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Tips on How to Layer Rugs

Designers have come up ways in which we can layer rugs in our homes so as to create a beautiful surrounding. Many design predicaments can be solved by simply adding a second layer of rug. Initially, I wasn’t sure on how to go about layering rugs. I came up with the following points and benefits that I think can be useful for anyone looking to layer rugs in a simple yet outstandingly lovely way, or help you in making the decision to layer your rugs.


Texturizing effect

Adding of a second layer of rug texturizes a room, in that, say for example a room with clear neutral colours, though already looking beautiful, lights up with the addition of a rug made of sheepskin. Such is the seemingly small effort required to transform a room in a large way, making it stand out.


Spotlight Something Special

Let’s say there’s a red antique tucked somewhere in a room but there are colors, more dominant the antique’s color. Adding a second red rug in the room will suddenly shine a spotlight on the red antique that initially was not a standout item.



Similar Styles

The layering of rugs with totally different patterns is a complicated affair. Instead of utilizing different patterns, it is advisable to use similar rug styles in order to create a beautiful environment.



From the above picture, without the added cowhide rug, the dining space would have looked incomplete. The cowhide layer therefore emphasizes the seating area, thus making it look like the design was chosen on purpose instead of a scene depicting seats on top of a big rug.


There are different types of rugs with different styles and shades of color in the market. In order to create a good contrast, customization is needed. For example, a room may have white colored walls and the couch maybe black in color. To create a good contrast, layering can be done using one rug which may be white in color, while the other one might have black and white stripes.


Filling in the Blank

I might be having a rug that I absolutely love and adore but it might not fit the area I envision it in. However, I can still utilize it in that same area by just putting a simple and bigger rug under it.



I have 2 kids at home. This of course means that spillages are a common occurrence in the house. An extra rug comes in handy for preventing wet substances from reaching the carpet underneath or even hide stains.


Use of Hides

Hides are considered as excellent secondary rugs to be used for layering. This is because they are thin, and thus not likely to trip someone. Moreover, since they have irregular shapes, another slightly bigger rug can be placed underneath.

Now that we have seen how layering can be achieved, where are these rugs purchased?

Here in London, rugs can be purchased from;

  • John Lewis
  • Rugs Warehouse
  • Christopher Farr
  • West Elm
  • Tim Page carpets

Alternatively, sites like Amazon, Argos, irugs, Carpetvisa and Selectarug provide online services.


Types of Rugs

Choosing the right type of rug is essential in the art of home designing. The choice of rug can either make a room look attractive or unattractive. Knowledge of matching the right rug with the color scheme of a room is crucial.

Before going out to buy a rug, I believe that it’s important first to know the various types of rugs in the market.


Dhurrie Rugs

A dhurrie is a thick, flat woven rug that mainly originates from India. It is at times spelled as ‘durrie’ or ‘dari.’ These rugs are made using techniques that have been in use for many years. The flat-weave design (which is a distinguished feature of this rug) used to create them makes them last long and beautiful.

The dhurrie rag’s tight weave ensures that the rug can easily be cleaned. The rugs are made from materials like cotton, wool, silk or a combination of natural fibers. When it comes to patterns, the most dominant ones are traditional miranet and mosque shapes. Modern designs have incorporated floral, animal and square patterns.

For colors, dhurrie rugs combine different shades. Another feature of this rug is that the other side is also patterned; hence the rug can be flipped in case maybe the top part is stained, for example. However, there is a variation in color between the two sides. Also, they do not have a heavy built in pad, therefore making them easy to carry from one place to another. This also enables one to shake the rug easily to get rid of dirt.

Oriental Rugs

This is my favorite type of rug. It’s basically a heavy textile made for various kinds of purposes. It originated mainly from countries in the Mid-East, Far East and North Africa like Morocco, Tibet, Iran, and China. There are various types of oriental rugs in the market:


Chobi Ziegler

  • These rugs are a traditional type known for their less intense colors and classic designs. The term ‘chobi’ is a Persian word meaning wood, while ‘Ziegler’ is the German company that helped to create this rug design.
  • They are of high quality. They have lower count knots than the Persian variety.


