Draw increased traffic with the powerful photo editing app “A Color Story”

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The difference well-edited photos can make to a blog or social media post cannot be overstated. Blog posts with images get 94% more views than those without, and it stands to reason the better quality the image, the more attractive your post will be to readers*.

Toward this, and in my search for powerful yet easy and intuitive photo editing apps, I recently discovered A Color Story app. ACS comes to us via the amazing blog A Beautiful Mess (the app’s creators), whom describe its ability to make colors pop and shine. Knowing my love of photo editing (I have been known to miss multiple meals while engrossed in editing!), I decided to try it and I can honestly say I have not been able to stop gushing about it to all and sundry since! (see the shout outs on my twitter and instagram profiles herehere and here)

Not only does the app come bundled with a range of fabulous preset filters but the ability to save all your steps including any of the sophisticated free tools you used. There are further filter bundles which cost from $1.49 – $2.98 or for a limited time you can purchase all filter packs for $10.

Although the filters are amazing, it is the tool pack I want to talk about here. Most photo editing apps come bundled with standard saturation, brightness, vignette and contrast tools. A color story has all these but also comes bundled with the ability to play with the hue, temperature, tint, high and midtone colors, highlight, shadow, grain, and much more. And it has a ‘curve’ tool which is off the charts fun, easy, and super powerful. 

Below are some before and after edit images I created from my own photos to give you an idea of what the app can do:

Before shot: daisies

After shot: daisies with curve tool, hue, tint, and midtone shifts

Before shot: milliner’s patch star

After shot: milliner’s star patch with curve tool

Before shot: long-stemmed roses

After shot 1: black and white with extra saturation

After shot 2: color added back in from b+w shot using hue shift

Before shot: the almost unuseable palm trees on Takapuna beach photo

After shot 1: curve tool, hue and highlight color shift

After shot 2, palms: further curve tool + hue and highlight shift

Before photo: chandellier

After shot 1: curve, tint and hue shifts

After shot 2: curve, highlight and midtone shifts

I also found the app really beneficial for my flatlay work. It brightens up the white backgrounds and sharpens, smooths and pops the colors so nicely your first flatlay shots look immediately professionally done. See my post “Fun with flatlays” for before and after shots using this app.

Just a final note, I’m not sponsered by the app or ABM 😊, I just love it that much. What editing tools do you use? Would love to hear in the comments below X

Editor’s note: A Color Story is free (with in-app purchases as described) and available on both iTunes and Google Play 
*Hubspot’s interesting article showing the data-driven research of adding images to your blog posts can be found here.

#AColorStory #apps #design #DesignEyeCandy #photoediting, #photography

(*all photos copyright Jennifer Jarvis 2016)

Trending: Rattan

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The other day while at the weekend market I spied an item in a nearby thrift store which got me quite excited: a round rattan and glass coffee table (see bottom for pic).
I stood debating for a good 20 minutes, knowing exactly how I could see it styled: atop a circular pale pink flokati rug, perhaps in a corner by a funky colourful chair, with some framed prints on the wall behind and a hanging rattan light above the chair (in other words, an amalgamation of all the images of bright and colourful interiors I had seen and loved before). 

However, as I already have 3 coffee tables (don’t ask), and as yet none of the other items to style the table, I let it go. I did post a photo on Facebook asking my friends if I should buy it anyway. I know glass and rattan may seem a bit gauche to the uninitiated, but I felt sure that it was going to make a comeback soon. 

A friend posted that I should only buy the table if I had matching papasan chairs to go with it, and added an image of appalling late 80’s burgundy papasans and a circular (but different than mine) rattan table. I assured her rattan was about to trend and, after doing some research, I happily found this to be true (I’m now seeing it everywhere).

The trick is not to have the entire room kitted out in the stuff. As the images below show, a single big piece, or two to three accent pieces, are all that’s needed to achieve a striking effect. And as one design blog said: “if IKEA is bringing back rattan, you know it is trending!”

