Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glorious tablescapes: a round-up.

You know holiday season is rolling around when lush interiors start appearing in magazines and on the blogs. My favorite part of the holiday season is the partying...getting dressed up, decking up the home, the warm, bubbly ambience that captures the spirit of the season. And nothing says p-a-r-t-y like a well-dressed table!! These are a few of the best styled tabletops I've seen this in the past month! 



Another party, styled in the most glamorous way..

Library - 1040

Library - 1054

Library - 1048

Both tablescapes use gorgeous colors and either silver or gold to add a punch of glamor! What will you be using this season?

Its been a while....

....since I did a design-related post. I know. What's up with that? :) Well, get ready for some serious eye candy me lassies (and lads!)...Some pretty pictures to get your hearts racing; these were all images that caught my eye this week.....

Some splashes of orange in decor:

This week's been a little crazy for me, lots on my mind and loads of catching up to do. I've been juggling several things and posting has been a little haphazard. I hope to have things running smooth as butter (okay, we'll nix the cholesterol and stick with I can't believe it's butter) by next week, so don't give up on me yet! :) there's been lots of behind-the-scenes action....I may have another post to add to this one, more styling inspiration that we can use in holiday tabletops....I'm working on the draft right now. Also coming up tomorrow, an artist profile and a home-tour. How fun!! :) And then next week, I'll be hosting a little giveaway for my fantastic readers, so stay tuned......the fun is only just beginninng!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The middle of the week......

Hello lovely readers, how are you? I'm a little distracted this week....since the season's changing, I need to organize our fall/winter wardrobes and have gone into full-on nesting mode. That means every spare minute of the day I'm either tyding up or sorting through the clothes/bedding, picking through the remains of my garden, making checklists of things that need to be done before winter gets here...... There are tasks that I still need to tackle from the summer (the weather's still perfect for outdoor stuff, there's a chill in the air, but not enough to freeze those ears!!) I'm still getting used to the weather and its vagaries in this neck of the woods---it seems that fall isn't going to be as pretty here (surprise , surprise) since the heat this summer essentially fried (or roasted if you want to get technical on me!!) all those beautiful green maple leaves outside my window. How sad, I was hoping to wake up to orange /red vistas--I have some crusty brown leaves instead! This weekend, I plan on picking up some mums and pumpkins, its finally cooled off enough that the pumpkins won't rot before their time. I'm thinking purple mums and orange pumpkins this year--I usually do the obvious colors, but I'm really feeling like adding a jolt of unexpected color!!  Here's my inspiration:

via. and via.

I've also been sprucing up my desktop, compressing older files I don't use, but might need and getting rid of stuff that I'm done with. (Be prepared for several posts from my inspiration folders; the only thing preventing me from using those is the lack of source info.) I came across a post I had drafted a couple of weeks back but never got round to posting, so this one's for all you lovely readers, enjoy!

It's been birthday season at P&P central: and that means cakes! presents!...we celebrate two birthdays in fall--the kid's in August and hubby's in September. This year we went with a pokemon theme for my son's sixth birthday --I don't seem to have any pictures worth posting up here, but the cake was something else altogether!!! This was the perfect party cake, perfect in texture and flavor, and appearance too-albeit with a huge pikachu face staring up (which means yellow-tinted frosting, and I used two oreos dipped in red-tinted white chocolate to make the cheeks--again, sadly I don't have pictures to share of the cake in toto, but I do have pictures of the leftover cake (I made a huge cake!), which we enjoyed for a couple of days after the party as well!

Playing with the filters!

The recipe was courtesy of the lovely and extremely talented Joyti who blogs over at "Darjeeling Dreams". Have you discovered her absolutely delectable blog yet? If not, go now! (Warning: go on a full tummy because I promise she will have you salivating over her luscious treats!! Each of her recipes is a delight to read and her pictures are to die for!).

Joyti, thanks for the recipe and all your help!(Dear readers, if I were you, I'd bookmark the recipe and use it for the next party that comes my way. Nothing needs to be changed, its perfect, as-is! I used her recipe for the frosting as well).

The other birthday was a grown-up's birthday: we had a quiet family celebration, replete with home made cards and gifts (did you know that you can buy paint pens for permanent, heat-setting ceramic paints and use them to customize plain ceramic mugs? The instructions are included on the packaging and you can always google it!-- I made one for my sweetheart. Can't share the contents due to copyright issues! ;) --I've bought a few paint-pots as well and a nice white ceramic dish...I'll post pictures once I'm done with it. But seriously, isn't that a really neat idea for a birthday gift? And the paint is dishwasher/microwave safe....tried and tested by moi.). On to the food! I'm posting pictures and the link to the original recipe. This cake didn't make it through the night, it was that good...yes, two adults and a six-year old went through it with an appetite to challenge the very hungry caterpillar! Delish.

