I started my holiday baking early this year. The first batch of cookies I made are a favorite of everyone who has tasted one. They are chocolate chip, toffee chip hazelnut cookies.
This past weekend I made roll out sugar cookies. This was the first time I decorated the cookies with gel color by painting on the details. The process was much quicker than embellishing them with different colors of royal icing. My favorite cookie out of this batch are the angels adorned with edible gold glitter.
Cherubs or putti, Italian for small boys is a design motif which originated in Italy during the Baroque period. The chubby infants are seen in paintings, sculpture, giltwood carvings, vases, tapestries and textiles. One of my teachers in design school referred to them as "fat flying babies." Here are some examples I found today of this lovely design. Cherubs are often seen adorning cards and ornaments during the holiday and Christmas season.
Tabletop arrangements found on Pinterest.
It's that scary time of year when you see Christmas decorations out before you had a chance to change your calendar to October. October is one of my favorite months in Arizona. Today it was time to get out the fall decorations.
Jack O Lantern
My presence is bountiful from fall through the end of the year
When I am sure to bring joy and feelings that endear
My favorite holiday is October 31st—better known as Halloween
When my glowing face at night is seen
The hue of my skin suggests a leaf turning color on a fall day
Or a field of poppies around the month of May
My body is heavy, thick and dense in mass.
With a shiny, smooth finish that appears polished in wax
I have deeply ingrained ridges all over my exterior
With an oval round body shaped like a sphere
When you take off my top, I am heavy with a thick, slimy flesh
That is stringy and sticky forming a squashy mesh
This can be mashed with sugar and spice and made into a pie
Or sold at your bakery and is plentiful to buy
My first name is Jack; middle initial O., and a last name of Lantern
Which you call me when my face has been carved into a pattern
I enjoy bringing joy in the autumn of the year
However, I will tell you my greatest demise and fear . . .
When I am smashed and thrown tumbling down the street
By tiny figures in bright colored costumes brimming with trick or treat
It is far, far more suitable and a satisfying feat
To make a warm and savory pie covered in whip cream to eat
Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow. – Kandinsky
Orange as a color is taking a huge bite out of life. Orange is the color of excitement, enthusiasm and gusto. The word orange actually comes from the fruit which is naranga in Sanskrit. Orange is outgoing and flamboyant which makes it the ideal color to use when you want to uplift your senses. Orange is a powerful and vital color. It is one of the healing colors. Like the color red, orange increases the craving for food. This makes orange a perfect color for any space where you want to stimulate the appetite, promote creativity and encourage adventure.
The color orange is represented in apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, oranges, melon, papaya, peaches, persimmon, pumpkins, yams and saffron. Orange represents the sacral chakra located beneath the naval and is linked to the sexual organs and reproductive system. Gemstones that are associated with the color orange are carnelian, coral and jasper. The color orange is revealed in many plants and flowers. Poppies, poppies, poppies . . . .
Article tributes: Kravet, Vervain, Quadrille, Maine Cottage, Company C, Stray Dog Designs, House Beautiful, and Barcelona Chair.
The Greeks have long been known for their orders of architecture in their building columns known as Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, their pottery vases and their many types of ornamental motifs. The geometrical motif known as the fret or meander commonly called the Greek key pattern comes from Greece. Grecians borrowed designs from nature in their honeysuckle and antefix motifs. Among their long-lasting contributions are their vases which were ornamental and used in various functions of daily life. Their furniture included ornamental motifs and the chairs had back rails curved in a concave or klismos shape resembling the curve of a human back. The beauty of Greek design is in the attention to graceful beauty and elegant proportion in design.
This is a design I created which was inspired by the painting by Loretta Lux. The paint is by Farrow and Ball, furnishings by Vincente Wolf and Layla Grayce.
This is a traditional style room I designed which was inspired by Pantone's color linen. Most of the furnishings are from Layla Grayce. The gorgeous wallpaper is from Schumacher.
This is a design I created a couple of years ago for a contest sponsored by Hayneedle on the Olioboard site. The shell chandelier by Currey and Company was the inspiration for the design.
I had the amazing good fortune of visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico this past week to house/pet sit. There are so many cultural places to visit and so many wonderful restaurants there to enjoy. Here are a few of the places I got to visit.
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was the first place I visited. There are several galleries of her work at the museum showcasing the various styles and history of her work. Touring the museum with a docent was a good idea and it was included in the $12 admission. There is a wonderful gift shop at the museum where you can purchase paintings of her work on postcards, note cards, prints and many different books of her work.
Did you know one of her paintings sold for more money than any other female artist to date? Her painting sold to the Walton family for $44.4 million for their Crystal Bridges Museum.
