Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays

The year comes to an end and I will close the blog for a couple of days between the years! Time to recollect my thoughts and to think about my future plans and ideas. I am so looking forward to the next year filled with new adventures.

The last days before every new year are a good time to think back and to look ahead. It is for many a time to make resolutions and start with fresh ideas and flip open a brand new page. I love the idea to begin anew!

I do look back on my experiences, the joys and sorrows, the times with friends and family, work and play!
This year was wonderful for so many reasons!

We had a long time to be with our family in Europe, we traveled with the children and showed them a new culture!

We have stuck to our plan to simplify our life, we have learned to live with a little less buying, more reading, vintage shopping instead of new!
We have cleaned our attic and the basement...
Life has been good!
And the way ahead is full of promise!

I am filled with gratitude and hope! My plans for the new year are within me and I do not have to wait to January 1 to put them into action: To live a mindful life, to love my family and be true to my friends, to always keep an open mind and a open heart!
I want to learn something new and I want to discover more of old...

Wishing you all a festive days ahead and a happy New Year! May your hopes and dreams come true!
See you all back in January!

With love!

Photography all V.Zlotkowski, painting 'The five Senses' by Jaques Linard.

* Give - away * winner *

We have a winner!
Melissa from the lovely blog Reverie is the lucky winner of my last week's give - away!
Congratulations, I hope this will be a guiding light during the move into your new home! New beginnings are filled with promise and are wonderful opportunities to turn a fresh - green page!!

Mel, please contact me for your address, so I can mail the book out to you!

I found a few other samples of green cleaning and an eco friendly lifestyle. You can find them online or at your favorite book seller!
There are many more, I just picked some I liked!

Here is to a green planet!


Image via Emily Anderson website and

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I am reading now

I had written this post only a few days ago and send out on my House and Living part of the blog. I realize more and more that this blog part has become the "forgotten garden"... Since I feel this is such a wonderful book I decided to re-post it today. Now I can report that I have finished it and it held me captive until the very last minute!
I wish somebody would take on the task to make a movie out of it!


Lately, with winter upon us I love to read more and hang out next to the fire place, after all the day's work is done.
I can hear my daughter singing upstairs, my son playing guitar and my husband still working next door on his computer. The dog cozies up next to me, expecting a neck rub and perhaps a treat and then I curl up on the couch and open my book! Heavenly moment! Well, until the familiar Maamaaa! call is heard from upstairs....

Last year I had read Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden and when The Distant Hours came out a couple of month ago I could not wait to find the right moment to begin with it! The immensely gifted young writer, Kate Morton, a native Australian, lives in Brisbane with her family.
Her first book The House at Riverton is still on my list. I like to tease myself...Another long winter is ahead!


So that's where I am now: An old English castle, family secrets and a young heroine, a wonderful recipe for a tale which has me in it's grip way later then my usual bedtime....I have been captured by the castle...
I found Kate Morton's website and check out this fabulous trailer to her new book!

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton from Pan Macmillan on Vimeo.

So if you are in with me for a mystery with all the trimmings, go ahead, find a reading nook, get comfortable and open the first page!


PS: Click on the book titles to go to Amazon to shop!

And: There is still time until tomorrow! Do not forget to sign in for my give away here!

Pictures as indicated.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bubbly chandelier

A few years back we bought some bubble lights for our chandelier at Captiva Island. We spent a few times there over the holidays and after visiting the Bubble Room - a quirky and very entertaining dining spot on the island, we fell for the old fashioned fun! The place is whimsically decorated year round for Christmas -yes - one of those....but the children were considerably younger at the time and yet they still remember!
Adjacent to the restaurant is a small shack, selling everything decorative for holiday fun, from masks to ornaments, wigs to toys!
Since then we pull out those bubble lights every year and our dining room transforms! Having painted the old thing red a few years back, they fit in perfectly!

If you like them, go here!

We love the effect, and we need candles at every meal now, since it's much darker only adds to the festive party atmosphere! Do you have some quirky decorations you want to share with me?

Happy weekend!


PS: Don't forget to check out my give away on the post below!!! Still time to enter until December 22!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Eco - chic Emily Anderson leads to my first give- away

A few weeks ago I was approached by Emily's PR office and asked if I would be interested to introduce Emily Anderson and her latest book' Eco -Chic Home' to my readers.

After learning about her and seeing her books I readily agreed. Her philosophy, ideas for green living and her radical attitude to a more sustainable life had me immediately interested.
I subscribe to many of her ideas. Mindful living, re-use and re-purposing has been a part of my daily life for many years. To reduce waste and wastefulness in general is something I try to teach my children.

Emily Anderson has published two more green living books, and is an industry recognized lifestyle and eco-living expert. Previously, she worked in marketing and brand management at Vanity Fair Magazine and Donna Karan New York, leading to her role as Marketing Director at Martha Stewart Living Omni media Inc.

