Sunday, January 30, 2011

what's cookin' this week?

chicken & kale with orzo and salad
BBQ brisket & ham w/ corn, tabouli & cornbread
mimi's hamburger meal, brussel sprouts, & couscous
shrimp tacos

hope everyone has a fabulous week!

Friday, January 28, 2011

design highlight....take 5

the miller's home

i was lucky enough to help out one of my good friends, carissa with c.c. miller photography, with her new home.  this was a great project...and a fast project!  if i remeber correctly, they broke ground in march and the house was in the tulsa parade of homes in june!  crazy fast!

for this project i was able to help out from the very beginning.  i designed most of the millwork {cabinets}, selected all the finishes {flooring, counters, backsplash, color palette, wallcovering, carpet}, selected lighting fixtures, helped select the hearth room dining table, and was on site quite a bit as the project was under construction.  i love being apart of projects like this because you get to start from the ground and work your way up.

as you will see, the color palette for this home is simple, yet very inviting.  we chose 3 colors total to use throughout the entire house.  the main color is a light grey/blue, the main accent color is a darker blue/grey, and the third accent color is a soft brown {not shown in any photos}.  these paint colors are paired with dark pine wood floors, tile floors that resemble slate, and also white & espresso cabinetry.  by selecting colors, materials, and finishes that flow throughout the house, you create a home that is cohesive and makes sense from one room to another.

on to the photos...i will explain more as we go through the house.

this is the entry.  wonderful, tall ceilings with beautiful white moldings.  the entry is in the main accent color, the darker grey/blue.  on either side of the entry i designed display areas.  the lighted arches accent the vinly wallcovering and high wainscoting.  the high wainscoting is the perfect place for the family to display photos.

an upclose of the vinyl wall covering.  that's right people, it's wall paper and it's gorgeous!  it's actually not wall paper.  it is vinyl and super durable.  this particular wallcovering is a light silver color with and organic leaf pattern.  it has a slight shimmer to it, which is accentuated even more by the recessed lighting in the arches.  this photo also shows the photo ledge at the top of the tall wainscoting.  you don't need much room at all for simple frames and canvases to rest.

this is a view from the entry into the main living room.  this  room is the main overall paint color, light grey /blue.  here you can see the combination of the rustic wood floors and beams, with the ornate white moldings.  i love the combination...not too fancy and not too rustic.

as i mentioned before, for this project i was able to help with the designing of the client's millwork.  carissa had done lots of research on different things that she liked for the kitchen.  she loves to cook, so having the perfect kitchen was high on her list.  i asked her to find inspiration photos so that i could get an idea of her likes.  this is the elevation, that i drew, of the back kitchen wall.
as you can see it turned out pretty darn close to the drawings!

another area that was important to carissa was their "hearth room".  they didn't want a typical formal dining room.  instead she wanted a space where the family could join together and feel relaxed and comfortable.  she had always wanted a window seat with a big table.  i designed the main focal wall of the hearth room to include storage space with open shelving and closed cabinets and in the center, under the picture window, a built in window seat.  this window seat serves as seating for one whole side of their, huge, beautiful table.  on the left you will see the elevation and on the right you will see the section drawing, showing how to construct the window seat.
carissa and i got a little bit of resistence from some of the guys on this idea.  not necessarilly b/c they didn't think it would look good, but because it wasn't "typical".  the millwork guy had noever done anything like this before.  i distictly remember her calling me saying that i needed to come down and talk to the millwork guy b/c he didn't think it was going to work.  she was like, "i can't give up on this now!"  so, after talking with the sub, measuring out the lines and drawing them on the concrete with my finger in the saw dust, he finally agreed to it and set to work.  i absolutely love how it turned out.  he was an awesome sub.  

this photo also shows the great lantern light fixtures, another photo inspiration from carissa.  also, this hearth room goes back to the darker accent color. 

a closer look at the built in window seat...

for the kitchen backsplash we chose a beautiful glass tile.  LOVE it!  i'm telling tile is where it is at!  it adds so much dimension and character to a space.

many of the inspiration photos that carissa found showed marble counter tops in the kitchen.  yes, they are beautiful, NO they are not practical.  they will wine....not good.  i would hate for anyone to spend money on beautiful marble, only for it to get stained down the road.  i was able to find a granite that was light and had grey...this was a great substitute for the original idea of marble.  it turned out beautiful, and it even has a few small specs of red.

love the lights over the kitchen island.  so simple, yet they make such a great statement!

this photo shows the combination of the main paint color and the main accent color, beautiful wood stairs, and a darker colored carpet. 

