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Posts Tagged ‘Color’

Colorful Ways To Decorate For The Holidays

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December is the month where the popular holiday colors – red and green – are on display every where you look. Decorating your home for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to stick to these two traditional colors.

Expand your holiday color palette and brighten up your home with some colorful details on your wreaths, garlands, ornaments, and Christmas tree.

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Unwrap a new wreath idea this year. Cover small containers, such as old jewelry boxes, with weatherproof paper, which will hold up outdoors, unlike wrapping paper; seal with all-weather tape. Add decorative bands in contrasting colors, if desired, and tie with ribbon.

1 Unwrap a new wreath idea this year. Cover small containers, such as old jewelry boxes, with weatherproof paper, which will hold up outdoors, unlike wrapping paper; seal with all-weather tape. Add decorative bands in contrasting colors, if desired, and tie with ribbon.

This full-bodied everlasting wreath is crafted from bundles of gold, pink, and silver glass balls on wire stems.

2 This full-bodied everlasting wreath is crafted from bundles of gold, pink, and silver glass balls on wire stems.

Brighten your walls with a wreath made of golden-hued ribbons fashioned into poinsettias.

3 Brighten your walls with a wreath made of golden-hued ribbons fashioned into poinsettias.

Golden beads become jewel-like decorations for a Christmas wreath. The beadwork flowers have wavy wire stems (they get their shape when the wire is wrapped around a spool).

4 Golden beads become jewel-like decorations for a Christmas wreath. The beadwork flowers have wavy wire stems (they get their shape when the wire is wrapped around a spool).

This substantial wreath, made with long Norway spruce pinecones attached to a bed of moss, can last for years if stored properly.

5 This substantial wreath, made with long Norway spruce pinecones attached to a bed of moss, can last for years if stored properly.

Having a beautiful rich blue ribbon will stand out on any wreath.

6 Having a beautiful rich blue ribbon will stand out on any wreath.

Make ornaments that shimmer with cardboard egg boxes, ornate beads, and trimmings.

7 Make ornaments that shimmer with cardboard egg boxes, ornate beads, and trimmings.

Transform quail and chicken eggs into shimmering ornaments that look as beautiful displayed in a pretty bowl as they do hanging from the tree.

8 Transform quail and chicken eggs into shimmering ornaments that look as beautiful displayed in a pretty bowl as they do hanging from the tree.

Pink and silver beaded ornaments look dazzling against a dark green tree.

9 Pink and silver beaded ornaments look dazzling against a dark green tree.

Fill the plastic balls for your pink Christmas tree with butterflies, beads, or a handful of glitter. Then tie a ribbon around each to hide the seam and create a loop for hanging.

10 Fill the plastic balls for your pink Christmas tree with butterflies, beads, or a handful of glitter. Then tie a ribbon around each to hide the seam and create a loop for hanging.

This glowing dragonfly can be hung up or wired directly to branches.

11 This glowing dragonfly can be hung up or wired directly to branches.

Filled with sparkly trimmings, these garden cloches add radiance to any tabletop.

12 Filled with sparkly trimmings, these garden cloches add radiance to any tabletop.

Icy dewdrops -- actually sprays of clear beads -- deliver glimmers of brightness to an arrangement of silvery faux branches.

13 Icy dewdrops -- actually sprays of clear beads -- deliver glimmers of brightness to an arrangement of silvery faux branches.

Pinecone

14 Pinecone "flowers" with glowing centers fill a simple vase in this exquisite arrangement.

Hurricane vases and votive candle holders can be wrapped in star-punched paper in the color of your choice -- an easy way to suffuse your party with warmth.

15 Hurricane vases and votive candle holders can be wrapped in star-punched paper in the color of your choice -- an easy way to suffuse your party with warmth.

A little sparkle transforms inexpensive toys into shimmering decorations for the dining table.

16 A little sparkle transforms inexpensive toys into shimmering decorations for the dining table.

What could be sweeter? Cut out 3-inch ovals from colorful card stock. Using a hole punch, make a hole at each end, and then neatly write your guests' names on the ovals with black ink. Thread ribbon scraps, each about 6 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, through the backs of the place cards. Notch the ribbon ends, and set a card at each place setting.

17 What could be sweeter? Cut out 3-inch ovals from colorful card stock. Using a hole punch, make a hole at each end, and then neatly write your guests' names on the ovals with black ink. Thread ribbon scraps, each about 6 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, through the backs of the place cards. Notch the ribbon ends, and set a card at each place setting.

These child-size paper parasols turn a side table into a winter wonderland. Plant them in miniature flowerpots filled with gravel. Tape the umbrellas open just a bit, then tuck in a cluster of batter-powered LED lights.

