Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Creating My Own Triptych Art

I finally have art above the bed! 

After nixing the too feminine hydrangeas that hung above the bed in my previous apartment, I decided on hanging a triptych art/photography display (three separate panels that create one piece of art). Buying canvased art in this format can get expensive - so I decided to create my own!

I knew I was searching for something coastal-inspired, but in a high resolution format. Unfortunately, iPhone pictures can look blurry if you're blowing it up to an 11x14 like I wanted. So I purchased the lighthouse/sailing photograph below from Thinkstock, and then pulled it into Photoshop to make my desired adjustments.

While I love the sunset blues and oranges in the photograph (Go Gators!), I knew I wanted black and white for my bedroom. To achieve this, I desaturated the image and then adjusted the levels to get the perfect amount of white vs. black. I wanted it to POP with silhouettes rather than be grey-scale. 

Using Photoshop's rulers, I cropped the panoramic image into three even sections and saved each image as its own file. Then I used Mpix to order high quality prints on metallic paper. (I received the metallic paper recommendation from a friend and am so glad I went with it.) 

The prints only took a few days to arrive by mail, and I popped them into the already hanging frames as soon as I got home. 

The B&W photographs feel so much more crisp and classic paired with my white studded headboard and silver side table lamps. I'm obsessed with the new look!

~ Alicia 

P.S. I would love to replace or display my own photographs at some point, but for now someone else's photography is just fine.

Friday, November 21, 2014

'Tis the Season for Homemade Apple Crisp

I know very few people who have been able to turn their passion into a full-time career, but a dear friend of mine is doing just that!

While working full-time, and earning her MBA at night, Lyndi has already registered her company Littlest Love Bakery. (Just imagine a pint-sized baker, with a big smile and an even bigger heart.)

With the goal of opening a storefront, lucky Nashville residents can already begin their love affair with her baked goods by placing an order on her website. I'm continuously amazed by Lyndi's drive and commitment. She's truly an inspiration in "making a career out of what you love".

Without her, I wouldn't have made the leap to create my own blog as an outlet for my love of interior design; and because we follow each other's blogs religiously we thought it would be fun to swap themes for a post. So in honor of Lyndi, I've written about an incredible apple crisp recipe my mom gave me. Yum!

Hop on over to Littlest Love where Lyndi is blogging about baking organization 101!

~ Alicia

As I mentioned, my mom gave me this recipe probably seven years ago. I had just moved to Boston after graduating from college, and was building my own arsenal of baking supplies. Honestly, I've always loved to bake; most likely because baking is a science and if you follow the measurements exactly - it's difficult to mess up. Unless you leave something in the oven too long, but I've certainly NEVER done that before...

Cooking Time: 40 min
Temperature: 350 degrees

8 large apples
1 cup of flour
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt

Peel, core and cut all eight apples. I personally like fuji apples but many people swear by big red or macintosh apples. Along with this recipe, my mom gave me an old-school apple peeler and it dramatically speeds up this part of the process. I've cut and peeled apples by hand before and had to keep the slices in iced water to prevent them from turning brown.

Once the apples are rid of their skins, place them in a 9x13 or similarly sized greased pan. If you are baking in a non-stick or glass dish greasing is not necessary. I like to use my round pie dish to amp up the dessert's presentation.

This ingredient is optional, but I like to add dried cranberries (Craisins/similar brand) to add some tartness and flavor complexity. These aren't part of my mom's recipe, so I left them out of the ingredients list.

Next, mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and sprinkle half of the mixture over the apples. Set aside the remaining mixture for later use. In a separate bowl mix white sugar, flour and one egg -then add salt and baking powder.


Take the batter and spread over apple slices. Don't feel like you should cover the apples evenly like you would with a pie crust, this batter will be thicker in places and even crumbly at times. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon and brown sugar over the apples and batter.

Next, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter in either the microwave or on the stovetop. Pour the melted butter over everything, making sure to drizzle the butter evenly. Don't think about how much butter you're using - it's worth it, I promise!

Finally, place in a 350 degree oven (uncovered) and bake for 40 minutes. I use a cookie sheet to catch any sticky, sugary spill-over. I'm not a fan of cleaning the oven. I don't think anyone is. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

I admit that I didn't take a picture of my apple crisp with ice cream - I was too busy enjoying it. I hope you'll love it too.