Saturday, November 28, 2009

Very sad news

I will be absent for the next 10 days from my blog and from my country. I guess I will be able to speak to you only when I'm back home. In this moment, I'm still in shock and I feel nothing but infinite sadness...thanks to all who read me and those who find the way to my blog...


Friday, November 27, 2009

Green Your Life Today

Today I present you part two on colors that I love. In my everyday life I really need some green around me. This color is soothing, healing, calming and beautifying.You can make it a focus theme or an accent color for artwork, fabric, paint, bedding, curtains, pillows, rugs,throws, vases...possibilities are endless. My guestroom is  monochromatic green with accents in white, grey and yellow and the walls in my bedroom are still painted the soothing greenish gray shade. Don't be to shy in choosing the hue, go with stronger and deeper shades of green, make a statement. There are so many different shades of green, starting from blue-green and going to vibrant, luminous yellow-green. A little green goes a long way. Green your life today and never look back!

Dr. Greenlove forever... For more inspirational pictures in green visit my online album.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chandelier recycled and saved from garbage

I found some other pictures of a DIY that I'm very  proud of. So here it goes: almost 2 years ago, my coworker Melissa, wonderful young girl btw, gave me the old brass chandelier that her mother was about to toss in the garbage. She remembered that I mentioned  how much I would love to have a chandelier for my bedroom so she brought it to me for free, just like that! I love that girl! It was somewhat stained with white paint, several  "candle holders" were partly broken and some of the christals were missing. I wasn't quite ready for a DIY action at that moment but I was very happy to have it. Can you believe that I was finaly so lazy that I bought a little chandelier from the store for my bedroom? I'm so ashamed, but if it can be an excuse - it didn't really cost that much. Talking about karma! It wasn't meant to be my chandelier. Then my daughter moved in another apartment and she needed a ceiling lamp for her bedroom. What was she supposed to do? Poor thing, she had one of this "breast with nipple"-like ceiling mount lamps already fixed in her bedroom. So I took pity on her and offered to restore the chandelier that I was saving for my bedroom. The result is simply breathtaking, for me anyway. See how it looks in front of her charcoal gray wall:
I used some silver spray paint, didn't even bother to prime it, we found some nice fake bling-bling in the dollar store to replace the missing christals - you can barely tell the difference. I was somewhat worried about the solution for the broken "candle holder" parts but my daughter wanted me to let them uncovered and to just spray paint them. So I did it her way and guess what? It looks just lovely, it adds a little surprising industrial touch to it.

BTW, it looks a bit yellowish in the picture but it's really silver painted. We were so busy that day that I completely forgot to take the  before pictures. Here is what it looked like approximately before the upcycling:


Monday, November 23, 2009

Red Instead of Boring

OK, I presume you know it already, I'm color obsessed right now. I'm not obsessed with one particular color, I love them all (all right, some MORE than others) as long as they are mixed with some neutrals and beautifully done. So I decided to start with the color red today.  What can I say about red? I love it! Of course...Still, I use it sparingly, like a hot sauce. It’s a color of life, joy, sensuality, strength and love. Please, don't live in a beige painted house...

For more inspiration in red visit my Red Instead of Boring online album.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Longing for one more journey

My daughter called me yesterday morning, she was worried about me and she wanted to know why there were no posts on my blog for several days in a row. She is my most  avid follower. She caught me unprepared, I was searching for the right words to describe what is happening to me. I told her something about being struck by nostalgia and some new ideas that needed reflexion time. Having said that, I was almost in tears, it hurt so much. I woke up  one morning of this week with this uncomfortable feeling that I absolutely have to change something in my life, that 'something' that bothers me for quite some time now. Just as I convinced myself  that the journey was over and that I can sit down now and live my 'happily ever after' life, everything came out. Everything that I tried so hard to hide from myself. And from those who know me. And from those who love me. I know what it is, I know exactly how I should do it, but I'll try to think it over this winter and then, if this burning longing for change is still there, I'll move in this direction.

  What you should know, my DH is in on that one and we are going to take this decision together like we did so many times before. I leave you today with a wonderful quote that sums so nicely my feelings at the moment:


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thread rack from Ikea bathroom shelf

My digital camera is definitely dead, even rice 'spa' couldn't help. I went over my pictures on the computer and i found another little project that I completed two weeks ago. I needed some kind of a thread rack for my little sewing room, mainly for the large serger  thread cones. They needed desperately to be orderly stored. And as my daughter offered me her Ikea bathroom shelf named 'Songa' I was happy to accept it. It didn't need much work, the only thing that bothered me were the black metal supports - I wanted to spray paint them silver for better fit with my existing equipment. It took me no more then 10 minutes to prepare and to spray the supports. It was howewer rather tricky to spray paint each side of the support, they are so thin, nearly impossible to work precisely. Here is the end result:

I like it, it's installed directly over my work area, very easy to reach. I'll show you my little sewing room very soon, I have some things to finish this week in it. And then I would like to start next week to make some lovely things for my brand new Etsy shop, hopefully still in time for Christmas! There are allways people out there who do some 'last minute shopping'. I allready have the fabric and I'm working on the little collection of warm, wintery, snuggly...well, you have to wait till next week to see what am I preparing, sorry...