18 These child-size paper parasols turn a side table into a winter wonderland. Plant them in miniature flowerpots filled with gravel. Tape the umbrellas open just a bit, then tuck in a cluster of batter-powered LED lights.

While you need a little crafting experience to create these trees, they're

19 While you need a little crafting experience to create these trees, they're "so inexpensive to make and a clever way to recycle newspaper," says TV crafter Kristin St. Clair. She made a special one for Martha out of aluminum sheets, which turned out beautifully.

A mantel or side table becomes an other worldly forest when graced with a trio of cheery conifers -- the one on the left is trimmed with lametta, the other two are wrapped in fluffy tinsel; beneath the decorative garlands are polystyrene cones.

20 A mantel or side table becomes an other worldly forest when graced with a trio of cheery conifers -- the one on the left is trimmed with lametta, the other two are wrapped in fluffy tinsel; beneath the decorative garlands are polystyrene cones.

unusual and handmade trees mix with discount-store products on a mantel. The tallest is made from tin-can lids and a broomstick, and is decorated with gold balls.

21 unusual and handmade trees mix with discount-store products on a mantel. The tallest is made from tin-can lids and a broomstick, and is decorated with gold balls.

Because most aluminum trees were silver, colored examples like this pink one are rare and expensive.

22 Because most aluminum trees were silver, colored examples like this pink one are rare and expensive.

Two of the plastic trees are as useful as they are unexpected: the one on the left, intended to hold candies, now serves as a soapdish; the one on the right keeps cotton balls at hand.

23 Two of the plastic trees are as useful as they are unexpected: the one on the left, intended to hold candies, now serves as a soapdish; the one on the right keeps cotton balls at hand.

Ornamented and gilded brush trees provide the theme for a holiday table and complement the glistening trim on the dishware. The 1960s trees beneath the glass are highly sought, running $100 and up.

24 Ornamented and gilded brush trees provide the theme for a holiday table and complement the glistening trim on the dishware. The 1960s trees beneath the glass are highly sought, running $100 and up.

A three-and-a-half-inch tree -- first cousin to a cleaning brush -- has tiny ornaments and top that lights up. It was made in Japan, probably in the early 1950s for the dime-store market.

25 A three-and-a-half-inch tree -- first cousin to a cleaning brush -- has tiny ornaments and top that lights up. It was made in Japan, probably in the early 1950s for the dime-store market.

The sparse branches of a 1960s aluminum tree provide plenty of room to show off ornaments. The tree is anchored in a sand-filled vase, which replaces its base.

26 The sparse branches of a 1960s aluminum tree provide plenty of room to show off ornaments. The tree is anchored in a sand-filled vase, which replaces its base.

Having a snowy tree decorated with golden ornaments is the perfect touch to your table top.

27 Having a snowy tree decorated with golden ornaments is the perfect touch to your table top.

Here is a grove of 1960s tabletop trees, including (from left) an aluminum tree that seems inspired by an afghan hound; a couple of tinsel trees; a plastic tree, which may have come from a model-train layout, sitting in a glass saltcellar; and one made from aqua fishing line and sprinkled with glitter.

28 Here is a grove of 1960s tabletop trees, including (from left) an aluminum tree that seems inspired by an afghan hound; a couple of tinsel trees; a plastic tree, which may have come from a model-train layout, sitting in a glass saltcellar; and one made from aqua fishing line and sprinkled with glitter.

Aluminum trees look really great with balls and swags in one or two colors.

29 Aluminum trees look really great with balls and swags in one or two colors.

One year, Martha used a bronze tree in her dining room, with silver tinsel and vintage red ornaments.

30 One year, Martha used a bronze tree in her dining room, with silver tinsel and vintage red ornaments.

Japanese-lantern ornaments provide a pleasing change of scale on this artificial bonsai, but the crowning glories of this tree are the birds -- coated in glitter and grouped in flocks of like colors.

31 Japanese-lantern ornaments provide a pleasing change of scale on this artificial bonsai, but the crowning glories of this tree are the birds -- coated in glitter and grouped in flocks of like colors.

Homemade 3-D ornaments are made from bits of fabric stitched together and stuffed with quilt batting.

32 Homemade 3-D ornaments are made from bits of fabric stitched together and stuffed with quilt batting.

Bedrooms I Love

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It's been raining in New York for the past two days, so naturally I haven't been able to stop thinking about...bedrooms!

Spartan or lavish, subdued or lush with color, your bedroom is a reflection of who you are and how you want to to live when the rest of the world is shut out.

Because all bedrooms share the same furniture story (bed, nightstand, bench or chair for sitting); the opportunity lies in what you do with the key pieces in the room.

These rooms are always inspiring to me. I hope that you too will find ideas to create a truly dreamy space...come rain or shine.

