I’ve been busy this week preparing for the Holiday Bazaar I’m participating in this weekend. In addition to holiday prints and ceramics I made a few ornaments to sell as well. I made ceramic state ornaments (similar to these) at my local clay studio in addition to the hand painted baubles below.
I spied these shapely bisque ceramic ornaments online and couldn’t wait to get creative with them. I painted a dozen abstract and botanical motif ornaments with them to sell at the market this weekend. Here’s a glimpse of a few I’ve completed so far.
I used my stash of paints, glitter, and leftover gold leaf to make these, then added chiffon ribbon to finish them off.
I really like the matte finish and shape of these ceramic ornaments but ‘tis the season to add sparkle and bling. This can be done in a few different ways, with glitter, gold or silver leaf, metallic paint, or a combination which is what I did.
Start by adding any pattern or colors you like, I did a variety of abstract strokes using acrylic paints:
One technique that works really well is to paint on craft glue in small strokes then sprinkle loose glitter on top:
Hand applied metallic paint adds a little bit of glimmer but glitter glue adds more:
Finally, you can paint on craft glue then apply gold leaf in small strips. I’ve found in the past that working with gold leaf sheets takes patience because of the fine flakey material, but the shine you get from gold leaf is so nice.
I’m making a video that I’ll share on Reels on how these came together. The colors and patterns are just what flowed in the moment for me.
Linear architecture serves as the common thread in our exploration of two exceptional modern home designs. The first is a striking two-story structure in concrete, wood, and glass with a daring cantilevered volume. The second linear home design is a charming modern rustic abode with a single-story stone exterior. Outdoor swimming pools and spacious terraces create a balance of relaxation and entertainment at these luxury residences. Open-plan living spaces carry a tasteful blend of modern gray and natural wood decor, creating a warm and inviting ambiance. Come and explore these two homes, where linear architecture seamlessly melds form and function, encapsulating the essence of contemporary design.
Our first modern home exterior appears intriguing behind a mysterious shroud of wooden shutters on the second story and a solid concrete facade at ground level. The brutalist concrete aesthetic is softened by a covering of flowering climbing plants, which add a little romance to the modern setting.
As we move to the side of the lower volume, the foreboding concrete block opens up with a huge expanse of floor-to-ceiling glass, revealing the main living space.
The second story of the home sits perpendicular to its base, overlapping the ground floor containment as a cantilevered mass.
The overhanging second-story extends over a pool terrace, casting a cool shadow.
The main living space is sandwiched between edge-to-edge glass. Enormous doors slide open to adjoin the living room with the sun terrace, creating an easy flow of indoor-outdoor living.
Outdoor furniture is arranged around the expansive sun deck to create pockets of comfort for relaxation and entertaining.
Sun loungers are situated down by the swimming pool for catching a tan.
A lawned area makes the modern terrace feel soft and inviting.
A winding pathway snakes up to the house. The living room also opens to the front of the private property, giving the living space wonderful cross ventilation.
Exterior spotlights are installed under the cantilevered overhang, which keeps the outdoor living spaces well-illuminated after nightfall.
Inside the luxury living room, modern gray sofas are arranged in a sociable U-shaped configuration around the TV. A cozy area rug is unfurled beneath a set of nesting coffee tables.
A wood-clad TV wall makes a warm statement in the large open layout.
The linear floor plan moves from the TV lounge into a conversational sitting area, then into an open-plan formal dining room and ultimately the kitchen.
A custom-made media console unit expands the full width of the wide room. Its wooden design melds warmly with the wood-clad TV wall.
The rectangle swimming pool echoes the linearity of the building.
Flagstones build a patio for a cozy circle of garden rocking chairs.
The cool blue infinity pool skims the horizon.
A paved driveway gives access to the home.
The second story of the home contains private sleeping quarters. The long, linear volume lands momentarily on the boundary wall before touching gently onto the sloping hillside.
Our second linear home design has a modern rustic aesthetic.
Rugged limestone walls build the single-story construction.
A tree grows in the front entryway, amalgamating the home with the landscape.
A carport shades three vehicles at the front entrance.
At the back of the property, there is a welcoming sun terrace and a swimming pool.
Mature palm trees line the edge of the property, creating a sense of privacy and seclusion.
