In the Kitchen With: Marnie, Andrea and Jen’s Deviled Eggs

In the Kitchen With: Marnie, Andrea and Jen’s Deviled Eggs

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It is always a treat for me when we have illustrated recipes on the column, such as these by Emily Isabella bringing to life what authors Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson refer to as the “king of canapés,” also known as the deviled egg. Marnie, Andrea and Jen lead the Portland Picnic Society and today’s recipe for the deviled egg with twelve variations and homemade mayonnaise comes from the Society’s first book, The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket. It is a lovely, hand-illustrated cookbook which covers the ABCs of picnicking. It’s full of useful tips, such as those for transporting deviled eggs: Pack a container of already prepared egg whites and a resealable plastic bag of filling in a cooler. Once you arrive at the park, snip the corner of the bag and pipe away! —Kristina

About Marnie, Andrea and Jen: Marnie Hanel writes for The New York Times Magazine,W MagazineDepartures, and Marie Claire. Andrea Slonecker is a cookbook writer, food stylist, the recipe editor of Kinfolk, and the author of Pretzel Making at Home and Eggs on Top. Jen Stevenson runs the Portland food blog Under the Table with Jen and is the author of Portland’s 100 Best Places to Stuff Your Faces. Together, Hanel, Slonecker and Stevenson lead the Portland Picnic Society, a group that was founded to celebrate the art of picnicking.

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Cabin Pressure: Colin & Justin’s Canadian Cottage Transformation

Cabin Pressure: Colin & Justin's Canadian Cottage Transformation

Cabin Pressure: Colin & Justin’s Canadian Cottage Transformation

Colin and Justin are a fun-loving international design duo hailing from Britain who I first fell in love with years ago when I glimpsed them on CityLine (Toronto’s morning show). Their wit, sense of humor and down-to-earth attitude and design style has since won thousands over.

They’ve interviewed Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Madonna and many more as red carpet reporters for City TV and they develop proprieties across the globe. But if that wasn’t enough, they also manage a rental portfolio in Toronto, London and Glasgow, are columnists in The Toronto SunCottage Life Magazine and Huffington Post, and have their own home product line, Colin and Justin Home, available in Canadian stores such as HomesenseMarshalls and Winners and via American retailers like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx. While all of these things add up to the reasons why I’m a super-fan, I’m most giddy about their recent doings.

Mere months ago, they undertook their largest design challenge yet: to renovate a massive (and extremely run-down) cottage in northern Ontario in — gulp — 12 weeks. I followed along with their process on Instagram and now, they’re finally done and breathing a sigh of accomplished relief. But the best part of all? They taped it all! Their show, Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure, airs on Cottage Life television (and not since the days of Extreme Home Makeover and Genevieve’s Renovation have I been so excited for a home show)!

Today, the effervescent Colin and Justin tour us through the cottage they made over during Cabin Pressure, Season 1 and were kind and, not surprisingly, gracious enough to write their own essay on this monstrously awesome project of theirs. Read it all after the jump, including how to enter a contest to win a trip to this spectacular cottage! –Sabrina

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Home Ec: How to Care for Rugs, Carpets and Floors

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Keeping your rugs clean and not letting stains sit will help your rugs lead a long and healthy life.
1. Shake out, air dry and vacuum your rugs regularly : This will help prevent dirt and stains from setting into the carpet.
2. Hand-wash if possible. If you have a rug that can handle washing, wash it in a full tub with 2 cap-fulls of a gentle dish soap  and let it air dry.
3. If you have a delicate antique rug or a rug with colors that will bleed, hire a pro. I have our rugs professionally cleaned once a year at a cleaner that doesn't use chemicals and it's worth it.
4. Nature's Miracle: If you need to clean a pet/bio stain, I swear by this cleaner. 
5. Be Careful with Sisal! Follow these steps for natural fiber rugs! [Photo from Jen Chu]

Home Ec: How to Care for Rugs, Carpets and Floors

The vast majority of the cleaning work I do at home revolves around cleaning up after our pets. No matter how well trained they are, accidents happen and they almost always happen on my favorite rug. So I’ve become something of an amateur rug and carpet sleuth, sussing out which techniques, tools and tips actually work for cleaning and maintaining floors at home. Flooring is one of the most important parts of our homes — it sees the most wear and tear, but with a little upkeep, it can do its job and stay looking nice for years and years to come. So, how do you take care of your carpets, rugs and floors and protect your investments in all of them? Today I’m going to walk you through simple techniques and tips for keeping your floors (wood, tile, carpet, rugs and synthetic) in good condition for the long haul. No one wants to save up for a beautiful rug or new hardwood floors, only to have them damaged a year later, so these tips will ensure you spend wisely and avoid costly repairs or fixes. xo, grace

*If you have any tips or secrets (Please tell me someone has a tip for cleaning sisal rugs!) you swear by to maintain your flooring, we’d love to hear them below! All of the comments on these posts have been so helpful and spot-on. Thank you for sharing your advice!

