May 28, 2010

DIY Projects

I love to create projects from salvaged materials. I can often visualize its potentials and transform them into useful objects. Here are some of the inspirational boards I created from trash (old frames) to fab!
Have a wonderful and safe Memorial weekend!

May 22, 2010

Fairy Tale Cottages of Hugh Comstock

click on photo for original link
I am fascinated by the works of Hugh Comstock, the builder of "Fairy Tale Cottages" in Carmel, California, during the 1920's. With no formal education in engineering and architecture, his fairy tale style shaped the landscape of Carmel. Originally cost hundred dollars to build, these cottages still stand strong carrying a value worth millions of dollars (average home sale about $4 million).
Comstock started with the "Hansel Cottage," (shown above) in response to a shortage of space of his wife's doll making business. This led to other cottages being built not only by Comstock but by other business owners who remodeled their storefronts in the fairy tale style. Today, their beauty and charm give visitors great enjoyment and offer inspiration to artists and designers. You can view more of Hugh Comstock's cottages via Linda Hartong photography. For information on walking tour, click here.
You would all agree that Hansel will not be complete without Gretel. Appropriately so, Comstcock named this house (above), "Gretel."

May 18, 2010

Charming Garden Shed

Would you like to escape and relax in your own backyard that looks like this? I do! So charming and serene.
country living magazine, better homes and garden magazine

May 14, 2010

A Place of Miracles

Over the past few months, I have shared with you my passion for 'salvaged' designs, but today I would like to share with you the everyday reality of the world I live with the little preemies. There have been sad days but also countless days of jubilation. Overall, I find it rewarding to think that there can be a future waiting for them...but my heart goes out to those who won't... and until you see their little hands and feet nestled on the palm of your hand, you will know a miracle just happened and the rewarding responsibilities that follow. This is my job and my other passion...

May 10, 2010

The Sweet Swedish Look

If I were to build a new house and for the first time meet my architect, I would describe my dream home with a single picture of a furniture and my home will be built around it. I am talking about a Gustavian, Scandinavian, Swedish style, considered all in the same category. Long before shabby chic became a trend, painted furniture were already evident in the early 18th-19th century. One could be characterized as high style with furniture produced in the fashionable Empire or Regency manner and the second is the more provincial pieces with the rustic look, popularly known as the Swedish Neoclassical style.
Started out with King Gustav's enthusiasm for french furniture, he invited french cabinet makers to Sweden but later he was unable to pay them. As a result, Gustav used local craftsmen to produce similar furniture in a less ornate style that became known as "Gustavian." Local woods were used then painted rather than gilded because it was cheaper.
Whether it be shabby chic or Gustavian, for me an interior decor will not be complete without incorporating a rustic piece that will complement well with vintage style.
Sources here, House Beautiful magazine, Judith Miller Furniture

May 5, 2010

The Rain Forest Beauties

Orchids...I do not even know where to begin,
I have long admired orchids and just as surprised to know they do not require a lot of care, or I should say, professional care. Orchids come in thousands of varieties of species and countless hybrids. A selected few can be found in your local garden centers. Costco and Trader Joe's are common centers that carry the friendly breed of orchids. Which means, these chosen few can grow indoors and in your OWN living rooms. I am sure you already have encountered an orchid specie in your own kitchen. Vanilla is extracted from the seedpod of the genus Vanilla orchid, naturally grown in tropical regions.
The rain forest is the natural habitat of orchids. Most orchid plants come from the tropical climates but they grow in any climate and in any country, even in cold regions like the Alps and Alaska. With the influx of new hybrids, ORCHIDS easily acclimate to any environment with the proper lighting, watering, air, and fertilizer. Most variety of orchids can bloom from once to 4 times a year. Depending on the species, the blossoms can last for weeks to months. Most plants you buy from the garden centers already come in full bloom for you to enjoy the instant beauty. For this post, I would like to focus on the type of orchids that commonly thrive in our normal living room settings.
I am not an expert grower by any means, but I have grown a few and rescued some bad ones from my own neglect. Even those that looked like they were clinging to the last thread of life, I was advised to continue the care and sure enough it spruced up over time. Orchids are not that delicate as they appear and with the proper environment and loving patience, it will survive. If I can do it, so can you!
This plant, left by the window through the winter, was on hibernation the last few months but new buds are starting popping up. I should start seeing some blossoms in a few months, or maybe weeks. Here are few tips I gathered from the experts:
  • Strong light, but not direct late-afternoon sunlight. Find the right spot by your window or window counter by your kitchen with filtered/indirect sunlight. It always works!
  • High humidity-occasionally, allow the plant to sit near your shower room or near your kitchen faucet so it can get the vapor exposure from the hot water. I have not done this for awhile, yet I am still getting great flowers. This shows that they are far from being delicate with the proper care implemented.
  • Allow turbulent air flow around the roots. Regular periods of drying, alternating with drenching rain-that is 'watering' for the home growers. Do not over stuff the pot with barks.
  • Maintain temperatures between 50 degrees and about 85 degrees.
Most orchids are considered 'air plants', which means they grow outside the soil and will not require too much watering. The barks or the special potting mix will absorb the water and become the source of nutrients. Above photo is a good example to avoid. The pot contains the wet moss packed around the plant, this kind of environment is to be avoided. If left without a period of drying, it will eventually kill the plants. Weekly watering is recommended during the summer months. Let the water drench the roots and fill up the pebble tray (this will provide extra humidity). During the growing season, weekly application of a weak solution of powder or liquid fertilizer is recommended. Many growers use Peter’s 20/20/20 fertilizer diluted at quarter strength. There are organic manufactured fertilizers available and homemade recipes (here) that are easy to follow. During winter months, keep your plants warm and water monthly. Mist it every so often to make sure it stays hydrated. Don't fertilize it.
Orchid pots come in plastics or clay pots that have holes at the base so water can easily run through the potting mix. Orchid mix are commercially available and often made from charcoal, bark chunks and foam material.
Experts advise re-potting every 2-3 years.
So there you have it... it is not bad as it looks. Just find the right table or counter by your window, set the orchid pot on a pebbled tray, water it weekly (run water from your faucet or use water spray bottle to avoid carrying the pot to your sink), fertilize as per manufacturer's recommendation (I do not necessarily fertilize it regularly-that's how easy it is, but imagine if I do), set it and forget it! You may have long months of waiting but you will be rewarded with endless beauties to enjoy.
sources of information & images other than my own are found here:,,
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