Archive for October, 2010

Expressions of Color: Black


When used in interiors, black makes an impact like no other color. A few key pieces in a room create instant drama in everything from distressed antique finishes to modern graphic prints and lighting. Darkly romantic, this staple of the fashion world has a practical appeal that is as chic when used in your home as it is in your wardrobe. Shop all black items here

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Rococo Chalkboard
Chalkboard Animals
Luv Letter Decals

Or jot down a list, a reminder, a doodle! Nothing is better than truly functional items that double as décor – and stylish décor at that. The Rococo Chalkboard decal (that’s right – an easy on, easy off wall decal) is our current obsession. We LOVE how it can add whimsy and style to modern stainless steel refrigerator doors – the perfect place to jot family reminders. For the younger set, Chalkboard Animals are adorable in kid’s rooms or playrooms. They can express their creative side or come home to a special “after school” message from mom. And if you would just like to spell it out for them? Luv Letter Decals for boys (stars) or girls (birds) can be ordered for any word, name or favorite saying. All wall decals are easily removed and repositionable so they won’t damage walls. Shop the rest of our new wall decals and keep watching for even more fabulous decals to dress up walls for home and for kids in the coming weeks!


Giveaway and Q&A with Rosanna, Inc.

Rosanna, INc.
Rosanna, Inc.
Rosanna, Inc.
Rosanna, Inc

Rosanna Bowles has a passion for capturing the sweetness of life through food and traditions. She channels that inspiration to her company Rosanna, Inc. creating a fashion-forward yet functional line of dishware that sets the table for anyone to entertain with elegance and ease. She joins us today to share how she went from a little girl with big taste to beat the odds at starting her own company. And of course, she hasn’t come empty handed!

Tell us how Rosanna, Inc. came to be
When I graduated from college, young women from my generation had to struggle to find places for themselves in the business world. My educational background made the search trickier since I had spent most of my college years studying art history, literature and Romance language, getting my Masters in Italian Language and Literature. I soon realized I wasn’t going to find my “dream job;” I needed to create it. I started “Rosanna Imports, Inc,” a company that imported hand-painted ceramics to the US from Italy. Because I spoke fluent Italian, I was able to work directly with the artisans and factories, drawing on my knowledge of art history, foreign language and design.

In the beginning, Rosanna Imports operated out of my small bungalow in Seattle. I packed and shipped all the orders myself and didn’t take a salary for three years, investing every penny back into the company. It was hard, very hard, but my dream to produce beautiful dishes for the home was so strong that I did not, would not, give up, even in the thick of the most challenging situations. In the 1990’s, I almost lost the company due to overstock, but just in the nick of time received a large order from a well-known high-fashion home store. They placed an order for $400,000.00, which ensured the company stayed afloat.

I have learned so many valuable life lessons being president and founder, as well as designer, for Rosanna Inc. As trite as it sounds, the most important lesson I learned to believe in myself. I never stopped telling myself that I could accomplish anything, as long as I never gave up and always persevered. Today, I am proud of the example I have set for my daughters. They too are young women on the path to realizing their dreams.

How would you describe your personal style and how does it influence your designs?
My personal style has been influenced strongly by my life experiences and my education. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and my mother was my muse. She was a self-made woman from the Midwest, Kansas born and bred, with a strong commitment to the importance of family and traditions that has inspired many of my collection ideas and designs. My studies in art history also had a great influence on my aesthetic, broadening my awareness of different visual movements that I frequently incorporate in our collections.

Truly though, my most important source of inspiration is my family. I try as often as possible to incorporate the values I want to teach my children and the legacy my mother left into my designs. My goal is to live well, live mindfully, and create a foundation of love, tradition and respect as I live each day. These are the fundamental values that influence my designs.

What trends are catching your eye and how will we see them incorporated in future Rosanna, Inc. products?
Home-based entertainment, home cooking, and potluck dinners are occurring with more and more frequency across the nation. Home is becoming a place to entertain, renew, refresh and nurture. During last twenty years, I believe we’ve lost sight of the importance of homemaking and connection to those we live with, family, those we live next to, neighbors, and those we see frequently, friends.

This renewed interest in nesting reinforces the philosophy of how we design. At Rosanna, we design products that encourage the celebration of life’s small pleasures; products that help people connect, whether that means celebrating birthdays together, having a pasta dinner, or inviting friends over for a bottle of wine and appetizers. Lastly, we design products meant to be passed down from generation to generation. We strive to make our products reflect this commitment.

Let’s get to know Rosanna a little better with a “quick-fire” round of questions:

  • Blogs I check daily: Head of the Table, Décor Amor, Design in Mine, and Ju Bella.
  • My first job was: hand painting rocks, which I sold to a local department store when I was 12.
  • My favorite color is: black.
  • I cannot live without: my children and family.
  • My favorite guilty pleasure is: old-fashioned candy!
  • The best advice I ever received is: “Don’t give up.”
  • A cause I care deeply about is: children’s education.