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This post and the Home Ec section are brought to you by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Visit the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Home-Grown Inspiration section featuring 20 DIYs, including seven from Design*Sponge!

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The Little NoPo Farmhouse Makeover

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The Little NoPo Farmhouse Makeover

One of the things I most admire in people is the ability to see beyond what’s directly in front of them. When it comes to home design and renovation, it’s a valuable skill to have and it can lead to not only savings and real deals in real estate, but it can really open the door to great creativity and the possibility for a space that truly reflects the people living inside.

Andrea Selkregg, a lawyer, and her husband Malcolm, a graphic designer, recently moved back to Andrea’s hometown of Portland after they realized that their growing family would get more space and house for their money up north than in their adopted hometown of Los Angeles. So they packed up, met with a realtor and looked at house after house until they stumbled upon this 100-year-old farmhouse. It had been on the market for months and viewed by over 50 people, all of whom deemed it a “tear-down.” But Andrea and Malcolm were up for the challenge and excited for the opportunity to make a space entirely their own. Through smart space planning and a liberal use of white paint (always great for making rooms feel bigger), their 960-square-foot home now feels like an airy oasis. I’m blown away that they made all of these renovations between October 20th of 2014 and right now, but they lucked out by having a contractor in the family who could help them navigate the process and speed things along. Andrea and Malcolm still have plans to work on the home some more (they want to open up and raise the ceilings), but for now, they’re so happy to live in their own little historic farmhouse. They put together this makeover to share with Malcolm’s family in Hawaii and I’m so glad they were open to sharing it with us today. This house really made me smile and I’m so happy to see how much love went into this one space. xo, grace

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Studio Tour: Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object

The Small Object studio! This wreath was made from old cigarette boxes. (Not made by Sarah, but purchased at an antique store.)

Studio Tour: Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object

Earlier this week, we got a peek inside the Decatur, GA home of artist Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object and her wife, Edurne, who works as an RN in a medical intensive care unit. I was so touched by all the personal details in their home, and the stories behind their artwork and the objects they chose to decorate their space. Sarah keeps a home office in their family home, with a separate entrance for clients, and she was kind enough to send photos of that space in addition to their full home tour. I’m so excited to share this today and see where some of my favorite stamps, books and posters come from. I hope you’ll enjoy this peek inside her home studio as much as I did — I wish I could borrow that rotating wheel of stamps for a day, I would give every book in our house an “Enter the Universe” stamp. xo, grace

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Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Four!

Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Four!

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On the first day we moved upstate, I dropped my phone and the face splintered into a million tiny cracks. A new phone isn’t going to happen any time soon and since it’s still working, I’m going to use it until it won’t function anymore. To my delight, all of these patterns that Alea Toussaint designed for us this week still look pretty through my phone’s screen, even with all the cracks running through them. Today Alea is back with another handmade pattern, created from carefully arranged star anise and cardamom pods. This makes me want a hot cup of tea, but until that’s on my desk, THIS will be downloaded on my desktop. CLICK HERE to download today’s spice pattern for your desktop and phone wallpaper. You can check out more of Alea’s pattern work here on Instagram. xo, grace

*If you missed this week’s earlier patterns, here they are: Monday (citrus), Tuesday (green veggies) and Wednesday (tea).

Our Living Room Update + West Elm $2,000 Giveaway!

Our living room today! Click through to see where we started and how we ended up here...

Our Living Room Update + West Elm $2,000 Giveaway!

Over the past few months I’ve shared some peeks inside our home in upstate New York and it’s been so fun to hear everyone’s feedback, suggestions and ideas for what we should do (or consider) next. I shared a pretty detailed look at our upstairs the other week and then a partial peek inside the downstairs. I was waiting to share a full update on our main living room because we got to work with West Elm to furnish this room and really bring it to life. Julia and I both dreamed of having a real “grown up” living room without a television and two sofas where we could sit with friends and family in front of the fire and talk for hours. Now, thanks to some help from the West Elm team, we can finally settle into this room and welcome our loved ones comfortably. The room is still a work in progress, but I’m excited to share a peek at what it looks like now… and to announce that West Elm is going to be giving away $2,000 to one lucky D*S reader in the US! In my 10 years of blogging, this is the first time I’ve ever had help from any brand to makeover a part of my home, so I felt it was only right to extend that gift to everyone else. I can’t wait to see what one of you does with this prize! xo, grace

CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway and click through for a peek inside the process of decorating our living room!

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DIY Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

The finished product. Read on for the full how-to!