A short stroll down Johnson Street where the O'Keeffe Museum is located there were a few places I was happy to find: Georgia Restaurant, Sweet Lily Bakery, TerraCotta Wine Bistro and Asian Adobe. Asian Adobe is an antique furniture, art and accessories shop featuring art by Chinese contemporary artist Guo Ming Fu.
Around the corner from the museum on Grant Street, I walked past a beautiful building and found out it was the home of the Georgia O'Keeffe Research Center. What a nice place to work.
I walked down Grant Street to go to the Post Office to mail all the beautiful Georgia O'Keeffe postcards I purchased and saw this beautiful church. This type of fencing is everywhere known as "Coyote Fencing." I was told they are made out of spruce and fir latillas tied to an all steel welded framework.
I found a fabulous yoga studio tucked away on a quiet street. The studio had a nice cork floor and wonderful yoga teachers.
The Santa Fe Self Realization Fellowship Meditation Circle meets on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. Their center is located in an old adobe building on Camino Alire which was once the homestead of the Alire family.
A visit to Santa Fe would not be complete if you didn't visit La Fonda. I had the ratatouille crepes for breakfast at their www.thefrenchpastryshop.com/French Pastry Shop and Susan's Christmas Shop.
Another great place I found is La Boca. I happened to be walking by there and decided to try it. The wait staff were all very courteous and attentive. In fact they were so nice I went back there a second time for their tapas happy hour which starts at 3 pm. The owner/chef I believe his name is James gave me the recipe for the red coleslaw which is delicious. He also owns Taverna right around the corner.
There are so many things to see in Santa Fe especially in the historic downtown area. Parking can be a bit tricky. The parking meters charge $1 an hour and some are limited to a two hour maximum. There are some lots which are $10 for a full day. On Sunday there is no charge at any of the meters. This past Sunday, I was fortunate to find a spot facing the church.
Things to Do
To save money on entrance fees there is a $25 culture pass. Also some of the museums are free on Friday night after 5 pm.
Santa Fe Beauty
While I was at the folk art museum, I asked a friendly woman where to go to lunch on my last day in Santa Fe. She told me to go to www.harrysroadhousesantafe.com/Harry's Roadhouse and then gave me directions. Then she decided to drive with me in my car and have her husband meet us there. It's the place where the locals go. I was there on a Monday afternoon and the place was full. I had a wonderful time having lunch there with them. I had the salmon tacos and watermelon lemonade. Then we shared a piece of chocolate cream pie. What a great place.
Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it.
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love.
The ancient Romans and Greek did it,
Even nice young men who sell antiques do it,
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love. – Cole Porter
Recently I became inspired about falling in love, being in love, lost love, unrequited love and love at first sight. This inspiration came after a weekend of watching romantic movies.
Where do you spend a third of your time? - The Bed
Sleep on a Bed of Roses – Sheets
Nothing is more luxurious than crisp and soft sheets. Since you spend a third of your life sleeping and other activities in your bed, it is wise to invest in high thread count sheets.
Beautiful and Billowy – Pillows
I have been known to take my pillow with me when I travel in fear I will be subjected to a break your neck foam pillow. I recommend a combination feather and down pillow. The feathers will give you support and the down will add softness. Placing decorative pillows on top of the bed made out of luxurious fabrics and lace is a lovely touch also.
Glowing and Twinkling – Candles and Lights
Everything looks better in the soft, warm glow of candle light. Dimmer switches should be added to overhead lighting so the mood can be changed.
Shimmer and Sparkle – Crystal
Make a room sparkle and shimmer with crystal. Saying the word crystal even sounds elegant!
Symbols of Love, Beauty and Passion – Flowers
Flowers are the sweetest thing God ever made and forgot to put a soul into - Henry Ward Beecher
There is always a place for flowers on a night stand, a bed side skirted table, an entry table, a dining room table and more. Trust the flowers to be fragrant and beautiful!
Come on Baby Light My Fire – Fireplaces
Is there anything more romantic than a fireplace in the bedroom?
It’s Music to My Ears – Music
Everyone's taste is different when it comes to music. Please remember to turn off the television and listen to music.
Aroma, Aroma, Aroma – Scent
The association of fragrance and emotion is not an invention of poets or perfume-makers. Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion. I recommend the scent of jasmine to enhance your mood. Jasmine is used in aromatherapy to calm the emotions, and as an aphrodisiac. It is a valuable remedy in cases of depression because is produces a feeling of confidence, optimism and euphoria. It revitalizes and restores the balance of energy.
I hope I have inspired you to add a little romance to your life!
