DIY Cinder Block Planter!

I love coming across DIY projects that are pretty simple but look so nice! This modern cinder block planter idea is perfect, with supplies that are easy to come by and putting it together is just as simple. They are filled with easy to grow beautiful succulents - the inspiration comes from Annette at {Pot-ted}, a nursery and patioscaping company. Here's how she did it:

- The wall was built with 12" cinder blocks
- Liquid nails were used to hold them together so there wouldn't be grout lines and would also allow for flexibility.
- The planting is new and as it fills in and starts trailing, it is going to look even better.
- The use of cinder blocks allows for many different iterations you could make depending on how much space you have.
- They are also really cheap and can be painted if you want to match them to your decor.

The coolest part is that they have a chair in their patio like the one I {found} at {The Gardener} in Berkeley!


MoMA Store ~ Espresso Set

Check out this great {Espresso Set}, by the Felina Sok-Cham, the winner of the student design contest through {MoMA Store}. This can be used to serve espresso or even appetizers and desserts. I especially love this because of how much Armenian coffee my family drinks and serves to guests. I always hated carrying a tray full of cups and saucers that would always slide around and sometimes spill. This seems like a great solution with the plates/coasters essentially locked into their place on the tray. This was found via {NOTCOT.org}.

S'mores & Brownies :)

These are two great finds from the {Papery & Cakery} {blog}. I loved the idea of having {S'mores} at a wedding, or any party for that matter. This can work for both outdoor events that actually have a fire pit to use or individual table-top s'mores kits, like the ones made by {Cosi}! There are a few ways to do this, either by having a table set up with all the fixings for the s'mores or packing up individual baggies for your guests to use. The second great idea is giving your guest favors that they can make use of, not some little tchotchke that people usually don't know what to do with when they get home. I think this is a great idea, giving your {cupcake mix favors} to go home and bake a sweet treat. It is a favor that is filled with love and extra attention.

Linocut Maps!

After spending two months working on this lino cut of Paris, {Mark Andrew Webber} has completed yet another one of his city map carvings. So far he has done London, New York, and Amsterdam (first image). This takes an unbelievable amount of patience and determination and I admire that. The map of Paris is 150cm X 180cm.


The Pasta Shop & Teance

This is it from my day trip to Berkeley. {The Pasta Shop - Rockridge Market Hall} and {Teance} were my last two stops of the day. Rockridge Market Hall's "Pasta Shop" location is amazing! I wish, wish, wish we had a market like this in San Luis Obispo. I haven't been somewhere like this, with fresh pasta, a huge selection of cheese, fresh produce, ingredients and products from around the world, sauces, and a great selection of prepared foods. This is pure heaven for anyone who loves to cook! Teance was right next door, where their mission is to promote authentic fine teas and re-introduce the culture of appreciating tea. They carry only the most pure, premium, and seasonal whole leaf teas possible - introducing the consumer to the enjoyment, health benefits, and serenity that comes with drinking tea. In their Berkeley retail store, they have a beautiful tea bar where you can sit and enjoy any of their fine teas. The coolest parts, other than the fact that this was my first experience in a store dedicated to teas with a tea bar in it, was the awesome fountain right in the middle of the store with water pouring down from the shower above and the awesome structural piece hanging from the ceiling!

Caprese sandwich for dinner :)

Today, I wanted to find another way to use the fresh tomatoes and basil I have, as well as the baguette from the Acme Bread Co - so I decided on a Caprese sandwich. Fresh mozarella, tomato, basil, red onion, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and BREAD! Mmmmmm. I tried to do that no carb/low carb stuff...and by tried I mean thought about it for a bit then had pasta and a sandwich for two meals of my day :)

Acme Bread Company ~ Est. 1983

Another Berkeley, CA gem is the Acme Bread Co - a nationally acclaimed artisan bread bakery. Steve Sullivan, the founder and owner, says that after all these years, the number one goal is to bake outstanding bread. Acme uses only organic flour as well as working closely with farmers - evaluating and selecting grain varieties for its flour every year. They work around the clock - 3 shifts of bakers a day - seven days a week at the Berkeley bakery to meet the high demands. At its newer and only other location, in the bakery in {San Francisco Ferry Building}, breads are baked fresh throughout the day in the hearth oven. It was 25 years ago, as a busboy at Berkeley's famous {Chez Panisse} restaurant where he worked while attending UC Berkeley, that he became interested in baking bread. Eventually after bread baking became a serious hobby, Alice Waters requested that he bake bread in the Chez Panisse kitchen. In 1983 he and his wife opened their first - now legendary - bakery.

