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!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Go Bold with Paint Splatter in Design!

Image via Eclectic Trends

It's all about paint splatter in design on the blog today!  The paint splatter motif's abstract nature makes it a great way to bring an artful touch to your home, which I love of course! When looking to make a bold statement in design, paint splatter home accents really achieve just this.  It's bold, artistic, unexpected and fresh.  A perfect combination!  I've rounded up my favorite paint splatter designs that are executed with style.  Here's some chic inspiration for your Monday!  

Designed by Gerrie Bremermann. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Chez Elza

Designed by Kelly Wearstler

I love how much drama paint splatter can add to a space. The hallway in Kelly Wearstler's design above is a great example.  The small powder room below makes a huge statement as well with paint spatter-style wallpaper.

Wall art by artist Rowena Martinich

If you don't want to take the plunge of paint splatter wallpaper, you can try selecting your favorite fine art painting that evokes a paint splatter feel.  Australia-based artist Rowena Martinich painted the colorful artwork (above) and has many other fine art creations for sale on her website here

Designer Pat Healing, Maura McEvoy Photography, House Beautiful

So basically, paint splatter in design is pretty cool!  If you'd like to try paint splatter wallpaper, check out this option.  Also, here are two great resources for adding a chic paint-splatter vase to your home.  On the left you'll find an awesome DIY paint-splatter vase project from Little Green Notebook blog, which you can customize in your own colors!  On the right you'll find Jonathan Adler's luxe black and gold paint splatter vase, which is an eye-catcher with a hint of drama. Take a look! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tips for Entertaining with Style (and with kids!)

London Interior Designer and Mom, Karolina Barnes has joined us today to share her lovely backyard BBQ along with her TOP 5 TIPS for entertaining in style... and with kids!  As a mom she's mastered juggling hosting preparations with looking after the children, all with ease and grace.  Not to mention, she's a designer too so her backyard BBQ is both stylish and infused with vibrant colors!  Karolina's tips aren't just for those of you with children though, but really for everyone.  Take a look at this family-friendly BBQ filled with loads of English-charm and plenty of color, hosted by Karolina Barnes of London. 

1. Approach your outdoor decor in a same way as your indoor. 

This means starting with a colour scheme of at least 4 core colours and working around them. In my case I started with the outdoor Ikea rug which added fuchsia pink and yellow. I also included green and blue décor as accents.  I managed to pull those colours together through the cushions on the seats and dinner plates.

2. Use textures and bold patterns.

I like using colours, textures and patterns to inject some personality into the space.  Bold colours in particular go really well against the greenery in your garden. 

Mixing patterns such as stripes, chevron and ikat (on my cushions) also makes the space more vibrant and individual.  I purposely didn’t want to create a matchy-matchy feel so I used different cushions on each chair but in the initial colour palette I started with.  

3. Use layers in table dressing.

If you have kids around, keep your table setting to its minimum. I like to start my table with a white table cloth since it provides a nice clean, elegant backdrop which is very easy to build upon.  Use flower pots and urns as a centre piece.  It will be a very nice touch.  Also, if your kids are old enough, get them involved in your preparations and special event.  They can help prepare the food, set the table, or even just pose for great family photos!

Think practically. In my case, instead of placemats, I used table runners which I layered over one another in crosses. To make my table more interesting, I used two different types of the table runner.  One was plain blue in glazed linen running through the centre of the table, and the other two were in bolder green cotton with fuchsia pink dots running vertically on either side of the table.  A lovely way to spice up your dining table! 

4. Invest in quality outdoor furniture.
I would recommend investing in the best quality outdoor furniture you can afford (see above).  Teak, eucalyptus and other hardwood can withstand harsh weather conditions throughout the year.  Teak in particular is very durable and hard-wearing.  Teak’s initial honey colour gradually changes to light silver grey, which has absolutely no effect on the longevity of the furniture.  If you prefer keeping it in the nice honey colour, use teak sealer to revive it once in a while.

5. Forget about perfection and just enjoy it!

Entertaining with kids is not always easy. Especially when you have to be the host, while manning the kitchen or BBQ grill and looking after the kids at the same time.  It can get very stressful. But my advice is, don’t try to make things perfect.  As long as the food is good and everybody is having a good time, you can give yourself a pat on the back.  

As a bonus, Karolina has shared her daughter's recipe for Strawberry Meringue Nest, which she served at her recent BBQ.  I've included her delicious yet simple recipe below. To learn more about Karolina or to check out her UK-based interior design services, please stop by her website here.  Happy Friday!

Strawberry meringue nest with cream  - super easy summer dessert!

  • Ready prepared meringues (similar to these or make your own)
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Whipping cream
  • Superfine (caster) sugar - (You can simply blend regular sugar to make superfine sugar.)
  • Fresh mint leaves

First gently cook your cut strawberries with one table spoon of caster sugar and one spoon of water until you have a nice thick sauce with soft strawberries pieces running through it.

After it cools down, whip the cream with a third of the strawberry sauce so that it’s nice and light pink. Spoon the whipped cream on the meringue nest and decorate it with the remaining strawberry sauce and a mint leaf.  Voilà