Persian Rugs

  • These rugs are made in Iran (which was previously known as Persia).
  • They are one of the ancient oriental rugs in the market.
  • They usually feature patterns like husks, jugs and crosses and traditional colors like red and gold.
  • They are considered to be of the highest quality.



Ikat Rugs

  • They are of one of the world’s oldest designs.
  • The famous ikat pattern is native to ancient cultures of Japan, India, and Yemen.
  • Several ikat patterns have diamond or triangle shapes repeated in loose lines.


Bokhara Rugs

  • Its name is derived from Bukhara, a town in the modern day Uzbekistan.
  • This design consists of classic colors red, navy and brown and has oval shaped patterns.
  • Bokhara rugs consist of entirely asymmetrical knots, unlike most Oriental rugs.

Silk Rugs

As with its name, these rugs contain a silk component in them. The higher the silk woven into the rug, the higher the rug’s value. These rugs have a soft texture. However, their delicate silk fibers are difficult to maintain as compared to traditional wool.


Bordered Rugs

This is a simple rug with a base color at the center. It also has a border on the edges which usually has several colors and designs.


Inlaid Rugs

Inlaid rugs have a wide assortment of designs and can be customized with initials.

Modern Living Room Décor Ideas

When it comes to home decorations, the room that I always look forward to decorating all the time is the living room. I believe the living room is one of the most important rooms in the house. It’s usually the first room you go into after entering a home. Guests spend most of their time here. It, therefore, needs the utmost attention in decoration matters.

With this in mind, the following are various living room decoration ideas that can be considered that can spice up the living room.


Seeing Red

Red colors might dominate the living room. The red is ‘screaming’ all over? What can be done to tame it? I would recommend an addition of white in some areas of the room so that the bold red color can be controlled.


Light and Airy

The living room should always feel light, and there should be air moving freely. In line with the theme of décor, furniture like an open-weave coffee table and Lucite dining chairs are suitable for making the living room not feel cramped.



All White Surrounding

White is a fantastic color to go with in the living room. However at times plain white may at times look weird or strange. To spice it up a bit, different textures like a crocheted throw or a rough-hewn linen sofa can be utilized.


Reading Section

Reading is food for the soul. A part of the living room should be set aside for this purpose. This section should be designed with the main aim of providing an environment conducive to reading.


Being Trendy

The living room should be updated with a few items, say after each season so that it is up to date with the current trends. For example the latest rug designs or a fresh coat of paint that has hit the market.


Sheer Curtains

The fastest way to let light in the living room is by investing in the right curtains. Instead of heavy fabric curtains, money should be spent in purchasing gauzy curtains. The panels should go down to the floor.

Back to Back

Another décor idea that I came across is the back to back concept. Here seating arrangement can be created by placing a set of sofas in the center of the room and their backs facing each other.


Formal Arrangement of Furniture

In this situation, the living room’s sofa sets are placed in an oval position. It’s designed this way for entertainment purposes and also helps in keeping the focus inwards.


Unique Wall Art

We are all used to the old design of decorating our walls with family photos. These can, however, be replaced by other forms of decorations that can catch the eyes of visitors. For example music records or even instruments can be used.


Statement Seating

Couches are a standard feature in almost, if not all living rooms. However, to spice up the living room, the sofas can be supplemented with unique things like a swinging chair that can be placed in a strategic area.



Detailed Lighting

This is something that I had to take a keen interest in. The old, common way of lighting should be done away with, and in its place, new and exciting lighting designs. For example, chandeliers can be used to replace those boring bulbs.


An Attractive Bookshelf

Bookshelves do not have to be those same, old, boring shelves that we are used to seeing. There are several new ways to spice up the bookshelves, for example displaying artwork and other accessories.