On Monday, before heading back to San Luis Obispo from the Bay Area, I stopped at the Berkeley location to snap a few photos and pick up some fresh breads: Herb Slab for panini-making, a sourdough baguette, and a loaf of olive bread!

Fresh Basil and Heirloom Tomatoes!

My mom has been gardening like mad lately and sent me back home with delicious fresh basil she grew. It smells SO good that I had to make something immediately so I could use it. When I was home we made a very tasty bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes, also from her garden, so that inspired me to make a fresh heirloom tomato pasta sauce :)

I don't really have a specific recipe, since I just kinda threw what came to mind at the time in a pot. The basic idea is butter, olive oil, shallots, garlic, crushed chili peppers, salt, pepper, lemon juice, chopped heirloom tomatoes. I topped it with shaved Parmesan cheese. It was quite yummy if I do say so myself.


"The Gardener" Berkeley, CA

Last weekend I went up north to the Bay Area where my family lives and had a wonderful time - reminding me of how much I miss living there. We spent one of the days in Berkeley - walking around and exploring the shops in the 4th Street shopping district. Though it was a pretty small strip of stores, there were quite a few gems! One of these was {The Gardener}. The Gardener was opened by Alta Tingle in 1984 in Berkeley, CA. In 1987 they moved to the current location, into a space nearly triple the size. The second store was opened in Healdsburg, CA in 1998 in a barn surrounded by a large garden. The third store opened in the new Ferry Building in 2003. I was so happy to have stumbled upon such a great store! They had everything from beautiful garden and outdoor furniture and supplies, seeds to plant fruits and vegetables, and even great interior design and kitchen/dining ware.

Alta is a former garden designer and lecturer on landscape design. She is an avid gardener and photographer as well. "The Gardener is a collection of all the things that Alta, through her talents and interests, has learned to enjoy and appreciate in her life - a great pair of Japanese scissors for cutting flowers, the purest bar of lavender soap, a big ceramic bowl for the kitchen to hold the season's offerings - things that before had required trips to nurseries, hardware and specialty stores."

When it first opened in 1984, the collection at The Gardener was the first to recognized that even the most avid gardener lives indoors. They specialize in carrying accessories and furnishings for indoors and out. Each location offers merchandise specific to that location. It is Alta's lifelong affinity for texture and minimal design that has guided her buying. She is influenced by the season, which has always guided the product selection.

I took some photos of a few favorites as I walked through the store and recommend that if you are ever in the Berkeley area, that you stop by and take a look for yourself! One small detail that I thought was really cool were the {Ceramic Easel Placecards} used with one of the table settings


Embracing Water.

The Dutch have been in a constant fight against the tides that rise and fall, building dikes, pumping out water in areas below sea level, etc. Rather than fighting the water that is infiltrating their land, they are using it as a part of a new development called {New Water} which will feature the world's first floating apartment complex - {The Citadel}. This new project was designed by {Koen Olthuis} of {Waterstudio} in the Netherlands. This new complex will use 25% less energy than buildings on land because of the water cooling system. There is a high focus on these energy saving projects. Olthuis has designed several of these floating residences around the world and believes that we should stop trying to contain water and learn to live with it. The New Water and the Citadel projects are an attempt to embrace water in the Netherlands, which is almost completely composed of wetlands. I have also included images of houses build on the wetlands in Holland.

Thread Reel Holder

This is a pretty cool DIY project I found on {Kootoyoo} made by Kirsty, from Melbourne. I always love finding creative storage ideas that look nice at the same time. Living in a pretty small apartment with very little storage space, finding room for my sewing machine, fabrics, thread and all the other supplies is quite difficult. Here is one way to solve my problem! Using an {IKEA} frame and some free pencils, she was able to create this space saving solution. She shaved the pencils down so the cotton reels would fit over them, then spacing the pencils evenly apart on the frame, she glued the ends down using PVA glue. For the most part she tried to match the pencil color to the thread color. This also serves as wall art for your creative space.

