Happy New Year 2013

To all my faithful followers, happy New Year! May 2013 bring you and your loved ones peace, love, happiness, and good health!


Christmas display

Stars Mercury vases Pendant lamp Owl Pine cone Christmas tree Dried branches
You can touch the image and it will redirect you to each website.

Stars, constellations, lights, you name it. This year’s Christmas display, for me, is out of this world. For this piece, besides mixing old items with new ones, I also incorporated branches and silver tones (the mercury vases and owl). Although in theory it might sound contrasting, the beauty of it relies on opposites: nature with man made materials, darkness with brightness. Also it is very important to create a balance so that the display won’t seem to fall on one side. So, to create a symmetric view, I counter balance the height of the branches with a wide piece on the opposite side (the pine cone Christmas tree). The idea when designing a display like this or a fire mantel, is to play with the ornaments and to develop a rhythm among each of the objects.

The Apartment Book (review)

House Beautiful The Apartment Book

Do you have your Santa’s wish list ready? If so, stop right there and don’t forget to add this book: House Beautiful The Apartment Book. I was recently invited to review it, and was I “WOWed”…. This book is packed with lots of great design ideas for every decor taste; from the traditional everyday inspired to the contemporary ones.

House Beautiful The Apartment Book

House Beautiful The Apartment Book did not forgot about anyone in this book. If you are a proud owner of a Louis XVI chair for sure, you’ll find ideas here on how to pair this fabulous accent chair with your surrounding furniture.

House Beautiful The Apartment Book

Divided by room areas: living room, dining areas, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, foyers, libraries, and offices; this book is perfect for the apartment owner who seeks to find the best design choices for limited spaces.

Here are some points that I loved:

  • Color concepts for each room area with tricks (no magic wand needed!)
  • How important is natural light in rooms and how to make the most out of it.
  • Great photos with lots of details and ideas on how to mix and match styles. 

No matter how big or small is your room, here you’ll find a muse that will inspire you to create and decorate. Look for the before and after sections distributed around the book. The final results will leave you breathless. They’ve addressed on this examples some good pointers to keep in mind when renovating or redecorating certain areas in your apartment.

House Beautiful The Apartment Book

For the collectors, they have 10 great pointers for showing off your treasures  In doubt of how to play with a neutral palette? Don’t despair, here you’ll find tons of ideas for the minimalist taste, but also for the traditional ones.

I would suggest to look for this great pages:

  • 10 rules for hanging artwork page 42 
  • 12 tricks to make your space look larger page 52 
  • 10 details that make a small kitchen great page 154 
  • 7 tips for making all-white work page 192
House Beautiful The Apartment Book

So there you have it. Now remember to ask Santa for House Beautiful The Apartment Book (now available onBarnes and Noble or your bookstore of choice). I’m sure he won’t mind if you’ve been naughty or nice!

My Christmas tree

Country natural Christmas tree

Tired of the same old red, green and blue combinations on my Christmas tree, this year I opted to keep it delicate and simple with hints of green combined with white. What I like the most about my tree is the fact that most of my ornaments either are recycled from previous years, or made by me.

During one of my trips to Michaels, I bought some vintage inspired scrapbook papers and used them to make origami doves. I admit this was he first time I’ve ever made anything origami, but what worked for me was some Youtube tutorials. I used two different dove’s designs, one with a medium level of difficulty, and the other was very easy to do. To hang my Japanese masterpieces, I used some natural fiber strings that mixed very well with the burlap ribbon used in the rest of the tree.

Origami dove 1  Origami dove 2

For the recycled ornaments, I had a couple of brown metal and some wooden snowflakes from Target that I bought two years ago. I painted them all with white spray paint but from the wooden ones, left the metal part intact. Last year I bought (also from Target) some felt snowflakes in orange and green. The material of the center was in wood, so from the orange ones I took this part and with spray glue added some green glitter. They now look more Christmassy than before. 

Felt snowflake  Wooden snowflake

At this point I knew I needed something white, so I remembered that I always wanted to try one idea I found on Pinterest where, with some cornstarch and baking soda, one can do clay decorations. You can find the recipe here. When I did this at home, my recipe ended up needing more baking soda since the consistency was a bit watery and damp, making it difficult to cut with the cookie cutters. For the texture of both the angels and stars, I bought some inexpensive rubber stamps available at Michaels.

Clay angel  Clay star  

To cover some blank spots here and there, I bought some fiber hearts and used some small crystal balls to finish what now I call my Country/natural Christmas tree. Hope you enjoyed my recycled/almost-hand-made tree. Have a Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas (bokeh)

Christmas wreath

Christmas natural wreath

Now that Christmas is a couple of days away, I took some time to make used of the leftover branches from our tree. In our house we’ve always preferred natural Christmas trees because nothing can beat the evergreen smell around the house. This year the tree we bought was larger at the bottom, so my husband took down some branches which I used in the making of our door wreath. In this video from Youtube, you can see how easy it is to make a wreath with some tree branches, a wire hanger, and some floral wire. My wreath was shaped into a square, since I fell in love with one from West Elm, and wanted to apply the same principle to mine. Besides, the look is different from the common round ones and even more sophisticated. 

The trick when doing this wreath is to make it in layers. After the first layer is done, check to see where there are areas that need to be fill. To decorate my wreath I used inexpensive (a box of 12 for $2.50) plastic white snowflakes from Walgreens and some pine cones from a last year’s Christmas pine cone project. To finish it all, I recycled the bow from the Fall Inspired Wreath

Hope I got you inspired to do your own wreath. Please share with me your Holiday projects and feel free to pin this on Pinterest. Happy Holidays!