These are but some of the ideas that can be incorporated in the decoration of living rooms. Frankly, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of ideas out there that can guide someone in matters of living room décor.


Indoor Gardening

Many people are gardening enthusiasts. They often want to grow fresh food for their own consumption or just make the environment beautiful and attractive. However, there are some hindrances to pursuing this, for example, living in areas that experience harsh winter seasons or in areas that have no space for any outdoor gardening. My husband and I live in London. The U.K in general experiences winter seasons that at times become severe.

That did not stop me from coming up with an indoor garden. Indoor gardening can be done in the balcony, another adjacent building, in a greenhouse or even in the basement. Here are some guidelines that helped make my indoor gardening venture a success.


Determining the Right Soil

The potting soil should go hand in hand with the particular type of plant. For example, plants like Cactus and Rosemary require soil that is coarse and well drained. The seedlings should be grown in a light, soil-less mix that can absorb and hold moisture. Others like Ferns prefer soil that has a high content of humus.

A good potting mix consists of things like peat moss and vermiculite. These soilless mixes are good absorbers of moisture. They are also not easily invaded by pests and diseases. These mixes, however, do not contain nutrients. Therefore, a frequent addition of fertilizers is necessary. Other organic components such as composted peat or garden soil rich in nutrients can be can also be added to these soil-less mixes. The mix needs to be light to allow air and water to go through.


Adequate Humidity

Although most plants thrive when the humidity is at 50% or more, humidity ranges between 30 and 40 percent can also work. An exercise that would induce humidity indoors would be misting, though, the humidity won’t last long. A more suitable solution, one which helped me a lot, was the use of a cool vapour humidifier. For better results, the plants should be clustered together so that they humidify each other.



It has been found out that most plants in indoor gardens die as a result of over-watering rather than under-watering. I must admit I’ve been a culprit when it comes to overwatering some of my plants. Plants will need frequent water when the weather outside is sunny. On the other hand, their water requirements will reduce during cold weather. When watering the plants the root ball needs to be drenched until water seeps out the pot bottom. This ensures the entire root ball gets enough moisture. Water that has been softened chemically should not be used at all because it contains some substances that are detrimental to plant life.



Typically, plants in the outside environment experience an average 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Some flowering plants usually need a dormancy period before they flower. To induce this dormancy period, watering and application of fertilizer should be reduced during winter since light intensity is low. In spring, watering and application of fertilizers should be increased.


Light Intensity

Different plants require different light intensities. Some need less light, while some require constant light for 12 hours all year. Knowledge of the amount of light each plant needs is crucial for successful indoor gardening, for example, plants that need indirect light need to be put 3 to 5 feet away from a south facing window. To compensate for decreased light during winter, plants may need to be put closer to the windows.


Preparing your Outdoor Garden

For plants to grow healthy and produce abundantly, good, healthy soils are needed. When garden soil is in excellent condition, the need for fertilizers and other inorganic substances reduces. Organic soil is usually rich in nutrients. This is occasioned by the presence of decaying materials like leaves and compost.

Good organic soil is loose and usually, has air crucial to the plants’ roots. It is generally high in mineral content. Good garden soils also have earthworms and other small living organisms that assist in soil quality maintenance.

During preparation of the soil, there are a number of considerations to be made such as:


Determine the Health of your Soil

Of the numerous elements considered to be essential for the growth of plants, potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus (collectively known as primary nutrients) are the most important. This is mainly because plants consume them in large amounts. Fertilizers containing all three nutrients are labeled complete fertilizers, though, in real sense, other nutrients such as sulphur, calcium, and magnesium (known as secondary nutrients) may be missing. Both primary and secondary nutrients are essential for plant growth. Some plants, however, need more concentrations of some than others. It is, therefore, important to determine the nutrient distribution in your soil and compare that with the requirements for the particular plants you want in your garden. Other lesser nutrients include iron, boron, copper, zinc and manganese.

