Pattern | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

This week photo challenge by Sara Rosso is Pattern, I like it and I am taking the challenge. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/weekly-photo-challenge-pattern
(click on each photo to view it larger).

ColoredBall3

PelleMetallo

(Floor tile: Romeo Cuomo – Italy)

In my world of design, a pattern might be:
A wooden model or paper drawing used to build a home.
A diagram, or model drafted for making a dress.
Artistic or decorative throw pillows with paisley and flowers, or a quilt made with left over fabrics.
A design of natural origin: wild bird formations happening in my plants every spring.
An assortment of Victorian cutlery on the dining table or the cutlery motifs painted on my decorative glass plate.
A Christmas light ball I turn on every night makes different designs as I turn the colored lights
A person considered worthy of emulating, learning perhaps from a famous chef.
Traits or features characteristic of a recognizable individual: Sophia Loren.
Colorful hand-painted Italian ceramics and tiles.

Life is full of patterns. “Sans poésie on exist sans vivre” – Without poetry we exist without living.

hug-award1

Pattern of being thankful and recognizing friendship. I want to take this opportunity to thank two people who nominated me last month for two awards. I am so honored:

Tom at The Palladian Traveler http://thepalladiantraveler.com  nominated me with the HUG Award©.
When you contact your nominees for the award, please include a link to this page  http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines
I will nominate one person for this award Adam at http://unorthodoxepicure.com – Confession of an inspiring food snob.

versatile-award

Natalia at Postcard From Italy http://nataliasarkissian.wordpress.com nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award.
I will nominated one person for this award: http://littlemisswordy.wordpress.com
Awards usually come with some rules.
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Include a link to their blog.
3. Name the bloggers to whom you would like to pass the award and send them a link to tell them you’ve selected them.
4. Finally, tell the person who nominated you seven things about yourself.

I wish you a productive and happy rest of the week. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive arts. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She is the author of three books available on Amazon and Barnes&Nobles.
Get your copy of her book on colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Where Is Your Fire? | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Small spaces are challenging, but I never see them as a problem. With a little research work for the right item that matches the measurements of a restrictive area, everything is possible and often one can fit the cutest item in any small space.
barbecue-Sigmafocus

Wall BBQ

Focus, a French company, came up with “Sigmafocus” an elegant wall-mounted BBQ that looks more like a hat hanging on the wall. Made of steel, it opens from the wall and the generous fire bowl comes down at your height ready for BBQing any food. The plate on the wall protects the wall from the smoke. It is perfect for garden or balconies and even for apartment living. The same company produces “Diagofocus”, a beautifully designed cylinder and stylish space-saver BBQ.

Diagofocus
(Photos: Sigmafocus)

Do you live in an apartment? This next solution is a dream. The balcony BBQ mounts on the rail of the balcony as if it was a planter, except that you can cook your favorite vegetables and meats. Check with your landlord, as many apartment managements do not allow any type of BBQ. Price 59.00 Euro, find it here http://www.connox.com/categories/outdoor/barbecue/bbq-bruce-balkonygrill.html

Balcony BBQ
(Photo above:  cdn.shopify.com)

Italians do the Italian things. Hand-painted colorful ceramic BBQ are highly decorative and can be placed anywhere in the garden or patio. Even when not in use for grilling, the grill area can turn into a small counter by covering it with a flat plate, then a wine bottle and glasses can rest on it.
Find it at https://www.facebook.com/romeo.cuomo
There is poetry in something this beautiful !!!

Italian Ceramic BBQ

In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from Zeus to give it to the mortals…. Slow food taste so good. Is your fire ready?
If you are looking for something special, I am here to help, just ask. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens, cooking and extensive knowledge of food. She designs for USA and Europe’s markets. She loves to remodel homes and gardens. With her many years of experience she is able to cover a wide range of design solutions. She offers design consultations on-line and anywhere in the world through Skype line. Valentina is the author of three books all available on Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Waiting For New Year | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

One of the pleasures of entertaining family or friends is the setting of the table process. Food of course should be the focus of the table. A well-decorated table with poorly prepared food does very little for the spirit and I would say for the stomach too.
Once I was asked to describe bad food and my answer was “food haphazardly scrambled together but presented well”.

Having a theme in mind is one of the important elements when styling a table. Creating light, dark, shadow and silhouettes are super ways to illuminate the space around the dining table.  Repeat the same trick on the table with the decorations.
(Click on the photo to vie it larger).

Christmas Table Setting by ©Valentina Cirasola

If a chandelier is over the table and candles on the table, you might want to create an ambience by turning the chandelier on dimmer and let the candles cast a warm shadow.
Recessed down lighting over the dining table is a bit tricky. If a down lighting is not placed properly, all the people sitting at the dining table will have a dark shadow under the eyes and everyone will look a bit more aged than they really are.

Inside of a theme, select the season, texture and the colors you want to assemble. The solutions are endless as you can imagine. You have the choice of keeping every thing in the same coloration or texture, which gives the table a calming effect. You also have the choice of making a creative or funky arrangement.

Let’s take a few colors as samples.
If you want to create a tablescape with the sea in mind, the underwater world includes all the blues from the darkest ocean to blue sky but also includes all the blue-green tonalities of the underwater garden vegetation.
For a nature inspired table setting, the green beauties will include all the variation of foliage colors to olive greens.
A fall arrangement will have a riot of colors to choose from. You can select the reds with an undertone of orange and pink; the oranges that lean towards pink, the purples with a red base, or you can mix browns bleeding into shades of grays.
If the colors of natural gems inspire you, add some metal texture to the tablescape. Gems and metals are both two elements formed in nature; they combine well with the drinking glasses and fabric cloth, two other kinds of texture.