Carved pumpkin

Carved pumpkin

Here is my take on the famous Halloween pumpkin. With just some glitter, feathers, small fabric flowers and a couple of butterfly parts, I assemble what I like to call the “Lady Moth-pire” (my version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but with a vampire twist). You can find all these materials and more at Michaels or your favorite craft store. To see more great ideas on Halloween, take a peek at my Pinterest Halloween board.

Spooky door silhouettes

Halloween silhouette

Oh please, someone make Halloween last at least until November 15!!! Did you know that I definitively love this holiday? Although it might seem like an irony, on this new project I used silhouettes and mice which have always make me shriek. There are some people who believe that in order to overcome your fears, you have to confront them. So here I tried to do so by combining all those things that I might have a little fright to, and convert them into a creative opportunity for my front door

The first item on my door are my family’s silhouettes. These are made out of each of their profiles, including mine. With my phone, I took several photos of them and then drew their silhouettes on a black cardboard. Another option for this project would be to take a picture of yourself (or someone’s) and print it black and white on regular paper, to the desire size. Cut it and use it as a template to trace. Martha Stewart has a tutorial on this where she used it on a pumpkin. Here you can see how they did it.
Halloween Silhouette

The rest of the elements I used were templates from Martha Stewart’s website. You can find the cat template here, and the mice here. Remember to print these to the desire size. Since I did not have the chance to go and print them, I drew them by looking at the computer. Not so bad, ah?!?! (P.S. the creature at the right is a hybrid between a cat and a dog jajajaja)

The final items for my Halloween spooky door were some spiders I bought at Target. The bag had like 50, but I did not used them all. In order to place them on the door, I used strips of magnets which I cut in smaller sizes. These come with glue on one side, making this task very easy to do. I also used the magnets on all my silhouettes, since I did not want to ruin the door with double tape.

Halloween silhouette  Halloween silhouette

For the spiderwebs I placed here and there, I used Halloween wall decals (also available at Target). These are peel-and-stick and were very easy to reposition in case I did not like how they looked. 

At the end I guess I conquer my fears, and the best part is, I’m very proud of the effort. Let me know what are you using on your door on this Halloween. Remember you can also see more great ideas on my Halloween Pinterest board here. Hope you liked my spooky door idea!

Halloween silhouettes

Halloween countdown

Halloween cupcakes

I just love every hour after the autumnal (Fall) equinox. The days are cooler, the sunset is prettier. But what I really love the most is Halloween! And not just because of the candies, but during this holiday my creativity ignites like no other day of the year;  hence my new “living dead” creations.

Halloween cupcakes

These spooky little cupcakes are made with chocolate but inside awaits a gooey and delicious raspberry filling. The idea is to give them a vampire’s bite and sink your fangs into the sweet blood-like stuff. To top it all, and to add a little shriek, I’ve placed some plastic skeletons (available at Michaels) which I sliced in parts and strategically arrange them over a bed of Nutella frosting. To make them look like they just raised from the ground, I used the parts of the cupcakes I took (to make way for the frosting) and toasted them on a pan. For recipes click each link! Hope you like Halloween (and all its goodies) as much as I do!

Halloween cupcakes

Fall inspired door wreath

Fall wreath

Maybe a little late, but I really enjoyed doing this fall inspired door wreath. The best part is that everything on it smells like Autumn. Because I didn’t want to use the common browns and oranges, I took advantage of the greens and yellows, to make it a little more brighter. Here is a little how-to for my newest seasonal door decor.

For the materials, you can find them at your favorite craft store; mine is Michaels, so everything I used (except the oranges, cinnamon sticks and the grapevine wreath (this last one item was from Target’s one dollar area!!!)) I bought it there. 

1. Fabric leaves 2. Plastic miniature pears 3. A bag of mixed small pumpkins and squashes 4.Cinnamon sticks 5.Oven dried oranges 6. Raffia (which at the end, I did not used) 7. Fall bush with small pumpkin 8. Eucalyptus branches.

Before I started gluing and attaching, I did my own oven dried oranges. It was so easy to do! Here is how:

Oven dried oranges

After all this was done, I started gluing in patches. This way it was easier to see where a pear might be needed, or a cinnamon stick, to make the wreath acquired a 3D effect. One thing that I did to add life to the composition was to darken the leaves’ veins and borders. To do this I used some Prismacolor markers similar to the colors of the leaves (but you can also use cheap markers, making sure to paint in layers until the desire effect).

Fall wreath  Fall wreath

At the end, and to hang the piece, I used some burlap ribbon (from Michaels) to add a vintage-barn look. With it, I made a medium size ribbon to balance the heaviness of the wreath.

Hope you like the outcome and let me know what things have you done to decorate your door or even your house during these seasons. I’m planning on redoing my door again with a Halloween flair decor. Let’s cross fingers!

Fall wreath

Autumn cupcake

Carrot cupcake

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything here; but my life has been turned upside down and time has not been on my side. But I can not miss the beginning of one of my favorite seasons, Autumn. So what a better way to receive this time of year than with a sweet treat. Inspired by the colors and textures of Autumn, here I’ve made a carrot cupcake with a maple-cream cheese frosting and to adorn this cutie, I’ve added some roasted walnuts and a cinnamon sugar cookie in the form of a leaf. 
It is not a custom of mine to place a recipe in this blog, but I find Autumn so beautiful that I could not resist myself. For those of you interested in the recipe, here is the link for the cupcake and here for the frosting. As for the leaf cookie, it is a simple sugar cookie recipe that I added a hit of cinnamon. Hope you enjoy!