• My Office

    For the second time in almost a year [exactly] I am revealing to you a room I decorated in our home; only this time it is not our master bedroom but my office – a.k.a. Lucky Little Mustardseed headquarters! This is the place where I do most of my business-related work = make phone calls, shop for fabric, scroll Craiglist for furniture finds, return emails, and [of course] write my blog.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 1

    When “dressing-up” any space, I am a firm believer that a room should be a true reflection of its inhabitants.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 2

    SO, since that’s ME [lol] my office’s personality had to be fun, bright, and quirky . . .

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 3

    With uniquely-curated items that would cause your eyes to take a second glance and to smile.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 4

    I mean look at the wall art above my desk :) it just simply gives you a chuckle.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 5

    Okay, so this is by far the best accessory in my office. My little Nella Sue. Whenever I sit down to work [even if it’s only for a few minutes] she is right there in my lap. Her two siblings could care less :)

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 6

    For me, good interior design embodies a nice combination of both old and new. Take my desk lamp for example. I acquired it from an old farm house my parents purchase in the late 90s/early 2000s. All it needed was a little rewiring, a fresh lamp shade, and BAM! You got yourself a one-of-a-kind piece that cannot be found anywhere else.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 7

    I also adore to have decor items that reflect an individual’s other interests. Like this baseball memento for my boys in blue ;) GO ROYALS!

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 8

    And to have unconventional organizational tools.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 9

    I love it when you can look at a space from any angle and be stimulated.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 10

    Personal touches help make a room feel cozy and real. I keep this “senior” picture of my late grandma on my desk at all times. It helps to remind me that life is way too short AND that being classy is always in style.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 11

    “By reshaping or decorating our outer selves, we express our inner sense of self: ‘I like that’ becomes ‘I’m like that.” – Virginia Postrel

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 12

    My office is definitely “Jenna” and helps make my work enjoyable every single day :)

  • Cheesy Shrimp Risotto

    As a newlywed, one of my main goals for our first year of marriage was to nail down about five to ten “go-to” supper recipes = ones that were easy to shop for and simple to make. Thus, most weeknights, I’ve been cooking up a storm in our kitchen, and through my experimentation, have luckily added some pretty tasty dishes to my recipe repertoire. [Yes, I am TOTALLY tooting my own horn over here!] One of those yummy concoctions is my take on risotto. It’s tried and true and has very much evolved over the past few blissful months. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband has!

    Cheesy Shrimp Risotto

    Ingredients:

    3 cups water

    3 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base [I adore ALL their products!]

    1 red onion, quartered

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 cup uncooked arborio rice

    1/2 cup white cooking wine

    1 cup frozen peas

    2 cups frozen shrimp, thawed

    1 container Trader Joe’s Freshly Shaved Parmesan, Romano, & Asiago Cheese

    Directions: In a saucepan, bring the water, Better Than Boullion, and red onion to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and continue to simmer the broth. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice. Cook about 5 minutes until the rice is golden in color. This is an important step. Do NOT skip. The toasting prepares the rice for absorbing the hot broth. It may seem minor, but [again] do NOT skip. After toasting, carefully add the wine, stirring constantly until absorbed. Next, return to your saucepan to remove the red onion with a slotted spoon; discard in the trash. Then with a ladle, stir in 1/4 cup of broth into the rice mixture. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue this step of adding broth about 1/4 cup at a time. As soon as you reach your last 1/4 cup, add it along with the peas into the sauté pan and stirring frequently once more. The mixture should be creamy and the rice should be tender but slightly firm. Now stir in your shrimp and cook until they have turned pink in color and have skunk a little in size, about 1/8. Be careful. It’s VERY easy to overcook shrimp. AND, last but not least, stir in the cheese and serve warm in large pasta dishes.

    “I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. Everything in moderation. I know that’s really hard for people to understand, but I grew up in an Italian family where we didn’t overdo anything. We ate pasta, yes, but not a lot of it.” – Giada De Laurentiis

    Bon aptit!

  • Style Crazed: Bringing Birken Back

    Move over, Justin Timberlake, because I’m bringing sexy [Birkenstock’s] back! Okay, maybe not really . . . I mean if you’ve gone lately to any department store for shoes, you’ve seen exactly what I am talking about = Birkenstock doing a fine job reviving their once iconic sandal from the 90s – only this time they have added some cool new designs AND are stepping up their A-game textile-wise. Yeah, they don’t really need MY help! Although that doesn’t mean I am any less excited about their comeback. I just hope that wearing tube socks with these bad boys along with rolled-up jeans does NOT make a reappearance :(

    Style Crazed: Bringing Birken Back

    Glasses: Dior / Necklace: Target (I think :/ I’ve had it awhile now) / Tank Top: Trina Turk via Nordstorm Rack

    Shorts: Trina Turk / Purse: Kate Spade New York / Sandals: Birkenstock

    Besides Birkenstock’s, today’s #stylecrazed post is centered around summer. As a reader of LLM, you personally know how it’s been such a hassle for me over the past three years to find outfits for warmer weather. I’m a Midwest gal who adores her layers in clothing. HOWEVER, after living in San Diego for six years now, my struggles have seemed to vanish and it might actually be safe to say that I’ve completed embraced this time of year! This look is an easy go-to for me. It’s simple, bright, and has just the right amount of quirk in it. Plus, these shorts seem to be made specifically for me: the colors, the cut, and boy, are they comfortable! I feel like Trina gets me on a DEEP vibrant level ;)

    “Everybody is different. Everybody has different styles. Just do it the best way you know how.” – Vince Carter

    SO, what are your summertime favorites? I would love to know :) as I am ALWAYS open to suggestions!