Tablecloth and napkins must not be necessarily of the same set and colors.  Actually if they don’t match is even better, will make the table an interesting canvas to look at.

In my arrangement of the end of the year I did not want the usual red cloth most people use for festivities. Instead, I chose to use dark colors on the table illuminated by metal candle lanterns to emulate the dark winter night, the light of the stars over buildings and the new spiritual light that will infuse the night turning into a new year.

The year 2012 has been described as the year of the Aquarius, not as the ‘60s movies, but as a very spiritual year, a new era of rebirth and enlightenment. Colors will take inspirations from nature, but the exciting part is that we can create a mysterious combination with the undertone of each color and use it in a new way to set the mood, or create high contrast never done before.

This year let me help you projecting your personal image, your home image, or your party tables into new modern, graphic colors that will speak about you and your personality. The current millennium loves colors! Happy New Year, make it great, make it fun. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer and former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe since 1990. She blends well fashion with interior and colors the world of her clients. She has been described as “the colorist” and loves to create the unusual.
She is the author of  ©RED- A Voyage Into Colors the forthcoming book on the subject of colors. She is also a published author of two Italian regional cuisine books available here on this site on the Books page and in various other locations.  

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

The Plate In The Middle | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

A few years ago, I was in Kyoto, Japan sitting in a restaurant with my friends and their friends to whom I got introduced in that moment. One of these new friends, a tall Japanese guy, wanted to welcome me, a blonde, blue eyes western woman visiting his country by showing me his appreciation with a special gesture. After a while we were sitting together enjoying each other company, the tall Japanese guy started to eat from my bowl of soup, truly surprising the rest of the company with this gesture.

Perhaps his behavior was too exuberant for being Japanese, or perhaps he really meant it. Later, my friends told me that his gesture was a sign of wanting to consolidate a new friendship, a creation of a tight bond that would last through the years.
(Above photo: One of my plates hand-painted in Italy – artist unknown).

Eating in someone’s plate in Japan means loyalty, trust, respect and it is an honor. That was his way of showing these feelings to me.
I really liked that very much. Never thought I was going to receive such a friendly treatment.

That moment brought me back in time when in Italy, my native country, people used to eat all together from a plate placed in the middle of the table. In every corner of the world, people do the same things, just like home, I thought.

Again, a few days ago, I was in a restaurant on American soil and a large plate of spaghetti was propped in the middle of the table to share with everyone in my party. These days, when I sit at a restaurant, sharing my dishes with the person I brought along is not always possible. Often, I go out with people I conduct business and it doesn’t seem right to share food in a friendly matter.
I am wondering though if this custom of sharing dishes is happening because so many cultures are living together, and we want to try everybody’s food, or because we feel the need to get closer to people.

As I said earlier this is not a new costume to me at all. I remember the painted large dish at the center of the table in my grandmother’s house and in all the families in the town of Italy where she lived. The plate was a simple hand-painted, huge size for hosting a large quantity of food for the entire family, mom, dad, all the kids, and the grandparents. Back then seniors lived in the family until their time on this earth expired.

The table setting was quite interesting. The hand-painted dish always took the middle of the table and it was filled with lunch or dinner food.
Each person had a fork, a wine glass, bread was sliced as needed and knives were placed loosely on the table for whoever needed them.
Everybody sat around the table and waited for the head of the family to sit as well. For the respect of that person, generally was the oldest person in the family, nobody would start eating until the person started first.

After the head of the family sat and dug the fork to get the first bite from the plate in the middle of the table, everybody dug in and ate from the same plate.
The last bite was reserved for the head of the family as well. Incredible, you might say and yet, I have lived in such an ancient society, even though I am not that old!

This seems unreal, almost a scene from a Medieval Shakespearean comedy, but less than 50 years ago this was a common scene in the South of Italy where I grew up. Everyday people, perhaps to brighten their days, ate in hand-painted, colorful dishware they bought at the street market. Nobles and wealthy people ate off of “chic white porcelain plates”.

Today modern Italians do not use hand-painted ceramic plates anymore for everyday use, nor for holidays either. They might hang them on kitchen walls for decorations, or they might place one small dish on a coffee table.
Italians just are not in love with such a beautiful antique art anymore. They love modern style, sleek, straight lines, no curlicues, and no fussy designs. The reason behind this is that Italians live and breathe antiquity every day.
In some cases, they live just across from famous buildings, statues, famous fountains, stairs, or Cathedrals and Corinthian capitals. All of that beauty is part of their everyday landscape, it is part of their lives. It’s just routine!

There are still many factories making hand-painted ceramics, but they are sold mostly to tourists. Tourists bring back to their countries the beauty of Italy. They find very chic eating off hand-painted Italian plates from Tuscany, Umbria, Puglia, and other regions.

Although Italians are very social people, convivial and relaxed around food, they also have distanced themselves from the custom of sharing food from the same plate. Here in America, very surprisingly, I am finding this costume back into my life and I do not know how to take it, I don’t know if I like it or not.

(Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/italianceramics/tile-murals-hand-painted-from-vietri)

I am thinking this is history repeating itself.

I am treasuring my hand-painted ceramics, as a matter of fact, every time I return from Italy, I hand carry in the plane a few hand-painted ceramic pieces.
I want a cheerful table whether I have a company or not, I want to surround myself with the beauty of my country and enjoy the colors of my heritage.

If you need help in locating a special hand-painted tabletop, or a custom-made backsplash for the kitchen, some specific plates patterns, I am here prompt and ready to help you with any of your needs, whether it will be decorating, designing, or remodeling. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe.
She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms, and entertainment rooms. 
She is the author of two regional Italian cuisine books, available here in this site on the Books page and in various other locations:
http://outskirtspress.com/ComeMiaNonna
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnq8baaAq0M
http://outskirtspress.com/SinsOfAQueen

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