Monday, November 29, 2010

Listen Outside The Box

 ~Blog Post By Alisa ~

I grew up with very different parents who listened to very different styles of music. My mother listened to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis,  and Diana Ross. My father had a preference for the Big Band sound, the incomparable jazz/blues musician, Leon Redbone, and the blues singer, Phoebe Snow. Still, no matter how much I could appreciate those different musicians, nothing fired up my little synapses like rock and roll. It was a blessing for me that, amongst my dad's other aforementioned favorites, there was also the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, and The Allman Brothers. I carefully picked up the turntable's needle and replayed 'Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding' endlessly while sitting on the floor with the headphones cranked up; annihilating my hearing at the earliest possible age I could manage.

Since those days, I have grown attached to all sorts of rock and roll acts. If it's good, I will listen. If it's creative, I will listen closer. These days, though, it's tough to find creative acts on the radio. Doesn't mean they aren't out there, but they're getting harder to find.  It's wearisome to differentiate one band from the next because the music industry seems to only sign bands that sound like other bands. So, for me, another musical blessing is the Internet; any type of music you can imagine is here, just waiting to be discovered. My favorite discoveries are the bands which allow the members' unique personalities to shine through, blending into a homogeneous piece of auditory pleasure. Today, I want to share one such band that I have found: De:laQ.

De:laQ is: Eric Senet, Julian Orzabal, Pierre Leveille, and Lionel Boisselet

The name De:laQ is derived from  Julian Orzabal's Argentine surname, De la Quintana. Julian is the lead singer and songwriter for the band. After being on the fringes of the music world for years, he stepped into the spotlight with their debut album, The Butterfly. Drawing much of his inspiration from a fertile imagination, Julian decided on fifteen distinctive songs for the album. The songs range from folk, to pop, to rock styles, and Orzabal's strong vocals are up to the challenging variety. Fans believe that Orzabal has the rare gift of capturing glimpses of ordinary life and elevating them to a place where one wants to pull up a chair and see how it all works out. Not one to allow the creative juices to run dry, Julian has woven together ideas for novellas, a screenplay, and seems to always be hip-deep in new songs for the band's second effort.

Assisting Orzabal with the creation of the songs is music composer, Eric Senet. Although capable of playing a wide array of instruments, Senet is first and foremost a guitarist. And he sure does play a mean guitar. It is easy to hear how he has been inspired by the likes of Neil Young and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, but Eric's playing is definitely all his own. Fans often remark that they can recognize his guitar playing without being told that it's him; the mark of a true individual. If you go to their YouTube band page and listen to 'Standing at the Crossroads,' you will understand. The searing guitar licks are nothing short of haunting. Having once been highly competitive in sports, Senet now turns that level of perfectionism into distinctive arrangements that make the listener sit up and take notice.

Rounding out the band are Lionel Boisselet on bass guitar, and Pierre Leveille on drums. Both Boisselet and Leveille are school teachers to young children. Boisselet is heavily influenced by the band Extreme, Nuno Bettoncourt especially, and also crafts his own compositions. Leveille has an eclectic and wide-ranging taste in music, which translates into an effortless ability to bring his own creativity into the songs, rather than simply keeping the beat. His talent is surpassed only by his humility, which is at once refreshing and endearing.

Asking fans which tracks are the best, you'd eventually get a list comprised of every track on the album. That's the beauty of this gem; there's something for everyone. I pay attention to who likes what when it comes to this album, and the tracks I hear about the most are the upbeat songs, 'Find My Way Home,' 'Remember Me,' and 'City Girl,' and the darker, more brooding tracks, 'The Butterfly,' and 'Standing at the Crossroads'. My personal favorites change regularly. At the moment, they are the good-love-gone-cold song, 'Love Is,' the acoustic version of the uptempo *'Make Me Wait,' and 'She Said,' which is a pop tune that jumps out of the gate and rocks all the way to the finish line. In a recent interview, Orzabal was asked what their expectations are when they craft songs, and his response was that they simply hope listeners will, "just enjoy the music." I think it's safe to say their fans would agree that De:laQ is hitting that mark.

