated pumpkin.
Pumpkin puree is easy to make if you’d like to make your own. Just take a generous wedge of pumpkin; my favorite kind is Kent which you may know as kabocha and I also like butternut. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin but leave the skin on; wrap the pumpkin in foil and place it on a baking tray. Bake at 400°F/200°C for 45 minutes to an hour until the pumpkin is soft. When the pumpkin is cool, unwrap it from the tin foil and scrape the flesh from the skin and blend it using a stick blender or food processor. This is one of those cakes that takes a while to prepare but is a snap to put together. You combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients, pour into a tin and bake. What could be simpler than that?
Once the cake has cooled and sliced horizontally into 2 even layers it’s time to ice it with some maple flavored cream cheese icing. I kept the decoration simple with this lovely bunting from Paper Boat Press.
Here’s the recipe for you -
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (40g) brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup buttermilk
50g dried dates, roughly chopped
50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
1 cup peeled, grated pumpkin or pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line the base of a 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin with baking paper and then grease and flour the sides. Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl and set to one side. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown. Pour the browned butter into a medium size bowl and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes, before mixing in the caster sugar, the brown sugar, the eggs, the vanilla and buttermilk. Stir until well combined. Add the buttermilk mixture, the dates and nuts into the flour mixture and mix well. Add the pumpkin and combine until well mixed. Add a little extra milk if the mixture looks too dry. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake on the centre shelf of the oven at 180°C/350°F (conventional) for 45 minutes. Cook until the centre of cake is firm and the top golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before turning the cake out onto a wire rack. When completely cool, slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers.
Cream Cheese Icing
125 g (4 oz) unsalted butter
250 g (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 cups icing (confectioners) sugar
1 tsp maple extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a small bowl cream the butter, cream cheese and extracts until thick and creamy. Add the 2 sugars and mix to form a creamy icing.
Assembling the cake
Put one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread 1/2 the icing on the layer. Top with the second layer then ice the top the cake with the remaining icing. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate the cake. Before serving allow the cake to come to room temperature for maximum flavor. Cut into generous slices and enjoy a little taste of Thanksgiving on a plate. Delish!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! See you all again next month with a special Christmas themed Delicious Bites treat for you! – Jillian
(text/images: jillian leiboff)
The artwork of London-based, Spanish visual artist and designer Ana Montiel takes me to a happy place today. The first two works were part of a show at the Pop up Galerie recently in Paris. Artists were invited to choose an album cover and revisit it for the show. Ana combines her passion for flowers with a favorite album, New Order’s iconic “Power Corruption and Lies”. About this project she says, “I love the album, the original Fantin-Latour still life and the Peter Saville album design. I originally made the drawing with watercolour and sumi-e ink to then translate it to a 3 ink composition ready to be screen printed.” The album is shown below the first two paintings below. Lovely, right? By the way, I know we’re heading into Christmas but I’m really into yellows and greens lately. Crazy!
I really like seeing work like this because I’m a music lover and actually miss the care that I feel once went into album covers. It seems thoughtful covers are a dying art these days, at least in mainstream music. In fact, the last more mainstream album art that I got excited about was Keane’s, “Under the Iron Sea“. I must confess though, my ultimate favorite record cover was from The Smiths, This Charming Man, which I have framed on my wall at home. I love the image showing Jean Marais from Cocteau’s film Orpheus.
Below you can see more stunning watercolors by Ana for the ultimate eye candy escape today. You can also learn more about Ana here (I love her bangs!) and watch this charming video about her life and work. What an interesting woman! I especially enjoyed seeing her paint and hearing her thoughts about, “Living in the NOW”, which I feel are so important. Some of her clients include Anthropologie, Carolina Herrera, Jo Malone, Nina Ricci and Rolling Stone Magazine to name a few.
Lucky for us, she has an online shop where you can purchase lots of these paintings as prints to frame. Aren’t these pretty?
By the way, do you have a favorite album cover? I’d love to know more!
(images: Ana Montiel)