Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays!


Wishing you a warm, wonderful Holiday Season and a healthy and prosperous 2011!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wonderful Chocolate Mint Coffee

The college student is home.  The coffee cake is sending a wonderful scent through the house as it bakes.  I just heard the coffee grinder downstairs in the kitchen.  All is right with the world this morning.

As I perused one of my favorite cookbooks this morning, I came upon my favorite after dinner coffee recipe and thought I would share.  Just in time to accompany the pumpkin pie.

It is really quite an awesome coffee recipe and I ALWAYS have these ingredients ready and the recipe handy for holiday times.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Mint Coffee

1/2 c. whipping cream
2 tbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 oz. german sweet chocolate - grated
2. c. strong hot coffee
8 tbs. peppermint schnapps
chocolate curls

Beat cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Fold in grated chocolate.
Pour hot coffee evenly into 4 mugs and add 2 tbsp. schnapps to each.  Spoon on whipped cream.  Garnish with chocolate curls & serve immediately.

Oh, so yummy and warm!!! 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fun Finds for Today

While perusing for fun items for my timber frame client, I found a few gems that I thought I would share. 

I love searching for unusual antique items.  I feel a little frustrated by the offerings here in Cleveland.  Where are the wonderful shops??  We have a few on the near west side but...nothing like the offerings in other cities.  

Oh, to have an architectural salvage yard here in town!  Here is a local niche that needs to be filled....    :)

So, I search on-line for antiques and here are a few of the gems that I found today.   

I think I'm feeling the need for a good antiquing trip. Anyone game?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bunching Table

After a long break in my blogging due to an incredibly hectic fall, I am back at the computer and thinking about furniture and design.   I miss it!!!

Marge Carson, Kallisto Bunching Table

While searching today for an unusual end table I came across this baby.   I like it! 

Something about it appeals to me.  Put a couple of these together in front an oversized sofa for a nice, earthy look.  Maybe combined with a wonderful linen sofa or sectional???

It feels good to be thinking design again.  More to come....   Missed you!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Scalamandre Umbrella - Part II

From my last post, it is clear that I am smitten by the funky and fun Scalamandre Zebra Umbrella.  I love the fun zebra motif, the rich red color, and the heft and quality of the piece - it's just an all around winner in my book. 

Lisa Amiri - friend extraordinaire

Last night we held our ASID Ohio North Annual Meeting hosted by Marble & Granite Works.  It was an evening filled with wonderful food from Marigold Catering, yummy drinks, good networking, and warm friendship. 

Marble & Granite Works is a beautiful new showroom here in town - fyi!!

During the evening we held a Chinese Auction with donations from many of our local friends and Industry Partner with all proceeds going to benefit the ASID Foundation. 
Can you guess where this is headed...we had one of those wonderful Scalamandre Zebra Umbrella's as part of the auction.

And now for the part that let's me know exactly how lucky I am to be part of this local design community/family....

As I wandered around the tables perusing all the terrific items that we had for the auction, the umbrella kept calling to me and most of my tickets found their way into the umbrella ticket box.  I did put a few into the Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati ticket box - hubby is from Cincinnati after all. 

Fingers crossed...the ticket was pulled and...I didn't win.  Instead, my good friend and fellow designer, Lisa Amiri was the lucky recipient.  Yeah!  I knew it was going to a good home.  :)

Scalamandre Zebra Umbrella

And then my wonderful friend walked up to me with a big smile and a hug, and handed me the Scalamandre Zebra Umbrella.  "Happy Birthday, Sandy!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fantastic Scalamandre Zebra Print Umbrella

photo of Gino's, courtesy of the New York Times

I am in love with the Scalamandre Zebra Print Umbrella.  It's a wonderful, happy print and ... I think I just have to have one!!

After some research I have uncovered a bit of history about this Scalamandre pattern.  Story has it that the zebra print was first designed as a wall covering for Gino's Restaurant located in New York in the 1940's.  It went out of print over the years and was recently re-introduced into their line. 

The wall covering is available in five color ways; red, brown, yellow, green, and black.  I adore the red!

And now, the pattern has been made into a wonderful umbrella that's available in two sizes.  I had a peek at them in our local showroom.  The travel size is just right for me.