on to the bathrooms.  you will notice that the millwork in the bathrooms changes to the dark espresso color.  the flooring is a porcelain tile that looks like slate.  i love this tile b/c it is so natural looking and great warm colors.  no two tiles are alike, so you get great variety in each room.  we carried the same granite throughout all the bathrooms, which looks great with the bright white vessel sinks.  the backsplash in the bathrooms is another glass mosaic tile. 

below is the master bath.  same dark espresso millwork.  you will notice that we did the whole length of the wall with a mirror and mounted tall, linear fixtures ontop of the mirror.  this provides great reflection within the bathroom.

color pop!

wow!  this was a super long post!  thanks for hanging in there.  i had a blast working on this home project and love the way it turned out.  i joked about mymichael and i living in a small portion of it.  i really don't think they would mind! =)

i hope you all enjoyed all the design highlights this week.  i am getting oh so close to having all the details worked out on my new firm, ruby jewel studio.  i will be offering residential and contract commercial interior design services.  they will range from something as simple as paint color selection to a project like the miller's, so there will be something for everyone!  keep me in mind for any of your design needs.

happy friday!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

design highlight...take 4

the yokum's nursery

this was a great little project that i did for one of my friends. the family had already selected all the furniture for the nursery and simply needed help selecting a paint color, fabric for the bedding, curtains and a rug. the goal was to create a comfortable space for a sweet baby girl that wasn't full of the typical "girl" the end result was a combination of many colors, both subtle and bold. the walls are a light blue which provides a great backdrop for the bold bedding fabric that draws in purple, navy, green, yellow and a little bit of pink. the multiple patterns all come together with a unified color palette that is carried throughout the room.

the blanket, below, was made by the mom and her grandma....beautiful!

multiple patterns can be used together with a unified color palette.

color pop!  this color palette is not typical of most nursery's.  navy, lavender, pink, green, grey, and blue make up this sophisticated color palette.  these colors and patterns could easily transition into a toddler's room a few years down the road. 

congratulations to allison and michael on their new bundle of joy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

design highlight....take 3

the watson's family room



the family room is the epicenter of this family.  located right off the kitchen, the family room becomes the place to gather in the evenings.  this space needed to incorporate a small family dining area as well as a comfortable seating area.  also needed was new paint, ceiling light fixture & floor lamps, rug, ottomans, curtains, and art.  beacuse of the shape of the room, the way to get the most seating was to utilize a large sectional.  this was a custom furniture piece with a durable, neutral fabric.  instead of a typical coffee table i chose to use four leather ottomans that double as storage cubes.  these can be rearranged throughought the room as needed.  the family dining is located behind the sectional and is a unique table that can swivel to be typical table height or taller for standing height.  the color palette for the family room starts with a fresh light grey/blue color on the walls, which accentuates the wood beams and terra cotta tile floor.  the sculpted rug has an organic pattern with chocolate brown, citron green, cream, pink and light orange.  the art in this room is focused on the family.  family portraits and art pieces from travels are displayed throughout.  this is a family room that is functional, flexible and most of all comfortable.

another beautiful rug!  a great way to add pattern and color to a room.

color pop!  the color palette for this room utilizes light colors with dark accents.  the existing tile floor and wood beams are a rich masculine brown.  the lighter blue, green, and pink are a great feminine balance for what could become a very dark space.  the result is a comfortable and inviting room for the whole family. 
the watson's foyer

that is all of the watson residence for now.  it was a super fun project to work on and i am so glad i was able to reconnect with some old friends! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

design highlight...take 2

the watson's dining room


i could eat dinner in here, how about you?


this is the watson's dining room, it is located directly across from their formal living room, which i highlighted yesterday.

for this project we needed curtains, a light fixture, wall treatment, art, and a buffet piece. since the floor, table, and chairs are all existing and dark wood, i wanted to brighten the room. the white and silver trellis pattern wallcovering added just the right amount of interest to the walls. instead of doing one large light fixture right in the center of the dining room, i opted for two smaller fixtures that would center over the long table. the buffet was an existing piece, of the client's, that i had refinished in a white lacquer. it completely changed its look and made it work perfectly for the space. the blue silk draperies create a focal point while breaking up all of the white. a simple color palette and pattern can create a calm and comfortable atmosphere.

this is a perfect example of how you can take more traditional pieces and pair them with more contemporary colors and patterns to create a unique space.

this piece of furniture was a dark wood and black.  paint can make a huge difference on furniture.  it can give a second life to a piece that otherwise you might get rid of...and not to mention that it is great on the pocket book!  i love this wall covering.  it makes such a statement, but yet it is so simple.  it can go traditional or more contemporary/modern. 



the color pop for this space shows the tight color palette.  the blue tones pair perfectly with the dark browns in the floor and furniture, while the bright whites and silver lighten the space.

stay tuned for more tomorrow!

