Friday, December 11, 2015

Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year shows up in makeup, jewelry and in the kitchen

Pantone, the world leading expert on color and color trends, announced that the 2016 Color of the Year is actually two colors this time around: Rose Quartz, a dusty link and Serenity, a pastel baby blue. See my story on it here.

Copyright the Pantone Color Institute

At first glance, these colors remind me of color palettes of the 1950s, which were rich in pastel hues. However, in recent years, colors have been more jewel tone, so just thinking of the appliance industry and the car industry, which take these cues from the Pantone Color Institute's predictions, coming out with pastel products seems--at first--to be a bit of a reach.

Yet, already manufacturers are on the bandwagon. Just check out some of the products that are paying homage to colors predicted to be the hottest in 2016:

I admit, this one is the most unusual for me. Pantone has collaborated with Sephora to develop the SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Color of the Year Matte Lipsticks $18 each at Sephora.

SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Color of the Year Lipsticks

The companies have gone one step further and developed an eye shadow palette with pastel hues, retailing for $39 at In fact, they have an entire collection of makeup available that pays tribute to Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year Rose Quartz and Serenity, here.

SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Modern Watercolor Eyes Palette

The home appliance market is also jumping on the new color trend. Keurig® is offering its Keurig K250 brewer in Serenity and the Keurig Rose Quartz Travel Mug will be available exclusively in starting in early 2016.
Copyright Keurig
Not to be outdone, KitchenAid has its iconic mixer available in shades to match the 2016 Color of the Year. Here, it is seen in KitchenAid's Cornflower Blue, which looks remarkably similar to PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity. 
Copyright KitchenAid

Here, the stand mixer is shown in Guava Glaze, a warm pink tone much like PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz.
Copyright KitchenAid

These blue mugs from Crate & Barrel are on trend with Serenity. They range in price from $4.95 to $5.95 and are available in Crate & Barrel stores and at

Copyright Crate & Barrel

Pink mugs matching Rose Quartz are also available from Crate & Barrel.

Copyright Crate & Barrel

Lastly, look for this color pairing to show up in jewelry, too. Here's just one example among dozens. This one is from Sloan Street and shows a pink opal broiler drop earring with crystal open and pariah station. Finished in 18k white gold pink opal with a total carat weight of 22.01. Retail price: $9485.00.
Copyright Sloane Street
I found dozens of examples of this trend in action.  I'm sure you'll start seeing it pop up in stores as we get into the new year.

What do you think about these colors? Are you going to buy into the trend?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tips for decorating a room with wall and ceiling angles

If you've ever decorated or painted a room with odd wall and ceiling angles, you know how difficult this can be.

However, it is easier if you embrace the angles, not fight them. That's the advice from Andrea Goldman, an interior designer and owner of Andrea Goldman Interior Design.

I just interviewed her for a story in the Fall 2015 issue of Better Homes & Gardens' Kitchen & Bath Ideas. Her master bathroom is full of angles and when talking with me, she gives lots of tips for how to overcome them.

A bathroom makeover you have to in the Fall 2015 issue of Better Homes & Gardens' Kitchen & Bath Ideas.

Check out the issue. It is on newsstands now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fabulous finds for home, garden, jewelry, mosaics, gourmet coffee, pet treats and more

This weekend I found some of the most amazing handmade, artisan products at the Frankfort Fall Festival 2015. While the fest has come and gone until next year, you can still get your hands on these great products because many of the artisans have websites for easy ordering. Others will be coming to a town near you in another craft show, so be sure to check their websites for schedules.

Let's shop!

Le Parisien Apt is a very unique store owned by Anna Franz. She repurposes everything from vintage magazine racks to jewelry boxes, mirrors to wall art and gives them a very Parisian flair. They were selling fast at the fest and you can see why. Everything is very distinctive, beautiful and affordable.

A magazine rack by Anna Franz, Le Parisian Apt.

Here is a repurposed jewelry box from Le Parisian Apt.

This was the first year at the fest for Petals and Pins by LC, which offered unique wreaths for your home. There were Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas wreaths as well as autumn and spring-themed wreaths. You can find the store on Etsy here.

Move to the kitchen and you'll want a nice cappuccino. With drink mixes from Ron & Frank's Gourmet Drink Mixes, you can serve one up fast. All you need is water. Ron & Frank's makes all kinds of drink mixes from chai tea to hot chocolate and cappuccino. There are regular mixes and those that are sugar-free. You can even find decaf mixes. They all mix up with just water, so they are nice to have in the office when you can't make a run to Starbucks. You can order directly from their website.

A trip to the fest is never complete without stopping by I Love Dip. This shop offers any number of handcrafted seasonings and mixes--sweet and savory. The products make great dips, but can also be used in any number of recipes to prepare fish, roasts Chex mix and gourmet burgers. There's so much to choose from. Check out I Love Dip at their website or on Facebook.

If your dog is begging while you much on your Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip, why not give him or her a treat, too. Tail-Waggers by Wendy is a gourmet canine bakery with all-natural gourmet dog treats. Don't these look yummy? You can order online or check out their upcoming list of shows here.