I guess the lesson learned here is to trust your instincts. And anyway, ultimately you should be styling your home to make yourself happy, so take the plunge and buy that item today, even if you worry others will think you crazy. I recently saw an article on apartmenttherapy.com where a stylish wedding had a “doughnut wall” – honestly, crazy is the new black in this game!

(bottom three images from Gabrielle Savoie/My Domain, rest are Pinterest, below my own)

#design #decor #interiors #trends #rattan 

Cookie Night: 8 Divine Easy-Bake Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies to Share

Love

Although here in New Zealand we are swinging towards summer, things will be cooling down in the more northern climes so over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you recipes to warm your house, body, and spirit.

Today, I plan to tempt you to stay indoors and fill your house with the aroma of warm, sweet cookies. 

Toasted s’more choc chip from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Browned butter pecan sandies by Julia

Do you prefer fancy cookies like afghans or melting moments or are you a traditionalist who can’t wait to tuck into a meltingly good chocolate chip or chewy oatmeal coconut cookie?

Chocolate chunk cookies

Chewy coconut cookie from Mikeys in my Kitchen

I myself prefer the old fashioned melty-gooey sugary-butter-dissolving-on-the-tongue and crumbling in the mouth type of cookie. Chocolate chip, peanut butter dark chocolate chunk (mine and my co-workers’ favourite!), soft sweet shortbread, and oatmeal raisin spice. Down here in the antipodes, their idea of a cookie is hard and dry enough to use as a home renovation tool. Probably a throw over from British colonial times (tea-dunking and all that), but are slowly warming to the idea of gooey goodness and all that entails. 

Lemon gooey butter cookies from Small Town Woman

Why not bake up a batch for you and your loved ones today!
(all images c/o indicated blogger/owner, otherwise from pinterest)

#cookies #love #foodporn #home #sweet #dessert

 

Cold Days, Hot Baths

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It’s late winter here in New Zealand and I’m sitting on my sofa with the dogs, bundled up in multiple tops, fluffy socks, and a scarf, and dreaming about baths. Hot, steamy, gorgeous baths. Few things in life quite spoil us like a long hot soak in a good tub – perhaps with a handful of candles lit, some mineral salts, a bit of music if you like, maybe a good magazine.

Outdoor baths have long been  trend and if you have the space and inclination, it can be very worthwhile to set one up. A glass roof to keep out the rain and allow you to star-gaze is perfection:

Perhaps safari-style is more your cup of tea. This setup needs no more than an outdoor clawfoot tub, some bamboo siding, a generous amount of wood, and a cd of cricket and lion noises:

This Moroccan-inspired stunner makes great use of pretty, painted tiles and texture in the form of greenery, rough-hewn wood, concrete, and a hanging design feature in the ceiling:

outdoor bath 1

Indoor rooms with spectacular baths can be soothing to the soul, too. If you’re anything like me, you are inclined to look inwardly when in a tub but I’d definitely be gazing out the window of this lovely room:

outdoor bath 2

If you’re lucky enough to live in a more tropical clime, you can set your bathroom up to be indoor-outdoor, like this one, looking down onto cat-eyed-green waters and with palms swaying around you. Or perhaps gazing into the blue expanse is more your style? If so, don’t forget to drop a posey of petals into the water before you step in, for an all-out inexpensive spa experience.

outdoor bath 6outdoor bath 5

(all images sourced from Pinterest)

#design #bathtubs #lifestyle

10 End of Summer Must-Have Cocktails

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Even  though summer is drawing to an end, there is still nothing like a cocktail to hand at a brunch, beach, picnic, or BBQ. Many made with crushed and whole fruit and with herbs like mint and basil, you can almost convince yourself they’re good for you. So stir up an elegant vintage cut-glass decanter of one of these delicious cocktails today!

