Friday, August 31, 2012

Ikea Inspiration: Black, White and Orange

The last day of August! Fall is on it's way and I am finding it harder to wake up in the mornings because it is so dark. The traditional fall colors of red, orange, rust, brown and green are everywhere in decor magazines, store catalogs, blogs etc. But this year, I am really liking the pairing of a very graphic black and white with the red/orange-y tones. The 2013 Ikea catalog has this pairing and I have to tell you, the combination is an attention-grabber. It really wakes up the room and makes it contemporary yet allowing you to reflect the colors of the season. Ikea's Lappljung Ruta pillow covers and rug are very ikat-esque, aren't they?

 Visit Ikea here.

Image credits/copyright/links: Ikea.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anthro Giveaway: Ends Tomorrow!

The Anthropologie $50 giveaway ends on Aug 30th (I forgot August had a 31st.), so US readers, if you haven't already, do take part! Details here

Image credit: Anthropologie.

Bombay Duck

I am hosting a baby shower this weekend and I have been browsing the web for party ideas and inspiration. One page led to another and soon I was at UK-based Bombay Duck. They have very pretty tea cups and serveware and tons of gifts. I am a little obsessed with the shape of teacups (I know, I should find something more meaningful to do!) and I prefer using pretty and petite cups to drink chai rather than a mug. The Miss Darcy collection of teacups at Bombay Duck look perfect!

(What did I tell you? Macarons are taking over the world!)

Visit Bombay Duck here.

Image credits/copyright: Bombay Duck 

M is for Macarons

I am popping in to say a brief Hello and share some virtual macarons with you! Macarons have being popping up on so many webpages that I have visited over the last few days that I decided to dedicate a post to the French dessert. After all, what's a tea-crazy blog without a pretty dessert? This picture is from the Stylist (UK) and they even have a recipe from Philippe Andrieu's book on the French confectioner Ladurée and their macarons.

The wedding and all things gorgeous magazine Smitten has a feature on Ladurée in their anniversary issue and you can read about it here.

(And it's 12:30PM.. too early for a cup of chai?)

Image credits/copyright/links: 1. Stylist (UK); 2 and 3. Smitten magazine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Postcard From My Life

I am sitting here with my cup of tea (as I type this, it's 4 PM in my part of the world) and dipping the ubiquitous Parle G biscuit (cookie) into it. Classes  have started and 1 year into graduate school, I switch from parent to researcher to grad student to blogger fast and almost as smoothly as someone playing a quadruple (?) role in a Bollywood movie.  The down side is that I feel the wheels in my head are continuously whirring and spinning and I have to force them to slow down and stop. And that is what I do. Every evening after dinner, I drag a chair to the lawn and sit under the stars, even if it's for just 15-20 minutes. I don't think deep thoughts like how my insignificant problems can't compare to the bigness of the universe. Instead the boys and I hang around in the semi-darkness and try to see the stars, strain our ears to hear the show on the neighbor's TV, wonder where the people flying in the airplane overhead are going to, who can see furthest in the dark, who can laugh the longest....that sort of thing. We make up stories about everything. It is great to spend a part of of our day together, a time when no one is rushing out the door, or getting homework done, or hiding behind the computer or complaining how tired they are. I love it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pyar and Co.

Hello! I am sending lots of pyar  (love) your way this Monday morning and sharing a new find: Pyar and Co.  offering hand crafted pillows made of rich Indian fabrics. Just like dotting the i's and crossing the t's, pillows complete a room and add that final touch of sophistication. With the onset of cooler weather, it is time to take the luxe factor up a notch...

What's not to pyar?! Find them on the web here.

Image credits/copyright/ links: Pyar and Co. Link via Made by Girl.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Let it glow..

This is my first weekend after classes have started, so doubly welcome! There is a lovely dinner that I am hoping to attend plus a fellow blogger will be in town, and I am looking forward to meeting her. On the home front, all the metallic accents are making their way back as the seasons change: dull brass, shiny gold, silvery crystals, mottled mercury glass, all adding a feeling of luxe and warmth and gleaming in the candlelight. The pictures are of our large family room coffee table that was repurposed and built by my husband from old redwood decking. Today evening, I threw the windows and doors open, lit candles (my favorite one right now is Volcano from Capri Blue), put together a vegetable stir fry and sat down with my boys to exchange stories of our week (the good, the bad and the ugly!).  Here is wishing you a wonderful weekend! 

Images copyright: OUATT.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

John Robshaw Textiles

I have blogged about the John Robshaw Textiles many times because for me, his collections bring together the romance and traditions of the East and give them that contemporary twist, making them edgier and more beautiful. I am from India, I grew up in the Middle East and have lived in the US for more than 15 years. I recognize familiar Eastern motifs in the Robshaw collections but meeting them in unexpected contexts and colors startles and delights me and makes me appreciate them anew. I think almost all the fabrics are hand block printed and if you are not familiar with it, let me assure you that the art of carving wooden (teak) blocks to create the patterns and then hand stamping them on to fabric is sheer poetry in action. Traditionally, the block prints that are available in India and from many companies selling them to a Western audience come in a riot of colors: bright reds and greens, vivid pinks and of course, the dashing but moody  indigo. It's like India the country has been portrayed in fabric by the block printers. And it's beautiful! Western designers take the colors and tone them down or highlight just one color against a neutral backdrop allowing it to shine. Suddenly beige is not just a supporting actor but the star. And that is a thrilling moment. I get carried away when I write about block prints, the sheer power of fabrics to transform anything and the giddy excitement I feel when I chance on an old motif in a new role but if you are still reading, maybe you understand the feeling? The pictures are from the John Robshaw Textiles Fall collection and also of many of their new products. I love the fanciful headboards: perfect for the Maharani in you (speaking, of course, to my predominantly female audience).

