Category: General

GeneralEnchanting Wisteria Tunnel of Kawachi Fuji Gardens, Japan

No, these aren’t paintings you’re looking at! These are the totally unreal photos taken of the Wisteria Tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Japan. From April to May, this beautiful tunnel explodes with magnificent color and look as if it was taken from some fairytale fantasy. 
Imagine yourself walking through this lush wonderland of beautiful flowers . . . absolutely breathtaking.
I really need to book a trip to Japan, ASAP! Who’s coming with me?!
(All photos courtesy of JeannieJeannie.com)
 

GeneralInterior Motives: How To Decorate Antique Eclectic

 
This week I’m celebrating my favorite style of interior design, Antique Eclectic, where vintage furniture and knick-knacks are mixed with modern pieces, and textures and color abound. One of the best things about this style is you can do it on a budget. Second-hand pieces can be brought to their full glory, and if you are at all crafty, you’ll have fun repainting furniture or making your own throw pillows or curtains.
 

 

 
 
Pick a Color, Any Color: Like any space, you’ll want to start by picking a color that is interesting but not overwhelming for you. You can take inspiration from a piece of art or decor that you already own. Below is a great example of working around an aqua blue. The color shows up on an accent wall, as well is in the painting, vase and throw pillows.
 

 
Create Space: You’ll want to start by adding interesting shelves and tables in solid colors. Feel free to choose interesting colors that tie into the room, maybe mint, red or cream. If you’re not sure, brown or white is a perfectly acceptable and neutral way to begin.
 
 
Containers and Trays: Now that you’ve got the big surfaces taken care of, you can start filling them in. Vintage apothecary jars and painted trays are great for storage as well as “layering” the eclectic appeal of your space.
 
 
Add a Granny Square!: Use the vintage color palettes in your favorite afghan to pull out other colors in your space, and don’t forget to add plenty of throw pillows!

GeneralGet Your Nom On: Cake in a Mug

I love cake.
 
Sprinkle cake, vanilla cake, lemon cake, chocolate cake, strawberry cake, butter cake, red velvet cake . . . deep breath . . . banana cake, poppyseed cake, rum cake, cheesecake, crumble cake, almond cake, layer cake, and well, pretty much any cake I can get my hands on.
 
I love cake so much that waiting the hour it takes to make it is just painful…or so I thought. That’s what I thought until I discovered the 
 
CAKE IN A MUG
 
 
And it takes no more than five minutes. Yeah, you heard me. Five minutes. All that deliciousness you see up there . . . you can make it and be eating it on the couch in the time it cakes for the commercials to be over. I’m pretty sure this stops just short of magic in my book.
 
Now, there are about a billion recipes for mug cake floating around the internet, and I’ve tried several at home in attempts to create the perfect one. While many were delicious and all were eaten, this recipe by Laine of It’s Just Laine has found its way into my mug and my mouth forever:
 
 
What You Need 

1 box angel food cake mix
1 box cake mix
2 boxes instant pudding mix  

What You Do 

1) Mix cake mixes and pudding together in a bowl until well blended. (Store unused mix in an airtight container…it’s a lot, so you’ll have dessert on standby for a while!)
2) Add 3 tbsp. mix to a cup and 2-3 tbsp. of desired liquid.  Mix well. 
3) Microwave for 1 minute and let cool. 
4) Top with whipped cream, ice cream, fruit, caramel, chocolate syrup . . .use your imagination!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can really play around with ingredients to create whatever kind of cake you like and add any toppings you want. If you’re feeling really domestic, you can even make a different flavor for all your friends or your family!
 
Tip for the lazy like me:  If your cake cravings are sometimes so intense that ripping open the plastic on the mix seems like an eternity, try this:  mix all the dry ingredients in a large Ziplock and store in your freezer. Whenever you feel the urge, simply pull out your favorite mug, add water, milk, coffee, etc., and cook! Ta-da!
 
P.S. Here are two more great recipes for cake in a mug:
 
(Pics courtesy of Babble, iVillage, Kirbie Cravings, and The Hidden Pantry.) 

GeneralInterior Motives: Decorating with Live Plants

 
The quickest way to liven up your living space is to add a little greenery. But where to begin? In general, you’ll want to start by choosing the sunniest locations in your house and attaining healthy plants, know that the most common death for houseplants is overwatering, and (since plants need to eat too) be sure to fertilize at least once a year. Now let’s start designing!

Work with the height of your windows: The tall plants pictured below work beautifully against the sparse white walls and lengthy windows. Smaller windows can be treated with a row of low-growing plants. 
 
 
Clusters: Because one really IS the loneliest number, you’ll probably gravitate towards clustering your indoor plants. You can choose a variety of sizes and textures, or find a nice repetition with similarly sized pots filled with the same species. A healthy plant will often reach a point when it needs to be divided; an opportune time to create this look!
 
 
Non-Traditional Looks: Sure succulents are an all-time favorite for indoors, but this colorful succulent wreath adds a new shape and allows you to hang it in a variety of places. Below is an apartment windowsill with a few potted plants, a sprouting pineapple and a cluster of dried chili peppers. The casual assortment adds an interesting personal touch.
 
 
Add a Terrarium: You need absolutely NO green thumb to care for a terrarium, just be sure to buy or make one that has a lid, and the atmosphere will recycle its own moisture. If it ever seems too dry, give it a quick spritz with a spray bottle. Mosses are the hardiest, and require very little light, making them perfect for the office, or any non-sunny location.
 
 
Share YOUR best tips in the comments below!

GeneralSite to See: Cookie Boy!

 
Images of the elusive Cookie Boy have been trickling into the Western hemisphere, but his confectionary magic remains largely a mystery, due to the fact the entire site is in Japanese. What we CAN gather is that the intricately iced art of this man/boy/team? stirs something in all of us. From individual cutouts to highly involved installations, it’s easy to obsess over this site, and I DEFINITELY recommend perusing his blog!