Friday, July 31, 2015

Bold & Bright Linen Bedding

Summer is in full force and the temperatures are high!  If you find yourself hot at night you may need to try out linen bedding.  This was one of my 9 Ways to Update Your Bedroom for Summer that I mentioned last month.  Linen breathes very well as a fabric and can actually be a great bedding material year round, especially in warmer climates. 

While I know how great linen bedding can be, I noticed that many retailers are only selling linen bedding in muted colors like white, beige and gray.  I've searched the web and discovered there are definitely more colorful options out there.  You don't have to miss out on bright colors just because you want to give linen bedding a try!  

Organic Brighton Matelasse Duvet Cover + Shams (Color: Horseradish) - West Elm

Canyon Chevron Linen Bedding - The Company Store

(Right) Summer Meadow Linen Duvet Cover - The Company Store

Comfort Wash Solid Linen Bedding - The Company Store

In other news, this is my 100th blog post on Interiors by Jacquin!  Hooray!  It really has flown by.  Thank you for continuing to read and engage.  It is always great to get comments from readers and I can't wait to get to know more of you out there.  Please do subscribe if you haven't yet and continue to write in with your awesome comments. You can subscribe at the top, right corner of this webpage. Thanks for your amazing support! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Globally Chic Accessories from Desically Ethnic Co.

Two of my favorite things are fashion accessories and exploring global culture!  This post happily combines both today!  I came across this amazing collection of Indian jewelry and accessories and I knew I had to feature this company on the blog.  Today we're getting to know business owner Akshaya Rajee and all about her company, Desically Ethnic.  I really, really love Desically Ethnic's colorful and unique clutches so I wanted to introduce this special company to you wonderful readers.  I learned a lot of fun facts during this interview that I'm looking forward to sharing with you!

Jacquin: So glad to have you on the blog today, Akshaya! Share a bit about yourself and your business for the readers.

Akshaya: We are Jai Subramaniam and Akshaya Rajee, a husband and wife couple who started out our business Desically Ethnic together.  We are both engineers and completed our MBA in Marketing.  A creative instinct was always there in both of us, but neither of us were able to satisfy our creative desires in our mundane corporate jobs.  So we decided to go ahead with something that would put us up to test!

Despite my engineering background, my creativity is absolutely inspired by my mother, who is an established artist in Kerala Murals and Tanjore art.  I really believe the foundation was always there for me to move into ethnic forms of art.  While I take care of the sourcing and designing of the products, Jai handles the operations and marketing.

We were very keen on even the nomenclature of our brand being such that it describes the inspiration for our products. ‘Desi’ is actually a colloquial Hindi term which means ‘Indian’.  So what we do is ethnic designs inspired by everything that is Desi.  So ‘Desically Ethnic’!

Jacquin: What inspires your handbag and jewelry creations?

Akshaya: Our creations are mostly inspired by our love for the varied cultures within India.  Just travelling across the states of India introduces us to many variations in art forms, constantly inspiring us to add new designs to our collections.  We look to bring about change in the way traditional Indian art forms are looked at.  Our designs, though very ethnic in nature, caters to the young at heart. Within the same collection we look to inspire 15 year olds as well as 60 year olds with our unique and whimsical designs, all while maintaining a contemporary look.

Jacquin: I'd love to hear about the process behind developing your handbag and jewellery designs.  How do you go about creating your designs?

Akshaya: We develop our accessories around the women we think will wear each item and the occasions for which they may wear each special accessory.  For instance, we have pearl and beaded clutches that are inclined towards dressy occasions along with our classic box clutch collection.  For the slightly mature and artsy crowd, we are now launching our mural painted box clutches (shown below).  

Similarly, we have kutch work clutches and iPAD covers (kutch work clutches shown above) for a slightly younger audience who loves the bling associated with colourful accessories.  Kutch work embroidery is known to India’s state of Gugarat, and is a popular embroidered textile in India.  Kutch embroidery is characterised by the use of vibrant colors, mirrors, and beads showcasing intricate needlework and embellishments layered onto fabric.  Even when using a more traditional form like kutch work, we always fine tune our designs around whom we visualise using the product. 

Akshaya: We are really excited about our new addition of mural painted clutch bags and pendants from Kerala, India (shown above). These clutches and pendants are inspired by the traditional Mural paintings found on the temple walls in Kerala (the Southernmost state in India), depicting stories from ancient Indian Epics.  I've included photos of the development process for our box clutches, mural painted designs, and embroidery work for your readers.  Desically Ethnic also has a clothing line in the works.  I've also included a sneak peak of the development of our first apparel collection. 

Jacquin: We love seeing behind the scenes! Thank you for sharing a sneak peek of your product development process. It looks like amazingly creative work!  You really have a great team of artisans!

Jacquin: What are the cultural influences behind your jewellery and handbag designs?  

Akshaya: Our current jewellery collection is influenced by Kundan artwork from the Mughal period.  Kundan jewellery was traditionally made of gold and was adorned by emperors and kings, although various metals are used today.  In Kundan jewelry, the stones are encrusted on one side and intricate Meenakari work is carried out on the other side.  Meenakari is the art of coloring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors layered into intricate designs.  The art form has spread across the world inspiring designs that are mostly worn on special/dressy occasions, like the earrings shown below.