Lamp Sweaters

New EU regulations are aiming to prohibit the sale of non-CFL bulbs in Europe. In an effort to improve the quality of light emitted by CFL as well as the look of them, designer {Lise Lefebvre} from Amsterdam has been knitting these mohair covers using a seamless 3D knitting machine. She also knits a long tail that covers the ugly cables. Due to the low temperature of CFL bulbs, there is no risk of the covers catching fire. The cover comes in different sizes and patterns to accommodate many types of CFL bulbs.


Retro vs. Contemporary

Here are two extremes I found and fell in love with on {SwipeLife} today. The first are the {Big Chill} Retro Kitchen Appliances. Althought they look like they are right out of Betty Draper’s kitchen, Retro Kitchen’s line of fridges, stoves, and dishwashers offer modern-day technology inside their vintage casings. They have EnergyStar ratings, optional Ice Maker packages, and a wide assortment of colors. The second is {LG SL90 LCD TV}. I have always hated the frame around television screens and wanted one that was seamless. This one does not have a wide border attached, the screen is seamless, aesthetically pleasing and is only 1.15 inches thick. At 47" this would be perfect mounted on a wall. They hit the shelves in 42, 47, & 55". I want one!


Karen Barbé - Textile Designer

I love textile design, so imagine how happy I was to come across the work of {Karen Barbé} from Santiago, Chile. She is a very talented textile designer, printing her own designs as well as producing beautiful felted crafts. Once I am able to set aside some time to do some sewing, the project I want to start is a duvet cover similar to this one! Check out her {blog} for more of her work.

DIY Upholstered Toddler Bed

This is a great DIY project by Gabrielle Blair of {Design Mom} She is a designer/art director and mother of five in New York who posts on where design and motherhood intersect. This toddler bed was featured on {Design*Sponge} - check it out for detailed instructions.


Coffee Cup Drawings

I think this is a pretty sweet {NOTCOT.org} find. Coffee cup drawings by {Cheeming Boey}.

Hot Air Balloon Rally

Last week, in Chambley Franc, 329 hot air balloons set off for the largest gathering in the skies - the Lorain Modial Air Balloon Rally. Check out the {Lorain Modial} photo group on Flickr to be amazed. This was found on {wejetset - a modern travel store}.


Black, White and Green - Natural Green :)

I am a huge fan of black and white - whether it be graphic design, interior design, or photography - with hints of color here and there. Conveniently enough, green is my favorite to accent with! So these pictures of homes found on {Apartment Therapy} . Interior Designer, {Jessica Helgerson} does this really well, so be sure to check out her site. I love that she uses bursts of natural color. A great part of these homes are the rich wood accents that help to warm up the mostly black and white spaces - which can be cold when done throughout an entire house and not just in a small room. The green and wood accents makes them more inviting. I must also say that I LOVE the wooden platform bed.

Vintage Silverware Herb Garden Markers

Lovely vintage silverware herb garden markers from the {Monkeys Always Look} Etsy shop. They are tarnish silver-plated vintage silver. LOVE these. Now if only I had a garden to use them in! One day...

Moroccan Sunday Supper

{Amy Atlas} was a guest contributor on {Sunday Suppers} and worked on the beautiful table design for the Moroccan dinner that was inspired by old tiles. They were actually used as a runner type of decoration down the middle. Jessie from {Rountree Flowers} did the floral design with beautiful mums - inspired by the patterns in the tiles and by piles of spices. Rose petals were used to make garlands and the tabletop was decorated with pops of orange and pink. The candlestick holders were actually regular taper holders that Jessie converted into pillars by attaching votive holders on top. The fabulous backdrop and pattern along with all the paper goods & goodie bags were designed by Erica Miller of {Thoughtful Day}.

Some of the other talented people who contributed to this event were: Aran Goyoaga of {Cannelle et Vanille} *A NEW FAVORITE BLOG* who baked the orange flower macaroons, orange creamsicle panna cotta and baked meringue sandwich cookies. The amazing cake was designed by Archana Rao of {Love Street Cakes}. Ali Kantor of {Papery & Cakery} created a traditional moroccan cookie called kaab el ghazal, which served as a favor for the guests to take home in goodie bags. All photos were taken by {Karen Mordechai}.

Amy Atlas Events!

