Sunday, February 22, 2015

Friday Favorites.... a few days late

Since Wednesday's post was called "Where do you find your Design Inspiration?' and about the many options available, I thought I'd focus my Friday Favorites on where, specifically, I find some of my inspiration.

1.  We mentioned Pinterest as quite possibly being the place to go when you need ideas.  Above,  I've spotlighted of few of the pinners I follow that are constantly pinning good stuff.  You might want to follow them too .... and follow me while you're at it...I'm jjillcamp.

2.  These three blogs have been around for quite a while now and tend to set the standard for everyone else who wants to get into blogging about design and lifestyle, me included.  My favorite features on Design Mom is her "Living with Kids" home tour series.  I love to peak into the homes of other real families and see how they live.  Apartment Therapy also features rooms from designers and DIY'ers.  Little Green Notebook is a very thoughtfully curated blog by a designer Jenny Komenda, whos work has been featured in countless publications.

3.  I have always loved Disney animation and photography.  So it's no surprise that some of my favorite art comes from those two areas.   Mary Blair was an artist with Disney who's beautiful work is fun and feminine.  The 6 female artists who put together the book "Lovely" - Ladies of Animation  continue that tradition with their pretty and individual styles.  I also love the beach and Gray Malin's stunning photographs are incredible.  I hope to own one some day.

4.  As I mentioned before, HGTV and Domino are some of the current magazines I read, as well as Coastal Living and one I just discovered recently from Australia, Inside Out.  These layouts tend to feature a very relaxed vibe and livable spaces.  I've also be enjoying the new book "Elements of Style" by Erin Gates of

5.  It seems that many stores are opting for online stores instead of catalogs now, but I do still love the annual Ikea catalog for their space planning and use of small spaces and Pottery Barn not just for the furniture and accessories, but the homes they photograph always have such beautiful architectural detailing.

6.  Remember when HGTV used to show design shows?  Those were the days.  Any of Sarah Richardson's shows are good.  They do still show up occasionally on my DVR.  "Sarah's House" and "Sarah 101"are my favorites.  HGTV Design Star winner, Emily Henderson, hasn't been on the network very much recently, but they need to bring back her show "Secrets from a Stylist".  In the meantime, she writes one of my absolute favorite blogs  My current go to HGTV show right now is "Fixer Upper".  The husband and wife team of Chip and Joanna Gaines manages to mix what the network's current angle seems to be (buying and selling homes) with what, I think, the viewers want.  Good, creative and professional renovation and interior design.

Let me know about your design inspiration.  Leave a comment below.  
Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where do you get your Design Inspiration?

These days, people are much more decorator savvy than ever before.  There are so many places from which to draw inspiration for design, it can be somewhat overwhelming.   I've complied a list of the some of the most popular ways design aficionados scratch their creative itch.  These are some of the newest, some of the more traditional and some of the best places I've found to get home design ideas.

1.  Pinterest - This has been a huge game changer in the way we can get ideas for home decor.  As a Designer, I used to tear out photos from magazines, print pictures from websites and put them all together in a spiral binder.  Many spiral binders.  But today, my book shelves are empty (well no more binders, anyway).  Instead, I have a Pinterest account with over 50 boards and more than 5000 pins, subdivided into any design topic imaginable and available for review with just a few clicks.   And not only can I reference my collection, I look into everyone else's too!  Talk about information overload.

2.  Design Blogs - You're reading one now.  Many of the Pinterest "pins" link you directly to design blogs.  Professional Designers, DIY-ers and all around creatives have made the internet a cornucopia of design information.  From professional installations to your neighbors house, you can truly learn from everyone.  Complete with how-tos, what not-to-dos and resources.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday!  Each week I'm going to post some of my favorites.  The categories will vary, but the format will be pretty much the same.  Since earlier this week I posted a recipe for the most delicious and not to mention beautiful Spritz Cookies, I thought I should show you some of my favorite baking tools.

1.  Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer - Now this is the top of line, as far as home stand mixers go.  I was lucky enough to have been gifted mine.  They are a bit pricey, but completely worth the investment for the avid baker and it will last forever.  

2.  Silpat Baking Mats - I never bake a batch of cookies without them.  The cookies release easy from the tray without cooking spray.  Other companies make similar baking mats that work fine, but I like Silpat the best.

3.  Cookie Scoops -  The best tool when you are making any kind of drop cookie and they all come out the same size.  I use the smaller (about 1"- 1 1/2" diameter) scoop for chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies.  They look like they came from the bakery.

4.  Cooling rack -  These are pretty standard, but I like to use a rack instead of having cookies cool on the counter.  They also work well when you want to speed up the cooling of a cake while it's still in the pan.

5. Silicone Spatula and Spoonula - There are two reasons I love these particular spatulas: 1. They're silicone, so you can use them in a pan on the stove and they will not melt.  2.  The spatula and the handle are one piece.  How many times have you lost the rubber part of your scrapper in the bowl while it was attached to the mixer?  I have and once they break, that's it.  So I was trilled when these showed up in my Christmas stocking a few years back.  My husband can take a hint :)

6. Quilted Cookie Sheet - It is almost impossible to burn cookies when they are baked on a quilted cookie sheet.  Sometimes they need to stay in the over a few more minutes than directed (you'll have to test them out in your particular oven), but the results are an evenly baked cookie.  Air Bake is the brand I use.  Get two.

7.  Cookie Press Cookie Press - This is the more updated version of the cookie press that I use and it works great.  You can buy cheaper, as well as more expensive versions, but I think something right in the middle (around $20 - $25) is a good choice.  

8.  Turner - I have always referred to these as a spatula, as well, but when I was researching tools I found they are called a "turner".  Either way, they are the best way to remove cookies from a baking sheet.  The key here is to make sure it is slightly larger than the cookies themselves.  Do you like to make large cookies?  Get a large turner.  Again, silicone is the way go.

So there you have it.  Eight great ways to use all of those Bed Bath and Beyond coupons that are stacking up.  (FYI - They even take expired ones.)  Or should I say, some of my tried and true baking tools.  What baking tools do you like to use?  Share them with me.  I'd love to hear about them.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine's Day Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies have been one of my favorite cookies since I was little.  It was probably my Mom, an avid baker and all around great cook who first introduced these yummy treats to me.  But is was our good family friend, Paula, who had what we decided was the best recipe.

I have made Spritz Cookies pretty much every year at Christmas for much of my adult life, but this year it didn't happen.  Between a crazy busy season at work coupled with all the other things that make the holidays insane and wonderful, I never got around to making cookies.

Fast forward to last week, when I was craving a yummy treat and "ah ha", there's no rule that says they can only be made at Christmas.  Valentine's Day Spritz Cookies it is!  

There are only a few ingredients, compared to many cookie receipts anyway, but there is one gadget that is definitely a requirement: a cookie press.  Now, I have used a few different ones over the years, from cheap to electric, but I have to say the best one I have found is a manual model from Wilton that I've had for 15 years and counting and still works great.  They currently make a similar model, as does OXO and a few other companies.

Follow the jump for the receipt along with more cookie pics!