Monday, July 30, 2012

BLUE MONDAYS-7-30-12

It is obscenely hot here in the great state of Texas. Here are a few beautiful blue rooms I'd like to be hiding out in this afternoon...


Love the chalky purpley-blue of this room. Very french and soft. I painted my bathroom this color with gold details and it is a lovely shade. 
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This butler's pantry (which is about 18 times the size of my actual kitchen) is to die for.. Check out the star wallpaper on the ceiling!  I think pretty much every dish I own would look awesome in this room. 
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This library is fabulosity. Another beautiful shade of blue with pale grey, light tangerine and a freaking awesome coffee table..although the dust buster would pretty much have to sit right next to it to keep my dog's hair from collecting like a fly strip. 
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This image is sort of the inspiration for my nightstand project. I used different colors but I think the effect is the same. Love this shade on the wall and really want an upholstered headboard!
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This mantel is soooo yummy. Are those magenta-painted logs? Must make mental note for use of my fireplace in the off season (Texas warm season: Feb-November. sigh) 
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Okay so this blue foyer isn't exactly soothing, and it's decorated for Christmas, and I can pretty much picture myself wiping out on that slick marble floor in the first 5 minutes, but it's fierce and I'm including it. 
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Hope your Monday is a little less blue...
Coming soon: Can you really paint your upholstered sofa? 

Stay cool...
~Rachel



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MORE FARMY GOODNESS

Well, we are into week 5 of our farm foods co-op. I won't lie..it does require some effort. As much as I love fresh basil, squash, and okra, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Still...the Man and I rallied, and we found some great new recipes this week, and recyled/varied last week's. 

Another ratatouille...this one is heavy on the eggplant and chunkier. Different texture but still SO GOOD. 

The Man has been on a bread-making kick...he has yet to perfect his recipe but this basil beer bread was pretty darn close. We have been struggling to use up a GIANT bunch of basil every week. I just can't eat 8 gallons of pesto, and it is painful to throw it out. This bread used up a ton, and it was fabulous! 

We had more basil left over so we cured it in some oil while it was "on hold." In an attempt to use the malabar spinach in new way (that stuff is crazy!) and also a surplus of cucumbers from last week, last night, I made spanakopita and mixed some of the blanched basil in the spinach mixture. I served it with a cold cucumber salad, and roasted a few frozen shrimp for protein. It was DELISH. 


This week we got sweet potato greens from Johnson's Backyard Garden. I had never had them and had no idea how to use. I found this recipe with Indonesian flavors. It was AMAZING. The greens are a hearty texture, a beautiful green, and actually sort of taste like, well..sweet potatoes. As we got a variety of peppers this week as well, I subbed the chilies in the recipe with ones I had. I also subbed fish sauce for shrimp paste, because I had some in the fridge. It was spicy but subtle enough to taste the greens. Best of all these puppies are SUPER GOOD FOR YOU. I forgot to take a pic, but it looked exactly like this photo


I still have a bag of okra to attend to but I found a great recipe for cumin-spiced okra with instructions on how to de-slime it first. I will let you know. The okra challenge around here is getting a little ridiculous. 



Cheers!
~Rachel 




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

INSPIRATION TO CREATION-TOTEM NECKLACE

What is the true meaning of inspiration? While this is a post about my creative process for design, it is also a dialogue about idea-poaching. It is a fact, everyone steals from everyone. Most of my designs are a product of images and creations that have all collected in my brain and somehow came to fruition--filtered by the application of solid design principles, such as balance, proportion, repetition, unity, etc. (Thank you design school...my loan payment is on its way, I swear).  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but when does imitation or inspiration become plain ole theft?


Case in point. In Winter of 2008, Fashion house Dries Van Noten sent models down the runway wearing huge collar type necklaces that looked as though they were cast off bangles strung on a string. Well, actually they were...just really freakin' expensive ones! The images were STUNNING and brilliant and although not practical, the aesthetic really stuck with me. 


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A literal translation of this necklace is not only blatant copying but also a little "over the top" for the average girl--even a fashionable one. I'm picturing bending over to pick up the Bug's sippy cup while unloading my grocery cart on the cashier's station with my giant string of bangles clanking around-RE.DONKULOUS. 

Instead I developed the concept with a One Man's Trash twist...incorporated my own style and came up with this translation:




Once production begins, the piece can take on a life of its own
Silver Osiris Necklace July 2011

The first Totem Necklace July 2011



Tassel Totem Necklace Winter 2011

Tassel Totem Necklace Spring 2012

Holiday Bounty Fall 2011
While you can clearly see inspiration from the original Dries Van Noten piece, I like to think that I made it my own.  I make it a point to reuse and recyle as much as possible so there are all kinds of quirky elements hidden in my pieces. Like old tape dispensers and tubes for example.  