Monday, January 24, 2011

design highlight

getting things in place for my new business has made me take the time to photograph recent residential projects i have completed.  this week i am going to show a different space each day.

at my past job i did all commercial interior design.  that means that i worked on schools, churches, offices, pharmacies, etc.  residential and commercial interior design is very different.  the commercial interior design that i did was very much interior architecture.  in my free time i was able to work on some great residential projects that included furniture selection, art selection, rugs, and accessories.  so, onto the first design highlight....

the watson's formal living room


this family had just moved into a new home and needed help with furniture selection, rugs, art, and accessories. also, the client had a few pieces of family art that they wanted to incorporate into the room. the gorgeous chandelier was existing and was a great focal point to work around. the walls stayed their original neutral color which was a great backdrop for the rich materials, textures, and colors. Turquoise, citron green, burnt orange, and charcoal give the space interest in an otherwise neutral palette. by combining elegant pieces and formal items with rustic touches,the combination of all these elements allows the room to become a very welcoming place where many people can gather.

the mirror credenza reflects the colors and design from the area rug.

this rug is gorgeous.  it is hard to tell from the photo, but it is a "sculpted" rug.  it's not just flat.  there are grooves that separate the design and colors.  gorgeous! 

the bird art on the wall are family prints.  by placing them in a white frame your focus is on the subject matter instead of the actual frame.  the daybed creates the perfect reading spot in the formal living room. 

the painting above the desk was painted by one of the client's grandparents.   bringing sentimental touches into a space allows the space to become home.  the desk, with extensions on either end, doubles as additional eating space for large dinner parties. 

here is a color pop of the space.  you can see how bold colors can work very nicely in a formal space, without being too overbearing and heavy.  the color palette, along with all the textures, and materials, helps make this formal living room a comfortable and inviting space.

i hope you enjoyed the photo tour of the watson's formal living room!  you will be seeing more of their home later this week...stay tuned!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

what's cookin' this week

i have a couple of confessions to make...
#1  the crock pot meatloaf has been on my list 3 times now b/c things keep coming up.  BUT i am making it MONDAY!
#2  you will notice that the pork barbacoa is on my list again {it was there last week}.  the reason being...i only did half the recipe!  i marinated the pork, cooked the pork, shredded it, and then ate it.  it was good, but i completely missed the last half of the recipe where you add a whole sauce with chipotle peppers and and then let it cook another 1 1/2 hours.  so, we will try it again this week and hope to do the WHOLE recipe!
#3  i tried the moroccan chickpea chili that was on my menu last week and it was not good, unless you LOVE chickpeas.  so, don't waste your time!  {i must apologize to dave and sarah for subjecting them to it!}

onto the menu:

crockpot meatloaf w/ fingerling potatoes & green beans
chicken parmesan with orzo and spaghetti sauce from "the hill" in st. louis {thanks sarah!}

happy monday!

Friday, January 21, 2011


the first recipe is one of my favorites growing up.  it is oh so yummy!

Sausage & Rice Casserole
1 1/2 pound sausage
1 cup green pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/4 cup dry instant rice
2 cans 99% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 can 99% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 can water

Brown sausage.  Drain fat and brown celery, pepper and onion.  In a large bowl combine the sausage and vegetable mixture.  Add rice, soup, and water and mix together.  Pour mixture into a greased baking dish.  Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, take cover off and brown top.  This freezes great! 

this next recipe usually goes over very well with the kiddos....and it's super easy!!!

Dorito Casserole
1 pound ground beef
1 can 99% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 can chili beans
1 can rotel, tomatoes w/ green chilis
Dorito chips
Shredded cheese

Brown ground beef.  In a bowl, mix together beef, soup, chili, & rotel.  In a deep, greased, casserole dish, start with chips on the bottom, then a layer of the meat mixture, then chips, meat....continue until you run out of meat.  Meat should be on top of the casserole.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake on 350 degrees until it is hot through and cheese is melted.

Okay, the next recipe is for all those chocolate lovers out there.....beware!

Chocolate Sheath Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup water
2 eggs
3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix sugar and flour.  Heat butter, cocoa, and water in a saucepan until it reaches boiling.  pour hot mixture over dry ingredients, add buttermilk with soda, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour onto a greased cookie sheet {that has edges on all 4 sides} and bake for 20 minutes.