For our feathered friends, Debbie's Birdhouses offers great houses and feeders. They are hand thrown, high-fired stoneware that can stay outdoors in the winter. They come in several colors and certainly dress up a yard. You can find her shop on Etsy.

This model is a bird house.

This variation is a feeder.
Heart To Heart is another purveyor of birdhouses but this shop is so much more. Owner Shari Grenzow Mauer hand makes and paints birdhouses, wall decor and many other items in her shop. If you love color, you will love Heart To Heart. Check out her blog here.

A colorful birdhouse from Heart To Heart
Another whimsical birdhouse comes from Mosaic Whimsies  where artist Lisa Tolbert makes her creations out of vintage china, gemstones and other found objects. Tolbert's creations are one of a kind. But note, she doesn't limit herself to birdhouses. She also does birdbaths, tables, wall mirrors, hand mirrors, picture frames almost everything imaginable in beautiful mosaics. She has a list of shows and she also teaches classes in mosaics. Visit her website to learn more.

A mosaic table by artist Lisa Tolbert of Mosaic Whimsies
A mosaic birdhouse by Lisa Tolbert, Mosaic Whimsies
Janice Lynn is an artist I got to know this year when her Copper Cattail Wind Chimes caught my eye. Her wind chimes are truly unique and have to be seen to really be appreciated. They look like cattails and are made of copper; you stick them into the ground, a flower pot or whatever and when the wind blows, they make the most charming sound as they sway against each other. She sold out of her wind chimes and ran out of business cards, so I'm guessing most people agreed that these are a real winner.

I don't usually go to a craft show without checking out the jewelry and this year was no exception.
The Buttons Stop Here, owned by Rhonda Gurgone, is one of by absolute, must-stop shops. She uses vintage buttons and typewriter keys in her jewelry designs and recently, just started using repurposed wine bottle glass in her creations. Find her at Facebook at The Buttons Stop Here.

This necklace uses Victorian era cut steel buttons in the design by Rhonda Gurgle, The Buttons Stop Here
A new jewelry designer to me this year is Humberto of Humberto's Designs. He makes handcrafted art jewelry in sterling silver and gold using gemstones and semi-precious stones. I just love these bangles in sterling silver. He added a patina to the darker bangle and both sparkle in the sun.

Another favorite stop is at the Treat Your Body Inc. shop, which makes natural skin care. They offer a large array of products, from bath lotions and salts to rich moisturizing creams and much more.

How was your Frankfort Fall Fest experience? Find any interesting shops?

Monday, August 31, 2015

How to fake a tin ceiling

I love tin ceilings. In two different homes, I installed tin backsplashes, but never a tin ceiling. So when I had the opportunity to finally get my tin ceiling of my dreams, did I do it? No. Instead I opted to fake a tin ceiling.

Tin tiles are beautiful, but I decided not to use the real thing on my ceiling.
I chose to go the fake route because it was easier to install and less expensive but the look is no less impressive. You start by choosing a wallpaper made for the job. It is called anaglypta paper, which is a textured, paintable wallpaper. It comes white and on a roll, just like wallpaper. There are all kinds of patters of anaglypta paper from florals to abstract designs; you'll want to look for patterns that  resemble traditional tin ceiling tiles.

Because the paper comes white it looks tempting to just install it as it comes if, in fact, you want a white tin ceiling. However, even if it is white you are after, it is best to paint it. Painting preserves the paper, keeps it cleaner and readies the paper for faux finishing if needed.

I wanted a white ceiling...or to put it more precise, I wanted my ceiling to look like a 150 year old copper tin ceiling that had been painted white 80 years ago and now the copper is bleeding through. Given that, technically, I could have left the paper white and then just faux finished it with a copper paint, but that wouldn't have been the best choice. You are better off painting the installed paper white and then adding your faux finishing; the color will be truer and won't soak into the paper.

Here's how I got the look:

First, the paper was painted white. No trick here. Roll on the white paint as you would paint any ceiling.

Since I wanted the ceiling to appear like the white paint is wearing off to reveal the real copper ceiling beneath it, it required a faux finish. But whatever you do, don't take your paint brush to the ceiling right away.

First, mix up some colors on a piece of scrap anaglypta paper. Hold it up to the ceiling. I tried gold tones, which I didn't want, silver paint as well as copper tones. When I held them up to the ceiling, the copper tones looked too red-brown for the look I was after. The silver color, while nice, wasn't right for the room, which I had to do in warmer tones. Ultimately, I ended up surprising myself and opting for the more golden paint color.

The golden paint color I chose for the ceiling.

Next, practice your hand at the application. Do you want a light distressing or heavy? You don't want to get carried away one way or the other. Again, look at samples. Brushes, not a sponge, was used for this application.

Once you are happy with the color and the amount of distressing, start applying it lightly--LIGHTLY--to the ceiling. Remember, periodically, step down from the ladder and look at your work from the floor. You'd be surprised how different it looks from this perspective.
Stop periodically to look at your work from the floor, where you'll be seeing it every day. It helps you avoid going too heavy-handed in one area or too skimpy in another.