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It's a great idea to attach curtain rods to your ceiling and use store-bought curtains to create an updated canopy.

1 It's a great idea to attach curtain rods to your ceiling and use store-bought curtains to create an updated canopy.

This is the bedroom of our Creative Director, Eric Pike. Its beauty is in its details.

2 This is the bedroom of our Creative Director, Eric Pike. Its beauty is in its details.

Color-blocked linen covers add punch to this simple bedroom.

3 Color-blocked linen covers add punch to this simple bedroom.

I love the subtle color shifts in the pillow cases and with the duvet design. This proves you can update a room with bedding alone.

4 I love the subtle color shifts in the pillow cases and with the duvet design. This proves you can update a room with bedding alone.

This Biedermeier bed is complimented by the matching mirrors and side table.

5 This Biedermeier bed is complimented by the matching mirrors and side table.

This side table is genius in Martha's previous home, Turkey Hill.

6 This side table is genius in Martha's previous home, Turkey Hill.

I love the bedskirt silhouette in this Swedish style bedroom. And who wouldn't love to sleep under a royal crown?

7 I love the bedskirt silhouette in this Swedish style bedroom. And who wouldn't love to sleep under a royal crown?

For me, it's all about the wallpaper in Susan Lyne's guest bedroom.

8 For me, it's all about the wallpaper in Susan Lyne's guest bedroom.

A built-in headboard made of velvet gives this bed a plush look. The side tables are simple and smart looking.

9 A built-in headboard made of velvet gives this bed a plush look. The side tables are simple and smart looking.

I love the use of this futuristic screening in a bedroom.

10 I love the use of this futuristic screening in a bedroom.

Such a simple idea: Attach a low, screen-like headboard to a platform bed. This allows you to either put the bed up against a wall or float it mid room.

11 Such a simple idea: Attach a low, screen-like headboard to a platform bed. This allows you to either put the bed up against a wall or float it mid room.

I love this bed.

12 I love this bed.

The thing I love about Martha's bed is the shaped canopy and bedskirt.

13 The thing I love about Martha's bed is the shaped canopy and bedskirt.

Another unique headboard solution: Using a hinged screen -- I love the frame around it.

14 Another unique headboard solution: Using a hinged screen -- I love the frame around it.

You can create a dramatic canopy with a length of fabric like we did here.

15 You can create a dramatic canopy with a length of fabric like we did here.

We made a daybed out of a twin mattress set by adding wooden furniture legs to the bottom of the box spring.

16 We made a daybed out of a twin mattress set by adding wooden furniture legs to the bottom of the box spring.

Don't be afraid to use a bold color in the bedroom. The soft grays in this room prevent it from being overwhelming.

17 Don't be afraid to use a bold color in the bedroom. The soft grays in this room prevent it from being overwhelming.

This geometric headboard is amazing and really stands out against the gray-washed walls.

18 This geometric headboard is amazing and really stands out against the gray-washed walls.

We updated these twin bed frames by covering the headboards in a soft color that matches the bedding.

19 We updated these twin bed frames by covering the headboards in a soft color that matches the bedding.

As I've mentioned before, pink is always flattering in the bedroom -- as seen here in Martha's Lily Pond Lane home.

20 As I've mentioned before, pink is always flattering in the bedroom -- as seen here in Martha's Lily Pond Lane home.

It's all about the headboard here.

21 It's all about the headboard here.

Another fantastic canopy and bedskirt from one of Martha's homes.

22 Another fantastic canopy and bedskirt from one of Martha's homes.

This touch of red and white is so pretty here.

23 This touch of red and white is so pretty here.

This is the ideal guesthouse bedroom -- awash in pink.

24 This is the ideal guesthouse bedroom -- awash in pink.

Colourlovers Cake Recipe

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twitpic via @colourlovers

twitpic via @colourlovers

Recipe courtesy of Virginia Hammon and COLOURlovers.

Any white cake recipe that makes a moderately firm cake will do. The recipe below can be multiplied and still give good results. A cream-cheese icing is recommended because it has a firm body and will help hold up the cake. Putting sections of the cake together and chilling them before putting the whole cake together will also help to keep the cake intact.

About the Pan
This recipe used 5-inch-by-1-inch round pans. Each layer is enough to serve 2-3 people.  I have only tried a mutli-layered cake (28 layers) with 5-inch pans -- but it would be fun to make a many layered cake with 8” rounds, if you've got a VERY large group of people to serve.

About the Shape
If you want to keep it as a log, the challenge is to figure out how to create a wedge to support the curved side of the layers on the flat platter.  You could shave a consistent wedge off each round layer so that they could sit on the flat edge.

