Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for December 5, 2017

Christian Louboutin on style, animism, and how gardening inspires his designs

Christian Louboutin will go to great lengths to outfit his prized garden; seven hectares of high-maintenance landscaping at his 13th-century French château in France’s Vendée region. “I do have the, how do you say? Green fingers,” he laughs. “I will always bring back plants from my travels. Perhaps I shouldn’t say this, but I’ve been smuggling them from everywhere. The only place I don’t think I’ve brought a plant from is in England, though, which is odd because I spend so much time here.”

As such, the garden at Château de Champgillon, a property he has co-owned with his business partner Bruno Chambelland for more than 25 years, is established and thriving, filled with everything from Chinese and Japanese wisteria, to an orangerie growing kumquats and mandarins.

The team at contemporary gardening magazine Rakesprogress were so taken with his lot, that they commissioned photographer Jane Hilton to capture a series ‘Digging His Heels In’ which is on display until the end of this week on Covent Garden’s Floral Street.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/womens-style/christian-louboutin-style-animism-gardening-inspires-designs/

Self-care craze seeps into home design

Picture an escape.

The first image that comes to mind is probably a sandy beach, or an exotic location. It likely isn’t your master bathroom or bedroom.

That is slowly changing, said interior designer and author Nate Berkus.

“With everything going on in the world, I think all of us want, and have always wanted, our home to be our sanctuary,” said Berkus, co-star of the TLC reality show “Nate Jeremiah by Design.”

Berkus has made a career of transforming peoples’ living spaces into private oases. But as millennials join the ranks of home buyers, with their obsessive interest in self-care, mindfulness and the Internet, the idea of design as escapism is expanding.

People are relying more on their home environments to boost their moods and overall sense of well-being. And in today’s heated climate, optimizing your home for happiness and creating a safe space to decompress and disconnect from work, politics and technology are not only valued but seemingly necessary.

“The best interiors are the interiors where people … shut out all of the noise and really take a great, careful assessment of what made them feel the best in their spaces,” Berkus told The Washington Post. “The first question everyone should ask themselves before launching any design project whatsoever is, ‘What makes you feel good in your home?’”

With minimalism in vogue and decluttering advocates such as Marie Kondo reaching Beyonc-esque levels of recognition, the areas of home and wellness are becoming more integrally intertwined. People are shying away from clutter and excess by placing more weight on the long-term benefits of the objects they choose to keep and display in their homes.

“As a culture, I think we have too many things. I think there is a fine line drawn between hoarding, which is truly a medical term, and collecting,” Berkus said. “It’s important not to have too many, because then you stop noticing, engaging and caring about the details … That’s when you cross the line from collector into something more dangerous.”

One way Berkus avoids this pitfall is by selecting furnishings that have “age and patina” and “evoke a sense of history, permanence and use.” For example, displaying treasured travel souvenirs or incorporating beloved vintage and antique furniture might fit the bill.

“When you’re embarking on a renovation or redesign, ask yourself, ‘What choices can I make to promote a feeling of sanctity?’” Berkus said. He also recommends incorporating “natural elements,” “timeworn finishes” and “architectural elements salvaged from old buildings” to add layers of depth and character.

Many of his clients are devoting spaces in their homes to “wellness, tranquility and serenity.” His celebrity patrons, including his friend Oprah Winfrey, often request spaces for silence and reflection such as craft corners, reading nooks, and yoga, prayer and meditation rooms.

Master bathrooms have also become a common place of respite, with trends toward personalization and spa-inspired amenities. “Bathrooms have become even more sumptuous,” Berkus said.

For homeowners on a budget, an easy way to carve out a slice of bathroom serenity is with candles, fresh flowers, relaxing music and recessed lighting. Berkus also notes a growing trend toward upholstered bathroom furniture such as small, quilted chaises and tufted settees next to the bathtub, to add another tier of warmth and relaxation.

The idea of optimizing home wellness has also seeped into our travel and lifestyle choices.

“Ten years ago, hotel design wasn’t at the forefront of everyone’s consciousness. It didn’t really matter as much as it does today,” Berkus said. But now, “when you’re looking online and booking a vacation, (you ask) ‘What’s the design of the bathroom in the room that I’m staying in? Where is the photo of the spa or the pool?’”

Visual social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest can help homeowners curate their interests, hone their design aesthetic and create a home environment that reflects their personality and tastes, Berkus said.

“The design consciousness of everybody has been elevated based on our access to information,” Berkus said. “People are literally planning not only their homes and their living rooms (on these sites) but their weddings and next meals.”

They have also served as great visual tools to help clients communicate to interior designers what statement and sentiment they want their decor to exude, “whether it’s something that reflects who they are as a person, their cultural heritage or … a (certain) time in their lives that was meaningful to them.”

The flip side of these websites is that no one really understands what design features cost.

“Clients will say, ‘We really love this marble bathtub carved out of a solid block of marble. And I tell them: ‘I love that as well. Are you aware that it is the same price as an Acura?’” he said with a laugh.

Your best shot at creating a home that feels “safe, warm and protected,” Berkus said, is to do your homework and figure out what design style best suits you before pulling out your credit card.

“We all do better when our homes are better. Our homes do rise up to greet us, and they do make a difference in how we move through the world,” Berkus said. “At the end of the day, when we come home and we light that candle and we close the door, we want to know that we are surrounded by things that we have chosen and that we really love.”

Article source: http://www.journalgazette.net/features/home-garden/20171205/self-care-craze-seeps-into-home-design

Watch This Scathing Takedown Of Alleged Harasser Don Burke On The ABC’s New Comedy Show

Article source: http://junkee.com/tonightly-don-burke/137796

THE DIRT ON GARDENING: Tips for storing sweet potatoes through …

While it’s a bit late in the year for learning sweet potato storage techniques for our current year’s crop, I had a request from a reader of my column to address the storage process.

