Monday, August 17, 2015

Trending Colors for Your Home

Say it with me... Navy Blue and White - so classic, so pretty, so Right Now!

Pairing these two colors are everywhere.  They are so pretty together and invoke different feelings in everyone. Sometimes they make me feel nautical and other times I just feel classic and mature.

Within the past 2 weeks I have received 4 catalogs showcasing the hot "new" trend.  While there is nothing actually new about pairing these colors together, they are making a strong comeback in home interiors.  You can even use them as base colors and add "pops" of brighter colors to the mix.  They are shown with Kelly Green, Tangerine, and even the elusive grey.  

I have always loved Navy Blue and White together, alone or with other colors, in an outfit or for a room .  However, my personal house is more turquoise and green, I don't know how this happened, but it's just worked out that way over time.  When I was single it was more pinks and lavenders - I was fully aware at the time that would probably be the last time in my life I could have a "pink and purple house".  And, what do you know, a husband and 2 (almost) boys later and I'll looks like I may never see those pretty together colors again in my home. 

I was entering Homegoods the other day, and the first thing I noticed was a beautiful Navy Blue and White ceramic dinnerware display, right as you walk in the door, on the end of the isle.  Of course, I had to run right over and decide whether I needed to buy a new set of dinnerware, right then and there - I refrained at the time, but it did get me thinking about adding the Navy color to my already turquoise and green house.  It can be done, I have decide that as a cost saving effort in my life, I will subtlety add the Navy color, and over time it will be THE color.  This might not be the right method for you, if you like to go with color trends.  And while that is important for my career to know the trends, I enjoy the color so much, I would rather have it as a base in my house, and change out the inexpensive trendy colored items, i.e. pillows, accessories, inexpensive art, etc. While leaving the more costly items in neutral colors; the wall color, draperies, upholstery furniture, etc.

Below are the catalogs that I recently received. The first picture is the newest cover of the Pier 1 Imports catalog.  Second, we have the newest cover of the Pottery Barn Bed and Bath catalog, adding the Kelly Green to the mix. Third, is the cover of the latest West Elm catalog, adding the grey and lighter wood tones. And last is a spread in the Williams Sonoma Home catalog. 

Enjoy perusing catalogs and online shops, I bet you notice the use of Navy and White a lot more now.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Decorate a Small Corner or Entryway

Every suburban house has one, a small area that you don't know what to do with or how to decorate. The small spaces in most of our homes just collect dust and items that we rarely use - similar to having a "junk drawer" in your kitchen.
However, I will say in most urban areas, they do a great job of utilizing every inch of their space.

But if you do have that unsightly area in your house, or maybe have a small entryway, not quite a Foyer, that you want help decorating, I have found a great idea.

This photo is great for many reasons. One being, is that every item, minus the flowers, is in a neutral color.  It is pretty, feminine, and easy to recreate.  As you can imagine, below the frame would probably be a small table or console, and probably in a white washed wood or something in a similar color to the frame on the wall. 

Ornate frames like the one in the picture as pretty easy to find.  Any thrift shop, flea market, or antique store will have something similar for fairly inexpensive.  Don't let the picture inside the frame, or the wood color of the frame detour you from the beauty of the frame.  If you want to spend a little more money, or have an uncommon sized wall, you might want to buy something new, or get a custom made frame.  If you decide to purchase old, pop out the photo (if there is one) and have fun picking out a spray paint.  Any color will work, but this photo is great, because the frame is similar to the wall color.  The frame itself does not stand out other that the texture.  

The shelf in the frame can be as easy as purchasing a piece of wood in the size that you need to fit inside, and painting it the same color as the frame, then screwing it into the wall.  Or, there are plenty of decorative shelves that look like trim you can purchase and just hang on the wall.  