She left her corporate life to write her first book, Eco Chic Weddings, which was published in 2007 by Random House. Emily then wrote a green home book for Popular Mechanics (Hearst Publishing), and in May 2010, Emily’s book Eco Chic Home was published by Skipstone Publishing.

A unique take on green living has given Emily the opportunity to have her work featured in national and international newspapers and magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Canadian Living, Martha Stewart, and more. Emily has also been a frequent guest on television and radio shows such as NBC’s Today Show, CBS’ The Early Show, Martha Stewart Radio, and NPR. Emily’s keen insight into consumer trends has given her the opportunity to work with businesses on eco-lifestyle brand development projects including the recent re branding of Origins (Estee Lauder) and Scott Brand Naturals line “green done right.”
Through her regular articles, appearances and social media Emily has a growing and dedicated audience of influential, green-minded style-seekers who want to be green but don’t want to make unrealistic sacrifices in the process.
Emily Anderson’s writing and designs promote sustainable style, fair trade, environmental awareness, and being a good global citizen, but she also stresses the value of business and its power to effect change.

I posted a couple of questions to her and she was kind enough to answer:

V.Z. What inspires you?

E.A. When it comes to design and decor ideas, I find a lot of inspiration from vintage items I have in my collection, fabrics from the sixties and seventies, things from my mother who was an interior designer and owned a home decor store. I also have a huge collection of vintage clothes, much of it handmade by the women in my family, my grandmothers, mother, and aunts who all loved fashion. I also draw a lot of my inspiration from everyday people--people I relate to, whether they're parents, or single people working in a city, even someone living in the middle of the country--I try to come up with things that resonate with a lot of different people who have two things in common--they like style, and they want to make more thoughtful consumer choices that are sustainable and support social justice.
In terms of my focus on conscious consumerism, making eco-friendly choices, thinking about how people are treated in other parts of the world who are making the stuff we buy. I read a lot, pay attention to the news, what's happening in places like Haiti, China, and I also read about what big businesses are doing. Companies like Wal-Mart can tell you everything you need to know about what's happening in the consumer market--domestically and internationally. They spend millions on consumer research, market testing, product placement. So I use them to help me with my own business. I also think that working for successful brands helps me have insight. When I develop an idea, such as my Paper Crane Chandelier, I know not everyone will take to it, but to make it accessible I have to make is very user-friendly, and not just pretty to look at. I take this approach with all of my designs, and all of the things I write about.

V.Z. When did you begin to think in terms of of Eco- Chic?

E.A. A number of years ago, I wanted to find a way to merge my love of Yoga, my desire to give back, and my experience in fashion and design. I happened to be planning my own wedding, and having spent a few years in the wedding and events business while working for Martha Stewart, I decided to focus on weddings. It seemed the perfect time to take a moment to rethink your lifestyle choices, decor, entertaining, beauty, food, travel--as any bride will tell you, planning a wedding pretty much takes over every aspect of your life. So, going a little more Eco-Chic when picking your flowers will also help you make the same changes in your life after the big day.

V.Z. What is your idea of the perfect holiday?

E.A. Snow on the ground, clear blue skies, a warm fire, and my family all around me. The perfect gifts...Purposeful, made with sustainable materials, wrapped in something reusable, well-designed, and produced using fair labor :)

V.Z. Any eco chic ideas for decorating the halls?

E.A. Wrapping paper: think about using the unusual--the funny papers, kraft paper, leftover tissue paper from a recent purchase, fabric remnants trimmed with pinking sheers (to keep edges from fraying).
Ribbons and Bows: Dried Pinecones or Dried Leaves painted with silver and gold paint, twine, fluffy white pompom made from plastic shopping bags, fabric bows, ornaments--all of these items can be used to decorate your gifts, or your home.
I usually like to work with the natural palette of my home when I decorate--which for me is blues, grey, lavender, honeysuckle (Pantone's color of the year, btw!) One bonus of this route is that you may have extra fabric, tassels, and other accessories on hand that already complement your home, all you need is a little greenery to bring the holiday spirit to life!
The Christmas Tree: I know a lot of people don't like this, but I have a fake tree I use each year (because I live in an apartment, it's a small one) I just hate throwing the dead tree out on the street each year, but that's just me and this is a personal choice. I wouldn't dream of telling you not to have a tree. However, there are some things you must do if you have a live tree for the holidays. First, when you're ready to toss it, you have to remove all decorations, lights, tinsel, hooks, everything--otherwise, it won't be recycled. Second, log-on to to find out when your town is scheduling the tree pick-up day or days.

Thank you, Emily! I am so happy you could take the time! Happy holidays to you and your family!

Reading her latest book inspired me even more to recognize ways to safe energy, re-use materials otherwise discarded and her fun and easy to do projects will appeal to many readers.