Monday, November 16, 2009

Art - Working with paper

Many of you paper lovers out there must already know numerous artists working with this fascinating media. The Internet gave me often the opportunity to witness some great work but I never, ever saw so much beauty and new ideas  as I was reading about the new exposition in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York called Slash: Paper Under The Knife, from October 7, 2009 to April 4, 2010. This exhibition "..takes the pulse of the international art world's renewed interest in paper as a creative medium and source of artistic inspiration, examining the remarkably diverse use of paper in a range of art forms." 
I was especially  in awe of the work of a Dutch artist Ferry Staverman so I did a little research and found some beautiful examples of his work:

If you love working with paper, be sure to check out the inspiring creations of the American and international artists. I smell the opportunity to make a wonderful Christmas gift for your loved ones or your friends. Since I don't live in New York, I could envision a weekend trip for two in the next six months (hope my DH reads this post).
Here are some links for you:


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Recycled glas jars finished

My digital camera is taking a rest in a bag of rice since the 'swimming in the cup of coffee' accident. Battery and memory card sleep as well in it. I was told that rice could absorb the humidity and my camera might work again after all. We'll see...I'll wait till this afternoon to try it.
Since I already downloaded some photos from it before the accident  I'm able to give you a follow up on the blackboard spray paint project. This is the finished project with labels:

I was looking for this paint since I saw it on Sonia's post and I found it finally in a hardware store for 5,99$. Not so bad... I already had four big nice glass jars that I saved for a project initially meant to make a DIY version of the lovely Ikea 'Burken' jars:

Finally, I decided to combine both ideas and to make the jars as planed: silver spray paint the lids with addition of the blackboard spray labels. In the beginning of the project I wanted to prove (to myself?) how smart I am and I tried to treat the four jars at the same time with spray paint. As I started to elaborate the tactic to do so, I realised that I was on the way to fail miserably and to loose a great amount of time without getting neat results. What can I say, I couldn't hide it from you, I hope to spare you the embarrassment if the same idea should cross your mind.

 If you have an impression that I was a bit impatient, you're absolutely right. In the end, I got a nice result with masking tape. Didn't care to cover it all but it was not so difficult to handle. If there are some spills you can just wish them of with a sponge or cloth right away. Even if you not see it while it's still wet, don't worry, you can scrape it off using a knife or a cutter. Even if I like the result very much I still would like to add something on the lid for the more realistic 'Burken' effect. What could I use? Any ideas out there?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Murphy's law it is!

I'm still shaking, since yesterday evening... Remember my secret baking mission? And Murphy's law that I mentioned? Well, I shouldn't have! Cause everything went wrong. I think this mysterious mister Murphy decided to take up a challenge and to spend the evening with me just to see if he's able to do something mentionable. Well, he was. Yesterday afternoon, I spent quite some time writing the recipe down for the contest I was to enter. It had to be in French, the contest is taking place in Quebec/Canada. So I wanted to be sure to use all the appropriate words and to write clear instructions. Finally, towards 6 pm, i finished writing  my recipe and frankly, I was a bit exhausted. So I decided I was going to rest a bit with a cup of coffee before sending my recipe along with the photo via the web site form. What’s the rush, I had 6 hours before the closing of the contest. And I was pretty proud of myself and of my creation for this contest, that I so pretentiously named 'Choco Abricot Volcano':
cake choco chocolate abricot apricot volcano
Now tell me honestly, wouldn't you be proud and excited about it? I certainly was. It was arround 8h30 when I decided that it was time to take action toward winning the first prize. So I opened the webpage of the context and pushed the button that should open the inscription form. The page opened quite rapidly, but in place of  the inscription form a message of error was displayed. Can happen, nothing there... So I refreshed the page with a strange feeling in my gut. It didn't work again. That was only the beginning of the horrible evening that ended after midnight. I tried everything and with every browser possible - nada! Arround 11 o'clock I started to panic realising that Mr. Murphy was comfortably installed on my shoulder and I was only amusing him with my stubbornness. Than I taught of something: I saw the 'Contact us' link and I sent the message explaining the situation. Nothing happened, no one was there.