Fancy Fig Cocktail from Lindsey Brunk

Blackberry Margarita from izzieofficial/saloonbox

Boozy Basil Lemonade from whatshouldimakefor.com

Blueberry Mojito from Jenny Chang

Red Currant Caipirinha from Olivia’s Cuisine

Meyer Lemon Lavender Mojito from Lindsey Brunk

Blood Orange Mojito from Chef Savvy

Skinny Blood Orange Pomegranate Margarita from Lindsey Brunk

Blackberry Thyme Sparkling Cocktail from Lark and Linen

Blackberry and Meyer Lemon G+T from Spoon Fork Bacon

And as a final note, for simpler mixed drinks a fun end of summer trick is to freeze edible flowers in ice cubes and use them in your drinks. Enjoy!

The It Rug: Tribal

Pretty

Hello everyone sorry I’ve been away so long! Have been travelling and renovating houses. So excited to be back though and bring you more gorgeous images and ideas!

Today I wanted to talk about that interior style element that pulls an entire room together, the rug. Rugs have historically been heirlooms handed down through generations, from emigrating pioneers to the nomads of the world. Rugs usually incorporate tribal and cultural elements and can sit as an example of historical significance to societies that no longer exist or are much changed from their yesteryear.

A favourite style of rug for me is from the Middle East, especially those from the area formerly known as Turkestan. Traditionally made from silk, wool, and even felt, these rugs incorporate styles and motifs both ancient and new.

Long a staple of many stylish homes, these rugs have undergone a renaissance and are now being treated by a process called overdying. Here, vintage rugs are washed and the top layer of design scrubbed away, and then the carpet treated to often vibrant dyes in pinks, purples, blues, reds, and gold. The finished look is as unique (no two rugs would ever be the same due to the process) as it is trendy. These rugs are popping up in the blogosphere and design magazines everywhere, adding bright splashes of colour that can harmonise a room with ease.

Another style of rug that is trending is the Moroccan rug. Usually off white with a minimal flecked and tribal pattern in blacks or greys, these rugs are perfect where homeowners may already have a great deal of colour present in either furnishings or accessories.

(all images from Pinterest)

The Kitchen Garden

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While I’m on the subject of saving the planet one step at a time, and because summer is warming the horizon of at least one half of the globe, I wanted to blog about gardening and in particular, kitchen gardens.

It is well known that gardens of any type have multiple benefits – attracting the bees critical to the lifecycle of the planet, creating oxygen for us to breathe, providing us with goods to uplift the spirit and body, and providing a repository for our food waste, to be incorporated back into the earth’s cycle again.

boxed garden

Boxed Garden

Here at Design Eye Candy we especially love a good kitchen garden. We’re lucky enough to have a good 8m2 of veggie patch space and a big composting bin for veggie and fruit scraps. There are decks for container gardening – herbs, especially. Being the bower bird that I am, I am bringing home found items such as wooden crates once used to package large plant pots, hoping to one day convert them into handmade greenhouses for lettuces, spinach, and more fragile items.

wine box veggies

Upcycled Vintage Garden

Those of you who grow your own veggies know there’s nothing quite like the feeling of rummaging around in your garden on any given summer’s day, pulling sun-warmed tomatoes from the vine (oh, the scent!), picking lemons for your greek salad or gin and tonic, snipping mint and parsley for your tabbouleh or green smoothie. An over abundance of goods connects us to our immediate community, too – handfuls of courgettes passed to neighbours in thanks for lawn mowing, cut lavender and rosemary wraped in brown twine left on a doorstep.

Not everyone has space for a veggie patch – but can do much with some plant pots on a balcony or even a window sill. I grow microgreens in cleaned tuna tins with holes punched in the bottom, and baby spinach in used grape punnet containers, on my kitchen counter under the conservatory-style windows. Watching them sprout up in short days is a miracle and the ease with which they grow, and the money saved, is so worthwhile. I make sure my gardening is all organic, too – not even snail pellets grace my veggie patch – crushed eggshell ridding the area of snails and slugs, instead.

