MMM...Food Photography

{Matt Armendariz} is one of the best food photographers I have seen! He is based in Los Angeles, CA and has been photographing for advertising and editorial for about 18 years. He is passionate about his job and claims to be a man who is obsessed with food, drink, and everything in between. (As am I...well except for the man part...) He is a former graphic designer and art director, who worked for companies like Whole Foods Market and Bristol Farms. Not only is he a photographer, but he is a blogger as well. His blog, {Mattbites.com}, has been recognized by many publications, editors and writers and is one of the charter members of Martha’s Circle, a selection of lifestyle blogs selected by the editors of Martha Stewart Living. Bellow is a clip from his appearance on her show :) I'm jealous.

Old Kitchen Cabinet = A Beautiful Tray!

Lately, I have started going to the Swap Meet here in San Luis Obispo and am all about the projects that involve restoring or re-purposing used/vintage furniture and anything else that might look cool! I love this idea and wish I had thought of it back when my parents remodeled our kitchen and threw out all the old cabinets! But in defense of my mom - she did make her office desk out of an old door :) Visit {Craftynest} to see how the trays were made.


My Favorite Before&Afters - Design*Sponge

{Design*Sponge} is seriously one of the things I look forward to each day. I am especially excited about seeing all the new Before & After projects that are featured. Some of these just amaze me - one must have the vision to see the potential in a something that most would throw away. The ones I have posted are my favorites that I have see over the past year. For detailed information about each piece please check out the {Before & After} section. These are just my favorites - there are several more on there! It is not limited to furniture, but also interior and exterior design and architecture as well!

Baskerville Coasters!

This may seem weird for some people, but if you are a type nerd like I am, you might agree that these are pretty sweet! The {Bamboo Type Coasters} come in a set of four and are made up of the typeface Baskerville - Semibold.


Couscous Salad. Delish.

So basically...aside from my grandma...my mom is the best cook I know. This is one of my favorite recipes she has. It is so light and refreshing - healthy and filling! Enjoy :)


1 cup couscous
3 cups garbanzo beans
²⁄³ cup currants
²⁄³ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ cup scallions, chopped
½ cup fresh mint, chopped
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup extra virgin Olive Oil
½ cup lemon juice
1 tsp. garlic, crushed
½ tsp. ground cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
fresh mint

Make the dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ground cumin, salt and
pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.

Soak the currents in warm water to plump up, then strain and dry them.

Boil 2 cups of water and add couscous. Remove from the heat and cover for about 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Once the couscous has cooled, add garbanzo beans, currants, red bell pepper, scallions, fresh mint, pine nuts, and parsley. Add the dressing mix well.

Cover and leave out in room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate overnight. Return salad to room temperature before serving.

Garnish with cherry tomatoes, fresh mint, and radish.

This can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or add grilled chicken for a bigger meal.

Lacuna Wooden Books

I have always loved things made of wood. I love the fact that each piece is unique and has individual characteristics. I was really impressed when I came across {Lacuna} books with wooden covers. Hana is from Portugal and creates these books for those who appreciate handmade objects with soul and history. She uses antique wood and recycled paper - bound together using the coptic binding method to form journals, albums, or sketchbooks. She often works from damaged pieces of antique furniture to form the covers of the books.

The cool thing is that this morning when I was checking out Lacuna's Etsy shop there were over 20 books and I just checked it again - just a few hours later - there are only 2 left!

BeanPickleSprout Creations

I fell in love with these adorable creations. These beautiful potholders, onesies, towels, and pillows are made by a mother of 3 in Colorado Springs. The name {BeanPickSprout} is a combination of the nicknames of her children. She sews in her spare time and products are handmade to order. The bibs are made from a cotton {Amy Butler} print fabric and are coordinated with Gerber Onesies. The fabric applique has been sewn to a piece of felt before being added to the onesie for added durability. SO CUTE!!!