Shortly before midnight, I decided to take action and opened the 'Contact us' section again, I explained the situation and asked them to consider my application then I pasted the text of my recipe in the box and added the link to the picture of the cake in my Picassa web album and I sent it. At this point, Mr M. must have been tired and already in bed. I went to bed too. I was crushed...

Then this morning, as I opened my mail, I saw the message from the communication person of the company saying that she got my message and they're going to add my application to the contest!!! I was so happy and relieved at the same time. Not so Mr. Murphy. I suppose he was still around as I got the good news. He didn't like the fact that all his effort didn't work out in the end. So he started planning his revenge.

And here is how he did it: As I was about  to rearange the things arround my computer earlier this afternoon,  I kicked a cable accidentally and my brand new 7.0 mp camera fell in my huge cup full of hot coffee! I was speechless... I took it out allmost immediatly, but it was already completely soaked and coffee dripped slowly out of it as I held it in the air. I'll spare you all the other details, you can imagine how I felt. Nothing works anymore. Even my 4 G memory card that I took immediately out doesn't give a sign of life. And I had so many pictures of my projects for this blog on it...
I promise, I'll never mention Mr. M. on any of my posts again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On a secret baking mission

Shhht! Let me close the door first, you never know who's listening...
So, now we are alone and I can tell you my little secret: since yesterday, I am on a secret mission in order to win a cooking / baking contest. I'm preparing a cake that is going to sweep the jury of their feet (what? one is allowed to dream!). The cake is finaly ready now, I took a picture of it this morning and now I only have to write the recipe.

The jury of chefs has to choose 10 recipes to publish on the website and only then it's going to be possible to vote for my (secret) cake. BTW, I have to tell you, I was painfully remainded of one of the Murphy's low yesterday evening as I was about to bake my cake: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Not that I'm not familiar with it already, oh no, my friends! In my life, I had a more then fair share of it. But I was a bit saddened that it had to prove me wrong at such an important moment. In fact the first prize is so important that it would allow me to renovate my small, ugly kitchen. It would still have to be on the budget, but I can be very humble, believe me. Anyway, I finally  assembled and decorated the cake to my satisfaction as of this morning. I have to send my recipe along with the picture till midnight today, 12th November. Now let's hope Mr. Murphy is busy with someone else till then...


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Power of Words - Words of Power

Sometimes I don't know what I'm getting myself into. Like today, I just wanted to talk about this cute little online gagdet that I discovered lately. Its name is Wordle  and you can create word clouds from any text or internet address you provide. This is what I got with the address of my blog:

And as I was thinking yesterday evening, trying to fall asleep, about writing this post I became aware of the importance and the power of words in our everyday's life. Rest assured, this is not the first time I thought about it, as I learned the hard way that words can leave emotional scars, sometimes for the rest of your life. Real power of words can transform life, help, inspire, heal or encourage but also can bless, make fear or angry. Any emotion can be inspired by words. They're not only words, they're powerful tools or even weapons. As I did a little research on the Internet I noticed that  I'm not alone preoccupied by this subject. Try to google 'power of words' and you'll see for yourself, so many people smarter than me said beautiful things about the power of words and about words of power - not the same thing at all. So I decided that instead of trying to say something new and smart about it, I'll bring up the inspiring quote by Marianne Williamson from her book: 'A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles'. To be honest with you, I never heard of this author before today but even if I'm not overly spiritual or religious, I found this words beautiful and comforting:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
I dedicate this post to my two lovely children.
Have a nice day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On Color Again

I knew I needed an excuse before presenting the today's subject! And guess what? I found the perfect one:

Phew, I can proceed now, merci Monsieur Léger! This is exactly how I see it and feel it too. What I wanted to show you today is a glimpse on the November issue of Burdastyle. As you already know, I'm a hobby sewer, a very good one I must add, but more about it later. For practicly all my projects I only ever used German sewing magazines with patterns, Burda and Neue Mode (the latter is no more published). So even if I now live in North America, I wanted to feel the joy of receiving my Burda each month so I subscribed to it, more precisely: it was my DH's present for my birthday - he only wanted me to stop wining, really. So now I get to enjoy each month the newest Burda in German language. I received my November issue last week and as I was about to take it out from the envelope something shiny blended me. I couldn't believe my eyes: it was the most beautiful and the most kitschy (I love kitschy!) Burda cover ever! Everything was in red and gold, shiny and glossy, very smooth to touch. I stared at it for the moment, reluctant to open it, fearing that the beauty of it would vanish. Only after a minute or so of staring with my mouth open (I'm easy to impress) I came to my senses and could browse it. Ah, everything in red, plummy blue and purple...