It’s giveaway time:
Rosanna, Inc Le Gateau Pedestal Large Let them eat cake! Rosanna has generously offered one lucky winner a large Le Gateau Pedestal! To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page telling us about the most delicious cake you ever ate. Contest ends Friday, October 29th at 6pm EDT. And be sure to check out our newest arrivals for holiday from Rosanna!


InStyle Magazine Names Layla Grayce one of the Best Online Shopping Sites for 2010!

InStyle names Layla Grayce one of the "Best Online Shopping" sites

What a wonderful way for us to commemorate our 6 year anniversary – with the InStyle stamp of approval! We are beyond flattered to have been named as one of the “Best Online Shopping” sites for 2010 in the home shopping category. From the November 2010 issue:

      “You know that feeling you get when you discover a Web site that’s… awesome? Maybe it sells cool labels you’ve never heard of, or it’s brilliantly designed, or the prices are just plain irresistible. For the past year we’ve been surfing 24/7 in search of the real standouts in fashion, beauty and home. These are the ones that stopped us in our tracks. Prepare to Bookmark…

      …. Not So Shabby Chic Decor:
      Transform your digs into a breezy cottage retreat with tufted linen headboards, handpainted French chests, and gilded mirrors. For crafty types, there are plenty of elegant fabric options, from Annette Tatum to Bella Notte.”

We truly are honored, InStyle! We are passionately committed to finding unique and noteworthy product collections for the home, for children and women, as well as showcasing them on a website that reflects the creativity and style of our loyal customers. Thank you InStyle, we appreciate the recognition!


Expressions of Color: Gold

Expressions of Color: Gold

As jewelry completes an outfit, metallic gold accents used in interiors add a dose of sparkle and glam that finishes a room to perfection. Gilding adds an antique look, but gold works just as well in modern shapes and silhouettes. For fashion, jewelry or interiors, the Midas touch makes everything a little more luxe! Shop all gold items here

On-The-Go Fashion Bags from Amy Butler

Amy Butler Sweet Rose Tote and Dream Traveler Carry-On in Sun & Moon Sepia
Amy Butler Josephine Hand Bag Treasure Box Cinder
Amy Butler Honeysuckle Tote Tropical Shale Grey
Amy Butler Dream Traveler Carry On Temple Doors Tobacco

The overscheduled, busy gal dilemma: How to look fashionably chic and pulled together while carrying everything you need for whatever the day serves up? You want to be practical, but boring black nylon bags are NOT going to cut it. And then along came Amy Butler, working her signature prints into bags meant to carry it all – anytime, anywhere. Organic cotton with leather handles and piping, interior pockets and coordinated, contrast linings – it’s sweetly styled sexy street fashion with feminine grace. Pair a carry-on travel bag with a tote or purse – the prints all work together beautifully. You’ll be ready to go, perfectly coordinated, looking effortlessly stylish. Shop new Amy Butler travel and fashion bags for fall.


A Frighteningly Adorable Cake

Chocolate Marshmallow-Ghost Cake

No reason to be afraid of these friendly ghosts – they’re not only adorable but easy to make! Have a scary good time with your own junior chefs, creating enough cute ghosts to cover the cake plus a few extra to peek out from behind. White frosting makes them look right at home. We promise you’ll only hear screams of delight when you bring out this Halloween treat!

Chocolate Marshmallow-Ghost Cake
Makes three 6-inch layers or about 6 dozen mini cupcakes


Chocolate Cake:

    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
    • 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for pans
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 bag large marshmallows
    • 1 bag mini marshmallows
    • chocolate jimmies/sprinkles
    • toothpicks

    Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
    Makes enough for one 6-inch 3-layer cake

    • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 6-inch round cake pans. Dust with cocoa powder, and tap out excess; set aside. Alternatively, line six mini muffin tins with paper liners.
  • 2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  • 3. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined. Divide batter evenly among pans (about 2 cups batter per pan) or lined muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon batter per cup).
  • 4. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes for cake layers and 14 to 16 minutes for mini cupcakes. Let cool in pans or muffin tins on a wire rack.
  • 5. Make frosting: Put cream cheese and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until blended, add vanilla and then beat until pale and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Frost cake or cupcakes immediately.
  • 6. To frost the ghost cake, cover each of two layers with two-thirds cup Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, and stack the layers; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of assembled cake.
  • 7. To make the ghosts, you will need a miniature marshmallow, 2 large marshmallows, and 2 chocolate sprinkles per ghost. Twist top of miniature marshmallow into a point by rolling it between your thumb and index finger. Lightly twist 2 large marshmallows to shape for the head and base of the ghost. With a toothpick, poke holes and insert chocolate sprinkles for eyes. To assemble ghosts, trim the bottom off of each marshmallow and stick together. As an alternative, use toothpicks or extra frosting to join marshmallows together.
  • 8. Go for variety – little mini ghosts, tall ghosts, shy ghosts! Let the kids help position them on the cake and stand; accent with black candles and let the compliments flood in!

