HELLO RETIREMENT!

Yup -This is it.

 It’s a moment in time .

 I find myself at the crossroads of work and retirement. I have thought about this day, planned for this day, and even, yes even fantasized about this day! Now that it is here I have a tiny little confession:

I  AM TOTALLY ESTATIC!

 Okay – maybe I exaggerate.

The truth is exactly what you might expect . . . I have completely mixed emotions.

 As I look back over my shoulder I see reflections of 40 years of being someone’s employee.

 I have been quite lucky because my places of employment have been extentions of my passions. That counts!

But now I really am looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

I may continue blogging –

I may work part time for another design store –

I may sell jewelry-

I may take a graphic design class –

I may take naps – or spend hours on a floatie!

I also have visions of doing some type of artwork projects with people who are drinking wine at the same time!   Hey! Did I just invent a new career?!

Oh wait,  I think Jackson Pollock already did that.

Today, however I just want to say thank you to my readers and to my family of co-workers.

Know that you will be dearly missed.

It’s time for me to smell some yellow roses!

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors

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Variations of a Candy Cane.

CANDY CANES!

From Wikipedia: “The Candy Cane was first manufactured in the 1920’s when Bob McCormack in Albany, Georgia first started making them as Christmas treat, giving them out to children, family, friends, and co-workers.

(phot0  from room envy)

Candy Cane production was a labor intensive process, done only by hand, until the candy cane machine was invented in the 1950’s by Bob McCormack’s brother in-law, Gregory Keller, who was also a Catholic priest.

 This machine made it possible to ship candy canes and it made the production of the traditional Christmas treat a lot easier. The candy cane machine transformed Bob’s Candies Inc. into the largest producer of candy canes in the world.”

Today the Candy Cane pattern is used on very non- candy, non-typical things.

Interior designers love it!

The house of Hanna shows us this understated, but festive, candy caned colored foyer.

Or, how about investing $80.00 for your little Christmas toddler’s Candy Cane feet?!

Oh what fun it is to  –  see this playful take  on a teen bedroom.  (From ideasBest)

Packages wrapped in white never get tired when they have the energizing zing of candy cane color.

 Or, if you dare –  you could try your personal kitchen variation on the candy color scheme.

OR, for some real Christmas cheer, you could pretend that you are me . . .

Okay, maybe that’s not really me.

But the candy cane phenom is real!

Enjoy as many variations as you can think up!

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelans Interiors

363-9634

Month 2 of a love affair with pumpkins – Let’s eat!

  

 

We have now entered the second half of pumpkin madness in the USA! The illuminated version of the pumpkin – Jack o Lanterns, which I love , are gone and now we can get down to the serious business of eating pumpkins!  I think I love this tradition even more. 

 

We have carved out pumpkins and decorated with them, so what does November offer?  We eat them!  Today and maybe next week I am going to share delicious ways to eat pumpkins, aside from  the iconic pumpkin pie.

This is Pumpkin Bisque.  All I am going to say is, “Yum.”

Pumpkin Bisque Cooking time:25 minutes

 2 tsp (30 mL) olive oil

 1 small onion finely chopped

 3 cloves garlic, minced

 1 small sweet potato (about 6 oz / 170 g), peeled and thinly sliced

 2½ cups (625 mL) water

1 can (15 oz / 416 g) pumpkin purée

1 tbsp (15 mL) light brown sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) salt 3/4 tsp (3 mL) ground pepper

 ½ tsp (2 mL) rubbed sage

1 cup (250 mL) fat-free half-and-half

 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

 4 pinches cracked pepper

 Directions 1.Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan over low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

2.Add sweet potato and 1½ cups (375 mL) of the water to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until sweet potato is tender, about 10 minutes.

 3.Stir in pumpkin purée, brown sugar, salt, ground pepper, sage, and remaining 1 cup (250 mL) water, and bring to a boil.

 4.Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until flavours have blended, about 5 minutes. Working in batches if necessary, transfer to food processor and purée until smooth. Return to saucepan and stir in 3/4 cup (175 mL) half-and-half. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

5.Spoon into soup bowls. With a spoon, drizzle remaining half-and-half over soup. Use the tip of a knife to create a pattern.

6.Sprinkle Parmesan and cracked pepper on top. Serve with Italian breadsticks and follow with roast poultry and steamed spinach.

On a personal note, I ate a version of this in New Orleans at Emril’s and he added bourbon. Bam!

Let’s hear it for the pumpkin!

Next week I’ll share a fabulous “pumpkin pie” cake recipe. You’ll thank me.

If you have an unusal, tasty pumpkin recipe please send it to me!

Let’s spread the joy!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634

What is IKKAT? IKAT?

 

Right now Ikkat is the absolute “must have”  fabric/pattern in the interior design world. It is showing up everywhere and on nearly everything from shoes to sofas! The word itself means “to bind.”