Soil Testing

The amount of minerals present in soil can be determined through soil testing. This test will highlight the minerals found in the soil and also those absent. These tests assist in the measurement of pH, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and nitrogen. PH level is crucial in determining how capable a plant is in absorbing nutrients. The convenient time to test soils is during spring.

Soil testing also assists in determining the soil texture and type. Soil texture depends on the amount of clay, silt, and sand present in the soil. Sandy soils usually have bigger particles. As a result, they do not retain water and nutrients properly. They usually have low organic matter crucial for plant growth.

On the other hand, clay soils do not drain water properly and can become very hard when it becomes dry. Clay soils have smaller particles, thus reduced space between the particles. This is a huge disadvantage since not much organic matter can be retained. Also, silt soils are considered dense and don’t drain water appropriately.

So after testing and finding out that the condition of your soil, what can be done to improve the soil?


Adding Organic Matter

Adding compost leads to the improvement of soils. Organic compost can be purchased or homemade. Compost holds soil particles together and helps them retain enough water for the plants. Homemade compost can be made through putting together leaves, grass, livestock manure and food waste.

Adding Fertilizer

Fertilizers add nutrients to soil whose nutrient capacity is reduced. Organic fertilizers release nutrients over an extended period of time as compared to inorganic fertilizers. A good example of organic fertilizer is livestock manure which I’ve used in my garden. Chicken manure is also highly nutritious for plants. The general perception on inorganic fertilizers, especially for organic/green gardening enthusiasts is that they are not conducive to living things and also the environment at large.


Planting Cover Crops

Cover crops are plants grown to help in reducing erosion of soil by the wind. They also add nutrients to the soil. They suppress weeds and help fix nitrogen. Freshly cut cover crops provide nutrients for the microorganisms in the soil and also the plants.

The Best Writing is Done at 12AM!

After a demanding intersession,  I made the decision to head home and spend the weekend relaxing before my final semester of college. I laid in bed last night unable to fall asleep. My mind was going in a million directions thinking about all that lies ahead. Hence the title, and why I wrote this post!

Before I started this school year the thought of graduating really had no meaning to me. As it was I was already starting my first semester of graduate school (as part of a combine bachelors/masters program), and felt at ease knowing that my plans for the next two years were put in place.

A lot has happened between now and then, and I have since realized the reality of graduation. I am at a point of two transitions. It’s like I have to be two people at once. At times I’m an undergrad, who is finally healthy enough to enjoy college, and on the other hand, I’m a first year graduate student. These transitions both take on two very different levels of responsibility, and I’m just realizing how challenging it has been for me to be “stuck in the middle” of the two.

I’m emotional right now, as I write this post. Feeling upset that I think of the past four years as being a time that I dealt with the ups and downs of medical conditions, yet I am thrilled and elated that we have moved past this point, and that I’m at a much better place in my life. When I started this school year, I told myself you need to embrace all the final experiences of my undergrad career, and do what makes me happy. In a sense I feel like I’m trying to make up for lost time.

I quickly found that finding balance was a challenge. On top of the “typical stressors of college”, I had an internship, found that grad school came with different expectations, and most importantly, I had to ensure I was managing my exercise programand the GF diet. Despite dealing with this all, my experience last semester on my school retreattaught me to take a step back, and breathe. This is a shift in mindset that has begun to help me in so many areas of my life.

I’m sure many of you who had a long road to find a diagnosis may look back on time in your life, and realize that you missed out on a lot. From time to time, you might get angry, feel resentment or want to cry. That’s ok, you are allow to. Let yourself  truly experience the mixed emotions, but then take a deep breath, and do something to allow yourself  to step in the “forward direction.”

Monday officially marks the first day of 2nd semester. Lucky for me I have one more day, and officially start Tuesday morning. I wrote this post not knowing its direction, but hope it will serve as a reminder for myself (and you) in the exciting and challenging moments of transitions. Enjoy your weekend.