If you grew sweet potatoes in your garden, it’s best to avoid using them until you’ve cured them to gain their best sweetness. Consider storing the excess well into the winter months to be used even until spring.

Sweet potatoes require a different approach to storage than the common white potatoes such as Kennebec, russets or cobblers where only a dark, dry and cool environment is necessary. My childhood experiences were strictly with common Michigan cobblers that my parents stored in the basement. I can still vividly remember retrieving a half dozen or so for my mother when requested and snapping off half-inch root sprouts that had developed. There is something somewhat twisted about the joy I got out of snapping these sprouts off before plopping them on the kitchen counter. Our truck patch normally produced two or three bushels that lasted us until spring.

We grew very few sweet potatoes and used them in a couple weeks while they were fresh, not understanding that curing made them much sweeter. I think storing them was out of the question because my parents didn’t know the proper technique.

Sweet potatoes, while delicious and nutritious when first harvested, are even better when cured and stored properly for a period of time. The curing triggers the formation of sugar-producing enzymes that enhance and deepen their flavor. This curing is key to storing them for months of enjoyment without a breakdown of the tubers. Once they are cured they may be placed in perforated plastic bags or in a cardboard box in a basement or garage, as long as temperatures remain moderately cool and dry.

THE CURING PROCESS

For the best success, harvest sweet potatoes in dry conditions being careful not to damage the tubers that would invite mold and disease; they are tender and thin-skinned at this stage. Place them for five days to two weeks in temperatures 80 to 85 degrees with humidity near 85 percent. A spot close to a furnace would be preferable as the curing process will take longer the cooler it is. Place them in a crate or basket that will provide ventilation and cover them with cloth to keep the humidity high. Placing an artificial water source such as a container of water inside the covered potatoes will help.

Once the curing process is finished, check again for any damaged tubers that should be used right away and then brush any remaining soil or dirt off the remaining ones and wrap them in newspaper. Then stack them in a paper or cardboard box. Best storage temperature is about 55 degrees and complete darkness. Check often for mildew and remove mildewed sweet potatoes immediately so it doesn’t spread to the remaining ones. Done properly, they should last well into the winter months. This curing will toughen the skin and heal cuts and wounds.

You’ll develop a special fondness for cured sweet potatoes because of their increased sweet and mellow flavor.

Tom Yoder is a Master Gardener who resides in Goshen. He can be reached by phone at 533-0172 or by email at yoder.tom@gmail.com.

Article source: http://www.goshennews.com/news/lifestyles/the-dirt-on-gardening-tips-for-storing-sweet-potatoes-through/article_01176e39-d39e-5633-b78f-3cb2cf55dc19.html

THE DIRT ON GARDENING: Tips for storing sweet potatoes through the winter

While it’s a bit late in the year for learning sweet potato storage techniques for our current year’s crop, I had a request from a reader of my column to address the storage process.

If you grew sweet potatoes in your garden, it’s best to avoid using them until you’ve cured them to gain their best sweetness. Consider storing the excess well into the winter months to be used even until spring.

Sweet potatoes require a different approach to storage than the common white potatoes such as Kennebec, russets or cobblers where only a dark, dry and cool environment is necessary. My childhood experiences were strictly with common Michigan cobblers that my parents stored in the basement. I can still vividly remember retrieving a half dozen or so for my mother when requested and snapping off half-inch root sprouts that had developed. There is something somewhat twisted about the joy I got out of snapping these sprouts off before plopping them on the kitchen counter. Our truck patch normally produced two or three bushels that lasted us until spring.

We grew very few sweet potatoes and used them in a couple weeks while they were fresh, not understanding that curing made them much sweeter. I think storing them was out of the question because my parents didn’t know the proper technique.

Sweet potatoes, while delicious and nutritious when first harvested, are even better when cured and stored properly for a period of time. The curing triggers the formation of sugar-producing enzymes that enhance and deepen their flavor. This curing is key to storing them for months of enjoyment without a breakdown of the tubers. Once they are cured they may be placed in perforated plastic bags or in a cardboard box in a basement or garage, as long as temperatures remain moderately cool and dry.

THE CURING PROCESS

For the best success, harvest sweet potatoes in dry conditions being careful not to damage the tubers that would invite mold and disease; they are tender and thin-skinned at this stage. Place them for five days to two weeks in temperatures 80 to 85 degrees with humidity near 85 percent. A spot close to a furnace would be preferable as the curing process will take longer the cooler it is. Place them in a crate or basket that will provide ventilation and cover them with cloth to keep the humidity high. Placing an artificial water source such as a container of water inside the covered potatoes will help.

Once the curing process is finished, check again for any damaged tubers that should be used right away and then brush any remaining soil or dirt off the remaining ones and wrap them in newspaper. Then stack them in a paper or cardboard box. Best storage temperature is about 55 degrees and complete darkness. Check often for mildew and remove mildewed sweet potatoes immediately so it doesn’t spread to the remaining ones. Done properly, they should last well into the winter months. This curing will toughen the skin and heal cuts and wounds.

You’ll develop a special fondness for cured sweet potatoes because of their increased sweet and mellow flavor.

Tom Yoder is a Master Gardener who resides in Goshen. He can be reached by phone at 533-0172 or by email at yoder.tom@gmail.com.

Article source: http://www.goshennews.com/news/lifestyles/the-dirt-on-gardening-tips-for-storing-sweet-potatoes-through/article_01176e39-d39e-5633-b78f-3cb2cf55dc19.html