Happy New Year 2013

Dec 28, 2012

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

Dec 11, 2012

Touch the image to be redirected to each website
Stars Mercury vases Pendant lamp Owl Pine cone Christmas tree Dried branches
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 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.
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The Apartment Book (review)

Dec 10, 2012

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 on Barnes and Noble or your bookstore of choice). I’m sure he won’t mind if you’ve been naughty or nice!
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My Christmas tree

Dec 7, 2012

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.

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 away this part and with spray glue added some green glitter. They now look more Christmassy than before.

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.

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!!!

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Christmas wreath

Dec 4, 2012

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!
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Spooky but scrumptious desserts for Halloween

Oct 19, 2012

The perfect setting for your Halloween party, the "Monster Parade". Photo: Gloribell Lebron
Finally I get to share with all of you my take on the "13 Days of Sweet Halloween Treats", a spooky but at the same time, fabulous blog-hop hosted by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores and Wilton. I get goosebumps because I'm posting on the 13th of October (fingers cross for good luck!). Hope you enjoy my projects and that you get inspired not just with my treats, but with all the other bloggers' delicious creations. To take a peek at the list of bloggers by date, click here.

Between monsters and skeletons

Using a store bought cake mix, I transform their typical form into these monster eyes spooky cakes. Instead of using the 8"x 8" common pan size, I use the Wilton mini angel food cake pan. Following the instructions in the box, I made these ahead and let them rest until room temperature. Because I had some mixture left, I use it for making cupcakes that will later be turned into skeleton chocolate graves.

After these cakes were done, I cut off the tops and, while they were cooling, I prepared my skeletons for the cupcakes. In a Candy 3D Skeleton Bones mold from Wilton, I pour some Wilton Candy Melts (previously melted following the instructions on the package) and placed the tray on the freezer. After about 20 minutes they were ready to be pop up easily.

Remember to cut that pop out part from the cakes (left). White chocolate skeletons ready to be half buried (right).
Photo: Gloribell Lebron
For the gooey stuff over these cakes, I prepared a basic sugar glaze (a recipe from Wilton here) and divided it in 2 batches. On one of them I pour some red food coloring. Carefully I drizzled over the cakes (now with the cut side to the bottom) the white glaze, letting it drip over to the sides. Afterwards I did the same with the red glaze. To finish it all I added the Wilton candy eyeballs and "I've created a monster"!!!

Skeletons that seem to pop out of cupcakes and dripping oozing cakes with red eyes?!?!? Yes, please.
Photo: Gloribell Lebron
For the cupcakes, I made some basic chocolate frosting and crumbled some chocolate cookies to make the dirt effect. Over it I place the white chocolate bones and we have the sweet reenactment of the "Night of the living dead"!
Because the parade was incomplete, I also made some caramel candy apples and decorated them with Bone Sprinkles from Wilton. In some plastic lab tubes, I made a Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Cookie Crumbles (Tierrita Dulce) dessert. The vanilla mousse in this recipe (click the link above) got its slimy color with a bit of green food coloring. For an added spooky touch, I did a couple of bat sugar cookies using the Wilton Halloween cookie cutter.

These lab tubes were incomplete until the word DEAD was stamped with blood (well, not really, but red ink will do)!
Photo: Gloribell Lebron
I just love Halloween and this entire blog-hop has been spook-tacular. Please remember to visit the rest of the creative bloggers whose projects were awesome. Also, during October 15-30, Jo-Ann is going to launch a contest to select your favorite food-craft. So if you like what you've seen here, please vote for my creations here (or click on the image of below).

And, because I know you are dying to run to Jo-Ann with so many inspiring ideas, here is a coupon to take with you on your next visit (valid until October 31, 2013).

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Carved pumpkin

Oct 9, 2012

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.

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Spooky door silhouettes

Oct 6, 2012

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.

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!)

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.

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!
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Halloween countdown

Oct 4, 2012

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
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Autumn cupcake

Sep 24, 2012

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!

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Entryway ideas

Jul 6, 2012

Elegant floor in Darcy Miller’s New York apartment as featured on Architectural Digest magazine. This contemporary entryway, as well as her apartment, were designed by David Mann from MR Architecture + Decor . 

For me, just like the saying goes: “Eyes are the windows to the soul”; the entryway of a home is an “access to the heart”. You see, this part of your house is were your visitors will feel most welcome. It is the first impression you give your guests of who lives there. I’ve come to an understanding that this area should be an echo of the owner, a mare representation of who he/she is.