No sad rainy days with this little number protecting you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo - Plants

image by Woetan
While checking one of my favorite blogs this morning, TileEnvy, I discovered a post on the Shanghai World Exposition 2010.  I love looking at these architectural feats.  Wonderful and engaging!  Wish I could be there.

What really caught my interest is the UK Pavilion by Thomas Heatherwick. It is fascinating to look at, but the story behind the design is what really engaged me.  It is based on seeds and the Kew Millennium Seed Bank in the UK.

I am beginning to think more and more about seeds and our dependence and connection to them.

I have hollyhocks in my garden that I grew from seeds given to me by my California  beach buddy, Patti.  I believe that they are from her grandfather's garden and she grew them from his seeds.  I love the connection and the variety; its pinkish red color is relly wonderful.  Every time I look at them I am reminded of my girlfriend and her family.  :)

Check out this video below for a peek at the UK Pavilion.

I would love to visit the Shanghai exhibit, but what I would love even more is to visit the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew.

What an amazing and ambitious undertaking!  The Millennium Seed Bank is working toward the goal of collecting and storing seeds to preserve 25% of the worlds plant species by 2020 (and on and on.)

Royal Botanical Garden, Kew

All this thinking about plants has made me search out a few Botanical Prints. Here is a Osborne & Little print that I think is great.

This Scalamandre print has been around for awhile but I still like it a lot. I used this in a wall covering for a client in their mud room and it was wonderful!

Enjoy your day!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fun Shower Curtain by Thomas Paul

I have a few strange quirks; one of my quirks is checking out bathrooms. 
I judge a place by its restroom/bathroom.

Clean and neat are of course important, but I want to see something wonderful that surprises me - tile, towels, lighting, wallcovering, cool fixtures, etc. 

It may be a little strange, but I have met others with this same system for  judging a place by the bath.

I like good, interesting design.  Restrooms or baths seem to be one of the locations, maybe because it's a somewhat private or secret spot, that affords the oportunity to surprise or delight guests.

Can you relate?

Restrooms can be kitchy in my book - that's okay.  Visit Pickle Bill's ladies room (lift the fig leaf for a surprise.)

Restroom at the Slanted Door
I love the unisex restroom at the Slanted Door on the Pier in San Francisco.  There are wonderful big chunks of wood incorporated as a shelf in each individual toilet room.

In my mind the restooms at Jackson Triggs winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake stand out   I love the long concrete trough sink (it doesn't hurt that there is a heavy fermenting grape smell wafting through the building.   ;)

While perusing on line this morning I happend upon this fun, funky graphic shower curtain by Thomas Paul.   (Great designer by the way.)

Just the thing to liven up a bathroom!

Go big or go home.  I love it!!!

Thomas Paul Octopus Shower Curtain from Design Public

Only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun restooms.  I may have a new misssion...find the coolest restroom/bath. 

Or better still, design it!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Early Fall Garden...or is it Late, Late Summer???

Some years I am so busy by late summer that I do not fully enjoy or use the bounty from my garden. Not so this year!
We decided to scale back our lifestyle this year and the benefit is more time available to spend cooking and hanging out in the yard and garden.
I think I might be a bit obsessed - I have been visiting the garden several times a day just to see what's going on (and trying to keep up with the weeds, bugs, and critters.)

Coleslaw, gazpacho, stuffed pepper, cucumber salad, fresh corn and beets, carpaccio, brocollini, eggplant pizza.... It has been a real treat!

Every morning my breakfast has been a chopped tomato with feta. Yum!

So here is my early fall garden update...or is it a late, late summer update???

Green fried tomatoes are so yummy - see the video below. My Mom made these every summer and I always loved them!

Green Fried Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes after the recent rain. The rain causes the tomatoes to split. Rats!
The flavor from the early cherry's was not so good and I vowed to find another variety. They are tasting better now - sweeter. The jury is still out on whether I should grow this variety again.

Broccoli for dinner tonight. Perhaps we'll have Steve's Hot Broccoli Fettuccine. Yum! It's perfect because it uses cherry tomatoes too.

The cabbage is great this year.

I had a visitor while I was working away in the garden, Oliver, the neighbor's cat stopped by for a visit. I picked beets and Steve and I had them for dinner last night. Very tasty. We ate them all!!

I harvested most of the black beans. Seems like some of the pods need to dry a bit more so that they will break open easily. I love black beans and can't wait to see if they taste different being home grown.