Always Remember…
A Deep Breath is Powerful
It’s OK to cry
Acknowledge, but don’t dwell on the things you cannot change
Do the things you LOVE
Move forward, and follow your heart
Find support in the ones you love
Be grateful for all the wonderful experiences you have in front of you
“Right here, Right now”
And make sure you alway remember….
Laughter is the best medicine

Not Your Traditional Pancakes!

I love breakfast and I use to love to eating breakfast at a local cafe called Toast. Toast is an adorable cafe located in Port Jeff. I haven’t been back to Toast since I went GF, but have been inspired by many of their creations.

Toast offers typical breakfast items, like Omelets, Pancakes and French Toast, however they have a unique twist; including Cinnamon Raisin French Toast, Peach/Raspberry Pancakes, and Banana Cinnamon Walnut Pancakes to name a few.

I have blogged a lot about pancake mixes before. Currently my favorite mixes are King Arthur’s GF Mix and GF Bisquick. Not only are the mixes GF, but I easily make them DF. I have also been on a pancake fix lately, and have been developing unique combinations, just like Toast!

Last week I made blueberry/raspberry/ banana pancakes! I made the mix as directed (using water instead of milk), added a mashed banana, a touch of vanilla, and cinnamon to the mix. After I put the mixture on the skillet, I added the desired amount of blueberries and raspberries!

Last night I made my friend and I breakfast for dinner. She is also from Long Island and loves to dine at Toast (gluten-eater), she often talks about how much she loves Toast’s peach/ raspberry pancakes.

I had never had them, so I figured it was time to give this combo a try. Again I made the pancakes as directed, and added a touch of vanilla and cinnamon. I sliced the peaches up, placed the mixture on the skillet and then added the desired amount of peaches and raspberries to the pancakes.

I think this picture shows how good the pancakes were.

So my challenge to you is: Next time you miss a particular restaurant or food item, don’t dwell on it and get down. Instead, try creating a GF alternative. It may take you a few times, but once you get it, you will feel so empowered!

Sweet Sin Bakery!

My Mom is the reason why I inherited such great baking skills. At work she is the “go-to-baker” and her co-workers always count on her to make delicious cakes for office birthdays. She is always looking for new recipes to try out, but her most famous desserts include, Crumb Cake and Raspberry Squares (both of which I have converted to make GF/DF!)

My mom is also Italian. She comforts people with food, welcomes people with food, and celebrates with food. There is something with the sharing of food that brings people together. This is where we are different. I love to bake and cook, but don’t find comfort in food. My relationship with food has gotten a lot better over the past few years, but I still just look at food as the thing that fuels me, as my medicine to keep me healthy. (This is not to say I don’t celebrate with or enjoy a few sweets on an occasional basis, it is just the way I look at food.)

As you know two weeks ago I celebrated my blogiversary. It was a special day, and I wanted to do something special to celebrate it. I had plans to try out a new recipe from a new cookbook, but this quickly changed when I got sick, and then got glutened by the medicine. My mom being the mother she is, felt terrible. I was up at school all alone, and she wasn’t there to take care of me. I told her, I was OK, and there was nothing she could do ( I literally was sleeping all the time). However, no matter how old I get, when I’m sick all I want is my mom!

My brother had a swim meet down in DC, so on there way to the meet my parents stopped at Sweet Sin Bakery. I had never heard of this bakery before (leave it up to my mom and google to find a GF bakery!) My parents picked-up some goodies for me, and my mom posted an adorable video on my Facebook wall that made me smile and laugh, hoping that this would cheer me up!