Studio Ten and a Half

I have a true love for package design and these two pieces I saw in the portfolio of {Studio Ten and a Half} really spoke to me. They are an independent graphic design firm, based in London. Whether they are working on large projects or small, they are dedicated to producing unique yet effective solutions. They work on brand identities, editorial design, exhibitions, corporate literature, signage, packaging and websites. Studio Ten and a Half was founded by Charlotte Bolton and Jessie Earle in 2007. They met while working at London's {Pentagram}, moved on
to to work at other agencies, then moved back to London to start their own company.

I love the crisp, clean, and simplistic design of the {Heidi Klein from England} packaging with the beautiful touch of tissue paper with a subtle design. It is cohesive yet adds a slight touch
of something to break up the two-color solution. This solution represents a store that values
high quality.

The second set of packaging is the identity for {1860}, a tailored range of suits by Greenwoods Menswear. I loved that they incorporated the traditional chalk markings of tailors, which was intended to put an emphasis on the heritage of the company. The identity was then applied
to their packaging, promo pieces, and the annual brochure. I find this solution to be very
elegant with a bit of a personal and traditional, yet somewhat contemporary feel due to the
chalk markings.

The Work of Tricia Nanaumi!

Until I can finally be able to do this sort of thing on my own, I am going to have to live vicariously through people like Tricia Nanaumi. She is very talented and I can't wait to see what she will come up with next! She used patterns by {Amy Butler} .

Be Sweet

It seems to be all about felt lately - I have been seeing it everywhere! {Be Sweet} is a company with a conscience - founded on the principle of kindness. It was created in 2003 by Nadine Curtis, while she was living in Cape Town, South Africa. The mission is to bring socially and environmentally friendly products to the consumers of fashion. The products are meant to bring a sense of individual style, while helping to support developing communities around the world. She began wholesaling these handmade items in Northern California and upstate New York - now they can be found in over 200 boutiques around the world. Be Sweet works with job creation programs in South Africa, empowering women in the Xhosa tribe of Eastern Cape and Johannesburg. They earn fair wage, work in stable environments, and learn new skills - while enjoying their job. These women work on making mohair, bamboo and organic cotton yarns, accessories and home goods. Custom hand-dying is available on a lot of the items which is
super cool!

Rings with an Inner Message!

These rings are so simple, yet have such a beautiful idea behind them. At first glance, I thought, "well if it is leaving a mark on your finger - that must hurt or be uncomfortable". After reading further it was explained that these rings do not hurt, are actually quite comfortable, and you can't even feel the letters while wearing them. This is a really creative way to express a feeling or emotion to someone special. The designer is {Yoonjung Yun} from South Korea.


Sweetgum Handbags

So, lately I have been more and more drawn to different sewing projects and am trying to save up to hopefully get a sewing machine and start some of my own projects that I have had on my mind for a while. I found {Sweetgum Handbags} and was inspired by the style and was drawn to them because of the amazing attention to detail and craft. I loved the handbags, pouches, and felt iPod cases. Kim, a grad student in her twenties, is studying ecology by day and sews all hours of the night! She learned to sew from her mother and from then on it was all about trial and error. Her designs are both functional as well as beautiful to look at.

Felted Style

I came across the work of Karen Hewig on {Etsy}. She refers to herself as a passionate "felter" and gardener. In 2007, Karen turned her love for felting into a small company called {Felted Style}, offering one of a kind felt wool accessories for the home. Her inspiration is nature and each piece is created individually with quality and detail. After reading more about this art form, I learned that felting is one of the world's oldest forms of textile design. It is non-woven cloth made from matted wool fibers - archeological finds date this skillful application back to around 600 BC. I particularly liked her pillow collection as well as some hanging wall art. The pillows are made of very soft and luxurious feeling Alpaca fleece. Though a bit pricey (pillows ranging from $60 to $150 or wall hangings from $200 to $500), they are hand made and worth it to those who have the appreciation. I have a one sweater that is 60% Alpaca and can easily say that it is so so soft and definitely worth every penny.


Be Back Soon! I promise.