Now I only have to find an occasion for wich I should make one of those fiery beauties. Any suggestions? Or maybe invitations? I'm waiting...
For those who, like me, enjoy those kind of things I prepared a teeny-weeny preview (in purple) of the December issue. Enjoy!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Indian Carrot-Ginger Soup Recipe

I promised you yesterday the recipe for my favorite Indian Carrot-Ginger Soup. I got this recipe from a German vegetarian cookbook 'Schlemmen ohne Reue' (Indulge without regrets). You can buy it at Amazon but it happens to be on eBay just at this time for only 5 Euro, go for it if you understand German language, it's an excellent book with plenty of colorful, tasty and healthy recipes.

 I modified this recipe slightly in order to keep it simple. So here it goes:
Indian Carrot Ginger Soup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp curcuma
  • 1/8 tsp chili pepper
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 lb carrots, chopped in thick slices
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (or 1/4 yogurt + 1/4 sour cream)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Optional: Freshly chopped coriander leaves and sour cream for garnish
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and stir often until soft, about 5 min. Meanwhile, peel carrots and slice them into 3/4-inch- (2 cm) thick rounds. Grate ginger in a separate little bowl, add all the spices. Add ginger with spices to onion mixture and stir again to warm the spices trough. Add carrots, vegetable broth and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
  • Add yogurt and puree the soup with a hand blender, scraping down inside of bowl as needed. At this point, don't let the soup boil, let it simmer at low heat, add pepper and salt. I usually cut some coriander leaves with scissors and add to the soup, not too much, you don't want to overpower beautiful spices. The soup is ready to serve, you can swirl a little sour cream on top and add a coriander leaf, if you like.
This soup will keep well, covered and refrigerated, at least 5 days or freeze up to 1 month.
You got to admit that a colorful bowl of silky-smooth velvety carrot soup sets the mood for a nice autumn or winter dinner. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cookbook Holder Solution

Today, as I was cooking my beloved Indian Carrot and Ginger soup, I used my improvised and simple cookbook holder. Actually, this isn't really a cookbook holder, it's rather a solution in the absence of it. There are so many models to find today, some even aren't so expensive, like this one I like :

Sleek and simple, only 14,99$ from
But as it turns out, I have other priorities so I prefer this 1$ solution at the moment. I would like to say that I came up with it, but it wouldn't be true. I must have seen this one on the Internet very long time ago. So here it is working for me in my ugly kitchen:

All you need is a pants holder with clips! Works like a charm with not so thick cookbooks, individual pages / cards and magazines:

Simple to use, easy for storage. BTW, the recipe for my soup is from this German cookbook I love.
Just pay attention as you buy the pants holder: the clips should be rubber coated from the inside to prevent slipping. That's all! Oh, and the recipe for the soup, I'll give it to you tomorrow.
I found on the Internet some other very interesting ideas using the pants holder. I would like to share with you this one that Jean and Dylan from Ladies & Gentlemen Home posted last year as a beautiful solution for displaying art:
Be sure to visit their blog on


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just a quickie... tell you that I found 2 little objects for my Purple Craze Bedroom makeover:

Glass and ceramic, transparent and solid but in same color, perfect for my night stands. I can use them together or separately for jewelry, watch, glass of water... Thrifted of course, 1,50$ for both. Oooh, love purple! Or purple love?


Friday, November 6, 2009

Lovely November morning (for DIY post)

As I was preparing  my coffee this morning I couldn't help but wonder: is it possible to have such a long beautiful autumn, sunny and temperate even in November?  So I grabbed my camera and took a picture of my kitchen window bathing in the morning sun, with African violets still blooming.