The latest translation for Summer 2012. Buy this beauty here

So imagine my surprise, while searching for images of the original Dries Van Noten piece to share with you, I came across this image of a necklace from their winter collection.  I literally gasped.
Dries Van Noten
Cool, huh? What freaks me out is that I don't think I have ever seen this necklace and yet last year I made this:
Sandscape Necklace 2011
And this:
Rapunzel Necklace Fall 2011
From this original sketch:


While they clearly have different elements, the similarities between these two pieces cannot be ignored. How do you explain how two designers in different parts of the world at different times come up with such a similar translation of what is essentially art. My point being, where does your inspiration really come from. Perhaps we saw the same image that inspired this design. Perhaps I saw the design in a magazine and subconsciously filed it away for later use. With One Man's Trash, I strive to be fiercely original, but when you are creating something new, is it really something new? There is no way of understanding the mysteries of the creative brain and where your ideas really come from. All you can do is hope that you are putting in your own twist!

Cheers,
~Rachel 






















Monday, July 23, 2012

BLUE MONDAYS 7-23-12

Oh Monday.  Back to the grind.. 

Feeling Blue? I'm always blue. Blue-obsessed that is. Some of my latest blue acquisitions:

These rockin' ethnic-inspired napkins I found for .99 each at Texas Thrift. I got a set of 6 and they are so beautiful. Seriously, Serena and Lily would charge like forty bucks for these. (S&L, if you are reading this, no offense--I heart you and I have a penny jar going for these sheets) 

This set of 6 frosted-glass vintage drinking glasses for 99 cents. They are a beautiful shade of blue, and a near exact match to my antique plates from my grandmother. Looking forward to having the whole set. My mom brings one or two plates in her suitcase every time she visits the Bug.  She has to have room for toys, books, and new clothes. Of course. 


This pretty little blue box I found at Goodwill for .99 (Are you seeing a trend here?) Right now it's holding jewels on the bathroom counter but I may use it as specialty packaging at Christmas in my shop.  While I'm here, this lotion from local soapsters, South Austin People, smells AMAZING. I want every scent and the bottles are BLUE.  Look at that cute couple in the picture frame!

And last, but not least, this HIDEOUS upholstered storage ottoman from...You guessed it..Goodwill. It was $9.99 (I'm not making up all of these 9's I swear).  Currently, it is dingy blue microfiber, 
but, is so practical with a toddler, a boatload of toys, etc...that it is worth owning and will soon be recovered in this sexy leopard, which coincidentally is a just a $9.99 (!! freaky) set of twin sheets. The fitted sheet is recovering my guest futon and the flat sheet will become part of this ottoman. 

You don't have to call me a genius. I already know. ;)
Hope your Monday is less blue.
Cheers
~Rachel





Sunday, July 8, 2012

FARM FRESH FUN

A few weeks ago, the Man and I signed up for a CSA and we have been loving it! One of the perks of living in the sweltering heat of Texas, and specifically Austin, is that there are terrific local farms that can produce yummy veggies year round.  We chose to go with Johnson's Backyard Garden , as they are super close by, organically certified, and well established. Each week we pick up a GINORMOUS box of veggies from a nearby drop off site. Early in the week, pictures of the week's box are posted on their website so you can plan meals and make supplemental purchases. We have vowed to eat healthier and set a good example for the Bug, and this choice has helped us so much already!  

Here is a picture of our first box--I was AMAZED how much food this was! 
The cost for the box is around $35 per week.  While this is more than we would typically spend on produce alone, we have found that it did not increase our overall cost of groceries, but it shifted our weekly grocery budget to a higher percentage spent on FRESH PRODUCE. We tend to plan our meals around the delicious seasonal veggies instead of coming up with something we want to eat and then buying all of the ingredients. A few examples: 


The first week, the Man made fresh tomatillo salsa. We ate it with chips, on eggs, in quesadillas (made with cheese and the grill-roasted peppers in the next pic!) So delicious!