Pistachio cake, adapted from here. I used regular canola oil instead of olive oil because I wasn't too sure of whether I'd like the flavor of canola oil in a dessert, and I omitted the fig compote, because no one in our family is too fond of figs (to put it mildly! :) ). The cake was moist (and rich!), but oh-so-good. I'll be making this one often! It's perfect for the approaching months of cooler weather. I don't like my desserts too sweet and this one was just right. (Note to self: pick up some pistachios on the next round of grocery shopping!)

Cream cheese-frosting + playing with the filters. :)

A closer look at the texture!

I hope I've given you some eye-candy to drool over and hopefully try out as well! There are a few more posts where I need to pass on some "thank you"s to my wonderful blogger friends. I hope to take a few pictures to share with you. Also, if you haven't weighed in on the Chicago post yet, please don't hold back---this blog is a more wonderful place because of you, my dear readers!! And I also have a fun announcement to make....It's going to be giveaway time at P&P soon, so stay tuned!! Till the next post, be good and don't do anything I wouldn't do (!!) 


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Readers from Chicago?

Moving. It can be Scary. or Fun.

I had a request, directed mainly at any readers who have lived in or are currently residing in the Chicago area. P&P reader Vinita is in the process of moving to Chicago and has no clue where to start. She's spent the past 17 years in a small town in Texas and is finding the move to Chicago daunting. (I've only been there once and I don't blame her---that place is h-u-g-e and can be a scary place to navigate.) They're looking to move to the suburbs and some insider information/tips would really help her. Parameters like safety and good school districts would be a great place for her to start and would help them narrow down their options. Anon. commenting is allowed, so feel free to leave your suggestions for her (please try to make them politically correct, I'm very uncomfortable around touchy issues--you know what I mean, right?)..........

Your advice is much appreciated!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Random Happiness on a Monday Morning

How was your weekend my loves? Ours was mixed-bag, the highlight being a lovely sun-drenched afternoon in a craft-bazaar. Sigh. I love open-air markets. and festivals. and carnivals... you get the picture, right? I wanted to share some random pictures-of-perfection that I've had sitting around in my inspiration folder for a while now.........

via. Oh, that red side table! The coral! That ginger-jar!

Via. drooooooooooool. I'm not a "pink" person, but for this, I'll gladly change...

(Couldn't source this one. If you can help me out here, please do.) What a fantastic mantle to set up for christmas!!

What's the POA for this week, folks? I have a few fun posts lined up + we might be able to squeeze in an artist profile-cum- home-tour too! Squeeeeeeee!! I love visiting artist homes! The most inspiring spaces don't you think?

Friday, September 24, 2010

From the Ground Up: Robin's Labor of Love

Prologue: This post is going to be a two-fer. We're going to be catching up with Robin Luciano Beaty in Byfield, Massacheusetts, and I'm going to ramble a bit about the things that shape us. Grab your cuppa, because this is going to be a long post. (or you can skip to the pretty pictures and leave comments like" luks gud"....I promise I won't mind, because I need some closure to accept and move on with life as it is, not life as I wish it could be. This post needs to be written for my peace of mind.) This post is a goodbye (maybe a see ya later, alligator?, please?) to a place and time that left its indelible mark on me and mine. A place we called home for the past five years (Jan '05-Jan '10) of our lives [Edited to add: we moved to the midwest in Jan '10]. A place that will probably maintain that status in my mind and heart, forever. I've had this ache and pull for home for a while now. It's the weather and the season, you see. About this time of the year the peepers would descend in droves on our sleepy little new england town, a town in a country I wasn't born in, wasn't raised in, yet felt perfectly at home in. How is that? Is it possible for a person to have more than one home? Is it possible for a person to love two places and countries and cultures? Yes, when it, they, you, open your hearts. I know by now that a lot of my blogger friends who have have lived through this, feel the same way about their adopted homes, while still being fiercely in love with the country and culture they were born of. And I know they, we, are richer in our hearts and thoughts because of it. Because love doesn't take away--it only gives and snowballs into more love. (Edited to add: Gosh that sounds sappy, but I can't think of any less clichéd way of putting it across. I'm going to leave this as is. So sue me!) What does this have to do with Robin's studio?  Read on....

Her barn-studio.

(if this were a book, the story would start here..............)

The Studio and the Tour: When I first saw Robin's studio up on Apartment Therapy, I was spellbound. I flipped through the pictures first and then decided that I would actually read the article. I felt it in my gut. I'm glad I did --I actually went back and read and re-read the whole article from start to finish about three times over. And then I went on with my life. Till Leigha published a post on the studio, and rekindled my interest in it (Thank you Leigha, for that and the much-needed nudge!). Then I knew that I had to share it with you. And that I also had to share why it felt so special, so right.