Retractable glass doors link the sun terrace with the spacious interior. Inside the living room, an enormous gray area rug defines a modern sitting area from a formal dining space. Modern sofas and chic lounge chairs offer ample seating for extended family and friends. A huge dining room chandelier calls attention to the wood-clad ceiling.
At the rear of the open plan, the kitchen features a long island with a breakfast bar. Upholstered bar stools seat six.
The house sits atop a gently sloping topography blanketed with grass.
The green panorama wraps an outdoor kitchen and dining space with an uplifting ambiance.
Wood-slatted panels bridge the white master bedroom with a warm tone and texture. A white platform bed and matching nightstands crisply furnish the modern space.
Wood slats form a light permeable TV wall in front of the bedroom window. A wooden media console unit is suspended at its bases, providing convenient storage. The bedroom door is neatly camouflaged within smooth wooden wall panels.
A second double bedroom design is furnished with a sharp gray platform bed and a contrasting brown leather upholstered headboard.
Lattice framework covers the gray TV wall with a 3D linear design.
A gray media console unit underlines the TV screen and creates a display space for small plants and books.
Slatted panels texture the bathroom walls, creating a chic gray-and-white striped effect behind the vanity unit. A rounded square vanity mirror softens the look.
Gray tiles clad the shower area with a dark and moody aesthetic, which creates a fabulously contrasting frame around a view of vivid green trees.
The master bedroom features a rustic limestone statement wall with a wood-slatted ceiling treatment. The shower and freestanding bathtub are contained within one large wet zone behind a sliding glass enclosure.
A double sink vanity unit stretches long across the bathroom layout, spreading warm, natural wood tone with its underlying storage drawers. A custom-cut vanity mirror makes the narrow bathroom space appear twice its width.
I’ve enjoyed a few days off with family visiting from all over since we hosted the big feast this year. We said goodbye to everyone this morning and it was nice to take time away from work and projects to enjoy the Thanksgiving week with them. Now my focus is on a big market coming up this weekend where I’ll be selling and also making sure everyone I love has something special to open on Christmas. It’s time for gift ideas!
We all heart Target and the big box stores, and with free shipping and Amazon deliveries, shopping during this season is a lot easier. As a small business shop owner I know personally how much it means to have someone buy from me, whether it’s an art print, my ceramic creations, or the small collection of gifts I’ve curated from other makers that I sell in my shop.
Before returning to regular content, I’ll be highlighting gift ideas from small businesses and I’ve already posted Gifts for Her, Gifts for Little Kids, and Gifts for Home and Host.
Find them on this Holiday 2023 Page and I’ll also continue to link to the updated lists on Instagram stories. Gifts for Him and Gifts for Teens coming up for Cyber Monday.
Find these gift ideas so far, all from small businesses!
Coffee de-icing is a process of removing ice from sidewalks and driveways using coffee grounds. The DIY de-icing method is sustainable, cost-effective, and provides traction.
Coffee de-icing works because of the coffee grounds’ dark, coarse texture. When sprinkled on icy surfaces, the dark color absorbs heat and retains it, which helps melt ice and snow.
How to Use Coffee Grounds for De-Icing
With the right steps, using coffee grounds to de-ice is easy.
Gather Coffee Grounds
Collect used coffee grounds from your daily coffee brewing. You can also source coffee grounds from local coffee shops or cafes.
Prepare the Area
Clear the area of any loose snow or chunks of ice using a shovel or snow blower to ensure the grounds make direct contact with the icy surface.
Spread the Coffee Grounds
Spread a layer of coffee grounds over the ice. The thickness of the layer will depend on the severity of the ice. The layer should be uniform and cover the entire area.
Press the Grounds In
Gently press the coffee grounds into the ice using a snow shovel or a broom to ensure good contact.
Wait for Melting
Allow time for the coffee grounds to absorb heat and melt the ice. Depending on the temperature and sunlight, melting will start within a few hours.
Reapply as Needed
Reapply coffee grounds to maintain the de-icing effect in severe icing or if more snow falls.
Coffee Grounds Composition and Properties
Coffee grounds are the residue left after brewing coffee. They contain organic matter and residual oils, making them a unique and eco-friendly de-icing agent.
Coffee grounds contain organic compounds like lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, and nitrogen-based substances. The organic matter is rich in carbon and gives the grounds their dark color.
After brewing coffee, some natural oils remain in the grounds. These residual oils have a lower freezing point than water, which prevents melted ice and snow from re-freezing. When combined with the organic matter, the oils release heat slowly.