I love the brass vases and the bone inlay frames!

(Totally my dream room!)

Visit the John Robshaw website here

Image credit/copyright: John Robshaw Textiles

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Verana, Mexico

It's Wednesday and I have two travel destinations for you to visit. First up, Verana in Yelapa, Mexico. A luxury spa and boutique hotel with blue waters as far as the eye can see. (More blues to get rid of my mid-week blues!)

Visit them on the web here

Image credits/copyright: Verana.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Home Tour: Deepa in Dallas

I haven't featured a home tour in ages, so here is one of a lovely home in Dallas, Texas. It is the home of Deepa, who is a physician here in the US and lives with her husband and her son, and who wrote to me about her interest in all things design and decor and how it plays out in her home. (I have a pet theory about people who are trained in the biological sciences and how that seems to awaken in us a deep-rooted fascination/appreciation for color and design.) On the surface, her style is different from my own (I am incapable of leaving walls alone!) but look a little deeper, and  you will find earthy colors and a similar mix of contemporary and traditional. Deepa is originally from Bangalore, India and has lived in Texas for the last 12 years. She and her family have since moved and are in the process of finding a new home. This is what she has to say... "Home and entertaining are central to our existence and after a hard day’s work or at the end of a busy work week, we love coming to a home where we can relax and unwind. My husband and I have always taken pride in our home. Overall, our home is a reflection of our ethnic roots.  From art work in the Warli and Tanjore style to the foot stool in the Rajasthani patch work style, our home is filled with treasures that speak to our Indian origin. Even our choice of furniture was largely guided by our Indian aesthetic sensibilities. We reached for pieces with a lot of sculpting in it - columns and arches. We went for darker tones and solid wood but the challenge was to balance style and function. Also, you will see a lot of black pieces in our home and that was our way of adding a modern twist to the antique styling. "

Of course, when one is gunning for the eastern décor – color is key!  Color brings in vibrancy and adds richness. However, we have been very hesitant to try color on our walls.  So, our color fix comes primarily through accent pieces – the rugs, the art work, the pillows and the accessories. Some one once asked me to pick my favorite pieces in our home and as hard as it was to isolate them I do have a few favorites– my four poster canopy bed, my jewel toned square Tabriz rug and  my Lakshmi Tanjore painting with its exquisite details  made it to the list without a doubt! 
Over the 12 years that we  have lived in the US, we have had our fair share of moving. Education and work has taken us to different cities and different homes. As exhausting as each of those moves was, the love of decorating and putting a personal stamp on our pad was what kept us going each time. Artfully decorating our American home with a rustic Indian influence is a task we have thoroughly enjoyed and we are now looking forward to buying our second home and personalizing it yet again!"

I hope you enjoyed browsing through the pictures and reading about Deepa's design and decor choices. 

Thanks for sharing, Deepa!

Life is Pretty

I am just popping in to say Hello! The fall semester is almost here and I head back to grad school. It promises to be fun AND stressful. This week, though, I am taking it a little easy. If you like Once Upon A Tea Time, then you definitely believe in the power of gorgeous pictures to lift your spirits. Here are some pictures from my week that I hope will reach across the miles and bring a smile to your face. Just get that cup of tea and come along. I will leave you to guess where each one was taken!

(This one was so much fun!)

Image credits: OUATT; All pictures taken by me and magicked with Instagram.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Support the Artisans: Forages (UK)

Forages Tea Print

This is the first time I am featuring the work of designers and artisans here in the Western world under the umbrella of my Support the Artisans project and I am excited! I heard from Sefika Sakalli, cofounder of UK based Forages, an online platform for young and upcoming designers to showcase their products to a worldwide audience. In Sefika's own words.."Forages was founded with the idea of helping to promote designers work, through the use of marketing as well as allowing them to sell their products through the shop. We already knew that these designers were out there as we had first hand experience, but we also knew that without marketing help and advice many designers are unsure which way to turn. Which is where Forages comes in: they take care of everything from uploading and managing content online to marketing.  
Forages Stationery

Sefika says,"We love to see handmade, beautifully made products and applications are always open for designers to apply. We're looking to expand our product range now as we are nearly at our first birthday so we're encouraging applications from the likes of jewellery designers, furniture makers, milliners, personal accessory designers, designer makers of children's ware and more." So if you are a UK-based, creator extraordinaire, what are you waiting for? The first 100 designer/makers who register before the 30th of September and are accepted to sell receive an exclusive membership discount! Click here to apply. What's in it for the rest of us? Forages ships to the US, UK and the rest of Europe, so browse on over to find your favorite designer/product. Curious about the name? There is a story, so head there now!
Image credits/copyright: Via Forages (UK). 1. Sean Simms ; 2. Archie Grand; 3 and 4: Ellie Hyde