DIY Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Samin Nosrat for the first time and it felt like we all became instant great friends. She is one of the most delightful people in the food (and all-around) community and I’m so thrilled to welcome her for a special holiday DIY. Take it away, Samin!

I grew up celebrating Nowruz, or Persian New Year, where one of my favorite traditions was dyeing eggs to symbolize fertility and abundance for the new year table, or Haft-Sin. Now, as a professional cook, I marvel at the myriad ways food affects our lives and traditions beyond the dining table.

A few years ago, I met Kristine Vejar, whose passion for fiber-based arts is wildly apparent from the moment you step into her beautiful Oakland shop, A Verb for Keeping Warm. I began wondering — could she come up with a dyeing method that would yield delicious, properly cooked eggs with vibrantly colored shells? Does it always have to be one or the other? The answer is a resounding no!

On a recent morning, we invited friends, photographer Terri Loewenthal and artist and stylist Aleishall Girard Maxon, to lend their talents to this tutorial. Terri shot everything on medium format film, and the light was ethereal that day. Aleishall’s delicate touch made everything look even more beautiful than we could have imagined.

These eggs will thrill your eyes and your tastebuds. Use them to make egg salad, radish + egg and butter sandwiches, egg and anchovy toasts, or just snack on them with a little flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney

The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney

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I sometimes have a hard time pinning down what my personal home style actually is. It started out wildly colorful and polka-dot-filled and has become more and more minimal as I’ve gotten older, with the emphasis more on texture than pattern, but it always seems to be changing. So I really envy people who seem to have been born with an innate sense of personal style that is so strong that it’s easy to identify their work/home in an instant. For me, one of the people I most admire for their bold and recognizable style is designer, blogger and author, Justina Blakeney. Justina’s Instagram feed is my go-to source of color, pattern and overall inspiration on a daily basis, and when I started to see pictures of the book she was working on with yet another of my favorite bloggers, Dabito of Old Brand New, I hit “pre-order” right away.

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The New Bohemians, Justina’s new 300+ page book, is both an ode to her childhood in Berkeley, CA and the contemporary community of creative individuals who embrace color, pattern, texture, whimsy and all-around open-mindedness when it comes to their homes. Justina grew up in a family that traveled around the world constantly, and she’s brought that explorer spirit and love of international style to her own home, which she refers to as the “jungalow.” “It was actually my own home, my ‘jungalow,’ that inspired the book,” she says. “The way my family and I live in our home is so multifunctional and always in flux: sometimes it’s studio, sometimes it’s a daycare, sometimes it’s a pop-up shop. We are constantly moving things around, adding and editing, painting, working and reworking this little rental. It occurred to me one day that this creative way of living wasn’t just about getting somewhere. There was no end-goal here. The home is always a wet canvas. Our home grows and changes as we grow and change and it was actually the creative process that we loved. There is a free-spirited-ness to they way we decorate and I wanted to explore other homes like ours — multi-functional, layered, creative homes that were forever works-in-progress.”

Along with the help of beautiful, saturated photos taken by Dabito, The New Bohemians is definitely my favorite new book of 2015. Divided into different style chapters (like Earthy Bohemian, Folksy Bohemian, Nomadic Romantic Bohemian), the book showcases 20 homes that embody Bohemian style, along with DIY projects and a plant encyclopedia designed to help you build your own version of bohemia at home. I think this is destined to be the most read, loved, Instagrammed and “photographed on people’s coffee tables” book of the year, so if you’re looking for some new inspiration for spring decorating, check out Justina’s new book right here. Copies start shipping on April 14th! xo, grace

All photos by Dabito. From The New Bohemians, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015

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Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Three!

Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Three!

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I love when artists can make me look at the most everyday objects and see them in an entirely different way. All week artist Alea Toussaint has been sharing handmade patterns with us that she’s turned into desktop wallpapers you can download for your phone or computer, and today she’s back with another pattern inspired by tea. Dried rose petals, cloves, dandelions and lemongrass make up the ombré fade of this pattern and it makes me want to tear open my tea packages in the kitchen and make something beautiful. But if you’d prefer to drink your tea instead, you can download Alea’s pattern for today RIGHT HERE.

If you missed the last two days of patterns, click here for Monday’s and here for Tuesday’s!

Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Two!

Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Two!

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Yesterday we shared the first of seven handmade patterns created for us by artist Alea Toussaint. I fell in love with Alea’s pattern work on Instagram and it’s a dream come true for me to have so many of her custom patterns on DS this week to download for free! You can use them on your computer desktop, table or phone screen — or just to download for inspiration. If you missed yesterday’s citrus/floral pattern, click here to download the zip file. Thanks so much again to Alea for creating these beautiful, natural patterns for us. I’m hoping these (or other patterns from her collection — I love the bobby pins!) might turn into actual wallpaper for homes one day… xo, grace

To download today’s veggie pattern, CLICK HERE!