At the end of the week we had a bunch of cucumbers (I'm not a big fan) and squash left so I found a simple recipe for bread and butter pickles..which I could pretty much live on. TIP: Buy the spices like turmeric and mustard seed in the bulk section at your market--It seriously cost me about a dollar to buy all of the seasonings.  I got a little creative and made a variety of pickles in old recycled spaghetti sauce jars, using cilantro, garlic, fennel seed, and cumin. I even pickled some okra, as we got a HUGE bag of it and I can only eat so many fried with dipping sauce. 
We got a giant bunch of summer basil each week which is hard to use up even in pasta sauce, and salads so I made pesto. It's crazy easy..blend it up with nuts, garlic and olive oil..TIP: Don't add the cheese if you're going to freeze some. I added it to the jar we are using, but not the baggies I froze for later. We ate it on pasta with lemon, and spread it on sandwiches throughout the week. 
We had leftover squash and zucchini a the end of the week so I made this egg torte recipe from our new Mexican cookbook (Savers, I adore thee). I forgot to take a picture so here's the pic of the recipe. It had tons of squash, onions, jalapeno strips and cheese. It was INSANE and one of my new faves. 
This week I had tons of peppers and fresh chiles so I chopped them up and made yet another variety of pickles that I plan to use on sandwiches, in pasta salads, and we used it in fresh tartar sauce for the fish we ate at dinner. SO GOOD! Not to mention that it looks so purty in the jar!

Last, but not least, my favorite thing thus far, the Man made a ratatouille for dinner and served it with a chewy, fresh bread. It was unbelievable.  It was hearty and filling and I highly recommend following the recipe, as the texture was key..not too mushy and soupy as I feared. Another TIP: use a cup of fresh parsley instead of dried--It was key in the yum factor! We ate leftovers on sandwiches the next day. 


Having a CSA does require some adjustments. Figuring out the logistics so that you are not going to the market everyday is key. Meal planning is a must, (I get most of my recipes online..usually allrecipes.com) but I have found this to be a really positive change for us. We are lucky there is a great market and bakery right around the corner from our pick up sight so we can grab local organic milk and eggs, as well as fresh bread, in the same trip.  Our spending at the big grocery store was drastically reduced and I think overall we managed to keep it about the same as usual budget. Once you have some basic spices and storage supplies, making farm fresh food is really no more difficult than cooking anything else. 

And it feels great. 
Cheers
~Rachel









Thursday, July 5, 2012

BEFORE AND AFTER-CHANDELIER

A few days ago I posted about my fabulous flea market finds, including a rag-tag wood-bead chandelier that I got for ONE DOLLAR.....ONE....DOLLAR... I'm still giddy. I could hardly wait to get it all fixed up for my living room. Here it is again for the seats in the back..
First I gave it a good cleaning as it was rather dusty and then I set to work untangling and reattaching strands. Most were still there but had come unhooked in one place or another. In the end 2 strands were missing but I was able to move a few unnecessary swags at the top and make it work. I carefully went through each joint and tightened with a jewelry pliers and shuffled the wood tassels so that there were enough to hang  from each point. (WOOD TASSELS!!!)


Once the pieces were in place, I dusted it with a little gold metallic spray paint for shimmer because, well, I am the poster girl for gold metallic spray paint. It added a slight sheen to the dull and faded wood beads but didn't ruin its "vintagey quality"

Next I rummaged through the jewelry supplies..of which there are many..and found some big, green, chunky faceted teardrops, taken from an old Forever 21 necklace that I decided was too tacky...even for me..  They became chandelier jewelry and picked up the yummy greens and blues in our living area. I hung it dead center of the room
Wallah!! Super sassy chandelier (faux) for my living room. Pardon the super weird lighting and single light bulb I have not removed. I was thinking I may stick candles in there instead? Hmmm...
Cheers
~Rachel





Sunday, July 1, 2012

BEFORE AND AFTER-ENTRYWAY

When we moved into this duplex (It's a lovely brick side by side and our landlord has been kind enough to give me creative freedom) it was all kinds of beige. For me, the only thing worse than beige is well, beiger.  Slowly but surely we've (I've) painted every square inch of it--some of it twice--and most recently I attacked the entryway. The walls goes up a staircase and there is an arm rail that had to be removed so I've been procrastinating. It is such a focal point of the room. Here is the before shot:  


The plan: To create an abstract mural-like design that has a wallpapery feel but is easily removed when we move out. There are usually 6 degrees of separation between everything right? Well, I didn't come up with this idea on my own. I think brilliant, wackadoodle designer, Kelly Wearstler, did it first here: (Except hers is wallpaper and a trillion dollars a roll)

Then, Jamie Meares, the insanely funny designer/blogger behind Furbish did it here:

Then, the lovely, blogging, butt-kicking, fellow Texas mama, Sarah Greenman from La Maison Boheme did it here: 

And lastly, I bribed the Man to take our toddler to the grocery store for our weekly run (bold, very bold) while I busted out this version: 

I think it needs some great art under the light fixture and a little rug at the door but all in good time. All in good time...stay tuned. 

Cheers
~Rachel