If I had the get-up-and-go to build something, I would take the discarded pallets I see everywhere and use them to build raised beds for my veggies. One day..

Below are some links to great articles on easy gardening:

25 Foods You Can Re-Grow Yourself from Kitchen Scraps

http://creeksidelearning.com/container-garden-vegetables-2/

http://www.hometalk.com/3400506/5-best-container-vegetables-for-beginning-gardeners

(*note all photos from Pinterest)

Decrease your footprint, increase your design and eco cred

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I stumbled across a very exciting, upcycled cabin photo on Pinterest the other day which led me into the fascinating world of “tiny houses”. Of course I’d heard of this trend before – friends from the dogpark were building a house for themselves and their mini schnauzer to live in, which would fit in a car-towed trailer. This was such an unusual project that it caught the attention of Grand Designs, who spent the day filming their work.

I haven’t caught up with them lately to find out how two tall people and their dog are managing to live in a 6 m2 house but good for them for trying something unique and ultimately good for the planet. People whom have downsized their lives have been reported as feeling more connected with nature, living less wastefully, and experiencing the immense freedom that comes from giving up a life of “keeping up with the Joneses”.

The following upcycled cabin, made largely from disused wooden framed windows, is a dream house for me. I have been teased mercilessly by friends and family for my love of wooden joinery, buying lonely and unloved large windows off auction sites and bringing them home for who knows what. Oh, to be a builder and craft a beautiful and intriguing cabin of them! I had dreams of converting them into mini glasshouses for my vegetables, but a lack of confidence in my building skills led the items to be sadly neglected in a storage space until I finally called a demolition outfit to come collect them. Off to a new set of people who will love them, I thought.

relax shack tiny house 1

glass house 2

glass house 3

glass house 4

The thing about a tiny house is that the designers need to be extra crafty to fit all the necessary accoutrements expected of a normal sized house into its small spaces. Special-built cabinetry, multi-purpose and highly functional furniture, everything doubling as something else, abound.

Most of these houses are off the grid – for example the 240 square foot weekend escape of Foy and Louisa Brown in Maine, which floats out on the bay. Water is brought from onshore for consumption, and the roof collects water into barrels for watering their container garden of flowers herbs and veggies. Originally intended to serve as a weekend escape for the couple, and rented to help with the bills at other times, they have found they cannot give it up and find themselves there most weekends.

Main Home + Design 1

Main Home + Design 2

Main Home + Design 3

Main Home + Design 4

Follow the links below to explore more beautiful and crafty tiny houses at your leisure!

http://www.countryliving.com/home-design/g1887/tiny-house/?slide=1

http://www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com/

http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/10-extreme-tiny-homes-pictures

Upcycling Goodness

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New Zealand has had a unique yearly programme whereby home owners can leave their “inorganic” trash at the curb to be picked up by the local councils. Unfortunately this programme is coming to an end, but while it existed, a wonderful system of recycling occurred whenever it was on. As you drove through areas that had the collection going, you would see many vans and trucks stopping to pick through the offerings, gleaning anything of use or that could be on-sold, and saving the ‘junk’ from landfill.

You would be surprised what people throw away: perfectly useable and unbroken dining room chair sets, desks, garden equipment, all manner of household items. I have even seen (and scooped) mid-century furniture merely needing a sand and varnish or reupholstering, as well as terracotta pots, beautiful wicker laundry baskets, classic paintable wooden chairs, wood and mirrored bathroom wall cabinets, and more. Space and a disinclination to be labelled a ‘hoarder’ by my long-suffering neighbours are all that stood between me and an upcycling empire.

upcycled drawers

upcycled crates

I once dreamed of forming a company that had permission of the local councils to round up items that could be refurbished or changed into new forms of useful items or art, selling those pieces that were valuable and donating the rest to refuge and refugee centers. I was heartily distressed at the sheer volume of materials that would never break down going into our (or off-shore countries’) soils and reckoned that it was merely a problem of re-distribution. The same went for food scraps from produce centers – garbage bins full of lettuce leaf, carrot tops, etc that could feed pigs, chickens, and the like if they could only be transported to a new home instead of being binned on the spot.