Distance is a factor in how frequently these guys can get together and jam up a storm. Orzabal resides near Bath, England, whereas the others live relatively close in the Burgundy region of France. In the meantime, Senet, Boisselet, and Leveille perform together, along with Benoit Renevret and Olivier Dupuy, in the French rock band, Delilah June. (Check them out at and on Facebook.) But distance will not stop De:laQ from completing their sophomore effort, which is due in 2011. Many of the songs have already been written ,the music has been arranged, and it's only a matter of getting into the studio together to record. I am anticipating the time when I can put on the headphones, crank up the volume, and let my synapses run wild once more.

To listen to De:laQ for yourself, check them out at , on their music channel at YouTube, and then see what their fans have to say on the Facebook Fan Page at

Enjoy the music. Appreciate the lyrics. Spread the word. Rock on.
* Swing by the band's official website and look for the free mp3 download of 'Make Me Wait'

Friday, November 26, 2010

How to Make Pretty Jewelry Holders

blog by: kim

How To Make These Pretty Jewelry Holders
(it’s easier than it looks)

Jewelry or key holders are a great addition of functional art to any home. No two are ever alike. Mine are  17’ L x 3.74” W. Pieces can be slightly longer/wider depending on length of recycled wood.

Use them to hang up your keys, jewelry or any other small items. Mine are made from recycled, old barn wood and designer damask fabrics.   But you can make these using any piece of wood with the right dimensions. You can choose the length and width you want. Decorate with assorted, hand picked knobs. I mix different knobs for a whimsical look. Each knob can hold multiple necklaces, bracelets, key chains, scarf, leashes, belts and more. And rememeber, reclaimed wood is earth friendly.

Add a nice hook on the back for hanging  right on your wall. These also look great simply displayed as functional wall art.

You’ll need:

a few pretty pieces of fabric that you like

scissors, matching ribbon for the ends if you want to use some,
a screwdriver for the screws that go in the knobs

a slab of wood. Approx 15” 4”, or the size you want. doesn't matter the kind of wood, as long as it's sturdy and clean

hot glue gun – these can be purchased at Walmart or any craft store, they are not expensive

electric drill- I used my husband’s, you’ll need this to drill holes clean through the wood so you can attach the knobs.

various knobs – it’s fun to look for vintage knobs or different styles to mix and match

add ribbon to the ends...

wall hooks for the back of the wood, to hang it from...

Fold your fabric over the wood, almost like you are wrapping a Christmas gift. Cover all parts of the wood so there are no exposed areas. Seal the seams on all 4 sides with a  line of hot glue. Make sure there are no loose ends, so it all looks neat & clean.

Measure where you want your knobs to go. 4-6 knobs usually looks best depending on the length of your piece of wood.

Knobs come with screws, so drill a hole through the wood, then screw in the knobs

Last, attach two wall hooks on the back upper right and left of your wood, so the jewelry holder can hang nicely.

All done. See? That wasn’t so hard. These look nice in a front hall, for keys, a bathroom, a child or baby’s room for trinkets or small clothes, or a kitchen for pet leashes, etc. It’s functional art.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Diversity Is Beautiful. Teach Tolerance.

blog by: kim

Thank you to Jillian for this insightful link that I posted below. This is important. People need to listen up....

..... it often starts with us adults, bullying others who are different. Different religions, politics, races, behaviors, parenting styles, even down to basic likes and dislikes. Not necessarily consciously, but out of habit, we talk negatively about people who do things differently, even though we try to teach our children to accept those same things that we verbally disapprove of.

Be more conscience of the way you speak about others, especially in front of kids. I already try not to judge and to accept humans for their differences *Diversity is beautiful* ...but I'm not perfect...none of us are, however, if we can open our eyes a little before we open our mouths, especially around all of our little ones, maybe we can start to be the change we want to see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

50 Things You Didn't Know

Today's Blog Ramblings brought to you by: Kim (who had too much caffeine today)

A group of us did a fun "50 Things" questionnaire. Below is mine. Not that anyone gives a flying fig, but why not? It's a change of pace from our food and recipe  blogs for a sec…you may be entertained.