Another option, with any size pan, would be to cut each layer in half down the middle, making a semi-circular cake layer.  You would now have two semi-circular layers of each color. The cake layers would sit on this flat side creating a half-log. You could set aside for nibbles one of the half layers of the color that you want to put in the middle, then run your rainbow or your color sequence out on both sides. Or, just create a pattern that strikes your fancy!

Decide how many layers you want, and gather enough pans to make it possible.  I used seven 5-inch pans to make the 28-layer cake in four batches.

How Much Batter?
Using a measuring cup and water, determine how many cups it takes to fill one of your pans up to the top.  My pans each hold 1 cup.

When you've measured how much water it takes to fill one pan, multiply this by the number of layers you will be making. This will give you the number of cups of batter that you need to fill your pans. With my pans, a seven layer cake takes 7 cups of batter; the 28 layer cake took 28 cups of batter.

Check to see how many cups your cake recipe makes, and do the math to figure out how many multiples of the recipe you will need to make all your layers. Since I only had seven pans to make the 28-layer cake, I made up four separate batches of the cake batter, which makes about 7 cups, and filled the seven pans.  This works better than trying to make one huge batch of batter and then let it sit around while each round of the pans are baking.

COLOURlovers Cake Recipe
Set all your ingredients out the night before so that they are all at about 70 degrees.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract, optional
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest  (from one lemon), optional
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Food coloring (I used one package of the four basic colors, including red, blue, yellow, and green, and one package of the 'neon' colors, including purple, pink, turquoise, and lime)

FOR THE FROSTING

  • Two 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup  butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Generously grease and flour your pans

3. Cream 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until fluffy. Cream until fluffy; Add 4 eggs. (You can also separate the eggs, and only use the whites.  If you do this, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry and fold them in after all the dry ingredients have been added.) Then add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional), and 1 tablespoon lemon zest (grated peel of one lemon - optional)

4. In a separate bowl, sift together 3 cups of sifted-before measured cake flour  (general all-purpose white flour works fine), 4 teaspoons baking powder, and a 1/2 teaspoon salt.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.

6. Have a bowl for each baking pan you will be making in this batch. I made seven layers from this recipe, so I put one cup of batter in each bowl.  I was a little short by the time I got to the last bowl, so I just scooped some out of each to even them up.

7. Add your food coloring to each bowl.  For this cake, I used 1/2 teaspoon of color per bowl, just to get an idea of how intense the colors come out with a measured amount. I left one bowl empty until after I had stirred the others, so that I could decide what I wanted to use for the last color. I decided on pink, then mistakenly used the red. Bother. Since I already had red, I added purple to one red, which resulted in the deep cranberry color. You really can't make a mistake on the colors.

8. Put the batter from each bowl into one of your greased and floured pans. They should fill up to about 1/4" below the top of the pan. Pick the pans up by their sides, holding them level, and tap them on the table to get any bubbles of air up.

9. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean, and the edges should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. It's better to err a bit on the overcooked than the undercooked, because a too moist cake will not be as firm. Remember not to open your oven door until at least 15 minutes have passed; the cold air can make the cakes fall.

10. Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 15 minutes, until they are just slightly warm, and easy to handle. Turn them out to cool onto racks.

Cakes naturally bake with a bit of a dome.  Once you've taken them out of their pans and they are completely cool, use a long serrated bread knife to slice this off this dome so that you have a relatively flat surface on both sides of each layer.

Arranging the Colors
1. Decide what order you want your colors in, and set them out.

2. While the cakes are cooling, make your frosting. This recipe makes more than enough to frost 7 layers. You will need to multiply it for more layers.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS

1. Cream together the 2 packages of cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter until well mixed and creamy.

2. Add one teaspoon each of vanilla and lemon extract, and mix until smooth.

3. Gradually stir in the 2 cups of confectioners' sugar.

4. Frost the top of each layer and stack them as you wish, in stacks of about four.

6. Refrigerate for a couple hours so that the cake and frosting can set.  The cake layers will be more likely to retain their shape in a vertical position if the layers with frosting have had this time to chill.

Assembling the Cake

1. Lay out some waxed paper -- making a space in the center for your cake. You will be removing this paper after you've frosted the outside of the cake (and any mess you made).

2. Lay down three pieces of red or black licorice a couple inches apart on your platter.  Put two pieces on the bottom, and one more piece to make a triangular wedge. This will help hold the layers vertical.

3. Take your chilled and top-frosted layer stacks out of the refrigerator. Pick them up as stacks. Set the stacks vertically on the platter, holding the groups already down steady while you continue to add stacks until all the layers are down.

4. Frost the outside of the cake, and the unfrosted end.  Add whatever decorations you want...get out the knife, and dig in!