Sweet Sin Bakery is a gluten-free bakery that offers a wide variety of products, many of which are dairy, casein and soy-free as well. My parents got me, muffins, cookies and two cupcakes. After being “glutened” the last thing I wanted to eat was sweets, so I froze everything except the cupcakes (I didn’t think frosting would freeze well). I was finally feeling better later last week, and was able to enjoy a cupcake. My friend and I split each cupcake. I wanted to try both, but there was no way I could eat two. They were both great, and both my friend and I gave it our approval!

The other day I also tried the blueberry muffins. These too were very good. I definitely could taste the lentil flour in the muffins, but I did not mind it at all. This made them different from any GF/DF muffin I have had, and I enjoyed it. The muffins defrosted well and weren’t dense like many GF muffins, light and airy! I always like to have something on hand, so I  kept the Snickerdoodles stored in the freezer. I can’t wait to try them.

Sweet Sins Bakery is actually in the process of changing their name! “Like” them on Facebook, provide them a suggestion, and if they choose your name, you will get 1 dozen cupcakes and dinner for two! Sweet Sins Bakery is located at 127 West 27th Street, Baltimore, MD. To learn more about this bakery visit their website!

Thanks Mom and Dad for the delicious treats and for alway seeking out new GF options!! 


Looking Back on The Year : 2011

A Year in Reflection
The clock struck 12
2011 had begun
“This was going to be my year”
No health problems
Just good health and happiness 

The year began with its rocky moments
3 falls on the ice
A mystery foot injury
Once again, doctor after doctor
receiving test after test

Suddenly something began to feel different
I got answers
But there was a change in mindset too
Things are going to happen
But I couldn’t let this stop me 

a year of strength
My blog
what keeps me going through difficult times
I wrote, I shared, I learned
A year of accomplishment 

Completing 300 hours worth of internships
Being accepted into Grad School
A dream of 5 years finally came true
What will the new year bring?
A graduation in May
But other then that
I don’t know

A year of no expectations
Of course I have goals
But if I hit a bump in the road
I will not become disappointed
I will keep on living
Living a life full of joy

I will surround myself with positivity
Take time for myself
Continue to find gratitude in “the little things”
Laugh often
Enjoy delicious
gluten-free food

Take risks in the kitchen
Be Happy
These are my hopes for 2012

Cheers to a Happy, Healthy & Joyful New Year!


Rich Chocolate Cake!

Christmas Eve we spent the day with my Dad’s family. Though we all live on the Island, it was so nice to spend time together and reconnect. For a short time, I was the only family member (on my dad’s side) to be GF (and now dairy-free), however this is no longer the case. My cousin is also GF and DF.

I am not a big desserts person, but since it was Christmas I wanted to make something special for us. Before my cousin went GF/DF one of her favorite desserts was a chocolate cake that my mom makes. I decided to take a risk and experiment(however, I also brought my homemade cookies just in case it was a flop!).

My brother and I use to swim on a club team. This recipe came from a cookbook that the team made up for a fundraiser. The cake is so good, rich in chocolate, and moist. However there is one big problem, it contains both gluten and dairy! Over the summer I wanted to try out this recipe, but did not know what type of substitute to use in place of sour cream. However, I read plain coconut milk yogurt was a great substitute, and decided to give it a try.

The cake came out great! It was really moist and wasn’t overly rich in chocolate. Both my cousin and I enjoyed the cake. My Aunt and Uncle also tried the cake, and couldn’t tell the difference (I know I did good, when a gluten-eater says that!). Below is the recipe for your enjoyment:

Rich Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is GF/DF)
1 GF chocolate cake mix (any kind – I used Betty Crocker GF mix)
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix (Jell-O is GF/DF)
4 eggs
½ pt. Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt
½ c. cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350*.Beat all ingredients, except chocolate chips, for four minutes.Let stand 15 minutes.

Grease tube pan while waiting.Put ½ chips on bottom of tube pan. Pour mixture over chips.Put remainder of chips on top of mixture. Bake for about 60 minutes. Sprinkle while hot with powdered sugar. As always it is important to read labels and verify that ingredients did not change.