Newest Catalog Find: Wisteria

If catalogs are any indication of the economy I would say things are looking up! I have noticed a sharp increase in the number of catalogs I receive on a daily basis in the past 2 months. Among the masses there are tons of standards as well as a few new companies – or at least new to me! The catalog that most recently caught my eye is Wisteria.

Wisteria is new to me and I am so delighted to have found them! I am absolutely loving their style and how they dress their layouts – look at the beautiful living room above! I also love how so many of their products have a found or vintage feel while still maintaining classic style sensibilities. While the prices are honestly out of my range, there is no cost for window shopping and looking for inspiration!

Here are some of the things I am lusting over the most:

This Chinese Chippendale Chair, shown above in teal also comes in black and white ($349).

I absolutely adore this coffee table! At almost 4′ square it is quite huge and I love the paneled and two tier design. ($699)

I love these Happiness Pots ($199 for set of 3) and the Chinese Toile Ceramic Stool ($199) in the foreground! Wisteria also has a Blue and White Flourish Bowl ($19) and a Blue and White Porcelain Strainer ($19) that I’ve totally got my eye on!

Lastly, this Weathered Window Pane ($249) was the show-stopper that really got me to consider Wisteria. I have been on a very uninspired search to fill the big, empty, main wall in my living room and I think this might be the idea to do it! Of course I intend on searching out my own glassless window pane to distress and hang – but Wisteria gets the credit for the idea!

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For the Love of Breakfast

Looking back at Table’sUp it’s clear how much I love breakfast foods. Weekend brunch is one of my favorite things – although this is mostly to do with the leisurely pace of cooking and consumption! Beyond brunch on the weekends, I really do love eggs any time of day. They are such a versatile protein with the ability to play nice with really any ingredient or flavor profile. Also they are cheap, easy and fast to make!

My love is exemplified by the beautiful and delicious omelet I enjoyed last night for dinner:

To make this omelet I used some of my favorite ingredients and best quick-dinner tricks:

I think one of the best ways to make an outstanding egg dish is to flavor the eggs themselves. In this case I used cream cheese, although I often use a tablespoon of milk (or even water) for the fluffy effect without the creamy taste. Whipped cream cheese is also important if you don’t want any lumps in your eggs – although a little burst of cream cheese is really never a bad surprise!

Penzey’s Sunny Paris Seasoning really is the all-star of my spice rack! It is fairly expensive but the difference it can make to any dish is totally worth it. It is a mix of freeze-dried shallots (main ingredient), chives, green peppercorns, dill weed, basil, tarragon, chervil and bay leaf.

I have mentioned my love of chicken sausage before – let’s revise that to a love of mini chicken sausage! Although not as many flavor’s are available in the mini-version, their small size make them great for chopping and using in a greater variety of dishes without worrying they will break free from their casing. Also you can more easily choose your serving size using the mini variety (a serving is 5 links at 110 calories).

Lastly, my favorite quick dinner trick – diced Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light Cheese! It always seems to be the perfect amount of cheese with very little fuss. Warning, when melted this cheese gets very stringy so be aware if you mix it into something like a pasta stir fry – it has to go in at the very end or your pan will be a mess!

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Apartment Tour: Bedroom Makeover

I have been promising several of my friends that I will do an “apartment tour” to show off my new digs – even though I actually moved at the end of September so they are hardly “new” anymore! So, after I spontaneously reorganized my bedroom this weekend, I realized it would be the perfect place to start!

Of course even “bedroom” is a stretch because I live in a studio – although this studio does have small alcove!

This is my “bedroom” before. The alcove is only about 4′ deep so I had the bed on a far wall, against the windows.  The walkway was  created with the back of the couch as well as two bookshelves: 1 short, 1 tall.

The after “bedroom”! With the simple shift of putting the headboard against the wall, the whole space – and the whole apartment – feels different! Not only does it feel bigger with all of the windows exposed but I also have much more room for a proper bureau – which will go in the alcove corner to the left, the area deliberately cut out of the photo! I did move the bookshelves about 4″ to the right, but that was only to allow enough room around the end of the bed to be able to make it without driving myself crazy!

Beyond the improvement to the layout of my apartment and the wonderful view out the window I now get from my bed, this change also brought major functionality improvements! Before I had to walk down what basically was a long hallway to my bed – while I initially was ecstatic to have so much space in my new place I enjoyed walking those 15 steps, I realize now how much better this is. Also, as you can see from the above photo, my bedside table hardly fit in the small space so I couldn’t really take advantage of all of the storage it can provide (or pull out the drawer properly!).

Now my bedroom feels open and bright – the next steps will be to finish the space. On my list is: bureau, rug and curtains to hang over the two left windows for better light, noise and draft protection. So many fun things to look forward to!

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Well isn’t that pretty…

My simple salad for lunch: chopped arugula, leftover chicken, 1 clementine and chopped walnuts with Newman’s Own Light Cranberry Walnut Vinaigrette. Next time I will cut the clementine sections in half to ensure I get a piece with every bite and so the citrus can add to the dressing. Either way a delicious, and quite photogenic, lunch!

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Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Snap Peas & Edamame

Last night I made a Real Simple recipe Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs with Edamame and boy was it good! As good as it was, it wasn’t really a teriyaki so I’ve decided to call it Ginger Chicken Meatballs instead.

I opted to make only 3 of the 4 servings, using 0.9lb of ground chicken (1.25lbs for 4 servings). Per usual, I cooked all of the protein but only enough rice, veggies and sauce for my one meal. Overtime I’ve realized that leftovers rarely taste as good as the original meal (with the big exception being anything Thanksgiving related). Instead I try to cook protein in advance for several meals, as it tends to be the most labor intensive part of most dishes. However, I also try to always prepare the starch and veggies “made to order” to help the whole dish feel fresh and exciting.

The only adaptations I made to the Real Simple recipe were to use long grain brown rice instead of white and to increase the amount of ginger and scallion in the meatballs. For 0.9lbs of chicken I used 3Tbs of diced ginger (not grated like they suggest) as well as 3 whole chopped scallions. I loved the flavor of the meatballs – ginger and soy may be one of my favorite combinations!

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It’s Official!

Now I really have to finish those pillows…

(This is my way of holding myself accountable – now that it’s public I’ve got to get it done!)

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Sewing Up a Storm

I took advantage of this past long weekend to make some headway in my first ever “collection” of throw pillows! My goal is to open an Etsy store in the next week or two, launching with a late-winter collection of about 8 throw pillows. I am mirroring the design of my current pillows, using the same Diane Von Furstenberg knit.

Making basket-weave pillows can be time consuming because you need to cut so many strips of fabric to make the design. For this reason, I like to design the whole group at once and then go on a cutting rampage! Above are my 5 colors of fabric on top of my cutting mat (on the dining table). You can also see my sketch pad with all the math that went into the measurements.

Beyond the time it takes to do all of the math, the real time consuming aspect is marking out all of the strips in pencil so I can go back over and cut them out individually. This part can really make you see stars but it’s important to be diligent to ensure straight cuts.

I am new to the rotary cutter and I already don’t know how I lived without it! After 8 hours of near straight cutting my hand was super cramped and my first finger and thumb tips went numb. However I do believe strongly the rotary cutter allows me to work faster and cut straighter lines, so it’s all worth it!

In the end I cut several hundred strips of varying lengths and widths. Of course, what is much more satisfying than seeing the full quantity on the chair is seeing all of the woven panels assembled – more to come on that!

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