It is said the planet cannot sustain our rate of growth and consumption much longer. I and many others believe that if we could curb wastage, we could slow the inevitable destruction. Upcycling is one way this can be achieved and I am glad to see the trend burgeoning across the globe.

With the advent of handmade online markets such as Etsy, designers and craftspeople can now save items from landfill and upmarket them for resale, often earning a living doing so. Although it may seem a small drop in the ocean of waste the planet is producing, any start is a good start and as more craftspeople get better made and designed upcycled products to the world, and the trend to buy and use such items grows, we will make headway, surely.

wall hangings from old books and magazines

Elephants from scrap paper (from love peace pionies blog)

vintage linens repurposed

Vintage linens repurposed as window dressing (from rosehip_blog)

I do love the thought that you can make a living doing something that is so good for the planet.  The woman behind dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.com has been making unique and beautiful jewellery from antique china, old silverware, and whatever else comes to her stunningly imaginative mind:

jewellery upcycle 1

upcycled silverware

Now if only I could get off my creative yet lazy derriere and get working on the gifted teak deck bench and chairs (a neighbours’ personal inorganics session), the mid-century living room chair, the plywood offcuts into beautiful workstations, etc, I would be adding to this wonderful trend, too!

(*feature image from hearthandmade.co.uk )

Colour Therapy

Love

I’m not sure if it’s summer’s approach here in New Zealand, but my love of all things colour is on the upswing and I can’t stop looking at images on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that are bold with punchy blues, pinks, reds, yellows, and more. Does this happen to you guys, too? This drive led me to wonder what it is about colour that influences our emotions so.

Goethe_Schiller_Die_TemperamentenroseThe psychology of colour has long been studied with Goethe and Schiller in the late 18th century creating the “Rose of Temperaments”, a diagram that matches twelve colours to human occupations or their character traits, grouped in the four temperaments:

  • choleric (red/orange/yellow): tyrants, heroes, adventurers;
  • sanguine (yellow/green/cyan) hedonists, lovers, poets;
  • phlegmatic (cyan/blue/violet): public speakers, historians, teachers;
  • melancholic (violet/magenta/red): philosophers, pedants, rulers.

In recent times, colour has been heavily used to market brands and consumer choices. Of course gender, age, and culture are a heavy influence on the colour choices an individual makes. As do the climactic zones cultures live in. It is noticeable that the tropics tend to favour bold and bright primary colours whereas the temperate regions are often teasingly accused of wearing and using too much white, grey, and black.

Colours can brighten a dull and dreary day and bring a smile to our face when we glance at bright towels, cushions, an article of clothing, buildings. The ancient and beautiful doors of Northern Africa, Middle East and India, draw so many people in. These colours evoke the spicy senses of sight, smell, sound of the souks, markets, and ancient cities of these countries:

 

Blue Door 2

Green Door 1Jodhpur door

Mellow colours influence me greatly, too. These summery popsicles in washed out greens and peach, cocktails in soft pinky rose, fresh-cut fruits in grapefruit, orange, and lime make me thirst for a gin and tonic on a perfect deck surrounded by home and interior design magazines:

Mixed colour 2

Mixed colour 4

Mixed colour 1

Then there are the neutrals. These provide a stable yet still energizing shot of colour which may be a backdrop to punchier hues or can stand in their own glory:

Natural tones 4

Natural tones 2

 

Can’t wait for summer to be here so I can get out on my deck in my teak daybed with colourful throws and cushions and plenty of coffee or summery drinks and foods!

(*images not mine – source: Pinterest and Wikipedia)