Love is my religion - I could die for it. – John Keats
The monarchs of France known as Louis XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI have given us a lasting impression of their place in history through their rich tapestry of influences from Europe. Whether it is as the dashing and chivalrous men and their motto "one for all and all for one" from The Three Musketeers, the baroque opulent palace of Versailles, a cabriole leg in a Rococo chair or the classical motifs from the discovery of Pompeii, long live the Louis Louis Louis Louis.
Louis XIII Late Renaissance Period
September 27, 1601 - May 14, 1643) reigned as King of France and Navarre from 1610 to 1643. He married a Habsburg princess, Anne of Austria (1601-66), daughter of Philip III of Spain (1578-1621) at the young age of 14.
Louis XIII furniture was influenced by the Italian Renaissance mixed with elements of Dutch and Flemish designs. The pieces were heavily carved in walnut and ebony and the arm chairs were generally upholstered in tapestry from the Beauvais looms. Table and chair legs sat on bun feet above H-form stretchers which held the frames together.
I had to mention this interesting chair called a caquetoire, or conversation chair which was predominately used during the French Renaissance. The name caquetoire comes from "caqueter" which means to chat in French. I learned about this chair when I attended the American Institute of Interior Design and always enjoyed saying it (pronounced Khaki-Twah). This chair is associated with a chatting group of women that would sit in them and talk. The seat is not rectangular but more like a trapezoid so the women could fit comfortably with their layers of skirts and petticoats in the chair. These chairs were also made from walnut rather than oak so the chair could be elaborately carved.
Louis XIV Baroque Period
(September 5, 1638 - September 1, 1715) ruled as King of France and of Navarre. His reign began at the young age of 4 and lasted 72 years signifying one of the longest in French monarch history. Louis XIV is popularly known as the Sun King because he ordered that France and his court revolve around him like the planets revolve around the sun. He married Maria Teresa of Spain, the daughter of Philip IV, King of Spain and his Queen Elisabeth of Bourbon
Louis XIV's monarchy was greatly influenced by my namesake, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who served as his minister of finance from 1665 to 1683. He worked tirelessly at improving the state of French manufacturing and bringing the French economy back from the brink of bankruptcy. Despite Colbert's efforts, France became increasingly impoverished because of the King's excessive spending on wars.
Colbert was an integral force in reforming and improving markets directly related to the manufacturing of interior design products such as textiles, and tapestry works at Gobelins and Beauvais. Colbert issued more than 150 edicts to regulate the guilds. One law intended to improve the quality of cloth. The edict declared that if the authorities found a merchant's cloth unsatisfactory on three separate occasions, they were to tie him to a post with the cloth attached to him.
Andre Charles Boulle was the cabinet-maker to King Louis XIV and was one of the greatest of the cabinet makers that worked with ebony. The technique of an ebineste was to inlay wood with shells and metals creating a mosaic on the surface. He further decorated his work with chiseled mounts of ormolu and bronze, carved and gilt ornaments. Marble and granite were used for table and console tops, and fine tapestries for upholstering; all combining to create a style in perfect harmony with the pomp and glittering splendor of the baroque Louis XIV age.
This period of design is known for its splendor and magnificence. The furniture was large in scale with elaborate ornamentation. The chief woods used in cabinet making were oak, walnut, chestnut, and ebony, with ornamental portions often done in rosewood, sandalwood, tulipwood, and various exotic woods. Gobelin tapestry and Lyons velvet were the principal upholstery materials.
Louis XV Regency/Rococo Period
February 15, 1710 - May 10, 1774 ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1 September 1775 until his death on May 1774. He married Marie Leszycynska, Queen of France. She lived most of her life secluded in rooms at Versailles palace. Meanwhile Louis XV carried on with the famous courtesan Madame de Pompadour. Madame de Pompadour was an accomplished woman who had a tremendous influence over the style of the Rococo period by employing trendsetting shopkeepers in many of the styles of the time. She adored pastel colors and Chinoiserie motifs. The classic pink of Sevres porcelain rose de pompadour was named after her along with the hairstyle and a shoe.
The period of French Rococo displays a change from the orderliness of classical design by using asymmetrical movements, C and S scrolls, cabriole legs, and motifs of plants, shells and flowers. The Chinoiserie style also came out of this era, which was born out of importing porcelain, silk and lacquer from China and Japan to Europe. The word is from "chinois" which means Chinese in French. The Chinoiserie style features pagodas, dragons, landscapes, and Asian figures in the textiles, porcelain, paintings and furniture in the designs.
Louis XVI Neoclassic/Revolution/Directoire Period
Louis-Auguste de France (August 23, 1754 - January 21, 1793 in Paris) ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1774 until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792. At the age of fifteen, Louis-Auguste married the fourteen-year-old Austrian-born Archduchess Maria Antonia von Habsburg-Lothringen (better known as Marie Antoinette) the youngest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and his wife, the formidable Empress Maria Theresa.