Although, not everybody has a glittering or sparkling personality (I’m one of those), it is very important to have a certain knowledge when it comes to your entryway. For this reason, I have prepared a list of things to keep in mind when decorating or rearranging this area.

Use large mirrors: These can be placed either against the wall (if using the tall ones from the floor up), over a table leaning on the wall or the hanging type. The thing about mirrors is that they tend to make an area look bigger. This is because they double everything reflected or, if receiving a source of light, they can make the area look brighter. When guests arrive at your home, they’ll feel like entering a large room instead of a square long hallway. So, if dealing with an obscure entryway, opt for a mirror, but make the size count!

  ASD Interiors

1. The tall mirror against the wall in this entryway design from McGill Designs, gives an elegant touch to the area. 2. The hanged mirrors help to elongate the wall giving more depth to the entryway. Space designed by Shirry Dolgin.

Use art: Not only does art makes one look interesting and intelligent, but is sure will make any wall stand out. You can use reproductions of real expensive works, or new up-coming artists. If having some great photos of your last vacation to Arabia, Bahamas or Christmas at your moms, try them too. You can even display your little ones’ pieces of art and say you are a proud mommy or daddy of a future Picasso. I’m in favor of putting large black and white photos of my kids. I like them to be close-ups since those cute little smiles grab everybody’s attention. Also, using black and white pictures will not distract the eye from the rest of the room’s decoration.

Southern Accents

Kerry Howard  Mark Ruffalo's entryway featured in Domino Magazine

1. This amazing space from Architect Bill Ingram’s lakeside dwelling, is a good example on how to incorporate art in the walls. Here they helped the ceiling seemed higher because their horizontal placement. 2. Another example of great art positioning comes from Kerry Howard. Here the designer used the principle of symmetry for the placement of the framework. 3. In this entryway from the Mark Ruffalo’s home as featured in Domino Magazine, we can see how they used an interesting mix of art and photos. 

Prepare a cozy approach: If having the space, you can try placing an elegant or modern armchair with a side table. It can serve as a mini-living room or an extension of the real one.

Connell Interiors

Placed on the side of the stairs, this entryway from Connelli Interiors, is the definition of classic and elegant. The color of the chairs makes an excellent contrast against the pale walls. Love how they used a couple of round mirrors to compliment the area. This is a great transitional space.

Use color: For the conservative type, stay with the neutrals palette. Besides making everything look modern and sleek, these colors also bring a sense of warmth to the space. But if you are a daring type, I’ll say you can go with a bright color as long as you keep it to one wall. This way it will function as a focal point on the space. To balance this, you can paint the smallest wall with a bright color and the rest (the longest one) with a more muted hue. But keep in mind to not overcrowd the rest of the area (either with big furniture, lamps or art) because it can end-up making your guests feel overwhelmed. 

  Source: Pinterest

1. On the neutral side of the color charts, this entryway from designer Ned Marshalls, incorporates the Benjamin Moore Bittersweet Chocolate color in contrast with the lavender French sofa. 2. The color of the season, coral, was very well used in this natural illuminated entryway.

These tips might guide you to a really nice entryway, but remember to always try to bring out the very best of you, at the end… your true heart!

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Summer beach umbrellas

Jul 1, 2012

So, summer is here and with it, sand, sun and the beach. Although we like it when we get tan, it is a sure thing that at the end, the sun rays cause too much skin damage to risk ourselves. Before you go running to apply gallons of sunblock (of course you should apply some reasonable quantity) and pretend to look like “Powder” or worst, like Casper the friendly ghost; here are some great and stylish summer beach umbrellas to take to the beach. Keep in mind that for us, style and beauty always go hand in hand.

True blue: Just like the sea, this options are all in tone with its sorroundings. From the beautiful summery stripes, to the ones evoking fish’s skin.

Round Umbrella from Pottery Barn

Aqua fish scales from Cocopani Rio Beach Umbrella from This Next Fringe Beach Umbrella from Kate Spade

Like a ray of sun: Like the sun rays but without suffering mayor damage and risking your skin, take a yellow umbrella to feel sun kiss!

Sombrilla canopy from Hollie & Harrie

Daffodil Polka Dot from Cocopani  Spectra Yellow Parvani Beach Umbrella from WorldMarket

Under the Indian sun: How many times have you fallen in love with everything Indian. This options are so gorgeous and stylish that you’ll want to ride the beach on top of an elephant or better yet, start dancing to the rhythm of an Hindi music.

Indian Sun Umbrella

Orisa Sumbrella from Indian Group Company  Show Stopper from Indian Garden Company
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