1 stick margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup pecans {optional}

Heat margarine, milk, and cocoa over heat until margarine is melted and it is beginning to boil.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and nuts.  Pour over cake in cookie sheet.
***i did not claim that these were all healthy recipes!  but they sure are good!***

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

recipes {soup's}

so, i guess i will jump on the "it's going to snow, let's cook soup or chili" bandwagon.  it always amazes me when we have winter weather, here in tulsa, how the possibility of a few snow flakes on the ground can send the entire city running to grocery store within a matter of hours!  i guess that's what you get when you only have a couple true snows a year.  so, onto the are a couple of our favorite soup's...

full moon cafe chicken tortilla soup
combine thesee ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil:
3 cans chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon pepper

to thicken:
 in a small sauce pan melt 1/2 stick butter.  stir in 3/4 cup flour.  cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and thickened.  stir roux into chicken broth.

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pint fat free half & half
2 teaspoons diced jalapenos
1 10 ounce can rotel tomatoes with chilis
1 cup cooked, diced chicken meat {or one can of canned chicken}

cook over low heat stirring frequently.  to hold, place soup in top of a double boiler over hot water {or wait to add shredded cheese until a few minutes before serving}.  serve with pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla chips.

shrimp and black bean chili
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon canola oil
15 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained
14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes undrained
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1/3 cup picante sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 pound uncooked shrimp peeled & deveined

in a large sauce pan, saute onion and green pepper in oil for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp tender.  stir in the beans, tomatoes, broth, picante sauce, cumin and basil.  reduce heat and simmer uncoverend for 15 minutes or until heated through.  add shrimp and simmer until shrimp turn pink and are done.

hope everyone enjoys their winter weather here in tulsa!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

recipes {poppy seed chicken & poppy seed cake}

today it's all about the poppy seeds!

poppy seed chicken
1 can chicken {or 1 pound chopped chicken breast}
1 can 99% fat free cream of celery soup
1 can 99% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 small package slivered almonds

mix all of the above ingredients and place in a well greased 9x13 dish.

1/4 lb. Ritz crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 stick margarine, melted

mix until crackers are well coated with margarine and poppy seeds.  put cracker mixture ontop of chicken mixture.  bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly.

poppy seed cake
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/8 cup oil
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2  teaspoon each of the following flavors:  almond, vanilla & butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds

mix oil and sugar together.  gradually alternate dry ingredients with milk.  add flavors and poppy seeds at the end of mixing.  pour into 2, greased, loaf pans.  bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done with the toothpick test {insert toothpick into top of cake and remove.  if there is batter on the toothpick the cake is not done yet, if the tooth pick is clean then it is done}

1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup powdered sugar

mix together with a whisk and pour over cake.

***tip:  try to avoid any drug tests after eating all these poppy seeds!***


Monday, January 17, 2011

recipe {mexican lasagna}

as you can see, my blog is a little different.  it is "under construction" for the time being, so bear with me please!

onto the recipe of the day...

mexican lasagna

1 1/2lb. ground beef
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 can diced green chilies
2 eggs beaten
2 cups shredded cheese
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 can {15 oz} tomato sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
10 corn tortillas

in a large skillet brown ground beef, drain fat.  add taco seasoning mix, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chilies; blend well.  bring mixture to a boil.  reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.  in small bowl combine ricotta cheese and eggs.  in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan, spread 1/2 of meat mixture.  top with 1/2 of the corn tortillas, spread ricotta cheese mixture on top of tortillas.  put another layer of tortillas.  top with remaining meat mixture.  top with cheese.  bake uncovered in 350 degree oven 20 to 30 minutes.  let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

what's cookin' this week

this week i have a couple carry-over's from last week and all the other recipes are a first time try for me.  wish me luck!

chicken enchiladas
crock pot meat loaf with red potatoes

i have had quite a few people ask for some easy week night recipes.  so, each day this week i will give out at least one recipe from my family cook book that my mom gave me a few years ago for christmas.  they will be easy, quick and tasty!  some may have pics, some won't.  so, for this week's first recipe.....

chicken spaghetti
1 1/4 cup cooked spaghetti
1 can white meat chicken
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup shredded cheese {any kind}
1 can 99% fat free cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons picate sauce {any kind works, could be chipotle flavored, regular, anything}
1/2 cup chopped onion

cook spaghetti, drain and set aside.  mix chicken, onion, cream of chicken soup, green peppers, picate sauce and spaghetti together.  pour into greased 9x13 baking pan.  top with cheese.  cook at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.  start in cold oven.  this is a great dish to make ahead and freeze...skip baking, wrap in foil and pop in freezer until you are ready to bake it. 