The coffee ground properties that make them suitable for de-icing include:
Dark Color: The dark color of coffee grounds absorbs sun heat, causing melting.
Granular Texture: Coffee grounds have a coarse, granular texture that provides traction on slippery surfaces. The gritty texture reduces the risk of slips and falls on icy sidewalks and driveways, making them safer for pedestrians and vehicles.
Slow Heat Release: The residual oils in coffee grounds assist in the slow release of heat, preventing re-icing.
Biodegradability: Coffee grounds are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. When applied as a de-icer, they break down naturally, reducing their environmental impact.
Coffee grounds are a viable de-icing alternative due to their wide availability and low cost. They’re waste products from coffee shops, homes, and commercial coffee production warehouses.
Coffee Grounds Vs. Traditional De-Icing Methods
Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride)
Rock salt is inexpensive and readily available. Because salt has a lower freezing point than water, it lowers the freezing point, causing ice and snow to melt. But it can damage your lawn and concrete. It may also be harmful to pets if large amounts are ingested.
Calcium chloride is more effective than salt at lower temperatures, down to -20℉ but causes insignificant damage to plants and animals when used in small quantities.
Sand doesn’t melt ice but provides traction on icy surfaces. It provides grip, making walking or driving on icy surfaces safer.
Heated Pavements and Driveways
Heated pavement uses electric heating systems or hydronic heating (hot water or glycol-filled tubes) to melt ice and snow. These systems are pricey to install but provide efficient, automated de-icing.
Chemical De-Icing Solutions
Commercial liquid de-icing solutions are applied to surfaces before a snowstorm to prevent ice from bonding to surfaces. They include potassium acetate, potassium chloride, or calcium magnesium acetate.
Chemical de-icing is efficient and affordable but can harm vegetation, corrode metals, or contaminate water sources.
Snow Melting Mats
Snow melting mats are electric or hydronic heating systems for small areas like walkways. They’re easy to install and can be turned on when needed.
Shoveling and Plowing
Shoveling requires removing snow and ice using a snow shovel or blower. Plowing uses vehicles with plows to clear larger areas. Shoveling and plowing are effective but require physical effort from start to finish.
Traditional De-Icing Methods
Moderately effective at melting and providing traction.
Highly effective at melting ice and snow quickly.
Eco-friendly and biodegradable, with minimal environmental harm.
It can harm vegetation, pets, and the environment if overused.
Very cost-effective, often free when repurposing used coffee grounds.
Moderate to high cost, depending on the de-icing material used.
Reasonable traction and moderate melting capability.
Excellent melting and safety when correctly applied
Speed of De-Icing
Slower compared to some chemical de-icers.
Rapid and effective at melting ice.
Moderately effective due to heat retention.
Effective due to the lower freezing point of chemicals.
Coffee grounds are natural and biodegradable
Low-cost or even free
Limited effectiveness compared to traditional chemical de-icers
Performance varies depending on the type of coffee, ice thickness, and temperature
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Shopping for a new rug online is a gamble: What will the texture look like IRL? What about the feeling underfoot? And of course—did I order the just-right color or is my computer screen playing tricks on me?
With its new Los Angeles showroom, Australian floor-covering brand Armadillo has come to the rescue via a sweeping space with a snaking partition that displays its dozens of eco-friendly offerings, from jutes that won’t shed to silk and wool weaves in calming sunset shades.
But the real benefit of in-store shopping, particularly at this location, is the built-in design inspiration that lies within the former nightclub space. Inspired by the organic lines of fashion ateliers in Tokyo and Paris, the Armadillo team combined the old with the new, an important focus for cofounder Jodie Fried. Because the B Corp focuses on sustainability, she didn’t want to tear down the building and start anew. Instead, they kept the original glass and metal windows (a nice juxtaposition to the interior’s clean lines) and installed 100 percent renewable electricity.
Oak walls add a soft touch—but they’re actually flooring repurposed as wall paneling (something you can definitely try in your own home). “In each showroom, there are generally three materials [and colors] that inform our textural palette: white oak, polished concrete, and crisp white,” Fried says. “In our Los Angeles space, since we had already envisioned the concrete foundation and the white partitions, we ended up using the hardwood flooring on the walls.”