The books are great because most everyone has some unique cocktail table books that they love to show off.  You can always slip the dust jacket off of a hardcover book, unless you love the cover, and then keep it on.  If you want a neutral look and your books are too colorful, turn them around so the spine is towards the wall, normally pages are white, and you can even color in a white/cream contact paper or standard brown grocery bag (bringing back old school book covering days).  I prefer to arrange my books with the largest on the bottom, and all being close to the same size.

If this were in my entry way, and I didn't have a small child that like to grab at things and eat them, I would put a small "catch-all" dish on the top of the books, for keys, change, mints, etc.  The bowl in the photo is wonderful, again because of the texture, not the color. And it is easy to find sometime like that at thrift stores, keep an eye out if you don't already have something unique in your kitchen cabinets to use.

And finally the flowers.  Obviously, real flowers are always the best; the sight, texture, and of course, the aroma are more pleasing.  But if you don't have a plentiful garden to cut from, and don't want to spend the money on fresh bouquets each week, fake flowers have come a long way.  One source that we use a lot in Model Home Decorating is Natural Decorations, Inc (NDI). Their flowers look amazingly real.  While expensive, they do last looking fresh for years.  Plan on keeping the dust off and even try spraying them with perfume once in a while. The flowers in the photo are very pretty and work well because of the glass vases, nothing to distract from the simplicity of the area. 

One more idea that is not in this photo... I love layering pictures! You can always hang another small picture or even mirror inside the larger frame, above the shelf, with, or in place of the flowers.  Remember, mirrors are a great addition to any room.  They add more light by reflecting from existing windows or lamps, and people love to see themselves, especially before walking out the door.

Also, if your space is too small for a table or console under frame, just bypass the piece of furniture.  The frame and what is inside is the focal point, the table just adds practicality and gets things off of the floor.

Happy Decorating!

photo from Joss & Main email newsletter

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Let me start by saying that I love Gluten.  I am not one to give it up for a fad diet and I am lucky enough not be allegoric to it.... yet....  Also, let me say that I am not an aspiring chef and don't know how flavors accompany each other without taste testing them myself. 

However, we recently had guests over for a cookout and one is allergic to the ever delicious gluten.  I was trying to make an easy and tasty, gluten free dish that the other guests would eat as well.  I was lucky in finding an easy cold pasta salad recipe but replace the pasta with Barilla Gluten Free pasta.  I lucked out with the end result tasting so yummy!  I am not known for following directions very well, and tend to improvise on recipes based on what I have or what I think will taste better. Sometimes this theory does not work out to my family and friends delight.  

I used 1 box of Barilla Gluten Free Pasta (I used the spiral, because I think its prettier in pasta salad).  Because I don't usually cook with GF pasta, I am mentioning the brand name because I think it does matter. All of the guests, GF-needs and not, commented on the wonderful taste of the pasta.  I cooked it al-dente; boiled for 8 minutes, so it was still a little hard

I used 1/2 a pack of sliced pepperoni, and I sautéed it in a frying pan with olive oil.  I normally would not have done this, but myself and another guest are currently pregnant, and there is some rule on processed meats needed to be heated before eaten.  I drained the excess grease off of the pepperoni before adding it to the pasta. I have to say it might have added some nice flavor since it was cooked. 

I used 2 packs of frozen, seasoned broccoli steamers, I believe they were Green Giant.  I added the broccoli to a pot of water and boiled them slightly, but you can probably steam them in the microwave (as directed on the package) or just throw them in the pasta salad if there is enough time for them to thaw before you serve it.  I got the seasoned broccoli so that I would not have to add extra flavor to the finished salad.

I used 3 small cans of generic, sliced, black olives, and I drained and rinsed them well.  

1 used about 8 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1 entire bottle of Wish Bone Italian Dressing.

Cook the pasta, pepperoni, and broccoli (if you have decided not to let it thaw on its own).  Add all of the ingredients together, mix well, and set in refrigerator for at least an hour. 

Ta Da! A yummy side salad using Gluten Free Pasta!  Easy enough to bring to any cookout!

Good Luck and Bon Appetit!