Jacquin:  One last question for you, Akshaya.  As a fellow entrepreneur I must ask, what do you love most about being a creative entrepreneur?

Akshaya: The first would surely be the freedom to experiment.  Not only do we enjoy the process of experimenting but if all goes right we could possibly enjoy the fruits of it as well.  Another wonderful advantage is the quality of people we get to connect and work with.  There is a constant exchange of creative talent that keeps the ball rolling.

The second most wonderful outcome is the opportunity to please our buyers and bring smiles to their faces. The feedback and the appreciation is what we work towards and to receive it for a creative piece of art is the best reward possible.   For more information on Desically Ethnic and their colorful merchandise, please visit their website

Monday, July 27, 2015

Loving the Beaded Chandelier!

Image via Pottery Barn

Images via Houzz

1. Jany Chandelier - So chic!
2. Currey and Company Flamingo Chandelier
3. Bethanne Sconce - Perfect for the color lover!
4. Turquoise Empire Chandelier
5. Cream Beaded Wall Sconce
6. Patti Lou Chandelier
7. Regina Andrew Amethyst Crystal Chandelier
8. Small Wood Beaded Chandelier *Budget option* - Try spray painting this a fun color!
9. Currey and Company Chanteuse Chandelier

I'm scouting the perfect beaded chandelier for my next home and I think I've found some really great ones to consider.  I'm leaning toward a more colorful chandelier option, but they are all so great!  Which is your favorite? 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Everyone Loves a Ruffle (Cake)!

Everyone loves a ruffle, and that includes ruffle cakes! There is just something about a ruffle that makes an event feel like a real reason to celebrate.  This post is in honor of the ruffle today and I'm ending the post with a tutorial on how you can make your own ruffle cake!  So, let's get down to the ruffles...

Image via A Blissful Nest

Image via The Fondant Flinger

I thought these instructions for DIY Ruffle Cake Pops were pretty great too!  You can learn how to make the fun cake pops shown below, here

Make your own DIY Ruffle Cake Pops with Pint Sized Baker blog! 

Image via Living the Swell Life

Image via Best Friends for Frosting 

See just how festive ruffles can be?  So for your next celebration try this tutorial for you own DIY Ruffle Cake! Jennifer Ashley from Pretty Little Details blog has been kind enough to show us just how it's done.  It's totally do-able at home and oh so chic!  Check out how it's done below. 

Step 1: The first step is to cover your cake with a thin layer of icing to seal in all of the crumbs.  If you have time, it's ideal to stick the cake in your refrigerator for a half hour or so to help firm up this outside layer.

Step 2: Once your crumb coat is finished, you are ready to start piping ruffles. (If you are a perfectionist, you can add one more step at this point and can draw vertical lines spaced 1" apart in the crumb coat to use as a guide for your ruffles.  I opted to just eyeball it, which ended up causing some of my ruffle rows to be a tad bit uneven but in a cute undone sort of way).

Step 3: Get out your icing bag!  I used a Wilton no. 102 tip to frost my cake, but any petal tip would do the job. 

Step 4: Starting at the bottom of your first row (thick end of the tip towards the cake) move your icing tip back and forth, stacking the icing to build a vertical column reaching to the top of the cake.

Step 5: Continue the process, creating 1" inch columns surrounding the entire cake. 

Ruffle Cake Tutorial from Pretty Little Details.

Step 6: How you want to finish the top is up to you!  I decided to continue the ruffle theme and used the same Wilton no. 102 tip for the top of the cake.  Starting from the outside and working in, I worked my way around the cake moving the icing tip back and forth as I spiralled the icing in.

It's just that easy!  Now the biggest lesson I learned the hard way was this: Don't try and finish frosting a ruffle cake all in one shot!  As I got half way through piping ruffles, I realized they were becoming more messy and starting to droop.  What was happening, is the icing bag began to warm with the heat of my hands.  Once I realized this, I stuck the icing bag and the cake back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes and once again the icing held its shape and created the lovely ruffles I was looking for.

Thanks for sharing this fun ruffle cake tutorial, Jennifer. Stop by Jennifer's blog, Pretty Little Details to see more of her great party ideas.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

DIY Decor for Your Home!

Hi, my name is Veronica.  I'm a graphic designer, blogger, and overall artist, and I have a great home decor DIY project for you.  When I first moved into my boyfriend’s house, I wanted to help make his house my home with my own unique decorative touches.  Today I will show you how I managed to do just that with a piece of wood, paint and chalk.  Take a look at this great home decor DIY project!

Step one: Buy tools.

To get started, you will need a wooden plaque, chalkboard paint, a paint brush or sponge, chalk or pastels and some nice ribbon.  If your wooden plaque doesn't have a hole drilled in it, you can use some screw hooks instead.  You can find all these items at your local craft store.

Step two: Prep wood sign.