You see, Robin is an artist and artists need space to create. And the space needs to be inspiring, for creativity to flow. Before the studio, Robin had a space--in the basement of her home. Space, but no inspiration. And that's when Robin decided to take matters in her own hands, literally. She researched her options and settled on a Vermont- based company to source the raw materials from. The studio was built, from the ground up, by just two people--the proprietor of the company and Robin. Have I ever mentioned how much in awe I am of people who have the DIY gene in them? It took her a year to create the studio of her dreams. From scratch. To finish. As far as she could, Robin stuck with eco-friendly materials. She built her studio with her own hands. This then is what I miss most- the spirit of the people I knew and met in our quiet little town. The get-it-done attitude. The desire to do it right by mother earth. The all-cycle recycle. Other things too, the smiles, the warmth, the decency. The gentlemen who held doors open. The ladies who stopped and talked about their grandkids. The folks who waved hello from their cars. sigh.

From the ground up.

I saw something in this space, I cannot define it. But I can feel it. I hope I've manged to convey part of the magic. This is her place to create.

The sitting room area for guests and lounging. She built the coffee table as well.

On her coffee table. Flowers in a repurposed can.

A stunning display of her art. She creates these panels out of hot wax. The art form is called encaustic painting. Her art deserves a dedicated post, and I will work on it as soon as possible. Meanwhile you can go check out her gallery and blog for more deets.

Her artwork in the foreground. Another view of the seating area, the screen delineates the studio.

Paint-spattered scissors. Art supplies in the studio.

Details of her heirloom-doily covered curtains.

Another perspective. Notice the stone fireplace in the corner? The perfect antidote for new england winters!!


Perfection. The art. The vintage turntable.

Her office in the loft.

Upstairs, in her office. The daybed is made from an upcycled door.

Dresser next to the bed.

The view from her office. Looking down at her studio.

The fireplace, from above.

The back entrance.... a retreat in itself!

Would you like to see more of her studio? Let me re-direct you to the original article on Apartment Therapy, there are 49 photographs in all. All images were taken by Violet Marsh, via. You can also find out more about Robin at her blog, website,and facebook page. Are you as curious as I am about her home? (if this is the studio, then her home must be as charming!!). Well, watch this space then!!

Robin, it was an honor being invited into your world. Thank you.

Epilogue: Land of the beat up subaru, I never felt I had said my goodbyes to you. This is my tribute to you and your people. You will live in my heart forever.


How are you my loves? I'm in one of my "moods" today! You might as well get used to them...I know this blog was conceived as a "design blog", but at times I find it hard to separate my personal life (more specifically my state of mind) from the design aspects.... I hope you won't mind if I let myself peep through from time to time? So anyway, I'm working on a post that appears to have stirred a lot of emotion within (I might be a little late in posting on the studio tour I was talking of---but rest assured, I will post it once I figure out how I want to handle it)...and there have been several posts on the blogosphere that seem to be nudging me (I think I've said this before, but don't you think you only see what you want to?). I've been thinking of putting in links to some posts that really grab me (not all are design related), mainly as a compilation of posts that made me think, or laugh, or drool (drool-worthy design and recipes). Do you think I should? Would you be interested?

"Moody Monsoon" on Flickr.

Plus there are a few things I might have forgotten to mention in my earlier posts: I wanted to give a big shout out to Akshatha for taking the leap and opening her own etsy store. Good for you and best of luck, girl! In case you missed the post on her home tour, you can find it here. And you can find Akshatha's gorgeous blog here!

Crewel worked wristlet @ Akshatha's etsy store. 

Also wanted to share some music with you.....Have you heard of Susheela Raman? (She's the one who sang "yeh mera deewanapan" in the movie "Namesake"---her voice is fantastic, though her accent was rather thick in the song don't you think?) Anyway, her voice grows on you, it's sultry and there's a raw emotion that you can feel underneath...that is why I love her songs! Hubby gets full credit to introducing her to me...he got her CD from Amazon a couple of years back and I think we've worn it out by now....we love playing music in the car especially on our long drives. One plus point to all this immersion in music is that the little guy in the back can now sing along with artists like Kailash Kher, Shubha Mudgal and Paul Simon. Yes, be prepared for a peppering of music posts as well. What is life without a little sweetness and spice? Anyway, back to the lady with the liquid silk voice.... Here's our favorite:

Did you click to listen? did you like it?

I'll be back later. Till then, be good!! Loads of love,
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