This collage was on design sponge.

 

Wikipedia gives us this definition: Ikat, or Ikkat, is a dying technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft fibres.

Actually the process is really NOT like tie-dye because the fibres are dyed before they are woven into fabric.  The color variation exists in the threads first.  When something is tie-died the fabric is bundled (tied) together and then dyed. Take another look.  This collage is from

Haley on home design

 

What a beautiful technique!

And old – very old! Some antique patterns come from South America, India, as well as in the caucuses. If you decide that you are in love with these rare and hand-made delicacies be prepared to spend some serious cash. To make a proper Ikat fabric is labor intensive and time-consuming, hence the large price tag.

 But if you are like me and really love the look of variation in colors and geometric patterns, as shown above in the collages, many companies produce look-alike knock-offs.  And, as far as I can tell, either spelling – one K or two, is correct.

This shows a piece of original IKAT fabric.

 

We have several gorgeous Ikkat patterns available for sofas and chairs from vendors like Thomasville and Norwalk.  All  the fabric lines ( Kravet, Robert Allen, Fabricut, etc) offer  a tempting aray of colors and patterns. Obviously adaptable down through the centuries, the design characteristics of Ikat can be playful, loud, subtle, soft and or sophisticated.

Photo from style-files.

 

Once you fall in love with these patterns you will want more, more, more!

So what is Ikat?

The quiz is coming! 

But, no worries.  You know all about it now.

Ikat shoes from Zazzle

Enjoy the wonderful weekend everybody!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior designer / Phelans Interiors

363-9634

(it’s time to) Kiss Summer Goodbye

Lots of people would argue – myself included – that autumn in Cedar Rapids can be absolute heaven on earth. This year we have had phenomenal leaf colors, moderate temperatures and glorious sun filled, whirly-twirly windy days. We all love that!

BUT – I decided to do just one more “summertime” post. These are some images that remind me of summer colors and summer energy, so I’ll just share them with you before I get ready to order up my October pumpkin flavored latte.

Enjoy the sights!


How can you tell  this is not a  photo of me?

Right – I don’t own tennis shoes, but I do have about 40 paint decks!

Below are “summer ” colored night-light tables.  Aren’t they (ahem) just a blast!?

Cupcakes are craved all year long, right? But these colors and the confetti just  sing out “summer!”

 

 

I can hear the heat of summer two-stepping!

 

 

Betcha don’t know what these are?!

Well, if you ever feel like you’d like to light it up in the bathtub, these citrus discs can be purchased from HimeyaShop to accomplish just that!  They’re from Japan and, floating in the tub they REALLY do shoot light throughout the bathroom.

 

I hate to say it, but it’s that time.

Time for me to let go of  all summertime thoughts and images. . .

Time to kiss summer goodbye.

 

Goodbye Summer. I’ll miss you.

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors

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Katharine Hepburn Style: Bold Simplicity

What a phenomenal photo!

Katharine Hepburn didn’t make or endorse furniture but when you hear her name, inevitably the word style comes rushing at you.

For reasons unknown to me, today she is on my mind.

 

So, here is a bit of Katharine and a bit of my mental wanderings.

The  photo, video, and quote below can be visited on-line . . .

“Katharine rarely granted interviews (even in her early career, she refused to sign autographs) but when she did grant interviews, she wanted them done her way. In 1973, Katharine was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show and she decided that she didn’t like the arrangement of the furniture. So what does she do? Rearranges it to her liking of course!”

 

She wore men’s slacks because they were “practical” and suddenly women everywhere decided they were oh-so-glamorous.

She rearranged furniture on a set to make it more functional and intimate for a personal interview.

And she gave us one of my favorite quotes:

“Trying to be fascinating is an asinine position to be in.”

 

Thanks, Katharine.

 

It leaves me wondering what kind of furniture line she would have a passion for. If you are feeling especially self-confident today, add your interpretation, Katharine Hepburn style, to your interior design life!

Keep it simple in form and keep it bold in emotion.

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634

French script on fabric chairs!

Today let’s talk about  French things like:  flowing SCRIPT – perhaps Bastille Day Celebrations – bread, wine, chaise lounges and oo-la-la beauty!

 poster from Designnurd

Norwalk Furniture has done it again!

They have designed a fabulous French script fabric.

What is even more remarkable is that you can use this fabric on any piece of furniture in their line! If you prefer a French chaise, or perhaps just a comfortable, American chair, it is so easy to do.

This is the piece we selected for our show room floor!

 So, even though we don’t really celebrate Bastille Day in America, which was yesterday, by the way, we  do love a bit of the French touch in our interior design – and, well okay – in our wine cellar, as well!

All I can say is “Vive laFrance”!

Oh, and I really should say, “Thank you” to Norwalk for producing this beautiful fabric .

Adieu!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634