Sorry for not posting this week. I am getting ready for a bunch of family coming to town for my birthday this weekend and I just haven't been able to make the time! Should be up and running again by Monday the latest! Thanks :)


Pink Show

Last year, by a happy accident - driving through a part of Fresno in which you would not expect to find an art gallery, we found one! It is called {Chris Sorensen Studio and Gallery}, and
also has a whole metal shop where artists created all sorts of sculptures and iron fences/gates.
It is a really interesting co-op working studio amidst the industrial part of downtown Fresno. At the time that we went, they were having a show called "Pink" in the gallery. There were many different forms of art, not necessarily done by established or professional artists, all having to do with with breast cancer. It was a very emotional experience and I was so glad to have found this gallery and to have seen the beautiful work being produced there as well as by the artists' work exhibited in the show.


Hearts in SF Project

So in honor of Valentine's Day, a day that I don't particularly like due to the commercialization of it, I decided to dig up some pictures of the {Hearts in San Francisco Project}. This Bay Area-wide "heart installation" debuted in the Spring of 2004. San Francisco used hearts to symbolize the city that is recognized for its acceptance and tolerance. The goal was to not just be a fund-raiser, but to create compassionate community involvement as well as positive artistic expression. Over 130 artists, both recognized and emerging, transformed these heart sculptures into works art. They were installed all throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and were displayed from February 14, 2004 through October 2004, when there was an auction of the hearts. There are still a few hearts located around San Francisco today. I posted just a few of the ones I enjoyed.


Makes You Wanna Draw!

I was shown this video today and immediately wanted to go home from work and draw! It is a film of Michael C Place drawing and painting to the song "Into the Galaxy" by The Midnight Juggurnauts. Who ever thought - art with white-out tape!

Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Cake

It seems that today, more and more couples are saying they just don't like cake and don't want it at their wedding solely due to tradition. I have gathered several alternative ideas for those who feel the same. If you still want to stick with cake, try mini-cakes/individual cakes (if you can afford that!) or cupcakes - cupcakes are now being arranged on tiers to look like a cake or having the top tier be a small cake just for the tradition of the couple cutting the cake." Some couples have chosen to have candy or cookie bars, where guests can select their own variety of sweets to enjoy, while others preferred to have ice cream either in mini cups or cones.

Wedding Hairstyles

All throughout such a special day, a bride's hair-do is one of the starring roles in the wedding festivities. Her hairstyle should complement her gown and not compete with it, but it is important that it is also dictated by the formality and style of the dress. It is also important to find the best way to attach a headpiece (if one is being worn). Being that most brides don't have the luxury of their hair being styled twice, the hairstyle must work both with and without the headdress. I believe it is important not to go too overdone with the hairstyle (but at the same time you want it to be special) because looking like someone else might not be what you want, years from now, when you look back at the pictures from that day.

Wanta Fanta?

I had seen this a while back and just came across it again today, so I thought I would share. I think this is an awesome advertisement. It is rather creative, however, I read a critic's comment that said "It is giving me Hannibal Lecter-type thoughts about her tongue." After reading that, I must admit it is kind of true. But, the bottom line is it definitely made me want to try some strawberry Fanta!


Some Sweet Lighting

I think these are some pretty sweet lighting fixtures, some of which I would LOVE to have in my house one day! The unique forms of glass and lighting are both structural and functional. This is work by {AM Studio} - Architectural Art in Toronto, Canada.

thomaspaul Designs

I found this designer, {Thomas Paul} on the {blog} by {2Modern}. 2Modern works to recognize the works of designers who are supporting our local economies and keep all manufacturing in the US. Thomas Paul graduated from the New York Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in textile design. He got started as an intern for DKNY and then moved on to work for many other designers. All of this eventually led to the creation of the thomaspaul pillow collection, launched in 2001. The line has steadily expanded into other categories, with the ultimate goal being to have products covering every aspect of a home and all including thomaspaul patterns.

Fun Trivets!

I found these really awesome trivets today on {re:modern}, in their section of gifts under $30. They are modern and have a cozy feel to them. Being that they are die cut from industrial wool felt, which is naturally heat resistant, it is perfect to protect any surface. These are from {bookhou} - a really great source for modern handmade designs from Toronto, Canada.