chocolate mousse
{the easiest mousse you will ever make!!!}
1/2 cup chocolate syrup {i use the sugar free or lite version}
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fat free cool whip {one small tub}

allow cool whip to thaw {by sitting on not microwave it!}, it should not be frozen.  in a medium bowl, combine cocoa, vanilla and syrup until smooth; fold in cool whip.  do not stir in a circular motion...fold it in otherwise it will start to break down.  once it is mixed you can either spoon into bowls and eat as is or it is wonderful in the small pre-made phyllo cups that you can buy at the store.  i also put it in the individual sized graham cracker crusts that you can buy at the store.  if you want, it is great to top with any kind of fruit. 

happy monday!

Friday, January 14, 2011

getting there

just got my federal tax id # and have my application for the state board of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design, filled out.  just have to get notorized and mailed off.  then comes the filing with the state. 

getting closer and closer! 


Monday, January 10, 2011

the business of being in business....

my oh my at all the things to get set up!  i managed to completely and utterly confuse myself with the whole email/calendar/contacts thing.  i have used hotmail in for years and love it.  when i started this whole business venture i googled how to sync my hotmail account with my microsoft outlook account, allowing me to easily manage contacts and my calendar.  the next fete was to sync that to my iphone, which is impossible b/c hotmail doesn't have some sort of pop something other that would allow the iphone and computer to wirelessly sync.  i could plug my phone into my computer and sync it, but i wanted the syncing process to be wireless.  i found this out only after hours of googling and trying different things and then finally making an appointment at the apple store for them to try and help.  and that is where the nice guy told me it wasn't possible....but that i could purchase another program for $100 that would work.  no thanks. 

after leaving the mall and heading to my new office {aka the nearest starbucks}, i remembered seeing on my iphone, where you add email accounts, that gmail was an option {hotmail was not}.  so, i thought, what the heck, i'll give it a try.  so again, i googled how to do it and after following the instructions it worked!  the new gmail account would sync with my microsoft outlook which would then syc to my iphone allowing me to update.  now the trick was to sync all my contacts and emails from my original hotmail account to my new gmail account.  again, thank you google for providing answers to everything!  so, after multiple days and hours of trying to figure this dang thing is DONE!  i can email, add contacts, and appointments from either the computer or my phone and it will all sync nicely.  whew! 

so, the moral of this story is:  if you want to sync a free email with microsoft outlook and then to your iphone....don't use hotmail!  hopefully someone else can benefit from my hours of frustration!

on a happier, unfrustrated note, i am enjoying my new schedule and office.  the chairs are so comfy and it's snowing right now, which makes it even better.  so far, monday's are much better now than they were!

what's cookin' this week

pernil {puerto rican pork} with black beans & rice
homemade pizza & salad
crockpot meatloaf {new recipe from mom} w/ red potatoes & green beans
chicken enchiladas & salad
cuban paninis
shrimp & black bean chili

happy monday!

Friday, January 7, 2011

new beginnings

A writing that a friend of mine and mymichael sent me...

New Beginnings

By Daisy E. Vest

A new day can simply bring new beginnings

New beginnings that may require changes

Changes that may challenge our thoughts

Thoughts that were once routines

Routines that need breaking...

Breaking away from the old

A new beginning can simply bring new uncertainties

New uncertainties that may lead to failed efforts

Failed efforts that may lead to great discoveries

Discoveries that unveil our hidden abilities...

Abilities that conquer new beginnings!

"Living the uncertainty of a new beginning is more admirable than existing with a reliable old routine."
this is so very true for me right now!  the first week of my new gig is over.  not so bad.  i do have to say that i enjoy my new office {aka the nearest starbucks}.  it's amazing how much work i can get done there verses other places!  still lots and lots to get set up, but it's moving forward which is exciting.....and nerve racking. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

belated abstract christmas lights

the week of christmas my friend kelly and i went out to rhema and took pictures of christmas lights.  each year rhema puts up thousands of beautiful lights with music and everything.  it's a great holiday tradition if you live anywhere near tulsa.  my favorite pictures that i took are all more abstract.  i had lots of fun blurring the lights to get different effects.

to take photos like these, with the lights blurred creating circles, you have to put your lens on manual focus.  then play with it until you get the look you like.  i think some of these would look really neat blown up really big on canvas!
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