Photo by Sang An. Copyright © 2006, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Originally published in the October 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living. For more great Halloween recipes visit

Giveaway and Q&A with New Arrivals

New Arrivals giveaway
New Arrivals

Tori Swaim, founder of New Arrivals, applies her artful designs to bring whimsy and personality to traditional accessories for nurseries and children’s rooms. Her eye for texture and pattern give a cottage style, flea market charm to table and chairs sets, framed hanging letters and more (we’re loving her distressed wooden blocks that feature a different painted pattern for each letter). Tori tells us how a simple project for her daughter’s nursery has blossomed into a vast product line that is a celebrity go-to for outfitting the perfect nursery.

Tell us how New Arrivals came to be
New Arrivals has been a long time in the making. Since childhood I have always loved art and design and been attracted to things that had a soft and simple look from generations past. After my children were born I felt the need to find a creative outlet; a way to channel my inspiration. It started off with a simple decorative baby wipe box for my daughter’s nursery and has evolved over the past 11 years into a broad spectrum nursery decor business. Starting my own company has allowed me to spend more time with my children and to be immersed in all of the things that I love the most. My family, art, design and the creative evolution has made the journey very sweet.

How would you describe your personal style and how does it influence your designs?
I love a white color palette, and tend to prefer neutral color shades. My style is more Modern Vintage with a splash of Shabby Chic. I try to incorporate my love for floral, stripes and old distressed wood pieces into my products.

What trends are catching your eye and how will we see them incorporated in future New Arrivals products?
Although the modern look has become a popular theme for nurseries, we still have many customers who love vintage style. It is amazing how many different looks we create everyday for our customers with our custom bedding line.

Let’s get to know Tori a little better with a “quick-fire” round of questions:

  • Blogs I check daily: Project Nursery and Shabby Chic
  • My first job was: Movie Theatre Candy Girl
  • My favorite color is: Pink!
  • I cannot live without: Sweets
  • My favorite guilty pleasure is: Oreos
  • The best advice I ever received is: Family first (advice from my husband!)
  • A cause I care deeply about is: Fighting child abuse. We support the Childhelp Organization which focuses on the prevention and treatment of child abuse.

It’s giveaway time: Like it? Win it! Tori is generously offering two lucky winners the letter blocks shown above personalized with the name of their choice. Choose from pink, blue, green or chocolate – or a mix of your favorite colors! To enter, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page telling us your favorite name and why it is so special to you. Contest ends at 6pm EDT on Friday, October 22.

Congrats to Wendy L and Charlotte S as the winners this week.


Expressions of Color: Pumpkin

expressions opf color: pumpkin
Warm, rich and spicy, pumpkin acts as an ideal base color for interior decor, going traditional when worked with dark wood and sage green accents or surprisingly modern with silvery grays and pops of sunflower yellow. Woven through carpets or splashed on pillows, a cozy pop of this color leaves us wanting to enjoy it all year long. Shop all pumpkin colored items

Entertaining Tips and Giveaway from Anders Ruff

Anders Ruff
Anders Ruff
Anders Ruff
Anders Ruff
Anders Ruff
With holiday entertaining around the corner, we’re looking for stylish ways to dress up a table to impress our guests. Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, designers and co-founders of Anders Ruff Custom Designs, have created a classic Fall Harvest printable collection in earthy hues to add a special touch whether you’re sharing cupcakes at a school event or hosting a formal Thanksgiving feast. Here’s an exclusive first peek for Layla Grayce readers along with tips from Anders Ruff for transforming your table wear for the special occasion. And read on for details of a generous giveaway!

  • Involve the whole family or even your guests in the design. Spend the month completing “I am Thankful” cards and use as part of the display – we strung them along the dessert table with natural twine and old-fashioned clothespins. We also displayed apples from a recent apple-picking trip on candleholders for a pop of color.
  • Wrapping paper and patterned papers are an excellent and economical embellishment to use on table tops, buffets and box risers (see the dessert table). We wanted to use antique irish linens to keep with tradition, but created a rustic feel by making a table runner with a textured craft wrapping paper. The theme was carried to the favor, drink and dessert tables as well.
  • Canning jars make perfect favor containers. We involved the children in making homemade cranberry applesauce. To make our favor unique, we layered in cranberry sauce into the jars to create a beautiful layering effect. We personalized and coordinated the lid with a logo from our collection.
  • Dressing up your everyday dishes with a custom fabric charger gives a dramatic effect without breaking the bank. We secured burlap to cardboard cake rounds to make these chargers.
  • Backdrops are a great way to transform your room for a thanksgiving feast. Find fabric and cover a large canvas or duct board (found at any hardware store) to create a dessert or food buffet backdrop. Tie in colors from your backdrop onto your tabletop.
  • Consider a cider and wine bar for your beverage stand. We served spiced cider from an oversize Ball glass container. We dressed up Ball glass mugs with a stick of cinnamon and coordinated printed paper, and also detailed the wine bottles with raffia and logos from our collection.

It’s giveaway time! Anders Ruff is generously offering one lucky winner the entire Fall Harvest collection and this Customized Invitation Design (includes Anders Ruff personalization services). To enter, tell us your favorite thing about fall here or on our Facebook page. Contest ends at 6pm EST on Friday, October 15.

Congrats to Marissa, winner of our Anders Ruff giveaway!

Photography by Becca Bond Photography