Creating My Dream Space

I have been in search of better ways to organize my work space. I came across these ideas on {HGTV.com}, {MarthaStewart.com} and {Flickr.com} and was totally inspired! I thought I would post some pictures in hopes of having more people inspired to create a craft/design room or space of their own!

Nina Dinoff Jewelry Designs

I stumbled upon Nina Dinoff's jewelry designs on {Etsy} today and absolutely loved them! Nina began her career as a graphic designer for leading interactive agencies and as a graphic designer, focusing on minimal design and clean lines which helped her develop a unique graphic style. I think I was particularly attracted to these pieces for that same reason. I, too, am partial to clean "minimal" graphic design and design in general. This unique style is where her work as a jewelry designer evolved from. I have a true appreciation for work such as hers, largely due to the jewelry design classes that I took during my undergraduate career - I know the work that goes into designing and producing pieces like these. Her designs are bold, but still elegant - they are minimal in design, but stand out quite a bit at the same time.


Freddy&Ma Custom Handbags

Custom designed purses are one of the many ways a bride can customize and maintain the theme/colors of a wedding (with a purse for herself or for her bridesmaids). {Freddy&Ma} offers the service of customizing purses by color matching, 25 hues of Italian leather or 48 shades of rich satin fabric, custom fabrics, and custom linings! They even suggest a unique idea for a purse party, where guests get to design their own! They offer a variety of purse styles and sizes. Aside from the custom designed purses, they have a variety of already designed ones to choose from. Not only do they offer the customization of purses, but pillows and melamine plates as well! What an awesome way to brighten up a living room or kitchen and have it be exactly what you want without having to go on an endless search for the perfect plate or pillow.


Orla Kiely Designs

I came across this {designer}, Orla Kiely, this morning and was really drawn to the style. Then I realized this was a really recognizable pattern I had seen before on notebooks and other products. Her colors, patterns, and textures all work well together to create designs for her complete women's clothing line, accessories, housewares, and travel. She has developed a signature style over the past decade and is dedicated to the practicality of her designs while maintaining the quality. She started this business with her studio and flagship store being in London, but products are sold in outlets around the world.

Wedding Photography { LOVE }

I absolutely love, love, love weddings! One of my favorite parts has to be the photography ~ but not just any kind of photography. The photographer must be able to capture the true essence of the couple, whether that is through candid shots or the style of photography. San Luis Obispo photographer {Mike Larson} and his team did just that at the wedding of my friend Christina and her husband Korey. From the engagement pictures, Korey's choice of shoes for occasion, a toast with beer instead of champagne, and the sparklers to end the night, their true spirit is shown in every shot. Christina is a very talented artist ~ some of her work can be seen at {Rooted in Art}.


Feelin' the retail love...

I am sure you all know what happens when you have a relatively small mailbox and don't pick
up your mail for a few days - you get a bunch of mail, maybe a magazine you have been expecting and the dreaded bills. I was going through the pile, ready to throw a stack into my recycling bag, when a tiny envelope fell out from in between the pages of a catalog I had no interest in looking at. I opened it up to find it was from {Anthropologie}! Ok...so usually I get annoyed by over the top advertising tactics...but today, I felt special. I loved this! It was a coupon for 15% off because it is my birthday month! I have gotten this sort of thing before from other stores, but never packaged this way. It was well crafted and unique (though im sure millions were made). It was just that needed touch that made me immediately try and figure out where the nearest store was and how I was going to plan a weekend to go! Obviously...living in San Luis Obispo, this means either San Francisco or Santa Barbara - here I come!


Handmade Tissue Box Covers

So, I know I am not alone when I go to the store to buy a box of tissue paper and try desperately to search for a color or design that would look even remotely "ok" if left out in a room of my house. When I saw this great {Etsy} find posted on {Apartment Therapy}, designed by Yokomono, I realized all my problems were solved! Ok...maybe not ALL my problems...but at least my OCD issues regarding something as simple as the look of a tissue box. I know they sell tissue box covers all over, but I really appreciate and am drawn to the handmade/original aspect of this, rather than any old stainless steel cover that you can pick up in most stores.