During the Reign of Terror, at the height of the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI were imprisoned, convicted of treason and executed by guillotine. The tradition of neoclassical furniture had a second phase after the reign of Louis XVI known as the Directoire period.
The neoclassic period is a return to simplicity and order in design. Brought on by the discovery of the ancient city of Pompeii, a return to the art and design of Greece and Rome was the basis of this style. Marie Antoinette adopted the neoclassical style in furnishings and interiors in France. She was responsible for making small pieces of furniture that suited the furnishings of her apartment at Versailles. Did you know the town of Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby, is named after Louis XVI?
If you have not become a Francophile by now, hopefully you have gained some insight and appreciation of this lovely period of interior design. Please let me know how I can assist you in bringing some of this history and beauty into your home.
Charisse Marie Colbert
Research was done while attending the American Institute of Interior Design for my French history of furniture class, the book, The Victoria and Albert Guide to Period Styles and Wikipedia.
I am giddy up about the Kentucky Derby and all the festivities that go along with it. The Kentucky Derby is always the first Saturday in May and this year will mark the 142nd Kentucky Derby event at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. I won’t be attending this year but will be there in spirit watching it on television. Fortunately, I was able to attend the event twice, once in 2002 when War Emblem won the big race and in 2006 when Barbaro won. The 2006 win was bittersweet because Barbaro was injured two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes which eventually led to his death. Barbaro will be buried at the garden memorial site at Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs along with earlier Derby winners Sunny's Halo (1983), Carry Back (1961), Swaps (1955) and Brokers Tip (1933).
The event is steeped in old-fashioned traditions and heaps of Southern charm. The Kentucky Derby Annual Breakfast takes place the morning of Derby Day at the historic site of Farmington in Louisville. Admiring the Southern Belle’s in their gorgeous hats and dresses is certainly one of my favorite traditions of the event. The men look dapper in seersucker suits and patterned ties. Choosing a hat can be a daunting task, especially if you have a small head like I do. Of course there are all those celebrities who turn up for the event and most of the attendees won’t rub elbows with them since they are seated in the Millionaire’s Row section, but their pictures will be in the newspaper the day after the event.
The infield is a scene where a spectator cannot see the race but is there for a general admission price ticket and the pure element of the party. And party they do with reckless abandon. In 2002 when I was there and toured the infield it was one, sloppy, muddy mess but everyone was having a great time. As the horses parade before the grandstands, the tradition of singing My Old Kentucky Home cannot help but make you misty-eyed and happy to be in the bluegrass state. The Kentucky residents have the lyrics memorized and the rest of us are assisted with lyric cheat sheets. The Call to the Post is done by the bugler before every race signifying the horses will be coming out to the track and the race will begin. This lets those inside placing wagers know they need to finish placing their bets. Then there are those stronger than lighter fluid Mint Juleps another tradition of the Kentucky Derby. If you have one, you will have a second one but I cannot admit to having more than two. Did you know the town of Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby, is named after Louis XVI?
Easter has always been a special holiday for me. It comes in the spring when everything is blooming and coming to life from the winter months. This is my favorite season to bake and decorate Easter cookies too. Here are some of the cookies I've made over the years and some Easter decorating ideas.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.—Michelangelo
A trip to Italy will convince you why Carrara marble has been used for centuries as flooring and tiles in buildings there. Carrara marble comes from a quarry in Carrara in the Tuscany region of Italy. The marble is white with grey or greyish-blue veining. There is a classic beauty captured in marble which makes it appealing and timeless. The Italians were smart and recycled their leftover marble chips as a cost-effective flooring material called terrazzo. In many of the churches in Florence and Venice, Italy, you will see examples of this. Marble is softer than granite because of its mineral composition and will etch and stain when it comes in contact with acidic materials. Marble counter tops and flooring in a bathroom is an excellent choice.
When you hear the term American Southwest what images come to mind? Certainly the Grand Canyon is the most famous natural wonder in Arizona. Do you think of the Cartwright cowboys, Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe riding home to the Ponderosa on the set of Bonanza? The American Southwest encompasses the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The terrain is a land ranging from the low arid desert painted with cacti, mesquite and sagebrush, and grassy valleys to the majestic red rock plateaus. The influences on the design of architecture, art, building materials, colors, furniture, pottery, tiles and textiles spring from a vast region and people of the American Southwest. The influences come from the Native American Indians of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Spanish settlers from Mexico.Southwest style has come to symbolize many elements of design. Here are decorative elements which make up the American Southwest Style.
Posts by Charisse Colbert