Life & Business: Cassie Pyle of Veda House

Life & Business: Cassie Pyle of Veda House

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When you start your own business, surrounding yourself with — and seeking out — like-minded individuals is oh-so important, not only in peers, but in clients as well. When graphic designer Cassie Pyle first took the leap to freelancing full-time, her already-established network of online friends through her blog, Veda House, helped make the transition seamless. And it was only after she received a few fun (and paying!) jobs through her blog that she realized that people wanted her; they wanted to hire Cassie and loved her signature work. Even though it meant diving into the unknown and mysterious world of uncertainty, Cassie knew that she needed to pursue and explore this opportunity and has never looked back. Today Cassie’s chatting with us about the importance of just doing, the scary jump into sole-proprietorship, and life as a freelance designer where no two days are alike — and that’s the way she loves it. —Sabrina

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Life & Business: Tuckbox

Life & Business: Tuckbox

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After spending nearly a decade behind a desk at a UK architectural firm, Dan de Groot was itching to get his hands dirty and dive back into the land of power tools and sawdust. His passion for the handmade, derived from his education at Queensland University of Technology where he specialized in Industrial Design, quickly led him to up and move back to his hometown of Melbourne, Australia with his wife, Prue.

In 2008, Dan started collecting old timber machinery and gleaning wisdom from local craftsmen in an attempt to better understand the craft of furniture-making. Inspired by his newfound appreciation for the materials, machines and processes, he started creating furniture pieces in their backyard shed, and it wasn’t long before his backyard projects became a business. Together with his brother, Ant, and Prue, they launched Tuckbox, a contemporary furniture line with a focus on craftsmanship. From afar, their pieces look simple, but like their story, the beauty is all in the details. Today, on behalf of the talented team at Tuckbox, Dan is sharing the inside scoop behind their business! -Sabrina

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Shanghai, China City Guide with Liza and Claire of LuRu Home

Shanghai, China City Guide with Liza and Claire of LuRu Home

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The thought of moving to another country (where you don’t know the language!) and starting a business is as terrifying a thought as it is exhilarating. And that’s exactly what childhood friends Claire Russo and Liza Serratore did. After college, Claire and Liza both moved to Asia and happened to cross paths in Shanghai. They quickly fell in love with the city and, upon discovering the ancient 3,000-year-old process of Nankeen textile dyeing, they launched LuRu Home, which aims to bring hand-printed Nankeen fabrics and art to homeowners across the world.

When they first moved to China in 2009, Georgia’s Shanghai Guide was a huge resource for them, but as with any quickly-evolving city, Shanghai has since seen hundreds of new shops open and close. So today, Liza and Claire are thrilled to share their updated guide (written by Liza), which is overflowing with the best in food, fashion, design, entertainment and culture, all broken down by neighborhood! –Sabrina

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A Georgia Home Filled with Love, Art and Plenty of Pets

The master bedroom has a beautiful quilt hanging on the headboard, which was an excellent eBay find. The photograph above is by Abby Powell.

A Georgia Home Filled with Love, Art and Plenty of Pets

Today’s home tour felt like the perfect follow-up to Caitlin’s essay about learning to love and embrace your home for all of its quirks and imperfections. Artist Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object and her wife, Edurne Sarmiento, chose their Decatur, GA home because of its proximity to Edurne’s new career. After leaving their Savannah apartment, Sarah and Edurne found this 1949 home and loved that it would allow Edurne to walk or ride her bike to work every day (she is an RN in a medical intensive care unit) and have enough space to give Sarah a home studio with a separate entrance where she could welcome clients. Neither Sarah nor Edurne were ready to settle down and choose a forever home, so they embraced this space as their somewhat temporary home and turned it into a bright, open space that suits all of their needs. “We know we’ll probably need to move again in a few years, so that means that we’ll live with cabinet knobs that aren’t our favorite, or wallpaper we’d rather replace or flooring that should be swapped out. But when you know you’re not changing everything, you learn to work around it.”

Sarah and Edurne have lived in their Decatur home for four years now and, despite some early difficulties like hanging chairs that ended up falling out of the ceiling and a giant hallway closet that holds a huge unusable tub, they love the space they’ve built together for their family (which also includes four adorable pets, Chloe, Charlie and Oscar Pants (cats) and Milton (their dog). “We aren’t fussy people,” Sarah says. “We want our home to function and be comfortable. We want to look around and see the things that remind us of each other, where we’ve been and who we love.” It’s easy to see how much love, family and friends have played into the creation of their beautiful home and I’m so happy to share it here today. Stay tuned for a peek inside Sarah’s home studio later this week! xo, grace

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