Another steal-for-your-apartment touch? The living room area, designed by Swike, which layered two similar-toned rugs (the quiet Eden with the plush Mojave style on top), then added a glass coffee table, which lets you see the floor coverings even better while providing visual space, too. Fried’s layering advice: “You can keep it quite simple by centering a smaller rug on top of a larger rug for a distinct border, or like our Los Angeles showroom, you can layer them off-center, which feels more relaxed.”
And when you’re not soaking up all the good vibes around you, make sure to take home samples, an essential step in rug buying, says Fried: “I can’t stress enough the importance of bringing a rug sample home so you can view it in the intended room, in natural light throughout the day, against the rest of your decor.” Thankfully, you can order them online, too, wink-wink.
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It’s fairly common for a designer to work on a partial remodel with clients only to return years later to finish the job. What’s less typical is a designer revisiting the same house under new homeownership. When designer Jen Samson got the call asking her to revisit a circa-2006 property in Laguna Beach, California, the only emotion she felt was pure excitement. “The style of the home really speaks to my aesthetic and always did,” she says.
Previously, Samson had renovated the exterior, courtyard pool, primary bedroom, and kitchen with the past owners. Although, even then, the house didn’t need a ton of help in the character department: It was originally designed by local architect Chris Letourneau, and parts of it, like the office, felt like a time capsule. This go-round, her clients were a young couple, and luckily they felt the exact same way about the three-bedroom, two-bath home as Samson did. As the owners, Brian and Lindsay, remember it: “We immediately fell in love with the architectural design, set-back location with [a] long driveway, and towering trees—it’s the quintessential Woods Cove home.”
Their goal? Finish the job by refreshing high-traffic areas to reflect their personal style and updating the bathrooms, laundry room, pantry, and their son’s room. Part of the selling point of the home—and Samson’s work—was the kitchen. The “objectively beautiful” space, as the owners put it, had everything you could possibly need, from deep drawers to a built-in dog bowl station to Calatorao marble countertops. So it unsurprisingly went relatively untouched during their renovation, aside from receiving a fresh backsplash and new appliances.
As far as color palettes go, Brian and Lindsay knew exactly what they wanted: warm, saturated earth tones to create a home that feels inviting, comfortable, and modern. Throughout the house, they replaced the white walls with a warm cream and the sand-colored floors with a matte gray epoxy. Because the couple was bringing a fair amount of furniture and decor from their former home in the Hollywood Hills, including a Montis Domino sofa, Afteroom kitchen stools, and vintage Guido Faleschini Tucroma dining chairs, Samson used their pieces as jumping-off points for all her updates. “I [got] a glimpse into what they were drawn to,” she says. The item that stuck with her the most? A Moroccan rug with deep blues and reds. The latter hue ultimately inspired the Mosaic House tile backsplash that she added to the kitchen.
A rich yellow tile that was a runner-up in the kitchen immediately found a place in the home’s guest bathroom. “It was a clear winner,” says Samson of the Pratt + Larson tile they carried onto the ceiling to draw the eye toward the transom window.
The theme of this seven-month-long renovation was undoubtedly how on the same page both parties were stylistically. “Luckily, almost everything went very seamlessly,” the designer notes. There were very few holdups along the way, which can be partly credited to the couple’s decisive nature—and the fact that this was not their first rodeo but their third home remodel. “They were like, yes, yes, yes,” adds Samson. That was certainly their response when she proposed swathing the primary bathroom in slabs of jade onyx.
“We really went for it,” says Samson of the spalike jewel box. While the floor-to-ceiling stone is clearly a standout, her favorite design moments are the Forbes & Lomax light switches and the privacy glass in the shower that turns on and off with a flip of—you guessed it—the aforementioned switch. Both bathrooms got “chunky” custom floating vanities that offer tons of storage and built-in organization.
The final room to come together was the couple’s favorite: their son’s room. To make up for the lack of closets, Samson introduced a wall of custom cabinetry to complement the nursery furniture, all while ensuring there was ample space for the now almost-2-year-old to grow and play. And when Mom and Dad are too exhausted to read a nighttime story, their little one can simply look around. The wallpaper from C.F.A Voysey looks like it’s pulled straight from a fairy tale, complete with medieval scenes and a river running through the English countryside. “The colors were a perfect marriage of everything that we had been doing in all the other parts of the house,” says the designer. And with that, Samson’s work here is officially done.