  • Shoulda Put A [Band] On It

    Since I am an upholstery artist, I am sure you have already come to the conclusion that I love to repurpose things [chairs, couches, you name it] AND if you’ve had a chance to read my article in the latest issue of Darling Magazine, you also know that D.I.Y. is in my D.N.A. [thanks Mom and Dad] either way, this year has pushed me in such creative ways and because of said upholstery work, I have not executed or shared any other #creativeaftermath in 2015 . . . I mean other than my #functionalart ;) anyway, about a month ago [right after our Vegas trip] I was dealing with this terrible left shoulder/left hand pain. I didn’t mention anything via my Instagram because I believe happiness is a choice, so I tend to focus more on the positive in my life than the negative.

    [Do you hear that, Joysuckers? Get out of my way!]

    When I was dealing with this lousy pain, I was really struggling with my artwork. THUS, I decided to give myself a couple weeks off and refocused my energies to some much less, physically demanding ideas from that notebook of mine; bringing us to today’s blog post: do you remember those rubber band balls that office supply stores used to carry? You know the ones that are completely made out of rubber bands? I guess they might still carry them. I’m not sure. BUT as an adolescent [for whatever reason] I always wanted one and never, well, got one. Now, fast-forward to all these years later and it’s the inspiration behind this project :) I am going to show you HOW to cover an object with rubber bands to [hopefully] resemble these quirky spheres I once coveted in my youth, all the while creating a unique decor item for your home!

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-1

    To get started is easy = find an object to cover and grab a rubber band of your liking.

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-2

    Stretch that rubber band around the object you are covering. In my case, I chose a bud vase I purchased from CB2 that was showing a little wear and tear.

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-3

    Next, repeat the above step with other rubber bands; strategically placing them around different areas of the object.

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    Then, repeat the above step AGAIN – only this time, start overlapping the rubber bands.

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-5

    I suggest you try to lay each rubber band so it is completely flat with no twists. This simple attention to detail will make for definite easier layering.

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-6

    See once the entire object is covered, you will no longer be able to see the crack in this bud vase’s glaze :)

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-7

    Another suggestion is to alternate colors with each layer. It will make for a more interesting piece. At the end of the day, however, you do have your own creative freedom and can use whatever colors you want. Heck, you can even use just one color of rubber band if you like. Artist’s choice!

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-8

    Don’t be afraid to stretch the rubber bands around your object in unique ways. If you change your mind on placement, it’s a pretty painless reversal. They are rubber bands after all!

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-9

    This seriously might be the easiest D.I.Y. ever = you simply keep layering and layering the rubber bands around your object.

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-10

    Until you have look you were going for. Right below is where I stopped.

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-11

    Finally [once you’re happy with the results] it’s display time. In my case, I had to fill up it up with water and picked some beautiful, white roses that would pop against its colorful rubber band backdrop. This now re-resides as a centerpiece on our dining room table. FUN, right?!

    Shoulda Put A [Band] On It-

    “Mind is everything. Muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” – Paavo Nurmi

    SO, what do YOU think?! Pretty easy, huh? I would love to see your rubber band creation! Please use #creativeaftermath and I might have to share it on Instagram!

  • Before & After: “Life Is A Gamble”

    SO . . . yesterday [EEK!] the first-ever PR piece for my little upholstery business was sent out via snail mail.

    That’s right, folks = my #functionalart is in the latest issue of Darling Magazine!

    Can I get a hell yes?

    To say I’m elated would be the biggest understatement since [well] I eloped with D back in February :)

    It’s the first big step to letting the world know that I exist as an artist and I simply could not be happier that it was with this particular magazine. I mean what other publication upholds the beauty of being a REAL woman like Darling?! I can’t think of one. It’s original and is the exact sort of change we need to see more of in the “print” world. ANYWAY, since this issue will be hitting mailboxes [and Anthropologie stores] soon, I thought it was about time to start unveiling to YOU what I’ve been calling Homebird Upholstery 2.0.

    Before & After: "Life Is A Gamble"

    (“Life Is A Gamble” – Copyright Pending)

    I first acquired this chair back in 2011 as a birthday present [yes, my friends know what I like] this was before my grandmother passed, before I filed for divorce, before there was even blog, a #meandD, ETC. It was during a time in which I was living a life I just wasn’t happy with or in. Under those circumstances, however, my creativity began to flourish in ways I had never expected, and twelve months later, I was going to work for myself in upholstery. In that short time frame, I also met my [now] husband, went to Vegas for the visit time, and was having all kinds of experiences I had never pondered as a reality before. And that’s how this first #functionalart piece came to be. I wanted this particular chair to embody life’s little gambles, because we honestly don’t know where today or tomorrow will lead us. I never planned to be living the life I am living right now, but I am and I sort of look like I have a hanger stuck in my mouth ;) because I am just so gosh-darn happy. The chair itself is recovered in poker felt-resembling fabric that will slowly show the same wear-and-tear as an actually poker table. It was important for me to have a green textile that was both tough enough for upholstery but could be semi-vulnerable t0 its elements at the same time – much like our human nature. I then used [glittery] red vinyl for the welting to help release the spark you feel as you enter a casino and actual poker chips for the tufted buttons to help bring this artistic endeavor full circle. Last but not least, I had new legs created and finished them with a high-gloss gold paint and my signature [individually laid by hand] Swarowski crystals.

    “Authors by the hundreds can tell you stories by the thousands of those rejection slips before they found a publisher who was willing to ‘gamble’ on an unknown.” – Zig Ziglar

    All-in-all, this very-masculine chair turned out better than my imagination could ever have envisioned and I simply cannot wait to read your reactions to it. Please leave your comments below! This was the first [of many] out of my notebook full of ideas.