1. What time did you get up this morning?

2. How do you like your steak?
Don't eat much red meat, it's so terribly bad for you...but when i do, medium/well please and thank you. blood triggers the gag reflex.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Um...something with my daughter

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Modern Family and anything that makes me laugh hard.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
here (beautiful florida) or michigan (where i'm from and i know the most people) Or the English countryside or an NYC brownstone

6. What did you have for breakfast?
coffee & wheat toast. mmm

7. Your favorite cuisine?
Italian, Indian, Chinese, Mexican....many. i strive to at least try different cultures

8. What foods do you dislike?
brussel sprouts or liver *gag*

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
Macaroni Grill, Mecca Fresh, Gino's or Carrabbas, or a good seafood place

10. Favorite dressing?
 vinagrette or honey mustard

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?

12. What are your favorite clothes?
favorite old jeans that fit just right & high heel boots. oh and jammies

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
Italy- Tuscany in an old countryside B&B

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
depends on the day and my mood. do not press your luck

15. Where would you want to retire?
anywhere on the beach :) our beaches here are gorgeous

16. Favorite time of day?
sunset for sure

17. Where were you born?
sunny, tropical michigan

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
i'm sorry? i don't get the question 

19. Complete this sentence. I wish that: "my good friends lived closer, i don't like that we are spread out all over the USA. Makes it tough to just pop in for coffee or borrow a pair of shoes on a whim" I also wish for world peace and an END to cancer, it's hit too many people i know.

20. Biggest fear? anything bad ever happening to my child

21. Who makes you smile?
my daughter, emily. and she drives me insane at the same time. typical kid

22. Bird watcher?
no, my attention span is much too short for such

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
usually morning, but i can roll with whatever if you can entertain me and there's wine

24. Do you have any pets?
my Beverly Hills chihuahua, Bella and my husband's doggie Niko

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
when and if i decide to do so, i will "status update" until then, nope

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
a pretty princess. what lame goals and aspirations 

27. What is your best childhood memory?
licking the batter bowl after my grandma made cake. getting it up my nose and in my hair.
life was simple back then

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
both i love ALL animals (except snakes and spiders)

29. Are you married?

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Yes of course

31. Downfalls? I'm clumsy, sometimes too much of a dreamer and impatient. plus i'm stubborn. i am right and you are wrong!

32. Any pet peeves?
stuck up people, ultra conservative people who judge & think their way is the only way (they should learn to think outside the box) homophobes, racists, bad drivers and mean people who are just unkind to others in general.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
white pizza

34. Favorite Flower?
cala lillies

35. Favorite ice cream?
yes please!

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
chick fil a

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
zero. i think i am a great driver. but my husband would beg to differ. who asked him anyway?

38. From whom did you get your last email?  probably kristin

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Pier One, Victoria's Secret or any over-priced shoe store. why? are you buying?

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
as long as it is scheduled in my planner...WHAT? 

41. Like your job?
for the most part

42. Broccoli? Steamed or with cheese?
steamed or raw...i need more options 

43. What was your favorite vacation?
London and New Zealand...those trips were another lifetime ago. me and hubby went on a fun cruise a couple years ago. i'll have to get back to you ok? i don't need this pressure

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
the hubs and emily

45. What are you listening to right now?
fingernails on a chalkboard

46. What is your favorite color?
Pink, because i'm girlie- but i wear mostly earth tones/black

47: Favorite Band?
that doesn't even need an answer ;) LOVE music

48: Favorite Beer?
Don't drink beer. more of a wine drinker mm 'kay?

49: Favorite Comfort Food?
Pasta, pasta...goes right to a girl's ass but so yummy!

50: Favorite ways to relax?

....the beach, browsing bookstores or vintage/thrift shops with a latte in hand, therapeutic massages, hot baths, painting, a glass of wine, going for a walk, watching a good movie with hubby, strolling through an art show, my favorite music or getting lost in a good book

Sidenote: When I find a great shop or artist, I like to share & pass it on. Look at Terry's shop (link below) I see so many pieces I love. It's worth a look-see. Her prices are great. They don’t break the bank. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I dislike more than overpriced anything. Through the wonders of the internet, her wares and also mine can be shipped all over the word. You have to love technology! Great little shop Terry!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pretty Things for the Holidays. Recycle. Reduce. Reuse.