Some of Emily’s Eco-Chic Ideas for the Holidays:

1. Have a Heartfelt Holiday: How to make felt out of old sweaters and make a variety of gifts, including: Laptop sleeves, iPod/iPhone cover, nesting bowls, coasters, neck warmer, bracelet, ornaments, clutch bag

2. Re-Newspaper for the Holidays: Five Ways to use Newspaper Paper to Make Holiday Décor: Mini-trees, wrap party favors, party hats, vases, garland, blossoms on the wall, napkin rings, placemats, baskets etc.

3. Fabric in Your Life: Different ways to use fabric, remnants, old clothes for gifts, décor and wrapping paper; make a tree skirt from a real skirt, use traditional Japanese technique to wrap gifts in squares of fabric, recover chairs with temporary “festive” fabric.

I immediately liked her very informative and thought provocing blog EA good with style.
She can also be found on Facebook and twitter.

Many small steps can lead to great results and the idea to take notice of the world around us and to protect what has been given to us is a message I am only to glad to pass on!
Many thanks to Emily Anderson to have given me the opportunity to get to know her and her work!

And this leads - drum roll - to my first give away!

Eco - Chic Home can be yours! Become a follower of my blog and for an extra chance to win follow Emily on her blog and/or like her on Facebook!

Good luck!
Last entry by December 22, 2010 6PM. I will draw on December 23, 2010.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why don't you follow me here?

Come and follow me to House and Living and see what I am reading now....

Reading is such a treat!
And the right spot is indispensable!

Images via The Old Post Road Blog.

Image from Splendid Willow and Belle Vivir!

What are your reading spots? And what are you reading now? Go and visit this blog to find a wonderful list of books....
And have a look at my House and Living section, I am sure you will love it!!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our home at Christmas

There is the outside, which usually gets treated with wreaths and greens and ribbons.

Even the powder room gets something...

I must confess when it comes to our decorations we are hopeless sentimentalists...We love the old ornaments, which get re-used every year with glee. To proof my point see here last year's decorations!
And this year:

The same bows and ribbons we have had for years and every year we add some ornaments, actually as a collection for our children to take along, once they will leave the nest to have Christmas trees of their own...But we love our tree, fresh and full of forest aromas.

I set up my German Erzgebirge Pyramide, smoking man and nutcrackers, candles and evergreens, my mother's wonderfully embroidered table runner and many small pieces which carry memories from Christmas past!

There is nothing we like better than to gather on cold evenings around the fireplace, dream up travel destinations, plans for winter fun, read the novels, we have put on hold during the shopping trips of late. Our dog sleeps and barks in his dreams on the cowhide and we nibble and taste the holiday treats.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune will put on some pounds at Christmas his lovely better half as well!
Between our Polish - German culinary heritage is simply too much good food to be ignored! There are many must haves during these next weeks and come January we will be good and reluctantly return to a way more responsible habit of feeding ourselves.

I am off now to have tea and cookies!


All pictures by V.Zlotkowski

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tickled pink?

Yesterday color authority Pantone announced it's color of the year 2011 to be an immense pink called "honeysuckle". The company predicts that we will see a lot of this color, appearing on everything from dresses to pillows, nail polish, sofas and appliances.



Top image and this here.

A sherbety shade of pink, with a hint of red and orange zest, honeysuckle is seen by designers as a pick -me-up at a time when many people have had their fill of misfortune.
I quoted based on an article from yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

Jonathan Adler.

Harlequin Wallpaper.

JA tray.

via Country living.

Interestingly enough many people do not necessarily associate honeysuckle with the color pink. The bush which grows on the corner of my deck blooms in a lovely shade of yellow....Apparently people associate the color with what they know from their childhood....Perhaps the honeysuckle you knew then was pink?

via google image.

Pink has been on the radar of many designers for a couple of years now and I guess the announcement to make it the color of the year 2011 culminates in it's final arrival at the mainstream households. I still remember the pink polo shirts I gave my husband and son two years ago and seeing my then 8 year old son being a little taken aback at first. Girly pink for him? But he eventually wore the shirt for many month and does now not object to pink in his wardrobe any more then to navy blue!


I love pink as much as many other colors, my house is filled with reds and green, turquoise and blues and surely it will find it's way into it as accent on plates, pillows and outfits.
It's a summer color, reminding me of raspberries, little girl's dresses and lemonade.


There is a sense of care free life when looking at pink. I am sure it made it's way into our current fashion for those reasons as well.

To see on the bright side, away from worries and unemployment which must surely show itself in dull browns and muddy grays...
It's a good thing to celebrate life when the going is tough and to surround ourselves with an uplifting shade of pink is a wonderful way of maintaining optimism and a youthful spirit.
My dish washing will be stylish at last!!!


Are you tickled pink yet?


Images as indicated.
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