I am completely inspired by the work of {Amy Atlas Events}. As more and more people are moving away from traditionally 3-tier wedding cakes and individual favors, candy/dessert tables are becoming very popular. Amy Atlas Events definitely takes the *cake* on this - she does it all from weddings to themed parties. They believe that a party should be an expression of you - so they get to know their clients before planning a party perfect for them. Though they are known for their dessert tables, they are able to create the overall aesthetic for a party and will plan your special event from beginning to end! They believe that the one hosting the party should get to enjoy it as well, which is why they strive to make the process effortless for the client. They have a wonderful sense of style and attention to detail that I always look for. It is all of this that has given them the reputation as being the most sought after event planning company in New York City.

A Modern, Traditional Wedding

First off, it made me smile to find a blog post - again on {Style Me Pretty} - that was titled A Modern, Traditional Wedding. This is exactly the style I love - tradition with a modern twist. An of course, the green is an ultimate fave! Again a DIY wedding inspired from many of the posts on SMP. The flower in her hair was purchased from {Nomsa's Etsy Shop} and photography was done by Brian Cummings of {Rob Grimm Photography}.

Some explanation from the bride herself:
I’ve been obsessed with SMP since the moment of my engagement. Admittedly, I haven’t known what to do with myself since the wedding and all my free time which was once spent on wedding blogs. As a graphic designer I saw my wedding as an opportunity to showcase my style and personality, to brand us as a couple, in a sense. I found the best way to let my personality shine was in the tiny details. Everything from the programs to the cake topper I thought about in great length. Also, being on a budget, most of these projects required a DIY execution, which also helped to give my wedding a unique look and feel. Overall, Id say the style outcome was contemporary with an eclectic sprinkling.

As for the fashion…I purchased from J Crew and had a seamstress add the flowers, an overlay, and a train… I had a vision, and she really made it come true. The bridesmaids and groomsmen also wore J Crew.

The simple centerpieces which were DIY, and nature inspired. I letterpressed the coasters myself that said Eat + drink and be married.

The flowers were all DIY put together by the wedding party the night before the ceremony. The W in the rings picture was also the cake topper and was a vintage metal letter I purchased at {Three Potato Four}.

Our guestbook was made of tiny envelopes where the guests were asked to write a wedding wish, message, or funny story. We also made little pins for guests to wear to really continue the look.


Rountree Flowers!

Check out these beautiful and unique floral centerpieces and bouquets by {Rountree Flowers}.

DIY Ruffled Belt

This was a great find! Belts have become a real wedding trend lately - could be attributed to {J.Crew} - so here is a way to have this chic style incorporated in your special day without spending tons of $$. Check out {100 Layer Cake} for step by step instructions. This belt was inspired by a headband made by crafty Rachel over at {Heart of Light}.

A Yellow DIY Affair

I am going to have to agree with the folks over at {Style Me Pretty} on this one - this wedding held in Summerland, CA is pretty close to perfection. While needing to stick to a tight budget, this couple was able to put together a wonderful wedding with great style and sophistication! The chic yellow color palette and awesome succulent plants, put together with all the handmaid details...I am obsessed! {Linda Chaja} was the photographer of this event. My favorite part about this wedding is that the bride and groom put together many of the details with their own two hands with love. The cones placed on aisle chairs contained knitted pom poms made by the bride and the program was designed and typed by the bride on a vintage typewriter. Luckily they were also able to save some $$ by having the flowers done by a family friend of the bride. Ahnika Johnson - who has just started her own business as a wedding planner - was hired to coordinate their special day!

Vintage Shabby Chic vs. Elegant Shabby Chic

As we all know, I LOVE WEDDINGS! These are two recent posts from {Style Me Pretty} that I thought was nice to see side by side. They are both using a sort of shabby chic design style, however one is vintage and the other is more elegant. The one featured above was actually a vingette done for Brides Northern California by {Andrew Hsu} and photos featured above are by {Lisa Lefkowitz}. The event designer for this shoot was {Gloria Wong}. Beautiful work by all of them!

This wedding speaks for itself with elegance and charm. From the lavender to the flip flops - love it all! Photographs were taken by Kerry Corcoran of {David Michael Photography}. The maid of honor conveniently works as an event planner for {Paula LeDuc Fine Catering} and flowers were done by Hannah Sampson of {Modern Bouquet}.