I recommend getting the Rustoleum chalkboard paint, it goes on smooth and is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.  Use a wide paintbrush or a sponge to brush on a layer of paint.  Wait a couple hours before applying a second coat.  After a few more hours, you may begin writing on it.

Step three: Create your word.

Time to start writing!  For this example I decided to use the words "Come in" and "HELLO". Start by lightly writing the words on your sign, don't press too hard, this is just to see how you will arrange them.

Once you are satisfied you may go over the lines 

with more pressure. 

You should also experiment with different styles, some of you may like thick block letters and some of you may prefer a handwritten style.

I used soft pastel pencils because they are more precise in small areas and come off easier with a damp cloth.

For your convenience, I created some printables to help you draw out your greeting.  You can print them out here and use them to transfer the letters to your sign.  To do that you first print them out, turn them over to the back side, rub some chalk onto the paper, place the paper print side up on your sign and go over the letters with a pencil or marker. This should transfer the print onto your sign. 

Step four: Decorate.

Also, feel free to add you own hand-drawn, decorative elements!  Flowers, squiggles or other creative designs will only add to the beauty of this handmade sign. 

Step five: Display.

You are almost done, all you have to do now is hand it up or display it on a picture stand. I used yellow ribbon and tied it into bows on the front.  And that's it, hang it on your door and enjoy. 

This is a great way to personalize your door when holidays come around!  You can simply erase your old greeting and write "Happy 4th" or "Happy Holidays".  You can even paint both sides of the plaque and have an interchangeable sign.  It’s great for businesses, too!  You can have one side that reads "Open" and the other "Closed".  There are many other things you can do with just chalkboard paint and some chalk, so go and explore your possibilities.  I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial!  If you want to learn more about lettering you can join my FREE 5-Day Hand Lettering Course. 

Thank you to Veronica for sharing this awesome DIY project on the blog today!  This is one I will definitely try in my own home.  I'll also be participating in Veronica's free hand-lettering course this week.  Hand-lettering is the art of drawing letters and can be used to create all sorts of artwork, so be sure to sign-up if you're interested.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Artist Spotlight with Contemporary Abstract Artist, Liza Matthews

Today I've decided to mix-up the Artist Spotlight series with the home tour of an extremely talented artist, Liza Matthews!  Liza is an abstract artist and textile designer based in Baltimore.  I really love Liza's oil paintings, especially her uniquely abstract landscapes and her Chinoiserie style paintings.  It's no wonder that Liza has decorated her home with her own dynamic artwork.   I'm pleased to present the artful home and artwork of Liza Matthews.

Painting title "Peacock" by Liza MatthewsOil, Acrylic and Charcoal 60 x 72 (FOR SALE, contact Liza for pricing)  Featured in the Spring 2015 Washington DC Showhouse (family room) for Iantha Carley Interiors.

Liza on creating art...

I love creating art because it's a wonderful outlet for me to experiment with color, texture and pattern. You will find all of that in my work and more.  I am constantly inspired by my surroundings, interiors, different landscapes and daily travels.  I look at something and envision it on a canvas.  I have a few different styles that gives me the flexibility to play with different subject matter.  For instance, I enjoy doing landscapes and seascapes but with a very abstract feel.  I also think everyone can relate to a landscape and/or seascape.

Abstract landscapes...

In my abstract landscapes you'll see a horizon line with possible reflections depicted in the piece.  I also like the use of metallics in my paintings, as it gives the sense of a sparkly cloud, sunset or water glistening.  In this painting (shown aboveI created a 'watercolor' feel seascape that shows large reflective pools of water.  I love how the colors have come together and mixed to make some unusual shapes and shades of green and blue. 

Liza's personal style...

I have a very bohemian style.  I love to mix the old with the new.  I have a lot of things that mean a lot to me that I have either collected myself, inherited or was given to me, so I like to put everything together.  I enjoy mixing in my own paintings in my interiors, but I also like to collect art from other artists.

On color and texture...

I also love color and texture, as I think it makes for more interesting interiors.  I have just recently moved into a wonderful house on Lake Roland.  We painted everything in Simply White by Benjamin Moore and it makes everything pop, especially our colorful decor!  I have a lot of color in my furnishings and I am finding the white to be very soothing.   

Liza's creative inspiration...

The amazing views at my home is a huge inspiration for my work.  The water here is always changing right along with the weather and seasons.  As a result, my favorite spot at home is absolutely our deck and our patio!  Here are a few photos of what we look at daily.  Just being outside and seeing the water makes me happy!

Adventures in textile...

My painting has led to creating textiles, which has been very exciting for me.  I've had the good fortune to work with Cotton and Quill on fabrics and my second line comes out in April at Highpoint.  My first collection was a 'marble' collection and the second is a 'Chinoiserie' collection (see above).  Each are offered in cotton, cotton linen, and sateen.  Cotton and Quill have been wonderful to work with and have worked closely with me to ensure the best repeat and color edits for each line of fabric.  

Painting by Liza MatthewsOil and Charcoal 

Find out more about Liza Matthews and her artwork at her website here.  She offers commissions, as well.  Liza's fabric collections are for purchase at Cotton and Quill