The process is only difficult because painting a ceiling isn't the most comfortable position.

Here's the finished product. The ceiling has been mistaken for a real tin ceiling numerous times. I have it in my office and pantry.

What is your feeling about tin ceilings--regular or faux?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Forget e-vites and emails...Exquisite stationery from Libretto makes writing a letter special again

The beautiful new stationery collections from Libretto will make you think twice the next time you are tempted to send an emailed thank you note. It seems that while convenient, electronic communication via computers, phones and tablets are lacking in the tactile qualities that used to make handwritten notes something you would save and treasure. Now more than ever, it seems we want that special touch that only a handwritten note can provide, so maybe Libertto's new collection of stationery products will prompt a new trend.

Either way, I like that Libretto has unveiled its 2015 stationery collections including notebooks, note cards, paper weights and stationery boxes.

Renowned for its luxury stationery and exquisite leather goods for some of the world’s finest designers and fashion brands, such as Christian Lacroix Papier, Liberty and Architectural Watercolors, Libretto believes in the charm and power of paper. According to press materials, the company's guiding principle is that social stationery should be inspiring and truly "social" and romantic, amusing, provocative. Libretto uses print techniques that are very tactile, such as gilding, flocking, pop-up, embossing. Their pieces are beautiful to the eye, but they are more than want to touch them and run your fingers across them to savor the craftsmanship of items that honor the past but are made for today.

You can purchase Libretto products in the U.S. at Neiman-Marcus, NKate's Papery, the Frick Museum and The Getty Museum; in England, at Selfridges, Liberty of London, Heals, Harrods, the V&A and Le Bon Marché; Beymen in Turkey; in Australia, David Jones and Myers:, in Hong Kong, Lane Crawford; and in Japan, Bus Stop and Takashimaya. 

Aren't these products delicious?
The collection includes journals, notecards, paperweights and more. Copyright

With these items, writing a note or keeping a journal is something special to be savored. Copyright
Here's the front...and then...Copyright
The back of a paisley journal. Copyright
The title page. Copyright
Here is the Hampton Wedding journal...the front. Copyright
The back of the Hampton Wedding journal. Copyright
The title page of the Hampton Wedding journal. Copyright
Paperweights (remember those?) are also part of the collection. This is the Glam'azonia paperweight.
And the box it comes in. Copyright
Here is the Bijoux paperweight. Copyright
And its box. Copyright

The Libretto Group was founded in 1997 by Thomas Cushing and created Kate Spade’s first license, Kate Spade Paper. A blend of beautiful illustration and fine leather goods, using Kate's signature fabrics and leathers, it changed the direction of social stationery. Since then, Libretto has created several stationery and accessory collections, under license, for some of the world’s finest designers and fashion brands, including Christian Lacroix Papier, The New York Times, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Lotta Jansdotter, and Orla Kiely Paper. 

What do you think? Do you prefer handwritten letters and thank you's or the electronic variety?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Decorating with birdhouses inside and out

Stroll through the aisles of any nursery, florist or even stores like Hobby Lobby and you'll be struck by the number of beautiful birdhouses that are on the market. There are even more if you venture online to specialty stores or handmade outlets like Etsy.

With so many beautiful birdhouses to choose from, you may disappointed if you live in a high-rise or don't have a place to hang a birdhouse outdoors. But hey, don't limit yourself to just displaying a birdhouse outside. Birdhouses make great accents around the house both indoors and out.

With so many birdhouses to choose from, don't limit yourself to keeping them only outside. Here's just a sampling of birdhouses I found at Hobby Lobby recently. Too cute, right?

I use birdhouses inside and out...but mostly indoors. I have them scattered around the house because I think they are just to pretty to expose them to the elements. Here's a sampling that I have displayed in a window transom in my sunroom.

I have hung them around the house and set them on top of my china cabinet in the dining room. There is no area that is off-limits for a birdhouse. Some I made with my son; others I bought.

Outside, I hang them in all the usual spots...from trees and Shepard hooks and even from a trellis.

This birdhouse was designed as a tribute to Victorian architecture. It is mounted on a pole and sits in a cozy spot in the garden.

When two old trees had to come down in our yard, we saved the stumps and dressed them up with birdhouses. This one is from Nature Creations and is handcrafted from recycled wood and metal from old bars and homes in southeastern Illinois. I purchased mine at Alsip Home & Nursery in Frankfort, Illinois. I love the heavy slate room on this model and the stone fireplace/chimney.

Here's another birdhouse form Nature Creations. This one has a metal room and stone chimney. It is only crooked because the stump isn't exactly level but the odd angle, to me, just makes the birdhouse more whimsical. I love the idea that it is made of repurposed materials that can be as many as 100 years old.

Turns out, my neighbor is into birdhouses, too. She has her collection on display along the exterior wall of her garage.

Do you decorate with birdhouses? If so, send me your photos.