Ah ha! Someone has been raiding the garden - someone with four legs and a good appetite. Rascals!!

We have had a few muskmelons that we harvested. They are out of this world, crazy good.

Whole melon from the garden. Can you believe that this would come from a home garden? Or should I say that I can't believe this came from my home garden.

Isn't it lovely???

White pumpkin. Pretty cute.

Cool orange pumpkin. I just labeled the pumpkins generally and I am guessing that this is the Rouge Vif D Etampes Pumpkin. I like it! It's the Cinderella pumpkin.
I am disappointed that we don't have more pumpkins for all the garden space that we devoted to growing them. The cucumber beetles are so difficult to defeat. They are out there now in abundance and I am not comfortable spraying at this point - too many bees and too late in the season.

Peppers ready for harvest. They are so large that the peppers are pulling the plants over. Time to use them!

Some turned red while others went to an orange and a light green. Actually, the green peppers seem to have a better flavor - go figure.

Made this recipe up last night and it was yummy!!! Happy harvest!

1 C. uncooked rice
1 (15 oz.) can black beans drained and rinsed
1 T. olive oil
1 Tbs. Chili powder
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Clove minced garlic
1/2 C. chopped onion
3 C. grated cheese (cheddar)
2 Chopped tomatoes (or equivalent)
6 Peppers - tops, ribs and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
In a small skillet, saute onion and garlic until soft. Add chopped tomato and continue to saute for 5 minutes or so.
Combine cooked rice with black beans, seasonings and tomato mixture in a bowl. Fill pepper half way with rice mixture, then 2 tbs. of cheese. Repeat layer ending with cheese on top.
Place in baking dish loosely covered with foil. Bake for 40 minutes until pepper are just soft.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

10 Amazing Pools (from Zillow)

For me, pools and summer just go together. There have been many days this summer that I longed for a pool in our back yard.

Checking e-mail this morning, I discovered a wonderful blog post from that lists their top ten pools. wonderful!!! Eye candy for sure. Yes, I could swim happily in any of these. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's Tomato Season!!!!

YES!!! The tomatoes are ready!

I have been anxiously awaiting the first tomato of the season and...this was the weekend for it.

Our first tomato came in at a whopping 2lbs, 4oz. and it tasted FANTASTIC!!

See the weight on the photo at right.

Notice how the tomato is shaped - almost in lobes. The shape makes picking and cutting the fruit a little challenging. Of the 4 tomatoes that we have picked so far, they have all had this twisty shape.

I wonder if the shape might make the Mortgage Lifter variety difficult to grow for commercial use as it is time consuming to cut the fruit up around all the nooks and crannies.

I think that the sweet, full flavor is worth the few extra minutes that it takes to work with the shape. Would folks at the local farmer's market care if the shape is odd??

Our first Mortgage Lifter Tomato from the garden. Looks like two tomatoes but it was only one.

Look at how huge our first tomato was. This is the fruit from one tomato!! Doesn't it look perfect?

Note the nasturtium and the basil from the garden. I really, really like this nasturtium variety - Caribbean Cocktail. It appears to be a double and has a wonderful range of soft yellow and pink colors.

I am so excited!! I have to find my recipe for fresh peach and tomato salad. Oh, and we have to have gazpacho...and a fresh pasta sauce...and stuffed tomatoes...and.....

Recipes to follow. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Music to Design By

I am working away in my home office today. On the to do list is to design window treatments for my wonderful clients, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

They like clean simple lines, nothing too fussy, with not a lot of trim or embellishments. We have installed Hunter Douglas Silhouettes in the family room and the living room - and they love them.

Silhouettes provide just enough softness, light control, and privacy. In fact "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" could probably stop at the Silhouette level but I think that the space needs softness that drapery panels will provide.

It is a beautiful summer day and I am enjoying a little music as I sketch a few ideas. i am a huge fan of sketches. Sketches really help work out all the little details and are a wonderful tool to help clients get a feel for how something will look.

I thought you might enjoy some music for your work day too. A little something to design by...

A little John Mayer

"Mr. and Mrs. Smith's" Living Room

Kasmir Silk 1040 in Caramel for the window treatment and I am hooked on this Kasmir Taj Mahal Finial.

I love glass finials!!

Sketch 1

Sketch 2

I will keep working away....