Today’s blog blatherings by: kim

Show your green side by sending a stylish, repurposed or handmade “green” gift. Many of my repurposed accessories are inspired by the details of era’s past: whether French Bohemian of the late 1800’s, the detailed lines of the Art Nouveau movement, or the glamour of Old Hollywood. It’s the delicate, feminine sophistication from these times, coupled with a modern eye that produce these unique pieces and finds. 
Aren't we all a mix of our loves & losses, the places we've been, where we're going and our dreams.? I love using my hands & eyes to make unique, original, one-of-a-kind designs. I make no duplicates- because where's the fun in that? What’s become popular are gorgeous, handmade fashion accessories, exploiting the textural and sculptural qualities of eco-ethical fabrics, stones and metals.

This is the era of going green, conserving and repurposing. Repurposing is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to recycle, since it takes little or no new energy or products to simply rework old things. You just have to be willing to let your creative side out. And anybody can do it.

It doesn’t have to be fancy; repurposing just means giving new purpose to old objects, whatever or however that turns out to be. It can be as simple as turning old cracked tea cups into votive candle holders or as complex as sewing a quilt from vintage fabric or clothing.

Got old crates? Paint them all a similar color. Look what I found on a repurpose website:

Or this old dress form used  to hold necklaces. Whoever thought of this is genius.

Spend free time raiding jewelry districts. I like a thrift or antique store , markets, and filling my hands with stunning finds. Collecting and saving unique, vintage pieces. I just added a few things to my Etsy shop for the upcoming holidays. A handful of pieces have already sold between Etsy and my website, so I added more…

Look at these awesome hand made pottery mugs I had for sale: (they have since sold)

Hand made pottery mugs set.

These are so pretty and earthy. Perfect for the person who doesn’t like the same, generic, mass produced dishware that everyone else has. Clean design, handle-less mugs. Grey with speckles on the top portion and a contrasting cobalt blue bottom, then glazed to perfection. Mugs hold exactly one full cup to enjoy your morning coffee, afternoon tea or maybe some hot chocolate. A standard 5” tall. Dishwasher & microwave safe.

Jewelry is beautiful and many women enjoy it, but go that extra step by buying a piece with extra meaning. Many of these products have a “past”, and are either made from recycled metal, glass or other material or they have been crafted from repurposed material such as vintage leather gloves, leaves, sea shells and more. These pieces are hip and chic while being 100% eco at the same time and no matter the occasion, they will make an amazing gift for the holidays. 

My Art Deco Copper Jewelry Set $42

Hand crafted matching necklace, earrings and bracelet set. Sweet set. Unusual look. Pretty color combo. Urban, ethnic & unusual. Perfect for fall. A brass/copper/pewter mix. Necklace is long, just under 18”. Can be worn long or double wrapped. Bracelet a standard 8”
Sold separate or as a set:
Earrings $8
Necklace $ $18
Bracelet $16

(since sold) I have a small, Elegant Black Hard Shell Purse $18  8.5 length x 3.5 height. Petite and classic. Perfect little black purse with white quilted stitching and a silver metal clasp. Interior is also the same shiny satin fabric. This is a hard shell bag, perfect condition.

Gothic Cross Brooch $17. My favorite piece. Rocker chic. (this brooch also sold)

 A stunning attention getter. Approx. 2.75” length x 2” wide. Gorgeous, multi colored stones from dark burgundy to yellow to clear. No missing stones, perfect.

My double strand bracelet $17. 

Beautiful glass beaded bracelet bursting with colors like cream, rust and peach. Smaller beads set in between the square and pear shaped beads. Metal clasp. This bracelet would look beautiful on any wrist. ~Sold

All of my pieces come in a gift box and ribbon or little organza drawstring bags.

Hand thrown pottery bowls. Set of 4 $40. Sold

Dark, chocolate brown with a cream spiral glaze all around the inside of the bowls. Earthy speckles and texture with a few exposed areas around the rims of the bowls ~ made to look rustic. No two are alike. These can be mixed and matched with other funky dishes and serving pieces, your sets don’t have to all match. These are perfect for stews, veggies, popcorn, cereal or anything.  Each pretty bowl fits right in with the other. Microwave & dishwasher safe. I recommend hand washing, to keep them in top condition.  Food safe. Approx. 8” wide

Check back to my Etsy below often, as I'm always adding new pieces.

Why is it we repurpose items? Perhaps we just can't bare to see something once loved, discarded...especially when we know it still holds great promise.

What have you repurposed? Feel free to share your great upcycling, eco-friendly, repurposing ideas!