So, and now back to work! I wanted to share with you an idea for reusing, or recycling, an unusual object. For quite some time now, i had in my shed an old utensil basket from my old dishwasher. It was in good shape and I stored some little things in it. Then, last weekend, as I was cooking in my all but practical and ergonomic kitchen, I reached for the olive oil bottle so clumsily that several bottles with oils, vinegars and sauces started moving very quickly, and in the same time, in the direction of my head. I must have used some cool move at that moment because somehow I managed, after wrestling with diverse bottles for several seconds, to save them from falling. On my head. I was furious at my kitchen even if it was entirely MY FAULT. And here is why: when we bought our fist home over 4 years ago, I didn't like the existing kitchen at all. Not one bit. But we bought the house because it had some nice features for our two teenagers and that was very important at the time. And even if I dreamed all my life of having a nice kitchen and hoped to get it with our first house, I said to myself: OK, calm  down, you can function in it for a while, see what is wrong with it and renovate later. And I did it. Except renovating, that part isn't done yet, I'm still in the dreaming phase because of  'peanuts'. And you should know: I really love cooking for my family, love making them happy when the smell of their favorite meal starts to spread from the kitchen and they come running to see when it'll be ready. Back to reality, there is not one day that I don't hate my kitchen, it is so small and very badly organized space wise. And the list goes on, it's very long, believe me. I'll save it for another post dedicated to my kitchen. See?! There is no stopping me when I start talking kitchen. Anyway, back to my DIY. Having survived the accident with my oil bottles, I started to think of a rapid solution for them. What you don't know: all these bottles were placed in the cupboard over my old integrated oven. And no, there was no other solution for them at the time. Last week, as I was finalizing some prewinter rearranging in my shed with my DH, I saw my old dishwasher basket and the light went on! Back in the house, I put my bottles in it - perfect! So I took some very simple loop screws and fixed it on the inside of the cabinet door beneath my stove without having to change it a bit. And without using any tools. Ta-da!!! Look at this smart, simple, free, practical, ecological, green solution:

This basket has a grip in the middle, very practical for cooking outside in the summer. Just grab and go, everything is ready. Here are some more pictures:


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yellow Cure

Earlier this week I promised you another post on my severe case of color craving. I'm self medicating at the moment with the "moyens du bord" as my friends Quebecers say, meaning with the limited means at my disposal. In this case I brought home some nice branches from my autumn stroll and I used on them the rest of the yellow wall paint I had. Let me tell you one thing ( preferred sentence introduction of my DH, btw): painting those willowy branches slowly with a brush  dipped in sunny yellow paint was the best meditating activity I had in long time...

After two coats of paint, with the benefits of two free sessions of meditating, I put my yellow cure in the green guest room saving it for those cold, stormy winter days...

And if you're curios to know what the object in stripes is, you'll just have to ask me ;-)


Another follow up: birthday cake

The frog on the strawberries birthday cake that I made for my daughter didn't survive very long but I'm not sorry for him, it was his destiny. I finally got some news on his karma, take a look:

Don't you love making people arround you happy? I sure do!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Between brackets

I'm not writing this only because of this gorgeous pictures and the colors on them but also because I loved watching Sesame Street when I was young.
  Who new they're allready 40 years old?! Here is the link to the article in the Guardian.

Severe case of color craving...

... or how else to explain my constant desire to see more bold colors around me and on me too. I have to say that even if I never really was I gray mouse in a large sense of the word, bold colors never were an option when choosing clothes for me, paint for my walls or even just little decoration objects like vases, pictures etc. The only exception to the rule was the wall we built in our new house in 2005 that I decided to paint gorgeous velvety dark red:

 I was literally in love with this wall for months because of its color and I looked forward to get home each day after work to enjoy it, my first wall in color ever! But then, about two years ago I suddenly, and irresponsibly, decided to buy a pink shirt for me. And I'm already a little far from twenties if you must know. Anyway, I surprised myself by this choice and apparently the people who know me were surprised too, judging by the comments of my children, my husband (are you sure you want to wear THIS color?), colleagues (hey, how surprising, looks nice on you, you should be wearing these colors more often...). And from this moment on I somehow started to by green, purple, red clothes and to mix them with my more neutral wardrobe (lots of black of course, brown and blue) And I could swear those colors changed not only my looks, they influenced my behavior also. I started to feel more perky, energized and, why not, younger too. And just when I thought it was over, it started to get over to my house. I suddenly found myself taking home loads of paint chip samples from hardware stores, looking trough inspirational pictures everywhere, from books through magazines to the Internet. And finally this week I started to treat my color deficiency with a heavy dose of bright, glossy cardinal red:

The color is of course even more beautiful than on the photo, I think I'm not so good yet with my camera and light. This is a little piece of furniture that I bought at Salvation Army for my entry area but it looked quite blah when I placed it against the, you guessed, beige wall. Originally it was grayish beige-white:

And as I looked around to find an idea I saw my new red love: Kitchen Aid mixer that my children gave me as present for my important (ahem) birthday. I knew instantly, it has to be red! I gave it two coats of paint and it became hot and sexy at once:

Not the best photo but I have to learn how to make good digital photos with a crappy camera...I'll let it dry one more day before adding a bowl for keys and change and other necessary stuff.
So, isn't it obvious that I have to continue the treatment with some other color doses? More about it in the tomorrow's post.
Viva la Color Revolution! 

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